CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-18 - Alex vs. Kieran

Author Streamed Saturday September 18th, 2021

Alex Randall is a young Australian Atheist whom I interviewed a couple of times a few weeks ago, and Kieran Lisney is an American who has converted to Greek Orthodoxy over the past couple of years. They wanted to discuss textual criticism among other topics.

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-18 - Alex vs. Kieran

Author Streamed February 24th, 2021



These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
yeah so we're live uh i'm here with alex and kieran how are you guys doing what's up yeah i'm all right nice to have you uh nice to have you guys on here both of you together i don't often do one-on-one uh as the moderator but i'm just going to sit back and let you guys uh discover what topics are most interesting for you to to discuss i'm not going to say anything unless you uh you know specifically call on me so you guys just start talking i think he wanted to talk about textual criticism but you can take the conversation any way you want to go uh kieran you may as well start and uh you just have at it yeah sure um so alex did you want to start with that textual criticism you wanted to start talking about the actual uh historical veracity of scripture or what were you interested in in particular any questions right off the bat that you wanted to kind of probe into um yeah so there's so i mean i guess we should start with textual criticism because that's what this was about originally and then if it goes in another direction we can just follow that um sure so just to be clear so i'm not like even entirely sure what textual criticism is entirely about i tried to do some research last night and this morning um i was just wondering if you would be uh if you would agree with the definition of you know something along the lines of um the discovery and reading of manuscripts and collating the readings in them against other copies of the text correct so it's like it's compare and contrast to see what kind of variants that you would get textual variants um you know so examples of like perhaps a manuscript a full manuscript of matthew dating to like 300 or 400 a.d or something compared to another uh copy of matthew perhaps from a different region in the same time period or maybe an older fragmentation of it something like that and then looking to see if the reliability between the um you know describing of it from one copy to another has been accurate or has been altered in some way and typically from there then you can get into the specifics of whether or not the textual variant that you might see is something that is like astronomical that's going to change the doctrine of that particular text so like a good example which this is a false example i don't know of any major textual variants but let's say that we found it an example in um in um i don't know let's take like matthew what is that humming in the background does anybody else hear that i hear it i don't know what it is oh okay no worries um so let's just say like let's just take the virgin birth or something like that and we would just say uh in one copy of matthew it talks about the virgin birth but instead of saying that it was a virgin in the next copy that you compared it to it actually said young woman that would be a huge textual variant that would cause concern for the textual critic whether they're um christian or none and there's many textual critics who are not christian most a lot of them are atheists actually but that's neither here nor there but it would cause concern for okay well then which one is actually authentic and then you would try and narrow it down from there and a smaller example would be something like what would be known as like a a minor or um you know uh it would be like a minor textual variant so like jesus was baptized in the river jordan and then in another copy you had jesus was baptized in the river it would be something that okay it doesn't say the river jordan in this one maybe they're talking about a different river but ultimately it has nothing to do with the theophany altogether of christ being baptized by john the baptizer and having the descent of the holy spirit coming down upon him with the words this is my son with whom i am well pleased you would still see all the elements there to make up the basic doctrine of the baptism of jesus christ for instance so and then i mean we can talk about specific things like that i'm more interested i guess in the history in the the historicity um you know whether it's like the dating of the gospels who wrote the gospels etc that kind of stuff and i'm sure you're probably i'm sure you're probably more interested in that too just because when you get like textual criticism is very hard and the problem with it in in christianity specifically is the fact that we have such an over abundance of manuscripts that it's very cumbersome to go through all of them with the different languages they were translated into and the thousands upon thousands of different copies that we have to where you have to know how to speak like 10 different languages just to be able to compare and contrast you know a decent amount of the manuscripts themselves so um it gets very technical and there's only there's only a handful of textual critics in the world that are actually competent enough to do um well i guess yeah we can what do you want to start with specifically well did you have any one did you have any one particular point in regards to let's just say the new testament let's just keep it in the realm of the new testament for now did you have any um one issue i know you had mentioned before um i think when talking with david in the first conversation about whether or not the people who have the gospels assigned to their name are actually the ones who penned them yes so that was something i was going to ask you um is that your perspective do you think that um for example do you think luke wrote the gospel of luke and mark wrote the gospel of mark and such yeah yes i do um so this is one we're going to kind of get into the difference between and this is what i said to you before a little bit that we spoke previous to this on private message about what the difference between orthodox and catholic views of authority have to do with the um the protestant view of authority so i'm not familiar how or i'm not i'm not aware of how familiar familiar you are with the distinctives between the different traditions of christianity as a whole but basically in protestantism there's this idea that everything that we get as far as matters of faith and morals come ultimately and infallibly down through the text of holy scripture but someone like david and myself even though we're part of different traditions him as a as a catholic and myself as an eastern orthodox christian we wouldn't find an issue with having another infallible source of authority outside of scripture in fact scripture itself would necessitate that because we have to have people that can infallibly state what scripture is because scripture does not validate itself it doesn't it doesn't have an infallible table of contents to say matthew should be in the book or in the in the bible as a whole nor does it say that matthew wrote the gospel of matthew and this for an orthodox christian which is the the particular tradition um i'll be defending christianity from is actually um not a problem for us whatsoever because the tradition of the church tells us that matthew wrote matthew you can't debunk it as a skeptic as whether whether you're an atheist skeptic or you're a protestant skeptic or you're a hindu it doesn't matter if you have any form of skepticism towards whether or not matthew wrote matthew the only way that you're going to be able to disprove whether or not he wrote it is if you give a super late date for it and most scholars would agree that that's not the case so it leaves a really small small area by which it's possible for matthew to have not written matthew and all uh the consensus as we go further and further down the line of textual criticism and we continue we continue to discover more and more