• finarfin
    38
    Religion has to be "observed" for what it is, and this involves removing what is merely incidental, like the long robe ceremonies, the endless story telling, and on and on. These are the mere trappings of religion. But what IS it that is in the world that religion is about? This is the point.Constance

    I want to know the nature of something that is there to be observed, like natural condition is there for a natural scientist, PRIOR to it being taken up by cultures and their institutions and turned into an infinitely debatable construct.Constance

    But religion isn't a natural condition, nor did it exist "prior to it being taken up by cultures". It is part of our social system, the direct result of it, so to pluck it out of a culture and dissect it, probing for its "true nature" separated from the human flesh is absurd. If you want to examine religion outside of the social context, you ultimately find a primitive form of philosophy, a desire for understanding.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    If you already believe you have a firm grasp on what you consider the essence of religion, why did you ask? I happen to disagree, but I do not have an ethical case, only an anthropological and psychological theory.Vera Mont

    It is, as all OP's, an invitation to disagree, agree and explore. Do keep in mind that anthropology and psychology are not philosophy. It is not that you disagree, rather it is that you can't access the issue. On the other hand, philosophy requires meditative thought, and this is simply a matter of being open to ideas. If I mention the word metaphysics, there is something very intuitive about this, and its doesn't require reading Kant or anyone else. In a way, being a very educated person, you already have what you need to carry on through and argument, for all that is required is reading the details of the ideas involved closely.

    Psychology? Freud was a metaphysician, and Jung is no longer mentionable he was so far out there; R D Liang's Divided self is puts forth the question as to whether insanity is really so insane. The issues these and others raise get, on occasion, very close to philosophy and metaphysics. But of course, you would know more than I. Jung and religion? The self and religion vis a vis the openness of the concept of self? If the self is an open concept, then what does this make ethics and value and religion that hinges on just this?
  • Constance
    1.1k
    In Buddhist literature, there is a recognised phase of spiritual growth, "nibbida" (Pali) or "nirveda" (Sanskrit), often translated as "disgust," "disenchantment," or "turning away," denoting a turning point in spiritual growth where an individual becomes disillusioned with the vanity and suffering inherent in worldly existenceWayfarer

    I read in the Abhidhamma explicit attempts to cultivate this disgust by with unsavory associations and other techniques. This book is a fascinating analysis of the contents of the conscious mind. So detailed about emotions, appetites and their objects. Emotions are not only taken seriously, they are raised primacy, and this is the critical move: Speak sincerely about foundational ideas, and it should be plainly evident that our thinking is in the service of our affective pursuits. When I said in the OP that one thing Nietzsche was right about was his observation that all of our metaphysics is grounded in entirely contrived issues, at the heart of this is the primacy of thinking, as if God were no more than a supremely cognizant being. I mean, the idea is patently absurd, because though qua thought has no value at all. Thought is in the service of this mysterious dimension of pathos that carries extraordinary meaning into consciousness, and the Buddhists know this.

    Existence qua existence is like reason qua reason in that neither can shoulder the burden of the meaning we discover in our living and breathing.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    It is not that you disagree, rather it is that you can't access the issue.Constance
    I would appreciate if you refrained from telling me what I mean. I disagree that "the issue" of religion is ethical. In the wrong context, I have no wish to access it.
    BTW Psychology was not invented by Freud, any more than philosophy was invented by Kant. Humans have been exploring and debating their own nature and their place in the universe. Philosophy, psychology, sociology and law, have been with us from the beginning of language sophisticated enough to communicate ideas. Science, technology and wonder, even longer.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    Condition A.) Involvement or presence of a sentient being and Condition B.) the possibility for that sentient being to be impacted by the action or inaction of another sentient being through no action or declared will and intent of their own (ie. against their own will or sans consideration/input).

    It is incredibly broad and open-ended, yes.
    Outlander

    So it needs to be narrowed, and this is done apophatically: What is NOT necessary to the definition of ethics? Certainly, ethics needs a context, but this does not make the contextuality part of the essence any more than requiring a brain to think makes a brain a definitional necessity to, say, logic. Something that is part of the essence of something is what makes the thing what it IS. What puts, if you will, the ethicality in ethics? So "involvement or presence of a sentient being" may be necessary but not essential to what naming what ethics in its nature.

