• TheMadFool
    4.9k
    From forum discussions it's obvious that disagreements are more the norm than the exception. Logic isn't to blame because most arguments tend to cite learned thinkers and the arguments that follow are good ones. So, in a very simplistic sense, the problem lies with the premises, the initial assumptions, the starting point of our reasoning.

    Initial assumptions are supposed to be ''obvious'' truths that need no arguments to prove.

    The fact that philosophy is full of thesis-antithesis situations indicates that we're starting with contradictory truths. Isn't that why people disagree, given that logic isn't a failing?

    So, is life a contradiction? If all I've said is correct, the conclusion ''life is a contradiction'' is inevitable.

    Have I failed to see the light of philosophy or is it that philosophers fail to see the darkness?
  • Frank Barroso
    38


    Just from my first few pop-ins with this forum, this conflict definitely crossed my mind.

    It's not the worlds fault, nor is it logics.
    Most of us, when philosophers ask questions (were reading a book), an answer is raised, and we assume that said answer was suitable for the person who spoke it, for ourselves (if we agree), and we conclude was suitable for anybody else that was asked that question; because logic is supposed to be infallible, or universally communicable. We see that isn't the case.

    I wanna say something here like even our logic has initial assumptions that differ from others, probably associated with how much one has used the skill, and this connotes a right and a wrong logic, and that's fine -- people are fallible.

    But, I think more importantly

    So, is life a contradiction? If all I've said is correct, the conclusion ''life is a contradiction'' is inevitable.TheMadFool

    No. I have suffering and happiness, and that's not a contradiction :') :') from The value of truth.
    So, similarly, the world can have people who believe in right and wrong logic, and not be a contradiction.

    Have I failed to see the light of philosophy or is it that philosophers fail to see the darkness?TheMadFool

    maybe some philosophers fail in some respects and truly do see the light in others. Maybe an amalgam.
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    It's not the worlds fault, nor is it logics.Frank Barroso

    Where does the fault lie? A very simple example of an obvious contradiction is Theism-Atheism. Both are philosophical claims and both are, purportedly, well-reasoned positions. There are great thinkers on either side. So, logic isn't a problem here. The only source of the contradiction is the initial premises - the, supposedly, obvious truths. So, why does this world throw contradictory truths at us? Isn't it, well, obvious, the world is a contradiction?
  • Frank Barroso
    38
    Where does the fault lie?TheMadFool

    With people, as they are fallible.

    Theism-Atheism are just thoughts that we throw around to see which one is more truthful to our own opinions. Only one, or perhaps neither is the objective reality. But the objective reality certainly isn't both and thus not a contradiction.

    Is all experience subjective, can we never find truth, oh noe, te spiraling.

    Or we can take a poll, and say that if most people on earth are christian (which is true) then that must be the objective reality, we might have some apples to organize in our heads (or at least i do).
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    With people, as they are fallible.Frank Barroso

    In which area do they err? The initial premises or in their logic? You see, the error must be in one of the two. Logic is fine. So the initial premises must be contradictory.

    Another thing... this very thread is a case in point. Both of us are being reasonably logical and yet we disagree.
  • Jake Tarragon
    342
    IMO, most people have pet foibles of opinion lurking in the background which they either are not fully aware of, or that they won't reconsider, even hypothetically. This makes them difficult to reason with.
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    This makes them difficult to reason with.Jake Tarragon

    This comment may apply to a forum like this one...imperfect as we are. However, disagreement exists at all levels - from casual exchanges to the most well thought out arguments. Surely the problem isn't with logic. It has to be with the premises - our axioms. The only way this leads to contradictions is if the axioms themselves are contradictory. Life must be a contradiction.
  • Jake Tarragon
    342

    One big problem in these discussions is making one's meaning clear and actually explaining one's axioms. I think to do the job properly takes a lot of writing effort. I suppose that is the art of a certain sort of written philosophy - to be careful and thorough. I'm way too lazy for all that!
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    the problem lies with the premises, the initial assumptions, the starting point of our reasoning.TheMadFool

    What if it's not actually a problem? Philosophy is all about disagreeing, debating, taking issue. Look at this famous depiction of Plato and Aristotle from Giotti's Bell Tower:

    Plato%20v%20Aristotle.jpeg

    What are they doing? They're disagreeing - passionately, by the look of it.

