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Archived => Aseity => Topic started by: Jason Dulle on August 21, 2010, 01:44:58 pm

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Jason Dulle on August 21, 2010, 01:44:58 pm
 

WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.

Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this? Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Randy Everist on August 23, 2010, 10:34:20 pm
jasondulle wrote:

WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.

Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this? Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

He says such a quote is not strictly contradictory, and gives the example of a "married bachelor" as such a strict contradiction. But broad logical possibility entails not merely self-contradictions, but states of affairs that are metaphysically impossible. Of course, if God is a necessary being, then it is true that the claim "God does not exist" is metaphysically impossible and does in fact contradict the truth of the being's necessity. I think he does realize this, and this is why he has distinguished between the two types of logical possibility.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Jason Dulle on August 24, 2010, 01:43:11 pm

So the two forms of possibility are “strictly logically possible” and “broadly logically possible”?

Does it make a difference if one considers God to be logically necessary, as opposed to factually necessary (is factually necessary the same as “metaphysically” necessary?)?  

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Randy Everist on August 24, 2010, 04:57:51 pm
jasondulle wrote:

So the two forms of possibility are “strictly logically possible” and “broadly logically possible”?

Does it make a difference if one considers God to be logically necessary, as opposed to factually necessary (is factually necessary the same as “metaphysically” necessary?)?  

That's a great question, and one that I am not sure of the answer. It seems "factually necessary" is a fact that is impossible to be false with respect to the actual world. I suppose this would really only be differentiated from things that are necessarily false, since they appear in no possible world. But alas, things that are necessarily false entail a fact; namely, "X appears in no possible world," and thus such a fact is necessarily true! So I am not entirely sure there is a difference, though I am hardly an authority.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Jason Dulle on August 24, 2010, 05:43:13 pm

Right.  A factually necessary being is one that must exist in the actual world, whereas a logically necessary being must exist in all possible worlds. So would our assessment of whether the proposition “God does not exist” is a contradiction be different if we held God to be a logically necessary being, rather than just a factually necessary being (as Swinburne does)?  For if God is a logically necessary being, then it would seem His non-existence is strictly logically impossible, not just broadly logically impossible. If so, then how could the proposition “God does not exist” not be strictly logically impossible?

Of course, if God is a logically necessary being, and if that makes the proposition “God does not exist” a strictly logically impossible proposition, then I am left wondering why the contradiction is not self-evident in the same way that the proposition “Tom is a married bachelor” is self-evidently contradictory. I would have to go with Descarte and say there are some necessary truths that are immediately self-evident, and some necessary truths that are only evident upon further reflection.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Randy Everist on August 24, 2010, 06:04:28 pm
jasondulle wrote:

Right.  A factually necessary being is one that must exist in the actual world, whereas a logically necessary being must exist in all possible worlds. So would our assessment of whether the proposition “God does not exist” is a contradiction be different if we held God to be a logically necessary being, rather than just a factually necessary being (as Swinburne does)?  For if God is a logically necessary being, then it would seem His non-existence is strictly logically impossible, not just broadly logically impossible. If so, then how could the proposition “God does not exist” not be strictly logically impossible?

Of course, if God is a logically necessary being, and if that makes the proposition “God does not exist” a strictly logically impossible proposition, then I am left wondering why the contradiction is not self-evident in the same way that the proposition “Tom is a married bachelor” is self-evidently contradictory. I would have to go with Descarte and say there are some necessary truths that are immediately self-evident, and some necessary truths that are only evident upon further reflection.

Ah I see. Yes, I am inclined to agree with the assessment. Logically necessary entails factually necessary, and I was just thinking it may simply be that one does not recognize prima facie God is a necessary being. It's the same reason I do not correct every atheistic argument with, "Well, God is a necessary being, thus to posit his nonexistence in a material conditional entails the logically impossible." Well that, and begging the question lol.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: SnoopDoug on September 01, 2010, 06:43:44 pm
As some have already mentioned, "God does not exist" is not an obvious contradiction, but a broadly logical contradiction.  It's a lot like saying, "The Prime Minister is a prime number."  That statement isn't a narrow, obvious contradiction the way, "A is not-A" is.  Rather, broadly logical contradictions require additional analysis.  God, as a necessary being, exists in all possible worlds, which means that it is a logical contradiction, immediately obvious or not.

That's what I take Craig to mean.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: SnoopDoug on September 01, 2010, 06:47:47 pm
The difference between metaphysical necessity and logical necessity is the following:

metaphysical necessity: if X exists in W, then X must always exist in W.
logical necessity: If X exists, then X exists in all possible worlds.

For example, it is metaphysically impossible for me to fly by flapping my arms.  However, there may be some possible world in which I can fly by flapping my arms; so this example is a metaphysically necessary truth, even if it is not a logically necessary truth.

Logical necessity entails metaphysical necessity, but the reverse is not necessarily true.  Of course, there is nothing prima facie that would prevent something metaphysically necessary from being logically necessary.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Cletus Nze on January 10, 2011, 04:34:09 am
jasondulle wrote:  

WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.

Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this? Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

 


You have a good point:

Since God - as distinct from "god" - is defined (by Webster's) as the "Supreme or Ultimate Reality", Which Exists UNCONDITIONALLY  and upon Which ALL ELSE in Existence depends, it follows that there is no meaning to ANY suggestion of God not existing - just as it would be meaningless for a person to propose that he/she might not exist.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Jason Dulle on January 10, 2011, 04:14:00 pm
As I've reflected further on my question, I wonder if it might not be appropriate to conclude that "God does not exist" really is a self-evident logical contradiction, but the self-evident nature of this contradiction is masked by most people's failure to grasp what is meant by "God."  

If one understands that "God" refers to a logically necessary being, then to say "God does not exist" is to say "a logically necessary being does not exist."  That statement is strictly logically impossible on the same order as Tom is a married bachelor."  

So not only would I say that the proposition "God does not exist" is self-evidently contradictory, but also that it is strictly logically impossible.  Any thoughts?
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Randy Everist on January 11, 2011, 08:32:35 am

jasondulle wrote: As I've reflected further on my question, I wonder if it might not be appropriate to conclude that "God does not exist" really is a self-evident logical contradiction, but the self-evident nature of this contradiction is masked by most people's failure to grasp what is meant by "God."  

If one understands that "God" refers to a logically necessary being, then to say "God does not exist" is to say "a logically necessary being does not exist."  That statement is strictly logically impossible on the same order as Tom is a married bachelor."  

