• Jack Cummins
    4.1k
    James Frazer, writing in 'The Golden Bough, ' spoke of the succession of ways of viewing truth: magic, religion and science. In the twentieth first century it seems clear that scientists have the strongest claim to truth, although there are many who hold to religious beliefs strongly. It could be argued that religious ways of thinking are redundant, although I would not take such a stark view because I believe that the needs of people cannot be met thoroughly within the domain of science alone.

    I am thinking of mythic truths, although I would suggest that for many the word myth implies false fantasies. I embrace the term myth in a wider sense as encompassing story and metaphor. I also embrace the whole sphere of cultural relativism to embrace the anthropological perspectives of the various traditions of mythologies and religions.

    The word relativism is one which depicts the many various views, and it has also led onto the idea of moral relativism. The problem which I see with relativism itself is that it can be seen as implying that we all have different perspectives and there can be no way of discerning truth at all. I prefer the idea of pluralism, which suggests competitive rather than necessarily equal truths, because it has less of a reductive slant towards comparisons The underlying question is whether comparisons are all they we can ever achieve within the relativistic argument. Nevertheless, cultural relativism is an important means of analysis.

    I am aware that science is a dominant way of seeing and the clash between religion and science is not new at all, going as far back as the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and Roger Bacon.

    I would like to point to the following statement by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (2019), in 'Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It',
    'The idea that science and religion are enemies is false: they concern distinct, if overlapping, spheres of human experiences. But the presumption has proved extremely hard to overcome.'

    So, I am asking about the whole question of truth arising from the clash between religion and science and divergent systems of thinking. Is there one which is the ultimate in terms of establishing truth?
  • ssu
    5.8k
    So, I am asking about the whole question of truth arising from the clash between religion and science and divergent systems of thinking. Is there one which is the ultimate in terms of establishing truth?Jack Cummins
    I'd refer to that quote by Felipe Fernandex-Arnesto: science and religion aren't enemies. One doesn't refute the other, even if some atheist would disagree with my view.

    You can think of it from a logical viewpoint. Science tries to be objective whereas religion is inherently subjective. They easily overlap, but are about different things. The insistence of just thinking about the creation stories in religion and them being false to our scientific views doesn't refute in my opinion religions. It isn't as simple as that. We need morals and we cannot deduce those morals from just scientific inquiry.

    Truths are truths and are part of a logical system, so I'm a bit confused just what do you mean with a mythic truth. Are you thinking of axioms or postulates?
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k
    I
    I do wonder if I am if I am the only person on the forum who has explored the territory between materialist science and other alternatives, as it is so easy to simply log into threads which suit familiar territories and safety.

    But, certainly, from my point of view which may be disregarded as complete rubbish by all the experts, there are big, answered debates concerning science and religion, and the areas in between. As it is, it seems that they are dismissed as irrelevant to philosophy, in which the word 'qualia' is deemed almost to god-like status.

    I say this, and I do not even consider myself as religious but simply wish to not be bound to certain restrictive terms, wishing for freedom in philosophical adventure and exploration.
  • MondoR
    335
    I do wonder if I am if I am the only person on the forum who has explored the territory between materialist science and other alternativesJack Cummins

    Given that scientists have multiple positions on almost every topic, and given that scientists are constantly changing their position on almost every topic, I cannot view them as a source of "truths". This is apart from the real life experience of teachers and professors presenting certain ideas as truths, merely for the convenience of being to apply grades to students.

    On the otherworld, some religions do profess to provide paths to truths, though they too daughter from the same ailment as science, that is constantly changing and contradictory truths.

    As for myths, they tell us all about something that lies within ourselves. Artifacts from our beginnings. Address these truths. If we can see them, maybe so.

    So what is the source of truths? I guess at that center point in each own's heart.

    "This above all: to thine own self be true."
  • Gnomon
    2.3k
    I do wonder if I am if I am the only person on the forum who has explored the territory between materialist science and other alternatives,Jack Cummins
    Oh, no, you are not alone in the middle range of worldviews. Unfortunately, that middle is a muddle, with no single moderate belief system dominating. Just as political rivals tend to become polarized, rival worldviews tend to cause people to move toward one extreme or the other. Modern Science, as it emerged in the Enlightenment age, sought to distinguish itself from then-current world-dominating belief system of Roman Catholicism, by emphasizing Doubt over Faith, and Practical this-worldly Utility over Postponed other-worldly Salvation. That leaves philosophically-minded folks in the no-man's-land of open-minded skepticism. Which is why my personal worldview of Enformationism, has adopted the BothAnd Principle as a means to having the best of both worldviews : practical & ethical effects ; objective & subjective truths. Unfortunately, maintaining that precarious balance is a high-wire act. :smile:

