• Janus
    5k
    That's because you insist that the insight aspect of religious traditions is private, subjective or personal in nature. Whereas I say that in various domains of discourse, there are indeed ways of validating such insights, in fact that is one of the primary rationales of such traditionsWayfarer

    Of course I have never denied that there are traditional methods of validation within religious domains of discourse. For examples, the infallibility of the pope is validated by the authority of the church, and the wisdom of the disciple, at least in the eastern traditions, is certified by the master, whose own wisdom was certified by his master and so on.

    But this kind of thing cannot count as the kind of unbiased intersubjective corroboration that exists in science, mathematics and logic; which is the point I have long been making and which you refuse to acknowledge, even though you have never produced any solid argument against it.
  • Wayfarer
    5.8k
    Well, if you pick something like 'papal infallibility' as an example, then of course it will be impossible to take issue with you, unless I wanted to argue for such principle, which I never would.

    My focus is generally on the various grounds of articulating the basis for an objective moral order. If you leave such arguments aside, then indeed science and mathematics and logic are complete unto themselves, but they suffer from the lack of any specific moral orientation. In other words, they omit any notion of there being an objective (as distinct from pragmatic or utilitarian) good. So if the good really is then a private or subjective matter, it then collapses the distinction between knowledge and opinion, again.

    A passage from Jacques Maritain on this:

    the standards and values at play in human life can be understood only in terms of sense experience, and consequently lose any intrinsic universal and unconditional validity founded either on the truth of human nature as accessible to human reason or on the eternal truth of divine Reason.

    When it comes to Ethics, we have only relativized or subjectivized values, which deal with the patterns of conduct accepted by a social group in a certain place and at a certain moment, and which are data of observation for the psychologist, the anthropologist and the sociologist, but which are in themselves as impossible of rational justification and as extraneous to the field of truth and error as an emotional outburst or a national liking for beef, borscht or spaghetti. How could moral obligation derive from the sway of the idea -- the universal idea -- of the good over man's practical reason? It can derive only from psychological pressure created by habit, fear and social taboos.

    There is no room, moreover, in the Empiricist view for the notion of bonum honestum, the good for the sake of good: it is replaced by the notion of the "good state of affairs", meaning an advantageous state of affairs. Utilitarianism -- that is, the holy empire of the useful, or of the means, with a chaste looking away from any end, or a naive looking for some means irrationally made into an end, -- utilitarianism is the ethics of Empiricism.

    But then, I suppose one could respond, Maritain is Catholic, doesn't all this simply culminate in the requirement to accept 'papal infallibility'? Isn't that the very kind of dogmatism what we are obliged to avoid? And a good question it is.,too. I suppose my way of resolving that is to admit a form of pluralism by positing that Catholicism is but one of a number of ways in which human culture has responded to the Divine; in that 'domain of discourse', the idea of the Good has been rendered according to the particular logic of that tradition. So one can still entertain the notion that there is a genuine revelation at in this tradition, without being obliged to accept it on its terms.
  • Janus
    5k
    So one can still entertain the notion that there is a genuine revelation at in this tradition, without being obliged to accept it on its terms.Wayfarer

    Sure, you can entertain the idea, or even believe that it is so. But if you believe, for example, that the Christian, or the Buddhist, revelation is a genuine revelation of the truth, then I can't see how you would not be "obliged to accept it on its own terms". This would seem to be some kind of prevarication, or at least, vacillation.

    Your way of seeing this seems to involve a kind of cultural relativism. Where do you draw the line, for example? What religions are not genuine "responses to the Divine"? Or, on the other hand, is it the case that all religions are merely responses to the idea and feeling of the divine, and none of their claims can be consistently (plausibly) taken literally?

    I think it always comes down to faith. If you are an aspiring Buddhist, you have faith in the possibility of liberation. You have faith that the masters who discipline you are themselves liberated, or at least enlightened, and so on. You have no way of knowing which masters are enlightened and which are phonies, other than your own feelings about it.

