Tag Archives: defense

G.E. Moore’s Proof of an External World: If we cannot prove it, can we know it?

3 Nov

I have previously discussed Wittgenstein’s book On Certainty that he wrote towards the end of his life, where he gets his frustration out mostly by correcting Moore’s essay Proof of an External World (and A Defense of Common Sense).  I am looking at Moore’s essay and looking at beginning propositions of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and thinking about their arguments.  What Moore’s essay ultimately boils down to is him saying that he can know things without proving them. He bases that upon his idea of rigorously proving things along with other things.

Moore begins by saying that he can prove the entire external world by saying “I have one hand here, and another here.” He says this and then says that what he said conforms to a rigorous proof. “I can prove now, for instance, that two human hands exist. How? By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, “Here is one hand”, and adding, as I make certain gesture with the left, “and here is another”. And if, by doing this, I have proved ipso facto  the existence of external things, you will all see that I can also do it now in numbers of other ways: there  is no need to multiply examples” (Moore).  He then states that what he just said was a “rigorous proof” for the external existence of 2 hands. He proceeds even further to state what qualifications for a rigorous proof are: “Of, course it would not have been a proof unless three conditions were satisfied; namely (1) unless the premiss which I adduced as proof of the conclusion was different from the conclusion I adduced it to prove”, so in short, the conclusion is different from the discussed premise,”….; (2) unless the premiss with I adduced was something which I knew to be the case, and not merely something which I believed but which was by no means certain, or something which, though in fact true, I did not know to be so;” in short  you are certain about the premise, which certainty and knowing is the ultimate discussion about Moore’s paper, and I shall further discuss here later, “…and (3) unless the conclusion did really follow from the premiss” (Moore). So, to Moore, for a rigorous proof, the conclusion and premise must be different,  you are certain of the premise, and the conclusion follows from the premise. If, in ones argument, you can satisfy these three requirements, to Moore, you have proven what you have been trying to prove.

Going on in the essay Moore talks about why his proof is good, and how proving that something existed in the past external world helps him with his present proof. All of this leads up to the final paragraph of the essay where Wittgenstein and others get most of their food for argument. I will simply cite it and discuss it thereafter:

“But another reason why some people would feel dissatisfied with my proofs is, I think, not merely that they want a proof of something which I haven’t proved, but that they think that, if I cannot give such extra proofs, then the proofs that I have given are not conclusive proofs at all. And this, I think, is a definite mistake. They would say: ” If you cannot prove your premiss that here is one hand and here is another, then you do not know it. But you yourself have admitted that, if you did not know it, then your proof was not conclusive. Therefore, your proof was not, as you say it was, a conclusive proof.” This view that, if I cannot prove such things as these, I do not know them, is, I think, the view that Kant was expressing in the sentence which I quoted at the beginning of this lecture, when he implies that so long as we have no proof of the existence of external things, their existence must be accepted merely on faith. He means to say, I think, that if I cannot prove that there is a hand here, I must accept it merely as a matter of faith – I cannot know it. Such a view, thought it has been very common among philosophers, can, I think, be shown to be wrong – though shown only by the use of premisses which are not known to be true, unless we do know of the existence of external things. I can know things, which I cannot prove; and among things which I certainly did know, even if (as I think) I could not prove them, were the premises of my two proofs. I should say, therefore, that those, if any, who are dissatisfied with these proofs merely on the ground that I did not know their premisses, have no good reason for their dissatisfaction” (Moore).

The entirety of this ending section of the paper refers to what one says when saying “I know.” His opposition says that one only knows when it is proven, and when premises cannot be proven, the whole conclusion is proven. Responding to all of these oppositions to his proving qualifications and to how he gauges how he knows something, he ends up referring to Kant’s statement that when one cannot prove something, one does not know it, and must resort to having mere faith. Thinking back to Kant’s discussion of noumena, we cannot know of their existence and we must understand that there are ways of understanding things beyond empirical observation. Kant talks about faith when introducing noumena in that noumena cannot be really known. Moore talks about Kant when defending his argument (not necessarily the part in Kant’s work about noumena) by saying that if he has faith in his right hand being there, he can still know it.

