The Relationships Between Skepticism, Dogmatism, And Certitude

Greetings to all in this, the fourth week of Paschaltide; surrexit Dominus vere!

In the past two weeks, working with an eye to Cardinal Mercier’s Manual of Scholastic Philosophy, we looked at some preliminaries to the science of certitude, with special emphasis on defining truth (“an adequation of a thing and of the understanding”) and some of the terms involved, marking the distinction between objective and subjective truth (and how both deal properly with real truth), and clearing up common logical errors when it comes to questioning the nature of our perceptions.

We discovered that, ultimately, the problem of certitude resolves into two questions—the first, regarding the objectivity of the ideal order (i.e., whether the mental perception and synthesis of the elements in a true judgment has an objective element based in a real relation, or is itself the product of the thinking subject), and the second, regarding the objective reality of our concepts (i.e., do they correspond to objectively real things, or are they abstracted and particular to ourselves).

This may seem very abstruse and stringent, but the fact is that one must prepared to make such inquiries if he really wants to understand things, rather than having mere opinions about things. I’m afraid not much can be done to mitigate that! And, as I say, when I beheld the Christian saints and philosophers making these demands of themselves, I first began to see that their relationship to truth and certainty was not one of fear or hesitation.

In that same spirit, the good cardinal mentions that there is another question to resolve before we can address these two questions.  Namely: what can we say about the initial state of mind, in our discussion of certitude?  That is: can we assume that the mind must doubt everything?  Or must we assume that the mind knows some truths, as we proceed to examine others?

paolo-veronese-young-man-between-virtue-and-vice

Vice, Ease and Opinion – Haven’t We Had Enough?

Two Opposed Errors

He mentions that there are two errors, one to the right and the other to the left of the problem.  One error is the error of radical doubt, which he calls the theory of universal doubt.  The other is an exaggerated dogmatism.  He prefers a middle path, which he names the path of rational dogmatism.

As to the excessively skeptical view, he points out that it departs from a merely methodological skepticism, by which one uses doubt in order to attain a greater certainty of the truth.  Rather, this form of exaggerated skepticism winds up abandoning skepticism in order to make unproven assertions on the matter.  This theory of universal doubt regards every act of human reason as inherently doubtful, thereby doubting its own capability of arriving at any certain knowledge of truth, and mistrusting any apparent path of escape from the predicament.  I think many modern folk have more or less absorbed this view from the modern culture.  There are two main arguments used in favour of this view.

1. The Argument from the Fact of Self-Deception. We often deceive ourselves, and we know this about ourselves, so a prudent man will assume that people who allow themselves to be deceived, and sometimes come to see this fact, are likely to deceive themselves on many occasions when this is not so clear.

2. The Argument from “The Vicious Circle.”  Before we can verify a proposition as a certain one, we examine and judge it by some other criterion; otherwise we risk admitting it on unproven, a priori grounds.  Yet before we can be certain of this criterion, we must verify it in a similar way, and so on ad infinitum.  In this way we keep going back forever, or at least until we arrive at something for which we can discover no adequate, prior criterion, and even then we end in failure to arrive at certainty.

These Errors Analyzed

In the first place, we can respond that it is supremely absurd to be certain of universal uncertainty.  The second argument, for example, is advanced as an airtight proof of the impossibility of certainty; this should be a clue that something is amiss!  Indeed, since the very question is the possibility of certainty, a true skeptic does not begin by “proving” that nothing can be proven!  No, we require suspension of judgment until a more correct examination can be made.  The arguments are actually fairly easily answered.  That a man deceives himself sometimes, and that it is therefore prudent to be wary against self-deceit, is not at all a proof that every single act of human reason is doubtful.

Indeed, how do we “know” that we deceive ourselves, unless we have some criterion for discerning between the true and the false; how do we recognize that we have sometimes embraced the latter over the former?  To assert the fact of self-deception is already to have sinned against the dogma of uncertainty.

paradox

I’m Certain that we cannot be Certain…

As to the second argument, it errs in assuming that every proposition is justified by means of a prior and distinct criterion.  Some true judgments contain in themselves the grounds of their justification, as we will see.  And again, in short, since the question is whether the mind can know truth, we do ourselves no favors by making the assumption in one direction or the other without a certain grounds for demonstrating the opinion.

