Bahnsen Burner's Presuppositional Apologetic For Objectivism, Part 1

Recently I posted an illustration which I use when presenting presuppostional apologetics in an introductory fashion, asking for corrections where due and suggestions on how the illustration might be made better. The first response I received serves to confirm that which is communicated through the illustration as the response is from a non-Christian. The objections raised about the illustration are based upon a particular manifestation of the non-Christian worldview known as Objectivism. In essence, Bahnsen Burner, the nick of the individual responding to the original post, appears to “agree” with me that there are two worldviews but delivers this message from within the context of his own Objectivist worldview. Thus the illustration is faulted for being in disagreement with Objectivist categories.

Bahnsen Burner argues (http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2005/07/only-two-worldviews.html) that assuming “the whole spectrum of philosophies can be divided into two fundamentally opposed categories, that which is Christian in nature…and that which is not Christian in nature…implies a global uniformity within Christianity that simply does not exist”. It should be forthrightly acknowledged that there is not a “global uniformity” within Christianity, but it should at the same time be pointed out that global uniformity within a worldview is not necessary for the presuppositionalist’s purposes. Just because a particular person or group might identify him/her/itself as Christian does not mean that the identification is correct, nor does it mean that the presuppositionalist must extend the Christian worldview to accommodate sub-biblical views. It is no secret that presuppositional apologists such as Van Til and Bahnsen were very forward with their adherence to the specifically Reformed camp of Christianity as it is the truest expression of what Scripture teaches. Recognizing this significantly narrows the term “Christian worldview” in the context of presuppositional apologetics. On a pragmatic level those things which Christians would take to be fundamental aspects of their worldview and are agreed upon by virtually every individual referring to him or herself as a “Christian” are often all that are appealed to in a presuppositional encounter with an unbeliever anyway. Bahnsen Burner’s pointing out that that there are minor disagreements within the Christian worldview is hardly an argument against Christianity, especially when this disagreement may be accounted for within the context of the Christian worldview. Disagreement, even amongst believers, stems from sin. When Bahnsen Burner asks, “Are the thought patterns of the ‘original knower’ so tangled that its mouthpieces should be caught up in endless internal bickering when ‘thinking’ the original knower’s thoughts ‘after Him’?” he disregards the clear answer Scripture provides. Not even all believers think God’s thoughts after Him all the time. Has this point really been lost on Bahnsen Burner? The Bible is clear concerning the perfect nature of the thoughts and words of God. It is the sinful creature who does err and redemption found in Christ alone is the way out. An interesting question is what causes disagreement amongst those in the Objectivist camp and what is offered as a solution according to the same camp, but this will not be dealt with further here.

Bahnsen Burner writes,

“The descriptor ‘non-Christian’ could feasibly apply to a wide diversity of worldviews such as Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism, Existentialism, Dialectical Materialism, Zoroastrianism, eastern occultism, animism, monotheism, deism, pantheism, rationalism, skepticism, etc., and yet the only thing that would hypothetically link these utterly different conceptions of the world together would be that they are not identical with the flavor du jour of Christianity preferred by the defending apologist, which is certainly not a fundamental.”

Only part of this statement is correct. The term “non-Christian” does apply to all of these. This is the only part of the statement that is correct. All of these views of the world are in fact the same in terms of their rejection of the Christian worldview, which is sufficient to warrant the non-Christian label (duh), and this is most important for the present discussion. As a side note, the non-Christian nature of these various manifestations of the non-Christian worldview is most certainly not “the only thing that would hypothetically link these utterly different conceptions of the world together”, mostly because it often turns out that they are not so “utterly different”. There are only so many ultimate questions available to any worldview with a finite number of “possible” answers. It may be inferred that many answers to ultimate questions provided by different conceptions of the world will overlap with one another and when studying them such is found to actually be the case. For example, major differences between Eastern and Western thought are often highlighted in textbooks, but this would not be if it were not for the similarity of certain schools of thought within each of these geographical locations.

The illustration of the two worldviews, Christian and Non, is critiqued based on Objectivist presuppositions, obviously entailing that the two parties involved in the discussion are not going to agree! “Metaphysical primacy” is assumed to be at the “fundamental level of philosophy” and, so far as one can tell, to be the main emphasis of an epistemological discussion. It is said that Christians mistakenly assume the primacy of consciousness which is defined as “the view that consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over objects distinct from itself in one capacity or another (or, in the case of the Christian god, in all capacities)”. Bahnsen Burner would thus offer a presuppostional model of his own based upon Objectivism. It is this presuppositional model which he uses in critiquing the aforementioned illustration which gave rise to this discussion.

