## Wednesday, April 11, 2007

### A Question of Logic

On this post on my site, a person by the name of Sik90 asked some interesting questions regarding logic. Since the original post wasn’t about this subject, and since his/her questions had more substance than usual, I figured I’d respond publically so all can benefit.

Can logic be just the self-sustaining thing? The just is? In other words, there is no conceivable world where logic cannot exist. Since there is something (meaning an existing reality/world) then logic necessarily must exist. The problem of the absurdity of proving logic arises when we ask, “Why is logic logical?” So to solve the problem, we just have to accept it as it is and stop asking “why.” Logic is logical, period. Anyway, if you invoke God, we’ll also have to stop asking “why” at that point. Either way, asking “why” has to stop. Since it has to stop, and it seems from the fact that we cannot make do without logic, then perhaps, logic is the “just is.”
The first problem with the above is that even in this description logic is not “just is.” After all, Sik90 predicated the validity of logic on the fact that: “Since there is something (meaning an existing reality/world) then logic necessarily must exist” (emphasis added). Logic, therefore, depends on the existence of this reality/world.

It is helpful to remember that logic is not a being/object. To stipulate that logic “just is” (at least in the manner Sik90 has used it here) is to reify logic. It makes logic into a thing, the existence of which causes logic to necessarily exist. But logic is not a thing (or more specifically, it is not an object); it cannot establish itself in this manner.

Now I have no problem at all saying “Since there is something…then logic necessarily must exist.” This is nothing more than a reiteration of the Law of Identity (a logical law) and the Law of Non-Contradiction. That X exists and does not non-exist at the same time/relationship already establishes the foundational concepts of logic. But we want to know what “X” is! What attributes must X logically have? I shall put forth a reexamination of this at the end of this response.

Sik90 continued:
If you add God to the equation, you’re just extending it unnecessarily. You will say that God is “just is” at a particular point meaning a “just is” X is metaphysically necessary. But I contend that God and logic are just on the same footing.
This is where Sik90 errs. Adding “God to the equation” doesn’t extend it unnecessarily; it establishes the equation. Logic alone cannot suffice, for again there must be some object to establish logic. (Note: this object need not be physical in our own confined three dimensional observation of the universe; however, even granting that, logic itself does not exist other than in consciousness, and consciousness necessitates a conscious being (said being being an object) to have that consciousness.) Thus, as my argument (reiterated below) demonstrates, in order for logic to be valid, the object that exists to necessitate logic must have certain attributes—attributes that are divine in nature.

Sik90 said:
If you invoke God then I might as well ask, “why is God’s nature logical?” To further my point, the question “why is God’s nature logical?” is basically the same as “why is logic logical?” Stopping at logic suffices, invoking God is not necessary (since you can still formulate the same question anyway).
Except that once again this requires us to reify logic. God’s nature is logical because He exists and does not non-exist at the same time and in the same relationship. The fact of His existence is what begins the laws of logic. This does not work with logic, since logic does not exist; it is not an object.

But Sik90 is close to being accurate here in that s/he recognizes the intrinsic linkage between logic and God’s ontology. When s/he says, “Stopping at logic suffices” this is very close (though unintentionally so) to an understanding of the simplicity of God, wherein all His attributes can be seen through the “prism” of any other attribute. God is logic in the same way that God is omnipotent, yet since logic alone cannot suffice to establish the necessity of logic, logic requires the existence of another object that contains “divine” attributes. In other words, since logic is not an object, it requires a logical object to necessitate logic.

And now, finally, I will reiterate how this occurs. Since I am not writing a novel here, the following will be incomplete (i.e. the same argument can be used by other theists than just Christian theists), yet it will demonstrate that atheism is impossible from a logical standpoint. Since most of the people who will respond to this are either atheists or already Christians, I will save time and energy by simply focusing on this portion (if followers of other religions decide to respond, then I shall expand it).

To demonstrate my point, we can use the first steps Descartes used to come to his statement cogito ergo sum, although I will change it slightly. This enables us to start from a ground that is personal in nature and should not be contested by many, and then we can see what is logically necessary for this to happen. So….

I perceive, therefore I am. Even if I am nothing but a brain-in-a-vat—or even if I have no “brain” at all, it’s all simply mental hallucinations with no actual physical reality—I cannot doubt that I exist. I perceive things. Regardless of whether these things are real or not, perception occurs. Something perceives, and therefore there must be a “perceiving being.” Since these perceptions are “owned” by me, I am this perceiving being (by definition). I exist.

Now this doesn’t tell me that I exist physically, or that anything I perceive is real or not; but it does tell me that I do, actually, without a doubt, exist. I am whatever I am (as yet, undefined). I have identity. A is A (or in this case, I am me).

And if I exist, then it is the case that I do exist and do not non-exist at the same time and in the same relationship. If I exist (in whatever form I exist), I really do exist (in whatever form that may be), and the contradiction of this is not the case. Thus, my bare existence alone requires the law of Non-Contradiction.

Since I exist, logic must be valid. And since logic is valid, we can use logic to probe some other questions. For instance, have I always been here? It is possible that I am the only being that has ever existed, despite my perception of other beings. I do not have the self-awareness with these other beings that I do with my self; therefore, I cannot “prove” they exist in the same manner that I can “prove” I exist. So it is possible they do not exist at all and I am the only thing that exists.

But it is also possible that I have come from something else. After all, I perceive a world that functions in a specific manner, and if my perceptions are accurate then this means that I have come from my parents.

But where did they come from? Perhaps they’ve always been here; perhaps they had parents too. And if they had parents, their parents may have had parents too. This chain can go back for a very long time.

