Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Alleged Reasoning-to-Prove-Reason Fallacy.

Fallacy is impossible unless reason is still running the show. Irrationalists mimic their own stereotypes of rationalists in their arguments against rationalism and reason itself.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Schopenhauer on the Intellectual Transcendence of Vision

From Schopenhauer's On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, beginning on page 68:

"Now, if seeing consisted in mere sensation, we should perceive the impression of the object turned upside down, because we receive it thus; but in that case we should perceive it as something within our eye, for we should stop short at the sensation. In reality, however, the Understanding steps in at once with its causal law, and as it has received from sensation the datum of the direction in which the ray impinged upon the retina, it pursues that direction retrogressively up to the cause on both lines; so that this time the crossing takes place in the opposite direction, and the cause presents itself upright as an external object in Space, i.e., in the position in which it originally sent forth its rays, not that in which they reached the retina (see fig. 1). The purely intellectual nature of this process, to the exclusion of all other, more especially of physiological, explanations, may also be confirmed by the fact, that if we put our heads between our legs, or lie down on a hill head downwards, we nevertheless see objects in their right position, and not upside down; although the portion of the retina which is usually met by the lower part of the object is then met by the upper: in fact, everything is topsy turvy excepting the Understanding.

The second thing, which the Understanding does in converting sensation into perception, is to make a single perception out of a double sensation; for each eye in fact receives its own separate impression from the object we are looking at, each even in a slightly different direction: nevertheless that object presents itself as a single one. This can only take place in the Understanding, and the process by which it is brought about is the following: Our eyes are never quite parallel, except when we look at a distant object, i.e. one which is more than 200 feet from us. At other times they are both directed towards the object we are viewing, whereby they converge, so as to make the lines proceeding from each eye to the exact point of the object on which it is fixed, form an angle, called the optic angle ; the lines themselves are called optic axes. Now, when the object lies straight before us, these lines exactly impinge upon the centre of each retina, therefore in two points which correspond exactly to each other in each eye. The Understanding, whose only business it is to look for the cause of all things, at once recognises the impression as coming from a single outside point, although here the sensation is double, and attributes it to one cause, which therefore presents itself as a single object. For all that is perceived by us, is perceived as a cause that is to say, as the cause of an effect we have experienced, consequently in the Understanding. As, nevertheless, we take in not only a single point, but a considerable surface of the object with both eyes, and yet perceive it as a single object, it will be necessary to pursue this explanation still further. All those parts of the object which lie to one side of the vertex of the optic angle no longer send their rays straight into the centre, but to the side, of the retina in each eye ; in both sides, however, to the same, let us say the left, side. The points therefore upon which these rays impinge, correspond symmetrically to each other, as well as the centres in other words, they are homonymous points. The Understanding soon learns to know them, and accordingly extends the above-mentioned rule of its causal perception to them also ; consequently it not only refers those rays which impinge upon the centre of each retina, but those also which impinge upon all the other symmetrically corresponding places in both retinas, to a single radiant point in the object viewed : that is, it sees all these points likewise as single, a [page 71] object also. Now, it should be well observed, that in this process it is not the outer side of one retina which corresponds to the outer side of the other, and the inner to the inner of each, but the right side of one retina which corresponds to the right side of the other, and so forth ; so that this symmetrical correspondence must not be taken in a physiological, but in a geometrical sense. Numerous and very clear illustrations of this process, and of all the phenomena which are connected with it, are to be found in Kobert Smith s "Optics," and partly also in Kastner's German translation (1755). I only give one (fig. 2), which, properly speaking, represents a special case, mentioned further on, but which may also serve to illustrate the whole, if we leave the point R out of question. According to this illustration, we invariably direct both eyes equally towards the object, in order that the symmetrically corresponding places on both retinas may catch the rays projected from the same points. Now, when we move our eyes upwards and downwards, to the sides, and in all directions, the point in the object which first impinged upon the central point of each retina, strikes a different place every time, but in all cases one which, in each eye, corresponds to the place bearing the same name in the other eye. In examining (perlustrare) an object, we let our eyes glide backwards and forwards over it, in order to bring each point of it successively into contact with the centre of the retina, which sees most distinctly : we feel it all over with our eyes. It is therefore obvious that seeing singly with two eyes is in fact the same process as feeling a body with ten fingers, each of which receives a different impression, each moreover in a different direction: the totality of these impressions being nevertheless recognised by the Understanding as proceeding from one object, whose shape and size it accordingly apprehends and constructs in Space. This is why it is possible for a blind man to become [page 72]  a sculptor, as was the case, for instance, with the famous Joseph Kleinhaus, who died in Tyrol, 1853, having been a sculptor from his fifth year. For, no matter from what cause it may have derived its data, perception is invariably an operation of the Understanding.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Flew that Didn't Get Airplay Part 1

Reading the book makes me now suspect that hardly anyone has actually read it.

