A Rejoinder to Chris Bolt
It’s a refutation of the view that knowledge is composed of beliefs, as if beliefs are irreducible primaries. I showed that this is incorrect in my blog.
Anyway, my point in regard to beliefs was that they are not irreducible, and that knowledge is in fact composed of concepts, not of “beliefs” per se. And since knowledge is composed of concepts, to have an account for knowledge you need a theory of concepts. Consequently, a worldview which lacks a theory of concepts (such as Christianity) cannot provide an account for knowledge.
Chris: “When I write that beliefs are not reducible to being natural or physical things I do not mean anything like what Bethrick takes ‘natural’ to mean. That is, he is guilty of equivocation.”
How am I equivocating? Either concepts are natural, or they are not. If they are, and beliefs are composed of concepts, then beliefs are in fact reducible to natural things. I am not equivocating because I do not equate “natural” with “physical.” They are two different concepts.
Chris: “Of course ‘concepts are a natural part of the human mind’s cognition’ in many senses, but not when we define ‘natural’ as ‘physical’ as opposed to ‘non-physical’.”
Who does this? And where did you make this clarification in your blog? I don’t see that you did.
Chris: “Now Bethrick may not be a materialist. If he is not a materialist I would love to hear it for this would prompt further inquiry regarding his doctrine.”
If by “materialism” we understand to mean a worldview which denies the axiom of consciousness, then obviously I am not a materialist. For my worldview affirms the axiom of consciousness.
Chris: “Bethrick writes that beliefs are ‘mental integrations’.”
Actually, I wrote this about concepts.
Chris: “Are mental integrations physical (natural) or not?”
Again, I do not equate the concepts “physical” and “natural.” I certainly do not think they are synonymous. Mental integrations are an activity of consciousness. So far as I know, I would not class them as “physical” objects.
Chris: “If he states that they are non-physical then he, by his own standards, fails to state what beliefs actually are with respect to his statement.”
As I stated above, I have identified mental integrations as an activity of consciousness. This is what they *are* in an ontological sense. You do acknowledge that consciousness exists, don’t you? You do recognize that consciousness is active, right?
Chris: “That is, Bethrick is only pressing the problem further back.”
Chris: “What about consciousness itself; is it physical?”
So far as I know, consciousness is its own kind of existent. Also, it is necessarily an attribute, namely of a certain class of biological organisms, and specifically one that is active in nature. Consciousness is not an entity. The organism possessing consciousness is the entity, and cosnciousness is one of its attributes.
Chris: “Again, natural objects do not possess the feature of ‘aboutness’.”
But physical objects can. For instance, when I go to the zoo and get a brochure, it's “about” the zoo. Of course, while the brochure is physical, it is not naturally occurring; it is man-made.
By the way, who says that “natural objects do not possess the feature of ‘aboutness’”? How would one show this without having omniscience of all natural objects?
Chris: “Concerning truth is Bethrick of the persuasion that an 'aspect of conceptual awareness' is physical or not?”
Again, since I affirm the axiom of consciousness, and I don’t think consciousness is a physical entity, but its own type of existent, there’s no problem here on my position.
I wrote: "Truth is a relationship between the subject of cognition and its objects... the objects of consciousness are what they are independent of anyone's conscious activity."
Chris: “Perhaps this is a misunderstanding on my part but it looks like these two statements lead to a contradiction if they are not themselves contradictory.”
The problem is Chris' understanding. That the objects of consciousness are what they are independent of consciousness in no way contradicts the fact that we can have awareness of them. Where’s the contradiction?
This ignores what the primacy of existence teaches, namely that the objects of consciousness are what they are independent of any consciousness. Notice that Chris needs to qualify his use of consciousness in his response to specify “human consciousness.” In other words, he cannot consistently affirm the primacy of existence; he must make allowances for some consciousness (which he can only imagine) as the base of contingence of occurrences on earth. Chris is simply confirming that Christianity assumes the primacy of consciousness. But I already know this.
Chris: “Perhaps it would be better for Bethrick to stick with the ‘self-evident’ nature of the primacy of existence rather than to try and prove it through such large leaps.”
I’ve not tried to prove it, nor do I need to. It is preconditional to any proof. The alternative to the primacy of existence amounts to affirming that wishing makes it so, that consciousness dictates what reality is and what its objects do and can do.
Chris: “Of course I do not quite understand the Objectivists’ more specific objection to Christian Theism at this point anyway, their theory being that consciousness itself exists and hence the axiom of consciousness does not in any way contradict the metaphysical primacy of existence.”
For starters, see here.
Chris: “If this is the case then I do not see where the problem is with the Christian God as a conscious being according to Objectivist standards.”
For starters, see here.
Chris: “Bethrick is missing my point here though. Even if the “primacy of existence” is assumed, why is it objectionable to suggest that there may be knowledge of snow in Miami based upon a dream? Why is it wrong to think this way? We are speaking of knowledge of facts, not facts themselves.”
I addressed this specifically in my blog. Relying on a dream to tell you about reality fails to adhere to an objective method.
Chris: “We are not speaking of whether or not it actually is snowing or not in Miami. Bethrick appears to confuse these two categories.”
Not at all, since my entire discussion explicitly recognizes the distinction between the subject of knowledge and the objects of knowledge. Hence the need to come to grips with the subject-object relationship, something no biblical author attempts to do.
by Dawson Bethrick