• Leontiskos
    1.3k
    - Yes, good points. :up:

    ---

    Well, glad to have come across someone who actually knows who John Hick is. (And Paul Knitter.) But I don't necessarily agree that he's guilty of the kind of relativism that Nagel critiques.Wayfarer

    Well, would we agree that Hick has attempted to eclipse first-order religious claims? It is in that way that it mirrors Nagel's target, for Nagel is targeting the attempt of second-order reasoning to eclipse first-order reasoning. Hick posits what he sees as a kind of meta-thesis about all first-order religious claims.

    That's not to say I subscribe to the kind of 'many paths up the mountain' approach, either. I think there are genuine and profound distinctions to be made between different religious philosophies. But then, there are also genuine and profound distinctions between different cultures, but they're still human cultures. But, we're called upon at some point to make a decision as to which we belong in, I guess.Wayfarer

    True. I myself don't like Hick's approach, but it is a complex subject with many facets. Perhaps a more obvious way of critique comes from Francis Xavier Clooney, who is a scholar of Catholic-Hindu dialogue. He says, paraphrasing, that today everyone will say that all of the world religions are equal, and are ultimately saying the same thing, and yet no one today seems to know anything about any of the world religions. That is more or less the difficulty I have with Hick. His approach seems more a priori than a posteriori. His thesis cannot be rejected out of hand, but it needs concrete evidence in its favor.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    With respect to having rational justification for believing in a supernatural entity in general, I would say no. Back then, we had very limited understanding of nature. Any test I would have been able to, plausibly, come up with, just like Gideon, would most likely be in vain: this is the same reasoning that every civilization has had for believing in their own gods (e.g., if <this-god> exists, then it will rain tomorrow and, what do you know, it rained!) and it is by-at-large very faulty reasoning indeed. However, iin principle, if there was some phenomena that could not be adequately explained naturalistically and has much positive support for it (viz., it is not enough to just posit, as a gap-like explanation, that it is supernatural because we have not explained it naturalistically; instead, the positing of something supernatural must be supported by sufficient evidence of the laws of nature and how the phenomena seemed to have truly violated those laws), then yes.Bob Ross

    It's just hard to take you seriously when you compare this rain example or your jumping jacks example to Gideon. It's like you're not even trying. The irony is that Gideon's grasp of "naturalism" is more keen than your own.

    I would say that the rational naturalist will necessarily disagree with you here (and I am certain that Oppy would disagree with you). If naturalism is true then there must be counterfactuals which would demonstrate the supernatural, else the thesis of naturalism is entirely vacuous and unfalsifiable. Or at the very least, that form of naturalism which provides for predictability would become entirely vacuous, and that is what we mean by naturalism in our own day and age.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Well, would we agree that Hick has attempted to eclipse first-order religious claims?Leontiskos

    I don't think 'eclipse' them, as much as viewing them in a wider context. As I said, many will say here, and I've been presented with it many times, that all religions claim to be the sole custodians of truth, and as they all disagree with one another those are grounds for claiming they all cancel each other. How can they all be right, if they're making conflicting claims? From the perspective of analytical philosophy, not to say common sense, it seems clearly contradictory. I won't repeat the excerpt I copied from Hick's essay but I stil say that at least it provides a framework which makes sense of pluralism. And also, this is a philosophy forum, I'm not inclined towards quoting scriptures except insofar as they can be taken to make a philosophical point.

    I could say that my view is that spiritual enlightenment or illumination are universal phenomena. The three philosophical traditions that I am at least slightly familiar with are Christian Platonism (my native tradition), Vedanta, and Mahāyāna Buddhism. Certainly, they all differ, but their distinctions can be seen as complementary rather than conflicting. The world is a global village nowadays and those who are secure in their faith need not feel threated by those of other persuasions.. And by viewing it that way, a case can be made for a kind of 'religious naturalism', in that the phenomena of spiritual illumination have cross-cultural characteristics, which indicate that there is something deeper than just culture in play.

