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Hume’s Guillotine Has No Blade (Part SEVEN): Practical application and examples of Argo’s universal and objective morality

“The violation of morality is to be found in all instances where one attempts to apply contradiction, the ultimate imposter of truth.”

I know that this explanation is relatively enigmatic, so in this last installment of my series on objective and universal morality, I will provide the reader with some clarity by referencing practical examples of moral violation and showing the connection to contradiction.

In the last article I used the example of “apple” to reveal how the attempted application of the contradiction of “apple”—that is, that an apple both is and is not an apple—renders that concept useless, and no longer available to the observer in order to promote himself nor reality in general. “Apple” is an aspect of existence no longer available to him; he has willfully rejected it by attempting to synthesize what IS the apple with the infinite absence of the apple (NOT apple).

By accepting that IS simultaneously IS NOT, the observer has ultimately undermined his ability to ever discern truth from falsehood. “That which is, also is not” is a black hole of meaninglessness which renders epistemology ultimately moot. And without the means to declare truth, via a rationally consistent epistemology, existence, reality, and the observer at their very natural root are irrelevant. And so go the metaphysics. Contradiction destroys the observer and reality by destroying epistemology which destroys the metaphysical substrate of existence, itself. And that is why “thou shall apply truth consistently” is THE categorical moral imperative.

Now, let us examine contradiction as it applies to more profound, substantive issues than a mere apple. And the most profound, of course, are church and state.

Look at the history of both of these institutions, and behold the mountains of dead bodies and oceans of blood; witness the endlessly burning cities; hear the thousands of dirges sung around countless funeral pyres. We wonder and marvel at the seemingly infinite capacity for mass destruction and death, and ever expanding heights of misery and torment; their love of war, hatred of the masses; their deftness and dexterity of lies and artifice and manipulation and their insatiable lust for everything evil.

Well, wonder no more. I will tell you why they are so evil, and why their god is satan, and why they ever worship and kneel before the bottomless pit into which they have ignobly dumped all love, virtue, compassion, honesty, honor, integrity, competence, truth, meaning, and peace.

“Contradiction” is not just an awkward, four syllable word; it’s not merely a fun little category of logic; not merely a “gotcha” of philosophical debate.

Have you ever wondered why even good men and women have participated en masse in the atrocities of church and state which have littered history for thousands of years? What is it about these institutions, which we are told are established by men and God for the glory, protection, and perpetuation of the human race, that in virtually all instantiations and in all times leads to absolute and abject collapse of all that is good and holy, even though they may be filled with the brightest minds, the most competent hands, and the most compassionate souls mankind has to offer? Why, in even the best of times, do these institutions constitute little more than an inexorable march toward schism, war, tyranny, and mass murder?

Look no further than the contradictions which are so inherent and endemic to church and state that without these contradictions, neither of these institutions can be defined at all, let alone established as the official head and potentate of broad swaths of humanity.

Government and the church rest upon on a single, primary premise which is so profound that it cannot be overstated, and utterly metaphysical at its core. It is relatively easily articulated, yet so all-pervasive and so widely accepted as ipso facto that it can be exceedingly difficult to see. And this premise is: the root existential evil and insufficiency of man.

Let us distill church and state down to a simple analogy. The point of this article is to show how contradiction leads to chaos, and a good example of inevitable chaos is the attempt to move that which is immovable. In other words, if my only fundamental purpose is to move that which is immovable, then I will always fail. My failure will be infinite…there will be no hope of success. I will try and I will try until I collapse and die, because that is my purpose. The entirety of my endeavor will be defined by frustration and pointlessness. Why? Because I have established my purpose upon a contradiction.

So it goes with church and state. The church exists to compel man into goodness, because man himself is utterly incapable of goodness in his very nature (the doctrine of Total Depravity, rooted in the allegory of the Fall of Man). He is, by dint of birth, an affront to God. The church must thus compel him into goodness by force and threat, that he may be acceptable to the Divine, for man cannot do this himself because all he does and all he thinks and all he wills comes from a place of root existential moral failure.

The state exists to compel man into a successful and meaningful life, because man, himself, is insufficient to his own existence. Left to himself, his life must necessarily collapse into a festering pit of of conflict, exploitation, oppression, misery, and death. Man is, by dint of his very existence, incapable of the life implied by his birth. Therefore, the state must, by threats and force and punishment, compel him into a life of meaning and success and peace. Man cannot do this himself because all he does and thinks and wills is from a place of root existential inadequacy.