But it cannot be infinite. At some point, something must have existed without being derived from previous existence—otherwise, we are stuck in an infinite regress with no chance of ever escaping to begin logic in the first place. Thus, the fact that I exist demands that somewhere there must be a self-existent being.

I might be that self-existent being, of course. So, too, could my parents, etc. But whatever the case may be, logic requires that whatever or whoever the self-existent being is must be the cause of my own being. If it were not the cause of my own being, my being would never existed (for we would be back to the infinite regress).

So, the fact that I exit proves the necessity of some object with self-existence that caused my existence. This object could not have been created by anything else (for the same reasons of the infinite regress). The "first" object to ever exist must be self-existent.

If an object is self-existent, it is a necessary object. It holds the power of its own existence, and therefore nothing can keep it from existing. If nothing can keep it from existing, then it always has existed.

Some problems arise when we include time. After all, time is measured by physical objects that move. Thus, one pendulum swing on a clock = one second. One rotation of the Earth = 1 day. Etc. These physical processes define the length of time.

But we’ve already shown that a necessary, self-existent object must always exist. If this is the case and if that object is physical, then we have an actual infinite of time. If time extends an eternity backwards, it would take an eternity for the past to have gotten here. Thus we must conclude that time isn’t eternal, but instead it must have begun at some point.

So how do we reconcile this apparent tension of an eternal self-existent object in a temporal time frame? Logically, this is satisfied by either jettisoning our definition of time (in which case we have no meaningful way to speak of time) or by acknowledging that the self-existent necessary object is immaterial. Since time is measured by physical objects, an immaterial object would not cause time to exist co-eternally with itself. This immaterial object must still exist in such a way as to provide the basis for my own existence, however. (After all, remember that the self-existent object is a logically necessary requirement due to my own existence.) Thus, in order to stay rational, we must acknowledge an immaterial self-existent necessary object that can cause my own existence.

It is important to note that due to the necessity of the immaterial aspect of this object, it is impossible for secular science to speak meaningfully about this object. If science is limited to the physical world only, then science cannot speak to this. As such, we have demonstrated a necessary being that extends beyond the limits of science. Thus, the fact of my existence proves that science cannot answer the questions of something that necessarily must be true!

Other attributes can be logically deduced from this same being. For instance, omnipresence (all existence derived from this self-existent source must come from this self-existent source, so the source must be omnipresent--there is no existence outside of the existence of this self-existent obejct); omnipotence (all power is derived from existence, so all power flows from the self-existent source—without that source, there is no power); and immutability (since logic is immutable, the source of logic must be unchanging as well).

Thus far, the only real difference between this object and God Himself is that we’ve yet to prove any kind of consciousness in this object. But that too is simple enough to deduce. After all, this entire time we’ve been using logic. Logic works because existence is based on laws, and laws imply a law giver.

Why is it that “nature” acts the way it does? We can give a list of reasons, but these reasons are likewise subject to the same question: Why do these reasons act the way they do? Once more, we cannot engage in an infinite regress here. At some point we must reach the level where we are left saying, “That’s simply the way it is.”

And at that level, laws will still exist. And again, laws imply law givers, so the very aspect of the “law-giving” (i.e. the consciousness) must be necessarily basic to this object as well. This law giver must be the same self-existent, immutable, omnipresent, omnipotent, atemporal being I have already demonstrated must exist. This being fits the definition of “God.”

But even if someone does not like the above, we can always turn the tables and use some empirical evidence (which, following induction, cannot be known for “certain”). Assuming that our perceptions are valid, that we see the world as it really exists, etc. we know the following. All consciousness we have ever observed has come from previous consciousness. There is no evidence that consciousness can come from non-consciousness. Since I am conscious, whatever the source of my being is would logically be conscious as well, for we have no warrant to believe consciousness could have ever come from non-consciousness--there is no proof, no evidence, no observation of this ever.

In short, what the above demonstrates is: “For his [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they [unbelievers] are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

1. I'm pretty sure no one at Triablogue has any clue what I mean when I say we never find logic or freedom in the abstract. We only find these things in people, and we are not logic machines, nor do we have pure freedom. But go ahead and argue as if you do. Maybe like the king with no clothes on no one will notice.

2. John, in your worldview, how is the universal brought into relation with the particular (logic/man)?

3. Calvindude,

1. How about letting sik90 and others know you are just recapitulating the TAG here (the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God, which, of course, is paired with the TANG (the Transcendental Argument for the Non-existence of God.

Two questions for you:

1. Do you believe TAG posits God as a *necessary* precondition for knowlege, or just a *sufficient* precondition. There's a profound difference in the implications for each of those options. Which do you claim?

2. When you speak of exist/non-exist as the only choices, how would you apply that to Schroedinger's cat? Before we open the box, is the cat alive or dead?

Why not think of your existence in the Cartesian brain-vat example you give above as nothing more than a superposition of eigenstates? In that case, you would be indeterminate, neither existing nor non-existing. Not logical? Tell your friendly neighborhood quantum physicist!

If you can exist and not-exist simultaneously, in the way Schroedinger's Cat is dead-not-dead, what does that mean for your assertion that "logic must exist"?

-Touchstone

4. T-stone said:
---
How about letting sik90 and others know you are just recapitulating the TAG here (the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God, which, of course, is paired with the TANG (the Transcendental Argument for the Non-existence of God.
---

How about you letting everyone know you're not really a theist, T-stone? Seriously, is there any issue that you won't take the atheist's side on? I certainly haven't found one yet.

In any case, I already looked at TANG. And so has Steve. And it's amazing what else you'll find if you just use the "Search" feature.

