Instigator / Con
1500
rating
1
debates
100.0%
won
Topic
#5243

Is absolute certainty possible?

Status
Debating

Waiting for the next argument from the contender.

Round will be automatically forfeited in:

00
DD
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00
HH
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MM
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SS
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
5
Time for argument
Two weeks
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
Six months
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Pro
1762
rating
66
debates
75.76%
won
Description

Definitions:
1. Skepticism (the disbelief of all claims until sufficient proof is given to believe a claim)

Round 1
Con
#1
Skepticism is the method to find certainty. Skepticism is the disbelief of all claims until sufficient proof is given to believe a claim. A methodology that can only find truth can find certainty. Essentially, this means that skepticism only believes true statements unless there is a misappropriation of the method. To disagree means the definition is wrong (which is true, but what I am talking about is Cartesian skepticism), or that a methodology that doesn’t find only truth cannot find certainty - somehow. And so, skepticism is the method to find certainty.
The claim “contradiction can exist” cannot be dis-proven. We cannot know everything in existence. Everything could possibly include a contradiction. Knowing means knowledge of a claim being necessarily true or false. Imagine a house (existence) with two people, one person claims there is no rock (contradiction) in a locked room (everything unknown). The two people do not know if a rock is in that room, since they do not have proof of a rock being necessarily there or not. The fact that we have only experienced non-contradiction does not necessarily mean that contradiction cannot exist. It is as if saying a rock must necessarily exist in that room since you have only seen rock in the entire house - it is not knowing since it isn’t necessarily true. Everything in the house can be rock but that locked room doesn’t necessarily have a rock in it. If not, then either we can know everything in the universe (which is humanly impossible,) contradiction is not a thing that could possibly exist (which excludes it from skepticism), or-and knowing is not knowledge of a claim being necessarily true or false (which doesn’t attack the actual idea). Explaining the exclusion from skepticism, the idea of skepticism comes from the assumed disbelief of a claim; the idea that a claim is assumed as something that may or may not be true - to not think that contradiction could possibly (may or may not) exist excludes it from the analysis from skepticism. And so, no one can say “contradictions don’t exist” from the deduction of skepticism.
Skepticism cannot be used for contradictions. The claim “contradiction can exist” cannot be disproven. Contradictions don't exist. Skepticism is the disbelief of all claims until proven (or disproven) otherwise. Going back to the house, it’s like saying you can apply skepticism to the rock even though you cannot disprove or prove that the rock exists. Let’s say the only reality we understand is when the rock does not exist, to make it more analogous. Essentially, the question is how can someone apply skepticism to a claim that is not falsifiable but can only be understood as true? The answer, no one can - that is an inherent quality of unfalsifiability and true; skepticism states things that are unfalsifiable must be a claim but the claim that the rock (as in contradiction) does not exist is only understood as being true. To clarify, the necessity of understanding a claim to be only true is not a necessary premise - that wording is just used to make the rock more analogous and so sensible. The axiom that contradictions don’t exist is not predicated on understanding (in paragraph three) but rather the presupposed idea that contradictions cannot exist. If there is disagreement, that means the idea “contradictions can exist” can be disproven - which is wrong as of part two, contradictions do exist (which is axiomatically false), or that skepticism is not the process of disbelieving of all claims until proven (or disproven) otherwise. The last one is just false, as we are dealing with Cartesian skepticism. Then after, skepticism is rendered null in the face of contradiction.
Two propositions that contradict cannot be conceived as true. Contradictions do not exist. Conception is to have the ability to imagine a thing. People can only conceive something after experiencing it. Let’s use this example, imagine a person who has never seen, felt - essentially never experienced, a rock. That person would not be able to imagine a physical rock, imagine how a rock feels, imagine how a rock tastes since what is understandable is predicated on experience. Now, parts of where the rock is dis-analogous is in actual support of the idea that two claims that contradict cannot be understood. A rock’s feeling can be simulated, in some abstract sense, making it possible that the experience of a rock is not needed to experience a rock - however, that is because a rock exists. Contradiction, on the other hand, does not, meaning it’s inherently not understandable. To clarify, knowledge is not part of conception since it is not dealing with a fundamental limit of our cognition; we can know what is contradiction, but not what form it takes if it existed. For example, a person can know everything about a rock but without experience (or simulated experience) they would be inherently and naturally limited to any imagination of a rock - essentially, a rock would be seen as an impossibility of existing to a person, much like a contradiction. There are things that the person might mistake for a rock based on external information, but that mistake would necessarily need to be inaccurate since that information must be reasoned from prior experience that is void of any rock. To disagree, then either contradictions do exist (which is axiomatically absurd), conception or understanding is not the ability to imagine things (which does not attack the substance of the idea alluded to), or that people can conceive something  without experiencing something. If the last is a disagreement, try to imagine a color that is outside the visible spectrum. Two propositions that contradict cannot be conceived as true.
If contradiction can exist, that means any claim may be contradictory. Two propositions that contradict cannot be understood as true. Hypothetically, a claim may or may not exist in a state of contradiction. To illustrate, let’s say there is a claim “a rock exists,” that claim can only be understood as either being existing and not-existing - but what if it’s in a state of contradiction? We can’t know that, since we can only conceive the rock to be either or, so only the anti-thesis or thesis of the claim must be seen as true. Essentially, to make a claim that a rock exists can only be understood in one manner - but the possibility of it existing in a contradictory manner means that it may exist in two manners, meaning that the claim “a rock exists” can never be falsified to our understanding since it may be exist in a contradictory manner - we just cannot tell that it does exist in a contradictory manner. Which then can be applied universally to all claims, other than “contradictions exist” since that hypothetical truth-hood is the reason for any claim possibly being contradictory. To disagree would mean two propositions contradicting each other can be understood as true (which is shown as absurd), and the hypothetical is just a hypothetical that is used to prove a point. As a result: contradiction’s existence means all claims may or may not exist in a contradictory state.
Contradiction non-existence is necessary for essential rational thought. If contradiction can exist, that means any claim may be contradictory. Rationality means that we can use reasoning to come to a conclusion in a vacuum. We cannot conceive contradiction. Essentially, everything said before: the idea that a contradiction may exist means nothing we say can be claimed as truth since that claim may be in a state of contradiction in which we cannot tell since contradiction cannot be conceived. No matter the deduction, the abduction, induction - any kind of reasoning used to make a claim does not matter since that claim may exist in a contradictory manner in which we cannot understand it to be so - and an existence where all reasoning is null is one that necessarily means rational thought is null. To disagree, that means we can conceive contradictions (which is shown as absurd), or that if contradictions did exist it would not affect all claims (which is shown as absurd), or that rational does not mean reasoning to come to a conclusion. Which does not really affect the actual idea that is trying to be conveyed. And so, non-contradiction is necessary for rational thought.
Absolute certainty is impossible. Skepticism cannot be used for contradictions. Contradiction non-existence is necessary for essential rational thought. Skepticism is necessary for certain knowledge. If contradiction cannot be disproven from its existence, then someone cannot claim a contradiction cannot exist in the eye of skepticism - however, we must say contradiction cannot exist since it is only understood to not exist, otherwise rational explanations of any claim cannot exist. Without rationality means there is no such thing as certainty. Skepticism is the way to reach a claim for certainty, and so, certainty is impossible. To clarify, the reasoning applied here is applicable to even paraconsistent logic. Just replace “contradictions” with “non-trivial contradictions”. This is a question of what is logically necessary, so just apply what is logically or fundamentally logically necessary to reasoning; it is uniformly applicable. Furthermore, this is a statement that nothing is certain - not our thought, not our existence: nothing. As, at least how Descartes discussed these issues, were proven on the basis of rational thought (which is shown as not a certainty). If not, then skepticism can be applicable to contradiction (which is shown as false), contradiction non-existence is not necessary for rational thought (which is shown as false), or that skepticism is not necessary for certain knowledge (which is shown as false). And so, certainty is impossible.

