Man is the measure of all things, there is no further reality
As there was no specified structure, I will let Pro present arguments first.
When I say that it is normative I an denying the right of anyone to just claim that the world is how they see it and let that be an end to it. What I am denying is that the way we think about the world makes no appeal to any superlative reality i.e the material world as it truly is. That the sentences we speak are true or false in virtue of some magical notion of correspondence between their content and the way stuff in some deeper sense really is. I am as it were denying realism, the correspondence theory of truth. Truth insofar as it exists requires to matter be mediated through human experience. It is in this sense that I hold Con to be responsible for showing that any pure correspondence theory of truth bypassing humanity can count as plausible.
Speculation about what one side rather than another needs to show in order to win the argument is presumptuous, we get to make our points and the voters get to vote that is the nature of debate. Lets begin.
Wittgenstein points out that there is one thing that cannot be unequivocally said to be 1m long and that was until very recently when the standard was changed; the metre rule in Paris at 0 celsius.
His reasoning being that on the one hand the metre rule is the measure by which all other measurement rules are governed, it calibrates the length of all metre rules. To know something is 1m long is to measure it against the rule that defines what being one metre is. But it makes no sense to talk of measuring something against itself, in this sense the 1m rule is not 1m long. It has its own length.
As this is the sense in which things are 1m are 1m it is not 1m in this sense. Alternatively however it is the very essence of what being one metre is. So in a different sense it is 1m.
Yet if it were to shrink we would not expect the world to suddenly grow, so on yet another sense, of no importance whatsoever. The bar is intended to represent the one 10,000th of the distance of a line intersecting the meridian at Paris from the north pole to the equator or alternatively any of the other definitions used. C
We can go through each of SI units and find a similar arbitrariness to each. Celsius as the melting point of ice (but under what pressure? Why H2 0 and not the boiling point of something else say flourine. What is of importance is that at least some are entirely arbitrary. What gives life to these measures is the human conventions rituals practices that they enable in the definition of our shared reality.
Due to character constraints, I will post arguments this round and rebuttals in following rounds.
1. The Constructor is Reality
If reality is a human construct and nothing more, how does one explain the existence of the human? Is the human that is constructing reality not also reality himself? Who is constructing the human? The human cannot have constructed his own person and existence, or else we have an illogical circle of causation. There must be an outside source. Something brought the human into existence, and therefore a reality would have existed before humankind.
2. Perception vs Reality
In his opening, Pro states, "knowledge about science, religion, art and society is through man..." Although this statement is true, it does not take into account the difference between perception and reality. We perceive certain things about the world around us, and our perceptions form the basis of science, religion, etc., but these perceptions do not necessarily reflect reality. Many times throughout history, humanity has discovered that its perception of reality has been incorrect. We discover another truth about reality we did not know before, and it changes our perceptions. Reality did not change. Our knowledge and perception of reality changed. The earth did not suddenly become a sphere. Once we discovered the reality of a spherical earth, it changed our perceptions from those of a flat earth.
3. Conflicting Realities
If reality is a human construct, then what happens when two humans have conflicting ideas about reality? If my reality is a world in which humans are evolved animals that must fend for themselves, and another human's reality is a world in which humans are created children of a god that looks after them, which reality is truly reality? They can't both be. Humanity would have to agree on the nature of reality in every minute detail in order to prevent the possibility of conflicting realities. This is just not the case.
4. Other Perceivers
The idea that humanity alone is responsible for reality rules out the possibility of other conscious, self-aware life forms. We do not know and cannot prove that there are not other, non-human life forms that are also aware of reality and coloring it with their own perceptions. Whether they be gods, aliens, or self-aware animals, we may not be the only perceivers, nor the only constructors.
Feyerabend forfeited this round.
"...beyond that which we can think of and speak about."
Pro misstates the resolution. In his title, his opening, and his sentences following the one quoted above, he makes it clear that the debate is about whether there is reality beyond that which humanity has created, or that which "is a human construct." We can "think of and speak about" a reality that others have constructed, so this is not the point of the debate at all.
"When I say that it is normative I an [sic] denying the right of anyone to just claim that the world is how they see it..."