And finally, I'm NOT "just recapitualting the TAG here" anyway. But even if I was, saying, "You're just recapitulating TAG" isn't an argument against my position anyway.

---
Do you believe TAG posits God as a *necessary* precondition for knowlege, or just a *sufficient* precondition. There's a profound difference in the implications for each of those options. Which do you claim?
---

"Knowledge" doesn't matter to my argument above. This is simply a red herring here. Furthermore, your question relies on the ambiguity of knowledge (e.g. we can't know we're not all brains-in-a-vat, etc.).

Your question is itself a trick question not interested in genuine knoweldge, and therefore you shall receive none.

You said:
---
When you speak of exist/non-exist as the only choices, how would you apply that to Schroedinger's cat?
---

Firstly, Shroedinger's cat wasn't dealing with whether the cat existed or not--it was whether the cat was alive or not. Dead or alive, the cat would still exist; the only thing that would change is the state of the cat.

Secondly, the cat never physically existed; it was a thought experiment.

Thirdly, the death of the cat was indeterminate only because there was a probability of whether or not an event would occur (in this case, whether radioactive decay would occur). An event is not an object though; it is an action. Thus, apples and oranges from my argument.

The question is yet another bogus one.

T-Stone said:
---
Why not think of your existence in the Cartesian brain-vat example you give above as nothing more than a superposition of eigenstates?
---

Because it's irrational.

T-Stone said:
---
In that case, you would be indeterminate, neither existing nor non-existing.
---

And the non-existing obvious perceive many things. Apparently from non-existence is where you got your argumentation, for instance.

T-Stone said:
---
If you can exist and not-exist simultaneously, in the way Schroedinger's Cat is dead-not-dead, what does that mean for your assertion that "logic must exist"?
---

It would mean that whenever something existed, logic necessarily must exist; this is not the case whenever something does not exist. Since I exist, logic must exist. I do not non-exist, as I can prove to myself (though not to you, for the same reason you cannot prove to me that you really exist and are not a figment of my imagination). My person experience requires that I exist in order to have the experience.

You can say that there's a probability of whether or not I exist; but you forget the important fact of quantum mechanics that as soon as there is an observer, we no longer deal with probabilities but with actualities.

I am an observer. Your lame attempt at quantum mechanics here doesn't even begin to stick.

But you don't have to believe any of that. You can believe that I am existing and non-existing at the same time regardless. If you want to be even more illogical, be my guest!

Just remember that you can't say that your position is rational, logical, or even true. (What is truth when you cannot even establish the Law of Non-Contradiction?) In point of fact, if your position is true, you could never communicate that it is true. Communication requires the established transcendent laws of logic, and if you don't have those you might as well be giving me a receipe for clam chowder.

I'm all for you accepting that position. The more atheists who acknowledge they're illogical, the more obvious it will be that theism is the only rational option.

5. By the way, T-Stone would have saved everyone a lot of trouble if he had just read what I wrote in the first place. My argument started off with:

"I perceive, therefore I am."

To perceive is to observe. At the very least, we're talking about "collapsed waveforms" on the quantum level at this point. The probability factors are no longer relevant.

6. CalvinDude,

1. I wasn't taking a position for TANG. It's as bogus as TAG. They're each a side of the same of the same philosophical coin. TAG-powered theism is just theism with lame apologetics. That's not the only way to be a theist.

2. When you you say: "I am an observer", how do you know that? I thought this idea was predicated on the possibility that you might be a brain in a vat -- or something even much less substantial. That's the point of the Cartesian reduction; we don't know for sure what *form* we take at all, but only that we *are*. If that's the case, I can't see where you could assert that you an observer. What do you know you are observing?

3. Um, the whole point of Schroedinger's gedankenexperiment was to attach the *event* to a *state* -- an indeterminate state. In Schroedinger's case, the state that went from "Yes|No" to "indeterminate" was the cat being alive or dead. But that's just some arbitrary state Scrhoedinger picked for his example. The state could be any of a great number of possible states. The point wasn't dead-not-dead, but that a binary set of choices being supplanted by a state of indeterminacy driven by probability.

If that's the case, I think there's a problem in asserting that the question of one's existence (however you define *that*) isn't necessarily a 'Yes|No' question. If that's the case, TAG (and TANG) collapse, insofar as they rely on the law of non-contradiction.

Or, put it this way: Per the Copenhagen Interpretation, the Law of Non-Contradiction has been suspended. So, a collateral effect of pressing the TAG is that one must reject conventional quantum physics.

Or at least ignore it, hoping no one notices.

-Touchstone

7. T-Stone, I'm now convinced T-Blog in annoyed with you more than they are with me. The big difference is that because I'm an atheist they can treat with as if I'm sub-human (because Jesus would) and therefore not have to deal with what I actually say, whereas they must deal with what you say. I see Pike is even hoping you're not a theist! If you weren't a theist they could ignore your arguments and treat you with distain too.

The thought doesn't occur to them that both you and I sincerely object to their beliefs; you with various aspects of their faith, and me, with their faith itself.

It strikes me as being the height of stupidity to think that if someone disagrees with us de facto, that person is not being sincere.

Maybe you and I have something more in common than they do, despite our own faith differences. We are opposed to intellectual arrogance and the near complete ignorance such a viewpoint reveals.

8. T-Stone said:
---
If that's the case, I can't see where you could assert that you an observer. What do you know you are observing?
---

Again, I wish you'd actually read what I wrote originally. It would save everyone a bunch of time here.

It doesn't matter what I "know" I am observing. What I observe doesn't have to be "real" in order to make me an observer. I could hallucinate everything I perceive, but I cannot deny that perception has occured.