    There can be no knowledge in the kind of sense that we have with everyday facts, science and mathematics. Even if you have epiphanic experiences you have no way of knowing exactly what they indicate about the nature of reality. This is true even of the Buddha and Christ; they could have no absolutely certainty that they were not deceiving themselves. If the Buddha believed that he remembered 5000 of his past lives, he could have no way of knowing that those memories were genuine, and that they were not on account of some psychic connection or an incredibly fertile imagination or whatever. Remember, even Christ said "Oh, Father why hast Thou forsaken me?"
  • Wayfarer
    5.8k
    Where do you draw the line, for example?Janus

    With what matters to you, what you think is really important. In my case, there are certainly elements of those philosophies I take seriously and literally and attempt to practice. Faith is an element, but faith is not 'fideism', faith alone, clinging to belief. IN fact that's something I've tried to resist all my life.

    The world we live in now, all of such ideas and systems interact with each other and are freely available from many sources. There are so many ways, so many knowledge claims, conflicting ideas and opinions. On the one hand, it's an unprecedented opportunity for learning, on the other it can be very daunting, when it seems that all such claims contradict each other.

    There is an Amazon review of one of Huston Smith's books, Forgotten Truths, that I sometimes quote in this context. It says that:

    there are "levels of being" such that the more real is also the more valuable; these levels appear in both the "external" and the "internal" worlds, "higher" levels of reality without corresponding to "deeper" levels of reality within. On the very lowest level is the material/physical world, which depends for its existence on the higher levels. On the very highest/deepest level is the Infinite or Absolute.

    Basically this volume is an attempt to recover this view of reality from materialism, scientism, and "postmodernism." It does not attempt to adjudicate among religions (or philosophies), it does not spell out any of the important differences between world faiths, and it is not intended to substitute a "new" religion for the specific faiths which already exist.

    Nor should any such project be expected from a work that expressly focuses on what religions have in common. Far from showing that all religions are somehow "the same," Smith in fact shows that religions have a "common" core only at a sufficiently general level. What he shows, therefore, is not that there is really just one religion, but that the various religions of the world are actually agreeing _and_ disagreeing about something real, something about which there is an objective matter of fact, on the fundamentals of which most religions tend to concur while differing in numerous points of detail (including practice).

    Of course any two religions therefore have much more in common than any single religion has with "materialism". In fact one way to state the "common core" of the world's religions is simply to say that they agree about the falsehood of "materialism."

    That's about my assessment too.

    There can be no knowledge in the kind of sense that we have with everyday facts, science and mathematics.Janus

    I haven't studied Plato's theory of knowledge in depth (although I do intend to), but I do know that a great deal of it concerns questioning what we think we know or take for granted about the world. Consider the distrust of the testimony of sense - that the sensory objects are not really valid objects of knowledge, due to their mutability and corruptibility. Whereas, if we regard the 'realm of everyday facts', as normative, we're essentially asserting naive realism - 'of course the empirical world is the real world'. Philosophy questions that, although I do agree it's not easy to do that.

    But that kind of questioning used to be represented in science itself - that 'science reveals the real world' - the world of ultimately-existing entities and forces, atoms or leptons or quarks or whatever. But it's one of the attributes of post-modernity that even this understanding is how held to be perspectival and no longer absolute; it comprises falsifiable hypotheses, not statements of absolute truth. 'There are no absolutes' is practically a truism.

    If the Buddha believed that he remembered 5000 of his past lives, he could have no way of knowing that those memories were genuine"Janus

    It's more that we have no way of assessing such a claim.

    I agree that there are many elements in traditions that seem fantastic or mythological. But there is no absolute objective yardstick to measure such claims against. You're not going to validate or invalidate such claims against anything known to peer-reviewed science.
  • Janus
    5k
    What he shows, therefore, is not that there is really just one religion, but that the various religions of the world are actually agreeing _and_ disagreeing about something real, something about which there is an objective matter of fact, on the fundamentals of which most religions tend to concur while differing in numerous points of detail (including practice).

    I think the points of agreement between religions are mostly ethical, most notably versions of the Golden Rule and elaborations of that. Materialists can also be, without inconsistency, adherents of the Golkden Rule; in fact it is precisely what is required for mere social harmony. Disagreements abound between the abrahamic and non-abrahamic religions when it comes to conceptions of the absolute (supreme being), the afterlife and divine punishment. If there is an "objective matter of fact" then in these areas of disagreement all but one (if that) of the religions must be mistaken.