    I also want to add that a factor in all these debates about naturalism and the sacred, is the overwhelming influence of what I think of as 'the objective orientation'. I have an intuition that prior to modernity, we had a different kind of relationship with the world - as the world was understood as an expression of the Divine Will, so the relationship with it was 'I-thou' rather than today's assumed subject-object relation. But from the subject-object perspective, it is assumed that 'the sacred' is some kind of object, entity or thing, the addition of which to the objects and entities of naturalism makes no sense. And that is true - it doesn't!

    Here, I'm reminded of Terry Eagleton's 2006 review of Dawkins' The God Delusion, which is what drew me to forums in the first place:

    Dawkins holds that the existence or non-existence of God is a scientific hypothesis which is open to rational demonstration. Christianity teaches that to claim that there is a God must be reasonable, but that this is not at all the same thing as faith. Believing in God, whatever Dawkins might think, is not like concluding that aliens or the tooth fairy exist. God is not a celestial super-object or divine UFO, about whose existence we must remain agnostic until all the evidence is in. Theologians do not believe that he is either inside or outside the universe, as Dawkins thinks they do. His transcendence and invisibility are part of what he is, which is not the case with the Loch Ness monster. This is not to say that religious people believe in a black hole, because they also consider that God has revealed himself: not, as Dawkins thinks, in the guise of a cosmic manufacturer even smarter than Dawkins himself (the New Testament has next to nothing to say about God as Creator), but for Christians at least, in the form of a reviled and murdered political criminal. The Jews of the so-called Old Testament had faith in God, but this does not mean that after debating the matter at a number of international conferences they decided to endorse the scientific hypothesis that there existed a supreme architect of the universe – even though, as Genesis reveals, they were of this opinion. They had faith in God in the sense that I have faith in you. They may well have been mistaken in their view; but they were not mistaken because their scientific hypothesis was unsound.

    Dawkins speaks scoffingly of a personal God, as though it were entirely obvious exactly what this might mean. He seems to imagine God, if not exactly with a white beard, then at least as some kind of chap, however supersized. He asks how this chap can speak to billions of people simultaneously, which is rather like wondering why, if Tony Blair is an octopus, he has only two arms. For Judeo-Christianity, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore arguably is. Nor is he a principle, an entity, or ‘existent’: in one sense of that word it would be perfectly coherent for religious types to claim that God does not in fact exist. He is, rather, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever, including ourselves. He is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. God and the universe do not add up to two, any more than my envy and my left foot constitute a pair of objects.
    Terry Eagleton - Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    I won't repeat the excerpt I copied from Hick's essay but I stil say that at least it provides a framework which makes sense of pluralism.Wayfarer

    I've been wondering about this. I like the Hick essay you posted and have read snippets of this venerable old thinker over the years.

    To me it seems that Hick is simply explaining away the differences between religions. It reads to me as if he is rationalising and downplaying an issue rather than acknowledging its full implications.

    Hick almost adopts the slightly superior air of David Bentley Hart, in as much as he implies that the simple faiths of most of the world's believers are just unsophisticated surrogates for the genuine ultimate reality - the logos; Brahman - whatever.

    Unfortunately this genuine transcendent truth seems also to be ineffable, so we are left with a posited and theoretical alternative which can't even be described or assessed. There's only the vague promise that some people may 'experience' it in some way via certain contemplative practices. And this still goes no way to demonstrate that this 'more sophisticated' shall we say perennial tradition version of 'god' is worth considering.

    Hick's essay seems like a lengthy rationalisation - since religions are often at odds with each other, there must be some truth they all have in common. It's very important for some believers to find this commonality because otherwise religion no longer involves the Absolute but is relegated to the absolutely contingent. I'm not convinced the case Hick makes can be made so confidently. Would we accept this kind of jump in other areas? If we say that Trump voters and Bernie Sanders voters are really just different expressions of the same truth about politics, I'd see this a largely fruitless simplification.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Unfortunately this genuine transcendent truth seems also to be ineffable, so we are left with a posited and theoretical alternative which can't even be described or assessed.Tom Storm

    I don't know if I agree. Yes, there is an ineffable truth, but within the specific domains of discourse which have grown up around that truth in it varying forms, there are ways of imparting it, ways of conveying it, and ways of understanding it. In Buddhist, Hindu and Christian religious orders, there are ways of assessing the progress, or lack of progress, of the aspirants. Those insights form the basis of many great and lasting works of sacred art and architecture.