So not only would I say that the proposition "God does not exist" is self-evidently contradictory, but also that it is strictly logically impossible.  Any thoughts?

It does completely depend upon the epistemological referent. Typically, one does not think of God (at least on average) as a logically necessary being. So he will say "God does exist" or "God does not exist." Now he may rightly say the term "God," meaning simply the creator of the universe, may possibly not exist, but upon reflection, realize that's metaphysically impossible. At that point, he may embrace "God does not exist" as logically impossible. However, if one starts with (or later discovers) the term "God" meaning "a logically necessary being," I think that would also be correct, obviously.

Craig's Q and A on the ontological argument recently really was a great defense of the argument based on a misconception an objector had that the argument was question-begging.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Jason Dulle on January 11, 2011, 05:24:46 pm

RandyE wrote: It does completely depend upon the epistemological referent. Typically, one does not think of God (at least on average) as a logically necessary being. So he will say "God does exist" or "God does not exist." Now he may rightly say the term "God," meaning simply the creator of the universe, may possibly not exist, but upon reflection, realize that's metaphysically impossible. At that point, he may embrace "God does not exist" as logically impossible. However, if one starts with (or later discovers) the term "God" meaning "a logically necessary being," I think that would also be correct, obviously.

Right.  To see the contradiction one must understand the definition of the terms being employed.  It's like a person who is asked to judge the truth value of the proposition "I have lots of water but I'm out of H2O."  This statement is contradictory, but one would not recognize this if they did not know that water and H2O have the same referent.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Randy Everist on January 11, 2011, 07:09:34 pm
jasondulle wrote:

Quote from: RandyE
It does completely depend upon the epistemological referent. Typically, one does not think of God (at least on average) as a logically necessary being. So he will say "God does exist" or "God does not exist." Now he may rightly say the term "God," meaning simply the creator of the universe, may possibly not exist, but upon reflection, realize that's metaphysically impossible. At that point, he may embrace "God does not exist" as logically impossible. However, if one starts with (or later discovers) the term "God" meaning "a logically necessary being," I think that would also be correct, obviously.

Right.  To see the contradiction one must understand the definition of the terms being employed.  It's like a person who is asked to judge the truth value of the proposition "I have lots of water but I'm out of H2O."  This statement is contradictory, but one would not recognize this if they did not know that water and H2O have the same referent.

I was reading up on this a little, and it seems, just to be clear, that the proposition "I have lots of water, but I am out of H2O" is broadly logically impossible, whereas if we tease out H2O's referent to create the non-synonymous (but logically equivalent) proposition, "I have lots of water, but I am out of water," this is strictly logically impossible.

With respect to God's existence, I think the proposition "God does not exist" is broadly logically impossible, since there is no possible world which contains this proposition as a true conjunct. Yet it's important to note the "teased-out" version, "A logically necessarily existent being does not exist" is both strictly logically impossible (as it is a self-contradiction), and not synonymous (though logically equivalent). It helps to distinguish these if only to avoid the charge of question-begging in the ontological argument. Logically equivalent propositions are not necessarily synonymous.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: TheQuestion on April 28, 2011, 02:04:31 am
RandyE wrote: With respect to God's existence, I think the proposition "God does not exist" is broadly logically impossible, since there is no possible world which contains this proposition as a true conjunct. Yet it's important to note the "teased-out" version, "A logically necessarily existent being does not exist" is both strictly logically impossible (as it is a self-contradiction), and not synonymous (though logically equivalent). It helps to distinguish these if only to avoid the charge of question-begging in the ontological argument. Logically equivalent propositions are not necessarily synonymous.

Here's a fun game that shows why the ontological argument isn't persuasive:

With respect to (anything imaginary) existence, I think the proposition "(anything imaginary) does not  exist" is broadly logically impossible, since there is no possible world  which contains this proposition as a true conjunct.

In that way, you can define anything into existence.  Just say
"it is necessary that x exists"
"it is possible that x exists"
"x exists"

If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go define Cthulhu into existence.  Look out, world!
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 08, 2011, 10:41:11 pm
The idea that Water is necessarily H20, is denied by many philosophers. Thanks to Quine, it seems that we can reduce all propositions to synthetic propositions, even the proposition that, all bachelors are unmarried men.
The debate here is between Willard Van Orman Quine, and Saul Kripke.

If we want to allow for analytic propositions, then we can in fact argue that it is logically impossible for a Prime Minister to be  Prime Number. What is a Prime Minister, and what are prime numbers? There can be no meaningful proposition, unless the words contained therein have meaning and intension. A prime minister, and a prime number, are not merely objects named, but also objects described, by their respective definitions.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 08, 2011, 10:45:53 pm

I was reading up on this a little, and it seems, just to be clear, that the proposition "I have lots of water, but I am out of H2O" is broadly logically impossible, whereas if we tease out H2O's referent to create the non-synonymous (but logically equivalent) proposition, "I have lots of water, but I am out of water," this is strictly logically impossible.


The idea of synonymity is crucial to this discussion. The reason that it is supposed that it is logically impossibly for a bachelor to be married, is because of synonymity. The word 'bachelor' is synonymous with 'unmarried man'.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Edwin Parker McCravy on June 09, 2011, 10:27:45 pm
>>it is logically impossibly for a bachelor to be married<<

Why claim that the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" speaks of an impossibility? The truth is that it speaks of nothing at all.  Impossibilities are fictional things like a person flapping their arms and flying or bears talking.

But the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" is a violation of language usage and does not speak of an impossibility -- or of a possibility -- it just speaks of nothing at all.  It is a violation of the rules for language use.

My claim is based on the fact that you aren't supposed to use the word "bachelor" with an adjective which prohibits the quality of being married because the language is such that the label "bachelor" is reserved for unmarried men exclusively.   Someone may rebel and say "Don't tell me I can't put that adjective 'married' with bachelor if I want to, nobody can stop me!".  My answer will be "Indeed you do can that, but if you do that you might as well be flicking your lips going bwibbuh bwibbuh".    

So why do linguists treat the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" with such high respect as to claim that it refers to a logical impossibility?  Why should a totally useless utterance get more respect than flicking your lips and going "bwibbuh bwibbuh".  It should get less respect, because if somebody did a "bwibbuh bwibbuh" they would not be pretending to be saying anything. However somebody speaking the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" might be pretending to be saying something when he isn't.

Sorry I rambled on and on.  I'll try to be briefer next time, if there is one.  My point is that linguists and logicians are wrong to claim that "for a bachelor to be married" speaks of a logical impossibility, for it doesn't speak of anything!  So why say it refers to a logical impossibility when it refers to nothing at all. I don't get it!