Do you see the problem? Can you see the looming disaster and chaos just over the next hill?

Both the church and state exist specifically to solve a problem for which, according to their own fundamental and self-admitted purpose, there can be no solution.

Man is by the very fact that he was born at all, utterly exclusive of goodness and utterly exclusive of the efficacy of life.

Without the church man is an inexorable and absolute slave to evil, because that is the sum and substance of his very nature…his very being. Yet this description of man makes moot any action the church may take to rectify man’s insuperable natural flaw.  Man is entirely exclusive of good; it cannot be forced upon him any more than he can earn it, because if it could, then it would mean that man is NOT in fact naturally exclusive of it, and this undermines the basic essence and relevance of the church. If man is not exclusive of good then does the church actually need to exist at all? That question becomes debatable at best, and I submit that the answer is ultimately no. Because the very admission that man is not by nature exclusive of good is to cut out the heart of the church.

The same argument can be made of the state. The description of man as naturally insufficient to his own life and prosperity makes moot any action the state may take to rectify this flaw. Man is to be compelled by force of law into his life and existence in absolute existential spite of himself. This kind of strategy is categorically unmanageable. The implementation of such a strategy is a forgone, abysmal failure, because it is rooted in an impossible contradiction: that man both can and cannot successfully exist according to his nature. The consequence is catastrophic moral disaster, where only suffering and destruction and death is reaped for the ruled, and likewise, inevitably, for the ruler. The fool who leads is crushed by the same folly that flattens his followers.

Both the church and the state are inexorably anchored to an intractable contradictory purpose which can only equal the very misery and chaos which history has seen them produce time after; and this misery and chaos they will always produce, forevermore, until they are finally abolished. That contradictory purpose is, once again: to solve the unsolvable; to move the immovable.

Thus, we witness in church and state the moral disaster of the failure to implement the categorical moral imperative: Thou shall apply truth consistently.

END

Hume’s Guillotine Has No Blade (Part SIX): The objectively subjective consciousness fallacy

I suspect that the bulk of the criticism of my theory of objective, universal moral ethics will focus on the conscious observer. Consciousness is something to which I clearly appeal as being integral to objective moral ethics, as well as epistemology and metaphysics…well, to the whole of philosophy, really. In other words, let me be clear: the claim that consciousness is purely subjective and epiphenomenal with respect to reality makes reality impossible to define, thus there can be no truly efficacious defense of reality at all. All declarations of truth—of anythingmust and do proceed from a singular conscious frame of reference.

This is not a defense of the “primacy of consciousness” metaphysic, but it IS a defense of the inestimable and critical metaphysical value of conceptualization—which is the only relevant function of consciousness—and similar value to epistemology; and from epistemology, to ethics, and the rest of philosophy.

All truths are conceptual, and this is because all truths must be defined, understood, and willfully applied, otherwise they are meaningless. And “meaningless truth” is a contradiction in terms. It is not enough to observe a tree, but “tree” must be conceptualized in order that it be defined and differentiated from the rest of reality. All distinctions are fundamentally conceptual. Conceptualization is thus the fundamental efficacy of what is observed. Observation qua observation is redundant. Sense data need not be sensed at all unless it is conceptualized, and via conceptualization, constructed into an epistemological framework by which the the observer can derive and discern truth.

I find it helpful to assume that “consciousness” and “conceptualization” are essentially synonymous…at least with respect to metaphysics and epistemology. The only relevant function of the consciousness is to conceptualize…to create concepts for what is observed, and from these build language, and from that language communicate with other observers.

And this is key. Asserting the object necessity of consciousness in building an efficacious and meaningful epistemology is NOT asserting consciousness, itself, as the objective metaphysical and/or epistemological standard. Conceptualization implies language, and language implies communication, and communication implies “other”. Meaning that if the conscious self (the self-aware observer) conceptualizes and thus must communicate, then the self necessarily implies other selves with whom to communicate. So it would be foolish to pretend that the self qua self is the root arbiter of what is truth and reality. That is, to assume that one’s self qua one’s self is the plumb-line by which anything is called real, and true, and ethical, is indeed merely an appeal to solipsism, which is completely irrational, because it is easily proven to be wholly subjective. Yet accusations of solipsism and other such vapid, ethereal ideologies are invariably leveled against anyone who claims consciousness as not only necessary, but fundamental, to objective reality, truth, and morality, by those who assert the primacy of existence as the metaphysical absolute.

So if it isn’t the self, itself, which provides the singular and immutable reference and standard for truth, morality, and so on, then what is it?

