Friday, February 13, 2009


Sye and I will post in the commentaries section below. Please post your own words on the thread above. For this section only, I will strike down any other posts but ours!

(From DC)

Sye and I have agreed to discuss this argument in a fair and civilized manner. To not clog the blog up with too many posts on this, the previous post (marked "Temporary") has now been deleted, and this post will replace it.

Recall that TAG seeks to demonstrate God by the impossibility of the contrary. This means, suppose that X is the subject Sye wishes to discuss at hand. Then the particular proof will go in the following manner:

1) If God does not exist, X cannot exist.
2) X exists.
3) Therefore, God exists.

X can mean "absolute laws of logic," "moral truths," and so on. This argument form's premises will be analyzed as each specific 'X' is brought to the discussion.

Additionally, specific topics may be asked of me not directly related to this form. I will address these as they come from Sye, as well.

Other responders are welcome, as always. However, Sye and I will primarily be focused on each other's arguments, so other commentators should be considered a sort of "peanut gallery" and ought not get offended if neither of us address your particular objections; we will, however, attempt according to our time constraints to look at what everyone else has to say.

Sye and I will respond as long as our schedules can afford.

Sye, you have the ball. I believe you began discussing sense perception on the radio show you linked last night, so we could begin with that.


  1. I propose that you require, before the debate begins, that Sye state the version of TAG he plans to defend---and which you will argue against. TAG proponents have the odd habit of never actually formulating the argument they're supposed to be defending.

  2. I'd also suggest a more formal debate with opening statements, rebuttals, counterrebuttals and closing statements of specified length.

    Otherwise you're just going to find the TAG proponent repeatedly asking you questions (account for this, prove that) but never actually defending their own views---making you do ALL the work.

    But its your debate and your blog.

    A final note, I suggest you start a separate post for people commenting on the debate---otherwise it may get confusing keeping straight whether a comment was made by one of the debaters or the "peanut gallery".

    Personally, I'll post nothing more here once the debate has started to avoid exactly that confusion---but I'll enjoy watching it unfold.

    Good luck to you both.

  3. Heya!

    I actually asked him about a "debate," and he said he had never engaged in a structured one (with opening statements etc) so I allowed him the Law and Order kind of procedure here.

    Sye is allowed to use all versions of TAG presented on his webpage, i.e. logical/mathematical/scientific/moral truths, etc. However (Sye) you ought to define your terms that you gave me last night for "account," and your terms for the above said truths.

    Opening up a peanut gallery thread is a good idea :)

  4. Hey Darrin,

    Just heard you on The Narrow Mind! Cool. Good job.

    I've been busy clearing my slate. I'll try to post here tomorrow.

  5. Alright Darrin, thanks for your patience. Let’s get this show on the road.

    As I stated, it is my contention that universal, abstract, invariant laws are based in the nature and character of God, as He has revealed to us in His Word. I also proceed with the expectation that the laws of logic will continue to hold based on God's requirements of us, and His promises to us.

    I imagine that with our interactions, and from my website, you have ascertained how the Christian accounts for universal, abstract, invariants,or more plainly, how those attributes make sense according to the Christian worldview. But I suppose right off the bat, we should see if there is agreement that the laws of logic, are in fact, universal, abstract, and invariant, and if you accept that you proceed with the assumption that they WILL hold. If there is agreement there, please tell us how universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense according to your worldview, and on what basis you proceed with the assumption that they WILL hold.

    If you need clarification on my position regarding the above points, I will glady provide it.


  6. First of all, thanks to my new friend Sye for agreeing to this informal debate! As many of my readers know, I am an agnostic, and I am always interested in any strong evidences for the existence of God. I consider TAG to be a rich argument, and will enjoy presenting my case here.

    I would like to first note that, if I succeed against TAG, it in no way refutes the existence of God. Perhaps God may be reached through the Cosmological Argument, or the Ontological Argument, and so on.

    It does not even invalidate God as the creator and sustainer of all things. For, given my argument, God may still have created the Universe as such; since I can account for how the universal laws of logic persist in relation to metaphysics, all this says is that God may have created persistence itself as an inherent quality in reality. So what I write here in no way invalidates Christianity, and the religion still would warrant further explanation on my part.

    Now, to explain how the laws of logic will occur in the future, it needs to briefly be stated how I account for the laws of logic in the first place. To begin with, I always insist on defining my terms; let's start with what the laws of logic are.

    Truth =def. Epistemological correspondence with metaphysical reality.

    Laws of Logic =def.
    (1)p^T = p, p v F = p. (Identity, roughly equivalent to "that which is, is; that which is not, is not")
    (2)not(p v not-p) = T (Non-Contradiction, roughly equivalent to "That which is cannot both be and not-be")
    (3)p v not-p = T (Excluded Middle, roughly equivalent to "Either something is or is not")
    (4)p^q=q^p; p v q=q v p(Commutativity, "whether both p is and/or q is means the same as whether q is and/or p is")
    (5)p ^(q^r)= (p^q)^r; (pvq)vr=pv(qvr) (Associativity; "the order of and-consideration and or-consideration in the evaluation of existence in a particular given state of constituents is irrelevant")
    (6)p^(qvr)=(p^q)v(p^r); pv(q^r)=(pvq)^(pvr) (Distributivity; to consider the existence of q or r first and evaluate its truth with the existence of p means exactly to first evaluate both the truth of p and q's existence taken together, p and r's existence taken together, and then consider whether either of those evaluations are true; the second statement is stated likewise)

    axiom =def. The presuppositional foundation of all knowledge, or, a proposition which must be used in any denial of its veracity.

    A(Axiom) 1. The laws of logic are epistemologically valid axiomatically (Note: this is not a circular proof, for I am using the laws of logic to prove the *axiomatic nature of the laws of logic*).

    Proof. Let X be a proof against the axiomatic, foundational nature of the laws of logic. But all proofs presuppose these laws in their truth-evaluation (even if they do not use all such axiomatic components) since all proofs reach a true or false conclusion based on truth-table evaluation, which operates upon such laws. Therefore, any proof against these laws uses these laws implicitly, proving their axiomatic nature epistemologically QED.

