• Constance
    1.1k
    You will necessarily consider the government the steward of the rules, science the steward of knowledge, and religion the steward of ethics and meaning if that's the system you've decreed, but that isn't where society began. It's where it happens to be now, but only in some parts of the world.Hanover

    I dont consider empirical science the steward of knowledge at the level of examining the presuppositions of science. Science gets into very serious trouble when it comes to basic questions because it cannot address the simple question as to how knowledge of the world is possible. Its job is not epistemology. Ask a scientist how the world "gets into" a knowledge claim and she will not even know what you are talking about, yet this is fundamental to knowing the world. To be clear: it is not that science has some working paradigm about how knowledge relationships and this will advance based on new observational data; rather, science has no clue at all as to how such a relationship could even possibly work given the scientist's "ontology" of physicalism/materialism.

    But of coursr, when it comes to the familiar classificatory work of science and pragmatic efficacy, science is the steward of knowledge.

    Government the steward of rules? But prior to this is ethics. Government is right as it reasons ethically, and wrong when it doesn't regardless of the outcome. I refer here to the "good will" of intensions.

    That is, some turned to religion not only for reasons to do with death, truth, or meaning, but because they wanted to know what to do if their neighbor's ox gored theirs, what sorts of foods were safe to eat, and when they should have celebrations and when they should be solemn. They also wanted to know why the sun rose and fell and why the animals did as they did, and so they came up with all sorts of explanations.Hanover

    I am not here concerned with any analysis of why people turned to religion. More often than not, there simply was no choice, conform or die. The way we are entangled with other people, desires and fears brings in matters that are not that have nothing to do with the essence of religion, and more than political favor for certain research has anything to do with the essence of science. It is not why people believe in a religion, but what is means for something to be religiously significant at all! What is there in the world that makes religion even possible outside of narratives and power plays, etc. Or better, what makes the world a "religious place" in the same way that it is a place of science? You mentioned ethics, and I agree, but this just opens the door for discussion. What about ethics makes it the essence of religion?

    But this conversation isn't about all this. It's about why you folks think people still cling to religion when science and government has prevailed and from there the psychoanalysis follows. It must be, you assume, because the world is scary, uncertain, and otherwise amoral.Hanover

    No, no. I mean, it is scary and uncertain, obviously, but I am arguing precisely that the world IS a moral place. I am arguing that religion, beneath all those absurd assumptions of faith and dogmatism, the essence of religion is the realist thing one can imagine, and lies deep in our existence. This is the value dimension of our world. Ask, what is real? in the philosophical sense, not in the general sense in which this term is tossed around mindlessly. I argue that there is nothing more real than affectivity or the "pathos" that saturates experience in every interest, abhorrence, love, hate, and so on.

    Of course, to see this, one has to put aside science's absurd claims about science's metaphysics called physicalism (and the like).


    Religion is an all encompassing worldview, just as is scientism. It can reach as far into the realms of science as much as science can reach into the realms of religion. The question is where to draw the line, but I do think the quest for meaning is as inherent a human drive as is the quest for knowledge. While science can tell us why the world does as it does, it can't tell how to live in it. That's why I'd suggest religion perseveres in an otherwise scientific world. It simply provides answers science does not.Hanover

    One has to put aside this kind of categorical thinking. This is metaphysics, but responsible metaphysics, so if it has a name at all, it would be ontotheology, the being of theology that is elucidated through a close look at metaethics. Metaethics, as I am thinking about it here, deals the the notorious "good" and "bad" of ethical matters. Think G E Moore's non natural property, as he tries to explain what the ethical good in essence IS. Contingent goods and bads are easy to understand, as with good knives or bad performances, good news, bad radio reception, and on and on. Ethical goods and bads are very different, for in order to "observe" such a thing, one has to acknowledge something very strange that literally constitutes ethical situations, as in the ethical prohibition against the rack or applying thumb screws. Exhaust the empirical descriptive features of such a thing, and there is the residuum called the "bad" of it. Few take the time to look closely at this: it cannot be seen, yet it is by far THE most salient feature applying the thumb screws has, which is the ethical/aesthetic "bad" of the pain.

    Note how one cannot give this further analysis, for pain as such is not a "thing of parts" but is "stand alone what it is," and this makes pain irreducible to anything else, any other explanatory account. It is literally IN the presence of the world, and I would quickly add, MORE SO than anything science can ever come to know, for science's knowledge is essentially quantitative in nature, meaning it processes information through meansuring how qualitative presences can be represented in intensities, degrees, numbers, etc. in quantitative relations. Very complicated, certainly, but, and this is the point: derivative, derived, that is, through discursive reasoning. This is a very rough but accurate way to talk about science's knowledge claims. Take any science, geology, e.g.: ask a question about, say, the orogeny of mountains or plate tectonics or carbon dating, and you will not find anything enlightening about the world cannot be reduced to talk about relative quantitative relations. Qualitatively, the world is there, of course, but the understanding about the world is going to be about relative quantitative relations.

    This is why science cannot talk about ethics any more than it can talk about reason qua reason as Kant tried to. Reason, like ethics' value, cannot be observed and quantified. Modus ponens doesn't have a quantitative dimension to it, but this is where the argument gets interesting, because the ethical/aesthetic "good and bad" does, which leads to the most basic part of this analysis: We look here at ethics as Kant looked at reason, trying to isolate the "purity" of value-in-ethics. Kant had to go transcendental because of the apriority of the logic discovered in judgment, and here, we, too, go thsi way. What religion seeks is an account of value-in-the-world that is AS apodictic as logic, but is ABOUT existence. Logic is vacuous, let's face it. It is, as Wittgenstein said, just tautological in nature, so its apodicticity is equally vacuous, meaning, who cares? It only has meaning in contexts of meaningful affairs, like seeing that IF you want to stay dry in the rain THEN you must bring an umbrella. Pure form is only intersting if you TAKE in interest in it. But value: Demonstrate that value qua value is apodictic, like logic, and now you have an extraordinary affirmation of foundational meaning of our existence.

    Like proving God exists, but without God and all the churchy fetishes; the depth of meaning is now absolute, and our ethical throwness into the world carries with it the redemptive and consummatory promises inherent in religion.
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