CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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Jasque Derrida about mid life

Many atheists who have no background in postmodernism do react to this argument as though ti was just a bunch of gibberish. When that happens I just laugh because it's a sure sign they aren't very advanced in philosophy or history of ideas. Of course it's one thing to say an argument sounds stupid, it's another to try and belittle and deride someone because you don't understand what he's saying. Then to try and destroy his ego by saying "this shows why you can't bet published becasue this shows you are so stupid." This argument may be a bad argument or it may be a good one. Two atheists who I respect have told them are facinated with it, but that doesn't mean anything to some.

its' childish to try and save your face by belittling other people's ideas. The obviously manly thing to do would be to either say "this is not in my field I really don't know about it" or to show why its bad.

This argument has been compared to Bansen's TAG argument. I was making this argument before I knew anything about him. Yet I think it is what he was trying to say.

Dave Ellis came to my boards (I invited him) asking to be given God arguments to answer. I told him "I would rather not do that because we have to lay the ground work or my argument will just sound stupid to you." But he kept insisting. So eventually I put some arguments out there. He says:

Have you ever tried to get one of these essays published in any sort of philosophy journal?

I suspect that anyone reviewing your work for publication in any journal of philosophy of even modest standards would have much the same reaction I have.


there's another atheist on the board whose intelligence I respect a lot. He doesn't think the argument is so stupid, look what he says:


e: TS argument

Post by fleet mouse on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:37 pm
What interests me about the TS argument is how it parallels TAG. It's sort of a more refined TAG, one that doesn't insult the intelligence with that smugness that makes me want to smack someone.

I don't think it falls into the same fallacies that I've seen TAG defenders step in either, and that's because you have a philosopher's understanding of what logic is and not a superstitious yokel's. So instead of ridiculously positing "logic" at the core of everything, you have this much deeper and subtler concept of an organizing principle. And that has an intuitive appeal, because it seems to me that there is a parallel between intellectual organizing principles and the way things in the natural world appear to spontaneously self organize. And so it seems to me that what you're saying complements and extends rather than contradicts the worldview of naturalism.

I'm going to read your background material on Derrida and come back to this later.

edit: your two part essay on Derrida was terrific. I had thought from things you'd said earlier on CARM that you'd misunderstood Derrida but now I see that you just disagree with him, and I think you're performing a rescue-hijacking of the TS, like a philosophical Bruce Willis - Die Hard. :mrgreen:

User avatar
fleetmouse


What get's me is I asked Dave to read two blog pieces I did on the Derridian background and he refused. he was content to just think the argument is stupid so he doesn't have to deal with it. But I told him that we would think that if we jumped and went to the arguments before laying the ground words. Of course part of that ground work is the stuff he refuses to read. So he would rather be narrow and ignorant and just use bully tactics and incredulity than to actually think about the arguments. so typical of hate group atheism. they get this big rush out of pretending that they are so superior to Christians that they have real strong vested interest in seeing everything we say as stupid. They are really just little ignoramuses because they refuse to read the material so they fill in the gaps.

Here's the arguemnt:

A. Logic of the Argument.

Definitions

(1) Transcendental Signifier (TS):


The signification mark (word) which refers to the top of metphysical hieararchy; the organizing principle which makes sense of all sense data and groups it into a meaningful and coherent whole, through which meaning can be understood.The corollary, the thing the Transcendental Signifier signifies, is the "Transcendental Signified (designated as TSed)"

(2) Signifier:

The term used of written words in the linguistic theories know as "structuralism" and in the theories of French Linguist Ferdenand Sassure. A signifer is a "marK," that is writing, which designates a concept forming a word, that which points to an object as the thing that it is and no other. ie, a phsyical tree is the signified, the object of the signifier "t-r-e-e."


Preliminary Observations:

(1) Any rational, coherent and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose an oranizing principle which makes sense of the universe and explains the hierarchy of conceptualization.

(2) Organizing principles are summed up in a single first principle which grounds any sort of metaphysical hierarchy, the Transcendental Signifier (TS)

(3) It is impossible to do without a Transcendental Signifier, all attempts to do so have ended in the re-establishment of a new TS. This is because we caannot organize the universe without a princinple of organizing.

