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What Happened To Your Premises?

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Posted by Harvey on September 2, 2002 02:28:12 UTC

Hi Luis,

***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.***

Luis, I am surprised that you continue to make so many errors in your logic, and yet you continue forward as though it is me who is making the errors! Your arguments A2 thru A5 were all faulty, and A6 wasn't even a complete argument. Yet, you didn't even bother to correct any of these arguments which underlie your whole position! I'm shocked. In any case, let me continue to correct your post.

***QM says that there are no such things as OBJECTS. Hello?***


***It’s almost funny that you concentrated on criticizing A1 through A5, and then completely blew by A6.***

A6 wasn't a completed argument. C6 was left with a question mark. However, A6 was based on A1 thru A5, and many of those arguments were faulty. In that sense, it isn't even necessary to consider 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).***

Again, what do you mean by objectivity? Objectivity generally means something which is ontologically correct. However, everything about the world we know from inside our own selves. There is nothing 'objective' about the world in that sense.

***The point was that, you accept certain givens on your way to a conclusion that casts [ontological] doubt upon these very givens (this example's 'given' was objectivity).***

A 'given' premise is not referring to something as ontologically given. It is referring to something as epistemologically given. That is, there is enough reason to accept the premise even if there are still ontological doubts. For example, I would say that there is a real earth around me as epistemologically given, but it is not an ontological given. There is a small, small,..., possibility that I am on Mars and that aliens are feeding my head with images of what earth was like 2 billion years ago. But, I don't consider that possibility as epistemologically acceptable.

***H:”I don't know what you mean by A6.” L: 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?***

Objective doesn't necessarily mean an object-based world exists or doesn't exist. It has to do with perspective. If there are no objects (ontologically speaking), this doesn't mean that there is no objective world. Obviously, if the laws of QM dictate the kind of world that exists, then these would then be objective laws.

***However, time itself does not pass... Well, I don’t hold an ontological stance on time... Nonetheless, as far as we can tell there is no absolute time.***

The term "as far as we can tell" is quite different from saying that there is no such thing as the passage of time (i.e., a passage of a current 'now' to a future 'now'). The former is epistemological and the latter is ontological. This is why I cited your retort as an ontological stance (thanks for clarifying your stance). In any case, I don't wish to get off the main subject. I'd like to concentrate on A2-A6.

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

We can discuss this issue at another time. ;-)

***H: "To say that there is no passage of time is an ontological statement.” L: 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.***

Yes, whenever you say something doesn't exist as some type of absolute statement of existence, you are definitely discussing an ontological view. It might take you time to get accustomed to this kind of vocabulary, but I think you'll find it worth the time and effort as it will dramatically help identify what someone is talking about. It seems epistemology and ontology are issues of confusion more often than those who confuse left and right.

***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?***

Yes, it is ontological. The reason is because it must be 99.999% of something that allows you to reach this level of confidence. How do you know that what was true in the past will be true in the future? If the past probability of occurrence allows someone to be probablistically sure of something in the future, then this is an ontological belief. Obviously, we don't know the future. We believe that the future will be as the past, and hence we conclude that past probabilities will hold for the future. Yet, this is an ontological commitment of future occurrences.

***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.***

Well, if this is not your argument for your case against ontological beliefs, then you broke the rules. This is supposed to be your argument spelled out that should effectively lead toward your position. That's the argument I want. The reason I want it is because you haven't presented me your premises which I can easily deduce your position. Just submitting fallacious arguments throughout was a waste of my time when I commented on them. They are fallacious. I don't reason that way, and if you don't reason that way, then who cares? I only want to know how you reason. In this way, I can show you where your reasoning is faulty, and thereby advance our discussion to the point to where most philosophers are today. I'd like everyone to get up to speed on these current discussions, because that will lead to much more interesting discussions.

***H: ”Asking an agnostic his ontology is only asking to hear their premises, their logic, and their conclusions.” L: 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.***

Ontology doesn't require that objectivity is a given. An agnostic has an ontology, and if you want to know what that ontology is, all you need is to get their premises, logic, and conclusions, and then that ontology will become obvious.

***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).***

Sorry Luis, that line of reasoning isn't one that I would push on you. I deny true objectivity. What I accept is that we all make ontological commitments. That doesn't mean we are objective in those commitments, it is simply a matter of brute fact that we are required to make ontological commitments.

***“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.***

Oh my gosh, Luis, you totally miss the boat with regard to your own premises. That wouldn't be so bad, but you are fully certain in your premises that you can't even question whether they are possibly wrong. Let me ask you again Luis, "how do you know that your (bias) is an absolutely correct bias?" Do you realize that your failure (or unwillingness) to answer this basic question fully undermines your arguments?

Sorry to be a little rough, but I noticed a shift in your tone, and I have to make you aware of your unfounded premises and reasoning that supports your position. Please, give me your A1-A6, this time make it your argument, with your premises, and with complete and finished conclusions. Anyone should be able to follow your argument and fully understand your position as a result. Include no fallacies! Also, answer my question which I've asked 3 or 4 times. Thanks.

Warm regards, Harv

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