    We're in an historically unique moment where we have instantaneous access to these vast stores of information about any subject, but I wonder if that ease of access makes us jaded. Many of the teachings which can now be so easily accessed from the comfort of your study, were once upon a time nearly impossible to get. The Chinese monks whose pilgrimages were made at enormous peril across the ancient trade routes to India to bring back the precious Buddhist scrolls that formed Buddhism in China. Likewise the Nestorian Christians who were exiled to ancient China and composed the Gospels in Chinese using Buddhist idioms. Whereas now these texts are digitized and freely available at the click of a mouse.

    As far as the absolute and the contingent are concerned, the 'unmade' or 'wisdom uncreate' has to all intents vanished from public discourse (at least since the decline of idealism in philosophy where it still had a foothold.) It has dissolved into the nihilism that Nietszche foresaw.

    If we say that Trump voters and Bernie Sanders voters are really just different expressions of the same truth about politics,Tom Storm

    Only one of the two has expressly stated an intent to undermine the constitution, so it's a false equivalence. Anyway that belongs in another thread.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    I don't think 'eclipse' them, as much as viewing them in a wider context.Wayfarer

    Well I don't know how long it's been seen you read Nagel's book, but I think Hick does the same thing. So maybe we want to say that Hick is "viewing them in a wider context," but it seems to me that the exact same claim could be made about the kinds of thought that Nagel targets. Your point about a multiplicity of views is something that Nagel addresses directly in the chapter on ethics, and all of the parallel arguments would hold with respect to religion. Because of the multiplicity problem, second-order reasoning is more persuasive when it comes to ethics and religion (I actually think Nagel's chapter on ethics was objectively weaker than his other chapters for this very reason). Still, that seems to be what Hick is doing.

    What is the move of Nagel's second-order relativizing? It is something like saying that the claims of first-order reasoners are false, but nevertheless the field of inquiry (including aspects of those claims) can be resuscitated under a different guise and form. So for example, for Wittgenstein philosophy in the traditional sense is impossible and misguided, but nevertheless by examining language we are able to salvage certain aspects of traditional philosophy and solve some of the problems which befuddle us, problems which are necessarily linguistic. Or for Kant, science in the traditional sense is impossible (i.e. study of the noumenal), but by introducing a Kantian theory of cognition we can resituate science in such a way that phenomena rather than noumena form the subject of investigation. Similarly, Hick thinks that substantial knowledge of God is impossible, but that philosophy of religion and the existing knowledge-claims can be salvaged by reconceiving religious epistemology along Kantian lines.

    Again, my primary thesis here is that Hick runs afoul of Nagel's project, not that Hick is wrong. Nagel might not even think he is wrong.

    The three philosophical traditions that I am at least slightly familiar with are Christian Platonism (my native tradition), Vedanta, and Mahāyāna Buddhism. Certainly, they all differ, but their distinctions can be seen as complementary rather than conflicting.Wayfarer

    They could, but Aristotle's warning about "small errors in the beginning leading to large errors later on" is incredibly pertinent. If we start out with an a priori desire to seek out commonalities, then—lo and behold!—we will find commonalities, and we will come to the conclusion that the similarities are very great. If we start out with an a priori desire to seek out differences, then the opposite will occur.

    It seems to me that if we try to remain unbiased, then we are forced to admit that there are significant differences between religions and between religious conceptions of God, even to the point where Hick's thesis fails. For example, it is not coherent to say that God manifests to zealous Muslims or crusading Christians as someone who demands violence and war, and that God manifests to Shakers as someone who demands pacifism. Unless God is schizophrenic, it simply cannot be the same God manifesting to both groups. If we assume that God does exist then one group's belief or interpretation must be more correct than the other, and Hick's idea that both are equally interpreting the same divine reality surely fails. (I think those who have no skin in the game are quick to observe significant religious differences.)

