Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Defining Moment

Paul Manata chimed in on my recent post, "The Asymmetry of Immaterliasm". Because I did not define the terms "materialist" and "immaterialist," Paul thought he could destroy my entire argument by defining the terms for me in the comments section:

a materialist believes that all that exists is matter.

an immaterialist believes all that exists is immaterial.

So, this argument was not against people like me.

Anyway, I'd try to learn how to use terms, mkay?


I'm not as much of a stickler as Paul, but since he is alleging that I don't know how to use terms, I feel the need to hold him to his own standard. In his inability to use terms properly, Paul fails to clarify what "people like [him]" are defined as. At any rate, is rather amusing to see this coming from Paul, especially considering that Paul once told me "all" does not always mean "all" when I used the "all men are sinners" objection to the "Jesus is 100% man and 100% God" argument. Maybe Paul's God should learn how to define His terms when He is inspiring the writing of Holy Books?

Not to mention the one time when I said something like "the whole world..." as an exaggeration, and Paul painted it like I literally meant every single person on the Earth. The lesson to be learned here is that, according to Paul's rules, every person's statements must be taken 100% literally, except for Paul himself and the Bible that he believes in. Sorry, but Paul's rule violates the principle of symmetry. If Paul gets to pick and choose what is to be taken literally and what is to be taken figuratively, then so do I.

I made the mistake of assuming that everyone would know what I'm talking about when I said "immaterialist". Obviously, I gave some (or one) of my readers too much credit. So I quickly defined my terms to clear up any confusion:

Materialist: One who believes all that exists is material.

Immaterialist: One who believes all that exists is either material or immaterial.


However, I thought it might be fun to take this logic of Paul's even further. Let's take Paul's "to the letter" style of term definition and apply it to another commonly used term!

Christian: One who believes that all that exists is Christ.

Proof that Christians are (third party) nihilists!

The true irony is that even without the "to the letter" term definition used above, Christians really are nihilists, because they believe that the consciousness of God (subject) has primacy over existence (object), and therefore everything only exists because God's mind wills it to be. Or in other words, everything that exists (besides God Himself) only exists within the mind of God. That's third party nihilism, folks!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Aaron,
I'm not sure what you were trying to prove in you "Asymmetry of Immaterialism" post: I believe you were either stating that dualists and or idealists are illogical (and if correct then then the universe is illogical) or that dualism or idealism is impossible based on the idea that they would have an asymmetrical relationship. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).

Ignoring the secundum quid fallacy of your argument consider this:

The Asymmetry of Materialism:

1) A rod is set on its end. The force pulling on the rod is symmetrical. When the rod falls the symmetry is broken.

2) A piece of metal is in room tempurature (the atoms are symmetrical)the metal is heated to a critical tempurature and the atoms are oriented in one direction; again the symmetry is broken.

3) Or if you prefer consider time. (I shouldn't need to explain this one.)

Peace out.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi anonymous!

I'm not sure what you were trying to prove in you "Asymmetry of Immaterialism" post

Adn therin lies the problem. I think I clarified a bit in my most recent post entitled "The Raving Atheist Critiques Aaron Kinney's Asymmetry Argument." Take a look and let me know what you think.

1) A rod is set on its end. The force pulling on the rod is symmetrical. When the rod falls the symmetry is broken.

2) A piece of metal is in room tempurature (the atoms are symmetrical)the metal is heated to a critical tempurature and the atoms are oriented in one direction; again the symmetry is broken.

3) Or if you prefer consider time. (I shouldn't need to explain this one.)


I appreciate your examples, but none of them address what I am talking about when I mean " symmetry".

What I mean is that for an interaction to occur between two entities, both entities must meet the preconditions that the interaction demands.

Here is an example:

If I (entity A) want to touch (interaction) you (entity B), both you and I must meet the precondition that the interaction demands. In other words, both of us must be in physical contact with eachother.

I cannot be in physical contact with you without you also being in physical contact with me.

Similarly, if an immaterial entity wants to exert force on a material entity, force must also be applied from the material entity to the immaterial entity.

Does you understand?

Zachary Moore said...

Am I the only one picturing Paul as a young boy playing war with his friends, firing imaginary guns back and forth, and then insisting that he secretly was wearing bullet proof armor the whole time when somebody sneaks around and shoots him dead-to-rights?

No? Just me, then.

TheJollyNihilist said...

As a new blogger, my interactions with Paul have been few. However, I know exactly how you're feeling, Aaron. However, for me, hyperliteralism isn't the main problem. The main problem I have with him is his tendency to make wild extrapolations.

For example, the first conclusion of my Pro-Fetal Ownership Argument is, "Females own their fetuses." Paul extrapolated that to mean, "Humans may own any other humans." In my latest post at my blog--a post entitled Aborting Paul Manata's Refutation--I show the ludicrousness of such extrapolations with an analogy. If I said, "Individuals may own a dog," then Paul would extrapolate "Individuals may own any animal." He refuses to accept the fact that premises can be NARROWED by deduction ("animal" narrowed to "dog" or "human" narrowed to "fetus"), but cannot be EXPANDED through extrapolation (for example "dog" expanded to "animal").

Oh well, at least he doesn't resort to foul language and shouting matches.

Aaron Kinney said...

Oh well, at least he doesn't resort to foul language and shouting matches.

LOL if foul language includes insults, then its only a matter of time.

TheJollyNihilist said...

Allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment.

Here are your stated definitions:

Materialist: One who believes all that exists is material.

Immaterialist: One who believes all that exists is either material or immaterial.

Why doesn't your rule about symmetry apply to these definitions? If the definition of "materalist" is one who believes only in the material, wouldn't the symmetrical definition of "immateralist" be one who believes only in the immaterial?

It seems like most analogous definitions have symmetry. For example, a theist believes in God, while an atheist does not believe in God. Proper means something that's appropriate, while improper means something that's not appropriate. Very symmetrical.

Why is symmetry unnecessary for your definitions?

*stops playing Devil's Advocate*

Aaron Kinney said...

francesthemagnificent:

Why doesn't your rule about symmetry apply to these definitions? If the definition of "materalist" is one who believes only in the material, wouldn't the symmetrical definition of "immateralist" be one who believes only in the immaterial?

Causal links need to be symmetrical. Definitions dont need to be. My argument of symmetry involves causality and two or more entities or forces. Word definitions do not apply.

Example:

Truther: a person who only tells the truth.

Liar: a person who tells a mix of truth and lies.

Wouldnt it be silly to define a liar as "one who only tells lies and never says anything true"?

Why is symmetry unnecessary for your definitions?

Because definitions do not involve interactions between two entities, but only involve the meanings assigned to terms we use.

Good job on the Devils Advocate though. I like being challenged.

Paul Manata said...

Anyway.

That was a poor term with no history to back up its usage.

You can feel free to make up terms as you fancy, but don't get upset when I rightly call you on the carpet.

You should know that how you defined "immaterialist" was (1) not the opposite of "materialist" and so still makes no sense, and (2) that position has always, and is still, referred to as dualism.

(btw, liar does mean "one who tells a mixture of truth and non-truth" I mean, what then would you call someone who realy did mtell all lies? So, "liar" does not demand your definition. I know you said you had never studied logic. Well, there is a whole section in most intro texts on definitions).

Bottom line, my objection was technically correct, and what I said you shoudl have called them above is also technically correct. Now, anyone is free to go outside the paradigms and stipulate their own definition, fine. But, I do not have to grant such stipulation.