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  1. #1
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    What is the most important question in philosophy?

    I was reading about philosophical branches, but then I had to make a small research on Google to answer my question and I found something, that has been especially interest of mine since early ages:

    > "The Münchhausen Trilemma, also called Agrippa's Trilemma, purports
    > that it is impossible to prove any certain truth even in fields such
    > as logic and mathematics. According to this argument, the proof of any
    > theory rests either on circular reasoning, infinite regress, or
    > unproven axioms."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._in_philosophy

    It been a gut feel of mine, that philosophical and theological debates can never really give a cut down answer to questions. I've cometh to that conclusion simply by observing debates, mine and others. And my conclusion on disagreement is that, from opponents view of point he is right and from my view of point I am right. That is the end stop.

    Other reason for my conclusion is that thinking, thus logic itself, is apart from actual world in some way that is hard to explain, but I'd say its unreal dimension compared to physical dimension. Any word can mean any thing in the world, there is no definite correlation between words and real events or objects. It means we need to define and deal with rules. And that's all we can do. We can't for example make sure premisses, rules and definitions are right and truthful, because its fundamentally just an agreement.

    Now one could say, you shouldn't make agreement based just on assumption. But the problem is, that we you go to define assumptions and premisses, it can take "forever" to define something, because there is unlimited combinations of words and meanings we can create -> circular reasoning, there is no end stop.

    So I'm interested to hear, what is the most important question in philosophy and is Agrippa's Trilemma solved yet?
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    I don't think that the Agrippa Trilemma is very compelling. It assumes for example, that there is something wrong with using such axioms. I agree that circular reasoning and infinite regress is a fallacious. But to also include first principles of logic, I don't see where the case has been made.

    Even the very assertion that nothing can be shown to be true rests on the premise that something CAN be shown to be true. It is self-defeating. It is asserting that it is true that nothing can be properly asserted to be true. Since it is a self-defeating argument, we can dismiss it.

    First principles such as law of non-contradiction or identity don't need to be "proven", they simply are and we can observe them or reason them to be so. They are the very foundation of reason.

    For example, X cannot be non-X at the same time and in the same sense. It would be contradictory if it did and contradictions are logically impossible.

    As far as what is the most important question...I don't know that there is a single most important philosophical question and I'm unaware of any philosopher who approached philosophy that way. Important issues such as the existence of God, nature of reality, nature of being, nature of morality, etc... have certainly been the popular issues throughout philosophy...but I don't think there is such a thing as "single most important" and I don't think that there needs to be one...philosophy doesn't really work like that. Philosophy, simply put, is the pursuit of knowledge. To say that there is only 1 thing that is the most important that we ought to know...seems like it is abandoning other important things that we ought to know.

    And I think that if one were forced to choose 1 question...then that question would vary greatly depending upon the philosophy of the person answering it. IMO, it's an impossible question to reach a general agreement on as well as being an unnecessary question to even be asked.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    To be more exact, Agrippas formulation says: "One can justify with a circular argument, but this sacrifices its validity." So yes, there is something wrong, but not totally wrong. He also recognizes his own circularity of the theorem (since nothing can overcome that!). He suggests that "it has to be taken as true as long as nobody has come forward with a truth which is scrupulously justified as a certain truth."

    Main point is that eventually you will break ONE of the three logical structures: circulative argumenting, axiomatic argumenting or regressive argumenting.

    So if "First principles such as law of non-contradiction or identity don't need to be proven" how do you agree with rules and "First principles"? And if you can agree with rules on game then when do you think you have given someone enough proofs to prove your point?

    And yes, about the most important question, it depends on philosophy or individual, which is actually posed by Agrippas tropes:

    "Dissent – The uncertainty of the rules of common life, and of the opinions of philosophers."

    -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münchhausen_Trilemma

    That sends us debating about the superiority of philosophies and religions, which again raises same problem: who's stand point of view is justified and by which rules.
    Last edited by markom; May 12th, 2012 at 01:40 PM.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    But my point was that there isn't anything necessarily wrong with relying on these first principles since a) that is all we have and b) they are shown to work. That is, not everything can be "proven" because that would result in an infinite regress. There must be a starting point...if there is no starting point then we can ask for evidence for the evidence for the evidence for the evidence for the evidence, etc... I think the trilemma is worded in such a way that it has set up a seeming complication, but in reality, there isn't.

