• Devans99
    2.7k
    But as I've already argued, that's false by your own lights - God, having created time, would exist in it, yet God is uncaused.Bartricks

    If you create a painting, do you exist in it?

    You could insist that God does not exist in time, but you'd need an argument to show that. And so far as I can tell, your only argument is that he created it. But that fails because creating something does not preclude one from being in it. I create a cave, I am in a cave.Bartricks

    - God can't exist in time because he'd be subject to the 2nd law of thermodynamics and therefore dead.
    - God can't exist eternally in time because he would have no start to his existence (would you exist if you were not born?)
    - God can't exist non-eternally in time because there would be nothing before God to create him.

    Also, if you consider that time must have a start:

    1. Assume time has no start
    2. Then there is no first moment
    3. If there is no nth moment there is no nth+1 moment
    4. But we have moments (contradiction)
    5. So time must have a start

    Then something must start time. That must be God.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Now, from what I understand your claim is that we can just say ‘is’ or ‘is not’ rather than ‘can’ and ‘cannot’. In other words you wish to replace ‘how something must be’ with ‘how something is’.Miles

    Yes, that's right. Nevertheless, I still think some claims are certainly true, and others only likely true, and others false.

    I should stress that I accept that necessity appears to exist - our reason represents many truths to be necessary - and that the burden of proof would be on me to argue that it does not in fact exist. But I take it that at the moment it is simply the coherence of my position that is in question, rather than its plausibility.

    So take square circles. I think they certainly do not exist. But I do not think they 'necessarily' do not exist. Still, I am absolutely certain they do not exist. By contrast, a square object the size of the moon is something I think very likely does not exist.

    Importantly, then, we're both convinced that there are no square circles, it is just that you think there can't be any such things, whereas I think there just certainly aren't.

    If I asked you ‘is this object a squared-circle?’ what would you reply?
    In your system of thought you will say ‘it is not’.
    I will say on what grounds do you say that, and you will say well I have examined it and it is not.
    I will then say maybe your examination was not correct so is it possible that you are wrong and is it possible that X is a squared-circle?
    Miles

    That's not quite how it'd go. I would indeed say that the object is certainly not a square circle, but I would say that without examining it. For I know it is not a square circle on the basis of my reason: my reason represents Reason to be adamant that there are none in the world - indeed, represents Reason to find them utterly inconceivable. (Whereas, by contrast, about square objects the size of the moon it says nothing at all about their actual existence - hence why where they are concerned I have to rely on empirical inquiry).

    If you were to ask me if it is possible that the object is a square circle, I would say no. For I believe the proposition "there are no square circles" is true and so I am certain that it is not a square circle. But if you were to ask me the slightly different question "is it possible for there to be square circles" I would say yes.

    For an analogy: if you ask me if it is possible that I do not exist, I would say no. But I am not thereby saying I think I exist of necessity. I am just certain I actually exist. If you asked me if it is possible for me not to exist, by contrast, I would say "yes".

    To suggest its possibility is to suggest a contradiction.Miles

    No, it is to suggest the possibility of a contradiction. And although I am certain that no contradiction is true, I accept that it is possible for a contradiction to be true.

    The only path to dismantle the original God or first cause argument is to reject its key premises. And remember it had two halves; the 1st half concluded that a causal chain needs a first uncaused cause, and the 2nd half defined the uncaused cause as something simple and unique in number.Miles

    Yes, although I am not arguing that it is unique in number - that's what others are arguing, not me. I am arguing that there are uncaused causes - substance-causes - and that these substances (of what number I do not know) are simple, uncreated, immaterial entities.

    I think it does not matter that I am a necessity sceptic, for the issue is whether the premises are actually true, not whether they have to be.

    And no point saying ‘well we will just accept the conclusion until some other argument comes along to reject it and that the conclusion is not necessarily true because one day it may be proven wrong’. That is not in the spirit of a philosophical or scientific enquiry.Miles

    I think that's very much in the spirit of philosophical inquiry. I mean, I'm never going to rest on my laurels or be complacent. I can't think of an approach more in the spirit of philosophical inquiry, as my mind is permanently open.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    If you create a painting, do you exist in it?Devans99

    No, but if you create time then you do exist in it, for there is now a now and you are in it. For if you have created time yet do not exist in the present moment, then you do not exist. For what is it not to exist apart from not existing in the present moment?

    So, if God exists in the present moment, then God is in time - which is consistent with God having created time. Which he did.
  • Miles
    22


    Good news we are making progress. But I have to say I don’t really follow your comments about necessity. Your comments are contradictory at times and this is what I can summarise tonight:

    For the last few days the one point you have consistently made is that there is no need for necessity, and that you can use ‘is’ and ‘is not’ instead of ‘must’ and ‘cannot be’ since the latter two imply necessity. The point you have been making was about all assertion in general.

    In my view you definitely need to let go of this need to get rid of necessity.