copies and earlier manuscripts we see that it's it's almost um infinitesimally small of a chance that it wouldn't have been written by saint matthew and you could argue well maybe it was somebody who wrote at the same time that matthew was alive but it wasn't matthew himself they just wrote matthew's name on it to give it some form of authority and that could well be the case but there's no way you're going to be able to to prove that emphatically because it's down the annals of history and so we just can't say he did or did not write um can i just ask what date do you think would be like too late for matthew to have written it like probably somewhere between like 80 to 100 a.d that would that would be a really really liberal leaning estimate of when it was written and a more conservative would be somewhere between like the 60s and 80. okay because according to the most reliable source in this this basically gives what it considers to be the current like scholarly dating and why and it puts it at 80 to 90 ce and let me guess does that um does that put it does it talk about the destruction of the temple um that's one of its three yeah okay so what's the presupposition behind the destruction of the temple and the gospel of matthew having to have been written after that happened i don't know i'm not like the expert here well well i mean and um i'm not so the presupposition behind that would be that in order for matthew to have predicted the destruction of the temple um in jerusalem in 70 a.d um the presupposition is well that's impossible people can't predict those sorts of things that's a supernatural occurrence so it's a miracle of sorts and so the the undergirding presupposition behind it is well then it must have been written after 70 a.d and that's one of the top reasons why liberal scholars would give it a later date but if your presupposition is that it's possible for somebody to even guess that the temple were to be destroyed in 70 a.d and they just they just made a really good prediction and guess they didn't even prophesy it or anything like that then uh it's still a possibility that it was written before 70 a.d so that's kind of uh that's a problematic reason for giving it a later date i would i would think but yeah so i know what you mean but i guess um given that we're talking in the realm of history and like no one here was there we i i think if you're talking in the realm of probabilities it seems far more likely to me that it was just written afterwards as opposed to it was written before and he either had some kind of supernatural uh future telling ability or he just made a really good guess uh that that could be but again it still leaves you in the realm of then okay well are you going to rely on because both you and i we're both now in a position where we have to say okay so we're gonna leave it basically up to chance that our position is correct would you would you agree with that um maybe not up maybe up to chances a bit much but i would say while i can't be certain i think um if i started with no presuppositions about like anyone's uh like like if i assumed that the person who wrote it didn't have any kind of supernatural ability um if if i start with that then i think i can reasonably get to with within reasonable doubt i can get to 80 to 90 a.d so so i don't want to i don't want to mischaracterize what you said but you said that if you can start with the assumption that somebody didn't have the ability to predict is that what you said um kind of i guess it's like um because well i start with that assumption only because i'm yet to observe anyone predicting that something that crazy so okay um so the only reason that i bring that forth is to say excuse me for anyone listening i've just talked with you guys beforehand but i have a sinus infection um but the reason why i brought that forth is to say that a negative um presupposition is just a positive for something else so if you would say i don't have the presupposition that somebody can predict something then your presupposition would be that tentatively somebody cannot predict something and again it kind of leaves us at those odds of okay well which is which is plausible which is possible both are plausible both are possible and i would say that if you looked hard enough i'm sure you could find recent examples of somebody predicting something and getting it pretty spot on it would just be a matter of of going and looking for that so it kind of leaves us in a quandary with that i mean there's other things um there's other things that are talked about in the book of matthew i think that um could lend credence to the dating but again it can kind of go both ways like you have um for instance so and this is these are some of my old notes but um in um in other books outside of scripture we have like we have uh what are known as the church fathers who i'm sure you're somewhat familiar with but we have early church fathers their attestation to the um authenticity of the scriptures that are in question my cat's on the table right now sorry if you see her but you have somebody like irenaeus for example talking about the penning of the gospel of matthew being done at the same time that peter and paul were in uh were preaching together and um this would have been sometime in the 60s a.d so again that would fit into the narrative that matthew was written prior to 80 a.d or the destruction of the temple in general so um you have little tidbits like that but again it's kind of just a guessing game i would say that um if you were to go a little bit further you'd have to start to dig into some of the presuppositions behind the interpretation of the data that's actually there you see what i'm saying kind of yeah um i i actually don't know too much about you know like early church fathers and stuff but uh i do kind of search this quickly but um one thing that you said that caught me i wouldn't say off guard but um you said uh something along the lines of a negative presupposition is a positive presupposition of essentially the inverse right like tentatively yes but i i mean i think that that's um i'm not sure if i would count it as a presupposition at all it's more just withholding judgment until something but it's based but it's but it's based off of sensory data is it not i guess um yeah i guess i i mean when i say you said you haven't you said you haven't experienced anybody else uh you haven't witnessed anybody else predict anything so all sense data so far that you've coalesced since you've been alive has not led you to believe that people have predicted anything correct uh well within i mean like we're talking about a very specific prediction here but yes right but i mean that would lean i'm just speaking in generality so you could say like oh kieran predicted that his wife was going to come home and yell at him because uh you know he didn't uh he didn't wash the dishes or something that's a different sort of prediction than saying um a plane is gonna fly into my house in eight days from now or something like that obviously one is inferred from the circumstances around me and another one is seemingly not inferred from anything it's just a flat prediction um so yeah there could be some sort of a difference there but um nonetheless you would essentially say that as far as the extraordinary types of predictions your sense data has not gathered anything that would lend credence to it right yeah okay okay um so i guess i mean it kind of leaves us at a standstill with um with dating um but again and and and i i i don't want to beleaguer the point but we have to talk about um i'm always going to be upfront about what my presuppositions are and my my first one of course is that the trinity exists the triune god exists and that he has a way to communicate to humanity and that way is through his prophets through the scriptures and through his holy church and so if i have one of those three things whether it's a prophet or the scriptures or the church if i have one of those things that's saying something that i can't glean all the knowledge from so in scripture i would say that there's material sufficiency for what's in there though there might not be formal