    But here's a subtle point. One of the characteristics of the Platonic dialogues is aporia - questions which don't have a satisfactory answer. One such are the dialogues on knowledge in the Theaetetus, which end in aporia - having exhaustively considered the question from a wide range of perspectives. There are many such aporia in the Dialogues, and Plato was by no means a systematic philosopher who proposes a grand synthesis. He is constantly exploring, questioning, considering, weighing up, rejecting. That is essential to philosophy. One way of interpreting that, and something that the Christian interpreters of Plato might say, is that this is because philosophy itself doesn't contain the answers, it simply asks questions; it points to something beyond itself.

    The second point is, that there are some questions that may be beyond adjudication. Especially concerning questions of 'ultimate truth', there are passionate materialists, and equally passionate theists, both of whom argue on the basis of the same purported facts. So who could be an 'impartial authority' on such debates? Who would you ask? Whomever you ask, is probably going to be someone who you think favours your general attitude already. There is no 'single source of truth'; there used to be, in pre-modern times, in the form of the Bible and the Classics, which all learned persons took exactly as a 'source of truth'. But one of the characteristics of modernity and post-modernism is that 'all that is solid melts into air'. In some ways that is as it should be - we, each of us, has to decide where we stand, on a great many questions for which there used to be pat answers, which are now thrown into doubt. That in itself can be scary - I think that is what Eric Fromm was talking about in his classic book, Fear of Freedom.

    Heres' a great essay, from 1997, but still holds up - it's a long read, but worth the effort of reading - Sorry, but your soul just died, Tom Wolfe.
  • Another
    55
    Logic is a process and as fallible thinkers we will not always considered everything.
    As is the beauty of such a forum, We often miss evidence or ideas, study and these debates helps provide us with a better picture with which we can make our conclusions. But at what stage does a philosopher decide he has all the information required to make a decision.
    In order to act/live decisions need to be made and one needs to logically decide how to act/live with the ideas and evidence currently on hand, if you wait until you have the whole picture you may be waiting forever.
    So the world/life is not a contradiction.
    Our logic from one person to another will differ only because they are incomplete and may appear to contradict but should you both see the same complete picture and incompass all evidence and ideas you would inevitably have the same logic.
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    What if it's not actually a problem?Wayfarer

    I think that answers a lot of my questions. Life isn't so easy to study. Life is multi-faceted and each side comes in many shades of meaning. Sometimes points of view converge, other times they diverge. For instance, dualism and theism fit together but materiaislm and theism do not. So, philosophy's like a game. We choose a starting point, follow logical rules and see where that takes us. I like that. It makes us explorers. Does this view trivialize philosophy, in an unacceptable way?

    One of the characteristics of the Platonic dialogues is aporiaWayfarer

    I recently read about aporia. It's some kind of refinement of ignorance - a higher level of not knowing. Sounds Zen to me.

    Well, my final take from your post is that gaining knowledge is more about discarding falsehoods than acquiring truths.
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    Does this view trivialize philosophy, in an unacceptable way?TheMadFool

    No, not at all. It is like a game, in a sense, but the stakes are existential, i.e. the outcome might have real consequences. A game, but with real blood, sweat and tears. But still a game! It needs that ability not to take itself too seriously.

    I recently read about aporia. It's some kind of refinement of ignorance - a higher level of not knowing. Sounds Zen to me.TheMadFool

    Well, Zen and Greek philosophy have that in common. The saying of Socrates, 'all I know, is that I know nothing', could easily have come from the mouth of a Taoist sage - 'he that knows it, knows it not'. Of course one must interpret such sayings with care, as they don't denote mere absence of knowledge -
    more a real sense of its inadequacies, especially in the face of the kinds of questions that Socrates would ask, about 'virtue' and 'wisdom'.

    my final take from your post is that gaining knowledge is more about discarding falsehoods than acquiring truths.TheMadFool

    Thank you, good of you to say so.