    If your position is that everything is possible (in order to avoid that somethings are impossible) then you are in for a shuck: for the statement 'everything is possible' means 'impossible is also possible' which is a contradiction, unless of course you mean 'impossible is not possible' in which case somethings are not possible. You can make a final retreat and say 'something are possible' which open the door for some things to be impossible, hence they are not possible necessarily (which is what makes them impossible). And that is just that, no escaping the conclusion. And no point saying 'well this is certainly true, but maybe it doesn't have to be true, although it might be true, and so on and so on.

    And I gave the example about the squared-circle as one case where the notion of necessity is unavoidable.

    And it is your position on this matter which is really unclear an confusing and contradictory.

    You say:

    So take square circles. I think they certainly do not exist. But I do not think they 'necessarily' do not exist. Still, I am absolutely certain they do not exist.Bartricks

    To say "they certainly do not exist" just means they can't exist. Because you are making a sweeping statement without having first searched every inch of the universe to see if they do in fact exist or not. What you therefore mean is they can't exist. Unless you retract your statement "they certainly do not exist".

    And later you say:
    If you were to ask me if it is possible that the object is a square circle, I would say no.Bartricks

    But then you say:
    But if you were to ask me the slightly different question "is it possible for there to be square circles" I would say yes.Bartricks

    In the first statement you eliminated the possibility. Because to say 'it is impossible for X to be a squared circle' just means 'no X can be a squared circle'.
    But in the second statement you say 'it is possible for some X to be a squared circle'. ?????

    And then you think by introducing 'certainly true' the problem gets any easier. I think there is a confusion here between 'certainty' and 'certainly'. If not then your notion of 'certainly' becomes pointless and adds no value or extra information to the sentence.

    And then you talk of what reason demands and that according to reason it is inconceivable but it doesn't mean it is not possible and so on.

    But reason is our faculty as rational beings.
    And then you talk about how truths such as 'squared circles are impossible' cannot tell us anything about objects that actually exists such as their size and so on. Sure, perhaps so. But my point was to demonstrate there are different types of truths and some are necessarily true, not that all are.

    You also give the example of the 'whether you exist' question and you are again getting confused between necessary truth and true necessarily.

    If I am having a conversation with James then it means there exists a James for me to have a conversation with, which means if the first part of my statement is true then the second part is true necessarily. Not that the second part is some necessary truth regardless of my first statement.

    As I said you definitely need to let go of this need to get rid of necessity because your arguments are missing the target. I would understand your insistence if we were somehow conflating between necessary truth and true necessarily, in which case you could target your arguments better at that conflation. But this has never been the case here.

    Anyway, I don't think there is much I can add to this. I have gone over all this in my previous comments.

    I think it would be useful for you to contemplate about what makes a statement true, the truth maker so to speak.

    Apologies I didn't get a chance to properly read your comment about the God argument, I will do that at some point tomorrow.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I am not aware of having contradicted myself. I would be contradicting myself if I said that something was necessarily true. But I have consistently denied this, and denied necessity is implicated in any of my arguments.

    If your position is that everything is possible (in order to avoid that somethings are impossible) then you are in for a shuck: for the statement 'everything is possible' means 'impossible is also possible' which is a contradiction, unless of course you mean 'impossible is not possible' in which case somethings are not possible.Miles

    There is no contradiction there, so far as I can tell. It is possible for there to be necessary truths, there just aren't any. So I do not say it is impossible for there to be necessary truths - which would be contradictory. Rather, I say that there are, in fact, no necessary truths.

    Perhaps it will be objected that by allowing the possibility of necessary truths I must accept their actuality as well. But that is to beg the question against me by assuming that there are, in fact, some necessary truths (such as that if it is possible for X to be necessarily true, it is necessarily true).

    So I do not think I am contradicting myself. I have not said "never say never" - which is a contradiction - I have said "do not say never".

    To say "they certainly do not exist" just means they can't exist.Miles

    No, that's clearly not true. I gave an example to demonstrate this. I am certain I exist. I do not exist of necessity, however.

    So, I am certain there are no square circles. Nevertheless, it is not necessarily true that there are no square circles.

    If not then your notion of 'certainly' becomes pointless and adds no value or extra information to the sentence.Miles

    No, I think you're confusing certainty with necessity and vice versa. Once more, I am certain I exist, yet I do not exist of necessity.

    And take this sum - 18 x 3. What's the answer? Well, if - like me - you are not especially good at mental arithmetic and have just done the sum in your head in the last few seconds, then - like me - you are fairly confident, but not certain, that it is 54. Yet whatever it equals it equals of necessity, yes? (I mean, I don't believe that - but you do). So that's an example of something that is a necessary truth - if you believe in necessary truths, then it is necessarily true that 18 x 3 = 54 - yet that you are not certain about.

    So anyway, this tendency to confuse certainty with necessity is, I think, why you are finding what I am saying more confusing than it actually is. For whenever I deny that something is necessarily true, I suspect you think that I lack confidence in its actual truth - whereas in fact I am going to be as confident as the next person in its truth.