Those who err in the direction of an exaggerated dogmatism err by doing this, as well.  Some philosophers have tried to move forward on the assumption that there are a few primary truths which we must assume if we are to hold that the mind can know certitude.  These truths are:

1. The thinking subject truly exists

2. The principle of contradiction

3. The mind has thoughts that correspond really to reality

They assert that these truths are primary and must be assumed, because one has to accept them even to argue against them.  This is true, insofar as it goes; these truths are necessary truths in the ontological order, by which one means to say that if these truths are not true, then it is impossible for the mind to know certainty.  And so, yes, to attempt to argue against them, is to imply that one agrees with them (and that one is an idiot, or a nihilist who delights in the irony of it all).

Yet, this is still not a proof that this the mind can no truth; it is just to affirm that, if the mind can know the truth with certainty, it is because these principles are true.  In exactly the same way, there is no basis for a conception of authentic morality (i.e., values that transcend mere considerations of pleasure or utility to rise to an actual level of “good” or “evil”) unless God exists and is Himself the source of the Good – yet, this does not prove the existence of God, or of morals; it simply acknowledges the necessity of the correlation between the two.  So, while the exaggerated dogmatist has indeed hit upon necessary principles of certitude, he has simply acknowledged this correlation and has not yet proved that it does, in fact, exist.

Necessary_and_sufficient_venn_(set)_diagram_svg

Necessary, but not Necessary and Sufficient

A Better Way

Neither error has the right to lay down its view as a proven principle, therefore.  The good Cardinal proffers instead what he calls Mitigated or Rational Dogmatism, which “deliberately abstains from making a judgment, holding that at the beginning of the study of the problem of certitude it is impossible either to affirm or to deny our mental capability of knowing truth.”  He says that we may “be able legitimately to infer that our mind is capable of attaining true knowledge” ONLY if by some dint of our reflection, we can discover a grounds for concluding that our mental acts are conformable to reality.

Ne notes that our approach to this question will hinge upon whether things are mediately or immediately evident – that is, whether certain things proffer some direct proof, contained in themselves, of their truthfulness, or whether they can only be seen as true through various proofs and criteria which “mediate” (i.e., “stand between”) the thing and our ability to form a judgment of it.  He acknowledges that “when the mind examines the propositions by which it expresses its knowledge, it finds a great number of them in which it does not see the identity or the non-identity between the predicate and subject” (i.e., of its judgment of truth).

This doubt is real and not merely methodical, and he acknowledges that the real acknowledgment of doubt about mediate propositions is not new, but is fully admitted in St. Thomas and in Aristotle.  But the error of the Theory of Universal Doubt did hit upon a true insight; if all propositions were mediate propositions, we would have to go back ad infinitum citing proofs of each view.  And this is itself is nearly self-evident—i.e., it comes close to being a truly immediate proposition, and as the Cardinal says: “immediate propositions, although indemonstrable [by means of a prior criterion] are by no means doubtful: their very self-evidence makes them indemonstrable – that is to say, incapable of being referred to propositions which are more evident” (since they are already entirely self-evident; they are indemonstrable not because they are not true, but because they are not demonstrated by something else).  When these are reflected upon by the mind, they force their truthfulness upon the mind.

The Cardinal therefore says that we only assert two facts at the beginning of our discussion on certitude.  1) There are necessarily spontaneous assents (i.e., things that “seem true” to the mind at first glance) and 2) the power to examine these by reflection (without yet affirming too many things about the quality of this reflection).  I will point out that he is here talking about the things we are required to admit if we want even to discuss the question.  For, as he points out, “to suppress id de quo queritur is necessarily to suppress id quod quaeritur” (“to suppress any mention of that of which we are inquiring, is to suppress discovering the thing itself”).