    As far as how we can arrive at first principles as the foundation, there are many arguments for this (stemming back from the ancients...of which I personally find fascinating and would love to discuss...but I'm currently writing my thesis for my epistemology class (focusing on Hobbes/Lock/Hume/Kant/Aquinas/Anselm) so I can't spend a lot of time on the issue until a couple weeks)...but I think through rationale observation we can come to at least some agreement about them. The law of non-contradiction for example, can be both reasoned and observed, thus verified through rationalism and empiricism.

    As far as "enough proofs"...I think that depends on the topic as well as the audience. I'm also of the opinion that in some cases, there will never be "enough proofs" because of the nature of man (man isn't always rational).
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by OP
    > "The Münchhausen Trilemma, also called Agrippa's Trilemma, purports
    > that it is impossible to prove any certain truth even in fields such
    > as logic and mathematics. According to this argument, the proof of any
    > theory rests either on circular reasoning, infinite regress, or
    > unproven axioms."
    Is his argument true?
    To serve man.

  6. #6
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Apokalupsis:

    > But my point was that there isn't anything necessarily wrong with relying on these first principles since a) that is all we have and b) they are shown to work. That is, not everything can be "proven" because that would result in an infinite regress. There must be a starting point...if there is no starting point then we can ask for evidence for the evidence for the evidence for the evidence for the evidence, etc... I think the trilemma is worded in such a way that it has set up a seeming complication, but in reality, there isn't.

    Not "necessarily" wrong, but all we have can still be flawed in terms of finding truth by logic, if starting point is flawed. How come one to be sure that starting point is not flawed, or should one just believe on it and not be intersted of it?

    And what is shown to work? Sounds like it is shown to work on its own framework, that defines its own rules. We struggle on finding and defining the superior philosophy and religion over everything else, let us call it "logic with certain premisses". If someone doesnt agree with given rules, thats thrown out. In that sense logic already defines what is right and what is wrong in its framework. Its not keen of finding what is right and wrong apart from own premisses.

    We could try to avoid recursive evidence calling by defining, how many times evidence can be nested, say three times. Does it convey the reasonable logic?

    > As far as how we can arrive at first principles as the foundation, there are many arguments for this (stemming back from the ancients...of which I personally find fascinating and would love to discuss...but I'm currently writing my thesis for my epistemology class (focusing on Hobbes/Lock/Hume/Kant/Aquinas/Anselm) so I can't spend a lot of time on the issue until a couple weeks)...but I think through rationale observation we can come to at least some agreement about them. The law of non-contradiction for example, can be both reasoned and observed, thus verified through rationalism and empiricism.

    Yes, I'd ike to know what non-contradiction means on different scenarios, can you really call it a law and why would it be the ultimate principle on philosophy... but maybe back on that later.

    > As far as "enough proofs"...I think that depends on the topic as well as the audience. I'm also of the opinion that in some cases, there will never be "enough proofs" because of the nature of man (man isn't always rational).

    Thats very evident. That is similar to philosophy of keeping certain axioms which is called foundationalism, you could call it fundamentalism when combined to the mentioned nature of man, lol.

    Other special feature of infinite regress or actually trying to avoid is that someone not only needs to start with assumptions, but also end artificially OR infinite regress would occur. For example this conversation will get to its end at some point pretty artificially. If we define rules and keep on playing with rules it could end up to some measurable conclusion. If we dont define rules and so far we havent, it would continue infinitely without coherent conclusion, especially if we both keep opposite view of point to the topic, opposite philosophy or opposite logic. But does it necessarily really have anything to do with truth of the original claim?

