"We can't logically show that there is an outside word or that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

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"We can't logically show that there is an outside word or that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

"We can't logically show that there is an outside word or that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

I came across this statement recently. What logical fallacy is it making? It seems to be arguing from inductive uncertainty, although for this fallacy to apply does it require the person to go on to reject the proposition, rather than simply saying it cannot be logically proven.

The same person also wrote the following:

Quote:
My skepticism is not of the outside world, but of the role of logic in finding truth. At the most fundamental level, the outside world existing is logically no more justifiable than God's existence. That doesn't mean that they are equally true, or that an intelligent person should conclude that they are equally true. In deciding which is true, however, we must rely on our intuition and instincts, although that is not to say we should not think carefully about the matter. Even if I say that Christians have "the burden of proof" and that "occam's razor disproves creation", I am not really pointing to something I know to be logically true, but really to something that I feel intuitively to be true.


There seems something wrong about that line of thinking. It seems to imply that we ultimatly rely on our intuitiion/instincts.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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On the surface, it looks

On the surface, it looks like he's going for the Transcendental Argument for God (TAG) which starts at the problem of induction, and proceeds into non-sequitur fairly quickly. I think it is a basis for the presuppositionalist position. This was posed formally in these forums by nerd Kelly Tripplehorn, in his "Stanford Challenge" (which was later renamed the "Van Til Challenge" when Stanford asked to be left out of it).

Here's a version of the argument being posed by a washed up musician:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO5mnif4lsg

Here are several videos regarding it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbJxqE5Z1NQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqG_gwEH7Qg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwIEYiknXzU

Here are a couple of videos from todangst on the subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbxbFvaAGuA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-P_6c46wxQ 


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Interestingly the person who

Interestingly the person who I quoted is an atheist.


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Topher wrote:

Topher wrote:

"We can't logically show that there is an outside wor[l]d

'Supernatural' (and 'immaterial' ) are broken concepts
- Submitted by todangst

Topher wrote:
"We can't logically show

...that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

If there is no world wide conspiracy (to not tell the rest of us) of the 1000's of astronomers and cosmologists who scan space 24 hours a day of an object big enough to stop the earth's rotation is about to collide with our planet within the next 24 hours the probability of the sun rising using Laplace's Rule of succession is about

Or almost 1

A better explaination of this is here:

Why the "Problem of Induction" really isn't a problem. (And why theists don't even get it right)

Also submitted by todangst

 

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Look to David Hume and

Look to David Hume and Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.  In Books 3 and 4, he explains causation and the fact that it is not extant.  He then tells about the problem with induction.  Hope it helps.

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Topher wrote: "We can't

Topher wrote:

"We can't logically show ...that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

Is a fallacy of arguing from inductive uncertainty.

"...there is nothing illogical or irrational about assuming that induction works, nor are there any rational grounds for holding that 'induction is untrustworthy'. The fact that I cannot be absolutely certain that the sun will rise tomorrow does not give me any justification in holding that it will not rise tomorrow..."

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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It seems that Laplace's Rule

Sorry, I don't know how to delete my comments.


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aiia wrote:

aiia wrote:
Topher wrote:

"We can't logically show that there is an outside wor[l]d

'Supernatural' (and 'immaterial' ) are broken concepts
- Submitted by todangst

Topher wrote:
"We can't logically show

...that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

If there is no world wide conspiracy (to not tell the rest of us) of the 1000's of astronomers and cosmologists who scan space 24 hours a day of an object big enough to stop the earth's rotation is about to collide with our planet within the next 24 hours the probability of the sun rising using Laplace's Rule of succession is about

Or almost 1

A better explaination of this is here:

Why the "Problem of Induction" really isn't a problem. (And why theists don't even get it right)

Also submitted by todangst

 

It seems that Laplace's Rule of Succession asssumes that the probability of an event happening in the future is the same as at any point in the past, thus allowing him to infer from the frequency of events happening in the past, the likelihood of events happening in the future. The problem of induction is that we cannot know that they will behave with the same probabilities, so Laplace's Rule of Succession cannot be used to solve it.


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  aiia wrote: Topher

 

aiia wrote:
Topher wrote:

"We can't logically show ...that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

Is a fallacy of arguing from inductive uncertainty.

"...there is nothing illogical or irrational about assuming that induction works, nor are there any rational grounds for holding that 'induction is untrustworthy'. The fact that I cannot be absolutely certain that the sun will rise tomorrow does not give me any justification in holding that it will not rise tomorrow..."

 

There are neither any logical grounds for supposing that induction does or doesn't work. While logic does not say we shouldn't believe in induction, it doesn't say that we should either. That choice is not one we make a rational decision about. 


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LJoll wrote: aiia

LJoll wrote:
aiia wrote:
Topher wrote:

"We can't logically show that there is an outside wor[l]d

'Supernatural' (and 'immaterial' ) are broken concepts
- Submitted by todangst

Topher wrote:
"We can't logically show

...that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

If there is no world wide conspiracy (to not tell the rest of us) of the 1000's of astronomers and cosmologists who scan space 24 hours a day of an object big enough to stop the earth's rotation is about to collide with our planet within the next 24 hours the probability of the sun rising using Laplace's Rule of succession is about

Or almost 1

A better explaination of this is here:

Why the "Problem of Induction" really isn't a problem. (And why theists don't even get it right)

Also submitted by todangst

 

It seems that Laplace's Rule of Succession asssumes that the probability of an event happening in the future is the same as at any point in the past, thus allowing him to infer from the frequency of events happening in the past, the likelihood of events happening in the future. The problem of induction is that we cannot know that they will behave with the same probabilities, so Laplace's Rule of Succession cannot be used to solve it.

 Laplace does not apply frequentist probability. He applies Bayesian probability (i.e. subjective probability).

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_succession:
'...This must not be interpreted to mean that in 30% of all cases, p is between 20% and 50%; that would be a frequentist philosophy of applied probability. Rather, it means that one's state of knowledge (or ignorance) justifies one in being 30% sure that the sun rises between 20% of the time and 50% of the time -- that is a Bayesian philosophy of applied probability."

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Laplace does not apply

Quote:

Laplace does not apply frequentist probability. He applies Bayesian probability (i.e. subjective probability).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_succession:
'...This must not be interpreted to mean that in 30% of all cases, p is between 20% and 50%; that would be a frequentist philosophy of applied probability. Rather, it means that one's state of knowledge (or ignorance) justifies one in being 30% sure that the sun rises between 20% of the time and 50% of the time -- that is a Bayesian philosophy of applied probability."

 

Yes. The probability that he obtains is not a frequentist probability, although it is similar. He makes the assumption that the probability of an event happening is the same in the future as the past. From this he uses Bayes' Theorem to deduce the probability of, say, a special coin landing on heads even though it has landed on tails the previous 30 times.

For instance, look at this problem. There are two outcomes for an event, and the probability of either outcome is between 0 and 1. Now lets say we repeat the event 99 times and only one outcome (A) is observed. Do you say that the probability that the next time the event is repeated the probability of A being the outcome is 1? No, because we cannot know that. If the probability of outcome B was 0.001 for each time the event happens, it would not be that surprising at all that we've only seen outcome A. We can't say the probability is 0.01 either, as that would be a frequentist probability based on the assumption that the next outcome will be B, which is obviously very wrong. What Laplace does is use Bayes' Theorem to calculate the probability of the next event being A or B. Note that at no point is the problem of induction solved. The whole solution is based on the assumption that the probability that A will happen is the same every time the event happens.

 

What do you believe the justification for his rule to be? How do you believe this circumvents the problem of induction?


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LJoll wrote:

LJoll wrote:
Yes. The probability that he obtains is not a frequentist probability, although it is similar. He makes the assumption that the probability of an event happening is the same in the future as the past. From this he uses Bayes' Theorem to deduce the probability of, say, a special coin landing on heads even though it has landed on tails the previous 30 times.