(4)TS functions Uniquely as Top of The Metaphysical Heirarchy.It's function is mutually exclusive.



Argument:


P1) TS's function is mutually exclusive, no other principle can superceed that of the TS since it alone grounds all principles and bestows meaning through organization of concepts.

P2)We have no choice but to assume the relaity of some form of TSed since we cannot function coherently without a TS
P3) We have no choice but to assume the reality of some form of TSed since the universe does seem to fall into line with the meaning we bestow upon it.

P4) The logical conclusion would be that There must be a TSed which actually creates and organizes the Universe.

P5) The sifnifier "God" is one version of the TS, that is to say, God functions in the divine ecnomy exacly as the TS functions in a metaphysical hierarchy.

P6) Since "God" is a version of the TS, and since TS and God concept share a unique function which should be mutually exclusive, the logical conclusion is that: God and TS share identity.ie "God" concept is description of the Transcendental Signified.

P7)Since the TS should be assumed as real, and TS and God share identity, we should assume that God is the Transcendental Signified, and thus is an actual reality.

rational warrant for belief in God's existence, QED.


If this sounds like gibberish and Dave says it's probably because you haven't studied Derrida. Which is part of the ground work that must be laid. So given that you need to read the material that Dave wont read. here it is:



This is a summary of Derrida on the Transcendental Signifier and why it "proves" the existence of God (in my special sense of "proof" that I use as "for practical purposes").


Derrida was from French North Africa, 1930-2004. here are two articles on him that will give you a basic run down:

Derrida on Wiki


Derrida in Philosophical Encyclopedia



Derrida was a student of Martin Heidegger. Derrida is the best known philosopher of recent times. Heidegger was an existentialist, then dropped that and began to call himself a "phenomenologist." Everything Derrida says came from Heidegger. Every move of decontracution is found in Heidegger, but Derrida put it together in a different package than Heidegger's.

"Deconstruction" was Derrida's babby. He invented it although one can find it's roots all over Western letters. He's plugging in elements from Heidegger, Sartre, Brintano, Nicholas of Cuza, Charles Sanders Pierce and all over the place.This is the run down on [B][I]Deconstruction.[/I][/B] I was taught Derrida by someone who had been his student in Paris in the late 60s before he moved to Yale.

Phenomenology is an attempt to place the observer at the center of awareness to allow sense data to be understood in ways that are not predetermined by preconceived categories. The idea is that the data will form its own categories. Attempts to gather sense data and heard it all into pre selected categories biases reality. In vernacular one might say "don't pigeon hole but remain open to possibilities for everything no matter how familiar or or obvious we think it might be. This attempt to pre select categories of knowledge is what Heidegger calls "Metaphysics." In this sense even science is metaphysics!

Derrida wants to explicate the end of western metaphysics,(his phrase). What does this mean? It means he, and most postmoderns, believe that the paths along which western metaphics have led us are dead ends. We have run out of metaphysics. We haven't run out of science, in the sense that there plenty of facts to look at, but in a way we have because reductionism has lowered our expectations about what we will find. But Derrida's beef is not with science. A Major segment of of postmodernists tried to attack modern science, but they were swept aside with the Alan Sokal stuff. Derrida was never one of them.

Derrida argues that Western metaphysics has always been predicated upon an organizing principal that orders reality and organizes sense data. William James Sums it up well in his Gilford Lectures:

"Plato gave so brilliant and impressive a defense of this common human feeling, that the doctrine of the reality of abstract objects has been known as the platonic theory of ideas ever since. Abstract Beauty, for example, is for Plato a perfectly definite individual being, of which the intellect is aware as of something additional to all the perishing beauties of the earth. "The true order of going," he says, in the often quoted passage in his 'Banquet,' "is to use the beauties of earth as steps along which one mounts upwards for the sake of that other Beauty, going from one to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair actions, and from fair actions to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute Beauty, and at last knows what the essence of Beauty is." 2 In our last lecture we had a glimpse of the way in which a platonizing writer like Emerson may treat the abstract divineness of things, the moral structure of the universe, as a fact worthy of worship. In those various churches without a God which to-day are spreading through the world under the name of ethical societies, we have a similar worship of the abstract divine, the moral law believed in as an ultimate object."




