Philosophical Defenses for the Force; Common Ground for Jediism

More
25 Jul 2016 03:45 - 25 Jul 2016 03:47 #249197 by TheDude
With a bit of Jedi flair, I think Spinoza's argument for a single substance is a good proof for what some people (myself included) would define "the Force" as. It's below. But mine isn't the only interpretation of the Force, and the Jedi community tends to shy away from giving a central definition. If we are to refer to the Force as a community, I think it would be useful for us to have a common ground, to know what each other is referring to. If the Jedi community at large refuses to give definitions to the central terms found within it, at the very least I think we should know what each other is referring to for the purpose of Jediism's growth as a philosophical system. So I'd like us to share our philosophical defenses for just this one term, "the Force", as I think it is the most central belief within the Jedi community. I hope that this will spark discussion, and hopefully through rational argumentation we can someday find an acceptable definition of the Force, but that isn't necessarily what this thread is for.
You don't have to share the same opinion of what the Force is as anyone else in this thread. Just share what your view is and present a defense for it for the purpose of discussion/friendly dialogue/respectful debate.

I define the Force as nondual substance, infinite, and without division.

1. Every substance has a nature or essence.
2. Attributes are what are perceived to constitute natures or essences.
3. There cannot exist two substances that have the same nature or essence because distinct objects must have their own distinct qualities by definition.
4. So, there cannot exist two substances that have the same attribute.
5. A substance having more than one attribute is possible, depending on its nature or essence.
6. The more reality a substance has, the more attributes it has. That is to say that a substance which has more attributes contains “more” of something.
7. An infinite substance is a substance that has an infinite nature or essence.
8. So, an infinite substance is a substance that has an infinite number of attributes.
9. An infinite substance is a substance that has all possible attributes.
10. An infinite substance is a substance that is the most real substance.
11. An infinite substance is possible.
12. A substance other than an infinite substance would have to have a nature or essence.
13. A substance other than an infinite substance would have to have an attribute.
14. Since an infinite substance is a substance that has all possible attributes, if there exists an infinite substance, then there is no attribute left for a substance other than an infinite substance to have.
15. So, if there exists an infinite substance, it is the only substance that exists.
16. It belongs to the nature of substance to exist.
(This is Spinoza’s ontological argument for the existence of substance. It goes as follows:
1. When two things have nothing in common, one cannot be the cause of the other.
2. It is impossible for two substances to have the same attribute (or essence).
3. Two substances with different attributes have nothing in common.
4. Thus, one substance cannot cause another substance to exist.
5. Either substances are caused to exist by other substances or they exist by their own nature.
6. Thus, substances must exist by their own nature (that is, the essence of a substance must involve existence.))
17. Every substance is infinite substance.
18. So, an infinite substance does exist.
19. The Force is the name of the one infinite substance.
Last edit: 25 Jul 2016 03:47 by TheDude.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rex, Death, yet the Force

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 05:04 #249201 by Rex
I honestly haven't read anything by Spinoza in a while, but at a quick glance it looks like you're using Set/Axiomatic theory to justify your conclusion. Wittgestein's semantic critique that set theory depends on progressing a pattern beyond the existential starts to unravel the Spinoza view. I agree with the idea that a distinct concept has a unique arrangement of attributes that aren't fully shared by any other distinct concepts; but should super-encompassing abstract concepts exist, then there exists several paradoces (Russell's comes to mind) that then break the abstract portion where the Force resides. I know semantic critiques are... well semantic, but it is Synthetic judgement which can be a bit tricky.
Many thiests I know tend to use Spinoza (and later fans of his like Einstein) to justify the existence of God (myself included). Would you say that your belief in the Force in this light is as a personal force, or rather panthiestic?

IP Team Lead
TM: Carlos Martinez
ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
The following user(s) said Thank You: r3dleader, TheDude

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 08:21 #249207 by Adder
I tend to use substance monism as well, not so much to assert any truth to it but just as a practical approach to shape focus. I'm not well read in philosophy so wouldn't mind seeing it fleshed out :blush:

Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
The following user(s) said Thank You: TheDude

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 09:10 - 25 Jul 2016 09:12 #249210 by Ju Hae os Ra

Instead of:

what the Force is

try to realise the truth.
"What truth?
There is no Force. It is you who uses the name.

I suggest to ask "What do you call Force?" rather than "What the Force is?".

@TheDude
Very excellent idea to unify the language and

know what each other is referring to


Doing what needs to be done to achieve desired effect is force sensivity for me.
Some do it instinctively - dark side.
Some by understanding - light side.
I call knowledge(light) and talent(dark) The Force.

I hope it's clear that I don't consider the dark side "wrong".