    I think this discussion is already on the edge of an infinite regress, definitely using axioms and premisses by different philosophies, and slowly getting circulous. I'm interested to see, if someone can avoid even one of these. Since you also seem to think infinite regress and circulous thinking are impractical on solution aimed philosophy, what do you think man can do to avoid those caveats?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Is his argument true?
    Could be, what if it is? Can we find out some way, if it is or if it is not? Maybe it is based on assumption, circulative reasoning and leads to infinite regress. But does it make it fault or is it just a semantical paradox?
    Last edited by markom; May 12th, 2012 at 03:01 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by markom View Post
    Not "necessarily" wrong, but all we have can still be flawed in terms of finding truth by logic, if starting point is flawed.
    Well...that's the thing...I don't think that the starting point IS flawed. It is both logically and observably tight.

    How come one to be sure that starting point is not flawed, or should one just believe on it and not be intersted of it?
    I think it is the case that we can use reason to reduce reality down to its most fundamental level...and first principles are exactly that. They need no further justification.

    And what is shown to work? Sounds like it is shown to work on its own framework, that defines its own rules.
    In works in every framework. It is not the case the first principles are a part of a system...but rather they are the foundation for all systems.

    We struggle on finding and defining the superior philosophy and religion over everything else, let us call it "logic with certain premisses". If someone doesnt agree with given rules, thats thrown out. In that sense logic already defines what is right and what is wrong in its framework. Its not keen of finding what is right and wrong apart from own premisses.
    But the problem with that is you are using logic to argue against logic. There are many systems of logic. Each have a different set of rules (although some are quite similar) and each have a different purpose or function. Yet all of them use at least the same foundation, and it is these first principles that are that foundation.

    We could try to avoid recursive evidence calling by defining, how many times evidence can be nested, say three times. Does it convey the reasonable logic?
    I'm not entirely sure what that means.

    Yes, I'd ike to know what non-contradiction means on different scenarios, can you really call it a law and why would it be the ultimate principle on philosophy... but maybe back on that later.
    Well..one of the reasons it is "law" or a first principle is explained above...it is the foundation from which all other systems of reasoning are built. Without, there could be NO reasoning about anything.

    Other special feature of infinite regress or actually trying to avoid is that someone not only needs to start with assumptions
    Right..and a big part of epistemology is centered right around that idea (aka "Where do we start?").

    , but also end artificially OR infinite regress would occur. For example this conversation will get to its end at some point pretty artificially. If we define rules and keep on playing with rules it could end up to some measurable conclusion.
    Which is why I think there is at least a foundation from which all beliefs start from. Philosophy is rather interesting if you look at it as a history. Philosophy, or rather philosophical concepts and ideas, have actually evolved over time. Some theories have been radically changed...others are so fundamental that they are nearly universally accepted regardless of which era we find ourselves studying. Each philosopher throughout history is taking what has already been stated or 'discovered' or postulated...then taking a bit away and/or adding something new to it (w/ the exception of Descartes of course, who attempts to start anew).

    If we dont define rules and so far we havent, it would continue infinitely without coherent conclusion, especially if we both keep opposite view of point to the topic, opposite philosophy or opposite logic. But does it necessarily really have anything to do with truth of the original claim?
    I think that there will always be someone who disagrees with any set of rules...again, that is a part of human nature. But between most people, we could probably find at least some common starting ground...and I think that starting ground are the first principles of reasoning. They are first principles because they are required by practically every system of reasoning.

    I think this discussion is already on the edge of an infinite regress, definitely using axioms and premisses by different philosophies, and slowly getting circulous. I'm interested to see, if someone can avoid even one of these.
    I think it is logically impossible if you intend to argue logically.

    Since you also seem to think infinite regress and circulous thinking are impractical on solution aimed philosophy, what do you think man can do to avoid those caveats?
    Why...use first principles of course! Justified above re: my idea of having at least a foundation from which all systems of reasoning on built.

    Could be, what if it is? Can we find out some way, if it is or if it is not? Maybe it is based on assumption, circulative reasoning and leads to infinite regress. But does it make it fault or is it just a semantical paradox?
    I don't think it has to be an assumption if we are to accept first principles. I think we have reached them as a conclusion by reducing argumentation (or reality) to these very principles. We don't accept them because it makes us warm and fuzzy inside...we accept them because we have concluded them through reduction.

