What is this "scientific method" you all speak of?


You can only assert this because you have a rather idiosyncratic definition of “objective” as “subject to agreement” rather than in the long accepted understanding that objective means “qualities that exist in the object” rather than merely imposed by a subject.

Objective qualities are those which exist independently of any subjective determination in the object which exhibits the quality.

For a concept of beauty to be objective in any meaningful sense it must mean beauty is a determinable quality of objects themselves, not merely objective according to your view that if subjects can agree then a quality is an “objective concept.”

You play fast and loose with philosophical concepts and terms hoping you can pass off your claims as plausible.


This is another instance of presuming what you are attempting to prove. You can’t know that music, in itself, doesn’t exist merely because human receptors and brains are set up to receive sound waves. Our brains are also set up to appreciate music, play it and compose it according to definable music theory.

We’d have to accept your metaphysical naturalism to be compelled to accept that music does not exist in itself. If metaphysical naturalism is untrue and humans are creations of Intentional Being Itself, then beauty, truth and goodness could very well be qualities of reality which we have been created to appreciate at some level.

Your claims simply beg the question by assuming metaphysical naturalism does not support subsistent qualities which could very well exist objectively in ways you are loathe to allow.


Quote my words back to me - according to the forum rules!


Every post of mine contains quotes of your posts.

This is a catch-22 of sorts. If I quote your words you claim that is not what you meant AND when I depict what your words could reasonably be taken to mean, you claim that is not what you wrote.

Either way you are going to find a way to avoid giving an answer.

It appears you have no response to offer. I’ll take that as a ‘nolo contendere.’


This is what I wrote above. These are the specific words that you asserted that I said:

Are your a tonyrey “incarnate”? He is the one who spouts all sorts of nonsense, and when people ignore him, starts to assert that the silence “indicates” either “assent” or “impotent dissent”. My posts explicitly and exactly say what I mean, they do not need “interpretation”. So shut up or put up.


I have reported you for repeated discourtesy and disrespect for Christianity.


Dissent is not disrespect.


Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t you claiming above that as an epistemological method, the scientific method is the only one which properly and fully complies with the verify/falsify requirement that you propose must be part of any epistemological method for it to function to properly determine the truth?

That would seem your claim. Not that I am trying to put words in your mouth – merely trying to ascertain whether the words coming out of your mouth (metaphorically speaking) carry any discernible meaning for anyone other than yourself. (Up to now, no one has been able to get what you mean or avoid being castigated by you for ‘missing the boat,’ so to speak.)

My claim against such a claim (even if it isn’t what you, in fact, do claim,) would be that verify/falsify is insufficient because merely knowing that something is factually true and verifiable about the natural world tells us nothing about the significance of that fact nor does it provide the sense in which it is important that the fact be true. In other words, what difference does the fact make or how meaningful is the fact, even if it is true?

You might claim that the difference is in its usefulness, and you even hint as much. You say the verify/falsify method “is a useful method” implying that its capacity to verify or falsify facts is sufficient to place the method at the apex of epistemology. (Yes, I know this is not what you SAID, exactly, but it IS your meaning, is it not?)

The problem here is that verify/falsify – even if it is practically the best or only available method – does not provide a method by which to distinguish significant from insignificant. Things may be trivially true and still be true; significantly false but still false. By what method do we determine significance – which arguably is far more important than verify/falsify. Neither does the scientific method nor verify/falsify as a general epistemological capacity get us there.

Just one example. If Hitler had been completely successful and showed that, practically speaking, his ability to use verify/falsify to build weapons, armies, political support, strategize world domination, etc., etc., that would leave YOU completely unable to respond to him. He would have verified every claim and decision of his by “proving” it to have been true by its very implementation. It might even be claimed that Hitler failed BECAUSE he made errors of calculation.

That leaves you in a profound mess. Verify/falsify is a practical method of determining what is true about the world, but it gets us nowhere in the determination of what is significant. For that, we need to address an entirely different epistemological dimension – ends and means. I sugggest that truth is not and cannot be one dimensional in the way that you suggest (yes, I know, you didn’t say that, exactly,) but, rather, insist that truth MUST BE multidimensional.

Truth cannot be merely about verifying/falsifying what IS, but MUST address what OUGHT to be in order to be COMPLETELY USEFUL in the sense you claim: “…you will immediately run into the roadblock of separating the true propositions from the false ones. And without the “verify / falsify” method you are in a hopeless position.”

Without a proper method to address the significant/insignificant issue we are still in a “hopeless position” since verify/falsify does not, on its own, get us out of it.

We must be able to do (at least) both: address the verify/falsify issue, but also the significant/insignificant issue with epistemological certainty.


Using your words alone, without any attempt at reading meaning into them, the following WORDS show that “he is not the only one” since these words of yours are definitely nonsense…

Am I quoting your exact words “back to you” effectively, now, and following forum rules?


At the risk of taking liberty with your “exact words,” I suspect – though I might be wrong – that you mean: “Are you a tonyrey incarnate?”

I would have to honestly answer no, because I wouldn’t want my words and deeds to reflect badly for Tony.

I quite respect the fact that he can encapsulate germaine and important ideas in one liners. I tend to go on ad infinitum. That difference is more a quantitative, than qualitative, one, however.


Thread Warning:

Discuss the topic, not each other.


That is a valid question, introduced in a respectable way - and I am happy to answer it. The answer is “no”. The “scientific method” is only applicable to claims about the objectively existing external reality. It is not applicable to claims within an axiomatic system, like mathematics, or historical claims, or claims about ethics, or claims about aesthetics. I hope that we are now in synch. :slight_smile: Epistemological methods must be “tailored” to the type of claim which is under discussion.

Just one example. In mathematics there is the famous Goldbach conjecture, which says that every even number is the sum of two prime numbers. This is a “conjecture” - not a theorem. It was verified for millions of even numbers - but that verification cannot tell us if the conjecture is true for ALL the even numbers. For that we need a “proof”, which has not been found yet. However, even one counter example would falsify the conjecture, so the falsification method is still very important. This example should be a convincing argument that I do not hold the verification / falsification method as the ONE and ONLY epistemological method. Are we in synch now?

As I said before, I agree with this - completely.

No, it is not what I said, and not what I meant either. It is one epistemological method, which is used in one respect only. And I hope we can have that misunderstanding out of the way.

Of course the “what exists” is the most important question of all. The “what should we do with it” is of secondary importance. I don’t say, nor do I insinuate that it is unimportant. Not at all. It is extremely important. But it cannot supersede the importance of “what exists”, since the “what shall we do with it” cannot happen in a vacuum. It must be based in the reality. Don’t you agree?

Well, the phrase “nowhere” is a bit strong. Since the method gives us a good understanding of “what exists”, it certainly helps us to take the next step, and start to ponder the “significance” of what “exists”.

Of course! If you thought that this is what I suggested, then I am glad to say that it was simply a misunderstanding.

Now, since we ARE making significant progress, I would like to ask if you agree that “universal negatives” cannot be proven in an inductive (non-axiomatic) system? That was another roadblock to mutual understanding.

If there are any more possible misunderstandings, please do bring them up.

:slight_smile: … and Happy Nude Year :wink:


That would depend upon where the inductive system abides. If the inductive system lives within an absolute – ontologically speaking – “system,” then universal negatives could be proven – not BY the inductive system but ABOUT or with reference to the inductive system.

The question is whether we live within an inductive system or, further, within an absolute.

Too cold here for that.


When I say “That’s beautiful” or “That’s funny” I’m not talking about what is in my head alone. When you make something that is intended to be beautiful or funny, you are making a thing, and you can never entirely separate the thing you have made from the mind of its maker. Whether you make a poem or a joke, you have made something physical that is at the same time mental (or even spiritual, as in the case of sacred music). It exists in its own right as well as in the mind of its maker.

When the great works of art or humor are created, we verify their creation not only by their popularity, but by their embodiment of the principles of aesthetic beauty. An artistic thing must conform to its intention. If the artist does not succeed at this, his work will be panned and fall into neglect. If the artist succeeds, his work will prosper in the minds of others.

This is a conundrum for the materialist.


I don’t get it. Maybe an example would help. Here is a “universal negative” proposition: “There are NO yellow-purple striped elephants which sustain themselves on pure nuclear fission”. How are you going to prove this proposition? To disprove it would be easy: just present one of those beings, and the universal negative proposition would be refuted.

Of course there is another serious epistemological problem here. The “absolute system” (whatever it might be) exists independently from us, so it is an (or “the”) ontologically existing reality. As such the scientific method is applicable for it. I am sure you see the difficulty. If you assert that the “scientific method” is NOT applicable, then you need to present an “alternate epistemological method”.


The actual poem or the joke or the musical score certainly exist - and will continue to exist, as long as someone remembers it, or the written copy survives. But are they “funny”, “beautiful” or maybe “inspiring”? What method do you wish to employ to make distinction between beautiful or ugly?

You made a reference to “popularity”, which is simply a reference to the opinion of the majority… a well known fallacy. I am talking about any joke, not some “great works of art” or humor. I am also talking about jokes which are very offensive to certain people and side splittingly funny for others. There are jokes which are in really “bad taste” according to some people. John Callahan’s cartoons make fun of crippled people - but since he was a quadriplegic himself, he could “get away” with it. But if a joke is considered funny by some and horribly insulting by others - who is right?


The actual laws of physics as laws will also exist as long as someone is around to remember them.

The methods of distinguishing the beautiful from the ugly are generally well known on the instinctive if not the conscious level.

Proportion. Truth. Originality. Delight.

This is not to exclude other elements of the beautiful.

Ugly would be the absence of the above in varying degrees.


Yes, there is room for disagreement about what is funny and what is not.

But I don’t see why anyone would regard a beautiful sunrise or sunset as not beautiful.

The opinion of the majority is not of itself a fallacy. It’s only when the opinion of the majority is proven false that appeals to the authority of the majority is false.


Exactly true! Now employ this principle to other fields, and we shall get somewhere.

That is the description of subjectivity. It is rather banal, but nevertheless true that “one man’s trash is another one’s treasure”. Just consider the “standards of beauty”, they change every generation. Sometimes the “beauty queen” is chubby, sometimes she is tall and slim. In the middle ages the depiction of Madonna expressed the “standard” of beauty of those times. By today’s standards those bulging eyes (due to the lack of iodine in the drinking water) would be considered rather ugly. Not to mention that different contemporary cultures have widely different “standards” of beauty.

There are problems here. Which proportion is “beautiful” and which one is “ugly”? I have no idea what you mean by “truth”. Originality is interesting. Do you really think that the “original” Mona Lisa is beautiful, but the copies are not? One man’s delight is another one’s boredom.

Of course… this because what constitutes “funny” is subjective. And the same applies to “beauty”. In the contemporary Western cultures the “tall, slim, blue or green eyed, blond and long haired women” are considered “the standards of beauty”.

The trivial example is a blind person. A not so trivial one might be a grieving mother whose child drowned in a lake at a “beautiful” sunset, so every time she sees it, her painful memories emerge. An interesting tidbit came into my mind. Many or even most people like the taste of “sweet”. Children simply “love” chocolate. However, when children in Africa - who never experienced the taste of a chocolate before, were given their first piece of chocolate - they simply spat it out, and considered the taste of “sweet” awful. That is why the phrase “de gustibus non est disputandum” is such a wise and true observation.

No, the fallacy is called “argumentum ad numeram”. Just because many people assert that a proposition is true, that fact does not make the proposition true. But of course you already knew that. :slight_smile:


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