Materialism is logically imposible

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Terrapin Station »

Londoner wrote:That would suggest that there are 'facts' out there, as objects in the universe, and that we might stumble across an objective one. But to say there are no objective truths is to dispute that any 'facts' can qualify as such.
I didn't notice your comment until now. There are facts out there on my view, as objective states of affairs--facts are not themselves objects, but ways that objects/structures/relations happen to be. No facts qualify as "objective truths," but facts are objective (and some are subjective--facts re mental phenomena--again, remember that I simply use subjective/objective ontologically more or less as a location term).
For example, one could say 'the sky is blue' and also 'the sky is not blue'. That covers all possibilities, so one of those 'facts' must be true. Yet neither are objectively true.
Facts are not the sorts of things that are true. Truth is a property of propositions instead.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Terrapin Station wrote:When I say that truth is subjective, I'm (1) Referring to what I take to be an objective fact (the fact that truth-value does not occur extramentally), and (2) Stating something that I judge to be true; that judgment is subjective, obviously, as are all judgments.
You've nicely summarized my critique of that position. 1) is self-contradictory ("...I take to be an objective fact"), and 2) is merely personal, and as such does not rationally induce or obligate anyone else to the same subjective perspective. After all, it's not objectively true, is it? Or is it, in which case 1) is your problem there.
..."Cat" (as a concept, word, reference--whichever aspect of it you want to look at) isn't itself true or false. What's true or false are propositions about cats, and they're true or false via making a judgment about the relation between the proposition and something else.
For which reason, "cat" is simply irrelevant. It's not a predication of anything, and as you rightly observe, propositions are predications. The terms objectively true/subjectively true apply only to predications, never to free-standing nouns or other non-propositional constructions, such as commands.
Re (2), it's definitely not something I'd say is necessarily true. It's contingently true.
That means you know you could be wrong, then. If you couldn't, then it would be objectively certain.
Also, "necessarily true" at best refers to someone not being able to conceive/imagine how something could be false.
No, that's not quite so. It means a variety of things. For instance, it surely applies to things that cannot not-exist (perhaps we might say energy qualifies there), and to things that by nature of their concepts have to be as they are (an unmarried bachelor or a feline cat would qualify there). A third application is when a logical syllogism is valid and contains true predicates: because then the conclusion that follows is said to be "necessarily true."
It's not a broader metaphysical property. That doesn't imply that there can not be metaphysical necessities, but truth wouldn't be a metaphysical necessity.
I disagree. And I see that by your actions, you also disagree with your claim. For you would surely assert that "truth isn't a metaphysical necessity" is a true claim, would you not? But then it is itself an example of the very thing you deny by your claim.

Essentially, you are self-refuting there.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can wrote:If objective truth doesn't exist, you really cannot make a statement of any kind at all.
That's the old "insisting that my view is the only choice available" tactic.

For example, say that Alan believes that it's only possible to pledge allegiance to the flag if one is wearing a red shirt. You say, "That's not true. I just pledged allegiance to the flag and I was wearing a blue shirt." Alan replies, "No, you weren't actually pledging allegiance to the flag" (because of course in his view pledging allegiance requires one to be wearing a red shirt). In other words, in order to count as doing F, S says that property p is necessary. Thus if property p isn't present, one can't be doing F per S, despite contrary views that p is not required to do F.

You believe that making a statement requires the stance that one is uttering an objective truth.