For instance, look at this problem. There are two outcomes for an event, and the probability of either outcome is between 0 and 1. Now lets say we repeat the event 99 times and only one outcome (A) is observed. Do you say that the probability that the next time the event is repeated the probability of A being the outcome is 1? No, because we cannot know that. If the probability of outcome B was 0.001 for each time the event happens, it would not be that surprising at all that we've only seen outcome A. We can't say the probability is 0.01 either, as that would be a frequentist probability based on the assumption that the next outcome will be B, which is obviously very wrong. What Laplace does is use Bayes' Theorem to calculate the probability of the next event being A or B. Note that at no point is the problem of induction solved. The whole solution is based on the assumption that the probability that A will happen is the same every time the event happens.

 

What do you believe the justification for his rule to be? How do you believe this circumvents the problem of induction?

What is the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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aiia wrote: Is a fallacy of

aiia wrote:
Is a fallacy of arguing from inductive uncertainty.

Argument from inductive uncertainty is not automatically a fallacy in all cases.  Inductive uncertainty is a fact of logic that we can usually ignore, but it never actually goes away. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Topher seems to be the RRS

Topher seems to be the RRS agent for recruiting posters from MAP!
Welcome to RRS LJoll.
I think that there is an argument for induction based on bayesian probability.

Say that we see A coincide with B in a certain way (causation for example?)
We then predict that next time A occurs, B will relate in the same way as before.
If our prediction is right, there are two possibilities:
Either there was a genuine relation or it was down to random chance.
The more our prediction is right, the less likely it is to be random chance, so the more likely there is to be a genuine relation between A and B.

For example:
I notice a coin keeps getting heads and suspect that it is biased to land to heads rather than tails.
So I expect flicking the coin to relate to getting heads.
Now I have my prediction, I can continue to toss the coin.
As I get more results, I can use the probability to determine whether the results tend to be even, or whether the coin is seriously biased towards the other.

So I think that conclusions from induction can be logically justified.


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aiia wrote: What is the

aiia wrote:
What is the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow?

I'm fairly certain that the sun will rise tomorrow, but I havent come to that conclusion based on some a priori mathematical proof. 


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Strafio wrote: Topher seems

Strafio wrote:
Topher seems to be the RRS agent for recruiting posters from MAP! Welcome to RRS LJoll. I think that there is an argument for induction based on bayesian probability. Say that we see A coincide with B in a certain way (causation for example?) We then predict that next time A occurs, B will relate in the same way as before. If our prediction is right, there are two possibilities: Either there was a genuine relation or it was down to random chance. The more our prediction is right, the less likely it is to be random chance, so the more likely there is to be a genuine relation between A and B. For example: I notice a coin keeps getting heads and suspect that it is biased to land to heads rather than tails. So I expect flicking the coin to relate to getting heads. Now I have my prediction, I can continue to toss the coin. As I get more results, I can use the probability to determine whether the results tend to be even, or whether the coin is seriously biased towards the other. So I think that conclusions from induction can be logically justified.

 

That feels right, but it can't be shown logically. How do you distinghuish between the theory that the odds of a coin landing on heads are always 0.5 from the odds of a coin landing on heads will be 0.5 until april 7th 2026, when they will change to 0.25. The method you have put forward is similar to hypothetical-deductivism that Popper put forward and seems to be common sense solution to the problem, as you are no longer just going from seeing something happening every day, to a universal rule; instead you are making a hypothesis which is backed up by several pieces of evidence which simulaneously disproves other hypotheses. Unfortunately it just approaches the same problem from a different direction, as all the evidence we observe is also evidence of an infinite number of alternate theories.


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Yeah, what LJoll said. And

Yeah, what LJoll said.

And like I said, the problem of induction is not a problem most of the time.  It's only a problem when one tries to claim absolute certainty from an inductive argument. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Textom wrote: Yeah, what

Textom wrote:

Yeah, what LJoll said.

And like I said, the problem of induction is not a problem most of the time. It's only a problem when one tries to claim absolute certainty from an inductive argument.

It's not just absolute certainty. You cannot even apply a probability to an inductive argument. 


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  We can't prove there is

 

We can't prove there is an outside world and that the sun will rise tomorrow. Hm. Here is what I would say to that person.

We can't prove either one absolutely. This is true. Just because the sun has risen (or the Earth has revolved, however you want to look at it) billions of times before does not necessarily mean it will still do so 72 hours from now.

I can't prove that the outside world is real either. Perhaps everything is just a holographic image until the exact moment that it is observed. But perhaps those observations are lies. How do we know?

To that I would say, you're right, but who really gives a shit? If you tell me that there is no way to know at any moment that the sun will continue to behave the way I expect, I could just as easily ask you to tell me what the sun would then do.

If you tell me that the outside world may not even exist, I would then ask you to explain to me what the "perceived outside world" must be.

Whatever you try to substitute in its place would surely fall victim to the same flawed logic you are accusing me of. The result is a stalemate.

We come to these kinds of inductive conclusions because we must. If I am an animal in the wild and I make the observation that all the red berries I have ever encountered are good to eat, I continue to eat the red berries. Similarly, just because I have always had a mouth and a digestion system to eat and digest berries, doesn't mean that I certainly will tomorrow, but it would be stupid of me to automatically assume, based on that knowledge, that I don't have to eat any berries. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up as an immortal that has no desire for food, but it would be stupid for me to count on it.

None of this means that my conclusions are right or that my reasoning is valid, but I am hungry, I want to live, and I need to make a decision. I know that I exist. I know that I don't want to cease to exist.

Just because the sun will not necessarily rise tomorrow does not automatically mean that I should stop believing that it will. Just because the outside world may not actually exist or may not be what I think it is (we could all be plugged into the Matrix, after all!), does not automatically mean that I should stop believing that the world is what it is.

We accept the reality of the world we are given (or maybe tomorrow we won't! Where does it end?!?!)

But what else are we going to do?

 

As for the suggestion that the outside world is no more justifiable than God's existence:

If you're arguing for an unrevealed god, I may let that slide. But if you're arguing for the god of a revealed religion that supposedly created then world, then are you saying that God created a world that we can't prove actually exists, and that's how we know God exists?

Hmm... something about that doesn't work. I'll let you figure that one out.

But if you're saying "some god that we just don't know about", then okay whatever. As long as we both acknowledge that you don't know anything about him and so it's probably pointless for us to even be talking about him, if he exists, which we can't really be sure of.

*sigh* 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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LJoll wrote: aiia

LJoll wrote:

aiia wrote:
What is the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow?

I'm fairly certain that the sun will rise tomorrow

What are you basing that on?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Logically we can't prove

Logically we can't prove that the Sun will rise tomorrow, but that is only an academic point.

We can attempt to set bounds on the probability based on enumerating all the scenarios we can imagine which might prevent it, and estimating their probability from what we currently know of physics and the movement of astronomic objects in our vicinity.

We know it would require a massive amount of energy to stop the Earth from rotating, which is the most intelligible physical event that would lead to such an observation. Extremely unlikely we would survive the impact big enough to create such an effect.

Inductive reasoning is all about estimating probabilities of various alternative explanations.

Speculation about fundamental nature of the Universe changing dramatically at any future point is pointless, since all the evidence we have to date is that it hasn't happened since the earliest instants after the Big Bang. 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Textom wrote:

Textom wrote:

aiia wrote:
Is a fallacy of arguing from inductive uncertainty.


Argument from inductive uncertainty is not automatically a fallacy in all cases.
No it is not automatic, but in this case it is a fallacy.
Quote:
Inductive uncertainty is a fact of logic that we can usually ignore, but it never actually goes away.
I agree, but this person is saying:

"We can't logically prove that the sun will rise tomorrow"

Its a fallacy because he/she is not ignoring inductive uncertainty.


 All inductive statements are tentative, and therefore are a bit uncertain. What matters is the amplitude of uncertainty and the relevance to the importance of the precision needed to convey meaning.