This is the point of my argument. If I perceive something that's "real", the rest follows; if I perceive something that's not "real", the rest still follows.

9. Lofuts,

Coming from someone who repeatedly ignores my arguments, who says I'm "clueless" and an "idiot", I'll take your "complaints" as a compliment.

10. CalvinDude,

You said:
This is the point of my argument. If I perceive something that's "real", the rest follows; if I perceive something that's not "real", the rest still follows.

It doesn't follow if you exist-not-exist in a state that defies the Law of Non-contradiction. So, you're assuming that your 'perception' -- cogito ergo sum -- qualifies as physical observation that causes decoherence. I can't see any warrant for that. Your perception/observation may be entirely metaphysical.

Even setting that difficulty aside, it's not been established that "exist" or "not exist" are the only two states available, and that one must be fully and exclusively true, at least in a transcendental way. It's certainly the case that a (human) mind can create labels and mental categories as a way to visualize and contextualize the things one perceives. But there's no warrant for assuming that because one perceives that binary propositional logic exists as *precondition* to this perception, rather than a simple artifact of it -- a useful construct you synthesize to aid in thinking.

If propositional binary logic is synthesized, then it is contingent, and thus not a precondition or necessary.

In any case, I read what you wrote, initially, and subsequently, about what you perceive, and your belief that you are an observer. It was because you said those things that I objected.

-Touchstone

11. T-Stone said:
---
It doesn't follow if you exist-not-exist in a state that defies the Law of Non-contradiction.
---

And if it defies the Law of Non-Contradiction then A) it is irrational and B) there is no way to communicate it. You shoot yourself in the foot with this argument, T-Stone.

If it is true, you can't rationally speak about it.

But like I said before, if you want to jettison rationality, feel free to do so. I'll simply continue to point out that you are irrational.

Theism = rational; atheism = irrational.

I'm quite content to let readers decide which they'd prefer to be. There's a reason Scripture says: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

12. CalvinDude,

A major indication of the observations and physics that gave rise to the Copenhagen Interpretation (and the Ensemble Interpretation, Objective Wave Collapse, Many Worlds..) is that the underlying reality doesn't fit into the neat little box that you want to cram it into. This isn't just hypothetical musings of a mountain-top rasputin; this is applied physics -- experimentation, measurement, verification.

And the outcome of that is a set of factors that, in your tidy little terminology, is "irrational", on a fundamentally low level.

Reality has core features that are irrational (your usage).

So, you dismiss this like some sort of physics "scam"? You are more committed to your a prior preferences about how reality *should* be and how "transcendant logic" is some inviolate necessary existential precondition.

Well, the physical world doesn't play along with your restrictions. The physical world, the world God made, doesn't line up with your simple notions.

Logic and propositions are invaluable tools for humans and their communications. But your brain is not *normative* to reality, Calvindude. I realize you won't post the things you do if you had that digested, but I'm throwing it out there once again.

If reality (or low-level parts of it at least) is irrational, should we "throw it out", stick our fingers in our ears when physicists tell us P or ~P is a badly formed question?

At the heart of this is the idea that you (apparently) suppose irrationality to be something akin to "stupid". The irrational elements of quantum physics still, by observation, behave according to an orderly set of constraints and dynamics. They just aren't rendered discretely, the way humans are used to conceptualizing things. The "irrational" parts, then are fully functional, and wonderful, part of God's design. It just makes a mockery of man's hubris concerning the transcendant powers of his "logic".

So thank you for the chance to leave room for existential constructs that don't neatly fit into the brain of CalvinDude. Human conceptions of "exist/not exist" as simple Boolean pairs *may* in fact reflect the underlying reality. It's a possible and sufficient answer.

But it's not a necessary answer.

I don't think God would be particularly disturbed to hear that CalvinDude protest: But that's not *rational*!

-Touchstone

13. Touchstone,

I don't see how your position is entailed. Why *must* you call "reality" (the lower levels) *contradictory?* Why can't you say that it is an *apparent* contradiction. That, if we knew more facts, we would see how the supposed contradictions were not really contradictions.

Really, for all your big talk, you're doing the same thing you accuse Peter of. You have this "little box" and you want the findings to "fit" with it. So, you assume irrationality is not a problem, and then bash the law of non-contradiction with that. But, this is just posturing. If the LNC is inviolate, then your supposed contradictions are merely *apparent.*

Hence, just because *you* have certain assumptions, doesn't mean the LNC doesn't hold. For, it very well could be the case that the things yopu see are not contradictions, but apparent ones and you lack the info to resolve it.

It's like you assume that what you observe here and now is the totality of information. That if Touchstone can't resolve it, no one can. That the facts now are the only facts there are.

Att the end of the day, after the posturing, Touchstone hasn't shown squat. He does the same thing he accuses Peter of. And, his conclusions don't follow from his premises.

We have had a long history of "scientific facts" that look one way, turning out to be another way, or some other reason for why things happen the way they do.

14. I've already demonstrated how the Copenhagen Interpretation (which, regardless of T-Stone's whitewashing, is hardly indisputed!) is disanalogous to my own argument already. Since there is someone who perceives, observation occurs. Thus, something that is unobserved is quite obviously disanalogous to my position.

Schroedinger's cat is, and always has been, a thought experiment. It can never be verified. It cannot be scientifically tested. Is the cat an observer? Is the trigger that the radioactive particle may, or may not, strike an observer? These questions don't just magically disappear because T-Stone decides this non-analogous analogy somehow disproves my position.

Since my argument above already started with an observer, everything that occured before this observation in the quantum "black box" is irrelevant to my argument. Observation has occured, hence my argument follows.

