Author Topic: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?  (Read 680 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2019, 02:13:48 PM »
Yes, but our experiences our still changing, even if they are only illusion.  Thus we move from potency to act as far as our experience our concerned, regardless of whether they correspond to an external reality or not.
If we are eternal then we aren't moving and there is no potency.

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Because God is a rational being.  That is what we mean when we say He is Truth.
Even if God is rational and distinct from us, how do we know that He didn't put us in a Matrix?
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2019, 06:32:12 PM »
If we are eternal then we aren't moving and there is no potency.

False.

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Even if God is rational and distinct from us, how do we know that He didn't put us in a Matrix?

Because it isn't rational to create a Matrix when He can create a real world.
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2019, 05:57:17 AM »
If we are eternal then we aren't moving and there is no potency.

False.
How so?

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Even if God is rational and distinct from us, how do we know that He didn't put us in a Matrix?

Because it isn't rational to create a Matrix when He can create a real world.
Some Catholic philosophers have argued that the existence of matter is logically impossible and so God cannot create a material world.

But even if God can create matter: What's wrong with Him choosing to create a "Matrix" instead? How is that any less rational, on His part, than if He were to have created a material world?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 06:02:10 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2019, 04:18:35 PM »
Because God is a rational being.  That is what we mean when we say He is Truth.

Pascal: The last proceeding of reason is to recognise that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it. It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this. But if natural things are beyond it, what will be said of supernatural?

I think reason is a subset of Truth, but is not Truth itself.

Also, I believe there might be a tradition among Catholic philosophers to dub God specifically as "irrational".  I could not find anything online, but I fondly remember my very orthodox priest in high school saying this very thing.

Finally, I will give myself as an example of where reason limps: I have no doubt that Catholicism is true, and yet I do not possess absolute certainty.  I have no idea how this can be accounted for with reason.  Nor do I really care all that much anymore.  Grace is operating above reason, and I think God wants me to teeter on the cusp of lack of doubt and lack of certainty....whatever that means, I know not. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 04:27:44 PM by St. Columba »
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2019, 11:17:48 AM »
I forget... without assuming in advance that God is rational, how do we know that Truth exists?

I know we can start here:

1. Definition: 'Truth' is "the agreement between the proposition (in the mind) and the reality (outside the mind)"
2. Observation: My mind has propositions in it.
3. Observation: "My mind has propositions in it" is itself a proposition which is in my mind.
4. Conclusion (from 1, 2, and 3): At least one true proposition exists (in my mind).
5. Conclusion (from 4): Truth exists (outside my mind).

However, the jump from line 4 to line 5 only works if realism is correct. Because if conceptualism or nominalism is correct--if the truth in my mind exists in itself and not as a participation in some Truth outside my mind--then the conclusion does not follow. So I guess we first need to prove that realism is correct and that conceptualism and nominalism are wrong?

But if the above proof is correct, then we can further prove that God is rational:

1. Definition: 'Truth' is "the agreement between the proposition (in the mind) and the reality (outside the mind)"
2. Assumption: The Forms are eternal.
3. Observation: Truth is a Form.
4. Conclusion (from 2 and 3): Truth is eternal.
5. Conclusion (from 1 and 4): There must be an eternal Mind.
6. Assumption: All eternal things are God.
7. Conclusion (from 5 and 6): The Mind is God.
8. Conclusion (from 7): God is rational.

So God is rational.


Also, I believe there might be a tradition among Catholic philosophers to dub God specifically as "irrational".  I could not find anything online, but I fondly remember my very orthodox priest in high school saying this very thing.
Two things come to my mind:

1. Pseudo-Dionysius. He said that there are three ways to speak of God: the via positiva, the via negativa, and the via superlativa.
via positiva - "God is rational" <-- this is how Scripture speaks of God
via negativa - "God is not rational" <-- this is supposedly better than the via positiva, since rationality is finite whereas God is infinite. But this is not saying that God is irrational. What it's saying is that we can't predicate the finite ('rational') of the infinite (God).
via superlativa - "God is superrational" <-- this is supposedly better than the via negativa, since God is not limited but neither is He 'irrational'.
I'm not sure, but I think this view is orthodox. I don't know how common it is among Christian philosophers today though, but I know that Thomists reject it in favour of "analogy".

2. Plotinus. He said that God (the One) is so simple that He can't think (we can't predicate of Him positively). But God's Mind emanates from the One as a distinct person subordinate to the One: the Mind is rational (He thinks about the One) whereas the One irrational (i.e. He doesn't think).
Some Christians tried to map the Father onto the One and the Son onto the Mind, but this was condemned as a heresy (I think it's called "subordinationism"), because it denies the equality among the divine persons.
But if your priest was orthodox, I doubt he was alluding to this one.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 11:37:58 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2019, 01:28:06 PM »
since rationality is finite whereas God is infinite.

I think this accords with my saying that reason is a subset of Truth, but is not Truth itself.  Furthermore, it means that God is meta-rational, or above rationality.  That is perhaps more accurate terminology than "irrational".

Also, in Argument 2, you assume that all forms are eternal, and further assume that all eternal things are God.  This implies that all forms are God.  I don't buy this.  But if I did, I could argue thusly: Since there are things that exist which are not rational, then their (irrational) forms also exists, implying that God, in some way, contains an irrational component.  But since God is simple, He is then irrational (rationality + irrationality = irrationality).