He acknowledges that “there is, however, all the difference in the world between taking these data for granted, and the a priori assertion that we are sure to find skepticism wrong, or that the result of our investigation must be the dogmatic thesis that the mind is capable of knowing truth.”  He has given the data we must necessary admit in order even to ask questions about the topic, avoiding on the one hand an error that contradicts itself and buries the question under an absurd certainty of incertainty on the one hand, or a dogmatic assertion that we must assume certain truths which, though necessary for certitude to exist, have, along with certitude itself, not yet been proven.

I know I’m proceeding fairly deliberately, here.  Festina lente is my motto for this series – to cover a lot of important ground more quickly than would be normal, but not to omit necessary steps in the rush.

Read More: Can We Attain Certitude Through Our Perceptions?

 

73 thoughts on “The Relationships Between Skepticism, Dogmatism, And Certitude”

  1. I think I may need to print this one out and study it more thoroughly at a later hour.
    As a layman, I tend to operate under the assumption of primary truths, because to operate under any other assumption seems foolish. For example, that which is true by definition (a triangle has three angles) cannot be proven save by definition. Likewise, to proceed in logical analysis with the assumption that the mind is incapable of logical analysis is equally foolish.
    However, the question of which truths are actually primary, and which need support of evidence and reason, is essential to any philosophical inquiry. Your walkthroughs have been excellent, Brother Aurelius, and I look forward to the continuation of this series.

  2. I didn’t read it completely but it seems loosely to be the same as rational logic arrived at via secular means of thinking. Or am I missing something?

      1. Jim, where does he make any argument from religion?
        His points seem valid to me, even from a secular perspective.

        1. There is no secular logic or religious logic. There is only logic. But Aurelius does make an argument from morality. I’m not exactly sure what you mean otherwise. Can you expound?

        2. Well then where is his argument from morality?
          I don’t see him mentioning morality. I see him discussing whether or not we can have certitude about some inherent reality behind our perceptions, to which his answer (and that of the Cardinal) is that we can have a prior certainty of two things, namely that we have perceptions of what appears to be truth, and that we have the ability to reflect on those perceptions.

    1. Well, I am trying to build a foundation of knowledge based upon what reason can discover naturally, without having recourse to supernatural revelation. Is that what you mean?

      1. Roughly speaking yes. I’m not seeing the need for God to be involved, or anything specifically divinely inspired.
        And thank you for responding, and also for putting these articles out there.

      2. I have traveled a long journey regarding these kinds of things. And in the end I ended up being for most purposes a practicing bhuddist. I was born and baptized Protestant and then lived in Italy and went to school in a Franciscan monastery.
        I have a bible from 1776 in my book collection if you want to have a funny picture taken. I also have the full internal print of the vulgata pre removal of passages, I have the Jesuit one.

  3. This is a really good article. I have been dipping my toes in the “philosophy pool” for the last couple of years, and I think these kind of articles are great for this site. One of the things I like about this site, is the lack of echo-chamber. While a lot of people here agree on a lot of fundamental principles, there is a distinct lack of “official dogma.” People call each other out for inconsistencies, with some very lively and informative debate. I enjoy the Peanut Gallery as much as the articles sometimes.
    I think articles like this foster that kind of critical thinking, not just about the world around us, but ourselves as individuals and as a comments section as a whole.
    I did notice one thing about this article that seems to be a running thing with all the articles here. Is there a copy editor that proof reads these articles before publishing? Literally every article I read has a grammatical, syntax, or spelling error. I’ll admit
    Im a picky summabitch, and it drives me crazy sometimes. Am I the only one that thinks ROK could benefit from a good Grammar Nazi? Or should I just STFU and go clean my vagina like good whiney bitch? I look forward to the slings and arrows of outrageous insult.

    1. I know there’s content editing (I’ve submitted a couple of guest articles that are under review), but it takes a particular kind of autist to catch all grammatical issues.
      I’ll informally throw my name into the potential editor pool. If it gets me early access to the content, I’ll gladly go through and fix all the niggling issues I find.

    2. Sorry; I usually proof my articles carefully and have probably given the editor a false sense of confidence in my submissions. This particular article I had to submit rather hastily as I had another appointment later in the day, and so it did not get looked at quite as closely.