It is justifiable to say the sun will rise tomorrow.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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It is not a logical fallacy,

It is not a logical fallacy, the mistake is to think it tells us anything at all useful about anything, except that 99% of philosophy is worse than a waste of time...

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Thanks BobSpence1, for

Thanks BobSpence1, for concluding this crazy rant of sophism, as 2+2 could = 5,6,7, ....
Yeah I could be wrong tho .... on the # 4 ???, .....


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Archeopteryx wrote:   We

Archeopteryx wrote:

 

We can't prove there is an outside world and that the sun will rise tomorrow. Hm. Here is what I would say to that person.

We can't prove either one absolutely. This is true. Just because the sun has risen (or the Earth has revolved, however you want to look at it) billions of times before does not necessarily mean it will still do so 72 hours from now.

I can't prove that the outside world is real either. Perhaps everything is just a holographic image until the exact moment that it is observed. But perhaps those observations are lies. How do we know?

To that I would say, you're right, but who really gives a shit? If you tell me that there is no way to know at any moment that the sun will continue to behave the way I expect, I could just as easily ask you to tell me what the sun would then do.

If you tell me that the outside world may not even exist, I would then ask you to explain to me what the "perceived outside world" must be.

Whatever you try to substitute in its place would surely fall victim to the same flawed logic you are accusing me of. The result is a stalemate.

We come to these kinds of inductive conclusions because we must. If I am an animal in the wild and I make the observation that all the red berries I have ever encountered are good to eat, I continue to eat the red berries. Similarly, just because I have always had a mouth and a digestion system to eat and digest berries, doesn't mean that I certainly will tomorrow, but it would be stupid of me to automatically assume, based on that knowledge, that I don't have to eat any berries. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up as an immortal that has no desire for food, but it would be stupid for me to count on it.

None of this means that my conclusions are right or that my reasoning is valid, but I am hungry, I want to live, and I need to make a decision. I know that I exist. I know that I don't want to cease to exist.

Just because the sun will not necessarily rise tomorrow does not automatically mean that I should stop believing that it will. Just because the outside world may not actually exist or may not be what I think it is (we could all be plugged into the Matrix, after all!), does not automatically mean that I should stop believing that the world is what it is.

We accept the reality of the world we are given (or maybe tomorrow we won't! Where does it end?!?!)

But what else are we going to do?

 

As for the suggestion that the outside world is no more justifiable than God's existence:

If you're arguing for an unrevealed god, I may let that slide. But if you're arguing for the god of a revealed religion that supposedly created then world, then are you saying that God created a world that we can't prove actually exists, and that's how we know God exists?

Hmm... something about that doesn't work. I'll let you figure that one out.

But if you're saying "some god that we just don't know about", then okay whatever. As long as we both acknowledge that you don't know anything about him and so it's probably pointless for us to even be talking about him, if he exists, which we can't really be sure of.

*sigh*

 

All you've done is accept the point and then apply the same point to arguments that no one has even made. Well done.


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aiia wrote: LJoll

aiia wrote:
LJoll wrote:

aiia wrote:
What is the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow?

I'm fairly certain that the sun will rise tomorrow

What are you basing that on?

I just feel that it's true. 


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

Logically we can't prove that the Sun will rise tomorrow, but that is only an academic point.

We can attempt to set bounds on the probability based on enumerating all the scenarios we can imagine which might prevent it, and estimating their probability from what we currently know of physics and the movement of astronomic objects in our vicinity.

We know it would require a massive amount of energy to stop the Earth from rotating, which is the most intelligible physical event that would lead to such an observation. Extremely unlikely we would survive the impact big enough to create such an effect.

Inductive reasoning is all about estimating probabilities of various alternative explanations.

Speculation about fundamental nature of the Universe changing dramatically at any future point is pointless, since all the evidence we have to date is that it hasn't happened since the earliest instants after the Big Bang.

 

I think you've misunderstood the fundamental point. You've said that we can be fairly certain that the fundamental laws of nature won't change because we've observed the fundamental laws remaining unchanged through history. This relies on the assumption the future will look like the past. How can you know that is true? Because it always has been before? That makes the same assumption, so is a circular argument.


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aiia wrote: No it is not

aiia wrote:
No it is not automatic, but in this case it is a fallacy. I agree, but this person is saying:

"We can't logically prove that the sun will rise tomorrow"

Its a fallacy because he/she is not ignoring inductive uncertainty.


All inductive statements are tentative, and therefore are a bit uncertain. What matters is the amplitude of uncertainty and the relevance to the importance of the precision needed to convey meaning.

It is justifiable to say the sun will rise tomorrow.

 

You don't understand. How can you even justify a probability for the Sun rising tomorrow? You cannot. I am not arguing that the logical process of induction leaves slight doubt, therefore we have to completely ignore it. I am arguing that induction is completely logiclly unfounded, so you have no excuse to pretend your knowledge is ultimately rational.


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BobSpence1 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
It is not a logical fallacy, the mistake is to think it tells us anything at all useful about anything, except that 99% of philosophy is worse than a waste of time...

It's a mistake that is only projected from your own interpretation of what I'm trying to say. I agree that 99% of philosophy is a waste of time, but this is in the 1% that shows the other 99% to be a waste of time. This site seems to be filled with people who believe that they have some ultimately rational, logical truth. I am just showing that what they consider to be rational isn't really rational at all. All their arguments are supported by invoking fallacies that they've made up themselves. I an atheist myself, but I didn't use logic to come to that conclusion and neither did anyone else here.


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
Thanks BobSpence1, for concluding this crazy rant of sophism, as 2+2 could = 5,6,7, .... Yeah I could be wrong tho .... on the # 4 ???, .....

This is just pure intellectual dishonesty. I doubt you understood the original argument or the proposed solution. You're just glad that someone has told you that you can go on as normal and believe that what you're doing is rational. 


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I think the problem in the

I think the problem in the line of thinking, as topher puts it, is that it seems to be implying some kind of logical skepticism. It implies that logical thinking is in some way subjective. That the processes of logic and reasoning relies on our instincts or point of view. This differs from epistemological  skepticism -namely what we can (or indeed can't) claim to know about the world. They are two seperate problems which I think have been confused in the phrase "it is logically impossible to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow"

Logical skepticism (doubting that the process of logical reasoning actually works) is, I think, a nonsense. The problem with skepticsim about logic is that logic is required to form the argument against it! If we start to doubt our logic or our reasoing as a valid method for establishing truth then we must actually use logic and reasoning to formulate that argument against. This is much like the carteasian impossability of doubting ones own existence. I think therefore I am if you doubt you exist then you cant think so you cant doubt. Similarly if one doubts that logic/reasoning works then teh very process of forming that doubt does not work!

So I think the use of the word "logic" in the premis should be dropped. It is confusing. This leaves us with plain old epsitemological skepticism. Namely that we "dont know for certain that the sun will rise tomorrow" . I'm not really that bothered about this. We are justfied in the belief. From inductive reasoning it is a strongly justfied beleif. Its possible that its wrong but inductive reasoning works very well indeed. It gets the desired results, acting in such justfied beliefs allows us to opperate in the world and hence it is rational to hold scuh inferences as valid.

 


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evil religion wrote: I

evil religion wrote:

I think the problem in the line of thinking, as topher puts it, is that it seems to be implying some kind of logical skepticism. It implies that logical thinking is in some way subjective. That the processes of logic and reasoning relies on our instincts or point of view. This differs from epistemological skepticism -namely what we can (or indeed can't) claim to know about the world. They are two seperate problems which I think have been confused in the phrase "it is logically impossible to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow"

Logical skepticism (doubting that the process of logical reasoning actually works) is, I think, a nonsense. The problem with skepticsim about logic is that logic is required to form the argument against it! If we start to doubt our logic or our reasoing as a valid method for establishing truth then we must actually use logic and reasoning to formulate that argument against. This is much like the carteasian impossability of doubting ones own existence. I think therefore I am if you doubt you exist then you cant think so you cant doubt. Similarly if one doubts that logic/reasoning works then teh very process of forming that doubt does not work!

