The Instigator
popculturepooka
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
DakotaKrafick
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

The Argument from Logic

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
DakotaKrafick
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,626 times Debate No: 21994
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (56)
Votes (7)

 

popculturepooka

Pro

I thank DakotaKrafick for being a willing and eager participant in this debate on God's existence. I will be using a less commonly used argument for God's existence; Con (DakotaKrafick) will be arguing against it. My burden of proof is to show that the argument I propound is sound; Con's burden of proof is to show that it is not.

By "logic" I simply mean the laws of logic such as the law of non-contradiction, law of identity, and the law of the excluded middle.



Rules

Round 1 is for definitions, clarifications, questions, change of terms, etc.
Rounds 2 - 4 will be used for argumentation.
No semantics!
Have fun! :D
DakotaKrafick

Con

Thank you, popculturepooka, for sharing my passion on this subject and debating with me. Though the exact premises have yet to be divulged to us, my opponent has chosen to use some version of the argument from logic. He will be trying to defend its soundness throughout the course of the debate while I shall be trying to refute it.

I accept all of the terms and rules of this debate and I am looking forward to it. What a coincidence I had been recently thinking about what an interesting argument this is since I first saw it used in another debate by another member a few days ago. This should indeed be quite fun.
Debate Round No. 1
popculturepooka

Pro

Thanks to DakotaKrafick again.

The Argument from Logic

The argument goes something like this (as formulated by Greg Welty and James Anderson):

"The laws of logic are necessary truths about truths; they are necessarily true propositions. Propositions are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts. So the laws of logic are necessarily true thoughts. Since they are true in every possible world, they must exist in every possible world. But if there are necessarily existent thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existent mind, there must be a necessarily existent person. A necessarily existent person must be spiritual in nature, because no physical entity exists necessarily. Thus, if there are laws of logic, there must also be a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being. The laws of logic imply the existence of God." [1]

Let's break it down (I will mainly be taking about the law of non-contradiction (LNC for short) but anything said about it can be, mutatis mutandis, applied to other the other laws of logic):

The laws of logic are necessary truths about truths; they are necessarily true propositions.

If the LNC is anything it is true. When I say that nothing can both be true and false at the same time I mean to assert that it is true that nothing can both be true and false at the same time. It can't be true that you're getting beaten and burned at the same time and in the same sense that you're not getting beaten and burned (to borrow a turn of phrase of the philosopher Avicenna). [2] It is true in the same way that the utterance "3 x 6 = 18" is. The LNC seems to be a truth about about other truths - i.e. it's the truth that other truths cannot be false at the same time in the same sense. Not only is it true that the LNC is truth about other truths it seems also to be a truth that couldn't possibly be false. In short, it is a necessary truth. [3] A decisive argument cant be brought forward that the LNC is a necessary truth - the LNC is the very standard we use to determine what's possible in the first place! Think about it. When one considers, for instance, whether unicorns could exist one has to consider whether the concept of a unicorn is logically consistent (non-contradictory). If it is not logically consistent then unicorns could not have possibly existed.

Now, to backtrack a little, to say that something is true is to say that it is a proposition. "Propositions, we shall say, are the sharable objects of the attitudes and the primary bearers of truth and falsity." [4] A proposition is a primary bearer of truth or falsity; that it is truth-valued by it's very nature and not truth-valued in virtue of something else. If the LNC is a truth then it is a proposition. If it is a truth about truths it is a proposition about other propositions. If it is necessarily true then it is a necessarily true proposition.

Propositions are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts.

If the LNC is a proposition showing that the the LNC is real will show that propositions are real entities. By "real" it is meant they exist in the same sense that the earth is real. One quick argument for the conclusion that the LNC is a real entity is in the way that properties are attributed to existent things. It makes a lot of sense to say that my car is solid. But that's because my car actually exists. It wouldn't any sense to say that my non-existent car is solid. I wouldn't have a referent to to apply the property of "solid" too. In the same way I can say that the LNC is true; it possesses the property of "truth". My utterance would make no sense if there was nothing the property could be beared by. The LNC is real.

If it is a real entity that does not automatically mean that it is physical. One good reason for thinking that the LNC is not physical is that it is necessarily true; it is true in all possible worlds. [5] No physical entity seems to be necessary in that sense. For instance, it seems eminently plausible to think that the laptop I am currently typing this on might not have existed - it is a contingent (not necessary) entity. Or, to put in possible world language: there is some possible world "w" in which at "w" my laptop doesn't exist. Now, it seems to be that any physical entity seems contingent in the very same way as my laptop is. It seems possible that a physical entity does not exist in at least one possible world.

