Monthly Archives: January 2016

Existing

There are few times when I understand Heidegger perfectly well or even passably, but what has stuck in my mind is that if you are not constantly perplexed by the nature of existence, then you either are not thinking at all about it or you have found a mooring against it, and to be sure, that mooring is likely nothing true about reality at all; lest it plunge you deeper into bafflement about existence rather than putting you falsely at ease with it.

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Seeing

For any believer, God must manifest in reality to have any significance at all to mankind. The non believer has to be shown where that encounter can be found and what they ought to be looking for when they get there. God must be empirical in some way, in some manner of experience.

It profoundly baffles me that apologists literally point to the skies, the rocks, the seas, to animals, or to well groomed logical possibilities, thinking somewhere in the world, God can be found; an object, a property, concrete.

Experience is believing. If the believer has none, then what good is the idea of God? If he himself is not a manifestation of God — that esse of volitional, creative, caring spirit — then who should be interested in listening to him? His proof isn’t to be found where he points, in any direction and at anything in particular, and is not an icon himself as proof of the value of some experience promised; the believer is not transformed in any way, and that can be the only proof that ought to matter at all, and the only kind of proof possible.

Talk is cheap, and god-talk, generally useless.

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The Anatomy Of God

Someone reminded me of a quote which entails exactly why I had considered myself an atheist for decades. It’s the logical fact that if another reality exists that has no relation to this reality (i.e. transcends it in every way), then arguing about it or asserting things about it is silly and the whole point, moot.

“A universe which exists as a separate realm of existence, which can have no effect on the objects in our universe, and which itself can never be observed, surely does not exist — by definition” Paul Davies, “Mind of God,” 1992.

To end such a debate, it’s better to take those same premises and merely note that there is no meaning in such “other worldly” existences. It would imply by analogy that folks can find meaning in believing Huck Finn really had red hair instead of black or that the present King of France is really named Francois instead of Pierre. “God” is just the sort of predicament where folks contend exactly that, demand it often on pain of death in fact, literally or implied in coercive threats, namely Hell.

However, it seems to me now that I have had an impression of volition in reality all along. It remains a belief merely by the fact that I have that disposition. Beliefs about such a thing as “God” are otherwise inconsequential as “God” is not God, and “God” is the set of ideas only aimed in symbols at God, the ineffable. These have no inherent value or worth. That is, unless something substantial can be said or found in these symbols.

While now merely owning aloud my theistic dispositions, I remain an atheist to any expression that purports to stand for God rather than “God”, the symbolism.

There are good ideas and bad ideas about God, but any that entail to one of willful love should not be one of the good if it is on pain of death we must believe Huck Finn indeed is a ginger. Obviously, “God” may demand such a thing, but “God” entails to that belief where God does not.

I have merely found more substantial ways to think about this impression that “God” should stand for and mean in any kind of relevant way.

Just a thought.

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Two Birds, One Stone

In the course of a conversation, I mentioned denial entails belief. Surprisingly, the conversation stopped so that I could justify saying so.

I started off far too technically. I’ll do the opposite here because giving the gist up front means you’ve dropped off from reading either because interest is lost, it has at that point been justified enough, or the level of technicality has no more benefit.

Anyway, commonly, in many fields of study — Epistemology and Psychology, for example — belief is defined as an attitudinal disposition toward a state of affairs. So, denial would in itself be a disposition outright, while for instance, withholding judgment is not genuinely a disposition at all. But let’s go a little farther and kill a second bird, some 2,300+ years old in the process.

The nature of “denial entails belief” is axiomatic and therefore absolutely true because of all the meanings of the words. To show some axiom is wrong, it takes a counter-example. No amount of word-smithing will.

Such an example will meet the criteria of being 1) an assertion that 2) a person doesn’t withhold judgment on and 3) denies is true while simultaneously 4) not believing it is untrue, and where 5) all criteria are met.

I can indeed give such an example, but it only further illustrates “denial entails belief”, and I’d much rather see what examples may unfold.

An example that I have been given was the “Liar Paradox” in the version of “This statement is false.” The problem is, it’s not an assertion nor a proposition. In explaining this example, I can illustrate a common view of assertions, propositions, and exactly why denial entails to at least the belief the assertion denied is untrue. In this view, the age old paradox is solved as well.

To short-hand things, I’ll define the logical forms of propositions and assertions.

Propositions have the form:

[the proposed] + [true or false, “verity”]

Where “the proposed” must at least in theory have a case, be something than can be true or false. In my makeshift formal syntax, a proposition (P from here on) is:

[x] [verity claim]

Assertions are easy as they are merely a form of speech act, easily discerned because spoken or implied, they are always an affirmation of a “verity claim”, and always in the form of simply:

[it is true that]

Assertions from here on are shortened to A, but for the sake of clarity, I will redundantly use “that” in order to say that a valid assertion takes the form:

A that P

Using the full formula as-is, I’ll then use our example “This sentence is false” in diagram. Denial is just ~A; meaning that in the same way as A, D is [it is untrue that].

(Positive forms)

A = [it is true that] ( [x] [is true] )
D = [it is untrue that] ( [x] [is true] )

(Negative forms)

A = [it is true that] ( [x] [is false] )
D = [it is untrue that] ( [x] [is false] )

Here, it’s easy to see both A and D entail to at least one belief about any P; which is an affirming or negating disposition toward the verity of P. It has to be noted that A and D are only concerned with the verity claim in P and the only role of “the proposed” is to lead to some A, some D, or withholding judgment.

Our real example follows this diagramming:

P = [This sentence] [is false]

We have to note, as A.J. Ayer does in “Language, Truth, and Logic”, propositions are not English but bear a striking similarity to common language. One is that if I’m talking to you and tell you, “Take out the trash!”, it’s understood I mean “You, take out the trash”. The same is true of propositions. Unless stated otherwise, all propositions are assumed to be positive verity claims; asserting “The sky is blue” is the same as asserting “It is true, the sky is blue” (formally: [It is true that] [the sky is blue] [is true]).

It happens then that we only ever specify the verity claims of negative propositions; which is exactly what “This statement is false” is.

Immediately, you can see the solution. “The proposed” is not capable of being either true nor false. It simply states: “This statement”. This is why the Liar Paradox doesn’t stand as an example that counters the axiomatic, “denial entails belief”, and why it’s not a paradox but a statement like any other, such as “The red feather” or “Morning”.

Not to leave anything out, let’s suppose “the proposed” is actually the whole sentence and, like common English, we ought to assume that [it is true] is the verity claim. Besides begging the question “Why?”, it only shows the rule of paradox for self referential propositions is that “the proposed” must match the verity claim so that it always takes a positive propositional form. Otherwise, the proposition is incoherent and unanalyzable. For instance:

[This statement is false] [is true]

Is incoherent, but these are not:

[This statement is true] [is true]
[This statement is false] [is false]

At any rate, given the theories of belief, propositions, and assertions used here, it would take other theories, it seems to me, in order to suggest denial doesn’t entail belief or to adequately criticize this solution to a very, very old seemingly paradoxical proposition.

Just a thought.

Comments not only welcome but encouraged.

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