Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hume, cosmological arguments, and the fallacy of composition

Both critics and defenders of arguments for the existence of God as an Uncaused Cause often assume that such arguments are essentially concerned to explain the universe considered as a whole. That is true of some versions, but not all. For instance, it is not true of Aquinas’s arguments, at least as many Thomists understand them. For the Thomist, you don’t need to start with something grand like the universe in order to show that God exists. Any old thing will do – a stone, a jar of peanut butter, your left shoe, whatever. The existence of any one of these things even for an instant involves the actualization of potencies here and now, which in turn presupposes the activity of a purely actual actualizer here and now. It involves the conjoining of an essence to an act of existence here and now, which presupposes a sustaining cause whose essence and existence are identical. It involves a union of parts in something composite, which presupposes that which is absolutely simple or incomposite. And so forth. (As always, for the details see Aquinas, especially chapter 3.)

Criticisms of First Cause arguments that assume that what is in question is how to explain the universe as a whole are therefore irrelevant to Aquinas’s versions. Still, those versions which are concerned with explaining this are also important. One objection often raised against them is that they commit a fallacy of composition. In particular, it is claimed that they fallaciously infer from the premise that the various objects that make up the universe are contingent to the conclusion that the universe as a whole is contingent. What is true of the parts of a whole is not necessarily true of the whole itself: If each brick in a wall of Legos is an inch long, it doesn’t follow that the wall as a whole is an inch long. Similarly, even if each object in the universe is contingent, why suppose that the universe as a whole is?

There are two problems with this objection. First, not every inference from part to whole commits a fallacy of composition; whether an inference does so depends on the subject matter. If each brick in a wall of Legos is red, it does follow that the wall as a whole is red. So, is inferring from the contingency of the parts of the universe to that of the whole universe more like the inference to the weight of the Lego wall, or more like the inference to its color? Surely it is more like the latter. If A and B are of the same length, putting them side by side is going to give us a whole with a length different from those of A and B themselves. That just follows from the nature of length. If A and B are of the same color, putting them side by side is not going to give us a whole with a color different from those of A and B themselves. That just follows from the nature of color. If A and B are both contingent, does putting them together give us something that is necessary? It is hard to see how; indeed, anyone willing to concede that Lego blocks, tables, chairs, rocks, trees, and the like are individually contingent is surely going to concede that any arbitrary group of these things is no less contingent. And why should the inference to the contingency of such collections stop when we get to the universe as a whole? It seems a natural extension of the reasoning, and the burden of proof is surely on the critic of such an argument to show that the universe as a whole is somehow non-contingent, given that the parts, and collections of parts smaller than the universe as a whole, are contingent.

So, that is one problem. Another problem is that it isn’t obvious that the sort of cosmological argument that takes as a premise the contingency of the universe needs to rely on such part-to-whole reasoning in the first place. When we judge that a book, an apple, or a typewriter is contingent, do we do so only after first judging that each page of the book, each seed in the apple, each key of the typewriter, and indeed each particle making up any of these things is contingent? Surely not; we can just consider the book, apple, or typewriter itself, directly and without reference to the contingency of its parts. So why should things be any different for the universe as a whole?

If anything, it is certain critics of the sort of argument in question who seem more plausibly accused of committing a fallacy of composition. Consider this famous passage from Hume’s Dialogues:

Did I show you the particular causes of each individual in a collection of twenty particles of matter, I should think it very unreasonable, should you afterwards ask me, what was the cause of the whole twenty. This is sufficiently explained in explaining the cause of the parts.

(Paul Edwards makes a similar objection – see the “five Eskimos” example in this famous article. We considered some problems with some of Edwards’ other criticisms of the cosmological argument in an earlier post.)

The reasoning couldn’t be more plain: If you explain each part of a collection, you’ve explained the whole. Therefore (so this sort of objection to the kind of cosmological argument in question continues) if we can explain each individual thing or event in the universe as the effect of some previous thing or event in the universe, we’ve explained the whole collection of things or events, and needn’t appeal to anything outside the universe. And yet, as we saw in a previous post, to identify the immediate efficient cause of each thing in a collection simply is not necessarily to explain the collection as a whole. If a certain book exists because it was copied from an earlier book, the earlier book existed because it was copied from a yet earlier book, that book existed because it was copied from a still earlier book, and so on, we will hardly have provided a sufficient explanation of the series of books if we suppose that it either has extended backward into the past to infinity or that via time travel it forms a causal loop. So, hasn’t Hume himself committed a fallacy of composition?

A defender of Hume might reply as follows: It is only when each part of a collection has been sufficiently explained that the Humean claims it follows that the whole collection has been explained; and in the counterexamples in question (the book example and others of the sort explored in the previous post) each part clearly hasn’t been sufficiently explained but only partially explained (because, say, the origin of the information contained in the book still needs to be explained). So (the proposed reply continues) the Humean would not be committed to saying, falsely, that the whole collection has been explained in such cases.

This saves the Humean critique from committing the fallacy of composition, but only at the cost of making it question-begging. For a defender of the sort of cosmological argument we’ve been discussing could happily agree that if each part of a collection has been sufficiently explained, then the whole collection has been explained as well. He just thinks that to identify an immediate contingent cause for each contingent thing or event in the universe is not to give a sufficient explanation of it. If the Humean disagrees, then he needs to give some reason why identifying such a cause would be sufficient (again, especially given what was said in the previous post). Merely to assert that it would be sufficient – which is all Hume does, and which is all that is done by those who quote Hume as if he had made some devastating point – simply assumes what is at issue.

193 comments:

Leo Carton Mollica said...

Thanks for the great post!

I'm curious, however, about the claim that just because every part of the universe is contingent, the universe as a whole need not be. If the universe is composed of parts at all, would it not follow that it depends upon, and subsists through, those parts and is thus itself contingent, even if per impossibile the parts were necessary? Or does such an analysis overlook something?

Mike Almeida said...

So, hasn’t Hume himself committed a fallacy of composition?

He hasn't in any obvious way. Hume has exhausted, I think, what can be said by way of efficient causation. He's given the efficient cause of the whole. Only if you think there must be an answer in terms of final causes would you think his answer is incomplete. I can see why one would find Hume's answer incomplete. The efficent cause explanation for the actual world does not provide the contrastive explanation for the actual world: it does not tell us why this world rather than another. It just tells us why this world is actual. The interesting question here is whether, absent a contrastive explanation for the actual world, we are left with some brutal facts. I don't know. Take any genuinely chancy event that has a .01 chance (objective probability) of occurring. If it does occur, we can give a statistical explanation why it occurred. But we cannot say why it occurred rather than not. We indeed expected it not to occur. But it occurred anyway. Are we left with a brute fact, given that no contrastive explanation is available?

One Brow said...

First, not every inference from part to whole commits a fallacy of composition; whether an inference does so depends on the subject matter.

You can make this claim amount any sort of logical fallacy. All fallicies will have individual cases where the conclusions are still true, some will even have classes of cases.

It is hard to see how; indeed, anyone willing to concede that Lego blocks, tables, chairs, rocks, trees, and the like are individually contingent is surely going to concede that any arbitrary group of these things is no less contingent. And why should the inference to the contingency of such collections stop when we get to the universe as a whole?

The universe is more than just a collection of things, it also includes the behaviors of these things. Is there evidence that electromagnetism is contingent?

I already pointed out the flaw in your book analogy was that the information in the books can be added to over time, from copy to copy.

Anonymous said...

"it also includes the behaviors of these things."

behaviors are things.

One Brow said...

Anonymous said...
"it also includes the behaviors of these things."

behaviors are things.


Then, under that definition, can you say everything, and in particular every behavior, in the universe is contingent to begin with?

Anonymous said...

Then, under that definition, can you say everything, and in particular every behavior, in the universe is contingent to begin with?

Soooooooo behaviors aren't things?

Very interesting discussion Dr. Feser. Nice to have Almeida contributing as well.
But then Mr. Difficult has to enter the fray. Oh UniBrow.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Feser said:

"First, not every inference from part to whole commits a fallacy of composition; whether an inference does so depends on the subject matter."

Brow responded:

"You can make this claim amount any sort of logical fallacy. All fallicies will have individual cases where the conclusions are still true, some will even have classes of cases."

You do just post to be difficult.
Feser can't point out what he's pointing out because "all fallicies will have individual cases where....". What's your point, Brow?

Edward Feser said...

Hello Mike,

He hasn't in any obvious way.

Well, I did (deliberately) put the point in the form of a question, rather than as a flat assertion. Still, re:

Hume has exhausted, I think, what can be said by way of efficient causation. He's given the efficient cause of the whole.

I disagree. Partly, of course, because I regard the Humean conception of efficient causation as a non-starter, but even apart from that. Hume evidently takes identifying the efficient cause of a thing to be a matter of identifying what immediately generated it. (In the immediate context of the passage from Hume I referred to in the main post, he says that in an infinite chain of causes "each part is caused by that which preceded it, and causes that which succeeds it.") But take the "series of books" sort of case. Even if we identify the immediate cause of a particular book's existence -- some person who copies it from a previous book, say -- the complete efficient cause of the book has still not been given, because we still need to know the efficient cause of the information in the book qua information (as opposed to merely qua marks on paper). And that will still not have been given even if the series of copiers of books traces back to infinity.

Hence in this sort of case, Hume has not given even the (complete) efficient cause of the individual book, let alone of the entire collection. He will have given only part of the efficient cause (i.e. the copier of the book, the paper it was copied onto, etc.). And thus he hasn't by any means "exhausted what can be said by way of efficient causation," even on his own thinned out understanding of efficient causation.

Of course, he does not address the book sort of example in the passage in question, but Leibniz did, so Hume should have. Nor is it relevant that there is in fact no series of books that traces back in time infinitely. The point of the book example is to show that that focusing on the immediate generating cause of some object's existence (as Hume seems to do) is just too crude a way to think about the total efficient cause of its existence. Hence Hume's account is inadequate even apart from questions of final causality (though I would say that in spelling out an adequate theory of efficient causality we will inevitably be led to affirm final causality too).

And of course, if materialists who help themselves to the concept of information mean it to be taken seriously, then we do have something like the "chain of books" example in nature -- namely the series of whatever material entities are claimed to carry information (e.g. DNA). (True, I regard the affirmation of information in nature as an implicit recognition of final causality, but materialists would not. So, if they affirm information but reject final causality, then they have a "series of books" sort of case to deal with at least in terms of efficient causation, and my point is that Hume's account fails to deal with it.)

Anyway, as I said, if Hume is innocent of a fallacy of composition, that is only because he is making some other mistake -- begging the question, or perhaps simply being sloppy in his account of efficient causality.

BenYachov said...

You can make this claim amount any sort of logical fallacy. All fallicies will have individual cases where the conclusions are still true, some will even have classes of cases.

I agree with the stalker here. What does this mean?

Just saying.

jt said...

*The point of the book example is to show that that focusing on the immediate generating cause of some object's existence (as Hume seems to do) is just too crude a way to think about the total efficient cause of its existence.*

So, Ed, in matters of science, when seeking a cause, we should stop and say "Wait, of course, it's the big bang."

That sure will cut a lot of research projects short (but then again, look at the research dollars saved).

One Brow said...

Soooooooo behaviors aren't things?

I can work with either definition. Either way, the question is open whether the behaviors of the universe, such as electromagnetism, are truly contingent.

One Brow said...

You do just post to be difficult.
Feser can't point out what he's pointing out because "all fallicies will have individual cases where....". What's your point, Brow?


That, whether the property in question is "weighs 1 gram", "green", or "is contingent", the argument itself is fallacious, and can not be used to given an correct answer based on it's formal structure. So, it will never be useful is saying the universe is contingent, even if every aspect of it is contingent (which is another point that I have questioned in this thread).

jt said...

Aw, c'mon Ed, you know I am making a good point here. What is to be gained in what you're saying of Hume's skepticism of causation - it gave you a keyboard didn't it? (Check out that causal chain.)

Edward Feser said...

JT,

So, Ed, in matters of science, when seeking a cause, we should stop and say "Wait, of course, it's the big bang."

How does that follow from what I said? My point was that identifying a thing's immediate generating cause does not suffice to provide a sufficient explanation of it. I didn't say that it played no part in explaining it, nor that it played an unimportant part. Of course it plays an important part. No one is claiming that "The big bang started it" or "God did it" is all that needs to be said vis-a-vis explanation.

Aw, c'mon Ed, you know I am making a good point here. What is to be gained in what you're saying of Hume's skepticism of causation - it gave you a keyboard didn't it? (Check out that causal chain.)

???

jt said...

My point (agreed it was obscure, sorry) was that the empiricists ushered in a different paradigm that facilitated scientific focusing on the facts of nature as best we could within human limits - the modern era and all that.

Crude said...

If only the ancient greeks had empiricist leanings!

Jinzang said...

"I regard the affirmation of information in nature as an implicit recognition of final causality, but materialists would not."

Well, in Shannon's information theory, the information in a text is a function of the probability that the text would occur at random. (The lower the probability, the greater the information.) So it's a syntactic concept and semantics is left out entirely, thus also any notion of a final cause.

Crude said...

Jinzang,

For what it's worth, Ed has commented some on the relevance of Shannon information in the past. So it seems he'd dispute the claim that Shannon information leaves out final causality, at least if I read him right.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

A small thing… 

My irony alarm went off when I saw this:

in one thread he defends the formally fallacious nature of evolutionary reasoning on the grounds that it is empirical, but then in this thread he rejects an otherwise valid argument of predication by composition on the grounds that it is a formal fallacy. So, the fallacy of affirming the consequent is acceptable because it's empirical but composite contingency is unacceptable because it technically falls under the head of a fallacy? What am I missing?

One Brow said...

Jinzang said...
Well, in Shannon's information theory, the information in a text is a function of the probability that the text would occur at random. (The lower the probability, the greater the information.)

No. Any given string is just as likely/unlikely to occur at random as any other given string. If you flip a coint ten times, 0000000000 is just as likely as 0110011100. You can't judge anything by how likely a sting is, because all are equally likely.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
For what it's worth, Ed has commented some on the relevance of Shannon information in the past.

That post was the inspriation for my 13-part review of TLS.

One Brow said...

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
in one thread he defends the formally fallacious nature of evolutionary reasoning on the grounds that it is empirical, but then in this thread he rejects an otherwise valid argument of predication by composition on the grounds that it is a formal fallacy.

To be specific, in that "defense" I fully acknowledged you could not prove evolution was true in a formal sense.

I no more expect the fallacies of formal resoning to appy empircal science then I expect to see objective experimental evidence for final causes. Each type of gathering knowledge has it's own proper and improper ways. The argument from composition is a formal argument, not an empirical argument, so you judge it against the fallacies that formal arguments must reject, not the errors that empirical postions must reject.

I've been accused of Scientism (which I understand to be the belief that the only truths are scientific). Should I be asking if we have any adherents to Formalism (assuming that's not already used in some other way)?

jt said...

Brow

You are in the 'essentialist' neighborhood here.

One Brow said...

jt,

One more thing to look up. This stuff is endlessly facinating.

jt said...

Yeah, essence + matter = substance with telos probably get Ari and Tom a bit moist in the nether regions, and it does have a certain mystic aesthetic, but it is next to useless for scientific purposes.

BenYachov said...

>That, whether the property in question is "weighs 1 gram", "green", or "is contingent", the argument itself is fallacious, and can not be used to given an correct answer based on it's formal structure.

That is just plain silly. Clearly a wall build solely with green bricks is green. No and's if's or but's. Color is clearly a property who nature is such that if all the units of a set possess it the whole set possesses it. Size and shape OTOH are of such a nature that if individual units have specific thought uniform properties in this regard it would be a fallacy of composition to claim the set as a whole has these properties.

>So, it will never be useful is saying the universe is contingent, even if every aspect of it is contingent (which is another point that I have questioned in this thread).

Well is the property of contingency like color or it it like size and shape. If you can rationally show it is like size and shape than you argument might have validity. You have not done that. It seems to me intuitively contingency is more like color. Thus if every aspect of it is contingent then the universe as a whole is contingent.

Please show us how contingency as a property can or should be like "size or shape"?

james said...

@ One Brow ...

"No. Any given string is just as likely/unlikely to occur at random as any other given string."

Could you clarify? I am no expert, but -- as I understand it -- the information provided by a random variable is a function of its probability distribution, which is not contradicted by anything Jinzang said. (I suppose I'm simply not sure what in his statement you're replying to.)