    Would we accept this kind of jump in other areas? If we say that Trump voters and Bernie Sanders voters are really just different expressions of the same truth about politics, I'd see this a largely fruitless simplification.Tom Storm

    This strikes me as an apt analogy. It really is possible to see Trump and Sanders through the same lens (reactionary populism, professed opposition to the political status quo, etc.). Nevertheless, stressing that aspect and concluding, "Mostly the same," would not be valid.

    Of course Hick does not seem to be engaged in "rationalization." He is not a religious apologist. It would be more apt to call him a pluralist, or a globalist, or a cosmopolitan.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    If we start out with an a priori desire to seek out commonalities, then—lo and behold!—we will find commonalities, and we will come to the conclusion that the similarities are very great. If we start out with an a priori desire to seek out differences, then the opposite will occur.Leontiskos

    Quite! Your points are well-taken.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only what we know of nature'Wayfarer
    That's an epistemological definition of "miracle". I prefer a metaphysical definition, wherein a miracle is an event involving something unnatural (irrespective of anyone perceiving it as such).

    Re: Armstrong - his main achievement was the development of a comprehensive, physicalist metaphysics (described in A World of States of Affairs). I've found it a useful framework when debating theists who suggest that an unnatural basis is somehow needed to account for the natural world.

    What's your issue with his theory of mind? He's influenced a lot of other philosophers.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    Quite! Your points are well-taken.Wayfarer

    Well, if you're going to give up that easily then I will be forced to admit that there are a lot of important similarities between religions as well. :razz: Folks like Huston Smith have argued this claim closer to the ground. I used to hold to something like Hick's thesis 15 years ago, but I have changed course over time. So I do think the points you've made have merit, and I am not entirely unsympathetic to that approach.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I know it's a contentious and contested area, but I came into the subject through comparative religion, so I tend to see through that prism. But I'm not going to go all in, it's simply a perspective that I find valuable, but that I understand others may not. (I've also read a some of Raimundo Pannikar who is likewise a comparitivist, but then, his mother was Indian and his father Spanish, so maybe he was naturally inclined towards syncetism. A lot of Jesuits tend to having that syncetistic, broad outlook, that was what made them such exemplary emmissaries in the Colonial era.)

    What's your issue with his theory of mind?Relativist

    ‘The Nature of Mind’ begins with the simple assertion that "men have minds", and Armstrong claims that modern science may be the best tool with which to investigate the nature of the mind. He says that it seems that scientific consensus is converging on an explanation of the mind in "purely physico-chemical terms". He acknowledges some disagreement on the matter, but says that dissent tends to be on primarily non-scientific grounds.

    He and C C Smart (both Australian, as it happens) were what I regard as lumpen materialists. I think any such argument is susceptible to the criticism made in Chalmer's Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness, in fact, I would bet that Armstrong (along with Dennett) was just the kind of philosopher Chalmers had in his sights.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    If we say that Trump voters and Bernie Sanders voters are really just different expressions of the same truth about politics,
    — Tom Storm

    Only one of the two has expressly stated an intent to undermine the constitution, so it's a false equivalence. Anyway that belongs in another thread.
    Wayfarer

    Huh? I think it goes directly to Hick's point about multiple expressions stemming from one source. Some of those expressions, like fundamentalism, are destructive (Trump being an appropriate analogue here).

    Of course Hick does not seem to be engaged in "rationalization." He is not a religious apologist. It would be more apt to call him a pluralist, or a globalist, or a cosmopolitan.Leontiskos

    It reads like rationalisation to me - an elaborate justification for religions being true, despite their often apparently irreconcilable differences. He's saying all religions may lead to, in fact point to spiritual truth. Surely this is perennialism, perhaps we could say he's an apologist for perennialism. One is either convinced by this kind of argument or not.