So I think the use of the word "logic" in the premis should be dropped. It is confusing. This leaves us with plain old epsitemological skepticism. Namely that we "dont know for certain that the sun will rise tomorrow" . I'm not really that bothered about this. We are justfied in the belief. From inductive reasoning it is a strongly justfied beleif. Its possible that its wrong but inductive reasoning works very well indeed. It gets the desired results, acting in such justfied beliefs allows us to opperate in the world and hence it is rational to hold scuh inferences as valid.

 

No, that isn't the problem at all. No one is doubting logic, I'm doubting that logic actually tells us anything worth knowing.

 

Again you come back to the same arugment as everyone else. It seems to work, so we are justified in using it. Good for you, but you can't claim to be rational. It's no more rational than saying "believing in god makes me happy, therefore I am justified in believing in god".

Before you post the incorrect response that you are probably thinking of, the fact that induction has been helpful in the past is no justification that it will work in the future. In fact that is the very thing in dispute.


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LJoll wrote: evil religion

LJoll wrote:
evil religion wrote:

I think the problem in the line of thinking, as topher puts it, is that it seems to be implying some kind of logical skepticism. It implies that logical thinking is in some way subjective. That the processes of logic and reasoning relies on our instincts or point of view. This differs from epistemological skepticism -namely what we can (or indeed can't) claim to know about the world. They are two seperate problems which I think have been confused in the phrase "it is logically impossible to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow"

Logical skepticism (doubting that the process of logical reasoning actually works) is, I think, a nonsense. The problem with skepticsim about logic is that logic is required to form the argument against it! If we start to doubt our logic or our reasoing as a valid method for establishing truth then we must actually use logic and reasoning to formulate that argument against. This is much like the carteasian impossability of doubting ones own existence. I think therefore I am if you doubt you exist then you cant think so you cant doubt. Similarly if one doubts that logic/reasoning works then teh very process of forming that doubt does not work!

So I think the use of the word "logic" in the premis should be dropped. It is confusing. This leaves us with plain old epsitemological skepticism. Namely that we "dont know for certain that the sun will rise tomorrow" . I'm not really that bothered about this. We are justfied in the belief. From inductive reasoning it is a strongly justfied beleif. Its possible that its wrong but inductive reasoning works very well indeed. It gets the desired results, acting in such justfied beliefs allows us to opperate in the world and hence it is rational to hold scuh inferences as valid.

 

No, that isn't the problem at all. No one is doubting logic, I'm doubting that logic actually tells us anything worth knowing.

And how do you come to that conclusion?

What process do you use to form that skeptical argument?

You are using logic to form the argument that logic tells usnothing useful. So is the conlusion "logic tells us nothing useful" itslef useful?


Quote:
Again you come back to the same arugment as everyone else. It seems to work, so we are justified in using it.

 It does not seem to work it does work

Quote:
Good for you, but you can't claim to be rational.

I can because if we form the following argument.

If my objective is to determine whcih beliefs we should or should not act on then we have two methods whcih are tried and tested. Logic and induction. Both work very well indeed. In fact I would say that this is what REASONING actually is. Its a combination of these two processes. Anything that does not adhere to these two rules is not rational it is without reason. To doubt the process itself, however, is impossible for the reasons stated above. You can't doubt reasoning becasue in doing so you have to use reasoning! 

 

Quote:
It's no more rational than saying "believing in god makes me happy, therefore I am justified in believing in god".

No that is completely irrational because your happiness does not in any way iductivly justify a beleif in Go, neither does is deductively follow from your premise.

.

Quote:
Before you post the incorrect response that you are probably thinking of, the fact that induction has been helpful in the past is no justification that it will work in the future.

Yes it is. Induction justfies itself. It is no GUARANTEE that it will work in the fture but it is justfication because this is how we DEFINE jsutfication. Justfication IS induction or is deduction from inductivly justfied premises. That is what justfication is.

Quote:
In fact that is the very thing in dispute.

And to dispute it is to dispute reasoning itself. You simply could not opperate within the world without induction. You could not think or reason about anything. You are trying to doubt one of the very definitions of reasoning and justfication. In order to step outside the human though process like this you need to deny the very tools that enable you to think! This is as impossible as doubting ones own existence.


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evil religion wrote: LJoll

evil religion wrote:
LJoll wrote:
evil religion wrote:

I think the problem in the line of thinking, as topher puts it, is that it seems to be implying some kind of logical skepticism. It implies that logical thinking is in some way subjective. That the processes of logic and reasoning relies on our instincts or point of view. This differs from epistemological skepticism -namely what we can (or indeed can't) claim to know about the world. They are two seperate problems which I think have been confused in the phrase "it is logically impossible to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow"

Logical skepticism (doubting that the process of logical reasoning actually works) is, I think, a nonsense. The problem with skepticsim about logic is that logic is required to form the argument against it! If we start to doubt our logic or our reasoing as a valid method for establishing truth then we must actually use logic and reasoning to formulate that argument against. This is much like the carteasian impossability of doubting ones own existence. I think therefore I am if you doubt you exist then you cant think so you cant doubt. Similarly if one doubts that logic/reasoning works then teh very process of forming that doubt does not work!

So I think the use of the word "logic" in the premis should be dropped. It is confusing. This leaves us with plain old epsitemological skepticism. Namely that we "dont know for certain that the sun will rise tomorrow" . I'm not really that bothered about this. We are justfied in the belief. From inductive reasoning it is a strongly justfied beleif. Its possible that its wrong but inductive reasoning works very well indeed. It gets the desired results, acting in such justfied beliefs allows us to opperate in the world and hence it is rational to hold scuh inferences as valid.

 

No, that isn't the problem at all. No one is doubting logic, I'm doubting that logic actually tells us anything worth knowing.

And how do you come to that conclusion?

What process do you use to form that skeptical argument?

You are using logic to form the argument that logic tells usnothing useful. So is the conlusion "logic tells us nothing useful" itslef useful?


Quote:
Again you come back to the same arugment as everyone else. It seems to work, so we are justified in using it.

It does not seem to work it does work

Quote:
Good for you, but you can't claim to be rational.

I can because if we form the following argument.

If my objective is to determine whcih beliefs we should or should not act on then we have two methods whcih are tried and tested. Logic and induction. Both work very well indeed. In fact I would say that this is what REASONING actually is. Its a combination of these two processes. Anything that does not adhere to these two rules is not rational it is without reason. To doubt the process itself, however, is impossible for the reasons stated above. You can't doubt reasoning becasue in doing so you have to use reasoning!

Quote:
It's no more rational than saying "believing in god makes me happy, therefore I am justified in believing in god".

No that is completely irrational because your happiness does not in any way iductivly justify a beleif in Go, neither does is deductively follow from your premise.

.

Quote:
Before you post the incorrect response that you are probably thinking of, the fact that induction has been helpful in the past is no justification that it will work in the future.

Yes it is. Induction justfies itself. It is no GUARANTEE that it will work in the fture but it is justfication because this is how we DEFINE jsutfication. Justfication IS induction or is deduction from inductivly justfied premises. That is what justfication is.

Quote:
In fact that is the very thing in dispute.

And to dispute it is to dispute reasoning itself. You simply could not opperate within the world without induction. You could not think or reason about anything. You are trying to doubt one of the very definitions of reasoning and justfication. In order to step outside the human though process like this you need to deny the very tools that enable you to think! This is as impossible as doubting ones own existence.

 

Absolutely pathetic. What a cop out.


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LJoll wrote:   Absolutely

LJoll wrote:

 

Absolutely pathetic. What a cop out.

Said with no hint of irony.

I am actually presenting the position put forward by one of my favourite philosiphers Thomas Nagel. I'm currently reading a book of his called the "Last Word" which deals with as its central topic the subjectivist attacks on reasoning. If you think Nagel and other eminent philsophers can be dismissed as "coping out" then I would suggest you present your reasons why you think this is the case.