  4. Really nice work AM.
    What do you think about the way Kant parses this all out. I am a big fan. The basic idea is what he calls subjective universality.
    By breaking out the epistemological omniscience and having a much more humble view of what it is humans can know we get to a very interesting understanding of what is going on.
    So the standard example of the square having four sides goes from “all squares have four sides” to “for all sentient human’s a square must have four sides” We aren’t saying whether or not it has four sides outside of human perception, we are leaving that alone. We do, however, claim that all humans must experience squares as four sided.
    The reason for this, as Kant points out in the Critique of Pure Reason, is that the very conditions on which sentient thought is possible have to do with a process (for lack of a better word) that the spontaneous spark of thought must be filtered through. For instance, in order for something to be an object of possible experience for a human being it must exist in space and time (at some place and at some time — remembering that experience is defined as empirical so we are not ruling out some kind of experience of love or of God for that matter). It also has to have number, must be one or more than one, it has to conform to laws of logic (as you mention the law of contradiction) etc. etc.
    The neat thing we can do here is say that a logical truth like a square has 4 sides, or an a posteriori truth like the car is blue or even a synthetic a priori truth the the rock has mass are all subjective because the rise from the individual human’s ability to be conscious. Because it forms the very possibility of cognition (and is not part of cognition itself but rather logically (not temporally) prior to it) however, it can be assumed a priori for all thinking subjects.
    So does a square have four sides? Plato will say yes because that is what the eternal form of Square is, However, here we can say “i don’t know, but I do know that any square experienced by any thinking subject at any time in any place must have four sides”
    Kant then in the second critique is able to ground the morals into it with the categorical imperative and in the third critique judgments of taste.
    Leaving aside the details on whether kantian morals or aesthetics jive with catholic philosophy (I think they do in large part thanks to St. Augustine but that is another conversation) what do you think of this idea of subjective universality.
    I love that Kant manages to ground all truth subjectively yet still be able to hold every single human responsible for it by placing it as the possibility of experience and thought itself.

    1. For somre reason this post made me think of Kant too, although I’m not sure why. What do I know–I’ve never actually read Kant. His Antinomies stirred inside me, I guess.
      I also thought of my brother and magical thinking (my bro is probably one of the foremost political philosophers with regard to magical thinking). Truth, I think, gets complicated when we try to match thoughts with words with deeds. That’s my experience and my belief, and I believe that most others experience something similar when they try to reconcile what they think, believe, and feel with how they act.
      I don’t even consider myself to be superstitious, but damn, I can act quite superstitiously depending on the circumstances. I’ll even find myself saying things like, “I know it’s stupid, but I…” or, “I know these things aren’t real, but I tend to live as if they were,” etc.
      What you and AM are discussing is beyond my pay grade, but I appreciate it nonetheless. Don’t ever underestimate the interest and intrigue that your inferiors may approach your thoughts with. I can safely say that my brother–by far my intellectual superior–has made me the man I am today. In a sense, he has been my Socrates. In another sense, he has been my Prometheus.
      Nothing to aspire towards because I know I’m not capable… yet something to follow, something to learn from, and something to make the occasional sacrificial offering towards because I know I’m in need of guidance and I’d be little more than a savage without the goods I get in return for my obeisances. How do I know I’m not being misguided? I don’t.

      1. Scrolled down after mentioning Kant. THis post made me think of Kant too. After mentioning him in my post, I read your stuff.

      2. Intellectual humility is important. Wisdom is also another thing entirely from knowledge, no matter how accurate the knowledge. Many clerics have studied these truths, understood the system of philosophy, known it for what it is… and, through wicked living, indifference, preferring that other things could be true instead of the things they now know to be true, etc., have shown that the knowledge profited them nothing, and probably made hell quite a lot hotter for them than it otherwise would have been.
        I’ll take wisdom over mere knowledge any day, and it sounds like you may have more to teach than I do on the subject.

        1. I agree about intellectual humility. Since embracing it, I’ve blossomed in ways that I couldn’t imagine when I was falsely proud before. Still, I think you flatter me.
          To my mind, wisdom just works, but knowledge knows how and when and why to employ wisdom for a higher purpose than mere self-preservation or self-improvement. I envy the knowledgable, yet I desire wisdom more so since I’ve determined that it is how I can best serve those few who are in the know.
          I don’t know if that means I’m a natural slave or what, but it suits me and I often find my purpose in these deeds and the fruits that serve something higher than myself. The truly strange thing to me is that I don’t even consider it any kind of selfless service, it’s really just for my own interest and the world I hope to enjoy, albeit through the creations of another.
          These things make me happy, cause me to yearn for success, and generally make me an all-around better person. Without an exalted sense, I’d be just an ant.

    2. I figured you’d glom onto this pretty fast.
      Great article.

    3. Did you read last week’s article? Cardinal Mercier talks about this, citing the Thomistic maxim: “cognitum est in cognoscente secundum modum cognoscentis” (“the thing perceived/understood is in the perceiver/understander according to its mode”).
      I have to cop to not knowing Kant well enough; it’s been a long while since I read him, though I remember not having been convinced by him at the time, and the Cardinal often cites ideas from Kant as examples of erroneous ways of proceeding! So, without knowing exactly what Kant says, and assuming that you have represented him correctly, I would go beyond Kant in saying that the things we perceive are perceived according to our differing manners, and would say that a man and, say, an angel, do not perceive a thing in the same way. An angel has its own nature, does not have a biological eye, an human nervous system, etc., and so does not perceive or even imagine things in the mind as a man does.
      But each entity perceives a real thing and the relations of that real thing to other things. And thus, as the Cardinal pointed out, the question as framed by Descartes, “Do we understand things as they really are,” is a false frame for the question. It is futile for man to talk about knowing a thing “as it really is in itself,” apart from his own knowledge about it. For whatever the thing is in itself, man never perceives or understands it save in his own manner of perceiving and knowing.
      Mercier will get into the question of how our thoughts do (or don’t) correspond really to things as they are (though always in our own mode of perception), as we go forward.

      1. Thank you for the thoughtful response. I will have to give it until tomorrow to reply.

  5. LMAO
    “Br. Aurelius Moner is a Catholic monk who was has left the “nice” philosophy of Liberalism behind, having come to understand that the judgment, authority and strength of the Patriarchy is necessary to save civilization from “nice” people. He is a man of many imperfections, but he is confident that Christ will perfect the work He began in him.”
    Are you kidding me? what the hell is someone like that preaching a bunch of theological crap in a website that promotes promiscuous and irresponsible behavior a.k.a “game”.
    Hypocrite.

    1. Yeah, he definitely should not be talking to people who are promiscuous. Or whores or tax collectors.
      What kind of d-bag would ever bother speaking with the unricheous

    2. No this site is more of a purgatory, a spaghetti bowl interchange of truths and minds, like where ten major interstates converge in a big industrial city. You have to cruise and navigate the whole thing many times over, learn all the loop-de-loops of it before you’re good at it, then you can decide where to go without getting turned around ass backwards.

    3. The site puts many ideas forward. I’ve never approved of promiscuity. I’m here because I see that many men who start to question Feminism and the domesticated box it has put men into, often wind up going an whole lot farther than a mere critique of Feminism. They start poking at the Big Picture.
      People asked Jesus why He went and ate with sinners, palled around with tax agents, allowed women to come right up to Him, talk to Him, touch His feet, etc. It seems clear to me: He knew that the sinners were ready to hear Him, while the Pharisees and Saducees, all the “good” people, had their own ideas. Perhaps I err in being here; but my conscience tells me that God goes where the people want to hear Him; I find more of that here, than I find in many Catholic parishes – where people are hardened in their impenitence, pride and love of Liberal ideology, and would literally cast under their feet the Son of God to be trampled and ground into the soles of their shoes. Upon whom can God more quickly have mercy? Earnest young men waking up from the disillusionment of vice, prepared to leave it behind for virtue? Or people who have turned His house into a den of thieves, and congratulate themselves for adhering to their impiety and blasphemies?
      “…but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away. And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

  6. I get cross eyed thinking about the ‘blue button red button’ pic looking at it. I have to turn away to something easier to untangle. I sit with my rubik’s cube and smack it again. The red button is being cottling and nice and the blue is a shit talker. Just like a beta man licking the toes of a lying deceptive aging ex-carousel lizard. The chord is the same endless monotany between the two.

  7. (I was tired when writing this. I apologize if my thinking does not pan out and is crappy.)
    Religious faith seems to cause its adherents to swerve into non sequiturs:
    “… there is no basis for a conception of authentic morality (i.e., values that transcend mere considerations of pleasure or utility to rise to an actual level of “good” or “evil”) unless God exists and is Himself the source of the Good…”
    (I’m not sure if this statement is a “no true Scotsman” or simply tautological.)
    The belief in God is like a magnet pulling on the compass needle of reasoning, guiding the mind to conclusions which incorporate that belief, no matter how tenuous.
    As a former atheist shitlord who has developed a fond appreciation for Christianity, I am disappionted that the true believers are so poor at defending it.
    A lot of scientific claims are exaggerated and exceed the evidence. The religious fail to attack the hubris of science sufficiently because they cannot seem to help themselves from veering off and making claims which can be even more easily attacked.
    The religious basically stop swinging the wrecking ball halfway through, and get distracted and try to build a house of cards.
    Which is kind of what happened here. Guy is making good points, I’m following along, nodding my head, and then BOOM! Out comes some weak, distracting piece of half baked reasoning that interrupts the flow and causes people to become critical of everything that surrounds it.
    I can’t speak for others, but the thing which has made me comfortable with the idea of God is not any sort of positive evidence or reasoning supporting the concept, but the lack of any truly fulfilling answers. Atheists mock the “God of the gaps,” suggesting that the idea of God is in retreat, hiding in increasingly fewer and smaller holes in our knowledge. However, the more I’ve studied, and the better I’ve come to understand science, the more I see just how vast and overstated our claims to understanding are. Our gaps in our knowledge are big enough to accomodate damn near anything, there’s certainly enough space for God to live there, with space left over to sublet.
    I think that arguing for God’s existence via proofs or axioms making strong claims is a poor prospect. I think a better approach is to create an idea of an empty space large enough that only God can fill it. God cannot easily be put in a mind if there exists no void which the mind wishes to fill.
    Find the gaps and pry them OPEN; people will come looking for a God to block up those gaps. God is not found with clever arguments. God is found by way of humility and awe.

    1. “…– yet, this does not prove the existence of God, or of morals; it simply
      acknowledges the necessity of the correlation between the two.”
      I put the rest of his point here because you left it out, thus making it look like this statement alone was meant to prove the existence of God when it wasn’t.
      I find the rest of your views very interesting though, being a former atheist shitlord too.

    2. GOD IS SPACE
      Moner tries to explain things somewhat poetically but sometimes a working physical model clarifies things. God is all left brain, his will is all right brain and men right brainedly describe the mysterious works of creation before them. Insofar as god existing in the ‘spaces’ and gaps, realize that ‘space’ is not a relative abstract concept. In the universe, both much and little can exist between measurable space. Vast swaths of empty space compete with regions packed full of matter. And they inter relate or ‘communicate’ their existance with distant pools of matter in the dark but with a tug, call it ‘gravity’. Let’s consider gravity. Two objects irregardless of the distance separating them which is the ‘space’ between them, register a measurable gravity between them. The gravity is proportional to their mass. If two objects millions of light years apart change position relative to one another, if they become more distant or nearer, the gravity between them changes instantaneously. There’s no time lag of ‘x’ million number of years before the change in gravity is noticed. Gravity doesn’t travel like light. It’s instantaneous or more accurately, gravity having no time differential, thus gravity is a component of space itself. The same gravity holding YOU down also held the dinasaurs down. Different scenery, SAME GRAVITY. It’s the SAME, timeless. Much or little can exist in quanta of space. To the extreme, ALL can therefore exist in an infinitessimally small area of space. All came from a point of nothing, when space pre existed for eternity. Actually gravity IS space. Gravity gave birth to matter. Space supercedes all, therefore god must be space. You can either know space or you can shake your fist at it and curl into a ball like a dumb animal. How many have sat down with some wine and looked up and talked to space lately? Make sense?

    3. I think classical theism opens space for existence of God. Not in the domain of science, as you would like, but in the domain of metaphysics. You concede too much to atheists when you accept the idea of the God of gaps, even if you are right about the overstated achievements of science.
      Ironically, atheism probably undermines the metaphysical foundations of science. That’s why metaphysics is important and Aurelius quite aptly starts with this criteriology/epistemology stuff because metaphysics is often attacked or dismissed by moderns, esp. by scientists.

      1. Exactly.
        I’m amazed at how “scientists” reject so many religious persons as having “blind faith,” when they themselves have not thought for even a minute about the basic metaphysical and epistemological truths that are necessary for them to assert anything at all of their own accord.

    4. The statement about morality is a near tautology, and I agree that it should be self-evident, but for many people it is not. Just as the three primary truths asserted by the “Exaggerated Dogmatists” as necessary assumptions prior to the discussion of truth are a near-tautology which should be pretty close to self-evident, but many people miss it. This says less about the ideas being complicated, or amounting to real arguments, and more about modern peoples’ difficulty in clear thinking right out of the gate.
      I don’t think mentioning it was a non-sequitur; it was the first example that entered my mind of other truths necessary in the logical and ontological orders, which are nevertheless not themselves proof that such a situation really prevails in the ontological order.
      I’m not sure what the weak, half-baked reasoning was. There really wasn’t any reasoning involved; just the citation of (essentially) a tautology that corresponded closely in its nature to the “three primary truths” I had just cited.
      I agree with much of what you say about God… but I think rigorously honest men want to see that there are positive motives for acknowledging God as a truth discovered by reason. I think the part about God filling up what is lacking, and being found in mystery and awe, will come when people start getting into the search for a particular way of relating to Him.

  8. How do we know what we know??? Epistemology. It’s way more complicated than what can be covered in a propaganda click bait article. Good luck.

    1. When you realize you really don’t know shit and accept the fact you never really will is when you will start to take baby steps towards becoming enlightened. Until then, a nigger did it, and jooz.

    2. He will not solve the problem. But at least he is opening a door that is usually kept shut these days.
      The problems mentioned here are actually relevant. In my family the other day, I hardcore atheist used a Kant position (“some things cannot be known”) to point out the irrationality of faith. I will not go into the details of the argument, too long, but he confirmed my bias that atheists are just as dogmatic, even worse than fundamentalist Christians in my cases.
      Concerning click bait, our pussy-gettters priest is likely at the bottom of the totem. However, I hope he continues writing articles for ROK.
      The topics he introduces confer a certain dignity to the site. And I enjoy the feeling of superiority I feel as an ROK reader when I compare the topics here to the pseudo science of so many of the other pages that discuss gender issues.
      Aurelius Boner (sorry dude, but you are the pussy-getters’ priest) does reflect back glimpses of insights into the genesis of the Western world with his grasp of medieval and Enlightenment concepts.
      He is actually looking at things I intend to explore when I retire and the pace of time slows down.
      Yes, I am a little bit of a fan his articles. Not that I come here looking to solve these issues, but a reminder here and there of higher perspectives is always a good thing.

      1. Get off his dick. He’s not writing for you to be a fan of his articles. He is writing so you do come here looking to solve these issues. So try doing that, and talking to me about that, instead of writing a book about how far off his dick you’re willing to hang.

      2. I won’t “solve the problem,” insofar as some men will still choose to do their own thing – always have, always will. But I hope I can show many men that they’ve been sold a raw bill of goods, and there is plenty of room for them to have confidence in the truthfulness of a more patriarchal and ‘intolerant,’ and otherwise higher worldview.
        As to being a “pussy-getter’s priest,” I’ll remind folk that I’m not a priest, and it is my hope that I’m persuading some men that there are better things to aim at than that… though, most men probably have to learn this by experience, since the promise of coital delights now is usually a much stronger incentive than the promise of enlightenment, later.
        And in any case, thanks for the kind words. I enjoy reading your comments, both when you agree and when you disagree with me.

    3. Yeah, that’s what he writes, clickbait. I can see people lining up to read the relationships between skepticism, dogmatism and certitude, right after they get out of the “How to rape a dog’ forum. Sure.
      Relax home fries, it’s an introduction, to get men thinking.