Pro
#2
PRO asks CON to write using a more structured style with simpler points. He finds the constant jumping between analogies, complex claims and explanations, all in an unstructured block of text very tedious to read. He would be gratefull if CON used more line breaks and clearly defined points. He would be gratefull, and believes it would increase the quality of the debate and make CON more readable to the voters.


Regardles, PRO thanks CON for his R1 argument. 



RESOLUTION: Is absolute certainty possible? Position: PRO.

Skepticism: the disbelief of all claims until proven (or disproven)
Certainty: firm conviction that something is the case.
Possible: able to exist

Argument for the Possibility of Absolute Certainty:
Absolute certainty refers to the state of being completely confident or sure about something. While it’s often argued that absolute certainty is impossible due to the inherent uncertainty and subjectivity in our perceptions and understanding, there are scenarios where absolute certainty can be argued to exist:
  1. Mathematical and Logical Truths: In the realm of mathematics and logic, absolute certainty is possible. For instance, the statement “2+2=4” is absolutely certain, as it is a fundamental truth based on the defined system of arithmetic. Similarly, in logic, tautologies (statements that are true by necessity or by virtue of their logical form) provide a level of absolute certainty.
  2. Analytic Statements: Analytic statements, or statements that are true by definition, also offer absolute certainty. For example, the statement “All bachelors are unmarried” is absolutely certain because being unmarried is part of the definition of being a bachelor.
  3. Existential Certainty: We can be absolutely certain of our own existence. René Descartes, the French philosopher, famously said, “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”). This statement reflects an absolute certainty derived from the act of thinking itself.
  4. Empirical Evidence: While empirical evidence is often subject to interpretation and further testing, there are cases where it can provide absolute certainty. For example, if a ball is dropped from a height, we can be absolutely certain that it will fall down every time so long as the laws of physics are not suspended.


Rebutalls:
And so, non-contradiction is necessary for rational thought.
  • Without non-contradiction, EVERY SINGLE PROPOSITION AND COUNTER PROPOSITION would be true at the same time, and skepticism would lose all meaning.
    • So it would be possible to have absolute certainty that Santa Claus is real, or that the moon is made of cheese, or any other propositon. 
      • So removing non-contradiction does not render absolute certainty an impossibility, to the contrary, it renders it an inevitability.

Two propositions that contradict cannot be understood as true.
There are only two valid ways to interpret this statement:
  1. That CON conceedes the law of non-contradiction, that two contradicting propositions cannot both be true.
  2. That CON claims that when two propositions contradict each other, neither of them is true. 
Let us analyse the second interpretation: That when two propositions contradict each other, neither of them is true:
  • The earth is round. But some claim it isn't. So because these claims contradict each other, neither one is true. So the earth is neither round nor "not round".
    • So under this framework any truth can easily be destroyed simply by stating falsehoods, and everything is both not true and not false at the same time. 
      • This framework obviously does not work, so it makes no sense to interpret his statement this way.
So the only sensible way to interpret CON's statement is that he conceedes the law of non-contradiction, that two contradicting propositions cannot both be true.

