Explaining Explanation

Nouveau

Well-known member
I simply haven't decided when I'm ready to discuss it.

My life doesn't revolve around your schedule. I'm taking a lunch break at the moment and then headed back out to the garage.

You're going to have to learn to be more patient.
You posted in the thread. I don't think it's impatient to ask if you've read the OP or have anything to say about it.

If you haven't actually read it yet, then it's fine to ask for more time. And if you don't want to discuss it then that's fine too.
 

SteveB

Well-known member
You posted in the thread. I don't think it's impatient to ask if you've read the OP or have anything to say about it.

If you haven't actually read it yet, then it's fine to ask for more time. And if you don't want to discuss it then that's fine too.
Wow.

We refer to your statement above as a tirade of a spoiled child.
I'll get around to it when I'm ready to.
Which will now be later than I'd previously chosen.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Wow.

We refer to your statement above as a tirade of a spoiled child.
I'll get around to it when I'm ready to.
Which will now be later than I'd previously chosen.
Is that the royal 'we'?

Again, you had already posted in the thread. It is not impatient to ASK if you've read the OP.

At this point I have no interest in what you think of it, should you ever bother to actually read it.
 

Five Solas

Active member
Okay, I'll address it. It's a good OP. Glad you reposted it.

"One point following from this is that it is clearly impossible for everything to have an explanation, i.e. at some point explanation must bottom out with brute facts - those things for which not only no explanation is known, but for which no explanation exists to be discovered."

Not sure that it follows that it is clearly impossible. We could posit an explanation for brute facts as a property of their being, that such things, or a certain class of things, have within themselves the power of being (or some such) that serves as an explanation.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Okay, I'll address it. It's a good OP. Glad you reposted it.
Cheers, and thanks for your reply.

"One point following from this is that it is clearly impossible for everything to have an explanation, i.e. at some point explanation must bottom out with brute facts - those things for which not only no explanation is known, but for which no explanation exists to be discovered."

Not sure that it follows that it is clearly impossible.
The subsequent paragraph in the OP lays out why I think it does follow.

We could posit an explanation for brute facts as a property of their being, that such things, or a certain class of things, have within themselves the power of being (or some such) that serves as an explanation.
I'm not convinced that would count as an explanation. It sounds a lot like a virtus dormativa non-explanation (opium puts people to sleep because it has a dormative virtue). To relate this suggestion back to the OP, is it meant as causal or conceptual explanation (or some third variety)? Does it achieve any data reduction that would qualify it as an explanation?
 

Five Solas

Active member
"To relate this suggestion back to the OP, is it meant as causal or conceptual explanation (or some third variety)? Does it achieve any data reduction that would qualify it as an explanation?"

I wondered about that very thing, guessing that you would likely view it as a subset of the conceptual explanation. I'm not wed to either a third category or subset this early on. But I do very much think that it qualifies as explanation because it affirms a property not there in other categories of being, namely whatever we would conceive of as the power of being. If it obtains, it also affects other explanations, meaning at minimum it provides grounding. To be fair, I would insist on it the same if the universe was self-existent as I would for the existence of God.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I wondered about that very thing, guessing that you would likely view it as a subset of the conceptual explanation. I'm not wed to either a third category or subset this early on. But I do very much think that it qualifies as explanation because it affirms a property not there in other categories of being, namely whatever we would conceive of as the power of being. If it obtains, it also affects other explanations, meaning at minimum it provides grounding. To be fair, I would insist on it the same if the universe was self-existent as I would for the existence of God.
Surely everything, by definition, has the power of being. Your suggestion to me sounds like saying either (i) that some things have the further capacity for existing as brute fact, which is just to say that they do not have any explanation; or (ii) that some things by their very nature are necessary existents, but this latter option is addressed in the OP and shown to lead to the negation of all contingency (a reductio ad absurdum).
 

Five Solas

Active member
"Surely everything, by definition, has the power of being. Your suggestion to me sounds like saying either (i) that some things have the further capacity for existing as brute fact, which is just to say that they do not have any explanation; or (ii) that some things by their very nature are necessary existents"

Funneling your interlocutor into your dilemma is good framing, my friend. At first blush, I'll work with either i) or ii) as long as we agree it has this further property, something in the neighborhood of some thing that exists by the power of its own nature. Perhaps its own being. A power of being property not shared by other entities.