Does it help you?
Last edit: 25 Jul 2016 09:12 by Ju Hae os Ra.
The following user(s) said Thank You: TheDude

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 10:44 #249217 by Death, yet the Force
I try not to throw too many formulas and theories into the mix when thinking about the force. If I were to define it I would do it as so:
"An energy that resides in all living things, binding them together in a harmony. It is in the earth, the sky, the trees and us."
In some regard, I feel the Force is very similar to nature. There could be a connection there.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 11:27 - 25 Jul 2016 11:28 #249220 by Gisteron
I am a little confused by the argument in the OP, and it starts pretty early on.

I went through it step by step detailing gaps in definitions and mathematical falsehoods but then that got rather lengthy so I'll skip it and cut to the chase. Just for a taste of what this post could have been, for example, step 4 does not follow from anything, step 9 should for reasons explained further in this post be the only premise you need and step 11 is actually false. But the most frustrating mistake in my opinion is the following:
Step 16 implicitly defines existence as a possible attribute - not a completely incontroversial understanding as it stands already. Now, step 9 was of course a non-sequitur in the first place, but if we are to grant that having infinite attributes means having all the possible ones, then we end up with a begging the question fallacy. You defined the infinite substance as one that has the attribute to exist. To conclude that it exists in step 16 and then a second time in step 18 is trivial.
Basically, remove the entire nature and essence rhetoric (since you said that as far as we can perceive, we might as well be meaning attributes by that) and you end up with Anselm's Ontological proof that I shall now paraphrase so as to expose the problem:
  1. Definition: Entity E has some set of attributes that is S = { s1, s2, s3, ... } united with { s0 = "existence" }.
  2. Conclusion: Therefore, E has the attribute "existence".
Now I am not debating whether the Force exists, what ever we mean by existence. I am also not at this moment debating whether a definition that says "there is only the Force and everything is the Force" is either one we collectively or individually can agree with or how useful a definition that says so close to nothing is. All I'm saying is, that this argument is flawed, which would be reason enough to not use it. Those who cannot see through the obfuscating layer of technobabble (no offense) and understand what is actually being said will maybe find it inimidating more than convincing, while those who can will likely find it lacking.

Last edit: 25 Jul 2016 11:28 by Gisteron.
The following user(s) said Thank You: TheDude

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 14:28 #249231 by TheDude

Rex wrote: I honestly haven't read anything by Spinoza in a while, but at a quick glance it looks like you're using Set/Axiomatic theory to justify your conclusion. Wittgestein's semantic critique that set theory depends on progressing a pattern beyond the existential starts to unravel the Spinoza view. I agree with the idea that a distinct concept has a unique arrangement of attributes that aren't fully shared by any other distinct concepts; but should super-encompassing abstract concepts exist, then there exists several paradoces (Russell's comes to mind) that then break the abstract portion where the Force resides. I know semantic critiques are... well semantic, but it is Synthetic judgement which can be a bit tricky.
Many thiests I know tend to use Spinoza (and later fans of his like Einstein) to justify the existence of God (myself included). Would you say that your belief in the Force in this light is as a personal force, or rather panthiestic?


My studies never included Wittgenstein, could you elaborate? Also the only Russel I'm familiar with is his history of philosophy which I found to be... well, significantly lacking, at least the parts I read. I guess you could call it pantheistic, given the assertion that infinite substance necessarily suggests that all things are the Force, and there is nothing except the Force.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 14:53 #249232 by TheDude

Gisteron wrote: I am a little confused by the argument in the OP, and it starts pretty early on.

I went through it step by step detailing gaps in definitions and mathematical falsehoods but then that got rather lengthy so I'll skip it and cut to the chase. Just for a taste of what this post could have been, for example, step 4 does not follow from anything,

2. Attributes are what are perceived to constitute natures or essences.
3. There cannot exist two substances that have the same nature or essence because distinct objects must have their own distinct qualities by definition.
4. So, there cannot exist two substances that have the same attribute.

It must necessarily follow that IF by definition, distinct substances would have to be, well... distinct, then there cannot exist two substances which are simultaneously distinct and share all of the same properties. I think that's pretty straightforward and I'm not seeing the issue.

step 9 should for reasons explained further in this post be the only premise you need and step 11 is actually false.

How is suggesting the possibility of an infinite substance automatically false? It seems that by rejecting step 11 outright, you automatically reject the conclusion. But I see no reason to reject the notion that an infinite substance is a metaphysical possibility. Indeed, if we are to say that it is possible that no infinite substance exists, we also have to respect that infinite substance may exist.

But the most frustrating mistake in my opinion is the following:
Step 16 implicitly defines existence as a possible attribute - not a completely incontroversial understanding as it stands already. Now, step 9 was of course a non-sequitur in the first place, but if we are to grant that having infinite attributes means having all the possible ones, then we end up with a begging the question fallacy. You defined the infinite substance as one that has the attribute to exist. To conclude that it exists in step 16 and then a second time in step 18 is trivial.