Additionally, could you clarify your position on the fallaciousness of arguments from composition? Some properties (such as color) sem to be the sort of properties which do compose. Thus it seems odd to argue, e.g., that it's fallacious to infer the greenness of a wall from the greenness of each brick. I'm just not sure it seems right to say that the argument here is wrong, it just happens by chance to be correct -- what would the correct argument that an unseen wall is green when we know each brick is green?

(I hope I'm not misrepresenting you or missing the point, apologies if so.)

One Brow said...

That is just plain silly. Clearly a wall build solely with green bricks is green. No and's if's or but's.

Unless the wall is made out of green glass, and when the bricks are four layers deep, light doesn't get through anymore, rendering the wall black.

The property of you are thinking of is one of using reflective coloration, not one of being a color or being composed of smaller parts. Even then, you can mix reg and green paints, and the result is brown despite the pigments not interacting chemically.

Please show us how contingency as a property can or should be like "size or shape"?

Why don't you start by finding a property that actually fits the proposed compostion argument at all times?

One Brow said...

Could you clarify? I am no expert, but -- as I understand it -- the information provided by a random variable is a function of its probability distribution, which is not contradicted by anything Jinzang said. (I suppose I'm simply not sure what in his statement you're replying to.)

I'm not completely sure what you are trying to say. As I understand it, Shannon theory concerns the information in a string of bits sent through a medium, and information is a property that the string can maintain by virtue of it's being understood after the transmission. Information is lost when the string is subjected to randomness in the form of improper transmission. How much information is lost can depend on many things, including the probability distubution of the random changes to the string. But I can't connect that to what you are saying.

I'm just not sure it seems right to say that the argument here is wrong, it just happens by chance to be correct -- what would the correct argument that an unseen wall is green when we know each brick is green?

I would say it is a property of clay bricks, cement bricks, etc. to maintain their color in aggregates, but that this is a property of the material, and not of color in general. The color of a brick is accidental to its being a brick, as I understand the terminology, even if the property of maintaing an accidental color may be essential.

anon1 said...

One Brow I'm feeling hopelessly confused when I'm reading your replies.
Some had mentioned this and I don't mean it as crassly as they put it but you do seem like you're posting to be difficult.
I read Feser's main thread, I come to the comments, some of the comments are a bit too praisy but whatever they're still on topic, then I read yours and I'm thinking "what just happened?".

BenYachov said...

>Unless the wall is made out of green glass, and when the bricks are four layers deep, light doesn't get through anymore, rendering the wall black.

Your sophistry here is unimpressive. Thought I will grant it is likely not intentional or malicious.

You have not answered me you have merely argued the wall is black not green nothing more.

Just because another property is imposed on the bricks to change their color does not invalidate the fact if all the bricks share the same color the whole wall is that color and the fallacy of composition doesn't apply there.

Merely changing the color of the bricks does not vindicate your claim. It doesn't matter why the bricks are a certain color. If a wall is made of black bricks the wall is black. It doesn't matter why they are black we are talking about a property. Spray paint them with green paint or spray them with yellow & blue point or green glass in low lighting etc.

This type of hair splitting is avoiding the philosophical issue.

BenYachov said...

To put it another way. It's like Feser is arguing 2+2=5 is impossible but you are claiming he is wrong by ad hoc redefining the symbol "5" to mean four objects. Or postulating a hypothetical alternate universe whose physical laws are such that if you take a set of 2 objects & add them to another 2 object set a fifth object threw some macro-quantum process appears in which case it would not be 2+2=5 it would be (2+2)+1=5.

There is confusion here and I fault One Brow for it. Thought in charity I will not accuse him of doing it from malice or on purpose.

One Brow said...

anon1 said...
One Brow I'm feeling hopelessly confused when I'm reading your replies.

I suppose I enjoy engaging in discussion with people whom I diagree with. I think you learn a lot more that way, especially about your own position. So, it may be fair to say I'm antagonistic, although hopefully it's clear only to ideas, not people. Also, because many posts in a long-running blog such as this touch on ideas presented elsewhere, perhaps I do question issues that may have been addressed earlier, but are not addressed in the current post, yet are fundamental to it. Not to mention everyone brings their own agenda, I certainly have mine.

Anytime you think my comment is disconnected or random, feel free to ask me about it. I'll try to explain what I thought the connection was. I certainly will not feel insulted.

BenYachov said...

>Unless the wall is made out of green glass, and when the bricks are four layers deep, light doesn't get through anymore, rendering the wall black.

The wall turns black because there is no light to illuminate the green bricks. Ye still every brick is black and thus so is the whole wall. Now show me a wall under these conditions where every 3rd brick is orange and every 20th brick is mauve?

It seems there is a fallacy of composition here but it's not Feser who is making it.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Your sophistry here is unimpressive.

To me, the sophistry is the claim that when you make something out of parts of a specific color, the whole will have that color, so you can justifiably use a logical fallacy. Fallacies are always untrustworthy arguements. Any time they seem to work is accidental, not due to the fallacy. You don't need to use an "Argument from Composition" to say that red clay bricks form a red wall, but because you want to use that argument to justify another attempted argument, you parade it as validating a fallacy. Fallacies can't be validated, that's why they are fallacies. They can only be accidentally correct.

You have not answered me you have merely argued the wall is black not green nothing more.

Green bricks make a black wall. That's not a counter example to your argument that green bricks always make a green wall?

Just because another property is imposed on the bricks to change their color

You think the individual glass bricks change their color by virtue of being physically placed into a wall? Being green is not a property of the brick? Perhaps I misunderstood here.

Merely changing the color of the bricks does not vindicate your claim.

I never claimed the bricks changed color, just that the color of the wall would not match the color of the bricks.

There is confusion here and I fault One Brow for it.

I accept the fault of not sufficiently explaining my example. Perhaps my lack was in not explaining that, since the bicks are glass, they do not reflect light. Instead, they alther the color of the light that passes through them. However, as the thickness of the glass increases, the wall lets less and less light through, even though every brick allows the same amount through as before. Thus, the bricks stay green, but the wall is black.

One Brow said...

The wall turns black because there is no light to illuminate the green bricks. Ye still every brick is black and thus so is the whole wall.

How does being physically placed into a wall change the color of the brick? Are you confusing the property of the brick with what you see of the brick? I thought I was supposed to be the nominalist (not that I think I am, but people seem to label me as such occasionally).

Frank said...

My point (agreed it was obscure, sorry) was that the empiricists ushered in a different paradigm that facilitated scientific focusing on the facts of nature as best we could within human limits - the modern era and all that.


Yes but a method that works on something (eg physical sciences) does not always work on something else (eg metaphisics... or mathematics).

So, Ed, in matters of science, when seeking a cause, we should stop and say "Wait, of course, it's the big bang."


Perhaps but some scientists (theoretical physicists, cosmologists) still want to know what is beyond 'The Big Bang' (and that's why there are some "wild" theories out there...)

Crude said...

Green bricks make a black wall. That's not a counter example to your argument that green bricks always make a green wall?

You may as well say that green bricks don't make a green wall if you shine a colored light on it. Or a wall made of green bricks is black if you turn the lights out.

But hey, let's play I suppose. If every brick in the wall is made of stone, is the wall made of stone?

BenYachov said...

>Green bricks make a black wall. That's not a counter example to your argument that green bricks always make a green wall?

Rather all the bricks being the same color make a wall that color & it's not green bricks making a black wall. It's light not being able to shine threw green bricks making them black which in turn makes a black wall.

Your sophistry remains unconvincing and your argument is clearly an epic fail.

>To me, the sophistry is the claim that when you make something out of parts of a specific color, the whole will have that color, so you can justifiably use a logical fallacy.

I'm sorry but you have not shown a fallacy of composition. You argument is no better than saying "Green brick make a green wall unless I change the color of the bricks then green bricks don't make a green wall".

I'm sorry but I don't see how you can rationally rescue this sophistry. Like Crude says to you one can't convince someone determined to believe.

>Fallacies can't be validated, that's why they are fallacies.

True & no matter how emotive your posts become in defending the indefensible you can't make an equivalence between "If all the brick are the same color the wall is that color" vs "unless I change the color of said bricks threw some recolorization process (i.e. paint, different lighting etc) then all the wall can be a different color of the bricks that make it up".

Sorry but this is pure nonsense.

As it relates back to contingency your only recourse is showing contingency is analogous to size and shape (or if you prefer recoloring objects) not color. But clearly your sweeping claims of fallacy of composition are just wrong.

More later I'm going to dinner.

jt said...

*Perhaps but some scientists (theoretical physicists, cosmologists) still want to know what is beyond 'The Big Bang' (and that's why there are some "wild" theories out there...)*

I think we all want to know, but scientists must maintain a skeptical agnosticism while speculating, whereas metaphysicians and theologians have no such restraints.

Metaphysics can easily rush to confabulate wild speculations that are free to become so dogmatic that they take on a moral dimension that can become detrimental and authoritative aberrations of reality.

When science does such things, there is a lack of objectivity and methodological error.

I think we see the distinction in Hume v Feser.

Crude said...

I think we all want to know, but scientists must maintain a skeptical agnosticism while speculating, whereas metaphysicians and theologians have no such restraints.

What a complete load. Scientists maintain skeptical agnosticism? In what crazy-ass alternate reality?

Go read up on what went on in the founding of quantum physics. Go read how Einstein reacted to the entire endeavor. And meditate, for a moment, on why Max Planck made this quote:

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

BenYachov said...

@One Brow
>How does being physically placed into a wall change the color of the brick?

It wouldn't but making it four layers deep would block out the light as you said and make them black.

>Are you confusing the property of the brick with what you see of the brick? I thought I was supposed to be the nominalist (not that I think I am, but people seem to label me as such occasionally).

With good reason they label you a nominalist but my realism trumps it here.

If the issue is "what we see" then green glass bricks four layers deep wall still make a green wall even though it appears black. Or stacking green glass bricks on a wall four layers deep turns the bricks black and all the bricks being black make up a black wall.

Either way rationally your sophistical nominalist claim that there is a fallacy of composition in claiming a wall made of bricks that are the same color is that color is still clearly an epic fail.

Sorry One Brow. I could become a Hume/Kant skeptic hyper empiricist nominalist agnostic/atheist tomorrow and I would still believe this. I could only change my mind if I abandon logic and common sense. But that is not going to happen.

jt said...

Well, dear friend Crude, within one or two generations, science has zeroed-in on its comprehension of its novel discoveries.

Six thousand years down the road, you, Ed, and George R are arguing whether Adam had a bellybutton and incorrectly arguing that you have an immaterial soul that no other genetically similar creature does.

%0 V 6000 yrs: Objectivity goes to science.

BenYachov said...

@Crude
>But hey, let's play I suppose. If every brick in the wall is made of stone, is the wall made of stone?

I guess if we pull a One Brow here then no, because if the brick wall is inside a fusion reactor that changes the atomic structure of the stone bricks then the stone would not be stone anymore.

Thus a wall made of stone bricks would not be stone. Since the One Brow dogma seems to decree that all claims that objects in a set that share a property cause the set to have that property are always without exception the fallacy of composition.

That's what I take away from One Brow's "reasoning" here.

One Brow let me help you out. Maybe somehow claiming "all objects in the universe are contingent therefore renders the universe contengent" suffers from the fallacy of composition. But clearly not for the piss poor arguments you have been giving us.

If the bricks in a wall are color A then the wall is color A.

That is as certain as 1+1=2 and is not the fallacy of composition.

Deal with it.

Crude said...

Well, dear friend Crude, within one or two generations, science has zeroed-in on its comprehension of its novel discoveries.

"Science" is not some material thing out in Arizona working for NASA. It's an abstract, a description of a process done by people. Idealize this imaginary 'science' all you want, but 'scientists' are a different thing entirely. They can be and usually are deeply attached to certain beliefs, disregarding evidence to the contrary. Indeed, they are often beholden to metaphysics of their own.

Six thousand years down the road, you, Ed, and George R are arguing whether Adam had a bellybutton and incorrectly arguing that you have an immaterial soul that no other genetically similar creature does.

The fact that you'd even put the A-T position as 'animals don't have souls' just drives home the point you know nothing of it, nor do you care. What's more, again - while I have serious A-T sympathies, I also have lesser sympathies for everything from idealism to panpsychism (and Ed, to his credit, has noted that various other views have merit.)

You, meanwhile, will in 6000 years be asking your dog what he thinks of Edgar Allen Poe, then trying to convince yourself that he meant 'Well, I thought the Raven isn't his finest literary work, despite its popularity in the media' when he wagged his tail and belched into the Kibbles 'n Bits.

Crude said...

Ben,


I guess if we pull a One Brow here then no, because if the brick wall is inside a fusion reactor that changes the atomic structure of the stone bricks then the stone would not be stone anymore.


I admit, I was thinking of asking 'what if the bricks were made out of coal', hoping I'd hear that if the wall was large enough it would force compression and some of those bricks would be diamonds.

BenYachov said...

>the wall lets less and less light through, even though every brick allows the same amount through as before. Thus, the bricks stay green, but the wall is black.

Nominalism at work. He's proverbially defending the 2+2=5 proposition by seriously claiming there is no reason why the symbol "5" couldn't be used to represent four objects.

Either all the glass bricks that are four levels deep are green there by making the wall green even though the lighting makes it appear black or the lighting makes the green bricks appear black thus being made up of black bricks the wall is black.

Thus if a wall is made of bricks that are color A the wall would be the color A.

OTOH if a wall is made of bricks that are the physical dimensions X, Y & Z then it would be a fallacy of composition to claim the wall is the physical dimensions x,y, & z.

Philosophically One Brow's got no game. Sorry buddy.

Feser is vindicated in the short term. But don't get too comfortable Ed. Maybe One Brow will get some Common Sense and at least try to show how claims about the universe being made up of contingent things is the equivalent to the X,Y & Z thingy with is truly a fallacy of composition.

jt said...

“You will be asking your dog what he thinks of Edgar Allen Poe, then trying to convince yourself that he meant 'Well, I thought the Raven isn't his finest literary work, despite its popularity in the media' when he wagged his tail and belched into the Kibbles 'n Bits.”

Kinda’ takes me back to my freshman days when my roomate asked that of me and I responded similarly to the dog. My roomate knew better than to think anything more had occurred to me than a belch, as we both had been talking incoherently for hours after the beer was gone.

You guys likewise been suckin’ down any hooch, per chance!

Jinzang said...

"You can't judge anything by how likely a string is, because all are equally likely."

The length of a string in bits is both a measure of its probability and a measure of the information it contains. Shannon was the first person to use the term bit.

Crude said...

Kinda’ takes me back to my freshman days when my roomate asked that of me and I responded similarly to the dog.

Don't sweat it, jt. You've been responding like that to questions for a long time after too!

(To take that as an insult, you'd have to see my point. To take it as a compliment would be downright funny.)

Mike Almeida said...

But take the "series of books" sort of case. Even if we identify the immediate cause of a particular book's existence -- some person who copies it from a previous book, say -- the complete efficient cause of the book has still not been given, because we still need to know the efficient cause of the information in the book qua information (as opposed to merely qua marks on paper).


What could this mean? You're either assuming that there is infomration in the book (which is not true if each scribbler is just making marks that, by sheer coincidence resemble English sentences), or that the scribblers do know English and their markings do not explain the meaning present. Either way, you're begging the question. In th first case, you're assuming there is unexplained information when there isn't (the marks do not convey information, despite what they look like--a crab dragging a stick on a beach might chance into what looks for all the world like a sonnet--it isn't a sonnet and the scribbling does not mean anything and does not convey meaning) In the latter case you assume that the deliberate copying of knowledgeable English speaker does not explain the presence of information. But that's false, it does.

anon-atheist said...

Mike,
Thank you for calling Feser on his bs.
I've been noticing that the theists around these parts think that they can talk a person into submission with convoluted sentences.
It seems to be quite the neat little trick the god-heads pull out to prove that the Xtian god (or any god(s) for that matter) exist.
I think it's pretty obvious that Hume took care of the whole existence of god issue. Darwin simply provided icing on the proverbial cake.
Feser is attempting to ressurect (pardon the pun) some dark age philosophy to counter Hume. But, that's exactly why Hume came on the scene: the dark age 'philosophy'.

I just wish I could say it as eloquent as you put it to Feser. Bravo, kind sir.

anon-atheist said...

I see that Mike you're quite the accomplished philosopher.
I see a "6-step disprove of Xtianity". Can't wait to read it!!

Crude said...

Mike,

You're either assuming that there is infomration in the book (which is not true if each scribbler is just making marks that, by sheer coincidence resemble English sentences), or that the scribblers do know English and their markings do not explain the meaning present.