And don't call me Shirley.

PS-very much enjoying this, but have to jump off for this evening. Will reconvene Sunday evening.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
"Surely everything, by definition, has the power of being. Your suggestion to me sounds like saying either (i) that some things have the further capacity for existing as brute fact, which is just to say that they do not have any explanation; or (ii) that some things by their very nature are necessary existents"

Funneling your interlocutor into your dilemma is good framing, my friend. At first blush, I'll work with either i) or ii) as long as we agree it has this further property, something in the neighborhood of some thing that exists by the power of its own nature. Perhaps its own being. A power of being property not shared by other entities.

And don't call me Shirley.

PS-very much enjoying this, but have to jump off for this evening. Will reconvene Sunday evening.
Yes, it's great to have a real conversation here for once. Of course, I'm always open to a third option if you can distinguish it from the other two. I'm still not clear on whether you are arguing for (i) or (ii), but I think both are already covered by the OP arguments. If (i) then you are just saying that some things have the property of existing as brute facts, which is not an explanation but rather just a restatement of the fact that they do not have an explanation. If (ii) then you get an explanation - some things don't just exist because they have the property of existing (which would apply to all things), but rather they exist in virtue of some special property of necessary existence. Apart from facing all the standard rebuttals of the ontological argument, this suggestion is specifically addressed in the OP where I argued that this leads to either further brute facts (in the relation between the necessary existent and its effects or creations) or renders actual contingency impossible. So are you arguing for (i) or (ii)? And do you have a rejoinder to the counterargument, or would you just bite the bullet and reject contingency?
 

Five Solas

Active member
What I’m arguing is that there is a category of being such that an entity in this class has the power of being within itself, what I think you have called above a special property of necessary existence. At least two things follow from this:

1. It provides an explanation, that within the nature of being in a such an entity.

2. This explanation achieves your standard of data reduction, in that it qualifies as an explanation by further differentiation from members not in this class through an additional property not shared by entities not in this class. This explanation demonstrates explanatory power.

This explanatory power may be demonstrated through your laws of logic. In response to your OP, I want to ask if you profess that they genuinely exist, for example, are they abstract objects? If so, your OP is committed to a two-thousand year old disputation that cannot at present be proven, such that I’m irrational in my skepticism.

If the laws of logic do not exist as abstract objects, then they obviously do not have this power of being I’m arguing for and thus show the differentiation.

This by itself warrants my skepticism of the OP and demonstrates that the laws of logic cannot be a foundational stopping point for explanation.

Moreover, 2. indeed offers us the grounding denied by the OP in that logic, not having the power of being in itself, requires it. This does not devolve to a brute fact, however, as we would claim that agency is involved with God. Inscrutable? Yes. Brute fact, no, for they do admit to explanation even if I am not able to explicate it, which I admittedly am not.

Lastly, I do think we need to distinguish between contingency of causality and contingency of being. That said, I’m Reformed, so the bullet will not be all that hard to bite (your phrase) if it comes to that. Appreciate you letting me take time, my friend. In the time since we last wrote, I’ve performed by a large wedding and a church service. Has been a whirlwind. Much obliged & cheers.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
What I’m arguing is that there is a category of being such that an entity in this class has the power of being within itself, what I think you have called above a special property of necessary existence. At least two things follow from this:

1. It provides an explanation, that within the nature of being in a such an entity.

2. This explanation achieves your standard of data reduction, in that it qualifies as an explanation by further differentiation from members not in this class through an additional property not shared by entities not in this class. This explanation demonstrates explanatory power.

This explanatory power may be demonstrated through your laws of logic. In response to your OP, I want to ask if you profess that they genuinely exist, for example, are they abstract objects? If so, your OP is committed to a two-thousand year old disputation that cannot at present be proven, such that I’m irrational in my skepticism.

If the laws of logic do not exist as abstract objects, then they obviously do not have this power of being I’m arguing for and thus show the differentiation.

This by itself warrants my skepticism of the OP and demonstrates that the laws of logic cannot be a foundational stopping point for explanation.