    So, I am absolutely certain that there are no square circles and no married bachelors and so on - absolutely, 100% certain. But I deny that these are necessary truths and deny that certainty and necessity are equivalent.

    I will reply to the remainder in another post as this one is probably getting too long (I am replying as I go along).
  • Bartricks
    2k
    But reason is our faculty as rational beings.Miles

    That's not my view. The word 'reason' in 'our reason' refers to our faculty - our faculty of reason. But Reason itself is that which our faculty of reason gives us insight into. It is not itself the faculty. That's to confuse a vehicle of awareness with its object. So, our faculty of reason makes us aware of Reason's instructions.

    Many of those instructions include musts. But I interpret these 'musts' to be operating expressively, not descriptively, just as they would be if they appeared in instructions of mine. If I said "you 'must' believe me!" or "you must buy me a mars bar" or "you must pay me what you owe me" - then the word 'must' is expressive, not descriptive. Likewise when it turns up in Reason's instructions.

    And then you talk about how truths such as 'squared circles are impossible' cannot tell us anything about objects that actually exists such as their size and so on. Sure, perhaps so. But my point was to demonstrate there are different types of truths and some are necessarily true, not that all are.Miles

    My point was to demonstrate that I too can make sense of there being different types of truth without having to make appeal to any actual necessity.

    As I said you definitely need to let go of this need to get rid of necessity because your arguments are missing the target. I would understand your insistence if we were somehow conflating between necessary truth and true necessarily, in which case you could target your arguments better at that conflation. But this has never been the case here.Miles

    I do not see any evidence that this is the case. My arguments make no appeal to necessity. And they are valid. If their premises are true, then their conclusions are. And their premises are true - or at least, you have yet to challenge their truth. And it is challenging their truth that you need to do.

    So, take this argument, which I take it we both agree is valid:

    1. If there are events, some of those events trace to substance-causes.
    2. There are events
    3. Therefore some of those events trace to substance causes.

    I think it is also sound. If you think it is unsound, then you need to make a case against a premise. It really doesn't matter that I think its soundness is contingent. I do not think it is sound, and its being sound is all it needs to be for 3 to be true.

    So I think it is actually you who is missing the target. For rather than challenging a premise, you are taking issue with my belief that there is no necessity in reality and thus that its soundness is contingent.

    It is what's true that ultimately matters - I mean, that's what we're interested in as philosophers, surely - and if the argument is sound then 3 is true. It doesn't matter whether its soundness is contingent or necessary - it is the fact it is sound that matters.
  • Miles
    22


    Look, the statement you made when you agreed with me that ‘there are no squared circles’ is a general statement without you having checked every inch of the known world. And this is why this statement just means ‘there can’t be any squared circles’. You yourself made a general statement implying necessity.

    Unless you now retract that statement and concede there is a possibility that there can be squared circles. And that would mean it is possible for this object in this room to be a squared circle. Because no matter how much you examine some object your examination could be wrong and if it is in fact possible to have some squared circles then maybe you are wrong and this object is an instance of a squared circle.

    And then your reply to my previous question ‘is this object a squared circle’ would then have to become ‘maybe it is’ not that “it certainly isn’t” and so on.

    And this will open a whole host of other issues for you.

    And I repeat:
    To say that everything is possible means there cannot be anything other than things that are possible, which again as a general statement is a necessary truth. Unless you say something are possible and something’s are not possible, which brings you to somethings not being possible (hence impossible), and impossible means they necessarily cannot be the case. Another necessary truth.

    So I suggest we leave this and go to the God argument at a later time. Because although we are making progress on the notions of necessity and possibility, the frame work in which we are discussing these notions will not have a direct impact on that questions.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I think it would be useful for you to contemplate about what makes a statement true, the truth maker so to speak.Miles

    I have. What is the truth-maker of a necessary truth?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Look, the statement you made when you agreed with me that ‘there are no squared circles’ is a general statement without you having checked every inch of the known world. And this is why this statement just means ‘there can’t be any squared circles’. You yourself made a general statement implying necessity.Miles

    "There are no square circles" does not mean the same as "necessarily there are no square circles".

    It is by reason alone that I am aware of its truth. But that is a claim about how I am aware of it, not a claim about whether it is a necessary or contingent truth.

    There is a tendency to conflate truths we are aware of by our reason alone with necessary truths.

    If there are necessary truths it is by reason that we are aware of them. But it does not follow that if I am aware of something by reason alone that it is a necessary truth.

    So, I am absolutely certain there are no square circles, and I am aware of this by my reason alone. But in saying those things I am not thereby committed to having to say that it is 'necessarily' the case that there are no square circles.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Unless you now retract that statement and concede there is a possibility that there can be squared circles. And that would mean it is possible for this object in this room to be a squared circle.Miles

    No, you are confusing epistemic possibilities with metaphysical possibilities. There is no epistemic possibility that any object in the world is a square circle - by which I mean I am absolutely certain that there are no square circles in the universe. But square circles are metaphysically possible. That doesn't mean I have to allow that there might actually be some.

