All Articles All Articles


Dialectics Precede ... Part 3

Dialectics Precede … Part 3 (The Liar's Paradox Solved and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem Revisited)

By Dennis Loo (12/23/17)

For more on why there is or isn’t a purpose or meaning for something or someone within themselves as opposed to being an outside force, autonomously chosen by that person or "given" courtesy of and by a god figure: consider this – a purpose or meaning (especially in the philosophical sense such as “what purpose does my life serve?”) necessarily involves making a judgment or involves some kind of interpretation. For either to happen, at a level above fight or flight, means that that interpretation must occur outside of the thing itself. Interpretation though necessarily involves consciousness, does it not? Without interpretation, then a thing, process, or a person, is just a thing in itself, nothing more, but nothing less either. That, by the way, is a good thing, not bad.

Since there are differing levels of consciousness, a critical mass of neurons must assemble together, or else certain levels of consciousness are impossible. Self-consciousness, for example, only happens to certain species such as the great apes and not, for example, in insects.

It makes no sense, though I realize lots of people believe in it, that a perfect being with perfect knowledge of everything including himself and of what was, is, and all things that will ever be (the latter in at least many religions) who then has no physical presence (again, usually) – pure spirit, God – could have come into being ex nihilo – and in turn then created an imperfect world. It makes perfect sense, however, the other way around: that we created God in our image, rather than the other way around. We made Him perfect, all knowing, all powerful, and immortal, because we are none of these, but we wish we were.

Let me give you an example: the famous Liar's Paradox of the sentence "This statement is false." Although several attempts over many decades have been proposed to solve this paradox, all of them fall short (although Tarski comes closest). I propose the following solution: where we get into trouble is where we don't realize that we are using different (meta-levels), when we are talking - for instance - about ourself, aka a self-referential statement. It is not a recognizable and meaningful statement when you say that the statement is false, and therefore true, and thus it is false, but also true that it is false, and therefore the statement is true, but it is false if it is true, ad nauseum, because this gets you into a vicious cycle, if you treat that statement as true and/or false. In other words, it is only a paradox if you don't realize that you are speaking of different, meta- levels. At a minimum, the statement that "this statement is false" has no content; it is just shapes, dots and lines.

What you are actually doing when you say "this statement is false" is in fact making a statement about a specific set of lines, spaces, shapes, and dots that appear as if they are a content-filled, English language sentence that can be written or spoken, but really what you are doing is making a statement about the basic architecture of English, which just works this way and it cannot be and isn't supposed to about itself and its content as ordinarily understood. Instead, you are, in fact, in so doing, making a statement about lines and shapes that look like a regular and understandable sentence but are not, which therefore cannot be false because it is there: either you wrote it or you said it, so in that sense and that sense only it is "true," but really truth and falsity are not categories that apply. On that level, it just is and you can say it is real, but truth or falsity are irrelevant. See here and here.

You are thus fooling yourself if you think "this statement is false" is saying anything about itself except insofar as it is about shapes et al; it is not about content per se. 

I am not, unlike the Tarski solution, trying to ban anything, such as an impermissable statement. I am merely pointing out something that people fail to notice about the base level because they are so used to language that they think language - mathematical language and logic language included - ought to be expressable about everything and if it doesn't cover it all, then there is a failure somewhere. This is inevitable, however: A basic value orientation, however, contains within it (and it cannot be otherwise) axioms or premises that are by their nature unprovable. 

For example, if your value orientation is that "I and those who are close to me" are more important than anything else, even general principles such as the rule of law to which everyone is subject, then you cannot disprove this position. You can show consequences that flow from their orientation, you may find such a value-orientation abhorrent, and you might have a competing value orientation where general principles hold true, but you cannot prove that other position wrong. 

Some people are just this way. Try it, if you haven't already. You can talk with them till you are blue in the face, but the problem is not facts themselves, but in your differing value-stances. One way or the other, a given value-stance has to take the fore in society; it is a question of which one ends up winning out against the rest. And when I say winning, I don't necessarily mean everyone is won over in their opinion, but that one or the other rules are dominant de jure at a minimum in spite of some lingering differences. 

Godel's Incompleteness Theorem caused a sensation because he proves in it that any system of reason cannot be about itself too. There must rest outside of it some things that cannot be proven by the existing system. It is, in other words, a different way of saying what I just got through showing. 

To be continued - in this series: Dialectics Precede and Are Primary Over Materailism Part I 

Part 2 (On the Basic Nature of Reality)

Part 3 (The Liar's Paradox Solved and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem Revisited)

Part 4 (On Theses on Feuerbach and Marx Melding Materialism with Dialectics)

Part 5 (our decoding of Theses on Feuerbach Continues and Preview Why Dialectics Are Key Even As To Materialism)

Part 6 (Why God Does Not Exist and Why It's Materialist Dialectics, Not Dialectical Materialism)

Add comment

We welcome and encourage discussion and debate. We find truth via contention.

Security code