    ...we are forced to admit that there are significant differences between religions and between religious conceptions of God, even to the point where Hick's thesis fails.Leontiskos

    I agree. Question for you. Can we say that Hick is a relativist of a sort? Seems to me there's an overlap between pluralism and relativism.
  • Sirius
    39


    Well, glad to have come across someone who actually knows who John Hick is. (And Paul Knitter.) But I don't necessarily agree that he's guilty of the kind of relativism that Nagel critiques. I would have thought in our pluralistic world that a philosophical framework which allows for many divergent perspectives would be something of value. Many here regularly say that, as all religions claim to have the absolute truth, and they all disagree with one another, then in effect that cancels out the entire subject matter (not in those exact words, but it's a frequently-expressed sentiment.) I rather like the expansive view of John Hick (and Huston Smith and Karen Armstrong, to mention a couple of other names.)

    That's not to say I subscribe to the kind of 'many paths up the mountain' approach, either. I think there are genuine and profound distinctions to be made between different religious philosophies. But then, there are also genuine and profound distinctions between different cultures, but they're still human cultures. But, we're called upon at some point to make a decision as to which we belong in, I guess.
    Wayfarer

    Whilst l like John Hick's kantian distinction between appearance and ultimate reality. The problem is he relegates the truth claims of all world religions to the domain of appearance or mythological claims. To give one concrete example, he was famous for denying the literal incarnation of God as the person of Jesus in Christianity.

    This would not be a problem if the partial truths found in all world religions could be combined together to give us a vision of the ultimate reality without any logical contradictions.

    Does this happen ? Nope. John Hick was aware of this problem and he suggested we should make use of dialetheism. Maybe, the ultimate reality doesn't abide by the laws of logic. But even dialetheists aren't prepared to grant so many true contradictions. Given we can't contain the contradictions to ultimate reality alone, it does spill over to the world of appearance.

    Religious pluralism also suffers from something similar to the paradox of tolerance. Religious pluralism by definition views religions exclusivism to be wrong. So it ironically ends up excluding the great majority of religious people in this important aspect of their faith. Ofcourse, people who believe in religious pluralism won't ever likely persecute those who believe in religious exclusivism, but there is definitely an intellectual confrontation.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Whilst l like John Hick's kantian distinction between appearance and ultimate reality. The problem is he relegates the truth claims of all world religions to the domain of appearance or mythological claims.Sirius

    Insofar as it’s a claim, perhaps it’s not the truth. The best words can do is point. And as far as philosophy is concerned it can only ‘take you to the border’ and drop you there. Then it's up to the individual.

    I'll share an odd fact. I discovered Kant through T R V Murti's Central Philosophy of Buddhism. He makes extensive comparisons between Buddhist Madhyamaka and Kant's CPR (and also other idealists. A mid-last-century book, it's criticized by more recent scholars as excessively eurocentric.) But one of the comparisions Murti makes is between the 'two-truths' teaching of Madhyamaka and the Kantian distinction between phenomena and the noumenal. Conventional truth, samvritti, corresponds with the phenomenal realm, paramartha is ultimate truth, but at the same time, empty of own-being and beyond predication, as it were. Nāgārjuna (who authored the principle text) said he makes no claims and holds no thesis of his own. He has no absolute truth to proclaim and writes only as a kind of propadeutic. The analogy is, words are like a stick used to stoke the fire, but once the fire is ablaze, the stick is thrown in with it.

    Maybe, the ultimate reality doesn't abide by the laws of logic.Sirius

    Not so much doesn't abide by, but overflows, because it is beyond coming and going or dying and being born. That is why it is the subject of a kind of negative dialectic, rather like apophatic theology (although not explicitly theistic in the case of Buddhism).

    As far as pluralism is concerned, Buddhism was born and came of age in the pluralistic culture of ancient India. It was quite a different milieu to the Semetic, as there was a thriving culture and counter-culture of orthodox and heterodox philosophies and spiritual movements. There was a vigourous exchange of ideas between these many movements (at least up until the Mughal invasion.) As a consequence, dialectic reached a very high plane. It's been said that Vedanta and Madhamake each helped define the other because of that. Similarly with many other schools of Indian philosophy (technically 'darshana'.)
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    however, if these laws are just nature or a part of nature, it is difficult to see how they could order nature

    The problem with your assessment is that you have encapsulated nature into one entity, ‘nature’, which includes such laws, and then immediately denied that the laws are a part of that one entity.