    Corollary 1. The Laws of Logic apply to the future epistemologically.

    Proof. The definition does not contain particular statements of time-dependence, making them tenseless and applicable epistemologically at any particular past- or future- time state. QED.

    Note this DOES NOT MEAN that Metaphysics will behave as the Laws of Logic state they will, in the future. To prove that Metaphysics will follow Cor.1. correspondingly, we must study the account (notice I did not say "my account") for the Laws of Logic.

    Please note that a use of the Laws of Logic is not circular in this case, for, one must not confuse (as similar to above) *the* laws of logic with an *account* for the laws of logic.

    More definitions.

    Existence =def. "that which is."

    Identity =def. "a set of constituents"

    Existent =def. "an identity in existence"

    Consciousness =def. "the process of identification of existence."

    Sense Perception =def. "The immediate contents of consciousness."

    Self "I" =def. (Logically precedent) consciousness.

    Notice also that these definitions do not (yet) provide for a separable reality, or the existence of more than one object; nor do they imply that reality exists independently of the mind (i.e. solipsism). We will deal with each of these problems in turn.

    A (Axiom) 2. (My) Sense-perception exists.

    Proof. If I were to offer a disproof, I perceive the disproof. QED.

    Axiom A3. I exist.

    Proof. Any proof I were to offer would contradict A2, since it presupposes consciousness by definition. But A2 is axiomatic. Therefore, consciousness, meaning I, exist. QED

    Cor. Solipsism is false.

    Proof. My consciousness is not included in my sense perceptions. Therefore an independent entity apart from sense perception exists, refuting solipsism absolutely.

    Axiom A4. Something exists.

    Proof. Any disproof would deny A2, for A2 demonstrates that the contents of my consciousness exist, therefore they possess at least one identity p, namely p =def. the identity "exists." QED.

    The correspondence theory of truth is well-defined, since we have a nonempty set of metaphysical quality; since we have a nonempty set of metaphysical quality, then, the first three laws of logic are accounted for from metaphysics as such:

    My sense perceptions are --> Identity.
    My sense perceptions are or are not --> Excluded Middle.
    My sense perceptions cannot be and not be at the same time --> Non-Contradiction.

    The other three laws of logic require more than one existent to base in metaphysics and thus be accounted for (and these three can have an even stronger basis!).

    Axiom A5. A (limited) existent other than the basic identity "existence of sense perceptions" exists in my sense perception. I.e. Particulars exist.

    Proof. Any disproof would lead to nonseparable identity, i.e. only one identity is. But my TV is black and my chair is not, as given by my sense perceptions. But this is a contradiction.

    Since more than one particular (entity) exists, the other laws of logic are meaningful and can be similarly tied to existence. We have an account of the laws of logic.

    For matters of interest,

    causation =def. the action of identity of one entity upon another identity.

    Axiom A6. The set of causal relation is nonempty.

    Proof. Suppose not. But the proof thereof is developed and presented and due to change my mind, a cause from the interaction of those identities. Therefore the set of causal relation is nonempty.

    Axiom A7. The contents of consciousness are an exact and valid representation of an external reality independent of consciousness.

    Proof. Any disproof would necessarily, given the previous axioms, presuppose that consciousness causes sense perception. But consciousness cannot cause sense perception without precedent content - implying external reality, i.e. as it does in dreams and/or conditions of psychosis such as hearing voices or the "brain in the jar" scenario. This is because consciousness must create each continuous state ex nihilo, i.e. out of nothing, which implies at the very least that consciousness is omnipotent. But if consciousness is omnipotent, than the created can be controlled by thought, which it cannot. QED.

    So, let's review. In short, we have that:

    -The epistemological laws of logic are a tenselessly valid foundation for thought.

    -Such laws of logic have a logically precedent foundation in realty as an objective absolute.

    -This reality exists as an objective absolute, and is reported to us by the senses (even if it is such a report which implies "your senses are being wrecked by insanity or LSD", which are conditions *in reality*) as an objective absolute.

    -You exist and are conscious as an objective absolute.

    Thus accounted, we will proceed in the next post to give a much briefer account to why such laws of logic will hold metaphysically.

  7. FIRST: Sye, if you want an account of how the brain works with the metaphysical in a more biological perspective, I'm going to have to refer to my friend Sarah (CodewordConduit) here. Sarah (I hope you're following) can you please post your promised revision in your thread on your blog up in the Commentary section for the Peanut Gallery? Hers is quite close to mine and better stated, but even hers has some problems in metaphysics, which I will tackle here. Her intuitive grasp of what I presented is spot-on biologically, though; you may ask why we evolved with a valid methodology, and I would state that our brain evolved as such because not a single of us would have otherwise survived past the Ugh! Fire! age. Without a proper consciousness and reasoning ability, a being would not be able to identify existence, and would open his arms to a bear because he thought it was a relative or a friendly, furry companion. That, in fact, further strengthens my case - since evolution "favors" the survival of species, only those who developed a consciousness able to identify, and in case of humans, rearrange in his physical capacity, the contents of reality according to their identity, would survive. And, we're here! (Note: I don't even think evolution means Christianity is false, for it may have been God's only way to bring about Adam and Eve, and to properly speciate the Earth from the scant amount of species on the Ark. Moses can't exactly deliver detailed science to his confused, ancient throng of lost and hungry Hebrews, even if he himself understood the range of stuff God imparted to him during Inspiration!)

    Now, to account for my basis for the Laws of Logic holding in the future metaphysically. I believe the epistemological validity is clear from the above post; even future proofs must rely on these Laws, as their statements are tenseless. The metaphysical validity is not so clear. For, "this has always happened means the impossible can't happen" commits the fallacy of the Argument from Ignorance.

    Let's use the example of a tornado. If I were to stand in the path of one, bad things would happen. This is because the identity of a tornado includes overbearing windspeeds producing debris that may be harmful to myself.

    Such an example is representative of all percepts. A is A, metaphysically stated, means "that which exists possesses exactly its (closed) set of qualities, and no more." This is a metaphysically tenseless statement. This means that future tornadoes which would stop a hundred yards away and spontaneously generate cupcakes for me and all my other stormchasers would no longer be the identity of a tornado.

