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Post 80

Friday, April 28, 2006 - 5:32pmSanction this postReply
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Bob, I wasn't going to reply to you, but I see that you are now advancing an argument, rather than simply an assertion, so at least I have something to respond to. You write,
Let me put it another way. Your reasoning in support of causality is meaningless because you assume your definition of causality to be true before you even begin your 'reasoning'.

This is a perfect textbook example of the worst kind of begging the question fallacy. For an argument to have any epistemological or dialectical force, it must start from premisses already known or believed by its audience, and proceed to infer a conclusion not known or believed. You wrote,
The only point I was making is that an entity is its attributes. If you agree with this, then we are one step closer to agreement on the broader issue. I wrote, "To reply that this refers to macroscopic entities is to miss the point, which is that even macroscopic principles are impossible without the underlying presupposition of causal necessity."
Bill, in this case you EXPLICITLY state the underlying presupposition of causal necessity in an argument about causal necessity - FALLACY.
Bob, go back and re-read what you just quoted. If you do, I think you'll see that what I stated there is that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity, which they do, not that causal necessity presupposes causal necessity. In order to beg the question, I would have to state that causal necessity presupposes causal necessity, which I don't do, or I would have to assume that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity as a basis for concluding that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity, which I also don't do.

But you didn't answer me as to whether or not you agree that an entity just is its attributes. Do you agree that it is, or do you hold, along with Locke that there must be a substance of some sort that underlies an entity's attributes and holds them together? The problem with the latter view is that if you abstract away all of the attributes, there is nothing left - no "substratum" to be found. So, if you accept the only view which I think is reasonable here, namely, that an entity just is its attributes sans substratum, then it follows by the law of identity that the same entity must possess the same attributes under the same conditions; otherwise, it's not the same entity. And since an entity's behavior is one of its attributes, it follows that the same entity must behave the same way under the same conditions.

If you wish to dispute this conclusion, then you'll have to find a fallacy in the reasoning - either in the truth of the premises or in the validity of the derivation. Good luck!
You have violated your much exalted law of identity Bill. Your 'logic' demands that I both believe and not believe the same thing.
How does it do that, Bob? I'm afraid I don't follow you here.
And just because you have Eddie the cheerleader with you doesn't change the truth.
Ed's a good guy, Bob. Please try to avoid the snide remarks, okay?

- Bill


Post 81

Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 1:39pmSanction this postReply
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Well Bill. now I'm getting to the point where I'm tiring of you now because I don't believe you're discussing/arguing in good faith now

In order to beg the question, I would have to state that causal necessity presupposes causal necessity, which I don't do, or I would have to assume that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity as a basis for concluding that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity, which I also don't do.

You most certainly do, numerous times here's a few more

But it is that very principle of induction that is incompatible with metaphysical randomness.

Translation: Inductive logic assumes fundamental causality

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.

Translation: Strict fundamental causality is assumed, but sometimes we just don't know all the forces.

It is no different for subatomic particles, however random their behavior appears to the observer. Like probability, randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical.

Translation: Fundamental causality is assumed at the subatomic level.  Like probability, randomness is not fundamental, causality is.

You state the same thing over and over and argue nothing.

You have violated your much exalted law of identity Bill. Your 'logic' demands that I both believe and not believe the same thing.
How does it do that, Bob? I'm afraid I don't follow you here.



Because, you need me to believe causality is not fundamental in order for you to argue, then you ask me to assume fundamental causality as a premise for your 'argument'.

Bob


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Post 82

Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 5:25pmSanction this postReply
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Bob wrote,
Well Bill. now I'm getting to the point where I'm tiring of you now because I don't believe you're discussing/arguing in good faith now.
Bob, don't you ever get tired of the condescending remarks? Why not simply argue the point instead of impugning other people's character at every opportunity? Nary a post goes by where you don't resort to some snide aside, yet if anything even approaching that is done to you, you complain bitterly. You accuse Objectivists of being biased, and yet you recently admitted that you, yourself, were biased. Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black and then admitting it. Curiouser and curiouser.

I wrote, "In order to beg the question, I would have to state that causal necessity presupposes causal necessity, which I don't do, or I would have to assume that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity as a basis for concluding that macroscopic principles presuppose causal necessity, which I also don't do." You replied,
You most certainly do, numerous times here's a few more:
But it is that very principle of induction that is incompatible with metaphysical randomness.
Translation: Inductive logic assumes fundamental causality.
Yes, inductive logic assumes fundamental causality, which is true. But even if you disagree, that statement does not beg the question. If I say X assumes Y, I may be wrong, if in fact X does not assume Y, but that does not mean that I am begging the question. To beg the question, one must assume the very point that one is seeking to prove as a precondition for proving it.

