<<<“In short, the founding principles of your philosophy are based on
unprovable concepts that must be assumed true.”>>>
“Then everything that you assert is based on unprovable concepts that must
be assumed. In short, your logic is based on the law of identity, which you
admit is unprovable--therefore, everything that you assert is by definition
unprovable. If the basis is unprovable, then every claim you make because
of that base is equally unprovable. It is only assumed. As a result,
everything you "prove" is still unproven because your system of proof is
Peter, I think you miss a fundamental point. All reasoning must have a
starting point. This starting point itself, whatever one determines it to
be, cannot itself be the product of a proof. If one’s starting point is the
product of a proof, then it cannot serve as a legitimate starting point.
Your attempts above and earlier to invalidate my view can only backfire on
themselves. It’s a consequence of your own habit of accepting the fallacy of
the stolen concept. I'm not convinced that you've grasped this, because you
continually (indeed, with every post!) you fall prey to this trap time and
time again! Simply because something is unprovable does not necessarily mean
it is untrue or that one is unjustified in accepting it as true. That’s the
case with axiomatic concepts. The axiomatic concepts identify a fundamental,
perceptually self-evident fact of reality. They cannot be proven. But it’s
simply the case that you yourself must assume them to be true even as you
try to dispute them or question their validity, as we have seen time and
time again. If one has it your way (i.e., every statement must be
established by means of formal proof), then there is no starting point. It’s
a completely infinite regress, a chain of reasoning with no terminus, and no
ultimate reference to reality (i.e., no standard). The alternative to having
a starting point (which by nature cannot be proven) is nothing more than a
dog chasing his tail, which indeed, is what presuppositionalism is all about
(in spite of claims by theists like Van Til and Bahnsen that their god is
the starting point of their knowledge). Presuppositionalists are continually
arguing amongst themselves, in fact, as to whether their starting point is
their actual starting point, or the proof by which they claim that they
establish their starting point is their actual starting point. Again, no
understanding for the issue of metaphysical primacy.
Can I prove that the universe exists? Of course not. Do I need to? No, I do
not. The universe exists because it exists, not because one can establish
its existence by means of formal argument. If Peter does not want to accept
that the universe exists, that’s fine. It’s his problem, not mine. If he
accepts that the universe exists, then what's the fuss?
Again, Peter ignores the context of what a proof is. Proof is defined
according to Objectivism as “the process of establishing truth by reducing a
proposition to axioms, ie, ultimately, to sensory evidence” (L. Peikoff). To
what do Peter’s ideas reduce? Well, if we go by his earlier statements, they
must reduce to nonsense, since he disputes the validity of his own senses.
What is the proper starting point? Objectivism says that the fact of
existence as such is the starting point. Can anyone prove that existence
exists? Not without committing the fallacy of the stolen concept. Do some
people insist on beginning with fallacy instead of perceptually self-evident
truths? Of course they do. Peter has identified himself as one.
<<<There is no circularity because Objectivism does not attempt to establish
the axioms by means of proof.>>>
“Would you say that something that is established without any proof is
It depends what it is. If someone says to me that he knows that he has a
refrigerator in his kitchen because he sees it with his own eyes and stores
food in it all the time, then sure, this is something which I would accept
without a formal proof. Indeed, when I go to poor myself a beer after a long
day at work, I do not need to establish that the bottle of beer I’m about to
drink exists by means of a formal proof. I simply look in my refrigerator
and reach for it. And you know what? I betcha Peter does the same thing
himself. I doubt he bothers with formal proofs in his everyday comings and
goings, and I think he’s quite justified in doing this. If one begins with
the perceptually self-evident, then proof is possible, since it is to the
perceptual evidence which legitimate knowledge of reality ultimately
If Peter does not want to begin with what his senses tell him about reality,
then any “knowledge” he so claims must be based on his emotions and whims,
and must ultimately be knowledge of nonsense.
<<<Wrong, Peter. Here you are equivocating the term “your views” with the
axioms which I identified earlier. While I hold that the axioms are not
subject to proof, that does not mean that my views, which are derivative of
the axioms, are not subject to proof.>>>
“You misunderstood what I wrote. I was refering specifically to your views
on axioms, therefore it is your view that "axioms are valid" that I was
refering to; and therefore you are indeed trying to prove the axioms valid.”
Where have I done this? You do not show us. You simply accuse me of doing
this, but nowhere have I attempted to prove that the axioms are true. More
Besides, even if I did attempt to prove them by means of formal proof (and
you have not shown that I have), this would only show that I committed a
fallacy, not that Objectivism as such commits a fallacy. So you're really
stuck here, Peter. Look at all the effort you put into this, and meanwhile
you go blue simply to commit yourself to stolen concepts left and right in
order to try and discredit my views. I'm sure there are better things for
you to do with your time, no?
“Granted that you are not doing this through a logic proof--but you admit
that you are infering them and attempting to "validate" them.”
Validating them after the fact as I have explained is substantially
different from attempting to establish them by means of a formal proof. And
I have not stated that I infer them from something prior. These are your own
misrepresentations, Peter. Besides, you yourself affirmed that you hold to
these axioms, and even indicated that our difference is in what one can
derive from them, not in something prior to them (even though you claimed
that the senses are "inaccurate", thus committing yourself to a huge stolen
concept). You continually shift your shape in order to smuggle yet more
stolen concepts in. I simply wonder why?
If you agree it's true that existence exists, then what's the fuss?
“Tell me, how do you validate axioms without logic, and how do you validate
logic without axioms, and if that is not the definition of circular
reasoning then what is?”