Not everyone has that view, though. Some people think that making a statement is a matter of uttering something that one subjectively judges to be true (so that truth has the property of subjectivity).
Are you trying to assert that the term "objective truth" contains the same kind of self-evident contradiction?
It's a category error, which is clear on empirical examination of the world.
Before we knew the kiwi bird existed, nobody ever went looking for one. And yet they exist.
People have certainly sought objective truths, objective aesthetic judgments, objective meanings, objective concepts, etc. No one can find any, because they're not the sorts of things that occur extramentally.
Finally, even the statement "Objective truth is like a square circle" is a universal predicate, a statement of objective truth.
On your view, statements presuppose a stance of issuing an objective truth, so of course you'd think that's a statement of objective truth. On an alternate view, nothing is a statement of objective truth, as there are no such things.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Okay, one thing at a time to make sure we don't skip anything. Don't type a bunch if you want us to get to each of your comments. Just answer/address things directly and succinctly, as if we were chatting . . . of course, that would be easier if you weren't so busy, but still.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:When I say that truth is subjective, I'm (1) Referring to what I take to be an objective fact (the fact that truth-value does not occur extramentally), and (2) Stating something that I judge to be true; that judgment is subjective, obviously, as are all judgments.
You've nicely summarized my critique of that position. 1) is self-contradictory ("...I take to be an objective fact"),
Contradictions are occurrences of P & ~P. What's P in this case?
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Terrapin Station wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:If objective truth doesn't exist, you really cannot make a statement of any kind at all.
That's the old "insisting that my view is the only choice available" tactic.
No, it's not. You've got me wrong. I'm not intending it that way at all. I'm pointing out that according to your own view, there is no objective weight to anything you might claim. After all, there is no objective truth...even to what you yourself might say. :shock:

As for me, I believe you have every right to say all you want: but then, I believe in objective facts and objective truth, so there is nothing in my view that demands I do not. Not so in yours: according to your own declared standards, you cannot. By your own account, nothing you might say could be "objectively true." And if it were, it would simply undermine the very claim you're at pains to assert.

So it's not my bias that says you cannot assert anything: it's your own position that says that -- that is, if you take it seriously and apply it to yourself. And absent an objective truth, how would you think it should apply to anyone else anyway? :shock:

I don't blame you for not applying it, though. I wouldn't either. :D
You believe that making a statement requires the stance that one is uttering an objective truth.
No, I don't. You misunderstand me again here. Let me clarify.

I affirm you can make all the personal statements you want to, without undermining your denial of objectivity. Personal statements are, after all, purely subjective, and subjective statements are not something upon which you and I disagree -- anybody can make them. They only amount to saying, "I think," not "You ought to think so too." No probs.

But I must add that they don't have to be taken seriously either, because you deny the power of reason to compel any agreement with you. After all, they're not objectively binding.

So far so good. It's only when you expected or asked that someone else should believe you that you would undermine yourself. For there you would need to draw on an objective, common standard to mediate your claim. And you have declared any such claim invalid. So you are in no position at all to complain.

In fact, you would need a universal axiom something like, "It is wrong to deny people a right to speak" to complain in the first place. :wink:
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Terrapin Station wrote:Okay, one thing at a time to make sure we don't skip anything. Don't type a bunch if you want us to get to each of your comments. Just answer/address things directly and succinctly, as if we were chatting . . . of course, that would be easier if you weren't so busy, but still.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:When I say that truth is subjective, I'm (1) Referring to what I take to be an objective fact (the fact that truth-value does not occur extramentally), and (2) Stating something that I judge to be true; that judgment is subjective, obviously, as are all judgments.
You've nicely summarized my critique of that position. 1) is self-contradictory ("...I take to be an objective fact"),
Contradictions are occurrences of P & ~P. What's P in this case?
Take "subjective" to mean "not objective" and you'll get it.

Your claim is essentially that "It's an objective truth (P) that truth is subjective (~P)."

P.S. -- If we keep our messages very short, then not clipping previous messages will work. But that will limit our ability to address complicated issues. For long posts, clipping the main bits is still the best way to go. Nobody likes reading the same message three or four times.

But please yourself: if you keep it short, I'll answer shortly. If you put a bunch of stuff in a single message, then you can't really fault me anymore for clipping to fit, can you?
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can wrote: But if the category "fact" is just an empty set, then even the claim that there is no such thing as a "fact" cannot itself be a "fact."
There can still be things we call facts, but I do not think they are the same as 'objective truth'.
How do you conclude this? Are you asserting that "blueness" is not produced by any property in the sky, but rather is a complete illusion generated by the percipient? If it were so, then there's no expectation that any two people would agree at all...and no content to the statement "the sky is _________ (anything).
We wouldn't call it (the blueness of the sky) an illusion, because it does not satisfy the criteria for an illusion, for example other people describe it the same way, it is always there and so on. On the other hand, our perception is a function of our eyes. If we had different eyes (and some creatures do), then we would see a different colour. Indeed, perhaps we all do see different colours; we have no way of knowing.
Me: The claim would not be that the one 'objective truth' does not exist, but that the phrase 'objective truth' does not describe anything. That it is like 'square circle'.
You're still faced with the first problem: how do you know that? And with the second, because even to say "Objective truth is a squared circle" is to make an objective proposition. If objective truth doesn't exist, you really cannot make a statement of any kind at all.
I did not say "Objective truth is a squared circle". I said it was like a 'square circle' in that we do not know what one would be like, so we cannot search for one.