    You are having trouble accepting that I can be as certain as you are about these things without believing in their metaphysical impossibility.

    But that's the problem - you're confusing 'necessarily true' with 'certainly true'. Which is understandable, given that 'necessarily' often functions expressively - that is, we often use it to express certainty.
  • Miles
    22


    Your line of thought is not clear again, you need to structure the arguments better.

    The distinction between our reason and the faculty and reason and so on, all not clear at all.
    It is a mistake to think that our reasoning as a process (faculty or a vehicle) is separate than what we reason we about. Just like any process, our faculty is a potential that becomes actualised when we reason.

    Sometimes the problem with forums is before you know it you lose the thread of the original question and the topic becomes very confused.

    Over the weekend I will look at your God reply and comment back.
    Have a good weekend and speak soon

    By the way the below is not true:
    I do not see any evidence that this is the case. My arguments make no appeal to necessity.Bartricks
    You are constantly making general statements which carry with them force of necessity without which they cannot be general statements.
  • Miles
    22


    Oh man, how could you make this assertion:
    how can you say epistemically there cannot be any squared circles but metaphysically they can be??? :)
    What we can say of metaphysics is what we can know, otherwise we may as well say any thing we like and throw the books in the bin.

    :)
  • Miles
    22


    I have. What is the truth-maker of a necessary truth?Bartricks

    Yes:
    Something the negation of which is a contradiction.

    I give you another example:

    It is a necessary truth that ‘some statements are true and some false but no statement is both true and false at the same time and in the same respect’.

    Because the negation of it would mean the same statement could be both true and false at the same time and in the same respect then the reasons we give for it to be true are negated by the reasons we give if for it to be false and vice versa resulting in a contradiction.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Your line of thought is not clear again, you need to structure the arguments better.Miles

    I am being as clear as I can.

    This, surely, is clear:

    1. If there are events, some events are the product of substance causation
    2. There are events
    3. Therefore some events are the product of substance causation

    All you need to do is challenge a premise, which you can do by presenting a similarly clear, deductively valid argument that has its negation as a conclusion.

    Likewise, this is clear as well:

    1. If any objects exist, some simple objects exist
    2. Some simple objects exist
    3. therefore, some simple objects exist

    I explained why 1 is true, and 2 is self-evidently true. Again, all you need to do is challenge a premise.

    And again, this is clear:

    1. If some simple objects exist, they exist uncreated
    2. Some simple objects exist
    3. Therefore some objects exist uncreated

    And likewise, all that's needed is a challenge to a premise.

    And as I've said, I really don't see why it matters that I think their soundness is contingent - what matters is their 'actual' soundness, not whether it is contingent or necessary.

    The distinction between our reason and the faculty and reason and so on, all not clear at all.Miles

    Again, I beg to differ. There is the faculty and then there is what the faculty gives us an awareness of. There is sight, and then there are the objects of sight. Our reason is a faculty and it gives us an awareness of the prescriptions of Reason, among other things.

    'Reason' in 'prescriptions of Reason' does not refer to the faculty - how can a faculty issue prescriptions?

    It is a mistake to think that our reasoning as a process (faculty or a vehicle) is separate than what we reason we about. Just like any process, our faculty is a potential that becomes actualised when we reason.Miles

    It's not a mistake. There are prescriptions of Reason. But no faculty issues prescriptions - they're not in that line of work. They make us aware of Reason's prescriptions, but they do not issue them (else how can our faculties of reason sometimes go wrong?). Thinking that our reason issues prescriptions is akin to thinking that our sight sees. No, we see with our sight, but our sight doesn't itself see things. Likewise, we discern prescriptions of Reason with our reason, but our reason does not itself issue those prescriptions.

    Sometimes the problem with forums is before you know it you lose the thread of the original question and the topic becomes very confused.Miles

    Well, I do keep saying that it doesn't actually matter whether the arguments are necessarily sound or contingently sound - what matters is 'are they sound?' I think they are.

    You are constantly making general statements which carry with them force of necessity without which they cannot be general statements.Miles

    No, you're confusing necessity with other things. "There are no square circles". That's true. "It is necessarily true that there are no square circles." That's false.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Oh man, how could you make this assertion:
    how can you say epistemically there cannot be any squared circles but metaphysically they can be???
    Miles

    I didn't say that - I said that, as far as I am concerned anyway, there is no epistemic possibility of there being any square circles. Which is just another way of saying that I know for certain that there are none. That's entirely consistent with their metaphysical possibility. Again, as I keep saying, there is no epistemic possibility of my existence being illusory - I am certain I exist. Yet my existence is not necessary.