    For this, one goes to actual ethical cases to find determinative features, and finds in each case, there is caring. No caring, no ethics. Caring is not like an incidental condition, but is what ethics is "about": something cared about, at risk, in play, in competition, in the balance, to be sacrificed, endured, enjoyed, fascinated by, and so on. This is, if you will, the engine that drives ethics, one being IN a world of caring.

    I will push ahead to what I think is an important question: while one clearly can have ethical relations with others, and in these relations emerges a whole vocabulary of ethical terms, like responsibility and accountability, guilt, innocence, justice and the plethora of legal terms and thinking, etc., can one have an ethical relation with the world qua world? Why not, one may ask, for just as our relations with others in based on the way others enter into our horizon of interests and aversions, so we find ourselves IN the same kind of intrusive "behavior" of the world, for after all, the world "gives" us disease, hunger and, well, a very long list of physical and psychological vulnerabilities that yield the miseries we are born into.

    The point is this: if the world were simply as a scientist describes it to be, that is, an ethcailly neutral place of quantitative descriptions and systems of quantitative pragmatic categories, then there would be no religion for there would be ground for it. But this is not the world. Science cannot quantify ethics (notwithstanding Bentham's hedonic calculator, essentially a quantification calculator") because ethics is a qualitative issue. The world is not reducible to science's quantifications. The world is the source of all value, and because of this, the world presents the very possibility of ethics; therefore, the world IS an ethical "agency". It IS the transcendental source of ethics.
  • Outlander
    1.9k
    The point is this: if the world were simply as a scientist describes it to be, that is, an ethcailly neutral place of quantitative descriptions and systems of quantitative pragmatic categories, then there would be no religion for there would be ground for it. But this is not the world. Science cannot quantify ethics (notwithstanding Bentham's hedonic calculator, essentially a quantification calculator") because ethics is a qualitative issue. The world is not reducible to science's quantifications. The world is the source of all value, and because of this, the world presents the very possibility of ethics; therefore, the world IS an ethical "agency". It IS the transcendental source of ethics.Constance

    Huh. Interesting take. A few follow-ups, just to clarify any confusion I and perhaps others may have as well:

    "Science cannot quantify ethics"

    Surely that depends on what one chooses to define ethics as. In a simple definition of what is largely perceived to be right or wrong by a given social majority based on absolute factors such as human suffering, malaise, and distress compared to comfort, pleasure, and contentedness, again, more so or "as the majority of normal functioning humans respond and demonstrate", it most certainly has some form of measurement or quantification. How could it not?

    "The world is not reducible to science's quantifications"

    So what is "the world" in the absolute most definitive and concrete form of understanding? Surely not the physical planet we reside on but "existence" or the Universe, rather one with sentient beings capable of identifying themselves apart from others and their environment as unique entities that have free will to perform or not perform certain actions? Something like that, no?

    What I want to say is, to even reach the precondition of being able to talk definitively about something, be it a physical thing or a conceptual idea, one must in fact, have a solid understanding of the thing in question, or in simpler terms "know what one is talking about". So, while it may not necessarily be :reducible" to the given quantification or standards of a given science, it surely has to be well-defined by concrete definitions and boundaries that enable it to be discussed and declared as "this or that" as opposed to something else. In short, it has to be, perhaps "reducible" is not the ideal term but rather "indisputably definable" in some way that effectively does enable it to be discussed and declared as having quality X or not having quality Y, etc.

    "The world is the source of all value"

    I think this is an interesting claim for reasons I will attempt to explain. You mention just as logic itself requires a brain but discussing logic itself does not require discussion of the brain itself. Imagine, if you will, a world devoid of all sentient life. Where would ethics fit in? Where would value fit in if there is no one to value or be valued or be ethically treated or mistreated? Some might argue WE as sentient beings, rather consciousness, is the source of all value. Sure we live in a physical world and as such we value physical things required for survival, but does your above statement not have some correlation to your previous example of how discussing logic, which requires a brain, does not require discussing the brain itself?

