Sunday, May 01, 2011

From Wainwright's Philosophy of Religion on the Cosmological Argument

This is another post in a series attempting to make sense of Aquinas's Third Way.

This is from William Wainwright's Philosophy of Religion. (Wadsworth, 2nd. ed, 1999).

Aquinas concedes that infinite temporal regresses are possible. Each change or causal activity could be preceded by an earlier one. Each change or causal activity could be preceded by an earlier one. He thinks, howe ver, that series of simultaneously occurring changes or causes must have first members--the activity that is the source of change but isn't itself susceptible to change or a causal activity that is not, and could not be, derived from another. The ultimate ground of change ("the first mover") or causal activity ("the first cause") is God.

These cosmological arguments are historically important. Their plausibility, however, depends on assumptions that are no longer widely held. Ancient and medieval science, for example, thoght in terms of hierarchies of simultaneously occurring causes of different ontological kinds. Effects at lower levels of being we explained by causal activities at higher levels of being. Ancient and medieval metaphysics also assumed that the less perfect can be explained only by the more perfect.

Modern versions of the cosmological argumemt dispense with these assumptions. Most of them focus on contingent existence.


I'm wondering if this isn't perhaps too hasty of a dismissal. The underlying consideration seems to be the idea regardless of what past causes there might be for any contingent thing, there still has to be a contemporaneously existing thing or things which cause the existence of something now. That leads to a commitment to an infinite number of contingent things (perhaps an absurdity given the finite size of the universe) or a necessary being on which all things depend.

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

The defenders of Thomistic cosmological arguments today stress that these arguments do not hinge on medieval science. Aquinas´s distinction between series of efficient causes ordered per se and per accidens is a metaphysical analysis of a two different kinds of causal series. So whether or not these arguments are succesful, the objection that they assume a medieval astronomy seems not convincing.

B. Prokop said...

It is with fear and trembling that I go on the record as saying that Aquinas got it backwards. The only way an infinite series of causation is possible is for them all to be simultaneous. Once you throw the time element into the mix, then you end up with the unsolvable problem of never getting to "now". You will find the Present Time forever being an infinite number of years in the future, and thus never arrived at. But since we are obviously here, there cannot have been an infinite sequence into the past.

One Brow said...

B. Prokop said...
The only way an infinite series of causation is possible is for them all to be simultaneous. Once you throw the time element into the mix, then you end up with the unsolvable problem of never getting to "now". You will find the Present Time forever being an infinite number of years in the future, and thus never arrived at.

This is a very naive notion of time. Een if time had a beginng, a pro se causal sequance could extend beyond it.

One Brow said...

Another of the issues with using Aristolean mataphysics and modern physics is that we know the events of a pro se causal series are not simultaneous. That undercuts any notion they need to be finite or limitied.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

I am trying to work out what pro se causal events are.

I also wonder in what way a sequence that extends beyond is also then not simultaneous. They all must exist together both causing and caused with it time. The lack of time seems a concern for the lack simultaneous.

In regards to simultaneousness what areas of modern physics are you about?

Cheers

One Brow said...

I'm trying to work out what pro se causal events are.

Basically, a per se cause is a cause of immediate motive force, as opposed to a cause that does not immediately activate the potetial of an object.

If you throw a basketball at a wall some 20 feet away, the hand pushing against the basketball is a per accidens cause of the basketball bouncing off the wall. but a per se cause of the basketball leaving the hand.

A per se causal chain is a sequance of per se causes, such as a hand pushing a stick pushing a rock.

Steve Lovell said...

One Brow,

I seriously doubt that we know any such thing from modern science.

What discoveries of science make you think that causes are not simulaneous?

Please don't tell me it's the limiting factor of the speed of light, and that simultaneous causes would imply causal influence to move fast than that. I've always thought that was nonsense. If you think otherwise, I'll happily point out various problems with the argument.

BenYachov said...

One Brow equates "simultaneous" with "instantaneous".

He has trouble distinguishing between metaphysical demonstrations vs explanations from physics.

Just so you would know before he wastes your time.

Steve Lovell said...

I think the key factor here is not "causation" but explanation ... of which causation is a species. I think all versions of the cosmological argument from contingency depend on some variant of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) and while some variants of PSR are clearly incoherent other variants are very plausible.

I think the key to the cosmological argument is the realisation of the radical contingency our existence. While I still have problems with Craig's Kalam argument, I think it can be used to help motivate this sense of contingency.

I like the illustration according to which traversing an infinite past is like jumping out of a bottomless pit. It is sometimes said that this is impossible because one can never get started. Indeed, one has to have been rising from the depths for all eternity ... but then one can never explain the rising. It just is.

Or take your own existence. Had your parents never met, you wouldn't exist. But the same goes for each of your parents, and their parents ... and so on back into the mists of time. Your existence is a very chancy matter. Just the smallest change in past history and you wouldn't exist to be reading this blog.

Now, is the fact of the existence of radically contingent beings something which can be explained?
I don't mean particular ones, I mean the group as a whole. Can the truth of

(C) Radically contingent beings exist

be explained? If so, it cannot be explained by the truth of a proposition about other similarly contingent beings ... the cosmological argument from contingency gets a foothold and the conclusion will be hard to resist.

Keith Yandell has a nice version of the argument along these lines in his Philosophy of Religion (Routledge, 1999)

BenYachov said...

>A per se causal chain is a sequance of per se causes, such as a hand pushing a stick pushing a rock.

This is what he is talking about.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/07/beguiled-by-scientism.html

Don't get sucked by him Steve. One Brow is a master sophist and argues by equivocation.

Steve Lovell said...

But for me, the simple statement from Chesterton, has always been the best ...

"[I]t is absurd for the [atheist] to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing; and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything." (From GKC's St Thomas Aquinas)

Where I have the word ‘atheist’, Chesterton had ‘evolutionist’. Chesterton's remarks here seem particularly appropriate in a world so taken with the ‘Big Bang’ theory ... which seems remarkably similar to the Christian idea of creation ex nihilo.

One Brow said...

Steve Lovell said...
What discoveries of science make you think that causes are not simulaneous?

Since I didn't claim that "causes are not simultaneous", I feel no obligation to defend it. Now, I did refer to the notion that the events in a per se causal chain are not simultaneous. Is that what you meant?

Please don't tell me it's the limiting factor of the speed of light, and that simultaneous causes would imply causal influence to move fast than that. I've always thought that was nonsense.

That is basic physics, nonesense or otherwise. Reality does not conform to what you think is sensible. Of course, it would not refer to a single conversion event of potency to act, because there is no spacetime separation in play, so the speed of light limitation has nothing upon which to act. It could only refer to different events in a causal chain, in particular those with a spatial separation.

If you think otherwise, I'll happily point out various problems with the argument.

If you believe events separated by spacetime in a pro se chain can nonetheless be simultaneous, feel free to overturn the last 100 years of physics. It should be fun. On the other hand, if you are referring to single event, no need to bother, because I don't disagree.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
One Brow equates "simultaneous" with "instantaneous".

Actually, I've already detailed some very precise differences between them. Doesn't making false statements bother you, Ben Yachov?

He has trouble distinguishing between metaphysical demonstrations vs explanations from physics.

At times, when the metaphysics is relying on a particular notion of physics. I'm trying to improve.

Just so you would know before he wastes your time.

I would have thought sharing different points of view in honest discussion is rarely a waste of time. But then, I am not Ben Yachov.

BenYachov said...

>Actually, I've already detailed some very precise differences between them.

The words can be synonyms depending on teh context. Rather you ignored how they where being used by their author because it's does not fit your preconceived bias. Nor your Scientism fallacy.

>Doesn't making false statements bother you, Ben Yachov?

I don't make false statements. You on the other hand.

>At times, when the metaphysics is relying on a particular notion of physics. I'm trying to improve.

But what if the person isn't making an argument from physics? Do you correct people on their geocentracism when they claim the sun went down?

