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Discussion 6 to Meditation 832
It's an appeal to Cartesian Doubt

by: Rev. Dr. Incitatus

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Regarding the discussion on the First Article of Faith, I think this part of JT's recent post is all important:

"But remember, we are talking Articles of Faith."

As an article of faith, it already holds the necessary disclaimer that it is neither a logical proposition nor an empirical claim.

"To believe in the existence of a god is an act of faith. To believe in the nonexistence of a god is likewise an act of faith."

And, likewise as the article itself infers, "To believe that the existence of a Supreme Being is unknown and unknowable is an act of faith".

Nevertheless, although not deductively sound it is nevertheless on fairly firm ground as an inductive inference (it's an appeal to Cartesian Doubt and, to my knowledge, the odds of that one being resolved without a profound revolution in the way we approach epistemology is incredibly low).

In response to the suggestion that a Supreme Being could become knowable simply by revealing Itself, I must disagree. In such an instance we are still inevitably stymied by our lack of certainty as to whether the Supreme Being standing before us and making claims about being a Supreme Being is in fact The Supreme Being, and not some shady highly technologically advanced pandimensional conquistador with an eye for having all our bases belong to It. Logic is of no use when the very premises themselves are in doubt.

Yes, we cannot KNOW with absolute certainty that we will NEVER eventually determine the existence or non-existence of Descartes' pesky daemon, but we can express justifiable faith in the truth of the hypothesis that without a profound change in our approach to epistemology we will never be able to know when we've pulled back the last curtain to reveal/not reveal the crafty wizard at the center of it all... there is always going to be the possibility of one more layer on the onion.

Now, I suppose we could get very Popper-esque and replace "unknowable" with "unfalsifiable", but I'm rather apathetic about the need to split hairs about it.