Actually, if reality is nothing more than a human construct, then the world is exactly "how they see it". This leads into my argument #3 in Round 2, about conflicting realities.
"Truth insofar as it exists requires to matter be mediated through human experience."
Yes, as I covered in my argument #2, humans perceive reality and truth in different ways that are not necessarily a complete and correct picture of reality. However, this does not change reality. My perception of the earth as flat does not make it so. The truth that the world is a sphere remains unchanged, waiting to be discovered.
"Speculation about what one side rather than another needs to show in order to win the argument is presumptuous..."
Not at all. Pro's arguments must uphold the resolution, or else he could take the debate if any imaginable direction and still claim valid points. The validity of a point is irrelevant to the debate if the point is not relevant to the resolution. As far as my arguments, they need only show that Pro has not upheld the resolution. Requiring any more of Con is not fair, as Pro could propose an unfalsifiable resolution and claim a tie when Con does not falsify it, whether Pro has sufficiently upheld it or not. By spelling out what was required of both sides, I was attempting to assist voters who may be new to debate.
"What gives life to these measurements is the human conventions...in the definition of our shared reality."
Pro points out the arbitrariness of some basic units of measurement, such as the meter and degrees Celsius. However, he states that the meter represents "one 10,000th of the distance of a line intersecting the meridian at Paris from the north pole to the equator," meaning that the meter is not arbitrary at all, as it always has a physical standard to compare it to.
Just the same, the arbitrariness of a unit of measurement does not prove that reality is arbitrary, only that our perceptions are. As Pro himself notes, "Yet if it (the meter) were to shrink, we would not expect the world to suddenly grow..." Exactly. Reality remains unfazed by humanity's arbitrary perceptions.
Thus far, Pro has not upheld the resolution. He still has not shown that reality is only a human construct and does not extend beyond human perception.
I take reality to mean that which despite appearances to the contrary is how things are. The underlying objects and factors that shape the phenomena we perceive in our existence. My claim is that the notion of reality is a human construct, their are shades of realism my claim certainly is intended to apply to naive realism which claims that the meaning of a sentence is determined by underlying facts of the matter, that statements are true iff they correspond to actual states of underlying reality false otherwise.
My objections realism are as follows
1) We have access to reality only to phenomena, We cannot get to the noumena or things as they are in themselves. Yet the realist requires noumena noumena are a realist posit. c.f Kant.Point 2 round 2. Con counts as a naive realist, 'we discover another truth about reality and it changes our perception' Rather than we drop some posits and replace them with others.
2) Conflicting realities,for the realist there can be one and only reality. I would agree it is the one we see and live in. Realists ignore the scientific method. If on accepts that reality is not a matter of the phenomena why employ science at all a mystic provided she got it right (whatever that means) would do as well mystically stating the underlying metaphysical reality of the true noumena. Instead science evaluates statements theories according to a method that requires posits to account for the phenomena we perceive the onus is on the phenomenal, science itself has no privileged access to the noumenal.
3) Science is directed to a goal; understanding, predicting controlling the reality around us among other things. My suggestion is that science is true to this goal and seeks to explain the phenomena we encounter the world as it appears to us.
A human construct is a truth commitment to the existence of something for explanatory purposes. It is the claim that they exist out of the toolbox so to speak that I object to existence that is in some sense more real than the phenomena they are intended to explain.
Cons points 1 and to 2 can be dealt with by considering the role of humanity in the development of conceptualised reality. Phenomena are insofar as science goes phenomenal perceptions, these perceptions can then are measured using human measurement and theorised about through logical induction and mathematics. There is no problem about how the universe was before man. Science has moved on since the Enlightenment, Science explains itself as model theoretic. The question of which theory is true becomes which is the best model. Metaphysics is moved out of the equation. In the models we have of the past human beings have not always existed either. Other species alien or otherwise or may not have models. I simply don't know whether there are attempts to model the canine or alien view of the universe.
I think I now understand a little better where my opponent is coming from. I believe a better resolution for Pro’s purposes would be something like, “Mankind’s reality is a construct of perceptions and assumptions”, or, “We can never know for sure that we see the truest reality”, or, “The noumena is unprovable."
As it stands now, Pro’s resolution is unprovable. He does not simply say that humanity can never reach a knowledge of a reality beyond our own perceptions and constructs. He states that a reality beyond our constructs does not exist; that there are only phenomena, and no noumena.
1. “We have access to reality only to phenomena, We cannot get to the noumena or things as they are in themselves.”
While this may be true, it does not mean that the noumena does not exist. Humanity’s inability to reach or prove something does not rule out that thing’s existence. As argued in my argument #4, it is possible that there are other sentient beings in this universe. Along with this possibility comes the possibility that those beings can reach the noumena, and interact with reality on a level humanity cannot comprehend. Yes, this idea is only conceptual and unprovable, but Pro’s assertion is also unprovable, and, as Con, I am only responsible for nullifying Pro’s arguments and demonstrating that the resolution is in doubt.
2. “…the onus is on the phenomenal, science itself has no privileged access to the noumenal.”
I agree with Pro’s point here, but must point out that it is not relevant to the resolution. Yes, the scientific method, along with humanity’s perceptions, are based entirely in the phenomenal aspects of reality rather than some foundational, noumenal reality. However, this does not prove that the noumenal does not exist. Pro’s resolution states that a reality outside of human construction does not exist, not that it may exist but human knowledge of it is likely unattainable.
3. “It is the claim that they exist out of the toolbox so to speak that I object to existence that is in some sense more real than the phenomena they are intended to explain.”
While we may never know or even be able to know if such an extra-phenomenal reality exists, this does not negate its existence. Again, humanity’s inability to reach or prove something does not rule out that thing’s existence. So far Pro has not proven the non-existence of the noumena, thus the resolution has still not been upheld.
Con concludes round 4 with the statement that our reality, and what we call “truth”, is based in whatever model of reality seems to be the best scientifically. While this is true, it still does not negate the existence of a basic reality outside of humanity’s models. In fact, the regular discovery of new variables and phenomena in aspects of our reality that we previously thought conclusive would seem to suggest that there is a base reality at the bottom of it all, and we are gradually peeling back the layers. Unprovable, yes, but no more so than Pro's thesis.
Con is asking me to disprove a distinction without a difference.
It is the realist who maintains that there is a noumenal reality in addition to the reality we experience as a species,as a societies, as animals and as cognitive beings.
The term noumenal is negatively defined it a contrary of the phenomenal world of identities and properties. By definition it lacks any perceptual properties even identity as given by Leibniz's law. It is an object of faith where the faith has no logical content, or qualitative content. It is a term without a referent for if it had a referent it would have the property of being a referent of a phenomenal marker.
The question is not whether the existence of or the non existence of the noumenal can be proved. Proving it to not exist negates the concept. To say the noumenal is provable, is to say it is not noumenal since it is provable. To say it is not provable is to say that the noumenal cannot be proved from which it can be derived that we have no grounds for claiming its existence. That much can be gleamed from the terminology.
The question then is there anything beyond the world of human constructs. My claims in the above arguments have sought establish that science is established upon human construct such as size derived from human practices such as measurement. Time and energy from human observation mathematical developments such as calculus.
What we do not have is a magic eye through which to view the world. Of course human beings cannot see everything, nevertheless we have theories about what can or cannot be, in addition very small items of evidence can lead to great quantifies of general knowledge.
As he notes in his final round, Pro has argued that science, measurement, time, etc. are human constructs, and that we cannot see what truly "is" outside of perception. While this may be true, and logically evident if not scientifically, it is not evidence for the nonexistence of a reality beyond our perception and construction.
Proving nonexistence is a difficult, if not impossible, task. When one says, "There is no god," they are making a claim that is impossible to prove, as they do not have access to the furthest bounds of space, time, and the universe in order to conclusively show that no god resides there. In the same way, the claim my opponent has made, that "man is the measure of all things, there is no further reality" is impossible to prove. Just because we and Pro cannot grasp the concept of a reality beyond perception and mental construct does not mean that such a reality does not exist.
Thank you Pro, for a thought-provoking debate, and thank you, voters, for your time and consideration.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||4|