This concession alone is enough to destroy CON's case. Non-contradiction allows us to create an endless variety of tautologies. I am going to show an example:


THE UNIVERSE either EXISTS or DOESN'T EXIST.
This statement cannot be false, since it encompasess all contingencies:
  • If the universe exists, the statement is true. If the universe doesn't exist the statement is still true.
    • If the universe both exists and doesn't exist, the statement is still true since at least one of the clauses were true. This is because I used INCLUSIVE OR
      • Since the statement literally cannot be false, it MUST be true. Therefore we can have ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that it is true.

Let us assume that the law of non-contradiction was not conceeded by CON. We can just modify the statement to get the same result:

According to the law of non-contradiction, THE UNIVERSE either EXISTS or DOESN'T EXIST.
  • We can have absolute certainty that this statement is true, because it specifies a framework under which the conclusion is ALWAYS true.
 

Argument for existence:
P1: Something exists if an argument exists.
P2: This argument exists.
C: Something exists.

It is impossible to deny this argument, because denying it would acknowledge it's existence and the existence of the denial.


Argument from skepticism:
P1: If skepticism did not exist, we would accept every proposition we were faced with and feel absolute certainty. 
P2: We don't have absolute certainty about everything
C: Skepticism exists.


Premise 1 is obvious. If you don't disbelieve anything and require evidence then you will accept every propositon you hear and feel absolute certainty in them.
Premise 2 is necesary for CON's case. If we did have absolute certainty about everything, then absolute certainty would be possible. 
So the conclusion holds. If we don't feel absolutely certain about everything, then we can be absolutely certain of the fact that we are skeptical.


We cannot know everything in existence.
  • I agree with CON that this is something we can be absolutely certain of. 


Other rebutalls:
  1. Contradictions: The claim that contradictions can exist is not inherently unprovable. It’s a matter of semantics and depends on how we define “contradiction”. In classical logic, a contradiction (a statement and its negation both being true) is generally considered impossible.
  2. Conception and Experience: The assertion that people can only conceive something after experiencing it is not necessarily true. Humans have the ability to imagine and conceive of things they have never experienced. For instance, most people have never experienced outer space, but they can still conceive of it based on information they’ve learned.
  3. Rational Thought and Contradictions: The existence of contradictions doesn’t nullify rational thought. Even if a contradiction were to exist, it wouldn’t mean that all claims could potentially be contradictory. Each claim would still need to be evaluated on its own merits. 
  4. Certainty is Impossible: This is a sweeping claim that makes no sense. How can you be absolutely certain that absolute certainty is impossible?


Summary:
There are many cases and questions where we actually have absolute certainly about the answers. The laws of logic cannot be suspended like CON asserts they can be.
So the resolution holds true. There is no reason to think that Absolute Certainty is not possible. In fact it is very achievable to have absolute certainty about specific things.







Round 2
Con
#3
Noted on the structure. Each paragraph from R1 argument follows this structure: proposition, premises, analogy/explanation, clarification, abduction,  and proposition. Sometimes these points of the structure is missing either because it is not needed or because it cannot be done. This will follow a similar structure PRO seems to follow.

Rebuttals:
In the realm of mathematics and logic, absolute certainty is possible.
  • Logic is in question here, and when applied to skepticism does not survive a burden of proof - as previously tried to do.
We can be absolutely certain of our own existence. René Descartes, the French philosopher, famously said, “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”).
  • Rene Descartes, said as well, that this claim was based on the basis of logic. Which is in question currently.
While empirical evidence is often subject to interpretation and further testing, there are cases where it can provide absolute certainty.
  • Rene Descartes critique of this method of certain is valid: our senses can lie to us. And if there is a precedent in which these senses can lie to us, there is no reason for them to be in a constant state of being inaccurate. For example, someone who is unable to see but does not know everyone sees different will wholeheartedly say their senses are correct - even though it is inaccurate. However, the only difference now is that we cannot know if these senses are completely inaccurate - if a bus is actually a plane.
Analytic statements, or statements that are true by definition, also offer absolute certainty.
  • This is on the basis of logic as well. At least how PRO described this.
Rebuttals of rebuttals:
Without non-contradiction, EVERY SINGLE PROPOSITION AND COUNTER PROPOSITION would be true at the same time, and skepticism would lose all meaning... So removing non-contradiction does not render absolute certainty an impossibility, to the contrary, it renders it an inevitability.
  • What seems to be the argument:
    • Non-contradiction is the inability for two proposition to contradict.
    • If contradiction exists two propositions can contradict.
    • Therefore, every single proposition is in a state of contradiction.
  • And the continued argument seems to be:
    • Every single proposition is in a state of contradiction.
    • Certainty is to have "firm conviction that something is the case."
    • We have firm conviction that something is the case that every single proposition is in a state of contradiction. (?)
    • Therefore, certainty is inevitability.
  • Incorrect. Without non-contradiction, every single proposition and counter proposition would be possibly true at the same time.
    • It's like saying "good coffee exists" concludes to "all coffee is good."
    • For this to be valid the premise must be that if contradictions exists all propositions exist in a state of contradiction. Which is not the hypothetical position hold.
  • There is also another dimension of how this is incorrect.
    • What this seems to come from is the hypothetical scenario in the fifth paragraph. It is a hypothetical - not proposed truth. So the statement of "contradiction exists" is still up to question, and so, does not prove certainty even if PRO's reasoning was somehow valid.
Two propositions that contradict cannot be understood as true.
There are only two valid ways to interpret this statement:
  1. That CON conceedes the law of non-contradiction, that two contradicting propositions cannot both be true.
  2. That CON claims that when two propositions contradict each other, neither of them is true. 
  • What is meant by this is that two proposition that contradict cannot be conceived. In a easier test of what this means: it cannot be imagined. This statement is reasoned true comes from the previous paragraph.
    • CON is also not "conceding" anything; the reasoning laid out has been under the assumption that non-contradiction is true. It just cannot be known for certain.
THE UNIVERSE either EXISTS or DOESN'T EXIST.
This statement cannot be false, since it encompasess all contingencies:
  • If the universe exists, the statement is true. If the universe doesn't exist the statement is still true.
    • If the universe both exists and doesn't exist, the statement is still true since at least one of the clauses were true. This is because I used INCLUSIVE OR
      • Since the statement literally cannot be false, it MUST be true. Therefore we can have ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that it is true.
Really appreciate this line of reasoning, since it is true and something CON has not thought of. However, the problem with this line of reasoning is that it is based on reasoning. It assumes that contradictions don't exist, and as previously established, the possible existence of contradictions invalidates reasoning itself. This is also applicable to any other logical rule, like tautology.
According to the law of non-contradiction, THE UNIVERSE either EXISTS or DOESN'T EXIST.
  • We can have absolute certainty that this statement is true, because it specifies a framework under which the conclusion is ALWAYS true.
Argument for existence:
P1: Something exists if an argument exists.
P2: This argument exists.
C: Something exists.
This is also based on reasoning. What makes this true? Rationality. Is rationality for certain? That is in question, and CON's answer is no due to it not being able to be analyzed by skepticism. Either find a faulty reasoning or somehow prove that a logical rule like non-contradiction is absolutely certainly true.

