## Philosophy/Religion

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It’s all interpretation. Once you’re thinking or talking about it, you’re interpreting. If you perceive, you’re interpreting. Take vision as an example.
— Xtrix

What is it you interpret vision to be interpreting?

Colors, for example.

I believe I understand what you're saying, but I think that there comes a point when insisting all is interpretation becomes meaningless, or pedantic (no offense intended). That may be the Pragmatist in me. When we assert that when I see a chair I'm interpreting it, I doubt we're saying anything significant. When we claim that we can distinguish a human being from a potato, I don't think this is an interpretation in any reasonable sense.

Well in the sense of perception, yes it's an interpretation. And it is trivial, yes. When it comes to an understanding of being (the world, the human being, etc), it's also an interpretation -- but it doesn't necessarily have to be explicit or theoretical. It's just what everyone knows and does. If you were to study a tribe somewhere, by looking at what they do -- their culture, their vocabulary, their customs, their rites, their work, their daily routines, etc -- you can better grasp their understanding of being.
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Both philosophers and theologians claim the authority to evaluate metaphysical principles, but the standards by which they conduct those evaluations are very different.

I think the very methodology by which the universal metaphysics are developed within philosophy and religion follow an opposing order. Philosophy, like science, begins with the human experience of reality, and asks "what does this mean?" Then, hypothesizing and theorizing about metaphysical principles follows. Both philosophy and science begin with observation, the general procession being: observation > hypothesization > theorization > [philosophy or scientific law]. The nature of both scientific and philosophical enterprise are marked by inquisition; science and philosophy are inquisitive in nature. Religion, rather, is not.

Boethius said man is the one creature blessed and cursed with self-awareness, and so with the foreknowledge of her death.

A very cogent observation, and pertinent to my point. The goal of religion is to ameliorate the human existential crisis which pursues the foreknowledge of death. Religion takes the opposite approach from both philosophy and science, beginning with an assertion about a desired end, for instance that human beings will not experience death, and developing a cosmology determined to show, prove, or convince of that assertion. The process enjoyed by our particular 'western' religions, for instance, is as: [assertion of eventuality] < "faith" < natural truth < divine revelation. This means that as an enterprise, rather than being inquisitive, religion, opposing both philosophy and science, is generally demonstrative in nature. This is an essential difference between the focus of religion on the one hand, and that of philosophy and science on the other, in my view.
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Of you ask someone what something means to them they will give you an answer even if they had never really thought about what it meant and they will believe that what they answer they have always believed.

We have to believe what we say to be true and to have mostly always been true for us. We are not at all inclined to throw off certain lived narratives and so shed our skin with words all the time believe our new skin to be the original skin.

It’s all a blur we choose to see certain images in. When the image changes we change with it so we cannot even appreciate our own progression from moment to moment nor recognise a moment passing.
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Mythology is the other chaps religion. Quoting Joseph Campbell, the late renowned mythologist. I have heard religion described as a failed philosophy, it seemingly giving something for people to grasp when ignorance was utterly total. As philosophy and science have progressed religion has been fighting a defensive retreat. It actually gives I think, believers the sense that they actually do think, and without a great deal of cognitive stress-- lol An orientation when no other orientation was available. It pushed forward a sense of humanity in an otherwise brutal world. So, although it proves to be something divisive in the present, something we can ill afford today, I think it was fundamental in the creation of a sense of humanity in the past. It was humanity's biological extension,, an admixture of humanity and in part, a brutal morality.
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It depends on what is meant by 'religion'. In terms of institutions 'religion,' 'science' and 'philosophy' have more in common than not.

As a way of understanding and viewing our place in the world none of the above do so in any one particular way and none of them do so without the existence of the other in mind (however it may be represented).

An economist will view the view differently to a teacher, and all teachers and all economists will, for the most part, have a particular shared view. Would we call this a 'religion'? I don't think so, but the systems under which economists and teachers operate will tend to give them a common frame with which to view the world.

The 'frame' is important and we spend absolutely no time looking at the frame. The frame is there and unseen. How we move and direct the frame has a lot to do with its shape and the current view it gives us.

How people choose to apply 'science,' 'philosophy' and 'religion' to this story of The Frame would be interesting to hear. I am assuming some would say the frame is X or the view is Y etc.,.
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Presently, the frame is toxic to the world at large. Today we cannot afford the divisiveness of that frame they call religion. In a world of nuclear weapons, it's grow up or die.
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Philosophy, like science, begins with the human experience of reality, and asks "what does this mean?" Then, hypothesizing and theorizing about metaphysical principles follows.