    As CWC has stated, the scientific method (which I will state, in difference to my friend, is only *part* of epistemology and not *all* of it, since it presupposes the axiomatic nature of the existence of reality, identity, the absolute representation of reality by sense perception, and so on) describes, in short (and again CWC states it better than I) the nature of *causation.* Thus, when water is heated to 100 degrees Celsius given essentially similar atmospheric conditions and contents of water (i.e. it is not full of salt) then it will boil. This is identity in action. To state otherwise is to deny the identity of the experimental conditions or the object on which you are experimenting, contradicting my given account for the basis of Non-Contradiction, i.e. that to be is to be (exactly) *something* and not *something else.*

    Account 2: The nature of time presupposes causality and identity.

    This is what's called the "relational view of time," which is, in reality, the only valid view one can have of time. There isn't some ticking clock somewhere which absolutely accounts for all in the Universe; to take an example, all motion (an effect of causation) is relational, even that of light through different media, according to Einstein.

    We base our time-units on what? Well, loosely, a "day" is a revolution of the Earth - a motion that is caused. We can even define "second" as the "difference between ticks on our clock," which means we define time based on relations between two causes.

    Causation is what is; time is an epistemic usage of causation.

    Thus, since causation presupposes identity in action upon other identities (or, in the case of closed identities, such as a decaying atom, the causation of the internal, reducible constituents of said identity), then you are in effect asking, "why is it that the laws of logic will (metaphysically) hold given the Laws of Logic applied to action?" There's no denying that time *is,* since causation exists axiomatically as I demonstrated; the question is, at its base, already presupposing what it wishes to call in question.

    Therefore, on two accounts, the (metaphysical basis for) Laws of Logic will always hold. QED.

    Your ball. I invite you to challenge what I've written here, but to also TAG me on other things if you wish, such as objective morality (which I can account for, as well). Remember, Sye, all of this is *agnostic* to the Christian God's existence. God could even be the foundation for the logic inherent in His creation, meaning you don't even have to give up your own Reformed views of direct dependence of logic on God! To me, it seems a more powerful and Almighty God who does not have to sustain at each given state His Creation ... I hate to imagine Him as a God with all fingers in all the countless holes in reality which would leak in water and sink the ship if He iunplugged those fingers. Not an efficient Creator!

  8. Here's a post you should see from the other thread. I'll post it here for three reasons:

    (1) It corrects the basic element of the existence of sense perception to one not included inherently in the definition I gave for existing;

    (2) It provides the universal application of the Laws of Logic, i.e. eradicates the need to look in every corner;

    (3) It offers a third position against the argument from future contingency, as the argument here is also tenseless for all universals, meaning all universals at any "time."


    The Laws of Logic can be deemed universal even given one's first sensory element, i.e. that what exists is an assumed irreducible blob of sight, sound, touch, and what have you, at any given frozen frame, and that's it for existence (it isn't of course, as defined in my post). For at least sensory experience is said blob; even if assumed irreducible, the set of quality in the identity of sensory experience is immediately nonempty, meaning by definition it exists, giving us one metaphysically linked "p" statement. Maybe there are more things in reality - separate objects, things we don't perceive, things in the corner of the Universe we'll never perceive. But the Laws of Logic are universal from all even given consideration of one element "p" where truth is correspondence to reality (i.e. in this case unitary quality): we have as I demonstrated non-contradiction, identity, excluded middle, and even without particulars we may grasp the other three axioms.

    Here's an example, the Law of Identity as applied to every existent to reality no matter what qualities they possess or where they are, derived from its observation on one existent (sense perception) with one assumingly (but not actually) irreducible quality (glob of sensory returns):

    Excluded Middle: p v not(p) = T

    De Morgan's on this property yields

    not (p v not(p)) = not(T)= not (p) and not (p) = F (by Idempotence)


    not(T) = F

    sim. Not (F) = T.

    This means: any reality constituent q (even if q=p if sense experience is it; the set is at least nonempty here) is either true or false, based on the correspondence observation that my given consideration p is particularly either true or false. Identity is therefore universally established.

    The other five laws are generalizable similarly through the Six Axioms on Particulars likewise, meaning the Six Axioms generalize to the whole burrito of existence, every corner of it, every moment of it, since we are basing our epistemic assumption p on a presupposed reality statement of the nonempty identity set of sense perception.

    These puppies hold everywhere in metaphysics.

  9. Further defs (thanks Tyro for challenging me!!)

    The epistemological/metaphysical statement "a and b" or a^b =def. "The epistemological consideration of a truth valuation of the simultaneous existence of reality-constituents of distinguishable identities" or if strictly metaphysically needed, "the simultaneous existence of distinguishable identities"

    Or avb =def. "the epistemological consideration of a truth valuation contrasting the simultaneous individual truth valuation of distinguishable identities." or if strictly metaphysically needed, "the simultaneous juxtaposed, respective existence and nonexistence of distinguishable identities with the additional consideration of "and" defined above"

    "Not" =def. metaphysically, "the metaphysical falsity of a identity or quality's existence."

    These are rather off the cuff, but they are needed. Thanks for the challenge -- I would look forward to hearing your other counterarguments (but don't feed my opponent!)

  10. Hey Darrin,

    Sorry man, but this is not at all what I had in mind. I appreciate the effort that has gone into your posts, but I don't understand half of what you are saying. I had hoped for more of a conversational exchange. I really want to flesh this out with you, but it ain't gonna happen like this. It would take me way too long to decipher what you are saying, and I am just too busy for that, plus I have to attend a funeral tomorrow morning.

    I am really sorry if this upsets you, but I am not abandonning the discussion, just want it in easy to understand, short posts. Perhaps we can take one point at a time (If you are interested, and I can understand if you are not).

    The characteristics of the laws of logic, is that they are universal, abstract, and invariant. I can't even tell from your post if you agree with that.

    If you are interested, please, in English :-) tell me if you agree that logic is universal, and how you account for that attribute, then we can move to the next.

  11. I'd be happy to do so. Here's a summary of the case:

    -Sense perception exists as an absolute. (Proof above, it's an axiom, or that which must be used in its disproof)

    -But the sense perceptions are sound, sight, etc. which lead to the statement: "There is something, of which I am aware."