Anyway, I love your posts Daniel!  Smile often buddy!  ;)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 01:29:50 PM by St. Columba »
People don't have ideas...ideas have people.  - Jordan Peterson quoting Carl Jung
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2019, 09:02:47 AM »
Well, maybe the forms aren't God. But if they aren't God, then I don't know what they are. Because it seems that the forms need to be eternal and uncreated:

1. Definition: 'Knowledge' is "when the object's form is in the subject's mind".
2. Assumption: God knows all things.
3. Conclusion (from 1 and 2): All forms are in God's mind.
4. Assumption: God cannot be moved from ignorance to knowledge.
5. Conclusion (from 3 and 4): All of the forms were always in God's mind.


I don't know how to deal with the contradiction -- that some forms are rational while other forms are irrational -- except maybe to say that Irrationality is not a form. Rather, all irrational forms are only irrational insofar as they fail to participate in Rationality. Still, if God is Rationality and if all of the forms are God then I'm not sure how it could be the case that some of the forms fail to participate in Rationality.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 09:10:20 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2019, 12:48:06 PM »
Well I agree that it isn't logically possible to doubt one's own existence, (for I cannot conceive of my non-existent self conceiving of anything,) but I wouldn't say that it's absolutely impossible to doubt it.

No. You can't conceive of anything without you existing. That doesn't depend on it being inconceivable as being otherwise, as if it were an alleged fact whose assertion rested in the limits of human understanding: by the meaning of "I conceive" and "exist", the "I" who "conceives" exists.

You really need to do yourself a favour and start talking less and thinking more about language. For instance, you claim it is possible to "doubt ones own existence". But what precisely do you mean by that?

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Because how do we know that the law of non-contradiction is true?

In this case even more so. I don't know precisely what you have in mind by "law of non-contradiction", but you should ask yourself what you mean by that law not being true. Because if you cannot answer that, the words "the law of non-contradiction is not true" are essentially senseless, a mere artifact of syntax over which philosophers huddle, mouths agape, like a bunch of idiots.

As for my own take, I answered that here, Daniel. https://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=21075.msg461522#msg461522

The "law" of non-contradiction, really a principle, is founded in the most primitive idea of the thing. Language itself, in any conceptual mode, falls apart without it, because identity falls apart. You can't have P(a), P(a) and a=a all at the same time if P is predicated of "a" and a=a indicates identity. I wouldn't even call it an analytic a priori truth so much as a defining principle of all logical thought and any formal system.

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Maybe there are some truths which violate our understanding of the laws of logic but are nevertheless true.

That IS NOT POSSIBLE. There may be things that cannot properly be expressed in a logical system, but that does not make them a case of violations of the laws of logic.

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This is my objection to Descartes's method: he assumes in advance that 1.) the laws of logic are true and universal,

Your problem is you're still operating on the level of "laws of logic" being subject to taking truth values, so that they might possibly be "false". It's nonsense, and the formalisation of logic and axiomatisation of mathematics, that great undertaking of the 20th century, should have done away with this erroneous idea by now. The "laws of logic" define the system of logic, and more to the point, it is the "laws of inference" that define the logical symbols, not the former which are just presumed to be "true" based in some wishy-washy notion of the meaning of the latter. And at the most fundamental level, in order to enable conceptual thought, we have the notions of identity, reiteration, negation, implication, conjunction, that lie either explciitly or impliclty at the basis of every formal language. The old notion, that still serves as a point of entry for such skeptical sophistry, and in which appeals are made to "self evident truths", should be gone, dead and buried.


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and 2.) that we are rational -- that we have a sufficient understanding of the laws of logic in order to distinguish true from false. Could it not be the case that our failure to conceive of ourselves simultaneously conceiving and not-existing could be due not to an absolute impossibility but merely to some defect on our part? Perhaps we lack some faculty or art which is necessary in order to conceive that some contradictions could possibly be true?

Blah, blah. I'm not saying this to be rude or impugn your intelligence, but this is literally meaningless babble. You have much too high an estimation of the constructive possibilities of language and an erroneous understanding of what logic is and why the principle of non-contradiction is a thing.
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Is there no escaping the uncertainty?
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2019, 01:05:01 PM »
Some Catholic philosophers have argued that the existence of matter is logically impossible and so God cannot create a material world.

What do they mean by "matter"?

What I see, what I smell, what I touch, the sight, the odour, the body, that is material, and if you wish, "matter". Only when we begin to start speaking of the immediate object of our awareness as a mere impression on the mind and "matter" as some mediately-experienced noumenon only existing "out there" would it even become possible to deny its existence - but the former still remains a reality, and remains what it is.

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But even if God can create matter: What's wrong with Him choosing to create a "Matrix" instead? How is that any less rational, on His part, than if He were to have created a material world?

What is your basis for distinguishing between a "Matrix" and a "real" world? Unless you're claiming our real bodies are lying in a vat somewhere, but even that doesn't solve the problem of "reality", only relegating it.

I'm sorry, but what I mean by a word like "body" points to experienced actualities, and on the most abstract level, defined functionally, in which case the distinction between, say, my waking body and a dream body resides in a difference of appearance and behaviour, not a vague concept of a difference in degree of reality. This is why I just shake my head at these Cartesian-style debates about evil demons and butterflies dreaming they are men.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 01:07:11 PM by Kreuzritter »