Valid Fundamental Arguments
1) Knowledge, Theoretical
If all knowledge is empirical, all knowledge must be subject to the same constraints strict empiricism is. Despite the limitless times a man might have seen an object fall due to gravity, he cannot predict if the next object will fall.Empiricism can never govern future events, but only interpret past events and hope the future acts similarly.
I leave apriori discussions to another time when I say the following. If time and space are known through empiricism, as relations arising between sensible objects or as elements in themselves, then they can never be predicted as well. An empiricist must say “time has hitherto now been one dimension,” not “time is one dimension.” An empiricist who disallows apriori knowledge or forms must also admit “space has hitherto now been three dimensions,” not “space is three dimensions.” There are neither mathematical certainties, nor any of any other kind.
I will not continue the endless debate of apriori existences, but I will rehash the endingof the debate of apriori knowledge. Of those who argue for apriori capabilities, Kant is the loudest, but he reasons in favor of apriori forms, not knowledge. These forms function to understand sensations, not in lieu them.Kant admits that if the mind reasons for itself excluding sensation, then it is dialectic and false reasoning. But whether there are apriori forms to understand sensations or not matters little in this discussion. Simply , all knowledge originates with sensation.
a) I for one, bluntly, do not have any recollection of my knowledge before I was born and obtained sensation. What is knowledge but something that can be recalled at will? It is the defining characteristic of knowledge is it can be recalled at will!Since I cannot recall knowledge before sensation, I do not have any lasting knowledge anteceding sensation. I may have had knowledge before sensation (the following arguments will eliminate this possibility), but since I cannot recall it, and I challenge anyone in existence to recall it, and if we cannot, we no longer possess it. This would imply that apriori knowledge is both mutable and forgettable.
b) If all the world cannot help but agree on an axiom, this does not validate it as truth. For if so, let me kill all the world and have absolute and arbitrary control over both truth and falsity. But for a more practical argument: I only know my consciousness. Another man’s consciousness can never come into contact with mine, and since I will not sense it, I will have no possible way to claim it has existence, so for all practical purposes, no other being has consciousness. What another man thinks does not matter because he has no consciousness and does not think. This makes both the practical and theoretical argument of alleged “altruism” impossible.
c) To use a Lockean argument: The most fundamental of axioms “What is, is” isn’t even universally agreed upon because it is not even universally thought. Yes, on hearing it every person agrees, but before they heard of this and were made aware of it they possessed knowledge? You cannot possess knowledge and not be aware of it. To suggest that a notion is imprinted on the mind and the mind is regardlessly ignorant of it is to say the notion or apriori impression of knowledge was nothing. If this could happen, there would be no way to distinguish between innate and not innate and a man could die with several innate notions undiscovered. To propose that innate truths are found once men come to the use of reason (hence idiots or children are unaware of them) is an invalid argument. For this means two things: 1) as soon as men can use reason these supposed innate truths become known, or 2) men use reason to assist them in their discovery. If the second, then everything we could learn by reason would be innate. Unfortunately, as I will attempt to prove, reason can never be a source of truth. Reason requires a premise. If A is true, and A=B, and B=C, then A=C. But in order to use this reason, we must start off with some original truth, in this case A exists, or A is true, or A=B and B=C. These are all the premises of our very simple argument. So reason cannot prove anything innate.
The first, that somehow once reason is gained, these innate truths somehow, as if by magic, awaken in us is again, an invalid argument. For first, children show reason before they discover something that could be argued innate, like “what is, is.” Second, a large number of rational people never know or think of these alleged innate truths. Third, for a notion to be though innate by us, we must feel some sort of exertion insinuating that it is innate. We must have a thought stressing that it is innate or something of the like. It is the feeling of belief. In order to believe it is innate, there must be a reason to believe it is innate—something to cause this feeling of belief. We feel this impression, and through some tool of the mind—some copula—consider it innate. This is reason. So reason is then used in the discovery of the alleged innate, which reverts us back to the second possibility formerly discussed, that reason is used in its discovery. This possibility is eliminated by the former arguments. To extinguish the possibility of any revival of this casuistry, I offer the following argument. Desire arises in us, even as babies, for food, drink, etc. We feel this and as a result eat or drink. Why would we eat or drink if we did not believe it vanquished our desires or pain? We have desires; therefore we act to fulfill them. The copula—the “therefore”—is reason. We have the faculty of reason always, ever since birth. It is simply undeveloped. The most immediate faculty of reason is instinct. Or for a similar demonstration: a child has infinite choices at any given time. He can do one of limitless actions. He can roll over, move any part of his body, make any sound, etc. At any given time, he chooses to do any one of these believing it is the best choice at the time for his happiness, instinctively of course. This is reason.
Some opposition may occur and one might say that toddlers have no control over their actions. I simply ask, “then who does?” Who controls them if they do not? I am not aware of this usurper of “free will”. They are wholly governed by instinct, yes. Instinct is near-intrinsic reason; I feel this, therefore I will do this.
Some argue: once the notion “what is, is” is presented to anyone, they yield their consent, therefore it must be innate. Well then, so must sweetness is not bitter, the sun is bright, warm, and yellow, and a thousand other things must be innate. Almost all knowledge is thereby innate.
d) I would like here to eliminate the possibility of innate moral principles. I would first like to assert that the point of life is happiness. That happiness is the motivation of our actions. That something is only valuable as it pertains to happiness. Moral principles must then only be thought valuable as they pertain to happiness—specifically my happiness. Remembering my second point, that I possess the only consciousness. Now, given any two options, a man will always do what he believes will make him happiest. Since happiness is the only goal in life, every action is, always was, and always will be, in pursuit of it, and likewise every choice. To reiterate: given any two options, a man will always do what he believes will make him happiest. Given two choices, to steal or not to steal, a man will choice what he believes will make him happiest. If a man had in him some innate truth, that it is wrong to steal, wrong signifying a less happy alternative to right, he would never steal. Since a man does steal, he cannot have an innate certainty of a moralright and wrong.