    -"There is something" means something exists, i.e. in this case the sense perceptions. Another absolute axiom.

    -"Of which I am aware" means consciousness exists inherent to that statement as well. Another absolute axiom.

    Truth is that which corresponds to reality (whatever its nature). We have the following epistemological derivations from the particular of our sense perceptions, call it p:

    -It corresponds to reality that p is p, i.e. the contents of sense perceptions are the content of sense perceptions. This is identity's account for the particular p. It is epistemologically axiomatic.

    -Since we start with the sense perceptions, and recognize we are conscious, and cannot perceive this consciousness, something exists outside of sense perceptions. Therefore, an objective reality exists.

    -Moreover more than one existent in reality exists: (a) the glob of sense perception p, (b) consciousness (the identification of p) q.

    -We can now discuss "and" (the consideration of simultaneous correspondence of truth) for these elements; and also "or," (the consideration of simultaneous contrast of truth) for these elements. Also, we have the idea "not," or the distinguishable quality of q from p metaphysically due to different identity. (q is not p).

    -Therefore we have that it corresponds to reality that p cannot be not-p at the same time, i.e. non-contradiction, and that, upon consideration of an element of reality (only two such things are in the set at this point), it corresponds that the element is either p or not p. Also axioms of epistemology.

    -It is axiomatically and absolutely true that more than one particular exists. In other words, measurements of the senses are themselves limited and separable. For example, my sight returns a closed-off vision of "TV" and "Monitor."

    -We thus have at least three existents (i.e. things which possess identity, or identifiable closed-off sets of quality) call them p, q, s

    -From these three p, q, s, we have the other three Laws of Logic as axioms in epistemology:
    Distributivity, Associativity, Commutativity

    We aren't to uniformity just yet! We've only demonstrated them for that which we've encountered with our perception. But what about all possible corners of the Universe!

    Oh, note: the existence of an external reality is already there due to the fact consciousness can't be perceived; since it is the identifier of at least the senses, it cannot be the producer of the senses, since it must first identify to produce, showing that the evidences of the senses are based on reality.

    Now how to account for uniformity? Remember all we have is a handful of perceived stuff. But identity


    is the same as


    meaning "p's correspondence validity AND any other valid correspondence whatsoever will reduce to p's correspondence validity"

    Or, in simpler terms, if you consider one particular's correspondence and something you know is there, the something you know is there does not affect whether p corresponds to reality or not.

    Similarly p v F = p, where it means if you run up the validity of p's correspondence with reality with anything you know doesn't correspond (definition of or), then you just get whether p corresponds or not (T or F).

    Think about it a bit. It's sort of like "and" means to "multiply" and "or" means to "add," and T (True) is 1 and F (False) is 0. Multiply any number by 1, you get it back. Add 0 to any number, you get it back. That's identity for ya.

    Now notice

    (p^T)^T = T by identity, since p^T is an evaluatable statement of reality. But by identity p^T = T so we have

    T^T = T

    *MEANING FOR ANY GIVEN CONSTITUENT OF REALITY,* identity holds! This shows uniformity of identity.

    Similarly the other five can be shown to be uniform.

    And we haven't even discussed the existence of reality outside the mind or the validity of the senses in describing reality yet. They do follow, but they don't even need to be considered.

    This accounts for the uniformity of the laws of nature. Since uniformity does not presuppose a time-dependence on observability of any applicable particular, this also shows it will always be uniform. So much for the "problem" of induction, since causality is identity in action.

  12. (Note this also fixes some errors in the original case)

  13. Hey Darrin,

    Again sorry, but if you think that this post has made what you are saying understandable, then you are giving me way more credit than I deserve.

    Reading your response, I can't even see where you have answered my post.

    I'd suggest that you try again, but I fear that it will end in disappointment. The blog I linked you to in our msn conversation ( is full of people more of the egg-headish variety :-) that I'm sure would be far more capable of giving your position the kind of thorough going over it deserves.

    I meant conversational like what you did on your call-in to 'The Narrow Mind.' If what you posted is conversational to you, I credit your advanced learning, but it sure ain't conversational to me.

    I thought that perhaps after reading all of the threads that I was involved in, that you understood, and were ready to engage my style of argumentation, but this , quite frankly, is out of my league.

    My deepest apologies,


  14. Sye,

    I want to get you a better response, but I won't have a computer of my own until Monday (I'm on a temp right now). I will pick this up then in a more conversational tone!


  15. Sounds good Darrin, thanks. If you could though, please do not post the entire argument, but lets break it down as I requested. Do you agree that the laws of logic are universal, and if so, how do you account for their universality, or better yet, how is it possible for you to know anything to be universally true?

  16. I agree that the laws of logic to be universal. By this, I mean: the laws of non-contradiction, identity, and excluded middle apply to epistemology proper, and specifically to an epistemic description of reality.

    This is an axiom, or a statement which any potential disproof must assume in its statement. The account here is that any disproof would conclude that the laws of logic are not universal; in vastly general terms, any disproof would state as absolute truth at all times that no absolute truth is possible at all times, and will work under the assumption of the universality of these laws of logic in making such a proof.

    But this is a contradiction - for, if one says "nothing can be universally true," that is a universal truth. This establishes the laws of logic as axiomatic, at least in an epistemological sense.

    A source account is that these laws are inherent in everything that exists. For one specific, to exist *means* to have an identity, and thus "A is A" is inherent in all members of existence.

  17. Hey Darrin,

    That’s more like it :-) So, you are saying that it is axiomatic that the laws of logic are universal, correct? Now, just so I get this straight, are you saying that it is impossible that our unverse was at some point ‘sound and fury signifying nothing,’ and that it will be impossible for our universe to become ‘sound and fury signifying nothing,’ and that it is impossible for there to be any universe at any time anywhere, that is merely ‘sound and fury signifying nothing,’ or that all possible universes everywhere must always have been ‘logical’ and must continue to be such, or are you saying that the universality of logic is merely your arbitary starting point, and not necessarily true?

