Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Nagel on Plantinga

I say this as someone who cannot imagine believing what he believes. But even those who cannot accept the theist alternative should admit that Plantinga’s criticisms of naturalism are directed at the deepest problem with that view—how it can account for the appearance, through the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry, of conscious beings like ourselves, capable of discovering those laws and understanding the universe that they govern. Defenders of naturalism have not ignored this problem, but I believe that so far, even with the aid of evolutionary theory, they have not proposed a credible solution. Perhaps theism and materialist naturalism are not the only alternatives.

65 comments:

B. Prokop said...

Closely related to this topic is THIS ARTICLE.

im-skeptical said...

"even with the aid of evolutionary theory, they have not proposed a credible solution."

Translation: "I just can't believe this materialism stuff."


"While atheistic materialists seek to slam the door of the universe shut, expelling all that is non-material, the fact—and I mean fact—of personal subjectivity, our ability to say “I,” acts like an intruder’s foot that gets wedged between the door and the frame, stubbornly preventing materialism from enclosing the universe within."

Translation: "I have no interest in trying to understand how things work. And they have no interest in accepting my ready-made answer to all questions: Goddidit."

Chris said...

ims,

I would regard Nagel as one of the more "conservative" non-naturalists.
Should I even bother asking you how you feel about folks like Rupert Sheldrake,Fred Alan Wolf, or a Fritjof Capra?

im-skeptical said...

I've heard of Rupert Sheldrake. He's the purveyor of pseudo-scientific gobbledygook called "morphic resonance". I don't know much about the others.

im-skeptical said...

Here is a quote from the Skeptic's Dictionary regarding Fritjof Capra:

"Radin may be expressing agreement with the notion that ancient Hindu mysticism is just quantum physics wrapped in metaphysical garb. This idea seems to have originated with Fritjof Capra in his book The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (1975). The book’s first two parts are excellent expositions of ancient religions and modern physics. The third part, which tries to connect the two, is an abysmal failure. Nevertheless, it has been this third part which has influenced numerous New Age energy medicine advocates who claim that quantum physics proves the reality of everything from chi and prana to ESP to applied kinesiology. The idea that there is such a connection is denied by most physicists but books like Capra's and Gary Zukav's The Dancing Wu Li Masters : An Overview of the New Physics (1976) continue to remain popular among alternative thinkers."

So it looks like Capra does not base his views on empirical evidence, but is inspired by mysticism and new-age fluffery.


Victor Reppert said...

He says quite specifically that he is looking for a nontheistic alternative to naturalism, and Mind and Cosmos is an attempt to spell that out. Hence, he says, over and over again, that he isn't saying Goddidit. What part of "alternative to theism" don't you understand?

Ilíon said...

Nagel: "Defenders of naturalism have not ignored this problem [of how to account for rational beings using only physical/material cause-and-effect as one's sole explanatory resource]"

Really? It seems to me that ignoring that major problem with their metaphysic is *precisely* what naturalists are most skilled at doing.

im-skeptical said...

"What part of "alternative to theism" don't you understand?"

That comment was in response to Bob's link (that's where the second quote was taken from).

As for Nagel If he wants to find an alternative to materialism, It's not because of empiricism. It's because he WANTS to believe in something non-scientific. He has a built-in bias against empirical science, just like theists do.

Chris said...

ims,

Are you honestly saying that none of Nagel's philosophical objections to "orthodox" naturalism have any merit?

im-skeptical said...

"Are you honestly saying that none of Nagel's philosophical objections to "orthodox" naturalism have any merit?"

They have as much merit as theism. They are not based on evidence. They are based on faith. His beliefs make him happy, I guess. They satisfy his psychological need to believe something that seems comforting to him, and evidence-based facts don't satisfy that need.

Benjamin Thompson said...

ims,

remind me again how it is exactly that a radical empiricist gets around Humean Skepticism outside of pure despair?

Ginobili said...

"They are not based on evidence. They are based on faith."

Incorrect. They are based on philosophical argumentation, which is all about unpacking conceptual implications and completely separate from empirical evidence and "faith." A deductive argument in philosophy has no more need for one of its premises to "supply empirical evidence" than do mathematical arguments. (For instance, no "empirical evidence" was needed to demonstrate that logical positivism was incoherent.)

im-skeptical said...

