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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

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But, Bill,

Why doubt the Discursive Framework? Because of some Liar paradoxes allegedly not bound by LNC? Or because of fictional entities allegedly not bound by LEM? I have not seen any that would be more plausible than LNC and LEM themselves. Or because of non-duality experiences? Likewise. So I think Plantinga does win indeed, even if not hands down.

V,

I am not doubting the DF; I am doubting or questioning its unrestricted validity.

And I think you should too. Don't you believe in the simple God of Thomas Aquinas? That God lies beyond the DF -- whoch is why Plantinga and almost all evangelical Xians reject divine simplicity. It makes no sense in terms of the DF.

More later; bike ride now, at sunrise. Beautiful October!

What does it mean to say "God lies beyond the DF"? That is the trouble with the nuclear option.

There is another objection which Thomas Williams raises against this form of negative theology (viz. that none of our terms applies literally to the Real). He says ‘there is no middle ground for theological language between univocity, on the one hand, and complete unintelligibility, on the other. ‘Take the sentence, “Dogs are not reptiles.” The only reason I can say this is that I have some positive idea of dogs first. And thanks to that positive idea I can then exclude other possibilities that don’t fit with that positive idea’. I.e. (1) Every negative concept parasitic upon some positive concept. (2) the negations apply because of some affirmation we believe true of God. ‘God is bad’ denies our belief that God is good, so we deny the denial. How do we know this affirmation? (3) our greatest love not directed at negations.

He adds (and you will hate this) ‘There seems to be some connection between the denial of univocity and a style of theologizing that largely eschews careful argument of the sort that analytic philosophers are so fond of.’

Gentlemen:

Many have held that God must be ontologically simple. If so, then God lies beyond the DF. For the DF requires that nothing is such that it is identical to its properties whereas the DDS requires that there be no real distinction between God and his attributes.

I take it that Astute is alleging that my claim that God lies beyond the DF is meaningless. I have already conceded that it is discursively meaningless. For if the DF lays down conditions of senseful discourse, then any form of words that violates the DF is discursively meaningless.

But here is the thing: You know what I am driving at. My words have some sort of meaning; they are not gibberish. (There is nonsense and there is important nonsense as I seem to recall LW saying near the end of the Tractatus.)

My challenge to you is: defend your presupposing of the DF. You think the DF is the only game in town. But you've read my post and you understand it and so you know there is this OTHER GAME. How can you justify your exclusion of it?

Will you just continue to beg the question?

See also Acts 17:23. From Paul in Athens.

For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship

Paul should be slapped upside the head with The Cloud of Unknowing. Of course, Payul is speaking of JC which brings us to a more specific set of problems.

So is this Williams fellow opposed to analogical discourse as a via media between univocity and equivocity?

The analogia entis is a separate question.

>>He adds (and you will hate this) ‘There seems to be some connection between the denial of univocity and a style of theologizing that largely eschews careful argument of the sort that analytic philosophers are so fond of.’<<

Bullshit. Read my post.

>>So is this Williams fellow opposed to analogical discourse as a via media between univocity and equivocity?

Funny you should say that. Williams asserts: ‘there is no middle ground for theological language between univocity, on the one hand, and complete unintelligibility, on the other’.

His target is Radical Orthodoxy (‘the New Apophaticism’). We Scotists like him.

When you ask whether the Discursive Framework is absolutely and unrestrictedly valid, are you asking whether there could be a proposition and its negation, neither of which were true? Are we quantifying over propositions here? Or do you mean something else? Are you simply asking whether LEM holds unconditionally? Or something else?

It's hard to answer your question, because hard to make sense of it.

Bill,

I am far from being sure about divine simplicity, the principle of instantiation, or its assumption in Plantinga's argument. Could you elaborate how, in your opinion, is Plantinga assuming that principle?

As for LNC and LEM, they seem quite obvious to me, and I have never seen anything remotely obvious yet incompatible with them.

Vlastimil,

See A. Plantinga, Does God Have a Nature? One of the arguments he gives against DDS is this: (a) properties are abstract objects; (b) God is a concrete object; (c) if God were identical to his properties, as per DDS, then God would be an abstract object, and like all such, causally inefficacious; (d) God is causally active; ergo (e) DDS is false.

>>As for LNC and LEM, they seem quite obvious to me, and I have never seen anything remotely obvious yet incompatible with them.<<

I am not urging that there are finite items that violate LNC or LEM. Thus I am not saying that some items are incomplete like Meinong's golden mountain and that these are counterexamples to LEM.

