Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Does Newton refute the First way?

Feser, to no one's surprise, says no.

15 comments:

William said...

Feser's method of defending motion as requiring a mover is unassailable as long as we accept his distinctions of definition. This method is one which I've seen a lot in the Aristotelian crowd.

The problem is when Feser or others of like metaphysics make the claim that their metaphysics has empirical validity in modern scientific terms-- it likely does not. Once they redefine words like "motion" to suit their closed and consistent logical system, they have detached it from any hope of empirical success.

Unfortunately application via equivocation sets in quickly, and the logical correctness of Feser's definitions for motion are too often used via equivocation for the real world meanings, where Feser's terms have no validity.

BenYachov said...

>The problem is when Feser or others of like metaphysics make the claim that their metaphysics has empirical validity in modern scientific terms-- it likely does not.

Where does Feser claim that?

QUOTE"Now the principle of motion is, the Aristotelian will insist, another thesis whose import is metaphysical, a corollary of the distinction between act and potency which is the foundation of the Aristotelian philosophy of nature. The principle of inertia, by contrast, is a claim of natural science. Since the domains they are addressing are different, there can be no question of any conflict between them, certainly no direct or obvious conflict."END QUOTE

You have Positivism on the brain there Will & you clearly didn't read the article.

grodrigues said...

@BenYachov:

Was waiting for you to come up and take the onus of writing a reply, as all the responses I concocted ended up being rude, curt dismissals of William's display of shallow ignorance.

William said...

Ben, you are right, in that Feser is not in his writings above (and I have read them) taking the problematic equivocation turn. The problem is that I see others, such as Oderberg in biology and, yes, you grodrigues in physics, doing so.

Feser does use his essentialism about many of the essence words in his metaphysics which also contain political connotations to support authoritarian conservative political claims, however. Such claims need (and may have) empirical support, not word games.

grodrigues said...

@William:

"The problem is that I see others, such as Oderberg in biology and, yes, you grodrigues in physics, doing so."

The problem I see is that you do not provide an iota of evidence for your claims.

Now it seems Feser does not equivocate in the quoted writings after all. It is Oderberg in biology, me in physics (I am flattered being put in such distinct company; do not deserve it. At any rate Oderberg definitely does not need to suffer my company), and Feser in some other, unnamed writings, supposedly in support of his nefarious authoritative politics. We all take the "problematic equivocation turn" and dabble in "word games".

Right.

@BenYachov:

Honest question: is *this* to be taken seriously?

William said...

Grod: You need specifics?

1. You have in the past in comments in this blog said that there is definitely something which causes radioactive decay to occur at a particular instant and not another. This was the application of metaphysical causality in taking a position regarding causation of a physical event as defined by quantum mechanics.

Concept of causation used eqivocally? Yes.


2. Oderberg: in _Real Essentialism_, he places bacteria into either the plant or animal kingdoms based on whether they are motile. If he was keeping to the Thomist project as an essentialist castle in the air with its own specialist definitions, he'd need to say that he was just assigning them plant soul or animal soul, or some such. But he goes directly to the terms of modern biology such as "bacteria" without qualification.

Concept of "animal" used equivocally? Yes.


3. I'm not a good enough as a social scientist to analyze Feser's political speech well, so I'll be lazy and concede to you on that one :).

BenYachov said...

>Honest question: is *this* to be taken seriously?

Clearly not & people wonder why I just throw my hands up in the air and tell the Gnus to go F-word themselves.

Granted there are reasonable honest Atheists but my fear is they are becoming the exception not the rule.

BenYachov said...

@William

I have zero tolerance for liars.

William said...

Do I need to quote the relevant post and book words themselves to avoid your Gnu atheist blog-style ad hominems? I know you can do betterthan that!

Here's a start:

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2012/04/defense-of-first-and-second-ways.html

see posts around April 14, 2012


And...

"Secondly, all motile bacteria and archaea, whatever their relation to the kingdom Animalia and whatever their differences from each other, are animals"

Oderberg, David S. (2009-01-22). Real Essentialism (Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy) (p. 190).