More to come…

8 comments:

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but you ought to be informed: Randians are a particular breed of dogmatic unbeliever, renowned for two things—their philosophical illiteracy, and their unparalleled verbosity. For illustrations, see:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/01/a-rand-hack-philosopher.html

http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2009/01/modal-confusion-in-randpeikoff.html

Of all the Randians I've encountered, Dawson Bethrick of Bahnsen Burner loves the sight of his own insipid prose the most. For illustrations, see:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2009/01/do-objectivists-try-to-define-god-out.html

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2008/10/reply-to-tennant-on-theistic.html

I applaud your efforts, but I would personally avoid engaging Dawson directly; better to pick good examples to refute from his endless posts than get bogged down in an exchange that will be fruitless and exhausting. Just my opinion.

Regards,
Bnonn

Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Chris,

I’m deeply honored that you would devote a whole blog entry to my comments. That you intend to honor me with more is very encouraging!

In your present blog, you say, regarding my comments to a blog of yours titled “Your Thoughts Welcome...,” that “the illustration is faulted for being in disagreement with Objectivist categories.” This is a bit tendentious, don’t you think? I didn’t just blow in and say your illustration is wrong because it disagrees with Objectivism. I pointed out that the division on which your illustration is based is not fundamental. It is based on a non-essential difference, and the various worldviews which you group together in contrast against Christianity are united according to a non-essential. In epistemology, this would be like trying to form the concept ‘man’ by the quality of having elbows: anything that has an elbow must be included in the concept ‘man’. My point, to use this analogy, is that elbows are simply not fundamental to what unites various units into the concept ‘man’. To group Hinduism, Islam, Dialectical Materialism, Buddhism, “Atheism,” etc., into the same category because they are allegedly based on an “ultimate commitment to human independence from Christ,” philosophies which couldn’t be more different from each other (I’m supposing you have some knowledge of what these different worldviews teach about the world?) is simply silly. Your illustration might as well just say "we're right and everyone else is wrong!" and leave it at that. To insist without good argument that these other worldviews really aren’t so different, that “there are only so many ultimate questions available to any worldview” and that the answers these different positions give in regard to those questions “will overlap with one another,” while implying that answers from Christianity will not do the same, is simply Procrustean.

Now you mention “ultimate questions” here. This will actually help me illustrate the point of my suggested improvement to your illustration. Let us ask the question: what is the proper orientation between the subject of consciousness and its objects? I really don’t know what question could be more fundamental (unless it’s “what is your starting point?” – Tennant is apparently still hurting from my response to him on this, which he kindly links above). So we can ask both of these questions: 1) What is your starting point? and 2) What is the proper orientation between the subject of consciousness and its objects? I would wager that Christianity’s answers to these questions are going to “overlap” a lot more with those provided by worldviews like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and various subjective non-religious worldviews, than they will with Objectivism. In answer to the first question, they may point to a set of sacred writings for instance (e.g., “the Bible is the Word of God” as the starting point which Tennant proposed when faced with this question, or "the Koran" in the case of Islam, "Mao's little red book" in the case of the Chicoms, etc.), and in regard to the second question each of these worldviews are united by their affirmation of the primacy of the consciousness (i.e., the subject, hence subjectivism). So if our disagreement with each other is to be settled by a review of answers to certain ultimate questions, I’m wholly confident that my points will prevail.

A couple other comments on what you wrote above:

At one point you wrote:

“It is no secret that presuppositional apologists such as Van Til and Bahnsen were very forward with their adherence to the specifically Reformed camp of Christianity as it is the truest expression of what Scripture teaches.”

But just above this you had written:

”Just because a particular person or group might identify him/her/itself as Christian does not mean that the identification is correct...”

Now, I must say, I have never encountered a Christian who thinks his version of Christianity is false, or that his profession as a Christian is incorrect. He may be an Arminian, a Calvinist, an Anabaptist, a Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc., etc., etc. (there are hundreds, if not thousands, and I’ve met many different kinds over the years), but none of them are going around saying “yeah, I know Calvinism is really the right version of Christianity, but I’m a [fill-in-the-blank] anyway.” Your own words above confirm this about you: you hold to the “Reformed camp” and call it “the truest expression of what Scriptures teach.” Don’t you think all self-professing Christians are going to say something similar about their own position?