The most T-Stone could argue is that before observation occured, it "could have" gone either way and at "that point" it could have been indeterminate; but we're not at that point. My argument was based on my observations. For the purposes of this arugment, there is no "black box" where the "cat" is hidden from view so we're left with mere probability. The box is open, the "waveform" has collapsed from the probable to the actual.

Even if we theorize possible alternate universes where logic doesn't exist, that doesn't change the fact that logic must necessarily exist in this universe, and my argument follows again.

T-Stone is as rational as the man who falls out of an airplane and decides his odds of survival are good because in the majority of possible universes he never got on the plane in the first place.

15. While I was out on an errand, I remembered something else here. T-Stone said:
---
Human conceptions of "exist/not exist" as simple Boolean pairs *may* in fact reflect the underlying reality. It's a possible and sufficient answer.

But it's not a necessary answer.
---

Unfortunately for T-Stone, "necessary" is predicated on logical necessity. In other words, to say something is or is not necessary one must accept the validity of logic. T-Stone's position, however, is not from a logical basis; it denies the very basic laws of logic.

As such, it is impossible for T-Stone to ever say that my position is "not necessary" for that would first require him to accept logic, which (once accepted) makes my position necessary.

16. Can someone please recommend a book (or books) that I can use to study logic?

17. CalvinDude,

The distinction your stumbling on is the separation between my reliance on LNC as a useful communications and cognitive tool, and LNC being some kind of "god" -- transcendant, normative to any reality.

Paul (or 'anonymous') casually suggest that "if LNC is inviolate..." then such and such, and I say: hold on, whaddya mean "if"? In your view, LNC must be just possible or sufficient, but *necessary* and *normaitve* for TAG to have any weight at all. If LNC is a contingent constuct, either created by God, or by man in secular conceptions, then it's not necessary or normative to reality.

That doesn't mean we can use it to good effect -- manifestly, it can be. It's just an error to think that since Peter Pike or Paul Manata have managed to wrap their around the LNC that LNC is existentially foundational.

Necessarily.

It may be, but don't have epistemic grounds to establish its necessity and normativity. Other logical frameworks, which I think the writers I've read on this would call "paraconistent" in terms of how they are viewed by humans, can't be ruled out.

For example, a Buddhist friend of mine regularly reminds me that LNC is a largely western philosophical construction; in Indian and Buddhist philosophy, the "state" of a proposition is often expressed as one of the set of:

a) true
b) false
c) true *and* false
d) neither true *or* false

and optionally, even:

e) none of the above

In any case, philopsophy has a rich vein of history, ancient and modern concerning dialetheism. The Liar's paradox, Zeno's paradox, and of course some really mind bending quantum states are examples you can look at for dialetheism.

Which is different than trivialism, by the way which you seem to think is the only alternative to LNC.

You're banking on a shibboleth, and only a shibboleth. You're so innured to LNC, that that's all you're apparently able to conceive of. If reality is such that existence is "irrational" vis-a-vis your LNC lens, then, well, it just can't be.

Why? Well, because it just can't. Or that's the best I've got from you thus far.

As for complaints that this conversation or all human communication would be impossible without LNC, that maybe true, but it's wholly irrelevant; we can employ LNC to our hearts content, whilst the underlying reality operates on a different, para-consistent (to you) logic all the while. LNC would just be a handy pedagogical and analogical device, but carries no freight at all in determining any existential fundamentals.

I'm happy asking if your conclusion is "necessary" -- which you haven't answered, by the way -- fully knowing the LNC (or LNC-friendly) basis for such classification. It's de-coupled from the existential question though. I may obsess as a human on LNC, but if God's creation operates on a separate kind of logic at the lowest fundamental levels, what's the problem?

-Touchstone

18. T-Stone,

Again, your counter-arguments are not relevant to anything that I've put forward. I say "apples" and you say "oranges" and think you've refuted my position. But then I suppose this is "logical" when you reject logic.

In any case, as I've already said repeatedly, I have no problem at all if you wish to be irrational. Have at it. I don't mind. You can "avoid" the arguments all you want by retreating to irrationality. I'm not going to stop you: in fact, I'll hold the door open for you!

If the only defense you can mount against my view is to deny rationality, that says all it needs to about the strength of our positions right there.

19. One good book is:

P. T. Geach, Reason and Argument (University of California Press 1976).

20. Thanks Steve, I will check that out. Someone recommended "Come Let Us Reason" by Geisler and Brooks. Any thoughts on which would be better?

21. How can one recognize if one has what it takes to study logic at a high level?

Should one be able to identify fallacies almost immediately?

What are the skills generally required? What kind of characteristics are essential?

22. Anonymous said:
Thanks Steve, I will check that out. Someone recommended "Come Let Us Reason" by Geisler and Brooks. Any thoughts on which would be better?

*****************************

There are two kinds of popularizers: those who write at a popular level because they think at a popular level, and experts who write introductory works. Geach was a logic prof., and I think it's better to read an introductory work by an expert in the field—unlike Geisler and Brooks.

23. For logical fallacies, I enjoyed reading With Good Reason: An Introduction To Informal Fallacies.

Many (most?) fallacies are hard to spot for most people--this is why they work. It's something you get better with over time though. Once you get used to spotting them, they're easier to find.

24. Anonymous said...
How can one recognize if one has what it takes to study logic at a high level?

Should one be able to identify fallacies almost immediately?

What are the skills generally required? What kind of characteristics are essential?

*****************************

It operates at different levels. One needs to have a natural grasp of informal logic. Logical intuition.

It also helps to have a conscious knowledge for informal logical fallacies.