If the LNC is a non-physical, real entity what kind of thing could it be? The answer here is that it seems to be a thought. The reason to think this is because since the LNC is a proposition and propositions inherently possess the property of "intentionality". Intentionality is the "aboutness" of something. [6] For example, if I say I am tying on this laptop right now I intend (lol) to say something about the act of of my typing on this existent laptop. Thoughts seem to be about things. Right now I'm thinking "I better hurry up and finish this before time runs out." Obviously this thought is about this debate and the time limit and how I need to wrap this up. If propositions are all about things, and if the LNC is proposition, and if thoughts are what convey this intentionality, then the LNC is a thought.

So the laws of logic are necessarily true thoughts.

If the LNC is a necessarily true proposition and propositions are thoughts then the LNC is a necessarily true thought.

Since they are true in every possible world, they must exist in every possible world.

If the LNC is true in every possible world, this must mean it exists in all possible worlds. Otherwise it would make sense to say the LNC is a truth in possible world w but the LNC doesn't exist in possible world w. Obviously that doesn't make sense.

But if there are necessarily existent thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existent mind, there must be a necessarily existent person.

Thoughts always need to be had by something. It would make no sense to say no one is thinking these thoughts. The most obvious candidate for something having thoughts is a mind. But these are special kinds of thoughts; they are necessarily existent thoughts. Necessarily existent thoughts can't just be the thoughts of any ole mind; they have to be the thoughts of a necessarily existent mind. For instance, humans are contingent beings. We could have possibly not existed so obviously we the LNC being a necessarily existent thought could not just be identical to our thoughts. We know that the type of minds that entertain rational/logical thoughts are persons. So this mind must be possessed by a necessarily existent person.

A necessarily existent person must be spiritual in nature, because no physical entity exists necessarily.

I've established earlier that physical entities are contingent so this necessarily existent person couldn't possibly be physical.

Thus, if there are laws of logic, there must also be a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being. The laws of logic imply the existence of God.


If we conceive of the spiritual as "non-physical" (among other things) then the conclusion seems to speak for itself. An immaterial, personal being who exists in all possible worlds? As Aquinas said, "and this everyone understands to be God."

Sources

[1] http://www.proginosko.com... (pg. 20)
[2] "Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned."
[3] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[6] http://plato.stanford.edu...

DakotaKrafick

Con

Thank you, popculturepooka, for presenting this interesting argument. What I find most fascinating about it is that it's more than just an argument for the existence of God, at least the way I see it; it's a guileful provocation for doubters to try to refute it. It taunts any challenger by implying that you cannot refute the argument without utilizing the laws of logic, thus futilely proving the conclusion true. That's why it's the most fun, for me, to try to refute.

I must say the argument certainly seems, if nothing else, intuitive, but I find a couple of its premises to be quite strange in their implications and reasonings. The two I find the most troubled are these:

1. Propositions (such as the LNC) are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts.
and
2. If there are necessarily existence thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existence mind, there must be a necessarily existent person.

Propositions (such as the LNC) are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts.

Firstly, to say that something is non-physical, and therefore must be a thought is contradicting. My opponent might as well have said "the laws of logic are real, but cannot be physical; they are essentially bricks". This is because a thought is a physical thing, a construct of cell activity in a developed and evolutionarily advanced brain [1]. Being one who is not a neuroscientist, I admittedly can't explain it in much detail, but thoughts are necessarily physical products of physical minds; they are certainly not some supernatural things that visit our brains from time to time from some otherworldly dimension. Because thoughts are physical products of a physical mind, the laws of logic would seem, therefore, to be products of some such mind. Since my opponent has explained that God's mind is non-physical, God cannot possibly be the source of such thoughts.

However, my opponent does make a good case for saying that the laws of logic are non-physical. This is simply because they are, which brings me to my second point: the laws of logic are not non-physical thoughts (as if such a thing could exist), but non-physical concepts. There are a few differences between thoughts and concepts, a primary one being that concepts do not necessarily require a concept-maker (at least, not as far as anyone knows yet). Indeed, the evidence seems to point to the opposite conclusion: concepts are merely the necessary result of a materialistic universe. The laws of physics do not allow for something to be both itself and not itself simultaneously; therefore, there is a concept which interprets this intrinsic aspect of reality (the logical law of identity). For these reasons, I hold that pure materialism accounts for the laws of logic more sufficiently than the supernatural, despite (or, perhaps, especially) how intuitive claims of the supernatural appear.

If there are necessarily existence thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existence mind, there must be a necessarily existent person.

What amazes me most about this premise is that it seems to imply that thinking a thought makes that thought a reality. If something exists as a thought, then it does not necessarily exist anywhere else in reality but the thinker's own mind. Therefore, if the laws of logic were truly nothing but thoughts, then they would exist in God's mind and nowhere else; that is, until God decides to magically transform his thoughts into genuine, applicable concepts to govern reality.