If this reply just generates more ad hominems, I will be very disappointed.

grodrigues said...

@William:

So it seems Feser, the original sinner, has been acquitted of committing the "equivocation turn" and it is down to me and Oderberg.

"You have in the past in comments in this blog said that there is definitely something which causes radioactive decay to occur at a particular instant and not another. This was the application of metaphysical causality in taking a position regarding causation of a physical event as defined by quantum mechanics."

What the heck is "metaphysical causality"? What is "causation of a physical event as defined by quantum mechanics"? Quantum mechanics does not define such a thing anywhere; you are simply making things up. Causality as such is a metaphysical concept; like the scientific method, it is not a proper object of study of the empirical sciences but a necessary, presupposed concept. So where is the equivocation? You do now what equivocation is, don't you? My guess is that if there is equivocation, it is the fabrication of your head.

"[Oderberg] places bacteria into either the plant or animal kingdoms based on whether they are motile. If he was keeping to the Thomist project as an essentialist castle in the air with its own specialist definitions, he'd need to say that he was just assigning them plant soul or animal soul, or some such. But he goes directly to the terms of modern biology such as "bacteria" without qualification."

page 184, right at the opening of the relevant section (emphasis in the original): "This process of characterization is primarily a metaphysical one, informed by biology. Unfortunately, biological taxonomy, post-Darwin, has been all but evacuated of metaphysical content, and has been explicitly realigned so as to conform to evolutionary phylogenetics."

page 186: "I want now to look at more specific examples in order to see whether the metaphysical distinction between plants and animals is itself different from, and more insightful than, the current phylogenetic one."

page 190: "First, fungi and plants differ in many ways, such as methods of reproduction and nutrition, but neither have locomotion (Margulis and Sagan 1995: 140–1). From the metaphysical point of view, both have merely vegetative functions and so belong to the same metaphysical species/genus. That fungi do not belong to the kingdom Plantae is only a matter of how dissimilarities between the two enable partitioning of the overarching species/genus into lower species, and ultimately into infima species.

Secondly, all motile bacteria and archaea, whatever their relation to the kingdom Animalia and whatever their differences from each other, are animals: they can sense their environment and they can move themselves locally towards and away from certain stimuli. From this fundamental viewpoint, it is irrelevant that the archaea might be genetically as different from bacteria as a human being or a tiger is. It is also irrelevant that they are compositionally unique, e.g. in respect of lipids or transfer RNA. In general, they have the same structure as other living things but use wholly different compounds to build them. In terms of overall morphology – which includes, for the essentialist, bodily functions and operations, not just structural characters – they are as much animals as bacteria and as the formal members of the kingdom Animalia."

Where is the equivocation?

BenYachov said...

@grodrigues

So basically William is just making shit up?

Who knew Paps had a cousin?

William said...

I'm not saying the above are lies: I mean in the sense of semantic shift:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation#Semantic_shift

In fact, your inability to see my examples as equivocation may be due to your equivocation about equivocation... I give up, willful blindness is sometimes just not being willing to see it from another's viewpoint....

grodrigues said...

@BenYachov:

"So basically William is just making shit up?"

Pretty much.

At least he "has given up". Due to my "equivocation about equivocation", "wilfull blindness" and general unwillingness in seeing from "another's [his] viewpoint" of course (hilarious I say), but he has given up.

William said...

Here's Michelle Grier in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Kant on Scholasticism:

"Kant's diagnosis of the fallacies that characterize these arguments has received considerable attention, and has generated considerable controversy. In each case, Kant tells us, the argument is guilty of the fallacy of sophisma figurae dictionis, or the fallacy of equivocation/ambiguous middle. Kant suggests that in each of the syllogisms, a term is used in different senses in the major and minor premises. Consider the first paralogism, the argument that allegedly deduces the substantiality of the soul. In the A edition, Kant formulates the argument as follows:

That the representation of which is the absolute subject of our judgments and cannot be employed as determination of any other thing, is substance.

I, as thinking being, am the absolute subject of all my possible judgments and this representation of myself cannot be employed as determination of any other thing.