>I would have thought sharing different points of view in honest discussion is rarely a waste of time. But then, I am not Ben Yachov.

You don't share points of view. You pettifog.

BenYachov said...

One Brow is dishonestly pretending Aquinas Cosmological argument has something to do with physics. It does not.

Beware!

One Brow said...

Ben Yachov,

Certainly, "instantaeous" and "simultaneous" can both describe the same set of phenomena, but they describe different features of those phenomena. They are no more synonymous than "red" and "sweet" are synonymous for describing the same apple.

The rest of your comments was free of content worth discussing.

Steve Lovell said...

Hi One Brow,

I think the physics stuff is a red herring here, but for the record ...

My issues with the "speed of light" thing here are numerous:

(1) Action at a distance is acknowledged to be "instant" at least it was the last time I did much reading in the area.
(2) Many "causal" interactions are more like "processes" than separable causes and effects.
(3) Even where we have separable causes and effects it doesn't follow that "instantaneous" means faster than light since the two may not be spacially separated.

From what you're saying, it sounds like you accept the above anyway. So we can both be happy.

But with the above accepted, we can still meaningfully ask whether a chain of simultaneous or instantaneous causes could be infinite. But I'm not sure that the question would be especially relevant to the cosmological argument, since as Ben Yachov has been saying the physics issues seem a red herring.

Anyone fancy formulating the cosmological argument from contingency in terms of numbered propositions?

BenYachov said...

>They are no more synonymous than "red" and "sweet" are synonymous for describing the same apple.

You still can't read plain English can you One Brow?

I said these words can be synonyms and they clearly are:

http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561587895/simultaneous.html

Sweet and Red are never synomyms.

Deal with it.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
I said these words can be synonyms and they clearly are:

http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561587895/simultaneous.html


There are two definitions:
simultaneous

1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time

2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables



There are also two defintions for instantaneous

1. happening immediately: occurring immediately or almost immediately

2. of value at given instant: indicating the value of something at a given moment in time, expressed as the average value of a varying quantity over an infinitesimally small time interval
instantaneous velocity


There's also a thesaurus entry for instantaneous. Note simultaneous is not listed.

Synonyms: prompt, rapid, sudden, immediate, instant, direct, on the spot

Antonym: gradual


Now, you may be a person who can't see a difference between "at the same time" and "immediately". If you are, you should refrain from disparaging other people's ability to read.

The only time they even close to the same is when you use either to mean "happening right now".

I'm done with this particular discussion, because I have no doubt you will continue to hold to your point, despite evidence.

One Brow said...

Steve Lovell said...
(1) Action at a distance is acknowledged to be "instant" at least it was the last time I did much reading in the area.

At short distances, the time is close enough together that "instant" is an appropriate description.

From what you're saying, it sounds like you accept the above anyway. So we can both be happy.

I think it's close enough we can both be happy.

But with the above accepted, we can still meaningfully ask whether a chain of simultaneous or instantaneous causes could be infinite.

That would be a different question than asking if a chain of per se causes could be infinite, but they are all interesting questions.

But I'm not sure that the question would be especially relevant to the cosmological argument, since as Ben Yachov has been saying the physics issues seem a red herring.

Yes, I agree that getting hung up on simultaneity is an error, as it is irrelevant.

Anyone fancy formulating the cosmological argument from contingency in terms of numbered propositions?

The rigorous way, eh?

BenYachov said...

>But I'm not sure that the question would be especially relevant to the cosmological argument, since as Ben Yachov has been saying the physics issues seem a red herring.

Well I've done my job here.

One Brow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
One Brow said...

A prior response seems to have disappeared, perhaps in the spam filter.

BenYachov said...
You still can't read plain English can you One Brow?

I can not only read English, but I understand what a synonym is, what definitions means, and what the purpose of a thesaurus is. I see no evidence of your abilities in these areas.

http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561587895/simultaneous.html

Using the same source, the defintions of simultaneous is 1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time; 2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables.

The defintion for instantaneous reads 1. happening immediately: occurring immediately or almost immediately; 2. of value at given instant: indicating the value of something at a given moment in time, expressed as the average value of a varying quantity over an infinitesimally small time interval.

If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time". A listing in a thesaurus is not evidence, because thesauri are writing tools, and used to suggest better words, depending on the authors intended meaning.

Of course, you could modify the meaning by use of adverbial phrases, such as "instantaeous with x" or "immediately simultaneous to". But such uses do not make the base words synonyms.

Just for fun, her's the list of synonynms for instantaneous. You'll not simultaeous is not among them.

Synonyms: prompt, rapid, sudden, immediate, instant, direct, on the spot

Antonym: gradual

Well I've done my job here.

You contribution consisting of telling everyone not to discuss things with me, making false claims about me, contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated), added an ireelevant link to a thesaurus, and added a link to a two-year-old blog post that was actually productive and added to the conversation. Despite that, Steve Lovell and I had a brief conversation where we clarified our respective views and came to an amiable agreement, clearly in opposition to your claim that I wasn't able to discuss this.

Nice work, if you can get it.

One Brow said...

Another prior response seems to have disappeared, perhaps in the spam filter.

BenYachov said...
You still can't read plain English can you One Brow?

I can not only read English, but I understand what a synonym is, what definitions means, and what the purpose of a thesaurus is. I see no evidence of your abilities in these areas.

http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561587895/simultaneous.html

Using the same source, the defintions of simultaneous is 1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time; 2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables.

The defintion for instantaneous reads 1. happening immediately: occurring immediately or almost immediately; 2. of value at given instant: indicating the value of something at a given moment in time, expressed as the average value of a varying quantity over an infinitesimally small time interval.

If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time". A listing in a thesaurus is not evidence, because thesauri are writing tools, and used to suggest better words, depending on the authors intended meaning.

Of course, you could modify the meaning by use of adverbial phrases, such as "instantaeous with x" or "immediately simultaneous to". But such uses do not make the base words synonyms.

Just for fun, her's the list of synonynms for instantaneous. You'll not simultaeous is not among them.

Synonyms: prompt, rapid, sudden, immediate, instant, direct, on the spot

Antonym: gradual

Well I've done my job here.

You contribution consisting of telling everyone not to discuss things with me, making false claims about me, contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated), added an ireelevant link to a thesaurus, and added a link to a two-year-old blog post that was actually productive and added to the conversation. Despite that, Steve Lovell and I had a brief conversation where we clarified our respective views and came to an amiable agreement, clearly in opposition to your claim that I wasn't able to discuss this.

Nice work, if you can get it.

Verification word: "recap"

Blaise Pascal said...

Its nice to see, that I am not the only one who has taken some interest in Scholastic Philosophy.

Here is a nice illustration of the "per se" causes that St. Thomas talks about (I think). Its from Samuel Clarkes "Discourse concerning the Being and Attributes of God" (who himself quotes it from someone else):

“Suppose a chain hung down out of the heavens, from an
unknown height; and, though every link of it gravitated toward the earth, and what it hung upon was not visible, yet it did not
descend, but kept its situation: And, upon this, a question should arise, What supported or kept up this chain? Would it be a
sufficient answer to say, that the first or lowest link hung upon the second, or that next above it; the second, or rather the first
and second together, upon the third; and so on in infinitum? For, what holds up the whole? A chain of ten links, would fall
down, unless something able to bear it hindered: One of twenty, if not stayed by something of a yet greater strength, in proportion
to the increase of weight. And therefore one of infinite links, certainly; if not sustained by something infinitely strong, and
capable to bear up an infinite weight: And thus it is in a chain of causes and effects, tending, or (as it were) gravitating, towards
some end. The last, or lowest, depends, or, (as one may say) is suspended upon the cause above it. This, again, if it be not the
first cause, is suspended, as an effect, upon something above it, &c. And if they should be infinite, unless (agreeably to what
has been said) there is some cause, upon which all hang or depend, they would be but an infinite effect without an efficient: and
to assert there is any such thing, would be as great an absurdity as to say, that a finite or little weight wants something to sustain
it, but an infinite one (or the greatest) does not.”—Religion of Nature Delineated, page 67

Also, the relevant passage from the Summa: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1046.htm#article1

Here is a Neo-Scholastic textbook that has some useful explanations of Scholastic terminology (but the arguments in it are not always very good): http://www2.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/lamp.htm

One Brow said...