    You can't conclude that a truth is necessary from the fact that there is no epistemic possibility of it being false.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I asked for the truth-maker of a necessary truth. But what you did it just tell me that a necessary truth is a necessary truth. For in attempting to explain why the law of non-contradiction is necessarily true, all you could do is point out to me that denying it would result in a contradiction! But that's a problem if the law of non-contradiction is true; it is not a problem if it is false! So by assuming that it is a problem, you're presupposing that it is not possible for the law of non-contradiction to be false - which is precisely what I am saying 'is' possible.

    I do not dispute that the law of non-contradiction is true. I deny that it is necessarily true.

    You think it is necessarily true. So, what's this 'necessity' that makes it true, then?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    For example, you can't see, touch, hear, smell, or taste necessity, can you?

    So, this 'necessity' that you think exists is not part of the world of sense. It is not, then, some feature of the sensible world.

    How are we aware of it?

    Well, by our reason.

    Our reason tells us that some truths are necessary, yes? It does this by making us aware of prescriptions of Reason, These prescriptions - some of them, anyway - tell us to believe that some truths cannot be false. Our reason tells us not just that 2 + 2 = 4, but that it 'must' do. Our reason tells us not just that no true statement is also false, but that no true statement can ever also be false. And so on.

    Now, I do not see how you can disagree with me up to this point. I mean, it is surely beyond dispute that necessity is not empirically discerned. And it is beyond dispute that necessity is something our reason tells us exists by representing it to exist.

    But I think that the 'musts' in Reason's representations are operating expressively, not descriptively.

    So what you take to be really good evidence that necessity exists, I take to be good evidence that Reason is either really certain about something, or really adamant that we believe it.

    The problem for you is that you take these representations at face value - and that means you owe a truth-maker. I don't, note. Consider my shopping list again. It said "If there are mars bars, you must buy me a mars bar". That 'must' doesn't require a truth maker, does it? But if you took that 'must' to be descriptive, then it would need a truth-maker.

    So, what I want to know from you, is what is the truth-maker for these representations of Reason - the ones that represent certain truths to be necessary.

    I do not think you are going to be able to do that. I predict that, as with the law of non-contradiction, you will either just reiterate that it is necessarily true - when what I wanted is the truth-maker, not more confidence in its necessity - or you will simply explain why it is actually true (which, once more, will not tell me what the truth maker of 'necessarily' in 'necessarily true' is).
  • Bartricks
    2k
    What we can say of metaphysics is what we can know, otherwise we may as well say any thing we like and throw the books in the bin.Miles

    I have not denied that we can know things.

    You are consistently confusing my claims with other claims, quite distinct from mine.

    For the record: I think we can and do know many things.

    I think there are many truths that we are aware of by reason alone.

    I think we can know some things with certainty.

    I think the law of non-contradiction is true (well, I'm actually tentative about that - there seem to be counterexamples - but for the sake of argument, I will accept that it is true).

    I am doing philosophy, not undermining the need for it.
  • Devans99
    2.7k
    No, but if you create time then you do exist in it, for there is now a now and you are in it. For if you have created time yet do not exist in the present moment, then you do not exist. For what is it not to exist apart from not existing in the present moment?Bartricks

    If the vertical axis of the picture is time and the horizontal is space then creation of a picture does not put you within time. Indeed you as a 3D object cannot exist in the 2D world of the picture.
  • Miles
    22


    As I mentioned before check out demonstration or negation of the Law of contradiction. This law is a necessary truth because we use it to demonstrate or to negate it. There are many examples of it.

    Also:
    Earlier I asked you what you would say if I asked you whether this object in your room is a squared circle. Would you first check it before answering? And you clearly and confidently replied no you wouldn’t check it because you agree there cannot be any square circles.

    What you don’t seem to appreciate is that ‘cannot be’ just means ‘it is impossible’. And what you don’t seem to appreciate is that impossible just means there necessary cannot be such an X. Because if this wasn’t the case ‘necessarily’ it would mean square circles are possible after all, hence wouldn’t be impossible.

    And if they are possible then it means it is impossible that there cannot be any, and that now becomes a necessary truth, simply as a result of your own statement.

    And furthermore if they are possible then maybe the object in your room is a squared circle after all? You never know, you better check? But how would you check? How would you confirm the truth of a statement that is true and false at the same time and in the same respect?

    What we therefore have is a circular case. And in every case you are adding the ‘not necessarily’ at the beginning of ‘impossible’ and saying ‘well it is not necessarily impossible’. As though this sentence is now giving us new information. But if it is impossible then it cannot be, and ‘cannot be’ means at all times and in the same respect, never. Never means necessarily.

    But then you add ‘it is not necessarily never’ as though you are making a valid statement.
    Please forgive my analogy but it is like having a dialogue with a computer that just keeps adding the notion of ‘not necessarily’ to the beginning of every notion including ‘impossibility’.

    Impossible just means it is not ‘possible’ which means some way other than possibility, which is necessity.

    And forget all this talk about 'certainly there cannot be but maybe they can be' and so on. These don't add any new information to the sentence unless it determines whether something is possible or impossible.

