The Instigator
WrickItRalph
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
EzDuel
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Are we correct to accept properly basic beliefs axiomatically?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2019 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 599 times Debate No: 120400
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (39)
Votes (0)

 

WrickItRalph

Con

In logic, It is widely accepted that in order hold a belief rationally, That one must justify this belief. Unfortunately, A problem arises. In order to justify a belief one must use another belief. This invokes what is known as the infinite regress. Ie. I justify A with B and I justify B with C etc. Using only other beliefs as justification, We end up with two apparent options. Connect the final belief to belief A, Or accept a belief axiomatically. The first option creates circular logic. Such structures are not valid since the final argument is both supporting A and being supported by A at the same time. The second option is much more popular, But is it the right way to go? The axioms that one accepts are properly basic and are accepted without justification. Some people claim that we can justify them with impossibility to the contrary. Some people take a practical approach and accept their axioms by virtue that they are pragmatic and put plainly, They get the job done. This, However, Only kicks the can down the street. We may well have arrived at all the right conclusions epistemologically, But is it possible that we reach the right answer in the wrong way. Of course for me to denounce axioms and claim true skepticism would only create a vacuum. So here's my basic claim. I believe that the only way for us to have a sound structure for our logic, We must base our logic on at a bare minimum of one absolute truth. One that is definitionally coherent with reality and demonstrates itself, Even in the absence of logic or even skepticism. I claim that the one and only absolute truth that we can know with our current understand is the simple statement. "I have consciousness" I posit that this proposition can justified because we are forced to experience our consciousness whether we want to or not. We experience it even if we use no logic to justify it and we experience even if we are skeptical that it is real. From this simple but conceptually rich statement, We can audit our consciousness to find consistencies within our experiences. When can then take these consistencies and use them to make predictions or even affect the outcomes of our consciousness. We can even pose some consistencies against others to find even more consistencies. We can find inconsistencies and we can compare these to consistencies to gauge the reliability of our consciousness. Ultimately, These consistencies become strong enough to justify our most basic beliefs about the world and they do it in a way that allows us to understand the roots of thought such that all arguments will be easier to make correctly by virtue of having a better foundation. If I'm wrong, I hope you can change my mind.
EzDuel

Pro

Preface- I have never done a debate before, But I took this as an opportunity to work through the universe in my head. I am eager for corrections and argument.

The statement "I have consciousness" leads me to think of the ego and that a person is a concept. I am consciousness and the entire universe. From this we move to environment; it shapes our biological organism. The mind we have grows from collective knowledge that our ancestors received from the environment and metacognition with their linguistic and thinking structures. Subjectively, Taking basic beliefs to the positive benefit of our mental state and organism is the correct course of action as human beings. Logic is relationship and organization of reality perceived through the eyes. You say "we experience" consciousness as if we are separate from it. Growing out of the universe, Learning to understand it through means of communication, Comparison and contrasts is what I believe. Basic beliefs are to be questioned depending on opinion and moral belief of the individual. The individual can differ in opinion based on their desires. Over time basic beliefs have changed and that is because they are right and wrong.

On Justification. A person asks another to justify a belief. The belief is justified through recording of this one's perception. The questioner accepts the recording transmitted as factual basis for the belief. There will be misinterpretation at times and conflicting definitions in words and meanings to the individual. A basic belief itself does not mean the same that it does to one as another. The acceptance of basic beliefs is the acceptance of words as placeholders. These words are held in a person's mind by their views of experience. True communication of basic beliefs is different among all peoples. In this way, I believe that acceptance of a belief is the acceptance of personal experience reference given by the word that describes the belief.
Debate Round No. 1
WrickItRalph