If you can form a coherent account of what it is to reason without using deduction or induction then please do so. If you can present to what is meant by justfication without refering to any inductive process then please be my guest and do so. This is what you need to do in order to dismiss the arguements above.

Just making a whingey whinney snide comments like

"Absolutely pathetic. What a cop out."

Really does not cut the mustards I'm afraid old chap. May I suggest some reading up on the matter in question might be in order. A good place to start would be Nagels "The last word". 


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LJoll wrote: It's a

LJoll wrote:

It's a mistake that is only projected from your own interpretation of what I'm trying to say. I agree that 99% of philosophy is a waste of time, but this is in the 1% that shows the other 99% to be a waste of time. This site seems to be filled with people who believe that they have some ultimately rational, logical truth. I am just showing that what they consider to be rational isn't really rational at all. All their arguments are supported by invoking fallacies that they've made up themselves. I an atheist myself, but I didn't use logic to come to that conclusion and neither did anyone else here.

Before you take this approach, you should reflect on the fact that your own arguments are equally susceptible to this attack. You are unhappy that people here are claiming that they've employed rational means to arrive at their conclusions, and that they feel those means have delivered correct conclusions. OK. Then what are you basing this on? Your observations? Your logical inductions from what people have said? Your reception of information in the form of language and your subsequent decoding and interpretation of those messages? How can you claim that your conclusions based on these things are valid and ours are not? You've done what every amateur relativist does and sawn off the branch you are sitting on.

What people are saying and you are refusing to hear is that we understand and accept the technical logical problem of induction, but we have made pragmatic decisions to ignore it for the purposes of real-world reasoning. You can't prove the sun is coming up tomorrow...so what? Should we rush to the store for space heaters? If our ancestors had behaved like this, the human species wouldn't exist. Everyone who is alive today makes this pragmatic concession to inductive uncertainty, and the fact that they keep on living suggests that something is wrong with the idea, not with the people.

You are the one, I'm afraid, who is overly concerned with possession of the Truth. That way lies only solipsist paralysis. Here's a chilling thought for you: what if there is no Truth? After all, it's kind of the Sasquatch of the philosophical world, isn't it? We certainly have no more evidence that Truth exists than we do God.

I'll also throw good old Occam at you. Nothing has ever been observed to change the way it works without some force acting on it. Yet your theory is that tomorrow, 2+2=?. You are implying some force acting to change the universal laws of mathematics over night. But I have a theory that doesn't require your mysterious force: tomorrow, 2+2=4. Parsimony requires that we prefer the theory that things will not change the way they work without a reason. 

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LJoll wrote: No, that isn't

LJoll wrote:
No, that isn't the problem at all. No one is doubting logic, I'm doubting that logic actually tells us anything worth knowing.

Logic itself doesn't tell us anything, logic is just a method, which requires an input. For inductive logic the input is our observations of the real world. Simply put: our everyday experience and reasoning is inductive.

With that in mine, lets examine the ramifications of your argument:

Since it is only induction that is useful to everyday life, our observations, etc, and since you're denying induction actually tells us anything useful or logical, the instead we hold to inductive claims intuitively, based on what feels right, then what you are ultimately proposing is that our life--which is grounded in induction--is without any real knowledge or logical basis, that our everyday life is based on intuitive feelings. Surely you don't hold to this postmodern sounding notion? In on the other hand if you think we do have useful knowledge in our life and a logical/rational basis for it, then you'd have to agree have we get it via induction.

LJoll wrote:
Again you come back to the same arugment as everyone else. It seems to work, so we are justified in using it. Good for you, but you can't claim to be rational.

There is nothing irrational or illogical about holding to induction for pragmatic reasons.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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evil religion wrote:

evil religion wrote:
And how do you come to that conclusion?

What process do you use to form that skeptical argument?

You are using logic to form the argument that logic tells usnothing useful. So is the conlusion "logic tells us nothing useful" itslef useful?

That is a pedantic point. I did not mean that it can tell us nothing useful at all, but that most of our most important knowledge does not have a logical foundation.


Quote:
It does not seem to work it does work

Well it has always worked in the past. The whole point is that we cannot know if it'll work in the future.

 

Quote:
I can because if we form the following argument.

If my objective is to determine whcih beliefs we should or should not act on then we have two methods whcih are tried and tested. Logic and induction. Both work very well indeed. In fact I would say that this is what REASONING actually is. Its a combination of these two processes. Anything that does not adhere to these two rules is not rational it is without reason. To doubt the process itself, however, is impossible for the reasons stated above. You can't doubt reasoning becasue in doing so you have to use reasoning!

And you completely miss the point of the whole argument again. The fact that something's tried and tested is not a rational reason for believing it will work in the future, unless you have some sort of reason for believeing what happens in the past is a reliable guide to what happens in the future.

I am not doubting reasoning per se; I'm doubting YOUR reasoning.

Quote:
No that is completely irrational because your happiness does not in any way iductivly justify a beleif in Go, neither does is deductively follow from your premise

And from what premise does "the past is a reliable guide to the future" follow from?

Quote:
Yes it is. Induction justfies itself. It is no GUARANTEE that it will work in the fture but it is justfication because this is how we DEFINE jsutfication. Justfication IS induction or is deduction from inductivly justfied premises. That is what justfication is.

No it isn't. Justification is NOT defined as something that induction would lead us to believe is true. If the laws of physics started changing every other day, you would not accept that definition of induction. In fact, the only reason why you are prepared to accept it now is that induction has always been fairly reliable throughout known history, so inductive arguments have generally been correct. We have no reason for knowing that inductive arguments will continue to be correct and it is untrue that justification is defined in terms of induction.

Quote:
And to dispute it is to dispute reasoning itself. You simply could not opperate within the world without induction. You could not think or reason about anything. You are trying to doubt one of the very definitions of reasoning and justfication. In order to step outside the human though process like this you need to deny the very tools that enable you to think! This is as impossible as doubting ones own existence.

And you're talking complete nonsense now. I am not doubting reasoning itself, I'm simply doubting that the validity of induction follows from reasoning. It is nothing like doubting one's own existence, you're getting a bit carried away with your argument and just keep adding things in that you think sound nice and impressive.


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Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
Before you take this approach, you should reflect on the fact that your own arguments are equally susceptible to this attack. You are unhappy that people here are claiming that they've employed rational means to arrive at their conclusions, and that they feel those means have delivered correct conclusions. OK. Then what are you basing this on? Your observations? Your logical inductions from what people have said? Your reception of information in the form of language and your subsequent decoding and interpretation of those messages? How can you claim that your conclusions based on these things are valid and ours are not? You've done what every amateur relativist does and sawn off the branch you are sitting on.

What on Earth are you talking about? You do what every amateur thinker does and misunderstand the argument and then (ineptly) attacks something completely different.

Tilberian wrote:
What people are saying and you are refusing to hear is that we understand and accept the technical logical problem of induction, but we have made pragmatic decisions to ignore it for the purposes of real-world reasoning. You can't prove the sun is coming up tomorrow...so what? Should we rush to the store for space heaters? If our ancestors had behaved like this, the human species wouldn't exist. Everyone who is alive today makes this pragmatic concession to inductive uncertainty, and the fact that they keep on living suggests that something is wrong with the idea, not with the people.

Oh, so you do accept the problem of induction? So you don't believe we have any logical reason to expect the future to be like the past? So your decision not to but space heaters wasn't a rational one at all? That clears that up then.

 

Tilberian wrote:
You are the one, I'm afraid, who is overly concerned with possession of the Truth. That way lies only solipsist paralysis. Here's a chilling thought for you: what if there is no Truth? After all, it's kind of the Sasquatch of the philosophical world, isn't it? We certainly have no more evidence that Truth exists than we do God.

Oh am I really? No. You are the one claiming to be rational. You are the one that has claimed to have a logical reason for believing what you do.