Given your statements here against my point that there is no global uniformity within Christianity, which you have “forthrightly acknowledged,” are you saying that Catholics, Arminians, Eastern Orthodox, etc., etc., are not “true” Christians, because their versions have significant differences with the Reformed camp? They still call themselves Christians, so they would belong in the same *general* category (don’t they all profess an “ultimate commitment to Christ”?), and the doctrinal variations distinguishing them have been acknowledged, so my point about a lack of global uniformity sticks.

Anyway, I have pointed out how your illustration rests on a straw man in that it attributes to various worldviews that they have an “ultimate commitment to human independence from Christ,” which is simply false. I have stated for the record what Objectivism’s ultimate commitment is, but for some reason you seem to think it is okay to ignore what a worldview says about itself and replace it with what you want it to say in its place (thus affirming the subjectivism of your position). This suggests that your apologetic is not prepared to deal with a rival position *on its own terms*, which I would think is quite a defect. But if you want to insist on a straw man even after it’s been pointed out to you, then do so. I will remember this as an example.

As for Dominic Tennant’s comments above, I found them rather humorous. He says that I “loves the sight of his own insipid prose.” Suppose my prose is “insipid.” Does he think it’s wrong for me to “love” what I produce? Should I produce only things that I loathe? He complains about “unparalleled verbosity,” but then links to Triablogue, which clocks some 13.2 posts per day, as against my 175 posts in four years! I guess poor Bnonn is still sore after I handed him his hat.

Anyway, Chris, thanks again for your responses. Please let me know if you have any “ultimate questions.”

Regards,
Dawson

RazorsKiss said...

w00t, Randroids.

I almost miss Atlas Shrugged. It's an interesting philosophy - but with your feet planted firmly in mid-air, proclaiming that there is objective truth - somehow - it isn't very defensible.

Ah, good 'ol BB. I really was waiting to see how long it would be until he found his way here.

C.L. Bolt said...

Yes, the different religions and philosophies you mentioned could be more different from one another. Yes, I have some knowledge of what these different groups teach about the world. The most popular way to study these different belief systems from an academic perspective is actually to compare and contrast them, and this both assumes and turns up results that they do have much in common. If you know of some other way to go about it then please let me know. Also, there are a finite number of answers to a finite number of questions in the realm of philosophy. Are you really meaning to defend the proposition that these numbers are actually infinite? These are really minor points, but you do not appear to be thinking through them very clearly.

You write,

“I pointed out that the division on which your illustration is based is not fundamental. It is based on a non-essential difference, and the various worldviews which you group together in contrast against Christianity are united according to a non-essential.”

An essential part of every non-Christian position is that it be non-Christian, certainly not committed to Christ but allegedly independent of Christ. This is true whether the adherents to the position sing it on stage or act like it is unimportant. You are really squirming against logical necessity here, and while you may be blind to it, others are going to see it quite clearly. We are speaking mainly of definitional issues. You further attempt to avoid my point with a false analogy.

“In epistemology, this would be like trying to form the concept ‘man’ by the quality of having elbows: anything that has an elbow must be included in the concept ‘man’. My point, to use this analogy, is that elbows are simply not fundamental to what unites various units into the concept ‘man’.”

If we are speaking of “man” in principle then “elbow” would be an essential. An essential of the non-Christian worldview is a supposed independence from Christ. Thus your analogy fails on one account, but it fails on another as well. More than just “man” has elbows, so yes, it would be silly to try and squeeze everything that possesses elbows into the category “man”. However, nothing other than non-Christian positions possess an alleged independence from Christ. Your analogy is therefore a false analogy. Any position that has an alleged independence from Christ, whether it is said to be acknowledged or ignored, must be included in the concept “non-Christian”. The real issue here appears to be your devaluing of the “elbow” as a significant enough part of the “man” to even mention. That is a value judgment based upon your own presupposition, and you have so far been unable to point out what the problem is with the Christian upon his or her own presupposition placing so great an emphasis upon this feature shared in common by all non-Christian positions!

“Now, I must say, I have never encountered a Christian who thinks his version of Christianity is false, or that his profession as a Christian is incorrect.”

