Main Special Pleading Discussion

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06:55:01 PM Jul 22nd 2014
edited by
Natter moved here from the main page:

  • Technically, this is a justification for the 'creator' argument, as a being who is outside of time would never require a regress point, as there would be no point at which it could have changed from non-existing to existing (time only exists where change does). Therefore, this being would have special properties (no beginning) and therefore be immune from the recess issue. As logic dictates, infinite recess is impossible and "once you remove the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be the truth!"
    • There still remains the whole "How does a being outside of time act on time?" problem, though.
      • Some theologians have thrown out the idea that since God is outside of time, He can act at all points at once, like an axle would on all of a wheel. The axle has been turning itself forever, but the wheels (universes?) are on different places on it. HAS YOUR MIND EXPLODED YET?
        • Yes, but axles imparting force upon a wheel is limited by the propogation of that force upon the matter which the force acts upon, requiring time. This does not address the issue.
01:00:48 AM Sep 27th 2010
The below example being used to illuminate the topical fallacy of this page:

"Everything that has a beginning has a cause >Therefore, there would have to be an infinite regression of actions, each action having a cause. >Therefore there must be an Ultimate Cause that is responsible for the infinite regression.\\"

is somewhat problematic, as the underpinning issue it seeks to resolve is a special case. The underpinning issue is specifically a paradox inherent to physical reality that strongly defies solution, but nevertheless demands/necessitates one (given the rather glaring fact of physical reality, whatever particulars said reality might ultimately hold to).

The existence paradox (or a facet of it, at least) goes as such. Something can't come from nothing, by definition (as nothing intrinsically lacks that which could be originated/mutated and that which could effect origination/mutation). This necessitates the validity of causality (in at least some manner or form); of an effect/sate requiring a cause/antecedent-state to originate/precipitate from, which necessarily requires an infinite regression of cause/antecedence, as each cause/antecedent-state requires its own cause/antecedent-state, and so on. Infinity, however, is also something that cannot physically exist, by definition. (It is a value of "magnitude-that-cannot-be-attained".) This leaves physical reality (characterized as the universe, the multi-verse, the meta-verse or what have you, which is, even at this very moment, rather strongly in evidence before us) excluding the possibility of an infinite regression even as it requires that such a regression must exist, which (as it does not simply derive from some abstract thought experiment or linguistic artifact) inevitably leads to a place of intractable weirdness.

My point in expounding on this little physical/existential/philosophical/possibly-even-theological mind screw is that calling upon it to illustrate a fallacy at work is, as previously noted, problematic. It is similar to using a declared truth value to the statement: "This statement is false," to illustrate a fallacy. The problem is that such paradoxes ultimately defy the ascription of a truth value; they are, at once, both true AND false and neither true OR false, and therefore make a shaky article upon which to achieve said fallacy illustration (as a fallacy is something that specifically applies to falsehood—a definable state/value of truth).

07:25:36 AM Oct 6th 2010
I've removed it, it was someone trying to contradict the example with a very poor understanding of logic (if there is an infinite regression, there doesn't need to be a cause of it because it's already accepted it can regress infinitely). Attempts to use the paradox to "prove" that God exists are by necessity special pleading, since they argue all things must have a cause...Oh, except the thing called God, he doesn't need one. Why? Because he's a special case!
09:07:47 PM Oct 11th 2010
Even the: "universe must have a creator" fallacy example is troublesome. It does, in a way, adhere to the terms of the fallacy in that its argument for an Ultimate-Cause/Creator/whatever-have-you does violate the logical necessity of causality/antecedence, and therefore claims a special case in that respect. The problem is that an infinite regression is just as logically impossible as an Ultimate Cause; an infinite regression is just as much of a special case, even as the two are both mutually exclusive pairs of a tautology wherein the negation of one logically necessitates the validity of other. (Each is logically, necessarily false, making the other logically, necessarily true, except that it is logically, necessarily false.) This creates the situation that I previously noted. The example, carried all the way through, and not simply truncated arbitrarily to encapsulate the logical flaw inherent to the argument presented for Ultimate Cause, is both true AND false AND neither true OR false. The ultimate truth value of the example is thus equal to Mind Screw, and therefore does not adhere to 'falsehood'.

The example, as such, isn't so much a demonstration of a fallacy as a statement poking at one side of a paradox.
10:34:52 PM Dec 21st 2010
No, it's a perfect example of a fallacy. The reason the existence paradox is a paradox is that any attempt to solve it involves special pleading.
02:37:23 PM Oct 18th 2011
However, it starts with a false assumption, because not everything that has a beginning has a cause.
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