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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on September 1, 2002 15:27:40 UTC

Hi Harv,

>>>”A1 is a set of definitions. . .”

I had a feeling you’d do this.

>>>(Focus on A1 thru A5)

It’s almost funny that you concentrated on criticizing A1 through A5, and then completely blew by A6. A1 thru A5 were an illustration that there is a deep foundation within each of us that defines “objectivity,” and not a representation of my own beliefs (a point which you almost caught onto, but didn't -- due to your inability to recognize how someone can have no beliefs). How your own foundations differ from my A1 - A5 example is not important. The point was that, you accept certain givens on your way to a conclusion that casts doubt upon these very givens (this example's 'given' was objectivity).

>>>”I don't know what you mean by A6.”

I’ll try my best not to be insulting here, but there’s a reason I italicized every derivative of the word object in the arguments leading up to A6 (objective, objectify, etc.). QM says that there are no such things as OBJECTS. Hello?


>>>”I'm curious as to why you hold an ontological stance on time (i.e., that time does not pass). The passage of time and the expanse of space is one of the most powerful sensory experiences of being human."

Well, I don’t hold an ontological stance on time, or on anything else; however, apparently you still do not grasp what makes an agnostic tick.

Nonetheless, as far as we can tell there is no absolute time. Time is inherent to everything; nothing (with mass, at least) can separate from it, and time is meaningless sans "things." The notion that time passes is a notion that there is something independent of time that time itself may pass. Indeed, I’d like very much for you to explain what time passes.

(By the way -- you said "the expanse of space" is a "powerful sensory experience." What in the world do you mean by this?!)

>>>"To say that there is no passage of time is an ontological statement.”

There is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy! Was that an ontological statement too? Geez, I'm starting to think this ontology thing is a pushover.

Is it ontological if a speaker says he's 99.999% sure of something? What if it's understood by the listener, or expressed ad nauseum by the speaker, that the speaker recoils from ever stating absolute knowledge?


>>>”Now, I'm confused. A3, A4, and A5 all above (your arguments) mention the term objective as something that is obtainable. How can you acknowledge an objectivity to the world up above and deny it here?”

Where’s my dog? I feel like kicking something (only a joke, of course, but the frustration is there).

I spelled out a “progression” one might take towards agnosticism (“Here is what might be a ‘typical’ progression from cogito, ergo sum...), then plopped a paradox on the table (A6 -- which, for those slower readers who still haven't gotten it, reminds us how QM denies objectivity). I then pointed out that some folks might take from this “the suggestion that he might backtrack an Argument or more.” That is, I specifically highlighted that the arguments we take for granted (maybe A3 through A5; A2 through A5, maybe A5 only, etc.) lead to conclusions causing us to either backtrack and question our tendnecy to require beliefs, or to continue insisting upon the notion that there are givens, thereby defying the parsimony we once emphasized in deriving A1 thru Ax.


>>>”Asking an agnostic his ontology is only asking to hear their premises, their logic, and their conclusions.”

If you wish to demote Ontology to mean “premises, logic, and conclusions” then I’d cheerfully agree! However, I’m pretty sure philosophers the world round wouldn’t so easily simplify their definitions. Ontology requires that objectivity is a given. How do you know objectivity is a given? I posit that you presume the metaphysical aspect of ontology in order to conclude “objectivity,” and if pressed to argue for metaphysics, you’d have to pull out “objectivity” as a given (premise).


>>>“You can't free yourself from ontology.”
>>>“I don't see the connection.”
>>>”I don't recall separating ontology from personal ontology to avoid metaphysics.”

Quite frankly, you do not get it. I'm starting to doubt you ever will. You may never be able to dig deep enough into your own beliefs to question ontology.

It seems you underestimate me, and each time you can confirm your own bias ( -- which is essentially the same thing as what you call “personal ontology”) you throw my argument aside. I’m sorry I facilitated this mistake with (A1 thru A5), but I’m quite convinced I am not the one experiencing “profound confusion.”


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