• Tate
    1.4k
    In ideal conditions, the human intellect can explain anything, with one exception: it can't explain Everything.

    There's nothing to relate it to, causally or otherwise. This is the intellect's limit.

    Remember when you were young and you came across that question: if God created everything, what created God? That's it. It's the limit. You can't explain Everything.

    A high percentage of philosophers throughout history failed to take that into consideration.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    A high percentage of philosophers throughout history failed to take that into consideration.Tate

    Dummies. :snicker:
  • Angelo Cannata
    246
    Given that, as you said, it is unexplainable,

    1) how do you know that what you called “Everything” is really “Everything”,

    2) how do you know that it exists,

    3) how do you know that it is unexplainable,

    4) and how do you know what you are talking about when you say “Everything”?
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    "Everything" is necessarily self-explanatory. It's the height of incoherence to ask for an "explanation of everything".
  • Agent Smith
    8k
    it can't explain Everything. — Tate

    That's incorrect. I thought I'd never say that in my entire life! Danke for the opportunity, danke Herr Tate.
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    I do not understand why you think everything cannot be explained.

    I think everything can be explained.

    When is something explained? That is, what, at base, is it for something to have been explained?

    It is for its occurrence or existence to require no further explanation. And that will happen when asking 'and why did that occur?' or 'why does that exist?' makes no sense and shows only a lack of understanding on the part of the questioner.

    Well, why think that can't be true of every single occurrence and every single thing that exists?
  • Christopher
    52
    Remember when you were young and you came across that question: if God created everything, what created God? That's it. It's the limit. You can't explain Everything.Tate

    "The less you think, the more you believe."---Richard Dawkins
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    "The less you think, the more you believe."---Richard DawkinsChristopher

    That's not true either.
  • Christopher
    52
    Disregarding logic to believe is true?
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    No, the claim that the less a person thinks, the more they will believe.

    Some people will believe more if they think less, and some will believe less if they think less. And some who think a lot will believe more by virtue of having thought a lot, and some will believe less by virtue of having thought a lot.

    Thinking often leads to belief, does it not?
  • Noble Dust
    6.1k
    In ideal conditions, the human intellect can explain anythingTate

    What are these ideal conditions?
  • SophistiCat
    2k
    Explanations come in various forms. Some, but not all explanations take the form of a causal narrative, like your God example. Since causal explanations relate different parts of the same world together, your conclusion holds: you cannot give a causal explanation to everything put together, because your explanans would then leave nothing to serve as an explanandum other than itself, and causa sui is a trivial and unsatisfactory explanation.

    But what about other kinds of explanation?
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    "The less you think, the more you believe."
    —Richard Dawkins
    — Christopher

    That's not true either
    Bartricks
    Your ignorance (feigned or not) is stunning, kid. :smirk:
    For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe – that unless I believe I shall not understand. — St. Anselm
  • Bartricks
    5.9k
    Your ignorance (feigned or not) is stunning, kid.180 Proof

    It's Dr Bartricks to you. Dad.
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    “When a man stops believing in God,” said GK Chesterton, “he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything.”

    Neat. Not true, I would say. But sometimes I prefer neatness to truth. (That's a confession, not a boast.)
  • Tate
    1.4k
    But what about other kinds of explanation?SophistiCat

    I'm trying to think of a kind of explanation that's not about relationships to other things.

    Would breaking a thing down into parts and relating the parts to each other serve as an explanation?
  • Tate
    1.4k
    ideal conditions, the human intellect can explain anything
    — Tate

    What are these ideal conditions?
    Noble Dust

    This came from imagining that I'm talking to the human intellect. I asked if it's capable of explaining anything.

    It said under ideal conditions, like if it's smart enough, has access to the right data, has peace and quiet to put it together (as opposed to having to struggle for safety in a war).

    It's confident that in those conditions, there's nothing it can't explain.

    Then I asked if it could explain Everything. It said I was talking about God as a symbol of the ultimate cause.
  • Joshs
    4k
    Then I asked if it could explain Everything. It said I was talking about God as a symbol of the ultimate cause.Tate

    Contemporary philosophy doesn’t look for first causes to explain Everything. They look for formal structures of becoming and transformation. Hegel was among those who started this trend with his dialectic of becoming.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    In ideal conditions, the human intellect can explain anything ...Tate

    It may be that the ideal conditions under which anything can be explained are not human conditions. We are limited animals who often go about unaware of their limits.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    Contemporary philosophy doesn’t look for first causes to explain Everything. They look for formal structures of becoming and transformation. Hegel was among those who started this trend with his dialectic of becoming.Joshs