Furthermore, this premise is defended with the notion that not "any ole mind" can be thinking these necessarily existent thoughts. I hate to break it to you, but I'm thinking about the LNC right now. In fact, everyone reading this debate has inevitably thought about the LNC at one point or another. Are we all gods, or is it perhaps more likely that the laws of logic do not require a necessarily existent mind to be thought about? Indeed, the laws of logic as concepts do not require any minds to function; even if the universe was void of any conscious entities, it would still be impossible for something to be both itself and not itself simultaneously (a consequence of the laws of physics). These concepts only require minds to understand them and practically utilize them in fields such as philosophy.

Conclusion

I believe I have adequately refuted the soundness of the argument as it was presented. To review the most salient points of my rebuttal:

1. Pro's description of the laws of logic is self-defeating. As thoughts, they must be physical and cannot be the products of anything other than a physical mind. Therefore, God is the only possibility we can definitively rule out!
2. As thoughts, the laws of logic would have existence in the mind, not existence in reality. They have existence in reality; therefore, the laws of logic are at least more than mere thoughts.
3. The laws of logic are conceptual products of the laws of physics. Whatever would be a logical contradiction or necessity would also be a physical contradiction or necessity. Therefore, pure materialism offers a more reasonable solution to the existence of logic than supernatural claims.

Source
[1] Andrew Koob; "The Root of Thought" (http://www.scientificamerican.com...)

Debate Round No. 2
popculturepooka

Pro

Thanks to DakotaKrafick for his response. I admit that these objections weren't what I had expected. I still don't think they work.

Con challenges two my premises; let's go through some salient points:

Propositions (such as the LNC) are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts.

"Firstly, to say that something is non-physical, and therefore must be a thought is contradicting."

Well, I didn't really say that. I don't believe - nor did I imply - that merely because something is non-physical that entails that it must be a thought. After all, I believe God is non-physical but I don't literally believe that God Himself is identical to a thought. Sure he has thoughts but that is not the same as saying he is a thought. What I said is that since the LNC is a necessarily true proposition that means it cannot be physical since no physical entity is necessary in that sense.

Con says thought is just cell activity in the brain. There are a couple of overwhelming difficulties for Con's contentions here:

1) That's just begging the question. I gave an argument for the conclusion that the LNC when conceived of as a thought is non-physical; Con gave us a bare assertion that just automatically assumes the falsity of my argument without any, well, argumentation. Con just assumes at the outset that my position is false and then by proceeding from that position no doubt finds it an easy thing to do show how my position is false.

2) No thought isn't literally a physical thing. Say that I'm thinking right now about my upcoming vacation; what Con wants us to believe is that if the chemical reactions and the neuron synapses ("neural realizers/correlates" in philosophy of mind-speak) which realized this thought are located my thought is literally nothing but these neural realizers. That is literally identical with these neural realizers. So what Con is saying is that my thought has mass - my neural realizers sure do and since they are identical to my thought that means my thought has mass. Or that my neural realizers (the neuron snapping and the chemicals whirring) literally have semantic content; that these mean something and have content in the literal sense. One of the attributes of my thought is that is only privately accessible by me; i.e.. it is necessarily first personal and subjective (in that it's had by a subject). What Con wants us to believe is that a material object/event (which is always describable in third personal "objective" terms) literally is first personal as well. This makes absolutely no sense.

2a) This merely assumes the highly controversial thesis of identity theory. [1][2] And when I say highly controversial I mean that even most self-identified who specialize in philosophy of mind (or even some neuroscientists and psychologists) as physicalists or materialists or naturalists or what have you don't subscribe to the theory. Most are non-reductive physicalists. [3] And for very good reason. Con is certainly welcome to argue that identity theory is true (and I rather hope he does because philosophy of mind is one my favorite subjects) but I'm not willing to just grant this (nor should the audience).

2b) A real problem here is that if propositions (and therefore the LNC) are identical with beings' brain inscriptions that means that the LNC could have possibly not existed. It makes no sense to say that a necessary truth like something can't both be true and not true at the same time is identical with the brain inscriptions of beings who might not have existed. The implications are staggering. If the LNC is identical with brain inscriptions in human beings that means the LNC didn't exist before human beings evolved. That means it was possible for something to both be true and false at the same time. Really?

For three, Con's argument seems to be a non-sequitur and another instance of begging the question.

It seems to go like this:

1) Thoughts in organisms that have an evolutionary history are produced by a physical organ
2) Therefore, all thoughts are necessarily produced by a physical organ

Wait, what? That doesn't even follow! What about thoughts that are had by beings that are neither organisms nor have had evolutionary histories? Con could just say that there are no beings that are neither organisms or don't have evolutionary histories but that would just be assuming the falsity of my argument on the onset to show how wrong I am. That's begging the question. Or Con could provide an argument that thought can only be necessarily had by beings with the with evolutionary histories but it would be just that - an argument that needs support. Not an unsupported assertion like Con's argument is.

Con goes on to say that the laws of logic are just concepts yet they are an intrinsic part of physical reality; no non-physical minds need apply!