    For example...when we examine a dog (pic any breed, doesn't matter, just 1 specific being that is a dog)...we know at least some things about it from observation (it is an animal, it is alive or dead, it has blood flowing through its veins (if it is alive), it has a nose, ears, mouth, tail, legs, etc... But these really aren't the things we are concerned with here are they? We can reduce this observation of this animal even further. Why do we call it an animal for example? Well, it has the properties of the category "animals." Easy enough...but why isn't it a tree? Why isn't it an element? It is because this being cannot be both an animal and a plant or element...or actually...a non-animal at the same time and in the same sense that it is an animal. In fact, NOTHING can be what it is not when it is what it is (to paraphrase Aristotle*).

    Another first principle is identity. A = A. Or in other words...a thing is itself. This can also address the question above re: why isn't the dog a tree or a piece of gold. It cannot because it is a dog. The dog is a dog. The thing is itself.

    These things may seem self-evident...and that is because they are! That is what we mean by first principles. First principles need no further justification because they are the first principles...no justification precedes them. They are what precedes all other justifications for reason.




    * "To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true” - Aristotle
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/tr...respondence/#1
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  8. #8
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    Could be, what if it is? Can we find out some way, if it is or if it is not? Maybe it is based on assumption, circulative reasoning and leads to infinite regress. But does it make it fault or is it just a semantical paradox?
    Well, it doesn't sound like you have a position on the matter, so what am I to respond too?
    until you take a certain position, there can be no rebuttal.

    If it is true, then the argument self defeating.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Well, it doesn't sound like you have a position on the matter, so what am I to respond too?
    until you take a certain position, there can be no rebuttal.
    Don't you think that speaks pro trilemma? Once you take the position, you have chosen the place you end and maybe even the time you end
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    Don't you think that speaks pro trilemma? Once you take the position, you have chosen the place you end and maybe even the time you end
    A person presenting a confused position that they are not sure if they think is true or not, is not a problem for me. A self defeating argument doesn't require a rebuttal.

    As for taking a position, first there must be a possible position to take. If you don't claim that an argument is true, I can hardly agree or disagree with your position.. because you have none.
    but then, if you had one, you would have to provide support. Considering your argument is that there is none, your argument is inherently unsupported or supportable without defeating itself.
    so there is no wonder you don't take a position on it.

    So, once you figure out if you think it is true, then I'll worry about it. As it stands it is self defeating and doesn't pose a threat of any kind of delima for anyone but those that hold to it.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well...that's the thing...I don't think that the starting point IS flawed. It is both logically and observably tight.
    And thats the thing I think: it becomes flawed because if it is not questioned a priori and validated posteriori. There is only self-justificable phrases "It is both logically and observably tight" and "they are shown to work" so far for example. Thats how you start, one needs to start from somewhere. Next question is, how do you prove its true without rephrasing same thing (circular reasoning), without infinite regression only using logic? Or do you rather think, its not necessary to keep on first assumption and axiom thruout the logical process?

    I think especially in the field of philosophy and theology, maybe even in psychology and history there shouldn't be such assumptions that something can't be questioned, even the rules of logic should be questioned at times and it has been. Former to be taken as my opinion only. It maybe a little bit different on natural sciences, where we can observatively validate some theorems and axioms. But even then its in the freedom of human, if he still wants to question. It all about jumping or not jumping to the game. And one should at least get to known of the rules of the game. Rules of the logic is on some strictly or loosely defined sandbox, no more, no less. Games on one sandbox can work on other sandbox, or might not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I think it is the case that we can use reason to reduce reality down to its most fundamental level...and first principles are exactly that. They need no further justification.
    This and above leads me to question: what are those first principles? I mean if there is no certain link between "reality" then debate is very probable to end up infinite loop.

    Btw. that brings me to the other side of the infinity. Language itself is regarded as recursive in nature: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recursion by structural formation and neurobiology. Its enables inifinite embedding of sentences, which enables infinite regression. Survivalence of the logic is to make a stop to recursion. Now the question is, how and by which rules logic makes it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    In works in every framework. It is not the case the first principles are a part of a system...but rather they are the foundation for all systems.