    Enformationism :
    * As a scientific paradigm, the thesis of Enformationism is intended to be an update to the obsolete 19th century paradigm of Materialism. Since the recent advent of Quantum Physics, the materiality of reality has been watered down. Now we know that matter is a form of energy, and that energy is a form of Information.
    * As a religious philosophy, the creative power of Enformationism is envisioned as a more realistic version of the antiquated religious notions of Spiritualism. Since our world had a beginning, it's hard to deny the concept of creation. So, an Aristotelian First Cause is proposed to serve as both the universal Enformer (energy) and the malleable Substance (matter) of the evolving world.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    BothAnd Principle :
    My coinage for the holistic principle of Complementarity, as illustrated in the Yin/Yang symbol. Opposing or contrasting concepts are always part of a greater whole. Conflicts between parts can be reconciled or harmonized by putting them into the context of a whole system.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html

    BothAnd-ism :
    An inclusive philosophical perspective that values both Subjective and Objective information; both Feelings and Facts; both Mysteries and Matters-of-fact; both Animal and Human nature.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page10.html
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    Your system of thought, known as enformationism is interesting as a way of trying to overcome the conflict between spiritualism and materialism. I am glad that someone is working on such an outlook and I will read more on the link you provide.

    But apart from the idea of providing a system of convergence I think that there is a need for more discussion between those who hold religious perspectives and the various scientific viewpoints.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k
    [reply="MondoR;477902"
    I do agree that it is not as if all the religious people (many religions in the first place) have a unity of belief and indeed science is a broad field.

    You say that the 'source of truths' can be found in the "centre point in each's own heart'. Here, you are suggesting the subjective search for truth and I do agree that we choose our beliefs subjectively. You also capture the way in which the truth is found in the 'heart' which conveys the importance of emotion and this is an important point too because philosophy sometimes focuses on the truth, in the 'head' alone, in the pursuit of rationality.

    Also, while you see the questions of truth in an emotional and subjective light, I do believe that the majority of thinkers, religious or scientific, see themselves as striving for objective truth.
  • MondoR
    335
    Also, while you see the questions of truth in an emotional and subjective light, I do believe that the majority of thinkers, religious or scientific, see themselves as striving for objective truth.Jack Cummins

    Looking for objective truths can be a nice hobby that fills time but is much like a donkey trying to eat the carrot that is in front but always just out of reach. Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus comes to mind. Finding joy in the relentless but unattainable.

    We have truths inside of us. They will guide us in our journey through this life and the next.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    I am asking about the whole question of truth arising from the clash between religion and science and divergent systems of thinking. Is there one which is the ultimate in terms of establishing truth?Jack Cummins

    Science is based on testable theories about observable facts, and on discovering the general principles which govern the behaviour of phenomena. Religions are concerned with ethical principles and discerning and following ethical laws and ultimately with realising a vision of a life beyond the temporal, transient and perishable.

    Aquinas himself thought there ought to be no necessary conflict between science and religion. He said ‘The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the unbeleivers if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.’

    That said, it is necessary to acknowledge that conflict between religion and science was made abundantly clear in the trial of Galileo. Although the facts of that case are not nearly so clear-cut as many secular critics of the Church claim, it is nevertheless true that the Church did not officially resile Galileo’s condemnation, which arguably should never have been made in the first place, until the early 1990’s.

    Religious hostility to the theory of evolution is also a significant social factor especially in the United States. It is one of the primary issues that animates the so-called culture wars, in which conflict between science and religion is writ large.

    So it’s simplistic to say that there ought not to be conflict between science and religion. There often is, and problems lie on both sides of the argument.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    Yes, I think that there has been historical conflict between the ideas of religion and science and that evolution has been a stumbling block for many. But of course, it does depend on how literally people take the Bible. If the story of Adam and Eve is seen more as a mythic account rather than a factual one it is easier to reconcile the conflict between The Bible and religion.

    However, when I spoke of religious belief I was not speaking of Christianity alone. I was thinking of the varieties of belief and if anything the issue of us being aware of all the possibilities before us can make us less common to one. I was brought up as a Catholic and have not completed discarded all these beliefs but I have certainly thought outside of the confines of what I was taught as a child. I have been strongly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism. So, I could be accused of mixing and matching according to my own preferences.

    Perhaps it is hard for many to see any reason to believe in anything beyond the material world in the face of the whole spectrum of science. I have seen foundations for possible belief in more than the material world by the whole area of discussion of God and the new physics.