Derrida begins with Plato's theory of knowledge, this is the basis of Western metaphysics. Plato says that prior to birth we are in contact with the forms, thus knowledge is a matter of remembering, no learning for the first time. But then the question arises is speech closer to what we remember, or is writing? Socrates says the spoken word is closer to the ideas inside us, the memory of the forms, thus spoken word is better (more true, closer to reality) than written word. As he puts it "a writer dies his written words are like orphans since he is not there to defend them." This supremacy of the spoken word sets up a hierarchy of meaning and importance in western culture. We have come to value reason as the organizing principle of truth, as the "natural light" because it's an extension of the concept of this true Platonic knowledge. Reason becomes this overarching truth regime (Faucault's word) that organizes all reality. Everything is paired up into hierarchies, little hierarchies that fit into the big over all hierarchy, these are called "binary oppositions." They they take the form of couplets, consisting of the "true" or "correct" term and it's supplement; the false term or the unimportant addition to the "real thing." Examples are: up/down, black/white/ true/false/ male/female. Reason is construed as male and this resutls in "phalologocentrism."

Derrida's goal is to destroy hierarchies, to show that there is no truth, there is no meaning. We can't know anything. Derridian postmodernism is like archaeologists who try to piece together fragments of a broken vase. Some say "there is a vase here, we just have to fin out how the peices fit." Another says "there may be two vases." The postmodernist says "we don't have all the pieces, they may not have been a vase, it may be 16 vases, we can't know, there is no final answer, it's always going to be a jumble. The Deridian position is a good philosophical justification for nihilism. The difference being a nihilism takes too much effort.. The logical conclusion of Derridianism if one were consist would be to sit in a chair and say nothing until one starves to death. Of course Derrida himself was not consistent. He was one of the most prolific writers. His overall project was to tear down hierarchy and destroy the concept of the TS. Here is his argument against reason:


He asks "does reason ground itself?" Can we use reason to prove reason?



"Are we obeying the principle of reason when we ask what grounds this principle [reason] which is itself a principle of grounding? We are not--which does not mean that we are disobeying it either. Are we dealing here with a circle or with an abyss? The circle would consist in seeking to account for reason by reason, to reason to the principle of reason, appealing to the principle to make it speak of itself at the very point where, according to Heidegger, the prinicple of reason says nothing about reason itself. The abyss, the hole, ..., the empty gorge would be the impossibility for a principle of grounding to ground itself...Are we to use reason to account for the principle of reason? Is the reason for reason rational?"(Derrida in Criticism and Culture, Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schlefflier, Longman 1991, 20.)



Derrida sought to destroy metaphysical hierarchy. How did he intend to do that? He did it by creating a method of reading a text, a critical tool that would allow him to dissect and destroy any hierarchy simply because it was a hierarchy. That tool was known as "deconstruction." To reconstruct one takes apart, in the sense of destroy; destruction = destruction.

Hierarchy is based upon the binary opposition. That means hierarchies are like stacks of couplets, each containing a major term and supplemental term:

God/
evil

up/
down

male/
female

the assumption is that the term on top is the "major term" the "real" thing, the one on the bottom is tacked on or er zots, or somehow inferior. A hierarchical metaphysics is constructed out of these binaries. These are among the categories we use to order our perception of sense data; and thus to order the world. We can see this in the atheist metaphysics of scientism:

Objective/
subjective

empirical/
logical


Derrida inverts the couplets. The "inferior term" is taken as the superior term, and the assumption is made that the hierarchy is false. But what move allows this? He accomplishes this move by the realization of the principle of "differance." This is not my dyslexia at work. He spells it with an "a" in order to out over the point that there is more to it than just "difference" as we understand it. That is, difference is the basis of meaning in language. Meaning of signifier is based upon the difference in one signifier and another. That means we call a "tree" a "tree" not because it is intrinsically endowed with treeness, but because we don't call it a "frog," a "bat" or an "elephant." The meaning of these terms, what they refer to, is totally arbitrary. Thus meaning arises through difference. Derrida uses this point as the staging ground for a multiple assault on all of Western thought. He derives from it the notion that meaning derives from absence (difference is absence) rather than presence. So Plato is screwed, the Platonic theory is crap. This is so because the meaning of truth in Platonic terms is presence, the proximity to the forms, remember? So the presence of the forms in our thinking is our nearness to truth. The closer the ware to what we recall of the forms the closer we are to truth. He sets up a hierarchy of presence in which speaking is closer to truth than writing.