Here is an example of the fallacy of begging the question: "God exists, because the Bible says so. How do you know the Bible is true? Answer: Because God wrote it." Now that's begging the question, because the argument assumes that God exists as a precondition for proving that he exists. But nowhere have I assumed causality as a precondition for proving it. What I have done is argue for the law of causality based on its being a corollary of the law of identity.

I wrote, "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." You replied,
Translation: Strict fundamental causality is assumed, but sometimes we just don't know all the forces.
The statement you quoted was not intended as a proof of causality; it was made only to illustrate that randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical. I added, "It is no different for subatomic particles, however random their behavior appears to the observer. Like probability, randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical."
Translation: Fundamental causality is assumed at the subatomic level. Like probability, randomness is not fundamental, causality is.
You state the same thing over and over and argue nothing.
Not true. Go back and read the posts in which I quoted H.W.B. Joseph's argument that the law of universal causation is based on the law of identity. I have a feeling that you may have glossed over that, and not read it very carefully.
You have violated your much exalted law of identity Bill. Your 'logic' demands that I both believe and not believe the same thing.
How does it do that, Bob? I'm afraid I don't follow you here.
Because, you need me to believe causality is not fundamental in order for you to argue, then you ask me to assume fundamental causality as a premise for your 'argument'.
Well, as I've said, the law of causality isn't fundamental philosophically; it's a corollary of the law of identity, so I don't know where you got that idea. Actually, I do know where you got it -- from not carefully reading what I wrote.

- Bill

(Edited by William Dwyer
on 4/30, 5:29pm)

(Edited by William Dwyer
on 4/30, 9:10pm)


Post 83

Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 8:01pmSanction this postReply
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[w/pom-pom's] Hoo-ray! Sis-boom-bah! Bill shows Bob knocking-down men-of-straw!

Ed


Post 84

Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 9:07pmSanction this postReply
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Careful, Ed. You wouldn't want Bob to accuse you of (shudder!) "cheerleading" now would you?

- Bill

Post 85

Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 11:08pmSanction this postReply
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Oops! Bill, I should have THOUGHT of that (before posting as I did)!

Ed


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Post 86

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 9:42amSanction this postReply
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Bill wrote:

I quoted H.W.B. Joseph's argument that the law of universal causation is based on the law of identity. I have a feeling that you may have glossed over that, and not read it very carefully.
 
His was a statement, not an argument (at best).  Realistically, his opening statement clearly sets up precisely the same fallacy as I described.  His first sentence claims that for any causality to exist at all, it must exist everywhere.  As a premise for a causality argument, it is fallacious.

Well, as I've said, the law of causality isn't fundamental philosophically; it's a corollary of the law of identity, so I don't know where you got that idea. Actually, I do know where you got it -- from not carefully reading what I wrote.

And you wonder why I make snide remarks?  This is nonsense.  The law of identity is an AXIOM. A "corollary" is described as a proposition that follows with little or no proof required from one already proven.  So, since an axiom is not provable, we already have a problem - a big one.

Let's put that aside and look at what I think you really mean.  You assert that the law of identity demands, infers, or deductively requires causality. This is 100% identical to the begging the question fallacy.  There is no line of reasoning other than the Identity/causality assumption, then the conclusion - fallacious.

Now, you're not alone, because the whole Objectivist "movement" commits this fallacy by definition of their axioms.

"Axioms are the most obvious statements from which everything else follows. The Objectivist axioms are set up in such a way that they are irrefutable. Anyone trying to object to them must implicitly assume them even before he or she can formulate a counter-argument. "

(from http://andrej.com/objectivism/ - apparently ARI approved)

See, Objectivists commit the fallacy before they even begin ANY other argument!  This is quite funny actually.  This is using the fallacy of begging the question to argue that any counter argument is fallacious!

Damn! That would be clever if it wasn't so STUPID!

I'm finished with this foolishness.

Bob


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Post 87

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 9:52amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Bob Mac,

The site you linked to is a satire piece. Didn't you read it? What makes you think it's ARI approved? Did you follow the "ARI approved" link to....an air conditioning company?

Silly man.

Ethan

(Edited by Ethan Dawe on 5/01, 9:53am)

(Edited by Ethan Dawe on 5/01, 9:54am)


Post 88

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
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That's funny.  Oops!

But the argument still stands - in case you forgot.