    For instance, if there is a shovel buried in the ground, and I was like, "I need that shovel to dig a hole here" and you said to me "well just use that shovel to dig it out" then I would be puzzled, it cannot be used for the task that we have appointed to it because it is embedded in that which we are trying to apply it to.

    I am not sure I entirely followed this analogy, other than that nature cannot arrange herself. I would say nature can, but I am not saying that there is an entity which modifies itself (like a human organism can do to itself); rather, I mean that the laws are in the whole, which is nature; and they have some jurisdiction over some aspects of nature.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    It's just hard to take you seriously when you compare this rain example or your jumping jacks example to Gideon. It's like you're not even trying. The irony is that Gideon's grasp of "naturalism" is more keen than your own.

    Testing whether something is a banana by doing jumping jacks is analogous to testing whether something is God by asking it to put/remove dew from a mat.

    If you disagree, then please demonstrate why the analogy does not hold: hurling unsubstantive insults does not help further the conversation. I am after truth—and only truth.

    If naturalism is true then there must be counterfactuals which would demonstrate the supernatural, else the thesis of naturalism is entirely vacuous and unfalsifiable

    I already conceded with amendment to my position in my previous post. I already conceded I was using naturalism too liberally. In principle, if a phenomena is seemingly violating the laws of nature; then, prima facie, all else being equal, that counts in favor of supernaturalism.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    If some thing in the world can be fully explained in terms of some other things, then we are able to remove that thing as a sort of ontologically basic entity (making the system more parsimonious).

    I see, and agree. So, it seems like epistemic parsimony is about concepts, and ontological parsimony is about (concrete) entities.

    But current forms of naturalism have a great many "brute facts." The more brute facts you have, the more ontologically basic things you have.

    I think I see where you are going. Theism, being that it posits one supreme entity, is the ultimate ontology, allegedly, because it is monistic; whereas, allegedly, naturalism is pluralistic. Correct?

    I don’t think an ontology is more parsimonious all else NOT being equal just because it is a form of monism, would be my reply. Since we start out with natural entities, which both theists and atheists have to ontologically posit, it seems more ontologically parsimonious to go with naturalism IF it can all be sufficiently explained that way—even if it has more brute facts than theism.

    For example, imagine, to take your example, there are five basic atoms which everything is ontologically reducible to. Imagine a theist says “this ‘atomic five theory’ doesn’t account for miracles”, and we need to posit God to explain them. IF the ‘atomic five’ naturalist can explain sufficiently such “miracles” under their theory, then it seems, to me, to be more ontologically parsimonious, even though God would provide a form of monism whereas ‘atomic five theory’ does not because the latter doesn’t have to posit a whole new category of entities.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    I think what makes a miracle evidence for the supernatural would be that it displays a certain type of intentionality. If a new, bright star appeared in the sky out of nowhere, defying all our theories of star formation, we would not tend to think of this as necessarily miraculous. It would be a confusing new natural phenomena.

    If several new stars appeared in the sky spelling out "Allah is the Greatest," we would almost certainly take this as miraculous. To me, the difference seems to be the intentionality and the fact that it seems directed towards us for some purpose.

    This is a good thought; and, upon reflection, I agree. @Leontiskos, let me refurbish my earlier statement: a phenomena that consistently or demonstrably violates the laws of nature in a manner that indicates divine intentionality should be considered supernatural, all else being equal.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    I see, so nature has two parts then: a lawful part and a non-lawful part, and it is the lawful part that orders and arranges the non-lawful part. And in that case, nature is both orderly, having a lawful part, and disorderly, having a non-lawful part that is ordered by the lawful part. But a thing cannot be the opposite of what it is. What are we to make of this puzzle?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k



    But one of the comparisions Murti makes is between the 'two-truths' teaching of Madhyamaka and the Kantian distinction between phenomena and the noumenal. Conventional truth, samvritti, corresponds with the phenomenal realm, paramartha is ultimate truth, but at the same time, empty of own-being and beyond predication, as it were. Nāgārjuna (who authored the principle text) said he makes no claims and holds no thesis of his own. He has no absolute truth to proclaim and writes only as a kind of propadeutic. The analogy is, words are like a stick used to stoke the fire, but once the fire is ablaze, the stick is thrown in with it.

