Points: 0

Self Evidence is The Proper Foundation for One's Epistemology

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RationalMadman
Debate details
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Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
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Points: 7
Description
Round 1: Opening Statements, No Rebuttals.
Round 2: Rebuttals of Round 1 Statements
Round 3: Rebuttals of Round 2 Statements.
Round 4: Interrogation. Questions Only about any part of the topic.
Round 5: Answering Round 4 Questions and then closing statements.
Con must accept this format in order to debate this topic.
Round 1
Published:
Lets do this. 


1. Agrippa's Trilemma 

One of the best known problems in all of philosophy.  There's a lot of theory behind it, so I'll post a link at the bottom for those who want more details.  Here's the summary. 

Every belief requires a justification to make it sound.  Each justification for that belief is also a belief which needs another belief under that one and so an and so forth. 

This is known as the infinite regress.  The Trilemma shows that there are only three ways to justify beliefs in the grand scheme of things. 

A) Infinite Regress. 

B) Circular Reasoning. 

C) Axioms. 


Each of these methods have fields of study behind them with their own benefits and critiques.  The infinite regress is the one with the most problems because it appears to have no foundation.  In fact, the point of the Trilemma is to show how to stop the infinite regress, but some philosophers on the fringes believe that the infinite regress is okay and instead approach things pragmatically.  

In fact, most people who don't study philosophy intuitively opt for option C.   Option B also has it's supporters as well.  In fact, both of these methods can be successful when applied properly. 

Option B has the problem with it's ultimate justification.  Because the First point is justified by the last point, there is no foundation.  However, if even one point on the circle has a foundation, then the circle is justified.   But what is the foundation of the circle. 

This leads us back to Option C.  Foundationalism.  There are many version of this philosophy and the task at hand is to find justification for the axioms. 


One way is to presuppose them.  Even within this method, are varying approaches.  One way is to have properly basic beliefs, that is to say that one takes the least amount of axioms that is necessary to support their worldview.  

But doesn't this just seem like picking and choosing?  In most cases, it is.  In fact, if one does not have a method by which to choose their axioms, they are essentially creating a subjective world view which has a chance to be horribly wrong and no true justification. 

So it is clear, that we need a standard beyond properly basic beliefs because the definition of "properly basic" depends on the views that one wants justified.  Instead we need to start with the axioms themselves and let them judge what will ultimately qualify as properly basic.  We need a from the ground up approach. 

which brings us to. 



2. Self evidence. 

This is the proper standard for our beliefs.  We already know that after looking at Premise 1 that Option A is not justifiable and Option B is contingent Upon Option C.  Since we know an axiom is required, we know that we cannot place another belief under it.  This means that instead of a belief, we need something that is apart from our opinions, an objective standard.  

I believe that self evidence is this standard.  But what makes something self evident?  

There are 2 requirements. 

A) The act of proving it is redundant. 

B) The contrary is impossible. 


If only A is true, then it is a tautology and is true assuming the premises are sound, but does not apply to reality and therefore is only a hypothetical truth. 

If only B is true, then the proposition is not a tautology but rather a contingency and is only true if it's contingency is true.  Such a thing cannot serve as an axiom because the contingency would become the new axiom and would need it's own justification. 

If A and B are true.  The we have something that is self evident.  This is because it applies to reality because of B but proves itself redundantly because of A.  This means that no belief is required to prove it.  This means that one could deny something that was self evident and the very act of denying it would be a contradiction. (for example.  To say an apple is not and apple would be a contradiction because something being and apple is self evident because it presents in reality and the word apple is a tautology.)

If A and B are false.  Then the proposition is a hypothetical contingency and could be true if the contingency is true but does not apply to the real world. 


To clarify, when I say hypothetical.  I don't mean It can't be proven or it can never happen.  I mean that it could be true if it manifested in reality that way, but at the moment it is not. 



3.  There is no alternative. 

I am not saying there is no alternative yet.  I'm saying that when we get down to it.  Axioms are necessary and so is justification.  Because justification cannot be subjective, it has to be internal or external.  External justification cannot be axiomatic, therefore it has to be internal and self evidence is the only form of internal justification. 



Conclusion:  Self evidence is the proper foundation for one's epistemology. 