sufficiency for all the things that i need as a christian i would look to one of the other sources then to give me what the um what the formal sufficiency is so if i didn't know that matthew wrote the gospel of matthew which scripture doesn't say that matthew wrote matthew i would look to one of those other presupposed authorities to say matthew wrote matthew in this case the tradition of the church of which scripture is encompassed in scripture is a part of the tradition so for me it's not an issue because i i admit that it's a it's a it's a belief um and i think at some point as a skeptic you can kind of stay in the realm of well we just don't know we just we based off the evidence that could go either way um but you know as a christian you take that leap of faith i suppose and you have certitude as far um that would be like a point of contention this idea that um having faith is like i don't know if good thing is the right word but like i whenever i whenever it comes like making decisions for me especially about like what's true and what's not i try and start with as little as i can and i think sure i think it's possible to start with nothing and to think it's possible okay like so you're like if you start with no pre-pre-subs like no ideas to begin with i think you can build up and possible um i don't think so that wouldn't that that would encompass a blank slate i'm not sure what you mean by a blank slate but um so if if you i mean how old are you i'm 16. okay so even by the time that you have cognitive reasoning you you don't have a blank slate anymore right you're starting to be shaped and formed and this is starting to undergird presuppositions it's starting to form presuppositions within your psyche that you're just not going to be able to get rid of you can change them but you can't be without presuppositions i mean in a pragmatic sense so i don't you don't really forgive me if i'm wrong are you are you actually an atheist or are you just kind of like you're just purely like searching and you lean in that direction um i think i've done my due diligence when it comes to the research of arguments for god and i think i can fairly say that none of them have convinced me okay that's fair enough i'm an atheist in that sense but i wouldn't i probably wouldn't make the claim that there isn't a god that there can't be a god but only that there isn't sufficient reason to believe from that perspective okay um so so you've gone through all these you've gone through arguments you've been pretty uh scrupulous with with going through um and so now you started to form um a world view even albeit a world view that's not completely solid yes um yes okay okay um yeah so what i was saying was is that in a pragmatic sense i don't think it's i don't think that it's possible from a purely materialistic or atheistic standpoint to to actually walk that out so when i say something like well you can't get away from presuppositions it just means that face value what it sounds like because you've already started to garner a thought process and a way of thinking about things that's going to naturally lead you to certain conclusions and so right now your your underlying presupposition would be something along the lines of there's no sufficient reason to believe therefore i withhold belief and i think that you're going to continue to filter things through that worldview and whether you know it or not it's going to come with some presuppositions that you're not going to be able to live out consistently so you said something interesting to me earlier you said that when you know in searching for truth i try to i try to follow what's true and i would simply ask you well why why would you follow something that's true because it sounds like a value judgment um but i don't know where you get an ought from an is if if something is true why is it the case that i should even believe that thing or follow what is true is that is there something um inextricably good about truth um so that's like an an ethical question which is um i do consider different from like factual questions but um i would say that so i'm not sure where i fall on the idea of absolute morality from a secular standpoint i mean i don't get it i don't think you can get absolute morality um but i think if we start with the pre i think uh so on the on the topic of morality yes i do think you do single presupposition um but then beyond that are you apps are you absolutely sure um i don't even know what that question means so so you said that you said that you're not sure if there are absolutes um are you certain are you absolutely sure that you're not sure that there are absolutes yeah okay so there's one there is one thing that i can tell you um i guess there's there's one thing that's absolute then and that's me i like i think therefore i other than that other i think other than that we're talking about the realm of um the physical and not like my psychological state or brain and bad ideas i don't think you can really uh accomplish anything in terms of absolutes well um that's an issue because i'm because i'm talking to alex i'm not talking to myself i hope i'm not i'm pretty sure i'm pretty sure i'm not talking to myself here's the interesting thing people talk a lot about like is anything real and i think i think you can say yes well it depends on how you define reality um if you define reality or something is real as in like if i went away it would still be there i don't know but from a from a functional standpoint i think the best way to define reality is what i experience like i see my wall i can i i think at least i think i'm touching the wall i think well because i can't be sure i you know i think i'm touching the wall so to all intents and purposes it's real it's real to me okay steve my cat i'm sorry my cat is being such a pain in the butt um i don't know if you can see her right now she's super cute but and she just wants attention but she's super annoying um can you say that again alex i'm sorry dude yes i wanted to make sure i wanted to make sure she didn't knock over my phone that's fine um so essentially um people talk a lot about the idea of like isn't real right and yes i would say from a philosophical standpoint where the definition is usually something along the lines of if i went away it would still be there right like it's not just a mental construct so here's a book on my desk if i go upstairs into the next room is it still going to be on my desk because it's still existing on my desk well i have no idea no i'm saying i'm just saying that's that's what you're saying right yeah i'm what i'm saying is like you cannot know that fact it is impossible um but what i can tell you is that from a from a practical standpoint i think a more useful definition of reality is essentially what i experience like i experience the wall it's it's real like that's all i can tell so i might as well use that as a definition and even if i'm a brain and a vet i've i've thought about this and i think i've come to a reasonable conclusion even if i'm a brain in a vat i'm not that brain is not aware of that so it's not like i can make any claims to knowledge about brains and vats outside of this universe i guess my question to that would be more of um an emotional appeal but what what is the point then what is the point of even asking the question am i a brain in a vat if you're a brain um i think because it kind of it just like it just ad infinitum just kind of like reduces to absurdity um maybe um i guess i value truth and i can uh so there's one thing that i value fundamentally and that's um that's basically well-being human well-being well well-being in general well-being of sentient creatures is like the core of my moral philosophy and then i think from there you can derive that um almost as a rule of thumb true things increase well-being and false things decrease well-being okay and then you have to speak but you have to define well and being when you talk about truth and advancing the cause for well-being and then then far from doing that you have to then say well it's well it's a good thing to advance well-being like if you were to say my well-being is making sure that um i i live