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    Darrin Rasberry
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  1. I'd love to see a Logical Positivist account for the uniformity of nature. I've been harping the New Atheists about this for a long time.
  2. Been reading Gordon Clark lately, eh? Or, much worse yet, John W. Robbins? Bill P Clark was a hoot. I think this is used more on the Van Tillian side of things, though, but I haven't really run up against a Clarkian before.
  3. Has anyone heard this argument? It is a favorite of Calvinists, the Christian denomination that denies free will to the sovereign choice of God. The juice of the argument is that it supposedly proves the Christian God by the impossibility of the contrary, by stating that without God, one cannot prove anything. The reasoning for it goes that God must be the source for the laws of logic (Identity, Non-Contradiction, Excluded Middle, etc.) since an atheistic worldview cannot account for the laws of logic at all. Morality and the problem of induction are also introduced as supposed proofs for God's existence, since they claim atheism cannot account for moral laws, nor can it count on the reliance of future events based on past experience. Of course, Objectivism has an account for this, but I have not really seen anyone confront it directly. Thoughts?
  4. This is a stolen concept. I did not say "maybe" and I did not say "supernatural being." Let's take this to the personal level: You (GS) have to exist in order to question whether existence exits. If you (GS) don't exist, you can't say anything, much less question something specific. That is where existence an axiomatic concept instead of an assumption. I do agree that your "maybe" and your "supernatural being" are assumptions. I do not agree that your existence is an assumption, at least not so long as you post here. smile.gif In relation to what? What determines best and worst? What standard do you use to make this measurement? Thought I'd better start a new thread. After considering this some more it seems to me that the statement "existence exists" means existence is undefinable. So we must accept this term and move on but I cannot do this. Let me ask you this, do atoms exist? Do quarks exist? Do tachyons exist? All of a sudden 'exists' is not so cut and dried is it? No, this term 'exist' or 'existence' is way too vague to be axiomatic. In fact, what does this phrase even mean? It's almost as if you are defining 'existence' with the word 'exists' which amounts to saying nothing. Not quite. The first axiom is better stated "Something is." Now, in this order of precedence, it is implicit what "is" i.e. "exists" means, but this is not explicitly outlined until later down the axiomatic chain. To exist means to have an identity, a nature, a set of quantifiable qualities. So putting it all together, it means that there exists identity or identities, as opposed to no identity or identities. Rand's presentation is rough, admittedly, but the fact of the matter is that it is axiomatically valid.
  5. No. You cannot prove that everything that begins to exist has a cause, so that invalidates the argument. There are more points in your list that won't work, but that isn't important as the first point already fails. Actually, I can prove that everything that begins to exist has a cause under the assumption of solipsism, for, if not, then a causeless percept necessarily has no ties to my consciousness (or else my consciousness would cause its existence, refuting the objection). Since it has no ties to my consciousness, it exists independently of my consciousness even if its existence is coterminal with the existence of my consciousness. This refutes solipsism, since something exists indepedently of my consciousness. So under the assumption of solipsism, everything that begins to exist must have a cause by the impossibility of the contrary. So my argument still stands.
  6. The proof proper does not assume that consciousness is a member of external reality, because that would be begging the question in favor of my conclusion. And for the solipsist, consciousness is the whole of reality, yes. But if the solipsist is consistent, he will discover that his position logically collapses, as I demonstrate above. The proof I gave was assuming the case of solipsism and reaching a contradiction. 1. If solipsism is true, then everything that begins to exist has a cause, and this cause must be my perceptions or by an internal faculty able to cause perceptions. 2. The first state of my perceptions began to exist. 3. Therefore, my perceptions must have a cause. 4. (From 1) This cause must be my internal faculty that is able to cause perceptions to begin to exist. 5. My internal faculty that causes perceptions must have a content. 6. This content itself began to exist. 7. Therefore, this content has a cause. 8. This cause cannot be itself and cannot be from perceptions. 9. Therefore, solipsism is false.
  7. No need for anyone to be serious about it. I just refuted it in logical format, so it cannot be considered because it leads to inevitable logical collapse. By the way, if one does not accept my view of causation, and asserts that things may still begin to exist without a cause whatever their definition of cause may be (the loosest form is that "a causes b" means "not-a entails not-b"), then the solipsism assumption renders this impossible - if, assuming solipsism, a percept A began to exist uncaused, then there is necessarily no connection between it and my consciousness. At most, A can only have the property of being coterminal with my consciousness, since if it had dependence on my consciousness, then my consciousness causes its existence continuously even if it began to exist uncaused. But even if A simply is coterminal with my consciousness, this means that the fact that it has no necessary dependence on my consciousness entails that it must exist independently of my consciousness, refuting solipsism. So under the assumption of solipsism, everything in the content of my consciousness must be caused by my consciousness, including their first state at their beginning, entailing my consciousness caused their beginning to exist. The argument thus still follows.