"remind me again how it is exactly that a radical empiricist gets around Humean Skepticism outside of pure despair?"

If I can parse what you said correctly, you are implying that lack of faith in something extra-worldly results in "pure despair", correct?

Your lack of understanding of human nature is evident. We all have the same sense of awe and wonder that we feel at certain times. Theists wrongly attribute this feeling to God. But it's just part of our human nature, and it's independent of any god belief. I am awed by nature itself. I don't need to postulate an imaginary being to account for the feelings I have. But to say that I must be in despair because of what I believe is just plain wrong. And, I might add, not supported by any evidence whatsoever.

im-skeptical said...

"A deductive argument in philosophy has no more need for one of its premises to "supply empirical evidence" than do mathematical arguments."

Wow. That reminds me of someone who I haven't seen on this blog for a year or more, who stated that any philosophical argument is superior to any evidence-based factual information.

You are suffering from a disease I call philosophical elitism, which is characterized by the arrogant belief that if you simply label your argument "philosophical", it must be correct. What you don't seem to understand is that a valid logical argument is no more correct than its premises. And there are many philosophical arguments that are based on false assumptions.

Mathematics is different from philosophy in a very important way: its axioms are universally accepted, and its statements can be broken down to those axioms. Thus, a mathematical hypothesis can be proven or falsified unequivocally by following strict logical rules. Philosophical arguments generally cannot be broken down in this manner. That's precisely why there is so much disagreement among philosophers. You have philosophers arguing for and against most any hypothesis. How can you think this leads to truth? The fact is that false assumptions lead to false conclusions, and philosophers are not immune to making false assumptions.

Chris said...

Awe and wonder. What could those words actually mean in a "reality" in which minds and persons don't really exist?

It's like meeting the love of your life and then finding out it was an actor who was paid to deceive you.

If you say that I'm just being childish and delusional, I would say you have no business talking about what it means to be human.

oozzielionel said...

Theists do not choose between mathematics and philosophy; we embrace both. Empirical truth describes how the creation works. It is mankind's to discover and express dominion over the creation. Every evidence that the naturalist points to is the same evidence to which the theist points. It is in core beliefs they differ--the beliefs that cause the theist to declare the glory of God in the heavens and the beliefs of the naturalist who gazes at the stars with only the wonder of a good fireworks display.

im-skeptical said...

"What could those words actually mean in a "reality" in which minds and persons don't really exist? "

Belief in supernatural entities is not the way to define humanity, and the non-existence of those things does not imply that there is no mind or himanity. I'd say you don't understand what it means to be human.

Ilíon said...

"If you say that I'm just being childish and delusional, I would say you have no business talking about what it means to be human."

As I say from time to time, it's not that 'atheists' belong at "the kids' table" (as some of the prominent ones like to say of Christians, from time to time); rather, it's that they belong on the floor, with the other non-rational animals.

Ilíon said...

^ When one denies God, one *also* denies man ... and reason/rationality.

Papalinton said...

Translation: "I just can't believe this materialism stuff."

The Argument from Personal Incredulity.

im-skeptical said...

"The Argument from Personal Incredulity."

I'd say that is an apt description of Nagel's position.

Benjamin Thompson said...

ims,

I'm actually referring to the problem of induction. As Hume pointed out, you can't support empirical induction without assuming empirical induction, and yet empirical induction does not seem absolute or self-evident (that is you do not assume it is true when you deny it is true). Hume simply said that to do science we have to assume the principle of induction works, even though we can never prove or provide evidence that it does.

Now you might want to interject; but induction obviously works, it has produced so many technologies. But this is, again, assuming the principle of induction. You cannot support the PI with scientific evidence because science itself depends on the principle.

im-skeptical said...

Benjamin Thompson,

It would be foolish to rely on induction only, since one could jump to conclusions that are not true. It would be equally foolish to rely on deduction only, since one could base his conclusions on unfounded assertions.