    Example, what if, somehow, right now, the two of us were in a non-physical world with just our consciousness floating around in some metaphysical vacuum with no physicality anywhere, like ghosts or something. I could value your company, I could value your insight, I could value the fact I'm not alone or even simply that I am self-aware and thinking (I think. therefore I am) even if the "world" as it is commonly understood were to vanish, could I not?

    What a fascinating thinker you are! I greatly look forward to your reply. :grin:
  • Constance
    1.1k
    Do you have a definition or a simple description of the 'transcendent'?Tom Storm

    Simple? Not a chance. BUT: once gotten, one sees that the matter is supremely simple. The complexity is needed to arrive at simplicity.
    .
    The trouble with this word is that it is held away from our everydayness, and this is due to the way religion treats metaphysics: in a closed space of a cathedral with lots f vertical lines and set apart from everything else (reminds me of Dewey's complaint of art being shoved into museums and thereby removed from the living experience). The entirely of philosophy has tis subject matter in this lamp here on the desk (yes, the same coulds be said of physics). It is there, but only because I see it and perceive it, so what is perception? Perception is never clear of the history that memory intrudes between, if you will, me and the lamp, because I know the lamp through historical familiarity, that is, I am not some feral adult grunting and staring. Knowing is about familiarity, so it is the repetition I "see," the "oh, just that old lamp" and nothing special here. But what about perception? After all, the thing is right there in front of me and you can't say I dont see it, but only see the intrusion of memory telling me how familiar it is. But now it is a question of knowing in the massive context of a culture and a language and an extensive vocabulary of entangled ideas. OUT if this, the full presence of the thing emerges, implicitly in the simplicity of the singular perceptual encounter.

    Perhaps you can see where thsi goes: Every time I try to pin down the knowledge claim about the lamp, I find myself retrieving language and associated meanings. What about "that right there" that is NOT language at all? THIS is a metaphysical question, for the object is transcendental, it cannot be "spoken" because only language can be spoken, and that there ain't language. It does take effort to see this, at least, it did for me, but eventually one begins to realize that the objects before the witnessing mind, whether they are lamps and fence posts or feelings or logical equations, or whatever, are never really presented to the conscious mind.

    What about the obvioius "aboutness" of the word 'lamp' and that over there? So many ways to go after this, but the absolute annihilator of knowledge connectivity is the impossiblity of explaining how that out there gets in the this interior world of thought and perception.

    We live in transcendence. We are this. I think one has to take the time to leave the text and realize that we are in this "place" that is alien to the language that we use to understand things.
  • Vera Mont
    3.5k
    The world is the source of all value, and because of this, the world presents the very possibility of ethics; therefore, the world IS an ethical "agency". It IS the transcendental source of ethics.Constance
    Now I understand you a little better.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    I do not see the thrownness itself as something determinate or indeterminate. You might bias it towards the indeterminate, but the thrownness itself doesn't create the indeterminacy. The determinate and the indeterminate jostle for position in the thrownness, but the thrownness is just there, it's the prior, the condition of existence itself.Fire Ologist

    It is a matter of making ideas clear, and this is hard to do here. Indeterminacy and thrownness, what do these mean? Indeterminateness refers to the lack of settled position, as when we talk about bank tellers and cantaloupes; we know what these are and can talk pretty freely about them without issue in the usual giving and taking of information, insight, experience. But what about when inquiry turns to basic assumptions? The more we do this, the less determinacy we find. Calling a cantaloupe a variety of fruit, after all, begs questions: 'Fruit' is a concept, no? And so what are concepts? Already we have left the comfort zone of ready to hand assumptions, for how many of us entertain such ideas? This can be argued: is a concept a principle of synthetic inclusiveness? Is it a pragmatic way to achieve and end? Perhaps a concept is the very way finitude is defined and delimited. But is it historically structured? Is it possible for thought and its concepts to understand the world as the world? Or, my favorite: how can a concept be understood given that the understanding itself is inherently conceptual? The worst kind of question begging.

