10/8/08

A Finite Regress?

I was curious as to what, if anything, could be made of this:

Elsewhere, I made the point that the existence of the non-material is self-evident and that an example are the laws of logic.

Someone retorted that the laws were just ideas.

To read/Or not to read


May considering the laws of logic to be ideas result in the following conclusion?:

The laws of logic are ideas.

Are they human inventions or discoveries?

If they were human inventions they could not be objective laws and a wolf might find itself running through a forest and suddenly turn into a dyslexic shrimp (can you say, “improbability drive”?—sorry, a little Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy lingo).








Therefore, the laws of logic are ideas but were not invented by humans—they are not the product of the human mind.

Now we must ask: what are the laws of logic? Here I do not mean deductive, inductive, syllogistic, predicative, modal, mathematical, philosophical, etc. What I seek to ascertain by the question, and what I am rhetorically implying, is that the laws of logic are not objects, they are not material things.

The laws of logic are concepts.

What are concepts?

Concepts are ideas.

Where do ideas exist?

Ideas exist in minds.

Where does the idea of the laws of logic exist?

The idea of the laws of logic, like all ideas, exists in a mind.

Since logic was not invented by humans but existed before we detected it, it seems reasonable to conclude that logic is eternal. Any viable counterargument to this claim would have to demonstrate when logic began to exist.

It would also seem reasonable to conclude that logic cannot change. If logic ever changed, it would cease to be logic but would be illogic. Logic cannot be both logical and illogical at the same time and in the same relation.

Therefore, where has this argument taken us?

It may demonstrate that the idea of the laws of logic is an eternal and unchanging idea that exists in a mind.

The only kind of mind in which this sort of eternal and unchanging idea could exist must be an eternal and unchanging mind.

This eternal and unchanging mind could be referred to as God.

46 comments:

  1. Substitute in the color red for the laws of logic and you might see the problem. After all, both of them exist independently of people and both of them are ideas- and yet no one has ever seriously suggested red has an immaterial existence.

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  2. Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.

    Logic is neither a science nor an art, but a dodge.


    Logic, the refuge of fools. The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians—and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse.

    - Mencken

    --------------------

    Logic cannot do what you guys think it can do. Logic is a tool humans use to communicate, like math.

    Aristotle laid down the rules of logic and tried to describe how the world works. Using this method, he got everything wrong.

    There's a mighty big difference between good sound reasons, and reasons that sound good.
    -------------------

    Remember:

    There are no absolutely true premises.

    Well, you ask, what about that premise?

    -------------------

    The world is paradoxical.

    Deal with it.

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  3. Proof #1:

    1. God exists.
    2. Both of these sentences are false.


    Proof #2:

    If this sentence is true, then God exits.

    ------------------

    Logic doesn't do much. But when it does, it only does what it can.

    I would never post a comment on a blog that allowed me to comment.

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  4. Here's a set of numbers called the kuhlmann primes:
    {3, 5, 11, 89}

    Did I invent this just now? Or has this set always existed?

    Did the "Surreal Numbers" exist in God's mind before Conway's 1976 book?

    How about P and NP (sets in theoretical computer science)? Or the complex numbers? Or the integers?

    I think that we can agree that all the above are human inventions. If not, where do you draw the line? Or do you think that even the "kuhlmann primes" were just waiting to be discovered?

    If logic is somehow more transcendent and universal than even the integers and not just something that we came up with for our convenience, then which logical system does reality follow? For instance, does the eternal logic of God's mind include the Law of Excluded Middle or not?

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  5. "Therefore, where has this argument taken us?

    It may demonstrate that the idea of the laws of logic is an eternal and unchanging idea that exists in a mind."

    Several problems. But I'll mention only two.

    You said:"The laws of logic are concepts.

    What are concepts?

    Concepts are ideas.

    Where do ideas exist?

    Ideas exist in minds."

    1. Your assertion that the laws of logic are ideas precludes the claim that they are abstract entities. If they are abstract entities, and not ideas, then they don't necessarily exist in minds.

    2. Even if the laws of logic were ideas, it doesn't follow that they exist in minds. Why must they?

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  6. Actually, this is quite a powerful argument if one is tempted towards conceptualism. Since it seems that some "abstract" entities exist in all possible worlds (numbers), then it seems that if one believes abstracta exist in the mind one ought to believe that there has always been an existent mind.