I'd say that existence is a necessary presupposition for anything which contains any attributes of any kind. If we are to say something has attributes, we must say first that it exists in some way, or else there would be nothing which has the attributes in the first place, and those attributes would not exist. I defined infinite substance as one which has all possible attributes, and that necessarily includes existence. Step 16 only demonstrates that substances are not caused by other substances, from which I go on to infer that an infinite substance exists. 16 is necessary to reach the conclusion in 18; 16 on its own is not a conclusion.

Basically, remove the entire nature and essence rhetoric (since you said that as far as we can perceive, we might as well be meaning attributes by that) and you end up with Anselm's Ontological proof that I shall now paraphrase so as to expose the problem:

  1. Definition: Entity E has some set of attributes that is S = { s1, s2, s3, ... } united with { s0 = "existence" }.
  2. Conclusion: Therefore, E has the attribute "existence".

I'll grant that's a tautology, but tautologies aren't wrong. That's why they're tautologies. :)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 15:50 #249244 by Kyrin Wyldstar
To me the term “The Force” is simply a poetic label we assign to the emotion we feel and the beauty we derive from our connection to each other.

For some this connection might be interpreted as supernatural in the idea that “The Force” is an esoteric or otherwise subtle energy field that is outside the 4 quantum forces of nature and is an emergent property of physical life itself. This would be analogous to our consciousness being an emergent property of the function of our physical brains. Something not quite fully explained by science. This falls completely into the realm of faith however.

For others this connection is interpreted in a more natural form within the laws of the universe. Those aspects being the very idea that we are all evolved from a single ancient form of life that emerged from a set of elements created out of the same stardust that emerged into existence in a single event called the big bang. We are literally the stuff of stars and the ratios of elements we find in the universe are the same ratios we find in ourselves. There is something we find beautiful in that.

I think for me “The Force” is a little bit mystical and a little bit natural. I find a reverence in the idea that not only all forms of life but all things that exist, have ever existed or will ever exist are all made of the same star dust and we are all on this journey together, no matter where that may lead. It is from these easily defined physical properties that something magical emerges. Our experiences and our emotions and our consciousness are an emergent property of these corporeal states and it is something that cannot be quantified or defined in words. It can only be experienced, for us as humans in the human condition. That is “The Force”.

This guns for hire, even if we're just dancing in the dark.
My Journals: Kyrin-Wyldstar

Associate Degree of Divinity - Earned July, 2017
Apprenticed to: Alan, Senan, Mendalicious
Tribute to Senan: My Friend
The following user(s) said Thank You: TheDude

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jul 2016 16:15 #249258 by Gisteron
You are assuming that two distinct things need to be differentiable. For the sake of pragmatism I would make that assumption, too, but you do need to postulate that as an axiom if you want to use it. You are also saying that the nature of a thing equates to its identity. In your model two things cannot share a nature. That is also an unstated premise. Lastly, about step 4, and allow me to be a little nitpicky here... you say that there cannot be two substances who share the same attribute. To me that sounds like there cannot be two that have so many as one attribute in common. So ontop of the missing premises mentioned earlier, even granting them, this literal interpretation of step 4 in your argument wouldn't follow.

As for step 11, I concluded that considering that we have no axiom stating that it is impossible for a substance to have impossible attributes. So for any substance we propose that is maximally real, we can easily define another one that is more real still by just saying that for every possible property the old one has, the new one has a pair of that property with a matchinig impossible one. The point here is, infinity is not a quantity, it cannot be a maximum. You are basically talking about a convergent thing that diverges.

Well, I could at best agree that when we speak of something, we do have some idea of that thing and the thing then exists at least in the form of that idea. But when I describe a two-masted sailing yacht that has the attribute of being my property, that does not actually mean that there actually is a yacht I own. In fact, I might as well describe a roughly sphere-shaped space station with the firepower to blow peaceful defenseless planets to fist-sized chunks and simply by defining an object O with this set of properties S of which existence is an element, I have proven that the Death Star is actually out there.
Also, the step 16 I'm reading states that it belongs to the nature of the (infinite) substance to exist, i.e. it has the attribute of existence. And considering how you defined the infinite substance as that which has all the possible attributes, you are basically saying either that existence is a possible attribute or that that which exists, exists.

See, tautologies are - in my opinion - valid. Circular arguments are not formally wrong, they are just useless to conclude the non-trivial. If you define something as existent you don't need to spend another dozen lines only to restate it. Would I not know any better, I would have to think you are trying to confuse people, trick them with complicated language to accept a proposition without a proper intellectual justification. And I would also say that with all due respect to language and logic as tools of understanding the world around us, we don't get to ammend that world by just defining things into existence. If we could, we could define two things into existence that are mutually incompatible, thereby proving that logic is utterly unsuitable to understand anything in the actual world, thereby rendering pretty much any and all intellectual inquiry pointless.

The following user(s) said Thank You: TheDude

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.