Blaise,

that's a nice illustration, but very dependent on the notion of the chain being suspended. A true per se causal chain may not have an end. You would see the chain go through the ground and come out the other side of the earth. Nor is there any force analogous to gravity acting upon it.

One Brow said...

This is my fourth attampt to post this. I'm making a couple of changes compared to previous versions. My apologies is it turns out to be repetitious.

BenYachov said...
You still can't read plain English can you One Brow?

I can not only read English, but I understand what a synonym is, what definitions means, and what the purpose of a thesaurus is. I see no evidence of your abilities in these areas.

http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561587895/simultaneous.html

Three link from the same source:
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?search=simultaneous&lextype=3
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?lextype=3&search=instantaneous
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?search=instantaneous&lextype=2

The defintion of simultaneous is 1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time; 2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables.

Thedefintion for instantaneous reads 1. happening immediately: occurring immediately or almost immediately; 2. of value at given instant: indicating the value of something at a given moment in time, expressed as the average value of a varying quantity over an infinitesimally small time interval.

If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time". A listing in a thesaurus is not evidence, because thesauri are writing tools, and used to suggest better words, depending on the authors intended meaning.

Of course, you could modify the meaning by use of adverbial phrases, such as "instantaeous with x" or "immediately simultaneous to". But such uses do not make the base words synonyms.

Just for fun, her's the list of synonynms for instantaneous. You'll not simultaeous is not among them.

Synonyms: prompt, rapid, sudden, immediate, instant, direct, on the spot

Antonym: gradual

Well I've done my job here.

You contribution consisting of telling everyone not to discuss things with me, making false claims about me, contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated), added an ireelevant link to a thesaurus, and added a link to a two-year-old blog post that was actually productive and added to the conversation. Despite that, Steve Lovell and I had a brief conversation where we clarified our respective views and came to an amiable agreement, clearly in opposition to your claim that I wasn't able to discuss this.

Nice work, if you can get it.

One Brow said...

This is my fifth attempt to post this. I'm am breaking this up into smaller posts with one link per post. My apologies is it turns out to be repetitious.

BenYachov said...
You still can't read plain English can you One Brow?

I can not only read English, but I understand what a synonym is, what definitions means, and what the purpose of a thesaurus is. I see no evidence of your abilities in these areas.

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?search=simultaneous&lextype=3

The defintion of simultaneous is 1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time; 2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables.

One Brow said...

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?lextype=3&search=instantaneous

The defintion for instantaneous reads 1. happening immediately: occurring immediately or almost immediately; 2. of value at given instant: indicating the value of something at a given moment in time, expressed as the average value of a varying quantity over an infinitesimally small time interval.

If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time". A listing in a thesaurus is not evidence, because thesauri are writing tools, and used to suggest better words, depending on the authors intended meaning.

Of course, you could modify the meaning by use of adverbial phrases, such as "instantaeous with x" or "immediately simultaneous to". But such uses do not make the base words synonyms.

One Brow said...

Just for fun, her's the list of synonynms for instantaneous. You'll not simultaeous is not among them.

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?search=instantaneous&lextype=2

Synonyms: prompt, rapid, sudden, immediate, instant, direct, on the spot

Antonym: gradual

Well I've done my job here.

You contribution consisting of telling everyone not to discuss things with me, making false claims about me, contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated), added an ireelevant link to a thesaurus, and added a link to a two-year-old blog post that was actually productive and added to the conversation. Despite that, Steve Lovell and I had a brief conversation where we clarified our respective views and came to an amiable agreement, clearly in opposition to your claim that I wasn't able to discuss this.

Nice work, if you can get it.

BenYachov said...

>Just for fun, her's the list of synonynms for instantaneous. You'll not simultaeous is not among them.

I reply: Argument from silence. I showed instantaneous is a synonynm for simultaneous. Deal with it.

>I can not only read English, but I understand what a synonym is, what definitions means, and what the purpose of a thesaurus is. I see no evidence of your abilities in these areas.

Clearly you can't read English since I have called you out on your misreadings before and corrected you. That renders you other claims to competency dubious.

>The defintion of simultaneous is 1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time; 2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables.

By "same time" do you mean happening in the same "Time Fram"? Because we went over this before and your fell flat then.

>If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time".

Your quibble is with the linguistic experts at encarta who listed "instantaneous" as a synonym of "simultaneous".

What makes you an expert on Grammar considerign[sic] your reading comprehension skills are as bad as my spppellingtg[sic]?

>You contribution consisting of telling everyone not to discuss things with me,

Rather I wish to warn people of the pitfalls of arguing with you. Your dogmatic kneejerk Scientism and inability to tell the difference between a Philosophical argument and Scientific argument needs to be constantly pointed out. People can do what they want I just believe in truth in advertising.

>making false claims about me, contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated), added an ireelevant link to a thesaurus, and added a link to a two-year-old blog post that was actually productive and added to the conversation.

You are delusional as well as hypocritical since it was you who first brought up a two-year old false charge made by a hysterical philosophical incompetent on the other thread. Also it is you who insists on treating metaphysical arguments like arguments from physics.

So boo hoo. Cry me a river.


>If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time".

If they don't have the same meaning how then can you say a "hand moving a stick moving a rock" is not happening simultaneously?

So I guess Feser is not a bad writer after all you are just an inconsistent reader.

BenYachov said...

>Just for fun, her's the list of synonynms for instantaneous. You'll not simultaeous is not among them.

I reply: Argument from silence. I showed instantaneous is a synonynm for simultaneous. Deal with it.

>I can not only read English, but I understand what a synonym is, what definitions means, and what the purpose of a thesaurus is. I see no evidence of your abilities in these areas.

Clearly you can't read English since I have called you out on your misreadings before and corrected you. That renders you other claims to competency dubious.

>The defintion of simultaneous is 1. at same time: done, happening, or existing at the same time; 2. taking same variables: describes equations that are satisfied by the same values of the variables.

By "same time" do you mean happening in the same "Time Fram"? Because we went over this before and your fell flat then.

>If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time".

Your quibble is with the linguistic experts at encarta who listed "instantaneous" as a synonym of "simultaneous".

BenYachov said...

What makes you an expert on Grammar considerign[sic] your reading comprehension skills are as bad as my spppellingtg[sic]?

>You contribution consisting of telling everyone not to discuss things with me,

Rather I wish to warn people of the pitfalls of arguing with you. Your dogmatic kneejerk Scientism and inability to tell the difference between a Philosophical argument and Scientific argument needs to be constantly pointed out. People can do what they want I just believe in truth in advertising.

>making false claims about me, contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated), added an ireelevant link to a thesaurus, and added a link to a two-year-old blog post that was actually productive and added to the conversation.

You are delusional as well as hypocritical since it was you who first brought up a two-year old false charge made by a hysterical philosophical incompetent on the other thread. Also it is you who insists on treating metaphysical arguments like arguments from physics.

So boo hoo. Cry me a river.


>If you think they are actually synonymous, feel free to show why "happening immediately" means "happening, or existing at the same time".

If they don't have the same meaning how then can you say a "hand moving a stick moving a rock" is not happening simultaneously?

So I guess Feser is not a bad writer after all you are just an inconsistent reader.

BenYachov said...

>contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated),

I did this where? Because you keep backpedaling it is hard to keep up.

"hand moves stick moves rock" is either simultaneous or it is not. It's not because the hand has to move first then the stick then the rock & since these actions don't occur in the same set of nano-seconds according to you it is wrong to claim they are simultaneous.