Con

It seems that you and I agree on some points of the nature of consciousness. That will make it slightly easier for us to attain a healthy discourse. So you made the statement "I am consciousness" which I found interesting. Let's explore that first. So how can one know that they experience consciousness or that they are there consciousness? The first thing I will say is that part of consciousness is our senses. We take in information and we define it just as you say. But we also experience pain and pleasure. These interactions are the reason that I say I have consciousness rather than I am consciousness. I am able to interact with my consciousness to get consistent results. Furthermore, My consciousness is able to behave in contrast to my desires. I ask you, Why would our consciousness act contrary to our desires if we are the consciousness? You also made a point that we add definitions to our consciousness and pass them on to others to form matching definitions. I agree with this, However, These can be more than simply agreed upon words. A definition is a word that we assign to a concept in our consciousness. These concepts can be objects, Actions, Or abstracts. A definition by itself holds no real weight. My contention is that we can define things based on consistencies within our consciousness in order to give the definition reliability. For instance, If I say the word rock and just point at any random object. Then the word has a useless meaning. But if I only use the word rock to describe big pieces of hard earth. I know have a significance added to my words. Through this method of definition. I can make words factual by virtue of their conformity to my consciousness. Now let's talk about the crux of the argument. Ultimately, We can accept some or all of reality without having to justify our properly basic beliefs. But as long as we do this, We cannot justify a sound knowledge claim to the truest sense. For people who live pragmatically, This is not a problem. But my contention is not that we can't think without justification. I want to be very clear on this. I posit that we can think axiomatically, But we can never have total confidence that our axioms won't cause us to make a bad decision due to invalid structure. On a side note, Some of what you described earlier seems to fall into the question of hard solipsism (my reality is the only reality). I reject this idea based on the belief that there is not good evidence for solipsism and pragmaticism has proven much more reliable. Put plainly, We have no good reason to think we are the only consciousness and we can discern this without having to reach past our immediate experiences. I would also like to be clear on how I define experience for the sake of this argument. "That which is revealed via consciousness". Hopefully I covered all of the talking points you brought up. If not, Please let me know and I will try to clarify in the next round. Also, This is my first debate as well :)
EzDuel

Pro

I will try to address everything that needs addressing.

"So how can one know that they experience consciousness or that they are there consciousness? "
Consciousness from what I believe is the now happening. Now is universal. It is where all thoughts and memories derive of all time. Awareness of the now is awareness of the self. Can a mind take possession of the now?

"we can never have total confidence that our axioms won't cause us to make a bad decision due to invalid structure. "
Bad decisions will always exist as long as there is good and one can not exist without the other. This goes with other contrasts of life as well. Complete certainty can never exist but complete confidence can be put on anything and fail. Basic beliefs are instruments for surprise. Perfect certainty seems to me to destroy the purposes of living and perfect confidence being proved wrong creates surprise. At best, You can iron out the flaws of beliefs to make them become more congruent with reality as they fail. A thought or idea can never be that which is. Every idea is flawed and society's troubles are ironing out these flaws. Getting into the tiniest details?
Debate Round No. 2
WrickItRalph

Con

It seems to me that you're adding a metaphysical property to your argument, Am I correct?
Your definitions connect smoothly, But I don't think they carry the conceptual cargo very well. Let me ask you this. If I am my consciousness, Then why can I only sense things in my body? Wouldn't it entail that if the rock on the ground was part of me, That I could sense what the rock senses? Shouldn't I be able to feel the wind blowing across the faces of the birds above me? This concept of being your consciousness has a nice mystique and it's fun to think about. But practically speaking, I think there are better approaches.

I'd like to pin down that things like bad decisions and certainty don't actually exist. They're abstracts used to describe concepts that don't have physical matter. I don't argue for complete certainty and quite frankly I find the very concept of certainty to be unnecessary to rationality. Certainty is something that we only need at times when we don't have the answer and we have to make a snap decision. That's pretty much the extent of it's usefulness. I don't think surprise is that wonderous. Surprises are what get me eaten by a tiger. As for ironing out the flaws, That is precisely what I am trying to do. I believe that the axioms are the part of epistemology where philosophers got stumped and just said that this is the best that they can do. But we're growing in knowledge everyday as a species and I think they arrived at the right conclusions using the wrong method and that is why people can hijack logic and use it to justify positions that would otherwise be irrational to hold. I believe that our consciousness is consistent enough to give us reliable feedback and this reliability allows us to justify our basic beliefs without the need for an axiom. My challenge to you is to prove the unsoundness of this claim. Because if I'm wrong, I sincerely want to know. I would change my mind in a heartbeat if the argument was sound and valid. :)

P. S. Don't be scare to really grill me. I can take the heat ;)
EzDuel

Pro

Neurons run a connection through the brain and body of a human. If you are talking about feeling it through the body that is typing this that would not happen. Each organism coexists as consciousness with separate nervous systems running through them. What I'm trying to say is that you are everything and everything is you. The space dust rearranged into everything.