Using again the phrase “what this boils down to”, what this boils down to is that what can be proven (proven rigorously beyond what Moore defines as rigorously proving in that the premises are proven in different ways to help prove even more the ending conclusion) is known, and what cannot be proven can be known in a way less strict sense (not with all the logical proofs) where we have faith in it, yet it is not really strictly Wittgensteinian defined ‘known’, yet Moore thinks with faith, one can ‘know’ in all forms of the word what cannot be rigorously logically proven.

Kant thought that faith did not lead to proving or knowing an external thing, Moore thought that faith led still to knowing external things, and Wittgenstein overwhelmingly trampled on Moore’s opinion here with his book On Certainty. I think that when looking at these few arguments about what it means to ‘know’ anything, the word ‘know’ should be thought of and use in the strictest sense especially when trying to understand the arguments and formulate individual opinions on them. Moore thinks of ‘knowing’ something as not having consistent proof (in my opinion) but having faith in things such as that there is a right hand here. Kant believes in faith being there for minimal understanding, but it doesn’t denote ‘knowing’. Finally, in Wittgenstein’s On Certainty he makes the word know, knowing, knowledge and any other words like it to be as strict as possible.

Here are only a few propositions in the book’s entire discussion about knowledge and certainty that stomps on Moore’s argument:

”  14.  That he does know takes some shewing.

15. It needs to be shewn that no mistake was possible. Giving the assurance “I know” doesn’t suffice. For it is after all only an assurance that I can’t be making a mistake, and it needs to be objectively established that I am not making a mistake about that.”

Wittgenstein goes on to cite Moore and say more things about his argument. One thing I want to make known about Wittgenstein’s argument is that he thinks that Moore’s use of know, knowing, and knowledge is redundant, repetitive, and does not help his overall argument. If you have a library near you, like a college library, it probably has a philosophy section and may have On Certainty by Wittgenstein, or if you have the means pick it up. To get Moore’s essay Proof of an External World go here:  http://faculty.uml.edu/enelson/g%20e%20moore,%20external%20world.pdf I say that because there are many arguments that Wittgenstein specifically picks on from Moore’s essay, and there are many other things to think about and discuss besides the single point I am going to make from here on out, so if you want a more wholly picture of Moore’s opinion and Wittgenstein’s opinion, read the essay and read some of the book (since I do not think reading all of On Certainty is necessary and if you want to read a whole book of Wittgenstein read Tractatus Logic0-Philosophicus).

First of all, my opinion is that Moore’s proof of an external world and his qualifications for a proof that he used are faulty in actually making knowledge of external things. It all comes down to that Moore does not feel the need to prove his premises, and then he says that having faith is proof of external things, and it is knowing external things. I am a large holder of faith in things I have not empirically observed and proven, the only reason being that I have not found a way to prove their external existences beyond faith. Faith is similar but not equal to knowledge, and I think that when one says that faith equals knowledge, it is merely a cop out in that that person will not take further efforts to come up with logical proofs for what one has faith in.

Its hard to say how much proof there is in faith, and how much knowledge there can be had in any faith at its face value. This is because faith varies from what faith is had in, how the faith is had, and a plethora of other factors that go into faith in one thing. If I have faith in God, which I do, I feel like I have total knowledge about Him yet I do not have logical rigorous proofs for it. I feel like I have full knowledge because of my intimate and loving faith in Him, but I want to create a logical process for further proof of things others might not see but I still have faith in. Moore just says that faith equals knowing things external, but that leads to ridicule from logically sensible philosophers and people like Wittgenstein. This tells me that faith feels sufficient for knowledge to those who have faith in something external, but if we want to show others about this thing and prove it to others for the entire benefit for everyone and ourselves, we need a logical process to create a rigorous proof for things’ existences like God.

In the end,  I hate to say this, but faith is not sufficient for true knowledge in its strictest sense. Moore is copping out philosophically when he says that faith is equal to knowledge.  Wittgenstein isn’t really getting there either when he tramples on Moore’s argument rather than just removing a few things, polishing it, and building upon it.

