• A few strong words about Belief or Believing
    To put it another way, I don't see it as having anything to do with "reality"; I think that term is altogether too overblown. "The most plausible" is just what seems to be the best explanation; the one that fits best within a general network of perspectives that I find explanatorily workable.Janus

    Best explanation for what if not for what is real or else what is really the case? But if you think the notion of reality is too overblown, even though I disagree, I won’t argue with you.

    I guess the example is unclear because it lacks specificity. The unknown critter is referred to as both an experience-based prediction and also an inference.praxis

    There were two competing alternatives rather than the one scenario of an unknown critter. Then again, I don’t get how experience-based predictions can be anything other than inferences based on some experience.

    Maybe it’s just me not being up to par. All the same, I’m going to likely call it a day.
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing
    Believing something is "holding it to be true". That is not what I'm talking about; I'm talking about entertaining the idea that seem most plausible, not holding ideas to be true.Janus

    “Most plausible” to me signifies “most likely to be real or conformant to reality”; to deem X most plausible is hence to provisionally accept X’s reality, thereby constituting a belief.

    How can S deem X plausible without deeming X to be likely real or else likely conformant to what is real? Thereby in some way attributing reality to X, which would then be an act of believing.

    For instance, to believe that extraterrestrial intelligence occurs and that humans therefore are not the only sapient species in the universe is neither a) to know that extraterrestrial intelligence occurs nor b) to be uncertain and fully agnostic about the matter but, rather, c) to deem its occurrence most plausible - hence most likely real.

    In short, how else should I understand “plausible” in the contexts we’re using?


    To address a previous notion, a justified and true idea that one cognizes but does not hold to be true is not a personal instance of knowledge. As one example, a theist may hold the idea of atheism, may be aware of the justifications for it, and it might in fact be the case that atheism conforms to what is real; still, if this theist doesn’t hold the idea of atheism to be true, this justified and true idea of atheism which the theist holds awareness of will not be an instance of the theist’s knowledge. On second thought, if you deem that it is not possible to either know that there is no divinity or else that there is divinity, the same argument can be presented of numerous other propositions, such as that of “the house is over the hill”: the idea might be justified and true, but if one doesn’t hold it to be true then it cannot be something which one knows.
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing

    Tangentially, to clarify something on my part in case this does need clarifying:

    Beliefs - at least as I’ve so far tentatively defined and understood them - which will never waiver irrespective of evidence or reasoning will presume an unwarranted infallibility. And I again fully agree with @Ken Edwards that such a species of belief is most often, if not always, detrimental to at the very least an accurate understanding of reality. But the observation of this species of belief sometimes occurring in others does not signify that all beliefs are thereby just such a species of belief. Hence my disagreements in this thread.

    (To my fallibilist mind, the alternative is to hold all beliefs to at the end of the day be fallible, and thereby remain open to revising them if evidence or reasoning gives warrant to so doing.)
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing
    You asked: “If one then moves away from one’s position so as to avoid the possibility of contact with a small animal, how can this activity be accounted for in the absence of belief (to whatever extent conscious and/or subconscious) that the movement was likely produced by a small animal (rather than, for example, by wind-blown leaves)?”

    If a mind accurately predicts the presence of a rat then moving away from it, assuming the rat is rabid or whatever, is a good and adaptive prediction. Otherwise it’s a prediction error.

    While it may not have been the best example I could have offered, you’re still overlooking a key ingredient that was stipulated from the beginning: lack of knowledge. You do not know what caused the movement in the dark corner. You haven’t clearly seen anything but a movement; you haven’t seen a small animal, never mind seeing a rat. But you’re mind inferentially predicts that the movement might either have been caused by wind-blown leaves or by a small animal (but not both). Which one is real is to you not known, and hence not a psychological certainty.


    BTW, I’ll ask that you also comment on the working definitions I’ve provided of belief in my previous post – which culminate in stipulating that all forms of belief in one way or another consist of “the attribution of reality to”. This so as to arrive at a common understanding of terms.

    Going by what was so far offered, if one attributes reality to the contents of a prediction, then the given prediction will by default be believed - thereby constituting one form of belief. Otherwise one deems the prediction fallacious and, by the same count, does not believe - i.e., does not attribute reality to - it.

    Then, going back to the example of the two alternative predictions - that of either wind-blown leaves or of a small animal (to make this explicit, which are to be understood as mutually exclusive) - it's to be understood that they cannot both be real. And again, one does not know which one is real. If one acts accordant to one of the two predictions - thereby evidencing via action that one attributes reality to the prediction’s contents and, hence, believes the prediction’s contents - then one at the same time dispels the other prediction's validity (here, at least momentarily disbelieving the other prediction’s contents).