Then why did you write,

“A good understanding of the issue of metaphysical primacy might be all it needs to open your eyes, Chris. As a former Christian myself, it did incalculable wonders for me.”?

“Your own words above confirm this about you: you hold to the ‘Reformed camp’ and call it ‘the truest expression of what Scriptures teach.’ Don’t you think all self-professing Christians are going to say something similar about their own position?”

Certainly, but that does not make them all correct, as I am sure you will agree. If you would like to debate Reformed theology then we may.

“are you saying that Catholics, Arminians, Eastern Orthodox, etc., etc., are not ‘true’ Christians, because their versions have significant differences with the Reformed camp?”

That is correct, if you are speaking on the group level with defined dogmas. If I called myself a Randian Objectivist and held to what I hold to now would you accept me as a member of your little group? Of course not.

“They still call themselves Christians, so they would belong in the same *general* category”

No.

“don’t they all profess an ‘ultimate commitment to Christ’?”

No, certainly not in the same sense I do, and even those who do “profess” it do not necessarily make good upon that profession. Again if you would like to debate the specifics that is fine with me.

“you seem to think it is okay to ignore what a worldview says about itself and replace it with what you want it to say in its place”

Actually I plan to take what your worldview says about itself to show that it self-destructs but setting that aside I have not misrepresented Objectivism. I recognize what your worldview presents, I understand that those who adhere to it want nothing to do with Christ whatsoever and would never want to give Christ even the place of rejection in thought, word, or deed, but I have pointed out that you do this in practice anyway. Anyone reading your comments can see this plainly.

Is Objectivism “ultimately” committed to an independence from Christ? With respect to the Christian worldview, yes it is. You do not like that I would say this and thus want to go at the point without taking into consideration that it is made from within the Christian worldview. To put it another way, given the Christian worldview, Objectivism is ultimately committed to an independence from Christ. That is what my worldview says about the non-Christian worldview, and for you to say otherwise appears to me to be breaking your own rule of ignoring what a worldview says about itself. That is, the Christian worldview states that it is itself true and other worldviews are to be defined in terms of it. A strawman is a misrepresentation of someone’s worldview. I am not misrepresenting your worldview if Christianity is true. I believe Christianity is true. Therefore I do not believe I am misrepresenting your worldview. The non-Christian worldview is ultimately committed to a supposed independence from Christ.

Even upon your own presuppositions you cannot deny that the Objectivist claims an independence from Christ. You have repeatedly shown through your words that he must!

Bahnsen Burner said...

Chris: "you really meaning to defend the proposition that these numbers are actually infinite?"

What in my statements suggests to you that I might really mean to defend such a view?

Chris: "An essential part of every non-Christian position is that it be non-Christian"

This is untrue. A worldview may *happen* to e non-Christian, but it does not follow from this that "non-Christianity" is an essential distinguishing that worldview from others.

Chris: "If we are speaking of 'man' in principle then 'elbow' would be an essential."

On this view, any male lacking elbows (e.g., a double amputee) would fail to qualify as a man.

Chris: "An essential of the non-Christian worldview is a supposed independence from Christ."

You're just repeating what I've called into question at this point.

Chris: "More than just 'man' has elbows"

Exactly! Which means: possessing elbows is not an essential distinguishing an entity as man. It could be a dog, for instance, for they have elbows too.

I wrote: Your own words above confirm this about you: you hold to the ‘Reformed camp’ and call it ‘the truest expression of what Scriptures teach.’ Don’t you think all self-professing Christians are going to say something similar about their own position?

Chris: "Certainly, but that does not make them all correct, as I am sure you will agree. If you would like to debate Reformed theology then we may."

Debating Reformed theology would be irrelevant to my point. My point is that all professing Christians, especially those who are committed to defending their version of Christianity (whatever it may be) are going to say theirs is the "truest version" going. You called your version the "truest version," and those who reject many of the tenets of the Reformed version say their version is the "truest version."

I asked: “They still call themselves Christians, so they would belong in the same *general* category

Chris: "No."

Perhaps you don't really belong to the general category of Christianity. If it's possible for someone to profess Christianity and not really be a Christian, how do I know you're really a Christian when you profess Christianity?

I asked: don’t they all profess an ‘ultimate commitment to Christ’?