Formal logic is extremely technical.

But even professional logicians can be illogical if they are committed to a false position. A good example is Bertrand Russell. He was, among other things, a logician. Yet his anti-Christian diatribes are riddled with fallacious reasoning.

25. Touchstone,

"Paul (or 'anonymous') casually suggest that "if LNC is inviolate..." then such and such, and I say: hold on, whaddya mean "if"? In your view, LNC must be just possible or sufficient, but *necessary* and *normaitve* for TAG to have any weight at all. If LNC is a contingent constuct, either created by God, or by man in secular conceptions, then it's not necessary or normative to reality."

Wow, it slipped right past ya, didn't it?

I (or 'Paul Manata') simp[ly asked why Touchstone said that actual contradictions existed? What proof did he offer for this? He casually suggests "Contradictions exist all over the place." I say, "Hold on, whaduhya mean, actual/real contradictions? This seems mighty important for your argument to work. And yet nary a demonstration that you're accomplished enough to engage in a sophisticated discussion about this."

See, Touchstone, for your argument against Peter to work, the alleged 'contradictions' which supposedly negate Peter's universalizing of the LNC must be actual, not apparant, contradictions.

I simply asked for your justification for asserting yourself the winner. If Peter is correct, then you're simply pointing to *paradoxes* and not actual contradictions. Since Peter never denied that a *paradox* can exist, if you've not pointed to a real contradiction, then you've offered no refutation.

My argument is rather prior to yours, Touchstone. I'd like to see how your argument goes. is it like this:

(*) If something appears contradictory to Touchstone, it must actually be contradictory?

Or, perhaps this is your reasoning:

(**) Since Touchstone knows all the possible facts that could bear on what seems contradictory, then if the verdict is in *now* that something is a contradiction, then it must be since no further information could relieve the conceptual headache.

Next, why do you say that the LNC is *not* necessary or normative to reality? I don't get it. Are you saying that reality, if the way you see it, cannot be another way at the same time and relationship? I mean, why say that the LNC has nothing to do with reality, while also applying the LNC to reality?

Furthermore, the LNC need not be necessary for TAG to work. Say an argument is put forth whereby the reliability of your cognitive faculties are undermined in an alethic-rationality way, thereby arguing that you have no reason to believe that your beliefs are successfully aimed at producing true beliefs. So, if you *believe* that the LNC doesn't hold, you have no reason to believe your belief is true. Now, you could grant Christian theism, restoring the rational belief that your cognitive faculties are aimed at truth, and then still hold on to your view about the LNC. So, to save the alethic-rationality of your denial of the LNC, you'd need to adapt Christian theism.

Touchstone brings up paraconsistent. Okay, but mentioning a word doesn't save him. For example, can he refute the principle of explosion? WHat if that is true? That would settle it. Better men than he and I have battled over this, and so don't let Touchstone snowball you with the mere mentioning of a word.

Next, does Touchstone say that any and all contradictions are exteptable? If not, why not? Is it because those hook up to reality? Does this hamper what he said above, then? If so, then how could San Diego be both in, and not in, California at the same time and relationship?

Basically, Touchstone avoided the questions and tried to turn the discussion in another direction. My main point, before I had to go off onto his rabbit trails, was that Touchstone has put up no arguments which support his claim that these "contradictions" he's pointing out to undermine the universality of the LNC, are actually contradictions and not paradoxes. His *entire* argument is predicated upon this *crucial* assumption of his. He rejects the universality of tyhe LNC and so *of course*(!) he sees these "contradictions" as proof of his position. But, isn't this an example of "QUESTION BEGGING" and
"ARGUING BY PRESUPPOSITION" which he *staunchly forbid* in the other thread he was posting in?

Touchstone is sloppy. He pretends to be a great thinker. A philosophizer. A cosmopoliton theist. He's a man about town. An ecclectic. Hired gun. He doesn't know what he's doing, but knows enough to name drop and threaten. He shows no familiarity with the arguments that a search on google doesn't yeild him. Not a deep thinker. Just wants to win. Hates the Triablogue guys. Has been dubbed a heretic by church creeds and councils, and so hates orthodox Christians. He's unfamiliar with the history of philosophy. He's offering nothinh new. The nominalists made the same claims. There's no universals instantiated among the particulars. No universal logos. We don't think God's thoughts after God. All that exists are the particulars. We can't apply our reasoning to God and his word, and vice versa. God becomes distant. Nominalists paved gthe way for deism. Deism is quite comfy with evolution. Touchstone has a presuppositiuon he's working with here. He needs to save it, and so he reasons a certain way. Science and faith are separate. Faith is private. That's all that matters. Thus there can be no conflict between the two, they operate in different domains. Touchstone isn't unique. He satnds in a long line of refuted theologians and positions.

26. Paul, Peter,

So, here's the thing; the points I'm raising are potentialities, rather than necessities. Philosophically, those are different. It's the necessities that are hard to justify (if not impossible). Potentialities, well, they're the poor, humble cousins of the necessities that live in the trailer park on the other side of town...

CalvinDude, via Bahnsen et al, is forwarding something quite extraordinary: what is held as *necessary* proof for the existence of God. (Or if this is incorrect, and CalvinDude supposes this is only a *sufficient* possibility, rather than a *necessary* case, then I've little to say for the whole thread; that God exists as a possible answer is hardly interesting, as a Christian. It's quite interesting to hear however that an airtight *proof* has been forumulated.)

So, the extraordinary claim should have extraordinarily strong support. TAG is called "Transcendental" because it revolves around the Cartesian minimus -- the stripped down starting point where all you can start with for certain is self-awareness (which, again isn't even clearly 'observation' depending on what existential model you're endorsing).