To say a phrase has no meaning is not the same as saying it does not exist. If it has no meaning then we have not made any assertion, so the question of its existence does not arise.

This is wandering into Plato and Strawson and all that lot. If this is a general claim that we can't deny any claims of existence, then it really needs a seperate thread.
But the square circle defies a universal law of logic, namely the Law of Non-Contradiction. Are you trying to assert that the term "objective truth" contains the same kind of self-evident contradiction? Or are you saying it's empirically untrue? Either way, the old problems resurface.
Once again, the 'square circle' does not defy anything, it is meaningless. By asking me the question, you are giving 'square circle' a form of existence; 'square circle' is now the name of a thing with a property - it defies a law of logic. Thus we have slipped into treating it as meaningful, with a secondary question of 'does it exist?' meaning 'are there any examples of this thing?'

The question of empirical truth do not arise, because we have not asserted anything. The description 'objective truth' may be self-contradictory, but since we do not know what it describes we cannot say. I think this problem emerges below:
Three further problems.

"Cogito ergo sum" still looks very good as a candidate for an objective truth. I may not be able to say what the "sum" refers to precisely, but that it must logically refer to something existent is unimpeachable.
Is that 'sum' something different to the 'cogito', or is it just another name for it? If it is the second, then it would unimpeachable, but that would only be because it is a tautology. Or, if that 'sum' is something different, then we would need something extra to the cogito...

So I do not know how this would qualify as an 'objective truth'. What is it a truth about? Or to put it another way, what would disprove its truth? If something is a proposition then it can either be true or false; if something can only be true it would be a tautology.
And secondly, to say "I don't know of any universal truths" is certainly suitably modest. But to say, "Therefore you do not either" or "They don't exist" is excessive, rationally speaking. One cannot know such a thing oneself. And to say, "We do not know what we are looking for" is not to say a thing does not exist either. Before we knew the kiwi bird existed, nobody ever went looking for one. And yet they exist.
As I wrote earlier, that there are no kiwi birds (because we had never found one) would be inductive reasoning. But that is not the argument here.

I would suggest that here the situation is that you are asserting that kiwi birds might exist, but cannot explain what a kiwi bird would be.
Finally, even the statement "Objective truth is like a square circle" is a universal predicate, a statement of objective truth. So perhaps your candidate for such a thing is not nearly so elusive and unknown as you suggest: in fact, it's in your own claim there.
I'm saying that the phrases are alike in that neither phrase has any meaning. They do not refer to anything, so the question of their truth does not arise.

Suppose I said 'X is like Y'. When asked what X and Y stand for, I said 'I don't know'. How could we decide if my proposition was true or false? We couldn't, because I would not have presented a proposition.
And if it's not, then surely there's no reason to take your claim as anything stronger than a personal confession of frustration with epistemology -- it certainly cannot be a universal problem. If it were, it would be an objective problem.
I do not follow that. Perhaps it would help if you said what you mean by 'objective'.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can wrote:Your claim is essentially that "It's an objective truth (P) that truth is subjective (~P)."
No, it isn't. I'm not saying that anything is an objective truth. There are objective facts, however. I keep explaining that I'm using the standard analytic philosophy distinction between truth and fact. Truth is a property of propositions ONLY.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can wrote:So it's not my bias that says you cannot assert anything: it's your own position that says that
You understand that on my view, asserting something isn't the same as suggesting that something is an objective truth, right? If you say that is "has to be," then you're doing what I described.
It's only when you expected or asked that someone else should believe you that you would undermine yourself.
My view doesn't disallow persuasion or anything like that--persuasion works by appealing to psychology, after all. And again, it's not that I believe that there are no objective facts. Additionally, I could think that everyone's mind works exactly the same. So I could think something like, "S should agree with me because his mind works just like mine." That doesn't make is non-subjective. Again, "subjective" merely refers to location--namely, in or of a mind.
So you are in no position at all to complain. In fact, you would need a universal axiom something like, "It is wrong to deny people a right to speak" to complain in the first place. :wink:
I'm very confused what we'd be talking about there. What complaint are we referring to? Denying people a 'right' to speak?? I'm lost.