    With what matters to you, what you think is really important.Wayfarer

    I agree, and this is a personal matter, essentially affectively driven; what matters to you equates with what you care about.

    It's more that we have no way of assessing such a claim.

    I agree that there are many elements in traditions that seem fantastic or mythological. But there is no absolute objective yardstick to measure such claims against. You're not going to validate or invalidate such claims against anything known to peer-reviewed science.
    Wayfarer

    Yes, and that's exactly what I have been saying; there is no way to validate such claims intersubjectively, because there is nothing intrinsic to them that can be observed, or checked in the way claims in mathematics or science can be. So, I don't think it's really a matter of "absolute yardsticks"; there would seem to be no such thing even in science.

    The difference between the kind of 'knowledge' claimed to be associated with religious or mystical experience and everyday factual knowledge, scientific knowledge and mathematical knowledge, is that the latter can be built into a falsifiable body of intersubjective knowledge.

    So, perhaps we have not been disagreeing as much as it has appeared, after all...
  • Wayfarer
    5.8k
    Just because it's something that can't be validated scientifically, doesn't mean it isn't real.

    Just because it's something that can only be known in the first person, doesn't mean it's simply subjective.
  • Janus
    5k


    Again, I agree; although the big question is what it means to say that it is real. We know what we mean when we say that a phenomenon of the senses is real, but it's not straightforward when reality claims are made about what we might think is indicated by religious, mystical, aesthetic or ethical feelings and experiences.

    Obviously there are intersubjective commonalities when it comes to such experiences, but what exactly those commonalities tell us about the nature of reality is not so easy to determine; perhaps it is not even possible to do so. I can't think of any methodology, but I do leave it open, since it could be a failure of my own imagination.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    Intuition yields a different kind of knowledge (knowledge by feeling, by familiarity) than rational, empirical knowledge.Janus

    OK...

    I can agree, well... sort of agree.

    My take on intuition is that it is a slang term for a quick reflex observation/analysis/conclusion that indeed is founded in some sort of reasoning and based upon some sort of small set of available information. This notion of intuition is indeed a sort of knowledge by feeling or by familiarity, but it is a very short sighted knowledge. Indeed it can prove to be correct, but quite often it proves to be misguided in that the conclusion is founded upon a very short list and selected set of evidence. Intuition is a potential starting point or catalyst for a much larger and detailed investigation, but if it is unfortunately confused with being an end in itself; thus thought of as being a sort of guiding force or and actual metaphysical reality.

    Of course there are situations that do not require detailed analysis, as they might well be considered trivial aspects of everyday life, but even then some sort of reasonable, rational analysis is in play. Just because the analysis is very fast does not mean it wasn't in play. Also, just because it was quick and easy analysis doesn't mean it is different than slower and more difficult analysis.

    I suppose what I'm saying is that intuition is simply a potential starting point of rational, empirical investigation and not something all together different. The problem is when one begins to believe that intuition is and end in itself and enough or somehow equal to a much more detailed analysis. Sure the first notion of intuition can be correct, but the list is really long of moments where intuition is dead wrong, but the initial intuition is held onto due to familiarity, feeling, preference or just pure stubbornness.

    A former PF member once wrote this reply (somewhat less vitriolic than most of his posts):

    "You are taking your sense of wonder, combining it with your inability to conceive of certain things, and demanding from everyone else that they remain as ignorant. That's not good."
    ― Kwalish Kid


    I allow that to echo in my mind with nearly everything of which I begin to feel quite certain; thus I place my intuitions, as well as any detailed investigations into perspective.

    I suppose I could say that intuition is a necessary thing as a starting point in the process of rational empirical investigation, but it is not prudent to allow it to be an end in itself considered to be a guiding force or a metaphysical reality. I wish not to confuse my thinking my evidence for something is that it is evident to me (my support for the conclusion is simply what I concluded).

    Meow!

    G
  • Janus
    5k


    I just want to point out that I have not claimed that intuition is necessarily a good guide when it comes to empirical, scientific or even everyday knowledge. I think your definition and understanding of intuition is too narrowly focussed.

    When it comes to matters that fall outside the everyday, empirical or scientific, apart from the fact that logical consistency and coherency are obviously also often important, personal feeling, intuition and experience become paramount. Think of love, the arts, ethics, philosophy and religion in this connection.