    … I'm thinking this holds unless you find the offered definitions of belief to be fallacious. In which case, what do you instead recommend?

    (Note: “X is held by S to be true” is equivalent to “X is held by S to be conformant to what is real” which to my mind in turn is equivalent to “S attributes reality to the contents of X" - this example being just one of many variant forms of belief.)
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing
    Prediction, to put it succinctly. This happens whether we like it or not. Our minds are constantly looking for patterns and making predictions.praxis

    In the example provided, the mind predicts two conflicting alternatives are possible: wind-blown leaves or a small animal. Also given is that you do not consciously know which alternative is real. To consciously act on either is not prediction: the predictions of if-then are already embedded in each alternative. So prediction as stipulated does not account for why one chooses to act on one alternative but not the other.

    Prior to addressing what you’ve stated, I think it's best that we agree upon what terms signify. I’ll start by providing some working definitions of what I understand by “belief”:

    -- a belief (a noun) is an instantiation of the activity of believing (a verb)
    -- believing can occur in the form of “believing that [the given clause]” or “believing in [the given noun]” or else “believing [the given agent(s)]
    -- to believe that [the given clause] is to trust (i.e., hold confidence) that [the given clause] is real and, hence, is to attribute reality to [the given clause] (e.g., I believe that tomorrow will be like today)
    -- to believe in [the given noun] is to attribute reality to [the given noun] (e.g., he believes in UFOs), else to [the given noun]’s moral standing or preferability (e.g., she believes in not burning flags), or else to [the given noun]’s ability to accomplish (e.g., I believe in Bill (e.g., in Bill’s ability to finish the marathon)).
    -- to believe [the given agent(s)] is to attribute truthfulness to [the given agent(s)]’s claims and, hence, to attribute reality to what [the given agent(s)] claim (e.g., he believed her).
    -- hence, common to all three types of belief is some variant of “the attribution of reality to”.

    Do you disagree with these definitions, and, if you do disagree, what do you instead recommend?
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing
    You say:" I do get the often grave problem of unjustified belief treated as incontrovertible knowledge. But I so far take it that such isn’t equivalent to belief per se.)

    I think that beleif per se would also apply to Justified belief.
    Ken Edwards

    Sure. Belief, in and of itself, would also apply to "justified true belief", which is the commonly accepted definition of descriptive knowledge. Which in turn would make belief and indispensable aspect of, at the very least, descriptive knowledge.

    This, however, for example does not make "knowledge" equivalent to "unjustified belief treated as incontrovertible knowledge" - even though both make use of belief.

    Still, you might have a definition of knowledge in mind which does not make use of belief. In which case, the just mentioned wouldn't apply, granted.
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing

    Anything that is not known but seems reasonable can be accepted and entertained provisionally for pragmatic reasons; no believing needed.Janus

    If it's not knowledge, such a frame of mind would result in at least two alternatives being tentatively entertained: at minimum, that of X being and that of X not being. How can acting out on any alternative not entail some type of belief that the alternative one acts out on is at least likely true?

    As one concrete example, one sees movement in a very dark corner close to oneself outdoors. To one's momentary awareness the movement could at least either be produced by wind-blown debris, like leaves, or else by a small animal, like a rat. Both seem relatively reasonable to yourself and both can be accepted and entertained provisionally for pragmatic reasons; still, one does not know which alternative is true. If one then moves away from one’s position so as to avoid the possibility of contact with a small animal, how can this activity be accounted for in the absence of belief (to whatever extent conscious and/or subconscious) that the movement was likely produced by a small animal (rather than, for example, by wind-blown leaves)?

    The same question would also apply to less time-sensitive instances of action in cases where knowledge is not held.

    (BTW, I do get the often grave problem of unjustified belief treated as incontrovertible knowledge. But I so far take it that such isn’t equivalent to belief per se.)
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying
    I did give one.. one where preferences CAN NEVER be met, by default of things like the law of non-contradiction. But we can use other standards. For example, a world in which harm is entailed to survive can be considered morally disqualifying.schopenhauer1

    Hmm. I'll help you out with a truism: life needs to feed off life in order to survive. Still, as was the case with previous arguments, this does not preclude there being an objective, platonically real good in the world.

    I don't see how it has to be "platonically real Good" for there to be some sort of morality. One can keep it at a level of "treat people with dignity" or "don't treat them as a means to an ends".schopenhauer1

    I see the issue as being somewhat deeper than that. On what grounds is treating people with dignity morally good? The bully that outperforms the nerd (unfortunately happens often enough in our world) could very well disagree with the statement. If there is no platonically real Good, then the bully could well be right in treating others as means to personally desired ends - and could well justify this by expressing something along the lines of "the proof is in the pudding".