I'm not sure this is the case given what Ed is talking about. He had said:

"And of course, if materialists who help themselves to the concept of information mean it to be taken seriously, then we do have something like the "chain of books" example in nature -- namely the series of whatever material entities are claimed to carry information (e.g. DNA). (True, I regard the affirmation of information in nature as an implicit recognition of final causality, but materialists would not. So, if they affirm information but reject final causality, then they have a "series of books" sort of case to deal with at least in terms of efficient causation, and my point is that Hume's account fails to deal with it.)"

So it seems to me - and hey, I could be wrong - Ed is taking aim at supposed materialists who argue that there is, in fact, information present in nature. So once it's admitted that there is information in nature, this invites questions of how to account for it. So at least to me the first possibility (maybe the book has no information in it at all) seems off the mark.

In the latter case you assume that the deliberate copying of knowledgeable English speaker does not explain the presence of information. But that's false, it does.

First, I don't see what you're getting at here. It provides some explanation, but not the full explanation - I think even Ed is saying that.

Second, why are you bringing in the 'knowledgeable english speaker' at all here? If a temporally infinite chain of printers have been printing the same book for eternity, the book has no information (because the printers don't know english) but if the exact same book is eternally copied by an infinite number of humans, the book does have information? If they alternate - human printer human printer - does only every other book contain information? And is the goal here really to explain 'the book' anyway, as opposed to the information that is part of the series?

George R. said...

Mike Almeida,
Excuse my incomprehension, but being one of them there Xtian rubes I ain’t too bright. Are you denying that authors are the cause of information in books? Because that theory seems a little, um, far fetched.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

One Brow: "The argument from composition is a formal argument, not an empirical argument, so you judge it against the fallacies that formal arguments must reject, not the errors that empirical postions must reject."

No, it's a posteriori argument, actually, which rests on empirical facts. What we encounter moment by moment, particle by particle, is contingent. The key premise is that, insofar as the universe is a conglomerate of such contingent objects, the universe as such is a contingent entity. There's nothing a priori about it, just as you say there is nothing a priori about evolutionary reasoning. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate 1) that the particular things we encounter are not in fact contingent and 2) that it's illegitimate to infer that the entire collection of contingent beings is itself contingent. A single instance of contingency (potency) in the cosmos renders it contingent by extension. This is not a fallacy of composition: it is a matter of metaphysical coherence. A necessary being is eternal and an eternal being, not being subject to temporal progression, is not subject to motion (change). Ergo, if the universe is necessary and eternal, it is not subject to time or change. If that were the case, science, by handling spatiotemporal quantities (contingent changes), is either not dealing with "the real universe" or science is in fact dealing in Platonic forms/values. For once science says it has found absolute, unalterable, necessary values, it not only falls victim to Gödel's strictures on such formal hubris, but also becomes a species of the much dreaded Dogma.

Best,

jt said...

*For once science says it has found absolute, unalterable, necessary values, it not only falls victim to Gödel's strictures on such formal hubris, but also becomes a species of the much dreaded Dogma.*

Is this true of the Catholic Church also?

BenYachov said...

@Everyone

Of course everything Feser, Crude, Myself, Codjitator and others have said up to this point is merely convoluted sentences. That should be obvious.

Hume said it we should believe it and that should be good enough for the like us Xians know-nothing's.

To do otherwise is to simply believe mindless dogma.

Whose with me>.....Guys? Hello Guys? (Sound of crickets in the backround).

St Dawkins pray not for us!!!;-)

jt said...

“Kinda’ takes me back to my freshman days when my roomate asked that of me and I responded similarly to the dog.

Don't sweat it, jt. You've been responding like that to questions for a long time “

Well, coming from a fart-smeller like yerself, there, Crude, one can only surmise that familiarity really must breed contempt.

You’d be amazed at how ignorant the majority of your pithy comments sound to anyone outside of your cavernous mind. What’s that stuff those blind little flying mammals leave in them caves…

Crude said...

jt,

Funny. I said you reason like a dog, and your reaction is one of fury and contempt and insult. I take it you took offense.

Is there something about a dog's reasoning you find inferior?

jt said...

I'm pretty sure you haven't the mental wherewithal to know what I just told you.

jt said...

Codge?

Crude said...

I'm pretty sure you haven't the mental wherewithal to know what I just told you.

Preposterous, jt. I'm not a dog. ;)

jt said...

*jt. I'm not a dog.*

Yet another revelation of which dogs are certainly proud and relieved.

The problem remains: we humans are still stuck with you.

Anonymous said...

Almeida is an atheist who authored an argument Six steps to Disprove Christianity? I find this very hard to believe.

Leo Carton Mollica said...

@Codge:

For once science says it has found absolute, unalterable, necessary values, it not only falls victim to Gödel's strictures on such formal hubris, but also becomes a species of the much dreaded Dogma.

I am definitely sympathetic to your position, but I cannot help but wonder what you mean by this reference to Gödel. Gödel demonstrated that any sufficiently non-trivial axiomatic system of arithmetic or number theory must be either inconsistent (self-contradictory) or incomplete (i.e. there must be at least one number theoretical truth not provable from its axioms). How do you derive from this the thesis that science can discover no "absolute, unalterable, necessary values"?

George R. said...

Codgitator:
"A single instance of contingency (potency) in the cosmos renders it contingent by extension. This is not a fallacy of composition: it is a matter of metaphysical coherence. A necessary being is eternal and an eternal being, not being subject to temporal progression, is not subject to motion (change)."

Unfortunately, Codge, the guys you're arguing with don't understand potency and act and, therefore, don't have a clue what you're talking about. I think you have to somehow find a way to illustrate the reality of these principles in such a way that they must be admitted even by those who tend to resist them.

. . . easier said than done, I know.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Leo:

I take it that you get my point about the "risk of dogma" in a "completed science". As for Gödel, the problem for a putative theory of everything––a final theory––is that, once certain physical features are taken to be absolutely necessarry, they thereby become formal axioms in the completed theory (qua formal system). But in that case, either the system is complete but unprovable or proven but incomplete. Even aside from the issue of falsifiability, scientism's attempt to establish a physicalist account of the cosmos that brooks no contingency would make the physical fundamental values axiomatic members of the formal system. If, e.g., Hawking et al. really could derive an equation that explained everything in the cosmos, and did so with complete necessity (i.e. it were an a priori truth of cosmic existence), they would thereby mount a formal system that must face Gödelian incompleteness.

I refer you to Fr Jaki's essay on the topic: http://www.sljaki.com/JakiGodel.pdf

Jaki has been noting the impact of Gödel's proof on physics since the 1960s, though without getting much of a hearing.

Best,

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Leo:

I know what you mean about missing the audience with a metaphysics they don't grasp. Interestingly, though, in the course of a discussion One Brow (and TOF) and I had a few posts back, One Brow admits he accepts "potency" as a natural reality, though he treats it, like everything else, as merely constructivist shorthand.

I'll try a simple analogy:

Posit an "unbreakable window". It is unbreakable iff no part of it can be broken. If, however, you break a single shard or atom in the window, you have thereby broken the window. Its unbreakability is a function of the disposition of its parts. Conversely, the fragility of any of its parts "infects" the entire window with fragility, since any instance of "fragility" (which is a metaphor for contingency) renders the whole window a "fragile object." This is the case with the cosmos: instances of potency within it negate its status as a necessary whole.

Now, if the objector asserts every single piece/part of the window is itself unbreakable, he still grants the point at issue, namely, that in some cases a whole is but a function of the properties of its parts.

If he goes further and says the window has no pieces at all (i.e. is entirely homogenous) and is therefore unbreakable, two replies present themselves. First, what happens if we put two such windows together? Is the union of the two windows breakable? Surely it is, otherwise it could not have been made. Thus the whole joint-window object is a function of the contingency of the contingent act of union. QED.

Second, the homogenous-window retort still grants the point, since it asserts that the window is unbreakable just because everything within the window is of an unbreakable nature. It may be a one-to-one relation between the sheerness of the window and its unbreakability, but it is still an allegedly fallacious case of "composition": all you need to know about the whole window can be known by looking at any of its subsections (not to say 'pieces').

Best,

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

It was asked by him whose name shall not be barked why Gödelian incompleteness does not undermine Catholic dogmatics as much as it undermines scientism.

First, theology is not a formal system and thus has always accepted the tandem incompleteness/unprovability of its various tenets. In other words, it is and always has been trivially true to say that Gödelian incompleteness limits theology. Dogmas of the Church are not presented as formal proofs: they are presented as 'axioms' of the Christian life which are proposed for belief. That is really where Gödel has left mathematics post-Hilbert/-Frege: as a very human endeavor rooted in now intuitionist, now constructivist, nor Platonic faith. If anything, with the work of someone like Chaitin, mathematics is becoming even less bound by "real world" proof and is promoted at the highest levels as a humanistic jeu d'esprit of sheer formal creativity.

Second, in the Beatific Vision the human soul will enjoy a complete and certain (let's say "super-Gödelian") assimilation to the divine nature, but this is not a discursive state of being, and is therefore once more not a formal system.

Third, the Church does not claim to have "discovered" her dogmas, but to have received them by Revelation. Scientism, by contrast, forbids non-empirical tenets. By what experiment could a scientist measure the infinity of the universe? How could that be discovered? Asserted and believed in, yes––but empirically observed?

jt said...

Codge

Your post addressing 'him whose name shall not be barked' about the Church vis a vis science was good, and I agree.

I suppose a non-essentialist like myself could press a bit and say "But what about the systematic medieval natural theology of Tommy and the big P?" Here, we do see something like the stuff Godel addresses, no?

Happy New Year.

Squirrel Boots McKenzie said...

JT,
What gives? Sometimes you're very thoughtful and considerate while other times you can be kind of insultive and sneering?

I like the former JT :)

Squirrel Boots McKenzie said...

Maybe it's Codge who brings out the best or better in you.
I see you're usually pretty considerate with him.

jt said...

PMNS?

I tend to rail against dogmatic certitude. I always start out arguing against concepts leaving out any statements of personality presumption. I often note this in an argument - that the other seems to want to psychoanalyze me instead of focusing on the comments. Mind you, I don't mind answering personal questions if they help us thru.

But sometimes the counter-comments escalate and I just say "what the hell.' This usually creates personal entanglements of a negative sort that seem to lasy forever.

I think this has been avoided with me and Codge and Ed and Ben.

jt said...

Typo...PMS?

Squirrel Boots McKenzie said...

JT,
I'm in school for psychology. I don't know much philosophy. Could you quickly explain the difference between essentialist and non-essentialist?

I'm wishing I would have focused on phil as opposed to psychology now. Not to slam my area of study - but it doesn't seem nearly as rigorous as philosophy does.

thanks JT

jt said...

I'm a structural engineer who has studied a lot of phil for 30 years (since Pirsig's ZMM in college in '76) with more focused study in the last 5 years. Some of the A-T guys here can do better than me. I have to go but will be back in an hour, so if no one else posts by then, I'll try.

Affective neuroscience sure appeals to me, and your psyc fits in there.

Squirrel Boots McKenzie said...

so if no one else posts by then, I'll try.

Thank you greatly!

God bless.

jt said...

“Kinda’ takes me back to my freshman days when my roomate asked that of me and I responded similarly to the dog.

Squirrel boot

If I knew some of what I now know about neuroscience, I would be more interested in psych studies. Spend the time to watch these two gentlemen doing research and analysis in affective-cognitive science – might stir your juices for grad work…

http://fora.tv/2009/10/02/The_Ninth_Annual_Oscar_Sternbach_Award

As for essentialism, it it best exemplified in the thought of Aristotle (and refreshed by Aquinas), and the term hylomorphism is central to it. In hylomorphism, a natural substance (rock, tree, dog, man) is said to exist by way of a two-part epoxy-like combination of matter (hylo) and essence or form (morphism). Here the term matter is more fundamental than atoms and photons (these are substances themselves), it is more like ‘that which potentially can constitute any substance.’ So when a specific form or essence of something - like the essence of a beagle – attaches with (informs) a bit of matter (potential) you get a substantial thing recognized as Beagle (Crude likes his with ketchup.)

So a substance is ‘informed potential’; its essence is like its soul. There are vegetable (nutritive) types of souls, animal (sentient) souls, and rationsl (human immaterial).

There are also the four causes (reasons) that explain substances. The type soul a substance has is said to give it formal cause (special function), and also a final cause (telos, purpose for being here). There is also the efficient cause of a thing (what agent made it), and its material cause (what materials it is made from.

For natural substances, God set up nature in such a way as to generate these things, so He is the efficient cause. For man-made things (artifacts). Consider a chair made from several boards and upholstry. It is a composite substance with different material causes, and its final cause (purpose) is to be sat in.

There is more to it all, and I know Ed could smooth out what I said.

I am not an essentialist (that’s all non-essentialist means), but in an everyday going about the world way, it is a practical way of seeing many things. Essentialism is also called substance metaphysics, with its focus on things existing from hylomorphic dualism (potential and form).

Just to make a contrast, one can alternatively hold to a process metaphysics, in which events rather than substances are the fundamental units of reality. Pirsig is a process thinker (Quality Event), but the most notable process philosopher was Alfred North Whitehead, who held that reality was a vast interconnected procession of self-creating moments of subjective experience (actual occasions). With each split second that we know as the present in time, a ‘droplet of experience’ acts within its own subjective present where it feels what has immediately gone before it but is now a brute physical/objective fact of the past, and it creatively decides how best to advance itself into the future.

Kinda weird, but I didn’t make it up.

Hope I helped you in some way.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
You may as well say that green bricks don't make a green wall if you shine a colored light on it. Or a wall made of green bricks is black if you turn the lights out.

I'm not saying anything remotely like that. Whether you actually shine the light doesn't change the color of a glass brick. I am continually amazed that in the den of supposed moderate realists, every seemsto think whether you shine a light or not changes the color of the brick.

But hey, let's play I suppose. If every brick in the wall is made of stone, is the wall made of stone?

Is there a difference between "made of stone" and "made of stone bricks"?

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Nominalism at work.

No, the exact opposite. The wall doesn't share the colorproperty of the brick. No nominalism at all.

He's proverbially defending the 2+2=5 proposition

The color of a wall is empirical, 2+2=5 is formal. There not even the same type of knowledge.

Either all the glass bricks that are four levels deep are green there by making the wall green even though the lighting makes it appear black or the lighting makes the green bricks appear black thus being made up of black bricks the wall is black.

How can the appearance of the bricks changethe color that the bricks are? How can the wall have the property of being a color that can never be seen as it's color? To support fallacious reasoning, you abandon basic hylemorphism. I'm not surprised, mind you.

Thus if a wall is made of bricks that are color A the wall would be the color A.

Why?

OTOH if a wall is made of bricks that are the physical dimensions X, Y & Z then it would be a fallacy of composition to claim the wall is the physical dimensions x,y, & z.

Explain why the first is not a fallacy and the second is.

Philosophically One Brow's got no game. Sorry buddy.

If "game" means I have to abandon my basic principles in order to prop up an argument I like, I can do without game.

... is truly a fallacy of composition

Any logically invalid argument is always logically invalid, even when it is accidentally true.

One Brow said...

Jinzang said...
The length of a string in bits is both a measure of its probability and a measure of the information it contains. Shannon was the first person to use the term bit.

Correct. And every string of length n contains the same amount of information and has the same probability of occuring.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
I'm not sure this is the case given what Ed is talking about. He had said:

"And of course, if materialists who help themselves to the concept of information mean it to be taken seriously, then we do have something like the "chain of books" example in nature -- namely the series of whatever material entities are claimed to carry information (e.g. DNA).


This is truly not difficult. Information is not conserved, it can be created and destroyed by naturally occuring processes. So, the explanation of the materialist is that information grew over time.

One Brow said...

No, it's a posteriori argument, actually, which rests on empirical facts. What we encounter moment by moment, particle by particle, is contingent.

We can't really know that, though. Maybe my presence at the keyboard tonight is contingent, but perhaps it is the inevitable consequence of the universe, and in all truly possible universes (as opposed to those hypothetically possible) I am typing this post. There is no empircal observation that confirms contingency. It is an assumption you make from which to reason.

There's nothing a priori about it, just as you say there is nothing a priori about evolutionary reasoning.

Evidence for evolution has been presented. Can you present evidence for contingency, where I could make a prediciton on a phenomenon being contingent or necessary and observe a result for that? If not, why should I accept it as empirical?

