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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Default Faith of a Rationalist

    I argue here for how philosophy must be a way of life and its relationship to mysticism and the alogical, what seemingly can not be tackled by reason alone. Dostoevsky once said that reason without compassion is evil and he expounded on this in his famous Ivan Karamazov, anyone who has read the novel should know exactly what I am talking about, and in short this is my response to this claim of his. Reason, I assert should be deemed superior to both authority and the prevailing voice of passions within our psyche.

    Faith of a Rationalist


    Paul Davies authored a book that presupposed the task of finding God with an assertion that science does a better job of accomplishing this than religion. I shall use Module four as a Prolegomenon to this essay, as I have answered many of the major questions posed in that book there. At this point I would like to make an allusion to Kant?s famous essay on What is Enlightenment. Englightenment Kant argues is the process of extricating yourself from a self-imposed immaturity. And this self-imposed immaturity no doubt stemmed from our natural tendency to be egocentric. If we look through history we will notice how people tended to perceive the world only in accord to the way it appeared to be through their perceptions as indeed they were confined to them. Prevailing orthodoxies dictated what the truth should be understood to be, and those who opposed were deemed heretical and punished severely. Many were lucky enough to get off with just ignominy, yet others were forced to die for their beliefs and have been burned at the stake. A glaring case in point for this would be the story of two European philosophers of the 17th century, Giordano Bruno and Benedict de Spinoza who dared to oppose the prevailing (in this case religious) Orthodoxy. The first has been burned at the stake and the second was branded opprobrious for the rest of his days and many of those who were influenced by him were forced to deny this publicly and among them was an eminent German philosopher and a mathematician (contemporary of Newton and a discoverer of Calculus, they both have discovered around the same time framework yet published it with several years part, to this day historians have found no evidence of them collaborating on this project) Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz. As Bertrand Russell once noted in the History of Western philosophy that Leibniz was a supreme intellect of all times, yet morally he was not admirable in the least. His greatest work was in Mathematics and philosophy of logic which he left unpublished on his desk, yet what he was renowned for during his time was something different: a work that was manifest political sycophancy in philosophical guise where he has concocted a monstrous metaphysical system that supposedly proved that we live in the best of all possible worlds while glorifying his Queen. Clearly, if Leibniz was dishonest in this regard, this was an attempt by him to ease the pressure of himself and buy more time to work on ideas that he truly invests faith in, and in his case this was mathematics which never got out to the market. The problem that we have encountered here is one that concerns the discrepancy of reason and our drive to appease our vain prejudices.


    As Arthur Schopenhauer would comment on this: our fundamental drive in life is to exist, this is what we is at the bottom of all our activities, everything else is just a sophisticated subterfuge of this. This is what later on Freud would call the ID. Accordingly, Schopenhauer would assert, it is the ID that is the ruling passion of our life, the EGO is always slave to it. So one shall ask him here, how exactly do we appear to behave in a reasonable fashion at least some of the time? The intellect is slave to the impulses Schopenhauer would answer, the ID is always in activity to please itself, yet intellect reports information to it that if it behaves recklessly, it will encounter problems and therefore the ID puts the intellect to work for its own end. Our goals in life are fundamentally structured in order to appease our impulses, in this case the strongest impulse of all is to be happy, we never chose to have this in our minds, it was impressed upon us since birth. At best intellect is only a tool for us to appease our urges. This, as despondent as it may sound is the reality of human condition. Christianity among many other faiths asserted that man is evil by nature and spirituality which can only be propounded by religious orthodoxy can aid our cause. In this essay I shall argue that spirituality does have value in a sense that religions have presented it in, yet religious orthodoxy is not necessary here and only human faculty of reason can see through to our salvation. G.E Moore, a well known 20th century Analytical philosopher who specialized in linguistics once said that the most difficult aspect of philosophic inquiry is stating the problem in a way that it can be solved or asking a question in a way that it can be answered. So from this it follows that I first and foremost should thoroughly explain our problem or what it is that the human condition is afflicted by. What exactly is it that religions talk about that we need salvation from? And right now it would be best to let Schopenhauer, a man who had an uncanny insight into human condition and human nature, a man who did not fall for the temptations of wishful thinking and ?cherished the truth beyond all else as well as was a man of supreme integrity? as Popper has eulogized him take over at this point.