I come along and offer things that question the "necessity chain" of TAG; is logic possibly created by God, and thus contingent, and thus not stricly necessary? Is the LNC sovereign across existential/physical models? If so, how does that resolve with what's been gleaned from the quantum world in the last century? I've left out the complaints about TAG's ambiguity with respect to the Qur'an, Bible, Book of Mormon and others...

If you are making an argument that holds to *necessity* throughout the chain, then any point where plausible contrary alternatives are identified breaks the "necessity chain" and the argument gets demoted from "must be" to "could be".

I don't have to demonstrate than any of those alternatives *are* the case -- no need to demonstrate that the LNC *isn't* applicable at the quantum level or elsewhere, but merely that LNC isn't necessarily the only (exhaustive) option. That tilts the table in my direction, most definitely, no doubt about it.

But I'm not the one making the aggressive claims (assuming CalvinDude *is* offering hi representation of TAG as a *necessity*. He declined to clarify this, accusing me of lobbing a "trick question" at him when I asked. [snort!]). It's a very steep hill to climb if one aims to build a necessary proof for the existence of God. But it's similarly steep to build a necessary proof for the *non-existence* of God. I'm just as withering in my criticism of TANG as TAG.

All my criticisms simply epistemic conservatism; you can't get there from here, with TAG or TANG, and you're fooling yourselves in either case (and anyone who takes you seriously) if you think this more than a novelty, for or against. There simply isn't *warrant* for the stepping stones deployed.

You keep returning to a result that seems to satisfy you; that if TAG isn't correct, then we have no rational way to *think* about the subject. I don't have a problem with going thus far, but where you short-circuit is taking the next step:

if that's the case, the world *must* correspond to something we can rationalize.

That's completely unwarranted, and shold be an *obvious* gaping hole visible to any -- Christian or no -- who think about the TAG seriously. This is what I was referring to with CalvinDude thinking that his requirements to be able to think/talk rationally about the subject extended to reality itself; as if reality was bound by some even *higher* principle to map neatly to man's rationalizations about it!

CalvinDude and you have satisfied yourself that this distinction amounts to my eschewing rationality in dicucssing this. That's unwarranted as well. I'm reasoning along the lines of separation: we can rationaly discuss the TAG, but the rational analysis of TAG will reveal that that several of the assumptions inherent in TAG are unwarranted. (Paul: not necessarily false, but not necessarily, exclusively true, which is what is required for TAG to retain its overall necessity).

Just like in physics, scientist attempt to contextualize and rationalize some really mind-bending stuff. Surreal stuff. Stuff that's patently "Irrational", which is precisely the term that Heisenberg and Bohr used in working out the Copenhagen Interpretation.

So, rational discussion that, because of its rationality, recognizes its limits, and humbly cordons off parts of the domain as inscrutable (internally) on a rational basis.

That's what's needed here, with you guys generally (in spades!), and specifically with respect to TAG; a truly rational analysis will identify the weak points and equivocations of the argument; it will affirm its epistemic limitations.

I'm not saying that God has been disproved -- He hasn't been and can't be. But, hard as this might be to digest, you've not quite crafted Excalibur yet. I don't have a dog in the hunt here as far as *what* logic must prevail in the Cartesian minimus. The rational answer is "Don't Know!", as opposed to "LNC uber alles!". LNC migth apply, I grant. But there's no warrant to apply it with the confidence you (and by extension, Bahnsen, et al) do.

You are way ahead of yourselves.

That *is* asymmetric; I have the relatively easy burden of finding weak links in the chain... just a place where plausible alternatives exist causes TAG to collapse. TAG proponents must shoulder a heavy burden.. making sure no weak links in the chain exist.

That's just an artifact of the circumstances here: CalvinDude is going out on the limb here, not me. I'm even content to say in some of these areas there *isn't* the necessary predicates for a rational investigation; that's just the way reality is sometimes, much as it apparently offends you both if you can't stuff it in neat little boxes that little human brains can work with.

Just a quick example, Paul.

You said:

Touchstone brings up paraconsistent. Okay, but mentioning a word doesn't save him. For example, can he refute the principle of explosion? WHat if that is true? That would settle it.

The explosion principle may, indeed be a valid one. And that pushes much of the potential conflict of paraconsistency aside. But, as above, that's not my burden. I don't have to disprove or categorically reject the explosion principle, but simply assert that we don't confidently know one way or the other. If there's doubt, if there's plausibility, even remote plausibility in paraconsistency, then LNC cannot remain intact as an exhaustive necessity.

So, no need for me to even take a position on dialetheism or the explosion principle or other contenders, except to hold that they may *be* contenders. Saying "we don't know that" with warrant against LNC or other building blocks in TAG neturalizes TAG. I don't need to prove an alternative *is* the case, just establish that it *might* be.

As I said, the rules of engagement on this one are all in my favor. Positive arguments like this are famously hard to make stick. It's easy to tear these kinds of things down, because, well, philosophy just isn't very powerful -- either way, in support of attack of theism.

That's really the salient take-away from this strange meta on this post; y'all are quite fascinated by the shiny knobs and dials of the philosophy machine. You think if you can just fiddle with the knobs and dials right, you can get it to produce anything you want, and with authority.

The tools and machinery you're fascinated with are *way* more humble and limited than you suppose. TAG is a poster child for this problem.

-Touchstone

27. Paul (or anonymous),

Should have commented on this:

You said:
I simply asked for your justification for asserting yourself the winner. If Peter is correct, then you're simply pointing to *paradoxes* and not actual contradictions. Since Peter never denied that a *paradox* can exist, if you've not pointed to a real contradiction, then you've offered no refutation.