I do not know what that logical process towards a rigorous proof of external things not empirically observed would be, but I think it should be something philosophers and logicians should progress toward. It would be nice to have logically rigorous proofs for noumena and God, or even monads and forms. Then metaphysics would be generally more accepted rather than rejected. This is a difficult thing to just say should happen, but I think it should have efforts put toward it rather than just saying that faith is knowledge.

To actually figure out how  to prove external things that are phenomena or noumena, it is my opinion that our sensations should be analyzed more than they ever have been. I say this to mean that we should analyze sensations beyond just the six senses. I like to think of it in the way that we should look at our impressions  (using Hume’s term in the Origin of Our Ideas). Impressions being things entering our perception with most violence and force. Impressions are what I take to be emotions, passions, feelings, and sensations. For example, I find an impression to be the event that one has a direct or indirect conversation with God. I have not had a direct one, but others I know have. An indirect one I have had is where I ask Him for something in particular to really help my horrible situation out. After not getting it for awhile and asking Him again, soon after, it immediately occurs and I immediately realize why He waited until now and why he put me in the problem initially. Along with this understanding, I would have amazing emotional feeling because  I can feel the things that have happened before me, and I know from who they come. This is one example of an impression that I think should be examined further to get from faith in noumenal external things to actual knowledge in the Wittgensteinian sense.

I just think that faith does not denote knowledge even if it gives us real pure understanding.

Thanks for the support, and my apologies if this was too long.


Rudolf Carnap’s Teavy and Toovy

23 Sep

I had a test today in my epistemology class, and studying for it, I studied deeply in the teavy/toovy part of Carnap’s argument from the elimination of metaphysics. Not appearing on the test, the concept remained in my mind. This use of teavy and toovy by Carnap is a way he exemplifies that metaphysics creates pseudo-statements and calls them truthful and consistent. Carnap only says so because a statement must be truthful only if it means something and has criterion of application.  In my movement to defend metaphysics, I felt this a necessary logical positivist truth to address if I want to further understand what it is I defend.

By using teavy and toovy, Carnap aims to show that we cannot just take a word and define it by whatever we want. He exemplifies this with teavy and toovy. If a word is being defined, it is subject to verification conditions, logical analysis, and criterion of application.

In the case of teavy, Carnap states that if things can be stated to be teavy and not teavy. When inquiring upon the criterion of application of teavy, and the creator of teavy comes up with the fact that no things are empirically teavy. Carnap then states that if the criterion of application cannot be identified of a word, the use of the word is not legitimate. This is empty verbiage because the meaning of things teavy and not teavy is not every revealed and is too secretive. Emotion and feeling cannot be tied to a word with empty verbiage either because the word’s possible definition does not call for these relations. Teavy is something that has no criterion of application, no verification, and no checking logical analysis.

Toovy introduces another way that a word can be defined ambiguously with no criterion of application. If the creators of the word toovy define it as, by Carnap, quadrangular, but say they, by interpretation, intended something else by the definition quadrangular, there is no criterion for application for this, and it cannot be done. If the word has a definition yet, the definers state it is directed by interpretation to another meaning, and no criterion of application, verification, or logical analysis confirm this, it is just as empty in verbiage as teavy is. Even if there is a criterion of application for the interpreted sub-meaning of toovy’s definition of quadrangular, the initial definition of toovy makes a fixed meaning for it, and creates little room for verification of a sub-meaning that is to be interpreted from the fixed meaning.  Therefore the following is denoted from examples of teavy and toovy:

Definition of Words Proven not to be pseudo-statements

1) Criterion of application – the word must have the ability to be exemplified by application to real things in a versatile fashion

2) Verification Conditions – As I stated in my previous writing on Carnap, the logical positivist movement not only came with a justification of the system of science, but it came with a set of verification conditions to verify the truth and meaning of certain conditions:

Justification = Meaning =Truth

all = Verification

3) Logical analysis – does what is in question apply consistently to logic, and if so, how.

If a word or statement qualifies for one or more of the above, it can be questioned further as to its truth and consistency.