There's a bit of a difficulty for Con here. Let's look at the dictionary:

con·cept  [kon-sept]


noun

1. a general notion or idea; conception.



2. an idea of something formed by mentally combining all itscharacteristics or particulars; a construct.



3. a directly conceived or intuited object of thought. [4]

Doesn't this speak for itself? It'd be nonsense to have a concept without a conceptualizer. If Con agrees that the LNC is a concept he is merely agreeing with me that my argument is sound.


"Indeed, the evidence seems to point to the opposite conclusion: concepts are merely the necessary result of a materialistic universe. The laws of physics do not allow for something to be both itself and not itself simultaneously; therefore, there is a concept which interprets this intrinsic aspect of reality (the logical law of identity). "

This is just confused.

1) Con seems to be confusing logical possibility and physical possibility. [5] For example, it's physically impossible to escape from black hole; it's not logically impossible to do so.

2) If Con agrees the LNC is a concept he's already conceded my point. And "interpreting" something is necessarily an act done by some mind; physical processes or descriptions of those physical processes (physical laws) don't interpret each other. This just ignores my point about the LNC being a proposition and a proposition necessarily being "intentional" in that it is directed toward or about something else. Physical entities (nor laws) are not directed toward or about something else so to say that this would be an "intrinsic part" of a purely physical reality makes no sense.

If there are necessarily existence thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existence mind, there must be a necessarily existent person.

Con's amazement here ought to be curbed because he seems off base. Con makes a perplexing claim that thinking a thought make that thought a reality. ...then what does that make it? A non-reality? Is Con saying that your thought literally doesn't exist when you think? Con must mean "reality" as in "outside the mind". And Con provides the answer to his own questions when he says (more or less) that God thoughts act as genuine applicable concepts to govern reality. He actually agrees with the author of the original article I posted; Welty thinks that some of God's thoughts function as abstract objects for us finite thinkers. [7]

Con misunderstands my claim here. What I said is that these necessarily existent thoughts can't literally be (I mean as in a literal identity claim) our thoughts as we are not necessary persons. We can entertain these thoughts but these thoughts can't literally be identical with our own thoughts.


Sources

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://dictionary.reference.com...
DakotaKrafick

Con

Thanks, pop, for your response. It seems, though, that in trying to debunk my refutations, you inadvertently debunked your own argument a couple of different times.

1. Propositions (such as the LNC) are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts.

I've been challenged in a multitude of different ways by merely saying thoughts are physical products of physical minds. Let's run through each one carefully...

1) Begging the Question

Firstly, I am accused of begging the question. Begging the question is a fallacy committed when one tries to assert the truth of a conclusion based on premises that already presuppose that conclusion's truth. [1] For example:

1. The Bible says God exists.
2. The Bible is infallible.
3. Therefore, God exists.

How do we know premise two is correct? Because it's the inspired word of God, of course! I'm unsure, however, how I'm utilizing circular reasoning in asserting either of my premises "thoughts are physical" or "thoughts are products of physical minds". I haven't even provided a syllogism for either of them, simply because (potentially to my opponent's dismay) it's not a matter of philosophy; it's a matter of science.

2) No thought is literally a physical thing./No, thought isn't literally a physical thing.

My opponent puts a lot of words in my mouth, so just give me a second to properly chew before I continue...

Okay. He says that I want you to believe our thoughts are literally nothing more than the neurons and cells involved in making the thoughts. No, I don't want you to believe that. That's like saying we must believe chocolate bars are literally the metal machinery that made them in the Hershey's factory. Though it is the neurons that are involved in making thoughts, thoughts are not literally the neurons.

He goes on to say that if thoughts are identical with human beings' neurons, then the laws of logic must not have existed before humans were born. This is why (a) I didn't say that thoughts are identical with human being's neurons and (b) I didn't say the laws of logic are thoughts (you're the one that's saying that).

In fact, I suppose at any time God could just stop thinking about the laws of logic and then they would no longer apply, hm? Or no, must God always be thinking about them without pause? What exactly is forcing him to think about the laws of logic 24/7? If it is simply essential that God be thinking about the laws of logic, then why can't it simply be essential that the laws of logic exist, period? It seems adding God into the equation only adds an unnecessary and unsatisfactory step, violating Ockham's razor (the principle which states the solution with the fewest assumptions is most likely true) [2].

3) Hasty Generalization

This fallacy goes by many names, none of which my opponent has heard of apparently, so I shall now formally introduce this informal fallacy to you. You accuse my argument of being non-sequitor and question-begging, when hasty generalization (or any of its other aliases) would be more suitable. Hasty generalization is committed when a property is assumed to be true for all of a whole because it is true for at least some of a whole (for example: all of the women I've met have been single; therefore, all women must be single) [3].

It's true; to say all thoughts we know of are the result of an evolutionary evolved physical organism, so therefore all thoughts must be the result of an evolutionary evolved physical organism is technically hasty generalization. However, so too is my opponent guilty of this error in inductive reasoning. In his first round, pro says this: "Thoughts always need to be had by something. It would make no sense to say no one is thinking these thoughts."