I will leave you with a quote from Wikipedia about using self evidence for both analytic and non analytic propositions.  That link will be at the bottom as well. 

It is sometimes said that a self-evident proposition is one whose denial is self-contradictory. It is also sometimes said that an analytic proposition is one whose denial is self-contradictory. But the concepts mean different things.[further explanation needed]
Provided that one understands and believes a self-evident proposition, self-evident propositions are not in need of proof. Likewise, that their denial is self-contradictory does not have to be proven. It is in this sense that the self-contradictions at work in self-evident and analytic propositions are different.
Not all analytic propositions are self-evident, and it is sometimes claimed that not all self-evident propositions are analytic: e.g. my knowledge that I am conscious.




Thank you and now on to my opponent's opening statement.  Good luck. 





Published:
Epistemology, the philosophical study of the nature, origin, and limits of human knowledge. The term is derived from the Greek epistēmē (“knowledge”) and logos (“reason”), and accordingly the field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge. Epistemology has a long history within Western philosophy, beginning with the ancient Greeks and continuing to the present. Along with metaphysics, logic, and ethics, it is one of the four main branches of philosophy, and nearly every great philosopher has contributed to it.

Self-evidence doesn't exist. On semantics alone I could win since Pro clearly means something else. Pro can't even me self-evident truths since this is about something that actually proves itself true to the person.

Self-evident truths are firstly axiomatic in their fruition and secondly tautologous in their justification. Pro may be trying to prove that logic itself necessitates these two things (axioms and tautologies) but how can Pro possibly justify that with regards to epistemology (which is not just logic at all, since it's applied to real knowledge and reasoning in the actual realm of nature, physics, knowledge etc)?

You cannot justify the 'self-evidence' without it being justified entirely by things that are non-self-evident in nature. This alone means there's permanently one layer deeper than the axioms and tautologies when it comes to determining what is and isn't necessary axiomatically, in order to understand the reality as is.
Round 2
Published:
Alright, let's move on to rebuttals. 

You said;
Self-evidence doesn't exist. On semantics alone I could win since Pro clearly means something else. Pro can't even me self-evident truths since this is about something that actually proves itself true to the person.
I clearly defined the epistemological requirements for self evidence as did I also leave a source showing that self evidence is a subject of epistemology.  I believe it's wrong to say that my concept doesn't exist when I'm basing it off of a precedented concept.  I also gave examples of self evident truths.  You falsely claim that they rely on external justification, that is false.  They are a priori and only require thought.  We extend them to the external afterwards by matching them with reality.  The definition of gravity for example is a tautology and it matches what we observe in the external.  So it's not the external justifying the internal, but rather the opposite. 



You said:

Self-evident truths are firstly axiomatic in their fruition and secondly tautologous in their justification. Pro may be trying to prove that logic itself necessitates these two things (axioms and tautologies) but how can Pro possibly justify that with regards to epistemology (which is not just logic at all, since it's applied to real knowledge and reasoning in the actual realm of nature, physics, knowledge etc)?
You're wrong because to put another belief under it would make it no longer an axiom.  That's why the axiom must be reflexive (i.e. justifying itself internally).  



You said:
You cannot justify the 'self-evidence' without it being justified entirely by things that are non-self-evident in nature. This alone means there's permanently one layer deeper than the axioms and tautologies when it comes to determining what is and isn't necessary axiomatically, in order to understand the reality as is.
Logic is a part of epistemology.  It's the a priori half of it.  The other half is the part that needs justified and we have to use our a priori knowledge to do that.  





My opponent will now rebuttal my R1 statements. 




Forfeited
Round 3
Published:
Since I have no R2 statement from my opponent to rebuttal.  I will be forced to pass.  


I will await my opponent's R3 rebuttal of my R2


Your floor. 
Published:
Evidence of itself? Self-evident evidence?

It's all incoherent to me, I reiterate: You cannot prove something is true without resorting to fundamentals of logic other than the thing itself. It's impossible. This resolution is impossible.
Round 4
Forfeited
Published:
End of story.
Round 5
Published:
I concede
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
last round concession
Contender
#2
Added:
Pro can't even MEAN self-evident truths since
Mean, not me*
Contender
#1
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Concession