    And then what is happening I think is the following:
    You seem to think even though there can’t be any squared circles, this is so because of our reason, and that maybe outside of our reason it is possible for there to be such entities.
    Kant made this very mistake which brought down the Kantian movement. He talked about the existence (possibly or actually) of something we cannot know, something which is beyond the grasp of our reason. Well, if it is beyond the grasp of our reason then we cannot know anything about it including whether it is possible, impossible, or actually, or potential, and so on.
    If it is beyond our reason then we need to end all discussion about it because we can never go beyond reason. Just because we have the concept of ‘outside’ and have the concept of ‘reason’ it doesn’t mean we can talk about ‘outside of reason’. Any such talk will use reason and it is therefore within reason. Even doubting reason is using reason itself.

    If according to reason something is impossible, we cannot then say well maybe it is possible outside of our reason. That my friend is a meaningless statement for reasons I gave in the above paragraph.
    And then you talk of mistakes in reasoning in trying to explain your views on the faculty of reason vs. our particular reasons.

    But we have errors in judgment as we have error in senses. Different organs and parts are involved and sometimes these organs are weakened or something else gets in the way and they do not process the information, sometimes it is lack of familiarity sometimes it is lack of remembering certain facts an so on. Things are not as simple as you outline them.

    I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying you need to go into far more detail to see whether you are presenting a powerful argument.

    Maybe start a separate discussion with a new title and focus on how reason works and where error comes from and so on.

    (The other thing I can see is maybe you are trying to talk about objective truth, subjective truth, and these in relation to necessity. Maybe what you are trying to say that such truths as ‘there are no squared circles’ are subjective as in subject to reason, but not objectively true. If this is what you mean then the discussion needs to be focused just on these so that we can have targeted discussions).
  • Miles
    22


    I appreciate what you are saying.
    But forget 'certainty' if it cannot tell you whether something is possible or impossible or actual. To know something goes beyond a particular case, and has a sense of generality, even if we talk purely of sense experiences and not the objects in themselves (whatever that might mean).
  • Bartricks
    2k
    As I mentioned before check out demonstration or negation of the Law of contradiction. This law is a necessary truth because we use it to demonstrate or to negate it. There are many examples of it.Miles

    I do not understand this point. The law of non-contradiction is true, but it doesn't have to be necessarily true. If it is true, then I am justified in rejecting a view that generates a contradiction. Not because the view in question is necessarily false, but because it is false.

    Incidentally, even its status as true is debatable - I mean, "this sentence is false" seems, on the face of it, to be a proposition that is both true and false at the same time. Perhaps it isn't - I am not saying it certainly is - but it 'seems' to be.

    That's by the by, of course. The point is that I can draw all the distinctions you can, without having to invoke the reality of necessity.

    The law of non-contradiction is - most likely - true, but it can be true without being necessarily true.

    Note, the law itself says that no true proposition is also false. It does not say that no true proposition can also be false. It says no true proposition is also false. It does not, in other words, itself invoke the concept of necessity. Which is precisely why I can affirm it without affirming the existence of necessity.

    And you clearly and confidently replied no you wouldn’t check it because you agree there cannot be any square circles.Miles

    No, I didn't say that. I said there are certainly no square circles in reality. I didn't say there cannot be. I said there aren't.

    Again, I think you're confusing quite different notions. Certainty and necessity are not the same, yet whenever I express confidence in a proposition's truth you take me to be asserting that its necessity. I am not.

    Similarly, to be aware of something a priori is not of a piece with being aware of its necessity. Again, if - if - there are necessary truths, we will be aware of them via our reason, but it does not follow from this that if we are aware of a truth via our reason that it is therefore a necessary truth. I am aware, a priori, that there are no square circles in reality. But that does not mean that it is necessarily true that there are no square circles in reality.

    But then you add ‘it is not necessarily never’ as though you are making a valid statement.Miles

    Again, I do not understand what you mean. Denying that there is necessity in reality is not the same as saying that there is necessarily no necessity in reality. It is metaphysically possible for there to be necessary truths, I just deny that there are any. That's consistent. What would be inconsistent would be saying that necessarily there are no necessary truths. I have not said that it is impossible for there to be necessary truths, I have said there are 'actually' none.

    What you don’t seem to appreciate is that ‘cannot be’ just means ‘it is impossible’.Miles

    First, you are seeing 'cannots' where there aren't any - where have I said 'cannot be'? - and second, that's not actually what 'cannot' means. It is 'one' meaning of the word, not the only one.

    The word 'can' is subject to considerable debate. There are conditional and unconditional interpretations of 'can' and 'cannot' and so on. And it often functions expressively, as it does if I were to say "I cannot abide him!" or "you cannot be serious!"