Contrasts are created with viewpoints.

Surprise

The bad gives value to the good things in life with contrast. Surprise requires bad surprises in order to give the good ones value. Have you drank water after being in the sun too long?

Axiom

You believe that feedback from the world allows us to have justification for our basic beliefs without a truth statement. An axiom is a declared general truth statement. Does the justification for our basic beliefs become an axiom internally? Is the basic belief an axiom itself?

Sorry I'm a pacifist, I don't grill or bite. I whisper my thoughts and hide under a bush :(
Debate Round No. 3
WrickItRalph

Con

I'm going to do this Hitchens style and answer you backwards.

Axiom

An axiom is not a declared general truth statement. By definition, It's a belief that you accept without justification. By definition, If the belief is justified, Then it's not an axiom. So the only thing I need to prove my argument is for my most basic belief or beliefs to by justified. In response to the question "does the justification for our basic beliefs become an axiom internally? " The answer is no and I will demonstrate why. A basic belief, By definition, Has no other belief under it. If you place a belief under it, Then the newly placed belief becomes the basic belief, This is why the infinite regress happens. However, If the basic belief is being justified by something that is not a belief, Then it does not become and axiom and the axiom vanishes completely. Thus proving my argument. My justification fits this criteria because I do not have to accept my consciousness as a belief and it still justifies my basic beliefs. Even more impressive, I can completely reject my reality and it still justifies my basic beliefs. If you can point out how this is wrong and I can find no errors in your critiques, Then you beat me outright.

Surprise

This value you speak of seems to be an emotional one. I can appreciate that from an emotional stance, But logically this is arbitrary to me. But I'll meet you halfway and say that I'm okay with surprise parties. :)

Neurons

So this goes back to the "I am my consciousness" statement. I actually have an interesting side note on this one. When one accounts for all of the basic attributes of their consciousness, It becomes apparent that their is a gap in the system. Some people call this the qualia. This little gap is why I'm not comfortable with the statement "I am my consciousness" everything in our experiences points to their being an interaction between our minds and reality itself. I believe this little tiny spot is what really shows us that their is agency within us. Otherwise, There would be no gap in our experience, Because reality would be a literal extension of ourselves. You bring up compare and contrasts a lot. I actually agree with you on that point. I believe that compare and contrast is the key component that allows us to filter the thoughts that we juxtapose in our heads. This process also has three layers being: objects, Motions, And abstracts (ie math, Infinity, Nothingness)

Alright, Give me your loudest whisper.
EzDuel

Pro

What I have left is mostly clarification. What you're saying makes sense to me.

What I'm confused on is the consciousness reliability you mentioned earlier. What is your definition of consciousness. I can think of two consciousness definitions, The one i mentioned earlier or the individual's confrontation with the now. All beliefs are already drawn from consciousness into the mind.

"I can completely reject my reality" Basic beliefs are ideas that only take meaning in reference to reality?

It seems to me that consciousness would have to be some way you or superordinate to you in order to be beyond all question.
Debate Round No. 4
WrickItRalph

Con

I'm going to try to clarify as best possible. I don't want to leave anything out before the end. I define consciousness as being "all that is revealed to me" So any tangible information I take in is consciousness. The definition is necessarily broad because consciousness, When unpacked, Is actually more than one thing. The problem with saying that consciousness is the now that you're confronting is that now you have to define the now. That starts the regress. The definition must only describe it functionally without calling upon another source. My definition is all inclusive of the concept behind on it and it doesn't call to another source. I'm saying all that is revealed to me. So I'm only describing what I'm receiving, Not how it was transmitted. Because I don't have to know this. I only have to allow it to continue revealing things to me and the consistencies will present themselves. From here, The consistencies that I define become part of the "all that" aspect of my consciousness. I would like to point out that there could be things in absolute reality that I cannot experience in my subjective reality. But it doesn't matter because my philosophy is not about finding truth. It's about justifying facts and knowledge. To show why absolute reality doesn't matter, I submit the same analogy that I used in the comment section. If I'm eating and drinking in my reality, But in actually, I am not. It has no effect on me because I am still enjoying the act and being kept alive by it. Similarly, I could have invisible demons flying around and poking me in the eyeballs with infected pitchforks and it still wouldn't matter. I believe this helps to show why I believe this system so strongly. Because it easily refutes problem like hard solipsism which plagues even the greatest minds. I'm saying I'm smart. I'm just saying I lucked out and found a good system.