    Wittgenstein warned that Heidegger was trying to do something that can't be done.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    ideal conditions, the human intellect can explain anything ...
    — Tate

    It may be that the ideal conditions under which anything can be explained are not human conditions. We are limited animals who often go about unaware of their limits.
    Fooloso4

    I think the intellect resists accepting any limits. The intellect says you'd have to have a vantage point beyond humanity to know that it's limited. I'm sure you recognize this as ponderings based on the Tractacus.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    I think the intellect resists accepting any limits.Tate

    That is why the best philosophy retains a comic element.
  • Joshs
    4k
    Wittgenstein warned that Heidegger was trying to do something that can't be doneTate

    Really? Can you find a quote for that?
  • Tate
    1.4k
    Really? Can you find a quote for that?Joshs

    I'll try. :grin:
  • Tate
    1.4k


    Here's the quote:

    Wittgenstein on Heidegger, from 1929:


    I can very well think what Heidegger meant about Being and Angst. Man has the drive to run up against the boundaries of language. Think, for instance, of the astonishment that anything exists [das etwas existiert]. This astonishment cannot be expressed in the form of a question, and there is also no answer to it. All that we can say can only,a priori, be nonsense. Nevertheless we run up against the boundaries of language.

    Kierkegaard also saw this running-up and similarly pointed it out (as running up against the paradox). This running up against the boundaries of language is Ethics.

    I hold it certainly to be very important that one makes an end to all the chatter about ethics – whether there can be knowledge in ethics, whether there are values [ob es Werte gebe , whether the Good can be defined, etc.

    In ethics one always makes the attempt to say something which cannot concern and never concerns the essence of the matter. It is a priori certain: whatever one may give as a definition of the Good – it is always only a misunderstanding to suppose that the expression corresponds to what one actually means (Moore). But the tendency to run up against shows something. The holy Augustine already knew this when he said: “What, you scoundrel, you would speak no nonsense? Go ahead and speak nonsense – it doesn’t matter!"
  • Ciceronianus
    2.5k
    Neat. Not true, I would say. But sometimes I prefer neatness to truth. (That's a confession, not a boast.)Cuthbert

    Chesterton was a very glib, amusing fellow, and that sometimes makes his relentless special pleading nearly tolerable.
  • Joshs
    4k


    Nevertheless we run up against the boundaries of language.

    Kierkegaard also saw this running-up and similarly pointed it out (as running up against the paradox). This running up against the boundaries of language is Ethics.
    Tate

    Heidegger also saw the boundaries of language as a problem for the articulation of being But it should be understood that what he saw language as standing in the way of was not an explanation of everything in the sense of capturing a world of things outside the bounds of human experience. The very idea of a concept of everything as all the furniture of the universe is what the grammatical structure of language imposes on us.
    Subject-predicate propositional grammar uses the copula ‘is’ as a neutral glue to force on us the idea of things as entities with intrinsic content. ‘This is a chair.’ ‘That is a mountain’. Heidegger and Wittgenstein wanted to explain being in terms of becoming rather than interms imposed by the static ‘is’.

    The reason we think we need a theory of everything is because of what Wittgenstein called our bewitchment by language.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.4k
    In ideal conditions, the human intellect can explain anything, with one exception: it can't explain Everything.Tate
    Isn't that a commonplace?

    There's nothing to relate it to, causally or otherwise. This is the intellect's limit.Tate
    We don't know what is the intellect's limit and thus there's no meaning talking about it.
    Things like "God created everything, what created God?" are empty questions, anyway, since God is a human invention. So it depends what limits we have given and are giving to such an imaginary entity.

    That's it. It's the limit. You can't explain Everything.
    A high percentage of philosophers throughout history failed to take that into consideration.
    Tate
    Why, do you know of any philosopher who has ever said that there's no limit in what we can know or that we can explain everything?
  • Tate
    1.4k
    Heidegger also saw the boundaries of language as a problem for the articulation of beingJoshs

    So he opted to express 'what it's like' from the first person view, right?

    The very idea of a concept of everything as all the furniture of the universe is what the grammatical structure of language imposes on us.Joshs

    From what vantage point are you making this observation? Where are you standing? How did you get there?

    Heidegger and Wittgenstein wanted to explain being in terms of becoming rather than interms imposed by the static ‘is’.Joshs

    Hegel already said that being is derivative of becoming. It's in P of the Spirit.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    We don't know what is the intellect's limit and thus there's no meaning talking about it.Alkis Piskas

    Thank you, Ludwig. You're probably right
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