Argument from skepticism:
P1: If skepticism did not exist, we would accept every proposition we were faced with and feel absolute certainty. 
P2: We don't have absolute certainty about everything
C: Skepticism exists.

Premise 1 is obvious. If you don't disbelieve anything and require evidence then you will accept every propositon you hear and feel absolute certainty in them.
Premise 2 is necesary for CON's case. If we did have absolute certainty about everything, then absolute certainty would be possible. 
So the conclusion holds. If we don't feel absolutely certain about everything, then we can be absolutely certain of the fact that we are skeptical.

We cannot know everything in existence.
  • I agree with CON that this is something we can be absolutely certain of. 
  • The first premise is not necessarily true. Feeling absolutely certainty is different from belief; belief can exist without certainty. For example, if someone told another they have a dog, the other can believe them without being absolutely certain. In that scenario, skepticism was not applied yet certainty didn't inherently apply. So even without doubt someone can believe things or everything without certainty. Lets continue assuming there will be a drop of the second clause for this to be true.
  • True, and is necessary.
  • There are now two reasons why this is not true:
    • One - this assumes logical rules, like non-contradiction, is true.
    • Two - the premises now (after dropping the last clause) does not follow the conclusion.
    • I do not claim this is a certainty. Rather, it is a reasonable presumption that was used to illustrate: "The claim 'contradiction can exist' cannot be dis-proven."
Contradictions: The claim that contradictions can exist is not inherently unprovable. It’s a matter of semantics and depends on how we define “contradiction”. In classical logic, a contradiction (a statement and its negation both being true) is generally considered impossible.
  • Ok, why is it not disprovable though? In even in the definition PRO gave, CON's original reasoning still applies. What is essentially being asked is what does the change in definition invalidate the original reasoning in paragraph two?
Conception and Experience: The assertion that people can only conceive something after experiencing it is not necessarily true. Humans have the ability to imagine and conceive of things they have never experienced. For instance, most people have never experienced outer space, but they can still conceive of it based on information they’ve learned.
  • This is a little vague with what aspect of space is being conceived, let's assume this means what space feels like. These conceptions of space are simulated rather than a true conception of space. For example, let's say there has been a notion that space is hot rather than freezing (and assume it is heavily supported by the scientific community). Would that conception not be wrong? Based on outside information, it can be conceived in so many ways. Conception just cannot happen void of experience.
    • CON would challenge PRO to explain, if conception does not come from experience, why people cannot conceive of colors outside of the visible spectrum. This seems much more fair since we do have an incredible amount of information about colors and is a more direct example for the relationship between conception and experience.
Rational Thought and Contradictions: The existence of contradictions doesn’t nullify rational thought. Even if a contradiction were to exist, it wouldn’t mean that all claims could potentially be contradictory. Each claim would still need to be evaluated on its own merits. 
  • Ok, then explain why either this is the case or why the sixth paragraph is incorrect. To summarize the point:
    • Two propositions that contradict cannot be understood as true.
    • Hypothetically, a claim may or may not exist in a state of contradiction
    • Therefore, if contradiction can exist, that means any claim may be contradictory.
      • There is more of an explanation in the original paragraph.
Certainty is Impossible: This is a sweeping claim that makes no sense. How can you be absolutely certain that absolute certainty is impossible?
  • CON is not absolutely certain that absolute certainty is impossible. CON believes that absolute certainty is impossible, but not for an absolute certainty. Again, people can believe things without being absolutely certain.

Pro
#4
Thank you, CON. 

I must apologize for something. Below "other rebuttals" in R1 was the copy pasted ChatGPT answer that I wanted to read and get some ideas from. I intended to replace that segment with my own text, but I never got around to do that, and later forgot to check it since the formating was good. I am going to drop those points. Sorry for the hassle.



The claim “contradiction can exist” cannot be dis-proven.
INCORRECT:
  • Definitions:
    • Disprove: prove that (something) is false.
    • Prove: demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument.
    • False: not according with truth or fact; incorrect.
    • Possible: able to exist
    • Possibility: In logic, possibility implies the absence of a contradiction. 
  • Disproving the claim:
    • The statement "Contradictions can exist" does not imply an abscence of a contradiction.
      • So there is no possibility that the statement is correct, making it FALSE.
        • Contradictions are not merely "impossible" by accident, they literally define that category.
    • To disprove a statement as false you attempt to demonstrate how the claim contains false information or is illogical.
      • The statement "Contradictions can exist" violates the law of non-contradiction.
        • Violating the fundamental principles of logic makes statements ILLOGICAL.
          • Illogical statements are disproved by default. 
    • If contradictions can exist, it means they possibly exist, which means they actually exist in a possible world.
      • Principle_of_explosion: from a contradiction, any proposition (including its negation) can be inferred; this is known as deductive explosion.
        • From the existence of even a single contradiction we can infer that the moon is made of cheese and that "contradiction can exist" is false.
          • When your statement can be proven false by it's own implications, that is proof that the statement is ABSURD and FALSE.
    • So contradictions are thoroughly disproven. It's just that we don't need empirical data to do it. But if you do look at the evidence you won't find a single contradiction.

1. We know that "Not all lemons are yellow", as it has been assumed to be true.

2. We know that "All lemons are yellow", as it has been assumed to be true.

3. Therefore, the two-part statement "All lemons are yellow or unicorns exist" must also be true, since the first part of the statement ("All lemons are yellow") has already been assumed, and the use of "or" means that if even one part of the statement is true, the statement as a whole must be true as well.

4. However, since we also know that "Not all lemons are yellow" (as this has been assumed), the first part is false, and hence the second part must be true to ensure the two-part statement to be true, i.e., unicorns exist (this inference is known as the Disjunctive syllogism).

5. The procedure may be repeated ad nauseum to prove an infinite number of contradicting claims.
CON will say that this doesn't work because his major premise makes it impossible to make any logical inferences. But all that gets him is that every claim classical logic deems true may be false, and that every claim classical logic deems false may be true. It does not provide him with a framework to prove that absolute certainty is impossible.


RESOLUTION: Is absolute certainty possible?

Possibility is defined as a proposition devoid of logical contradictions [britannica]. Any proposition must be considered possible untill someone can demonstrate the existence of a contradiction. A hypothetical proton which moves faster than a photon under the same spacetime conditions is in contradiction with the laws of physics, and is therefore not empirically possible. However, it is still possible, period. This is because of the infinite number of possible worlds where the laws of nature might be different. In order for something to be impossible period --- it would need to contain logical contradictions. For example, a married batchellor is impossible because someone who is married is by definition not a batchellor. 

There is nothing contradictory about absolute certainty, So it is possible.


REBUTTALS:

Without non-contradiction, every single proposition and counter proposition would be possibly true at the same time.
MAJOR CONCESSION: 
  • CON admits that any proposition, including "absolute certainty can exists", would possibly be true according to his argument
    • So even after applying his hyper-skepticism, he still must agree that absolute certainty is possible, which is the word the resolution uses.

the reasoning laid out has been under the assumption that non-contradiction is true. It just cannot be known for certain.
  • But there have been people that had absolute certainty of their own existence. 
    • Absolute: not qualified or diminished in any way; total.
    • Certainty: firm conviction that something is the case.
    • Skepticism: the disbelief of all claims until sufficient proof is given to believe a claim.
      • Cogito ergo sum is sufficient proof for your own existence.
    • Not everyone is perfectly rational. 
    • Not everyone has heard CON's argument.
    • So many people have lived their lives with ZERO REASON TO DOUBT the axioms of logic, so they had absolute certainty in their own existence. 
  • If CON denies that these people existed in history based on his hyper-skepticism, then we just modify the claim:
    • A person with absolute certainty of his own existence could possibly exist.
      • This does not contradict the laws of physics.
      • This does not contradict the laws of logic.
      • This does not contain linguistic contradictions. 
    • So using the consensus meaning of possibility found in philosophy, absolute certainty is definitely possible.

Really appreciate this line of reasoning, since it is true and something CON has not thought of. However, the problem with this line of reasoning is that it is based on reasoning. It assumes that contradictions don't exist, and as previously established, the possible existence of contradictions invalidates reasoning itself.
  • Firstly, thank you for the feedback. Secondly, I believe this critique applies to your arguments as well:
    • CON conceedes my point that reasoning cannot be applied to the premise "contradiction may exist" since all arguments rely on said premise being false.
    • CON also conceeded earlier that his reasoning "has been under the assumption that non-contradiction is true"
    • So CON is admitting that his case is predicated upon the logical crime of applying reasoning to an illogical premise that defies and undermines logic. 

I will correct his argument. It will be massively simplified, but I am not trying to straw man him. This correction can be scaled up to any level of complexity.

P1: Contradictions can exist.
  • Because we cannot prove that they are impossible.
P2: Absolute certainty is impossible if contradictions may exist.
  • Because contradictions maybe existing casts doubt on even airtight arguments.
C: Absolute certainty is impossible. 

We forgot to mention premise number 3 which slips in unnoticed.

Hidden premise: Contradictions cannot exist.
  • This is the law of non-contradiction. It is a hidden premise in all arguments.
  • Here is an example. 
    • P1: Trump is a human.
    • P2: Humans are mammals.
    • P3: Contradictions cannot exist.
    • C: Therefore, Trump is a mammal, since if he wasn't that would contradict the true premises
Arguments only work because the premises contradict the negation of the conclusion.

Sharp readers will notice that P1 in CON's argument already invalidates this hidden premise because he assumes its negation. So let's remove it and see whats we are left with.