    ''Now if we have so far convinced ourselves apriori by the most universal considerations, by investigation of the first, elementary features of human life, that such a life, by whole tendency and disposition, is not capable of any true bliss or happiness, but is essentially suffering in many forms and a tragic state in every way, we might now awaken in this conviction much more vividly within us, if, by proceeding more aposteriori, we turned to more definite instances, brought pictures to the imagination, and described by examples the unspeakable misery presented by experience and history, wherever we look, and whatever avenue we explore?But perhaps at the end of his life, no man, be he sincere and at the same time in possession of his faculties, will ever wish to go through it again. Rather than this, he will much prefer to choose complete non-existence. The essential purport of the world-famous Hamlet monologue is, in condensed form, that our state of existence is so wretched, that non-existence would decided be preferable to it.... If we were to conduct the most hardened and callous optimist through hospitals, infirmaries, operating theatres, through prisons, torture chambers, and slave-hovels, over battlefields and to places of execution; if we were to open him all the dark abodes of misery, where it shuns the gaze of cold curiosity, and finally were to allow him to glance into the dungeon of Ugolino where prisoners starved to death, he too would certainly see in the end what kind of a best of all possible worlds this is. For whence did Dante get the material for his hell, if not from this actual world of ours? And indeed he made a downright hell of it. On the other hand, when he came to the task of describing heaven and its delights, he had an insuperable difficulty before him, just because our world affords absolutely no material for anything of the kind?. For the rest I cannot here withhold the statement that optimism, where it is not merely the thoughtless talk of those who harbor nothing but words under their shallow foreheads, seems to me not merely an absurd, but also a really wicked, way of thinking, a bitter mockery of the unspeakable suffering of mankind. And let no one imagine that the Christian teaching is favorable to optimism, because in the gospels, evil and this world are used almost as synonymous expressions.''

    As Voltaire would also give credence to Schopenhauer?s grim view of the Universe.
    ''Happiness is only a dream, pain is real.... I have experienced this for eighty years. I know of nothing better than to resign myself to this and to say flies are born to be eaten by spiders, and men to be devoured by trouble and affliction.'' So he once said.


    Students of philosophy know more about Schopenhauer?s personal life than about his ideas, yet many fail to acknowledge the brute fact of him being a genuine philosopher who made very ambitious promises and has legitimately fulfilled them. Poetic justice clearly appealed to this despondent figure as an allusion to the celebrated poet John Milton.

    ''Somewhere in the 1600s a man who could not see, sat down to write what he thought would be the greatest poem in human history. He said it would include, in his words, ''things yet unattempted in prose or rhyme.'' It is the view of the modern world that he achieved just that. His poem, the paradise Lost, is considered the greatest epic in human history. Few poems take on such an enormous theme as Paradise Lost, a theme that is not less than the origin of evil in itself. The man who took on this ambitious challenge, and created a classic in the process, is a man who led a life of immense struggle, loss and sacrifice. In a sense, John Milton's life was a search for paradise-a life in which the poet became the poem.''

    As indeed Schopenhauer?s philosophy was about the origin of evil and what must be done about it. The way he lived is grotesquely incompatible with the beauty of his ethical teachings, yet once again his philosophy was self-expression for him. As Nietzsche noticed in the Twilight of the Idols how Schopenhauer wrote about art with a melancholy passion. Happiness was not possible to him and it is the mere pursuit of happiness is what is responsible for all the misery in the world. Accordingly, he has adapted a Buddhistic ethical axioms where selflessness is deemed to be the source of all good, and egoism-the source of all evil. For Schopenhauer, the essence of reality is comprised of the Will, or the all-embracing metaphysical ID. Schopenhauer, being an ontological idealist argued that if we pierce the atoms that make up what we consider matter, we will see the Will or this immaterial force that has at once propelled the Universe in motion. His prophecy came true as in the 20th century physicists have arrived at the conclusion that true matter is force trapped within a cluster which in itself is in constant motion, much like Schopenhauer?s Will. Many assert that Schopenhauer?s cosmology was doubtlessly pessimistic, along the same lines Machiavelli?s work is often perceived in the same fashion. But I believe for those judgments to be inaccurate and a very detailed assessment could be made to evince their falsity. The real state of the case is that these two great men were devoid of illusion and those who remonstrated against their teaching were either in hypocritical denial of the truth about themselves or exceedingly coarse and unreflective, because the veracity of the stated claims was manifest to even the most bleeding-heart of philanthropists. Machiavelli insisted that men by their nature are selfish, fickle and deceptive. Schopenhauer would concur and add that the reason why this is so is because we have no choice but to be selfish as our only other option is complete non-existence which is to be ?decidedly? preferred to this. Nonetheless Schopenhauer?s doctrine of transworld depravity stands without a refutation and I myself can not imagine how one plausibly can concoct one, as human depravity has been a profound issue in this world that has not escaped the notice of any prominent religion, not even Marxism. As Schopenhauer himself once said that true Christianity and the Eastern religions insist on the necessity of self-abnegation for salvation and deem egoism as the root of all evil. As far as Christianity is concerned he cogently argues that one must completely surrender to God and in effect eliminate all selfish urges and only then will evil in this world desist.