Tilberian wrote:
I'll also throw good old Occam at you. Nothing has ever been observed to change the way it works without some force acting on it. Yet your theory is that tomorrow, 2+2=?. You are implying some force acting to change the universal laws of mathematics over night. But I have a theory that doesn't require your mysterious force: tomorrow, 2+2=4. Parsimony requires that we prefer the theory that things will not change the way they work without a reason.

 

Errrr...and since when has Occam's Raxor been a mathematical law? You don't have a clue.


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Topher wrote: Logic itself

Topher wrote:
Logic itself doesn't tell us anything, logic is just a method, which requires an input. For inductive logic the input is our observations of the real world. Simply put: our everyday experience and reasoning is inductive.

 Well it's unjustifiable then. Oh well.

Topher wrote:
Since it is only induction that is useful to everyday life, our observations, etc, and since you're denying induction actually tells us anything useful or logical, the instead we hold to inductive claims intuitively, based on what feels right, then what you are ultimately proposing is that our life--which is grounded in induction--is without any real knowledge or logical basis, that our everyday life is based on intuitive feelings. Surely you don't hold to this postmodern sounding notion? In on the other hand if you think we do have useful knowledge in our life and a logical/rational basis for it, then you'd have to agree have we get it via induction.

You've added the word 'useful' into my argument. When did I ever say that the only useful knowledge is logically gained. Other than that, yes, our life is without any logical basis.

Topher wrote:
There is nothing irrational or illogical about holding to induction for pragmatic reasons.

If people find a belief in God helpful in getting through difficult periods of their life, are they then being rational? The fact that a certain action has a positive outcome has nothing to do with logical reasoning. 


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Still agreeing with LJoll

Still agreeing with LJoll here, but just wanted to add in response to Topher that (1) I find deductive logic also useful in my everyday life and (2) I object to the use of the word "postmodern" as a perjorative, with the implication that labeling something "postmodern" makes it automatically invalid or untrue.

I don't find that my awareness that inductive logic can't produce certainties in any way impairs my use of logic or my life in general. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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LJoll wrote: What on Earth

LJoll wrote:

What on Earth are you talking about? You do what every amateur thinker does and misunderstand the argument and then (ineptly) attacks something completely different.

I addressed your argument head on and presented a major problem with it. You are trying to use logical induction to say that logical induction is irrational and invalid. So your argument is irrational and invalid and refutes itself. Buh bye. 

LJoll wrote:

Oh, so you do accept the problem of induction? So you don't believe we have any logical reason to expect the future to be like the past? So your decision not to but space heaters wasn't a rational one at all? That clears that up then.

Accepting that the problem of induction exists and accepting that it precludes all use of induction in rationality are two quite different things. Do you feel that it would be rational to die if no logical argument could be put forward for you continued existence?  

LJoll wrote:

Oh am I really? No. You are the one claiming to be rational. You are the one that has claimed to have a logical reason for believing what you do.

If you are telling us that you aren't rational then we might as well stop this conversation right now. I have better things to do than debate with a nutcase. 

LJoll wrote:

 Errrr...and since when has Occam's Raxor been a mathematical law? You don't have a clue.

Since when was it a rule that only mathematical laws can be introduced into this argument? Occam's Razor is a necessary pragmatic concession for life. If you want to operate in defiance of it, have fun chasing illusions. 

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LJoll wrote:

LJoll wrote:
When did I ever say that the only useful knowledge is logically gained.

Well tell me, how else can we gain knowledge and be confident of the validity of that knowledge if not thought logical, rational thought?

LJoll wrote:
Other than that, yes, our life is without any logical basis.

Elaborate on this please. Are you suggesting that logic is not part of our life?

LJoll wrote:
If people find a belief in God helpful in getting through difficult periods of their life, are they then being rational? The fact that a certain action has a positive outcome has nothing to do with logical reasoning.

Someone cannot jump from the good effects of believing in a god to asserting god therefore exists. That said, it is possible to hold an irrational belief for rational reasons.

When it comes to induction however...

"Hume's answer was that we had little choice but to assume that the future will be like the past..... in other words, it was a habit born of necessity - we'd starve without it! And, given that there was nothing contradictory, nothing logically impossible or irrational to holding to a behavior through its utility, the utility of induction was seen to support induction a pragmatic

It is important to remember that even without an epistemological foundation for induction, there is nothing illogical or irrational about assuming that induction works, nor is there in a purported lack of a epistemological foundation a rational grounds for holding that 'induction is untrustworthy'."
http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/The_So_Called_%22Problem%22_Of_Induction

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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LJoll wrote: Archeopteryx

LJoll wrote:
Archeopteryx wrote:

 

We can't prove there is an outside world and that the sun will rise tomorrow. Hm. Here is what I would say to that person.

We can't prove either one absolutely. This is true. Just because the sun has risen (or the Earth has revolved, however you want to look at it) billions of times before does not necessarily mean it will still do so 72 hours from now.

I can't prove that the outside world is real either. Perhaps everything is just a holographic image until the exact moment that it is observed. But perhaps those observations are lies. How do we know?

To that I would say, you're right, but who really gives a shit? If you tell me that there is no way to know at any moment that the sun will continue to behave the way I expect, I could just as easily ask you to tell me what the sun would then do.

If you tell me that the outside world may not even exist, I would then ask you to explain to me what the "perceived outside world" must be.

Whatever you try to substitute in its place would surely fall victim to the same flawed logic you are accusing me of. The result is a stalemate.

We come to these kinds of inductive conclusions because we must. If I am an animal in the wild and I make the observation that all the red berries I have ever encountered are good to eat, I continue to eat the red berries. Similarly, just because I have always had a mouth and a digestion system to eat and digest berries, doesn't mean that I certainly will tomorrow, but it would be stupid of me to automatically assume, based on that knowledge, that I don't have to eat any berries. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up as an immortal that has no desire for food, but it would be stupid for me to count on it.

None of this means that my conclusions are right or that my reasoning is valid, but I am hungry, I want to live, and I need to make a decision. I know that I exist. I know that I don't want to cease to exist.

Just because the sun will not necessarily rise tomorrow does not automatically mean that I should stop believing that it will. Just because the outside world may not actually exist or may not be what I think it is (we could all be plugged into the Matrix, after all!), does not automatically mean that I should stop believing that the world is what it is.

We accept the reality of the world we are given (or maybe tomorrow we won't! Where does it end?!?!)

But what else are we going to do?

 

As for the suggestion that the outside world is no more justifiable than God's existence:

If you're arguing for an unrevealed god, I may let that slide. But if you're arguing for the god of a revealed religion that supposedly created then world, then are you saying that God created a world that we can't prove actually exists, and that's how we know God exists?

Hmm... something about that doesn't work. I'll let you figure that one out.

But if you're saying "some god that we just don't know about", then okay whatever. As long as we both acknowledge that you don't know anything about him and so it's probably pointless for us to even be talking about him, if he exists, which we can't really be sure of.

*sigh*

 

All you've done is accept the point and then apply the same point to arguments that no one has even made. Well done.

 

Actually, I've pointed out that our stance shouldn't be put on the same ground as a revealed religion with a creation story. If the god in question created the world that we are so uncertain about, then the uncertain world does not work to suggest that the creator god may exist.

I've conceded that some type of god that we are completely agnostic about may or may not exist, but we can't say anything about it. When anyone making a god claim makes any attempt to describe the god (to know anything about the god), then their stance becomes irrational.

This applies to your point that we are just as irrational as everyone who makes a god claim. I'm only pointing out that it depends on the god claim.

If someone says, "There might be a god." Okay. And there might not. Maybe there was one yesterday and there isn't one today. It may or may not be true. Whatever. No argument, and not even worth talking about.

If someone says, "There IS a god, and he doesn't like it when people masturbate," then I can object and ask them how they know.

I'm not sure I see any problem with that.