P1: Contradictions can exist.
P2: Absolute certainty is impossible if contradictions can exist.

What follows?
  1. Absolute certainty is impossible
    1. This may be false. Since contradictions can exist, the conclusion of an argument doesn't need to follow from the premises.
  2. Absolute certainty is possible
    1. This may be true. While it does contradict the true premises, contradictions can exist. 
  3. Both / Neither
    1. It is also possible that both of the contradictory statements are true or both false. So we can infer 2 contradicting conclusions from the same premises.
The major flaw in CON's argument is that from the moment he asserts "contradictions can exist" he has forfeited his reasoning privilege.

CON can assume classical logic to make an argument. Or he can reject classical logic as "unprovable".  But only one at a time. He cannot argue using the absurd premise 1.



What is meant by this is that two proposition that contradict cannot be conceived.
  • Because a square circle for example is illogical. Those two words contradict. The statement describes something that cannot exist, that is why we cannot conceive it.
    • We can conceive very strange and abstract things so long as they are not contradictory. Art for example is full of non-actual things that are nonetheless possible.

So the statement of "contradiction exists" is still up to question,
  • Meaning it would be reasonable to deny it for these reasons:
    • Rejecting the posibility of contradictions is what defines the act of reason.
    • We have no evidence that contradictions exist, or even a decent explanation of the idea beyond being absurd, so skepticism should compell us to deny the claim.
    • Entertaining the idea of contradictions undermines all reasoning, including skepticism and any logical arguments against the possibility of absolute certainty.

The first premise is not necessarily true. Feeling absolutely certainty is different from belief; belief can exist without certainty.
  • The only difference between belief and certainty is the scrutiny of skepticism. CON says you can believe statements from others without being certain. That is because we are skeptical and reserve absolute certainty for claims with high enough degrees of evidence supporting them, and preferably with no valid objections.
    • If someone lacked any semblance of skepticism, they would not require evidence to accept and be absolute certain of all the propositions they heard. 


Without non-contradiction, every single proposition and counter proposition would be possibly true at the same time.
MAJOR CONCESSION: CON agrees with me that the proposition "absolute certainty can exists" is possibly true even after applying his hyper-skepticism.



This is also based on reasoning. What makes this true? Rationality. Is rationality for certain? CON's answer is no due to it not being able to be analyzed by skepticism.
CON's argument hinges on us not knowing whether the law of non-contradiction is valid or invalid. We can then imagine two possible worlds.

Logical world A:
  • In this possible world, the law of non-contradiction is true and can be proven. 
  • Therefore absolute certainty is possible here.
Logical world B: 
  • In this possible world, the law of non-contradiction is false or unprovable.
  • Therefore absolute certainty is impossible here (according to CON).
Given these possible worlds, absolute certainty is possible, period. 
  • If a proposition is true in even a single possible world, it is possible. 
  • This conclusion holds true even if Logical world B is the actual world.

I am going to make the simplest possible argument for my case, which would be true even if world B is the actual world and we ignore all the possible worlds:

P1: We cannot be absolutely certaint that contradictions don't exist.
P2: Absolute certainty can exist.

In order to deny the possibility of the second premise, CON must make a logical argument, which he cannot make without rejecting the first premise.


Round 3
Con
#5
Rebuttable:
  • Disproving the claim:
...
        • Contradictions are not merely "impossible" by accident, they literally define that category.
  • This is not a disproving that contradictions are impossible since it is a just a restatement that it just is; that this is by definition a impossibility therefore it is a impossibility.
    • First of all, the "definition" of contradiction is merely that a proposition and the negation of that proposition cannot be true at the same time.
      • And if I really wanted to be more precise, I could just make a term up that solely refers to this concept without the supposed definition of impossibility. Essentially, it being a inherent impossibility is an additional element - not a inherent element - of contradiction, and even if true, doesn't truly attack the actual substance that is trying to be communicated.
    • Also known as the fallacy of begging the question; an "attempt to support a claim with a premise that itself restates or presupposes the claim."
  • To disprove a statement as false you attempt to demonstrate how the claim contains false information or is illogical.
    • The statement "Contradictions can exist" violates the law of non-contradiction.
      • Violating the fundamental principles of logic makes statements ILLOGICAL.
        • Illogical statements are disproved by default
    • I agree to this, however, something being being illogical and untrue are not synonymous. This is true for two reasons:
        •  It's even implied in your "or" statement (since it can be true information but not logical - thus not truly disproven.)
          • Assuming you meant via empirical data, even if you use an "and" you would then gain the burden of proof to prove both statements.
            • CON is happy to assume you only meant "illogical".
        • Boiling down logic, it is merely something that can only be conceived as true and are things that are used to make a conclusion. Just because something is only understood to be true and are used to make conclusions does not mean that thing is actually true or untrue.
          • Essentially, the real world and the world we conceive that makes sense are different.
          • A disagreement here would necessarily mean PRO's opinion is either:
            • What is true in our head is somehow necessarily true to the external world, and the question is, if there is a technological advancement or difference in cognition overtime that changes what is logical would the external world change due to that?
            • Alternatively, this would mean that what is logical is already a inherent part of the world, which is in question in the first place; PRO would then need to establish that the world does confirm to logic (which CON posits as impossible).
  • If contradictions can exist, it means they possibly exist, which means they actually exist in a possible world.
    • Principle_of_explosion: from a contradiction, any proposition (including its negation) can be inferred; this is known as deductive explosion.
      • From the existence of even a single contradiction we can infer that the moon is made of cheese and that "contradiction can exist" is false.
        • When your statement can be proven false by it's own implications, that is proof that the statement is ABSURD and FALSE.
    • It would be more accurate to say: "From the existence of even a single contradiction we can infer that the 'moon is made of cheese and not of cheese' or that 'contradiction can exist and cannot exist'."
      • A single contradiction would mean either of these exist in a state of contradiction; not both.
      • In a state of contradiction no one can say if these are false or true; they're both. It is impossible to say that "contradiction can exist" is false when its in a state of contradiction. Since, in that case, it would be in a state of non-contradiction.
    • It seems like PRO is trying to argue that the principle of explosion, the idea that a proposition being true can be inferred through it negation being false or true and vice vera, shows that an existence of a single contradiction means that it... CON doesn't know actually (CON has read deductive explosion section in detail).
    Rebuttals of rebuttals of rebuttals:

    Without non-contradiction, every single proposition and counter proposition would be possibly true at the same time.
    MAJOR CONCESSION: 
    • CON admits that any proposition, including "absolute certainty can exists", would possibly be true according to his argument
      • So even after applying his hyper-skepticism, he still must agree that absolute certainty is possible, which is the word the resolution uses.
    • Nope, again, a contradiction is a proposition being true and false at the same time - or in other words - proposition and counter proposition being true at the same time.
      • It would be more accurate to say that "I must agree that it is possible that absolute certainty is at the same time possible and not possible."
        • Which, does not really mean anything to our cognition.
      • Compared to saying that "I must agree that it is possible that absolute certainty is possible."
    the reasoning laid out has been under the assumption that non-contradiction is true. It just cannot be known for certain.
    • But there have been people that had absolute certainty of their own existence. 
      • Absolute: not qualified or diminished in any way; total.
      • Certainty: firm conviction that something is the case.
      • Skepticism: the disbelief of all claims until sufficient proof is given to believe a claim.
        • Cogito ergo sum is sufficient proof for your own existence.
      • Not everyone is perfectly rational. 
      • Not everyone has heard CON's argument.
      • So many people have lived their lives with ZERO REASON TO DOUBT the axioms of logic, so they had absolute certainty in their own existence. 
    ...
      • So using the consensus meaning of possibility found in philosophy, absolute certainty is definitely possible.
    • CON disagrees on three fronts (but will say only two since there is not enough room):
      • This is not an adequate or appropriate response to the quote given.
        • The key word in the quote is known, and to know is to "maintain (a belief, a position) subject to a given philosophical definition of knowledge; to hold a justified true belief."
          • Just in case there is a disagreement because "knowledge" is in the given definition - it is a phrase not a word, as in, "definition of knowledge" is a whole phrase on a whole topic. Not a self-referential definition.
            • Furthermore, in this Wikipedia article of this whole topic: "There is overwhelming agreement that knowledge implies truth."
          • So, a true disagreement would need to add this premise - however, the addition to this premise would mean someone (under this framing) needs to have a justified true belief, which is what this debate is trying to find out. Making this a not an actual response to the quote.
      • Certainty, in philosophical terms, is just a higher form of knowledge; "...certainty is either the highest form of knowledge or is the only epistemic property superior to knowledge."
        • And currently, CON and PRO is discussing this in a philosophical sense - so the response has a more so inappropriate usage of the word.
        • Certainty also has this definition: "A fact or truth unquestionably established."

    Hidden premise: Contradictions cannot exist.
    ...
    Sharp readers will notice that P1 in CON's argument already invalidates this hidden premise because he assumes its negation.
    ...
    The major flaw in CON's argument is that from the moment he asserts "contradictions can exist" he has forfeited his reasoning privilege.
    CON can assume classical logic to make an argument. Or he can reject classical logic as "unprovable".  But only one at a time. He cannot argue using the absurd premise 1.
    • The problem is that "contradictions can exist" is not a negation of "contradictions don't exist." The full proposition is "The claim 'contradiction can exist' cannot be dis-proven," (as of the first sentence in paragraph two, and the rest of R1 argument.) A small detail but a important one. CON wishes to explain more, but CON is running out of room.
    The next quote just seems to solely agree with CON (so no response.)

    So the statement of "contradiction exists" is still up to question,
  • Rejecting the possibility of contradictions is what defines the act of reason.
  • We have no evidence that contradictions exist, or even a decent explanation of the idea beyond being absurd, so skepticism should compell us to deny the claim.
  • Entertaining the idea of contradictions undermines all reasoning, including skepticism and any logical arguments against the possibility of absolute certainty.
    • Correct.
    • Misspoke, meant "contradictions can exist." Skepticism is a disbelief of a claim until sufficient proof is given to believe a claim, and the claim "contradictions can exist" cannnot be disproven. Meaning denying or rejecting this claim is antithetical to skepticism.
    • Correct.
    The first premise is not necessarily true. Feeling absolutely certainty is different from belief; belief can exist without certainty.
    • The only difference between belief and certainty is the scrutiny of skepticism. CON says you can believe statements from others without being certain. That is because we are skeptical and reserve absolute certainty for claims with high enough degrees of evidence supporting them, and preferably with no valid objections.
    • Skepticism is being skeptical are different things. Skepticism, as defined, is the disbelief of a claim until sufficient proof. The inverse would be to belief of a claim regardless of proof.
      • The inverse does not take account of certainty.
    • Certainty is just a form of knowledge (as mentioned). So it would be like conflating belief with knowledge.
    The next quote was already responded to (it was repeated twice.)
    Given these possible worlds, absolute certainty is possible, period. 
    • The problem is that we don't know which world we are in.