Derrida destroys this hierarchy of presence by demonstrating that derives from absence (difference = absence because there is no presence of meaning in the signifier). He finds that meaning is never present. Meaning is always absent and sought after, always different and differed. He makes a pun on differ and deffer. Meaning is differed in that language has multiple meanings (why he likes puns) and one can never be sure that the meaning of a statement is always off stage waiting to come on, and when it does it only refers to another meaning. Life a child who always asks "why" the answer is never available, it's always in the next question, and the next, and the next. It's flickering away always. He uses the phase "always already," meaning is already absent.

Deconstruction works by finding a contradiction in the thesis and using that to flip over all the meanings. The classic Derridian example is the distinction in Rousseau between nature and nurture, the natural and civilized. Rousseau says that we can have natural morality we can be naturally good and naturally happy by being spontaneous and rooted in nature. He also says, however, that civilization is good because it nurtures us and gives us a basis in education and understanding. This is an inherent contradiction and Derrida exploits it to show that all of Rousseau's ideas are meaningless. In fact he shows that all meaning is meaningless. Everything falls apart, there is no grand edifice of truth that can stand before the onslaught of deconstruction. If one takes deconstruction seriously one must, to be totally consistent, just wind up sitting in a corner and never speaking and never assuming anything.

I ended part 1 with his statement that logic cannot be secured by logical argument He undermines logic and reason in this way and reduces them to ashes. Thus the final step in deconstruction is to show that there is no meaning, there is no truth all lies in ruin. His main objective is to destroy the Transcendental signifier because that is the essence of Platonic meaning,t he big idea at the top of the hierarchy that secures meaning and makes sense of all other marks that make sense of the world.He is quite aware that the TS equals God, he says so himself. This is his ultimate triumph over Christianity. It's a supreme moment for atheism, but of course the American scientifically obsessed, philosophically challenged atheists could never appreciates it. Once you come to truly understand Derrida and your faith survives it, nothing in the nature of an intellectual argument can ever threaten your faith again.

How does one survive it? One of the major pastimes in graduate school for student just encountering Derrida is to sit around trying to deconstruct Derrida. Everyone does this and everyone thinks he's the first person to think of it. You can just tell when student's understanding is reaching critical mass and she/he is about to say "Hey, let's deconstruct him!" Derrida knew this, and he traded in it. Its' one of the features that assured that people wanted to study him more. But it doesn't matter if you deconstruct him because it only proves his point. Since he says there is no truth there is no ultimate reality there is no meaning, ti doesn't matter if what he says is untrue and not meaningful. Except for one thing: you don't have to make the final step. If you are to reverse Derrida then you don't want to prove that he has no ultimate meaning, you want to prove that he does have meaning and he's just wrong. This is can be done by using his method, but not using the final step. Don't conclusion there's no meaning, just show that his meaning is wrong.

Derrdia follows Heidegger in almost everything. Almost every step he makes can be seen in Heidegger's Parmenides book. Both thinkers say that metaphysics is undeniable. Derrida wants to explicate the end of metaphysics, but he also says there is no hope of escaping metaphysics. Even language itself is metaphysical. We cannot help but do metaphysics. That means metaphysical hierarchies are inescapable which means the TS is inescapable. Thus the choice we have is to assume there is a TS or to fall silent and never speak, never try to think coherently.But we cannot live with that choice. Because we have to assume it, we can't live without it, we should assume there is a Transcendental signifier, and as Derrida points out, that's just a truncated version of God.





see now isn't it better to know than to just use incredulity?

now that we know a bit about the background let's put it in context of the argument. This is a explaination of what the argument says. The basic trick you need to know is that I disagree with Derrida. I think he has a compelling point, but it should be reversed and the actual reverse of his ideas are true. His arguments can be reversed with his own logic, just a matter of looking at it right. When that happens we see there is a TS and there has to be, and it's God.