There's some great humour there

"Show that relativity theory and quantum mechanics are based on corrupt philosophies because they violate the principle of identity. In particular, relativity theory denies objectivity of knowledge (see previous exercise), and quantum theory denies identity itself (particles do not have definite properties). "

Comedy gold.

Bob


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Post 89

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 2:06pmSanction this postReply
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Ethan,
Now we know where Bob learned Objectivism.  I think I found where he learned his physics:
http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/parodies/stuperspace.html
Glenn


Post 90

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 2:57pmSanction this postReply
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Hey Glenn, that paper is hilarious!

Post 91

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 3:09pmSanction this postReply
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Yes - that is indeed hilarious..!!!

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Post 92

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 8:18pmSanction this postReply
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I previously wrote, "I quoted H.W.B. Joseph's argument that the law of universal causation is based on the law of identity. I have a feeling that you may have glossed over that, and not read it very carefully." Bob replied,
His was a statement, not an argument (at best). Realistically, his opening statement clearly sets up precisely the same fallacy as I described. His first sentence claims that for any causality to exist at all, it must exist everywhere. As a premise for a causality argument, it is fallacious.
Bob, if you can't paraphrase accurately, then you need to quote the actual statement. He doesn't say that for any causality to exist at all, it must exist everywhere. He says that for identity to exist at all, causality is required. Here is the sentence to which you refer:
[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. (Emphasis added)
In other words,
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]
So, if I understand you, you're claiming that Joseph's argument begs the question - that the author of An Introduction to Logic, and a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Oxford committed an obvious petitio. Well, I'm sure that the Oxford University Press would be glad to know about that, so that they can issue a retraction and expunge this embarrassing philosophical faux pas from their now tarnished reputation.

I wrote, "Well, as I've said, the law of causality isn't fundamental philosophically; it's a corollary of the law of identity, so I don't know where you got that idea. Actually, I do know where you got it -- from not carefully reading what I wrote." Bob replied,
And you wonder why I make snide remarks? This is nonsense. The law of identity is an AXIOM. A "corollary" is described as a proposition that follows with little or no proof required from one already proven. So, since an axiom is not provable, we already have a problem - a big one.
Don't be so pedantic, Bob. You've cited one definition of "corollary," as if it were the only legitimate sense in which the term could be used; in fact, another definition is "a deduction or inference"; another, "a natural consequence or effect." (The American Heritage Dictionary) What I had I mind was an obvious and immediate inference from already established knowledge. The law of identity cannot be "proved" in the sense of being derived from more fundamental knowledge, since it is the foundation of all reasoning, but that doesn't mean that it isn't demonstrably true and, in that sense, provable. You're really grasping at straws to contest my argument on that basis. If you'd rather not call a direct and immediate inference from an already demonstrated truth a "corollary," fine. But it fits better than any other term I can think of, unless you have a better suggestion.
Let's put that aside and look at what I think you really mean. You assert that the law of identity demands, infers, or deductively requires causality. This is 100% identical to the begging the question fallacy. There is no line of reasoning other than the Identity/causality assumption, then the conclusion - fallacious.
The line of reasoning is that the law of causality follows from the law of identity, not that it is the law of identity. So, how does that beg the question? How is that fallacious? You've lost me. Then you add,
Now, you're not alone, because the whole Objectivist "movement" commits this fallacy by definition of their axioms.

"Axioms are the most obvious statements from which everything else follows. The Objectivist axioms are set up in such a way that they are irrefutable. Anyone trying to object to them must implicitly assume them even before he or she can formulate a counter-argument."

(from http://andrej.com/objectivism/ - apparently ARI approved)

See, Objectivists commit the fallacy before they even begin ANY other argument! This is quite funny actually. This is using the fallacy of begging the question to argue that any counter argument is fallacious!
The Objectivist axioms are not "set up" in such a way that they are irrefutable. They are in fact irrefutable by the nature of reality and the requirements of human knowledge. It is true that in order to refute them, one must implicitly assume them, but that's because all knowledge presupposes them. If that constitutes begging the question, then all valid reasoning begs the question, because it is based on these axioms. But to say that all valid reasoning begs the question is a contradiction in terms. Since begging the question is a fallacy, it is by definition a form of invalid reasoning.
Damn! That would be clever if it wasn't so STUPID!

I'm finished with this foolishness.
I'll let that comment stand on its own. ;-)

- Bill


(Edited by William Dwyer
on 5/01, 8:20pm)


Post 93

Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 12:38amSanction this postReply
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Bill, splendid reasoning.

Ed


Post 94

Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 3:13pmSanction this postReply
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Bill:

     Sometimes I do wonder why, after a certain amount of argument-giving, you continue to waste your time on some supposedly 'sincere' posters.

LLAP
J:D

P.S: that 'paper' WAS hilarious. Gah. I couldn't stop reading. Even the 'acknowledgements' were good.


Post 95

Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 10:54pmSanction this postReply
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Sometimes I do wonder why, after a certain amount of argument-giving, you continue to waste your time on some supposedly 'sincere' posters.
Actually, it's not a waste of time, for I enjoy the give and take and the process of analyzing the issue. I recognize that some people I'll never convince, but it's the argument that interests me. I want to see if I can make a legitimate argument and adequately answer the other poster's objections. If I can, it doesn't matter that he isn't convinced; if I can't, it doesn't matter that he is.

- Bill

Post 96

Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 7:24amSanction this postReply
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Bill, in psychology, that's called 'achievement motivation' -- something primarily found in very young children, who "try" and "do" just because they "can" (and THAT makes them feel good).

Ed


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Post 97

Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 10:13amSanction this postReply
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Ed, well, it's not only that; I am interested in promoting my views; I have to believe in the argument to defend it. The point is, I don't consider it a waste of time just because the other person is too biased to agree with me.

But one thing that I think is very important in discussing ideas is the willingness to change one's mind, when presented with a better argument. Everyone should be receptive to this. You should be focused only at the merits of the argument, not simply on winning it, although admittedly, this is easier said than done. It's very hard to change people's minds, if they don't approach the discussion in this manner.

Mr. Bob Mac is a good case in point. His whole orientation was towards invalidating certain aspects of Objectivism. He had made up his mind that the philosophy was wrong, and by God, nobody was going to convince him otherwise. This forced him into increasingly bizarre attempts to dismiss certain of its key premises, of which he apparently had no understanding to begin with. So he made a fool of himself by arguing that to invoke the laws of logic begs the question, while evading the obvious fact that the fallacy of begging the question depends on the laws of logic.

Everyone is capable of bonehead mistakes, of course, which is why you have to be willing to admit them, correct yourself, and move on. I've had to do it, and if I didn't I wouldn't be where I'm at today. You can't make intellectual progress without a certain amount of humility. I know this doesn't sound like an Objectivist virtue. But I define "humility" as the willingness to acknowledge your own shortcomings and to make an effort to correct them. It's really just another name for intellectual honesty. You ignore it at your peril.

- Bill
(Edited by William Dwyer
on 5/21, 10:14am)

(Edited by William Dwyer
on 5/21, 10:16am)

(Edited by William Dwyer
on 5/21, 10:20am)


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Post 98

Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 2:22pmSanction this postReply
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Bill, I have'nt really time to do this, but sometimes it's just too much for me:
Mr. Bob Mac is a good case in point. His whole orientation was towards invalidating certain aspects of Objectivism. He had made up his mind that the philosophy was wrong, and by God, nobody was going to convince him otherwise
How do you know? We could as well say that you have made up your mind that Objectivism is right and that nobody is going to convince you otherwise. This is cheap psychologizing and in fact an ad hominem argument: you "know" that he has "made up his mind", suggesting that he has done so in advance, without really considering the arguments pro and con. You don't consider the possibility that he has considered all the arguments and has come to the conclusion that they're wrong, no he disagrees with you and therefore he must be biased.
So, if I understand you, you're claiming that Joseph's argument begs the question - that the author of An Introduction to Logic, and a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Oxford committed an obvious petitio. Well, I'm sure that the Oxford University Press would be glad to know about that, so that they can issue a retraction and expunge this embarrassing philosophical faux pas from their now tarnished reputation.
This is a perfect example of an argument from authority: because he's written an introduction to logic and is lecturer in philosophy his argument must be right. Don't you think there are also many professors in philosophy who think that Rand's philosophy is bunk? In fact Bob is right. If you look at Joseph's argument: If 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. His supposition is that a thing has a determinate nature, and then he tells us that it under the same circumstances can only produce the same effect. Well, that is of course a classic example of begging the question: you suppose that its nature is deterministic and that supposedly "proves" that it does behave deterministically. And the argument of the Law of Identity is of course also fallacious: A thing, to be at all, must be something, and can only be what it is. This does not imply that it must behave deterministically, however, that is an extra assumption that is not contained in the definition of the Law of Identity. This is a big flaw in the Objectivist reasoning and no argument from authority or argument ad hominem can change that.

Post 99

Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 2:44pmSanction this postReply
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I just discovered that the book by Joseph dates from 1916... That explains of course a lot, the whole new physics which shook the foundations of our world view still had to be discovered. That doesn't take away that his argument is fallacious, though the conclusion seemed obvious at the time.

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