So I will grant you that every finite item satisfies the constraints embedded in the Discursive Framework.

But we are talking about the Absolute, the Ultimately Real. I hope you grant that a god that is not the Absolute is not God.

You are assuming that everything including the Absolute falls within the DF.

But don't you see that when you assume that you are relativizing the Absolute, finitizing the Infinite? Equivalently, God is not a being among beings. You are assuming that he is.

That assumption is optional.

Again, I am not saying that LNC and LEM have finite counterexamples, although many philosophers would say this; I am saying that if there is the Absolute, if God exists, then he can't be just another finite object subjcet to the DF. So, God is beyond the DF.

What I am trying to get you to see is that you are uncritically presupposing the unrestricted validity of the DF. You are not bound to do that. Prove that you are so bound.

That Williams article was singularly unhelpful. Vaporous. What point was he trying to make? Did he ever define 'radical orthodoxy'?

>>‘there is no middle ground for theological language between univocity, on the one hand, and complete unintelligibility, on the other’.<<

Granted, there is no complete unintelligibility. So if Socrates exists and God exists, then 'exists' is univocal in both preceding occurrences. But there cannot be univocity since God and Socrates exist in different ways. God exists from his own nature; Socrates does not.

Similarly with S. is wise and G. is wise. No univocity because God is wisdom itself whereas Socrates merely participates in it.

Answer me this one Astute Scotist.

The question again is what we are quantifying over. When we ask if there are exceptions to LEM, we are asking if there is any proposition such that both it and its negation is false. I.e. is it the case that for some p (where p is a proposition, what a ‘that’ clause refers to) p is false and not-p is false. So we are quantifying over propositions. I think we can be certain that however large we extend the range of quantification, indeed if we spread it infinitely large, we will find no p that violates this assumption.

Perhaps you want to say that the ‘lasso’ of quantification is somehow restricted, and cannot reach into the Absolute? Well if so then the range of ‘everything’ is restricted to the non-Absolute, and so it is still true that every proposition conforms to LEM, and nothing violates it.

Radical Orthodoxy is a postmodern Christian theological and philosophical school of thought which is Williams’ target. Did he ever define 'radical orthodoxy'? No, because it is a vague postmodern doctrine.

Bill,

I meant, could you elaborate how, in your opinion, is Plantinga assuming the instantiation principle in his argument against Hick (not in his argument against divine simplicity)?

Also, I repeat, LNC and LEM seem quite obvious to me, even in their unrestricted validity, and I have never seen anything remotely obvious yet incompatible with them. Neither have I seen any remotely obvious argument to the effect that if there is a God then He violates LNC or LEM. I am agnostic about divine non/simplicity.

Dr. Vallicella,

It never ceases to amaze me how deep the disagreements are in philosophy. Your point seems blindingly obvious to me.

A quibble: It is absolutely a part of (serious) historical evangelical theology to affirm the simplicity of God. Plantinga's own Belgic Confession affirms it, Westminster Confession, Anglicanism's 39 Articles, to name a few. Theistic personalism is a brand new phenomenon.

Josh,

I too am amazed at the depth of disagreement in philosophy, not to mention politics which is applied philosophy. We can't all agree on anything, or even on why we are disagreeing. (Of course, some of us agree on some things.)

It would be interesting to hear in your own words what you take my point to be, and why you find it blindingly obvious.

By "evangelical Xians" I meant the current crew: Plantinga, Craig, Moreland, Tuggy, Hochstetter, et al. Dolezal is an exception.

I suspect that the problems of philosophy, while genuine and important, are insoluble by us. Here we have just another example. It is obvious to you and me that God must be simple; but to make sense of this within the DF proves to be impossible.

Vlastimil,

>>Also, I repeat, LNC and LEM seem quite obvious to me, even in their unrestricted validity, and I have never seen anything remotely obvious yet incompatible with them.<<

That is a very interesting autobiographical comment, but the autobiographies of other philosophers will differ. Do you think you can prove a point by saying it seems obvious to you?

As Hilary Putnam once said, "It ain't obvious what's obvious."

Bill,

I know things I can't prove. Proofs must stop somewhere. My stopping points are at least as good as any.

Anyway, can you prove that it is not very probable or plausible that LNC and LEM hold with unrestricted validity? If not, your point is just an autobiographical hint at a meagre but unreasonable epistemic possibility. It's a bit like saying that, as far as you know, maybe, just maybe, we live in the Matrix. Well, maybe, just maybe, we do. But very probably and plausibly, we don't.