    Reminds me of Plato's Divided Line and his difference between opinion (about mutable things) and knowledge (about things that are always true). It struck me a while back that the Platonic preference for this sort of knowledge is essentially reborn in modern philosophy's preference for Humean "relations of ideas" or Kantian analyticity. The whole idea of "a priori" truths is very akin to the theory of remembered truths, known prior to all sensory experience, in the Phaedo.

    But this is a point where I tend to go over more to Aristotle, even if I generally find more to like in Plato. We learn from sensory experience and from experience of our own thoughts. Plato might be right to preference the realm of being over becoming to some extent, but it isn't true that all knowledge is of being alone.



    For example, imagine, to take your example, there are five basic atoms which everything is ontologically reducible to. Imagine a theist says “this ‘atomic five theory’ doesn’t account for miracles”, and we need to posit God to explain them. IF the ‘atomic five’ naturalist can explain sufficiently such “miracles” under their theory, then it seems, to me, to be more ontologically parsimonious, even though God would provide a form of monism whereas ‘atomic five theory’ does not because the latter doesn’t have to posit a whole new category of entities.

    Yes, this makes sense. And I think it applies to the "classical theism" of most contemporary philosophy of religion, where God is just a very powerful entity outside the world who created the world and occasionally intervenes in it against the normal "laws of nature."

    Religion is only more parsimonious in systems where there is a higher level reality that the world of appearances is plausibly reducible to. This tends to be true in panentheistic systems, whereas pantheism would seem to require an identical number of entities to naturalism and theism additional entities. Advaita Vedant, Neoplatonism, and most Catholic and Orthodox theology would seem to fit the bill here. The reduction flows from a vertical conception of reality based on what is more essential.

    The Catholic Mass has a line where everyone says something to the effect of "praise God in whom 'live and move and have our being'" (from The Book of Acts 17:28). God's essence is said to be identical to God's being, but this is true of nothing else. All created things are a sort of derivative partial being, existing according to their essence. All essence is derivative of the Logos (Christ) in the same way light comes in many colors but is one thing. Being is God's being alone (existence, haecciety), which is incarnated/instantiated in Logos according to essence, where essence is derivative of Logos. This maintains a true ontological God/creation distinction unlike Advaita, but it nonetheless collapses the plurality of ontological entities. But there is also a personalist trend here (normally associated with the Holy Spirit) that also tends to make persons ontologically basic, which increases the number of entities.



    But a thing cannot be the opposite of what it is. What are we to make of this puzzle Bob Ross?

    Dialectical. A thing is / encapsulates its opposite (Eriugena, Boehme, Hegel, etc.) . :cool:
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    I agree. Question for you. Can we say that Hick is a relativist of a sort? Seems to me there's an overlap between pluralism and relativism.Tom Storm

    In some ways we might say that, but in general I don't tend to view Kantians (like Hick) as relativists. The reason is that the noumenal will impose some aspect of normativity on the Kantian pluralism. For example, I am guessing Hick might say that there does not exist any religion which self-consciously worships an evil god, because the one reality that is being mediated by religion excludes this interpretation. Or if we take the analogy of the various colors of light that get diffused by a glass prism, we do not find the color black among the colors dispersed, because the normative form enforced by the light source does not permit the color black. Although in Hick this normativity is very thin and subtle, on my view true relativism includes no such normative form.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    Religious pluralism also suffers from something similar to the paradox of tolerance. Religious pluralism by definition views religions exclusivism to be wrong. So it ironically ends up excluding the great majority of religious people in this important aspect of their faith. Ofcourse, people who believe in religious pluralism won't ever likely persecute those who believe in religious exclusivism, but there is definitely an intellectual confrontation.Sirius

    I think this is a good point, and there is also the fact that religious pluralism universalizes a move that had already been localized by various religions. To give a simple example, some Christians might say that Jews worship the same God they do, but Muslims do not. Hence there is a kind of Christian-Jewish pluralism going on, but which excludes Islam. In the ancient world this was very common, where it was believed that the same god could be worshipped by a number of different peoples and regions under a different name. For example, Zeus and Jupiter.

