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About Sam26

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  • Real name: Samuel Naccarato

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  1. Sam26 added a post in a topic A Possible Solution to the Problem of Evil   

    This is your response. I put one word in boldface, and you think I am shouting. I think your a bit sensitive. This is a joke right?
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  2. Sam26 added a topic in Explore   

    A Possible Solution to the Problem of Evil
    This solution requires thinking outside the box, but the following solution may solve the problem of evil. Moreover, just as the arguments for and against the problem of evil assume that there is something beyond the grave, so too, will we make this assumption as part of the argument.

    It is not important whether I believe the argument or not, because all we want to look at, is whether the argument itself solves the problem.
    Most of you probably know what the problem of evil is; however, let me state it for purposes of clarification.

    The problem of evil arises because God is believed to be morally perfect. Moreover, God’s moral perfection along with two other attributes of God appears to be incompatible with evil. Thus we have three attributes of God that seem to be in conflict - his goodness, his omniscience (all-knowing), and his omnipotence (all-powerful). It would follow that if God is good, then God would be opposed to evil. Second, if God is omniscient, then God knows of each and every instance of evil. Third, if God is omnipotent, then God is able to eliminate each and every instance of evil. Thus the question arises – why evil, or at the very least, why so much gratuitous evil?

    The solution to the problem of evil requires an unusual look at reality, and this reality will presuppose different levels of consciousness. There is some evidence for this, but that may be discussed later, or in a different thread.
    The different levels of consciousness or awareness are the following: Dream states, waking states, and a higher awareness that involves the mind leaving the body (out of body awareness or experience). There may be other levels of consciousness, but these are the only ones needed for the purpose of this argument.

    The question that naturally follows from this, is how would changing the state of reality solve the problem of evil? This is explained by giving an example that we all have experienced. For instance, in a dream state we have experiences, and while we are dreaming they seem real. In fact, if we would remain in a dream state it would be reality for us, but we don’t remain in this state; we awaken from this state, passing from a lower level of awareness to a higher level of awareness. When we awake from a dream, the experiences we had while in this state don’t have the impact or level of reality that we thought they did while we were dreaming. So the experiences of pain, fear, death, etc, while in the dream do not have the same sense of reality that our awakened state has, which is why we have a name for this state, viz., dreaming.

    Why is it that when we awaken from a dream state, our experiences while in the dream aren’t as real or as momentous as we thought? Isn’t it because when we move from a lower state of awareness to a higher state of awareness we have knowledge that we didn’t have before? It is the knowledge of what we were experiencing that dissipates the impact of the experiences. We have the memories of what happened, but the experiences themselves aren’t as real as we thought. Thus the pain, fear, and other experiences while in the dream aren’t as real. Did I really experience the car crash that happened while I was dreaming? Yes and no. What is meant by the answer “Yes and no” is this: the experience was real, i.e., I was really experiencing a car crash in the dream, but the experiences at that level lack the reality that waking states have; and it is this sense of reality that significantly lessons the impact of those experiences.

    Now suppose that when we die we merely move from this state of reality to an even higher state of reality, wouldn’t our experiences in this state seem like the dream state? It’s quite possible, and thus the experiences that we call evil wouldn’t have the impact that we think it does. Am I saying there is no evil? No. Because in a sense reality is dependent on the state we are in. Our language is referring to our experiences in that state, so what we describe in that state, as evil, is reality for us. However, reality can change given our level of awareness, or level of consciousness.

    So if dying really does move us from this level of consciousness to another level of consciousness, then what we have experienced here in terms of evil will not have the harmful effects that we think it does. In fact, the harm may be so diminished, that it will have had no more of an effect than waking from a dream state.
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  3. Sam26 added a post in a topic For Alvira: Pascal's Wager   

    Interesting thread.

    Hope you don't mind me jumping into the middle of this thread.

    First, as I understand Pascal (and James' rational risk scenario), his wager is not an argument. The situation is the following: someone thinks the evidence for the existence of God is weak or conflicting, so they are not believers. Is this an error or a mistake? So even if the evidence is weak or conflicting (and I am not arguing in favor of the evidence one way or anther) is it rational to believe in God? Both Pascal and James claim that it is. Hence, both men are saying that belief is warranted based on probable gain and loss. More is gained by believing in God, than not believing. Therefore, if you are a betting person, and also rational, you would choose to believe.

    The problem as I see it is the following: The wager is concerned with one's belief, and not with one's actions. So the question is whether or not a belief can be generated by a wager? Presumably beliefs are generated by the evidence or good reasons (remember this person thinks evidence is lacking).

    If someone buys a lottery ticket because they have a lot to gain and little to lose - does this mean they believe they will win? No. Similarly I may have a lot to gain if the Christian God exists, but does this generate belief in God? No. All it seems to generate is a desire to believe.
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  4. Sam26 added a post in a topic Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism   

    For those of you interested in a more detailed look at On Certainty, you can start here ( on my blog.
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  5. Sam26 added a post in a topic Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism   

    I agree with Stroll as you have stated it here, i.e., that basic beliefs are primitive and prior to language. But I am not sure what you meant by "...unarticulated human practices of, among other things, playing language-games..." Unless I have misinterpreted you, you seem to be associating language-games with basic beliefs or hinge propositions. Language-games are quite different from hinge propositions, or the basic beliefs that I am referring too. Basic beliefs are shown in our actions, but not shown in relation to any language-game. Language-games by their very nature are part of language, and what I am trying to say is that basic beliefs are prior to language.

    Some of the reasons why I associate "inherited background" with the world or reality is that Moore's propositions are propositions about the world (about reality), and what he claims to know about reality. Also Wittgenstein's hinge propositions are beliefs about the world. For example, in OC 7 Wittgenstein talks about Moore's propositions in relation to the world (chairs, doors, etc.), and obects in the world (OC, 17). Notice how in OC 20 Wittgenstein is talking about Moore's propositions in terms of doubting in relation to reality. Reality has to be the background, because Moore's whole approach is to proof to the skeptic that he knows that there is an external world. Wittgenstein want to show that these kinds of propositions have a special place in our beliefs about the world. Moreover, Wittgenstein's approach, although different in the Tractatus, in that it is an a priori approach, is still much the same (in his later philosophy) in that he is still talking about logic, language, and the world. Albeit, his later philosophy is a much more pragmatic approach - an a posteriori approach.

    The link doesn't work. However, I don't think it is true that we could never offer an example of a hinge proposition if it were outside of language. For instance, one could imagine primitive man showing his beliefs in what he does (foraging for food, building, hunting, etc), and we could put those beliefs in linguistic form. But the beliefs themselves are not the result of language. You can always look at any belief, whether it is in language or not, and describe it using language. We often use language to describe a person's beliefs based on their actions, not necessarily because they have expressed those beliefs.

    Sure the examples you have given (Moore's propositions) are stated in language. I have explained this above.

    If you are saying they must be true, then you are taking Moore's side of the argument, but Wittgenstein is saying something much different. He is definitely arguing that Moore's propositions are not propositions of knowledge (OC, 137), and by inference, propositions that are known to be true. They are propositions that give a certain kind of certainty (subjective certainty), but not knowledge.

    Wittgenstein gives examples of how Moore's propositions can be a hinge in one context, and not a hinge in another context. In one context it can make sense to doubt that one has hands, but in another (Moore's examples) it doesn't make sense. The example Wittgenstein gives is that of waking up from an operation and seeing one's hands wrapped in bandages, and doubting whether one has a hand or not, which is a legitimate use of the word doubt or know in reference to my hands.

    Moore is not arguing for a pre-theoretical understanding of the world. However, Wittgenstein's hinges are in a sense pre-theoretical.

    They (12x12=144) are a different kind of bedrock proposition, similar to the rules of chess being bedrock to the game of chess. Think of a child when they learn the times tables, they are just accepted as part of what we mean by multiplying. Like teaching them what we mean by the word chair. The basic propositions of mathematics are the background that needs to be accepted in order to move onto more sophisticated mathematical propositions. These propositions are like the propositions that explain any game that we might play. We need them in order to play the game. And bedrock beliefs are needed in order to develop language, and the sophisticated language-games that come later.

    This final statement of yours is much closer to what Wittgenstein is saying, and what I am saying. However, it seems to be inconsistent with your other statements.
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  6. Sam26 added a post in a topic Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism   

    I am not arguing for a world view. World views take place within a language. Hinge propositions are outside of language. However, if you mean that hinge propositions are such that we cannot know which will be a hinge in the future and which will not - I would answer "yes" and "no." I know that certain hinge propositions will be the same tomorrow, and probably next week or next year. For instance, that I have hands. I also know that some will change. For example, it's a hinge that I live on the earth. However, at some time in the future we may live on another planet (as you said later in the post). Thus, such a bedrock belief would no longer be a hinge.

    I am not sure I follow the last part of your statement, because hinge propositions are neither true or false. And theories take place within a language-game, thus there is no connection between hinge propositions and propositions that make up theories. Normal propositions are such that they can be true or false, but hinge propositions are not within our epistemic system.

    Yes, all hinge propositions can lose their hinge status, which is again why I said they are contingent. Some more so than others. The way you are equating hinges with world views and truth I dealt with above.

    The correspondence in the Tractatus is much different from what I am saying, and from what Wittgenstein is saying in relation to hinge propositions. In the Tractatus Wittgenstein believed that there was a one to one correspondence between, what he referred to as names (names were the smallest parts of propositions), and objects in the world (the smallest parts of atomic facts). In the Tractatus there is a logical connection between names and objects, but in my case there is a causal connection between our sense experiences and reality.

    I agree that " is important to maintain a distinction between our language about the world, and the world itself."

    Note what Wittgenstein says in OC 94, i.e. he does not get it by satisfying himself of its correctness, it is an inherited background against which I distinguish between true and false. One satisfies oneself of the correctness of a proposition in a language-game where there are rules of right and wrong and true and false. But it seems here that Wittgenstein is using the hinge as something we build upon, which then enables us to distinquish between true and false. So it's because of this background that we are able to have a language that incorporates the ideas of true and false. Wittgenstein is arguing throughout OC that we cannot know hinge propositions (Moore's propositions), and knowledge incorporates the idea of truth, so this is why I believe Wittgenstein is not saying that hinge propositions are true and false. Hinge propositions are not part of the language-game of true and false.

    Hinge propositions don't give us a picture of the world, in the sense that, we develop theories about the world based on hinges.

    No, I am not equating hinge propositions or bedrock propositions with the world. They are basic beliefs (beliefs that are non-propositional) that are arrived at because of the interactions with our sense experiences and the world. They can only be propositional if they are part of language.
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  7. Sam26 added a post in a topic Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism   

    Hello Parsec,

    All of Wittgenstein's hinge propositions are contingent, so there is movement in the bedrock. However, there are certain propositions that are more apt to change than others. Consider Moore's proposition that we have hands, it's hard to even imagine that such a proposition would change much at all; or consider the hinge proposition that we live on the earth, this too, is a proposition that is not likely to change. Since I believe that these basic beliefs (hinge propositions) are based on sense experience, then it would seem to follow that the input (that which we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell), based on our inherited background (the world), can change.

    I have associated the term inherited background with the world, i.e., the world is the background which forms the ground of what is bedrock. Our culture and our world view, as I interpret Wittgenstein, are connected more with the idea of language-games, then with bedrock propositions. Notice that Wittgenstein says (OC, 94), that we don't get this picture " satisfying [ourselves] of [the] correctness of the picture...", i.e., there is no justification for hinge propositions. They are formed as we interact with the world, and it is this interaction that forms a picture for us. This statement (OC, 94) seems to point directly to Moore's propositions, which according to Wittgenstein, are not justified. Also, I wouldn't use the term innate to describe these kinds of basic beliefs, since innate implies the idea that these beliefs were in us from birth. I believe these beliefs form later as we begin to interact with the world.

    Moreover, some of these hinge propositions are not always hinge propositions; and Wittgenstein expresses this by giving an example in which one could doubt that we have hands. So whether the proposition is a hinge also depends on context. This would go along with what you said about OC 98. OC 341 and 342 go to the status of hinge propositions, i.e., their bedrock nature, which puts them beyond the languge-game of knowing and doubting. OC 343 is really saying something about the end of justifications or questioning, since there has to be a place where we rest "content with assumption." If we want to be able to act at all we have to have a starting point - "...the hinges must stay put." This is why I think Wittgenstein is saying something important about the language of epistemology. There is no need to think that there is a problem of an "infinite regress of reasons," or that are justifications are circular. Hinge propositions are there, like the rules of chess, they allow us to play the language-games that arise later.

    Finally, I think there needs to be an analysis of these hinge propositions to understand their nature. Some tend to move back and forth between being a hinge, and being part of our everyday language-games of epistemology. But that there are hinge propositions, there can be no doubt.

    Thanks for replying Parsec.
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  8. Sam26 added a post in a topic Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism   

    Thanks for your reply.

    Some of this may be answered in my second post. However, it is my understanding that it is not so much that Wittgenstein is arguing for something stronger than reasons, but that he is showing us that Moore's propositions don't even fit into the idea of epistemology. They are not the kind of propositions that are known or doubted. One might argue, however, that they are stronger in the sense that they are bedrock, i.e., beyond knowing and doubting. On the other hand, they are subjective certainties as opposed to objective certainties.

    Having a good reason for knowledge is part of the language-game of knowing. "'If I know something, then I also know that I know it, etc.' amounts to: 'I know that' means 'I am incapable of being wrong about that'. But whether I am so needs to be established objectively (OC, 16)." Moore's propositions are not part of this language-game.

    You are correct in that the rules of the language-game are established by people or a culture. Thus one cannot use words out of their native habitat, so to speak, without creating problems. I am not sure if I answered your question. If not maybe you can rephrase it.
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  9. Sam26 added a post in a topic Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism   

    It seems clear that Wittgenstein views hinge propositions in a way that is outside our epistemological system. It is also clear that Wittgenstein views these hinge propositions as beliefs, but just what kind of belief are these bedrock beliefs? They clearly aren't true or false, and they clearly are not justified, according to On Certainty. Consider the following quotes:

    "'I believe I know' would not need to express a lesser degree of certainty.--True, but one isn't trying to express even the greatest subjective certainty, but rather that certain propositions seem to underlie all questions and all thinking (OC, 415)."
    And also,

    "One can say 'He believes it, but it isn't so', but not 'He knows it, but it isn't so'. Does this stem from the difference between the mental states of belief and of knowledge? No.--One may for example call "mental state" what is expressed by tone of voice in speaking, by gestures etc. It would thus be possible to speak of a mental state of conviction, and that may be the same whether it is knowledge or false belief. To think that different states must correspond to the words "believe" and "know" would be as if one believed that different people had to correspond to the word "I" and the name "Ludwig", because the concepts are different (OC, 42)."
    The implication is that Moore's expression of "I know...." is based on a conviction that such and such is the case. A mere expression of subjective certainty. Since Wittgenstein doesn't agree that Moore's propositions are pieces of knowledge, then we are left with the idea that they are very basic subjective beliefs; and by belief we are not talking about an opinion. Opinions can be doubted, i.e., they can be true or false, but Wittgenstein's beliefs aren't not of this sort.

    So what are these basic beliefs? They are subjective certainties/beliefs that are expressed as convictions. Keep in mind that one's certainty can be based on one's subjective beliefs, or one's certainty can be based on what is objectively known. Moore's propositions are not the latter, but the former. Part of the confusion may be in the way we use the word 'certain,' i.e., it can be used at times to refer to both kinds of beliefs (subjective and objective beliefs).
    Before I go on to explain how these beliefs are foundational, let me say the following: Wittgenstein believed that we show in our actions what we believe. Those of you that have read the Philosophical Investigations know this to be the case, and it is also the case in On Certainty. Consider the following quote: "My life shews that I know or am certain, that there is a chair over there, or a door, and so on.--I tell a friend e.g. 'Take that chair over there', 'Shut the door', etc. etc. (OC, 7)." One's actions in these cases show what one believes about chairs and doors. We can tell a lot about what someone believes by simply observing their actions.

    If it is true that beliefs can be shown apart from propositions, i.e., that not all beliefs are propositional, then it seems to follow that one can have beliefs apart from language. One might observe such beliefs in primitive man before the advent of language. We could observe what primitive man believed about the world around him by observing their actions. Note that these bedrock beliefs are not in any way linked to language-games, because there is no language in this example. Thus, the concepts of knowing and doubting, or true and false, are not part of their beliefs. Their beliefs are mere subjective certainties, i.e. states of mind that can be observed in their actions.

    So how are these beliefs foundational? And how do these foundational beliefs differ from many of the other foundational theories of knowledge? Most foundational theories try to justify foundational beliefs in some way or other. However, Wittgenstein's bedrock beliefs are not of this sort. My theory is that these beliefs are causal in nature, i.e., they are causally formed by our interactions with the world. What I mean is that our initial interactions with the world are based on sense experiences. So there is a causal connection between our sense experiences and our minds. Thus this connection produces these very basic beliefs, which are the foundation of language, and therefore the language-games that arise later in the form of epistemological beliefs.
    Kant made the following observation in the Critique of Pure Reason in the introduction: "That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. For how is it possible that the faculty of cognition should be awakened into exercise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our senses..." The problem is that Kant and others have tried to justify these beliefs epistemologically, and that is why many foundational theories fail. I think my idea, based on Wittgenstein's ideas, solves the problem of the infinite regress of reasons, and the problem of circularity. Justification ends with bedrock propositions or beliefs.

    I have assumed that those of you reading this have some background in the writings of Wittgenstein. If not this may be difficult to follow. If you want more information go to my blog http://wittgenstein-.../tractatus.html. Since my writing in this thread is about what is written in On Certainty, I would suggest reading my analysis of On Certainty, and not my analysis of the Tractatus.

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  10. Sam26 added a topic in Explore   

    Hinge Propositions and Foundationalism
    I will try to set out a theory which enunciates a certain set of propositions as the foundation of our epistemic system. I am extrapolating from Wittgenstein's notes, in which there is a certain kind of proposition, a basic belief if you will, that form the substructure of our epistemic system. They provide a kind of backdrop that allows us to form more sophisticated language constructs, in particular, epistemological language-games.

    I will begin by talking a little about the central theme of On Certainty, then I will set out what I believe to be foundational to our epistemic system, viz., hinge propositions or bedrock propositions.

    As most of you know Moore is the catalyst for Wittgenstein's On Certainty. It is Moore, as he argues with the skeptics, who identifies a certain kind of proposition, i.e., a proposition that is beyond doubt. Propositions that Moore claims to know, such as, “Here is one hand” and “There exists at present a living human body, which is my body." Moore's conclusions are supposed to negate the arguments of the skeptic.
    Moore’s argument would probably look something like the following:

    1) Moore has knowledge that he has two hands.
    2) Moore makes the inference from the fact that he has two hands, to the conclusion that there exists an external world.
    3) Hence, Moore knows that an external world exists.

    Most of On Certainty is spent analyzing the use of the words 'know' and 'doubt,' and the correct use of these words; or if you prefer, the logic of use in reference to these two words. Wittgenstein's claim is that Moore, as well as the skeptic, are using the words 'know' and 'doubt' incorrectly. In fact, Wittgenstein starts out On Certainty by saying, "If you do know that here is one hand, we'll grant you all the rest (OC, 1). So Wittgenstein is saying that if Moore is correct, then his argument follows.

    Wittgenstein’s response to Moore’s propositions is not entirely unsympathetic, although he argues that Moore’s propositions do not accomplish what Moore thinks they do, namely, to provide a proof of the external world; which in turn is supposed to undermine the doubts of the skeptic.
    “Now, can one enumerate what one knows (like Moore)? Straight off like that, I believe not.—For otherwise the expression “I know” gets misused (OC, 6).”

    The disputes with Moore’s propositions are not only problematic; they are also very subtle disputes, which means that they are difficult to flush out. One of the problems is that we sometimes fail to see the connection between the use of the word “know,” and the use of the word “doubt,” and the logic behind that use. It is the kind of logical link that is also seen between rule-following and making a mistake - one cannot happen without the other. To know what it means to make a mistake in following a rule, one must also know what it means to follow the rule correctly. Otherwise any procedure that is said to follow a rule, would be the same as following a rule. Thus there would be no difference in thinking one is following a rule, and actually following the rule (in essence it would be self-sealing). So the link between rule-following and making a mistake in following a rule is one of necessity. This can be clearly seen in mathematics where rule-following is a crucial part of understanding how to solve problems. Rule-following tells us something important about what it means to have knowledge of mathematics; and making mistakes in mathematics also tells us something important about one's knowledge of mathematics. The two go hand-in-hand.

    Wittgenstein is challenging the first premise in the above argument; more specifically, he is challenging Moore’s claim that he has knowledge of his two hands. Having knowledge of something presupposes that there are good reasons to believe it (at least in terms of reasoning), but exactly what is it that Moore has knowledge of? He claims to have knowledge of the existence of his hands, but what would count as evidence for such a claim? Do I know that I have hands because I check to see if they are there every morning? Do I make a study of my hands, and thereby conclude that I do indeed have hands? I have knowledge of chemistry, physics, history, epistemology, and other subjects, and there are ways to confirm my knowledge. However, in our everyday lives do we need to confirm that we have hands? And do we normally doubt such things?
    “When Moore says he knows such and such, he is really enumerating a lot of empirical propositions which we affirm without special testing; propositions, that is, which have a peculiar role in the system of our empirical propositions.

    “Even if the most trustworthy of men assures me that he knows things are thus and so, this by itself cannot satisfy me that he does know. Only that he believes he knows. That is why Moore’s assurance that he knows…does not interest us. The propositions, however, which Moore retails as examples of such known truths are indeed interesting. Not because anyone knows their truth, or believes he knows them, but because they all have a similar role in the system of our empirical judgments.

    “We don’t, for example, arrive at any of them as a result of investigation (OC, 136 -138.)”

    This is where we begin to see the special nature of these hinge propositions (which really are not propositions in the ordinary sense). It may be more preferable to refer to these hinge propositions as basic beliefs or bedrock beliefs.

    There is an important point to make about these propositions, and it is made in the following statement by Wittgenstein: “Now, can one enumerate what one knows (like Moore)? Straight off like that, I believe not.—For otherwise the expression “I know” gets misused. And through this misuse a queer and extremely important mental state seems to be revealed (OC, 6).”

    This seems puzzling to say the least. After all what is this mental state that Wittgenstein is referring to, and what relevance does it have in reference to Moore's propositions? And why does Wittgenstein say that this mental state is extremely important?

    It is as though Moore’s propositions come down to a state of knowing – a feeling of certainty, which is subjective; and this needs to be juxtaposed to the kind of certainty that is a result of objective verification. It seems that Moore is expressing a subjective feeling of certainty. It is the kind of certainty that we all have about such propositions, which is why we seem to want to agree with Moore, i.e., I know them too.

    This will be the first post. More will come later. Any questions and responses are welcome.

    Here is a link to my Wittgenstein blog
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