    __//|\\__
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    Well, Zen and Greek philosophy have that in common. The saying of Socrates, 'all I know, is that I know nothing', could easily have come from the mouth of a Taoist sage - 'he that knows it, knows it not'. Of course one must interpret such sayings with care, as they don't denote mere absence of knowledge -
    more a real sense of its inadequacies, especially in the face of the kinds of questions that Socrates would ask, about 'virtue' and 'wisdom'.
    Wayfarer

    Why do you think this is the case? Why is knowledge/truth so elusive (I know that I know nothing)? Some truths are clear, almost obvious, e.g. the color of grass, the cold of winter, etc. I think philosophers would regard such matters of fact as trivial. Other kinds of truth, you mentioned virtue and wisdom, are hard to pin down. Why so? Is life, of itself, vague and/or ambiguous - impossible to clarify?
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    Why do you think this is the case? Why is knowledge/truth so elusive (I know that I know nothing)? Some truths are clear, almost obvious, e.g. the color of grass, the cold of winter, etc.TheMadFool

    My considered response is this - that at the beginning of modern science, a fundamental change came about concerning the conception of knowledge. As is well-known, Galileo said that 'the book of nature is written in mathematics'. Now, as is not so well-known, Galileo was the beneficiary of the re-discovery of Plato in the Renaissance; the famous Renaissance Humanist Marcello Ficino was commissioned to product the first-ever translation of Plato's Complete Works in Latin (this is some time before Galileo).

    In any case, Galileo took to heart the Platonic idea that 'dianoia' - knowledge of number and geometrical form - was of a higher order than 'pistis' - knowledge provided by the senses. But the crucial next step, was the subsequent division between so-called 'primary' and 'secondary' qualities. The primary qualities were just those things which could be quantified - which included mass, velocity, and so on (as formalised in Newton's later work.) Whereas the secondary qualities included what we normally deem as 'subjective' - colour and taste among them.

    As Thomas Nagel puts it:

    The modern mind-body problem arose out of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, as a direct result of the concept of objective physical reality that drove that revolution. Galileo and Descartes made the crucial conceptual division by proposing that physical science should provide a mathematically precise quantitative description of an external reality extended in space and time, a description limited to spatiotemporal primary qualities such as shape, size, and motion, and to laws governing the relations among them. Subjective appearances, on the other hand -- how this physical world appears to human perception -- were assigned to the mind, and the secondary qualities like color, sound, and smell were to be analyzed relationally, in terms of the power of physical things, acting on the senses, to produce those appearances in the minds of observers. It was essential to leave out or subtract subjective appearances and the human mind -- as well as human intentions and purposes -- from the physical world in order to permit this powerful but austere spatiotemporal conception of objective physical reality to develop. (

    Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos, pp. 35-36

    So, the upshot is, we can have very precise and quantifiable knowledge, with respect to the objects of the physical sciences. When it comes to anything else - and that includes a lot of stuff! - then we are basically back to what Plato would have regarded as 'mere opinion'.

    This is encapsulated in Hume's perception of the 'is-ought' problem 1 - that we can be exact about what can be measured, but not about what we ought to do. It's been a massive problem ever since. Why? Because it culminates in the problem of subjectivism and relativism - that there is no objective moral order, that all matters of moral judgement are essentially private and individual, or at best inter-subjective, i.e social. (Consider the meaning which us moderns imbue the term 'objective' with - it is practically synonymous with 'scientifically measurable').