Really, Pro? So it's okay to say all thoughts must be thought by something (presumably because all thoughts we know of are thought by something), but it's too much of a stretch to say that "something" must be a physical brain...? Ultimately, you've defeated your own argument with this devastating contradiction, unless you can somehow demonstrate why ALL thoughts must be thought by something (without committing hasty generalization) and why, using that same reasoning, we can't also derive they can be the products of a physical mind.

"What about thoughts that are had by beings that are neither organisms nor have had evolutionary histories?"

Thoughts that aren't had by organisms, eh...? Like what, Pro? The laws of logic being thought by God? Now that answer would be question-begging.

2. If there are necessarily existence thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existence mind, there must be a necessarily existent person.

"Con makes a perplexing claim that thinking a thought [doesn't] make that thought a reality."

Quite perplexing, indeed, to assert that thinking about fish doesn't make fish appear out of thin air.

"...then what does that make it? A non-reality?"

It makes it a thought; something that exists in your mind and nowhere else.

"Is Con saying that your thought literally doesn't exist when you think? Con must mean "reality" as in "outside the mind"."


Yes, that must be what I mean, considering that's exactly what I said at the end of my last round: "As thoughts, the laws of logic would have existence in the mind, not existence in reality."

I'm not sure why you're feigning such confusion, Pro (hopefully feigning, anyway). You yourself said "One of the attributes of my thought is that is only privately accessible by me."

If God is thinking about these thoughts, then they must be only privately accessible by him, right? You continue to contradict yourself by saying thoughts are only privately accessible by the one thinking them, but the laws of logic are somehow accessible to everyone and everything despite being thoughts. I think you're going to have a tough time explaining this one away without committing special pleading.

Conclusion

My opponent has made a number of contradictions to his own argument, which leads us to believe his premises do not have the strong foundations he would like us to believe they do. He will have to support some of his assumptions with evidence:

1. All thoughts need someone to think them. (You yourself said my own reasoning was fallacious, so you can't merely say "because all thoughts we know of need someone to think them".)
2. Not all thoughts need a physical someone to think them. (How can a thought come from a non-physical mind, Pro? Or better yet, how can a mind be non-physical? Your only example of such a thing is God, the very thing you're trying to prove exists.)
3. Some thoughts can have existence outside of the mind of the one thinking them. (Despite saying an attribute of thoughts are existence-in-the-mind, you assert that God's thoughts have existence-in-reality as well.)

With one round to go, you seem to have your work cut out for you, so I'll let you get to it.

Sources

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
popculturepooka

Pro

Thanks to Con for the the debate.

One thing I'd like to note up front: Con has not even attempted to support this contention that the laws of logic are just an "intrinsic part" of reality which is crucial to his case. All Con's talk about the laws of logic being a "concept" lead to direct support of my contention that the laws of logic are thoughts. It appears that Con concedes my point.

1. Propositions (such as the LNC) are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts.

Con demurs about my challenging him on his thesis that thoughts are physical products of physical minds; it appears, however, that part my challenging his thesis was due to his imprecise wording. Here is what Con says, "This is because a thought is a physical thing, a construct of cell activity in a developed and evolutionarily advanced brain." How is one supposed to read that? I think the most natural way to read it is to read it as Con saying that thought is identical to a set of cell activities working in unison (that includes neurons and chemicals and the like) - i.e. a construct. [1] Saying thought is a "product" of cell activity is not the same as saying thought is a construct of cell activity. If Con meant one and not the other he should have said so.

1) Begging the Question

Con asks me to substantiate my charge of begging the question; this one is easy. I provide an argument that leads straightforwardly to the conclusion that there must a non-physical mind that thinks thoughts. Con provides an assertion saying, essentially, "Well, thought is produced/identical to processes of/by a physical mind [and by implication] therefore there can't be any non-physical minds." Con's contention automatically assumes that all thought is produced by physical minds which just rules out my argument's conclusion by fiat in order to show what's wrong with my argument. This is a classic case of begging the question. Con did not provide an argument for this claim and just glibly asserts that this a matter of science and not philosophy. For one, that's odd because he's been engaging in philosophy this entire debate, and, for two, the empirical data we have doesn't settle the issue. All of the empirical data is perfectly consistent with a wide variety of contradictory accounts of the body-mind relationship - e.g. substance dualism, property dualism, hylomorphism, emergentism, non-reductive physicalism, reductive physicalism, and eliminativism. Just pointing to the empirical data isn't going to cut it; Con is necessarily wading into philosophical waters whether he likes it or not.

2) No thought is literally a physical thing./No, thought isn't literally a physical thing.