However, I see we are using different definitions here. I have been interpreting "contingent" modally (that is, in terms of what is possible/impossible), and you are using it as the equivalent of having potential/not having potential. Yes, I acknowledge that if there is a single change in the universe, the universe has changed. This does not mean the universe had a beginning, or isin some way dependent on something else for existing, beyond prior versions of the universe.

One Brow said...

George R. said...
Unfortunately, Codge, the guys you're arguing with don't understand potency and act

Once again, the assumption that understanding implies agreement.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Name/URL said...

Information is not conserved, it can be created and destroyed by naturally occuring processes.

What naturally occuring processes creates information?

If a naturally occuring process can create 'information', which it doesn't know it just created, by which vantage point do we know information is ever destroyed?

The X is a blind/unintended process and X yields Y... from what vantage do we know that Y contains information and then how do we know that X or some other blind/unintended process destroys Y?
X doesn't know that Y contains (or is) new information. X just happens (or is).

I just think of information and information generating (or destroying) processes from your vantage and I start to think "who knows from whence information came and from whence it goes?".


But more to your point. If black holes can't destroy information what do you offer can?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6193-hawking-concedes-black-hole-bet.html

Name/URL said...

We can't really know that, though. Maybe my presence at the keyboard tonight is contingent, but perhaps it is the inevitable consequence of the universe, and in all truly possible universes (as opposed to those hypothetically possible) I am typing this post. There is no empircal observation that confirms contingency. It is an assumption you make from which to reason.

Someone earlier nailed it. You do try to be difficult.
Earlier you were arguing with someone that determinism would defeat morality but not intentionality. I think it's obvious you make that allowance because you want to maintain that your position or view of reality can be obtained by rational means and that your arguments or reasons for it can't be defeated by the simple fact that you appear to hold to a position that disallows you from making true, reason based decisions. That your mind can truly be about other things.


Now you're arguing that it's quite possible that you are necessarily where you are at this moment. Why just your bodily location, One Brow? Why not understand that if that is likely the case from your position that your thoughts are true or correct or close to reality but are simply just there because the universe at some earlier moment determined them.

But no. You play difficult when you allow it to cut down morality and contingency in general but still maintain in the face of all the reason in the world why you shouldn't trust your thoughts that you actually indeed have very good reasons to trust your thoughts.

Someone else said this earlier (I believe) but you do play the role of sophist quite regularly.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
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Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Blogger is driving me batty with these comment glitches!

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Eff it: http://veniaminov.blogspot.com/2011/01/it-aint-necessarily-so.html

My reply to One Brow.

One Brow said...

Name/URL said...
What naturally occuring processes creates information?

Adding a single element to a string of DNA will create information. Deleting a base pairwill remove information. Splitting a rock in two will create information. Melting two glass statues into a singlepubble will remove information.

If a naturally occuring process can create 'information', which it doesn't know it just created, by which vantage point do we know information is ever destroyed?

When there is less information to be derived.

The X is a blind/unintended process and X yields Y... from what vantage do we know that Y contains information and then how do we know that X or some other blind/unintended process destroys Y?

The methods of determining the amount of information are mechanistic in Shannon or Komolgorov theory. However, you may be using adifferent notion of information, which may be why this is confusing.

X doesn't know that Y contains (or is) new information. X just happens (or is).

I agree.

One Brow said...

Name/URL said...
Earlier you were arguing with someone that determinism would defeat morality but not intentionality.

To be specific, I would argue it removes notions of morality that require free will.

I think it's obvious ...

You can think whatever you please is obvious, but I don't see determinismand reason as being incompatible, and acknowledging determinism does not free me from my responsibility to use reason.

Now you're arguing that it's quite possible that you are necessarily where you are at this moment. Why just your bodily location, One Brow? Why not ... your thoughts

If my body position isnecessary, certainly my thoughts could be as well.

... all the reason in the world why you shouldn't trust your thoughts that you actually indeed have very good reasons to trust your thoughts.

Even if my thought are determined, that does not make them random happenings disconnected from reality. They are determined by what I experience as well as my brain contruction and other things. Further, I'm confused on how having non-deteministic thought patterns is suppoed to enhance their relibility (which seems to be an implication of yours). What about non-deterministic thoughts makes them better at determining whether a wall is hard or a color is green?

BenYachov said...

@One Brow
>No, the exact opposite. The wall doesn't share the colorproperty of the brick.

Clearly it does and at this point George R's YEC looks more rationally plausible then your private Fundamentalist Skeptic claims about color property.

You keep moving the goal posts in a sad effort to defend your self-evidently silly nonsense. Are you talking about mere appearance or the actual color of the bricks? Because either way your argument is an epic fail. Ether the whole wall is green (because it is made of green bricks) but merely appears black(because of lighting deficiencies) or the green bricks due to lighting tricks are made to appear black and thus we have a black wall made from black bricks.

There is no rational scenario from which you can "Green bricks make up a black wall".

Deal with it.

BenYachov said...

One Brow said
>How can the appearance of the bricks change the color that the bricks are?

Shoot yourself in the foot much? Asking this very question undermines your argument. Since it implies the bricks don't really change color in which case the wall is still green from being made of green bricks even if it appears black, Epic fail!

>How can the wall have the property of being a color that can never be seen as it's color?

More goal post moving! Awesome! So are you being a realist or a conceptionalist now? If the color green objectively and substantially exists(realism) then the wall is still green regardless of appearance. If conceptualism then your senses merely interpret the color being changed(which does not exist except subjectively) for the bricks because of lighting changes. It doesn't matter if the colors are real or just a matter of perception. Either way green bricks=green wall or black bricks=black wall but there is no logical scenario from which you can have "Green bricks make up a black wall".

>To support fallacious reasoning, you abandon basic hylemorphism?

Project much? Rather you keep moving the goal posts and keep channeling the fallacy of the undistributed middle to fuel your sophistry.


>Why?

Why not? Geez it's a child's question, like asking me why does 1+1=2! It's self evident.

>The color of a wall is empirical, 2+2=5 is formal. There not even the same type of knowledge.

Too bad for you my comparison was analogous and the analogy is valid. As opposed to your argument (bricks that are color X make up a wall that is color Not X) which is not.

>Explain why the first is not a fallacy and the second is.

Now you are shifting the burden of proof and going off on tangents in order to deflect. I'm sorry I refuse to bite.

>Any logically invalid argument is always logically invalid, even when it is accidentally true.

I reply: Well I can be open minded and charitable and say that might be correct but clearly I can't conclude that based on any example you have given so far. So far I see nothing but Epic Fail.

>If "game" means I have to abandon my basic principles in order to prop up an argument I like, I can do without game.

I reply: Rather "game" means constructing a internally logical and consistent argument in this you have failed.

BenYachov said...

One Brow writes:
>I'm not saying anything remotely like that.

I reply: You not saying anything at this point that makes the remotest sense(not even to Jt or George I bet).

>Whether you actually shine the light doesn't change the color of a glass brick.

Then logically the glass wall is still green it just appears black. QED!

>I am continually amazed that in the den of supposed moderate realists, every[body] seems to think whether you shine a light or not changes the color of the brick.

Yet somehow is doesn't change the color of the wall? A mega-bright light-source behind the wall wouldn't show the wall is really green?

The world according to One Brow.

So Green Glass walls made of green glass bricks with poor lighting are not really green they are really black? They are black walls? They don't merely appear black they are really black?

But Green Glass bricks themselves with poor lighting are really green and not black. They merely appear to be black but are really green?

Alrighty then....

One Brow seriously I'm telling you as a friend. Lay off the Sauce! I know it's Christmas and all, it's cold & one wants to tie one one. But really.......you have had enough! Go sleep it off man & don't drive!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
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Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...
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jt said...

Man, what happened to Squirrel Boots McKenzie? The Scotsman Hume wants to hear from you, my man.

Me too.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
One Brow said...
>No, the exact opposite. The wall doesn't share the colorproperty of the brick.

Clearly it does


How does a black wall have the property of being green? "Clearly" is not an explanation.

You keep moving the goal posts in a sad effort to defend your self-evidently silly nonsense.

Finding a counter-example to a specific principle is not moving the goalposts. My original, and current goalpost is "fallacious arguments in a formal system can be true accidentally, but are fundamentally unreliable". The green glass bricks making a black glass wall is merely ilustrative.

Are you talking about mere appearance or the actual color of the bricks?

I am talking about the form of the wall, and contrasting that with the form of the bricks.

Ether the whole wall is green (because it is made of green bricks) but merely appears black(because of lighting deficiencies) or the green bricks due to lighting tricks are made to appear black and thus we have a black wall made from black bricks.

I am talking about the same light being used for both the bricks and the wall. I reject your interpretation. Feel free to demonstrate why this must be so.

There is no rational scenario from which you can "Green bricks make up a black wall".

Except, I have, and I have explained it.

Shoot yourself in the foot much? Asking this very question undermines your argument.

On the contrary, it is essential to my argument. That you do not see this means you have not understood my argument.

If the color green objectively and substantially exists(realism) then the wall is still green regardless of appearance.

What is the property of being green, if not the property of reflecting/passing through green light? What else do you assign to the property?

The glass bricks allow green light to pass through, there are green. The wall absorbs the green light, and therefore is black.

If conceptualism ...

I am arguing from an Aristotlean perspective here.

Why not? Geez it's a child's question, like asking me why does 1+1=2! It's self evident.

I find "self-evident" to be unconvincing in light of a counter-example.

>Explain why the first is not a fallacy and the second is.

Now you are shifting the burden of proof and going off on tangents in order to deflect. I'm sorry I refuse to bite.


Cool. I'll accept this as your willingness not debate the central issue, focusing on a tangent.

A mega-bright light-source behind the wall wouldn't show the wall is really green?

So, the color of the wall changes in response to a mega-light source, now? You could say the same about ordinary plastic Legos, by the way. I am not using that line of thinking.

So Green Glass walls made of green glass bricks with poor lighting are not really green they are really black? They are black walls? They don't merely appear black they are really black?

But Green Glass bricks themselves with poor lighting are really green and not black. They merely appear to be black but are really green?


You keep chaning the amount of lighting around. Why?

BenYachov said...

One question will put an end to this nonsense.

>How does a black wall have the property of being green?

Is the blackness of the wall mere appearance (lack of light) or is it really black?

Your fallacy of the undistributed middle is showing. You keep switching between reality vs appearance.

Going off on tangents, trying to shift the burden of proof and dodging this simple thing invalidates your whole argument.

>So, the color of the wall changes in response to a mega-light source, now?

Your wall is four layers thick which by definition diminishes the light source.

>I am talking about the same light being used for both the bricks and the wall.

Except it is not the same light unless the wall where only one brick layer think. Nice try.

>The glass bricks allow green light to pass through, there are green.

Yes when they stand by themselves outside the wall by the above definition.

>The wall absorbs the green light, and therefore is black.

You mean the four layers of bricks absorb the light turning the bricks black. Thus it's black bricks which make up the black wall.

Now we are back to square one and your argument is still an epic fail.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Your wall is four layers thick which by definition diminishes the light source.

So, to keep the wall the same color as the bricks, a poster says that the existence of the wall changes the light source itself!

Yet, the poster who is maintaining the position that the nature of the bricks and the light source is unchanged by the act of putting the bricks next to each other is the one accused of sophism.

This is a fun place!

One Brow said...

You mean the four layers of bricks absorb the light turning the bricks black.

A qucik addition:
Since none of the indivdidual bricks absorbs all the light on its own, how can any individual brick be black? The first brick to receive the light is the same green it always was, the last brick is not black simply for receivign less light.

BenYachov said...

Now you are not even trying One Brow.

BenYachov said...

Ladies and Gentleman One Brow the master of the Fallacy of the undistributed middle!

jt said...

Shame on you Brow - go back and distribute that damn middle :)

BenYachov said...

>So, to keep the wall the same color as the bricks, a poster says that the existence of the wall changes the light source itself!

Your the one who decreed the wall was four layers thick. Not I my friend.

>Yet, the poster who is maintaining the position that the nature of the bricks and the light source is unchanged by the act of putting the bricks next to each other is the one accused of sophism.

Are we arguing color or nature? Again with the goal post moving.

>Since none of the indivdidual bricks absorbs all the light on its own, how can any individual brick be black?

How can we see the wall without seeing the bricks? How can we empirically tell the color of the bricks in the deeper layers without first removing the top layers of bricks & thus said bricks are no longer part of the wall? But of course the color of the wall is by One Brow's own admission dependent on the light that passes threw it.


>The first brick to receive the light is the same green it always was, the last brick is not black simply for receivign less light.

I think you mean the last brick is black but the only way to empirically know that is to take the bricks out of the wall. Divorcing them of the property of being in a wall. Thus they turn back to green or they where never black in the first place they just appeared to be black.

Either way fail.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Ladies and Gentleman One Brow the master of the Fallacy of the undistributed middle!

The undistributed middle normally refers to a syllogism that improperly formulated, normally by affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent.

What is the syllogism you think I am trying to create, and which term do you think I have wrong?

BenYachov said...

Is the blackness of the wall mere appearance (lack of light) or is it really black?

It is the result of light passing threw the glass(via One Brow's admission). So it is mere appearance. The wall is still green it just appears black.

Fail.

BenYachov said...

Feser said

Not every inference from part to whole commits a fallacy of composition; whether an inference does so depends on the subject matter. If each brick in a wall of Legos is red, it does follow that the wall as a whole is red.

One Brow believes all inferences from part to whole commit the fallacy of composition.

BenYachov said...

>The undistributed middle normally refers to a syllogism that improperly formulated, normally by affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent.

The fallacy of the undistributed middle is a logical fallacy that is committed when the middle term in a categorical syllogism isn't distributed. It is thus a syllogistic fallacy.

The fallacy is similar to affirming the consequent and denying the antecedent.

BenYachov said...

just lifted this from the Wikipedia on the FALLACY OF COMPOSITION.

Some properties are such that, if every part of a whole has the property, then the whole will, too. In such instances, the fallacy of composition does not apply. For example, if all parts of a chair are green, then it is acceptable to infer that the chair is green. Or if all parts of a table are wooden, it is acceptable to infer that the table is wooden. A property of all parts that can be ascribed to the whole is called an "expansive" property, according to Nelson Goodman.[1] For a property to be expansive, it must be absolute (as opposed to relative) and structure-independent (as opposed to structure dependent), according to Frans H. van Eemeren.[5]

The meanings of absolutes do not imply a comparison, whereas the meanings of relatives do. E.g., being green or wooden are absolutes, whereas fast or heavy or cheap are relatives. We know whether something is green or wooden without reference to other things, whereas we do not know whether something is fast or heavy or cheap without implicitly comparing it to other things. Relative properties are never expansive. E.g., it does not follow that if all parts of a chair are cheap, then the chair is cheap.

Absolute properties shared by all constituent parts of a whole are expansive only if they are independent of the nature of the whole's structure or arrangement. That is, if it does not matter whether the whole is a summation or integration, an unordered collection or a cohesive whole, then the property is said to be independent.[5] Consider the example, X is green. It does not matter whether X is a chair (an integration or coherent whole) or just a pile of twigs (a summation or unordered collection). Green is therefore an independent property. Now consider the example, X is rectangular. Rearrange a rectangular object—e.g., tear up the pages of a book—and it might not stay rectangular. Rectangularness is a structure dependent property and is therefore non-expansive.END QUOTE

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Your the one who decreed the wall was four layers thick. Not I my friend.

The thickness of the wall does not change teh light source in any way I can determine.

Are we arguing color or nature?

The color of a green glass block is not a part of its nature? Change the color, change the nature.

How can we see the wall without seeing the bricks? How can we empirically tell the color of the bricks in the deeper layers without first removing the top layers of bricks & thus said bricks are no longer part of the wall?

So, you are claiming the the property of color is not a part of the bricks themselves, but only what we see of the bricks?

You are taking the position of a nominalist, from what I can tell. I suppose if you are color-blind, that means the bricks are gray?

But of course the color of the wall is by One Brow's own admission dependent on the light that passes threw it.

No, I said the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it. If you use a strong enough light source from behind it, just about any wall will appear white. That is not a change to the wall.

I think you mean the last brick is black ...

No, I don't. The last brick has the same color as the first brick. The amount of light received doesn't change the color of the brick.

Is the blackness of the wall mere appearance (lack of light) or is it really black?

As I've already pointed out, the light is the same as for the green brick.

It is the result of light passing threw the glass(via One Brow's admission). So it is mere appearance. The wall is still green it just appears black.