  18. The former. Axioms can't be arbitrary, as shown above; if they're arbitrary, they're not axiomatic - they could be with mathematical axioms (such as the parallel postulate) and they could be with modal logic axioms (such as the so-called "axiom P5" in that subject, relating to possible worlds) but these three form *the* basis for *all* knowledge about reality.

    For instance, we can dismiss "axiom p5" since it talks about possible worlds; we can't dismiss the Law of Identity, since without it, we couldn't talk about *any* world (including the actual one). I'm a modal Spinozist by the way; I think the only possible world is the actual world, at least in a materialistic (non-human) realm.

    Of course, saying they're my "arbitrary starting point" would be self-defeating - you can't even know what "arbitrary starting point" means without them!

  19. The question becomes though, why must we be able to talk about possible worlds? What does our ability to ‘talk about’ anything have to do with reality? Just because one cannot give up a belief in order to make sense out of reality, does not mean that reality is such. As Dr. Bahnsen points out: ”… there is no guarantee that things actually are as they seem to us to be. You see, somebody might say, “My beliefs that there are other people is incorrigible. My belief could not be corrected, I could not give up that belief.” But you see, that’s a psychological fact that “I can’t give up that belief”. The fact that I can’t give it up doesn’t tell me anything about the world. A person who is suffering from DTs can’t give up his belief that there are snakes on the bed either! Its incorrigible for him, he sees them, but that doesn’t mean that there are snakes on the bed.”

    Similarly you say that without the Law of Identity, ‘we couldn’t talk about *any* world,’ but what does that have to do with what has been, is, or will be ‘real’ or ‘possible?’

  20. In metaphysics qua metaphysics (i.e. divorced from epistemological consideration), I (and Rand) actually *define* existence *to be* identity.

    The Law of Identity, *metaphysically* speaking, is what allows you to even have a notion of "been," "is," "real," or "possible." So (again, VERY loosely) the final question you ask actually presupposes the Law of Identity, which embodies what has been, what is, and what will be possible, because it embodies the "what." :)

    The existence of other minds is an axiomatic objective absolute - it is dependent on both the axiomaticity of the Law of Identity and the existence of the sense perceptions (and of the ability of human conceptualization). To disprove the notion of other minds, one must deny that they're perceiving whatever it is that gives such sensations (contradicting the axiomatic existence of them - but not necessarily the *validity,* just *existence* is all that's necessary for sense perceptions here), or one must deny that the other person-ish thing is displaying reason, which presupposes a mind, which presupposes the Law of Identity that gives birth to such definitions. So the existence of other minds is an objective axiomatic absolute. Note that the "simulation theory" even falls into this, i.e. that everyone I've perceived are actually computer programs in a matrix, for a computer program is a man-made (or at least mind-made) machine, giving the existence of other minds for sure, QED.

    Besides, be careful here - if you want to challenge the existence of other minds, then accepting the premise is to grant Positive Atheism (i.e. atheism in which a proof of God's nonexistence exists) as an immediate axiomatic and absolute corollary, since God is a separate mind. The atheist can simply thank you for providing him or her with a simple positive disproof of God's existence, and then use it against you to show that you can't believe in God absolutely, unless you accept God as a foundational axiom (which I don't think Van Tillians do, only Clarkian presuppers do this IIRC).

    Bahnsen's example is unfortunately misplaced. We're not discussing whether sense perceptions correspond 100% to reality, or even if there's "an outside-of-the-mind world" at all. Even the poor drunk with DT's who is perceiving these bugs still has perceptions which have an identity. It may be that a procession of sense perceptions *is* reality and that nothing else is; that doesn't mean those sense perceptions lack an identity. In fact, some simple reflection on this allows us to establish an external reality (but again, I stray ...).

    Having refuted solipsism and provided a roadmap to establishing external reality, we should work from the point that an external reality exists as an objective, axiomatic absolute. Otherwise, as I said, you're going to be circling around with me about a reality-state in which God absolutely does not and cannot exist, since I would be the only mind. I think it would be dishonest for a Christian - especially a Calvinist with absolute knowledge of God's existence - to stick here for long, but if you want further clarification, I won't be afraid to provide it, so long as we don't stick here too long and stay away from other important topics.

    By the way, Bahnsen's example still needs to be answered, since I do presuppose the existence of an external reality and that our senses report reality (notice I dropped "external") absolutely. Bahnsen's example seeks to call the senses into question, but they do not; note Bahnsen calls up a man with DT's, so the whole example presupposes a man whose sense perceptions, by definition, are already in the toilet. That's like calling my running skills into question by pointing out, "hey, are you SURE you can run? Stephen Hawking can't!"

    Besides, oddly enough, I think the example actually strengthens my case. For, the bugs for the DT-ridden man still correspond to reality. Now here, I don't mean some subjectivist notion of "the bugs exist for him, but not for me!" and just leave it at that, but rather, that the identity of the situation, i.e. the identity of a mind on the DT's, lends a cause-and-effect relationship on the contents of one's consciousness whose effect is a rearranged current reality-perception which superimposes one or more perceptions one has had from one's past. So our sense perceptions still correspond 100% to reality-identity - *just* *not* *EXTERNAL* *reality*-*identity.*

    Let's use a simpler example that applies to everyone (with sight) - a mirage. Walking in a hot sandy desert, it appears, as the most basic mirage, that water is always off in the distance but is "never there." But this is an effect of heat on the surface; we're perceiving that effect, making our senses reliable (externally!) in that case. Now, we may confuse it with water if we do not see it as a mirage, but this is a fault in our *conceptions,* not our *perception.*

    Anxious to hear your reply! Again, I'm away until Monday, but until then, can't wait to see what food for thought you have next to serve. I'm enjoying this greatly and finding a lot of challenge, so let me leave you with one: what is a truth that we (or any mind) cannot know? And if so ... how do you know that? :)


    P.S. Curiously, I'm a metaphysical modal Spinozist sans humanity, which means that, apart from human choice (which, as a Calvinist, I know you hold doesn't exist - but this is a different subject that we ought to hold for a different time!) I think that the only "possible world" is the actual one, and that when we dream up of possible worlds we're actually exercising our epistemological ability to rearrange concepts, which corresponds with our (meta)physical ability to rearrange the components of the reality in which we reside (i.e. using sticks to build fire, etc.).