Modern science is much more narrow in scope than that. It is only concerned with meaning insofar as it confirms or falsifies a specific hypothesis under consideration, or reveals a general principle. But that principle will generally be physical in nature, rather than anything like a moral principle. Greek philosophy was much more concerned with hypothesising and theorising about metaphysical principles than is science per se.
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[ ... ]
— Wayfarer

Do you mean emptiness?

Next time perhaps try not to make so much ado about nothing
:smirk:

It would be incorrect, though, for us to say human beings are "God's creatures" or creatures that have souls, for example. To the extent we make such claims when asking what we are, I think we engage in wishful thinking. Maybe we are, maybe we do, but to assert we are/do is unwarranted.
:up:

When we assert that when I see a chair I'm interpreting it, I doubt we're saying anything significant. When we claim that we can distinguish a human being from a potato, I don't think this is an interpretation in any reasonable sense
Apparently, "interpretation" is one of those lit-crit loan words in philosophy which is easier than most other terms to over-interpret.
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Apparently, "interpretation" is one of those lit-crit loan words in philosophy which is easier than most other terms to over-interpret.

When we way "all is interpretation" we misuse "interpret" and "interpretation" as they're defined in dictionaries and ordinary use. When we interpret something we explain it, or judge it, or translate it depending on context; we do something intentionally, and our interpretation may be wrong or inadequate. We do none of those things when we see something; we simply do what people with sight do--that is to say, see as human beings do. There's typically no thought involved.

To say I'm interpreting when I see a radish implies something about seeing which makes it a matter of dispute. Seeing a radish thus becomes a matter of debate or dispute; did I see a radish, or is that merely me interpreting again? It seems a way of assuring that all day to day living is considered uncertain or questionable, which I suppose is pleasing to some. It's a trope, though.
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When we way "all is interpretation" we misuse "interpret" and "interpretation" as they're defined in dictionaries and ordinary use.

All the better.

We do none of those things when we see something; we simply do what people with sight do--that is to say, see as human beings do.

Perception is a kind of interpreting.

"We tend to think that what we see just depends on what's 'out there,' but the more one studies vision either as a scientist or as a painter, one discovers that what's called vision involves an enormous amount of interpretation. The color we see as red is not the same color in terms of wavelengths at different times of the day. So in even in what we think of as our simplest interaction with the world, just looking at it, we're interpreting." (Hilary Putnam)

There's typically no thought involved.

Right, there isn't.

To say I'm interpreting when I see a radish implies something about seeing which makes it a matter of dispute.

Not really. It's not a question of whether anything exists "out there" or not, but that -- as Kant points out -- we're perceiving things, and perception has its own forms.

It seems a way of assuring that all day to day living is considered uncertain or questionable, which I suppose is pleasing to some.

That's exactly wrong. This is only the case is one is ensconced in epistemology. This great fear of the "uncertain" creeps in, but that's not important here. What I'm pointing out is trivial. I'm not using the dictionary version of "interpreting," which is similar to saying "it's just your opinion." It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of perception. We all perceive, and so we all interpret. A glass being half full or empty is also an interpretation -- it doesn't mean there's no glass there.
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A glass being half full or empty is also an interpretation -- it doesn't mean there's no glass there.

That's not merely a perception of a glass with liquid in it, but a judgement. Of course we see a glass with liquid in it as a glass with liquid in it, but that is not an interpretation, it is an example of a basic understanding that is shared by all. We can build on that basic understanding and interpret the glass and liquid as arrangements of different kinds of atoms, but nonetheless we still see, and cannot but see, it as a glass with some liquid in it.
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I'm not using the dictionary version of "interpreting," which is similar to saying "it's just your opinion." It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of perception. We all perceive, and so we all interpret. A glass being half full or empty is also an interpretation -- it doesn't mean there's no glass there.

What definition are you employing, then? If you define "interpreting" as "seeing" you certainly may do so if you like, of course, but it seems misguided.

I agree with Putnam that what we see doesn't depend solely on what's "out there." Neither does it depend solely on what's "in here." What we see, do and think is a result of our interaction with the rest of the world. Sometimes we interpret when interacting; sometimes we don't.