    Then again, I don't believe this existential issue of an objective moral good (singular) vs. relativistic moral goods (plural) can be resolved in a forum format.

    I just don't find the conclusion of a morally disqualified world convincing for the reasons previously given.
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying
    But then here we have your preference for what is good winning out perhaps...thus starting the cycle.schopenhauer1

    Whomever presumes that what you’ve quoted in regard to an Absolute Good constitutes my personal preference is, to be blunt, mistaken. To be clear, if there is a platonically real, hence existentially occurring, good that thereby takes absolute/complete form, it’s occurrence and attributes would then necessarily be bias/preference-independent - irrespective of whether these biases/preferences are mine, yours, some deity’s, or some other agent's. This, for example, in parallel to the occurrence and attributes of a particular truth regarding the external world being bias/preference-independent. Despite their partial contingency on minds, truths too have nothing to do with what one might prefer to be.

    So I think we have to parse out the structure of the system versus various attempts at morality within it.schopenhauer1

    I don't find this adequately addresses my question - it was structure in "if-then" format. Nevertheless, in reply, this is exactly what both Buddhism and Neo-Platonism - in their own disparate ways - attempt to do.

    That is to say, within this system, it can certainly be said that there could be a case that one can do good or do "better" towards someone and one can do bad or "worse" towards someone. Perhaps good here is something like helping a friend when they are sick or visiting them in the hospital. Bad here would be picking on someone who is already down.. Just giving various examples. None of these "truths" of INTRA-WORLDLY ethics can justify or make up for the fact that perhaps the world where these intra-worldly ethics takes place is ITSELF a morally disqualified world for aforementioned reasons.schopenhauer1

    This still doesn’t address the by now repeatedly stipulated issue of “via what ethical standard would any such world be deemed morally disqualifying if no platonically real ethical standard is deemed to occur”. It seems to me that one needs to explicitly present this ethical standard for what is morally disqualifying if even the possibility of such a morally disqualified world is to be rationally entertained.

    If this ethical standard in fact is platonically real, then a platonically real Good existentially occurs - resulting in some form of metaphysics wherein an absolute moral good is part of the overall world we dwell in (I gave examples of such in my previous post). If, on the other hand, some form of non-objective ethical standard that is rooted in one’s current emotive biases is maintained, all I currently have to say in reply is that neither the grunts, nor the verbally expressed emotions, of one or more agents could of themselves constitute a rationally coherent argument for the world being morally disqualified. And I so far don’t see a viable third option here.
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying

    The thought is phrased in terms of absolutes, namely, absolute good. I take there’s no controversy to our current existence not being absolutely good. Also likely noncontroversial is that we can closer approach that which we intuitively deem to be absolutely good or further distance ourselves from it.

    But there are two implicit questions to this issue: “What is the absolute good in explicit terms?” and, “Does the absolute good in any way existentially occur?” I don’t find that a forum such as this can definitively answer either.

    Cabrera presumes to adequately define absolute good in terms of conditions set upon interacting selves and further presumes that which is absolutely good to be an impossibility. If the premises are true, then so would appear to be Cabrera’s conclusion. Only that the same unanswered question presents itself: “Morally disqualifying” accordant to what moral standard if not that of a platonically real idea/form of the morally good? - for the occurrence of this platonically real moral good as standard for "morally disqualifying" contradicts the premise that no such thing occurs.

    For me, the premises aren’t true. I again will lean on those typically unliked metaphysics of Buddhism and Neo-Platonism: both uphold the reality of a nondualistic absolute good – the first Nirvana and the second “the One” – wherein there is pure being devoid of selfhood (i.e., where no selves occur so as to interact) and, furthermore, both maintain the existential occurrence of this absolute good (such that the actualization of this absolute good is possible to accomplish). And, if these general premises are true, then Cabrera’s position would be unsupportable.


    As to some people’s preferences winning out, if there is a moral good, how can society progress toward it without those preferences aligned to it succeeding at the expense of those that aren’t? This by sheer necessity of their so being a moral good.
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying
    We still run into the same problems though. It's just a "dynamic" SOME rather than a static.schopenhauer1

    I'll try to come back to this later, but can you better explain your meaning? As I so far interpret it, the "some" preferences still gets filtered by that which is morally good.
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying
    OK, I see what you mean. But this in itself restricts one's otherwise freedoms of preferences to that which is deemed morally good. Thinking of those (too many for my tastes) who get their best pleasures from putting others down.

    From the OP:

    With the idea of only SOME people's preferences satisfied, and those preferences entailing the infringement of other people's preferences, this makes this existence morally disqualifying.schopenhauer1

    Here, reaching out toward often unpopular metaphysics, were Absolute Good to be actualized, it would then be equivalent to a universally actualized Nirvana as pure nondualistic being for the Buddhist - or to a universally actualized oneness with "the One" from the Neo-Platonism view.

    That would make our existence in current form not absolutely good, but either moving toward this state of existential being or against it. And this would nevertheless be an aspect of the existence we're in. Such an outlook would then not make "this existence morally disqualifying".

    My best appraisal, at any rate.
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying
    That's not quite what I'm talking about. [...]

    So a world whereby we have to do X, Y, Z to survive may be thought as being "acceptable' to one group but "not acceptable" to the other. Just because the "acceptable" group conforms with current realities of what is needed to survive and have accepted harms like illness and disasters, does not mean that thus it is moral. It simply is what needs to happen if one does not want to die.. Either way, this still makes this "real world"/existence morally disqualifying because whilst some people don't mind/like the terms of this reality, THEY get to have their way above and lording over those who would not have wanted this reality.

    In fairness, the reply you’ve quoted was strictly concerned with the purported strict existential dichotomy between victim or victimizer - which I find fallacious.

    As to the larger picture addressed, to assume that a morally good world is one where all preferences get accommodated without any negative consequences (setting aside its apparent impossibility given interactions between sentient beings, each with their own preferences of interaction) is to stipulate that in a morally good world all conceivable evils get accommodated and realized as intended without any negative repercussions - and, thereby, that the realization of all such evils is of itself morally good.

    This, however, contradicts there being such a thing as a moral good - via which one can discern the morally good from the morally bad such that, for example, the world can be labeled morally good, morally bad, or a mixture of the two.

    I get that many aspects of the world are unjust, and therefore morally bad, in many a way. But for this to even make sense there needs to be implicitly given such a thing as the just, or justice, as a moral good via which lack of justice gets appraised. And the very occurrence of such a moral good then necessitates that not all conceivable preferences are to be deemed morally good.

    As to conformity to the real world being to the liking of some but not others, more generally expressed, if “conformity to what is real” were to be itself deemed a moral good - compare this to the general appraisal of truth (i.e. conformity to what is real) being morally good and falsity being morally bad - then desire to act in discord to what is real would by default be morally bad in some existential way. It would then seem practical that, for example, those who are generally truthful (morally good) would want to safeguard against those are generally false (morally bad) via some form of restrictions so as to maintain a generally morally good society.

    One can of course deem this perspective regarding conformity to the real speculative, but the notion of there in fact being such a thing as the morally good (via which addressed givens can be appraised as such) to me necessitates that the realization of all preferences cannot be morally good.

    From where I stand, the world you mention in which all preferences get realized without any negative consequences cannot be a morally good world if such a thing as the morally good is deemed to occur. This for the aforementioned reasons as well as the following:

    As I previously expressed, intent upon the morally good necessarily restricts one's freedoms to engage in that which is morally bad. Hence, the ability to act unimpeded with a unrestricted freedom in what one does thereby negates the existential occurrence of any moral good to begin with, rather than being any kind of moral good in itself.

    In sum, the morally good (if at all premised) requires that one's fundamental wants be satisfied through some restricted way(s), rather than via any whim one might have.
  • The Full Import of Paradoxes
    "This square is not a square" is seen as a self-contradiction on its face, and its truth value is falsehood, and there is no contradiction in saying its truth value is falsehood.

    "This sentence is false" also implies a self-contradiction, but it is not so easy to say its truth value is falsehood, since if its truth value is falsehood then its truth value is truth and if its truth value is truth then its truth value is falsehood.

    I keep on overlooking the subtleties. You've pointed them out well.

    Here's a better justification for why I find the liars paradox to be gibberish:

    TMK, given the LNC, a contradiction between X and Y necessitates one of the following three: a) X is valid but Y is invalid, b) Y is valid but X is invalid, or else c) neither X nor Y are valid. But given the LNC, possibility d), that of both X and Y being valid, will be excluded as impossible.

    I'm saying "valid" as shorthand for this applying not only to propositions but also to non-propositional criteria, such as percepts and memories. For example, if event E and event F are mutually exclusive, and if one recalls that one did E at time-interval T and also recalls doing F at T, one could then assume a) having a false memory of E at T but not of F, b) having a false memory of F at T but not of E, or else c) having a false memory of both E at T and of F at T. But one does not conclude that both E and F happened at T.

    I'm hoping this makes good enough sense without me needing to engage in more in-depth explanations.

    If so, applying this type of general rationale to the self-contradiction of the liar paradox, it can be a) true but not false, b) false but not true, or else c) neither true nor false - but, given the LNC, it cannot d) be both true and false at the same time and in the same way.

    We know that if we claim (a) it will also be (b) and that if we claim (b) it will also be (a) - with amounts to (d).

    This leaves us with possibility (c): neither true nor false.