    If according to reason something is impossible, we cannot then say well maybe it is possible outside of our reason. That my friend is a meaningless statement for reasons I gave in the above paragraph.
    And then you talk of mistakes in reasoning in trying to explain your views on the faculty of reason vs. our particular reasons.
    Miles

    I have not said any of the things you're attributing to me. Nothing I have said is 'meaningless'. You're attacking a straw man.


    What I have said is that our reason (which is a faculty distinct from Reason and her prescriptions - that later being what it gives us insight into) 'represents' many truths to be incapable of being anything other than true.

    What I then said is that these representations are ambiguous because they can be taken to be functioning expressively, not descriptively.

    If they are functioning expressively - as 'must' 'always' 'necessarily' typically do when we use them - then those rational representations are not evidence of actual necessity, but rather of Reason's attitudes.

    But we have errors in judgment as we have error in senses. Different organs and parts are involved and sometimes these organs are weakened or something else gets in the way and they do not process the information, sometimes it is lack of familiarity sometimes it is lack of remembering certain facts an so on. Things are not as simple as you outline them.Miles

    You're straw manning again. I have not suggested that anything is simple.

    The norms of reason are what our faculty of reason gives us insight into, just as in a similar (but not identical) fashion our sensible faculties give us insight into the sensible world. Our sensible faculties do not 'constitute' the sensible world. Likewise, our faculty of reason does not constitute Reason, or the norms of Reason - no, our faculty of reason tells us about the norms of Reason. But what it tells us can be false. Why? Because its 'tellings' do not constitute the norms of Reason.

    I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying you need to go into far more detail to see whether you are presenting a powerful argument.Miles

    I am not sure what you mean. Here the issue has become whether necessity is necessary. I am arguing that it is not. I think necessity does not exist - but I have not argued that, just expressed my disbelief in necessity.

    So, as I emphasised earlier, I take it that it is the 'coherence' of my view that is in question, not its plausibility. A view can be coherent but implausible. My view is coherent and plausible. But so far I have only sought to show its coherence, because you seem to think that necessity is necessary, and I don't.

    But I have not denied - indeed, I've repeatedly stressed - that the existence of necessity seems well supported by our rational intuitions.

    All I've done is show that do not 'have' to interpret those intuitions descriptively, and we do not 'have' to appeal to the concept of necessity to argue for things.

    (The other thing I can see is maybe you are trying to talk about objective truth, subjective truth, and these in relation to necessity. Maybe what you are trying to say that such truths as ‘there are no squared circles’ are subjective as in subject to reason, but not objectively true. If this is what you mean then the discussion needs to be focused just on these so that we can have targeted discussions).Miles

    No, I think what you've said there is confused. 'Objective' doesn't mean 'necessary' so I don't know why you'd think I reject objective truths on the basis of what I've said so far.

    I am not trying to say anything other than what I've said. And what I have said is that there are no necessary truths and we do not need the concept of necessity in order to be able to argue for things. In other words, I am saying that one can consistently deny the existence of necessity.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    But forget 'certainty' if it cannot tell you whether something is possible or impossible or actual. To know something goes beyond a particular case, and has a sense of generality, even if we talk purely of sense experiences and not the objects in themselves (whatever that might mean).Miles

    I do not know what you mean. As I have said repeatedly, I think there are many true propositions. I think there's a reality. I think we can know about aspects of it. And so on. What I deny is the reality of necessity. That's not equivalent to denying the reality of things, or truth, or reasons, or Reason, or knowledge.
  • Miles
    22


    Hope you having a good Sunday

    I think we are getting closer to identifying the symptoms.

    The issue is you don’t have a clear notion of necessity even though you are denying it. What I mean is ‘what is necessity for you which you are denying’?

    What you mean by necessity seems confused to me and this I think is why you are now getting yourself in all sorts of knots.

    My position on it is clear, for me it means 'what is impossible and what must be' vs. 'what is possible'.
    Such that talk of necessity is talk of an exclusive relationship between possibility and impossibility. You can drop the concept of necessity if you wish but you would need to take a position whether something is possible or impossible. And as soon as you say something is impossible then it means under no circumstances can it be possible. It doesn’t mean ‘well it is impossible now but it might be impossible under some under conditions even though I don’t really know what those conditions are… and maybe human reason is limited but surely beyond the boundaries of human reason maybe it is possible…’ and so on’. Because if any of that were true it would very simply mean ‘it is possible’ and not impossible.
    All this sounds like some confused notion that although something seems impossible to us it doesn’t mean it is impossible in itself and so on,????

    And this will lead you saying 'there certainly aren’t contradictions any in reality’ which now makes matters worse, as though we have some realm outside of reality we can talk about. Whatever we talk about is within the boundaries of what reason tells us and whatever we mean by reality automatically falls under reason.

    And it keeps going back to this distinction between what we think of some entity and what that entity is in itself. Such that in your view there can’t be any squared circles, due to what reason dictates, but you there could in fact be squared circles in themselves outside of our reason. (and I did address the flaw with this view before).