Science is not merely a process of induction. Induction is only the first step. We observe phenomena, and we form a hypothesis by induction. Then we use deductive processes to test the truth of the hypothesis. Of course, we can never be absolutely certain that a hypothesis is true, but we can eliminate many hypotheses that don't withstand scrutiny - that don't agree with the observed evidence. This is how science works, and it is far superior to armchair deductive reasoning that never seeks to test its premises or verify its own conclusions.

Hume's skepticism is perfectly consistent with modern science. There is nothing radical about basing one's beliefs on evidence. What is radical is to think that you can know some truth without ever showing that it agrees with what we observe.

Shackleman said...

im-skeptical,

In the vast majority of your posts, you are brandishing a sort of call to arms over "evidence". I think it would be fair to say you subscribe to a sort of "Sola-Indicium"(TM).

What evidence have you *actually* seen for *yourself* for any of the things you believe?

Reading *about* evidence is not the same as actually "having" or "seeing" *evidence*. Are you a scientist yourself? Even if you are, do you or do you not hold beliefs about things which fall outside your specific scientific expertise?

Further, I suspect you haven't even actually read *about* much evidence either. Reading online articles or blogs certainly wouldn't count as reading *about* the actual *evidence*. It'd be more like reading about a *summary* of the evidence...in other words, yet another level still removed from the actual evidence.

Reading the *actual* publications from the scientists doing the actual science *would* count toward reading about the evidence, but again, I suspect you haven't done much, if any of that. Few people ever can or do.

So, if my suspicions are correct, what you really ought to be saying, instead of "I believe on the evidence" is, "I believe on the authority of Scientists".

I mean, I could be wrong here. Maybe you are an actual scientist. But, despite your admonitions of philosophy, all I ever see when reading your posts is arm-chair philosophy, and it appears this irony is lost on you.

Ilíon said...

"... and it appears this irony is lost on you."

The only irony most 'atheists' can see is a metaphorical tire-iron up-side the head.

Benjamin Thompson said...

ims,

but all that which is concrete observable evidence ultimately relies on abductive and inductive reasoning. That is you cannot get to the deduction without first using induction. So you still have the problem.

You cannot get out of the problem without saying that 1) Some knowledge and beliefs just do not need evidence (the Principle of Induction) to be rationally believed and 2) Philosophical arguments that do not require observational argument or evidence can compel us to have beliefs (given 1).

im-skeptical said...

Shackleman,

You are indeed wrong, here. You don't know the first thing about me.

There are certain individuals here who pretend to know something about science and make claims that aren't true, and their ignorance shows. There are others who don't care about science, or who think that philosophy (without science) is all that matters, and their ignorance shows, too.

You have failed to understand what I say: "despite your admonitions of philosophy". I have nothing against philosophy. I have the utmost respect for certain philosophers (who are not well-represented in this forum). What I admonish is the attitude of some, especially the ones who believe that their education in philosophy makes them better than the rest of us, and the ones who think that philosophy needs no grounding in empirical knowledge.

Which brings me to evidence. Who the hell are you to lecture me about evidence? Let me ask you something: Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus? If so, then you have no business telling me about what kind of evidence counts. If not, let me ask where you get your "suspicions" about me. You don't seem to listen very well, or you might realize a few key things about me. I don't hate philosophy or philosophers in general, for one. And I actually do know a few things about science, for another.

im-skeptical said...

Benjamin Thompson,

Sorry, I left abductive reasoning out of my discussion. I'm not trained in philosophy. But it is obviously used in hypothesis formation.

OK. I agree that there are certain things that we accept as axiomatic, without observational evidence, and I said so above. These axioms are essential as a basis for logic. But they tell us virtually nothing about how things work in our world. For that, we need empirical evidence.

So what exactly are you driving at?

Shackleman said...

im-skeptical,

I asked you some questions. I didn't presume. You haven't answered them directly, but I take it from your latest that no, you are not yourself a scientist, and no, you have not yourself read any *actual* publications--the actual results-- offered by scientists about their actual work.

Maybe I'm still wrong. If so, you could correct me by simply answering the questions directly.

If I'm right though, then your bluster about "evidence" rings utterly hollow since you yourself don't *have* any, nor have you *seen* any actual evidence.