At any rate, ethical utterances are statements of how one feels about interpersonal behavior that one considers more significant than matters of mere etiquette. There do not need to be objective ethical facts to say how one feels.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

Londoner wrote: I did not say "Objective truth is a squared circle". I said it was like a 'square circle' in that we do not know what one would be like, so we cannot search for one. To say a phrase has no meaning is not the same as saying it does not exist. If it has no meaning then we have not made any assertion, so the question of its existence does not arise.
If that were true, then to say, as you do, "Objective truth is like a squared circle" is also a nonsense statement. The noun has no referent in reality, according to you. Moreover, it's not objectively true: it's just a statement of subjective feeling.

How seriously should anyone take someone else's subjective impression? Not very seriously, I'm thinking.
Once again, the 'square circle' does not defy anything, it is meaningless.
No, it's not meaningless. Both words have meaning. It's just that they contradict. That's quite different from being meaningless.
...it defies a law of logic...
I thought you said it didn't defy anything? Now you say it does. I'm pretty sure that's a contradiction too. :D
The question of empirical truth do not arise, because we have not asserted anything.
So you don't believe the assertion, "Objective truth is unreal," or "Objective truth is absurd"? Because anything like that IS an assertion...
Is that 'sum' something different to the 'cogito', or is it just another name for it? If it is the second, then it would unimpeachable, but that would only be because it is a tautology. Or, if that 'sum' is something different, then we would need something extra to the cogito...
The cogito is a verb of action. The sum is a verb of being. The implication is that the action would not exist without an agent to enact it. And that's perfectly logical, as a deduction.
Finally, even the statement "Objective truth is like a square circle" is a universal predicate, a statement of objective truth. So perhaps your candidate for such a thing is not nearly so elusive and unknown as you suggest: in fact, it's in your own claim there.
I'm saying that the phrases are alike in that neither phrase has any meaning.

Again, that is incorrect. "Square circle" is meaningful, but a contradiction. Whether "objective truth" fits in any similar category is a matter to be established by you. But if you succeed, you fail: for then you would establish it as an objective truth.

The problem just won't go away. And the burden to show that objective truth cannot exist cannot be met by pretending the question doesn't make sense. That's just presuming the conclusion. But proving is even more problematic; because as I say, if you succeed in it, you fail.

So I can understand the desire to cut the Gordian knot there. Still, it's no answer.
Londoner wrote:
And if it's not, then surely there's no reason to take your claim as anything stronger than a personal confession of frustration with epistemology -- it certainly cannot be a universal problem. If it were, it would be an objective problem.
I do not follow that. Perhaps it would help if you said what you mean by 'objective'.
Objective truth is a statement accurately conformable to reality. As such, it is epistemologically binding for anyone who considers that particular aspect of reality.

For example, "Londoner is writing" is an objective truth about Londoner, if indeed he is writing; Londoner experiences it, but it is not merely subjective to Londoner -- it is also a truth that is relevant to anyone who is wondering who is writing, or what Londoner is presently doing. It's objective for all who may be concerned with the question, for any reason.

Does that help?
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Terrapin Station wrote:No, it isn't. I'm not saying that anything is an objective truth. There are objective facts, however. I keep explaining that I'm using the standard analytic philosophy distinction between truth and fact. Truth is a property of propositions ONLY.
Well, I'm waiting for the payoff of all this. If I take your claim at face value, it looks like you are saying two things:

1. There is no such thing as objective truth.

2. That is objectively true.

Maybe you should tell me which of the above you're NOT asserting.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Immanuel Can »

I confess that I'm incurious about responding to your first bit of comment, so I'll clip here. And I think you'll see my other little clips are also for the same reason, not to hide anything to which a response is required...at least, I have none to offer about the missing bits. You do continue to produce substantially lengthy responses, and I want to keep my response post less that twice as long as your original.