So would teavy and toovy qualify pass the non pseudo-statement conditions? No, they would not, but this does not justify Carnap’s rejection of all metaphysics just because his exemplification of teavy and toovy are not consistent with it. It is a philosophy of mine that any philosophy can exemplify and conventionally choose any science, definition, and observation (even protocol sentence) he wants to justly work towards his advantage and what he aims to prove. I think that Carnap exemplified teavy and toovy to show what most of metaphysics did and passed as truth, but this is a slight falsity in his exemplification.  Teavy and toovy do not pass any of the above tests to prove out of pseudo-statements, but it is my opinion that Carnap structuralized his theory against metaphysics with teavy and toovy to prove his point. Teavy and toovy are not what most metaphysics manifest its theories to be. Noumena ( Kant’s term, possibly could be exemplified as one of metaphysics pseudo-statements)  has justification, meaning, and verification, which with further discussion and study of Kant’s philosophy, could be proved true with even more proof of metaphysical theories. Noumena also has logical consistency, and does not fail there. The only thing noumena does not have in any form is the criterion of application. Carnap claims this criterion to be necessary to remove it from metaphysical meaningless pseudo-statements, but I believe this to be not as true as he says it to be.  Noumena almost passes truth by verification conditions, and with further philosophizing it could in the future by metaphysicians, and I think this could be done without prior proof of a criterion of application for it. I think  that a criterion of application is something that is to be stated after its truth has been proven, and its tenets have been established in justified metaphysics.

Not only do I say above that many metaphysical sentences and words can be removed from pseudo-statement status, but I say that Carnap excessively used the technique towards ones arguments that excessively works towards proof of his point. I do not say that the Sophist rhetoric tactics that Protagoras and Gorgias used are bad to use, but I say that Carnap did so too excessively by exemplification of teavy and toovy.  Teavy, explained as acertained with little empirical status, is something that Carnap says that a metaphysician would state to exist even if it does not even manifest itself. Teavy, in Carnap’s explanation, never even manifests itself as a property or being of the world, because in Carnap’s example, it never gets a chance to. Toovy only is another exaggeration of things metaphysics does and is the way that Carnap says that metaphysics exaggerates its fixed definitions. I will not argue that some metaphysics does not address some apparently fixed definitions, but I will say that with teavy and toovy, Carnap paints metaphysics as something it really is not.  Carnap’s teavy and toovy exaggerates metaphysics way way beyond its true status. If Carnap wanted to prove that his examples of teavy and toovy accurately exemplify all metaphysics, he should have used continuously implemented metaphysical statements or sentences and proven his point out from that.

Noumena is not characteristic with teavy. Noumena has justification, meaning, and some truth (some of which is yet to be proven), along with consistency with all logic. Teavy is a mere exaggeration.

By my argument just stated, I reject Carnap’s rejection of all metaphysics. Yes, some metaphysics are pseudo statements that must be shot down, but rejecting all of it by exaggerative examples is a false philosophical achievement. I state this as another step towards my whole defense of metaphysics ( not that others have not done so), and hope that other things can build off of this.

Thanks for the support.

Classification of Beings

20 Sep

A long necessary thing to be done is to classify the beings of the world. Some choose to set metaphysics aside, but I choose to classify the beings to make this my guide to today’s metaphysics and my further studies in it.  Benedict de Spinoza did NOT  state this classification of beings, and this work is purely of mine. The reason I categorize this with Spinoza is because of how within this classification I use his word ‘creatum’ a lot. Creatum is the world that was created by God, and I take only the word and its meaning from Spinoza. It is an important term because within the classification, the world only He created is necessary to classify apart from the rest.

Beginning this classification, I break all of it down into 3 categories and ways to classify the beings in the world.  Those 3 would include Sort classification, temporal classification, and spatial classification. I feel no need to classify the beings beyond these three things because it would be arbitrary. It could be argued that the sort classification is not necessary, but I feel it is.