    This is another citation that is necessary in order to set up the scene for the Schopenhauerian perception of the problem of evil ,essence of knowledge, and how, if at all salvation is possible.
    "Accordingly, what follows, and this has already impressed itself as a matter of course on every student of Plato, will be in the next book the subject of a detailed discussion. Those different grades of the will's objectification, expressed in innumerable individuals, exist at the unattained patterns of these, or as the eternal forms of things. Not themselves entering into time and space, the medium of individuals, they remain fixed, subjects to no change, always being, never having become. The particular things, however, arise and pass away:, they are always becoming and never are. Now I say that these grades of the objectification of the will are nothing but Plato's Ideas.I mention this here for the moment, so that in future I can use the word Idea in this sense.Therefore for me the word is always to be understood in its genuine and original meaning, given to it by Plato; and in using it we must assuredly not think of those abstract productions of scholastic dogmatizing reason, to describe which Kant used the word wrongly as well as illegitimately, although Plato had already taken possession of it, and used it most appropriately. Therefore, by Idea I understand every definite and fixed grade of the will's objectification, in so far as it is thing in itself, it is foreign to plurality. These grades are certainly related to individual things as their eternal forms, or as their prototypes. I take no further notice of the Kantian misuse of this word; the necessary remarks about it are in the Appendix."

    What we have here is Ontological Idealism. The real knowledge of this world exists within those forms or Ideas that Plato has taken note of. A good example of this would be a legal case where we all know what justice is, yet rarely see it happen in actuality. According to Plato, only the brightest of intellects can understand those forms and in this case the wisest person would have the clearest view of the form. Accordingly, as Schopenhauer posits, those forms are foreign to change, they are incorruptible. Yet our perceptions of them do change very frequently. This has been the epistemic foundation of the modern day philosophy of science as first proffered by Karl Popper?s fallibilism. Fallibilism is a notion that truth is absolute and objective and immutable. Yet our perception of the truth should always be in state of perpetual flux. Our views will always be fallible and corrigible. Platonic Ideas never change, our perspectives of them do. So in relation to Milton one can say that he has imagined the Form of human perfection and his entire life strived to reach it to no success because those forms are inaccessible to men. To correct Plato on this one we should say that the brightest of intellects would have not the true form in mind, but a closer perception of them than those who are less intellectually proficient. Schopenhauer would carry on and say that we tend to see beauty everywhere in this world, yet we are never able to grasp it, it is there mocking us and much of the same can be said for Platonic Ideals like: Justice, truth, and love. None of these can be perceived in their entirety. It is our obligation to strive for them, but we must always keep in mind than we will never achieve them, and this will eradicate the pernicious strive to make ourselves happy that Schopenhauer has forewarned us against. Therefore perfection only exists in the heavens, as far as this world is concerned all that we have is our crude perceptions of what it is like. Happiness, he would say is essentially a negative entity. A negation of unhappiness. Therefore in order for this to be accomplished, we must be completely at rest, yet the desire for happiness, in virtue of its own existence makes it impossible for us to be at rest, yet we can clearly perceive what happiness is like, and yet be forced to admit that in order for it to be achieved, our non-existence is necessary. Therefore paradise does exist, yet it will lose its perfection upon our entrance.