The transcendental Signifier (TS) is the mark that gives meaning to all the marks that make sense of the world; the "zeit geist," the "urmind", the "overself", the "object of ultiamte concern", the "omega point", the "Atmon", the "one," the "Logos", "reason." all the major top ideas which bestow meaning upon the wrold are examples of the TS. People have always advanced such notions. (The word "G-O-D" is the Transcendental Signifier, the thing those letters refurr to is the "transcendental signifyed")

1) All people have some notion the "big idea" which makes sense of everything else.

William James, Gilford lectures:

"Plato gave so brilliant and impressive a defense of this common human feeling, that the doctrine of the reality of abstract objects has been known as the platonic theory of ideas ever since. Abstract Beauty, for example, is for Plato a perfectly definite individual being, of which the intellect is aware as of something additional to all the perishing beauties of the earth. "The true order of going," he says, in the often quoted passage in his 'Banquet,' "is to use the beauties of earth as steps along which one mounts upwards for the sake of that other Beauty, going from one to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair actions, and from fair actions to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute Beauty, and at last knows what the essence of Beauty is." 2 In our last lecture we had a glimpse of the way in which a platonizing writer like Emerson may treat the abstract divineness of things, the moral structure of the universe, as a fact worthy of worship. In those various churches without a God which to-day are spreading through the world under the name of ethical societies, we have a similar worship of the abstract divine, the moral law believed in as an ultimate object."



2) All Metaphysical Constructs include a TS.

Metaphysics is not merely realms unseen, but the organization of reality under a single organizing principle (this definition comes form one reading of Heidegger). All systems and groupings of the world verge on the metaphysical. Derrida and Heidegger say that it is impossible tto do without metaphysics since even language itself is metaphysical. Everything points to the Transcendental Signifier. ( see Heidegger, Parmenides, and Introduction to Metaphysics, and Derrida, Margins of Philosophy and almost any Derrida book).

3) Science has TS

William James--Gilford lectures:

"'Science' in many minds is genuinely taking the place of a religion. Where this is so, the scientist treats the 'Laws of Nature' as objective facts to be revered. ..."

Science is very Metaphysical. It assumes that the whole of reality and be organized and studied under one central principle, that of naturalism.

"For essential reasons the unity of all that allows itself to be attempted today through the most diverse concepts of science and of writting, is in principle, more or less covertly, yet always, determined by a an historico-metaphysical epoch of which we merely glimpse the closure." [Derrida, The End of the Book and the Begining of Writing, trans. Gayatri Spivak 1967 in Contemporary Critical Theory, ed. Dan Latimer, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovonovitch, 1989, p.166]

MetaListon Scinece and religion
http://www.meta-list.org/ml/ml_frameset.asp
Stephen Hawking's


"In his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time", physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his colleagues are looking for - a so-called "theory of everything" - then they will have seen into "the mind of God". Hawking is by no means the only scientist who has associated God with the laws of physics. Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, for example, has made a link between God and a subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. Lederman has suggested that when physicists find this particle in their accelerators it will be like looking into the face of God. But what kind of God are these physicists talking about?"

"Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions."




C. Attempts to Deconstruct TS lead to abyss of Meaninglessness, and back to TS.

1) Derridian Dectonstruction.

The French Post-structuralist Jaque Derrida seeks to explicate the end of Metaphysics which is the final project of Western philosophy. His technique of deconstruction aims at undermining any logos or first principle that would give rationality to the universe by unseating the privileges of reason which under gird all such projects. Even logic itself is undermined.


Derrida:

"Are we obeying the principle of reason when we ask what grounds this principle [reason] which is itself a principle of grounding? We are not--which does not mean that we are disobeying it either. Are we dealing here with a circle or with an abyss? The circle would consist in seeking to account for reason by reason, to reason to the principle of reason, appealing to the principle to make it speak of itself at the very point where, according to Heidegger, the prinicple of reason says nothing about reason itself. The abyss, the hole, ..., the empty gorge would be the impossibility for a principle of grounding to ground itself...Are we to use reason to account for the principle of reason? Is the reason for reason rational?"

