Author Topic: Apartment 143 and Agnosticism  (Read 155 times)

gwyn428

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Apartment 143 and Agnosticism
« on: January 17, 2009, 02:40:26 AM »
Today I wrote an analogy that may be supportive of Pragmatic Agnosticism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatic_agnosticism).

Please feel free to share your comments, insights, etc. in this thread.

Quote
There is an apartment complex that contains about 90 apartments. Each apartment has either a maroon colored carpet or an olivegreen colored carpet. The color of the carpet inside of an apartment is not determined by any pattern whatsoever; the color for a carpet was randomly selected by the administration. Therefore it is impossible for anyone to know the color of the carpet inside of any apartment unless s/he actually sees the carpet itself.

Every apartment but one of them, apartment 143, is currently used as a residence. Apartment 143 is locked and nobody has seen the color of its carpet. Two residents of the apartment complex get together and debate on what the carpet color of apartment 143 may be; maroon or olivegreen. Person A believes that the carpet color is maroon while person B believes that the carpet color is olivegreen. They base their assumptions not on actual knowledge but on the number of maroon or olivegreen carpets that they have seen and on what carpet colors are in a small number of apartments near apartment 143.

Person A and person B cannot know for a fact what the carpet color of apartment 143 is, no matter what they believe that their observances of other apartment carpets supposedly tell them. Person A says "the carpet in apartment 143 is maroon" but this cannot be accepted as a factual statement until the proof is seen. Person B says "the carpet in apartment 143 is olivegreen" and this also cannot be accepted as a factual statement until some proof is seen. The statement of person A may be true just as the statement of person B may also be true; logically, only tangible unqestionable evidence can confirm which person's statement is true.

Just as there is not any inferrable evidence to support the statements "the carpet in apartment 143 is maroon" and "the carpet in apartment 143 is olivegreen," there also isn't any inferrable evidence to support statements that are not assertive or not so polar. The statements that are not assertive and not so polar are "we actually cannot see the carpet color, but I think it is most likely maroon" and "we actually cannot see the carpet color, but I think it is most likely olivegreen." The polar statements and the not so polar statements are simply not backed up by anything that is evident. A better statement that person A and person B could make would be "I do not know what color the carpet in apartment 143 is because I cannot see inside the apartment." An additional statement that should be included is "it does not matter what the color is anyway because it clearly has nothing to do with my own apartment."