according to the moral law that i've constructed in my mind and i live a healthy life and i have you know i get married and i have kids and i do all this kind of stuff and i i help my neighbor and that sort of thing um well then the question becomes is that a better option than someone like ted bundy who just wanted to kill a bunch of women for his own well-being but that decreased well-being as a whole but who's to say because the person that is in their own brain in a vat is their own brain in a vat according to them well-being is hurting other people yeah but okay let's let's think about it like this if there was a um if there was a 50 50 odds that you were the only real thing and i think it's reasonable to say that it's 50 50 because we actually can't know um if if there's 50 50 odds that i am the only real person alive and everyone else has a mental construct of my own brain which is in a vat um and i go and i shoot someone right if you think about this from a value perspective there is a 50 50 chance that i have just taken a human life which is in my opinion probably one of the worst things possible in my moral framework and a 50 50 chance that i've done nothing wrong and made myself ever so slightly happier if we were to say that me making myself happier as a value of one and me killing someone is a value of negative a thousand and then you multiply that by the odds of each one happening you come up with a general value judgment of uh what negative 499.5 okay that's too much math for me buddy i would simply say i would disagree with the first premise i wouldn't say that it's a 50 50 chance that you're the only person that exists or that i'm the only person that exists from my perspective i wouldn't say that it's 50 i wouldn't say it's a 90 10 percent chance because that would require all these things that i have um experienced to be a mental construct of my own mind such things that like could you imagine like could you imagine driving in your car and turning on a crappy like pop station and being like oh i'm the cause for that crappy pop station and the terrible music that's there i would never personally write a song with this but here but you don't know but the thing is is that let's say i wrote but then i i wrote mozart's pieces so i'm really i'm brilliant enough to to have written those and constructed those in my mind i would disagree and say that that's out of the realm of uh what i uh what i'm capable of yeah so i sorry were you gonna say something else no i was just gonna say i so i just i just don't think it's a 50 50 chance that i'm the only thing that exists so i i know what you mean when you say like um but i i don't think this is where i think it gets really um difficult and weird almost because the brain that would exist as a physical mental construct in this universe and the brain that would exist in a vat outside the universe wouldn't have to be the same this you as a brain and well okay so the the you if we start with the so you're saying that the con you're saying i i know so you're saying the conscious part of me would not have to be the same as the mind of me that is unconscious or that is the one that is uh producing all of the things that i am experiencing through my consciousness is that what you're saying um the the conscious part of you would only have to be a incredibly small subset of the larger kind of brain behind the universe there's there's no reason why you the conscious part of you has to be as intelligent as mozart as long as the larger idea behind the universe is so so the the brain the conscious part of the brain the conscious brain that i am experiencing um would not have would be a subset you said of the brain outside of the universe yeah well if there is like like god if there was a god like sure but like i don't see why i should believe in that so well well but you just said because my my my kick back to you was i don't have the mental capacity to construct things like mozart's music and yours your rebuttal or your response was well that would be the subset of your consciousness that doesn't have the ability to do that but your brain in a vat outside of the universe is the one that actually constructed it so you're just the subset of that but it's all you right so if that's the possibility then it seems far more likely that the brain that is outside or the mind that is outside of the universe that i am simply a subset of is god because i don't have the capacity to do that you would be saying at the same time that the mind the same mind one that is a subset and one that is the larger cosmology or cosmological part of it are the same brain they're the same mind but they're one has the ability to do something that the other one doesn't and i would simply say that that's unnecessarily dividing parts of that mind that you're advocating for when a far better explanation would just be i am in the image of god the brain or the mind outside of the universe is god i am a subset of that i am a reflection of that and i don't have the same mental capacity that that mind outside of the universe has namely god so i would say that it's more of a likelihood that that would be the case rather than saying that my mind is playing tricks on me and what ostensibly what it would mean is that the divine mind or my mind outside of the universe would be lying to my subsetted mind and keeping abilities away from it um essentially to what to like to trick it into thinking that it's experiencing something it's not actually experiencing um maybe so there's two things here one is like depending on your definition of god a brain and a vat idea as i have proposed it would essentially be um you know because i i do agree that the two minds would need to be necessarily separate um so i guess say god but yes i'm not sure like the thing is like that's also why i don't say that um there can't be a god only that i don't see reason to believe in one in the same way that i say it's possible for me to bring it be a brain in an event but i don't see a reason to believe it like it just it just so happens that um i i set up my definitions of things and my frameworks of the world in a way that regardless of the situation i'm in i still lead to correct conclusions but it wouldn't be correct if it's all based off of your mind though it would just be your mind lying to your other mind well right but i that's still like i when i talk about reality as i said it's only what i experience so it doesn't matter if my mind is lying to me i'm still like when i'm talking about reality i'm still talking about what i experience which is like that is true that's that is the only absolute truth yeah but that that can't be the only absolute truth because the statement that's the only absolute truth would have to be an um i guess no definitely that's what it that's what it would mean you can't say that that would be the only absolute truth because by saying that you're then affirming that there are two absolute truths namely the thing that you're affirming but as far as i can tell this sorry go on go ahead no no go ahead um so i do experience things that's true um okay fine practice okay so i guess but you don't but but you don't know that you don't know i i do know that i do experience things that is like like i don't know if you experience things but i definitely well what is it well what is experience to you if i i you're saying that you experience that you're definitely experiencing something but that again it's just another truth claim you're just you're just you keep pushing the problem back a step you keep stacking things on top of each other that have no anchor or or justifiable reason for why they should be there i have no idea why i experience things but i do like i i think therefore i am and as a logical consequence my experiences are just me thinking things like when i see stuff the light that we see in the air as far as i can tell does not actually exist in the same way that we see things like our brain assigns similar values so then you're not experiencing it because you're not using your you can only use your senses to experience something yes i guess it would depend on our definitions of experience but when i talk