1. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Mar '09 06:012 edits
    From time to time on here, someone will claim that God transcends, and is not bound by, logic. I never know quite what that is supposed to mean (and I’m not sure they do either), but I thought of two possible cases:


    The first case would be one in which God simultaneously knows something—call that something Y—and is also totally ignorant of Y.


    The second case would be where a sentence like—

    “The ambidextrous salad wallows tentatively two-by-four.”

    —could actually make sense to God.

    [Note that this sentence consists of words that are well-defined within the lexica of the English language, and is also thoroughly grammatical in form. If a person were convinced that it must (somehow) make sense, they might begin to form some weird (cartoonish perhaps) images in their head to support their conviction.]


    I was wondering if some of you who are better at logic and reasonable thinking than I am might have some additional examples of what it could mean to say that God is not bound by logic…
  2. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 Mar '09 06:34
    Originally posted by vistesd

    I was wondering if some of you who are better at logic and reasonable thinking than I am might have some additional examples of what it could mean to say that God is not bound by logic…
    A mindless God; viz., "the ancient legends of Ultimate Chaos, at whose center sprawls the blind idiot god Azathoth, Lord of All Things, encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a demonic flute held in nameless paws." (Lovecraft)
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Mar '09 06:41
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    A mindless God; viz., "the ancient legends of Ultimate Chaos, at whose center sprawls the blind idiot god Azathoth, Lord of All Things, encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a demonic flute held in nameless paws." (Lovecraft)
    O how easily I am one-upped! 🙂
  4. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 Mar '09 06:54
    Originally posted by vistesd
    O how easily I am one-upped! 🙂
    Do not be seduced by that thin, monotonous piping ...
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    09 Mar '09 07:121 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    From time to time on here, someone will claim that God transcends, and is not bound by, logic. I never know quite what that is supposed to mean (and I’m not sure they do either), but I thought of two possible cases:


    The [b]first case
    would be one in which God simultaneously knows something—call that something Y—and is also totally ign ...[text shortened]... might have some additional examples of what it could mean to say that God is not bound by logic…[/b]
    Perhaps they mean something like what Descartes meant when he held that the "eternal truths" (which encompass such things as logical and analytical truths) are not independent of God and indeed were freely created by God. (Of course, I still find Descartes' view to be at least puzzling, if not just meaningless blather.)

    For instance, you could take a look at this page, particularly where it covers the "eternal truths":

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-modal/

    A couple things of interest here (by way of trying to figure out what Descartes meant): He seems to want to hold both (1) that the eternal truths were freely created by God and (2) that the eternal truths are nevertheless still necessary. Also, it seems he also means that, at the least, we should not say that it would be impossible for God to bring it about that 1+1 does not equal 2; or that God could not bring about a square circle; or etc.

    I bring this up as just one example of, conceivably, what one could mean when they say that God is "not bound by" logic.
  6. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 Mar '09 07:16
    Originally posted by LemonJello

    I bring this up as just one example of, conceivably, what one could mean when they say that God is "not bound by" logic.
    To what extent are human beings bound by logic? I have met a number of people to whom logic is a stranger; are they mindless?
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    09 Mar '09 07:332 edits
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To what extent are human beings bound by logic? I have met a number of people to whom logic is a stranger; are they mindless?
    I prefer not to speak at all as though logic is in the business of "binding" things such as persons.

    I would only use the idea that God is "bound by" logic very loosely and only in the sense that even he, if he exists, cannot bring about logically impossible states of affairs. Relatedly, I take it to be the case that 'omnipotence' does not include the ability to contravene logic in this sense. If someone said that "God is not bound by logic", then I suppose I would take them to be denying this. This would be my first pass at understanding what they mean: I guess I would take them as saying that God could bring about logically impossible things. I would take them as saying that even putatively necessary truths are still in some sense merely contingent on God's will.
  8. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 Mar '09 07:45
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    This would be my first pass at understanding what they mean: I guess I would take them as saying that God could bring about logically impossible things. I would take them as saying that even putatively necessary truths are still in some sense merely contingent on God's will.
    Occasionalism.

    You might be interested in reading Graham Harman and other 'speculative realists'.
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    09 Mar '09 07:574 edits
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Occasionalism.

    You might be interested in reading Graham Harman and other 'speculative realists'.
    I'm familiar (to first order) with occasionalism as a thesis that regards causality.

