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Thursday, August 31, 2017

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Bill,

Your thesis — there are substances, but they cannot be demonstrated with certitude — is the one I learned when I took my first steps in the garden of metaphysical delights. Substances exist, but there is something elusive in the definition.

I liked your “(p)ersons may provide a clue.” Angels are persons. They are incorporeal substances who, unlike the house and the fire, have no “spatial and temporal” parts. But, in what way, to use your question, do angels persist (if that’s the right word)? Would not the theories of perdurance and endurance apply only to corporeal creatures in a temporal world? If so, then there are some substances in the world whose existence does not depend on endurantism being true.

Not only angels, but also the separated souls of humans. Theologians call them “incomplete substances.” Do they persist or endure? I suppose on that day when all those incomplete substances get to have matter again we’ll see if there’s an epistemically certain definition for all of them there substances running around creation.

Cheers,
Jim

Jim,

Thanks for your comments, but you didn't grasp my thesis. I take no position on whether there are substances in this entry. My thesis is that even if there are substances, it is not known with epistemic certainty that there are.

My interlocutor, Dr Lukas, maintains that (a) there are substances, and (b) that there are is knowable with certainty. I neither affirm nor deny (a), the ontological thesis, but I do deny (b), the epistemological thesis.

My concern is to oppose the dogmatism of those who confidently assert that certain knowledge is possible regarding highly controversial matters when -- if I am right -- the most one can hope for is reasonable belief.

Are angels in time or not? If they are in time, they have to persist. If they are not in time, then the endurantism vs. perdurantism question lapses.

Ockhamists say: if there are substances, it is known with epistemic certainty that there are.

But why do they say that?

>>But why do they say that?

They are perceived. I expect you will then argue from Cartesian doubt or something like that.

Come on, Ed. You have to do some work, and not just cut loose with a comment. You have to actually read the post. If you read it you would have seen what the argument is and why I am not invoking Cartesian/hyperbolic doubt.

I did read the post.

While asleep? You obviously did not understand it. And yet it is so clear, so precise, so rigorous . . .

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