  21. Hey Darrin,

    Well, now that the break is over, let’s get back to it :-)

    Thanks for your long response, but nowhere in it do I see an answer to my question. You said that ‘without the Law of Identity, we couldn’t talk about *any* world, and I asked what THAT has to do with what has been, is, or will be, real or possible.

    Why would what humans can do, at this time, and in this place, have any bearing on what was, what is - outside of our perception, and what will be? You talk about the law of identity, but on what basis do you claim that it HAS held, that it holds outside of what humans are able to perceive, and that it WILL hold?

    Yes, I understand that you accept the Law of Identity as an axiom, but that tells us nothing about what actually is. You assume the axiom to be true, but since it can be neither demonstrated nor proven to be true, you cannot know it to be true. For that matter, you cannot know the reasoning with which you reason about axioms is itself valid. Surely you would grant that there are invalid axioms, and also that there is invalid reasoning and I do not see how it is possible for you to get from that to certainty about anything.

    You say: ”Besides, be careful here - if you want to challenge the existence of other minds, then accepting the premise is to grant Positive Atheism”

    No, I don’t want to challenge the existence of other minds, I want to challenge how you can know for certain that there are other minds, or for that matter, that there are minds at all.

    Bahnsen’s example of the man with DT’s is perfectly valid, since you accept things axiomatically, and based on sense perceptions, but you have no way of knowing that those axioms and sense perceptions are not mere delusions. Sure, you may not be able to give up those incorrigible beliefs, but again, that says nothing about what is real.

    I really do not mind engaging in this discussion, but I get the feeling that you are just talking past me. Again, I do not see where you have answered my question, so either please answer it, or show me where you have answered it. If in your response, I can neither make head nor tails of it again, I will try to break things down even further so that specific points can be dressed specifically. Others may think you have a point, but for the life of me, I don’t see it.



  22. I give you my word as a gentleman and as your new acquaintance that I am in no way attempting to talk past you, my friend. :)

    I am assuming you mean for me to answer this question: //Similarly you say that without the Law of Identity, ‘we couldn’t talk about *any* world,’ but what does that have to do with what has been, is, or will be ‘real’ or ‘possible?’//

    Before I respond in full, I should reiterate my insistence on defining our terms. What is the question which you wish for me the answer (there were more than one in your post above)?

    What are the standards which dictate that I have successfully answered this question? I will attempt a (shorter) response to the rest of your post, but before I go further, please make sure the terms and conditions are well-defined.

    As a side note, please also define what it means to give an "account." We discussed this on MSN, but my computer that holds that chatscript is now long gone to refurbishing land. :)

    Sorry for the separation of posting here, but I want to make sure that we get on level ground here, and most importantly, that you understand that I do not mean any hostility toward you.


  23. //Thanks for your long response, but nowhere in it do I see an answer to my question. You said that ‘without the Law of Identity, we couldn’t talk about *any* world, and I asked what THAT has to do with what has been, is, or will be, real or possible.//

    Assuming your question is the one I quoted in my above pre-response, then my answer is that Identity (Metaphysically speaking) *is* what has been, is, or will be. Existence *is* identity; it does not *have* identity, it *is* identity. In other words, to exist ****means**** to possess metaphysical identity. This has everything to do with the past, present, and future, since it *is* the ultimate, precedent metaphysic of those states. More on this later.

    //Why would what humans can do, at this time, and in this place, have any bearing on what was, what is - outside of our perception, and what will be? You talk about the law of identity, but on what basis do you claim that it HAS held, that it holds outside of what humans are able to perceive, and that it WILL hold?//

    Good questions!

    First of all, let's deal with the has held/will hold problem. What does "has" and "will" mean in this context, though? It means respectively: past, and future.

    Some definitions. Sye, these MUST be technical-ish here, believe me when I say I spent a LONG time trying to find an airtight set of definition for these important terms and this is as well as I can do. If you wish, I can make a quick post of illustration of these definitions.


    metaphysical state =def. the contents of reality sans causal progression, i.e. in layman's terms, a "freeze-frame picture" of all that exists.

    present =def. the true metaphysical state.

    past =def. A nonpresent or false metaphysical state "a" which necessitates falsity in the present metaphysical state, or past states which are between "a" and the present metaphysical state.

    future =def. A nonpresent or false metaphysical state whose truth is rendered by the metaphysical present or by truths necessitated by the present.


    The easy summary can now be stated. How does the progression from the past to the present to the future happen? Causation. The reason for this is because, if there were no causation whatsoever, there would be no change in the contents of reality, and therefore time would not exist.

    Time, briefly speaking, is preceded by causation. And since causation is the action of identities ("action" between A and B meaning that the identity of A and the identity of B entail a nonzero change between A and B, i.e. a car running into a wall) then, and this is CRUCIAL, ***causation is logically preceded by identity***; to use a common-sense example (and to utilize the definition of existence as identity) you gotta have billiard balls existing on the table for pool shots to even happen at all.

    The Law of Identity HAS held, IS holding, and WILL hold, for all members of reality, because "HAS," "IS," and "WILL" refer to time, which depends on identity.

    So you cannot infer about reality that identity, say, will cease to occur, since the future has a logical dependence on causal progression from the present (and thus precedently, identity). Therefore temporal contingency of the Law of Identity metaphysically speaking, is a false notion, and the permanence of the Law of Identity in present, past, and future states of all of existence is established.

    //Yes, I understand that you accept the Law of Identity as an axiom, but that tells us nothing about what actually is.//

    Be careful and recall that I speak of the Law of Identity in the METAPHYSICAL sense here, not the EPISTEMOLOGICAL sense. This is thus a category error.

    //You assume the axiom to be true, but since it can be neither demonstrated nor proven to be true, you cannot know it to be true.//

    Contrary to historical and some modern Aristotelians, axioms can be proven in the sense of my first posts above, i.e. in the sense that one demonstrates that *every potential disproof* of the axiom will utilize the axiom in its disproof. This is a proof of the *axiomatic* or *foundational* nature of the statement in question.

    This makes epistemological axioms absolute, not just some random starting point; any disproof of the Laws must, by truth tables I've listed above, assume these Laws to refute them. Therefore all disproofs no matter what fail by definition, establishing what we want to show.