When I see a radish, I see just what a human being with (relatively) normal eyesight would see. If I was colorblind, I would see just what a human being who was colorblind would see. If I see a radish at sunup I'd see what a human being would see on looking at a radish at sunup; if I see it at sundown I'd see what a human being would see then. This isn't my interpretation of a radish, however. It's me (a human being) looking at a radish in certain circumstances or under certain conditions and seeing what a human being would see in that case.

A bird looking at a radish isn't engaged in interpretation. Neither are we.
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Of course we see a glass with liquid in it as a glass with liquid in it, but that is not an interpretation, it is an example of a basic understanding that is shared by all.

It's a perception, and perception is a kind of interpreting. All perception. again I think Kant is good here and I'm basically repeating him.

This is only controversial if one takes interpreting to mean "uncertain" or "opinion." Of course there's a glass there, and a chair and a tree and the color red. But all of that is also partly subject-dependent.
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This is only controversial if one takes interpreting to mean "uncertain" or "opinion." Of course there's a glass there, and a chair and a tree and the color red. But all of that is also partly subject-dependent.

I agree that what we see depends on us just as it depends on what is there; seeing is interactive. Animals also presumably see things as things (but not self-reflectively, since they have no language). I just think 'interpretation' is a problematic term to use in this context because it suggests a voluntary act that is somewhat arbitrary and could have been otherwise.
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What definition are you employing, then? If you define "interpreting" as "seeing"

Perception.

What we see, do and think is a result of our interaction with the rest of the world. Sometimes we interpret when interacting; sometimes we don't.

We're always perceiving and, thus, we're always interpreting.

When I see a radish, I see just what a human being with (relatively) normal eyesight would see. If I was colorblind, I would see just what a human being who was colorblind would see. If I see a radish at sunup I'd see what a human being would see on looking at a radish at sunup; if I see it at sundown I'd see what a human being would see then. This isn't my interpretation of a radish, however.

It's your perception of the radish, which is interpreting.

A bird looking at a radish isn't engaged in interpretation. Neither are we.

A bird is interpreting sense data as well, as we are. This happens automatically.
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I agree that what we see depends on us just as it depends on what is there; seeing is interactive. Animals also presumably see things as things (but not self-reflectively, since they have no language). I just think 'interpretation' is a problematic term to use in this context because it suggests a voluntary act that is somewhat arbitrary and could have been otherwise.

That's fine, but recall I said at the beginning that I was not using "interpreting" in this sense -- namely in the dictionary sense. I think perception is better to, but can't always be employed as well.
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:ok:
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Where $\rightarrow$ means became/transformed into,

Religion $\rightarrow$ Philosophy $\rightarrow$ Science.

All these fields are avatars of each other that, oddly, coexist. Well, it isn't that surprising (grandmother, daughter, granddaughter can all be alive together).
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Religion →

Philosophy →

Science.

I think this is exactly right, chronologically— with one important caveat: that the words themselves are being used in modern terms. Otherwise, all three share the common feature of dealing with basic human questions — they all begin and end with the human mind.

In the modern sense, I think science (as natural philosophy) is the most narrow. Its object is nature. Science, then, from one perspective is simply physics — and physics studies how the natural world works mostly using mathematics. Mathematics is a very unique activity, and calls upon different human mental capacities — what one might call logical capacities (and which is often meant by “reason,” “rational,” and even “thinking” — all potential translations or derivatives from the word “logos.”)

It’s also important to recall that both words, nature and physics, stem from the same Greek word: phusis, which was the early Greek word for “being.” Its more limited sense— nature (natura in Latin) — became predominant shortly thereafter.

So the lines between religion and philosophy aren’t as rigid as one might think. I sense the push of scientism has reinterpreted history as a story of overcoming myth and superstition through the powers of the scientific method — and so there’s endless debate about religion and science, faith and reason, etc. But this can be misleading. I myself for too long took this line of thinking.

But as in the case with Buddhism, ordinary conceptions of religion tend to break down. It’s better and easier, in my view, to see all of these words as referring simply to an activity of humans; specifically the activity of “deep thinking” (to distinguish from other kinds of everyday thought) in terms of fundamental questioning.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a great example of what I mean.
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We could, salva veritate, substitute thinking for philosophy and what we then have is the following:

Religion $\rightarrow$ Thinking (Philosophy) $\rightarrow$ Science.

There really is no choice but science (materialism). Science is amenable to testing; anything else is more about coherence (of ideas) rather than correspondence (with reality).
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