    If so, this amount to the liar's paradox being syntactically coherent gibberish: a statement devoid of any possible truth value.

    I might be somehow wrong in this general perspective - and if you have the time to point out how, that would be appreciated - but it's how I've so far appraised the liar paradox: as being syntactically correct gibberish.
  • The Full Import of Paradoxes
    A square is a circle — javra

    That's not paradoxical.

    True. Maybe, more in keeping with "this sentence is false", might be "this square is not a square". But I get the the former has a more of self-referential aspect then the latter.

    Still, I'd be grateful to hear of any notion regarding why it should be taken seriously as a proposition. This when something like "this square is not a square" is not. For example, can the proposition be deemed a necessary valid deduction from a grouping of incontestably true premises?
  • The Full Import of Paradoxes
    No arithmetically adequate and consistent theory can define a truth predicate by which to then formulate a predicate 'is a liar'.

    Keep in mind that Tarski's theorem is a claim only about certain kinds of theories (arithmetically adequate and consistent) formulated in classical logic.

    Thanks for the reply!

    Rather than get bogged down in whatever vagaries there might be in the Epimenides paradox, I would suggest the clearer, simpler, mathematically "translatable" simpler and more starkly problematic "This sentence is false".TonesInDeepFreeze

    I know. But to me this derivative of the Epimenides paradox is as much pure gibberish as is the what might be called paradoxical proposition of, "A square is a circle". To each their own, maybe.
  • The Full Import of Paradoxes
    In the sense you mention a 'truth predicate' we actually say a 'truth function'. Meanwhile, (Tarksi) for an adequately arithmetic theory, there is no truth predicate definable in the theory.

    For a language, per a model for that language, in a meta-theory (not in any object theory in the language) a function is induced that maps sentences to truth values. It's a function, so it maps a statement to only one truth value, and the domain of the function is the set of sentences, so any sentence is mapped to a truth value.

    And, (same Tarksi result said another way) for a semantic paradox such as the liar paradox, the statement can't be asserted in any arithmetically adequate consistent theory, so it is not mapped to any truth value.

    As someone largely ignorant of formalized logics:

    The less technical format of the liar paradox (contrasted to "this sentence is false") is that of “someone who is a member of X claims that all Xs are liars”.

    -- This can be true in the sense that all members of X have at some point in their lives told lies, thereby being definable as liars. Non-paradox.

    -- It can also be true in the sense that all members of X have a larger than normal propensity to tell lies, thereby again being deemed liars. Also non-paradoxical.

    -- The claim can only become paradoxical when interpreting that all members of X can only strictly communicate via lies, without any exception. Yet this interpretation is contradictory to the real-life occurrence of liars.

    While I don’t know how to translate the aforementioned into formal logic, I do find that the claim “I am a member of humankind, and all humans I know of (including myself) are liars (on account of having lied at some point in their lives)” to hold a truth value.

    Again, as someone ignorant in the formalities of the matter, cannot this latter sentence as expressed be mapped to a truth value in formal logics?

    Or would one argue that the sentence as expressed (a variant of “someone who is a member of X claims that all Xs are liars”) does not present a valid format of the liar paradox?
  • The Full Import of Paradoxes
    If a train of logical reasoning ends on a contradiction (paradox), the following possibilities must be considered

    1. Fallacies (mistakes in applying the rules of natural deduction)


    2. One/more false premises (axioms/postulates)

    If not 1 and/or 2 then and only then

    3. The LNC needs to be scrapped + a version of paraconsistent logic needs to be adopted
    Agent Smith

    While I don’t purport to be an expert in applied formal logics, this seems worthwhile to mention:

    All apparent paradoxes not accounted for via (1) or (2) might also be accounted for in principle by multi-valued logics, with fuzzy logic as one variant. MVLs can, for example, take into consideration things such as partial truths, or else partial falsehoods (e.g., on which a great deal of spin and misinformation is for example dependent, this in real-life applications of truth-values).

    Multi-valued logic does not reject the LNC.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Hey, it was good debating with you.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    So are we cool then ... or ought we tussle some more about something regarding the issue of the supernatural? :grin:

    For my part I've said what I had to say.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Even if the supernatural is true this does not mean that every claim is true. People can still have hallucinations, mental illness, drug induced episodes, be hypnotised, mistaken or in some other way mistaken.Tom Storm

    Made me giggle a little. The exact same can be said of claims of extraterrestrial intelligence. Are you not familiar with people walking about with tinfoil hats to protect against them aliens' thoughts?