Derrida in Criticism and Culture, Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schlefflier, Longman 1991, 20.



Derrida's argument amounts to saying, "logic does not endorse itself." The point of the quotation above seems to be that logic is in a dilemma. If one tries to prove logic by its own terms, one is merely arguing in circle. But, if one does not do this, there is no foundation upon which one can base logic, because logic is the foundation.

[Quotes from Derrida from "The University in the Eyes of It's Pupils" Diactricits]

2) Into the abyss and back out to TS.

Many critics of Deconstruction have noted that if we take this principle seriously we would wind up unable to speak or think, even language requires an organizing principle which orders the world of our thought and speech (of course the basic thrust of Postmodern thought understands us to be trapped in, as Jameson said, "the prison house of language" unable to get at the real things of the world and their understanding because all we can really ever think through is language). But in opening this abyss Derrida creates a safe bridge over it as well, although that is not his intention. He uses the principle of difference (which he spells as "difference" to indicate that meaning is both differing and differing) but difference becomes the organizing principle of a Derridian universe. IT not only explains how meaning is derived from signifyers, not only does it tear down the meaning of all hierarchies, but it actually builds new ones because it becomes the foundation of value in valuing difference.

"The constant danger of deconstruction is that it falls into the same kinds of hierarchies that it tries to expose. Derrida himself is quite aware of this danger--and his response--which is really a rhetorical response...is to multipy the names under which deconstruction traffics..." [--Con Davis,Culture and Critique 178-179]

D. unavoidable nature of TS indicates God is a priori.

Either way, weather we try building a reductionist notion of the universe or whether we tear down the hierarchies of reason that implies a TS, we can never escape the TS. This inescapable nature of the transcendental signifier points to the a priori nature of the God concept. That reality is ordered by a single principle which gives meaning and rationality to all other principles is inescapable, but humanities multifarious attempts to understand that principle, and the frightening conclusion that the principle leads to a creator God is the logic inference. All of the many signs which have been used to understand this uber-sign imply an intelligent ordering rationality which makes sense of the universe, and therefore, logically must have created it in the first place.

1) Transcendental signifer is unavoidable.

As has been pointed out above, there is no possibility of holding a rational view of the universe without an organizing principle, a "thing at the top." This indicates the ultiamte necessity of a TS. In other words, the fact that we cannot get away from the TS indicates that there must really be one.

2) God is the ultimate Transcendental Signifyer.

"Without God, who has been the ultimate Transcendent Signified, there is no central perspective, no objective truth of things, no real thing beyond language." [Nacy Murphy and James McClendon jr." Distinguishing Modern and Postmodern Theologies." Modern Theology, 5:3 April 1989, 211]

E. God is the ultimate unifying principle.

1) Coincidence of Oppossites.


Nicholas of Cuza's concept that God's infinity is a universal set subsuming all finite sets of oppossites. (See Westminster Dictinary of Christian Theology)

"The universe of Nicholas of Cusa is an expression or a development, though of course necessarily imperfect and inadequate, of God--imperfect and inadequate because it displays in the realm of multiplicity what in God is present in an indisaluable and intmate unity (complicatio) a unity which embraces not only the different but even the oppossite, qualities or determinations of being. In its turn every single thing in the universe represents it--the Universe-- and thus also God in its own particular manner; each in a manner different from that of all others, by contracting the wealth of the universe in accordence with its own unique individuality."[--Alexandre Koyre' From Closed World to The Infinite Universe, Baltimore: Johns Hoppkins University press, 1957, 8-9.]



Cuza's vision of a universe taken up metaphyiscally in God in an undifferentiated unity is grounded in the paradoxical nature of geomoetry. One example Cuza gives is of the dicotomy between straightness and curvelinarity. But if one was dealing with an infintie circle, from every point along the circle it would appear that the circle was a stairght line. Or another example; large and samll are opposites in a finite perspective, but in dealing with the infinitely large circle and the infinitely small one the center loses its special qualitie, both are at the same time both nowhere and everywhere, and thus equally meaningful and meaningless.This may not seem like a particularly Christian notion of God, but Paul Tillich remarks that Martin Luther embracced it," one of the most profound conceptions of God ever developed." Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought.

2) God as Being itself.

As being itself God is Metaphysically above the level of existing things in the universe and constitues all the potentiality and all actuality. This the nature of God is to order and to bring to concreseance potentialities. The signifyer 'G-o-d' universally signifies and therefore takes up into itself all concepts and principles of rationality.

3) All people seek TS, therefore, this reflects innate sense of God.

Not only do we seek it, we cannot avoid it. The alternative is a meaingless universe, and more than that, a universe without coherence to reality. Of course we have the rules of logic, and we have science to tell us facts, but those move toward the TS becasue they are both predicated upon organizing reality under a logos, a rationale.

10 comments:

Then to try and destroy his ego by saying "this shows why you can't bet published becasue this shows you are so stupid."
You dishonestly put quote remarks around that as if it was an actual quote of something I said.

WHICH IT IS NOT.

It is merely what you seem to imagine I was thinking.

Feel free to make all the personal insults you like about me Hinman but have the integrity not to "quote" something I never even said.

here's what you said on my blog:

"I suspect that anyone reviewing your work for publication in any journal of philosophy of even modest standards would have much the same reaction I have." Atheist watch.

now what reaction did you have? you called it "gibberish" on my boards.

Do you think what you actually said is any less insulting than my paraphrase? atheists are somethings so myopic. Why would you think being a literalist and demanding word for word makes seem any less a jerk? do you think what you really said is so clever and well phrased that you just naturally seem like a genius?

I think you come off as a much bigger jerk in your own words. If anything I actually toned down how stupid you sound.

you seem to have no concept of the realities of publishing in academia. Your turn a true accomplishment into a failure because you don't know anything.

you really think I would spend years working to produce four issues of a journal and get support from major Marcuse scholars just so I could publish one article?

you still have not shown me any of the major brilliant article you have published in academic journals.

which is it Not! O mother! Mother! he's bothering me, make him stop!

He doesn't see how precious I am, Mother says I am!

there is an atehist whose intellgience I respect quite a bit. His name is Fleetmouse. Here's what he said about the ts on my boards:







Re: TS argument

Postby fleetmouse on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:37 pm
"What interests me about the TS argument is how it parallels TAG. It's sort of a more refined TAG, one that doesn't insult the intelligence with that smugness that makes me want to smack someone.

I don't think it falls into the same fallacies that I've seen TAG defenders step in either, and that's because you have a philosopher's understanding of what logic is and not a superstitious yokel's. So instead of ridiculously positing "logic" at the core of everything, you have this much deeper and subtler concept of an organizing principle. And that has an intuitive appeal, because it seems to me that there is a parallel between intellectual organizing principles and the way things in the natural world appear to spontaneously self organize. And so it seems to me that what you're saying complements and extends rather than contradicts the worldview of naturalism.

I'm going to read your background material on Derrida and come back to this later.

edit: your two part essay on Derrida was terrific. I had thought from things you'd said earlier on CARM that you'd misunderstood Derrida but now I see that you just disagree with him, and I think you're performing a rescue-hijacking of the TS, like a philosophical Bruce Willis - Die Hard. :mrgreen:"


Ok now could we please stop discussing me and start discussing the argument?

It's an interesting read (I didn't come up with a critique yet), but it has a lot of spelling errors in it. While I probably do them all the time (and my grammar is far from being perfect), maybe you should read the whole thing again and edit typos out?

I have done that. I have dyslexia so I just wind up making more.

This is an interesting argument. In the spirit of critical thinking let me offer some objections.

In regards to P2, just because we can't have a livable view of reality without reliance on the TS doesn't mean that the TS really is a thing in reality. Imagine an island where unbelief in the tooth fairy causes instant death. Let's re-word P2 to say: "We have no choice but to assume some reality of the tooth fairy since we cannot function coherently (indeed we cannot function at all) without a tooth fairy." The fallacy here is easy to spot.

Besides this, I find the argument compelling. The more I read, the more I come to understand that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," is not just a theological truth but a philosophical one as well.

This is an interesting argument. In the spirit of critical thinking let me offer some objections.

In regards to P2, just because we can't have a livable view of reality without reliance on the TS doesn't mean that the TS really is a thing in reality. Imagine an island where unbelief in the tooth fairy causes instant death. Let's re-word P2 to say: "We have no choice but to assume some reality of the tooth fairy since we cannot function coherently (indeed we cannot function at all) without a tooth fairy." The fallacy here is easy to spot.


If people kept snuffing it because they stopped believing in the tooth fairy and no one knew why, maybe that would be a good reason to think there might actually be a tooth fairy, albeit a psychotic one.

If they are snuffing it because some mad dictator has them executed for not believing in the tooth fairy then you have a point.

that doesn't cut it. The argument is that TS is logically necessary to be able to make sense of anything. To object that requires that one use the TS to think about it.
Besides this, I find the argument compelling. The more I read, the more I come to understand that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," is not just a theological truth but a philosophical one as well.

thanks. I see it as a modern update to the Ontological argument.

Joe,

In some ways, this is pretty close in concept to Lewis' final polish of his version of the Argument from Reason (from Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 2nd edition, chp 3.)

I have a lot of respect for this argument, seeing as how it is (in effect) the same argument I use when deciding between theism and atheism. (Very different in form, but the same effect.)

One of its main formal weaknesses is that it over-balances on the ontological superiority issue (important though that is) while being rather vague about how this result should count as "God". God so far looks like a mere Platonic abstract; a static formal principle. With a little tweaking, the atheist could recognize this as being a mere reflection of our comprehension of the unity of existence: a unity that would necessarily apply even in an atheistic naturalistic reality.

This isn't to say that the argument is trash. But a constant temptation in the history of ontological apologetics is to jump further than the argument warrants. You avoid that in one sense by not trying to make the argument point toward anything more than basic theism; but the actual theistic content hasn't been more than suggestively hinted at, either. (On the other hand, maybe that was all you were after. But then, you should be clearer about what you haven't done, too.)


That being said, I agree with your reply to Ron's comment. If we had no choice but to assume the reality of the tooth fairy since without the reality of the tooth fairy any argument we make would instantly fail (which is much closer to what your argument is attempting), then the rational thing to do would be to believe in the existence of the tooth fairy.

On the other hand, Ron's critique points to the difference between Transcendental Arguments for Reason (most famous among Reformed metaphysicians, perhaps most infamously attempted by Cornelius Van Till), and Classical Arguments from Reason (such as what was used by C. S. Lewis--and myself, for that matter. {g} Though the distinction isn't between Calvinists on one side and Arminians on the other; Calvinist apologist R. C. Sproul, student and admirer of Van Til, is a proponent of the Classical method, for example.)

The Tran-AtR attempts to argue that without a robust ontological posit of theism (exclusive of atheism), our reasoning must necessarily fail. The main formal problem with this line of approach (and the other main formal problem with your argument as it stands, therefore) is that in practice it isn't in fact making use of the notion of God as the necessary presumption for reasoning. It's making use of the human capability for reasoning as being the necessary presumption for an argument using human reasoning.

You correctly note (via Derrida, though he was hardly alone in this) that human reasoning itself cannot be formally proved; but that (contra Derrida) we have to necessarily presume its existence anyway. At that point you're no longer in a position to attempt a Tran-AtR.

You are however in a position to attempt a Classical AfR: so, since we have to presume the existence of human reasoning in order to make any valid argumentative claim to truth (which we can prove is a necessary presumption even to that proof, although we cannot prove that this means human reasoning exists), then let us consider the property characteristics of our reasoning capability. And once those have been tallied up, let us consider which basic worldviews (theism vs. atheism; naturalism vs. supernaturalism) do or do not fit the evidential data of those property characteristics. Or even more strongly, let us consider which basic worldviews do and do not undermine the necessary presumption we have to make about ourselves. (And follow that up with a consideration of matching results to evidential data.)

Large portions of your argument are in fact primed to do this. It's just that they don't. {s} Or rather, they don't do so very consistently.


So yes, I think it can stand some tweaking. But it's a good attempt with a lot of potential.

JRP

The TS reminds me of the beliefs of the characters in Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" who rationalize all of history to fit some grand Templar conspiracy...the conspiracy itself is vague enough and flexible enough to explain everything, so ultimately explains nothing...

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