    But the problem with that is you are using logic to argue against logic. There are many systems of logic. Each have a different set of rules (although some are quite similar) and each have a different purpose or function. Yet all of them use at least the same foundation, and it is these first principles that are that foundation.
    I'm not sure if Agrippa says or agrees he's using logic against logic, but if so, where and why it is prohibitten? It sounds like one cannot question the philosophy or self. If thats the case, then I think its acceptable but it sacrifices on something which is very fundamental to philosophy itself. And we just need to deal with it, as you have told. This is very similar to phrasing "God is God, because God is God and you can't use God against God, which means God is God and God is true."

    Or in philosophy you say "The start of the philosophy is to wonder and question everything" which you continue by stating "even itself" which leads to recursion and game is ready

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Well..one of the reasons it is "law" or a first principle is explained above...it is the foundation from which all other systems of reasoning are built. Without, there could be NO reasoning about anything.
    Hmh... there can be reasoning without definite axioms. Its called infinite questioning. Conclusions in this style are not definite, but just temporary points including the realization conclusion can be true or it can be false and we may never know if its true or false until subject to debate is measurable and testable on physical world and phenomenas also, instead of only and purely by reasoning and logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I think that there will always be someone who disagrees with any set of rules...again, that is a part of human nature. But between most people, we could probably find at least some common starting ground...and I think that starting ground are the first principles of reasoning. They are first principles because they are required by practically every system of reasoning.
    Depends on definition, but I think it (opportunity to disagree) is part of the human nature and language itself, thus part of the logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I think it is logically impossible if you intend to argue logically.
    That's one logic, philosophy and religion

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I don't think it has to be an assumption if we are to accept first principles. I think we have reached them as a conclusion by reducing argumentation (or reality) to these very principles. We don't accept them because it makes us warm and fuzzy inside...we accept them because we have concluded them through reduction.
    I'd like to hear, how do you reach conclusion by reducing argumentation without connection to reality? And does it mean argumentation needs to have a physical world link to work in this scope? How about argumentation about "real" philosophical and religional themes like OP wiki link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Another first principle is identity. A = A. Or in other words...a thing is itself. This can also address the question above re: why isn't the dog a tree or a piece of gold. It cannot because it is a dog. The dog is a dog. The thing is itself.

    These things may seem self-evident...and that is because they are! That is what we mean by first principles. First principles need no further justification because they are the first principles...no justification precedes them. They are what precedes all other justifications for reason.

    * "To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true” - Aristotle
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/tr...respondence/#1
    Thats good, I've never heard (or remember hearing) that phrase before. Relates to the identity problem you mention above. But in language we know A != A and A = B very often, because 1) we use same symbol to describe different objects 2) we use symbols synonymously. Thats why we need to define. Now defining is easier, when we have a physical observable counterpart but it becomes harder and harder when we try to define metaphysical, religious and philosophical items, or past, yet to speak when we try to define logic, which is purely intellectual property without language independent objective on real world. Logic separate from objective world becomes very flimsy.

    So I would say A = A as a first principle is ideally right, but in real world when using human language or actually any symbol language (what we need to use anyway), it becomes untrusty. Dog = koira (dog in finnish) = musti (finnish name for dog) = jack (name for dogs and human) = cat (fancy name for dog) = animal = concept -> anything when we define it so.

    Also dog != dog because there are different breeds of dogs and symbols that refer to the real world dogs. Again its about definition and accepted or unaccepted logic and proper or improper (which adjective concepts are also fluiduous) usage of language. Children would say to her mom: "it wasnt that dog, it was this dog" pointing two different identities because she has no words and definitions to separate objects by different symbols.

    One could argue against Agrippa's claim that it is itself based on axioms. Now one can say its illogical, fighting against itself and thats why perhaps untrue. But one could also see it prooves its point even on the case of itself, which is the reason it is true, whilst most of the other efforts tries to get themselves out from self-validation process providing untouchable axioms.

    Again its funny to observe and mirror Agrippas claim to this conversation. While I can already see, from your point of view, you may be right (I havent heard your reasoning enough to come to my conclusion on that) I also see Agrippa is probably right on his point of view, it depends on premisses. Where you start defines where you end. What comes to my own insights and observation mentioned in OP, of course I'm right with them, do they reflect the reality and how how far, I have no idea, but I know reflection is like two mirrors set against each other. They produce infinite looking series of pictures. Language is those pictures, reality is two mirrors. How come we conclude, what is the reality behind pictures?