    Now what does this have to do with reality? I have given definitions for the metaphysical analogues of the Laws of Logic above, so they need to simply be established in at least one case. But thoughts are in objective reality in and of themselves. Therefore the link of the Laws of Logic to reality is at least not vacuous; at least one member of reality (thought) has METAPHYSICAL identity. I have shown above how all of reality at all times have metaphysical identity. The establishment of the other two Laws follows similarly.

    As a final comment about the first half of your counter, regarding the use of logic to prove the axioms of logic, you have made a category error in your criticism. I did not "prove the laws of logic." I proved their ***axiomaticity.***

    Bahnsen’s example of the man with DT’s is perfectly valid, since you accept things axiomatically, and based on sense perceptions, but you have no way of knowing that those axioms and sense perceptions are not mere delusions.//

    Delusions of what? Our only alternative is a reality in which these axioms are metaphysically false, i.e. the Metaphysical Law of Identity etc. does not apply to reality, i.e. reality exists and does not exist. This is the ONLY "mere delusion" possible if, as you seem to imply here, the **metaphysical axioms themselves** could be the delusion. But this means the **delusion itself** either has absolute identity, invalidating your problem, or may or may not itself be a delusion, which means the delusion of the delusion may or may not itself be a delusion, which means ... and we have an infinite regress, establishing the METAPHYSICAL impossibility that the METAPHYSICAL Laws of Logic are themselves a delusion. This oddly enough demonstrates their **metaphysical** axiomaticity. In short, this proves as an axiomatic objective irrefutable absolute that it's all still running smoothly when we turn our head away.

    //Sure, you may not be able to give up those incorrigible beliefs, but again, that says nothing about what is real.//

    Stolen concept fallacy - "what is real" is preceded by identity, which is a metaphysical Law of Logic, meaning that your consideration assumes what it wishes to call in doubt.

    //I want to challenge how you can know for certain that there are other minds, or for that matter, that there are minds at all.//

    Now here we must define our terms. A mind is, in this sense, a consciousness, and consciousness is the faculty of identification.

    Sye, you wanted me to establish the existence of other minds; this cannot be done in a way that doesn't involve a little bit of technicality, so please forgive and bunker down for just a bit and bear with me, my friend ...

    AXIOM. At least one mind exists as an axiomatic irrefutable objective absolute.

    PROOF. Since sense perceptions (WHETHER VALID OR NOT) precede the consciousness, any disproof asserts that either the sense perceptions do not exist or that no identification is occurring. But the proof itself was perceived and identified as a proof. But this is a contradiction. Therefore no disproof that at least one mind exists is possible. QED.

    Sorry I had to engage in some more unclear talk with this one - if you want, I can attempt to clarify ANY notions here on MSN. But sometimes hard questions require hard answers. Perhaps someone in the Comments Thread can point out easier ways to say what I'm saying, as well!

    Looking forward to your reply,

  24. Darrin, you *may* not //be trying// to *talk past* me, but your *hieroglyphics* and "LONG" posts sure *accomplish* that "FEAT." :-)

    I guess we are going to have to break it right down. Darrin, some axioms are false, how do you know that yours are not?

  25. //I guess we are going to have to break it right down. Darrin, some axioms are false, how do you know that yours are not?//

    Ahhh, very good. I think you might understand more than you give yourself credit for, since this is the central issue that Ben and I are beginning to discuss as well. Indeed, the axiom "The Koran is the Word of God" is something we can both agree to be an incorrect axiom, right?

    But to carry on further, let's make sure our terms are defined. What does it mean for an axiom to be incorrect? Our sense of the notion may intersect, but it may be two different senses at VERY crucial points. I'd hate to continue with one sense of an "incorrect axiom" and you with another, and never actually reach a talking point due to not being able to recognize that we're speaking of apples and oranges ... or something close enough to be tangerines and oranges. ;)


  26. Sorry man, currently sick as a dog. My pop is not doing too good, and my youngest brother in Oz was hit by a car yesterday while on his bike. Last report is that he would be fine, but does have a broken neck (C1), and a damaged knee.

    Not in the mood, or very able to think right now. Give me a few days please.


  27. No prob man. I've Craig/Carrier coming up so we'll get back to it later in the week next week. Get well soon!

  28. Alright, thanks Darrin,

    Things are looking up. My Dad is doing a little better, I’m feeling quite a bit better, and my brother is home from the hospital. Thankfully the broken bones in his neck were stable enough that he could get by with a “Miami J” collar, rather than a ‘halo’ for the next 3 months. I would have been happy to lend him mine though :-)

    So, my question was: “How do you know that your axioms are not false?” And you want to know what it means for an axiom to be incorrect. Basically I want to know how you know that your axioms are in conformity with ‘truth.’ I suppose that’s what it comes right down to. What is ‘truth’ and how do you know it?

    Indeed I agree that the axiom ‘The Qur’an is the Word of God’ is a false axiom, since it does not comport with God’s revealed Word, the Bible (yet interestingly enough, claims that ‘The Book’ (the Bible) is in fact true). You see, you do not claim (as far as I know), to be omniscient, or to have revelation from someone who is, and since we agree that there are axioms which are not true, how is it that you can know anything, let alone your axioms, to be true?

  29. Truth is what corresponds to reality.

    Now, to claim that I am not omniscient does not mean that I know some qualities of reality *with* assurance, for instance, that reality is and that man's mind knows it by virtue of the identity of his faculties and the identity of reality.

    To refute the axioms I've offered, you will have to show a proof against them - i.e. how could objects in reality be what they are and not what they are at the same time (to refute the axiom that existence is identity)?

    I am very glad to hear that your father is okay ... I knew you'd pull through your own sickness, as well ;)

  30. Hey Darrin,

    Sorry for the delay, I was out of town for ten days, just got back yesterday. I think we are finally getting somewhere though. You said: ” Truth is what corresponds to reality.” I would agree with that, but would add that truth is what corresponds with reality, as perceived by God.

    Please tell me how you get out of the problem of having fallible ‘perceivers’ and an arbitrary standard of ‘normal perception.’