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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Schopenhauer insisted that the human condition is best depicted in this allegory: a strong blind man carrying a lame sighted man on his shoulders. Or in other words this is the primacy of the unconscious mind over the conscious, of the Will over the Intellect. We are truly driven by unconscious desires and consistently befool ourselves into believing that we are in control of our actions and we are always doing what we want to be doing, yet the truth of it is that our conscious mind will never be more than a serf to the conscious. Salvation comes only when the intellect takes primacy over the Will, this is when we will be devoid of the mindless cravings that have been plaguing us hitherto. The Will is the vapor, and the intellect is the form says Schopenhauer. Therefore the real thing is the Will, or the mindless cravings, the intellect is a mirage. It exists parasitically only in virtue of the Will, much like the lame sighted man depends on the strong blind man for his existence or for the very least for his mobility without which it would be impossible for him to exist as for the very least he would die due to biological causes. Therefore separation from the will necessarily induces non-existence, and this is what Schopenhauer advocates, salvation through non-existence. (This is very similar to the Buddhistic end doctrine where one merges with God into a single identity and therefore loses his sense of self.). Schopenhauer?s philosophy received tribute from Darwin?s theory of Evolution. As he would argue that the Will is in the constant state of motion, yet by sheer accident it has produced the intellect, as there is no doubt that the intellect exists, it continues to be slave to will, as will is the foundation to all existence. Therefore what we get with Schopenhauer is that salvation consists in this: the intellect being a substance-less image of the world than only mirrors the Will. This can be accomplished when one?s conscious mind takes over the unconscious. Accordingly this is where the importance of reason comes in. If the meaning of life or ?God? could be found through science as Paul Davies would have us believe, there clearly is a parallel between Schopenhauer?s teaching and the philosophical diagram that we have in front of us.
    The significance of Plato?s ontological idealism invokes intellectual humility. The notion that not even the brightest of us will access the full truth and knowledge of this demands that we make a conscious effort to avoid dogmatism. As only in virtue of this could philosophical integrity be achieved. This is where we will be arguing not to drive our point home or seek ways to appease our prejudices, but for the sake of gaining an understanding. For this reason our beliefs must always be fallible and corrigible. What exactly is the faith of a rationalist? Faith, in many philosophical contexts has been presumed to have an antithetical meaning to reason, yet at the same time, it is clear that we all make leaps of faith in our daily lives. For instance, we are clearly aware that certainty is unavailable to us and therefore we have to accept what is deemed most likely to be true. David Hume has plausibly argued that no knowledge is accessible to us with apodictic certainty, and before him Rene Descartes has managed to ascertain of nothing other than just his own existence. In the previous century, the Logical positivists attempted to establish certainty by arguing that only what is empirically verifiable can be thought of as a meaningful statement. Everything else is neither true or false and strictly speaking is non-sense. Many, otherwise valuable ideas were not able to get out to the market because of this, and Bertrand Russell, its initial author was forced to disown it because it was intellectually terroristic.