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  7. An electron is an electron.

    An electron is not a positron.

    An electron cannot be "not an electron".

    "Positron" and "Electron" are words used by certain primates to communicate certain observations to other primates.

    The law of identity is not a law of physics.

    The law of identity is a convention of language that humans made up for the purpose of communication.

    But wait wait says the theist. An electron really is not a positron.

    Would the concept of "not" exist in a universe without brains?

    I think not.

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  8. Samuel Skinner:

    The color red is a poor example. Red is a perception and is entirely dependent on people. Colorblind and tetrachromats don't know what our "red" even means.

    Logic is a way of talking about ways of talking and is entirely a product of the material world itself. It never has and never will constrain the material world. It has utility as a tool to achieve precision by limiting how we can talk about the world among ourselves, but it does not limit the world itself. Think of it as a subjective apprehension objective limits to perception.

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  9. This actually appears to be a form of the transcendental argument, though not exactly the presuppositionalist version.

    Radical logic: Even if the laws of logic were ideas, it doesn't follow that they exist in minds. Why must they?

    They are conceptual in nature. That is, they govern thought and thought is the exclusive ability of persons.

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  10. "They are conceptual in nature. That is, they govern thought and thought is the exclusive ability of persons."

    Suppose that the laws of logic are ideas, and thus conceptual in nature. It doesn't follow that they are "the exclusive ability of persons." What's the argument that they must reside in minds?

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  11. "Actually, this is quite a powerful argument if one is tempted towards conceptualism. Since it seems that some "abstract" entities exist in all possible worlds (numbers), then it seems that if one believes abstracta exist in the mind one ought to believe that there has always been an existent mind."

    But why must one believe that those abstracta exist in the mind?

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  12. Where else would they exist?

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  13. I don't know. Abstract entities, if they exist, are mysterious things. But, surely, the burden is on the person claiming that they "must" reside in a mind.

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  14. Where else would they exist?
    Schenectady?

    But, surely, the burden is on the person claiming that they "must" reside in a mind.

    I'd say it should be the responsibility of the person making the claim that they exist independently of matter at all to account for their whereabouts. Surely such an extraordinary claim wouldn't be made without already having an answer.

    The simpler answer for why people usually agree on the laws of logic though is because people's brains are constructed similarly and so they behave similarly, in much the same way that people see things the same way because their eyes are similar and so "obey" the same laws of "vision."

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  15. I'd say it should be the responsibility of the person making the claim that they exist independently of matter at all to account for their whereabouts.

    Right. Asserting that that gods or numbers or abstractions are immaterial is meaningless.

    Even if a physical account of abstractions is incomplete, that is not a reason to make a wild unjustified leap and claim that they exist in an immaterial realm.

    God-of-the-Gaps, argument from ignorance, or multiplying entities beyond beyond necessity - this rose goes by many names, but always smells the same.

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  16. I don't know. Abstract entities, if they exist, are mysterious things. But, surely, the burden is on the person claiming that they "must" reside in a mind.

    You have the following options:

    1) Abstracta do not exist
    2) Abstracta exist independent of minds
    3) Abstracta exist in a mind

    Since one seems to be false, and (2) would bloat our metaphysic so large to be incompatible with nearly everything we believe (esp. naturalism) it is better to opt for (3). It doesn't make much sense to say that 7 exists out in the universe somewhere, so we have the ingredients to a powerful argument.

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  17. "Since one seems to be false, and (2) would bloat our metaphysic so large to be incompatible with nearly everything we believe (esp. naturalism) it is better to opt for (3). It doesn't make much sense to say that 7 exists out in the universe somewhere, so we have the ingredients to a powerful argument."

    I don't know if 1 is false--I'm just assuming for the sake of argument that it is. But if 2 were true, I don't see how it would "bloat" our metaphysics, especially when 3 posits extra-entities (i.e. minds that the laws of logic reside in).

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  18. I would consider the assertion that ideas exist in minds to be prima facie and our common experience.

    I do not know about the kuhlmann primes, but what are numbers? What is the number one for instance?

    You may retort that “1” is the number one or that “one” is the number one or that “I” is the Roman numeral one.

    Did humans invent the number one?

    No, humans invented the symbols which represent the concept of the number one.

    What are concepts?

    Concepts are ideas.

    Where do ideas exist?