So, one might ask, in the same bombastic way as you do...

"Who the hell are you to lecture Nagel and others on their so called "built-in" biases and desires?"

And,

"Who the hell are you to trumpet the merits of empiricism and evidence when you yourself haven't got any nor have you seen any directly yourself?"

B. Prokop said...

"There are certain individuals here who pretend to know something about science and make claims that aren't true, and their ignorance shows."

Looking in the mirror, Skep?

"And I actually do know a few things about science"

Really? From where? What are your credentials? What peer-reviewed papers have you published, and in which journals? What original research have you participated in/contributed to?

Let's hear it!... //crickets//

im-skeptical said...

"I didn't presume."
- I think you did.

"I take it from your latest that no, you are not yourself a scientist, and no, you have not yourself read any *actual* publications--the actual results-- offered by scientists about their actual work."
- You are wrong.

"Maybe I'm still wrong. If so, you could correct me by simply answering the questions directly."
- I see that you haven't answered my questions either. I don't owe you anything.

"Who the hell are you to lecture Nagel and others on their so called "built-in" biases and desires?"
- I haven't lectured Nagel.

"Who the hell are you to trumpet the merits of empiricism and evidence when you yourself haven't got any nor have you seen any directly yourself?"
- That's your presumption. And if you are a believer in biblical stories, you are quite the hypocrite.

im-skeptical said...

"Looking in the mirror, Skep?"

Bob, you're one of them.

B. Prokop said...

I'll take that last response, then, as Skep admitting: "No, I have no credentials, I've published no papers, have done no actual research myself, have no f--king clue as to what I am talking about, and as they say on the commercials, 'I'm not really a scientist - I just play one on the internet!'"

Shackleman said...

im-skepitcal,

"You are wrong"
-About? So you're a scientist? As Mr. Prokop said, what are your qualifications? Which of the beliefs you hold are informed by which peer-reviewed articles you've read and studied? Are you familiar enough with the subject matter of these mystery peer-reviewed articles as to make informed decisions as to their merit?

"I haven't lectured Nagel."
-Yes you have...."Translation: "I have no interest in trying to understand how things work. And they have no interest in accepting my ready-made answer to all questions: Goddidit.""

and

"It's not because of empiricism. It's because he WANTS to believe in something non-scientific. He has a built-in bias against empirical science, just like theists do"


"you are quite the hypocrite."
-I don't think the word "hypocrite" means what you think it means.

Shackleman said...

@ Mr. Prokop,

That made me smile in real life. :)

im-skeptical said...

"As Mr. Prokop said, what are your qualifications?"
- Much more than his. And I suspect, much more than yours.

"-Yes you have...."Translation: ..."
That wasn't even about Nagel. I already told you that you don't listen very well.

"-I don't think the word "hypocrite" means what you think it means."
- Please tell me what hypocritical thing I said. But if you accuse me of not having adequate evidence for my own belief when you don't have adequate evidence for your own beliefs, that is indeed hypocritical.

Shackleman said...

im-skeptical,

"Much more than his. And I suspect, much more than yours."
-Cool, then I'm sure you won't mind sharing them with us. What are your credentials? See, so much of this could be avoided if you would just pony up. We're waiting...

"But if you accuse me of not having adequate evidence for my own belief ..."
-Not accusing you. Asking you what evidence you *do* have. We're waiting....

You shout from the rooftops, "Evidence, evidence!!". "Science, science!!". So take some of your own medicine....show us the *evidence* of your credentials. Show us the peer-reviewed articles you've written or contributed to. You worship at the alter of "evidence" and "science"....I'm just asking to see the evidence that you're qualified to say such things.

See? I'm just like you! I don't take it on "faith" that you're qualified. So, show me the *evidence*.

B. Prokop said...

"Much more than his. And I suspect, much more than yours."

Talk is cheap, and internet posting even cheaper. What are they? Until you demonstrate otherwise, we'll just have to assume they're ZERO.

im-skeptical said...

And you still haven't answered my questions. That's fine. Assume what you will, and I'll assume that you are talking out of your ass.