    To return to Kant?s question of what Enlightenment is: it is a state of seeing the world objectively, independently of one?s particular tastes and prejudices. What we initially took for knowledge to be is what we can know of, or what appears to be acceptable through our scope, yet we tended to ignore what may be true, yet inaccessible to us. As in the case of the Logical Positivists, materialism was the accepted metaphysical framework. The reason why it was deemed so is because it appeared to be more in tune with the faculty that we are in the closest affinity with: our senses. Kant argued that without a subject there could be no object. In materialism, where material precedes the immaterial, it could easily follow that what is immaterial is simply a figment of our imagination. As Democritus, the pre-Socratic who was the first materialist argued that the core of ontological reality is comprised of atoms, and our ostensible reality can be explained in terms of an intricate movement of those entities. They produce all the immaterial visions that we perceive as real. This is an example of what a self-imposed immaturity that Kant has forewarned us again is like: our tendency to deem the world in a fashion that is the most acceptable to our tastes and prejudices. As Schopenhauer once remarked aphoristically ?Everyone takes the limits of his visions to be the limits of the world? seems to describe the state of the case well.
    One should ask, why exactly could there be anything other than those atoms? The answer to this is very simple: we know that our minds exist as well as our bodies. This is because we have to presuppose that some kind of thinking exists in order for us to say that we are thinking at all, or even to say that those atoms may just be, for the very least there has to be some kind of a force immanent within those atoms. A materialist can say that the reality of it is that the atoms make us experience all of those delusions, yet once again, the mere existence of those delusions can not be posited without the presupposed existence of a thought of some kind. In Module four I have given a comprehensive outline of my cosmology in relation to Paul Davies?s exegesis of many discoveries of Modern Physics that I shall summarize now.
    The real universe is outside of our perception. It is infinite(or too big to be clearly perceived by us)and hence the reason why we perceive it as ostensibly finite is because of the poverty of our imaginations, hence we break it down into the fragments of time, space and matter. Heat and colors are also figments of our imagination. Albert Einstein has shown that in order for one to be within time, one must be exposed to both light and mass. And concerning heat and colors, had we been placed at a different location, our perceptions would be radically different and this insinuates the subjective conditioning of those entities as well. So when we look at the Universe as it is, we do not perceive the thing in itself, and what we perceive is the way the thing in itself appears to us. Hence the thesis of Kant?s Critique of Pure Reason was that the world as we understand it (phenomenal) exists only the way it is posited by our reasoning faculty. Hence it exists within time and space that our minds have posited it in. Even though time and space are subjectively conditioned, we can not think them away because our finite minds need them in order to perceive at all, to think them away would mean to think everything else away. Kant denied being an idealist (one who does not believe that matter is any less real than what is immaterial), yet Schopenhauer was one. He argued that the Will is immanent within matter, and the Will was the fluctuating force that inhered within it. Schopenhauer has endorsed a double aspect-theory, that I subscribe to. That matter and Will are one, matter is one of many ways the Will objectifies itself in. Same can be said for mind and body, that our real self is some immaterial essence, what one can refer to as the mind, yet the body is one way that we perceive it in. The Will is thought of as the noumenal world, hence it is completely inaccessible, the objectification of the Will is what we have access to ?phenomenal world. The phenomenal world is posited entirely by our reason, or our sense perception, it is basically what we make the Will out to be with the way we receive it. A different way to look at this would be that the noumenal world is God trying to communicate with us, and the phenomenal world is us unconsciously translating what he is saying to what we can understand.
    The noumenal world is entirely inaccessible because we have direct access only to what is within our sense perception. We all see a chair and use our imagination to incept what it is to us, yet when we were children we would not be able to have this idea of a chair, so the sense-datum that it would invoke in our minds would be meaningless. Hence as we have grown up, we found a way to use our imaginations to understand it. We may have different ideas of what the chair is like, yet we can agree that we see enough similarities to establish that it is the same object in front of us. We could speculate furthermore onto what the real nature of the chair is like, yet we are hit by a brute fact that all of our speculation is confined and even filtered through our sense-perception. Therefore we can not talk about what is outside of time, space, matter, colors, temperature and so on, as this is outside of our reasoning faculties. Accordingly, we can only speak of the idea of infinity in a symbolical fashion, yet we can not engage in the concept as we do with the common-place ideas. From this it follows that since the Bible claimed for God to be infinite, yet also posited that we can have direct knowledge and access to and off him, has incurred a contradiction. We can not have direct engagement with God because he is outside of our finite reasoning faculties. Our world, the way we perceive it will always be finite because we impose restrictions upon it. In effect we can not ask questions like: does God exist?, because we do not even know what God is, as that concept is outside of human understanding. This clearly renders anthropomorphism untenable and the only way Christianity can be reasonably defended is through radical fideism. Or a leap of faith, acceptance of divinity not based on reason, but based on the symbolical representation of what can not be fathomed. This in effect reaffirms Kantian notion of Enlightenment as in this case it has been conceded that the core of epistemology can not consist of what our Reason can grasp, and at the same time puts primacy on what is unfathomable: the infinite is deemed to be more important than finite and what is infinite will always be outside of the province of human understanding. In a twisted sense Schopenhauer?s exhortation for self-abnegation also discourages anthropo-centrism, in a sense that it sends a message that the Universe would be a far better place had man not existed at all, and plausibly argues that eradication of evil is only possible if man relinquishes his drive for happiness. As far as the question of us surviving the death of our bodies, I do not deem for this to be important, it is just another step in overcoming the ?self-imposed immaturity?. Based on human understanding: if the noumenal world is infinite, yet everything about our world is finite, only in this world could there be quantity. Everything in the noumenal world, much like the ?Ideas? that he has alluded to must be foreign to change and must be one. Therefore, human personality/soul, or personhood of God can not exist in the afterlife. Human mind, because it is not within space or time can not survive the death of our body in a way we would interpret this act. Yet this does not mean that there is no God or eternal self for us, there may be, though in a radically different way that we would understand for it to exist. Whatever there may be in the after-life it is outside of the human ?Reason? in the Kantian use of the word.