EdwinMcCravy

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 09, 2011, 11:39:29 pm

The concept of a married bachelor is like the concept of a round square, but where do we get our definition of bachelor from? Do we get it from a dictionary? If so, have we seen all the dictionaries which define the word bachelor, to see if they all agree? The name of a word is distinguishable to it's definition, otherwise the only way to define the word bachelor would be to use it. A word named, is logically prior to a word defined, and a word can only be defined empirically. There are therefore no analytic propositions.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Edwin Parker McCravy on June 10, 2011, 12:42:34 am

The concept of a married bachelor is like the concept of a round square,


Why do you say that there is a concept when there is none?  There is no way anyone could honestly claim to have a concept that they would label "a concept of a married bachelor" or "a concept of a round square". There are only those words spoken or written.  There is no concept of anything in our brain's capacity to think to match the words "married bachelor" or "round square".  Do you really believe there is any concept there?  I don't.
I see a misuse of words, and no concept registers with me.

but where do we get our definition of bachelor from? Do we get it from a dictionary?


Even if we do, the lexicographers got it from observing people using "bachelor" as a label for unmarried men.  They get it from use.

If so, have we seen all the dictionaries which define the word bachelor, to see if they all agree? The name of a word is distinguishable to it's definition, otherwise the only way to define the word bachelor would be to use it. A word named, is logically prior to a word defined, and a word can only be defined empirically. There are therefore no analytic propositions.


I agree with that 100%.  As Wittgenstein said "Don't look to the meaning, look to the use".  There is no use for contradictions or type crossings.  (A type crossing is a silly misuse of words such as "The theory of relativity is blue").  There is a use for a tautology such as "A bachelor is an unmarried man".  That could be used to teach someone the word "bachelor".  It is figurative speech for "The word 'bachelor' means 'unmarried man'".

What is your stand, religion-wise?  Do you agree with Dr. Craig's teachings?

EdwinMcCravy

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 10, 2011, 01:18:50 am
Even if we do, the lexicographers got it from observing people using "bachelor" as a label for unmarried men.  They get it from use.


The problem is that if we reduce all propositions to synthetic propositions, then we have no epistemic right to affirm that the meanings of words can not change. Lexicographers are susceptible to error, and just as the meaning of words is learned a posteriori, we can not deny the possibility that the meaning of the word bachelor is not completely understood by us. How do we know that the people who the lexicographers questioned or observed, used the word correctly? Words are useful pragmatically, but that doesn't mean we know what they mean.

As far as round-squares go, it is self-contradictory to deny that an entity with being has no meaning. Given that it is a self-contradictory idea (concept), then as Meinong said, only things with being can be self-contradictory, and so to affirm it's incoherence, is to affirm it's existence.
Non-being can not be self-contradictory or incoherent. Do nonexistent-beings exist? This is incoherent because the idea of a non-existent being is self-contradictory.

I am a Christian, Protestant, Calvinist. No, I do not subscribe to Dr Craigs' philosophy or theology, but I do respect his intelligence and work. Then again, I respect the work of Quine, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Russell, Kant, Kripke, and Popper.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Edwin Parker McCravy on June 11, 2011, 11:09:07 am
As far as round-squares go, it is self-contradictory to deny that an entity with being has no meaning.


Are you saying it is self-contradictory to deny that the words "an entity with being" has no meaning?

How are you using "meaning"?  If I use "meaning" at all, I only use it in the sense that only symbols can be said to have meaning.  FI, I can say "The word 'dog' has meaning" but I can't say "That dog has meaning".  Or if I do say "That dog has meaning" I would be talking about some different use of the word "meaning".  Since the word "meaning" is troublesome, I often take Wittgenstein's advice and speak only of the USE of a word and avoid the word "meaning" altogether.  

Given that it is a self-contradictory idea (concept),


I cannot understand "self-contradictory idea (concept)". Since we cannot think of anything which a contradictory sentence could refer to, how could we justify saying that we are having any idea or concept at all?

I think I am correct to assume that you and he use "things with being" synonymously with "existent things".  Correct me if I'm wrong.

Edwin

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 11, 2011, 09:17:51 pm
"The word 'dog' has meaning" but I can't say "That dog has meaning".  


What is the difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'?
Why does one have meaning, while the other doesn't? One exists in the mind, while the other exists in the mind and in reality. The only difference is that the referent of the latter also happens to exist outside of our mind. But I would argue that the referent in the phrase 'that dog', is in fact not outside of our minds, otherwise it could not be known, for to be known, is to be in the mind. Therefore, there is no essential difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'.

I cannot understand  "self-contradictory idea (concept)". Since we cannot think of anything  which a contradictory sentence could refer to, how could we justify  saying that we are having any idea or concept at all?  


The definition of a being, is equivalent to all propositions which describe it.

Two descriptive propositions which refer to the round-square, are:
Entity p is round
Entity p is square

Given that to understand the descriptive propositions which refer to to an entity, is to understand what the entity is, and descriptive propositions can contradict, then we can understand an entity which is incoherent. Do you mean by 'having an idea of', to have a visual representation of?

I think I am correct to assume  that you and he use "things with being" synonymously with "existent  things".  Correct me if I'm wrong.


Technically, I would use the word 'existence' in the same or similar way to Aristotle. Essence, is being, and Existence is non-being. (Ex-istence is coming from essence to essence). Dealing what the classic problem with the 'one-and-the-many'. The pre-socratics argued mainly with 2 seemingly contradictory views -- that everything is one and nothing changes, and that everything is many and everything is always changing. In this case, I am using it in the vulgar sense to mean 'a thing which is'. So for an entity to be itself, it must have have essence, and to have essence, is to be 'a thing which is'. Untimately, the word existence is just as meaningful as the word 'is' is. For example, what do we mean when we say, 'a cat exists'? Do we mean that a cat is physical, round, red, short or cogent? Do we mean that we can interact with it and make observations about it? This is why I claim that to say a being does not exist, is to commit a self-contradiction, because we end up saying, a 'being is not a being', or 'an entity which is, isn't'.

For example. What is a Pegasus? It is a horse with wings, and can fly.
Can non-existing entities fly? Of course not, since non-being, can not do anything.
Does Pegasus exist?

To say that the word 'pegasus' is meaningless, is to deny the meaningfulness of possible-world semantics, and all counterfactual statements. For there is a possible-world in which pegasus does fly.




Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Edwin Parker McCravy on June 12, 2011, 09:43:56 am
troyjs wrote:  "The word 'dog' has meaning" but I can't say "That dog has meaning".  