about i experience something i mean uh can you look it up well yeah what what is it just look up what experience means let's just see let's just take like the webster dictionary um the oxford languages dictionary has a few different examples i guess the one that we're talking about here would be practical contact with and observation of facts or events and what do you observe things with well so this is the thing right i guess i can't really think of a better word than experience but i don't think i'm necessarily using it in this way so can i just like define it differently and maybe we can try yeah sure yeah so when i talk about experience i mean um it's like i think therefore i am i i think we can i think they're foreign i'm pretty sure we can agree on that uh are you sure that you're thinking if i'm so if i'm thinking something okay there's there's actually four absolute truths three of them are the laws of logic which i think um you have to assume yeah sure um and then i mean i i assume them i know you assume them too but i in and i mean if it's just your brain why would you have to take into account the law of non-contradiction well i have no idea but that's just how it let's put it this way when i experience things and i'll get back to my definition of experience in a second but all of my observations of what i call reality are consistent with the three laws of logic so i i think that's inductive proof of their truth um but inductive reasoning is problem yeah so i have no idea if they're absolutely true everywhere all the time they could actually but i i know like i have actually they are because i've never experienced anything ever to disagree with them but again so it's um this is really yeah define define experience again define experience again outside of the oxford dictionary not not from the oxford dictionary because that's things observed and you observe with your senses we've established that but give your definition of experience again i guess my definition of experience would be kind of yeah with my senses like um this so i'm trying to figure out if you can derive it from i think therefore i am but it's essentially like i think um well i don't think you can but yes i think we can reasonably say using your senses to feel things but your your cognitive state is based off yeah exactly so it's circular it's very so i know i exist and i know yes i do i don't know how but i'm thinking i mean but again it's because you're just you're just attaching a bunch of a bunch of presuppositions into what you are um and what existing is um okay so when i talk about existence i just mean a thing that has properties so like if i think then experience but you are thinking as a property okay but you said you're not sure if something exists if you are devoid of experiencing it so if you um if you left if again using the example of the book if you left your book um do you know for a fact that that book is still existing because you're saying it has properties that's your definition of existing is that it has properties but do you know that it always has those properties does it have the identity over time um it doesn't necessarily have those properties when i turn my back to it but every experience that i've had with the book has in the book has had those properties so it could just be that it is a figment of your imagination and the book doesn't really exist absolutely okay so then you can't be sure that anything exists except myself yes um i would i would again i would just i can't because i can't be a figment of my own imagination because but you're but you're garnering the idea that you exist from your senses which you're unsure if they are actually reliable or not i i think i think we might be using two different definitions of existence maybe i'm not sure like at the same time um but because it's like there's i think therefore i am because i have a property and therefore i exist but then um if i were to talk about so there's like two kinds of existence right there's having properties which i'm sure we can i hope we can agree like that that is a version of existence if something has a property it definitionally exists in some way um okay and then there's like the idea of like reality and existence in the philosophical con concept of like if i turn away is it still there like does it exist okay well what about metaphysical things like what about what about math math does math does math have properties to it that's something i've never thought of before so i might need a second to think but i think it might i think it might also fall under like a different category i'm sure yeah metaphysical category but it would still could be but it would still happen yeah it would still i mean you would you would agree that seven plus seven is going to equal the same thing it's going to equal 14 no matter where you're at right if we define seven and seven and plus equals and fourteen the same at every point yes well seven's not going to equal six at some point is it um if you're defining is getting crazy um i think i well i mean yeah if we're using the definitions of six and seven and plus and equals that we have today like yeah it's never gonna equal that's the law of knowledge okay well from there i mean again i would say that that the justification for believing in the the three laws of logic um in this case the law of non-contradiction would be grounded within a a a triad a theistic uh worldview specifically in the trinity itself um so i'm not arguing for like a generic sort of monotheism here but you said something interesting that led me to um think about the problem of the one and so have you are you familiar with the problem of the one in the many because this kind of gets into uh values of things how things are how things are abstracted and also how things um have identity so are you familiar with with that philosophical concept um i am now after googling it so it's the problem of finding the one thing that lies behind all things that's yeah i mean that's a super simplistic way of stating it but so in this case like you would have in the problem of the one in the many you would have basically what are known as universal abstracts or um concrete particulars so we could take for instance this soda can which is actually a perrier because they're delicious but a perrier can you could say let's just say soda in general you can save that on my desk so okay cool so um coke's better um so you have a particular you have a concrete particular there you have a soda can right or you have soda in general then you have the universal abstract which is soda in general right so you have soda and then you have an individual soda can so you have many and you have one obviously is the easy way of putting it but then you get into the question of kind of a chicken and an egg conundrum because you start to talk about for instance well does the thing that i'm saying is a soda can have identity because of the universal abstract behind it or does the universal abstract have meaning because of the concrete particular that i'm looking at in front of me um you understand what i'm saying what are you guys talking about i'm just like listening it's getting crazy can you um aiden if you're when you're not um speaking can you just mute them because it's it's kind there's a lot of like noise going on in the background i don't know how i'm driving my car i can't do that i think it's the wind this is my brother no there's literally no wind it's literally like the most windless that's did you close your window yeah there's no okay no okay no hey hey hey guys uh google meet is uh forcing us off in five minutes so why don't we just continue this conversation right now but we'll just i'll send you a new link like did you make a new link oh that's what that thing is i'll put it in the chat yeah send the new conversation ending in 10 minutes because i'm useless i'm just like hearing kieran talk and i'm like uh everyone get the chat okay you're the one alex can you still hear me buddy yeah no alex where is the agent i'm kieran's brother and i'm way better than him what's going on um the chat i i i have no idea yeah i'm in my phone hold on a second um i can try