You can then get into the scientific points, such as whether the sun will rise tomorrow or not, and say that we are using the same fallacy. You can then say that our belief that the sun will rise tomorrow must be as irrational as their god belief, if you like.  But, even if you are right, wouldn't the agnostic atheist position still be valid, despite whatever invalid claims the agnostic atheist might make thereafter?

I guess what I'm saying is, I wouldn't object to your saying that we are all as equally irrational as the god-believers as much as I would object to your saying that we are being equally irrational about the same thing (namely the existence of God). 

 

As for all the arguments that no one ever made, I know that no one ever made them. I wasn't trying to present them as if someone had. I'm sorry if I made them sound that way. At least you were able to build them into a cool-sounding jab. Well done.

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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The speculation that "the

The speculation that "the nature of physical reality", or "the Laws of Physics", which are what we call the regularities and consistent patterns of interaction we have uncovered by scientific investigation, may suddenly change in the future, is really in a similar category to other speculations such as the existence of some conscious higher being responsible for the physical universe.

We cannot logically disprove it, any more than we can currently disprove the existence of Russell's orbiting teapot.

Since we have no evidence whatever to say it is likely to happen, it is entirely rational to behave as if things which have persisted as far back as we can tell will continue to do so, in the total absence of contrary evidence. We can speculate about an indefinitely large number of scenarios which we currently have no evidence for, and there will be an infinite number of further scenarios which our finite minds cannot even imagine.

It is entirely rational to assume, on the basis of history, that such an event is extremely unlikely, so since agonising about such things, taking them seriously, would logically massively affect how we go about our lives, mainly for the worse, especially if things do continue as before, it makes all the sense in the world to ignore such a 'possibility'. Just like the possibility that God and the Heaven/Hell story is actually true.

Logical possibility tells us nothing about reality.

I'm sure for every such not-logically-impossible scenario, one could postulate some other 'possible' scenario that would have the opposite implications as to what we should do. It is rational to ignore ideas which contradict all our experience and have no evidence for them.

This is just like the Theist accusation that we cannot disprove the existence of God.

It is this sort of pointless speculation which represents everything that is stupid and pointless about so much 'philosophical' discourse.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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LJoll wrote: evil religion

LJoll wrote:
evil religion wrote:
And how do you come to that conclusion?

What process do you use to form that skeptical argument?

You are using logic to form the argument that logic tells usnothing useful. So is the conlusion "logic tells us nothing useful" itslef useful?

That is a pedantic point. I did not mean that it can tell us nothing useful at all, but that most of our most important knowledge does not have a logical foundation.

I disagree. The process of reasoning is grounded in logic as is mathematics. This process is logical and this process is what gives us pretty much all of our knowledge. The base input may well be inductive or empirical but observations do not make knowledge they need to be processed and that process is logical, well it is as long as one wants to remian rational. 


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It does not seem to work it does work

Well it has always worked in the past. The whole point is that we cannot know if it'll work in the future.

We cant know for certain I agree but we are justfied in that belief. So strongly justfied in fact that I would say that we can make a legitimate claim to know this. PLease note at this stage that absilute certainty is not a prequistite for knowledge. 

 

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I can because if we form the following argument.

If my objective is to determine whcih beliefs we should or should not act on then we have two methods whcih are tried and tested. Logic and induction. Both work very well indeed. In fact I would say that this is what REASONING actually is. Its a combination of these two processes. Anything that does not adhere to these two rules is not rational it is without reason. To doubt the process itself, however, is impossible for the reasons stated above. You can't doubt reasoning becasue in doing so you have to use reasoning!

And you completely miss the point of the whole argument again. The fact that something's tried and tested is not a rational reason for believing it will work in the future, unless you have some sort of reason for believeing what happens in the past is a reliable guide to what happens in the future.

We do have reasons to believe this though. Working on this very principle allows you to operate in the world. Everysingle rational human being uses this process every day thousands of time to make judgemnets about the world. On the whole it works very well. It works a whole lot better than doubting evreything or giving every possability equal worth. If someone really acted as if the pinciple of induction didn't hold then they would do all sorts of silly and crazy things, they would make very poor judgementa nd would probably die fairly qucikly at the next road crossing. In short they would act in a way that we woudl describe as oh whats the word er um ohe yes that its IRATIONAL. Induction is just part of what it is to be rational. 

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I am not doubting reasoning per se; I'm doubting YOUR reasoning.

But doubting the validity of inducation as a method for justfication then you are doubting reason itself. 

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No that is completely irrational because your happiness does not in any way iductivly justify a beleif in Go, neither does is deductively follow from your premise

And from what premise does "the past is a reliable guide to the future" follow from?

From the premis that it alwasy has been a relaible guide.

It works thats all there is to it really.

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Yes it is. Induction justfies itself. It is no GUARANTEE that it will work in the fture but it is justfication because this is how we DEFINE jsutfication. Justfication IS induction or is deduction from inductivly justfied premises. That is what justfication is.

No it isn't. Justification is NOT defined as something that induction would lead us to believe is true.

Ok please define justfication completely without reference to any iductive process. 

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If the laws of physics started changing every other day, you would not accept that definition of induction. In fact, the only reason why you are prepared to accept it now is that induction has always been fairly reliable throughout known history, so inductive arguments have generally been correct. We have no reason for knowing that inductive arguments will continue to be correct and it is untrue that justification is defined in terms of induction.

Human beings have evolved in a universe where the laws of physics are constant. Human beings have evolved various special tricks to allow them to operate within this world and increase their chances of survival. One of the those tricks is rational thought. It is a process that allows them to filter useful beleifs from unuseful ones. ONe of the processes involved in this is the recognition of patterns in the universe this is induction. It is a base process of reasoning, of rational thought. To doubt its valifity is to doubt rational thought. If you doubt induction then you essentially are saying that no beliefs about the world can or are justfied, that there is not way to detreminine whether jumping off a cliff is a good or bad idea. This is just plain silly. You do not believe what you claim you believe. You do believe induction works, you use it every day without question as does every other rational human being and indeed every other rational creature.   

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And to dispute it is to dispute reasoning itself. You simply could not opperate within the world without induction. You could not think or reason about anything. You are trying to doubt one of the very definitions of reasoning and justfication. In order to step outside the human though process like this you need to deny the very tools that enable you to think! This is as impossible as doubting ones own existence.

And you're talking complete nonsense now. I am not doubting reasoning itself, I'm simply doubting that the validity of induction follows from reasoning.

Inducation is part of reasoning as much a part as deduction. 

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It is nothing like doubting one's own existence,

Yes it is. In order to doubt inducation you must first of all accept that there is a world out there for it to be an invalid process in. This is an empirical observation. You form this conclusion that there is an external universe by repeated observation. If you deny that this is valid then you simply can't use the necessary premis 

- There is a uninverse 

In your argumnet

You need to form the following

P1- There is a universe (inductive observation)

P2- Induction is the observation of past patterns in the universe and predicting future outcomes (definition of induction)

P3- There is no reason to supose that the universe will behave in the same way in the future

P4- If the rules change then patterns are irrelevant 

C-  Induction can not be reliable

You must observe the world and accept that it has been here for a while  and you must also concieve that it could have been different in the past. You must concieve that there could have been changes and that these changes (in the laws of phsyics) could be observable in principle. This relies, in a very basic way, on an inductive reasoning. You require the premis 1 above to form this, or indeed any argument! But this is an iductivly gleamed premis which means that it is apparently an invalid premise. Which means that the whole argument tumbles down.

You cant even form the argument agaisnt without relying on some inductivly gleamed premises about the universe.

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you're getting a bit carried away with your argument and just keep adding things in that you think sound nice and impressive.

Am I. A suggestion for you, some friendly advise, rather than getting all hot under the collar and making snide comments I would suggest that you just concentrate on the issues and arguments at hand. 

 


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All this re-inforced the

All this re-inforced the idea in my mind that the chief value of Logic is as a way of guarding against various basic errors in reasoning, rather than pointing to new knowledge.

