Fred

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #135 on: May 23, 2020, 12:05:47 am »

First off, a naturalist does believe in that kind of de re necessity but just doesn't apply that necessity to the existence of the OB, but they apply de re necessity to the OB properties being sustained. Otherwise there are possible worlds in which the naturalist world suddenly disappears for no reason or cause, or suddenly becomes Bikini Bottom for no reason or cause. Of course, there's also the possible world in which it remains having naturalist properties but there is nothing that establishes these properties as metaphysical necessary, hence there are possible worlds where all hell breaks lose. If the brute fact properties themselves exist for no reason and no cause, then they can change or not exist for no reason or no cause. I realize naturalists reject that. but you need de re necessity to refuse that possibility. That's the problem of making brute fact ontology your bed fellow. They are not trustworthy.
The OB exists exists by brute fact if there is no explanation for its existence.  It exists necessarily if it exists in all metaphysically possible worlds.. These two facts do not entail de re necessity.  It even applies if a God is the OB.  You may choose to believe there is such thing as de re necessity, but I see no reason to think there exists such a property.
Fred

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Harvey

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #136 on: May 23, 2020, 12:15:02 am »
The OB exists exists by brute fact if there is no explanation for its existence.  It exists necessarily if it exists in all metaphysically possible worlds..

But, had the brute fact been different such that it began with a Null World then that would be the metaphysical necessary world. That's just not how most philosophers define necessary. It's a good definition of a contingent world, though.

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Tom Paine

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #137 on: May 23, 2020, 12:45:08 am »
According to my understanding a "brute fact" apply to contigency, but the OB, by definition is not contingent on anything else for its existence, so how can it be a "brute fact"?

It depends on how we look at a brute fact. If we focus on it being the ultimate beginning point then of course a different beginning point is not possible since as an ultimate beginning point it could not begin differently than it began. For a brute fact of the OB to be different you would need its occurrence (due to a prior time in which it didn't exist) to lead to a different contingent brute fact outcome. But, that's absurd since there is nothing prior to a brute fact. On the other hand, if we look at it as a "what if" in terms of it just began differently, then it's surely possible in that sense that it could be different..That's what philosophers like Leibniz meant that a universe that "could have" begun in any number of ways a contingent brute fact (which is not necessary if we look at a brute fact through that lens.

What? There is no prior time at which the OB did not exist. It must either exist timelessly or from the first moment of time itself. As far as "what if?" it's a red herring. "What if?" is conjecture, we are talking about what is.

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Quote from: Tom
Because something exists." That's it . No other answer can even begin to make sense.

But, if was nothing you have nothing in your ontology that rules this out if that's what it was.

There's no need or even possibility for it to be "ruled in" or "ruled out". It only makes sense to talk of something being "ruled in" or "ruled out" if it has a cause, i.e, something ontically prior to it that it is contingent on for its existence that could do the job of ruling it in or out. This is not the case for an OB. If this isn't clear by now, I just wonder if you will ever grasp it. I thought you said you understand my position. I guess not.

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Quote from: Tom
And, please, I've already shown the absurdity of thinking that something's essence can explain its existence.

I'm still waiting for your reply to this post. It makes perfect sense for a holistic structure to be de re necessary in an a priori sense. Do you really think x≠x is possible if it was just the case that reality began with it being the case? Even if the OB was such that the velocity of light was 186,282 miles per second, it is certainly conceivable a different velocity would exist if the OB happened to be different. But, there is no way the OB could have x≠x. That's because essence of reality requires identity -- which is a defeater of your position.

No, it' not a defeater of my position at all. I'm not in any way arguing that the OB doesn't have essential (non contingent) properties. I'm simply denying that these can be abstracted from the OB's existence as "essences" that somehow cause it to be what it is. That IMO is sheer nonsense. How can something have an essence if doesn't already exist? And, if it could, what would explain the existence of the essences then? It's just moving the problem back one step for no reason whatever. That's not a rational move.

Gosh, I thought maybe we were making some progress, but I'm just back to refuting the same old arguments over again.