Moreover, 2. indeed offers us the grounding denied by the OP in that logic, not having the power of being in itself, requires it. This does not devolve to a brute fact, however, as we would claim that agency is involved with God. Inscrutable? Yes. Brute fact, no, for they do admit to explanation even if I am not able to explicate it, which I admittedly am not.

Lastly, I do think we need to distinguish between contingency of causality and contingency of being. That said, I’m Reformed, so the bullet will not be all that hard to bite (your phrase) if it comes to that. Appreciate you letting me take time, my friend. In the time since we last wrote, I’ve performed by a large wedding and a church service. Has been a whirlwind. Much obliged & cheers.
I agree with your (1) but not with your (2). But that issue isn't really relevant, as you are opting for my (ii) rather than (i) meaning the suggestion is already refuted by my OP argument (reductio to no contingency). On that, I don't see how distinguishing between contingency of causality vs being helps, as on either case there are still brute facts, which was the point in question.

To answer your question regarding the laws of logic, I would tend towards nominalism. I think the laws of logic as we express them are abstractions existing only in our minds, but that they are abstracted from the set of all necessary properties of reality that could not have been other than they are. The necessity thus resides in the properties rather than any thing, avoiding all the problems of ontological argument objections, while still serving as a proper stopping point for explanation.
 
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Five Solas

Active member
I agree with your (1) but not with your (2). But that issue isn't really relevant, as you are opting for my (ii) rather than (i) meaning the suggestion is already refuted by my OP argument (reductio to no contingency). On that, I don't see how distinguishing between contingency of causality vs being helps, as on either case there are still brute facts, which was the point in question.
I denied that logic remains a brute fact, given the agency of God. Would probably have been better if I added personality and nature:

Moreover, 2. indeed offers us the grounding denied by the OP in that logic, not having the power of being in itself, requires it. This does not devolve to a brute fact, however, as we would claim that agency is involved with God. Inscrutable? Yes. Brute fact, no, for they do admit to explanation even if I am not able to explicate it, which I admittedly am not.

In short, I'm claiming that 1) provides such an explanation; therefore, it's not a brute fact. Still curious, though, do you admit to the existence of abstract objects? I think this is definitely appropriate information WRT to your OP.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I denied that logic remains a brute fact, given the agency of God. Would probably have been better if I added personality and nature:

Moreover, 2. indeed offers us the grounding denied by the OP in that logic, not having the power of being in itself, requires it. This does not devolve to a brute fact, however, as we would claim that agency is involved with God. Inscrutable? Yes. Brute fact, no, for they do admit to explanation even if I am not able to explicate it, which I admittedly am not.

In short, I'm claiming that 1) provides such an explanation; therefore, it's not a brute fact. Still curious, though, do you admit to the existence of abstract objects? I think this is definitely appropriate information WRT to your OP.
I think we're at cross purposes. Initially you were questioning my claim that brute facts are unavoidable. On that I referred you to my argument with the example of my contingent breakfast. My point there was that positing a necessary entity as regress stopper either still leaves you with brute facts or it makes contingency impossible. Note that this is not an argument about grounding logic. It is rather about contingency and causality.

You now seem focused on the grounding of logic, which is covered later in the OP. My argument there was not that logic is brute fact, but that it is already fully explained. This was supported by an argument using modal concepts (the circles with p and Lp, etc.) It might help if you could direct your responses to the OP passages so that we can keep clear on what is being discussed. Regarding abstractions, please see my above edit to my previous post.
 

Five Solas

Active member
Thank you for the fair answer. I'll address your last comment in turn, but first, since you have merely backed your answer up a step from logic as an abstract object, I naturally want to know if you believe the set of all necessary properties of reality exists as an abstract object? IOW, I don't think you've relieved yourself of this objection or its burden at all.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Thank you for the fair answer. I'll address your last comment in turn, but first, since you have merely backed your answer up a step from logic as an abstract object, I naturally want to know if you believe the set of all necessary properties of reality exists as an abstract object? IOW, I don't think you've relieved yourself of this objection or its burden at all.
I don't see at as a burden or really relevant. Again, the necessity lies in the properties themselves, and that is all I need. The answer to your question depends on what you mean by 'abstract object' - I don't think the set has to exist anywhere outside of our minds, but I don't really have any strong views on the platonism/nominalism dispute.
 
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