    The most important reason for studying philosophy (although it's really as much a matter of history than philosophy per se) is to get clarity around this point.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Initial assumptions are supposed to be ''obvious'' truths that need no arguments to proveTheMadFool

    The only problem is that people have been taught there are such things as truths and logic, in some magical way, gets you there. Philosophy can be process of gaining skills in how to navigate through life. It can also be a simple parlor game of arguing facts and truths that one can play throughout one's life. How one chooses to approach philosophy determines what one gets from it. My guess is the OP is about the parlor game approach.
  • t0m
    319
    Have I failed to see the light of philosophy or is it that philosophers fail to see the darkness?TheMadFool

    IMO, philosophers have willfully ignored the darkness. On the other hand, it's not clear that staring into the darkness is always useful. There are arguments to be made for false light. Nietzsche's opening of BG&E is crucial here. If by chance you haven't looked at it, I recommend it:

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/nietzsche/1886/beyond-good-evil/ch01.htm
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    This makes them difficult to reason with.Jake Tarragon
    I agree this is true in everyday life. What about in philosophy - on serious issues. Most disagreements in serious philosophy can be triangulated to be with the premises - the beginnings of arguments. Doesn't that show that our world is contradictory; afterall, the only way to disagree, given logic isn't at fault, is if we start with contradictory premises.

    I'm sure you know this - even science, the paragon of objectivity, isn't free of contradictions. I don't know how far I'm correct but contradictions are allegedly found in quantum physics. My humble opinion is that contradiction are a real and ineluctable part of our reality. What do you think this fact has on the way we do and expect of philosophy?

    IMO, philosophers have willfully ignored the darkness. On the other hand, it's not clear that staring into the darkness is always useful. There are arguments to be made for false light.t0m

    This seems to be a matter of opinion. Look at what @Wayfarer wrote above. It's a, well, negative view of knowledge. There seems to be no real truth or knowledge to gain. Even if there is no one has found it (yet). It's more about finding and discarding false beliefs. You don't know the truth but you know the lies.
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    My humble opinion is that contradiction are a real and ineluctable part of our reality.TheMadFool

    There is, apparently, a form of logic called 'dialetheism', which is 'that there are true contradictions', or cases where the law of non-contradiction doesn't hold. It is the speciality of a philosopher called Graham Priest.

    I'm sure there are cases, but perhaps they reflect our limited knowledge - blind men and elephant, that kind of thing.

    There seems to be no real truth or knowledge to gain.TheMadFool

    I don't know if what I said ought to be read that way. It's more that a lot of what is taken for granted as knowledge, might turn out to be less than certain. Philosophy, and indeed science, puts a lot of emphasis on questioning rigorously, 'how do I know what I know', 'how can I be certain'. I'm not saying that doesn't culminate in something truly known, but that scepticism has its place.
  • Jake Tarragon
    342
    Doesn't that show that our world is contradictory; afterall, the only way to disagree, given logic isn't at fault, is if we start with contradictory premises.TheMadFool

    Logic needs WFFs (well formed formulas) to operate in a water tight fashion and real life is unlikely to yield many, apart from rather weak syllogisms and the like ... "so then, my good philosopher friend, can we not agree that in some cases it is true that not all men who are wealthy are... whatever..." etc etc, if you see what I mean.
  • t0m
    319
    This seems to be a matter of opinion. Look at what Wayfarer wrote above. It's a, well, negative view of knowledge. There seems to be no real truth or knowledge to gain. Even if there is no one has found it (yet). It's more about finding and discarding false beliefs. You don't know the truth but you know the lies.TheMadFool

    I suppose I should clarify. Philosophers have often tried to make reality at least look rational. I sympathize with this to the degree that it's just the strong spirit trying to affirm its situation. For philosophers, the rational tends also to be the good. So the world had better be rational if it's to be good. Therefore perhaps the principle of sufficient reason. But what does it mean that everything must have a cause? I interpret this principle in terms of a description of the human tendency to look for a cause. This "cause" is a handle which we can turn to change things or gets renamed and reimagined as something friendly.