Con protests that he didn't say thought was identical to neural activity. 1) His quotation seems to suggest otherwise, and 2) saying that thought isn't neural activity but simply a product of neural activity (yet still physical) still doesn't alleviate some of the problems I outlined with conceiving of thought as a physical entity. Physical entities (for the most part) seem to be characterized by certain properties like spatiality and (maybe) mass, etc. Okay, so where is my thought located when I think? How much does it weigh? Can I touch it, taste it, or see it? Can others see my thoughts? Besides, this just ignores the arguments I gave in the first round. Surely some of our thoughts have propositional content. If so, then that means that they couldn't be physical entities as I argued in this point "Propositions are real entities, but cannot be physical entities; they are essentially thoughts." in my first round. So this point is moot in any case unless Con deigns to argue against my argument given there.

Con asks a couple of questions (I'm paraphrasing here):

Q: Could God stop thinking?
A: No.
Q: Why not?
A: Because of God's nature as an essentially thinking being.
Q: If God is essentially a thinker of the laws of logic then why can't the laws of logic just exist as a brute fact sans God? Y'know Occam's Razor and all that.
A: My entire argument in round one answers that question. I argued that the laws of logic are propositions with intentional content and that these have to be conceived of as thoughts due to the nature of propositions. I argued that if there are thoughts there is a thinker and I argued that this thinker need be construed of as non-physical and necessary.


3) Hasty Generalization

I think the charges of question-begging and non-sequitur are appropriate as I showed last round. If Con wants to also implicate himself as also committing the hasty generalization fallacy then he's more than welcome to it. :)

And to exonerate myself from a counter-charge of hasty generalization and contradiction - I wasn't engaged in a process of inductive reasoning. My reasoning wasn't "all cases of thought we know of are had by thinkers so it's reasonable to believe that all thoughts are had by thinkers". It was a case of deductive reasoning; of conceptual analysis. My reasoning is that is incoherent to speak of thoughts without a thinker do to very definition and concept of the words. [2] There is nothing (prima facie at least) incoherent about saying there is a non-physical thinker; there is something deeply incoherent about saying there are thoughts without any thinkers. It'd be like me saying that fingers can exist without a hand and claiming that is not incoherent.

Con says,

"Thoughts that aren't had by organisms, eh...? Like what, Pro? The laws of logic being thought by God? Now that answer would be question-begging."

Well, yeah, it would be question-begging if I hadn't provided an argument for that very conclusion in the very first round!

2. If there are necessarily existence thoughts, there must be a necessarily existent mind; and if there is a necessarily existence mind, there must be a necessarily existent person.


Again, there seems to be a confusion or misunderstanding here. When I say that thoughts are privately accessible I mean that necessarily you can only be the one thinking your thoughts; no one can think your thoughts for you. They can think about the same thing as you but that's not the same as saying they are literally thinking your thoughts. A useful and related instance I have in mind is qualia. [3] It's obvious that multiple people can be in pain but it's also equally obvious that one person can't literally experience anther's pain. They might be able to empathize with the pain but they can't literally feel or share the pain of another person. And Con asks how the laws of logic are accessible to everyone despite being thoughts; Welty says it best:

"Why do I embrace this ‘functionalist’ account of abstract objects, defining them as abstract objects in terms of the role they play with respect to something else?...Instead, I want to endorse the claim that while God’s thoughts are numerically the same thoughts in relation to the creation and to God, God’s thoughts function as abstract objects only with respect to the creation, and not with respect to God. For example, God’s thoughts determine attribute agreement with respect to the creation, not with respect to God. To illustrate. God and I can have the same thought, ‘2+2=4’, in terms of content. But my thought doesn’t function in the same way that God’s thought does. My thought doesn’t determine or delimit anything about the actual world, or about any possible world. But God’s thought does. Thus, it plays a completely different role in the scheme of things, even though God and I have the same thought in terms of content. Thus, God’s thought uniquely functions as an abstract object, because of his role as creator of any possible world." [4]

Thanks to Con for the debate!
DakotaKrafick

Con

I'd like to say, pop, it's been a lot of fun. I can see why I was referred to you as a strong theistic debater. Now let's wrap this up!

Ultimately, I feel the debate comes down to two separate negations of the resolution:

1) The Relationship between Thoughts and their Thinkers

Consider the following two questions...

1. "Do all thoughts require thinkers?"
2. "Must all thinkers be physical?"

As far as I'm concerned, and my opponent has offered little to no reason to think otherwise, both of the answers to these questions ought to be believed to be the same no matter how those answers are deduced, be them "Yes," "No," or "Indeterminable".

My opponent's warrant for asserting the laws of logic (when assumed to be thoughts) must have a thinker was simply this in his second round: "Thoughts always need to be had by something. It would make no sense to say no one is thinking these thoughts."

Sure, I guess. But that's more or less an opinion (what does or doesn't make sense to you). I could (and did) just as easily say "It would make no sense to say a non-physical thing can think thoughts".

