The First Principles: The bedrock of Logic and Rational thought
Since Rational thought requires valid logical propositions, and logic is based on the presupposition of universal truth in the form of the First Principles, it is necessary to fully understand what these principles entail and their impact. This section will list and then discuss the basic principles that make Rational thought possible and intelligible.
The First Principles can be categorized as follows:
1. The Intuitive Principles.
These principles, while not provable, are known to be valid intuitively.
a. Identity. If it is true, then it is true; if it exists, then it exists.
b. Non-Contradiction. If it is true, then it cannot be false; if it exists, it cannot NOT exist.
c. Excluded Middle. A (singular, unity) concept cannot be somewhat true and somewhat false; a (singular, unity) thing cannot somewhat exist and somewhat not exist.
d. Cause and effect. Every effect has a cause that is both necessary and sufficient.
e. Cogito (Descartes). Because I doubt my own doubt, it is true that I think; because I think (truth), I must exist (fact).
2. The Probabilistic Principles.
These Principles seem to encompass both truth and existence.
a. The Immutability of math throughout the universe.3. The Presuppositional Principles.
b. The Immutability of physical law throughout the universe.
c. The mutability of all levels of verifiability (Godel's laws).
These principles are declared either as empirical constraints, or as part of a worldview.
a. No form of reality exists that cannot be either observed and measured directly or by the use of instrumentation.4. The Principle of Rational Thought; Skepticism; and Rational Deniability
b. No Singularities (temporary violations) exist in the physical laws of the universe.
These two principles demonstrate the philosophical tension between the Rational Empiricists and the Anti-Rationalists.
a. No premise should be accepted without evidence.
( This is the Principle of Rational Thought, and the basis for “skepticism”: Hume, Russell, Ayer)
b. Existence of evidence via intuition is denied.
(This is the basis for Anti-Rationalism: Nietzsche)(Notice that deniability is declared true as a rational premise, which premise requires the intuition of its truth; so intuition is denied via the use of intuition, which is a paradoxical process to Rationalists – but not to Anti-Rationalists who deny that paradox exists).
5. The Principles of Evidence
Evidence is demanded by Rationalists and Skeptics. Anti-Rationalists deny all basis for evidence, except (paradoxically) Darwinism; Anti-Rationalists also deny paradox, having denied the First Principles due to their intuitive basis. So the following principles are Rational principles only, and are not necessarily accepted by the Anti-Rationalists.
a. All evidence ultimately devolves to the First Principles and is therefore intuitively based.
b. “Universals” can be assumed valid without proof. These include Mathematics, Logic, and Language (a syllogistic form of logic deriving from the First Principle of Cause and Effect). (Notice that this is an intuited principle).
c. Empirical evidence:1. Physical; Sensate only: Therefore, measurable.
2. Local (inductive)
3. Repeatable (deductive)
4. Universality cannot be proven so must be assumed (intuited, based upon probability, which can be increased by numerous replications of tests)
5. Validity is probabilistic only (intuited, based upon statistical probability, which can be increased by numerous replications of tests)
6. Assumes the validity of the Presuppositional Principles, # 3 above.
7. Valid Empirical evidence can be falsified, but has not been. (Popper).
Second Level Effects of the First Principles
a. If the First Principles are true, it follows that truth exists.
b. If truth exists, then falseness also exists.
c. If falseness exists, then skepticism is justified.
d. However, if the First Principles are true, then intuition of truth is assumed a valid technique; therefore, skepticism is neither absolute nor is it immune to argument.
e. If the First Principles are NOT true, then any and every argument is not based on rational precepts, and skepticism becomes (1) absolute, and (2) Anti-Rational.
f. If Principle 4a, above, is valid, then ethical considerations can be intuited as First Principles. This is because Principle 4a expresses an “ought” imperative, which is an ethical statement, and which is considered to be valid for the foundation of Naturalism, and thus is considered to be a universal truth. It is intuited, and cannot be proven by itself, by empiricism, by Naturalism, or by Materialism. Thus the basis for Naturalism and Materialism (worldviews) as well as empiricism (a discipline) are based upon an intuited ethical value.
g. Because Naturalism, Materialism and empiricism are all based upon an intuited ethical value, then intuited ethical values exist, and can be valid (true).
h. Because intuited ethical values are seen to exist, then intuition exists, ethics exists, and values exist – outside and beyond the constraints and limits of Naturalism, Materialism and Empiricism; also transcendence is proven to be a valid source of both information and ethical value statements. I.e., Transcendence exists and can be valid.
Empiricism, Naturalism and Materialism
Because the “ought imperative” of Principle 4a is the necessary and sufficient principle upon which Naturalism and Materialism are based, it is easily shown that the transcendent nature of the underlying foundation of these concepts produces a contradiction that violates the anti-transcendent worldviews themselves.
In other words, Naturalism and Materialism declare that intuition and other transcendences cannot exist, yet the basis for Naturalism and Materialism is itself necessarily intuitive and transcendent.
So Naturalism and Materialism deny their own foundational validity, and thus are paradoxical (violate the Principle of Non-Contradiction), and so are neither coherent nor valid.
This paradox is fatal, rationally speaking, for Naturalism and Materialism, but not for Empiricism, because Empiricism has voluntarily chosen to limit its range of investigation, and, in theory any way, does not say anything at all about transcendences or about value systems, except that they are out of the range of the testability and verification constraints placed upon Empirical processes. (Empiricism is a process, not a worldview or value system).
In this manner Empiricism retains its validity as a process for obtaining information about physical reality. Naturalism and Materialism are seen to be invalid, non-coherent worldviews, spun off from Empiricism, but no longer identical to it.