"Despite these commendations, I have long wanted to make major corrections to my book Hume’s Philosophy of Belief. One matter in particular calls for extensive corrections. The three chapters “The Idea of Necessary Connection,” “Liberty and Necessity,” and “Miracles and Methodology” all need to be rewritten in the light of my newfound awareness that Hume was utterly wrong to maintain that we have no experience, and hence no genuine ideas, of making things happen and of preventing things from happening, of physical necessity and of physical impossibility. Generations of Humeans have in consequence been misled into offering analyses of causation and of natural law that have been far too weak because they had no basis for accepting the existence of either cause and effect or natural laws.

Meanwhile, in “Of Liberty and Necessity” and “Of Miracles,” Hume himself was hankering after (even when he was not actually employing) notions of causes bringing about effects that were stronger than any that he was prepared to admit as legitimate. Hume denied causation in the first Inquiry and claimed that all the external world really contains is constant conjunctions; that is, events of this sort are regularly followed [Page 58] by events of that sort. We notice these constant conjunctions and form strong habits associating the ideas of this with the ideas of that. We see water boiling when it is heated and associate the two. In thinking of real connections out there, however, we mistakenly project our own internal psychological associations.

Hume’s skepticism about cause and effect and his agnosticism about the external world are of course jettisoned the moment he leaves his study. Indeed, Hume jettisons all of his most radical skepticism even before he leaves his study. There is, for instance, no trace of the thesis that causal connections and necessities are nothing but false projections onto nature in the notorious section “Of Miracles” in the first Inquiry.

Again in his History of England Hume gave no hint of skepticism about either the external world or causation. In this Hume may remind us of those of our own contemporaries who upon some sociological or philosophical grounds deny the possibility of objective knowledge. They then exempt from these corrosions of universal subjectivity their own political tirades, their own rather less abundant research work, and above all their own prime revelation that there can be no objective knowledge."

--Flew, There Is A God, page 57-58,

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Brother Benignus on Reason as the Higher Power

"Plato goes on to show directly that perception cannot be knowledge. Even in the simplest proposition, for example, "This desk is wooden", there is something more than direct perception. To attribute a predicate to a subject I must compare two present percepts and compare my present perceptions with my past perceptions. To do this I must first classify the percepts under concepts. All these acts are impossible to sense. because sensation is always an isolated, present impression unrelated to any other. In knowledge, therefore, I exercise a power that is above the senses. This higher power, is evidenced further by the fact that different sensations suggest the same idea to me, for example this orange both looks round and feels round. The roundness is not the look, because in that case feeling could never suggest it; nor is it the feel, for the opposite reason. Yet I know from either seeing it or feeling it or both that it is round. Clearly there is in knowledge a higher power which sense serves and which judges sense.

Therefore, as Socrates showed, knowledge is comprehension by means of a concept or definition which is fixed and permanent and the same for all minds. It belongs to reason and not to sense. It gives the objective essence of a thing, not a private appearance. Its object is nothing of this phenomenal world, but the eternal Idea. True knowledge is the rational comprehension of the Ideas."

---Brother Benignus, 1947, Nature, Knowledge, and God: An Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy, page 43.

Comprehensive God Debate Reference Coming

I'm separating out the notes on J. L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism and Michael Martin's Atheism: A Philosophical Justification from the massive spreadsheet called Encyclopedia of God Debate Arguments (a project I abandoned after reading Nielsen), and copying them into their own respective spreadsheets. But I'm just making copies, not deleting that spreadsheet itself.

I will probably read Martin's book verbatim at some point, even though it's a total failure with regard to actually justifying atheism. As I've said elsewhere, it's a paper tiger, and I will only narrate it for completeness in my coverage of contemporary atheism.

The strange thing is that I have a sneaking suspicion that most non-believers as well as believers are afraid to read that book.

Mackie's book, The Miracle of Theism, while it fails as an eliminator of belief in God, oddly enough, given the title, contains what I remember to be the most devastating argument ever constructed against miracles.

The point of the title is that it's a miracle anyone believes in God. That's the actual miracle of theism, according to Mackie. Most atheists avoid the book because the title sounds like it's a book arguing for belief in God.