You provide a little more warrant for your position in your last round (round four). You say it is due to the very definition of "thought" that you assert all thoughts require thinkers. Okay, I can agree with that. In fact, it's the way I would defend the first premise of the classic logical argument:

1. All humans are mortal.
2. Socrates was a human.
3. Therefore, Socrates was mortal.

How do we know all men are mortal? Sure, every man we know of is mortal, but perhaps one day a man will be born who is immortal. Well, if such a being existed who was hominoid in form, but incapable of dying, I think it would naturally not fit in the definition of "human".

So we can say, by definition, all thoughts require thinkers. However, this line of reasoning extends to the question "Must all thinkers be physical?" All life capable of thinking is physical; likewise, nothing non-physical is capable of thinking. If ever we were to somehow encounter something that appeared non-physical, but was capable of thinking, it would naturally not fit in the definition of "non-physical". You've said God is non-physical and as such would be incapable of thinking.

2) The Nature of Thoughts' Existences

My opponent defends what he said by saying it was a misunderstanding: "When I say that thoughts are privately accessible I mean that necessarily you can only be the one thinking your thoughts."

Fair enough, but you've never actually addressed the main issue here: thoughts have existence in the minds of the ones thinking them, not in reality (unless you're a solipsist). This objection was raised multiple times and was nonchalantly waved off every time.

Thinking about fish does not make fish appear. Thinking the building is three stories tall does not make the building three stories tall. And thinking the laws of logic does not make the laws of logic exist.

Once again, if something appears to be a thought, but exists outside of the mind of the one thinking it, it naturally would notfall in the definition of a "thought," both biologically and philosophically. This is my reason for asserting the laws of logic are (what I like to call) "concepts"; however, I realize that it is here where linguistics play a vital role in being my semantical downfall, so I must explain more clearly. There were a few other words I tried to decide between: law (but of course, all laws require a law-maker, don't they?), rule (all rules require a referee, or some such nonsense I can already hear from my opponent), and so on and so forth.

"Concept" just seems to be the nicest term I could use (perhaps I should have gone with "axiom"? do all axioms require an axiom-maker, Pro?). Concepts do not require a conceptualizer to exist in reality, only to be understood and utilized. Thoughts cannot and do not exist in reality, by both the biological and philosophical natures of thought. By not being thoughts, the laws of logic do not require a thinker.

Conclusion

Due to both of the reasons outlined above, I feel my opponent's argument has been successfully refuted.

Thank you very much, pop, for debating with me, and the audience for taking the time to read it! Please carefully consider both of our arguments and vote accordingly.
Debate Round No. 4
56 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by philochristos 1 year ago
philochristos
This has been one of the most interesting debates I've read on this web page. Ever since I first heard the argument from logic (or the Transcendental argument, as some people call it), I have thought it was both very interesting an obviously fallacious. But this is one of the best defenses I've seen of this argument. It's a difficult argument to refute because it's difficult to articulate what's wrong with it, but it still strikes me as being obviously fallacious. It is definitely a mental exercise, though.
Posted by jwesbruce 2 years ago
jwesbruce
Second Half of Judging Decision

More on

2)Arguments

In one of the closing statements of Con he states, "If ever we were to somehow encounter something that appeared non-physical, but was capable of thinking, it would naturally not fit in the definition of "non-physical". You've said God is non-physical and as such would be incapable of thinking."
I just can't get passed the idea that the only way he can arrive to such a statement is by demonstrating that non-physical entities can't think, can't have the faculty of thought. Yet, this was not demonstrated, it was assumed. This assumption is based off of the observation of physical. But to claim knowledge of the non-physical because you know the physical is hasty generlization, which Pop discussed.

3)Conduct: "do all axioms require an axiom-maker, Pro?", "all rules require a referee, or some such nonsense I can already hear from my opponent", "Thoughts that aren't had by organisms, eh...? Like what, Pro? The laws of logic being thought by God? Now that answer would be question-begging."[This just disrespects the entire debate topic in and of itself and it's seriousness], "My opponent puts a lot of words in my mouth, so just give me a second to properly chew before I continue..."
Such readings are a waste of time...If I want to hear snappiness and snideness, I'll watch Jersey Shore, not read An Argument From Logic.
Posted by jwesbruce 2 years ago
jwesbruce
1) Sources:

Pop's content was warranted with many more sources, and said sources were diverse, not the same site. Every speech, save introductions, was backed by sources.

2) Arguments:

Hasty Generalization-- Pro wasn't committing it as his argument reached that particular conclusion[therein giving warrant], Con comitted it as it was on bare assertion.

Begging the Question-- Pop's objective here, to the least, is to demonstrate that thoughts are not just cell activity in the brain. Con's objection to this is by stating it's just cell activity in the brain, without warrant as to why this idea is more favorable. Albeit, even if it easy to show that, it still has to be shown with warrant to carry any weight in a debate format. The point of intellectual challenages is to chalenage conflicting realities, not merely assume they're truth and then discount the other off that assumption.