    A "dark" philosopher is one who is willing to see the world as fundamentally irrational or a-rational. This "brute fact" is lit up by the same human purpose and human creativity that is part of this brute fact. I argue for epistemic brute fact. When I look at the fundamental question or the deepest why, I see the impossibility of an answer in principle and not as a matter of fact. --Or perhaps as a matter of the fact of human cognition as I have and seemingly can know it.
  • TheMadFool
    4.9k
    There is, apparently, a form of logic called 'dialetheism', which is 'that there are true contradictions', or cases where the law of non-contradiction doesn't hold. It is the speciality of a philosopher called Graham Priest.Wayfarer

    I guess we'll have to first of all confirm that there are real contradictions. I think this is another topic but I think every scale of reality functions with its own set of rules, its own local logic. No one system of logic is all-encompassing and even basic axioms, like the law of noncontradiction, fail to carry over intact from one level to another.

    I'm not saying that doesn't culminate in something truly known, but that scepticism has its placeWayfarer

    I agree but one accusation leveled against philosophy has been about it being ''unproductive'' and most replies I've seen seem to play on the meaning of ''productive'', saying things like ''we get a clearer perception of the issue'' and that, according to philosophers is productive. I like philosophy and I agree but this stock answer, or variations of it, doesn't actually answer the question, does it?

    Logic needs WFFs (well formed formulas) to operate in a water tight fashion and real life is unlikely to yield many, apart from rather weak syllogisms and the like ... "so then, my good philosopher friend, can we not agree that in some cases it is true that not all men who are wealthy are... whatever..." etc etc, if you see what I mean.Jake Tarragon

    Yes, I understand but then the next question is, obviously, why the stress or emphasis on being rational? It doesn't lead anywhere at all.

    This "cause" is a handle which we can turn to change things or gets renamed and reimagined as something friendly.t0m

    So, the motivation for rationality is an emotional one - a desire to align nature to our expectations, possibly fear too.

    When I look at the fundamental question or the deepest why, I see the impossibility of an answer in principle and not as a matter of fact.t0m

    Why do you think that?
  • Jake Tarragon
    342
    Yes, I understand but then the next question is, obviously, why the stress or emphasis on being rational? It doesn't lead anywhere at all.TheMadFool

    One can be as rational as possible, even though the information is fuzzy.
  • t0m
    319
    So, the motivation for rationality is an emotional one - a desire to align nature to our expectations, possibly fear too.TheMadFool

    Yes, I think that value or feeling ultimately drives thought. We do want to be accurate, but it's not hard to think up the emotional significance of this accuracy. If we don't model the world "right," we suffer.

    But with the PSR we have the assumption that everything has a ground or a reason. If we are talking about a worldly object, this reason will likely be a scientific law, one that allows us to predict and manipulate this object to our advantage. It makes sense that an animal would evolve to look for a way of predicting and manipulating worldly objects to its advantage. Assuming such prediction or manipulation is possible could be a valuable instinct and/or habit, even if such prediction/manipulation turns out to not always be possible. "Look for a handle." "Look for a relationship with other objects."

    Why do you think that?TheMadFool

    Continuing the above in response to this question: with philosophers the "ultimate reason" is often the center of their concern, and it's this ultimate reason that I find impossible in principle. I roughly understand explanation in terms of deducing the event to be explained from a system of necessary relationships and other occurrences linked to the event through these necessary relationships. This works for the physical world and the human world. Objects and people have a "nature" that more or less is this participation in a system of necessary relationships that function as our model of the world. Electrons behave a certain way in certain situations and humans behave a certain way in certain situations, even if this necessity is probabilistic. Are these relationships truly necessary? No. So we are talking about postulated necessities, either scientific theories or some individual's vision of humans are likely to do in various situations, in relation to their words and gestures perhaps.