and like text it to you i guess um yeah wait can you send it um can you send it via telegram oh i sent it to him by his email i sent it to him by his email you should get the email all right oops sorry that was kieran let me do it to aid wait dude are we doing another here gotcha i'm waiting it's loading hold on golly boys hey oh aidan's in the new one kieran uh is not in the new one yet hold on hold on hold on there we go it's because my phone is going super slow i will be able to chat for long because i got to wake up early again and go back to work and that's where i'm leaving from now so i just you know i just wanted to like hop on yeah what the heck because i love attention and then i wanted to leave so why was that that's how i treat human beings alex i use them for what they can give me and then i i discard them so you sound like a smart young man hold on oh thank you you're welcome you're welcome okay we should all be here is that better yes we're all we're all what were we saying uh we were talking about uh it was the problem of the one in the many and the soda can okay and you asked me a question that i don't really remember i think it was something along the lines of like yes so it's it's getting into the um it's getting into the abstract particulars rather than the concrete particulars so it's basically asking does the soda can that's in front of me as a particular garner its meaning or its um predication on the abstract behind it or does the abstract behind it have meaning from the particular itself so it's the it's it's the the classic chicken and an egg basically so when you say that i'm not sure what you mean so like there is the idea of a soda can right yes the idea of this pepsi max can that i'm holding and but that only what i can tell you is that as far as i could tell that only exists because there is an arrangement of molecules and i look at that and i'm okay but so so again though um the molecules aren't telling you whether or not it's pepsi you don't have the eyes to see if the molecules if the molecular structure of it is pepsi or not and even if you did if you had no idea of what pepsi is because of the abstract universal behind it you would look at that molecular structure and say well what's that i've never seen that before i have no frame um there we go so kieran are you saying are you saying that whatever whatever universally designed uh defines what a can of soda is are you saying that that affects the particular organism you're talking about are you saying are you is the question oh does the individual can make up the concept of can or does the concept of can make up with the can is that what you're trying to say yes essentially that's pretty much exactly what i'm saying and then that gets into the exactly so and you could make that you can make that for anything so like if i were to ask you hey um uh aiden go ahead and imagine a dog for me just imagine a dog you would not be able to imagine that dog in your head without having a formal construction of what a dog looks like in your head right because there are many dogs but they're all different from one another they're all distinct from one another so you have the universal or the one concept of what a dog is and then you have many different examples of dogs but are those things deriving their characteristics or driving their um their their in this case their predication so their their dogness from the universality of what a dog is or is the universality of what a dog is determined by a particulate and the reason why it's a problem is because if you say if you say that while a dog derives its uh the concept of a dog derives its its meaning from um a particular then you're saying that nothing is really related to one another then a dog could be a non-dog a dog could be something completely else because you're just arbitrarily assigning one thing that you see in front of you with what a dog is and if it's a universal if they're if if if the meaning is derived from the universal behind it meaning that we know that a particular dog is a dog because we know what a universal abstract of a dog is then you would have to say that nothing is really distinct from one another so there is no distinction between any dog and the reason why this gets you to trinitarian theology where at least it might not be the only answer but it is one of the best explanations for why you have the problem of the one and the many is because god is both unitive and has real distinction in him as well and so you have these things held within perfect tension of one another so it would make sense to say that the things that flow out of god that god creates have that image that characteristic of the one and the many and you could take it from the genesis type of perspective of man being created in god's image you alex are a human being and i am a human being we share the same nature but we are distinct we are many um and is what our what is what our characteristics as human beings are derived from the concept of what a human being is in the universal abstract or is it the other way around i don't see this as a problem at all and um maybe i'm wrong here and i probably am but we'll see um so as far as i can tell um so first of all i'm going to talk about like experiences and reality here can we just kind of agree that things are real because otherwise i don't think we're going to make like that conversation on what is reality went on for a really we can put yeah we can put that on the back burner sure cool so i i experience things and um as a human over time i uh experience like let's say dogs right dogs i think dogs is a really good example um so i i see a creature right a moving body of molecules and let's say i just decided to call that a dog and i see like a very similar moving body of molecules i can just be like oh like they're close enough so um you experience things your mind then creates i guess you could say like an array of like everything that you've experienced and then it starts to categorize them by like oh like this is a dog because it's got four legs this bait this face structure for a tail but like this is a cat because the face structure is different but they're both under the you know category of animals and the category of animals is like under the category of life like it's just categorizations of molecules in motion yeah but that's not actually answering the question of where those categories come from and whether or not whether or not i mean because you're saying that it comes it's coming from these constructs in your mind but again the the the very real question behind it is then well you yourself are you a multiplicity or are you a unity is what is behind you unitive primarily or is it primarily distinctive particular many i don't know what you mean by um like what is behind me like if you're talking about the laws of the universe i have no idea if there's a unified theory of physics but i can tell you that i am made of a lot of molecules but if we're talking in categories i am one person like it just depends on how like what lens you're viewing it through i can be either you um say that again so i am it entirely depends on what you're asking by what is behind me because what's behind me fundamentally um is atoms electrons neutrons protons you know subatomic particles that build up my body but you might be are those are those are those related to one another i don't know i'm not enough in physics okay but i mean let's just let's just pretend that you are you don't have to get into the to the physics behind it but let's just say that i'm just asking are all are the atoms that comprise you alex are those things related to each other or are they are are they um primarily distinct from one another in particular that's a very very interesting question because um on like they're all atoms but that is in and of itself an arbitrarily defined categorization like we just kind of decide to call certain groups of subatomic particles atoms well the question here is not really the meaning or the or the predication of what constitutes an atom let's just talk about let's just say it's balls of light to the question the question is there a real distinction