The Nature of Thoughts' Existence--"thoughts have existence in the minds of the ones thinking them, not in reality" Pop adequently answered this by stating, "Is Con saying that your thought literally doesn't exist when you think? Con must mean "reality" as in "outside the mind." The fact that I just had a thought is a component of reality. Con seems confused in saying that the standard of reality is something that manifests something ambigiously measurable, as he states, "Thinking about fish does not make fish appear. Thinking the building is three stories tall does not make the building three stories tall. And thinking the laws of logic does not make the laws of logic exist."

He also states, "if something appears to be a thought,but exists outside of the mind of the one thinking it,it naturally would notfall in the definition of a "thought," The Damning thing here for Con is Pro answered back for this in his analysis of man's thought and God's thought share content but operate on different functionality. Not a strongly supported argument, but it was flatly dropped.
Posted by popculturepooka 2 years ago
popculturepooka
@fourtrouble, you said: "The sense I got was you had a problem proving that thoughts MUST be thought by someone if they exist. Dakota challenged you on that point, and for me that made it clear to me that your BoP was not fulfilled. "

I'm having a bit of trouble with this. I didn't say that all thoughts must be actively thought at the time as you seem to imply I did. What I said is that all thoughts, essentially, require a thinker because the the very nature of thoughts necessitates so. Thoughts can't be had by a non-thinking being. It'd be just as incoherent to say that there's a thinker who never has any thoughts. Well, then, that "thinker" isn't really a thinker, are they?

And if Dakota's counter-argument leads to direct support for my premise (a concept without a conceptualizer??!!) I don't see how his challenge undercut support for my argument and how I failed to meet the BoP.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@FourTrouble:
FourTrouble: you are assuming way too much about me and Dakota to claim we are ignorant.
The Fool: No, they are not assumption, I showed my proof by pointing out every sentence that has a majore problem, and put "ouch" beside them. Those are the Proof for my claims. They are not bold assumptions.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@DakotaKrafick
The Fool: I am never like that. I have voted for you already since, havent I. I follow The Principle of Charity. A philosophers ethic. If anything I was more bias in your favor at first. You guys complained about my vote. So I read the debate all over again. Slowly and clearly, and I changed it according. I am always ready to listen if somebody feels I made a mistake, and if they can show me. I am ready to change, my believes and reason for the better arguement. You are not going to get a more just voter one here.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@DakotaKrafick
The Fool: I am never like that, Ihave I note voted for you already since, havent I. I follow The Principle of Charity. A philosophers ethic.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@FourTrouble
The Fool: I am completly acounting for the fact that I may not get the point. Obviosly I apply the concept to myself first. Lol. Thats the whole point. Is to apply it to your self always. The philospher should alway keep is own strongest critic. That is the purpose of the knowing the Paradox.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@DakotaKrafick
you really don't get it do you..lol
Posted by DakotaKrafick 2 years ago
DakotaKrafick
It's okay. I think TheFool is still trying to get over her hatred of me since I beat her in the agnosticism vs atheism debate...
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 2 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering jwesbruce's Conduct vote. Both debaters showed good debate decorum and thanked each other during each round. There is no need for a conduct deduction.
Vote Placed by jwesbruce 2 years ago
jwesbruce
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Reasons for voting decision: Warrant for such a vote will be found in "Comments", in detail.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 2 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Killuminati's votebomb. He just said the Atheist worldview could not allow for the laws of logic without actually mentioning a specific point made by Pro in the debate. Also, merely quoting a line from the debate and claiming that it's true is not a valid RFD.
Vote Placed by KILLUMINATI 2 years ago
KILLUMINATI
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Reasons for voting decision: As pro said "The laws of logic imply the existence of God." Plus the atheist world view cannot allow for laws of logic
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
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Reasons for voting decision: Supposing we accept the rules of logic are "thoughts" and have "intentional content," it does not follow that thoughts MUST BE thought in the first place. Con clearly challenged Pro on this point, introducing the term "concept" to refer to unthought thoughts. That said, I don't agree with Con's claim that concepts can exist without being thought, but I felt that was irrelevant. Con's argument showed the difficulty Pro has for proving thoughts must be thought, which was enough: BoP was not met.
Vote Placed by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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Reasons for voting decision: Read comments. Upon a second reading, I noticed I did not pay special attention to reliable sources and conduct.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 2 years ago
Maikuru
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Reasons for voting decision: I couldn't comprehend how or why the laws of logic should be understood as thoughts rather than "the necessary results of a materialistic universe." The introduction of a thought-maker seemed not only unnecessary, but contradictory given Pro's initial claims on the private nature of thoughts themselves. This seems a gigantic hurdle, one only eventually defended through an unexplored quote in Pro's final round. This is insufficient; this was the crux of the entire case. Arguments to Con.