    Contra the Kwalish Kid statement, I do not expect, or even think it is a good idea for, anyone to believe anything on the basis of anyone else's intuitions.

    Woof!
  • Marcus de Brun
    56
    Didn't Socrates inform that wisdom is knowing how stupid we are?
  • Janus
    5k


    Maybe, but how could we know how stupid he was?
  • Marcus de Brun
    56
    He was smart enough to kill himself!
  • Janus
    5k
    So it follows that to be alive is to be stupid?
  • Marcus de Brun
    56


    Absolutely... !

    Infinite wisdom only attainable after death... all the big questions answered instantly... without any room for debate!
  • Marcus de Brun
    56
    Are you still alive Janus?
  • Noble Dust
    2.8k
    I can't really agree with the conclusion, as with intuition that there is a potential (and probable) set of mistakes and false assumptions waiting to happen that lead to a further continuation of mistakes and false assumptions that intuition can subsequently deny that the mistakes and false assumptions are to it's credit by lack of reasoning as there no point in reasoning why intuition might have flaws.Mayor of Simpleton

    That may be the weakness of intuition. Consequently, the weakness in reason is that every step of the reasoning process has to be correct for the conclusion to be correct. Reason has the benefit of exhaustivity and finality when the steps can be reasonably shown to be correct (and how often does that happen? Just read a reasoned debate on this forum for the answer. Or just read a bunch of different philosophers who disagree with each other); intuition, on the other hand, has the benefit of knowing the conclusion without taking exhaustive steps that need to be perfect; Intuition has the potential to avoid the mistakes in reasoning which lead to badly reasoned conclusions. Hence, one is not better than the other.

    Indeed intuition can mean what one cannot know by reasoning, but how is that any differenct than forcing an answer to a question prematurely (a hasty generalization) for the sake of having an answer?Mayor of Simpleton

    I think you missed the poetic license I used (sorry, was being intuitive for a sec...) I'll translate: "reason doesn't know what intuition means when it says something (Reason: "Hey intuition, what do you mean by that?"). But intuition means (poetic dictionary definition): "that which reason doesn't know". It was an example of something poetic expressing a truth in a way that reason can't.

    OK... perhaps intution means this well with it's intentions, but is it really prudent to force an answer for the sake of having an answer?Mayor of Simpleton

    You misunderstand intuition if you think it means forcing an answer. That's a pretty uncharitable interpretation of what I've been trying to express.

    Is there (in your notion) some sort of (metaphysical) the truth that is intrinsic to the universe or our experience of the universe?Mayor of Simpleton

    My intuition says "yes"; my reason says "???"

    btw... I do need to make clear that this is not a game or a competition. I view this as an exchange of ideas. There are no trophies or medals to win in such a dialog. If you do view this as a game or competition then let me know and I'll end this now.Mayor of Simpleton

    If it came across that way, then I was probably either agitated by feeling misunderstood, or slightly tipsy. Either one is very possible. Apologies.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    ... intuition, on the other hand, has the benefit of knowing the conclusion without taking exhaustive steps that need to be perfect; Intuition has the potential to avoid the mistakes in reasoning which lead to badly reasoned conclusions.Noble Dust

    One note before I comment...

    I'm happy this is not viewed as a competition. I've encountered far too many folks who think this is sport; thus the flaming an trolling one encounters that is supposed to be "harmless chat". I'm less concerned about connection between my personal identity and my notions I discuss. My perspective is that this forum is a sort of sounding board and a peer review. Thanks!

    Anyway...

    I don't believe that reasoning has to be "perfect", but it needs to be less self-assuming; thus open to critical review. Also, I'm not all to sure what "exhaustive steps" intail, as one's exhaustion is perhaps another persons warm-up.

    In any event, I still cannot help but believe that intuition alone is hasty.

    Bad reasoning is still a form of "exhaustive steps" in reasoning; thus the errors can be exposed and the reasoning refined. Without the "work" of these steps how is a lack of steps really better other than it having the ability to speed up a process, by skipping steps?

