1. Hmmm . . .
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    13 Jul '07 04:33
    (1) God is an entity whose existence is not bounded by (time-space) dimensionality. [definition]

    (2) A god so defined is conceptually coherent.

    (3) An existing entity can only be identified by its dimensional boundaries (vis-à-vis other entities, or as a bounded figure vis-à-vis a dimensional ground).

    (4) Such a god has no definable identity. [by (1) and (3)]

    (5) Postulating an entity with no definable identity is incoherent.

    (6) Therefore, a god so defined is conceptually incoherent.

    ______________________________

    Note that this reductio would only apply to a god defined as an individual entity that is not bounded by dimensionality. (A Zeus, who lives on Mt. Olympus, for example, would be a coherent concept—as would a strictly pantheistic definition of god.)

    Positing some kind of “supernatural dimension” raises the questions of (a) whether such a dimension itself can be coherently defined, and (b) what existence and identity could mean in such a dimension. Further, if “supernatural dimension” simply means, in effect, “not bounded by time-space dimensionality”, then it is question-begging.

    Other characteristics of such a god—in addition to that given in the definition—are irrelevant unless they relieve the incoherence.

    If time-space dimensionality is, in some Kantian sense, something that the “grammar” of our consciousness imposes on reality (rather than an aspect of the cosmos itself), the reductio still holds—since a conceptualization that violates the logic of that grammar is incoherent to that grammar. Either way, our conceptual grammar is bounded by dimensionality in such a way that (even purely conceptual) identification of an entity that is unbounded by that dimensionality (even as a coherent idea) is impossible.

    Note that I have not stated that such a god must be bounded “within” the dimensions of the natural universe, but could perhaps be bounded by the dimensional universe. However, such a god would have had no identity prior to the existence of the dimensional universe (such a god would not even be able to identify himself). For example, if the universe itself is unbounded (i.e., the “totality that has no edge” ), then the universe cannot be treated as an entity-itself (which I have argued vis-à-vis the cosmological argument).

    The point here is not to project some physicality on god. The point is that we need to at least imagine dimensional boundedness to even to arrive at a conceptual identification of something posited as an individual entity, even an invisible one. Even a thought is identified by its boundedness vis-à-vis other thoughts and mental content, as well as temporally... (“Did you think that at any time?” “No, but I thought it...” )

    The notion of an unbounded entity is incoherent. The proper answer to the question “Does such a God-entity exist?” is not—as Dottewell pointed out—“No.” The proper answer is that it is an incoherent question.

    _________________________________

    I welcome critiques, especially of the logic.
  2. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    13 Jul '07 05:293 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    (1) God is an entity whose existence is not bounded by (time-space) dimensionality. [definition]
    What does it mean to be bounded by time-space dimensionality?

    For example, theists often claim that "God is outside of time," but I have never once encountered one who could actually articulate the propositional content (or prepositional, for that matter) of that claim to me. Its close kin are the unlikely siblings "God is everywhere," and also, if you can believe it, "God is outside of the Universe."

    Are these claims related to the condition of your definition, and if so, could you enlighten me on their propositional content; that is, what precisely are they claiming to be the case?
  3. Cape Town
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    13 Jul '07 08:35
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I welcome critiques, especially of the logic.
    What if there are other dimensions other than space-time that do bound this entity?
  4. London
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    13 Jul '07 09:27
    Originally posted by vistesd
    (1) God is an entity whose existence is not bounded by (time-space) dimensionality. [definition]

    (2) A god so defined is conceptually coherent.

    (3) An existing entity can only be identified by its dimensional boundaries (vis-à-vis other entities, or as a bounded figure vis-à-vis a dimensional ground).

    (4) Such a god has no definable identi ...[text shortened]... question.

    _________________________________

    I welcome critiques, especially of the logic.
    It's easy - (3) would be the premise that is challenged.

    For one thing, what does "identified" mean? Is it 'identifying' in the sense of identifying an old classmate across the floor in a store (i.e. closer to recognising)? Or is it something more like 'defined'?

    Also, by asking those who posit some form of a "supernatural dimension" to define it, you're putting a burden of proof on them that's unnecessary. A blind person cannot define colour (at least before the 1920s) but that doesn't mean he cannot figure out that colour exists.
  5. Cape Town
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    13 Jul '07 09:57
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Also, by asking those who posit some form of a "supernatural dimension" to define it, you're putting a burden of proof on them that's unnecessary. A blind person cannot define colour (at least before the 1920s) but that doesn't mean he cannot figure out that colour exists.
    I would disagree. Nobody can figure out whether something exists without a definition. A blind person could not figure out whether color exists without a definition for it.
  6. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 Jul '07 10:10
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    It's easy - (3) would be the premise that is challenged.

    For one thing, what does "identified" mean? Is it 'identifying' in the sense of identifying an old classmate across the floor in a store (i.e. closer to recognising)? Or is it something more like 'defined'?

    Also, by asking those who posit some form of a "supernatural dimension" to define i ...[text shortened]... ast before the 1920s) but that doesn't mean he cannot figure out that colour exists.
    The sense indicates that "recognize" is being used in this sense: "Establish the identity of; establish who or what a given person or thing is; recognize." (Correct me if I'm wrong, vistesd.)