between them are they really particular or are they really unitive are they if they're if they're yeah like they would be dead they would be different they are particular so if they're if they're particular then that you can't say they're all atoms because they could be something else completely unrelated to it adam if you were to take it take it up into let's take it past the subatomic level or whatever let's just say apples okay if you had an apple in front of you and then you had many apples in front of you the question then becomes are the many apples related to one another can we really say that they're all apples and if you say yes you can say that they're all apples then you're drawing that from a universal unitive or abstract principle and if you say that there is no unitive abstract principle behind what constitutes an apple then you're saying that these things are not related to one another there's no unitive principle behind them and therefore they're particular therefore you've just forgotten what you have any knowledge that you have previously of apples you have to then throw out the window because you're not attaching it to a universal abstract of what constitutes an apple in the first place so when you say universal abstract do you mean shared between all conscious beings i would say no just the i guess if you were to take it down to um like a property level if you were to say something like um okay the thing that makes the apple really appley the appley part of it is the property that constitutes that it's an apple right okay and then you have another one and it has the same thing and so you say okay well then that's an apple too because it's sharing that same appleiness to it the predication is the property with which that thing's hot that thing holds and so therefore you can then say well yes this is an apple too but then it's totally hinged on the universal abstract behind it you see what i'm saying i do i i feel like i've answered that and maybe i'm wrong but it's just like so so there is um a perceived notion of appleiness in things that we see either something is an apple or it's not an apple right yeah yes okay so the definition of apple is arbitrarily defined by humans because because then i could say that this book that my bible is an apple and you would have to say well yeah it could be that's well from your perspective it might be but then we're speaking at how do you uh communicate with anybody will you establish a set of like like that's why i established like my the definitions of reality and existence and um perception that like when we were talking about that whole thought process um like we established those definitions right so that we were making sure that we were all in line yeah but what i'm saying is is that take it out of this context go up to the person on the street and say here's an apple i have for you and they say that's not an apple that's a pumpkin or you just farted in your hand and you tried to give it to me that's not an apple alex come on the it doesn't i'm i'm speaking in in um in generalities here there if if you're if you are def like nobody operates like that like i wouldn't go up to i wouldn't go up to my wife and be like hey here is here's the grocery list um now let me define what a grocery list is to you so that you can go to the grocery store and that we're on the same page there's a universal abstract behind what a grocery list is that my wife just knows okay that's that's a that's a grocery list i guess if i feel like that's more in the realm of linguistics and i have a friend who knows a lot about linguistics and i do not um but i could tell you that language is i mean that's but it coheres it coheres to one another right like it all it all envelops one another so if this part of the web doesn't connect to this part of the web then you obviously have some sort of an issue there so if you're talking about linguistics and you have to say well yeah but in linguistics or are inexplicable or are inexplicably tied to um are are tied to the problem of the one of the many which is tied to absolutes which is tied to the laws of logic which is all these things so you could say yeah i mean that's more of a linguistics thing but they all play into one another that's the problem with with foundationalism as a whole i would say is that you're starting somewhere and you're stacking things and if one thing is wrong the whole thing just crumbles but if you look at it from a coherentist type of view you're seeing that these things have um a real connection with each other not something that's conceived in your mind not something that's just like well we just arbitrarily chose to agree on the definition of what a water bottle is you know there's actually something behind the reality of the water bottle that you and i um you and i agree on on a presuppositional level and i'm saying that in the in the realm of philosophy you can't get away from the problem of the of the one in the many without having a principle that is itself one in many that has a unitive principle behind it but that has real distinctives at the same time um i i disagree because i do think that if you i when this conversation is over i'm gonna go and think about it for like six hours but uh all right cool this is like this is turning this is my head spinning around so we agree this is this is crazy so there is so you i i don't think my answer was wrong necessarily so you said that like basically it becomes impossible to communicate with anyone the moment anyone uses like their own definitions of things um um so there was should i wait for him to finish i don't know dude i have no idea hey david can i don't think he's him i don't think he can either bro i think he's away from his desk and he's just like picking up his voice all right alex listen to me keep speaking i have my bluetooth in but i have to go get a water from upstairs okay cool all right thank you so i hope you can hear me right now i can hear you right now yeah i can hear you great so um my idea is that concepts are they are arbitrarily imposed but there is almost a selection type process with languages where um it becomes beneficial for everyone to start using the same word for the same concepts which means that like like when i am talking about a water bottle right we have concepts of all water because it is pragmatic like it is practical and useful for people to have a shared concept of water is it good to be practical i don't know what you mean by it is evolutionary it is evolutionarily advantageous for someone to know what the other person is talking about when they say there's water over there i'm having a hard time um concentrating right now that's fine can you hear hom let me see i wish we could like yeah okay okay so i i've muted him i'll leave this in the chat i wasn't sure if that was i'm not tech savvy plus i'm on my phone so you probably can't do it for yourself but um so apparently yeah so he can unmute himself when he comes back all right cool so basically we've agreed upon arbitrary definitions for things and because it's uh socially advantageous it's evolutionarily advantageous and it helps us to square things away and get things done that's your that's your that's my explanation for why like everyone talks about the same thing when they talk about water okay look i that's i'm just saying like that's why i don't see any of this as a problem it seems to me that it all arises but the very notion but the very but the very notion of talk and talking is one and is one it goes into the problem of the one in the many does it yeah absolutely if you say the concept of talking and then you say alex is talking to kieran right now that is an abstract uh universal and now it's garnered down to the level of example through a concrete particular i might not even agree what talking is with you yeah you totally might not but that doesn't mean that i'm wrong okay but it still doesn't i don't care if i don't care if you're wrong or right that the the question is justification behind why your position should be held or why that why that is the case in the first place that's the that's the root of the issue is the justification behind it so it