By looking at reality. That’s all. No circularity whatsoever. Again, they
are perceptually based. Existence is what I perceive. Existence, Identity,
Consciousness. There they are. They are implicit in every act of awareness.
Are you aware? Of what are you aware?
<<<Again, one needs the law of identity in order to construct a proof.>>>
“But why must a proof be necessary for anything in your world view?”
Take some time to investigate it with an open mind, and try to learn. Until
then, I think you're still in over your head on these matters (which is a
result of your rejection of reason, of course).
“It obviously isn't needed for the Law of Identity.”
Hey, you’re starting to figure it out finally!
“What reason do you have to make proofs necessary when your very
foundational beliefs do not require them, and in fact cannot use them? Are
you willing to reject logic (somehow I doubt it)?”
Do I reject logic? Logic is the application of the law of identity to
non-axiomatic knowledge. Why would I reject this? (I think you need to start
trying to understand rather than trying to find a hole; you won’t find one.)
<<<Indeed, my views rest on the axioms, not on any attempt to prove them.>>>
“So your views are based in faith alone. Not a problem. I completely
Not on faith. I know that's what you want, but this is just another tired,
worn out stolen concept. What did I tell everyone about those who reject
<<<If there’s a problem, it exists only in your mind,>>>
"Ah, come now--how can my mind make anything exist? (Or are you a closet
Not at all; I do not hold that reality conforms to a form of consciousness
(like theists want to believe). Your problems are not concretes, but a
consequence of your own misunderstandings (deliberate or otherwise).
<<<I think the nature of your problem is simply that you don’t like the fact
that I do not affirm your god-beliefs, and that I have good reason not
“I couldn't care less that you do not affirm my "god-beliefs", but you don't
have any reason whatsoever to affirm or deny anything.”
Sure I do. Existence exists. Therefore your god is out of a job. (And for
you to question this, you affirm the validity of my axioms!)
<<<All I’ve shown (again and again and again) is that you yourself must
assume them in order to dispute or reject them. That’s all.>>>
“You've said this over and over and over, but you have not actually
demonstrated this (feel free to do so).”
Sure I have. It is a matter of public record now. No reason to repeat myself
any *more*. Go back and read some of my posts. (Remember: I told you I
cannot prove something to those who reject reason!)
“In any case, I have already said that I agree with the axioms.”
Peter, this is a laugh! You don’t know whether you’re coming or going.
You’re so in over your head that you outright refuse to answer the numerous
questions which have been asked of you. You attempt to fake reality, and are
thus in my assessment a dishonest individual.
“That's not the dispute.”
Ah, so you think you can prove the truth of the axioms without assuming
them? Have at it.
“I am simply questioning why you would accept the axioms.”
I accept them because they’re true. Again, they identify the general facts
which I perceive directly from reality. I perceive an object – the axioms
are already implicit in every act of awareness. No god-belief needed for
this. Again, you make things hard on yourself. It would be hilarious if it
weren’t so sad.
“I could just as easily claim that you are stealing the concept from my
position (and I could say it again and again and again) but it wouldn't
You’d have to commit yourself to yet more stolen concepts in order to argue
this (which I'm sure you're willing to do). And I agree: that wouldn’t solve
one damn thing.
<<<“Is the statement "Existence exists" a logical statement?”>>>
<<<It is an axiomatic statement; it identifies a fundamental fact of
reality. As such, it is pre-logical, as I stated already. It is not an
inference from one truth to another, so asking if it is a logical statement
misses the point.>>>
“Not at all :-) My very reason for asking the question would be to illicit
this response, so I didn't miss the boat at all. Existence exists (which,
if logical, would be an obvious circular argument) is not provable via
logic. Once again you demonstrate that you are accepting things on faith,
You have not demonstrated that I have accepted anything on faith, but it is
clear that you want to establish this. If you want to think this, that’s
okay with me. Is it true? Of course not. Faith is the acceptance of
ideational content without evidence (like the Muslim who accepts the claim
that Allah exists). But as I’ve maintained all along, the axioms are based
on direct perceptual evidence of those objects of which I am aware of by
means of my senses. No need for faith here, because there's no intention to
“Are you going to agree that your position is based on faith alone?”
No, not unless I accepted a stolen concept. Why should I do that? Besides,
my axioms are based on what I perceive. No need for faith here.
Peter, you are an evader, like every theist I have ever encountered. You
spit and stumble over the axioms, assuming them as you attempt to defeat
them. It is quite humorous for me, because I know the joke is on you. But
meanwhile, as you fire off a barrage of questions left and right, exposing
your own misunderstanding (or disunderstanding) in the process, you fail to
address the numerous questions which have been posed back to you in the
meanwhile. I think it only exposes your own inability to argue in favor of
your god-beliefs, for you sense that your devotional commitments will only
be exposed for what they are: nonsense.
I think you must be a very frustrated man, Peter. You reject reason. You
fail to identify your starting point and the means by which you are aware of
it. Furthermore, you expose your own unwillingness or inability to
understand Objectivism and the nature of its axioms. I don’t know why some
people make it so hard on themselves on this matter, but it’s clear to me
that by far most who do promote such misunderstandings do so because they
feel that their god-beliefs or other arbitrary commitments are threatened by
rational philosophy. Indeed, Peter keeps coming back, trying to find another
way to scale the wall, but each time, he lands on his buttocks.
Keep trying, Peter. I’m here waiting for you. You’ll convince yourself yet
that your god exists, even though it only exists in your own imagination.
As I asked, but Peter never answered: What’s his fuss anyway?