    Nietzsche remarked that Schopenhauer wrote about art with a melancholy passion, and in this respect I part company with him. Schopenhauer argued that through appreciation of art, through recognition of the beautiful in life could we dissociate ourselves from our base nature and in effect lose the will to live and will no longer have a need to do evil to others to please ourselves. He would claim that human nature is evil and this is all that it is, and everything that exists is evil because it is infused with the Will to live for it could be nothing good. The Will to live is necessarily egoistic and egoism is tantamount to evil. One could say that this is a manifest absurdity as we know that all people couldn?t be equally evil, as any sound ethical theory must concede that Mother Theresa is morally superior to Hitler. Schopenhauer would yield assent to this and say that the reason why Mother Theresa was superior to Hitler was because the Will to live was weaker in her. She has accomplished this by being selfless, yet Hitler only reaffirmed his natural tendencies for selfishness. Dostoevsky once asserted that reason in itself is evil because it can only be the tool (a claim that Schopenhauer would well grant) to our passions, and our passions in themselves will be nothing but selfish, and only through love can man be saved. Yet art, Schopenhauer would argue can invoke depth of feeling in us, and this very frequently leads to compassion, and only compassion can defeat our selfish urges.


    Whereas Schopenhauer insists that we can work through our selfish feelings and turn them inwards on themselves and in effect force them to become altruistic, and this shall purge our inner being from the Will and our intellect shall become free. I am saying that instead of this, we should force the intellect to tackle the Will head on. At this point I am invoking Spinoza?s doctrine of salvation through contemplation. Will and the Intellect will naturally be in the state of antithesis because the former insists on constant motion, yet the latter only on calm contemplation. These two are mutually exclusive. Invoking the passions through art may tame the Will, but this will take more time and effort and hence it makes more sense to siege the enemy?s camp directly as opposed to casually attempting to undermine him in a slow fashion. This is where the faith of a rationalist comes in. One must believe that despite the irrational human nature and the seemingly bizarre condition of this world, we could make sense of it. Reason in a vernacular sense of the word and in the Kantian is orderly, as we could easily say that the world conforms to the laws of physics and systematic philosophy does work as this is what gave rise to nearly all academic enterprises. Namely the belief in the viability of our reasoning powers.


    Albert Einstein famously said "God does not play dice", he did not mean the God that the Christians worship, he meant much more. Einstein was a pantheist and when accused of atheism claimed that he believed in Spinoza?s God. Einstein was a thorough-going determinist. The purpose behind his determinism was not nihilistic, but actually it was an allegorical representation of his worldview. He believed that everything in the Universe can be explained, every event had a cause. And because every event had a cause, everything can be explained in virtue of reason. Spinoza was a rationalist in an epistemic sense(he believed that there are more philosophically valid resources within the human mind than on the outside-IE, empirical evidence), and in the sense that I have been using that word in this essay. In the rationalist tradition, it has been presumed that if the proper axioms of the Universe are to be figured out, everything else could be solved like a mathematical equation. Kant has fused the rationalist school of thought with the empiricist to this conclusion: we have apriori maps of how the universe may be (as Galileo would suggest to us that Mathematics was one of those maps as it is the language that God has written the universe with he would say), and our experiences are the way we perceive the world. Hence to solve this riddle we must figure out where exactly we are on this map that we have envisioned. In the end one shall ask, how does this solve the problem of evil?


    The problem of evil, one can intuit, abounds from our selfish urges. When our selfish urges take primacy over the altruistic, we cease to love the truth, and then we are likely to embrace moral relativism as this can allow for us to obtain ethical justifications for the proposition of how might makes right. Nearly all tyrants of the world, past and present, consciously or unconsciously held to the maxim of how might makes right and because of this all of their folly can be justified. Only through honest introspection and earnest love of the truth can we prevent ourselves from getting overboard with the second statement, and hence we will not get around to the problem of moral relativism. Only through logical, dispassionate analysis conducted in one?s solitary introspection can one reach enlightenment by truly extricating oneself from his personal biases and prejudices. Only through the belief of how reason is the light of the world can we reach what Schopenhauer proposed to be the Ultimate end in his philosophy: the intellect being emancipated from the services of the passions and becoming a substance-less mirror of the world. Then and only then will we be liberated from our self-imposed immaturity through true objectivity.

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    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    wow!!!

    i cant believe no ones taken the time to comment on this! sadly i suspect that everyone was intimidated by the length... it really was worth every second to be read.

    did you...like....write that??? or is this like from a published journal? im impressed either way. i have a few questions.... but ill have to ask them tomorrow.

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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    wow!!!

    i cant believe no ones taken the time to comment on this! sadly i suspect that everyone was intimidated by the length... it really was worth every second to be read.

    did you...like....write that??? or is this like from a published journal? im impressed either way. i have a few questions.... but ill have to ask them tomorrow.
    A revised version of this is published as the concluding section of Poverty of Conventionalism.

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    Solitarywalker is my former alias on this forum and the current on INTPc and INTJc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    A revised version of this is published as the concluding section of Poverty of Conventionalism.

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    Solitarywalker is my former alias on this forum and the current on INTPc and INTJc.
    interesting reading the notes and preview section of that book...

    1. wait, but did you personally WRITE that? or did you just post it?

    2. if you did write it, do you really "believe" it...or is it just kind of you exploring where the philosophy takes you? its one thing to arrive at a conclusion philosophically, its quite another to apply that as one's world view.

    3. what would you comment on the idea that knowing anything about God seems to be impossible. Feelings can't get us there, logic can't either. Imagination cant get us there, and 5 sense naturalism cant either.

    seriously, how can we ever really get anywhere without making an irrational jump?






    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    ....

    1. you cant believe in something to be true just because it "feels right":

    "it just feels so right! we have to have a savior!?" "life would be pointless without a God, it just wouldnt FEEL right"

    the feels right method of guide fails. If it were right, then that girl i had a crush on in 8th grade would be with me simply because...drum roll.... "it just FEELS so right! {nothing physical implied!}"

    2. so if we can't get there on feelings... well then were do we go? to reason...

    problem is exactly what you just said: we often just create logical arguments for what we already hold to be true to us.... so this often breaks down into:

    "well theres both a descent proof AND refutation... FOR BOTH SIDES!"

    3. So then from reason/philosophy we go to naturalism and the 5 senses... but then we are left with:
    "is this really all there is?" if all there is is finite quantifiable stuff, then how does the concept of "love" and other unquantifiables exist in the universe? if love is just a chemical reaction...well how do i feel about the ramifications of this????

    I guess i could reconcile atheism if i was certain of it (ok obviously not 100%). I guess atheism isn't THAT repulsive if i knew it was the truth. the butterfly effect would give me comfort: a butterfly flapping its wing can affect the path of a hurricane many years after the butterfly is dead many miles away.

    I just can't commit to this one out of the fear of being wrong.

    4. so then we go to just wild imagination...where literally the craziest shit of molding together string theory and God, aliens and god, chia pets and God, or any other crazy molten theory of religion that has no previous basis besides you thought it up and it seems to work???


    So what am i left with??? Im coming to the sad realization that we basically know nothing...somehow a bunch of dead philosopher guys would disagree with me.... but im not sure if IIIII can ever know anything

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    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    There is nothing irrational about a "jump", what is irrational is refusing to budge from wherever you happen to land. The process of deduction only unpacks what is already implicit in the premises, so jumps are necessary to provide something new for our critical faculties to act upon. The "jumps" are to knowledge what mutations are to evolution, and the growth of knowledge would not be possible without them.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    There is nothing irrational about a "jump", what is irrational is refusing to budge from wherever you happen to land. The process of deduction only unpacks what is already implicit in the premises, so jumps are necessary to provide something new for our critical faculties to act upon. The "jumps" are to knowledge what mutations are to evolution, and the growth of knowledge would not be possible without them.

    Yes, but the worthwhile jumps are eventually justifiable. if there is no way to ever justify them, or they are just too big, then how can we really be building real knowledge?

    example:
    There isn't a lot of justification between making a jump from a non-personable God to a personable God when you consider: I've never personally heard or received a personal message that would imply a personal God. The idea of giving God a personality (personable), quantifies that which is supposedly infinite and unquantifiable.

    These jumps in where feelings, logic and empiricism can lead us etc must eventually be justifiable. If they aren't then how are they not just mental masturbation?

    i do see what you're saying about we need to make some jumps. I guess so that we may even question and begin to TRY and justify them... but aren't some jumps bigger than others? (where do we draw the line?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    There isn't a lot of justification between making a jump from a non-personable God to a personable God when you consider: I've never personally heard or received a personal message that would imply a personal God. The idea of giving God a personality (personable), quantifies that which is supposedly infinite and unquantifiable.
    Then again, perhaps they leaped from a different rock.

    For example, in Christianity, maybe they decided that since people are personal, and that God created people in his own image, then God must be personal too, correct?

    So they don't need direct evidence to prove the point, they've simply built a case with some internal consistency even if it's not anchored to specific data points. (The flaw here would obviously be found in the basic assumptions, if anywhere, since the case is not derived necessarily through direct experience.)

    These jumps in where feelings, logic and empiricism can lead us etc must eventually be justifiable. If they aren't then how are they not just mental masturbation?
    When do you determine that something will eventually be justifiable? How do you know that maybe you won't find the proof you're seeking tomorrow? Or in an hour? Or ten years from now?

    It does seem more productive to examine it in light of reasonable possibilities (i.e., which option is most probably true) in light of actual evidence.

    i do see what you're saying about we need to make some jumps. I guess so that we may even question and begin to TRY and justify them... but aren't some jumps bigger than others? (where do we draw the line?)
    Yup, similar to what I just said.

    You have to take calculated risks, just as you might when you try to cross a stream balanced on random rocks scattered throughout the water. Think about it. The further the distance you have to jump, the more risk and the less likely it is for you to take that route. But each person has a different margin of risk they are able to accept. So you can't predetermine the "risk limit" up front. Some people will take bigger leaps... and might even succeed, depending on their individual characteristics and fortune... but the odds were definitely lower and those rocks were riskier.

    You'll see the same behavior in thinking/belief as well. Some people need the rocks to be close together and are more concerned about avoiding error; others are willing to try to leap far distances because they like what's on the other side more than they fear the risks. and then you even get some people who don't see the danger and make jumps that might dump them in the water but still have thought them (illogically) to be easy jumps.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    wait, but did you personally WRITE that? or did you just post it?.
    I wrote it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    2. if you did write it, do you really "believe" it...or is it just kind of you exploring where the philosophy takes you? its one thing to arrive at a conclusion philosophically, its quite another to apply that as one's world view.?.
    Yes, that is my credo. I apply this to my life by making an earnest effort to understand all things as deeply and clearly as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    3. what would you comment on the idea that knowing anything about God seems to be impossible. Feelings can't get us there, logic can't either. Imagination cant get us there, and 5 sense naturalism cant either..?.
    The idea of God needs to be clearly defined. When this is accomplished, one of two follows. The idea of God is either non-sense, something that we have no reason to suppose that exists, or it could be proven that God does exist.



    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    seriously, how can we ever really get anywhere without making an irrational jump?
    We can lessen the amount of irrational jumps we are forced to engage in by observing the external world and analyzing it as carefully as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    There is nothing irrational about a "jump", what is irrational is refusing to budge from wherever you happen to land. The process of deduction only unpacks what is already implicit in the premises, so jumps are necessary to provide something new for our critical faculties to act upon. The "jumps" are to knowledge what mutations are to evolution, and the growth of knowledge would not be possible without them.
    The problem with the jump offered by religious faith is because their statement is as follows. You must 'jump' there because we tell you to and believe in XXUGIFDSUIGFDUGIDSFUIGSFDUGIDUIGDSF.

    There could be a reasonable jump and an unreasonable. An example of a reasonable jump is 'I establish the premise that I have a hand in front of me because I see it'. Cannot completely deduce this as this is merely a piece of factual information in front of me. Common-sense aside, we can conjure plenty of good reasons to believe in this.

    An irrational jump is ' I establish in my premise that God exists because the preacher said so'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    An irrational jump is ' I establish in my premise that God exists because the preacher said so'.
    What if the preacher is the Son of God?

    *snark*
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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