As stated, the only relevant aspect of consciousness is conceptualization, to the point where there can be no fundamental difference between them (consciousness IS conceptualization, and vice versa); and conceptualization implies language, and language implies communication (with the OTHER, or other selves). Therefore the objective epistemological and ethical standard is necessarily that which enables objective, relevant, meaningful communication. In other words, the standard is that by which it can be said that communication has actually occurred. And that of course is conceptual consistency. Another way of putting it is “rational consistency”, or reason.

And this is why contradiction is an abject imposter of truth, and thus cannot be successfully applied, and thus all attempts to do so are necessarily, universally, and objectively immoral (see part five of this series). Contradiction denies the efficacy and meaningfulness of communication, and likewise language, and likewise conceptualization, and likewise the observer, and without the observer there can be no one to define and declare that reality is in fact real; and thus reality, itself, collapses.

The presumption that all morality must invariably be subjective—a collection of nothing but infinitely relative hypothetical imperatives—of OUGHTS—which have nothing ultimately to do with objective reality—that which IS—is precisely rooted in the arrant denial of any objective, and thus fundamentally relevant and meaningful, value of the consciousness to existence…to reality, itself.

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So, what are the underlying presumptions of the of the nature of consciousness upon which are established the arguments against universal, objective morality?

They are as follows:

That consciousness has no foundation in existence because it is entirely transient (born out of nothing, dies into nothing). And existence is the root standard of objectivity. Therefore consciousness must be entirely subjective. Yet consciousness is singular and absolute in its essence—it is experienced as “I”.  And thus it is concluded that it must be singularly and absolutely subjective. Any attempt then to interpret, define, and apply one’s existence from the internal frame of reference of the conscious self must necessarily result in complete chaos. Sense data, interpreted and applied to, first and foremost, the promotion of one’s self, which is entirely subjective and thus entirely relative, will necessarily pit man against his fellow man, and against his environment, leading inevitably to social collapse, societal collapse, structural collapse, and infinite moral atrocity.

The conscious self then must be anchored to that which is outside of itself. That is, all the conscious self thinks, wills, and desires must be referenced to an objective reality outside. Sense data is to be considered inexorably distinct from the conceptual interpretations of the consciousness.The data is categorically a priori, de facto, intransigent, constant (in its nature), and absolute. This reality—this reality which exists, period—is the reference by which all thought and belief, ethics and politics, should be tied in order to avoid the inevitable chaos that a primacy of consciousness shall deliver. The primacy of existence, on the other hand—the conscious will’s utter deference to objective reality outside itself— is humanity’s bulwark against superstition, mysticism, ideology, self-absorbtion, moral relativism, and all other forms of epistemological and moral relativism, which can only lead to chaos, vice, and misery.

Sense data is a bridge between the infinite objectivity of existence (of reality outside of one’s self) and the infinite subjectivity of consciousness. Consciousness does not interpret what the sense data delivers—it does not create meaning. Meaning is dictated to the consciousness from the “outside world”. What the sense data delivers, it delivers. Any notions regarding greater meaning to the self; any interpretations beyond the face value of the facts; any arrogant assumption that the conscious self is entitled to any role or should have any say In the grand and greater purpose of existence and objective reality is a violation of truth and an appeal to madness; it constitutes rank violent selfishness, which seeks to sacrifice objective reality, and all others in it, to one’s self, merely for one’s own subjective pleasure.

The idea that consciousness is in any way creative, that it any way determines the fundamental nature of what exists—of what IS—, that it is anything more than a receptacle into which objective sense data is dumped, and for no other reason than to perpetually inform the consciousness of its utterly transient, subjective, and thus ultimately irrelevant nature, and that consciousness “exists” only to regurgitate the self-evincing facts of external objective reality, and thus to promote existence as everything and itself as nothing…yes, any and all suggestions that consciousness is anything more than some enigmatic, fundamentally unimportant, redundant epiphenomenon of existence, is to be condemned and dismissed as an appeal to pure mysticism at best, madness at heart, and pure criminal bloodlust at worst.