    You misunderstand intuition if you think it means forcing an answer. That's a pretty uncharitable interpretation of what I've been trying to express.Noble Dust

    I'm not too sure if I'm really being all that uncharitable. Isn't the notion of intuition not the fielding of a decision? It seems to always go "my intuition tells me thus and such". That is a statement of something being evident and not an offering of evidence. One draws a conclusion... and without the aforementioned "exhaustive steps" prudent for the sake of clarity or accuracy and possible critical review of the steps, as the steps (investigations) are there... how exactly is intuition not a decision an one basically blurted out as a reflex; thus a decision fielded in the face of a question without much investigation?

    I feel no need to be charitable here. I feel more a need to be accurate as to the nature of intuition no matter how brutal it might appear.

    Is there (in your notion) some sort of (metaphysical) the truth that is intrinsic to the universe or our experience of the universe?
    — Mayor of Simpleton

    My intuition says "yes"; my reason says "???"
    Noble Dust

    I suppose it's fair if I answer this one too.

    My intuition from much earlier said "yes", but my reason found a multitude of flaws and biases in my intuition and now concludes a nearly 100% certain "no".

    Why "No"?

    I've spent quite a deal of time and effort (perhaps exhaustive steps?) picking it apart and reviewing it in detail. Metaphysics has become a house of cards that looked to be a fortress, but I found a puff of wind or even a simply finger flick of reason/logic cused it to collapse and if left alone it would collapse upon it's own weight.

    Here's a strange thing...

    My review of metaphysics and the notion of intrinsic truths began with a notion of intuition that something about all this was wrong. I didn't stop at the intuition, but decided to look into it beyond what my first intuition indicated to me.

    Anyway...

    I still view intuition as being a potential starting point for reasoning, but in and of itself is very hasty short sighted probably extremely biases reasoning. Reasoning beyond intuition places itself under review. This is a luxury of intuition as it needs no review... it just claims to know... basta.

    This is not an appeal to an authority, but rather a very good example of how I tick regarding intuition and such...

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “I'm frequently asked, "Do you believe there's extraterrestrial intelligence?"

    I give the standard arguments- there are a lot of places out there, the molecules of life are everywhere, I use the word billions, and so on. Then I say it would be astonishing to me if there weren't extraterrestrial intelligence, but of course there is as yet no compelling evidence for it.

    Often, I'm asked next, "What do you really think?"

    I say, "I just told you what I really think."

    "Yes, but what's your gut feeling?"

    But I try not to think with my gut. If I'm serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble. Really, it's okay to reserve judgment until the evidence is in.”

    - Carl Sagan

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basically that's where I landed in my investigation and I'm still curious I what direction and where the next bits of info will lead me.

    Meow!

    G
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    392
    I just want to point out that I have not claimed that intuition is necessarily a good guide when it comes to empirical, scientific or even everyday knowledge. I think your definition and understanding of intuition is too narrowly focussed.Janus

    I wasn't directing the post at you personally. I'm only concerned with the ideas being presented and what I read. If I understood what I read is another issue.

    When it comes to matters that fall outside the everyday, empirical or scientific, apart from the fact that logical consistency and coherency are obviously also often important, personal feeling, intuition and experience become paramount. Think of love, the arts, ethics, philosophy and religion in this connection.Janus

    My only problem here is that everything you have mentioned (love, the arts, ethics, philosophy and religion) do indeed have a very logical consistancy and coherency if one chooses to look a bit closer. It's really not all that difficult to prove with clear logic and evidence that one person loves another person or why certain factors found in an aesthetic experience appeals to one person but not to another. Philosophy and religion are all notions that can indeed be reviewed and understood by logic and evidence. Ethics (the study of morals) like politics, aesthetics, social norms/mores are all subsets of value theory an are more than not justified by logical appeals and attempts at reasonable/rational arguments/debates. I see not exclusive domain or difference in intuition and reasoning other than intuition is basically a hasty reflex based upon what evidence happens to be on the surface and reasoning simply looks for more factors and evidence; thus can take up greater foundation in fielding a decision.

    Indeed intuition and experience (as if experience is in the sole domain of intuitive thought and plays no role in empirical or scientific review?) become paramount, but as I said before they are a beginning of reasoning and if left alone with no further progression as both the beginning and end in and of itself... well, as I said before... there are just far too many "stones unturned"; thus the truth of the certainty is founded upon a reluctance to review.

    Meow!

    G
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.