    Right. So what is the epistemological difference (the "in part" aspect) between claims of the supernatural and claims of extraterrestrial intelligence? — javra

    Are we debating this? Probably none.
    Tom Storm

    It would seem as though we agree, then. If so, then no debate.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Right. So what is the epistemological difference (the "in part" aspect) between claims of the supernatural and claims of extraterrestrial intelligence?
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    My question addresses this reply of yours:

    I'm saying that they're epistemologically indistinguishable from supernatural claims. Belief in neither can be definitely evidenced either true or false given the tools we currently have at out disposal. — javra

    In part. Would you not think that if a UFO arrived on earth, (say on top of the capitol building) with aliens pouring out of it we would very quickly have sufficient warrant? Would not replicability and testability be superfluous?
    Tom Storm
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    So then why "in part" rather then "in whole"? Philosophically speaking. Hence, other than an ingrained opinion/dogma regarding what can and can't be.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    In part. Would you not think that if a UFO arrived on earth, (say on top of the capitol building) with aliens pouring out of it we would very quickly have sufficient warrant? Would not replicability and testability be superfluous?Tom Storm

    Same thing could be asked of the Allah example you previously mentioned.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Are UFO's supernatural claims?Tom Storm

    No. I'm saying that they're epistemologically indistinguishable from supernatural claims. Belief in neither can be definitely evidenced either true or false given the tools we currently have at out disposal.

    If a faith healer were to raise the dead and restore amputated limbs in good numbers, I would say we would have warrant to believe that something supernatural has taken place.Tom Storm

    Are the "good numbers" something that would make these acts commonplace and thereby universally verifiable evidence? How would they then be distinguished from that which is natural - but has so far been undiscovered as natural process? (this without reliance upon materialist metaphysics, of course)

    Otherwise, I'll maintain that there will yet be a great deal of skepticism toward the reality of these feats which will claim that not all quotidian explanations have been ruled out. Hence, no definitive evidence.

    Besides, there are no supernatural claims that I know of which purport the restoration of amputated limbs ... although advancements in scientific know how could one day lead to such restorations.
  • Ernst Bloch and the philosophy of hope
    Maybe that's what happens when all hope for redeeming this world is lost.Tate

    I enjoyed the video in the OP. Thanks.

    There’s a reliance in the video on a specific form of hope that, tmk, remains unmentioned.

    There’s the hope for increased happiness via increased quantity of peace, love, and understanding among humankind. The aim being more akin to a utopia obtained via means of democratic rule: a self-sustained, relatively stable, global community that is devoid of authoritarian governance sort of thing.

    Then there’s hope of increased happiness via increased status of top dog over all other(s), or of being under the auspices of such. Here the aim being more akin to a utopia obtained via means of autocratic rule ... of which the Nazi ideology was a quite poignant example of - as for that matter was/is the Stalinist perversions of communism as philosophy.

    We of our own impetus often cynically snide at hope for the first outcome, both personally and collectively. And this breads hope for the second. Needless to add, this at the detriment of the former.

    Thought this appropriate (A Perfect Circle: "(what's so funny 'bout) peace love and understanding"):

    The only way for the world to be made right is to destroy it all and make it over.Tate

    Nah. We'd likely start all over from bacteria, again moving forward evolutionary through pains and pleasures, only to arrive at the same crossroads we are living in today as a species of sapient beings. Better to aim forward. :wink:
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    ... there can be no (universally recognizable) proof either for or against the reality of supernatural claims as we know them. — javra

    Thus, they are indistinguishable from fictions.
    180 Proof

    Yea. I'm finding it hard to believe that I need to explain this on a philosophy forum to one who seems familiar with philosophical concepts, but so be it:

    Fictions are by definition known to be unreal. A known fiction - like Harry Potter - will have universally recognizable proof of being unreal. The typical, known claim of the supernatural does not. Ergo, claims of the supernatural are not indistinguishable from fictions.

    They however are, for one example, indistinguishable from claims of certain lesser lifeforms having awareness, or else "qualitative aspects". No universally recognizable proof for or against such claims. This does not signify that the claim "(I hold that) cats have conscious qualitative aspects (like awareness of pain and pleasure)", is indistinguishable from fiction (which is always an intentionally told story known to be unreal).

    Or, else - if this is more to your liking - typical claims of the supernatural are indistinguishable from typical claims regarding the existence of extraterrestrial sapient life, including claims of UFOs. Some get conclusively debunked; others don't, and remain possible.

    Not "a told story known to be unreal" but a belief regarding what is, or what might be, that cannot - at least as of yet - be conclusively evidenced either true or false.

    Or are you claiming that SETI researchers are researching "stories known to be unreal"?

    After all, one's holding an opinion of what is and isn't does not of itself make that opinion a universally confirmable fact.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    I haven't said they 'can't occur' (how could that be demonstrated?) just that we can't say they have occurred.Tom Storm

    I gather then that we agree there can be no (universally recognizable) proof either for or against the reality of supernatural claims as we know them.