    But an objector could hold that the "eternal truths" are completely independent of God and still not infringe on the thesis of occasionalism (because the objector could also hold that necessary truths have no, and require no, causal explanation).

    My only point here is that, as far as I know, occasionalism does not entail that things like the "eternal truths" depend on God. (But my familiarity with occasionalism is limited, so....)
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    09 Mar '09 09:37
    Originally posted by vistesd
    From time to time on here, someone will claim that God transcends, and is not bound by, logic. I never know quite what that is supposed to mean (and I’m not sure they do either), but I thought of two possible cases:


    The [b]first case
    would be one in which God simultaneously knows something—call that something Y—and is also totally ign ...[text shortened]... might have some additional examples of what it could mean to say that God is not bound by logic…[/b]
    In the thread Can God do Math? Thread 109486
    dystoniac states that God invented math.

    If God invented math (and presumably logic with it as math follows from logic) then God was without logic before he invented it. One wonders how he invented inventing.
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    09 Mar '09 10:53
    Originally posted by vistesd
    A God not bound by logic?
    A god not bound by logic is illogical.
  13. Standard memberScriabin
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    09 Mar '09 14:212 edits
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To what extent are human beings bound by logic? I have met a number of people to whom logic is a stranger; are they mindless?
    Are we confusing logic with truth? Logic pertains to validity -- that which follows logically from a premise. A valid argument can logically follow from a false premise. But the answer, however logical, cannot be true.

    So, logic, alone may be quite beside the point.

    Indeed, why all this emphasis on logic when the premises on which many of the "debates" here and elsewhere on the internet are on matters not subject to our empirical knowledge or any form of mathematical proof we can test?

    Encyclopedia Britannica:

    "Gödel's proof states that within any rigidly logical mathematical system there are propositions (or questions) that cannot be proved or disproved on the basis of the axioms within that system and that, therefore, it is uncertain that the basic axioms of arithmetic will not give rise to contradictions. This proof has become a hallmark of 20th century mathematics and its repercussions continue to be felt and debated."

    Kurt Gödel "proved" that if you are totally contained within a subset system, then the math, logic, and our commonly accepted sense of what is true developed within that system have no relation whatsoever to any universal truth. I wonder what happens if we apply that prinicipal to Gödel's own proof ....
  14. Standard memberScriabin
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    09 Mar '09 14:231 edit
    I think the original question depends entirely on the meaning of the word "God."

    Care to define it?

    See Chapter 8 in Stephen Barker's The Elements of Logic (1980) and Susan Haack's Philosophy of Logics (1980).

    "the laws of logic are generalized, empirical truths about how things in the world behave, like the laws of science, but more abstract. Few believe this. That "ravens are black" is not an inevitable truth in the way "all bachelors are unmarried" necessarily must be. We accept that ravens are indeed black, but could conceive of some being not so. But a married bachelor is a contradiction in terms, something we can't seriously entertain."

    I use this to show that a "contradiction in terms" depends entirely on what we English speaking peoples accept as the meaning of the word "bachelor."
  15. Standard memberScriabin
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    09 Mar '09 14:30
    Citing the same sources, as above:

    "the laws of logic are not given to us by experience, but are true in ways more fundamental than our sense impressions: they are true because that is how the world is. The mind's power of reason gives us insight into the inherent nature of things: truth is a property of the world rather than our reasoning processes. But what is this property? We don't derive our laws of logic through insight, and there are sufficient conundrums in the physical world (e.g. quantum mechanics where an electron is sometimes a particle and sometimes wave occupying a position with some percentage of probability) for us to doubt if logic can be safely grounded in the outside world."

    Once again, logic is a form of mathematics -- if you've ever been taught philosophy by a logician, you've had exam after exam comprised of symbolic logic -- proof after proof.

    At the end of all that, your brain has been trained and you may have to become some kind of scientific or practical engineer, because you accept the idea advanced in the theory above.

    On the other hand, if even after all those proofs, your prof admits in a private conversation that logic does not refer to the world nor vice versa, but only refers to itself -- a closed system -- then a light bulb comes on and you go on to be a lawyer.

    This is why when a client asks "how much is 2 plus 2, an engineer or an accountant answers "4" and a lawyer says "how much do you want it to be?"
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