I sort of addressed this in my previous comments, but undertand that I've not pronounced myself the winner here. That's passé. We've covered this here before on Triablogue. Readers can decide for themselves what they think of each person's arguments, but generally, there's just know way to tell how you scored on that level. You just do you your best and leave it at that. Refutation is in the eye of the beholder, which makes your self-declarations always a bit comical.

I'll say my piece and leave it at that. CalvinDude is pushing arguments that are fraught with disabling, structural holes. Whether that view on my part is correct isn't gonna be settled here, even if we get to poll everyone who reads this tortured thread. It's a transcendant question that won't be answered until the Big Day When All the Cards Are On the Table.

CalvinDude advanced his argument. I offered my critique. I'm OK with leaving it at that. People can make of it what they will.

-Touchstone

28. T-blog: 10
T-Stone: 0

29. Touchstone:

Again, I have to point out, my argument is not equivalent to TAG. There are portions that are similar, but surely you are aware that TAG starts with the presupposition that God exists and that His Scriptures must be presupposed before we even begin to do anything.

My argument did not start with God or the Scriptures here. It started with "I perceive, therefore I am." In point of fact, I didn't quote ANY Scripture at all to establish my argument. The only Scripture reference I put in there was at the end of the argument, and then just to show that what I had argued fit with Romans 1:20; I didn't say, "Romans 1:20 is true, therefore this argument." I said, "This argument, and hey it happens to fit Romans 1:20 too."

Strict TAGists would be stringing me up for doing this.

I'm becoming more doubtful that you even read what I originally put forth. I think you started to read it, figured "CalvinDude's just gonna promote TAG again", and then put forth your stock response against TAG without ever realizing what my actual argument was. This is why you probably originally thought your Quantum argument would work; because you figured I was starting with Scriptures being presupposed true rather than starting with the existence of an observer.

The rest of what you've written has been CYA in the hopes you didn't look like an idiot for missing the entirety of my argument in the first place, and if you had to jettison logical thought in the process SO BE IT!

Now you seek refuge in claiming:
---
So, here's the thing; the points I'm raising are potentialities, rather than necessities.
---

But these "potentialities" aren't potential in any rational sense. When you have to appeal to mystical Buddhism you're no longer rational. Buddhists are at least honest enough to state plainly that they aren't even trying to be rational, whereas you on the other hand take their irrational viewpoint and try to cram it into a rational viewpoint and then claim "contradiction."

Of course, in the irrational worldview it doesn't matter if there's a contradiction! Your "potentialities" embrace the irrational, so under such rules there's no reason my argument needs to be rational in the first place, so it doesn't matter if my worldview "contradicts" your irrational viewpoint. The only reason it would matter is if my view was right, and if my view is right your view isn't possible, let alone "potential."

Again, you are only proving that you're extremely adept at intellectual suicide.

T-Stone claims:
---
CalvinDude, via Bahnsen et al, is forwarding something quite extraordinary: what is held as *necessary* proof for the existence of God.
---

But 1) I haven't seen Bahnsen forward this argument (but then I haven't read much of Bahnsen); and 2) strictly speaking my argument was that we have necessary proof for the existence of some object that just so happens to have the same exact attributes that Christians attribute to God. But I even pointed out that you don't have to accept the Christian God in my argument. Just about any form of theism would work. The only thing that wouldn't work is atheism.

T-Stone said:
---
It's quite interesting to hear however that an airtight *proof* has been forumulated.
---

And yet the only way you can challenge it is to become completely irrational. Again, I have no problem with you being irrational. It makes my job easier.

But of course I have to point out your inconsistencies. You are attempting to "prove" that my "proof" is not necessary; and yet "proof" and "necessity" are themselves predicated on the existence of logic, which is the very thing you are denying in your argument. Thus, you deny from the outset what you need from the outset in order to challenge my viewpoint. This leaves you unable to challenge my viewpoint without proving it correct.

Again, keep at it. It makes my job a lot easier and it shows others how irrational atheism has to become simply to deny the obvious.

And finally I have to address this little gem. T-Stone said:
---
I'm just as withering in my criticism of TANG as TAG.
---

Which is great considering no atheist holds to TANG. TANG was only invented to combat TAG. The atheists who present TANG don't believe it, they simply think it neutralizes TAG.

With theists like T-Stone on your side, who needs atheists?

30. T-stone doesn't quite get it.

He says he's not going to refute the principle of explosion,a nd it may be valid.

Okay, then, if so, here's the refutation of his position:

Let A = Something exists and does not exist in the same sense, time, and relationhsip. Let B = Touchstone is a maroon.

A

A v B

~A

:.B

Or, let B = evolution is false.

Or, let B = touchstone is jealous of Peter.

ANYTHING.

If Touchstone doesn't refute explosion, then he's lost.

Anyway, Touchstone thinks that *saying* something is possible implies that it *is* possible.

So, no, toucstone, you *must* demonstrate that those are actual contradictions. You'll excuse of if we don't accept your mere *assertion* that they *could* be.

31. Oh, and let me add, Touchstone that reality might *not* be one where the LNC holds at {insert whatever level}. So, can this portion of reality *not* be it's negation at the same time?

If it can, then LNC *can* hold there. If it *can't* hold there, then LNC does.

The more Touchstone tries to hammer the LNC, the more it hammers him.

32. Paul,

Does "necessity" require only elimination of *known* or *actual* problems, or rather the elimination of *potential* problems.

If you can answer that, then we can make sense of what you're advancing above.

Thanks,

-Touchstone

33. Touchstone,