The self should ultimately resign itself to being basically a disinterested bystander to reality and existence. It should seek moral good, yet understand that moral good is found in the rejection of the efficacy of will and an acceptance that one’s conscious existence is ultimately an illusion, and thus of no real  purpose. There is no reason to assert one’s will upon the world, nor upon one’s fellow man, since doing so can only lead to chaos, and thus unnecessary misery for one’s self and others. The limiting and/or elimination of unnecessary suffering by rejecting the idea that one’s self is entitled to anything from existence is the greatest, and only, moral good achievable for the conscious self. To have compassion on one’s fellow man is to recognize that the violation of him to one’s own subjective will doesn’t do anything for one’s self in the end, and only invites unnecessary suffering. One should seek to make the subjective experience of conscious existence as painless and comfortable as possible.

The practical ways in which this shall be achieved vary widely, of course, since no objective moral behavior can be prescribed from a purely subjective conscious existence. Morality, which is only of any use to the conscious self, has no relevance thus to objective reality outside. Morality then, constitutes the subjective, or hypothetical “ought” to the “is” of objective reality.  All moral codes and strictures, then, are relative, and attempts to mitigate unnecessary human misery should be interpreted contextually only, and no attempts should be made to categorically condemn any person, or group, based on some kind of impossible objective moral value system. This means that proponents of the metaphysical primary of existence (of “objective reality outside one’s self”) can be found in all manner of social systems in the world and world history, from national socialism, to representative democracy, to anarchism, to communism, to oligarchy, tribalism, theocracy, etc. etc. Since existence is objective, and consciousness is subjective, then differences in how men choose to organize themselves politically and socially ultimately boil down to subjective arguments over which system reduces unnecessary human misery more, or less. There is evidence that liberal democratic systems are temporarily more comfortable, but comfort is, itself, simply a relative assertion. All debates about the supremacy of one political system over another are really debates over “how much” suffering is too much; and this because humanity, being conscious and thus purely subjective and transient, is always giving way to the unrelenting encroachment of objective reality. In other words, suffering is endemic to consciousness. Death is inevitable for the self, and so the nature of one’s life, morally speaking, is fundamentally irrelevant. Disagreements over the “proper” social and political systems then, are ultimately unresolvable, and thus will inevitably lead to violent conflict.

There is no objective moral or political argument to make if we accept that existence implies the fundamental subjectivity of human consciousness. We understand that everyone eventually dies, and by this we mean that the consciousness fades into oblivion, and leaves a legacy with no objective meaning, and humanity is utterly at the mercy of the objective reality outside itself, and has no real substance, and no real place in the grand scheme of things. All ethical and sociopolitical debates are little more than killing time until we return to the anomalous abyss from which we mysteriously sprung.

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The problem with this interpretation of consciousness is that not only does it preclude the possibility of any objective morality, which is scary enough in itself, but it precludes the possibility of any real ethic whatsoever (please see parts three and four of this series for a comprehensive explication of this). With the rejection of consciousness as anything but a complete anomaly to reality and existence, its categorical subjectivity making it completely insufficient to the application of truth, one finds an empty hole where ethics should be. Since the conscious observer acts from a completely subjective frame of reference, he is ultimately unable to apply truth in any objective way, since he is always inexorably acting from his own consciousness.

Without the applicational of truth to a purpose outside of truth, the truth can never be verified as actually true. Truth then becomes a merely tautological proposal—truth is verified by the mere fact that it is true (it’s truth because it’s true; its true because it’s truth). Objective reality which is fundamentally outside of man—outside of the conscious self—is a reality which finds him completely irrelevant. His will is of no ultimate value; his thoughts unnecessary.

And despite arguments from objectivists, scientific determinists, and other adherents of pseudo-rationalist philosophies, there are only two types of experiential outcome from  this kind of epistemology. And they are…

Since man is fundamentally unable to apply truth, he is ultimately unfit for existence. Man proceeds from his singular conscious frame of reference, but because this frame of reference is purely subjective, and irrelevant to the objective reality outside himself, his will is incompetent; his thoughts are irrational; nothing he does can have any real value or meaning to anything which objectively is. There are only two possibilities then for man as far as his existential experience are concerned: totalitarians or chaos. It’s either complete authoritarian control, or the complete lack thereof. If man is left to himself, his innate and inexorable existential insufficiency demands that he implode into a thoughtless, hopeless, helpless, chasm of complete and violent existential failure, each man taking all other men with him.

The other alternative is to appeal to some transcendent authority…a collection of rulers who can appeal to some kind of divine or extra-ordinary enlightenment. A priest class, if you will. Maybe actual priests, or maybe representatives of a self-deluded liberal democracy, or the commissars of some nominally atheistic communist state. Whatever. In any case, the totalitarian manifestation of the rational failure of primacy of existence metaphysics and epistemology leads to the very chaos that that totalitarianism is intended to prevent.

And the irony cascades.

END part SIX

Hume’s Guillotine Has No Blade (Part FIVE): Formula and Explanation of Objective Universal Moral Ethics

In this installments of the series, I will elaborate upon my theory of objective and universal moral ethics. In part one I made the claim that this was a relatively straightforward and simple proposition, and I still maintain this to be the case, though my approach is perhaps unexpected.

My theory of objective moral ethics is based upon a number of basic and uncomplicated, yet fundamental, logical proofs:

1.Truth, in order to be validated as true, and thus meaningful, and thus relevant, and thus not a tautological fallacy, must have purpose…purpose, that is, to something other than itself.

2. Purpose implies volitional application of truth by that which observes truth from an immutable and singular conscious/conceptualizing frame of reference. This frame of reference is known as “the Observer”.

3. Conscious, volitional application of truth cannot occur if the truth being applied (or, more specifically, attempting to be applied) is presupposed to be both IS and IS NOT at precisely the same time from precisely the same observational and/or conscious-conceptualizing frame of reference. This constitutes a contradiction.

4. Failure to apply truth consistently (attempting to apply a contradiction) renders truth necessarily meaningless, and thus of no use to the observer. The observer is therefore unable to validate any sense data, idea, thought, suggestion, supposition, assertion, etc. etc. and thus can make no actual, relevant observation of any kind. Thus, his very metaphysical essence and purpose is nullified and he is consequently anathema to reality. Yet this also constitutes a nullification of reality, since a reality absent the conscious-conceptualizing observer is one that cannot be fathomed. An unfathomed reality is a reality which cannot be defined, and thus cannot be said to exist at all. That is, a reality which does not exist to the observer is, in every relevant and meaningful way, a reality which does not exist, period.

5. Failure to apply truth consistently (attempting to apply a contradiction) undermines all that IS at the fundamental, irreducible metaphysical level. This failure must be considered an objective ethical violation—an objective evil—given its categorical nullification of ALL. The opposite then must necessarily be considered an objective ethical affirmation—an objective good; to apply X where X is X, and only X, and only ever X, and cannot be considered simultaneously NOT X, is an objective, universal moral action.

Here again is my formula for moral ethics (and I use a formula because this is the best way to distill a universal, immutable axiom down to its simplest description. A formula is also good a way to demystify a claim; to declare its universal rational, practical, utilitarian, and egalitarian essence. This empowers the axiom…it does not, as some might claim, render it merely a cold, academic proposition. It makes it infinitely and wonderfully relevant; it does not relegated it to the ethereal esotericism of religion and spiritualism, or any other such psycho-emotional bromide which seeks to ostracize the intellect):

Truth (X) = Purpose (of X) = Application (of X—where X cannot be applied either implicitly or explicitly as IS X and simultaneously NOT X)

This ethical formula makes it possible to objectively validate the moral value of any actual or theoretical action taken in service to any idea, based upon the rational consistency of that idea. That is, should one attempt to apply a truth claim which either is, or is interpreted or manipulated to be, a contradiction in whole or in part, we can know that that application is necessarily immoral in that the attempted application of a contradiction is the attempted application of false truth, which leads to conclusions which must necessarily deny the observer by making efficacious integration and interaction with reality impossible by him, which undermines both reality and the observer.

Assume X (a given truth) is “apple”. That’s is, we can declare that the fruit in our hand is an apple. And from that truth, we can do  virtually an endless number of things with the apple. But there is one fundamental thing which, if we choose to attempt it, nullifies the truth and leads to conclusions which contradict our very selves and reality (and everything and everyone in it). And because of this, this choice must be considered an objective evil.

if one chooses to define the apple as being both “apple” and “NOT apple”, then “apple” can never truly be applied; any application thus shall be infinitely inefficacious, and the consequences shall be metaphysically and physically destructive. If I claim, directly or indirectly, implicitly or explicitly, that apple is simultaneously NOT apple, then both the physical and metaphysical universe are inexorably damaged. “Apple” here is a concept which can have no meaning to me, thus that particular truth is utterly stripped from me, and indicates a fundamental failure of my conceptualizing powers, which has profoundly negative  metaphysical implications. I am no longer able to apply the concept “apple”; any attempt to do so must lead to chaos. There is no such thing as an IS which simultaneously IS NOT; any attempted application of such is the very definition of chaos. To attempt to apply “IS which IS NOT” inevitably leads to both physical and metaphysical death for the observer, and along with him, reality itself, by removing the means by which reality can be declared real. This must therefore be considered objectively immoral.

Complicated contradictions like those found often in science (e.g. determinism) and religion (e.g. divine omnipotence) are sometimes difficult to see (or people are unwilling to see them) and thus in response to the necessary resultant chaos from their attempted application, more and more contradictions are offered as solutions. Oftentimes, these “truths” are punted into some ethereal, pseudo-intelligentsia limbo, where they are said to be so profound and so mysterious and so infinitely paradoxical that they are beyond man’s apprehension, and therefore must be taken on faith alone.

In summary, the attempted application of contradiction results in a chaos which implies physical and metaphysical death to the conscious and volitional observer, and therefore to reality, itself. Thus, the attempt to apply contradiction is universally and objectively immoral.

Certainly, these ethics have an inexorable part to play in declaring the objective immorality of the most overt and atrocious of human behaviors, such as murder and theft and rape, etc. However, broaching this issue here is both unwise and unnecessary. Unwise because it involves a detour and distraction in the form of a complicated and perhaps abstruse (for a specifically ethical discussion) examination of the metaphysics of the observer (of the Self); unnecessary because the task here was to dismantle Hume’s is-ought dichotomy as it pertains to the denial of objective and universal morality, which has been accomplished.

“One shall apply truth consistently.”

Or the obverse:

”One shall not attempt to apply a contradiction.”

There is no “ought” to these categorical moral imperatives, though I suppose one could render a kind of ought:

“One ought not attempt to apply a contradiction.”

But this ultimately misses the real issue, which is that the is-ought dichotomy Hume asserts with respect to moral ethics is a non-sequitur. It isn’t that Hume is entirely wrong about deriving an “is” from an “ought”, it’s just that this is entirely irrelevant.

Objective moral ethics (or ethics at all) aren’t about how one ought act in service to truth, but how one will act—this is why they are objective and universal. Truth cannot be a contradiction—all contradictions are fundamentally null; all attempts to synthesize IS and IS NOT, or One and Zero, are void. So the objective moral ethic isn’t that one ought not apply a contradiction, but that one cannot apply a contradiction. And this is the heart of why attempts to apply contradiction are metaphysically and physically destructive. They  cannot be applied, because they are a categorical lie, and so the consequences of attempts to do so result in, ultimately, the death of the Self and the death of Reality.

As I have stated, application of truth is necessarily volitional, so we need to be clear: the truth is not dictating its own application to the observer who applies it. Truth must be willfully enacted, and this to validate its truthfulness to the conscious/conceptualizing observer. The fact that one must inexorably apply truth consistently—that one has no choice but to do so—does not make truth’s application any less volitional. It is merely an ethical fact that one shall apply truth consistently or one shall not apply truth at all. Should one attempt to apply a contradiction, he shall reap the inevitable negative existential consequences. And this is why attempting to apply contradiction is universally and objectively immoral.

“One shall apply truth consistently.”

This is your categorical moral imperative. There is no hypothetical scenario possible. There is no “if”. Since contradictions are epistemologically impossible, the consistent application of truth is a categorical ethical imperative. A hypothetical imperative, should we attempt one, could only be fallaciously rendered as follows:

“One ought apply truth consistently IF one wishes for truth to be in fact true, reality to be in fact real, and one’s self to in fact exist.”

And here you can see the madness of the hypothetical. Truth and one’s existence are immutable premises, not subjective conclusions.

END Part FIVE

 

Hume’s Guillotine Has No Blade (Part FOUR): The implicit epistemological contradiction of Hume’s Law—an epistemology both with and without ethics

As we continue our deconstruction and dismantling of Hume’s Law, it is important to examine the intrinsic contradiction found in the relationship between ethics and epistemology as implied by the philosophical assumptions underwriting Hume’s claim. What Hume’s Law does is create an implicit mutual exclusivity between epistemology and ethics. This is a violation of the basic principles of philosophy and philosophical thinking, and is a large part of why Hume’s law is a rational disaster.