Plus again, I may be missing something but it seems to me that Plantinga nowhere, in his refutation of Hick, assumes the instantiation principle (everything instantiates properties, where if x instantiates property P, then x is distinct from P).

V,

Scroll up to my latest post. Can you refute my argument?

Astute, Law immediately invalidates the premise that he suggests that he has just accepted in accepting the validity of the "nuclear option". You would have to use reason to maintain that when somebody walks away they are "using reason", so he's already voided the nuclear byproduct by coming to the conclusion that the proponent is using reason or trying to.

But that's a minor point that simply illustrates a larger failure.

What Law is too unsubtle to notice is that nothing was said about the practice of using reason. That whatever a person calls reason is a useful practice is not necessarily called into question. The sum total of sureness of it is, and would remain so. People would "use reason" for the general utility of reason, not for the completeness of it. So that the opponent "practices" it says nothing about the certainty of it--especially if the opponent--like a skeptic would--doesn't generally find the absolute certainty of reason as the X-factor.

In addition, let's look at the case that Law presents 1) the "skeptic" is losing badly. Is this an act of "reasoning"? One almost gets a sense that Law would not conclude so. And 2) on top of that, Law suggests that he presents an argument that is invalid by final analysis, so the case that he's "reasoning" here is again suspect. In fact, Law's attempt to create almost a categorical "fallacy" of the Nuclear Option (which I take it you wanted to throw out of the yellow flag and mark off yards for). However, given the case that the skeptic hasn't used a whole lot of "reason" in the presence of Law, Law still grants that he is using that self-same specific thing called "reason". When all we have a case for is a practice that goes by the name of "reason".

However, it must be Reason, in order for Law to present that as an objective case, or otherwise that the invalid skeptic uses some simulacrum that shares things in common with whatever Law considers "reason", doesn't present the case of "reason" restored.

In particular the general case by which atheists think that theists aren't reasonable, or fail in the light of applied reason (losing badly), make it hard for Law to make _the_ case that when a person judged irrational leaves they use anything like one particular thing that can be called "reason".

Thus, Law simply aborts the introspection for a retreat back to naturalist safe ground. The opponent attempted to use a form of reason that conceives compatibility with non-continuous linearity and when he leaves the conversation he goes back to attempting to use a form of reason that conceives compatibility with non-continuous linearity.

My take, in brief: Law's apparent belief in the smooth continuity of reason prohibits him from seeing a less smooth and less continuous, or absolute version with much of the same utility, that is not so assaulted by deconstructing the idol of reason. So he adjusts by throwing a label "reason" over behavior which it does not appear in the norm he would call "reasonable".

Thing is, I can exercise the "nuclear option" with simple appeals to scientific measureability and modeling and the limitations of the Turing-Church thesis, and Rice's theorem. And definitely a lot more rigorous than Law's simplistic wordplay with "reason" being dependent on "reason". I've been in one of those discussions where the other party took it that I was "losing badly" and found that the opponent simply simplified all paradox back to what they found to be believable simplicity.

In general most appeals to just-click-this-link are overdone and credulous.

I had another attempt at following your post this morning. It seems to me that what you call the ‘Discursive Framework’ is what I and others call ‘logic’, and that it reflects a Kantian view of logic that prevailed before Russell and Frege, namely that logic reflects the ‘laws of thought’ only. Are you mooting the possibility of beings which defy conception under these laws, or realms where the laws do not apply?

I was re-reading Kant’s Logic last week and it is full of this stuff.

>>It would be interesting to hear in your own words what you take my point to be, and why you find it blindingly obvious.<<

The point I was referring to was (what I took to be) your conclusion: namely, the fact that what you call the DF is "unrestrictedly valid" has to be transcendentally presupposed. When Plantinga accuses Hick of not making any sense, he begs the question; for the very point at issue is whether or not the commitments of the DF are necessary conditions for meaningful language. How can we possibly move forward without realizing this?

I was not trying to suggest that God's simplicity or something like STA's doctrine of analogia is blindingly obvious.

>>By "evangelical Xians" I meant the current crew: Plantinga, Craig, Moreland, Tuggy, Hochstetter, et al. Dolezal is an exception.<<

Fair. I might be testy about this because I consider myself an evangelical Christian who affirms simplicity.

Thanks, Josh.

We are in basic agreement. Perhaps we can sum up our agreement like this: Plantinga begs the question by assuming a framework that implies that no meaningful God talk is analogical God talk.

Genau.

Es tut mir leid dass unsere scharfsinnigen englischen Freund kann das alles nicht verstehen.

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