    When you have these very old and developed traditions of discerning when the same god was being worshipped and when a different god was being worshipped, Hick's novel thesis that everyone is worshipping the same god comes across as flat-footed.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    I already conceded with amendment to my position in my previous post. I already conceded I was using naturalism too liberally. In principle, if a phenomena is seemingly violating the laws of nature; then, prima facie, all else being equal, that counts in favor of supernaturalism.Bob Ross

    Leontiskos, let me refurbish my earlier statement: a phenomena that consistently or demonstrably violates the laws of nature in a manner that indicates divine intentionality should be considered supernatural, all else being equal.Bob Ross

    And how is it that you believe Gideon's test does not do this? Do you believe that the natural phenomenon of dew will affect a fleece and nothing else on one day, and then it will affect everything except the fleece on the following day?
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    I would view it as an intricate web of relations of things; so, yes, there are the relations and there are the things. I don't see what the puzzle is though: what about what I am saying leads to nature being its own negation?
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    The point is that cannot prove, in principle, that the dew which affected the fleece (and nothing else that day) was a direct result of a divine, ultimate creator.

    Either way, yes, I would be inclined to say that there is a natural explanation for it; whatever it may be; for we there have been many examples similar to this that were explained naturalistically.

    For example, on some steep hills a car will naturally roll up the hill. Now, just like the dew example, you could ask "do you really believe that the natural phenomena of gravity would cause the car to go up?". This line of questioning is just incredibly flawed: you are relying on an argument from ignorance.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    - Now we seem to be entering flat-earther territory, and that's where I get off the train.

    Either way, yes, I would be inclined to say that there is a natural explanation for it; whatever it may be; for we there have been many examples similar to this that were explained naturalistically.Bob Ross

    Faith in naturalism. Gotta love it.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Hick's novel thesis that everyone is worshipping the same god comes across as flat-footed.Leontiskos

    He doesn’t say that at all. His thesis is that religions originate with ‘the encounter with the sacred’, which is then interpreted in divergent ways from the outset, according to the way in which it is expressed by the originator and the culture in which it is interpreted. So cultures conceive of ‘the sacred’ in vastly divergent ways. Whether there is one or more ‘sacreds’ is kind of a silly question, which is also the point.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    Although in Hick this normativity is very thin and subtle, on my view true relativism includes no such normative form.Leontiskos

    Thanks. Yes, that's a wise assessment.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    Whether there is one or more ‘sacreds’ is kind of a silly question, which is also the point.Wayfarer

    It seems to me that if there is only one "sacred" then everyone must be worshipping the same god; the phenomenal elements of each religion each derive from one and the same noumenal reality. Metaphysical polytheism is logically incompatible with Hick's theory, no?
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    It seems to me that if there is only one "sacred" then everyone must be worshipping the same god; the phenomenal elements of each religion each derive from one and the same noumenal reality. Metaphysical polytheism is logically incompatible with Hick's theory, no?Leontiskos

    'The sacred' is a category, not an entity. Consider David Bentley Hart's depiction of God in The Experience of God - 'one infinite source of all that is: eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, uncreated, uncaused, perfectly transcendent of all things and for that very reason absolutely immanent to all things.' " From a review. He sees commonality between diverse theistic traditions. Is he also falling into Hick's 'barren relativism'?
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    - As far as I know, Hart does not hold that all religions worship the one infinite source. He certainly does not believe that all religious adherents worship the one infinite source. Hart's pluralism is therefore "localized" ().

    Is he also falling into Hick's 'barren relativism'?Wayfarer

    I'm not sure who you are quoting, but I just explained why I do not think Hick is a relativist ().
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment