Author Topic: Why Canonizations are Fallible  (Read 1285 times)

Offline Kephapaulos

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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2018, 10:36:36 AM »
The idea that epistemology must rely upon outside infallible authority, or else it is only private judgment and therefore only opinion and not knowledge, is a false dichotomy, and makes faith essentially irrational.  In fact it makes man essentially irrational.  And, just as with the attempt to deny the law of non-contradiction, it is self-refuting - one has to assume there are certain conclusions of reason that are not mere opinions and yet do not rely on outside infallible authority even to get the argument off the ground.

This is why I always emphasize that the final infallible authority is a fundamental presupposition which is taken axiomatically and is not subject to any further verification (if it was, it would not be the final authority). 

Why listen to the "infallible authority" in the first place?  You have to use reason and logic to see that it should be followed.  Otherwise, you have to simply say that you listen to the infallible authority because it says to be listened to, which sets you off on an infinite regress.

But then, your "final infallible authority" isn't really the first step in the epistemological chain - it is the realization that it is a fundamental presupposition to be taken axiomatically and thus not to be submit it to further verification.  And how do you come to that knowledge, if you do not already have it?  And also, you need to know what your "final infallible authority" is actually authoritatively saying in order to submit to it, but if your only basis for knowledge of that is the authority itself, you end up in an infinite regress or having to resort to "private judgment" somewhere along the way.

The notion that epistemological presuppositions need no justification is the very definition of irrationality and makes of faith a farce.  The Muslim likewise assumes that the truth of the holy Quran is the final infallible authority and any arguments against it are ipso facto invalid.  Therefore, his conversion is impossible.

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The use of term "self-evident" is a tool to justify using private judgment and presenting it as "fact".

That is gratuitously asserted so it will be gratuitously denied.

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He can arrive to conclusions which are true, and hold positions which are objectively true. However, in atheist's worldview there is nothing that epistemologically justifies his truth claims, therefore he cannot know anything at all, because he lacks authority from which truth can be derived. All he has is his cognitive faculties, and without God he cannot know whether they are reliable. God is necessary starting point for any knowledge, and as such His existence must be fundamentaly presupposed before any knowledge can be obtained. In other words, belief in existence of God is a precondition for knowledge.

That is merely argument by assertion.  And it is fallacious: You confuse knowledge with the ability to provide a satisfactory epistemological justification.  It's one thing to say an atheist can't provide a satisfactory epistemological justification for his worldview or what he claims to know; quite another to say he knows nothing whatsoever at all.  Even Scripture, when blaming him for his atheism, says precisely that he is to blame due to other knowledge he has (e.g. the light of things which are made).  Now, since you see Scripture as an infallible authority, you are contradicting the very authority you hold up as infallible.

If you are right, it would be impossible for an atheist to come to knowledge of God.  Cosmological arguments are out of bounds, for he does not and cannot know their premises are true.  He cannot even know that he does not have a proper epistemological justification for his viewpoint.  He can't even know that you are telling him that he needs God as a fundamental presupposition, and can't make any kind of logical argument, since his cognitive faculties might be unreliable.

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Of course, that does not mean that existence of God cannot be demonsrated through rational arguments, as Vatican I teaches.

Yes, it does mean precisely that, for it means the existence of God must be presupposed before any rational arguments can even be made for His existence, which means it is impossible for someone who does not already know the existence of God to attain to that knowledge.

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2) denies teaching of the Church, that is all I need to know, and the implications which I presented stem precisely from that.

But you don't know that.  No infallible authority told you that (2) denies teaching of the Church. Nor did any infallible authority tell you your implications stemming from that.

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I hold to the teaching of the Church on indefectibility (because it is epistemologically prior to any judgment of events in the Church),

Wait, how do you know it is epistemologically prior?  Which infallible authority told you so?  And how do you know you even hold to Church teaching on Indefectibility?  Which infallible authority told you that?

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you reject it - that is the difference.

Wait, how do you know I reject it?  Which infallible authority told you so?

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I use my private judgment only in explaining the way you reject it (and you admitted that much by explicitly saying that the Church was wrong on this issue).

Which infallible authority told you what I explicitly said?

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
The traditional understanding of Church Indefectibility implies not A.
A (which is an observable, empirical fact).
Therefore, the traditional understanding of Church Indefectibility is incorrect.

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A is not empirical fact...

Pope Francis' teachings on the death penalty are empirical fact.

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...it is merely your private interpretation of events in the Church which you use to reject Church's teaching, therefore elevating your judgment over the Magisterium.

Because Church's teaching has epistemological primacy, I know a priori that whatever happened and will happen in the future, it cannot and does not constitute A.

Only if you're willing to throw logic overboard.