    There really in no way out of this. When we make the move to this order of thinking about the presuppositions of thinking itself, we are lost in indeterminacy. We are certainly not lost when we talk about genetics or evolution or physics, I mean, these do have their paradigmatic indeterminacies (don't know if you've read Kuhn), but these reach into possiblities that make sense. Basic questions don't have this, and it is here we find metaphysics, for question begging is structural here: language cannot examine itself, I mean, logically structured talk cannot tell us what logic is.

    This feeling of happiness right now occurs at an impossible distance from the words I could bring to bear upon. The term 'happiness' does not "touch" this "feeling" in its actuality, and yet, I live and breathe in it. Consider what Buddhists and Hindus do when they meditate seriously. They sever the connection of the experience of being in the world from the language that would possess it, trivialize it, bring it to heel among the common utterances, like "pass the butter, please."

    It has been rightly argued that mundane living has lost the astonishment of being here. Rising to this astonishment is rising to our thrownness, that is, to a state of mind in which our assumptions about the world have been silenced, and one is free.

    So something human starts to look prior to the indeterminate. This creates circular reasoning. We use "our" existence to discern "radical ethical" of the "indeterminate." But if it is "our", it might automatically include the "ethical" - and existence itself might beget the indeterminate from "our" presence in existence. So I still have to wonder what was prior, what is the condition of existence at all that begat the "our" - the self-reflection in the thrownness that found radical ethical indeterminacy.Fire Ologist

    I tried to address this above. Don't know if I succeeded.

    Both of them make a predicament out of action. Ethical indeterminacy undoes any sound ethical judgment of how to act. Impossibility undoes any commitment to taking action as well.Fire Ologist

    I would stop you here. By ethical indeterminacy, I don't mean the inability to finalize judgment on various ethical problems, like whether or not one should return a borrowed ax to its angry owner and the like. I mean something much more fundamental. There is no one there to be confused about. There is no complexity of conflicting obligations. There is only the essential givenness of the world. This is our thrownness, for we have no idea at all as to why, who, purpose or plan or reason once we have left behind the traditions and story telling and rituals. The step out of naivete is only a step into indeterminacy. The trick, and I call it this because it is tricky, for my, anyway, is to understand with real clarity that one's own existence IS existence. I am not a locality of something existing, as a scientist might think, with me here, a volcano over there, my shoes on my feet, all these separate and distinct. I am existence's interiority and all indeterminacy is mine. And yours, to you. Ethics is, if you can stand the locution, what the world does!

    Meditation can yield this kind of self realization that one actually IS.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    The human all-too-human fear of death180 Proof

    I wonder, what is fear? An unwelcome feeling, no doubt. What is unwelcomeness? Some discomfort, a "bad" feeling. Bad? Where did THIS come from (and it is not a question of causality)?
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    The human fear of death.
    —180 Proof

    I wonder, what is fear?
    Constance
    Assuming this is not a merely rhetorical quesrion, maybe this link (below) will help clarify for you what I mean by human fear of ...

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear
  • Outlander
    1.9k
    Where did THIS come from (and it is not a question of causality)?Constance

    This is an interesting question. I was going to suggest something along the lines of "fear is a result of memory or a bad experience, whether or not that experience actually happened to you or was simply created in your mind by another or even yourself". However this is not true as an infant can be made afraid by loud noises or startling them or something of that nature. Is that really fear though? Surely not the same depth as the fear a grown man might feel if a letter from the IRS or a policeman shows up at his house, but is it perhaps the same essence ultimately or something completely different? A curious question indeed.

    My, are you on a roll today, @Constance. :smile:

    Perhaps, linking the two examples, fear is a physiological response to one or more stimuli, either active (say, a loud noise or the sudden, unexpected presence of a possible danger) or passive (a thought or possibility on one's mind that has the potential to become disastrous), that causes a distinct feeling of unease due to the possibility of loss of control or well-being? :chin:

    Basically, what you said.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    But religion isn't a natural condition, nor did it exist "prior to it being taken up by cultures". It is part of our social system, the direct result of it, so to pluck it out of a culture and dissect it, probing for its "true nature" separated from the human flesh is absurd. If you want to examine religion outside of the social context, you ultimately find a primitive form of philosophy, a desire for understanding.finarfin

    I only meant to say that to understand something, one has to go to its material source, and by material I don't mean some physicality. Rather, the actuality that gave rise to it, and continues to be what it is all about. But if by natural is meant a condition that is not contrived in argument but arises up in the essential givenness of the world, then by all means, natural.

    When I talk about religion being prior to culture, I meant logically prior, as a presupposition to religion. A discussion about ethics is just this, for I take religion to be, in its essence, reducible to talk about meta ethics, and meta ethics is what appears when ethics is taken to its basic questions. The institutions of ethics you refer to presuppose a fundamental condition into which we are born, that of value-in-the-world. Think of it like Kant thought of reason. Reason is everywhere, of course, in every thought and every context of engagement, but what is reason qua reason? Here I claim that to ask such a question about religion, asking what religion is qua religion, is a step directly into ethics, for religion is our institutional response to the most basic moral givennes: the deficit and the promise of "the ethical good" and "the ethical bad," as awkward as this sounds, it has to be set apart from the contingent good and bad, as with bad couches and dull knives, say.

    I don't know if you care for this kind of thinking, but...

    Consider that good knives are sharp knives, one may say. Unless, that is, the knife is for Macbeth, then a sharp knife is a bad knife. Welcome to contingency. But now the ethical bad, as in the prohibition to strangling my neighbor or the like. Strangling someone is terrible in a foundational way, and not to be second guessed by argument or recontextualization. It is an absolute, notwithstanding that it can be contextualized such that one may be obligated to actually strangle someone, in some awful circumstance in which NOT to strangle someone would lead to greater harm. You see the difference? Sharp knives are bad for Macbeth, and in the play the sharpness remains bad altogether. In ethics, the bad of strangulation cannot be undone, even if circumstances favor its being done.

    Why is this important to religion? Religion is metaethics, that is, it lies in the analysis of ethics where the absolute is identified. No value qua value can be construed to be other than what it is. This is not to say that value is never caught up in ambiguous entanglements, for just to opposite of this is the case: it is almost always given to us in entangled ambiguities. The argument here is not to say there is such a thing as value. Value is a dimension of our existence, not "a being" of some kind.

    So I am saying religion's social nature refers to intersubjective complexities that are inherently pragmatic and imaginative, but this presupposes the deeper analysis of ethics as such. Here we find the true essence of religion.
  • Constance
    1.1k
    Assuming this is not a merely rhetorical quesrion, maybe this link (below) will help clarify for you what I mean by human fear of ...180 Proof

    Ask Wittgenstein how it is with value experiences. There is a reason why he refused to talk about this.
  • bert1
    1.8k
    My thinking is this: Religion rises out of the radical ethical indeterminacy of our existence. This simply means that we are thrown into a world of ethical issues that, in the most basic analysis, are not resolvable. Yet they insist on resolution with the same apodicticity as logical coercivity. Meaning, just as one cannot but agree with something like modus ponens or the principle of identity in terms of the pure logicality of their intuitive insistence, so one cannot resist the moral insistence of moral redemption. This latter is the essence of religion, and I further claim that in proving such a thing, I am giving the world and our existence in it exactly the metaphysical satisfaction is seeks.Constance

    I think there is probably a lot to this. But if you are correct, doesn't this mean that everyone is religious in some way, even the atheist, who also has to grapple with these issues, and in some way yield to the moral insistence you describe? Do you want to modify your concept to exclude atheists and those who identify as irreligious? Or do you want to say that everyone is religious in the sense you mean it, whether they like it or not?

    Atheists tend to base their irreligiosity on the grounds that an essential element of religion is a set of beliefs about the world that there is no reason to think are true. But you've explicitly said that's not the feature of religion you are talking about.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    We live in transcendence. We are this. I think one has to take the time to leave the text and realize that we are in this "place" that is alien to the language that we use to understand things.Constance

    I see how you are framing this. Interesting. But I'm not sure what the significance of this is, or where it gets us. No doubt it all depends upon how one views the notion of reality and the possibility of knowledge. Does your account owe anything to Husserl's notion of the transcendental ego?
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    Ask Wittgenstein how it is with value experiences.Constance

    Speaking of whom.....

