This is an exchange on CARM with Chad, one of the most intelligent sketpical posters, about my views:
Metacrock Thu Oct-13-05 04:23 PM
Member since Jan 13th 2003
7937 posts, 78 votes, 134 points
#102940, "RE: Grounding itself and contingency from necessity (Metacrock!)"
In response to Reply # 0
Chad:>For Meta and anyone else, here are two questions that have
>been wandering through my somewhat empty mind of late.
>First, we've often discussed the concept of "being itself,"
>often called the ground of being. Meta has argued that "being
>itself" is a logical necessity because (I'm paraphrasing here)
>being has to be and nothingness as a putative state of affairs
>Many of us have been unconvinced by this argument. Hans has
>suggested it is reification caused perhaps by the structure of
>the English language, while others have simply doubted that
>existence needs to be grounded.
Meta:Hans can't deny cause and effect. If effects are necessitated by their caues, then obviously there are reasons why somethings need grounding. No one has ever been abel to show me one single thing that doesn't require grounding of some kind (note: grounding is not necessary synonimous only cause, but obviously the two are going to go hand in hand). Any time something is caused by or predicated upon something else, that's grounding. No one has ever showen me anything in this universe that is not predicated upon something else, something came before, some condition that made it possible; even QM particals require or at least stem from conditions that make them possible (time, phsyical law, vacuum flux). So nothing cuold more logical than to assume that beings are grounded in being.
We know that being is different than nothingness. As long as that is the case there has to be some form of predication for why one thing is as oppossed to not being at all.
Chad:>That led me to wonder why the "being itself" argument wouldn't
>apply to "grounding itself". After all, if being has to be
>then grounding has to ground -- and "being itself" can't
>ground all other being unless "grounding itself" or the ground
>of grounding is also logically necessary.
Meta:Being is grounding. Being is the grunding for things that be. So you are just speaking redundantly.
Chad:>Is this thinking wrong? And if so, why?
Meta:synoniomous terms. Being supplies a grounding for the beings. Well that's not quite true because it makes it sound like there some seperate substance and its' really more a fact than a substance. But the fact of being as oppossed to nothingness is what's being discussed with "being itself" and the being of individual beigns is predicated upon the fact of their being rather than their not being.
Chad:>Second, Metacrock and others have made much of the distinction
>between things that are necessary and things that are
>contingent. Again at the risk of oversimplifying, the
>assertion has been made that the nature of contingency shows
>that there must be something necessary that exists --
>something that could not fail to be, could not be different
>than it is, etc.
>One problem I have with this logic is that I don't see how
>contingency ever arises from necessity. Remember, something
>that is logically necessary isn't just eternal and immortal --
>it's something that could not fail to exist and could not be
>other than it is. Otherwise it isn't necessary -- it's just
>what happens to be.
Meta:I think there is a bit a problem in your reasoning here. Contingnecy and Necessity arise out of the fact of possiblity. If something exists, it can either because its predicated uon somehting else or not. That's just evident. It's got to be one or the other (although the latter could be a null set). But then contingency stems form predication upon prior conditions or causes. If something requires perdication upon prior conditions or causes, it could have failed to exist, if it's predication failed to exist or was substantially different; just like you or I could ahve faled to exist if our mothers had married different men. Thus, we are contingetn upon the circustances of our mothers' marrying our fathers when they did. That and a whole bunch of other things I wont go into.
that's they Hans and I alway have this big brewahah over the two types of contingency. He somehow can't see how they are connected, but clearly they are, since the only real reason something could fail or cease to exist is if the preidating circumstances of that eixstent were different.
If something couldn't fail or cease to exits it would have to be eternal--without time, without beigning or end--since to begin would mean it might have failed, and it might end, it's not without time because its begiing is a point that marks time. First there was not it, then there are measurable intervls from the becoming of "it" form "not it." thus marking of time.
Chad:>So let's start with our necessary X, with its necessary
>attributes -- none of which could possibly be any different
>than they are. How then does this X cause all the
>contingencies? What causes it to cause Y and not Z?
>It seems to me that if all that exists at any instance is
>necessary then all that can ever exist is also
>necessary because everything that follows does so because of
>causes that could not be different.
Meta:If that were true, there would be no contingency. If there were no contingency that would mean nothing could cease, fail, or be perdicated upon prior things. Clealry this is not the case. We can't dismiss contingency so ealisly.
Now you might say X exists eternally but y just started up one day indpendently of X. But that would mean that for it just went "poof" for no reason. Since we never see that happen, not even one time, and since materilism is preducated upon the idea of natrualistic cause and effect, it's just not a tennable answer. If there is an eternal X it stands to reason that all the contingencies that manifest themseles in being are somehow predicated upon X.