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Harvey

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #138 on: May 23, 2020, 12:53:06 am »
"What if?" is conjecture, we are talking about what is.

But you said a few minutes ago:

Quote
As such on MY metaphysics, physicalism, there is no problem of there being other m.possible worlds where the physical OB does not exist or is something other than what it is.

How are you not contradicting yourself?

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Emuse

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #139 on: May 23, 2020, 04:27:20 am »
Yes, I agree with Harvey that there is a contradiction there but ironically Harvey, you appear to have made the same mistake in response to Fred further up.

Some of the problems disappear when we realise that "Under your ontology, there is nothing to prevent X" is not a problem for the naturalist because the statement being true is  consistent with X being metaphysically impossible even under naturalism and that's why the statement being true cannot create the a priori need for a God that prevents it from happening.

Only metaphysically possible events that are metaphysically contingent can be prevented. For example, it is metaphysically possible for vases to fall to the floor and smash. But such events are also metaphysically contingent because they can be prevented (eg, by quickly grabbing the case before it reaches the floor).  So ...

P1. If X can be prevented then X is metaphysically contingent.
P2. X is not metaphysically contingent.
C. Therefore, X cannot be prevented.

If some conceivable scenario is metaphysically non-contingent then either it must happen or it occurs in a logically possible world that is not metaphysically possible. If the latter is the case then it doesn't happen because it can't happen under any metaphysically possible set of circumstances.

Harvey, you seem to confuse our inability to disprove unfalsifiable claims (tomorrow we could wake up in SpongeBob world) which are not even falsifiable under theism (Heaven will be like SpongeBob world) with the thing being claimed also being metaphysically possible.  The irony here is, believing God exists or finding arguments for God persuasive seems to entail making that mistake given that "God exists" is an unfalsifiable claim.


« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 05:00:35 am by Emuse »

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Harvey

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #140 on: May 23, 2020, 08:05:35 am »
If you were arguing for the coherence of theism and you were explaining how God is a person and I argued that God cannot be a person because persons are physical beings I would be trying to smuggle in an assumption of my own worldview. I wouldn't be finding an incoherence in your worldview, but one between our worldviews. I would be begging the question.

This seems to be a common appeal by the naturalist that the world cannot go off its rails because naturalism doesn't assume God sustains the universe. The naturalist doesn't assume this theist conception which was held by philosophers like Descartes who said the world would disappear without God:

Quote
So I want to push on with my enquiry, now asking a new question: If the more perfect being didn’t exist, could I exist? My hope is that the answer to this will yield a new proof of the existence of a perfect being – a proof that it will be easier for me to keep in mind even when I relax my concentration. Well, if God didn’t exist, from what would I derive my existence? . . . Perhaps I have always existed as I do now. In that case, wouldn’t it follow that there need be no cause for my existence? No, it does not follow. For a life-span can be divided into countless parts, each completely independent of the others, so that from my existing at one time it doesn’t follow that I exist at later times, unless some cause keeps me in existence – one might say that it creates me afresh at each moment. Anyone who thinks hard about the nature of time will understand that what it takes to bring something into existence is also needed to keep it in existence at each moment of its duration. Thus there is no real distinction between preservation and creation – only a conceptual one – and this is one of the things that the natural light makes evident. . . I depend for my continued existence on some being other than myself. Perhaps this being is not God, though. Perhaps I was produced by causes less perfect than God. . . the cause of me – whatever it is – must itself be a thinking thing and must have the idea of all the perfections that I attribute to God. What is the cause of this cause of me? If it is the cause of its own existence, then it is God; for if it has the power of existing through its own strength, then undoubtedly it also has the power of actually possessing all the perfections of which it has an idea – that is, all the perfections that I conceive to be in God. If on the other hand it gets its existence from another cause, then the question arises all over again regarding this further cause: Does it get its existence from itself or from another cause? Eventually we must reach the ultimate cause, and this will be God. It is clear enough that this sequence of causes of causes can’t run back to infinity, especially since I am dealing with the cause that not only produced me in the past but also preserves me at the present moment.(Rene Descartes, "First Meditations: On what can be called into doubt", 1639)

But, you say that I'm placing Descartes limitation on naturalists that atheists could just as well apply to God. But, there's a difference. You and others say the reason that the OB is metaphysically necessary is because of PWS and that there simply no other possible worlds where a naturalist world could have begun differently, but this is based on epistemic possibility. However, you have epistemic possibility that we suddenly wake up tomoorow in SpongeBob's world (or in Descartes's argument we would simply stop existing altogether). Why do you reject this epistemic possibility of PWS in this case? Brute factly it could be the case.