    I think your "colour experiment" is unverifiable because we have no evidence of blind people figuring out colour on their own, i.e. in the total absence of input from sighted people.
  7. London
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    13 Jul '07 10:411 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I would disagree. Nobody can figure out whether something exists without a definition. A blind person could not figure out whether color exists without a definition for it.
    You're simply wrong.

    A 'definition' provides the necessary and sufficient conditions for attaching a pre-existent label to a particular thing. One doesn't need that to simply know the particular thing exists. Put another way, the question of knowing the essence (essentia) of a being is separate from knowing its existence (existentia).

    To a blind person, the label 'colour' may signify little more than "that which most people can use to navigate around but I cannot" - this is clearly not a definition for 'colour'; but it doesn't mean the blind person does not know that colour exists. (EDIT: If you think that is a definition for 'colour', simply consider a person who is both blind and deaf - how does this person know about colour and sound?)

    Or, to go one step further, a man in a closed box can know that something exists outside the box because he occasionally hears a tapping sound from one of the sides of the box; but he will have little idea what it is (much less provide a definition).
  8. London
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    13 Jul '07 10:461 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    The sense indicates that "recognize" is being used in this sense: "Establish the identity of; establish who or what a given person or thing is; recognize." (Correct me if I'm wrong, vistesd.)

    I think your "colour experiment" is unverifiable because we have no evidence of blind people figuring out colour on their own, i.e. in the total absence of input from sighted people.
    Whether the blind person figures it out on his own or with inputs from others is irrelevant to the question of whether he can know that colour exists.

    In the context of this discussion, the question is -- is it coherent to suppose that a person can know about the existence of something even if he cannot define it or experience it in a "rich" manner? I say that it clearly is (essence and existence are two distinct metaphysical elements).

    More pertinently, is it incoherent to posit the existence of something in the absence of a definition or a high quality experience? If not, then vistesd's "objections" to the positing of 'spiritual dimensions' is irrelevant to the validity of the syllogism.

    EDIT: I guess this means I object to (5) as well as (3).
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    13 Jul '07 10:511 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    (5) Postulating an entity with no definable identity is incoherent.
    I would challenge this assumption. Does one need to be able to define something in its entirety in order for it to be coherent? For example, can we define things about ourselves such as what does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to love? Not everyone can agree on defining such terms yet they exist. For me, such aspects to our existence is our connection to the spiritual realm. In terms of my faith, my God came in human form. He told us that if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. If this is true then is God then not coherent at least on some level?

    Edit: I often find my wife to be incoherent yet on some level I am able to relate to her. 😛
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 Jul '07 10:53
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Whether the blind person figures it out on his own or with inputs from others is irrelevant to the question of whether he can know that colour exists.
    It's quite relevant to whether the person can identify it. "That's red!"

    I think some blind people can identify colour synaesthetically; I also have no idea what your point is, apart from equivocating the term "identify", which does not mean "define".
  11. Cape Town
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    13 Jul '07 11:01
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    To a blind person, the label 'colour' may signify little more than "that which most people can use to navigate around but I cannot" - this is clearly not a definition for 'colour'; but it doesn't mean the blind person does not know that colour exists. (EDIT: If you think that is a definition for 'colour', simply consider a person who is both blind and deaf - how does this person know about colour and sound?)
    That is the definition for color as far as the blind person is concerned and as far as he is able to establish its existence.
  12. Cape Town
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    13 Jul '07 11:031 edit
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Or, to go one step further, a man in a closed box can know that something exists outside the box because he occasionally hears a tapping sound from one of the sides of the box; but he will have little idea what it is (much less provide a definition).
    And the most he can ever establish about its existence is within the definition of "something" as you have stated. He has provided a definition. He may even go as far as defining an "entity that results in a tapping sound" and say that that exists.
  13. Cape Town
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    13 Jul '07 11:05
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    More pertinently, is it incoherent to posit the existence of something in the absence of a definition or a high quality experience? If not, then vistesd's "objections" to the positing of 'spiritual dimensions' is irrelevant to the validity of the syllogism.
    Yes it is incoherent.
  14. London
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    13 Jul '07 11:05
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    It's quite relevant to whether the person can identify it. "That's red!"

    I think some blind people can identify colour synaesthetically; I also have no idea what your point is, apart from equivocating the term "identify", which does not mean "define".
    We're not talking about blind people identifying individual colours, but whether they can have some idea of the concept of 'colour' even if they can never directly experience it nor adequately define it.

    My point is simple. Person A says, "There's something out there". Person B says, "You cannot coherently say there's something out there unless you can tell me exactly what it is". That's a fallacious objection.
  15. London
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    13 Jul '07 11:11
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    That is the definition for color as far as the blind person is concerned and as far as he is able to establish its existence.
    You're just going round in circles.

    It may be the mechanics of how he conceptualises colour but it is clearly not a 'definition' of colour -- it provides neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for attaching the label 'colour' to something.

    What's more, as whodey points out, there are plenty of concepts that simply cannot be 'defined' in the normal sense of the term. You might want to brush up on some basic analytical philosophy -- GE Moore's analysis on defining 'goodness' for instance.
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