Next point. When I said "I can completely reject my reality" this has nothing to do with basic beliefs. What I'm doing is showing that I can close my eyes and cover my ears and go "lalalalalal" and pretend reality isn't there and when I finally get sick of doing that and reality will still be there staring me in the face. That's why I say we can't deny the truth of consciousness even if we want to and that's why I said in my opening statement that consciousness is the one and only truth that we can know with our current understanding of the world.

To your last response. Consciousness is only part of me in the sense that it is my body that is connecting me to that. Beyond that point, The details of my consciousness are abstracts that my mind projects on me to demonstrate reality to me the best that it can. Consciousness itself is an abstract in that you cannot actually experience the process by which you experience (and I think that very statement shows why. ) This is where the qualia would come in. The little gap that makes us aware of things and lets us choose what were aware of even though scientifically people who are physically the same in every way should act the same if every part of us is accounted for in the body. But this is not the case. This entails that our physical aspects have a more subtle different that either can't detect or can't detect without a vast amount of variables at our fingertips. As far as the superordinate comment. It could be that whatever gives us awareness could possibly be made of the same material that lets us sense things in the first place. This is very interesting and gets into a wild theory I have which you should not take seriously because I have no evidence and this wild theory is that some material in the human body might be able to experience reality apart from the body. Under this system, This small consciousness could come together to created a collective consciousness (have examples of this in nature with hive mind mentality) and under this system, Some type of "afterlife" could exist, Although I think the term "different life" would have to apply here because the material could reform to make new collective intelligence. Like I said this is a wild theory. But I would challenge to research a man named Rupert Sheldrake. He has this interesting hypothesis called Morphic Resonance and the model would be solid if the proper scientific discoveries we to occur to prove or falsify it. I will say that some his work is dubious. But he likes to stay on the fringes, And we need people like that even if we're wrong. Hopefully I gave you a clear picture of my beliefs. I'm going to say they're popular. But I do believe they're practical. I will reserve my last round to wrap up any points we missed and maybe a little friendly banter. I like to land the debate plane gently if you know what I mean.
EzDuel

Pro

Either your philosophy explanations seem very ideal and appealing to me or I'm in a little over my head. A little bit of both I suspect. Every question I've offered, You explained in a way that was logical and enlightening. The only detail I might argue is identical people would never be the same because the environment and experience could never be the same. Even an exact replica in a replicated lifestyle would be off and produce a butterfly effect type reaction on them which stirs them off course. You could never know what would happen if a person was identical, But I'm sure there would be differences in electrical current and chemicals in their brains probably rippling by themselves to a grander scale. Yes, Experiencing process of experience is like biting your teeth. Your definition of consciousness seems like Tao to me. I've listened to a few of Alan Watts's lectures on Taoism on youtube. It's been interesting, I enjoyed that discussion.
Debate Round No. 5
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by EzDuel 3 months ago
EzDuel
Emulation is a good topic too
Posted by EzDuel 3 months ago
EzDuel
This is unrelated but I find it funny how people will play on their earlier words to change their past intent. I'll think about that for a little.
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 months ago
WrickItRalph
It's interesting, But how do we pose that as a debate question?
Posted by EzDuel 3 months ago
EzDuel
Like home environment and different environments clashing. How a person acts. Conformity with negative environmental conditioning. Switching behaviors to conform to beliefs about what definitions people have of you. I wonder about "you're not true to yourself" what that really means because anything I can be is me? Societal conformity also there might be something to be said there.
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 months ago
WrickItRalph
Like societal conformity?
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 months ago
WrickItRalph
Oh dear. That first one sounded unpleasant. But yeah that would probably count as mid control.
Posted by EzDuel 3 months ago
EzDuel
Hmmm how about conformity I don't know lol
Posted by EzDuel 3 months ago
EzDuel
Closest thing to mind control that exists is either prodding with electrical impulses in the brain causing limb movement or maybe a multiple personality disorder might be close.
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 months ago
WrickItRalph
Man, We need another topic, Lol.
Posted by EzDuel 3 months ago
EzDuel
Well mind control is like a separate self. I think free will can only be said to exist from feels.
No votes have been placed for this debate.