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Tom Paine

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #141 on: May 23, 2020, 08:06:42 am »
"What if?" is conjecture, we are talking about what is.

But you said a few minutes ago:

Quote
As such on MY metaphysics, physicalism, there is no problem of there being other m.possible worlds where the physical OB does not exist or is something other than what it is.

How are you not contradicting yourself?

That's not a contradiction. I'm saying that, given my basic axiomatic assumption, then it would be impossible for other m.possible worlds to exist. That's what I mean by it not being a problem, i.e., it's not possible on my worldview, so it's . I didn't mean it's not a problem ON my worldview,  as in it being possible on my worldview. I meant it was not a problem FOR my worldview because on my worldview it's impossible.

See if this helps:

If I am arguing for the coherence of my worldview, I am allowed the basic axiomatic assumption of my worldview, ie., that the OB is physical. On that assumption the physical OB is m.necessary. There's no incoherence.

However, if I were trying to prove my worldview is necessarily true, then insisting on the truth of my axiomatic assumption would be begging the question.

That's why I can't say it is epistemically necessary that a physical OB is m.necessary. However, there is no incoherence in my worldview, given the axiomatic assumption that the OB is physical, in saying that, ON MY WORLDVIEW, the physical OB would be m.necessary

Of course, it's not m.necessary in exactly the same sense as God would be on theism, since my worldview, very reasonably, IMO, eschews the presupposition of essentialism.

Is this clear yet?

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Tom Paine

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #142 on: May 23, 2020, 08:11:24 am »
Yes, I agree with Harvey that there is a contradiction there but ironically Harvey, you appear to have made the same mistake in response to Fred further up.

It was only an apparent contradiction because of a misconstrual of what I meant by "It's not a problem". I meant it is not a problem FOR my worldview, because on my worldview it is m.impossible. I did not mean it is not a problem ON my worldview because on my worldview it is possible.

Oh, the ambiguities of language!

I agree with the rest of what you said I think.

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Tom Paine

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #143 on: May 23, 2020, 08:18:33 am »
If you were arguing for the coherence of theism and you were explaining how God is a person and I argued that God cannot be a person because persons are physical beings I would be trying to smuggle in an assumption of my own worldview. I wouldn't be finding an incoherence in your worldview, but one between our worldviews. I would be begging the question.

This seems to be a common appeal by the naturalist that the world cannot go off its rails because naturalism doesn't assume God sustains the universe. The naturalist doesn't assume this theist conception which was held by philosophers like Descartes who said the world would disappear without God:

Quote
So I want to push on with my enquiry, now asking a new question: If the more perfect being didn’t exist, could I exist? My hope is that the answer to this will yield a new proof of the existence of a perfect being – a proof that it will be easier for me to keep in mind even when I relax my concentration. Well, if God didn’t exist, from what would I derive my existence? . . . Perhaps I have always existed as I do now. In that case, wouldn’t it follow that there need be no cause for my existence? No, it does not follow. For a life-span can be divided into countless parts, each completely independent of the others, so that from my existing at one time it doesn’t follow that I exist at later times, unless some cause keeps me in existence – one might say that it creates me afresh at each moment. Anyone who thinks hard about the nature of time will understand that what it takes to bring something into existence is also needed to keep it in existence at each moment of its duration. Thus there is no real distinction between preservation and creation – only a conceptual one – and this is one of the things that the natural light makes evident. . . I depend for my continued existence on some being other than myself. Perhaps this being is not God, though. Perhaps I was produced by causes less perfect than God. . . the cause of me – whatever it is – must itself be a thinking thing and must have the idea of all the perfections that I attribute to God. What is the cause of this cause of me? If it is the cause of its own existence, then it is God; for if it has the power of existing through its own strength, then undoubtedly it also has the power of actually possessing all the perfections of which it has an idea – that is, all the perfections that I conceive to be in God. If on the other hand it gets its existence from another cause, then the question arises all over again regarding this further cause: Does it get its existence from itself or from another cause? Eventually we must reach the ultimate cause, and this will be God. It is clear enough that this sequence of causes of causes can’t run back to infinity, especially since I am dealing with the cause that not only produced me in the past but also preserves me at the present moment.(Rene Descartes, "First Meditations: On what can be called into doubt", 1639)

But, you say that I'm placing Descartes limitation on naturalists that atheists could just as well apply to God. But, there's a difference. You and others say the reason that the OB is metaphysically necessary is because of PWS and that there simply no other possible worlds where a naturalist world could have begun differently, but this is based on epistemic possibility. However, you have epistemic possibility that we suddenly wake up tomoorow in SpongeBob's world (or in Descartes's argument we would simply stop existing altogether). Why do you reject this epistemic possibility of PWS in this case? Brute factly it could be the case.

I have no idea what Descartes weird assumption that somehow something external to physical reality is necessary to hold it together has to do with anything.

As to the rest of what you are saying. Yes, maybe that would be a problem if I was claiming to be proving that physicalism is m.necessarily true. I am not. I am simply claiming that there is no incoherence in the worldview, because given its basic axiomatic assumption, THEN the physical would be m.necessary not a "brute fact"

Can you not see the difference in those two, and why I can say naturalism is not an incoherent worldview? It's being coherent doesn't make it e.necessarily true. It just makes it e.possibly true.

I don't believe an a priori analytical argument can prove a de re proposition of m.necessary existence. As such the only argument that can be made for the truth of naturalism is to first demonstrate that given its assumptions it is coherent and then to argue for it's greater likelihood compared with theism by appealing to heuristics like the rule of parsimony.

But you keep insisting it is not coherent, but you keep trying to demonstrate this by smuggling in assumptions that are not part of the worldview. That's fallacious. More specifically, it begs the question to do that. I know that physicalism does not cohere with theistic assumptions. That's a non issue for physicalism. Unless you can somehow prove those theistic assumptions are necessarily true, then you haven't proven naturalism to be false. IMO, those theistic assumptions are all very specious. I've argued for why even though I'm not obliged to in an argument just on the coherence of naturalism.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 08:40:47 am by Tom Paine »

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Harvey

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #144 on: May 23, 2020, 08:25:29 am »
That's why I can't say it is epistemically necessary that a physical OB is m.necessary. However, there is no incoherence in my worldview, given the axiomatic assumption that the OB is physical, in saying that, ON MY WORLDVIEW, the physical OB would be m.necessary

Exactly, but in your epistemic investigation you came to the conclusion that if you held certain axioms that you wouldn't have to conclude the naturalist OB has a reason or cause. However, as part of this same epistemic investigation you have to accept that had the OB had different properties than what it had, then it would have had those other properties which you've labelled "necessary." This differs from the theist's epistemic investigation that had God had different essential properties then He wouldn't be able to have those other properties because essential properties cannot be made non-essential by supposing a slightly different beginning. That's why your view is a contingent brute fact because without essential properties the OB has no limitation (i.e., as far as our epistemic investigation EI is concerned). But, theism has a limitation on God because of His essential properties and thus this is why this view is metaphysically necessary. Tegmark's view is also metaphysically necessary because the essential requirement is that the entire state space of reality spans all possible mathematical truths. That cannot change as part of any EI considerations.

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Fred

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #145 on: May 23, 2020, 08:47:06 am »
The OB exists exists by brute fact if there is no explanation for its existence.  It exists necessarily if it exists in all metaphysically possible worlds..

But, had the brute fact been different such that it began with a Null World then that would be the metaphysical necessary world.
For the OB to have been different, there would have to be other possible OBs.  Fantasizing about such scenarios doesn't make it so.  e.g. if a brute fact God created the universe, why think there could have existed a world without a God?
Fred

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Tom Paine

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #146 on: May 23, 2020, 09:13:21 am »
That's why I can't say it is epistemically necessary that a physical OB is m.necessary. However, there is no incoherence in my worldview, given the axiomatic assumption that the OB is physical, in saying that, ON MY WORLDVIEW, the physical OB would be m.necessary

Exactly, but in your epistemic investigation you came to the conclusion that if you held certain axioms that you wouldn't have to conclude the naturalist OB has a reason or cause. However, as part of this same epistemic investigation you have to accept that had the OB had different properties than what it had, then it would have had those other properties which you've labelled "necessary." This differs from the theist's epistemic investigation that had God had different essential properties then He wouldn't be able to have those other properties because essential properties cannot be made non-essential by supposing a slightly different beginning. That's why your view is a contingent brute fact because without essential properties the OB has no limitation (i.e., as far as our epistemic investigation EI is concerned). But, theism has a limitation on God because of His essential properties and thus this is why this view is metaphysically necessary. Tegmark's view is also metaphysically necessary because the essential requirement is that the entire state space of reality spans all possible mathematical truths. That cannot change as part of any EI considerations.

No, you are just smuggling essentialist assumptions in again, Harvey.  As I've explained essentialism is unparsimonious at best and incoherent at worst. A thing cannot have an essence if it doesn't already exist. That seems patently obvious to me. If the basic axiomatic assumptions of physicalism are correct, then an m.necessary, rather than "brute fact" physical OB is a coherent concept.

The essentialist assumptions you are trying to smuggle in cannot touch the internal coherence of physicalism. However if you want to turn this into an argument over which worldview's assumptions are more reasonable, I'm afraid you are going to lose that one, because as i just explained essentialism is at best unparsimonious and at worst patently absurd.

If you want to just blow by the prima facie absurdity of something's essence existing ontically prior to the thing itself, all the hypothesis does is push the darned problem back a step because how do you account for the existence of essences? What determines what the essences will be? The essence of the essence? It's not a rational move Harvey. I'm not buying it no matter how many times you keep begging the question by asserting it.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 09:16:39 am by Tom Paine »

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Harvey

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #147 on: May 23, 2020, 09:50:58 am »
For the OB to have been different, there would have to be other possible OBs.  Fantasizing about such scenarios doesn't make it so.  e.g. if a brute fact God created the universe, why think there could have existed a world without a God?

If "could have" is meant in terms of metaphysical possibility, then a brute fact beginning could not even in principle forbid a universe popping into existence even if a brute fact God did not create it. Once you invoke the brute fact sword, then you become a victim of that brute fact metaphor.

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Harvey

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #148 on: May 23, 2020, 09:56:39 am »
The essentialist assumptions you are trying to smuggle in cannot touch the internal coherence of physicalism. However if you want to turn this into an argument over which worldview's assumptions are more reasonable, I'm afraid you are going to lose that one, because as i just explained essentialism is at best unparsimonious and at worst patently absurd.

You're not addressing the issue. If your epistemic investigation (EI) uses a brute fact to say that the ontic bedrock (OB) is X, then your same EI can say the OB is Y. But, theists and Tegmarkians cannot change their OB's necessary properties like you can. At least admit this obvious conclusion.

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Fred

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Re: Definition of Theism, Agnosticism, Atheism
« Reply #149 on: May 23, 2020, 10:25:32 am »
For the OB to have been different, there would have to be other possible OBs.  Fantasizing about such scenarios doesn't make it so.  e.g. if a brute fact God created the universe, why think there could have existed a world without a God?

If "could have" is meant in terms of metaphysical possibility, then a brute fact beginning could not even in principle forbid a universe popping into existence even if a brute fact God did not create it. Once you invoke the brute fact sword, then you become a victim of that brute fact metaphor.
Nice try, but nope.  A brute fact OB hasn't popped into existence, so it does not entail brute facts popping into existence.
Fred