    But the main point is that explanation happens within the system. Roughly speaking, I think that an explanation requires more than one event. If we ask "why is there something rather than nothing?" or "why is the world here?," someone may propose an answer. Call this answer X. This X is instantly part of the world to be explained, for one thing, and is rightfully included in the totality or world that the question wants explained. Or, from another perspective, what stops us from asking after this X? Why was or is this X here? What grounds or causes the X? If nothing grounds or causes the X, then the X is our "brute fact." If the X does have a ground or cause, then we can ask after the ground of this ground. And so on. So we accept brute fact or we ask endlessly.

    If we ask endlessly, we don't have a global explanation or answer to the deep why. If we accept a brute fact, we don't pretend to explain and perhaps even argue that such an explanation is impossible.
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    Continuing the above in response to this question: with philosophers the "ultimate reason" is often the center of their concern, and it's this ultimate reason that I find impossible in principle.t0m

    Probably because of atheism - not yours, in particular, but in the sense of ours being a post-death-of-God culture. That has comprised a gradual dismantling of the idea of there being a universal reason.
  • t0m
    319
    Is life, of itself, vague and/or ambiguous - impossible to clarify?TheMadFool

    Maybe it's always-still-being-clarified (which would mean impossible to clarify.) And yet certainly some of us become more clear about life with time. We become clear about who we are and want to be, sometimes, but perhaps there's always some fuzziness. To be realistic, we probably have to mention fluctuation. Our visions of who we are and should be and of what the world is and should be "vibrate" from moment to moment, I would think. We are perhaps "liquid," sensual, emotional "computation" that moves toward a relatively stable pattern --if we can manage it and survive long enough.
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    I agree but one accusation leveled against philosophy has been about it being ''unproductive'' and most replies I've seen seem to play on the meaning of ''productive'', saying things like ''we get a clearer perception of the issue'' and that, according to philosophers is productive. I like philosophy and I agree but this stock answer, or variations of it, doesn't actually answer the question, does it?TheMadFool

    I don’t think philosophy ought to be productive - the wish to make it so, is part of the whole instrumentalisation of reason. It can be a waste of time, but that depends on whether it is achieving its intended aim - which in traditional philosophy, is the ‘pursuit of practical wisdom’, ‘the contemplation of truth’ and so on. They’re not productive concerns but nor are they intended as such.

    On a practical level, though, I find philosophy has helped my in my professional life (as a technical writer). Certainly helps with comprehension, problem-solving, and abstract thinking.
  • t0m
    319
    Probably because of atheism - not yours, in particular, but in the sense of ours being a post-death-of-God culture. That has comprised a gradual dismantling of the idea of there being a universal reason.Wayfarer

    Certainly atheism is related. Or we can reframe the whole atheism/theism distinction in terms of a positioning of God that exists in either case. The atheist is likely a humanist or an individualist (holds something human sacred), and this is just complete incarnation. God is positioned on the continuum as all Christ, with nothing left of him in the sky. Then we have Christ "nailed" or caught in the system of brute fact, the Demiurge's Nature as a brute fact. The Demiurge is just a personification of the "apathy" projected on nature in this case. Then we have theists positioning elsewhere on the continuum, perhaps seeing Christ or some other incarnate figure as somehow sharing divinity with a non-incarnate God. The theist is just the generalized theist who leaves part of his God non-incarnated, one might say. As such, he would be above history. He would not change with the times.

    I'll grant that this makes questioning the ultimate reason emotionally easier or even possible. The revelation of brute fact or a Demiurge, metaphorically speaking, may even be desirable for our radical Christian (our atheist). The center of Christian myth itself is the death of an incarnated God. Death and incarnation are linked, and this dying God in the shape of a man, shamefully executed even, is the very icon of this faith. One could argue that atheists (who worship social or individual human being) are the "true Christians," in terms of living that aspect of the myth. "Our God died so that we could be reborn divine."
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    I was thinking more in terms of the traditional sense that the Universe was intelligible, that reason or rationality was an animating force and reality in the universe; and that the function of human reason was to discern that universal reason through the exercise of subjective reason. That is actually more characteristic of Greek philosophy than Christianity per se although Christianity imported a lot of that kind of thinking through absorbing Platonism and Aristotelianism. (You see it still in Hegel's 'the real is rational'.) However the conventional wisdom is now pretty much the opposite of that; that reason is an evolved faculty of the hominid mind, which proceeds by imposing itself on an inchoate reality. (Horkheimer's Eclipse of Reason is what I had in mind.)
  • t0m
    319
    Oh, I see. Perhaps you'll agree that physical science is very much a "despiritualized" version of exactly that.