Chris: "No, certainly not in the same sense I do, and even those who do 'profess' it do not necessarily make good upon that profession."

How do I know that you make good upon your confession? Maybe the Christian god really has rejected you, but you've been sent a deceiving spirit to think that you do number among the elect. How can anyone know?

Chris: "Actually I plan to take what your worldview says about itself to show that it self-destructs"

I'm really looking forward to this!

Chris: "Is Objectivism 'ultimately' committed to an independence from Christ? With respect to the Christian worldview, yes it is. You do not like that I would say this"

Actually, it has nothing to do with my likes or dislikes. You're simply erecting a straw man when you say things like that. I am simply pointing this out. I'm fine if you want to insist on straw-manning the opposition. After all, it's not my problem.

Regards,
Dawson

C.L. Bolt said...

”What in my statements suggests to you that I might really mean to defend such a view?”

You did not seem to buy my assertion that there are only so many ultimate questions available to any worldview with a finite number of answers. If you agree with me, that is fine.
Non-Christianity is not essentially Non-Christian? I am not sure what you must mean by essential then.

”On this view, any male lacking elbows (e.g., a double amputee) would fail to qualify as a man.”

Actually no, I qualified the statement with “in principle” because I am fully cognizant of this potential objection.

“possessing elbows is not an essential distinguishing an entity as man”

That is my point. More than just “man” has elbows, so yes, it would be silly to try and squeeze everything that possesses elbows into the category “man”. However, nothing other than non-Christian positions possess an alleged independence from Christ. It is a false analogy.

"Perhaps you don't really belong to the general category of Christianity. If it's possible for someone to profess Christianity and not really be a Christian, how do I know you're really a Christian when you profess Christianity?"

You don’t.

“How do I know that you make good upon your confession?”

By my works.

"Maybe the Christian god really has rejected you, but you've been sent a deceiving spirit to think that you do number among the elect. How can anyone know?"

Do you really want me to take the time to answer that? I can if you would like. Perhaps I will include it in one of my posts.

“I'm really looking forward to this!”

Me too!

Bahnsen Burner said...

Chris: “Non-Christianity is not essentially Non-Christian?”

Negations are not primaries, Chris. No one begins by negating; we all begin by affirming, whether we “believe in Christ” or in some other invisible magic being, or simply recognize what we immediately perceive. The descriptor “non-Christian” is a negation, and in order for it to have any meaning, not only does the corresponding positive term (“Christian” in this case) need to have some *positive* meaning, it must be acknowledged that something makes the descriptor rightly apply to whatever it is being applied. This points us to more fundamental considerations (since negations are not primaries). For instance, if someone says “Objectivism is a non-Christian worldview,” a responsible thinker would likely inquire, “What makes Objectivism non-Christian?” The answers to this question, assuming they are not intentionally misrepresentative, would then point to more fundamental features about the worldview which justify the application of the descriptor “non-Christian.” Is that helpful?

Chris: “I am not sure what you must mean by essential then.”

You probably aren’t. The distinction between essential and non-essential characteristics is crucial to the objective theory of concepts, particularly when it comes to proper definitions. Christianity has no native theory of concepts to begin with, and given its profound allegiance to metaphysical subjectivism, I would expect all this to be rather new to you. That’s okay. I’m willing to help you learn.

Chris had written: “If we are speaking of ‘man’ in principle then ‘elbow’ would be an essential.”

I responded: On this view, any male lacking elbows (e.g., a double amputee) would fail to qualify as a man.

Chris: “Actually no, I qualified the statement with ‘in principle’ because I am fully cognizant of this potential objection.”

You might want to explain how your use of “in principle” immunizes the view that elbows are essential to man would still allow one to qualify an individual lacking elbows in the category ‘man’.

I wrote: possessing elbows is not an essential distinguishing an entity as man

Chris: “That is my point.”

From your earlier statements, I could not at all see that this is your point, especially when you say something like “’elbow’ would be an essential” if we’re speaking of man. Above you seem to think that inserting the phrase “in principle” somehow reverses what your statement says prima facie. However, you haven't explained this.