    Ideas exist in minds.

    Where does the idea of one exist?

    The idea of one, like all ideas, exists in a mind.

    Since the number one was not invented by humans but existed before we recognized it and created symbols to represent it, it seems reasonable to conclude that the number one is eternal. Any viable counterargument to this claim would have to demonstrate when the number one began to exist.

    It would also seem reasonable to conclude that the number one cannot change. If the number one ever changed, it would cease to be the number one but would be two or more (or zero). The number one cannot be both the number one and not the number one at the same time and in the same relation.

    Therefore, where has this argument taken us?

    It may demonstrate that the number one is an eternal and unchanging idea that exists in a mind.
    The only kind of mind in which this sort of eternal and unchanging idea could exist must be an eternal and unchanging mind.

    This eternal and unchanging mind could be referred to as God.

    aDios,
    Mariano

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  19. Mariano, if I could help?

    Unbeguiled is using logic, and truth, to argue that logic and truth don't exist. He seems to recognize the inherent problem with this argument, and concludes by saying, "The world is paradoxical. Deal with it!" In other words, his argument is self-defeating, but you should accept it because it's true despite proving itself false.

    However, if it's true that things can be true and false at the same time, because the world is paradoxical, then is it true and not true at once that the world is paradoxical? Anyway, that's enough wasted time on stupid arguments.

    The example of the Kuhlmann primes is misdirected. The question isn't about what patterns you can come up with using numbers, but whether or not abstract objects (or ideas) like numbers actually exist.

    "Logic is a way of talking about ways of talking and is entirely a product of the material world itself. It never has and never will constrain the material world."

    This conclusion is simply not true. If it were, then science would be either impossible or useless as a means of gaining knowledge.


    Anyway, the only good counterargument I can think of is that the laws of logic aren't actual objects, so much as they are patterns that describe truths about the natural world. Our universe is one in which something is itself, and not something else, and not not itself. In other words, our universe just is a way, and the laws of logic describe the way it is.

    However, to downplay the laws of logic as atheists do, or to claim they don't accurate represent truth about the universe is...to put it plainly...stupid.

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  20. Unbeguiled is using logic, and truth, to argue that logic and truth don't exist.

    Show me where I did that.
    ---------------------

    Yes, logic exists. Logical rules are conventions of language we all agree on in order to communicate.

    I believe that there is such a thing as truth. I might even stumble on the truth every now and then. But, being human, I can never be sure that what I stumble on is true or not.
    -------------------------
    I said the world is paradoxical. By this I mean that our brains seem not to comprehend fully certain natural phenomena.

    As Feynman (I think) said: If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don't understand quantum mechanics.

    When we observe the world, things seem paradoxical. The subjective observer cannot be removed from what I mean by paradoxical.

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  21. irishfarmer,

    you wrote, quoting maskedmarauder:

    "Logic is a way of talking about ways of talking and is entirely a product of the material world itself. It never has and never will constrain the material world."

    This conclusion is simply not true. If it were, then science would be either impossible or useless as a means of gaining knowledge.


    Irishfarmer, your understanding of what science is all about is about 75 years out of date. Maskedmarauder is on solid ground here.

    Here are a few quotes. Not that I am arguing from authority, but rather they say it better than me.

    There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.

    - Niels Bohr

    (I think this is what marauder was getting at.)

    A philosopher once said, 'It is necessary for the very existence of science that the same conditions always produce the same results.'

    Well, they don't!

    - Richard P. Feynman

    (And here is Feynman telling you irishfarmer, how it is.)

    The paradox is only a conflict between reality and your feeling what reality ought to be.

    - Richard P. Feynman

    -------------------------

    I will repeat. You guys are misusing logic. It cannot do what you think it can.

    If you want to try to know how the world works, use the tools of science.
    -------------------------
    I may or may not be stupid. I have no ability to change that.

    What I can change is whether or not I am ignorant. You can change that about yourself too, irishfarmer.

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  22. In "Beyond Good and Evil" Friedrich Nietzsche made the observation that the First Principles cannot be proven to be true using material means; therefore they must be considered false. This means that the logic which is based on those First Principles must also be false.

    Thus the anti-rational movement was born or at least outlined in its full glory. Nietzsche also said that one cannot be an honest atheist without acknowledging this fact. What we commonly see is the use of this anti-rational rhetoric by Atheists, while they simultaneously claim rationality. This is an exercise in intellectual dishonesty.