Shackleman said...

im-skepitcal,

I don't understand. Surely someone who holds evidence in such high esteem as you would pounce at the opportunity to provide it, no?

Why all the fuss? Honestly, it's just making you look like a fraud.

Ilíon said...

Another aspect of the whole mindset of "you're not an expert of X, so you have no right to an opinion about X contrary to mine" is that the person expressing that mindset is generally also not an expert in X ... and therefore has no right to any opinion about it.

im-skeptical said...

"Why all the fuss? Honestly, it's just making you look like a fraud."

Why all the fuss indeed? This discussion wasn't about me at all, until a few folks like you started to come up empty on the issues I raised. Then you decided the best way to "win" was to try to turn the tables on me. Did they teach you that debating tactic in Philosophy 101? Does tu quoque make you the winner?

I once told Bob that Rayleigh scattering is what makes the sun red and he denied it. His justification was that he uses a telescope (so he must know all about this stuff), and he hangs around with PhDs. I showed him articles that explain the phenomenon, and he has never admitted that he was wrong. But he was wrong, and my own scientific credentials have absolutely nothing to do with it. It's a fact.

In your first comment in this thread, you made the astonishing claim that I need to personally observe the raw evidence in order to believe something. If I'm not a "Scientist"(TM), then I am not qualified to talk about evidence at all. That's utterly ridiculous. It those things were true, then you (as well as most of us) would have no right to believe much of anything, much less argue against me based on what you don't know about me. No my friend, it's you who looks like a fraud.

Shackleman said...

im-skeptical,

"In your first comment in this thread, you made the astonishing claim that I need to personally observe the raw evidence in order to believe something"

-I see now you're finally starting to truly attend to my posts, although you still have it all wrong. I did *not* claim that you need to personally see the raw evidence yourself in order to have warranted beliefs. It is you, not I, (in this thread and many others) who paint the picture that beliefs which are informed by anything other than "evidence" are beliefs held without warrant.

Yet when asked to provide the evidence for your own beliefs you come up empty. Therefore, by your *own* standards, your beliefs are held without warrant.

Thus far, you have shown *only* that your beliefs are informed by appeals to authority and nothing else.

Again, reading *about* evidence, is **not** evidence.

Personally, I would say you probably *do* hold some beliefs with good justification and warrant, but that evidence has nothing whatsoever to do with your warrant. Like the theists you disparage, in the end, you hold beliefs based on the authority of trusted sources. You're no different than those whom you admonish, "my friend". The only difference I can see from your posts is that you trust different sources.

In short, the hypocrisy and "hot air" you accuse others of are really just your projecting onto others your own failings.

im-skeptical said...

"Again, reading *about* evidence, is **not** evidence."

Tell that to every Christian in the world who believes he has evidence to believe the stories about Jesus.

B. Prokop said...

"But he was wrong"

No, I wasn't. I was correct then, I remain correct today, and you don't have a clue as to what you're talking about.

im-skeptical said...

Here we go again.

im-skeptical said...

"No, I wasn't. I was correct then, I remain correct today, and you don't have a clue as to what you're talking about."

This one's for you, Bob.

B. Prokop said...

Oh, my. What are we supposed to do with someone who without the least embarrassment, indeed without any shame at all, links to wikipedia articles, apparently confusing them with "evidence"?

How about doing your own thinking, Skep? Maybe even show some "skepticism"? Is that too much to ask?

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"Mathematics is different from philosophy in a very important way: its axioms are universally accepted,"

Wrong.

"and its statements can be broken down to those axioms."

You do not know what you are talking about.

"Thus, a mathematical hypothesis can be proven or falsified unequivocally by following strict logical rules."

This is in the not even wrong category.

"Philosophical arguments generally cannot be broken down in this manner. That's precisely why there is so much disagreement among philosophers."

The first sentence is not correct, it is in fact very easy to regiment a formal language and formalize in it, mathematics-style, a philosophical position. No one does it (or practically no one), because it is a rigorously futile exercise.

The second sentence is wrong.

Papalinton said...

Man up and admit it Bob. You've been caught with your pants down and Skep has given you a 'wedgie'.