  31. Heya Sye! I thought you were gone - I didn't check this blog until now. Sorry for my own delay, and I hope your travels were safe and enjoyable.

    //Please tell me how you get out of the problem of having fallible ‘perceivers’ and an arbitrary standard of ‘normal perception.’//

    I would love to address this, but I am not 100% sure what you mean here. The standard of "normal perception" is certainly not arbitrary, or else the concept of "normal" wouldn't even be present in human terminology. What is a fallable perceiver? Even if a perceiver witnesses something like a hallucination or an optical illusion, this still means that reality is interacting with his sense perceptions - i.e. a mirage of water in the desert is the interaction of the dry surface heat entailed by the desert sand as opposed to the cooler temperatures immediately aloft. Someone may not have the context of knowledge to recognize this fact, and mistakenly think it is water, but it does not change the fact that he is witnessing this interaction.

    Glad to get this going again :)

  32. Well Darrin you say that ‘truth is what corresponds to reality,’ but 'what corresponds to reality,' according to who? How can you know what is real? We are all different, and our ability to perceive reality is different. How do you know that your (or anyone’s) sense of perception is valid, or normal?

  33. //Well Darrin you say that ‘truth is what corresponds to reality,’ but 'what corresponds to reality,' according to who?//

    I actually don't consider the question valid, because discovering who has a correct correspondence to reality presupposes a reality where such people exist. ;)

    //How can you know what is real?//

    Now here we should not get confused about the difference between "reality" and "the external world." By reality I mean: all that exists. By external world I mean: all that exists independent of any physical or mental components of my existence. I think you're confusing "reality" with "external world," which would forget the fact that we exist in reality ourselves.

    To answer your question, everything I know is tautologically and axiomatically real, where by "real" I mean that it exists independently in reality, or that it exists in my perceptions as an effect of the independent world upon my physical senses and brain condition (i.e. a mirage), or that it exists as an idea in my mind that is a rearrangement of percepts in reality (i.e. a unicorn). These are three different senses of "real" specifically, but in the very loose term, they are all "real" - they exist in some form with some identity, whether in the mind, in the external world, or as a product of both.

    //We are all different, and our ability to perceive reality is different. How do you know that your (or anyone’s) sense of perception is valid, or normal?//

    One's perceptions are automatically valid as an axiomatic absolute truth. Whether one's perceptions correspond to the outside world or not may be what you're asking here - if it is, I can answer that for you, but I need to know if this is what you mean.

  34. "I actually don't consider the question valid, because discovering who has a correct correspondence to reality presupposes a reality where such people exist"I am not suggesting that there is no reality, I am asking how you know who has the correct perception of it, or for that matter how you know that there is an outside world?.

    "One's perceptions are automatically valid as an axiomatic absolute truth. Whether one's perceptions correspond to the outside world or not may be what you're asking here - if it is, I can answer that for you, but I need to know if this is what you mean."Yes, that is what I am asking - whether those perceptions give a proper account of what is actually real, not what is perceived to be real. If someone thinks that there are snakes on the bed, it may be real that they are thinking it, but it is not necessarily real that there are snakes on the bed.

  35. Heya Sye,

    I addressed your question on the existence of an outside world in my new post, which requires a heavy hammer of terms but absolutely and irrefutably proves an outside world exists. Note that my account for the laws of logic that I gave earlier in this thread does not presume the existence of an outside world, so the account in my new post does not beg the question. Feel free to critique that argument in the comments section of that post, as an official branch-off debate from our debate here. :)

    //If someone thinks that there are snakes on the bed, it may be real that they are thinking it, but it is not necessarily real that there are snakes on the bed.//

    If there are no snakes on the bed in the external world, then what caused the idea our person has of these snakes? The answer could be numerous - perhaps the person is high on drugs, or is insane, or is actually viewing his roommate's dirty trick of leaving plastic snakes on his bed to scare him. Perhaps the person just believes there are snakes there with no perceptions of his bed whatsoever.

    In any case we can conceive, one must not forget that one's context of knowledge, senses, and brain themselves are part of reality and thus have a nature. For instance, if the person is insane, then his brain causes his perception by the identity of his mental difficulty. If one is on drugs, the nature of the drug acting upon his brain and upon his senses causes the perception of the snakes to begin to exist. And if one sees his tricky roommate's party favors without perhaps knowing or expecting his roommate to do this, then the nature of the context of knowledge he has entails that his action should be to react as if there are actually snakes there, since his context of knowledge, at the bare minimum, would entail that there's enough chance that the snakes aren't fake that he should act as if they are real just in case, since snakes are likely deadly.

    In all cases, though, if we remember that we are a part of reality, and that our context of knowledge is itself part of reality, this means these elements must have a nature. Therefore, for our example, even though the snakes may not exist externally, the perception is still necessitated by the nature of something, and thus even illusions of things that aren't in fact in external reality still are valid products of other things in reality (the brain, drugs, etc.).

    Therefore, what we take to be perceptions of the outside world may not be absolutely certain, the contents of our perceptions are still an absolutely certain representation of reality when both the external and internal are considered.

    How do we know that any of our perceptions report the outside world? If not, this would mean an external world doesn't exist, which I refuted in my newest post. For, even if a mad scientist exists that is simply causing all I see by poking a brain in a jar, he must know the nature of the sensations that he wishes to poke into my brain, entailing that he himself perceives them and that, therefore, an absolute world outside my mind still exists, even though I'll never perceive it directly - only by inference of what the mad scientist perceives directly. What if he himself is a brain in a jar? That's fine - the chain must stop somewhere, unless you enjoy infinite regresses.

    Your ball, my friend. Hope you're feeling well.

  36. Well Darrin, you have succeeded on making me lose complete interest in this discussion.

    You claim that you have provided an 'absoute and irrefutable' proof that an outside world exists, yet you just arbitrarily posit a stop in an infinite regress with an arbitrary, and unjustified knowledge claim. I also see nowhere where you answered the other half of my post as to how you would even know who has the correct perception of an outside world, even if you could prove that one exists (which you have not).

    You may see where you are going in all this, but I trust that you are the only one.

    I wish I could say that this was fun while it lasted, but I found it agonizing.