Pardon the clipping, then, if you will.
Terrapin Station wrote:My view doesn't disallow persuasion or anything like that--persuasion works by appealing to psychology, after all.
But this "psychological appeal" is derivative of a belief in truth. You cannot rationally persuade someone unless they imagine what you are telling them is the objective truth, in fact. You can "stimulate" them, or invite them to share your mere tastes, but even to do so little as to propagandize them, they must believe in the truth value of your predications.
Again, "subjective" merely refers to location--namely, in or of a mind.
Well, if that's all it means -- location of belief, without reference to external reality -- it's uninteresting...trite, even. Of course people believe with their minds, just as all breathing takes place in lungs. But what is breathed, and what is believed, are derived from the objective, outside world.
I'm very confused what we'd be talking about there. What complaint are we referring to? Denying people a 'right' to speak?? I'm lost.
I'm sorry...I had the idea from your previous response that you thought I was denying you the right to an opinion other than mine, and doing so merely on pique. You seemed to be complaining about that. But I was saying I was not denying you the right to believe anything, and not speaking on pique, but rather parsing your own suppositions and applying them consistently to your situation.
At any rate, ethical utterances are statements of how one feels about interpersonal behavior that one considers more significant than matters of mere etiquette.
Whose "ethics" are you channelling there? I wasn't even thinking of "ethics" myself.
There do not need to be objective ethical facts to say how one feels.
No, you're right, there do not. But even in such as subjective matter as "feelings," surely if one wishes one's "feelings" to deserve regard from others, then one must supply one's justification, showing that the "feelings" in question are not merely products of mental imbalance, misunderstanding, indigestion or confusion, but are warranted responses to some objective situation. Barring that, one has one's feelings all to oneself, but nobody else needs to care.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by Terrapin Station »

Immanuel Can wrote:Moreover, it's not objectively true: it's just a statement of subjective feeling.
It's not objectively true, but it can be an objective fact. "Truth" and "fact" do not refer to the same things. It seems like you're not making a distinction.
How seriously should anyone take someone else's subjective impression? Not very seriously, I'm thinking.
"Take seriously" is a pet peeve phrase for me. "Relevant/irrelevant" without saying what something is (ir)relevant to is another one.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

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Immanuel Can wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:No, it isn't. I'm not saying that anything is an objective truth. There are objective facts, however. I keep explaining that I'm using the standard analytic philosophy distinction between truth and fact. Truth is a property of propositions ONLY.
Well, I'm waiting for the payoff of all this. If I take your claim at face value, it looks like you are saying two things:

1. There is no such thing as objective truth.

2. That is objectively true.

Maybe you should tell me which of the above you're NOT asserting.
At this point I'd have to conclude that you're incapable of learning. Why would you think I'm claiming 2? I never said that, and I've rather said exactly the opposite at least a handful of times.
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Re: Materialism is logically imposible

Post by attofishpi »

Noax wrote:
attofishpi wrote:
Noax wrote:Tell me why the robot doesn't feel pain. All you're doing is asserting it in all caps. That doesn't make the point stick any harder.
I'm looking for a statement of the hard problem, not just an unfounded assertion that there is one.
So are you asking why a rock does not feel pain?
Rocks seem not to feel pain. Neither does a pinball machine, since it is merely detection illegal motion which might put the machine in danger. But it otherwise relies more on armor. It does not directly detect attempts to break into its coin box for instance.

So the laptop and hunger is a far better example. A rock requires no fuel, so it doesn't feel hunger. A candle does require it, but it doesn't detect low fuel. It just eventually starves. Mayflies similarly do not experience hunger. Does that make my laptop more conscious than a mayfly? Only if the consciousness experience is defined solely as knowing hunger.
No, because you laptop does not have anything remotely close to consciousness. Machines have 0 degree of consciousness, as much consciousness in fact as a rock. Your laptop merely has the ability to advise its user - someone who is conscious that he\she needs to plug in the charger.
A machine only mimics 'intelligence' - binary data stored in silicon chips in no way shape or form permits consciousness.
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