misterpessimistic: From what you imply by your statement, logic is ultimately insufficient in spite of itself and thus is not valid as a method of discerning anything, since it is based on something that cannot be logically sound. It is subjective.
Yes and no. Logic is insufficient by itself, and reason follows suit in so much as you see the two as more or less synonymous. That doesn't make logic invalid, though it invalidates the notion that you can arrive at any knowledge by logic alone. Logic itself is about as far from subjective as human thought can get (which doesn't necessarily make it truly objective), but it doesn't work without premises that are, the more you boil them down, subjective.So, for all your study of logic and your knowledge of it, it means nothing by your own definition. Sounds like you wasted your time in that case.
Would my time have been better served by accepting at face value what the majority thinks is implied by logic? At any rate, you're wrong: my study of logic hasn't brought me to the conclusion that it "means nothing." It's brought me to a far sharper understanding of logic that I would have gotten simply from accepting it as its presented in normal conversation.
Logic is essentially a language that describes the relationship between ideas. That's all it is, and on its own it is incapable of producing anything
. You can no more produce a logical proof without alogical premises than you could produce a grammatically correct sentence without words.Whatever...but maybe I just consider much of what you propose in this and similar topics not worthy of discussion.
I'd certainly assume that to the case if you read but didn't respond. But you seem to think that what I've said at least demands a response.You have this bad habit of chastising others for not wanting to talk about what you want to talk about.
I didn't draw you into this discussion. I don't recall having chastised anyone for not talking to me about this. I made my point, and people responded, including you. I'm just opposed to the view that we've demonstrated the incommensurability of our positions. I think that if we really sat down and discussed this, placing the desire to understand above the desire to "win", we could eventually arrive at the common ground that woul allow both of us to see the other's position in a clearer light. And I may be wrong about that -- it may be that there is no common ground -- but I don't think we've discussed this anywhere near enough to conclude that as of yet.The only proof you offer for this is your statements...and you totally mis-understand & underestimate the power of reason if you cannot understand that there is a reality out from which we can base our existence.
Not at all. Here's the catch -- logic cannot touch the reality that is "out there". Reason can only do so if you include experience as part of reason, but that has complications. A major complication is one that you've brought up in another thread -- that our apparatus for gathering and interpreting experience is designed not as a means of discerning truth, but as a means of promoting survival. Human sight, for instance, has evolved to identify outlines and solid spaces, even though these shapes may not correspond directly to what is actually before us.
I think that there are a number of good reasons for excluding experience from the category of reason -- the very fact that we talk of people having irrational experiences says much. And if that's the case, then I'm not sure that you can make appeal to pure reason, because the statements which make up the premises required by any rational argument must then come from experience, which lies outside of reason.
But then, I'd be interested to hear exactly what you mean when you say reason.There is much we do not understand in our world and universe, but reason and the idea of science is the best way we have to figure that out...because it is the only way we can be honest with ourselves about reality.
Science can never lead us to understand everything about the world and universe, because in order to arrive at its reliable methodology it must exclude the consideration of anything that is not quantifiable. Science, in a certain sense, proceeds by quantifiying everything. And in doing so, it may produce a kind of knowledge that is about
everything, but in doing so it limits what can be known about everything.
If you've gotten the impression that I am hostile to science, let me disillusion you. Science does what it does terribly well. I'm simply opposed to the idea that science should stand in the place of all knowledge. It has its limitations, just like any methodology, and the more willing we are to recognize those limitations the more capable we are placing its conclusions in the proper context.
re: the relationship of morals to values,
scrumfish: Why? Who says this is so, and who left him in charge?
I say so, and no one left me in charge, although some people seem to think that my arguments either have to be accepted at face value or altogether rejected.
As for why, I'd say that it's inherent in the intent of morality. What is the purpose of morality, if not to protect that which we value?
Let's look at it in terms of an example: It's a widely held moral axiom that it is wrong to murder. But why? The easiest way to express why is that we value human life.
But then someone might argue the social contract perspective: murder is wrong not because we value human life itself, but because we agree not to kill one another. That seems, to me, merely to put off the identification of the underlying value. Because wherever we accept the argument from social contract, we may then also take the examination a step further and ask why anyone should uphold the social contract. And there are at least two possible answers here. One is that we uphold the contract so that it will be upheld with us, which leads us further back to say that we uphold it because we value our own lives. The other is that we uphold the social contract as a matter of honor and trust, both of which are values.Who says it has to be the guy who says the invisible dude in the sky told him so?
No one. I certainly haven't argued that. Don't read too much into my suggestion that all these values have their basis in a religious perspective. I am not suggesting, as some people seem to have assumed, that our morals have necessarily come from divine revelation. When I talk about a religious basis for values and morals, I'm talking largely about a particular kind of intuitive leap that allows us to create these categories. The concept of truth, for instance, is not something that we encounter in nature, nor does it appear to be something that we reasoned towards. It was a leap, similar to the sort of unheralded mutations by which evolution progresses, and a historical analysis points to religion as the cultural perspective that facilitated such a leap. The result is not that some guy says, "Hey, let's use truth as the cornerstone of our morality" -- there is, prior to the conceptual leap, no notion of truth. The result is the advent of this notion of truth, a whole new category of reality, which facilitates ideas and systems that were not possible beforehand.The part I disagree with is that secular values must ultimately be founded on faith. When you grind value systems down to the point that they are based on, it is not having to believe that some god talked to some guy and you just have to believe him, it is a given reason and you either choose to accept it or choose to reject it.
Again, I think you're reading too much into what I mean by faith. I don't want to follow that tangent out to far, as it's something that I've discussed at length in the "Philosophy, Religion and the Arts" forum. Suffice it to say that when I talk about faith, I'm usually not referring to the big-F Faith that seems to be the primary interpretation here. By faith I mostly mean the kind of thinking that takes a particular idea as given, without recourse to further logical analysis. In that sense, faith is necessary to any logical argument, as your conclusion must ultimately stand on premises that are unquestioned.I do not understand. Do you mean myths existing don't support all things that have belief structures? Okay, now I don't even understand what I'm typing.
Heh, neither do I, but it might be an interesting idea, once we sort out the grammar.
What I meant to refer to was an argument that Mr. P and I had in the "Battle for God" discussion, in which I asserted that myths are essentially stories that constitute a given idea or institution, that is, they make something possible. And that characteristic is not a side effect of something more essential in myths -- it's the entire modus operandi of myth. If you look hard enough, I think you can see myths just about everywhere. They're operative in nearly every social institution imaginable -- there are myths that undergird the idea of the United States, myths that undergird Catholicism, Anarchist myths, and so on. Italian historian Guglielmo Ferrero points to Roussea's "social contract" as a kind of myth, though I doubt Ferroro ever followed out the idea to the extreme that I have.And about religions being the catalyst for lots of what we enjoy today, do you claim that without religion humans would never have come up with most of it? I would disagree with that.
No, I wouldn't make a claim quite so sweeping. I will say, however, that there's no evidence to suggest that we would. But lack of evidence is not proof.
The positive claim that I will make is that it would have been stupendously difficult to arrive at our current level of conceptual sophistication by other means. The bases for our modern way of thinking are so primordeal -- the notions of truth, beauty, good, dispensation, justice, and so on -- that I doubt that anyone living today can imagine another avenue that would have really worked. To take these things as simple ideas is to underestimate the difficulty that must have taken place in giving them birth in the first place. R. G. Collingwood has traced the development of philosophy back to Greek and pre-Ionian religious thought, and without philosophy I'm not sure how we would have ever instituted reason or science.