Temporal Classification

The temporal part of all this is what I split into 2 things:  the infinite, and the finite. Temporal means time, in case you were not aware of it. Most things in the world are infinite temporally. Lets first discuss what could be finite, since infinite is basically everything else. When I talk about the creatum I split that up into  spiritual, and material. Everything material is infinite (which I’ll discuss later), while spiritual things are either infinite or finite. I talk about finite right now because in the temporally finite category includes non-nous souls. Nous is an ancient term meaning intelligence and being aware of one’s existence. Humans have most nous, while animals have less than half of what a human has. Nous also includes a being not being aware of what happens to them in the future. The notion that all dogs go to heaven is only a story and a myth because all animals (excluding humans), plants, fungi, protista, and monista are all non-nous souls enough to the point that they are called into question as to the finiteness of their souls.  I categorize non/some-nous souls to be finite. When a plant comes into life, and dies, the soul of it goes nowhere, and it vanishes from existence. When a dog or other animal dies, its soul dies and vanishes from existence with it. Therefore, in the temporal classification I include lesser-nous souls. This is the only temporally finite thing.

Temporally infinite includes everything else. This means God, un-ensouled beings ( soulless matter),  the void, and the rest of the creatum and its beings. Beyond this, infinite is divided by whether a being is infinite towards the past, and infinite towards the future. God is infinite both ways, meaning he never came into being, and has always existed (this is a concept no human can understand and that we must accept and wait until Heaven to conceive). The non-ensouled, the void, and the creatum all came into being at some point and will never cease to exist (it will just be relocated). The void is infinite because God created it when he created the world. The creatum includes all ensouled beings, and non-ensouled beings. By ensouled beings I mean humans, and all other non-nous souls (plantae, fungi, monista, protista).  The creatum also includes the non-ensouled beings like the earth, all other planets, and planetary extra matter (asteroids, comets, meteors scattered among the void).  The soul of the nous en-souled beings is infinite temporally because it comes into being, and once the body dies, the soul is relocated to another level spatially. When the body dies it mixes with the rest of the earth. I gave a scenario in a previous writing where a man comes into being, dies at 99 years old, and his soul goes to a higher spatial level (will talk spatial levels next), but his body gets put in a wooden casket. After many years, the body decomposes along with the casket and becomes humus with the earth. Many years after that, carrots are grown in the same humus, and feeds newer life. In this process nothing leaves existence, it is all relocated and still exists in some way or another.

I say that the only thing finite in the universe is non- nous souls/some nous souls because everything else is relocated and does not perish in any form. The only being in the universe that does perish is the soul that lives in a certain body at a certain time (the body is still again relocated and conserved). I have a few rules for the beings in the world that I shall present after talking about beings spatially and by sort.

Spatial Classification

The spatial classification of beings is where I choose to classify everything as to where they exist into high, middle, and lower space. Here I classify this to link the levels of space to what beings exist there, therefore creating the spatio-temporal metaphysical field, that is discussed yet not formally clarified. In the higher spatial includes heaven, the upper void, and the upper planetaries.  By the heavens I mean where God exists, and that must be far away from the middle space (and from evil), even if the heavens is a spiritual space field. By the void, I mean the space without any beings other than some air particles not forseeable by anyone.  By upper planetary (and by planetary I mean all bodies of the universe), I mean the stars that exist above the middle spatial. All things in the high space are infinite in every way possible. Second, is the middle space, which includes the solar system as a part of the middle planetary. Around the middle planetary is the middle void, also being the space without beings around the middle planetary. All beings in the middle space are not all infinite, because the non-nous beings live in the middle space, and the non-nous souls are finite.  Third, and finally, the lower space is where the lower void, and lower planetary (excess matter, and stars) exist. Not only this, there exists Hell, where Satan and those cast away live.  Here I encounter a problem in that it could be understood that 2 lower spaces exist, or my old definition of space of hell must be redone. It is a biblical statement that hell exists within the depths of the earth where it is extremely hot. This makes ambiguous the lower space definition.  The lower space could include the lower void, and other planetary. So, because of the biblical statement of the spatial location of hell, I find I must include within the lower space the hell, and the lower void and planetary. So, my definition of lower space is the lower void, and planetary, along with the inner cores of bodies of solar systems. This seems to qualify as all low enough to work well with the definition. Dividing space up makes it necessary to further sort the actual beings to understand where each beings exist.