Ilíon said...

Ill-parrot-anything-so-long-as-it-denies-God "Mathematics is different from philosophy in a very important way: its axioms are universally accepted,"

grodrigues: Wrong.

I've even had (rabid) materialists/atheists "argue" that the axioms of arithmetic (and, of course, higher math) are just conventions that one adopts for the sake of performing arithmetic operations within the formalized system we call 'arithmetic'. Which is to say, they were claiming that it not *really* the case that 1+1=2, but rather that statement is just something we all pretend is true for the sake of being able to say that 2+1=3.

And that denial is really just another way of denying the logical Law of Identity (which happens to be a denial that is very popular amongst the God-haters). Come to think of it, the denial above may well be a denial of all three of the fundamental laws of logic

grodrigues said...

@Íllion:

"I've even had (rabid) materialists/atheists "argue" that the axioms of arithmetic (and, of course, higher math) are just conventions that one adopts for the sake of performing arithmetic operations within the formalized system we call 'arithmetic'."

That is a good point, but I was not thinking of the idiot crank likes of im-skeptical, but about serious mathematicians with serious and genuine disagreements, about foundational and axiomatic matters.

Ilíon said...

"but I was not thinking of the idiot crank likes of im-skeptical, but about serious mathematicians with serious and genuine disagreements, about foundational and axiomatic matters."

I picked up on that. That's why I included his claim.

im-skeptical said...

"How about doing your own thinking, Skep? Maybe even show some "skepticism"? Is that too much to ask?"

How about reading the article, Bob. And while you're at it, I gave you some more on my own blog.

im-skeptical said...

"I was not thinking of the idiot crank likes of im-skeptical, but about serious mathematicians with serious and genuine disagreements, about foundational and axiomatic matters."

Of course, it is possible to establish an alternative logical framework, and if you want to work within that framework, you need to accept its axioms. On the other hand, you can just be a pompous jackass and declare that I'm an idiot who doesn't know anything about mathematics as practiced by the vast majority of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"Of course, it is possible to establish an alternative logical framework, and if you want to work within that framework, you need to accept its axioms."

From February 03, 2015 2:25 PM:

"Mathematics is different from philosophy in a very important way: its axioms are universally accepted,"

So which is it?

"On the other hand, you can just be a pompous jackass and declare that I'm an idiot who doesn't know anything about mathematics as practiced by the vast majority of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians."

But you are a clueless idiot who does not know anything about mathematics, quite independently of whether I am a "pompous jackass" as well or not.

im-skeptical said...

"So which is it?"

Universally accepted by anyone who works within that logical framework. OK?

And you still are the biggest, most pompous jackass I know. Why don't you now defend Bob's stance on Rayleigh scattering, since I don't know anything about science, either?

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"Universally accepted by anyone who works within that logical framework. OK?"

Giggle. "Universally" agreed by those and only those that agree.

"And you still are the biggest, most pompous jackass I know."

Well, maybe your characterization is true or it may be the case that you do not know many people, or maybe you are just grabbing the first excuse you can think of so nobody pays attention to your stupidity, ignorance and intellectual dishonesty. Because, let's face it, whatever else one might say, "pompous jackass" it still much better than being an intellectually dishonest, clueless idiot.

im-skeptical said...

"Giggle. "Universally" agreed by those and only those that agree."

Do you agree, or do you reject the standard axioms of mathematics? Perhaps you go by your own rules of logic?

"or it may be the case that you do not know many people"

Believe me, I know lots of PhDs. And a few of them are rather pompous, but none as pompous as you, not to mention intellectually dishonest.

Take, for example, the current issue. You know perfectly well that only idiots reject the axioms om mathematics. Even mathematicians who postulate an alternate set of axioms don't reject the standard ones for standard mathematics. If you had an ounce of intellectual honesty, you might bring yourself to admit that what I said is at least mostly right.

Ilíon said...

"So which is it?"

Whichever he needs it to be, of course. What's the point of choosing to be intellectually dishonest if you don't, at least from time to time, assert both 'A' and 'not-A' simultaneously?

"And you still are the biggest, most pompous jackass I know."