    That was a cool discussion. Thanks.Tom Storm

    Sure. Ditto.
  • If I say "I understand X" can I at the same time say "X is incoherent"?
    If I can say "I understand X" and can at the same time say "X is incoherent," how does that play out?ZzzoneiroCosm

    If this wouldn’t entirely miss the point of the OP, maybe if the proposition is rephrased then the connection between understanding and coherency might be better expressed, this while better avoiding the possibility of equivocation. I’m thinking into something along the lines of: “That which is incoherent to S cannot be understood by S in due measure.” (This while granting that one can understand what is and is not incoherent to oneself.)

    So, the sentence “this claim is false” (or “square circles exist”) can be understood as a grammatically correct sentence - because its syntax is coherent - while the sentence’s content remains not understood due to being incoherent.

    Or, someone could understand the allegorical intentions to Ionesco’s play “Rhinoceros” without understanding the play’s underlying system of logic (granting that it has one and that it is nevertheless incoherent to the viewer).

    Or, if the implications of dialetheism are found to be incoherent, then one cannot understand them - this despite understanding what dialetheism proposes via grammatically correct sentences.

    ... But no worries if this doesn't address the OP's concern.
  • This Existence Entails Being Morally Disqualifying
    In order for me to be happy you have to be unrestricted. The things that make me happy, means you must be restricted. QED. It is immoral to be happy.schopenhauer1

    In keeping with

    We are social animals. We like to hang around with our friends and family. It's unavoidable. It's been in our DNA for millions of years. This entails restrictions on our, and their, freedom, which we all accept. Morality is the deal we make so that the whole thing will work. It's all about restrictions. In essence, you are saying morality is immoral.T Clark

    … but addressing the issue more generally:

    Intent upon what is morally good by its very nature limits/binds/restricts our otherwise present freedom to engage in morally bad conduct. Hence, to claim that that which constrains our freedom is necessarily bad is to claim that anything morally good is necessarily morally bad.


    Also, to add this into the equation:

    Victim or Victimizer; choose! — Agent Smith

    And one can't do otherwise. Hence morally disqualifying system/existence.

    In a relationship of earnest love, for one example, there is neither victim nor victimizer among the parties concerned; all parties concerned are nevertheless willingly restricted to not victimizing each other, and this while each gains greater happiness via such relationship. This, I think, in itself evidences the quoted strict dichotomy erroneous.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Good evidence for me would be something like my dad's thumb being brought back (he lost it 60 years ago). Or my mum coming back to life. Not repeatable or rigorous, scientific evidence, but it would do me.Tom Storm

    OK, but then it seems you'd be expecting the supernatural to not only be inexplicable given what's currently known about nature but to outright contradict what's already known about nature (distinct from the metaphysical supposition of materialism).

    But the question for any such event is what precisely does it establish, apart from the extraordinary nature of the event?Tom Storm

    You mean, for example, what does an instance of clairvoyance establish if at all believed? It would establish that there's more to the universe than meets the eye; in this one case, that clairvoyance can occur.

    We can attribute remarkable events to religion or some occult cosmology but there is no necessary connection.Tom Storm

    As contrasted to a necessary connection to an atheistic materialism in which no such events can occur. Of course if any such claims are real they then would debunk the reality of materialism - hence leading to, quote, "religion or some occult cosmology". Isn't that what the big hubbub against anything supernatural is based on?

    I ask, "can you provide a viable test for anything supernatural?" — javra

    You tell me. If you want to discuss science methods with someone I'm not your guy.
    Tom Storm

    As a reminder, I've already affirmed my position on this: no such tests are feasible.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Wrong question.180 Proof

    Nope. Just one that has gone unanswered.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    I’m not hung up on science, just good evidence. If something can’t be explained I am not afraid of 'don’t know', which seems better than ‘because magic or god/s.’

    Yep - your 'clairvoyance' story has too many missing pieces to investigate. It’s an anecdote.
    Tom Storm

    You say, "good evidence can verify supernatural occurrences."

    I ask, "what would 'good evidence' be?"

    You answer, "tests."

    I ask, "can you provide a viable test for anything supernatural?"

    You reply with the just quoted. Which does not philosophically address any of the points.

    What is hard to explain is the growing back of a limb. It is interesting to note that no miracle healers ever seem to be able to do this one. And it would be fairly easy to demonstrate, right?Tom Storm

    Not if I were to adopt a stance of skepticism toward the evidence you'd have for it - and yes, eyes can deceive. Unless, of course, the evidence could be replicated by anyone anywhere. But then it wouldn't be evidence of the supernatural but of an ordinary/normal/commonplace process that has heretofore been undiscovered.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Sure, I can't prove anyone else – or myself – is conscious (or that the Sun's core is not a great dragon), but I also don't have any non-trivial grounds (yet) to doubt our manifest 'theory of mind'. I suspect, whether or not we humans are 'conscious', deluding ourselves that we are 'conscious' (i.e. not zombies) has had evolutionary adaptive advantages. Nothing "supernatural" about that180 Proof

    Fair enough. Curious to know your reply to this. I might even agree with it.