  Informal, inductively-based reasoning, with a healthy input of real-world observation and, where practical, experiment and testing, is the only way we come up with new ideas and insights, but we can easily slip into various logical fallacies. We should always test our ideas against basic logic whenever they start to take shape. As a hypothesis takes more form, higher level analytical tools, often math-based, or using higher level branches of logic, come into play. At least this applies for forming ideas about the nature of the Universe and even the operation of the human mind to a large degree.

The Greek philosophers generally were on entirely the wrong track in this regard. 'Pure' reason and logic is completely inadequate to gain knowledge of reality. Logic is necessary, but grossly insufficient, for the pursuit of knowledge.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

All this re-inforced the idea in my mind that the chief value of Logic is as a way of guarding against various basic errors in reasoning, rather than pointing to new knowledge.

Informal, inductively-based reasoning, with a healthy input of real-world observation and, where practical, experiment and testing, is the only way we come up with new ideas and insights, but we can easily slip into various logical fallacies. We should always test our ideas against basic logic whenever they start to take shape. As a hypothesis takes more form, higher level analytical tools, often math-based, or using higher level branches of logic, come into play. At least this applies for forming ideas about the nature of the Universe and even the operation of the human mind to a large degree.

The Greek philosophers generally were on entirely the wrong track in this regard. 'Pure' reason and logic is completely inadequate to gain knowledge of reality. Logic is necessary, but grossly insufficient, for the pursuit of knowledge.

I think to scope of "pure reason" is somewhat limited. I think we can use logic and mathematics to work out a whole host of mathematical/logical truths that would seem to hold everywhere in the universe or indeed any universe. For example I really can't see how the truth that there are infinitly many primes can be disputed by any rational person. It is a nonobvious truth about the universe that is provable by pure reason. Similarly the validity modus tollens (for example) is also a universal truth that no rational being could every doubt.

But similarly I think that any being that wishes to form beliefs about the universe will have to utlise inductive processes in order to form those beliefs. The process of observation involves a very basic inductivly justified premis - namely that there is a universe to observe. To obeser a segment of this uinverse (any object) one must observer that there is indeed a universe and that this segment (however arbitarily assigned) is constant enough in form to allow the said observation.

So when we observe a rock we must observe this rock over time. In order to form a concept of "this rock" we must infer that our observations over time of this object are valid. We must infer that this "rock" is not in constant flux and that it is indeed an object of some conistency over time. This inference seems rather mundane but is infcat an inductive process. There is no deductive way of showing that any of our observations of anything are anything other than chance occurances in a constrantly changing universe.

So if we are to even concieve of any object we must utlise inductive reasoning. If we then atempt to invalidate that inductive reasoning as irrational then it turns out that the argument we are using to invalidate induction is itself invalid, as it must rely on the concept of "an object" or "a universe" and these concepts can only be formed by inductive processes i.e. observation and inference. This means that any atempt to label induction as irrational is simply doomed to fail. It kicks away the ladder upon whcih it relies on and tumbles to the ground in puff of irrationality.

 


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BobSpence1 wrote: This is

BobSpence1 wrote:

This is just like the Theist accusation that we cannot disprove the existence of God.

You nailed it.  We can make the technical concession that logic can't defend induction, but we can still defend our use of induction on rational grounds by invoking the principle of parsimony...Occam's Razor. The simple fact is that we have never observed something changing for no reason. Therefore it would be irrational to assume that it might.

 

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evil religion

evil religion wrote:
BobSpence1 wrote:

All this re-inforced the idea in my mind that the chief value of Logic is as a way of guarding against various basic errors in reasoning, rather than pointing to new knowledge.

Informal, inductively-based reasoning, with a healthy input of real-world observation and, where practical, experiment and testing, is the only way we come up with new ideas and insights, but we can easily slip into various logical fallacies. We should always test our ideas against basic logic whenever they start to take shape. As a hypothesis takes more form, higher level analytical tools, often math-based, or using higher level branches of logic, come into play. At least this applies for forming ideas about the nature of the Universe and even the operation of the human mind to a large degree.

The Greek philosophers generally were on entirely the wrong track in this regard. 'Pure' reason and logic is completely inadequate to gain knowledge of reality. Logic is necessary, but grossly insufficient, for the pursuit of knowledge.

I think to scope of "pure reason" is somewhat limited. I think we can use logic and mathematics to work out a whole host of mathematical/logical truths that would seem to hold everywhere in the universe or indeed any universe. For example I really can't see how the truth that there are infinitly many primes can be disputed by any rational person. It is a nonobvious truth about the universe that is provable by pure reason. Similarly the validity modus tollens (for example) is also a universal truth that no rational being could every doubt.

Actually I agree.

I probably should have said that while pure reason essentially is restricted to deductive logic, it is definitely useful to the extent of extracting and clarifying things like the 'laws of logic', which are a different category of 'truth' than ideas about the existence and interactions of particular external entities. External to the mind, that is. I think the 'Greek error', as i think of it, was to miss this distinction.

Their undoubted success in establishing non-obvious laws of valid argument lead them to generalise about the power of pure reason to reveal all truths about the Universe.

Even what seem to be triumphs of pure reasoning, coming up with ideas like Pythagoras' theorem about the relationship between the length of the sides of a right angle triangle are now known to be contingent upon the 'flatness' of space. In a two-dimensional universe that is curved, such as lines drawn on the surface of a sphere, like the surface of the earth, it no longer holds.

I think it is arguable that even the reasoning about 'logic' was based on 'observation', the observation of the process of thinking itself, and noting what were the common features of arguments which seemed to be productive, and not get stuck in circularity or other dead ends. This is about the only 'raw material' pure reason has to work with, so it can really only come up with concepts about things like Logic itself, which while basic tools of any higher-level reasoning, are not going to get you very far by themselves.

A hammer and chisel are essential tools for a carpenter, but in the absence of a supply of material to work on, ie wood, will not actually produce anything, except cuts and bruises.

The equipment we use to think with evolved to be able to come up with useful predictions about the external world, and the way an individual brain learns to apply this neural circuitry is fine-tuned by interactions with the external world, including other individuals, so even 'pure reason' is grounded in empirical reality. These 'built-in' mechanisms of thought could indeed be described as 'instinct', and the initial learning could be what becomes 'intuition'.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Going back to the

Going back to the OP:

Topher wrote:

"We can't logically show that there is an outside word or that the sun will rise tomorrow..."

I came across this statement recently. What logical fallacy is it making? It seems to be arguing from inductive uncertainty, although for this fallacy to apply does it require the person to go on to reject the proposition, rather than simply saying it cannot be logically proven.

The same person also wrote the following:

Quote:
My skepticism is not of the outside world, but of the role of logic in finding truth. At the most fundamental level, the outside world existing is logically no more justifiable than God's existence. That doesn't mean that they are equally true, or that an intelligent person should conclude that they are equally true. In deciding which is true, however, we must rely on our intuition and instincts, although that is not to say we should not think carefully about the matter. Even if I say that Christians have "the burden of proof" and that "occam's razor disproves creation", I am not really pointing to something I know to be logically true, but really to something that I feel intuitively to be true.


There seems something wrong about that line of thinking. It seems to imply that we ultimatly rely on our intuition/instincts.

I think phrases like 'equally true', and 'logically no more justifiable than' show the limitations of basic logic. It can only, at best, show that various propositions are either true or false. It cannot by its very nature assign degrees of 'justifiability', or likelihood, or probability.

That is where inductive reasoning and its systematization in Science come in. As I implied in my previous post, we do indeed base our ordinary reasoning on intuition and instincts, but we have developed techniques and concepts to test our conclusions and speculations against reality, and assign levels of confidence to our theories. These probabilities are inevitably imprecise in themselves, but this does not mean we cannot set useful upper and lower limits on their values.

I think the fallacy is to expect more from a particular tool of reasoning, basic binary logic, than it is capable of, and not realise that there is a whole box full of tools which have been developed since the glory days of Greek philosophy.

It is like ignoring all of mathematics beyond integer arithmetic.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology