Two Major Errors in Philosophy

William Westmiller writes:

Your Socratic Method is amusing, but it's not a rational discussion that seeks to arrive at the truth of any proposition.

In my opinion, the two most common errors in philosophy are logical contradiction and inconsistency with the facts of reality.

Solipsism and fatalism are indeed false alternatives, but they are more sentimental dispositions than philosophy. It may be comforting to imagine that the universe is merely the product of your disembodied mind, or to resign yourself to utter irrelevance, but neither inclination is rational or coherent.

In a sense, your "univironmental determinism" is just a compromise between two sentiments: it isn't ALL you and it isn't NO you, it's something in between. In my view, that evades the challenge of determining what
IS you in the context of an infinite universe.


I am honoured to be placed with such noble company. Just hope that it works out better.

I beg to differ on your claim that the “Socratic Method is amusing, but it's not a rational discussion that seeks to arrive at the truth of any proposition.” The reason that the method works at all (in law and politics, for instance) is because it forces us to include yet another bit of the macrocosm into our inevitably microcosmic thoughts. Because the universe is infinite, the exchange can continue forever. As maintained in TTAOS, the “truth of any proposition” can never be known because the “truth” demanded by indeterminists is absolute and therefore finite. The infinite universe can offer no such truth. The errors in philosophy that you prefer, logical contradiction and inconsistency with reality, are each subsets amenable to univironmental analysis. Logical contradiction is what a lawyer seeks to find in the testimony of a false witness: the elements of the microcosm of statement A do not match the elements of the macrocosm of statement B. Inconsistency with reality occurs when the microcosm of our hypothesis does not match the macrocosm our observation or experiment.

As I have maintained for decades, the two most important errors one can make in philosophy are to overemphasize the microcosm or to overemphasize the macrocosm. The opposed philosophies (they are not merely “sentimental dispositions”), solipsism and fatalism, are the dialectical opposites we must contend with everyday. Univironmental determinism (UD) is not a mere compromise between these two errors of overemphasis. I know folks who have made a compromise between solipsism (belief that they will live after dying) and fatalism (belief in astrology). They are by no means univironmental determinists.

Bill, you wrote that UD means that “it isn't ALL you and it isn't NO you, it's something in between. In my view, that evades the challenge of determining what IS you in the context of an infinite universe.” As microcosms, portions of the infinite universe, we have no choice but to interact constantly with the macrocosm according to UD. Your emphasis on the word IS seems typical of indeterminists who are not satisfied with our situation as infinitely complex, still ambulatory and conscious portions of the infinite universe. There is no challenge for me. I know what I am, where I came from, and where I am going. Your implied search for absolute truth, like the search for finity, can never succeed.   

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