    If consciousness is not a delusion - such that the hard problem does occur - on what grounds would consciousness itself not pertain to the supernatural, this when the supernatural is contrasted with observable evidence?
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Don't think I agree. If we stop talking about generalities and deal with specific claims, then we can look at evidence and assess it.Tom Storm

    I have addressed a specific claim of clairvoyance. No reply as to what evidence could possibly validate its reality.

    Mind reading, spiritual healing, levitation, raising the dead, fortune telling - are all examples of supernatural claims that directly impact upon the physical world and therefore can be tested.Tom Storm

    Scientific tests require that they be replicable by anyone anywhere. Otherwise they are not considered to produce valid conclusions, and this for good reason.

    To observe an instance or two of any of the above is not in and of itself a valid scientific test. One could be momentary psychotic in what one thinks one witnesses, after all. Others could deem that you are lying in what you claim. And if neither of these, one can always fall back on explanations such as that of coincidence. The guy did this, and by coincidence that happened. And any of this could happen toward one individual's claim, the claim of ten, or that of a hundred. This goes back to Marian apparitions.

    How do you propose to validly test for the reality of any of the examples you mention such that the results are conclusive to all - rather than cable of being relegated to complex instances of psychosis, deception, or coincidence from the point of view of others?

    It is also interesting that while god seems to allow people to 'walk again' for a minute or two, where are the examples of an amputated leg or arm which has regrown?Tom Storm

    You lost me with this question. Assuming the reality of inexplicable walking for a few moments necessitates that lost appendages be regrown as well?
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Any "X" which completely lacks evident, or (directly / indirectly) observable, properties is indistinguishable from "X" which is not real in any discernible or intelligible sense, ergo impossible.180 Proof

    Groovy. On what grounds do you then discern which human does and does not have consciousness? For consciousness "completely lacks evident or (directly / indirectly) observable, properties".

    I forget if you deny the reality of consciousness, so I'm asking.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    And what would those "grounds" be?180 Proof

    Hm. Personally, I have no idea! But then again, I’m not the one affirming this:

    By "supernatural" I understand imaginary and impossible; e.g. Woo-of-the-gaps ...180 Proof

    BTW, my own views on the matter are in many a way unconventional, and I remain in many a way agnostic about the matter. I however take it that if there is the super-natural it by default would neither be that which is observable by all nor that which affects all in principle, if not also in practice - which I take all things physical, “natural” in this sense, to be … fully including natural laws. But then, if there is the so called “super-natural”, I, personally, can’t conceive of it as that which is beyond the naturally occurring cosmic order of things. The supernatural is “not natural” as in “not commonplace/ordinary/normal”, sure, but not as something that resides beyond the natural process of the cosmos. At any rate, not quite common place as a perspective, I would think. But, then again, I’m not here to investigate hypotheticals regarding the nature(s) in which the supernatural could manifest - much less justify them.

    As to why I hold these largely agnostic perspectives? Precisely because I can’t find any philosophically substantiated reason why the supernatural would be impossible. As to shunning the very possibility by ridiculing it as “magic”, hell, the very reality of the universe’s being is magic regardless of how one views it: it just is (it’s an uncaused given), it was caused by a psyche, it was caused by nothingness, and so forth. None of these are non-magical occurrences. And if the universe's very occurrence is magic, I fail to comprehend why anything "magical" within it would be necessarily impossible. Again, agnosticism is my preferred position.

    At any rate, my only - maybe so far implicit - affirmation in this thread is that the supernatural would be impossible to satisfactorily evidence in any empirical manner if it indeed in any way occurs - and this precisely because it is the supernatural, hence by default neither being observable to all in replicable manners nor affecting all at all times (such as natural laws do). Because the supernatural does not hold these properties, any accounts of it, be they personal or secondhand, could always be delegated to coincidence, deception, or psychosis. Such, I’m arguing, is the inherent nature of the supernatural if it is.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    Care to show how your question is not a non sequitur?180 Proof

    Sure, it aims at producing grounds for the otherwise unsupported claim that the supernatural is impossible.
  • The Supernatural and plausibility
    I do not trivialize imaginary, except where what is imagined (e.g. "the supernatural") is also impossible (rather than merely "implausible").180 Proof

    And how can the supernatural be justified as impossible other than via the metaphysical worldview of materialism?