  8. Why? That we often find causes for events doesn't mean that this always must be the case. That is the fallacy of induction. So your argument has already been derailed at this point, no need to read further... Good point; you do have to accept the Randian state-state nature of causation as I have written it, but supposing you are right - let's define cause as "a causes b means that not-a entails not-b." This is the generally accepted view of causation. Curiously, my argument still follows from this definition. Name one event within time that does not have a cause under the definition of "cause" I just gave.
  9. Put the proof in my original post, so future pages can have it ready for commentary.
  10. Peikoff, in a recent radio program, pointed out that her statement came from a poet named Badger Clark, called The Westerner. The statement itself doesn't actually appear in Clark's poem, although "the world began when I was born" does - and in the context of the poem, this means that what previously existed before his birth (and what will exist after death) is by definition irrelevant to one's existence, unless one's concern for the future of something one experiences while alive is itself a value. Rand further clarified in that same interview that we won't wake up at some point after death and say "woah, how terrible it is that I'm a corpse!" That's what she meant - not that solipsism is the case. Anyway, my absolute disproof will follow this post, and you can put that worry that we all could just be in your head to rest. ;)
  11. Solipsism is the view that only I exist, i.e. only my consciousness and the contents of my consciousness exist. I've formulated an argument that proves with absolute certainty that solipsism is false, but I wanted to know everyone else's take on the subject before I present my own take. Thoughts? EDIT: I put it here so it can be viewed on future pages. ========== My proof of the impossibility of solipsism, and therefore of the absolute certainty of the existence of an outside world, is taken by assuming solipsism as to not beg the question, and demonstrating how such a position leads to logical collapse. The following is reprinted from my blog. Looking forward to comments and criticism! ========== A Logically Absolute Proof of the Existence of a World Outside My Mind One of my philosophy professors, Dr. Stewart, used to pose hilariously to his classes the scenario of killing himself to end all of existence by pointing his forefinger to his head, hand in a gun-shape, and screaming "STOP OR I'LL KILL YOU ALL!" Throughout almost all of professional philosophy, the question of whether one can absolutely verify the existence of a world outside our consciousness has been considered open and perhaps even unanswerable for thousands of years. Indeed, an absolute proof of the impossibility of solipsism by a professional philosopher would throw the philosophical community - or, more likely, bring that professional under extreme ridicule, since many philosophers (unlike Dr. Stewart, who regards it as a thoughtful joke) enjoy hanging this over the heads of others as a verification of the old canard that "you can't prove anything!" A proof is long overdue, and since professional philosophers cannot afford the risk of giving an irrefutable one, I thought I would present one myself. For those of you unfamiliar with the A-time theory/B-time theory split, a brief explanation is necessary here before my disproof is given. A-time theorists, to paraphrase Dr. Craig, hold that things and events aren't equally real - only the present is metaphysically true; the past is no longer the case and the future will be the case, but it is absolutely true from every vantage in the universe that they are not currently the case. Only the present is such. B-time theorists hold that there exists a point of reference by which the past, present, and future as experienced illusory by men all are true metaphysically. They are ordered by a temporal relation "before" and "after," where "a is before b" means simply that the truth of b requires the truth of a, but that the truth of a does not require the truth of b (simultaneous occurrence would require both). To illustrate the difference more clearly, A-time theorists simply state that the universe exists in the temporal progression of one state to another. Thus, the notion of "x begins to exist," loosely, is that x exists over a timespan of finite measure. Yesterday has happened; tomorrow will happen; today is happening. B-time theorists hold that something's temporal existence (i.e. the whole of "yesterday") is simply extended finitely, exactly like a ball is finitely extended in space, when the universe as a whole is taken under consideration. This is what I think is usually meant by referring to time as "the fourth dimension." That we perceive the "A-theory" of time is granted by the B-time theorist, but the B-time theorist states that this is due to our role as part of the universe, and that ultimately, this is, as stated previously, an illusion, as from the perspective of the entire universe all the past, present, and future simply exists in terms of ordered extensions in a dimension of space representing temporality. Thus, nothing begins to exist, even if its existence is finite in the time-dimension; it is simply finite in time-extension and no more begins to exist by virtue of this fact than a yardstick begins to exist by virtue that it has edges. Note that if solipsism is true, then A-time theory is absolutely true, since the fact that we perceive a progression of events means that this is exactly the case, due to no other outside point of perception being at all possible. Therefore, all of our perceptions began to exist. Now, under A-time theory, everything that begins to exist has a cause (under B-time theory, it needen't have a cause; it just *is*). A "cause" is the action of one entity upon another entity with the "effect" being the result of this action in accordance to the nature of the interaction of these entities. The nature of a bat and the nature of a ball, for example, entail that if the ball is hit by the bat, it goes flying, all things in context being fairly granted. Since "nothing" has no