But as I've said elsewhere, someone else is gathering the essence of these two books (as well as all others on the subject), and since I've already taken exhaustive notes on both, I will not be doing anything with those except making sure I haven't missed anything that will be valuable going forward. When I took those notes I was still in the perpetually bewildered state, and although in reading those works I became permanently mind-blown, in taking notes I was not able to remember so many valuable insights from writers of every persuasion.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Sickness Unto Death

These remarks were sparked by an email from a writer friend involved in the God debate, and who envisions a comprehensive multi-volume work on the God debate (thank God someone finally decided to take this on). Here they are:

I keep telling people: Nielsen and Rosenberg. Until Nielsen's Ethics Without God and Rosenberg's The Atheist's Guide to Reality are dealt with, nothing will happen except the inevitable: atheists latching onto the two prior standards arguments for atheism and disseminating them through much younger people than the adult influencers of the wave of new atheism. Feser recently signaled this about Rosenberg's book, as being the most formidable atheist book out there, but I have yet to see anything about Nielsen's prior moral standards argument. I'll be reading Feser's 10-part review of Rosenberg's book soon. Naturally, years from now christian apologists will issue critiques of both books as if it's all new to everyone.

Went to yet another church a couple of weeks ago. It's like all the ministers have had lobotomies. They are the real enemy in all this, not those with opposing views. Look for unchurched christians to start publicly repudiating and get in the face of these irrationality-mongers in the not too distant future. Otherwise the mindless faith-ists are going to get us all killed as a reaction to their nonsense. There's a reason why apologists are obsessed with the Canaanite massacre type stuff: they only have to deal with atheists who are weak and stupid enough to object only to some internal self-contradictory notion that gives the transcendent realty of evil an exemption from scrutiny.

Lucky 7: The Periodicity of Spiritual Weightlifting

The trans-daily principle of resting, which is the whole key to weightlifting---separating workouts by at least a day to allow for repair and extra growth of muscle cells---may have an analog in the concept of the 7th in the Bible.

Sevenness of the Hebrew Shabbat is obscured by the English word Sabbath and the fact that we use it only in the context of days of the week. But it could work for every seventh week, month, year, and in the case of the Jews in the Bible, they took a 7-year vacation every seventh set of seven years, and that seven years was I think called the Jubilee.

Staring at a Point

Staring at a point is considered, by many military close-order drill instructors, as well as my profoundly inspiring martial arts instructor John Blankenship in Austin from decades ago, a very important component for focusing (physically as well as mentally) solving problems, including philosophical problems, as well as in meditation and eye exercises.

Try it sometime for a minute or so, followed by palming for one minute afterwards.

Universals and Principles Exist Only as Aspects of Mind

The principles of reason do not exist in and of themselves individually, but all depend on each other in an equivalence class that constitutes a necessarily integral system that is indistinguishable from an ultimate mind.

I can construct this same system of mind from an inventory of assumptions taken from any argument against it or denial of it.

A mind is an entity that preferentially runs and controls programs based on and involving the principles of reason, plus basic assumptions about values, purpose, and meaning according to a hierarchy of values.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Comprehensive Inventory of Objections and Responses in the God Debate

When it comes to philosophical arguments, there's really not that much to it, because all views are based on a very small number of assumptions.

I'm now building a master inventory of all views, arguments, and objections that pertain to the God debate, including objections to arguments both for and against God, and all objections to all other philosophical views as well, especially the reductionisms, self-referring universals, and party remarks.

The bare essentials of everything from the Metatheoretic Frontiers lecture will also be integrated into this spreadsheet, beginning today.

This is the best quick-and-dirty way to compile the dialog components in a way that can be auto-processed for animated dialogs.

Also, anyone can comment. Anyone. That way, the integrity of my development is secure, and yet it's wide open for any and all comments and questions. I'll delete those comments only when I have what I think is an adequate response integrated into the document.

Here's the sheet:

Monday, September 24, 2018

On Feser vs Yet Another Establishment Philosopher

In response to a recent blog post by Edward Feser, I said:

The academic establishment of golf drunks promotes only the rent boys of completely refuted views. It's a scam, which is why they're never going to allow any cross-examination of basic assumptions, but merely repeat the same glib garbage decade after decade. They're not interested in metatheoretic argumentation---just the continued advertising campaign for reductionism, relativism, and conventionalism, regardless of cost.

Random First Thoughts

I'll narrate this book soon, even though I already have exhaustive notes on it.

Still working on the three lectures, the main one being  "Metatheoretic Frontiers". The others are "Speed-Learning Philosophy" and "How I Found Happiness in a Not-So-Happy World".

Without change there is something inside that sleeps, and never wakens.