might very well be that i disagree with you that talking is when sound comes out of your mouth and it makes different vowels and consonants and it conveys meaning to you and i might be worse off for it but that still you wouldn't have a justification to say well i'm right in saying that talking is when vows and consonants come out through noise in your vocal cords and out to the world to where another human being can now take them in and understand what they mean so you still you still haven't explained how it's possible to garner meaning one way or the other whether you're deriving it from the concrete particular or you're deriving it from the universal what do you mean well what do you mean by like ghana meaning do you mean like um establish categories of things where you can then like give them to get to its very essence of what talking is so the talky the talkiness of talking is the only way that you can put it but to say like um okay so talking has the property of x y and z and then those things are fulfilled therefore i'm talking so now i have the universal um abstract which is all those things i just listed the x y and z and now i have the concrete particular that corresponds to it but you still don't have which one has given which one the meaning and you also don't have the justification for why it is if your version of talking why your concrete particular example of talking is um why that should be trusted by somebody else why that should be accepted wholesale by somebody else because my version of talking is actually um smacking my hands together and whatever noise comes from my hands smacking together that's actually talking okay you would disagree with that there were two questions there so the second one was why should my version or my definition i guess we might be able to say of talking um be used by anybody else right yes okay sorry there was a question before that i just want to write these down so i don't forget oh okay it's cool let me just well it might maybe i'll restate it um i don't remember what i said but i would just say that the reason i'll qualify it by saying that um the reason why i wouldn't have to accept it is because you said it's arbitrary you said that the way that we define things becomes arbitrary and it might be so socially advantageous to do so but that still doesn't give you the reason as to why i should accept it just because something is socially advantageous doesn't mean it's actually the correct or right thing it just means that most people have agreed upon it would you agree with that um yeah but i feel like you're starting with the premise and maybe i'm wrong here but that there has to be a correct or right definition of talking like there's just the definition of talking that most people use there's that there's a definition that basically everyone uses and then that's it well wouldn't you yeah i mean yeah that's all that would affirm i would say yes there's only there's only talking so we disagree the in the in the area of where that meaning for what talking is comes from you're saying it's arbitrary i'm saying it's not i'm saying it's founded in the one and the many and you're saying that well i don't really know about that but i'm just going to say that we've arbitrarily decided that talking is when words come out of your mouth so i think arbitrary might be the wrong word there um because arbitrary kind of implies that there's like no reason for it there's like a flippancy to it yeah yeah so it's like but it doesn't necessarily it doesn't necessarily have to be that you could say things are you could say that the actual word that is being because words are just invented right like we just make words up but we know that we know that there is um we know that there is a universal um behind it right but then we also know that there's a particular so the word itself or the thing that we have that's constructed in our mind so dog dog as a word that doesn't justify or explain away the particular examples of dogs nor does it explain the abstract universal behind it do you understand what i'm saying so even if we didn't have the word dog if we had no vocabulary for dog we didn't know what to call them we every time we saw them we were just like or whatever we just knew but we all had we would still have particular examples of dogs in our mind and we would still know that there's a universal abstract behind it because every time i see that thing that's the thing i don't have a word for oh look at that so so naming the thing uh arbitrarily doesn't get you away from it so the naming is arbitrary purely like it really is like words are just words yeah but the actual particular itself the object of the thing you're naming and then the universal the um the abstract universal behind it are not arbitrary and those things are in tension together because you can't define one without the other you can't define them individually otherwise if you say like i said before if you were to derive something and say well this this concrete particular exists apart from the um from the universal abstract behind it well then you're saying there's no abstraction behind it and you're saying those things could potentially not even be related to one another so this dog is not you know these two dogs are actually not dogs they might not be and if you do the opposite and say well we know what a dog is because the universal abstract is there but it's purely a universal abstract there is no particular concrete with it then you're saying that there's no distinction between my dog do you have a dog i have two they're amazing okay so you're saying that my golden retriever there's no real distinction between my golden retriever over here in the united states between your two dogs over there down under there's no distinction between those things so it still leaves you in the quandary of what is where do those things come from but you can't just describe some sort of um an arbitrary word for it and say well we agree that this is that thing that doesn't in itself say that that thing has those properties just because i said it does right so um imagine so forget the word dog um but we'll be talking about dogs without using the word because we have to so so when i say that i've got two dogs right i'm saying i have two creatures with a certain facial structure four legs for a tail and they can breed okay right well they can't but you know what i mean so are they okay so this is what would be called abstract particulars rather than a concrete particular because now you're bringing up the plurality of the dogs that you have in your home yeah question then so then the question then still is are those things related to each other are those things all things that exist have properties but are they sharing the same are they sharing the same abstract universal because lots of things have four legs and a tail that aren't dogs i mean so i i mean i look this may be a bit out of my depth for philosophy but i would say um there everything that exists has properties right because that's kind of how i do define existence the having of properties like this soda can it has the property of the pepsi max logo and black and it's made of aluminium and stuff so that has the properties associated with soda cans and then if i were to compare it to this empty coffee mug i have way too many things on my desk um so do i so i would say like they share perhaps the property of being able to contain things without things falling out of them so they are so like we categorize things in certain ways as i don't know why so you would say so you would say that they're like they're both containers yeah right so like that might be uh what did you say like an abstract universal yes the idea of containers right yep so i would say we experience a lot of things right um yeah when i'm talking about things i mean like we literally experience a lot of objects in our lives and then our brain is like okay this is a bit much to remember each individual pepsi max can you get let's just remember the logo the color and the what's inside of it and now you know what a pepsi max can is yeah i i i get what you're sa

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