    ---------- Post added at 11:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:08 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    A person presenting a confused position that they are not sure if they think is true or not, is not a problem for me. A self defeating argument doesn't require a rebuttal.
    What is confusing and to whom?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    As for taking a position, first there must be a possible position to take. If you don't claim that an argument is true, I can hardly agree or disagree with your position.. because you have none.
    Of course, but thats not only way to discuss about observations, agreeing or disagreeing. Its dualistic way and the question of the OP is, if it will ever lead to concrete, generally accepted or unbreakable conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    but then, if you had one, you would have to provide support. Considering your argument is that there is none, your argument is inherently unsupported or supportable without defeating itself. So there is no wonder you don't take a position on it.
    Correct. Providing support is tedious job, collecting references, own reasoning and logic, rely on authors on field and so forth. Agrippa's case is not my own evidently, but it just happens to be some interlinking parts to my own pondering along the life time and I find it interesting. If it is right on postulate, it means couple of things: 1) debates will never end and not because of we have no skills or knowledge enough, or that we are stubborn, but because its the nature of language and words used to philosophize. 2) we cannot know truth, its more like an ideal and probability concept, merely a hypothesis 3) asserting the impossibility to prove any certain truth is not in itself a certain truth

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So, once you figure out if you think it is true, then I'll worry about it. As it stands it is self defeating and doesn't pose a threat of any kind of delima for anyone but those that hold to it.
    You are free to join and disjoin anytime for any reason, right?
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    What is confusing and to whom?
    The argument is confused and meaningless.
    Look


    Quote Originally Posted by OP
    > "The Münchhausen Trilemma, also called Agrippa's Trilemma, purports
    > that it is impossible to prove any certain truth even in fields such
    > as logic and mathematics. According to this argument, the proof of any
    > theory rests either on circular reasoning, infinite regress, or
    > unproven axioms."
    This argument calls into question the validity of all arguments. But if it is true then this argument is invalid.
    So this argument is self defeating.

    Again here you quote him saying
    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    "One can justify with a circular argument, but this sacrifices its validity."
    So the argument in the OP is not valid. Unless of course it is different from any other kind of argument. It is not, so the argument presented in the OP is that the argument presented by the OP is invalid.

    That is called "self defeating". As it is self defeating and thus inherently invalid.

    So, the OP is confused and proposes a self defeating argument as though it is something that should posses a challenge.
    It does not.

    Do you see how the OP is self defeating?
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    The argument is confused and meaningless.
    Look
    I didn't see it meaningless and confused (is it rather a personal taste?), but maybe its a little bit simpler than Agrippa's actual claim. It is some wiki writer's summary of the understanding of the topic anyway. Furthermore I see its very normal starting point of many claims. See below.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    This argument calls into question the validity of all arguments. But if it is true then this argument is invalid. So this argument is self defeating.
    We have cometh to accept this from my former post: "3) asserting the impossibility to prove any certain truth is not in itself a certain truth". We can conclude it self-proofing itself by superficial self-defeating indeed. Again see below.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So the argument in the OP is not valid. Unless of course it is different from any other kind of argument. It is not, so the argument presented in the OP is that the argument presented by the OP is invalid.
    Its different maybe, but its not that different its unsolved and unpointed. I think most of the common resolutions are handled on "Liar paradox": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox

    Simple example is: "This statement is false" which will give recursive chain of conclusions like: "this statement is false, which means this statement has to be true to be it false, which simplified means this statement is true, which contradicts the original statement. This can be solved by treating statement on two different levels, higher semantic meta language plane, and lower object language plane, where higher semantic meaning is supposed to refer. Thus I think 3) is referring to higher common truth value and lower certain truth value. And by this logic its not self defeating actually. Hook is on semantics although wiki article gives other possible resolutions too.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Do you see how the OP is self defeating?
    I assume you mean the claim of Argippa summarized by wiki writer and copy pasted by me? If so, then I should have addressed that deeply enough on above Liar paradox. There is a lot of different kind of argumentation and logic.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap
    This argument calls into question the validity of all arguments. But if it is true then this argument is invalid.
    So this argument is self defeating.
    I don't think that's what Munchausen's Trilemma does at all. I don't find the trilemma troubling in the slightest.