Take a thin enough piece of any glass, and pretty much all the light goes through. By your argument, there is no such thing as green glass, just transparent glass that appears green.

One Brow believes all inferences from part to whole commit the fallacy of composition.

Fallacies can be accidentally true. That does not make them sound logic.

The fallacy of the undistributed middle is a logical fallacy that is committed when the middle term in a categorical syllogism isn't distributed.

You didn't specify what my supposed syllogism with an undistributed middle was.

comant said...

OK, I am gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the thrust of Ed's Hume post was that Hume said we could not really knoe what caused what, as there are complications such as a multitude of possible intervening events that occur between event A (supposed immediate cause)m and B *effect).

Ed said it's all BS, as you really gotta go back to creation times to understand a cause.

You should probably 'Stop with the bricks!'

BenYachov said...

>The thickness of the wall does not change teh light source in any way I can determine.

I reply; More sophistry. I love it. Now you are conflating the unstated source of the light with the light itself that later does change as it passes threw layers of green glass bricks.

The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it.

Your words in bold not mine.

>The color of a green glass block is not a part of its nature? Change the color, change the nature.

I reply: Whatever.

>So, you are claiming the the property of color is not a part of the bricks themselves, but only what we see of the bricks?

I reply: Rather you are claiming "The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it.".

So do you believe light can pass threw a green glass wall made of green glass bricks but not threw the bricks?

>You are taking the position of a nominalist, from what I can tell. I suppose if you are color-blind, that means the bricks are gray?

I reply: I thought the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it?

So that is not true anymore?

But notice you said "the color we see" thus you are clearly talking about the mere appearance of color thus you are the nominalist. Not I. What are you ashamed of it or something?

My realism tells me the wall is substantially green from being made of green glass bricks and only accidentally black in poor lighting.


>>But of course the color of the wall is by One Brow's own admission dependent on the light that passes threw it.

>No, I said the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it.

You keep switching gears and contradicting yourself. So you admit the color is mere appearance not it's substance?

BenYachov said...

> If you use a strong enough light source from behind it, just about any wall will appear white. That is not a change to the wall.

.....and with the above statement One Brow concedes the argument.

Do you mean change the wall's color?

Because if the light source does not change the wall's color then a light source that can't shine through four layers of green glass bricks (& thus makes it appear to be black) doesn't change the wall either. The wall is still green like the bricks that make it up.

>>I think you mean the last brick is black ...

>No, I don't. The last brick has the same color as the first brick. The amount of light received doesn't change the color of the brick.

Good to know. BTW I thought the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it?

>>Is the blackness of the wall mere appearance (lack of light) or is it really black?

>As I've already pointed out, the light is the same as for the green brick.

Can't make up your mind eh?

>Take a thin enough piece of any glass, and pretty much all the light goes through. By your argument, there is no such thing as green glass, just transparent glass that appears green.

Your the one who said The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it. Not Moi!

Besides we haven't defined why the glass is green(chemicals? digital? liquid crystal display?).

>>One Brow believes all inferences from part to whole commit the fallacy of composition.

>Fallacies can be accidentally true. That does not make them sound logic.

Maybe maybe not. But I can't conclude that based on this lousy contradictory example of yours.

>You didn't specify what my supposed syllogism with an undistributed middle was.

You can't seem to make up your mind wither you believe The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it. or not.


Clearly you live in some weird alternate universe where that applies only to walls and not to bricks.

Plus you haven't given me anything to work with.

BenYachov said...

The color we see from the[green glass] wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it.

Then the color is not really a substantive property of the wall but of the light that goes through it. Thus the wall is still green.

Really One Brow, you can't save this turkey. But you are welcome to keep trying.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said (January 3, 2011 12:59 PM) ...
Your wall is four layers thick which by definition diminishes the light source.

BenYachov said (January 3, 2011 6:49 PM)...
I reply; More sophistry. I love it. Now you are conflating the unstated source of the light with the light itself that later does change as it passes threw layers of green glass bricks.

The conflation was yours, I was trying to clarify the difference. Of course the light changes as it passes through each brick, that is part of the property of being green.

Your words in bold not mine.

Yup. Still acurate.

I reply: Whatever.

How nice of you to acknowledge that the color is part of the nature.

I reply: Rather you are claiming "The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it.".

Making it a property of the wall.

So do you believe light can pass threw a green glass wall made of green glass bricks but not threw the bricks?

I am not aware of any configuration of bricks, or other circumstances, that would make this possible.

I reply: I thought the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it?

That's still a real property, not simply something we simply based upon what we see.

But notice you said "the color we see" thus you are clearly talking about the mere appearance of color thus you are the nominalist. Not I. What are you ashamed of it or something?

Now you are using partial quotes? I said, "the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it", something I would think any realist would agree with.

My realism tells me the wall is substantially green from being made of green glass bricks and only accidentally black in poor lighting.

While also telling you that the lighting is good lighting for the bricks and bad lighting for the wall. Because there is not light source behind the wall where the colors of the bricks and the wall have the same color.

One Brow said...

You keep switching gears and contradicting yourself. So you admit the color is mere appearance not it's substance?

I have never said any such thing. The wall has a color, which is different from the bricks.

BenYachov said...
One Brow said...
> If you use a strong enough light source from behind it, just about any wall will appear white. That is not a change to the wall.

.....and with the above statement One Brow concedes the argument.


My argument is not that the color of the wall is based on how it might appear in different conditions, but how it appears in the exact same conitions that we use to identify the glass brick as green.

One Brow said...

Do you mean change the wall's color?

No.

Because if the light source does not change the wall's color then a light source that can't shine through four layers of green glass bricks (& thus makes it appear to be black) doesn't change the wall either.

I agree. The wall is not black because of the light source nor the strength of the light.

The wall is still green like the bricks that make it up.

No, the wall is black because it absorbs the all the light.

Good to know. BTW I thought the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it?

That's doesn't mean the color of wall itself is so dependent. I am using a realist mode of thought here.

Can't make up your mind eh?

I'm not sure whether you are playing the sophist or are genuinely confused. My postion has been consistent throughout.

Your the one who said The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it. Not Moi!

I did not say the color of the wall is defined by the color we see at any given moment.

Besides we haven't defined why the glass is green(chemicals? digital? liquid crystal display?).

For my example, it is sufficient that the glass colors light shining from behind it (from the viewpoint of the observer), rather than reflecting light. For example, my local church had stained glass that exhibited such a property.

You can't seem to make up your mind wither you believe The color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it. or not.

YOu seem to be conflating "the color we see from the wall", which is dependent on various conditions, with "the color of the wall", which is not.

Clearly you live in some weird alternate universe where that applies only to walls and not to bricks.

It applies equally to bricks (at least glass bricks).

One Brow said...

Some properties are such that, if every part of a whole has the property, then the whole will, too. In such instances, the fallacy of composition does not apply. For example, if all parts of a chair are green, then it is acceptable to infer that the chair is green. Or if all parts of a table are wooden, it is acceptable to infer that the table is wooden. A property of all parts that can be ascribed to the whole is called an "expansive" property, according to Nelson Goodman.[1] For a property to be expansive, it must be absolute (as opposed to relative) and structure-independent (as opposed to structure dependent), according to Frans H. van Eemeren.[5]

"Wooden" is a much better choice for an expansive property than "color".

I find the description of expansive as incomplete, at best. For example, mass would be absolute and structure-independent, but not expansive. This could possibly be fixed by the addition of something like "binary" (either it has the property or it does not). "Mass" and "color" are not binary properties, but wooden would be.

One Brow said...

comant said...
You should probably 'Stop with the bricks!'

Spoilsport!

jt said...

Sorry, Brow, throw away!

Be sure to distribute your middle, though.

I don't know how comant showed up as me.

BenYachov said...

>The conflation was yours,

Point taken. I did say that.

>I was trying to clarify the difference. Of course the light changes as it passes through each brick, that is part of the property of being green.

Progress!

>How nice of you to acknowledge that the color is part of the nature.

I have never denied it but you keep propping up your bad arguments with irrelevant tangents.

>Making it a property of the wall.

The property here is the ability of the wall to absorb light. But that doesn’t make the wall Not Green. Also it seems you would get the same results from Blue Glass Bricks or some other darker color or a lighter color stacked deeper. So there is clearly no causal relationship between the bricks being green and the wall being black. The cause of the property of a black wall is not the property of green in the bricks but in the property of cumulative layers of translucent glass to absorb light. Thus the green is not involved in the making of the black. (More could also be said about the fact black isn’t strictly a color but an absence of color).

You see it is logically self-evident a wall made of green glass bricks is caused to be green and made of glass or green glass. Your argument is as we said in the beginning is no better than saying a Red plastic lego is black in a dark room. By your own admission you are arguing appearance not substance. Thus your whole argument is a fail.

>Now you are using partial quotes? I said, "the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it", something I would think any realist would agree with.


But what really is the color of the wall? That is the question. I don’t think any rational person can realistically claim a wall made of green glass bricks is really black. The blackness is a relative property that only exists if you shine a light behind it threw several layers & the light is it’s sole source of illumination.

No different than a red opaque lego in an opaque sealed container being "black".

BenYachov said...

>While also telling you that the lighting is good lighting for the bricks and bad lighting for the wall.

If the lighting is bad than it clearly is insufficient to discern the real color of the bricks.

>Because there is not light source behind the wall where the colors of the bricks and the wall have the same color.

?????????????

>The wall has a color, which is different from the bricks.

Rather the wall is made to appear darker because of by your own admission bad lighting and the property of thick layers of translucent glass to absorb light. The wall is still really green. The color green in the bricks has no causal relation to the blackness. The bricks could be any color but the cause is clearly a property of translucent glass not color.

>My argument is not that the color of the wall is based on how it might appear in different conditions, but how it appears in the exact same conitions that we use to identify the glass brick as green.

Accept the flaw in this bait and switch is that while the brick is in the wall it appears black with the rest of the wall(we are back to square one black bricks make a black wall etc). If it is taken out of the wall it no longer part of the wall and has no causal relationship in making a wall. When it is in the wall it has a causal relationship in harmony with the other bricks in making a wall.

>I have never said any such thing. The wall has a color, which is different from the bricks.

Not while the bricks are in the wall then they are the same color as the wall. They share with the wall the property of being green glass. They appear black in the bad lighting together because that is a property of translucent glass. If they are taken out of the wall they no longer take part in causing “wallness” thus they have no causal relation to the wall. If you go up close to the wall & examine it closely and see faint green light you can only conclude it is really a green wall that appears black. It is no different than being in a dark room with a match and illuminating part of a Red Opaque wall with a match. Just because you cannot under those conditions illuminate the whole wall doesn't make the wall part red part black in the same sense it is either or in the same relation.

Thus I still must reject your nominalist argument masquerading as realism.

>My argument is not that the color of the wall is based on how it might appear in different conditions, but how it appears in the exact same conitions that we use to identify the glass brick as green.

But you are still arguing mere appearance thus your example is in fact no better that calling a red wall made of opaque material, black in a dark room. The conditions that make the wall black have nothing causal to do with the green color of the glass brick. It is merely the nature of translucent glass bricks. When I say green bricks make a green wall I am talking about a clear causal relationship. All the parts are green thus the whole is green since color is an expansive property. Of course black is only nominally a color since it is by nature a lack of color. As the philosopher I quoted said when it comes to expansive properties the fallacy of composition does not apply. He did not say it was still a fallacy as you have tried to claim.

>You seem to be conflating "the color we see from the wall", which is dependent on various conditions, with "the color of the wall", which is not.

Seriously? I thought I was making a separation.

>My postion has been consistent throughout.

Not to me & I see no way it ever will.

BenYachov said...

>The conflation was yours,

Point taken. I did say that.

>I was trying to clarify the difference. Of course the light changes as it passes through each brick, that is part of the property of being green.

Progress!

>How nice of you to acknowledge that the color is part of the nature.

I have never denied it but you keep propping up your bad arguments with irrelevant tangents.

>Making it a property of the wall.

The property here is the ability of the wall to absorb light. But that doesn’t make the wall Not Green. Also it seems you would get the same results from Blue Glass Bricks or some other darker color or a lighter color stacked deeper. So there is clearly no causal relationship between the bricks being green and the wall being black. The cause of the property of a black wall is not the property of green in the bricks but in the property of cumulative layers of translucent glass to absorb light. Thus the green is not involved in the making of the black. (More could also be said about the fact black isn’t strictly a color but an absence of color).

You see it is logically self-evident a wall made of green glass bricks is caused to be green and made of glass or green glass. Your argument is as we said in the beginning is no better than saying a Red plastic lego is black in a dark room. By your own admission you are arguing appearance not substance. Thus your whole argument is a fail.

>Now you are using partial quotes? I said, "the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it", something I would think any realist would agree with.


But what really is the color of the wall? That is the question. I don’t think any rational person can realistically claim a wall made of green glass bricks is really black. The blackness is a relative property that only exists if you shine a light behind it threw several layers & the light is it’s sole source of illumination.

No different than a red opaque lego in an opaque sealed container being "black".

BenYachov said...

>Because there is not light source behind the wall where the colors of the bricks and the wall have the same color.

??????????????

>The wall has a color, which is different from the bricks.

Rather the wall is made to appear darker because of by your own admission bad lighting and a property of thick layers of translucent glass to absorb light. The wall is still really green. The color green in the bricks has no causal relation to the blackness. The bricks could be any color but the cause is clearly a property of translucent glass.

>My argument is not that the color of the wall is based on how it might appear in different conditions, but how it appears in the exact same conitions that we use to identify the glass brick as green.

Accept the flaw in this bait and switch is that while the brick is in the wall it appears black with the rest of the wall(we are back to square one black bricks make a black wall). If it is taken out of the wall it no longer part of the wall and has no causal relationship in making a wall. When it is in the wall it has a causal relationship in harmony with the other bricks in making a wall.

>I have never said any such thing. The wall has a color, which is different from the bricks.

Not while the bricks are in the wall then they are the same color as the wall. They share with the wall the property of being green glass. They appear black in the bad lighting together because that is a property of translucent glass. If they are taken out of the wall they no longer take part in causing “wallness” thus they have no causal relation to the wall. Of you go up close to the wall & examine it closely and see faint green light you can only conclude it is really a green wall that appears black. It is no different than being in a dark room with a match.

Thus I still must reject your nominalist argument masquerading as realism.

BenYachov said...

Sorry but my posts are out of order the blog monster is eating posts again.

BenYachov said...

>The conflation was yours,

Point taken.

>I was trying to clarify the difference. Of course the light changes as it passes through each brick, that is part of the property of being green.

Progress!

>How nice of you to acknowledge that the color is part of the nature.

I have never denied it but you keep propping up your bad arguments with irrelevant tangents.

>Making it a property of the wall.

The property here is the ability of the wall to absorb light. But that doesn’t make the wall Not Green. Also it seems you would get the same results from Blue Glass Bricks or some other darker color or a lighter color stacked deeper. So there is clearly no causal relationship between the bricks being green and the wall being black. The cause of the black wall is not the green in the bricks but in the tendency of cumulative layers of translucent glass to absorb light. Thus the green is not involved in the making of the black. (More could also be said about the fact black isn’t strictly a color but an absence of color).

You see it is logically self-evident a wall made of green glass bricks is caused to be green and made of glass. Your argument is as we said in the beginning is no better than saying a Red plastic lego is black in a dark room. By your own admission you are arguing appearance not substance. Thus you whole argument is a fail.

>Now you are using partial quotes? I said, "the color we see from the wall is dependent on the amount of light that goes through it", something I would think any realist would agree with.


But what really is the color of the wall? That is the question. I don’t think any rational person can realistically claim a wall made of green glass bricks is really black. The blackness is a relative property that only exists if you shine a light behind it threw several layers & that is it’s sole source of illumination.

No different than a red opaque lego in an opaque sealed container.

>While also telling you that the lighting is good lighting for the bricks and bad lighting for the wall.

If the lighting is bad than it clearly is insufficient to discern the real color of the bricks.

BenYachov said...

>My argument is not that the color of the wall is based on how it might appear in different conditions, but how it appears in the exact same conitions that we use to identify the glass brick as green.

But you are still arguing mere appearance thus your example is in fact no better that calling a red wall made of opaque material, black in a dark room. The conditions that make the wall black have nothing causal to do with the green color of the glass brick. It is merely the nature of translucent glass bricks. When I say green bricks make a green wall I am talking about a clear causal relationship. All the parts are really green thus the whole is really green since color is an expansive property. Of course black is only nominally a color since it is by nature a lack of color. As the philosopher I quoted said when it comes to expansive properties the fallacy of composition does not apply. He did not say it was still a fallacy as you have tried to claim.