Sorting Classification

By sorting classification, I mean dividing the beings up by nous ensouled, and the non-nous ensouled. As I described before, nous is the intelligence and awareness of the soul of its own state and existence. Man has nous, plant has none, animal has some.  I divide beings by this nous because beings with complete nous, are beings that their spirit is infinite, while some to non-nous beings’ spirits are finite in nature. The nous ensouled beings of course include God and man. The non nous and even ensouled beings include animals besides man, plantae, fungi, protista and monista, along with all unensouled beings like earth, and planet matter.

The sort, spatial, and temporal classifications I have set forth compel me to state some postulates about the beings and spaces in the world, hence the below:



Another way to sort out the beings is by how they came about: God, who did not come about, and will never perish, and the creatum which was created by God, some of which is infinite and some finite.

The creatum can be further divided into spiritual and material. Spiritual includes the man’s soul which is infinite, and the some animal, plant, fungi, monista, protista beings which are finite. Material includes all planetary bodies, planetary stars, planetary excess and material a part of each body. All of the material is infinite, because it is merely relocated when it seems it ceases to exist (water in a cup disappears, it does not cease to exist, it evaporates and relocates itself to the higher atmosphere).

The term infinite can be defined either by spatially or temporally. Temporally, as I said before, all things are infinite except for the spirits of some animals besides man, plants, fungi, monista and protista. Spatially, the void is infinite, God, and His Heaven is infinite, while all other things are spatially finite.

The lower space can be characterized as space below the planetary systems, but when it is said to include hell, the definition is said to include the inner parts of the larger planetary (not stars or excesses) bodies because of the place Satan’s lair is located.

Without Him having created the creatum, there would be nothing, not even the void, except for Him. He created the void, all spaces, and all beings, including therefore the creation of temporal sense.

God Himself is said to be an unmoved mover by Descartes and Aristotle, and I too endorse this statement. He is infinite spatially and temporally (whether or not the notion of time is noted). He exists at all times in all spaces in one way or another, and is in all places at once.

Spiritual matter of the man is generated in the middle space, and is later relocated to the higher or lower space, and with man’s spirit, no spiritual matter is ever discarded. (* note that any other spiritual matter beside God’s and man’s is discarded on a daily basis because of lack of presence of nous).

Material matter is never discarded, again, only relocated to other spaces. Like the chemists say, no matter is created or destroyed, but I revise their standpoint to say that beyond the Genesis when the creatum was first made no matter is created (creation of new beings by sexual or asexual reproduction is not creating new material matter, only spiritual matter. When a sperm fertilizes an egg in sexual reproduction, the fertilized egg in its spot has only to grow into another human being, therefore material matter is conserved). This leads to further laws and theories.

Conservation Law: (An extension of the chemist’s law of conservation of mass)  After the creatum was created by God during the Genesis, no material matter is created or destroyed, only relocated (or changed to different beings, like also the chemists say that during a reaction two elements change totally by composition and physical qualities, and are completely different from what they were after the reaction. This shows that not only can matter be relocated, but it can be changed without the creation or destruction of matter).

Conservation Law: After the creatum where all things besides God were created by God, only non-nous souls are destroyed. All nous souls are never destroyed, only relocated from the middle space to the lower or the higher space based on certain commitments while within the middle space. God’s soul is never destroyed or created. His supreme soul never came into being, but has always existed, and will never cease to exist. The fact that a being within the universe has the ability to always exist for all eternity but never actually come into being is an impossible concept for us to understand, but something we must still accept as truth (This is something we are able to understand if our soul is relocated to the higher space).

The beings of the world are classified by three main categories, and therefore many sub-categories because we must understand where we are, who we are, and what we discuss and look at, before we declare metaphysical and theological statements to be truths. The logical positivists and the empiricists (and the empirical positivists) did not assess the beings of the universe in a correct way, leading to their rash decision to discard metaphysics and theology.  My statement for them is that there are solutions coming to their problems by metaphysicians and theologians. They have not yet become mature theories to be introduced among all branches of philosophy for understanding and application.

The above is a precedent to further defenses of metaphysics and theologies.