Therefore, I, as thinking being (soul), am substance. (A349)

Kant locates the equivocation contained in the argument in the use of the term “substance.” According to Kant, the major premise uses this term “transcendentally” whereas the minor premise and conclusion use the same term “empirically.” (A403). What Kant appears to mean is this: the major premise deploys the term “substance” in a very general way, one which abstracts from the conditions of our sensible intuition (space and time). As such, the major premise simply offers the most general definition of substance, and thus expresses the most general rule in accordance with which objects might be able to be thought as substances. Nevertheless, in order to apply the concept of substance in such a way as to determine an object, the category would have to be used empirically. Unfortunately, such an empirical use is precluded by the fact that the alleged object to which it is being applied is not empirical. Even more problematically, on Kant's view, there is no object given at all. In Kantian jargon, the category only yields knowledge of objects if it is “schematized,” applied to given objects under the conditions of time.

This same kind of complaint is lodged against each of the paralogistic syllogisms that characterize Rational Psychology. Thus, Kant argues against the inference to the simplicity of the soul, by remarking that the psychologist here is surreptitiously deducing the actual simplicity of a metaphysical object simply from the formal features of subjectivity (the fact that the “I” is unitary in our representational economy). The personal identity of the soul is attacked on similar grounds. In each case the metaphysical conclusion is said to be drawn only by an equivocation in the use or meaning of a concept of the understanding."

grodrigues said...

In the beginning, Feser committed the sin of taking the "equivocation turn" and claimed empirical validity in the sense of modern science for metaphysics.

Then Feser, the original sinner, was acquitted, and the guilt was transferred to the Son of Feser, G. Rodrigues, who took the "equivocation turn" by applying metaphysical causality (which he still does not know what it is) to "causation of a physical event as defined by quantum mechanics" (a non-existent thingy), and the Brother of Feser, Oderberg, that also committed the "equivocating turn" in metaphysical taxonomy problems in the domain of biology.

Then the charge of equivocation was refined to the species of "semantic shift" which the linked wikipedia, that fountain of wisdom, defines as:

"The fallacy of equivocation is often used with words that have a strong emotional content and many meanings. These meanings often coincide within proper context, but the fallacious arguer does a semantic shift, slowly changing the context by treating, as equivalent, distinct meanings of the term."

What could be the "strong emotional content" in some dry problems of causality and the metaphysical notions of animal and plant is beyond me; but I digress.

Finally, we have arrived at Kant's "controversial arguments" against the possibility metaphysics and to the fallacy of ambiguous middle, an equivocation in which the same term is used in different senses in the major and the minor of a syllogism. Now, the reader will surely have noticed that it is a different form of equivocation than the "semantic shift". But by now, it is reasonable to assume that all the above charges have seemingly been put to the side.

The quote provided is from the section on Kant's critique of rational psychology. What is the exact relevance of Kant's' charge of equivocation in rational psychology to the charges levied against me and Oderberg is anyone's guess. Kant's arguments against the very possibility of metaphysics are self-defeating; Kant's general critique of metaphysics have been met with powerful counter-arguments: http://thomism.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/the-thomist-objections-to-kant/ Chastek recommends Blanchette; an in-depth Scholastic take on Kant is in Coffey's two volumes on Epistemology. Why we should accept Kant's critique we are not told. Maybe it is thought that the pure act of quoting the SEP gives it the imprimatur of infallibility. And we still have not been informed where the alleged "equivocation turn" was taken exactly by either me or Oderberg. Maybe we are supposed to just guess; or because Kant allegedly detected an equivocation fallacy in some syllogisms that maybe, just maybe, have some relevance to the charges; or maybe because Kant said it so it must be true; or because William pastes a link to the wikipedia, the fountain of all wisdom; or

If ever a wonderful Wiz there was
The Wizard of Oz is one becauuuuuse
Because because because because because
Because of the wonderful things he does
....(whistled) because of the wonderful things he does!

Now it is me giving up; feel free to continue with your shenanigans as they do have their entertainment value.