    In particular, I have read 'The Tao of Physics' by Fritjof Capra, but I would imagine that the whole idea of God expressed in this book may be hard for many to equate with the God they have been brought up to believe in, and of course many are not brought up with any specific belief systems at all. I do not even mean that they have been brought up as actual atheists as such, but just that they have not been given a specific worldview at all. They are left to dismiss the whole questions of definite beliefs at all, and in this sense they have all the different views available to them, including the various scientific accounts. And, here it is possible to be blinded by the relativity of all the competing ideas and values.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    I just noticed that at the bottom of your post that you asked what I meant by the idea of mythic truths. What I was implying is that certain ideas can be seen as containing meaningful on the level of story or as archetypal. Here, I am adopting the ideas of Carl Jung and the ideas of Joseph Campbell, who both looked to the recurrence of symbolism in everyday life and within religious beliefs.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.9k
    So, I am asking about the whole question of truth arising from the clash between religion and science and divergent systems of thinking. Is there one which is the ultimate in terms of establishing truth?Jack Cummins

    The problem is that science, though it might be capable of delivering the truth, is incapable of determining what constitutes "truth", or the criteria for truth. So it is by some means other than science that we determine whether what science has given us is truth or not. This is a fact which is simple to apprehend if you respect the fact that science is a method, you might say a system of rules, and it is impossible that by following a set of rules, one might create the rules which are being followed. Therefore we must turn to something other than science to determine the criteria for truth, and provide the guidance for science, to ensure that it delivers truth rather than something else.

    I am thinking of mythic truths, although I would suggest that for many the word myth implies false fantasies.Jack Cummins

    To avoid this problem I suggest you look toward mystic principles rather than mythic.
  • Kenosha Kid
    3.2k
    The problem which I see with relativism itself is that it can be seen as implying that we all have different perspectives and there can be no way of discerning truth at all.Jack Cummins

    There are many houses. Does this imply that my partner and I live in different houses? You speak of culture. Two people with the same culture will probably have more closely correlated views than two people from conflicting cultures. I am pro-choice. Catholics and Midwesterners generally aren't. On the other hand, my viewpoint also differs from people of the same culture. I have a stronger belief in the importance of personal responsibility than my partner, who is far more sympathetic toward murderers and rapists than I am.

    Relativism allows, but does not enforce, different positions on the same thing.

    I prefer the idea of pluralism, which suggests competitive rather than necessarily equal truths, because it has less of a reductive slant towards comparisonsJack Cummins

    Relativism also allows for unequal truths. Relativism in postmodernism is often accused of levelling the playing field but it doesn't. Nothing is immune from deconstruction: any text has its biases and hidden assumptions. That does not make such flaws equal. One finds far more fault when deconstructing, say, Julie Burchill than one does deconstructing a Nature or Science paper, and the assumptions and biases of the latter are less controversial and easier to discern.

    'The idea that science and religion are enemies is false: they concern distinct, if overlapping, spheres of human experiences. But the presumption has proved extremely hard to overcome.'Jack Cummins

    The idea expressed here that religion has its domain of enquiry and science has its own sort of makes the enmity inevitable, especially when one side is expansionist and the other authoritarian. Science inevitably ends up expanding into what religion considers its turf, be it the positions of the planets and the sun, the origin of the Earth and mankind, or moral truths. Of course, not all religions are authoritarian, and not all are equally likely to conflict with science.

    Is there one which is the ultimate in terms of establishing truth?Jack Cummins

    I don't think so. Storytelling is extremely better suited to refining our moral truths than any future Grand Theory of Everything. One must choose the right tool for the job. Also, it's all mythos really. We construct narratives to make sense of the world. Science is just a lot more constrained insofar as it has to fit data and make predictions.
  • Philosophim
    1.2k
    One way to look at it is to remove science and religion labels entirely, and focus at the methods of ascertaining knowledge instead. At its most simple, there is deduction, and induction. What methods do science and religion use to come to their conclusions? How useful and accurate are their methods?

    If you're truly interested in uncovering knowledge, epistemology might answer your questions.
  • Athena
    2k
    I am sorry but I do believe determining creation stories are not factually true is as simple as that. Not only is it simple but ignorance is a terrible thing leading to serious problems such as wars and people spreading a deadly disease because they base their decisions on their religion instead of science. Not since the civil war in the US has the population been so divided by their understanding of God's truth.

    The saving grace for religion is abstract thinking but we stopped educating for that. I don't think Hebrews understood their stories concretely as Christians do today. Those stories are just stories carried on to get a point across but not to be understood literally. :gasp: An abstract understanding of demons is worries and fears and resentments that trouble us. A literal understanding of demons is superstition and comes into the God of Abraham religion a little late and from the east. Education for technology has favored literal interpretations resulting in Christianity becoming quite a serious problem.
  • Pantagruel
    2k
    it seems clear that scientists have the strongest claim to truth,Jack Cummins

    Science may have the strongest claim to truth...but, the scientific worldview also has to integrate into the overall project of humanity, viz, supply stable normative values around which social and cultural projects can be successfully co-ordinated and operationalized. And it is here that the scientific worldview is failing miserably.

