Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Self-Validating Things

Epistemic status: provisional.

If you see an object, whether physical or noetic, it ought to be, on some level. Nobody can argue with that "ought". Is there a reason for it to be valid enough to exist? Is it its own reason, or is there some other reason? We know that things are valid, but how is it that that validity is justified? If we know that things are valid, they must be justified as valid, but how?

What would it mean for an object to validate itself? It would have to be seen in our eyes as valid due to itself. Or, it would have to perform some kind of act to make itself valid. It might say "I am valid" in some language, knowing what it was saying. That is how it would convince us it was valid, whether in itself or having made itself so. The language in which it spoke might not be one of conscious words, heard or thought, although in some cases it could be.

In that case, it would have to know itself. And part of knowing yourself is knowing your relationship with all the things that are connected to you. Everything is noetically or sensorily connected to all other things in the universe. Just like we know that we feel a tiny amount of gravity from stars that are light-years away, so there is a tiny amount of relevance to each of us of any action that could affect us or be affected by us in any way, even very indirectly. There are noetic relationships between all thinkable things. Part of what makes "being" have its exact connotation are all the things that exist. So to be able to say, in an absolute way, that you are valid, and be right, requires that you know everything there is to know. If you say that you are right without knowing that, that saying is not reliable enough to really establish your validity.

In the case that an object has to be seen in our eyes as valid, rather than it itself telling us it is valid, some other being could say "that object is valid". But the other being would have to know everything there is to know, in order to say that.

What would it take to create validity, to create a truly valid thing out of nothing? Who is it who deserves to say "this ought to be so?" We can imagine it being valid to call God's will morally monstrous despite him having created morality itself. So, what kind of person is valid? Legitimacy itself is valid. Legitimacy is what self-validates, and from its own validity, it validates all things.

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