What did the pacifist say on Facebook for Memorial Day?

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User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
4 months ago#31
Alex, thank you the translation.

Mark, I think you might be under a misapprehension regarding logic. It's not "irrational" to have an arbitrary axiom: arbitrary axioms are necessary ingredients to conduct rational thought, at least as "rational thought" is usually understood.

To give a concrete example, formal deductive logic is built on arguments that infer certain conclusions from given premises. For example, the argument "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Hence, Socartes is mortal." uses two premises, namely "All men are mortal" and "Socrates is a man". The premises could be inferred in another argument, but that argument itself needs premises, and so on. Without premises, you can never infer anything.

BUM posted...
I believe the Thomistic-Aristotelian philosophy is able to justify its first principles

But that's a contradiction in terms. A first principle is "first" in the sense that it can justify other things but is not itself justified, so in any chain of justification, it will appear first.

My classical education is weak, but the second sentence of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_principle suggests that this very idea was popularized by Aristotle, so my embrace of unjustified axioms might not be so alien to Catholic philosophy as you think.

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Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?

User Info: BUM

BUM
4 months ago#32
I'll have to read more about these things, and at least will have two years for philosophy in seminary if I am accepted. Again, I confess my ignorance and the burden that it lays on all of us, because if I knew more I would be able to do more. But one thing I should note right up front, pertaining to the first line of the cited article, "A first principle is a basic, foundational, self-evident proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption."

Here we have what I consider a distance between your thoughts and mine. In my understanding, you do not formally have a first principle, because your first principle does not fulfill all of the requirements. Forgive me for clumsily stating your first moral or ethical principle, but let us say it is something like this: human intelligence (or perhaps any intelligence, if such a thing as non-human intelligence were granted [at least I assume we are both of the same mind on this, that animals do not possess intelligence properly so-called... and this truth being held is a rarity these days...]) is to be conserved and augmented, and this is good, and that which detracts from it is bad.

Although this is basic, and it is foundational to your thought, yet it is certainly not self-evident. That is what makes first principles different. It is not that they are an arbitrary starting point in a series of infinites, or an arbitrary starting point to preclude a series of infinites-- they are a real starting point. It is not justified by any other principle, not because it is arbitrary, but because it is self-evident. The saying, "to see is to believe," we understand that when we see something we believe it. But more truly, once we see the truth and reason of a thing, we cannot then go on to disbelieve it ever again, in faith; for example, once we see the truth of the proposition that a thing cannot be and not be in the same manner at the same time, we can never again doubt the principle of non-contradiction. This is what evidence means, from the Latin e(x) videns, 'from/out of seeing.'

I would suggest, then, that there are first principles which are self-evident and which are capable of providing a foundation for true knowledge.

Thus also I am led to disagree with the idea that arbitrary axioms are necessary ingredients to conduct rational thought, because I am in disagreement that the premises from which the syllogism is wrought, are not ultimately reducible to some self-evident first principle, as opposed to a given non-evident first assumption, which, as I maintain, does not appear to have the character of a first principle at all! Furthermore, it smacks of absurdity to say that rational thought has its basis on irrational grounds, namely, arbitrary non-self-evident axioms. No one makes cakes with a first ingredient of rocks and not flour, and no one makes rational discourse if their first principles of thought are not rational!

By the way, it becomes evident now that when I said "Thomistic-Aristotelianism can justify its first principles" that indeed I was speaking nonsense, if now I am claiming that first principles by their very nature are not justifiable by aught else, seeing as they justify themselves, being self-evident.
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User Info: BUM

BUM
4 months ago#33
I hope that, through such a poor medium as text online, it is not lost that though I do debate with you, it is with a high estimation of your character and intellect that I go forth in my sallies, and not with a spirit of contentiousness. I appreciate that you yourself reply with all due mildness and kindness.
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User Info: HeyDude

HeyDude
4 months ago#34
Mark with a strong, ENTHUSIASTIC comeback!

User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
4 months ago#35
I guess I would define "self-evident" as synonymous with "axiomatic" (and indeed "axiomatic" appears in the OED as a definition). As I understand your definition, it is that a proposition is self-evident if understanding the proposition compels belief. But belief is distinct from truth. So it looks like, before you can do anything epistemically useful with the notion of self-evidence, you need to establish that self-evident propositions are actually true. And it would be circular to appeal to a notion of self-evidence to do that.

BUM posted...
Forgive me for clumsily stating your first moral or ethical principle, but let us say it is something like this: human intelligence (or perhaps any intelligence, if such a thing as non-human intelligence were granted [at least I assume we are both of the same mind on this, that animals do not possess intelligence properly so-called... and this truth being held is a rarity these days...]) is to be conserved and augmented, and this is good, and that which detracts from it is bad.

That's as good a statement as any.

Psychology recognizes that animals have intelligence of a sort, but it's of a different kind or a lesser quantity than that of humans, and in the case of my own philosophy, it's just not enough to matter. I'd more concerned with the intelligence of machines or space aliens, but we don't have any of that yet.

I hope that, through such a poor medium as text online, it is not lost that though I do debate with you, it is with a high estimation of your character and intellect that I go forth in my sallies, and not with a spirit of contentiousness. I appreciate that you yourself reply with all due mildness and kindness.

Yeah, this has been a good argument, so thank you.

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Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?

User Info: BUM

BUM
4 months ago#36
You know, I do not actually have an answer to that. It seems to be the case that sometimes we are compelled to believe a thing by a misapprehension, a false sort of evidence I would have to say, inasmuch as if it is seen to be true when it is not true it cannot be a real evidence. Yet how do I distinguish, then (a priori, for, I suppose that wrong principles can be discovered by negative proofs a posteriori), those principles which I would call truly self-evident and those which I would call only apparently self-evident, which lead to wrong belief (because belief does not always correspond to truth. Thus my categories of principles are true ones which by self evidence compel belief, and false ones which, due to a defect in the believing subject, appear to be self-evident and wrongly compel belief).

At the time I do not have an answer, though. Alas. Epistemology was in Volume II of my Modern Thomistic Philosophy books, and I only read Vol I I regret that I do not currently have an answer, nor do I know whether there is an answer-- for perhaps a good Thomist would say, "you went down the wrong avenue to begin with." I am unsure. But the question shall not be put off as a blip, and when I finally regain the leisure to study philosophy I will continue to examine this matter.

Although perhaps we could pursue other aspects of this argument about truth, this seems to be a fitting enough place to stop, unless someone has aught to contribute.

Finally, if you are ever interested in studying Catholic philosophy, I would recommend probably the most eminent of Catholic philosophers of the 20th century, Jacques Maritain (Introduction to Philosophy) which is a mere 200 pages or so. I was working my way through Modern Thomistic Philosophy by R. P. Phillips, I think, but I only have finished Vol I and I haven't had the time to go to Vol II.

All I understand about Descartes, the Catholic, is that Thomists say you ought to steer clear of him, and that he broke the system of philosophy, from which break it has not recovered.
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User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
4 months ago#37
BUM posted...
I am unsure. But the question shall not be put off as a blip, and when I finally regain the leisure to study philosophy I will continue to examine this matter.

Cool.

The relationship of Catholic thinkers with Descartes does seem to be tense, which contrasts with the view of Descartes in mainstream philosophy, in which he is considered one of the most important philosophers of the modern era. His contemporaries accused him of atheism, which from a modern perspective seems ridiculous given how large a role God played in his philosophy, but it comes to show that he disagreed to an extent with (what was then) Catholic dogma.

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Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?
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