properties, i.e. no identity, and thus does not exist, then everything that begins to exist in A-time theory must be caused by other things or must be caused by itself, and that action must occur before the effect or in simultaneous relation to the effect (i.e. quantum entanglement). Given solipsism, first note that I must begin to exist, because my perceptions are in motion and because this motion has not always been occurring. Thus, I have a cause, and if solipsism is true, I must have caused myself to begin to exist. This leaves three possibilities: I caused myself to begin to exist before I began to exist, a contradiction; or, that I caused myself to begin to exist at a later state of my existence, which would entail that the effect precedes the cause, an impossibility by definition; or, most plausibly, that I caused myself to begin to exist simultaneous to the moment of my beginning. The latter statement is all that's left for solipsism at this point, so refuting it renders solipsism literally impossible. Note first that since my perceptions themselves began to exist, they must have a cause (they can't exist as "brute fact," as people positing solipsism love to say, since A-time theory is absolutely true under solipsism and thus it is absolutely certain they must have a cause). This cause must either be due to other perceptions, or due to a creative ability inherent in myself. At the moment when I began, my first perceptions cannot have been caused by previous perceptions, or else it was not the first moment when I began. Therefore, my creative faculty must have (simultaneously with my beginning) caused them to begin to exist. Furthermore, my creative force must itself begin to exist with a content with which to create, since it would otherwise be empty (as I have not perceived at the moment of my beginning) and thus would lack any means of creative power, since there would be nothing by which it has means to create - even God has an idea of what He creates if we presume theism and creation out of nothing on that account. So, I must begin to exist with some preconceived notions of what I cause to exist at my beginning. Therefore, these notions must themselves have a cause. Since no other outside force (evolutionary processes, a nasty god, etc.) exist to supply these notions, and since these notions cause the perceptions to begin to exist (and thus, by logical precedence, cannot caused by these perceptions), we have nothing left to supply their necessary cause. Therefore, I could not have caused myself to begin to exist simultaneously at the beginning of my existence. Therefore, we have nothing left to supply the necessary cause of the self under the assumption of solipsism. But this is a logical contradiction. Therefore, an outside world exists absolutely, 100%, objectively, irrefutably, and inarguably exists by the impossibility of the contrary. So quit positing that it could possibly be "all in your head". =P
  12. From what I gather, you're implying the "other direction" in this post and thus grounding the theory like Newton did gravity. Kinda scary... Very good job on this paper, and a fun read! It's great that you identified your fallacy at the end here, but I would add the following: how could neurological analysis deny an epistemic process? Perhaps electric pathways lighting up in the structures of our brains may cross specific memories just over the places that link their essentials and omit consideration of their particulars ...
  13. Just a bunch of lines with concrete points of constant separation of otherwise unimportant unit length separating the ordered points in the imagined graph, partially ordered. "Cubes" in Rn, in other words. That's my guess, let's see how silly I look at the end of this thing. Why not just a poset? Why the need to allow for Dedekind cuts and the like? Is this to establish limit points for orderings? I don't quite understand why it can't be modeled by a poset as I explained above. Hausdorff space is immediate here, of course. I suppose this alleviates the headache of Dedekind cutting and the imposing thundercloud of denseness above, but I guess I don't know what's going on with the previous example at all. Are you asserting that this particular structure presupposes a declared (discrete point) choice of scale, while the above structure does not presuppose that? If so, why does selecting this choice of scale alleviate the headache from the above structure, and how does the above's non-choice of metric entail the possibility of Dedekind cutting and denseness, etc., while this does not? OK - the only reason why I think you're asserting this is that the lattice represents the ordinal order-structure for both a ratio and a length-related original conceptual structure, whereas the simpler uniform topo represents the concepts that are relational like the scratching rocks, where ratio and length do not apply. Is this correct? Probably only "plane" and "space" themselves fit in accordance with the minima indicated in the last sentence. Correct? So the subordinate part is omitted in measurement, allowing the superordinate to act according to its given precedent in context since the subordinate is unimportant? This would seem to cure the problem for practical consideration, but in general, is it still possible for this odd crossover category (math sense) to really be clear on the concrete level? Right. The latter deals with the identity of the perceptual, while the former the identity of the relevant concepts. Right, because strength involves different measure methodology (linear, relational, ordinal) while shape involves only one linking measure for its subordinate concepts. Understood. Why not just chuck the different measurements? They are, after all, measurements to omit; the difference in unit or form is not essential to the quality you abstracted. Well, you need to do this or else you won't be able to conceptualize the Law of Identity, right? I mean, I suppose that's gotta be the "top of the tower," probably isolated from everything else. In other words, concretes have extension in space and degree (whatever measure this may mean) of density, to put it very broadly. Good. Good job, but by what standard do we judge "acceptable" forms?