    I cannot give anymore quotes to respond to since it will take up too much room, though, CON thinks the rest of the PRO's R2 argument has been responded to before in previously within this text.
    Pro
    #6
    Forfeited
    Round 4
    Con
    #7
    CON thanks PRO for the responses that were given. There is some mistakes CON has made in R3 argument, so first we'll go over that then the rest of rebuttals.

    Mistakes:
    the "definition" of contradiction is merely that a proposition and the negation of that proposition cannot be true at the same time.
    Meant that a contradiction is merely a proposition and the negation of that proposition being true or false at the same time. The reason the mistake was made was maybe due to the conflation of what I was saying with what PRO was saying. Which is clear when CON said:
    Nope, again, a contradiction is a proposition being true and false at the same time - or in other words - proposition and counter proposition being true at the same time.

    Misspoke, meant "contradictions can exist."
    Actually, how this was originally said was still valid. Which will be explained later on.
    Given these possible worlds, absolute certainty is possible, period. 
    • The problem is that we don't know which world we are in.
    This was a misinterpretation of what PRO was saying. The mistake seems to stem from the lowering of expectation of what PRO was saying. Like, the understanding that contradiction's existence means that absolute certainty is possible even though it would actually mean absolute certainty is both possible and not possible at the same time. Later on, CON will try to actually confront this rebuttal.
    Rebuttals of rebuttals of rebuttals (continued and re-done):
    Hidden premise: Contradictions cannot exist.
    ...
    Sharp readers will notice that P1 in CON's argument already invalidates this hidden premise because he assumes its negation.
    ...
    The major flaw in CON's argument is that from the moment he asserts "contradictions can exist" he has forfeited his reasoning privilege.
    CON can assume classical logic to make an argument. Or he can reject classical logic as "unprovable".  But only one at a time. He cannot argue using the absurd premise 1.
    • The actual full proposition is "The claim 'contradiction can exist' cannot be dis-proven," not "contradictions can exist." Although these are somewhat interchangeable, since what is not disproven or proven the negation is then concluded as possible, these does not directly claim that contradiction can exist.
      • So logic is still able to be used within the stated reasoning in R1.
    So the statement of "contradiction exists" is still up to question,
  • Rejecting the possibility of contradictions is what defines the act of reason.
  • We have no evidence that contradictions exist, or even a decent explanation of the idea beyond being absurd, so skepticism should compell us to deny the claim.
  • Entertaining the idea of contradictions undermines all reasoning, including skepticism and any logical arguments against the possibility of absolute certainty.
    • Correct. Though, to labor on this, the full proposition given was a indirect support of the possibility of contradiction.
    • Skepticism is a disbelief of a claim until sufficient proof is given to believe a claim, and the claim "contradictions can exist" cannnot be disproven. Meaning denying or rejecting this claim is antithetical to skepticism.
      • Saying something cannot exist (denying or rejecting) is not skepticism of not concretely proven false.
        • For example, let say there there is no prove for the claim "God exists". Skepticism then, if followed, someone cannot believe God exists. However, to say then God does not exist (i.e deny, reject) is also fallacious since there is no prove for that claim. The belief and the claim are different things.
        • Now, and this is the "why" of skepticism. The reason why Descartes doubted all of his beliefs, fundamental ones anyway, is because these beliefs have the possibility of being wrong. So, the default disbelief of all claims is in response to that possibility.
          • Now notice that the statement "contradiction can exists" (or in other words, "contradictions exist is up to question") is essentially a disbelief of the claim "contradictions do exist" and "contradictions don't exist". Since that is what skepticism is.
    • This seems to repeat of the first bullet point.
    This is also based on reasoning. What makes this true? Rationality. Is rationality for certain? CON's answer is no due to it not being able to be analyzed by skepticism.
    CON's argument hinges on us not knowing whether the law of non-contradiction is valid or invalid. We can then imagine two possible worlds.

    Logical world A:
    • In this possible world, the law of non-contradiction is true and can be proven. 
    • Therefore absolute certainty is possible here.
    Logical world B: 
    • In this possible world, the law of non-contradiction is false or unprovable.
    • Therefore absolute certainty is impossible here (according to CON).
    • This does not seem to actually be a response to the quote given. However, the question is what was the process in which these possible worlds were given? Because there are multiple logical world that may be possible.
      • Logical world C:
        • The law of non-contradiction is true but unprovable. (which is what CON's world is actually)
    • Also, there is a "therefore" at the end of the world. Which, is not substantially given reason to believe.
    Given these possible worlds, absolute certainty is possible, period. 
    • If a proposition is true in even a single possible world, it is possible. 
    • This conclusion holds true even if Logical world B is the actual world.
    • Finally, a proposition may be true but the problem is if that proposition can be known for a certainty to be true. For example, the proposition "Descartes sees a pencil" may be true. The problem is that it cannot be known for a certainty that pencil is seen, for the same reason why Descartes discards senses.
    • Something being true and knowing for a certainty that thing is true are different thing, and the latter is what is up to debate in the first place.
    I am going to make the simplest possible argument for my case, which would be true even if world B is the actual world and we ignore all the possible worlds:

    P1: We cannot be absolutely certaint that contradictions don't exist.
    P2: Absolute certainty can exist.

    In order to deny the possibility of the second premise, CON must make a logical argument, which he cannot make without rejecting the first premise.
    The full proposition is, once again, "The claim 'contradiction can exist' cannot be dis-proven."
    Conclusion:
    Absolute certainty is not possible. PRO seems to, at least in R2, not fully understand or wrote in a non-thoughtful manner about contradictions. Trying to somehow portray contradiction existence to somehow conclude that absolute certainty is possible. Which is pretty damning.
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    Round 5
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