    What usually happens next is that when pressed further people end up saying they don’t know whether some X is possible or impossible, and pressed further they say for any X that x (anything and everything) might be possible or might be impossible. In other words they refrain from committing to whether somethings 'are' possible and whether some things 'are' impossible (because as soon as they make such a commitment they will fall in the above trap). They just say they don’t know. Such that squared circles might very well be possible, they just don’t know.

    You could for example say (as you have) we don't know every aspect of the world and contradictions are one such aspect.

    But this doesn’t help much either for this is a more flawed position to take.

    Speak soon
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I think we are getting closer to identifying the symptoms.Miles

    That's question begging - you're assuming my thinking is diseased and in need of treatment.

    The issue is you don’t have a clear notion of necessity even though you are denying it. What I mean is ‘what is necessity for you which you are denying’?Miles

    Haha, well that's an attempt to shift the burden of proof if ever I saw one!

    I mean what you mean by it, I am quite sure.

    My position on it is clear, for me it means 'what is impossible and what must be' vs. 'what is possible'. Such that talk of necessity is talk of an exclusive relationship between possibility and impossibility. You can drop the concept of necessity if you wish but you would need to take a position whether something is possible or impossible. And as soon as you say something is impossible then it means under no circumstances can it be possible.Miles

    Yes, as I thought, I mean the same by it as you do. And I deny its reality.

    You keep attacking a straw man though. I am 'denying' that necessity exists - so I am 'denying' that anything is impossible. That is, I believe anything - literally anything - is possible. Yet you seem to be labouring under the idea that I think some things are impossible. No, I think nothing - nothing - is impossible.

    Square circles do not exist. There are none - none - in reality. I am quite sure of it. But they are possible. They 'can' exist, they just don't. Absolutely, certainly, don't.

    That's a consistent statement. If you think it is inconsistent, explain.


    What you mean by necessity seems confused to me and this I think is why you are now getting yourself in all sorts of knots.Miles

    You're confident I'm in knots. Why? It's you who keeps confusing different notions and attributing to me things I have not said.

    You have confused being certain that a proposition is true with its being necessarily true.
    You have confused epistemic possibilities with metaphysical ones. You have insisted that 'cannot' means the same as 'necessarily is not the case'. And you seem to have confused objective with necessary and subjective with contingent (for you suggested that this might be what I am really talking about - despite my never mentioning the terms 'subjective' and 'objective' once). And you have confused a faculty of awareness with an object of awareness - that is, you've confused 'our reason' with the norms of reason that it makes us aware of (which is akin to confusing sight with sights).

    So from where I am standing I am not the one who is confused. My view is unconventional, but that does not mean it is confused.
  • Miles
    22


    your position is not the same as mine :) :) This is why I keep saying you are confused and it keeps getting more confusing:
    For me squared circles are impossible meaning they cannot exist - that is what impossible is. If it could exist it wouldn't be impossible.
    If your position is the same as mine but you still insist they 'can' exist then your view is not the same as mine and in your view they are possible???

    Square circles do not exist. There are none - none - in reality. I am quite sure of it. But they are possible. They 'can' exist,Bartricks

    This is the most clear indication why you need to revise your position.

    I rest my case on this topic.
    And also sometimes in Philosophy we need time to think things over and let the arguments to grow on us. This is a good time for both of us to think over what we have learned from these great discussions as I for sure got thinking about a few ideas from our chats.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    You could for example say (as you have) we don't know every aspect of the world and contradictions are one such aspect.Miles

    Where have I said that? Quote me saying it. I haven't. Absolutely haven't. I have repeatedly said that I know there are no square circles not - not - on the basis of observation, but on the basis of my reason. My reason is adamant that there aren't any. And on that basis, I conclude that there are none.

    I have not - absolutely not - said "well, I haven't inspected the entire universe, and on that basis I think it is possible for square circles to exist". That's absurd!! I don't know where you've got the idea that that's my view, for I have never - never - said any such thing.

    Again, then, I am sure - 100% certain - that there are no square circles in existence.

    Why? Why am I sure?

    I am sure because my reason tells me, in no uncertain terms, that there are none.

    So, I conclude that there are none.

    You keep straw manning me - you keep inventing positions and attributing them to me.

    I have said repeatedly that we know - know - many things by reason alone, including that there are no square circles and that the law of non-contradiction is true.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    For me squared circles are impossible meaning they cannot exist - that is what impossible is. If it could exist it wouldn't be impossible.Miles

    Well, now you're being disingenuous!

    You asked me what I understood 'necessary' to mean.

    On that - on 'that' - our positions are the same.

    I mean by 'necessary' what you mean by it.

    I deny it exists, you think it does. But we're talking about the same thing - necessity.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    This is the most clear indication why you need to revise your position.Miles

    Why?

    Again, it's you - you - who is confused. You seem to have trouble distinguishing 'certain' from 'necessary'.

    If it helps: you are certain my position is confused. But it is not necessarily confused, is it?
156789Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.