I went into the relationship between philosophical categories in part three of this series in some detail, so I will only summarize it here. The five major categories of philosophy—metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, aesthetics—-do not exist in a vacuum of themselves. They all share a corollary relationship with one another, and the sum of the categories serves to reinforce the metaphysical primary (the nature of reality, itself…the root IS of all that is). However, it can be helpful to simplify the relationship between the categories by arranging them linearly, as follows: Metaphysics implies epistemology, epistemology implies ethics, ethics implies politics, politics implies aesthetics. This fact has profound and inescapable implications for any ethical claim, and certainly for Hume’s Law. What the inseparable and corollary relationship between the philosophical categories demands is that if any one category is deemed objective—and by “objective” we mean fundamental, irreducible, universal, absolute, and infinitely consistent—then all categories must be equally so. If one makes a claim to “objective truth”, which is an assertion that one’s epistemological premise naturally promotes axiomatic distinctions between correct knowledge and incorrect knowledge, then one is necessarily, though perhaps implicitly, making a claim to an objective ethic. This fact is an immutable philosophical attribute. One cannot claim objective philosophical category X and then from that conclude that philosophical category Y is therefore subjective. This is impossible. But this logical failure is completely endemic to Hume’s Law.

For example, “Objectivism”,  as far as I understand, is a label derived primarily from the assumption of the objective nature of “Existence”…Existence being the Objectivist metaphysical primary. This being the case, then any objectivist is bound by intellectual integrity in the form of rational consistency and non-contradictory truth to assume that their ethics are likewise objective. Again, it is a rational impossibility to achieve a subjective from an objective. And interestingly, and ironically, this point is the exact point Hume’s Law makes. This being the case, it is then impossible to obtain a subjective ethic from an objective epistemology (a subjective right and wrong from an objective truth and falsehood). But this is what advocates of Hume’s Law inexorably do, and their intellectual and philosophical failure in this is insuperable. What they claim is “no objective and universal morality”, but what they mean is “no objective and universal ethic” (please refer to the distinction between ethics and morality I spoke of in the last article of this series).

Advocates of Hume’s Law do not seem to understand how profoundly undermining this is to their arguments. Those that do will argue that they are not in fact making a claim that ethics, itself (the category), is completely subjective, but only that moral ethics are. But the fact is that one cannot rationally argue for any objective ethic if one presumes that volitional behavior (conscious behavior, as a function of consciousness) is irrelevant with respect to objective truth (objective epistemology). Meaning that whatever one chooses to do is irreducibly subjective, making volitional behavior completely absent any real and true foundation, which means it can have nothing fundamental to to with the “objective truth” from which that behavior is given meaning.

Remember, one MUST assert an ethic if one is asserting an epistemology. And if one is asserting that the epistemology (fundamental truth)  is objective then that which necessarily follows—the ethic—must likewise be objective. And what is the ethic? The ethic is the application of truth to purpose which validates truth. Correct application of truth validates that truth is in fact true, thus this application is “good”. Incorrect application contradicts and thus does not affirm truth, and thus this application is “evil”. Application of truth is necessarily and inexorably willful…that is, it is the volitional application of truth. A non-volitional application of truth is impossible, because such application cannot be said to have purpose, and without purpose truth is irrelevant. And irrelevant truth is meaningless truth, and this is a contradiction in terms.

What are the ethical options for one who proclaims that truth is objective but volitional behavior in the application of truth is not? There are only two, and each one is as invalid and rationally bankrupt as the other. The fist option is to declare that ethics simply do not exist at root; that their fundamental subjectively gives them no foundation and thus no fundamental connection to objective truth and thus no fundamental connection to objective reality…they are severed from the “Real”, as it were. This fails the rational integrity test because epistemology without ethics is impossible—without ethics, truth cannot be validated as true. The second is to appeal to some non-voluntary ethical system, like legality. But in order for a legal ethic to manifest one must assume and then establish an authority which has the power to compel ethical behavior. Yet only two such authorities can be claimed: human and divine (and make no mistake, Determinism, which is the metaphysical trope of many atheists and agnostics, to which they appeal as a get-out-of-god-free card, is merely an iteration of Divine Mysticism…it appeals to an omnipotent force which infinitely eludes man’s understanding because it infinitely determines all that he does, all that he is, and all that he knows, and thus thinks). The first authority fails because it is comprised of men…men must choose to establish such authority; men in authority then must choose to compel by force other men into the legal ethic. )Without force, law is not law, it is suggestion). So to claim non-volitional ethical behavior in service to one’s “objective” epistemology by relying upon the choices of men to establish coercive authorities and the choices of rulers to enforce legal ethics is a contradiction, and thus fails at being an involuntary ethic, and thus is an invalid alternative to moral ethics. The reason legality is an ethical disaster and inevitably leads to totalitarian misery is due to the inherent contraction which says that ethical behavior shall be compelled in the masses by the ethical choices of the few who rule. Legality is an attempt to ethically synthesize free will and force. It will never work, and for obvious reasons. Thus, legality cannot be considered a valid ethic, let alone an objective one. Thus, to assert a legal ethic is to assert no ethic at all.