      1. “How to Rape a dog ” forum”. I know progressives are clueless, but I didn’t know they needed instruction in dog rape. As it’s ussually axiom that dog rape comes naturally to progressives.

    4. It’s not a click-bait article, but a series on philosophy that has been going on for a couple months, now. The regular readers are following it over time; they know they’re not getting a click-bait, one-off article. I made it clear that we were studying epistemology three articles ago.

      1. Ok, but how can we as a people be certain to get them skeptical bitches to give us some dogmatic style pussy doe??? Inquiring minds wanna know.

      2. Da ei nil mentis. Tantum parvus puer se putans invenisse clavem vitae (probabiliter postquam legens “atlatem umeros alevavisse”) cui rationem docere prius in hoc situ alicubi tentavi sed iam opinor fortasse eum esse stultum in eius duritia et non aliorum sententiis mentem velle patefacere.

        1. Haud te vera dixisse dubio; oremus igitur pro eo, quia multos a pravitate et stultitia liberat Deus, qui libertatem minime expectabant… sicut et multos in vicium et insipientiam caduciter demersit, qui se stare putabant. Ne tale patiamur nos indigni, oret et pro nobis Sancta Deipara Maria!

        2. Ita. Rationem habes. Virtutem caritatis saepe egeo. Ergo valde pro eo oremus sperantes non frustra. Scio tamen Hanc doctrinam aliquam mi discendam iterum iterumque, sicut cervus ad fontes.

        3. Vere dicis! “Ita desiderat anima mea ad Te, Deus vive et vere.” Haec sities major valde est scientia sola! Ego viciis sum plenissimus, sed hoc unicum bene novi: hominem Deum desiderantem velocius Deum habiturum quam hominem de Deo loquentem ac discentem tantum. Ad Deum igitiur desideremus, ut recte discamus quoque. Et huius causa, dixi quia nos orare pro eo oportet; ante oportet Deum desiderare quam de Deo discere, et scimus desiderium Dei donum esse supernaturale. Scio bene, quia tu haec omnia bene noscis; sed repetitio nobis frequenter prodest.
          Tibi congratulor in festa Ascensionis Domini nostri Iesu Christi. Idonea talis colloquii est haec dies. “Ipsi quoque mente in caelestibus habitemus.”

      1. Heh! Disarming kindness instead of the usual barrage of nastiness. I learned something.

        1. Hmm. I try not to be nasty in my comments as a general rule. Have I offended you in a past comment?

        2. Absolutely not. You are a kind and gentle spirit. I usually hit the flag and make an inappropriate comment. I guess you turn the other cheek?

        3. Oh, I get it. I’m sorry, I thought you were saying that normally I’m rude, but that my message was a change of pace!
          I can have quite a bit of fire, judgment and incensed indignation against evil, but I try to keep them on the side of the good, without crossing the line into wrath. I fail from time to time, of course.

    1. Ditto. I always make a point of saving these articles for later, more attentive reading. Job well done, sir.

  9. Gday Brother
    Just wanted to ask if you’re still responding to your Gmail handle? I sent off a few questions a while ago.
    These articles are interesting to me but I still find it all hard to understand. As a point of reference it took me 6 months to finish Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and I can barely recall most of the passages from it.

  10. This outlines a popular conflict in epistomology, but it is very watered down. It doesn’t allude to Invariant verses Contextualist ideas, or the contexts under which a premise ought to be accepted. You should give reasons why your premises (or truths as you call them) are true by default. You made a claim, that arguing against these truths is acknowledging them, but you didn’t claim why. The first one sounds similar to Descartes conclusion in (I believe it is the third?) meditation but Descartes didn’t make that assertion until after a clear line of reasoning (The I think therefore I am argument). The third one sounds similar to the conclusions that Locke came to, but another philosopher (Berkeley I think..) actually DOES refute this claim. He gives an analysis on why causal explanations for the formation of perceptions in the mind as they correspond toreality is not certain. I am not saying I agree/disagree with him just that an explanation would have been nice. I think Hume said the same thing but I can’t remember….I may have missed stuff though because I didnt sleep much though so correct me if I missed something.

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