What is the difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'?
You missed my point.  You thought I was contrasting the word "dog" and the phrase "that dog".  No indeed!  I was contrasting a dog with "dog":  A dog is composed of flesh, tissue, muscle, skin, hair, bones, cartilage, and blood, but "dog" is composed only of three alphabet letters.  A row of three alphabet letters is not alive, has no tail to wag when it's happy. That's the two things I was contrasting.  Maybe you did understand what I was meant and just misspoke here. The word "dog" and the phrase "that dog" are both made of alphabet letters, the former being made of three letters and the latter being made of 7 letters with a space between the second "t" and the "d".  Neither are composed of flesh and bones as a dog is.  
Why does one have meaning, while the other doesn't?
Words have meanings but dogs don't.  You can look up the word "dog" in the dictionary but it doesn't make sense to speak of 'looking up a dog in the dictionary'.  There are no dogs in the dictionary, but only words printed on paper.  So the word "dog" is something that has a meaning or a definition, but a dog doesn't have a meaning.  It just pants, barks and wags its tail.
there is no essential difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'.

Indeed.

The definition of a being, is equivalent to all propositions which describe it.

And what are those?  I wanted you to elaborate on what you mean by "a being".  One's first impression when he sees the word "being" is the verb "be" with the "-ing" suffix.  So one would naturally think that "being" must have to do with existence since "to be" is "to exist".

Do you mean by 'having an idea of', to have a visual representation of?
There is noting visual about my idea or concept of the taste of chocolate! yum!  We have five senses, so no, not necessarily visual.  People blind from birth have no visual sense at all. They sense most things with their other senses.  Or it's like air is to us sighted people.  We cannot see air (except when it is liquefied) but we can certainly feel it going in and out of our noses, mouths, throats and lungs and we can feel it blowing against us when we are in the wind or in front of an electric fan.  So we can sense air as well as we can sense rocks.  So again, no, ideas and concepts are not necessarily visual.  
Technically, I would use the word 'existence' in the same or similar way to Aristotle. Essence, is being, and Existence is non-being.
Now I am afraid you have lost me.  How can a word derived from the verb "to be" such as "being" mean the opposite of existence when 'to be' is 'to exist'?

Also you speak a lot of 'essence'. I take it that when somebody asks "What is the essence of X?" that they are asking "What adjectives apply to X".  So I'm asking you to further explain what you mean by "being" and "essence".    
About the "one-and-the-many".  Is it like one forest is many trees?

...2 seemingly contradictory views that everything is one and nothing changes, and that everything is many and everything is always changing.,/quote]
Everything is made of electrons and it's true that the electrons don't change themselves.  But they do change their locations.  So the electrons don't change but their locations do. So I agree they only seem to be contradictory but they are not.
we end up saying, a 'being is not a being', or 'an entity which is, isn't'.
I think you are saying this:
"Since we include 'existence' as a necessary attribute in the definition of the word 'God', then to say 'God does not exist' is to say the contradiction 'What exists does not exist'.  But is "existence" part of the definition of "God"?  If so, atheists could not say "God does not exist" for that would be a contradiction. What would they say instead? Would they say the word "God" is defined with a contradiction?

For example. What is a Pegasus? It is a horse with wings, and can fly.  Can non-existing entities fly? Of course not, since non-being, can not do anything. Does Pegasus exist?

To say that the word 'pegasus' is meaningless, is to deny the meaningfulness of possible-world semantics, and all counterfactual statements.
I agree fully that the name "Pegasus" is meaningful, for Pegasus can certainly be imagined as being sensed.  Can God be imagined as being sensed?  Do you think so?
Edwin
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 14, 2011, 01:38:05 am
You missed my point.  You thought I was contrasting the word "dog" and the phrase "that dog".  No indeed!  I was contrasting a dog with "dog":  


I understand you want to differentiate between word and object, but the problem with this is that the only objects we know are in our minds, for if they were not in our minds, then we would not know them. But given this fact, it is impossible to distinguish the word or concept, from the thing itself. They are precisely the same thing, except one is a priori, while the other is a posteriori.

The word 'dog', if it is a word, is more that the three letters we come to know a posteriori. It has meaning and a referrent  -- this referrent is supposedly external to our minds. But it is not. The referrent is the thing known, ie. the idea.

When we refer to dogs in the 'external world', we refer to our understanding of them, which is in the mind. Both the word and the object, exist only in our minds as far as we can know. The word refers to the descriptive propositions, and the object known is our understanding of those descriptive propositions.


Everything is made of electrons and it's true that the electrons don't change themselves.  But they do change their locations.  So the electrons don't change but their locations do. So I agree they only seem to be contradictory but they are not.


When an arrow is in flight, it must traverse an infinite number of points -- But this impossible. Therefore, the arrow in flight is not moving. The same for all cause/effect relations. If p, then q. If q, then r. Let p be the 'first' cause, and r be the 'last' effect in the series of causes and effects.If p, then r. That means, that the first cause can not exist or occur without the final effect occuring. Therefore, the flow of time, and cause/effect are illusory. If an entity is always changing from being being 'a' to 'b' to 'c', etc, and never static, then it can never be being 'a' or 'b' or 'c', because then it would not be changing. The conception of 'the-many' is refuted by the law of identity.


I agree fully that the name "Pegasus" is meaningful, for Pegasus can certainly be imagined as being sensed.  Can God be imagined as being sensed?  Do you think so?


I am not a Logical Positivist, nor a neo-Wittgensteinian. We can not possibly know things by sensing them, for all we would know are our sensations. Our knowledge of our sensations exist in the mind, but we infer that there is something external to our minds, in order to account for our perceptions. We can also infer logically that God exists, in order to account for propositions which we hold to be true. God is a being. It is self-contradictory to assert that a being is non-being(does not exist), therefore God exists, and it is self-contradictory to assert otherwise.

Whether God is involved in human affairs or not, is a different question, and we would be discussing Theology.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: Edwin Parker McCravy on June 14, 2011, 12:09:50 pm



troyjs wrote:  I understand you want to differentiate between word and object, but the problem with this is that the only objects we know are in our minds, for if they were not in our minds, then we would not know them.
Now I understand "mind" as a word that we use as if it referred to something other than the workings and activities of the brain, such as remembering, thinking, conceptualizing, and conceiving of. However just because we have a word in our language that we speak as though it meant something separate from the activities of the brain, there is no reason to believe that there is anything else involved with the use of "mind" other than brain activity -- "neurons firing" as they say.
But given this fact, it is impossible to distinguish the word or concept, from the thing itself. They are precisely the same thing, except one is a priori, while the other is a posteriori.
That can't be true because words are made of ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen (as here) whereas the things they represent are usually composed of something other than ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen.