    The statement "the world is paradoxical, get over it," is a strictly anti-rational viewpoint, and is the view point of the truly honest Atheist. It is a declaration that no logic or rational set of premises whatsoever will suffice to convince an Atheist of anything outside his agenda. And that is what we see on a daily basis.

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  23. Hi Stan,

    I have responded with two posts to defend myself. They did not get past the censors. This is a recurrent problem for me here.

    I get attacked, try to defend myself, but am not allowed to.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thoughts as I peruse the comments:

    The experience of "red" is indeed a non-material existence. It has neither dimension nor mass. It is not a "brain state" since the brain has no "states", being a non-linear, non-digital, massively parallel device.

    The use of paradox to disprove the value of logic is a curious approach indeed.

    Denying that mathematical relationships exist outside the discoverer's mind is nonsensical.

    The rational laws of the universe existed long before the Atheists, who deny their transcendence.

    The law of identity is a concept that describes a truth, outside and beyond its own existence, and outside and beyond the Atheists who deny it.

    There are complementary existences as shown in quantum physics, where the quantum field produces a particle and an anti-particle... a perfect example of a "not" existing in nature without the help of man.

    "Asserting that that gods or numbers or abstractions are immaterial is meaningless." Only when limited to the arbitrary material continuum only.

    irishfarmer is correct. Empiricism is based on the First Principles as axiomatic; if these are either untrue, paradoxical, or variable in nature, then empirical findings would be useless, and the world would be too random to comprehend or even survive.

    The claim that logic and the First Principles will ultimately be found to be material is about as absurd as any science-of-the-gaps statement can be.

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  25. IF: "... However, to downplay the laws of logic as atheists do, or to claim they don't accurate represent truth about the universe is...to put it plainly...stupid."

    To be precise, such behavior and assertions are not stupidity, but rather are intellectual dishonesty, that is, a very specific sort of lying. A "mere" lie is one thing, and one can understand how a person might lie in a moment of stress or pressure; but intellectual dishonesty goes deeper than that, for it is systematic and continuous, it is lying about the very nature of truth and reality.


    Stupidity cannot be helped. Lying, whether "mere" lying, or whether intellectual dishonesty, is a choice.

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  26. Mariano said:

    "Therefore, where has this argument taken us?

    It may demonstrate that the number one is an eternal and unchanging idea that exists in a mind."

    But you have yet to demonstrate that, if abstract entities exist, they must reside in minds.


    "I would consider the assertion that ideas exist in minds to be prima facie and our common experience."

    To say they "exist in" is dubious--minds cognize abstract entities, but abstract entities don't necessarily "exist in" minds.

    Moreover, even if abstract entities do "exist in" minds, it doesn't follow that they exist in all minds, which is the assertion you need to prove.

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  27. Thank you for allowing me to defend myself. See my comments above if you have not, they were posted out of order.

    The use of paradox to disprove the value of logic is a curious approach indeed.

    I did not try to "prove" anything. The universe is paradoxical. See above. Learn something about quantum physics.

    Logic is a convention of language and language is valuable. I never tried to devalue logic. Rather, I pointed out the limitations of logic.

    So, you are arguing against a straw man.

    The law of identity is a concept that describes a truth, outside and beyond its own existence

    Where are you getting this stuff? Really, I have to know. It's quite funny.

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  28. I think you guys might not understand what I mean by paradox. The paradoxes are a result of subjectivity, as I said above.

    Wiki has a decent article on physical paradoxes. Check it out.

    I will not spend time addressing all the straw men manufactured in the above comments.

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  29. The comments you make here are moderated, which means someone must look at them and then post them. This is a time delay, and very, very rarely is censorship involved.

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  30. unbeguiled,
    What is your basis for denying all logic based on the current inabilities to explain certain quantum phenomena? Quantum mechanics does not obviate the macrophysics that was generated by Newton and is still extremely useful in all sciences, including astrophysics and cosmology. Denying that logic is useful, due to the last 75 years of scientific enquiry is a curious statement indeed. In fact your quote seems to suggest just that...we do not live in a quantum world:


    There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.

    - Niels Bohr


    Taken literally this means that the nano-world of quantum physics does not even exist; it can only be described abstractly and we can only say certain things about it. Perhaps you interpreted it otherwise?

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  31. Isn't it a bit amusing that the logic deniers must always fall back on logic in their attempts to overthrow logic?

    Isn't it amusing that 'atheists' constantly assert that we have thrown away our minds, and yet the evidence always shows that it is the 'atheists' who will do this when that's what it takes to protect atheism?

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  32. What is your basis for denying all logic based on the current inabilities to explain certain quantum phenomena?

    You are not reading what I wrote. I never denied logic at all. Rather, I said that you guys use it improperly.

    Taken literally this means that the nano-world of quantum physics does not even exist

    You misunderstand Bohr and me completely. Bohr is talking about subjectivity.

    By quantum world he means the picture we perceive generated by imperfect instruments (which affect what they measure)as well as the human interpretation.

    Perhaps you do not understand what subjectivity means.

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  33. The claim that logic and the First Principles will ultimately be found to be material is about as absurd as any science-of-the-gaps statement can be.

    I don't know which statement you are misunderstanding here, but I do know that you have constructed a classic argument from incredulity.

    In the taxonomy of fallacies common to the flawed thinking of theists, this is perhaps the most common. It goes like this:

    Scientist:

    "Phenomenon X can be explained by such and such"

    or

    "Phenomenon Y is unexplained, so we are doing such and such to discover the explanation".

    Religious person:

    "Phenomenon X is too complicated, I cannot comprehend your explanation, so only a mysterious force can explain it"

    or

    "Phenomenon Y is so complicated, science will never explain it, so we must confect a magical force to explain Y".

    Of course in the latter case, when something is unexplained, scientists do not claim that Y will be explained, only that it may be explained.
    ---------------------
    No worries though, anyone using the argument from incredulity is in good company. In The Principia
    Isaac Newton used the same fallacious argument when confronted with the three-body problem. Newton was pretty smart, he invented calculus, practically on a dare.

    Newton was wrong though, Qiudong Wang solved the three-body problem in the 1990's, without the help of any gods, as far as we can tell.

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  34. Isn't it a bit amusing that the logic deniers must always fall back on logic in their attempts to overthrow logic?

    A good time for another lesson on fallacies. This is the prototype of the "straw man".

    Of course at no time did I "attempt to overthrow logic". Rather, I corrected those who have a primitive and crude understanding of what logic can do.

    I think you guys should realize that making fallacious arguments weakens your position, and strengthens mine.

    Since you cannot defeat my argument, you construct an argument you can defeat.

    So, we see you defeating yourself, not me.

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  35. unbeguiled said:

    "The world is paradoxical.

    Deal with it."


    Now unbeguiled says,

    "A good time for another lesson on fallacies. This is the prototype of the "straw man".

    Of course at no time did I "attempt to overthrow logic". Rather, I corrected those who have a primitive and crude understanding of what logic can do."


    As I have pointed out elsewhere, the unannotated charge of "strawman" is the last refuge of the cornered arguer.

    The casual reader is invited to read through the entire comment field and decide for him/herself.

    When logic is discarded by one side, the resulting conversations tend to be reduced to accusations made from a variety of non-rational viewpoints. These are made to resemble rational thoughts but they fail the scrutiny of actual logic. The casual reader is asked to arm him/herself with full knowledge of the rules of logic starting with the First Principles, and the principles of truth within syllogistic processes and apply that to the conversation above.

    Part of understanding reason is understanding the consequences of both bad reasoning (illogic) and the lack of logic altogether. Here we have examples that can be used to see the difference.

    Good reading!

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  36. When logic is discarded by one side

    This is getting redundant.

    I did not discard logic, nor suggest that anyone should. Rather, I am pointing out that logic should not be used inappropriately.

    Which brings us to the next lesson. Stan, you are using another fallacious rhetorical technique called the argument by repetition.

    You are hoping that if you keep repeating over and over that I have discarded logic, that somehow that will make it true. Like a child that wishes and wishes and hopes and hopes and prays and prays.

    Sad to say Stan, that is not how the universe works.

    --------------------

    Who are these casual readers you are addressing? Your vanity is such that you have even manufactured an imaginary audience.

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  37. Irishfarmer,

    The example of the Kuhlmann primes is misdirected. The question isn't about what patterns you can come up with using numbers, but whether or not abstract objects (or ideas) like numbers actually exist.

    But a specific set of numbers *is* an abstract object (or idea) like numbers in general. I'm sorry if I didn't do a good job of communicating my point, but my goal was to list example abstracta from the clearly man-made to seemingly transcendental to demonstrate that it is unclear where to draw the line. If you believe that we can draw the line between the kuhlmann primes and the surreal numbers, then I disagree with you, but it's not a particularly important disagreement.

    I just wanted to establish that we can agree that at least some ideas have a beginning, when they are first conceived in a mind. So in my own worldview, the ulimate origin of an idea like the kuhlmann primes is explained as follows:

    1) Evolution produces brains
    2) Brains produce minds
    3) Minds produce ideas

    Obviously, I realize that you don't agree with #2 (and maybe not #1), but my point is that the argument Mariano made in his original post doesn't contribute new support for theism beyond the argument from apparent design (#1) and arguments for mind/matter dualism (#2) if we can establish that logic is an idea, like the kuhlmann primes, that had a beginning in an evolved mind.

    If we're willing to accept that some ideas have beginnings, then if someone wants to claim that there are special ideas out there that do not have a beginning, the burden is on them to explain what makes those ideas so special. I think that Mariano recognizes this burden and attempts to defend his argument by saying that if logic did not exist before us, then it would lead to absurdity.

    Should we be convinced by this? Here is why I am not. It is based on the notion that reality uses abstract ideas to calculate its trajectory instead of abstract ideas simply being models of how reality proceeds. As far as I can tell, this is the core disagreement.

    If there were a logical system that the universe followed, this would certainly be problematic in light of Godel's incompleteness theorems. The requirement for completeness would lead us to conclude that the universe is contradictory or paradoxical. Luckily, we don't have to believe that, and instead we can conclude that logic is only a model of reality, an abstraction with limitations.

    BTW..the example of an illogical universe given in the original post isn't a very good one. There's nothing particularly illogical about a wolf running through a forest and turning into a dyslexic shrimp. We just don't tend to see this happen. I wonder if it's possible to imagine a truly illogical reality.

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  38. Hi, interesting post.
    I think the following statement is something that requires justification.

    "Since logic was not invented by humans but existed before we detected it, it seems reasonable to conclude that logic is eternal. Any viable counterargument to this claim would have to demonstrate when logic began to exist."

    --

    Also surprisingly, many people do not know this, but infinity is defined as a paradox.

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  39. IrishFarmer:

    "Logic is a way of talking about ways of talking and is entirely a product of the material world itself. It never has and never will constrain the material world."

    This conclusion is simply not true. If it were, then science would be either impossible or useless as a means of gaining knowledge.


    How would you know that it isn't true? Give me an example of a disembodied abstract law, or pattern, or whatever, that you know for a fact exists independently of any material existent to perceive it.

    Neither is science impossible without ineffable ectoplasmic emanations beamed at us from the unknowable Great Beyond. Science is nothing more or less than a refined and disciplined extension of practical common sense which in turn is nothing more than a product of mundane material existence. Laws of logic are metaphors derived from perceptions of common experience, not determinants of them. Logic limns the shape of our cognitive mechanisms, the shapes of meanings we can extract from experience, and helps sort out what is and is not compatible with the limits of what we can and can not reliably understand. Review the history of the number zero for a glimpse of what I'm getting at; the number zero was excluded from Western culture for centuries after it was developed by the Hindus because it was an indisputable logical verity (to us) that nothing can not exist.

    Anyway, the only good counterargument I can think of is that the laws of logic aren't actual objects, so much as they are patterns that describe truths about the natural world.

    I'd agree that they are patterns, but I'd say they are patterns of what we can reliably perceive, not what is true or possible, about the natural world.

    We can only see a narrow spectrum of visible light. That we are blind to ultraviolet light does not imply that UV does not or can not exist. By analogy you can think of logic as a system of locks and patterns of experience (or discourse about experience) are keys. If a key fits a lock (a pattern of explanation conforms to a known logical pattern) it is understood. But if there is no match we can only say the key fits no locks we have today; it makes no sense within our current system of logic. Since we cannot know we have all the possible locks in our possession we can not conclude from the lack of a matching lock that the existence of a key with that pattern on it's blade is impossible, only that we can make no use of it.

    The limits of our cognitive mechanisms should never be confused with the limits of nature.

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  40. kuhlmann said,
    If there were a logical system that the universe followed, this would certainly be problematic in light of Godel's incompleteness theorems. The requirement for completeness would lead us to conclude that the universe is contradictory or paradoxical. Luckily, we don't have to believe that, and instead we can conclude that logic is only a model of reality, an abstraction with limitations.

    Godel's Theorems do not judge the completeness or validity of a system, they pronounce our ability to declare them complete or valid while remaining within that system. Completeness and validity must be declared from a meta-system, and the completeness and validity of the meta-system requires a declaration from a meta-meta-system, etc., ad infinitum.

    The impact is not on the system itself, it is upon human ability to fully analyze a single system. It declares the necessity for meta-systems; this can be construed to destroy the use of science as a producer of truth, as is stated here:

    "Godel showed that within a rigidly held logical system there exist certain clear-cut statements that can be neither proved nor disproved."

    and,

    "Perhaps doomed also, as a result, is the ideal of science - to devise a set of axioms from which all phenomena of the natural world can be deduced."


    From "A History of Mathematics; the Hillbert problems", C.B.Boyer, pg 611.

    The need for meta-systems is a direct strike at Philosophical Materialism. Materialists need to be very careful when invoking Godel, because Godel's Theorems come very close to requiring the existence of non-material order when declaring material order.

    If kuhlmann means that we cannot know if our universe is totally rational, then that conforms to Godel's Theorems. It doesn't mean that the universe is not rational.

    Also, kuhlmann's statement that, " logic is only a model of reality, an abstraction with limitations" is true; however, certain of the limitations are overcome with a "faith" in the replicability of induction, as in the presumed axiom of "cause and effect" (rejected by Hume, but useful by empirical science on a daily basis anyway).

    If one wishes to argue that all perception is merely a model of reality, that is acceptable too. It doesn't preclude the existence of that reality though. Arguing that logic, as a discipline, is a human construct does not preclude that a logically constructed universe exists. Contrarily it requires that it does.

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  41. Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.

    Logic is neither a science nor an art, but a dodge.


    Logic, the refuge of fools. The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians—and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse.

    - Mencken

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    Logic cannot do what you guys think it can do. Logic is a tool humans use to communicate, like math.

    Aristotle laid down the rules of logic and tried to describe how the world works. Using this method, he got everything wrong.

    There's a mighty big difference between good sound reasons, and reasons that sound good.
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    Remember:

    There are no absolutely true premises.

    Well, you ask, what about that premise?

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    The world is paradoxical.

    Deal with it.


    I have took a course on it. I will give you extra points for zeal to make up for your ignorance in logical premises. Aristotelian syllogistic logic was written as the natural way the mind processes information. nothing more nothing less.

    If a is true and b is true than c must be the outcome. etc.

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  42. I find it interesting that all these arguments are based upon assertions that are not provable. In a strange sort of way you are arguing from nothing.

    I also should point out in defense of Mariano' Aristotelian Syllogistic logic was written to try to explain the way the mind naturally processes information. not about abstract ideas.

    a+b+c=d very simple don't over complicate it.

    If you want to defeat logic just overcome it's first principle the Law of non contradiction logic is useless without this truth.

    servant

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  43. Servant2Him: "I find it interesting that all these arguments are based upon assertions that are not provable. In a strange sort of way you are arguing from nothing."

    Actually, *all* our reasoning and knowledge rests upon "assertions that are not provable" -- and it cannot be otherwise for us.

    I commend you for noticing the essential irrationalism of atheism and how quickly 'atheists' are to turn to disparagement of reason and logic as a means to protect atheism from rational and logical critique. But, don't fall into the same sort of error, yourself.

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  44. Would someone be kind enough to explain to me what 'exist' means, without assuming that I'm a native English speaker and 'just know' what it is supposed to mean?

    By 'kind enough' I also mean 'patient enough to answer clarifying questions if necessary'.

    When I try to shoehorn what I mean by the word into the way it's being used here, I keep running into nonsensicalities, which makes me think I'm not using the same meaning for the word as the rest of you.

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  45. Natural languages are notoriously circular. Words are defined by words that are defined by the words you're trying to define.

    A good synonym for 'exist' is 'to be'. 'to be' is usually defined as 'exist.'

    Not much help, but its sort a basic core concept that most people are expected to know. In practice its much murkier

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