Now if that is your point, that elbows really aren’t essential to man, then you’re conceding my broader point, namely that concepts are *not* defined in terms of non-essential characteristics. Those characteristics are of cours subsumed in the meaning of the concept, but they are not *distinguishing characteristics*. For instance, a double amputee is still included in the concept ‘man’. Since possession of elbows is not an essential characteristic which distinguishes man from other entities, his laking elbows does not bar his inclusion within the meaning of the concept. Now applying these points to the criteria by which your diagram divides worldviews, you should be able to see, in principle, how labeling every worldview that is not Christianity with the statement “ultimate commitment is to human independence from Christ” is just like trying to define the concept ‘man’ in terms of non-essential characteristics, like “possesses elbows.”

Chris: “More than just ‘man’ has elbows, so yes, it would be silly to try and squeeze everything that possesses elbows into the category ‘man’.”

Very good, Chris! We’re making progress!

Chris: “However, nothing other than non-Christian positions possess an alleged independence from Christ. It is a false analogy.”

You’re missing it again, Chris. We were just doing so well, too. Okay, one more time. The issue here is not simply the possession of a characteristic (e.g., “possesses elbows”, “independence from Christ”), but what characteristics are essential? You want to say that Objectivism, for instance, is “essentially” non-Christian (a most silly statement in its own right) because it is characterized by an “ultimate commitment to human independence from Christ.” In other words, this desire or commitment or what have you, to be “independent from Christ,” is, according to what your diagram is conveying, an essential characteristic distinguishing Objectivism from other worldviews. Remember that an essential characteristic distinguishes those units possessing it from everything else. In my example, we saw (and you agreed, in spite of your earlier statement) that merely possessing elbows is not sufficient to distinguish an entity as man (for dogs and other animals have elbows as well). Similarly with Objectivism: its essential characteristics are positions other than the non-Christianity which apparently worries you the most about it.

I wrote: Perhaps you don't really belong to the general category of Christianity. If it's possible for someone to profess Christianity and not really be a Christian, how do I know you're really a Christian when you profess Christianity?

Chris: “You don’t.”

You’re right, I don’t. No one does. Not even you do, Chris. If you’ve been sent a deceiving spirit, you wouldn’t know that you’re not really a Christian, i.e., among “the elect.”

I asked: How do I know that you make good upon your confession?

Chris: “By my works.”

Hardly sufficient. Someone who has been sent a deceiving spirit would probably be deluded to suppose that his works are evidence of his election in Christ. Citing your works of course does me no good, for I have no way of seeing them. I’m willing to take you at your word that you are a Christian, among “the elect,” but your earlier statements tell me that even you are not willing to do this with others who profess Christianity. So maybe I shouldn’t? Maybe you’re really a closet doubter who is struggling in terrible pain, trying whatever you can, hopelessly I might add, to recover yourself from your doubts and correct your beliefs. An appeal to “works” could be used to cover this persistent problem.

I asked: Maybe the Christian god really has rejected you, but you've been sent a deceiving spirit to think that you do number among the elect. How can anyone know?

Chris: “Do you really want me to take the time to answer that? I can if you would like. Perhaps I will include it in one of my posts.”

If you’ve been sent a deceiving spirit, nothing you say would help. It would all be deception. Any premise in your defense could be false, and you wouldn’t know it.

I’m sure glad this isn’t one of my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Chris,

I overlooked this part in your last comment:

Chris: “You did not seem to buy my assertion that there are only so many ultimate questions available to any worldview with a finite number of answers. If you agree with me, that is fine.”

I don’t know how many questions you consider ultimate, but I would expect it would be finite in number (I don’t think I ever indicated otherwise). And I would expect the number of correct answers to those questions would be finite in number as well. But then again, I haven’t seen what you consider “ultimate questions,” so I might be wrong to suppose there are any legitimately correct answers. You’re asking me to comment on something I haven’t seen yet. I don’t know what questions you consider “ultimate,” nor do I know why you would consider whatever questions you call “ultimate” to be genuinely ultimate. It could be that this qualifier has been misused as well.

Now I did propose a few of my own “ultimate questions” in one of my other comments. I’m not sure if you saw them. Here they are in case you missed them:

1) What is your starting point? and

2) What is the proper orientation between the subject of consciousness and its objects?

Perhaps you are not clear on what the second question is asking. Let me pose a few more ultimate questions to help you answer it:

3) Are you conscious? (yes or no)

4) If you are conscious, are you conscious of any objects? (yes or no)

5) If you are conscious of any objects, what is the relationship between yourself as a subject of consciousness, and any object(s) of which you are conscious?

Regards,
Dawson