But since you now claim instantaneous is not a synonym of simultaneous that is now out the window?

Who can follow your bad writing.....

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
I reply: Argument from silence.

Hence, just for fun, as opposed to making a serious point.

I showed instantaneous is a synonynm for simultaneous.

Argument from reference book used inappropriately.

Deal with it.

Done.

Clearly you can't read English since I have called you out on your misreadings before

You have corrected my understanding on one small issue of formal vs. eficient cause, which was not the result of misreading. The rest is your own delusion.

By "same time" do you mean happening in the same "Time Fram"? Because we went over this before and your fell flat then.

I don not mean "in the same time frame", an inexact notion proposed by others that meant WWI and WWII would be simultaneous, as I pointed out. I mean that the boudaries of the respective time frames overlap.

Your quibble is with the linguistic experts at encarta who listed "instantaneous" as a synonym of "simultaneous".

Since AI have already explained their usage, as I saw it, I have no trouble with their thesaurus entry.

>contradicted yourself (first saying that I eqauted two things, and then in saying I did not equate those same two things that should have been equated),

I did this where?


In this thread.

BenYachov said...
One Brow equates "simultaneous" with "instantaneous".
...
May 02, 2011 9:43 AM


BenYachov said...
>Actually, I've already detailed some very precise differences between them.

The words can be synonyms depending on teh context. Rather you ignored how they where being used by their author ...
May 02, 2011 1:23 PM



"hand moves stick moves rock" is either simultaneous or it is not.

The potential for movement in the rock being activated by the stick at any given picosecond is the instantaneous result of a non-simultaneous activation of potential in the stick by the hand.

But that's irrelevant to the first mover argument anyhow, supposedly.

It's not because the hand has to move first then the stick then the rock & since these actions don't occur in the same set of nano-seconds according to you it is wrong to claim they are simultaneous.

A better illustration of this is a Newton's cradle. Ball 1 stops before ball 5 moves, but the movement of ball 5 is the result of a chain of per se causal effects beginning with ball 1 striking ball 2.

Who can follow your bad writing.....

Many people seem to with little trouble. Maybe it's you.

BenYachov said...

>I don not mean "in the same time frame", an inexact notion proposed by others that meant WWI and WWII would be simultaneous,

That is not a valid example since there is not direct instrumental or successive causality between WW1 & WW2.

If WW1 never happened it is still possible another later world war might have happened. But if my had doesn't move the rock at the end of the chain doesn't move either.

Not only are you beating dead horse but you are beating the wrong dead horse.

BenYachov said...

>The potential for movement in the rock being activated by the stick at any given picosecond is the instantaneous result of a non-simultaneous activation of potential in the stick by the hand.

So something can be "instantaneous" even thought it occurs over a period of time but it can't be "simultaneous" because time has somehow passed and it doesn't happen all at once?

This makes sense to you? No wonder you suck at reading comprehension.

BenYachov said...

I said you equate "simultaneous" with "instantaneous" which you clearly do. But to avoid that charge you Ad Hoc redefine on your own authority that "simultaneous" and "instantaneous" are not synonyms.

I disprove that then you special plead they don't have the precise same definition in the dictionary.

You are all over the place.

BenYachov said...

>I don not mean "in the same time frame", an inexact notion proposed by others that meant WWI and WWII would be simultaneous, as I pointed out. I mean that the boudaries of the respective time frames overlap.

What does this have to do with a hand pushing a stick pushing a rock?

Since the above action once it starts is clearly an act of distributed simultaneous efficiency. Thus it is appropriate to say the action is simultaneous while it is happening.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
That is not a valid example since there is not direct instrumental or successive causality between WW1 & WW2.

Causality is not required for simultaneity.

So something can be "instantaneous" even thought it occurs over a period of time but it can't be "simultaneous" because time has somehow passed and it doesn't happen all at once?

Yes. Instantaneous means "immediately or almost immediately" (which you should know if you read the definition), while simultaneous means "at the same time". If event A immediately follows event B, the sequence is instantaneous but not simultaneous.

This makes sense to you? No wonder you suck at reading comprehension.

I preserved your insult simply for the joy of reading it more often.

BenYachov said...
I said you equate "simultaneous" with "instantaneous" which you clearly do.


Since I assign them separte and distinct meanings, this is a falsehood, one you can't even pretend to support.

But to avoid that charge you Ad Hoc redefine on your own authority that "simultaneous" and "instantaneous" are not synonyms.

Encarta is not 'on my authority'. The defintions are quite plain.

I disprove that then you special plead they don't have the precise same definition in the dictionary.

You mean, the way "sweet" and "red" don't have the precise same defintion? They have distinct defintions, each of which can apply when the other does not. Events can be instantaneous and not simultaneous, or simultaneous and not instantaneous. It's fairly clear.

I am done with this conversation. At this point, either you see teh difference, or you don't. Either way, you'll insult me over it and claim that I am somehow equating two concepts and at the same time creating a false distinction between them, and it's all a tangent of a tangent of a tangent. I therefore cede you the last word.

One Brow said...

Since the above action once it starts is clearly an act of distributed simultaneous efficiency. Thus it is appropriate to say the action is simultaneous while it is happening.

That depends on how long the hand is moving. If the hand moves for a long enough period of time, then the time frame of the movement of the hand and the rock are simultaneous, but that is not a feature of the per se causation. that's why I mentioned Newton's cradle. Thee is clearly per se causation without simultaneity, showing that simultaneity is accidental, not essential, to per se causation.

BenYachov said...

>Causality is not required for simultaneity.

It is if one is claiming an case of distributed simultaneous efficiency between various causes isn't in fact simultaneous.

>Yes. Instantaneous means "immediately or almost immediately" (which you should know if you read the definition),

The same source says the word is a synonym of simultaneous. So you can't ad hoc separate the definitions.

>while simultaneous means "at the same time". If event A immediately follows event B, the sequence is instantaneous but not simultaneous.

That doesn't logically follow since they are synonyms.

>Encarta is not 'on my authority'. The defintions are quite plain.

Then why did you cite it?

So like the white rabbit words mean what you want them to mean. Which is fine but at least be up front about it.

BenYachov said...

>You mean, the way "sweet" and "red" don't have the precise same defintion?

They are not synonyms like"instantaneous" and "simultaneous". But since any dictionary or thesaurus that contradicts your claims will ad hoc be ruled not an authority.

We are at an impass.

I fault you.

BenYachov said...

>That depends on how long the hand is moving. If the hand moves for a long enough period of time, then the time frame of the movement of the hand and the rock are simultaneous,

Do you think that is what Feser meant by simultaneous on page 94 of his book? I think so. See it's not hard.

>Thee is clearly per se causation without simultaneity, showing that simultaneity is accidental, not essential, to per se causation.

If we where making a precise description of physics for the sake of explaining physics. Maybe? But if we are using it as an illustration to impart the concept of top down causality then the instrumentality is the relevant factor.

Just as if I argue "We know the sun went down at time x because of y" it is not a meaningful critique to shout "But the sun doesn't go down the Earth turns".

Anyway I have again done my job.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
It is if one is claiming an case of distributed simultaneous efficiency between various causes isn't in fact simultaneous.

Even then, the defintion of simultaneous does not depend on causality.

However, the notion of "distributed simultaneous efficiency" is an amusing conterfactual. I looked it up, and it has a grand total of five hits on google, four from the the same person, and one from the blog he seems to have copied the idea from. Feel free to pile up all the metaphysical proofs you desire on the notion of efficient causation being simultaneously distributed throughout a causal series, but it won't add up to a convincing proof about reality because of the couterfactual nature of that assumption, since efficient causation is not simultaneously distributed in any real per se chain..


BenYachov said...
Do you think that is what Feser meant by simultaneous on page 94 of his book? I think so. See it's not hard.

I have said since my review of his passage that his continued use of simultaneous to describe the series was poor writing, since being simultaneous is not charateristic of an essentially ordered series. Nice to see you agree the notion of simutaneous is irrelevant.

But if we are using it as an illustration to impart the concept of top down causality then the instrumentality is the relevant factor.

Which is why your dontinuinig to defend the use of "simultaneous" to describe such a series is so puzzling to me.

BenYachov said...

>Even then, the defintion of simultaneous does not depend on causality.

No it depends on instrumentality which was a point you went out of your way to miss and still do. The causality is relevant in that removing one of the causal elements from the essential series cancels the action.

>Feel free to pile up all the metaphysical proofs you desire on the notion of efficient causation being simultaneously distributed throughout a causal series,

I don't see how I have done that. But as long as you conflate metaphysical demonstrations with physics I shall continue to point out your category mistake.

>efficient causation is not simultaneously distributed in any real per se chain..

But it is formally distributed is it not? Still confusing efficient and formal causality I see....

>I have said since my review of his passage that his continued use of simultaneous to describe the series was poor writing,

It was excellent writing for a metaphysical analogy. But a person who can't conception-ally distinguish between a metaphysical argument vs an argument from physics that is clearly a problem.

>since being simultaneous is not charateristic of an essentially ordered series.

Clearly it is characteristic but for those who still can't quite understand the difference between formal Cause vs efficient causes.

Nice to see you agree the notion of simutaneous is irrelevant.

BenYachov said...

>Nice to see you agree the notion of simutaneous is irrelevant.


Just as Ptolemy to modern persons who write "the Sun went down".

BenYachov said...

........is irrelevant.

BenYachov said...

>Which is why your dontinuinig to defend the use of "simultaneous" to describe such a series is so p
puzzling to me.

I would defend the uses of the phrase "the sun went down" but I am astounded by fanatics who insist that is somehow it not legitimate as if the writer seriously intended to advocate the cosmology of Ptolemy.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
No it depends on instrumentality which was a point you went out of your way to miss and still do.

Yes, I went sso far out of my way to miss it that I made that point back in my review, and have continually made/acknowledged.

The causality is relevant in that removing one of the causal elements from the essential series cancels the action.

That makes it essental to the definition of an essentially ordered series (which as far as I know was not under dispute), but it irrelevant tot he defintion of simultaneous.

I don't see how I have done that.

"Feel free to" contains no implication of having actually performed said activity.

But as long as you conflate metaphysical demonstrations with physics I shall continue to point out your category mistake.

In fact, you will continue to point them out long after I have corrected myself, as is your wont. Still, it's nice of you to continually emphasize that the prime mover argument is a logically formal argument, not necessarily connected to reality, as all metaphysical arguments are.

>efficient causation is not simultaneously distributed in any real per se chain..

But it is formally distributed is it not? Still confusing efficient and formal causality I see....


Are you asking if efficient causation is formally distibuted? That makes no sense. Are you saying formal causation is evenly distributed along an essentially ordered series? There is notion in the definition of such a series that requires series-level formal causation at all, and any formal causation need not evenly distributed.

It was excellent writing for a metaphysical analogy.

Personally, I dont find a continued repetition of an irrelevancy in a metaphysical proof as "excellent writing". My parents would not have accepted that from their high-school students.

>since being simultaneous is not charateristic of an essentially ordered series.

Clearly it is characteristic but for those who still can't quite understand the difference between formal Cause vs efficient causes.


If being simutaneous were a characteristic of essentially ordered series, then all such series would have them. This is manifestly not the case, such as with a Newton's cradle.

Just as Ptolemy to modern persons who write "the Sun went down".

If people are writing "the Sun went down" as a part of a metaphysical proof, that is bad writing.

... the writer seriously intended to advocate ...

Again, when a writer of a metaphysical proof uses an adjective nine times in five pages and does not seriously intend to advocate for said adjective, it is bad writing.

BenYachov said...

One Brow your ability to misread what other people clearly and plainly write becomes sillyer by the minute.

For example:

>If people are writing "the Sun went down" as a part of a metaphysicalproof, that is bad writing.

Rather it is disingenuous and dishonest reading such a statement as a literal scientific claim regarding actual cosmology when said in passing. But for persons who believe scientific descriptions and arguments are alone the only means of truth they are held captive by the picture it seems.

>Again, when a writer of a metaphysical proof uses an adjective nine times in five pages and does not seriously intend to advocate for said adjective, it is bad writing.

That doesn't logically follow(but then again that hasn't stopped you
before). So if any modern person uses the adjective "went down" nine times or more in reference to the sun's motion at the end of the day they must be a geocentrist either that or they are using bad writing?

Gotcha. Silly!

>If being simutaneous were a characteristic of essentially ordered series,then all such series would have them. This is manifestly not the case, such
as with a Newton's cradle.

But we aren't taking about the physics of Newton. We are talking about the metaphysics of Aristotle & Aquinas. Besides you have already admitted "the hand moves for a long enough period of time, then the time frame of the
movement of the hand and the rock are simultaneous". Anybody who can read English can see that is what Feser was aiming for to explain why an essentally order series needs a first cause vs an accidental series which does not. You can argue against it by trying to revive Hume's denial of causality. But you can't logically say an essental series can be without some type of first cause. Either at the begining of the series or outside of it moving it alone. Just as you can't claim color is not an expansive property without conflating the property of color with light absorbtion properties in materials.

You can't rewrite sound philosophy to make it easier to write a straw man polemic.

Disagree or doubt if you must but that is not honest.

>Personally, I dont find a continued repetition of an irrelevancy in a metaphysical proof as "excellent writing". My parents would not have accepted that from their high-school students.

One would assume your parents wouldn't make category mistakes or misread like their poor son does with abandon. But I guess they failed you in that. Mine failed to teach me patience.

>Are you asking if efficient causation is formally distibuted?

No I'm still trying, in vain it seems, to get you to argue philosophically instead of equivocating between scientific description as you seem to want
to do in an totally kneejerk fashion.

But then again you believe an object has the property of light absorption but you can't concive of an object that has the property of being red or green.

>In fact, you will continue to point them out long after I have corrected myself, as is your wont.

It's lovely after 500 posts and an intense verbal beating you will finally get it but it is tedious you keep going out there and making the same type of mistakes.

>That makes it essental to the definition of an essentially ordered series (which as far as I know was not under dispute), but it irrelevant tot he defintion of simultaneous.

You have already admitted the series is simultaneous when it finally gets going. So you shoot yourself yet again in the foot.

>Yes, I went sso far out of my way to miss it that I made that point back in my review, and have continually made/acknowledged.

You give with one hand then redefine and take away with another.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
...when said in passing.

Saying something nine times in five pages is *not* saying it "in passing".

But for persons who believe scientific descriptions and arguments are alone the only means of truth ...

Since no such person is involved in this discussion, why not save your pontification for when it is relevant?

One Brow:... it is bad writing.

That doesn't logically follow


Of course not. Analyzing a writing style as good or bad is not a logical process. That would be a category error.

So if any modern person uses the adjective "went down" nine times or more in reference to the sun's motion at the end of the day they must be a geocentrist either that or they are using bad writing?

No "or", they are using bad writing, period. Any good writer will vary their idioms instead of using the same one nine times in five pages.

One Brow: This is manifestly not the case, such as with a Newton's cradle.

But we aren't taking about the physics of Newton. We are talking about the metaphysics of Aristotle & Aquinas.


I'm using the Aristotelean metaphysics to analyze a Newton's cradle, which exhibits a per se causal chain with temporally distinct cause and effect.

Besides you have already admitted "the hand moves for a long enough period of time, then the time frame of the
movement of the hand and the rock are simultaneous".


I'm assuming you left off the "If" at the beginning of that sentence by accident, rather than misquoting me. After all, there is nothing that requires the hand to move long enough that it engages in simultaneous motion with the rock.

Anybody who can read English can see that is what Feser was aiming for to explain why an essentally order series needs a first cause vs an accidental series which does not.

Yes, I saw that's what he was trying to do, and explained in my review a couple of reasons why that attempt failed (and there are many more besides that).

You can argue against it by trying to revive Hume's denial of causality.

that would be one way, but you can actually fully accept Aristotelean metaphysics and Feser's attempt to generate a first cause still fails.

Unless you add simultaneity to the definition of an essentially ordered series, of course. But it's not really simultaneous, it's just inaccurately described that way.

But you can't logically say an essental series can be without some type of first cause.

Prove it. Feser did not.

You can't rewrite sound philosophy to make it easier to write a straw man polemic.

I have neither need nor desire to do so.

No I'm still trying, in vain it seems, to get you to argue philosophically instead of equivocating between scientific description as you seem to want
to do in an totally kneejerk fashion.


I have no ojection to a purely metaphysical proof, but as with any other formal system, the truths that arise out of such a proof can't be assured to reflect reality.

You have already admitted the series is simultaneous when it finally gets going.

No, I admitted that the various components of such a series can continue their motions, so that the overall movement path is simultaneous, while specifying that the individual chains of tranferrence of potency to act are not simultaneous. But, simultaneity doesn't matter anyhow, right?

You give with one hand then redefine and take away with another.

Complete consistency implies an inability to learn, but I have done no flip-flopping, either.

BenYachov said...

>Of course not. Analyzing a writing style as good or bad is not a logical process. That would be a category error.

If that is true then the follow statement of yours "Any good writer will vary their idioms instead of using the same one nine times in five pages." has no meaning. You might as well say the writing style is purple. It would make as much sense but then again you critiques and analysis in general make no sense.

You really got the sophistry down pat.

>Saying something nine times in five pages is *not* saying it "in passing".

See what I mean?

Good writing means it is objectively clear enought to be understood by a reasonable fair person.

Which of course rules you out.

BenYachov said...

>Yes, I saw that's what he was trying to do, and explained in my review a couple of reasons why that attempt failed (and there are
many more besides that).

I reply:Yeh and it had the virtue of being lame, idiotic and a blatant misreading of the argument.

From Paragraph 8 of your "review".

"In the train analogy, it's much more like each railroad car has an oxygen tank in the front, a hydrogen tank in the rear, and in
between each car is a little motor that burns the fuels to power the following car. The engine is not only quite possibly infinitely
far away, it is not needed at all."

Yeh the train analogy is that an infinite series of box cars (which are presumed to be unpowered) pulling a caboose can't account for it motion. The Engine is need & it represents the first cause of the essential series as Feser would say it's just an illustration to generate the key
concepts; strictly speaking, a Engine isn’t a first mover.

What you have in your counter example isn't a solution based on the starting premises. Rather it is a caricature that concedes the
problem of the box cars. There is no practical difference between a caboose being pulled by an infinite series of your box car engines equivocation vs it being pulled by an infinite series of engines or just one engines. You are in fact conceding there cannot be an infinite essential series without a first cause of some type moving it. Box car engines clearly are a first cause here.

You are better off trying in vain to revive Hume. If this is the best you can do well it's shit.

BenYachov said...

You see One Brow in the end this is why you piss me off. It's not like you come up with any intelligent counter arguments that make me think.

Rather you go out of your way to change or dodge the argument because you really have no rational answer to it. Example you obviously can't in any rational universe show that color is not an expansive property. So you redefine color as not the object is red but the object has absorption properties(which by definition are not expansive).

You can't explain how an essentially ordered series might be infinite without a first cause or outside prime mover so you redefine the series in such a way that it is no longer essential but you pretend it still it. You equivocate between box cars and powered box cars(which are engine get over it) and hope nobody will notice.

You see this is why I don't want to review your crap. The stupidity drives me nuts. It's like poor Richard Dawkins being asked to wade threw a YEC with a 6th grade biology education's genius refutation of Darwin.

Why?

Anonymous said...

Why?

Better yet, why are you engaging him? The sophistry isn't new, and trying to argue with a sophist for any reason more than personal amusement seems pointless.

BenYachov said...

Fine he can have the last word.

One Brow said...

Anonymous said...
Better yet, why are you engaging him? The sophistry isn't new, and trying to argue with a sophist for any reason more than personal amusement seems pointless.

Because I'm deeply curious about the motivations of Ben Yachov, and why he rationalizes his sophistry in the manner he does. There is a lot a to be waded through, but the occasional nugget does appear.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
If that is true then the follow statement of yours "Any good writer will vary their idioms instead of using the same one nine times in five pages." has no meaning.

It's a value judgment. Value judgments are no tlogical, but they are not devoid of meaning. Do you really think only statement made in a logical process can have meaning?

Good writing means it is objectively clear enought to be understood by a reasonable fair person.

Repeating an adjective nine times in five pages to describe a process, when that word is irrelevant to the process, will serve to confuse, not illuminate.

I reply:Yeh and it had the virtue of being lame, idiotic and a blatant misreading of the argument.

Let's see if you can demonstrate such.

Yeh the train analogy ...

I already understood the train analogy just as you explained it.

concepts; strictly speaking, a Engine isn’t a first mover.

It's an analogy. Duh.

The sentence right before the one you quoted, that the alteration to the analogy was meant to illustrate, did you have any reation to that? Or were you just intending to argue an analogy? here's a reminder: In fact, the ability of one event to activate the potential in the next event is a motive force.

What you have in your counter example

There was no counter-example, because analogies are not examples.

isn't a solution based on the starting premises.

No, it's pointing out that the starting premises don't reflect reality.

Rather it is a caricature that concedes the problem of the box cars.

The problem of an analogy? Every time you accuse me of being a sophist, I remember thaqt all you can focus on are definitons of irrelevant words and treating analogies as if they are arguments, and I will value your opinion in that light.

There is no practical difference between a caboose being pulled by an infinite series of your box car engines equivocation vs it being pulled by an infinite series of engines or just one engines. You are in fact conceding there cannot be an infinite essential series without a first cause of some type moving it.

You do understand that if the series is infinite, there is no first member, right?

Box car engines clearly are a first cause here.

Yes, each member of the series is a cause. That was my point.

You see One Brow in the end this is why you piss me off. It's not like you come up with any intelligent counter arguments that make me think.

True. If you thought, you would have realized that having an infinite number of engines meant there was no firt engine, which was all I was trying to show at the time.

Example you obviously can't in any rational universe show that color is not an expansive property.

I said previously I was allowing you that last word in that conversation. You are really starting to abuse that. But I have learned not to expect basic politeness from you.

You can't explain how an essentially ordered series might be infinite without a first cause or outside prime mover so you redefine the series in such a way that it is no longer essential but you pretend it still it.

In what way is it not essential? Each car still acts immediately on the car following it. What element of the esentially ordered series is missing?

You equivocate between box cars and powered box cars(which are engine get over it) and hope nobody will notice.

The powered box cars are a better description of reality. Nothing for me to get over.

Why?

To learn, to teach, to exchange ideas.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Fine he can have the last word.

I don't care about the last word. I'd much rather have a direct, knowledgeable answer to this questions in the following paragraph. Can you deal with that?


In what way is it not essential? Each car still acts immediately on the car following it. What element of the esentially ordered series is missing?

BenYachov said...

As we can see One Brow has no answer to his errors.
But he is great at dodging.

His claim that an essential series needs no first cause or prime mover is not only unproven buy him but he is just hoping if he ignores the problem it will go away.

>n what way is it not essential? Each car still acts immediately on the car following it. What element of the esentially ordered series is missing?

Sorry to break it to you jerkoff but you have to show how an infinite series of unpowered box cars can account for the motion of the caboose. The moment you introduce any Engine (even if in your asinine sophistry you call it a box car) you concede a first cause it needed.

Otherwise you are not presenting an essential series but an accidental one.

Now if you want to follow the route of Hume and deny causality that would be a coherent solution.

But recreating Hume and calling it Aristotelian metaphysics is dishonest and you are not fooling anybody.

Now you may abuse your last word.

BenYachov said...

You see a Thomist has no problem envisioning an infinite series of Engines on a track. Pure Thomism has no need of Kalam arguments.

One Brow doesn't get that.

Anonymous said...

Are we talking about Thomist the Tank Engine here?

BenYachov said...

I've done some soul searching.

I have a very bad temper & I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to One Brow for calling him names. That is wrong on my part.

Sorry about that.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
First, thank you for your acknowledgment. I accept your apology, and I will forgive and forget.

His claim that an essential series needs no first cause or prime mover is not only unproven buy him but he is just hoping if he ignores the problem it will go away.

I'm trying to point out that an essentially ordered causal sequence actaully passes motive power at each transition in the sequence, so the power at any transition is the motive power provided by the previous link, not the motive power of some putative initiator.

... you have to show how an infinite series of unpowered box cars can account for the motion of the caboose.

Only if the act-upon-potency-to-act transitions contain no motive power of their own.

To be clear: I fully acknowledge that if there were no motive power that could derive from any transition, and that the only source of motive power was an initiator, then it would be true an initiator has to exist. That is, if we are really talking about boxcars with wheels and linkages only, you are correct.

However, I don't see that as an accurate depiction of these transitions. For example, in the case of teh arm pushing the stick pushing the stone, the arm is not supposed to be the Prime Mover, it's potential has been activated by neural impulses. However, neural impulses don't move rocks. The type of activation used upon the arm and the type of activation used on the stick are very different. The arm must be adding some motive power of its own to the mix. In the boxcar analogy, every boxcar can't move on their own, but many of them can move in combination with the boxcar they are linked to.

The moment you introduce any Engine (even if in your asinine sophistry you call it a box car) you concede a first cause it needed.

A cause is different from a First Cause. I'm not arguing against cause and effect, just a particular description of them that says links in an essentially order chain do not add motive power.

Now, you could define an essentially ordered chain in such a fashion, but that does rectify the problem, it just changes the location of where I see the disconnect.

Unless I have misunderstood, the ultimate purpose of the Prime Mover argument is to present a case for God actually existing, not to create a hypothetical proof unconnected to reality. That means the reality of assumptions is in play. One of those assumpitions is the notion that the act-to-potency-to-act sequences provide no motive force.

BenYachov said...

Thank you for accepting my apology. That was very gracious of you.

But you are still arguing physics not metaphysics and you are still not dealing with essential series.

So I don't see any point in continuing till by some miracle you wake up and realize metaphorically the difference between color vs light absorption properties.

You need to get over your Scientism. Till you do there can be little point in continuing this discussion.

One Brow said...

But you are still arguing physics not metaphysics and you are still not dealing with essential series.

Possibly. But, if the metaphysics is supposed to convince us of a reality, doesn't it need to have initial assumptions firmly grounded in that reality? A metaphysical proof of the existence of moonfire shooting to earth, based on the notion there are dragons on the dark side of the moon, could be pefectly formed, precisely constructed, and carefully laid out. However, it's not going to convince me of the existence of moonfire.

Also, if anyone knows the answer, I am curious if an essentially ordered series, by definition, is one where no intermediate link can supply motive power for the the next link.

You need to get over your Scientism.

It's not there to begin with. I think there are scientific truths, but there are also metaphysical truths and truths based upon personal belief. Each type is different from the other, each type is valid, each types has its strengths and weaknesses. Does that cound like scientism to you?

BenYachov said...

>Possibly. But, if the metaphysics is supposed to convince us of a reality, doesn't it need to have initial assumptions firmly grounded in that reality?

So metaphysics needs empirical proof in order to be true? 1949 called they want their logical positivism back! Like I said Scientism. You really don't seem to believe you can have any real knowledge apart from Empiricism.

>It's not there to begin with. I think there are scientific truths, but there are also metaphysical truths and truths based upon personal belief.

You just contradicted yourself. You deny believing in Scientism but you clearly believe metaphysical "truth" are based on mere personal belief. So for you all philosophy is just mere personal belief not objectively reasoned fact.

Clearly you believe in Scientism.

Philosophy is the primary natural knowledge since we must us our intellects to interpret our empirical data.

You still don't get it which is why I find your critique intellectually wanting.

BenYachov said...

>I'm trying to point out that an essentially ordered causal sequence actaully passes motive power at each transition in the sequence, so the power at any transition is the motive power provided by the previous link, not the motive power of some putative initiator.

All you do here is merely explain what happens when the unpowered boxcar pulls the caboose. You have not explain the origin of motion(i.e motion in the Aristotelian sense). Nor have you eliminated the need to explain it.

>Only if the act-upon-potency-to-act transitions contain no motive power of their own.

Motive power is the agency that causes the box car to impart motion to the caboose. It's not an ultimate explanation of the motion itself.

Your analysis goes even further down hill from here. But it's become tiresome to watch you beat this wrong dead horse.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
So metaphysics needs empirical proof in order to be true?

Not at all. A metaphysical proof is true as long as it is conducted by valid means. Being true doesn't mean it applies to reality.

The Pythagorean theorem is true, being based on Euclidean geometry. However, spacetime is not Euclidean, so the truth of the Pythagorean theorem is not always relevant or useful in reality (although it is often useful).

You really don't seem to believe you can have any real knowledge apart from Empiricism.

I don't see how empirical knowledge is any more "real knowledge" than any other sort.

You just contradicted yourself.

No, I did not. If you see what you think is contradictory, you coul try asking about it rather than leaping to a conclusion about my position. You might even learn something, or I might learn something. It would be much more productive that insisting on applying an inaccurate label to me

... you clearly believe metaphysical "truth" are based on mere personal belief.

Actually, I would call that a category error, as truths based on personal beliefs are different from proofs that come from formal systems (such as metaphysical proofs), having different strengths and weaknesses.



Conclusions in formal systems only reflect reality to the degree their initial axioms reflect reality. A formal system is not capable of increasing the relibility of it's conclusions over the relibility of its assumpitons, only decreasing them. Philosophy is no different than any other formal system in that regard.

All you do here is merely explain what happens when the unpowered boxcar pulls the caboose.

I see the boxcar-boxcar (not boxcar-caboose, since there are no real phenomena analogous to cabooses) interactions as having power individual boxcars do not have.

You have not explain the origin of motion(i.e motion in the Aristotelian sense). Nor have you eliminated the need to explain it.

I agree with this assessment. I hold no claim to understanding the initial action-provider, and there may never have been one. That lack does not make a proof based on counter-factual phenomena more correct.

Motive power is the agency that causes the box car to impart motion to the caboose. It's not an ultimate explanation of the motion itself.

As noted above, I agree.

Your analysis goes even further down hill from here.

I was hoping you cold answer a couple of my questions directly. Perhaps the next person I try will do so.

Brenda said...

The transfer of kinetic energy from hand to stick to stone or from one steel ball in a Newton's cradle to the next is not instantaneous. We just say it is for convenience's sake. It would take a year for the the final steel ball to move if the Newton's cradle was a light year long, longer than a year if such a thing could actually exist. Which it could not.

If we had a stick a light year long it would also take a year for the momentum of my hand to transfer from this end where my hand is to the other where the stone was. However, it would *not* make sense to say that my hand, the light year long stick and the stone were all moving simultaneously. We live in a relative universe and not a 19th century absolute one.

We could in fact hang a chain "upon the air" so to speak. Given a sufficiently strong material, steel won't cut it, you could lower a chain from Earth's orbit to the ground with nothing to which the chain is anchored.

People should not consult Aristotle for their physics. There are only efficient causes, there is nothing else.

The Earth's gravity acts simultaneously on everything on Earth but it does not act instantaneously. It takes time for the gravitons to travel from say the Earth to the Moon. Even though the earth's gravity is acting simultaneously on this rock and also on the Moon.

Causality, it's just one damn thing after another.

Hume was right. Happy birthday big guy.

Blaise Pascal said...

"People should not consult Aristotle for their physics."

People should not consult modern physics for their metaphysics.

Brenda said...

Blaise siad
People should not consult modern physics for their metaphysics.

Metaphysics cannot ignore reality and modern science has something to say about what there is and how it operates. If you ignore the findings of science then you are not doing serious philosophy today. If your metaphysics conflicts with what we know to be true then your metaphysics is wrong.

It is a fools task to try to reanimate the corpse of Aristotle and walk him about in modern garb.

Blaise Pascal said...

I agree with your last post. Still, if modern science is in conflict with our apriori insights, then modern science is wrong. Every science, be it physics or mathematics or whatever, has to conform to our first principles of knowledge, because these are the most certain things we know. (Thats why interpretations of the relativity equations that contradict euclidean geometry are wrong.)

I concede that it still may give us some nice modells and hypotheses with which one can make neat predictions. But knowledge is about reality and not about useful fictions. So, if modern science is all about useful fictions, then its not a science at all.

One Brow said...

Blaise Pascal said...
Still, if modern science is in conflict with our apriori insights, then modern science is wrong. Every science, be it physics or mathematics or whatever, has to conform to our first principles of knowledge, because these are the most certain things we know. (Thats why interpretations of the relativity equations that contradict euclidean geometry are wrong.)

I don't think I could disagree more completely. The first principles of which you speak are arbitrary concepts, created by us to explain and simiplify our understanding of the world. We first interpret the world to fit into the concept, and then some of us note everything in the world fits into the concept. However, the fit comes from the interpretation, not from the concepts.

With our simplifications we create formal systems like mathematics and metaphysics, but we should never forget they are creations of our whim and ease and just as easily discarded when no longer relevant.

Formal systems create their own kind of approach to the truth, which is neither inferior nor superior to the kinds of approach to the truth you get from empirical study (or the kind you get from personal belief systems). None of them get sovreignty or subservience.

Brenda said...

Blaise pascal said:
Every science, be it physics or mathematics or whatever, has to conform to our first principles of knowledge, because these are the most certain things we know.

No, our "first principles" which are just basically guesses, can be wrong. It is wrong to claim that euclidean geometry, specifically the axiom that parallel lines never meet, correctly represent reality.

Kant, who believed that we impose our interpretations on reality, was just flat our wrong when he claimed that we can have a priori synthetic truths. There is no such thing.

If you genuinely believe that relativity is wrong and that space/time is not curved then you are simply not a serious intellectual.

One Brow said...

Brenda said...
If you genuinely believe that relativity is wrong and that space/time is not curved then you are simply not a serious intellectual.

Let's not go overboard. Relativity is a great model that has proven highly useful, but it's still based on eimpirical knowledge, and could be wrong, in the sense that it may be replaced by something better. In that something better, the effects we now assign to curved spacetime may be assigned to a different explanation, instead. So, you can't simply state that considering the possibility space is lfat makes you unserious.

Blaise Pascal said...

"The first principles of which you speak are arbitrary concepts, created by us to explain and simiplify our understanding of the world."

I dont understand what you mean by this. How are concepts "created"? Please explain how did you create the concept of "being"?

"With our simplifications we create formal systems like mathematics and metaphysics, but we should never forget they are creations of our whim and ease and just as easily discarded when no longer relevant."

So it is a creation of our whim that 2+2=4? Or that every change has a cause?

"No, our "first principles" which are just basically guesses, can be wrong."

Like the axiom of tertium non datur?

"that space/time is not curved then you are simply not a serious intellectual."

Is this the only interpretation of the relativity equations you know of?

One Brow said...

Blaise Pascal said...
You quoted both Brenda and I in the same response without distinguishing the comments. Even I was confused at first about where the quote came from.

How are concepts "created"?

By our mind. Concepts are thoughts in our minds.

Please explain how did you create the concept of "being"?

When you used teh word in quotation marks, my mind associated it with a varieity of properties that I have learned over time, creating a concept of "being".

So it is a creation of our whim that 2+2=4?

Yes. mathematics is a formal system, that we create for our convenience.

Or that every change has a cause?

No, I would say that is an empirically-based deermination, provisionally true witin a certain range of our experience.

Like the axiom of tertium non datur?

The Law of the Excluded Middle is based on our initial decision that there shall only be two truth values, and only one can be applied to any proposition. Within those arbitrary restraints, tertium non datur holds. If you rmove the arbitrary decisions propping it up, you can no longer support tertium non datur.

Brenda said...

One Brow:
Relativity is a great model that has proven highly useful, but it's still based on eimpirical knowledge, and could be wrong

That space is curved is an observed fact. No future science will do away with those any more than we might one day discover that the world is really flat.

Evolution is also a fact, so is global warming. The theories we come up with to explain those facts can change but the reality that species change through time and that the global temp is rising will not.

We aren't really disagreeing.

BenYachov said...

>People should not consult Aristotle for their physics. There are only efficient causes, there is nothing else.

That is a metaphysical claim not a scientific one.


>By our mind. Concepts are thoughts in our minds.

So you are a conceptionalist! I knew it.

Blaise Pascal said...

@OneBrow

I think our disagreement is just too fundamental. I have once, not so long ago, made the decision not to discuss any serious matters with people who deny the objectivity of the law of exluded middle. This is nothing against you, but I am out of the discussion.

One Brow said...

Brenda said...
That space is curved is an observed fact.

We can't observe space, we can only infer it's structure based on the behavior of objects in space. The bending of light in a gravitational well can have other explanations besides the curvature of space.

No future science will do away with those any more than we might one day discover that the world is really flat.

Any future theories will have to accomadate all the known observations. They may not necessarily include the current interpretations of those observations.

We aren't really disagreeing.

Spciea change is something you can measure over time. Temprature change is something you can measure over time. How do you measure curavture in space?

Outside of that, we are largely in agreement.

One Brow: By our mind. Concepts are thoughts in our minds.

So you are a conceptionalist! I knew it.


Where else can a concept be located? In Aristotelean terms, a concept would be an instantiation of a form into the mind, form a mental image.

I may well be a conceptualist, I'm not sure. But I don't think that's relevant to where concepts are located.

I think our disagreement is just too fundamental. I have once, not so long ago, made the decision not to discuss any serious matters with people who deny the objectivity of the law of exluded middle. This is nothing against you, but I am out of the discussion.

I understand. I do think the Law of the Excluded Middle is objective, though. Given the premises of classical logic, the Law of the Excluded Middle can be proven through completely objective means. In fact, one of the defining feature of formal systems is that all the truths they produce are objective.

Now, if you think that there is some method of setting up a formal structure like classical logic that is the One True Method for arguing points, and that only classical logic is valid for this purpose, and there is no point in having discussions with someone who thinks the premises of classical logic are chosen rather than ordained or inherent to reality, then Your decision to end your participation is likely correct.

Brenda said...

Blaise Pascal said:
"I have once, not so long ago, made the decision not to discuss any serious matters with people who deny the objectivity of the law of exluded middle.

Would you like me to refute the LEM for you right here?

One Brow said:
We can't observe space

There is no such thing as space/time. It's just an abstraction that represents how things in the universe more or less 'hold together'.

To questions about the LEM (are axiomatic systems real) and to space time --> I look out my window and in the nearby field I see five sheep. Then I imagine a world with no humans in it to name things. Are there still five sheep? Do numbers exist after we are gone?

No.

Anonymous said...

Then Brenda no argument you make against God or for Atheism or skepticism has any coherent, real or objective meaning & can thus be dismissed.

One Brow said...

Brenda said...
There is no such thing as space/time. It's just an abstraction that represents how things in the universe more or less 'hold together'.

mathematical representations of spacetime are abstraction. Measurements of spacetime are approximations. Spacetime has not coporeal aspect. However, none of those qualities makes spacetime itself an abstraction.