>You seem to be conflating "the color we see from the wall", which is dependent on various conditions, with "the color of the wall", which is not.

Seriously? I thought I was making a separation.

>My postion has been consistent throughout.

Not to me & I see no way it ever will.

One Brow said...

I think we have begun to narrow this a bit.

BenYachov said...
The property here is the ability of the wall to absorb light.

More specifically, a contrast of the abilities of the bricks and walls to absorb light, and what colors they are because of these properties.

Also it seems you would get the same results from Blue Glass Bricks ...

Yes, but green is my favorite color, so I used green.

So there is clearly no causal relationship between the bricks being green and the wall being black.

The causal relationship would be at a deeper level, of course. The same properties that make the bricks green makes the wall black. But, I hve not been arguing that greeness makes blackness. Rather, just that you can assemble green things into something not green.

(More could also be said about the fact black isn’t strictly a color but an absence of color).

Either way, the wall would not share the color property of the bricks.

You see it is logically self-evident a wall made of green glass bricks is caused to be green and made of glass.

Logical self-evidence does not trump a counter-example.

By your own admission you are arguing appearance not substance.

Incorrect. I am arguing about the substantive property of allowing light to pass through (that is, not be absorbed), which for translucent glass is what creates the color. Color is not a free property, it depends upon other properties. The wall absorbs more light, and thus has a different color than any of the individual bricks.

But what really is the color of the wall? That is the question.

Agreed.

The blackness is a relative property that only exists if you shine a light behind it threw several layers & that is it’s sole source of illumination.

If you want to make the case that the strength of a light is the cause for a wall having a specific color, you can say the same thing about the greenness of the original brick.

No different than a red opaque lego in an opaque sealed container.

How does that change which light frequencies, and in what amount, the lego will or will not absorb?

One Brow said...

If the lighting is bad than it clearly is insufficient to discern the real color of the bricks.

Can we agree that the same light source should be sufficient for both identifying the color of the bricks and that of the wall?

But you are still arguing mere appearance ...

No, I am trying to combat an argument accusing me of depending upon from mere appearance.

All the parts are really green thus the whole is really green since color is an expansive property.

I disagree, color is not an expansive property, as my counterexample shows.

As the philosopher I quoted said when it comes to expansive properties the fallacy of composition does not apply. He did not say it was still a fallacy as you have tried to claim.

I've already gone over why the definition of "expansive" offered was inadequate even at first glance.

>Because there is not light source behind the wall where the colors of the bricks and the wall have the same color.

??????????????


For any specific light source, the color of the wall and the bricks will be different.

... your own admission bad lighting ...

Why is the same amount of lighting "good lighting" for a single brick and "bad lighting" for a wall? If we are really going to compare what colors they are, we should be using the same amount of lighting for both.

The color green in the bricks has no causal relation to the blackness.

I don't see the relevance. The properties of the brick that cause it to be green are the same properties that cause the wall to be black.

The bricks could be any color but the cause is clearly a property of translucent glass.

Agreed.

If it is taken out of the wall it no longer part of the wall and has no causal relationship in making a wall. When it is in the wall it has a causal relationship in harmony with the other bricks in making a wall.

Agreed.

Not while the bricks are in the wall then they are the same color as the wall.

How does physical placement within a wall change the properties of a brick that make it a specific color?

Of you go up close to the wall & examine it closely and see faint green light you can only conclude it is really a green wall that appears black.

How do you know such light is there? If every brick absorbs x amount of light, plus an additional y% of whatever is above x, there could eaily be no light at all coming out of the wall.

Thus I still must reject your nominalist argument masquerading as realism.

Show the nominalist part, then.

BenYachov said...

>But, I hve not been arguing that greeness makes blackness.

Is that your story now?

Then why have you been wasting my time? Since I have been arguing Green parts make a Green whole.

I guess this is your way of conceding the argument while pretending you where talking about something else.

I accept your surrender.

BenYachov said...

>greeness does not cause blackness.

Blackness causes blackness.

Greeness causes Greeness.

One Brow said...

I guess this is your way of conceding the argument while pretending you where talking about something else.

I guess you attention span was exceeded. I'll cut out a relebvant part for you.

Color is not a free property, it depends upon other properties. The wall absorbs more light, and thus has a different color than any of the individual bricks.

Please lay out your disagreement with this statement.

BenYachov said...

>Can we agree that the same light source should be sufficient for both identifying the color of the bricks and that of the wall?

Never. To correctly identify the color of the wall a brighter light would be needed.

No rational scientist or philosopher would accept this self-serving ad hoc artificial limitation.

>The same properties that make the bricks green makes the wall black.

You are conflating having property of color with the property of having a specific color. You are also conflating the lack of color(black) with actual color.

Fail!

>Rather, just that you can assemble green things into something not green.

But they are still green they just appear black. It applies to both the wall & the bricks.

>I've already gone over why the definition of "expansive" offered was inadequate even at first glance.

You are not a philosopher how is this superficial dismissal a meaningful argument? It isn't. It's smoke and mirrors.

>Rather, just that you can assemble green things into something not green.

But they can't be green or black in the same relation(being in the wall vs not being in the wall).

They are either green making a green wall or they appear black making a wall that appears black.

>Either way, the wall would not share the color property of the bricks.

So while looking at the black wall I would not see the bricks inside the wall as black? In what universe? You contradict yourself in the next post.

>How do you know such light is there? If every brick absorbs x amount of light, plus an additional y% of whatever is above x, there could eaily be no light at all coming out of the wall.

In which case how do I know the wall is made of green glass bricks? I must conclude a black wall with black bricks. Since I can't see green bricks in a black wall.

>How does physical placement within a wall change the properties of a brick that make it a specific color?

Doesn't the cumulative layers of translucent glass bricks cause the bricks visible to us appear black like the wall?

What that is not true anymore?

>Why is the same amount of lighting "good lighting" for a single brick and "bad lighting" for a wall? If we are really going to compare what colors they are, we should be using the same amount of lighting for both.

Is that how you do science? You assume you can learn the color of wall (which is larger than a brick) using the same level of light? Would not a bigger object require more light?

>I disagree, color is not an expansive property, as my counterexample shows.

None of your examples show that.
Not one. But if this is how you really think it is little wonder Agnosticism, Hume and Skepticism make sense to you.

What a confused mind.

BenYachov said...

>The wall absorbs more light, and thus has a different color than any of the individual bricks.

But while the bricks are in the wall they have the same color as the wall as you have conceded.

here
>How do you know such light is there? If every brick absorbs x amount of light, plus an additional y% of whatever is above x, there could eaily be no light at all coming out of the wall.

Fail.

BenYachov said...

>Either way, the wall would not share the color property of the bricks.

So how looking at the black wall and seeing the black bricks within do said brick retain the property of being green?

BenYachov said...

>Color is not a free property,it depends upon other properties.

If you say so but it is clearly an expansive property and that is what matters.

>The wall absorbs more light, and thus has a different color than any of the individual bricks.

But while the bricks are in the wall they partake of the color of the wall. They are black bricks that make a black wall.

If sufficient light is generated (more than the wall can absorb) the wall is seen to be green.

At no time while looking at the wall do I see each individual bricks as green while at the same time being black. I see a black wall with black bricks.

Why is this hard for you?

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Why is this hard for you?

There are a couple of points you are making that I can't resolve.

But while the bricks are in the wall they partake of the color of the wall.

Earlier you agreed the color of the brick was part of the nature of the brick. Is the nature of the brick changed by being put into a wall?

So while looking at the black wall I would not see the bricks inside the wall as black?

You have derided what you thought was an attempt by me to use the appearance of the bricks as determinative of their color.

If you say so but it is clearly an expansive property and that is what matters.

By the definition you provided, mass is an expansive property.

For a property to be expansive, it must be absolute (as opposed to relative) and structure-independent (as opposed to structure dependent), according to Frans H. van Eemeren.

Mass is absolute and structure-independent.

BenYachov said...

>There are a couple of points you are making that I can't resolve.

Then there is no hope for you. You clearly lack the basic intelligence required to tie your shoe.

>Earlier you agreed the color of the brick was part of the nature of the brick.

Well you are the one who said they where made of green glass.

>Is the nature of the brick changed by being put into a wall?

No it's appearance is changed when it becomes part of a wall that absorbs light from an
obvious inferior light source and makes it appear black. Why is this hard?

>You have derided what you thought was an attempt by me to use the appearance of the bricks as determinative of their color.

Rather you have claimed the color was not mere appearance in regards to the wall or that the appearance only applies to the wall & not the bricks while they are in the wall & that is incoherent.

I have said the wall appears to be black and it is made of bricks that appear to be black. I have also said the wall is really green glass that is made of green glass bricks. You have artificially set up this ad hoc contrived convention that the bricks can somehow be green isolated from being black in any fashion while the wall is black and simultaneously isolated from being green in any fashion. Yet the bricks are somehow green and the wall is black in the same relation which of course is logically absurd.

That is what I believe you have been saying all along or seem to have been saying.

Got that?

>By the definition you provided, mass is an expansive property.

You are conflating a philosophical term as it's applied in philosophical and dialectical argument to a scientific phenomena? Category mistake much? Next you will be telling me how Aristotle's term "motion" in his metaphysics exclusively refers to physical spacial movement instead of a potency being actualized. You are unreal.

OTOH I don't care if mass is or is not an expansive property. Color clearly is an expansive property. You have failed to show otherwise.

>Mass is absolute and structure-independent.

Why don't get off your butt and read Frans H. van Eemeren, The fallacies of composition and division?

Google it and click the HTML version.
It's not as hard as you have been trying to make it.

BenYachov said...

BTW you didn't answer my question.

So how looking at the black wall and seeing the black bricks within do said brick retain the property of being green?

Well?

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Then there is no hope for you. You clearly lack the basic intelligence required to tie your shoe.

How nice of you to offer your interpretation of that.

No it's appearance is changed when it becomes part of a wall that absorbs light from an
obvious inferior light source and makes it appear black.


So, we agree the brick remains green. We agree the appearance of the brick doesn't change the nature of the brick. Very good.

Why is this hard?

As long as we keep to consistent stqandards, I don't think it should be.

Rather you have claimed the color was not mere appearance in regards to the wall or that the appearance only applies to the wall & not the bricks while they are in the wall & that is incoherent.

I think that, in the very same comment where you claim I lack intelligence, it is quite ironic that you have misstated my argument so thoroughly.

The wall is not black because it appears black. The wall is black because, like any other black object, it absorbs a sufficient amount of light to be black.

Yet the bricks are somehow green and the wall is black in the same relation which of course is logically absurd.

You think it is logically absurb that the wall absorbs more light than an individual brick does? If so, I suggest you refine your logic.

You are conflating a philosophical term as it's applied in philosophical and dialectical argument to a scientific phenomena?

"Color" and "wooden", are also "scientific phenomena". The mass of an object is as much a property of the as its color or composition.

Next you will be telling me how Aristotle's term "motion" in his metaphysics exclusively refers to physical spacial movement instead of a potency being actualized.

Why would I say that?

You are unreal.

I'm real enough that I don't deny mass is a property an object has, just for the sake of propping up an argument.

OTOH I don't care if mass is or is not an expansive property. Color clearly is an expansive property. You have failed to show otherwise.

However, if mass is an expansive property, than being an expansive property does not allow you to use an arguement from composition, which was the original intent of your bring up the property to begin with, from what I can tell.

Why don't get off your butt and read Frans H. van Eemeren, The fallacies of composition and division?

He provides a better explanation than you have, or will?

It's not as hard as you have been trying to make it.

It's not hard, I agree. What you presented was just wrong. Nothing hard about it at all.

So how looking at the black wall and seeing the black bricks within do said brick retain the property of being green?

Well?


By the amount and type of light the brick absorbs, which is source of the greenness.

January 5, 2011 6:03 PM

BenYachov said...

>So, we agree the brick remains green. We agree the appearance of the brick doesn't change the nature of the brick. Very good.

But to be consistent you must agree it doesn't change the nature of the wall either which is also made of green glass which is in the sense of composition also green. Light absorption does not transubstanciate the green glass into black glass. It is still in essence green glass and thus in essence green. The the essence of the wall is green. The blackness is still merely it's relative property.

>As long as we keep to consistent stqandards, I don't think it should be.

IMHO you wild card in that regard not I sir.

>it is quite ironic that you have misstated my argument so thoroughly.

Rather you have IMHO presented your "argument" in a thoroughly ambiguous manner and have clearly misunderstood Feser's original argument. Which has nothing to do with claiming non-proportional light absorption capacity is an expansive property.

Also as is your way your argument is a tangent. You have to explain to us why the color red in a lego wall isn't expansive. Otherwise you should just concede that it is & then try to show us why the property of contingency in contingent objects isn't by nature expansive and thus defend Hume.

But since you clearly knew nothing of these terms (i.e expansive property) to begin with it is now more than ever likely your original argument against Dr. Feser was at best a Non Sequitur.

Dave said...

One brow-

I think your contention that 'any fallacious reasoning sometimes provides true conclusions' is an oversimplification. Consider the formal logical fallacy of affirming the consequent, which can be spelled out

1.) If P, then Q
2.) Q
________________

(C) Therefore P

An example of this could run as

1.) If the temperature is below 32 degrees outside, it will snow.

2.) It is snowing
________________________

(C) The temperature is below 32 degrees outside


You are correct that the conclusion to this argument is true regardless of the fallacious reasoning. What you are not correct in saying is that it was the fallacious reasoning itself that led us to the conclusion. In this case for instance, the actual reasoning of most people when considering the example would be something like

1.) If the temperature is below 32 degrees outside, then it will snow.

2.) It is snowing outside.

3.) Snow necessarily exists only when the temperature is below 32 degrees
_____________________________

(C) The temperature is below 32 degrees outside

In this instance, the implicit premise 3 is brought in as background, supporting evidence from our knowledge of the nature of 'snow.' But it is our acquaintance with this background concept and the underlying necessary connection between 'snow' and a certain temperature range that leads us to the conclusion rather than the fallacious argument in its originally given form (note additionally that if we were only given premise 2 ('It is snowing outside') we could infer that the temperature must be below 32 degrees). The fallacious reasoning has not led us to the conclusion, our background knowledge has. More concretely, it's easy to imagine a person who had never seen or heard of snow (maybe they live in Hawaii) but studied logic extensively all their life. If that person were to see the fallacious argument, they would rightly point out its invalidity and probably wouldn't believe the conclusion- until they had seen external evidence for the conclusion that snow of its very nature cannot exist unless it is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

So it isn't the case that 'all fallacies will have individual cases where the conclusions are still true,' at least in terms of the fallacious reasoning itself being that which leads us to a true conclusion. What is the case is that conclusions we sometimes independently know to be true can seem to be supported by a blatantly fallacious argument.

There is a difference then, between that and the example of composition arguments such as

1.) A chain just is the sum of its constituent parts.

2.) The parts of a chain are made of metal.
____________________________

(C) The chain as a whole is made of metal

It does seem that in some instances of composition-type reasoning then we are led unavoidably to a true conclusion, assuming our understanding of the relevant terms of the argument is sound enough. Thus it seems safe to say that some instances of composition-type reasoning really aren't fallacious, while every instance of, for example, affirming the consequent is fallacious, and might merely seem not to be in given circumstances.

To me it seems then that some smart philosopher needs to determine the general conditions under which composition-type reasoning holds and formulate some general principle that is true in every correctly applied circumstance. Only then will the issue of the argument's relevance be sorted out. Short of that composition type reasoning will remain based on ever-subjective intuition, not much more.

BenYachov said...

>You think it is logically absurb that the wall absorbs more light than an individual brick does? If so, I suggest you refine your logic.

Nonsense are you saying the brick while it's in the wall does not partake of the blackness of the wall? Or the wall does not partake of the brick's greeness?

>"Color" and "wooden", are also "scientific phenomena". The mass of an object is as much a property of the as its color or composition.

But this is a philosophy blog or have you forgotten?

> [Frans H. van Eemeren] provides a better explanation than you have, or will?

Why don't you put your empiricism to good for once and find out?

>>So how looking at the black wall and seeing the black bricks within do said brick retain the property of being green?

Well?

>By the amount and type of light the brick absorbs, which is source of the greenness.

Obviously an individual brick apart from the wall does that but while it's in the wall is doesn't do that otherwise the brick would appear green while in the wall & somehow the wall would appear black which of course is impossible.

Back to square one.

BenYachov said...