The second fails because divine coercion of men’s behavior is a root undermining of men themselves. A man unable to act in service to truth of his own conscious volition is a man for whom truth is utterly irrelevant, thus such a man can never apprehend truth in first place. Truth absent the ability to apply it is truth absent purpose. And purposeless truth is irrelevant truth, and irrelevant truth is meaningless truth—a contradiction in terms. Thus, one cannot simultaneously claim such a thing as objective truth but no objective means to apply that truth via one’s conscious volition. To remove volition from understanding is to undermine understanding entirely, and therefore no objective truths can ever be claimed because they cannot be validated. The appeal to the divine authority (like Determinism) to force ethical action is in reality the assertion that no ethic exists. This violates the philosophical axiom which says that epistemology MUST imply ethics.

The point I am making with all of this is that one either concedes objective moral ethics—volitional behavior in service to truth—or one cannot concede that any ethics exist at all. And without ethics, there is no objective truth. Without ethics, there is no epistemology. What is true and false must be volitionally applied (morality) in order that he who apprehends truth can validate it according to observable outcomes from his own existential frame of reference. A truth which cannot be volitionally applied is irrelevant to the observer, and thus the observer has no way of knowing that truth is in fact true.

In short, epistemology demands ethics; and not just any ethics, but specifically moral ethics.

*

The idea that truth can be known, but never applied, is really the heart of Hume’s Guillotine, and this is both a great irony worth pointing out (because it mirrors the irrational ethical implications of Christianity’s description of man’s fallen nature), and a fundamental failure of logic which collapses the whole idea. One can know truth, but never act in service to it. Truth, absent the ability to apply it in service to a purpose, makes truth infinitely irrelevant to he who apprehends it. In other words, Hume’s Law apologists want their cake and to eat it, too. They want to proclaim the existence and fact of objective truth—the ability to apprehend it and declare it—yet they want to deny any objective application of truth in order to practically, empirically, and efficaciously validate that the truth is in fact true. They would argue that truth is self-evident, but absent any objective application of truth, truth is only really “evident” to itself.  This is circular, redundant truth, which is a logical fallacy in the form of tautology (it’s true because it’s truth; it’s truth because it’s true), not to mention an infinite reduction to zero. Any truth without validation via the objective volitional application of truth by the conscious observer of truth (he who apprehends and declares that truth is in fact true) can never, ever, by any means be known to be true. Truth without application to purpose by the observer is irrelevant truth, which makes it meaningless truth, which is a contradiction in terms.

And the great irony here is that what the advocates of Hume’s Law do is the exact same thing the evangelical Christians they so vociferously deride as irrational fairy tale—worshipping harpies do. These “doctrinally pure” Christians, particularly of the Calvinist pedigree, proclaim that man, though he is capable of apprehending truth from falsehood, is, due to his fallen and depraved nature, utterly incapable of applying this knowledge to any good end, making all his actions evil by default. And thus, it is not that man commits sin and is thereby condemned, it is that he IS sin—meaning that his very will is banished from ethical behavior altogether. Man is death incarnate not because he chooses to act in evil ways, but because his nature precludes him from ANY moral compass whatsoever. He has knowledge, but his will is infinitely irrelevant to that knowledge, making that knowledge useless to him. And thus, he is essentially born dead. And this is why he needs saving…and in comes the opportunistic priest class to rescue him from his existential dilemma. For a price, of course. It will cost him his freedom, his individuality, his dignity, his property, his mammon, his labor, his truth, his self-will, his mind, his family, his future, and his life in general. But hey, at least he is right with God.

The Humean ethical apologists are no different.  They make grand claims to objective truth and existence, but then declare that ethics is dead and morality with it. Via some  impossible and essentially mystical contradiction—like objective epistemology without objective ethics—they bind man to an intellectually bankrupt determinist fate and offer him the bromide of nihilistic scientific practicality, with implicit nods to the psychopathic priesthood of the State; and offer draconian legal controls with State violence and the seizure of body and property (as incentive and punishment) as some kind of ethical answer to their empty metaphysics. The deride morality as a merely the shiny obsession of a fool and offer you the madness of the of infinite separation between thought and action as an answer to their ethical failure. They replace the soul with death and the light with darkness.

But hey, at least you are right with god. Not that the Humean apologists will call him that.

END part FOUR