Damn! passed over, again!

Dan Gillson said...

Anyone can see the stinging redness of Skep's butthurt, but I wonder why he keeps lining up for yet another spanking. Is there a psychologist in the house, or someone qualified to psychoanalyze our subject?

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"Do you agree, or do you reject the standard axioms of mathematics? Perhaps you go by your own rules of logic?"

What is the possible relevance of what I agree or disagree with for your claim? Which was, and I quote, "Mathematics is different from philosophy in a very important way: its axioms are universally accepted", which is false because there are clear counter-examples, not "at least mostly right". And responding that "Universally accepted by anyone who works within that logical framework. OK?" is exactly equivalent to what I said it was: ""Universally" agreed by those and only those that agree." which is right-down moronic as a response. But this is typical with Captain Dumbass: when shown that he contradicts himself, he changes the subject and makes the issue *about* his opponent.

"You know perfectly well that only idiots reject the axioms om mathematics."

I do? Well, I am not sure what exactly you mean by "the axioms om [sic.] mathematics" so I do not know exactly how to evaluate your claim. At any rate, and given your original claim, Edward Nelson that believes that first order PA is inconsistent (and inclusively has claimed he had a proof of such, but then retracted when being shown wrong by Terry Tao) must be an idiot. Voevodsky (not exactly a nobody -- won the Fields medal for his work on the homotopy theory of schemes and cracking the Milnor conjecture) aired the same idea and even toyed with it; I do not know how *seriously* he took it though, as he went on in a different direction and is currently working in the program of univalent foundations. A distinct foundational scheme? Yup, more disagreements. Which leads to the the whole school of constructivists, from the intuitionist Brower to a constructivist like Bishop, that deny several distinct things (from the law of excluded middle to choice axioms, to even how we should interpret the basic logical vocabulary) are also idiots. Or extreme ultra-finitists like Esenin-Volpin are idiots. Or what to make of all the extensive work in set theory beyond ZFC (say, large cardinal axioms)? A notoriously vexing matter, not just deciding whether the axioms are true, but how exactly we should go about for deciding such, or even whether such a question is the right question to ask, or even whether any of it really matters. And as it should be no surprise, there are disagreements on all the answers to all these questions.

But maybe you will insist and double down, and say that, well ok, maybe there are *some* disagreements on foundational matters, and mathematicians may disagree on this or that principle, on this or that axiom, and the disagreements may or may not have importance (hint: they do, even considered exclusively from the mathematical PoV), but surely there is a *core* on which everyone agrees, otherwise how could they even communicate with one another? But if that is the claim, then it is vacuous because we can likewise find a pared down core on which all, or virtually all, philosophers agree, as is evidenced by the fact that they strenuously *argue with each other*.

"If you had an ounce of intellectual honesty, you might bring yourself to admit that what I said is at least mostly right."

"at least mostly right"? Giggle. Well, I do know "perfectly well" that *you* are an idiot who does not have a freaking clue of what he is talking about.

im-skeptical said...

"But if that is the claim, then it is vacuous because we can likewise find a pared down core on which all, or virtually all, philosophers agree, as is evidenced by the fact that they strenuously *argue with each other*."

You're talking about things at the edges of the philosophy of mathematics (and I don't pretend to know much about those issues), not the fundamental axioms that ARE universally accepted, you pompous jackass. As for non-mathematical philosophy, please tell me how a Thomist breaks his assumptions down to axioms that are universally accepted. The fact is it can't be done, because Thomists make fundamental assumptions that are not universally (or even widely) accepted.



"Damn! passed over, again!"

Not worthy of mention.



"Anyone can see the stinging redness of Skep's butthurt, but I wonder why he keeps lining up for yet another spanking."

And the peanut gallery comes out of the woodwork again, with nothing to offer, as usual.

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"You're talking about things at the edges of the philosophy of mathematics (and I don't pretend to know much about those issues), not the fundamental axioms that ARE universally accepted, you pompous jackass."

"things at the edges of the philosophy of mathematics"? Giggle. Yeah, whatever.

B. Prokop said...

"Damn! passed over, again!"

We have no idea just how "big" you are, Ilion.