One Brow's problem is he is defining color strictly and solely in terms of an object's light absorption properties.

I'm dealing with color as qualia.

One Brow said...

Dave said...
What you are not correct in saying is that it was the fallacious reasoning itself that led us to the conclusion.

I agree that is a useful distinction. I have been trying to use a phrase "accidentally true", to indicate the truth is not related to the fallacy. YOu have laid that we still need to consider that the conclusion is inescapbly true from the premises regardless of the fallacy, and I agree that is a legitimate concern.

It does seem that in some instances of composition-type reasoning then we are led unavoidably to a true conclusion, assuming our understanding of the relevant terms of the argument is sound enough.

Ben Yachov has introduced this into the conversation by using the definition of an "expansive" property. I think there may be such a difiniton to be had for something like "metallic" (or "wooden", as I mentioned earlier). The offered definition (absolute and structure-independent) was insufficient, though. Perhaps a third property, along tyhe lines of "binary", or "composiitonal", would be sufficient.

Thus it seems safe to say that some instances of composition-type reasoning really aren't fallacious, while every instance of, for example, affirming the consequent is fallacious, and might merely seem not to be in given circumstances.

With the proviso that "composition-type" reasoning involves more than the usual Argument from Composition, I agree.

One Brow said...

But to be consistent you must agree it doesn't change the nature of the wall either which is also made of green glass ...

I agree this far.

... which is in the sense of composition also green.

The "sense of composition" fails you here. The wall, made of green glass, is thick enough to be black.

Light absorption does not transubstanciate the green glass into black glass.

Agreed.

It is still in essence green glass ...

Agreed.

... and thus in essence green.

Disagree.

The blackness is still merely it's relative property.

The ability to absorb light of a given amount and frequecy is not a relative property.

>As long as we keep to consistent stqandards, I don't think it should be.

IMHO you wild card in that regard not I sir.


That you say this, and then later acknowledge that you are trying to argue in terms of both light absorbtion and qualia, says more about you than I would ever say directly.

Rather you have IMHO presented your "argument" in a thoroughly ambiguous manner

Well, I'm still learning. I'll try to improve.

... and have clearly misunderstood Feser's original argument.

No, I think not, unless you are claiming the argument was incomplete.

Which has nothing to do with claiming non-proportional light absorption capacity is an expansive property.

I agree it's merely a counter-example to his chosen metaphor. Perhaps he should use better metaphors.

Also as is your way your argument is a tangent. You have to explain to us why the color red in a lego wall isn't expansive.

I don't recall having made the claim the colors of Legos, specifically, are non-expansive. But there are many more proerty to being a Lego than merely having a color that can affect this.

Otherwise you should just concede that it is & then try to show us why the property of contingency in contingent objects isn't by nature expansive and thus defend Hume.

Irrelevant, since the universe is made of more than just objects anyhow. Even if every object in the universe is contingent, that doesn't mean, e.g., quantum mechanics is.

But since you clearly knew nothing of these terms (i.e expansive property) to begin with it is now more than ever likely your original argument against Dr. Feser was at best a Non Sequitur.

It may have been. David brought up some interesting points. I fully admit I'm still trying to learn about all this.

One Brow said...

Nonsense are you saying the brick while it's in the wall does not partake of the blackness of the wall? Or the wall does not partake of the brick's greeness?

Being in the wall does not change the brick, it's greenness is unchanged by the wall. The wall's partaking of the successive greennesses of the bricks makes it black.

But this is a philosophy blog or have you forgotten?

Scientific phenomena can't be the subjects of philosophical discussions? Since when?

Well?

Because it is a measure of the amount and type of light they absorb.

Obviously an individual brick apart from the wall does that but while it's in the wall is doesn't do that otherwise the brick would appear green while in the wall & somehow the wall would appear black which of course is impossible.

The amount and type of light that can be absorbed by a brick doesn't change simply because the light may or may not be present.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
One Brow's problem is he is defining color strictly and solely in terms of an object's light absorption properties.

I'm dealing with color as qualia.


Then you are not only dealing with the properties of the brick, but bringing in a variety of issues with the perception, interpretation, etc. unnecessarily. Even if you are color-blind, and have no quale for green, the brick is green. Even if there is no light, and so your mind does not assemble the quale for green at a particular time, the brick is green. I'm just going to remove any future references to appearance unless you can show a good reason for saying the brick, or wall, is green/black because they look green/black under certain conditions to certain people.

BenYachov said...

One Brow

Why don't you stop wasting everyone's time & admit when a philosopher says "color is an expansive property" you being the kneejerk empiricists and skeptic your are hear light absorption capacity is an expansive property(which of course it isn't, since cumulative units of translucent objects put together have more absorption capacity than merely one unit of the whole).

It's that simple and once again you waste time by missing the point.

You are even repeating mistakes.

>The wall's partaking of the successive greennesses of the bricks makes it black.

Rather the cumulative capacity of translucent bricks makes it black by absorbing all light. The color green has no causal relationship since it could be blue(forget that already?).

I was right there is no hope for you.

You can't be corrected & you are not here to seriously understand.

What's the point of you?

BenYachov said...

One Brow,

This argument reminds me of arguments I would have with Baptist Fundamentalists who for some madding reason solely exclusively define the term "Word of God" to mean Scripture alone(as opposed to Scripture & Tradition or the Second Person of the Trinity) and refuses to even entertain the idea it has different meanings and I might be discussing something as it pertains to those other meanings.

You are no different & no better.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Why don't you stop wasting everyone's time & admit when a philosopher says "color is an expansive property" you being the kneejerk empiricists and skeptic ...

Because I don't see myself that way.

... your are hear light absorption capacity is an expansive property ...

To the extent an object has a color (as opposed to a person seeing a color), that color is the result of light absorption. How else is such a statement to be understood?

(which of course it isn't, since cumulative units of translucent objects put together have more absorption capacity than merely one unit of the whole).

Than, in what way is the color, as a property of the bricks, expansive?

It's that simple and once again you waste time by missing the point.

The point being that you can't make your argument without a diverting from the bricks themselves into something like qualia?

Rather the cumulative capacity of translucent bricks makes it black by absorbing all light. The color green has no causal relationship since it could be blue(forget that already?).

I have explained as much already before. Since the greenness is the result of the absorbtion property, you are making a distinction where there is no difference.

I was right there is no hope for you.

There is no hope that you will baffle me into thinking qualia about a brick are properties of that brick.

... has different meanings and I might be discussing something as it pertains to those other meanings.

I accept that there are different meaning for color, that the color fo the brick is different from the qualia of the color in the viewers mind, etc. What you have done is try to apply to the second to the first, while simultaneously maintaining it is wrong to attach the second to the first. I'm just so hopeless I can't go along with it.

BenYachov said...

One Brow

So you are narrowly & solely defining color in terms of the light absorption capacity of objects.

Nuff said.

You have wasted everybody's time.

BenYachov said...

>I accept that there are different meaning for color, that the color fo the brick is different from the qualia of the color in the viewers mind, etc.

Good now with that in mind go back and deuce what Dr. Feser likely meant.

I don't believe in the Lutherian's defintion of the term JUSTIFICATION. I believe the Catholic one. But at least I have the commonsense to know that when a Lutheran is using that term he is likely using the Council of Trent's defintion but that of AUGSBERG.

Nuff said.

Maybe there is some hope for you.....if only I were not such a cynic....

BenYachov said...

edit :s using that term he NOT is likely using the Council of Trent's defintion but that of AUGSBERG.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
So you are narrowly & solely defining color in terms of the light absorption capacity of objects.

When you are discussing physical objects, that is what the property is.

When you are dicussing an argument from composition, you are referring to what the objects are, not what their qualia are.

Good now with that in mind go back and deuce what Dr. Feser likely meant.

I believe he was referring to the property of the color of the objects, and not to the qualia of those objects. Otherwise, an argument from composition does not make sense regarding contingency.

BenYachov said...

>I believe he was referring to the property of the color of the objects, and not to the qualia of those objects.

Hello! Anybody with half a brain would realize he is making a philosophical argument! Even you admit you can't look at your black wall and see green bricks and at the same time see a black wall!!!!

You really thought the author of THE PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, a philosopher and a militant opponent of Scientism was talking about color solely as the light absorption capacity of objects and not as the colors we see?

BullS***! Nobody is that stupid!

>Otherwise, an argument from composition does not make sense regarding contingency.

It makes perfect sense genius! The fallacy of composition does not apply if one is dealing with expansive properties!

If the property of contingency is an expansive property then logically a universe filled with solely contingent things is itself contingent.

No loser, you may legitimately argue that contingency is not an expansive property.

Or you might even argue the Universe is not filled solely with contingent objects and actually has necessary objects.

But conflating color solely and exclusively with light absorption is a red herring waste of time.

I'm at a loss! You have learned nothing & I don't think you are trying!

Good night sir!

Oy Vey!!!!

BenYachov said...

additional!!!

>When you are discussing physical objects, that is what the property is.

So only physical objects have properties(color as quala)?
No physical objects have expansive properties (you already admitted "being made solely of wood" is expansive so don't try to weasel out of that one)?

You can't make a philosophical description of physical objects they can only be described scientifically?

I am so annoyed right now I have turned to the Dark Side of the Force! It's all that I can do not unleash Force Lighting!

Now I have had enough of this foolishness I am going to go and read my new Star Wars Zombie novel(RED HARVEST! AWSOME!) & try to turn back to the Light.

Good night again!

Darth Yachcuvous the Naughty! said...

Dark Side I say!!!!!!

One Brow said...

BenYachov, you seem to be taking the discussion very emotionally. Perhaps you should take a day off from it.

BenYachov said...
Hello! Anybody with half a brain would realize he is making a philosophical argument!

You can make philosophical arguments about real objects without using qualia.

Even you admit you can't look at your black wall and see green bricks and at the same time see a black wall!!!!

I can see bricks that are actually green, but appear black, sure. I don't think anything I have said would go against that. So, I can see green bricks that appear black in a black wall.

You really thought the author of THE PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, a philosopher and a militant opponent of Scientism was talking about color solely as the light absorption capacity of objects and not as the colors we see?

Only if he were trying to make a valid analogy to the universe as a collection of objects, in which case he would need to look at the properties of the objects. I think Dr. Feser is certainly capable of talking about objects themselves, don't you? Let's look at his actual words.

So, is inferring from the contingency of the parts of the universe to that of the whole universe more like the inference to the weight of the Lego wall, or more like the inference to its color?

Is the weight (probably means mass, but that's a quibble) "the qualia of weight I form in my mind" or "the actual weight of the object"? Is the contingency of the object "the qualia of contingency that I form in my mind" or "the actual contingency of the object"? I would answer the latter for both questions. Similarly, he is discussing the actual color of the Legos, not the appearance of color.

One Brow said...

The fallacy of composition does not apply if one is dealing with expansive properties!

The qualia of the color of a brick is an expansive property? What does it expand onto, other qualia?

If the property of contingency is an expansive property then logically a universe filled with solely contingent things is itself contingent.

I understand that argument. If you want to go back to it, we can. Basically, my response is that in addition to contingent things, the universe also has phenomena (as opposed to things) that seem to be non-contingent.

But conflating color solely and exclusively with light absorption is a red herring waste of time.

As a property of the object itself, what else is color?

You have learned nothing & I don't think you are trying!

I haven't learned to accept what you are claiming, but I have certainnly learned.

BenYachov said...
So only physical objects have properties(color as quala)?

The quale of color is not a property of the object, it's a proerty of the human perceiving the object. The object has a color property that is distinct from the quale. Isn't the the point of the Mary's gray room (or whatever is is called) example? Mary, raised with red-green color blindness environment, can study all the physics of what it means to be red, identify red objects by the wavelengths of light emanating from them, etc. There is still soemthing different to experience when she gains an ability to see red and first sees a red object, that difference being a quale that Mary forms. Your arguments seem to be confusing this difference.

You can't make a philosophical description of physical objects they can only be described scientifically?

Not my position. They can be described using both methods.

BenYachov said...

>BenYachov, you seem to be taking the discussion very emotionally. Perhaps you should take a day off from it.

No.

>I can see bricks that are actually green, but appear black, sure. I don't think anything I have said would go against that. So, I can see green bricks that appear black in a black wall.

Sophistry!!! You either see green or you see black. You don't see both at the same time which you admitted so stop trying to weasel out of it. Color in this context is clearly an expansive property and is clearly what Feser was talking about.

>Is the weight (probably means mass, but that's a quibble) "the qualia of weight I form in my mind" or "the actual weight of the object"?

More weasel words. He is clearly arguing by analogy not equivalence(that's what Thomists do loser).

Fail!

>Is the contingency of the object "the qualia of contingency that I form in my mind" or "the actual contingency of the object"?

He is clearly arguing by analogy not equivalence. That should be obvious to a second grader.

Fail!

>I would answer the latter for both questions. Similarly, he is discussing the actual color of the Legos, not the appearance of color.

No the obvious interpretation is he was arguing the appearance.
Since the light absorption of objects is not an expansive property. Plus the convention that the light absorption of object equates actual color is you own private self serving ad hoc convention.

Also the example he gave was red opaque objects (legos) not translucent glass objects as you did in your bait and switch. Thus he could not possibly in any reasonable universe to have been arguing the light absorption properties of objects.

Fail!

>The quale of color is not a property of the object, it's a proerty of the human perceiving the object.

How than can you claim to be arguing realism here? This is clearly conceptionalism. See page 39 TLS.

More fail.

You arguments have become even less plausible. Why don't you just man up and admit you didn't understand. But I suspect you just don't want too. Better the delusions that exalt us then to admit we are wrong.

>They can be described using both methods.

Then stop conflating the two.

BenYachov said...

>Only if he were trying to make a valid analogy to the universe as a collection of objects, in which case he would need to look at the properties of the objects.

Only if he was making a valid scientific analogy not a philosophical one. In science I can't validly compare Evolution to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and conclude scientifically evolution must be impossible.

I can conclude if an object has any expansive property it's parts have that property.

Again you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

>Mary, raised with red-green color blindness

A realist concludes her vision is damaged a conceptionalist wannabe like you is forced to believe her defective perceptions are equivalent to your whole ones.

One every level you don't know what you are talking about.

BenYachov said...

>The qualia of the color of a brick is an expansive property? What does it expand onto, other qualia?

So qualia is a physical property now?
The wall is red the legos that make the wall are red. Expansive! Not hard.

Are you really this thick.

You know I really would prefer not to insult anybody but you are going out of you way to be a jerk here. So I can't help myself. I'm only flesh and blood.

BenYachov said...

Should maybe have said "So now qualia is a physical object now".

You are useless One Brow.

BenYachov said...

In addition to erroneously defining color narrowly and exclusively as the light absorption of capacity of physical objects(when it's clear to anyone with an IQ greater than 3)you compound your error by representing the above process with the symbol actual color by which you betray your materialist reductionist assumptions.

Reason & general experience would dictate the actual color is the red we see in the lego wall. That would be the obvious conventional use of the symbol in Feser's example.

Your ad hoc contrivance is clearly a very very remote meaning that renders your interpretation implausible.

One Brow said...

BenYachov,

You points are growing increasing emotional, and become less responsive to what I am saying. For one, you persist in assigning to me positions I don't hold. For another, you repeat back to me statement similar to what I have already said, as if there was a disagreement. At this point, I don't think further detailed discussion with you will be productive. So, I will make a few brief, general clarifications for any masochists who are still reading this thread, and let you have the last word.

Your insistence that putting something in a dark place does not make it black, but that if I see something as being black then it is black, is a fundamental contradiction you have not tried to resolve, and I don't believe you will try to resolve it.

I think the Mary's colorblindness is a lack of an ability, that the quale of red she sees after having color vision enabled is a real phenomenon, and that before having this ability, Mary had a quale for red that was different then the quale she has afterwards. Therefore, you can distinguish between a quale about an object and the object itself, even for color. Since such a distinction is possible, it's good to have a basis for the color of the object itself, and light absorption is the best candidate I can come up with. You have not presented an alternative, except to use the quale.

I don't think the quale is a physical property, which is why it is odd to me you would apply an argument from composition to one. Hence, I asked.

I am not a proponent of scientism, and you accusations strike me as an attempt to poison the well, or perhaps fundamental inability to accept there can be many different intermediary positions.

While I don't have a copy of TLS handy, I went back to my review. You are quite mistaken in saying that TLS presents separating the quale of a property from the property as conceptualism. In fact, Dr. Feser says that the view that color of an object is the same as the quale we form for the color of the object would be conceptualism, and that realism means the color of an object is not dependent on how it is seen. You seem to be confusing the quale with the form.

As I said, I have learned a great deal, but I don't think there will be much more to learn in this excahnge. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

BenYachov said...

One Brow I just came from reading your blog & your response to William Vallicella solid take down of Russel's Teapot argument.

Wow I thought your arguments here where stupid! You actually tried to claim with a straight face Russel was talking about a non-physical teapot(which of course if it's not physical then how does it hold tea & thus how is it a teapot?).

Yea newflash idiot. QUOTE"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved..etc" END QUOTE

No mention from Russel about it being a non-physical teapot. I won't even get into your misunderstanding of what an Isolani is.

So is this what you do? You don't know how to answer an argument intelligently so you re-write & radically change the argument so you can answer the straw man you made?

You did that here. You radically rewrote Feser's argument rather then do the sensible thing. Admit you don't understand it.

But then again you are an Atheist who doesn't even understand Russell's argument.

So there is no hope for you.

One Brow said...

My immediately prior comment seems to have been lost in the spam filter again, so this one will only respond to the last BenYachov comment.

You didn't mention which of the two Teapot (Long May We Drink) posts which you read, but it doesn't really matter. In both of those posts, I actually held that the Teapot (lmwd) was a physical object, in addition to the other properties. I did say in the first post, "Also, there is nothing in Russell's logic or analogy that relies on the Teapot being a physical thing.", but this does not refer to Russell's argument directly, but the other types of arguments that could be made along similar lines.

I would like to say that I was surprised by your worful reading of my post.

BenYachov said...

>but this does not refer to Russell's argument directly, but the other types of arguments that could be made along similar lines.

I find that hard to believe since you where commenting on Vallicella words directly and clearly misreading them.

A FSM & or a Celestial Teapot are Isolanis singular objects in a set and their existence can only be known directly/empirically.

Russel was arguing that we would not believe in the existence of a teapot because some ancient book told us but because we had scientific observable evidence.

God as he is known in the Classic Sense by definition is not an isolani. The planet Pluto or a rock sitting on it's surface is an isolani. But a Harte/Hawking state is not. Since your a math teacher. Use the following analogy.

An isolani is an element in a set. Zeus, FSM, Teapots, humans are isolani. Brahma is not an Isolani he is identified with the set itself. Allah or YHWH are identified with bringing the set into existence. But neither Brahma, Allah or YHWH are isolani in any greater set but even if they where elements in the set can't identify them empirically.

God is not a scientific question but a philosophical one.

It's not hard and you clearly misread Vallicella as you misread Feser.

Hopeless!

BenYachov said...

>I would like to say that I was surprised by your worful reading of my post.

Not as surprised as I am that you really think Feser was thinking about color as the light absorption properties of objects (& then in a self serving ad hoc defining that as actual color) and saying so with a straight face.

When it is obvious he was talking about color as red,green,orange that we see.

Fail!

BenYachov said...

Also trying to say "Well how do we know God isn't a teapot or a Teapot created the universe?" you are just channeling Wolpert's error

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go6m-KNUmG4

Which is your problem you change the meanings of words & you change the argument and you equivocate to such an extreme degree it is impossible to understand or pin down what it is you are really saying.

It's impossible to have a reasonable discussion with you in any fashon.

BenYachov said...

To quote Feser "If A and B are of the same length, putting them side by side is going to give us a whole with a length different from those of A and B themselves. That just follows from the nature of length. If A and B are of the same color, putting them side by side is not going to give us a whole with a color different from those of A and B themselves. That just follows from the nature of color.

How do you get from above words the idea Feser could have in any conceivably rational universe really meant the property of light absorption of objects?

No credibility!

One Brow said...

BenYachov,

If you want to argue about a post on my blog, post on my blog. I'm not going to engage in a protracted discussion on Dr. Feser's blog about a post that he has little or nothing to do with. It will be easy enough to pste your comments over there, if you really want to discuss them.

BenYachov said...

>I already pointed out the flaw in your book analogy was that the information in the books can be added to over time, from copy to copy.

Which begs the question since where does the copying agent who adds or subtracts the information get said information? Also this changes the question & thus the argument.

If the books which has been copied from all eternity has new information added & old info subtracted then the book is not really the source of information.

All you did in this lame response is move the information you didn't answer Feser at all.

Of course it's obvious to those of us that accept Aquinas a God would be needed for a top down causality of the existence of the book and the info in it & also the copiers who add & subtract info and the specific info that is added and subtracted.

You claim to have read TLS many times & you still don't get Top down causality?

Hopeless!

BenYachov said...

>If you want to argue about a post on my blog, post on my blog. I'm not going to engage in a protracted discussion on Dr. Feser's blog about a post that he has little or nothing to do with. It will be easy enough to pste your comments over there, if you really want to discuss them.

I used that as an example of how you don't know what you are talking about.

BTW love Bill Angry unicorn discussion.

http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2010/11/god-and-the-no-angry-unicorn-argument.html

QUOTE"But it seems clear to me that Abbey is likening God to an intramundane object much as Bertrand Russell likened him to a celestial teapot. In so doing, both demonstrate a profound ignorance of what sophisticated theists mean by 'God.' They are not talking about a being among beings, let alone a material being among beings. (Deus est ipsum esse subsistens, et cetera.)"

It's not hard.

BenYachov said...

>It will be easy enough to pste your comments over there, if you really want to discuss them.

And give you the home team advantage? What so I can fight J and your Atheist FANBOZ as well as you? I think not.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
And give you the home team advantage? What so I can fight J and your Atheist FANBOZ as well as you? I think not.

You can ignore J instead of "fighting" him, although you may not be capable of making that choice. Outside of that, there is not a semi-regular commentator on that site who is remotely a "fanboy" of mine.

While I could abuse the site to accrue an advantage, I have never done so, nor will do so. My posting rules are clear: You can't insult any private commentator but me. I don't moderate comments, although I will delete them if you start insulting other commentators.

Still, you're probably better offno coming. You don't want to shake your preconceptions too hard, or they'll bruise.

I made my last post on the issue of being expansive yesterday, but it seems to be still stuck in the spam filter. Such is life.

One Brow said...

Which begs the question since where does the copying agent who adds or subtracts the information get said information?

Information can be copied in any number of natural ways.

If the books which has been copied from all eternity has new information added & old info subtracted then the book is not really the source of information.

Agreed, the copying process would be the source of the information.

All you did in this lame response is move the information you didn't answer Feser at all.

Answer what, in particular?

Of course it's obvious to those of us that accept Aquinas ...

Aquinas' argument require more than assumptions than those involved the acceptance of realism, act-potency, etc.

You claim to have read TLS many times & you still don't get Top down causality?

I get it well enough to see what is required for it.

BenYachov said...

>Still, you're probably better offno coming. You don't want to shake your preconceptions too hard, or they'll bruise.

I have already lost my old preconceptions. Ones you likely still cling to with full force I would bet.

I used to believe that if the Universe was somehow eternal it wouldn't need a God. I now know that is not true. In college philosophy so many many years ago I learned Bertram Russell once said there are only three possible accounts for the Universe. 1) God created it. 2) Two it was always here or 3) It came into existence out of nothing by itself without a cause.

That left two possibilities for Atheism vs one for Theism(at best the second might be Pantheism). But thanks to Top Down causality and the differences between efficient causality vs formal I see it's impossible for the Universe to be eternal without God. You could have an eternal universe with God but He is still necessary.
I have found contrary to what I was taught in college that Hume when it come down to it is simply as David Stove said an Irrationalist. All the modern Atheists uncritically accept his errors like a Nun with a 5th grade education believes the Baltimore Catechism blindly. I can't do that.
As for your performance here your bait & switch argumentative tactics are tiresome and unconvincing.

Bottom line you don't even know how & where to argue against Dr. Feser's assertions. In short you pick the wrong fights. But it was fun.

Till next time.

BenYachov said...

>Information can be copied in any number of natural ways.

Irrelevant where does nature get this new information? Your dodging the question.

>Agreed, the copying process would be the source of the information.

Which begs the question. Where does the copying process get the information? You just move the info from the book to the "copying process" but you didn't answer Dr. Feser.

>Answer what, in particular?

What is the ultimate explanation for the information? You are not trying to understand are you?

QUOTE"He just thinks that to identify an immediate contingent cause for each contingent thing or event in the universe is not to give a sufficient explanation of it. If the Humean disagrees, then he needs to give some reason why identifying such a cause would be sufficient..."

You are great at dodging but lousy at answering in any coherent manner.

>Aquinas' argument require more than assumptions than those involved the acceptance of realism, act-potency, etc.

Whatever this means?

>I get it well enough to see what is required for it.

You don't get it at all. Least of all you don't get it enough to sufficiently challenge it.

BenYachov said...

BTW I think the last word suffraced so I responed.

One Brow said...

Either Dr. Feser chose not to get my post out of the spam filter, or it disappeared in some other fashion. So I will try to recreate it. As I said before, I am merely going to correct some mischaracterizations, and after that I will allow BenYachov the last word in regard to the expansiveness of color. I see no future learning to be done there.

You seem to think realism means if you see the bricks as black when they are in the wall, then they are black. That might be conceptualism or nominalism (I think you are leaning toward conceptualism, because you don't fully commit to this, but only at convenient times). Realism maintains a firm distinction between the color you see in your mind (the quale) and the color of the brick itself. Thus, I can see green bricks (actual color) that look black (the quale) and make up a wall that really is black (actual color and quale). The color of the brick is a real property of the brick that does not change from merely locating the brick in the wall, and distinct from the color I see in the brick. That you claim this is conceptualism, as described in TLS, is quite backwards.

I don't think qualia are physical, that's why I found your claim that the quale of a color is expansive to be curious, and asked a question.

I have been arguing under the assumption of realism in this whole thread. That means I acknowledge, for example, Mary lacks a specific ability while she is colorblind. Your attempts to pigeonhole me into positions you do not like do not reflect my opinions, but your opinions only.

Of course Dr. Feser's example is by analogy, the point was how valid the analogy was. Dr. Feser was arguing by analogizing to real, extant properties, not perceived properties. He just choose poorly, as many other philosophers seem to have.

I suppose it is true that light absorption should be considered the efficient cause of color, rather than the color itself. Still, the manifestation of color matches the light absorption that causes it perfectly. However, the efficient cause of color in opaque objects is still light absorption, just like in translucent ones. Your attempt to make a distinction there was unfounded.

I can conclude if an object has any expansive property it's parts have that property.

Not if you think color is expansive. For example, A red cube made from 27 blocks might not have any individual red block in it's construction but 26 blocks partly red and one that is not red at all. I agree that when you use a property that truly seems to be expansive, like wooden, this could be true.

One Brow said...

Bottom line you don't even know how & where to argue against Dr. Feser's assertions.

You are welcome to come to my blog, read the posts reviewing TLS, and point out where I got the arguments in the book wrong. Until then, I will interpret this claim you simply assuming I am in a category you need me to fit into, as opposed to actually wanting to see what I said.

Irrelevant where does nature get this new information?

It's created by an inexact copying process.

Where does the copying process get the information?

Errors in the copying process create new information.

Whatever this means?

It means that the acceptance of realism and the act-potency framework is not sufficient to prove any of Aquinas' five ways. Other assumptions are built into the proofs, assumptions that are not trivial and that I sometimes consider flatly false.

BenYachov said...

"The view that universals, numbers, and/or propositions exist objectively, apart from the human mind and distinct from any material or physical features of the world is called realism."-Page 41-TLS.

>You seem to think realism means if you see the bricks as black when they are in the wall, then they are black.

"The view that universals, numbers, and/or propositions exist objectively, apart from the human mind and distinct from any material or physical features of the world is called realism."-Page 41-TLS.

Nominalism denies universals & the like are real and conceptionalism teaches universals only exist in the mind.

So at this point it is clearly you who are arguing either nominalism or conceptionalism. I believe in the proposition of universal "redness", "greeness" and "blackness" and I don't conflate these propositions with the material and physical feature of material objects to absorb and reflect light waves.

You have not been arguing with either Dr. Feser's views or with mine. Indeed we are not in fact having the same conversation.

BenYachov said...

>You seem to think realism means if you see the bricks as black when they are in the wall, then they are black.

"The view that universals, numbers, and/or propositions exist objectively, apart from the human mind and distinct from any material or physical features of the world is called realism."-Page 41-TLS.

Nominalism denies universals & the like are real and conceptionalism teaches universals only exist in the mind.

So at this point it is clearly you who are arguing either nominalism or conceptionalism. I believe in the proposition of universal "redness", "greeness" and "blackness" (as far as they instantiate in objects) and I don't conflate these propositions with the material and physical features of objects to absorb and reflect light waves.

You have not been arguing with either Dr. Feser's views or with mine. Indeed we are not in fact having the same conversation. Your understanding of realism is faulty.

>Of course Dr. Feser's example is by analogy, the point was how valid the analogy was. Dr. Feser was arguing by analogizing to real, extant properties, not perceived properties. He just choose poorly, as many other philosophers seem to have.

Rather being the nominalist you are, who denies universal "blackness" and or "greeness" and restricts the colors solely to physical and material features you shift around the argument. In effect your whole argument is no better than proving 2+2=5 by redefining the numeral 5 as the number 4 and then switching back when it suit you.

>I suppose it is true that light absorption should be considered the efficient cause of color, rather than the color itself.

Now you are learning. Good show.

>I don't think qualia are physical, that's why I found your claim that the quale of a color is expansive to be curious, and asked a question.

I believe they are real in the moderate sense. Another problem is you assume (when it suits you) that physical things are the only things that are real which of course begs the question.

>Not if you think color is expansive.

There is a difference between claiming color is an expansive property vs claiming it is expansive by nature. It simple means if all the parts have expansive property x then the whole have said expansive property. If the whole has expansive property x then the parts have it and thus the fallacy of composition does not apply. Color would clearly be expansive in this case but never light absorbtion anymore than weight or length.

It's real easy and you have gone out of your way to make it hard.

Under the situation you discribed with the green glass bricks in poor lighting, "blackness" was instantiated in the wall and in the bricks that made it up. Greeness too is instantiated in so much that if I shine a brighter light I can see the wall is made of green bricks and thus is really a green glass wall.

But then again you are having a different argument.

It was never hard.

BenYachov said...

Let try again the post eating monster is at it again.

>You seem to think realism means if you see the bricks as black when they are in the wall, then they are black.

"The view that universals, numbers, and/or propositions exist objectively, apart from the human mind and distinct from any material or physical features of the world is called realism."-Page 41-TLS.

Nominalism denies universals & the like are real and conceptionalism teaches universals only exist in the mind.

So at this point it is clearly you who are arguing either nominalism or conceptionalism. I believe in the proposition of universal "redness", "greeness" and "blackness" (as far as they instantiate in objects) and I don't conflate these propositions with the material and physical features of objects to absorb and reflect light waves.

You have not been arguing with either Dr. Feser's views or with mine. Indeed we are not in fact having the same conversation. Your understanding of realism is faulty.

>Of course Dr. Feser's example is by analogy, the point was how valid the analogy was. Dr. Feser was arguing by analogizing to real, extant properties, not perceived properties. He just choose poorly, as many other philosophers seem to have.

Rather being the nominalist you are, who denies universal "blackness" and or "greeness" and restricts the colors solely to physical and material features you shift around the argument. In effect your whole argument is no better than proving 2+2=5 by redefining the numeral 5 as the number 4 and then switching back when it suit you.

BenYachov said...

>I suppose it is true that light absorption should be considered the efficient cause of color, rather than the color itself.

Now you are learning. Good show.

>I don't think qualia are physical, that's why I found your claim that the quale of a color is expansive to be curious, and asked a question.

I believe they are real in the moderate sense. Another problem is you assume (when it suits you) that physical things are the only things that are real which of course begs the question.

>Not if you think color is expansive.

There is a difference between claiming color is an expansive property vs claiming it is expansive by nature. It simple means if all the parts have expansive property x then the whole have said expansive property. If the whole has expansive property x then the parts have it and thus the fallacy of composition does not apply. Color would clearly be expansive in this case but never light absorbtion anymore than weight or length.

It's real easy and you have gone out of your way to make it hard.

Under the situation you discribed with the green glass bricks in poor lighting, "blackness" was instantiated in the wall and in the bricks that made it up. Greeness too is instantiated in so much that if I shine a brighter light I can see the wall is made of green bricks and thus is really a green glass wall.

But then again you are having a different argument.

It was never hard.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say this:

I do not think the first comment to this page was ever adequately responded to.