    It doesn't call a proof's validity into question--that is, whether the proof's conclusion must be true if the premises are assumed to be true. Rather, the trilemma shows that proofs must be circular, have an infinite regress of reasons, or rest on assumptions. That doesn't mean that there aren't true assumptions.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    We have cometh to accept this from my former post: "3) asserting the impossibility to prove any certain truth is not in itself a certain truth". We can conclude it self-proofing itself by superficial self-defeating indeed. Again see below.
    No, that is not what occurse when an argument includes itslef as the subject matter.
    If an argument includes itself,

    JP morland on self refuting
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...Zyh_3-M#t=149s

    Quote Originally Posted by markom
    Its different maybe, but its not that different its unsolved and unpointed. I think most of the common resolutions are handled on "Liar paradox": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox

    Simple example is: "This statement is false" which will give recursive chain of conclusions like: "this statement is false, which means this statement has to be true to be it false, which simplified means this statement is true, which contradicts the original statement. This can be solved by treating statement on two different levels, higher semantic meta language plane, and lower object language plane, where higher semantic meaning is supposed to refer. Thus I think 3) is referring to higher common truth value and lower certain truth value. And by this logic its not self defeating actually. Hook is on semantics although wiki article gives other possible resolutions too.
    no the statment is jibberish.

    Quote Originally Posted by markom
    I assume you mean the claim of Argippa summarized by wiki writer and copy pasted by me? If so, then I should have addressed that deeply enough on above Liar paradox. There is a lot of different kind of argumentation and logic.
    other logic? realllly?
    You will have to explain this.


    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    I don't think that's what Munchausen's Trilemma does at all. I don't find the trilemma troubling in the slightest.

    It doesn't call a proof's validity into question--that is, whether the proof's conclusion must be true if the premises are assumed to be true. Rather, the trilemma shows that proofs must be circular, have an infinite regress of reasons, or rest on assumptions. That doesn't mean that there aren't true assumptions.
    does the trilemma argument include proofs?
    If it does, then it calls them invalid, so the trilimma contains invalid proofs and is thus invalid.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    No, that is not what occurse when an argument includes itslef as the subject matter.
    If an argument includes itself,

    JP morland on self refuting
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...Zyh_3-M#t=149s
    To reuse previously learned argumentation, that was jibberish in my opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    other logic? realllly?
    You will have to explain this.
    I let others explain it rather than me, because my information on topic is very limited:
    - Different logics: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Logic
    - Different argumentations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument

    Agrippa's work from 1950-2010 are collective on this site, if someone wants to seek out, unfortunately most of the work is in German: http://www.opensociety.de/Web1/Albert/a-papers_e.htm

    ---------- Post added at 09:03 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:49 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    I don't think that's what Munchausen's Trilemma does at all. I don't find the trilemma troubling in the slightest.

    It doesn't call a proof's validity into question--that is, whether the proof's conclusion must be true if the premises are assumed to be true. Rather, the trilemma shows that proofs must be circular, have an infinite regress of reasons, or rest on assumptions. That doesn't mean that there aren't true assumptions.
    That is said by "The failure of proving exactly any truth as expressed by the Münchhausen-Trilemma does not have to lead to dismissal of objectivity, as with relativism" in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münchhausen_Trilemma
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    does the trilemma argument include proofs?
    If it does, then it calls them invalid, so the trilimma contains invalid proofs and is thus invalid.
    Most proofs in philosophy, mathematics, and science--certainly the most rigorous--rely on axioms, the third horn of Munchausen's trilemma. How does that make these proofs "invalid"?

    ---------- Post added at 01:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:38 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by markom View Post
    That is said by "The failure of proving exactly any truth as expressed by the Münchhausen-Trilemma does not have to lead to dismissal of objectivity, as with relativism" in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münchhausen_Trilemma
    I don't know exactly what that's supposed to mean. What does it mean to 'prove a truth exactly'? I understand what it means to prove that P implies Q, or some variation of that. But even if we take Munchausen's trilemma to be true, that doesn't make "P implies Q" proofs invalid. In what sense, then, do they fail?

    ---------- Post added at 01:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:41 PM ----------

    Maybe it would help if I gave an example. Take the following theorem, and its proof:

    "If n is an even natural number, then n+2 is an even natural number."

    1. Suppose n is an even natural number. By definition of even, n = 2*k for some natural number k.
    2. n + 2 = 2*k + 2 = 2*(k+1).
    3. Hence, by definition of even, n+2 is an even natural number.

    Now, this proof relies on the axioms of the natural numbers (e.g. the Peano axioms). You need something like this in order to talk about a "natural number". Line 2 of the proof relies on certain axioms of mathematics, like substitution (if x = y, then y can be substituted for x in every formula containing x), and the Peano axiom that if k is a natural number, then k+1 is also a natural number. Line 3 relies on the transitivity of equality (if x=y, and y=z, then x=z).

    So here we have a proof that explicitly relies on axioms. It is an example of the third 'kind' from Munchausen's trilemma. Does that make it invalid? Is it somehow suspect, since we know that it relies on axioms?
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    Most proofs in philosophy, mathematics, and science--certainly the most rigorous--rely on axioms, the third horn of Munchausen's trilemma. How does that make these proofs "invalid"?
    I am not making that argument. I'm arguing against that argument.
    What the OP is forwarding is skepticism.


    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    So here we have a proof that explicitly relies on axioms. It is an example of the third 'kind' from Munchausen's trilemma. Does that make it invalid? Is it somehow suspect, since we know that it relies on axioms?
    The skeptic will say "yes, because you have abandoned the per-suite of "certain" knowledge. You may call it knowledge, but it isn't certain.
    Like this...

    Quote Originally Posted by WIKI
    One can stop at self-evidence or common sense or fundamental principles or speaking 'ex cathedra' or at any other evidence, but in doing so the intention to install certain justification is abandoned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_Trilemma
    The problem clive, is that the entire approach(the ops') is bankrupt and self refuting and doesn't need to be explained away. Why should you defend a proof, if they are not going to formally challenge your claim as false, nor make any "certain" claim themselves?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    To reuse previously learned argumentation, that was jibberish in my opinion
    What part? What was said that was gibberish? Why?

    The statement "this sentence is false" is gibberish, because it doesn't convey anything, it has no meaning.


    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    I let others explain it rather than me, because my information on topic is very limited:
    Link wars is not a valid rebuttal.
    Do you expect me to read the entire link in order to know what your position is?
    Please quote the relevant section, or better yet, put it in your own words.

    Quote Originally Posted by MARKOM
    Agrippa's work from 1950-2010 are collective on this site, if someone wants to seek out, unfortunately most of the work is in German: http://www.opensociety.de/Web1/Albert/a-papers_e.htm
    One can find the rebuttal to all of his work if you simply explore the
    WWW.
    I know the link is pretty general, but if you just look you can find it.


    But, if you JP morland has addressed this entire idea in the link I did give(though the part I sent you to was Qued up to the specific point of self refuting.

    You are not taking a position, you are assuming a posture. Any argument you make for that posture is going to be self refuting, and not making an argument at all is uninteresting. So unless you want to forward that the argument in the OP is true, and the argument in the OP is worthy of consideration (in that it is not self refuting) there is no discussion to be had.

    Indeed, all you will be able to do is make statement after statement never supporting any of them.
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    The skeptic will say "yes, because you have abandoned the per-suite of "certain" knowledge. You may call it knowledge, but it isn't certain.
    I don't see how this follows. What does Munchausen's trilemma have to do with certainty?
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    Re: What is the most important question in philosophy?

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    I don't see how this follows. What does Munchausen's trilemma have to do with certainty?
    If it doesn't effect certainty, then what is the significance of the argument?
    Maybe I have misunderstood the argument, and it is just a list and not an argument at all.

    I suppose I will let the supporter of the argument answer that.
    To serve man.

 

 
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