The word 'dog', if it is a word, is more that the three letters we come to know a posteriori.
I disagree that the word "dog" is anything other than just the ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen. You will never hear the word "dog" bark. You will never see the word "dog" wag its tail, for it has no tail to wag, unless the tail on the bottom of the "g" :-)
It has meaning and a referrent
Yes indeed the word "dog" HAS meaning and a referent. But "HAS" is not "IS". My dog HAS a favorite toy, but you can't say my dog IS his favorite toy. Words HAVE meanings, but you can't say words ARE their meaning. You are somehow lumping "HAS" and "IS" together in a way I cannot understand.
-- this referrent is supposedly external to our minds. But it is not. The referrent is the thing known, ie. the idea.
But there are no dogs in my brain. There are only neurons with chemically stored memories of dogs in there. I'm sorry but I can't seem to get any sense out of what you are saying here. Maybe we need to discuss the words "mind" and "brain".

When an arrow is in flight, it must traverse an infinite number of points -- But this impossible.
But that is only what mathematicians SAY. They say "A line is an infinite number of points". But that's only mathspeak. There is no such thing as a point or a line. When we make a dot on a piece of paper that dot has thickness and height, yet a mathematician says "it has no thickness or height". But he only SAYS that. The same with a line. A line supposedly has only length but no thickness, but any line we draw has thickness. Mathematicians only SAY "a line has no thickness". But just because they SAY that, we can't necessarily conclude anything other than that they SAID that. Now they may make useful calculations based on using zero for the thickness of a line, but I think that's beside the point.

I am not a Logical Positivist, nor a neo-Wittgensteinian.
Neither am I. I consider the verification principle to be flawed because truth of a sentence cannot be determined until its meaning has already been established. The verification principle puts the cart before the horse by saying truth precedes meaning. .
We can not possibly know things by sensing them, for all we would know are our sensations.
When you say "All we would know are our sensations", I can only interpret that as "all we would know is what we sense or can think of sensing". I think you are misled by the fact that there happens to be a noun form of the verb "to sense" in the language, namely the noun form "sensation". But just because a noun form of a verb has been coined, that does not mean that there is anything involved with that noun form other than the activity represented by that verb. The only difference between saying "I am sensing a dog" and saying "I am having a sensation of a dog" is the grammar. Indeed all we know is what we can either sense or what we can think of sensing.
Our knowledge of our sensations exist in the mind, but we infer that there is something external to our minds, in order to account for our perceptions. We can also infer logically that God exists, in order to account for propositions which we hold to be true. God is a being. It is self-contradictory to assert that a being is non-being(does not exist), therefore God exists, and it is self-contradictory to assert otherwise.
Yes, I think you are misled by the fact that the nouns "mind" and "sensation" have been coined. Anything that can be said using the word "mind" can always be reworded using only "brain" and "brain activity". There is nothing magic about the fact that the word "mind", or the noun form of verb "to sense", i.e., "sensation", has been coined. We only sense things or think of sensing them, and reason what we can about the things we sense or think of sensing -- and we use our brains to think of sensing things.
Edwin
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 14, 2011, 07:50:54 pm
That can't be true because words are  made of ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen (as here)  whereas the things they represent are usually composed of something  other than ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen.


Allow me to clarify my position a little better. Epistemologically, I might be properly called an Idealist. That is not to say that I don't believe in an external world, but that I don't believe we can know anything about the external world. Ink, pencils, brains, etc, are only ideas in the mind. The sensations we have are phenomena we explain by inferring an external world, but the phenomenon of sensation is not sufficient to prove that there really is a world other than our thoughts.

I disagree that the word "dog" is  anything other than just the ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a  computer screen. You will never hear the word "dog" bark. You will never  see the word "dog" wag its tail, for it has no tail to wag, unless the  tail on the bottom of the "g" :-)


An assortment of letters alone, do not make a word. A word such as the word 'dog', is an idea synonymous with it's descriptive propositions. You want to differentiate between the word and the object, but you end up making an object of the word, ie. instead of having 'physical' dogs, and the abstract word, which refers to the physical, we now have physical dogs, and a physical assortment of letters. The word 'dog' is a constructed idea of what the physical dog is, and is the reason why we can use words in sentences. The three letters are not essential to the word, as I would not have to use them if we were talking face-to-face. The three letters, or the phonetic sounds which refer to the word, are not the word. Yes, we may never hear the three letters bark, but the word 'dog' can be translated into descriptive propositions, which would include the idea of barking.

I do not differentiate between a thing, and the idea of a thing.

When you say "All we would know are  our sensations", I can only interpret that as "all we would know is what  we sense or can think of sensing"


Yes, but just because we have the feeling of hearing something, does not mean there is something making a sound to hear. You believe that you are seeing a screen, but you can never possibly prove to yourself that the screen outside of yourself actually exists. All we know is the dream, we infer an external world to account for our ideas, but can not prove that it is there.

But there are no dogs in my brain.  There are only neurons with chemically stored memories of dogs in there.  I'm sorry but I can't seem to get any sense out of what you are saying  here. Maybe we need to discuss the words "mind" and "brain".  


To use your categories, you could never prove that dogs are anything but the bio-chemical reactions in your brain. All you would know, are those chemical reactions, and just because you have those reactions, does not mean there are actually any dogs in the world. All we know, are our ideas.

Anything that can be said using the word "mind" can always be reworded using only "brain" and "brain activity"


Define the word brain.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on June 27, 2011, 11:55:03 pm
WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.   Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this?  Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

   

   Saying God is a logically necessary being is saying next to nothing except that there is some being for which there is no other explanation than "It is what it is" , and I am going to call that being "God". But that tells you next to nothing about the nature of that being except perhaps that it must be timeless and spaceless. But since our minds are conditioned to space- time, we can not even imagine what is possible or impossible for that which is eternal. To think that we can know that it is personal or impersonal, material or immaterial, is sheer hubris.

   In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if it transcended all categories of human thought, so that the truest statements one could make about it would be paradoxical ones like "It is neither personal nor impersonal, neither good nor evil, neither existent nor non existent." OK, maybe the last goes too far, but I'm not sure. Some of the paradoxes can be somewhat intelligible if one thinks in terms of being with dual transcendental/eternal and immanent/temporal aspects, others by considering it one without other.

   

   One thing I think we can know for sure is that whatever the nature of that which is what it is, we are a product of that and a part of that. If I understand the mystics and higher philosophers of the worlds great religions, I believe most of them are panentheist. I think Einstein may have been a panentheist also, but I am only going on that I know he said he was not an atheist and not exactly a pantheist and he frequently denied a personal God, God's judgement, special revelation and other aspects of traditional Judeo/Christian theology. Panentheism is the only other theism I can think of. There is even at least one alleged quotation of Jesus that has panentheist implications; that is...

   
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the

   

   least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Sure, it's a parable, and the king and his brothers are metaphors, but maybe the identity between them is meant more literally than figuratively. But then I'm not sure Jesus ever said that, nor that he was sane.

   

   Well, I ramble. But speculation is all what is left to a radical metaphysical skeptic, who is prone to believing, yet honest enough to admit that my beliefs do not constitute knowledge.

   

   Tell me: Does it not make sense that if metaphysics were knowable in the way science is now that there would be a good deal more consensus about it?

   
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 28, 2011, 12:43:12 am
Tell me: Does it not make sense that if metaphysics were knowable in the way science is now that there would be a good deal more consensus about it?


How is anything in science, knowable?
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on June 28, 2011, 11:06:36 am
How is anything in science, knowable?


Well, now, define knowledge, then. I suppose according to an idealist epistemology, scientific knowledge is not absolute knowledge. Fine, and I understand that any idea we have in our head about reality is not reality itself, but it is a model, and I would say the scientific method is the best that human beings have come to being able to decide which models better reflect reality, or physical, temporal reality anyway. And I would say that the success of science is the best argument for that opinion.

For example, germ theory and evil spirit theory are both models of our physical reality. Germ theory however has many advantages over evil spirit theory however. First, germs are empirically evident while spirits are not. Further, germ theory has explanatory power and allows us to make testable hypothesis. If the idea that many diseases are caused by germs is not knowledge, I'm not sure what is.


Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 29, 2011, 08:12:12 am
I would say the scientific method is the best that human beings have come to being able to decide which models better reflect reality, or physical, temporal reality anyway.


How do we know that our observations and scientific models correspond to reality? In other words, how is anything in science knowable?

 I would say that the success of science is the best argument for that opinion.  


What do you mean in saying science is successful? Do you mean that it is successful because it corresponds very well to reality, ie. it has given us knowledge? --In which case I would repeat my question. Or do you mean that because we have been able to develop our technology? -- In which case I would ask, How do we know that the models and theorems which allowed us to develop our technology, are true?

For example, germ theory and evil spirit theory are both models of our physical reality. Germ theory however has many advantages over evil spirit theory however. First, germs are empirically evident while spirits are not. Further, germ theory has explanatory power and allows us to make testable hypothesis. If the idea that many diseases are caused by germs is not knowledge, I'm not sure what is.  


How do we know that our observations regarding germ theory, correspond to reality? Even if they are empirically evident, this would only be an indicator of truth, if the scientific procedure leads us to truth. Many false theories have enabled us to make accurate predictions and hypotheses, yet have all been shown to be false, for example, Newton's Theory of Gravity.

Since Hume, we know that there is no knowledge in science. I understand you admire Einstein. Let me close with a quote:

if I had not read Kant and Hume I never would have had the courage to propose the Theory of Relativity.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on June 29, 2011, 09:28:50 am

Since Hume, we know that there is no knowledge in science.


Whoa! We KNOW there is no knowledge in science? Then why go to see a doctor when ill? Why hire an engineer when building a bridge?

Also, I would say if science doesn't give us knowledge, then how much less does philosophy? So, how can you say that due to the speculations of some philosophers we KNOW anything about what science can do?

It is still a problem here that we haven't defined knowledge. Again, I've said that I believe absolute knowledge of anything is probably not possible. However, if defined as useful information, then I think science has proven itself by far the most reliable way to gain knowledge (useful beliefs?) about the physical world. Beyond that we get into metaphysics and things become much more difficult if not impossible, especially when it comes to intersubjective verifiability.

Yet, I'm not a logical positivist, so I won't deny the possibility of metaphysical knowledge. I just know that I have not yet found it.

Maybe you can argue that scientific knowledge is in the end just belief also, and again, I'd sort of agree, but then I think this is getting darned close to a reductio ad absurdum of the entire eneterprise of the human quest for knowledge.

And to what end? to replace it with divine revelation?

No, thanks.

I have no interest in returning to the days when I could be tortured or killed for questioning such supposed knowledge.

Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 30, 2011, 01:23:40 am
It is still a problem here that we haven't defined knowledge.


Knowledge, according to empiricism, is justified belief which corresponds to reality. Realists hold to the correspondence theory of truth, so that truth is any proposition which corresponds to reality, and knowledge is the justified belief in true propositions.

Also, I would say if science doesn't give us knowledge, then how much less does philosophy? So, how can you say that due to the speculations of some philosophers we KNOW anything about what science can do?

No scientific claim can be verified by using science, because to do so would be to beg the question. Also, science and all empirical laws and theories rely on induction, which commits deductive fallacies. It is always scientifically possible for a theory, or even a law to be replaced by a different one, and therefore no theory or scientific law can be justified. Because we know that we can not justify any scientific claim, we can not know if the claim is true or not, and therefore we know that there is no knowledge in science.

Again, I've said that I believe absolute knowledge of anything is probably not possible.

Are you sure you believe that? If not, then why write it?

However, if defined as useful information, then I think science has proven itself by far the most reliable way to gain knowledge (useful beliefs?)

All we could say is that science has been useful so far. We can not know that it will be useful in the future by inductively inferring that because it has been useful, then it will be useful.

And to what end? to replace it with divine revelation?

If God exists, and God does communicate knowledge to us -- why not?

I have no interest in returning to the days when I could be tortured or killed for questioning such supposed knowledge.


People are not punished for ignorance, but for sin.
Peace if possible, Truth at all costs. - Martin Luther
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on June 30, 2011, 07:14:32 am
If God exists, and God does communicate knowledge to us -- why not?

   

   How can you call the justification of science circular and then propose that one can suppose God's existence to justify revelation as a source of truth?

   

   And, yes I do believe that no knowledge is absolute. For all I know, there could be an evil God that is feeding me nothing but false information. However, I am not going to waste my time worrying about it.

   

   Of course, a few non scientific assumptions have to be made to justify scientific knowledge, yet I find those assumptions quite easy to accept compared to the assumptions that must be made to accept any particular take on divine revelation, except perhaps general revelation. In other words, I accept science as the best source of knowledge of the physical world, but I don't accept

   scientism's claim that metaphysics is meaningless or that there must be a purely physical explanation of everything.

   

    As for possible understandings of God I look to general revelation and mystical experience. I also think there is revelation in scripture, but I completely reject the infallibility or inerrancy of any revelation. When it comes to metaphysics there is

   IMO only belief, not knowledge. Maybe ultimately there is only belief in science, but I think it approaches certainty much more closely than anything in metaphysics.

   

   I think maybe one big difference between you and I is I have a significantly higher tolerance for ambiguity than you. You seem to want certain answers to certain things that you find most easily in your particular revealed religion. Personally, I consider that a trap. Most people hate cognitive dissonance and therefore fall prey to those who pretend to have all the answers. I don't believe anyone has all the answers. Maybe even God cannot explain why he exists if

   he does. Even in the Bible the best he can come up with is "I am that I am."  Now, maybe that IS a revelation. But is it special? Or is it just then place where all speculation ends?
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on June 30, 2011, 07:56:09 am
People are not punished for ignorance, but for sin. Peace if possible, Truth at all costs. - Martin Luther

   

   Kudos to Martin Luther for having the courage to face down the church on it's evil ways, but I lost much of the respect I had for him when I read his writing on the Jews. I wonder how much those contributed to the holocaust.

   

   Accept that metaphysical truth is not knowable and peace becomes much more possible. - tompaine
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: troyjs on June 30, 2011, 08:41:22 pm
Do you now agree that there is no knowledge in science, or is a justification forthcoming?

Accept that metaphysical truth is not knowable and peace becomes much more possible. - tompaine

I hope you realise that this is a metaphysical statement.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on June 30, 2011, 11:03:42 pm
Do you now agree that there is no knowledge in science, or is a justification forthcoming?

   

   I only agree that there is no knowledge in science if you want to use some definition of knowledge that makes it impossible. Like I've said, or think I somewhere in this thread, I haven't come across a system of thought that doesn't have some premise that isn't supported or some apparent contradiction or difficulty in it somewhere. But that doesn't mean I think we should reject every system of thought, but we should try to understand what each system is good for and it's strengths and weaknesses.

   

   So, you want a defense of scientific knowledge, so here goes. If there is no knowledge in science, how can scientists fire a rocket from the earth and have it deliver a satellite into geosynchronous orbit? Of course, this is just one of zillions of possible such questions I could ask. Didn't I ask some before?

   

   Why are you asking me this? Oh, I didn't answer some of your points. That was not meant as a concession of scientific knowledge.

   

   
No scientific claim can be verified by using science, because to do so

   would be to beg the question.

   

   I don't see that at all. If you want to say that science in general cannot be justified by science. Fine, who cares? It is justified by it's success.

   

   
Also, science and all empirical laws and theories rely on induction, which commits deductive fallacies.
.

   

   I'd like to see you get anywhere with any system of thought that has no

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   empirical premises and uses no inductive reasoning

   

   
It is always scientifically possible for a theory, or even a law to be replaced by a different one, and therefore no theory or scientific law can be justified.

   

   Actually new laws rarely if ever overturn older ones, they usually are just more generally true. The old laws are still true to the narrower frame of reference they

   were applied to. Theories, on the other hand are not just less established laws.  Theories seek to explain how and why something happens while laws simply describe what happens in certain circumstances. Not only can scientific laws be justified, but they are justified by their omnipotence. Try breaking one and see how far you get. Theories, due to their greater complexity are more difficult to justify, but can still be accepted unless falsified.

   

   

   

   

   

   
Because we know that we can not justify any scientific claim, we can not know if the claim is true or not, and therefore we know that there is no knowledge in science.

   

   No, I disagree. Scientific claims are justified by being falsifiable, yet after extensive testing never having been falsified. OK, sure you can apply some absolutist standard and say that it cannot be proven inductively that the situation will not change. Fine I've admitted that scientific knowledge is not absolute, but it is practical and some of it is absolute in at least as far as we know. Geesh! If that's not good enough for anybody, then I question why they are so desperate to find fault with the greatest tool human reason has ever produced.

   

   Could it be desperation to discredit some scientific theory or fact that is inconvenient to one's theology? Don't tell me you are a young earth creationist.

   If you want to question whether evolution really happens just according to random mutations and natural selection, I think that is still doubtable by reasonable people. But to think the earth could be just seven or eight thousand years old is IMO like nearly as cooky  as believing the earth is flat.

   
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on July 01, 2011, 06:56:08 am
Quote: Accept that metaphysical truth is not knowable and peace becomes much more possible. - tompaine

      I hope you realise that this is a metaphysical statement.  

   

   Hmmmm. Nice try, because if it were a metaphysical statement, it would be self refuting, but I am not actually making a statement about metaphysical truth. I am making a statement about what I believe would be the result of people accepting that metaphysical truth was unknowable.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: FNB - Former non-believer on July 27, 2011, 03:27:30 am
tompaine wrote:
Quote: Accept that metaphysical truth is not knowable and peace becomes much more possible. - tompaine
  I hope you realise that this is a metaphysical statement.  


Hmmmm. Nice try, because if it were a metaphysical statement, it would be self refuting, but I am not actually making a statement about metaphysical truth. I am making a statement about what I believe would be the result of people accepting that metaphysical truth was unknowable.


I think he might be right. You are saying that metaphysical truth has a property that makes it such that we cannot know it. If we cannot know it there must be a reason. Either metaphysical truth does not exist, or it does exist and is of such a nature that we cannot know it. If the first or second is true, then you were making a self-refuting statement.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on July 27, 2011, 05:50:22 pm

Originally Posted by tompaine
Quote:
Quote: Accept that metaphysical truth is not knowable and peace becomes much more possible. - tompaine
I hope you realise that this is a metaphysical statement.


Hmmmm. Nice try, because if it were a metaphysical statement, it would be self refuting, but I am not actually making a statement about metaphysical truth. I am making a statement about what I believe would be the result of people accepting that metaphysical truth was unknowable.


I think he might be right. You are saying that metaphysical truth has a property that makes it such that we cannot know it. If we cannot know it there must be a reason. Either metaphysical truth does not exist, or it does exist and is of such a nature that we cannot know it. If the first or second is true, then you were making a self-refuting statement.



You don't get what I am saying. I don't know whehter metaphysical truth is knowable or not. My statement is not about metaphysical truth, it is about what the result would be if people accepted that it was.

Anyway, it is possible for "self-refuting" statements to be true. Imagine that metaphysical truth was unknowable. Now, if  I said metaphysical truth was unknowable, it would be self-refuting, but true. Or maybe it's not really self- refuting. Maybe metaphysical truth is unknowable and the truth of the statement that it is unknowable is unknowable, but it might just happen to be true. It certainly can't be that just saying some category of truth is unknowable in and of itself makes it knowable.


Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: FNB - Former non-believer on November 03, 2011, 07:42:42 pm
tompaine wrote:

Originally Posted by tompaine
Quote:
Quote: Accept that metaphysical truth is not knowable and peace becomes much more possible. - tompaine
I hope you realise that this is a metaphysical statement.


Hmmmm. Nice try, because if it were a metaphysical statement, it would be self refuting, but I am not actually making a statement about metaphysical truth. I am making a statement about what I believe would be the result of people accepting that metaphysical truth was unknowable.


I think he might be right. You are saying that metaphysical truth has a property that makes it such that we cannot know it. If we cannot know it there must be a reason. Either metaphysical truth does not exist, or it does exist and is of such a nature that we cannot know it. If the first or second is true, then you were making a self-refuting statement.



You don't get what I am saying. I don't know whehter metaphysical truth is knowable or not. My statement is not about metaphysical truth, it is about what the result would be if people accepted that it was.

Anyway, it is possible for "self-refuting" statements to be true. Imagine that metaphysical truth was unknowable. Now, if  I said metaphysical truth was unknowable, it would be self-refuting, but true. Or maybe it's not really self- refuting. Maybe metaphysical truth is unknowable and the truth of the statement that it is unknowable is unknowable, but it might just happen to be true. It certainly can't be that just saying some category of truth is unknowable in and of itself makes it knowable.




I think you are incorrect to say that a self-refuting statement could be true. Your example is a bit tricky, but I think I found its flaw.

The statement you are actually making is this, "[I know that... or it is true that] metaphysical truth is unknowable." That is why it is self refuting, because the person making this statement is claiming to know that which is, according to the statement itself, unknowable.

I believe that self-refuting statments being necessarily false is about certian as 1+1=2, and I bet almost all philosophers would agree. This is why logic can be represented in symbols just like math.
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: bruce culver on November 06, 2011, 08:38:49 am
I think you are incorrect to say that a self-refuting statement could be true. Your example is a bit tricky, but I think I found its flaw.

   

   The statement you are actually making is this, "[I know that... or it is true that] metaphysical truth is unknowable." That is

   why it is self refuting, because the person making this statement is claiming to know that which is, according to the statement itself, unknowable.

   

   I believe that self-refuting statments being necessarily false is about certian as 1+1=2, and I bet almost all philosophers would agree. This is why logic can be represented in symbols just like math.

   

   Well, again, if you look at the original statement, you will see that it is actually a statement about what could happen if people accepted that absolute truth or metaphysical truth was unknowable, not a claim that it is fact that such is true. Nevertheless, again, think: Imagine metaphysical or absolute truth were unknowable...it isn't hard to do...would it be false to make the statement just because it appears self-refuting. Maybe, it isn't self refuting because the satement isn't about absolute truth, but about our ability to know it. I can say the future is unknowable, right? Is that a self-refuting statement about the future? If it were, would that make the future knowable somehow?
Title: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: FNB - Former non-believer on November 06, 2011, 11:11:26 am
tompaine wrote:
I think you are incorrect to say that a self-refuting statement could be true. Your example is a bit tricky, but I think I found its flaw.

The statement you are actually making is this, "[I know that... or it is true that] metaphysical truth is unknowable." That is
why it is self refuting, because the person making this statement is claiming to know that which is, according to the statement itself, unknowable.

I believe that self-refuting statments being necessarily false is about certian as 1+1=2, and I bet almost all philosophers would agree. This is why logic can be represented in symbols just like math.


Well, again, if you look at the original statement, you will see that it is actually a statement about what could happen if people accepted that absolute truth or metaphysical truth was unknowable, not a claim that it is fact that such is true. Nevertheless, again, think: Imagine metaphysical or absolute truth were unknowable...it isn't hard to do...would it be false to make the statement just because it appears self-refuting. Maybe, it isn't self refuting because the satement isn't about absolute truth, but about our ability to know it. I can say the future is unknowable, right? Is that a self-refuting statement about the future? If it were, would that make the future knowable somehow?


Tompaine, I appreciate the response. I am pretty familiar with this specific type of self-refuting statement as it was an example in a technical book I was reading on the philosophy of science, so please bear with me.

The statement itself, if you only consider the structure of the sentence and nothing else, is not self refuting. As you said, it could be the case that metaphysical truth is unknowable. A self refuting statment is more like, "there is no such thing as an english sentence."

What makes it self refuting is if it is being offered as a claim to knowledge. But if you think about it, why would you say, "metaphysical truth is unknowable" unless you were offering it as a truth claim.
          - Since its extremely rare that someone would say this statement without offering it as a claim to knowledge, we assume they are offering as a claim to knowledge. As such, what they are really saying by implication is...

"I know that metaphysical truth is unknowable."

Which I am sure you can see just by the nature of the sentence itself, can never be true.

However, if it is just someone pondering the statement "metaphysical truth is unknowable," without offering it as a knowledge claim  it is not self-refuting.
Title: Re: “God does not exist” is a contradiction
Post by: jayceeii on February 04, 2020, 11:32:35 am
This one is a little interesting, since it purports a different character to the statement “The Creator does not exist,” than statements about what is in creation, for instance, “Trees do not exist.” The latter is a false proposition, but the former is not only false, it is illogical.

The statement “Trees do not exist” is shown false by examining instances of trees, which after all was invented as a word to represent actual trees. The statement “God does not exist” is not shown false by examining God, who is Invisible and unreachable by creatures. Trees don’t have an inherent existence. For instance on the moon, the statement becomes true. But if God shines forth in His creation, wherever you turn you see He exists.

Obviously humans are not agreed about this. If you showed them a pot, they would agree the statement, “The potter does not exist,” is not only false but illogical from examining the pot. That type of thing just doesn’t happen without an intelligence creating it. Some like WLC claim to see the Creator’s hand behind the creation, though so far being unable to convince the rest of the humans.

According to Christian doctrine, God can also be seen in the Lord. (“If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father.”) If you could find the Lord and quiz Him, He could prove that He is not like a man, and the one who is striding around this planet but not a man is the only one who could be the Creator embodied. Such proofs were avoided in the religions.