If Pope Francis is right, then the Church not only permitted but positively supported a "cruel" and "inhumane" practice for centuries - certainly, "cruel" and "inhumane" practices are intrinsically evil.
If Pope Francis is wrong, then Church teaching does not have epistemological primacy - you have to submit it to your own judgment to conclude it is wrong.

Take your pick.

You can, of course, choose a different version of virtue ethics than the Thomistic version, adopt some sort of situation ethics and abandon the notion of "intrinsic evil" or something like that, and conclude that both Pope Francis and the earlier Church were correct.  But you're still abandoning the traditional understanding of things.

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Your epistemological take on this issue is no different from that of a Protestant who interprets the Bible and claims that his interpretation falsifies teaching of the Catholic Church, only that you interpret events in the Church and claim they falsify teaching of the Church. In both cases the error lies is in subjecting Church's teaching to external verification through private judgment rather than recognizing its epistemological primacy.

There is a difference, you know, between private judgment/interpretation and rigorous logical argument.

If a Protestant could prove, by rigorous logical argumentation, that teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed to the Bible, then Catholicism (or at least that teaching) would in fact be falsified.  But instead, Protestants pick one of several possible interpretations of Scripture passages and use that as "proof" of the falsity of Catholicism.  But that is not logically rigorous - other interpretations of those passages are compatible with Catholic teaching.  The Protestant is picking what is only possibly true as an argument.

However, I can prove by rigorous logical argumentation that Pope Francis' teachings are not compatible with the traditional understanding of Indefectibility and morality.  I am using what is certainly true as an argument.

Your claim that that is mere "private judgment" is a bare assertion devoid of truth.  If you think 2 + 2 = 4 is merely matter of "private judgment" then you have simply abandoned rationality, and good luck with that.  It's likewise only a matter of "private judgment" that an infallible authority must be adhered to.


 

Offline Arvinger

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Re: Why Canonizations are Fallible
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2018, 08:47:49 PM »
The idea that epistemology must rely upon outside infallible authority, or else it is only private judgment and therefore only opinion and not knowledge, is a false dichotomy, and makes faith essentially irrational.  In fact it makes man essentially irrational.  And, just as with the attempt to deny the law of non-contradiction, it is self-refuting - one has to assume there are certain conclusions of reason that are not mere opinions and yet do not rely on outside infallible authority even to get the argument off the ground.

If you don't have infallible authority, it necessarily means that every claim is fallible and could be wrong, which relegates it to the level of private interpretation/opinion, which cannot be epistemological basis for knowledge.

And yes, we all have presuppositions - I presuppose truthfulness of the Catholic Church, an atheist making truth claims must presupposes that his cognitive faculties are reliable, that the past in fact happened, that inductive reasoning is reliable, etc. Some presuppositions are always necessary, without them there is infinite regress of verifying authorities.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Why listen to the "infallible authority" in the first place?  You have to use reason and logic to see that it should be followed.  Otherwise, you have to simply say that you listen to the infallible authority because it says to be listened to, which sets you off on an infinite regress.

But then, your "final infallible authority" isn't really the first step in the epistemological chain - it is the realization that it is a fundamental presupposition to be taken axiomatically and thus not to be submit it to further verification.  And how do you come to that knowledge, if you do not already have it?  And also, you need to know what your "final infallible authority" is actually authoritatively saying in order to submit to it, but if your only basis for knowledge of that is the authority itself, you end up in an infinite regress or having to resort to "private judgment" somewhere along the way.

I use reason only to arrive to the knowledge about infallible authority, but from that point on I take it as a fundamental presupposition and no longer base it on my reasoning. Although my interpretation of Scripture and Church history lead me to Catholicism, the reason why I'm a Catholic is not because I believe my interpretation of Scripture is correct and it does not rely upon it, as that would subject Catholic Church to my interpretation of Scripture as a higher authority (as you correctly point out). So, if somebody makes a conuter-argument based on Church history or interpretation of Scripture (the means I used to arrive to conclusion that Catholicism is true) that I am unable to refute, that does not affect my position of truthfulness of Catholicism, since from the moment I arrived to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is true, it becomes a fundamental presupposition, truthfulness of which no longer relies upon the means I arrived to it (otherwise it would not be the final authority, these means and my judgment of them would be). 

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
The notion that epistemological presuppositions need no justification is the very definition of irrationality and makes of faith a farce.  The Muslim likewise assumes that the truth of the holy Quran is the final infallible authority and any arguments against it are ipso facto invalid.  Therefore, his conversion is impossible.

1) It does not make it irrational, because I can still make rational arguments indicating truthfulness of these presuppositions. However, these arguments are not the basis for faith.
2) In case of a Muslim, yes - at the end of the day everyone has some presuppositions, without any presuppositions we would face an infintie regress of verifying authorities and knowledge would be impossible. For example, someone claiming the world around us is a hologram could say "an atheist assumes that the world around him is real and his cognitive faculties are reliable, and any argument agaist this is ipso facto invalid." When we arrive to the level of authority which someone holds as final, we can only hope to provide arguments indicating that he made an incorrect presupposition and chose wrong final authority. If he believes that any such argument is ipso facto invalid, there is indeed nothing that can be done, epistemologically speaking of course.
3) Some presuppositions account for a worldview, other don't. Catholic do - explaining where knowledge, logic, morality, reliability of cognitive faculties etc. come from and how can we know them, atheistic don't.

Quote from: Quareperepulisti
That is gratuitously asserted so it will be gratuitously denied.
You use the term "self-evident" to describe claims which are, epistemologically speaking, your interpretations and fallible private judgments, therefore it is perfectly fine to point out that your use of this term is an epistemological cop-out which you use when it suits you.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
That is merely argument by assertion.  And it is fallacious: You confuse knowledge with the ability to provide a satisfactory epistemological justification.  It's one thing to say an atheist can't provide a satisfactory epistemological justification for his worldview or what he claims to know; quite another to say he knows nothing whatsoever at all.
No, you confuse knowledge with truth. You can say something that is objectively true, but it is a different thing than knowing it - knowledge requires epistemological justification. So, an atheist can hold positions and make claims which are objectively true, but if he cannot provide epistemological justification for this claim, he does not know it.

For example, I can claim that St. Paul wrote the Letter to Hebrews. That claim might be objectively true, but I cannot say I know it, because I lack epistemological justification for this claim. Likewise, an atheist cannot. 

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Even Scripture, when blaming him for his atheism, says precisely that he is to blame due to other knowledge he has (e.g. the light of things which are made).  Now, since you see Scripture as an infallible authority, you are contradicting the very authority you hold up as infallible.

Yes, but he has this knowledge because God exists and He is the foundation and necessary precondition for knowledge. If there was no God no knowledge would be possible (since we would be left with our cognitive faculties, reliability of which is impossible to verify).

Quote from: Quareperemulisti
If you are right, it would be impossible for an atheist to come to knowledge of God.  Cosmological arguments are out of bounds, for he does not and cannot know their premises are true.  He cannot even know that he does not have a proper epistemological justification for his viewpoint.  He can't even know that you are telling him that he needs God as a fundamental presupposition, and can't make any kind of logical argument, since his cognitive faculties might be unreliable.
God exists, thus his existence provides epistemological justification for these things. What you wrote actually explains perfectly why existence of God must be taken as a fundamental presupposition rather than merely result of one's reasoning (which does not mean that rational arguments to support the existence of God can't be made, as Vatican I teaches - arguments of Aristotle or Aquinas can still be used, and you can use them to arrive to the point when you make existence of God a presupposition which no longer relies upon these arguments).

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Yes, it does mean precisely that, for it means the existence of God must be presupposed before any rational arguments can even be made for His existence, which means it is impossible for someone who does not already know the existence of God to attain to that knowledge.
The fact that God is a necessary foundation for knowledge is in itself a rational argument, as it points out that without God obtaining any knowledge is impossible. But an atheist believes that knowledge can be obtained, therefore it can be pointed out to him that his claim that knowledge can be obtained can be justified only in case God exists, which is a rational argument for the existence of God. Evidence presupposes truth, truth presupposes God.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
But you don't know that.  No infallible authority told you that (2) denies teaching of the Church. Nor did any infallible authority tell you your implications stemming from that.
Yes, it is my private judgment of your words. But the burden is on you, since you make the claims in regarding to the teaching of the Church. As long as these claims are a private judgment (which they are), they cannot possibly constitute evidence against what the Church teaches.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Wait, how do you know it is epistemologically prior?  Which infallible authority told you so?  And how do you know you even hold to Church teaching on Indefectibility?  Which infallible authority told you that?
The Church, I do not subject Church teaching to my external judgment, I submit to it. Also, I can use my private judgment in certain situations, because existence of God provides justification for my worldview and its presuppositions (an athest doesn't have such justification), and the Catholic Church has not defined every fact of reality dogmatically. However, I can't use private judgment to deny teaching of the Church.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Wait, how do you know I reject it?  Which infallible authority told you so?
If you don't reject it, there is no reason to debate because none of us two questions the doctrine of indefectibility of the Church and we agree on it. If you reject it, you are wrong, because you do it on the basis of your private judgment. Either way, the doctrine stands.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Which infallible authority told you what I explicitly said?
Again,
1) if I misinterpreted your words (however unlikely that is) and you hold to indefectibility of the Church, the doctrine stands. If you reject it, it also stands since you reject it on the basis of your private judgment.
2) The Church does not teach what QMR explicitly said (therefore I can use my private judgment here), but does teach indefectibility (so I can't use my private judgment to evaluate it).

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Pope Francis' teachings on the death penalty are empirical fact.

But the implications you draw from this teaching is not an empirical fact, merely your private judgment as to what this teaching means for the doctrine of indefectibility of the Church.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
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...it is merely your private interpretation of events in the Church which you use to reject Church's teaching, therefore elevating your judgment over the Magisterium.

Because Church's teaching has epistemological primacy, I know a priori that whatever happened and will happen in the future, it cannot and does not constitute A.

Only if you're willing to throw logic overboard.

Now you smuggle your private interpretation of events in the Church and their implications for the doctrine of indefectibility as "logic", while it is nothing else than your personal judgment which cannot trump teaching of the Church.

As I said on another thread, your epistemology is not Catholic at all, it is Protestant - for you to accept a dogma, it must first pass a test of verification through your private judgment (indefectibiltiy evidently did not make it through this verification), making your private judgment the higher authority that the Church. This is exactly how Protestantism was born - Luther judged that the Catholic doctrine is wrong on the basis of his private judgment, you do the same.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
If Pope Francis is right, then the Church not only permitted but positively supported a "cruel" and "inhumane" practice for centuries - certainly, "cruel" and "inhumane" practices are intrinsically evil.
If Pope Francis is wrong, then Church teaching does not have epistemological primacy - you have to submit it to your own judgment to conclude it is wrong.

Take your pick.

You can, of course, choose a different version of virtue ethics than the Thomistic version, adopt some sort of situation ethics and abandon the notion of "intrinsic evil" or something like that, and conclude that both Pope Francis and the earlier Church were correct.  But you're still abandoning the traditional understanding of things.

Or there is another solution, like the Chair of Peter being vacant, Siri theory, or some solution we did not come up with yet. The bottom line is - I don't have to know the explanation to know that it exists. The fact that the Church teaches X means that any arguments against X have to be wrong and there is some solution to this difficulty, even if I dont know it.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
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Your epistemological take on this issue is no different from that of a Protestant who interprets the Bible and claims that his interpretation falsifies teaching of the Catholic Church, only that you interpret events in the Church and claim they falsify teaching of the Church. In both cases the error lies is in subjecting Church's teaching to external verification through private judgment rather than recognizing its epistemological primacy.
There is a difference, you know, between private judgment/interpretation and rigorous logical argument.
Epistemologically, none. Protestants can also claim that their arguments against Catholic teaching are "logical and rigorous", or an atheist can say that by "logical and rigorous argumentation" he proved contradictions in the Bible. But we know that the Bible is inerrant, therefore whatever argument he makes must be wrong, which you agreed with on another thread earlier. How do you know the argument is logical and rigorous? Your private judgment.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
If a Protestant could prove, by rigorous logical argumentation, that teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed to the Bible, then Catholicism (or at least that teaching) would in fact be falsified.  But instead, Protestants pick one of several possible interpretations of Scripture passages and use that as "proof" of the falsity of Catholicism.  But that is not logically rigorous - other interpretations of those passages are compatible with Catholic teaching. The Protestant is picking what is only possibly true as an argument.
Hypothetically he could, but since we know the Catholic Church is true (a fundamental presupposition), it is practically impossible and such situation will never happen. Therefore, we can know a priori that Protestant's argument does not falsify truthfulness of Catholicism before he even opens his mouth. To say otherwise if to subject Catholic Church to a higher authority.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
However, I can prove by rigorous logical argumentation that Pope Francis' teachings are not compatible with the traditional understanding of Indefectibility and morality.  I am using what is certainly true as an argument.

But you don't do just that, you draw a further conclusion that the doctrine of indefectibility of the Church is false, which is a private judgment. I, on the other hand, know that since the Church teaches indefectibility, Francis' teaching on death penalty cannot constitute or prove defection of the Church and an explanation must exist.

As I said, it is the same as with alleged errors in the Bible. You admitted on another thread that when an atheist points to alleged errors in the Bible, we know he is wrong because Scripture is inerrant. Same here - we know that arguments against indefectibiltiy are wrong because this doctrine is taught by the Church and thus is true.

Quote from: Quaremerepulisti
Your claim that that is mere "private judgment" is a bare assertion devoid of truth.  If you think 2 + 2 = 4 is merely matter of "private judgment" then you have simply abandoned rationality, and good luck with that.

Without God it is absolutely a private judgment - rules of logic and mathematics need epistemological justification as well, they are not a given. How do you know that an alternative reality with another system of mathematics or logic does not exist? Thus, an atheist cannot appeal to logic or mathematics, because he has no epistemological justification for them.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 08:59:30 PM by Arvinger »
 
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