    Horkheimer defines true reason as rationality,[4] which can only be fostered in an environment of free, critical thinking. He details the difference between objective, subjective and instrumental reason, and states that we have moved from the former through the center and into the latter (though subjective and instrumental reason are closely connected). Objective reason deals with universal truths that dictate that an action is either right or wrong. It is a concrete concept, and a force in the world that requires specific modes of behavior. The focus in the objective faculty of reason is on the ends, rather than the means. — Wiki

    I suppose the danger here is the false prophet of objective reason. Ayn Rand, for instance, understood herself to be precisely the voice of objective reason. The egoism that most find so repellant in her was secondary to her notion of reason as man's only absolute. She was a priestess of Reason.

    Of course scientism is also more or less concerned with objective reason. In religious terms, the will or thought of God can play this role. I realize that you have something higher than this in mind, of course. I can definitely relate to something like a participation in Truth or the Forms.
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    Perhaps you'll agree that physical science is very much a "de-spiritualized" version of exactly that.t0m

    Yes, I think I would agree. Perhaps it's the case that 'the cosmos' now occupies the place formerly assigned to Deity. 'Cosmos is all there is and ever will be', said Carl Sagan. (Hence the preoccupation with space travel - heaven is now a galaxy far, far away.)

    Of course scientism is also more or less concerned with objective reason.t0m

    One of the main points of Horkheimer's book is the sense in which the Universe is understood by moderns not to be rational. The supposed 'rational order of the Universe' is, I think, very much associated with medievalism in the modern mind; the first premise of materialism is that of (physical) chance and necessity. Whilst there are many arguments about what precisely is meant by 'chance' in this context, 'the absence of reason' is pretty close.

    Like you, I can't stand Ayn Rand, but I think if you read any glosses on what she makes of Kant, it becomes obvious that she comically misunderstands him.
  • t0m
    319
    Perhaps it's the case that 'the cosmos' now occupies the place formerly assigned to Deity. 'Cosmos is all there is and ever will be', said Carl Sagan.Wayfarer

    Yes. This is how Rorty reads it, too. We have a tendency to make a priest of the scientist, since he's our seemingly last contact with a non- or trans-human reality. So we have unsophisticated religion on one side with its "object God" and scientism on the other with its own object God. The first is a questionable anthropomorphism and the second is blind machine that accidentally grew eyes (us).

    One of the main points of Horkheimer's book is the sense in which the Universe is understood by moderns not to be rational. The supposed 'rational order of the Universe' is, I think, very much associated with medievWayfarer

    In this case "rational" seems to mean purposeful as opposed to merely intelligible? I know that apo's particular telos doesn't appeal to you, but perhaps his general metaphysical approach is vaguely compatible with what you have in mind? I'm personally open to a paradigm shift in science, as I think you are. My position doesn't rely on it, but it doesn't threaten my position. For me the given in all of its richness and meaning is primary. A self-justifying experience of "sufficient meaning" is what I mean.

    Like you, I can't stand Ayn Rand, but I think if you read any glosses on what she makes of Kant, it becomes obvious that she comically misunderstands him.Wayfarer

    She's a pretty terrible philosopher. I find her fascinating, though. She's one of the strangest "pop" intellectuals that I can think of. What I do still like about her is her understanding of art as a presentation of the ideal. In other words (as others have said) art is fundamentally religious. It expresses ultimate value for sensation and the imagination. That doesn't mean she herself was good at it. But, to be fair, Anthem belongs with the other strong dystopian novels. I never read any of her other fiction works, but I have read some of her essays. I was quite young.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment