|Bob Mac wrote, |
I get angry though when I perceive a philosophical bias taking precedent over evidence. My dear departed mother, God rest her soul... (Oh, I forgot, there is no God, and no departed soul.) Oh well. Where was I? Oh, yes, my presently non-existent mother once said, "All the world's queer, except me and thee, and even thee's a little queer." (Or was that Shakespeare? Maybe, but I heard it from my mother first.) Anyway, one could say the same about bias: All the world's biased, except me and thee, and even thee's a little biased. But not you, Bob - definitely not you! ;-)
The Law of Identity proves nothing, and offers evidence for nothing. But it sets the standard for judging evidence, does it not? Like a philosophical chief executive, it carries a certain veto power. The law of identity cannot be violated. If the evidence you have is paradoxical - if it seems contradictory - then you have a problem; you need to resolve the paradox; otherwise, you don't have a satisfactory theory.
In Post 21, I wrote, "But it is that very principle of induction that is incompatible with metaphysical randomness. The action of the ball on a roulette wheel is random to the casual observer, because he is not privy to all of the forces acting on it, but in reality its action is governed by strict causality. It is no different for subatomic particles, however random their behavior appears to the observer. Like probability, randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical. Bob replied,
This is not a line of reasoning. This is simply an assertion that is not supported by evidence. Well, it's the conclusion of a fairly extensive line of reasoning, if you were to read the rest of my post, so I wouldn't call it "simply an assertion." You can't separate a conclusion from its reasons and then claim that it doesn't constitute a line of reasoning. That's a little disingenuous, don't you think?! In any case, my supporting "evidence" is philosophical. If you're going to take issue with my conclusion, then you ought at the very least to address my reasons for it. Would you say that it's simply an assertion to invoke the law of non-contradiction in arguing that a theory lacks logical consistency? If not, then why is it simply an assertion to invoke the law of identity in defense of the view that like causes imply like effects? Quoting H.W.B. Joseph,
[I]f a thing is to have any determinate nature and character at all, there must be uniformity of action in different things of that character, or of the same thing on different like occasions. If a thing a under conditions c produces a change x in a subject s - if, for example, a light of certain wave-lengths, passing through the lense of a camera, produces a certain chemical change (which we call the taking of a photograph of Mount Everest) upon a photographic film - the way in which it acts must be regarded as a partial expression of what it is. It could only act differently, if it were different. As long therefore as it is a, and stands related under conditions c to a subject that is s, no other effect than x can be produced; and to say that the same thing acting on the same thing under the same conditions may yet produce a different effect, is to say that a thing need not be what it is. But this is in flat conflict with the Law of Identity. A thing, to be at all, must be something, and can only be what it is. To assert a causal connection between a and x implies that a acts as it does because it is what it is; because, in fact, it is a. So long therefore as it is a, it must act thus; and to assert that it may act otherwise on a subsequent occasion is to assert that what is a is something else than the a which it is declared to be. [Introduction to Logic (1906), p. 407, 408]