    6.41The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is and happens as it does happen. In it there is no value—and if there were, it would be of no value.

    If there is a value which is of value, it must lie outside all happening and being-so. For all happening and being-so is accidental.

    What makes it non-accidental cannot lie in the world, for otherwise this would again be accidental.

    It must lie outside the world.


    6.42 Hence also there can be no ethical propositions.

    Propositions cannot express anything higher.


    6.421It is clear that ethics cannot be expressed.

    Ethics is transcendental.

    (Ethics and aesthetics are one.)
    Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    It's an interesting frame. Outside the world?

    As you know, there are various understandings of transcendental. In Kant it seems to be those factors that make experince possible - part of our cognitive apparatus - space, time, probably maths...

    Husserl seems to take a similar view and sees the transcendental as the 'act' of consciousness in shaping, (perhaps creating?) the world.

    Wittgenstein seems to take a different approach - essentially, how our understanding of our world is shaped by language. Needless to say, that which is outside of language holds a special status.

    It's all very curious to a non-philosopher.

    When you consider the transcendental, what frame do you find helpful? It strikes me that your form of idealism (as articulated in your article) has some commonalities with Husserl and phenomenology.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    I simply quoted that in support of @Constance who has expressed similar ideas.
  • Paine
    2k

    Do you see the Wittgenstein approach as a challenge to a general study of religion?
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    I found an interesting essay on Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion - Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Religion, John Cottingham (.pdf).

    Thomas Nagel remarks in a footnote to his essay Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament:

    The religious temperament is not common among analytic philosophers, but it is not absent. A number of prominent analytic philosophers are protestant, catholic, or jewish, and others, such as Wittgenstein and Rawls, clearly had a religious attitude to life without adhering to a particular religion. But I believe nothing of the kind is present in the makeup of Russell, Moore, Ryle, Austin, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, Strawson, or most of the current professoriate.
  • Paine
    2k
    The remarks in the essay and Nagel's remark in his essay are reasonable, as a description of a point of view.

    Those statements do not confront Wittgenstein's argument to not talk that way.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    This denial of our mortality has a more basic analysis, for the question is begged, why bother with this issue at all? Fear of death assumes there is something fearful about death.Constance

    Death is feared because it represents the radically unknown, the radically unknowable, and this is naturally profoundly unsettling, as the very idea of non-existence may also be.

    Add to this that death is associated with the humiliating loss of physical and cognitive powers, as well as being possibly associated with terrible pain. Add to this the loss of loved ones and everything familiar. It is not surprising that people should wish for immortality and an afterlife which is perfect, unlike the present life.
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    When we say "transcendence", don't we usually mean something metaphysical like 'X transcends, or is beyond, Y' (e.g. ineffable, inexplicable, unconditional, immaterial, disembodied, etc)? This differs from "transcendental" which denotes 'anterior conditions which make X epistemically possible' (Kant, Husserl). I usually can't tell from their posts what most members like @Wayfarer or @Constance intelligibly mean by either of these terms.

    :100:
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    When we say "transcendence", don't we usually mean something metaphysical like 'X transcends, or is beyond, Y' (e.g. ineffable, inexplicable, unconditional, immaterial, disembodied, etc)?180 Proof

    Yes, that's what I have always assumed.

    I guess they are making a case that our understanding of the world is, in some sense, transcendental too - how out there (the world) ends up, in here (mind). But there are assumptions bound up in this to make it work.

    What do you think?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    I usually can't tell from their posts what most members like Wayfarer or @Constance intelligibly mean by either of these terms.180 Proof

    That's because you are religiously blind, don't you know? :wink:

    With apologists it always comes down to "you must not understand" if you disagree with them and/or present arguments they can't cope with. Also, they argue from the mindset of wanting something to be true and ignoring anything that doesn't confirm their wishes, rather than seeking to discover the truth with an unbiased disposition.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    When you consider the transcendental, what frame do you find helpful? It strikes me that your form of idealism (as articulated in your article) has some commonalities with Husserl and phenomenology.Tom Storm

    One way of thinking about it is that the transcendent is 'always already the case'. In discovering it, or rather realising it, we are coming to understand something that has always been so (and I think this is connected with Plato's 'unforgetting'). I agree with the relevance of the distinction of 'transcendent' and 'transcendental' noted above, but the latter is in some ways just as difficult to understand - it to is connected with the concept of the 'a priori' which also is a form of 'always already so'.

    This is inexorably connected with what is nowadays (usually dismissively) described as mysticism. But then Wittgenstein also said, not far from those other passages I quoted 'There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical'.

    However that apophatic (cannot be stated) element of Wittgenstein is not especially helpful, or rather it is easily misinterpreted. Recall, as has been touched on already, that the positivists understood Wittgenstein to support their anti-metphysics, which he never did. He recognised that the domain of value, so to speak, transcends the realm of facts. He also says somewhere 'even if all scientific problems were solved it wouldn't touch the problems of life.' So if you make it the subject of propositional knowledge, then you're not really saying anything. You have to walk the walk. ('Do not tell! Display!’, said Oscar Wilde.)

    The only way I've been able to frame all of this is to try and zoom out to a perspective encompassing the history of ideas and the dialectics of modernity. As I've often said, I hold to a form of the 'forgotten wisdom' school of thought, that the ancients had insights into a higher understanding that has nowadays been forgotten (e.g. Huston Smith and others). Because of the particular background of Western thought, there is a kind of unstated barrier demarcating what secular philosophy is able to acknowledge. That is the subject of John Vervaeke's lecture series on The Meaning Crisis. But it's also beginning to surface with the re-kindling of interest in Stoicism and ancient philosophy generally (there's a lot of material now on Substack and Medium, for instance.)

    With apologists it always comes down to "you must not understand" if you disagree with them and/or present arguments they can't cope withJanus

    'Apologists' being anyone who questions naive scientific realism, right?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    'Apologists' being anyone who questions naive realism, right?Wayfarer

    No, "apologists" denoting anyone who desperately (and futilely) tries to find intellectual justification for believing what they wish to be so, in spite of the obvious fact that it is unknowable.

    If you want to have a faith, just accept the faith and practice it (there's nothing wrong with having a faith and practicing it, and I have never said there is) and stop the futile tail-chasing
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    The question-begging (Platonic / Cartesian / transcendent) assumption in (Kantian, Husserlian) transcendental arguments is that "in there" (mind) is somehow separable from – outside of – "out there" (non-mind (e.g. world)). That's how it's always seemed to me which is why I prefer Spinoza's philosophical naturalism to the much less radical (i.e. more anthropocentric) 'transcendental idealism' of Kant et al.

    That's because you are religiously blind, don't you know? :wink:Janus
    :sweat: Yes, of course.

    Apologists' being anyone who questions naive realism, right?Wayfarer
    On the contrary, apologists are anyone who begs questions with mysteries rather than answering (reasoning) with public evidence and sound arguments in order to rationalize (i.e. make merely subjective excuses for) their "ideas" or "beliefs".
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    I agree with the relevance of the distinction of 'transcendent' and 'transcendental' noted above, but the latter is in some ways just as difficult to understand - it to is connected with the concept of the 'a priori' which also is a form of 'always already so'.Wayfarer

    Yes, I keep overlooking this.

    This is inexorably connected with what is nowadays (usually dismissively) described as mysticism. But then Wittgenstein also said, not far from those other passages I quoted 'There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical'.Wayfarer

    Yes, I thought this might be the answer. I'm as fond of the ineffable as the next person.

    But is the benefit of using this frame? As an individual. I know a case can be made that we have lost something. Humans always seem to have lost something when they look back. But here and now, what do you get from all this?

    I tend not to personally suffer from a meaning crisis whatever Vervaeke and Jordan Peterson may assume. If anythign there is too much meaning for me personally. I recognize that dominant cultures are always pretty fucked and monomaniacal, whether they be in the thrall of the Vatican, or in the thrall of contemporary consumerism.
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