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Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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When does proving one's truth claims come to an end?

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Jim B. View Post
    Let's make it simple. Let's talk about torturing small children for one's amusement. Doing so is immoral because it is unnecessarily cruel and unjust. It is immoral because it unnecessarily causes harm and pain and misery. Misery is bad. Happiness is good. Justice is good and injustice is bad. You can continually ask "Why?" and somewhere the "why's" end in intrinisic or axiomatic fact, i.e. "pain is bad, pleasure is good." Axioms cannot be ultimately grounded beyond those intrinsic facts, whether one's morality is secular or divine. Why would torturing children for fun be bad simply because God said so?
    Jim, if torturing small children for fun brings great pleasure to the sadist then is redounds to personal opinion as to weather it is morally acceptable or not. The sadist thinks it is - we don't. And since we are finite we can not, apart from the law of God, turn it's immorality into a universal truth.

    If God is the only standard of 'the Good', then it leads to a tautology. It's contentless to say that "God is good," because all you're saying is that "God is God-like." To say that 'God does what is good' is only to say that 'God does what God does.' God can only hold Himself to the standard that HE Himself sets for Himself. Furthermore, God could not know that He is good but could only know that He is God-like, since He'd have no other possible criterion to judge Himself against.
    Of course He would have no other criterion to judge Himself, why would He? Why would anything else be necessary? His goodness is an "intrinsic or axiomatic fact."

    I don't know what "second standard" you're referring to here. There's only one standard, the standard of morality that is dictated by reason and that tells us that inflicting unnecessary cruelty is wrong. We could and often are wrong in our judgments about what is right and wrong and God is infinitely wiser than we are in His omniscience as far as knowing outcomes, but that fact doesn't alter the basic meanings of the words "good" and right".
    Jim you just referenced this second standard when you asked about what other criterion can judge Himself against. What is this other criterion that God can look to see if He is doing the right thing.

    Some humans find murder and torture morally acceptable, but that doesn't mean that they are right in doing so. I meant the inherent human condition of being rational moral beings that are capable of being wrong.
    You are still taking a personal moral opinion (torture isn't morally acceptable) and universalizing it.

    The thing about Occam's Razor is that you're saying, or at least I think you're saying, that for every single math, logical, and moral truth there has to be a thought in God's mind perpetually maintaining that truth in its existence. That's an infinite number of, IMO, unnecessary extra entities!
    No I'm asking why we need that second moral criterion that God can judge Himself against, when He is the embodiment of goodness? The very standard of goodness.
    Last edited by seer; 01-16-2020, 03:21 PM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by seer View Post
      Jim, if torturing small children for fun brings great pleasure to the sadist then is redounds to personal opinion as to weather it is morally acceptable or not. The sadist thinks it is - we don't. And since we are finite we can not, apart from the law of God, turn it's immorality into a universal truth.
      We know it in the same way we know truths about the physical world, for instance. There is a computer in front of me, for example. My senses could deceive me. I could be in the matrix, etc. Likewise, all of our knowledge of the Bible could be part of that Matrix as well. All of my memories could have been manufactured up until now, including my knowledge of God.

      And God sanctions some apparently pretty heinous acts in the OT. He commands Abraham to kill Isaac, among other very problematic things. Biblical hermeneutics is not all that simple. We still need reason to interpret the Bible and to evaluate and judge God's trustworthiness and character. We have to have a prior and independent criterion of goodness to know the meanings of the terms 'goodness' and 'love' to be able to apply them to God.


      Of course He would have no other criterion to judge Himself, why would He? Why would anything else be necessary? His goodness is an "intrinsic or axiomatic fact."
      It would be necessary because without it, the 'good' is vacuous. It is devoid of meaning.



      Jim you just referenced this second standard when you asked about what other criterion can judge Himself against. What is this other criterion that God can look to see if He is doing the right thing.
      It was a rhetorical question. He needs only ONE standard, the one single standard of THE GOOD that HE and we and all rational beings judge themselves and are judged against. If He has no standard, no criterion of reference, then 'the good' for Him just means nothing. It's a circular definition.



      You are still taking a personal moral opinion (torture isn't morally acceptable) and universalizing it.
      You're confusing epistemology (how we come to know stuff) with metaphysics or ontology (what it is we are coming to know). All epistemology has an inescapable starting point in subjectivity. Even scientists and mathematicians have to use their physical sense organs to begin their investigations. So do theists. That fact does not mean that the object of the theist's investigation, namely God, is necessarily subjective in nature.



      No I'm asking why we need that second moral criterion that God can judge Himself against, when He is the embodiment of goodness? The very standard of goodness.
      You're begging the question. You're assuming that you are right and that God is the standard of goodness. I'm saying we should set that aside, since we shouldn't assume which of us is right. I'm saying that IF you are right, it leads to an absurdity, namely, that 'goodness' for God is vacuous.

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by Jim B. View Post
        We know it in the same way we know truths about the physical world, for instance. There is a computer in front of me, for example. My senses could deceive me. I could be in the matrix, etc. Likewise, all of our knowledge of the Bible could be part of that Matrix as well. All of my memories could have been manufactured up until now, including my knowledge of God.

        And God sanctions some apparently pretty heinous acts in the OT. He commands Abraham to kill Isaac, among other very problematic things. Biblical hermeneutics is not all that simple. We still need reason to interpret the Bible and to evaluate and judge God's trustworthiness and character. We have to have a prior and independent criterion of goodness to know the meanings of the terms 'goodness' and 'love' to be able to apply them to God.
        I'm not sure what your point it Jim. For instance, if you disagreed with an act of God, you thought it was immoral, on what possible basis could you make that judgement?



        It would be necessary because without it, the 'good' is vacuous. It is devoid of meaning.
        Vacuous to whom? You? We both agree that moral questions must stop somewhere, I stop them in the moral character of God, where do you stop them?


        It was a rhetorical question. He needs only ONE standard, the one single standard of THE GOOD that HE and we and all rational beings judge themselves and are judged against. If He has no standard, no criterion of reference, then 'the good' for Him just means nothing. It's a circular definition.
        Sheesh you are doing it again! And how do you know this standard is actually good without begging the question?



        You're confusing epistemology (how we come to know stuff) with metaphysics or ontology (what it is we are coming to know). All epistemology has an inescapable starting point in subjectivity. Even scientists and mathematicians have to use their physical sense organs to begin their investigations. So do theists. That fact does not mean that the object of the theist's investigation, namely God, is necessarily subjective in nature.
        Jim I know the difference, and I'm not confusing anything. You still don't get to universalize a moral opinion. You would have to demonstrate how universal moral truths exist without God, and even if they did exist what authority they would have over us. Good luck.



        You're begging the question. You're assuming that you are right and that God is the standard of goodness. I'm saying we should set that aside, since we shouldn't assume which of us is right. I'm saying that IF you are right, it leads to an absurdity, namely, that 'goodness' for God is vacuous.
        How is it any more vacuous than this ethereal standard of good you are speaking of? Why is that the good? How do you get there without circular reasoning? If you can escape by claiming that as an axiomatic fact, why can't I do claim the same about the moral character of God?

        Let me ask you Jim, do you believe God's moral character is immutable?
        Last edited by seer; 01-17-2020, 08:22 AM.
        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by seer View Post
          How can anything you just said be verified?
          The metaphysical speculation both of you referred to, of course, cannot be verified. How can any one metaphysical argument be justified as 'truth' beyond what we may believe considering the conflicting diversity of the claims?
          Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-17-2020, 10:07 PM.
          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

          go with the flow the river knows . . .

          Frank

          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by seer View Post
            How can anything you just said be verified?
            Scientific methodology provides a mechanism to test and verify hypothetical propositions to the extent it can put a man safely on the moon. Conversely, your purely academic metaphysical arguments cannot test and verify hypothetical propositions.
            Last edited by Tassman; 01-18-2020, 01:56 AM.
            “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by Tassman View Post
              Scientific methodology provides a mechanism to test and verify hypothetical propositions to the extent it can put a man safely on the moon. Conversely, your purely academic metaphysical arguments cannot test and verify hypothetical propositions.
              You don't get it, you are again making a claim that is not scientific and you believe it to be true.
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by seer View Post
                You don't get it, you are again making a claim that is not scientific and you believe it to be true.
                One believes what can be supported by evidence. Science is supported by empirically testing observations and deriving conclusions. Religious beliefs have no such methodology to test its claims.
                “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                  One believes what can be supported by evidence. Science is supported by empirically testing observations and deriving conclusions. Religious beliefs have no such methodology to test its claims.
                  Are you suggesting that we can only know things, true things, by scientific testing?
                  Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by seer View Post
                    Are you suggesting that we can only know things, true things, by scientific testing?
                    That would probably not be a very good way to look at something like, say, love.

                    As I've said many a time previously, science is the best tool we got for examining things when you want to answer questions that begin with "how" but fails miserably when seeking answers for questions that begin with "why." For the latter we need to turn to things like religion and philosophy for the answers.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by seer View Post
                      I'm not sure what your point it Jim. For instance, if you disagreed with an act of God, you thought it was immoral, on what possible basis could you make that judgement?
                      On what my best moral judgment is. Just as you do when you make the set of judgments that you make about who and what God is and about God's trustworthiness and character enabling you to cede ultimate moral authority to God. One's own moral judgement is inescapable.

                      On your understanding, God could authorize literally anything. No atrocity would be off-limits. You could say he wouldn't do literally anything because of His character, but who are we to say? He is infinitely more knowing, more just than we are. Because of His infinitely more demanding justice and infinitely more far-reaching knowledge, what our intuitions of what He could or would do count for nothing.





                      Vacuous to whom? You? We both agree that moral questions must stop somewhere, I stop them in the moral character of God, where do you stop them?
                      Yes, vacuous to me and IMO to anyone using reason. Just as you are using reason to say that moral questions stop in the moral character of God. We are both starting from the same epistemological point, our finite reasoning capacity. I could just as easily say 'Who are you to say you know where moral questions stop?' It's called philosophy, and short of direct divine revelation, it's all either of us have to go on.

                      When we say "X is good" we mean that X is good relative to a standard of goodness that X itself does not set. If X sets its own standard of goodness, then it means something like "X fulfills its X-ness." If I say "Bobby is smart" I mean Bobby is smart relative to an accepted public standard that Bobby did not set. If Bobby is smart only by a standard he himself sets, then if e is actually smart, he is only by accident and not because he meets his own standard.




                      Sheesh you are doing it again! And how do you know this standard is actually good without begging the question?
                      I don't know. You're confusing epistemology with ontology again. I'm saying there has to be some standard, even if we're not sure what it is.





                      Jim I know the difference, and I'm not confusing anything. You still don't get to universalize a moral opinion. You would have to demonstrate how universal moral truths exist without God, and even if they did exist what authority they would have over us. Good luck.
                      I've been doing so. You would have to do so for God. Good luck. Authority is the very opposite of morality which is based on autonomy.





                      How is it any more vacuous than this ethereal standard of good you are speaking of? Why is that the good? How do you get there without circular reasoning? If you can escape by claiming that as an axiomatic fact, why can't I do claim the same about the moral character of God?
                      Because the "good" is made up of features like love and kindness, generosity, etc. On your view, it's a blank, a featureless property of God's that exists prior to any virtues or properties.


                      Let me ask you Jim, do you believe God's moral character is immutable?
                      Yes, of course. Your point being...
                      Last edited by Jim B.; 01-19-2020, 04:23 PM.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Jim B. View Post
                        On what my best moral judgment is. Just as you do when you make the set of judgments that you make about who and what God is and about God's trustworthiness and character enabling you to cede ultimate moral authority to God. One's own moral judgement is inescapable.

                        On your understanding, God could authorize literally anything. No atrocity would be off-limits. You could say he wouldn't do literally anything because of His character, but who are we to say? He is infinitely more knowing, more just than we are. Because of His infinitely more demanding justice and infinitely more far-reaching knowledge, what our intuitions of what He could or would do count for nothing.
                        I'm asking on what basis your, or our, intuitions could possibly disagree with a moral act of God? Our moral character? Our knowledge of future consequences? What?


                        Yes, vacuous to me and IMO to anyone using reason. Just as you are using reason to say that moral questions stop in the moral character of God. We are both starting from the same epistemological point, our finite reasoning capacity. I could just as easily say 'Who are you to say you know where moral questions stop?' It's called philosophy, and short of direct divine revelation, it's all either of us have to go on.
                        Well thank goodness we have divine revelation...

                        When we say "X is good" we mean that X is good relative to a standard of goodness that X itself does not set. If X sets its own standard of goodness, then it means something like "X fulfills its X-ness." If I say "Bobby is smart" I mean Bobby is smart relative to an accepted public standard that Bobby did not set. If Bobby is smart only by a standard he himself sets, then if e is actually smart, he is only by accident and not because he meets his own standard.
                        And that is the point, Bobby's intelligence is relative. Just like your moral standard.


                        I don't know. You're confusing epistemology with ontology again. I'm saying there has to be some standard, even if we're not sure what it is.
                        Even if this standard exists how can we know if it is "the good" without begging the question. In other words you are always going to end up in a circle, unless you play the axiom card. Which I get to do too.


                        I've been doing so. You would have to do so for God. Good luck. Authority is the very opposite of morality which is based on autonomy.
                        I have no idea what that means, the law of God is universal based in His immutable moral character.



                        Because the "good" is made up of features like love and kindness, generosity, etc. On your view, it's a blank, a featureless property of God's that exists prior to any virtues or properties.
                        You are describing the goodness of God, which includes of all those qualities...


                        Yes, of course. Your point being...
                        Since that is the case what possible value does your other unknowable standard have? It has no bearing on God's moral character since that character is immutable.
                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          That would probably not be a very good way to look at something like, say, love.
                          “Love” can be viewed as an extension of the evolved nurturing instinct common to many living creatures and therefore explainable by science – just as any verifiable factual knowledge is explainable by science.
                          “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                            “Love” can be viewed as an extension of the evolved nurturing instinct common to many living creatures and therefore explainable by science – just as any verifiable factual knowledge is explainable by science.
                            Again: Are you suggesting that we can only know things, true things, by scientific testing?
                            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by seer View Post
                              I'm asking on what basis your, or our, intuitions could possibly disagree with a moral act of God? Our moral character? Our knowledge of future consequences? What?
                              On the inescapable basis that morality appears to depend upon individual autonomy, regardless of what that morality consists of. Even if you cede some or all of your decision-making to an authority, you must do so via your own autonomy, assuming you are a moral agent. If you follow God or a god, you must still decide on whether or not that god is real, if he is who he claims to be, and has the character, trustworthiness and moral precepts that deserve to be followed.




                              Well thank goodness we have divine revelation...
                              Don't you mean "Thank God"? You don't want to put 'goodness' above 'God', do you?



                              And that is the point, Bobby's intelligence is relative. Just like your moral standard.
                              I think you might have missed my point. It was probably a bad analogy. Jimmy was not smart.




                              Even if this standard exists how can we know if it is "the good" without begging the question. In other words you are always going to end up in a circle, unless you play the axiom card. Which I get to do too.
                              The 'good' is what is generally considered commendable or ideally desirable. It's made up of good-making features. We have a pretty good idea of what those features would be: love, fairness, mercy, wisdom, etc. It's probably not an exhaustive list.




                              I have no idea what that means, the law of God is universal based in His immutable moral character.
                              I agree that it's based in His immutable moral character, but his immutable moral character is based on what is good. In a world without God, you're saying it would not be good to be compassionate or loving. I'm saying that makes no sense. I'm saying that God is compassionate and loving because those things are good, not the other way around. You have the order of explanation reversed.





                              You are describing the goodness of God, which includes of all those qualities...
                              No, it doesn't, seer. That's my point. Your conception of God's goodness is logically prior to the goodness of God's mercy, love, etc. According to you, those features are good in virtue of belonging to God. For you, God's goodness has to be logically prior to anything that could possibly make it good, so it's a blank.




                              Since that is the case what possible value does your other unknowable standard have? It has no bearing on God's moral character since that character is immutable.
                              No, mine is the one that's knowable. Goodness has all these good-making features that I mentioned. For you, God's goodness is this mysterious, unknowable blank.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Jim B. View Post
                                On the inescapable basis that morality appears to depend upon individual autonomy, regardless of what that morality consists of. Even if you cede some or all of your decision-making to an authority, you must do so via your own autonomy, assuming you are a moral agent. If you follow God or a god, you must still decide on whether or not that god is real, if he is who he claims to be, and has the character, trustworthiness and moral precepts that deserve to be followed.
                                Jim that was not the point I was making, whether I decide God is real or not has nothing to do with it. I'm asking theoretically on what basis could we ever object to a moral act of God?


                                The 'good' is what is generally considered commendable or ideally desirable. It's made up of good-making features. We have a pretty good idea of what those features would be: love, fairness, mercy, wisdom, etc. It's probably not an exhaustive list.
                                I agree, and they line up with the morally qualities of God.


                                I agree that it's based in His immutable moral character, but his immutable moral character is based on what is good. In a world without God, you're saying it would not be good to be compassionate or loving. I'm saying that makes no sense. I'm saying that God is compassionate and loving because those things are good, not the other way around. You have the order of explanation reversed.
                                No I'm saying that without God there are no universal moral truths, only relative moral beliefs.

                                No, it doesn't, seer. That's my point. Your conception of God's goodness is logically prior to the goodness of God's mercy, love, etc. According to you, those features are good in virtue of belonging to God. For you, God's goodness has to be logically prior to anything that could possibly make it good, so it's a blank.
                                No, there is nothing prior in God's moral nature. Mercy, love, forgiveness, justice that make up his goodness are just as eternal and immutable as His overall goodness.


                                No, mine is the one that's knowable. Goodness has all these good-making features that I mentioned. For you, God's goodness is this mysterious, unknowable blank.
                                What on earth are you talking about? And I will ask again, what effect or influence could your standard have on an immutable moral character? It would be completely superfluous to a morally unchanging being.
                                Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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