  14. That\'s correct. As I mentioned with my own thoughts on the conceptualization of the Law of Identity, omission may include more than mathematical quantifiables. Correct. That\'s right; a rational being with six total fingers who utilized base-six would count a basket of 100 bananas in a different way, but the set of his target of counting would correspond one-to-one with mine, should I be counting the same bananas (in base-10). The fact that the numbers are different due to the choice of bases is a nonessential epistemological difference for that very reason. Not zero-measure. Can\'t count a square, or a line segment, or a point, as a cube. This is correct. And my above sentence cures the headache the former part of this quote posits. Wouldn't this just be Rn, n = number of qualities to quanitfy? This is correct. Grades depend on trigonometry, which presupposes its ultimate origin in a right triangle, meaning it\'s a ratio corresponding with the proper function acting on the angle in question. Its precedent is thus a fraction, which is multiplication, which may be extended - definitely or indefinitely depending on the numbers in question - to summation of integers. Precisely. That\'s my whole issue with the Teleological Argument for the Existence of God, by the way, when they harp on the \"smallness\" of certain constants. The units, of course, are not relational to their everyday application, and thus will appear to be quite precise when they may not have been such at all. If one uses a different scale for one quantifiable, though - even within reason - won't that bunk the shape of the entire concept here? This means: since a ratio is independent of specific measurement, it is crystalline and unchangeable. Much easier to work with than that length-scale structure above that's all amorphous. What about concretes involving both length- and ratio-scale characteristics, such as a sauna, for instance? Right; such things are not extended in space, yes - it makes sense such things fit under interval scale. What is a "composition of adjacent difference-intervals?" Two points to consider here: (1) Again - what about concepts entailing both ratio and length? How are those constructed? (2) Ratio may be used for temperature if the relation of the relative thickness and motion of the particles comprising an object are compared with later states of thickness (or thinness!) and motion of particles. Isn\'t this a contraction? And wouldn\'t this only apply to a change of a single unit potentially, i.e. could someone mess with one scale of one quantity in your storage set of concepts and have the concept-structure all damaged as a result, unlike what is possible for ratio structures? Right. But if it is not interval scale, then one can structure it under the assumption that there's one anyway. Why would such a structure be necessary, metaphysically? I don't see how it would relate to something like brain storage, since we're talking about objects more than likely to exceed 3-D. I understand the mathematical interest in it, though. Won't affine structure only apply to those structures constructed from ratio relations?
  15. First of all, the order of precedence of the term "existence exists" is ill-defined without the proceeding notion that defines what existence is in the first place. I tend to work from two axioms: (I) Identity exists; (II) Consciousness (identification) exists. Right, but relational measurement itself has an identity, which isn't up in the chain yet. That's why I use what I listed above. B) That's tautological, since you've already shown "concretes" is a concept that sweeps over reality completely, i.e. implicitly you have shown that the axiomatic concept of the Law of Identity applies to all. Suppose you were a disembodied mind (OK, pretend you have some means inherent to your mind) in a universe where all that existed other than you was a proton. Then the only conclusion you can discern from recognizing the proton and recognizing that you are conscious of it is: both have an identity. They meet at no specific quality other than the fact that they have quantifiable quality, since no points of specific quality exist between the identity of your mind and the identity of the proton. But here you make an omission of sorts even though no similar concretes allow you a "ratio" - you omit all specifics, because there is no perceived similarity between the proton (an object of mass) and your mind (an abstract particular, so to speak), and you cannot go further in your omissions than that. What you are left with is the only concept possible: that to be is to be something, or more specifically, that to be is to have qualities. It is not beyond logical constraint - it serves as the very basis for that notion. Existence is identity. Well, since we both understand mathematics, I'll venture to say "yes" ;) Hope this guy comes back, or I'm about to blow quite a bit of time