    We need to keep scientific validity but somehow also restore normative justifications and legitimations.
  • Athena
    2k
    Science may have the strongest claim to truth...but, the scientific worldview also has to integrate into the overall project of humanity, viz, supply stable normative values around which social and cultural projects can be successfully co-ordinated and operationalized. And it is here that the scientific worldview is failing miserably.

    We need to keep scientific validity but somehow also restore normative justifications and legitimations.
    Pantagruel

    Here is where the wisdom Jack Cummins demonstrates, comes in to play.

    Education for technology is not education for science! The ancients developed a lot of technology but they had no idea why what they knew worked. For whatever reason, the Greeks got a bee in their bonnet and they had to know exactly why is something so. The Greeks were exploring universal truths and developing linear logic and theories. Eastern logic is cyclical, not linear, and leads to mysticism instead of technology. :joke: I think this train of thought leads to insanity but I will attempt to make sense of it.

    The eastern ancient civilizations had the technology and perhaps it was the development of mystical thinking that pulled them off course? Like Zorcasterism began as a religion leading to wisdom but got all tangled up with superstition and became self-destructive. I think this is common when the thoughts of great thinkers become familiar to the masses because the masses become believers rather than thinkers. The Greeks for undetermined reasons took a different path. They rejected superstition and looked for natural causes. That is the path to science.

    The important thing to understand is morality is a matter of cause and effect. If something is destructive it is immoral. We can use science to know cause and effect but it is philosophy and democracy that gives us a path to a consensus on the best reasoning. The miracle of democracy should not be overlooked!!! Democracy and liberty are dependent on education- everyone thinking things through and therefore rule by reason, rather than mysticism and authority over the people. :joke: :love: :chin: Yeap, I have gone over the edge. I hope someone can make sense of what I have said. :worry:
  • MondoR
    335
    Democracy and liberty are dependent on educationAthena

    Unfortunately, education can also be co-opted and then it becomes propaganda. Are you confident that the education to received has not been coopted? Is this the place to find truths?
  • Athena
    2k
    I don't think so. Storytelling is extremely better suited to refining our moral truths than any future Grand Theory of Everything. One must choose the right tool for the job. Also, it's all mythos really. We construct narratives to make sense of the world. Science is just a lot more constrained insofar as it has to fit data and make predictions.Kenosha Kid

    I love Jack's threads! Not only does he inspire thinking, but the forum members participate so well. And Kenosha, your explanation of the need for different tools is perfect.

    Yes, storytelling is essential to civilizations! Joseph Campbell explained the importance of mythology is to transition the young into the kind of adults favored by the social group.

    For nearly two hundred years the US used education to transmit a culture essential to liberty and democracy, but stopped doing that in 1958 and now we are in a serious mess! We are at each other's throats and I am not sure our democracy is going to survive this.

    Why did we stop transmitting a culture essential to liberty? Well, like Homer's stories of gods, the Greek and US cultures depended on mythology. For national defense reasons we stopped transmitting our culture and began preparing the young for a technological society with unknown values. The mythology had to go because, well, really did Washington really cut down the cherry tree, and did Lincoln walk a mile to return to a penny to someone? Technology is about the right or wrong way to do something, the right or wrong answers and it can not tolerate those silly stories. A technological society is a military-industrial complex, not exactly a liberal democracy that can tolerate what someone else believes. Oh if someone wants to be a complete flake, that is the person's choice. Marginalize that person, let him/her have freedom, but keep him/her out of the regime.

    When the US destroyed its national heroes, it destroyed its culture. This is not just a change in education and how people learn to think, but it is an important change in bureaucratic power over the people as well. Instead of prepared our young for independent thinking, and transitioning them to adults, the young have been prepared for groupthink, and instead of being independent thinkers trusting in their own maturing authority, they seek leaders and find them in social media, and boy or boy are we in a mess!

    It is a myth that our democracy comes out of Christianity. It does not! The thinking essential to our liberty and democracy came out of Athens and was further developed in Roman, but Athens and Roman both became ensnared in military might and their cultures died. The old books that no one reads, can hold the memory but they can not manifest liberty and democracy. God's love might be nice, but what we need is an appreciation of scientific truth and tolerance of each other. We need the Spirit of America. We need our mythology. Christianity is no better for democracy than Islam is and we should not be going to town with our rifles ready to shoot down those who oppose us because this is not God's battle, it is a human disaster that needs to be corrected with education that transmits the culture essential to liberty and democracy.
  • Athena
    2k
    Unfortunately, education can also be co-opted and then it becomes propaganda. Are you confident that the education to received has not been coopted? Is this the place to find truths?MondoR

    :scream: That is what happened! The 1958 National Defense Education Act, changed the purpose of education and those who are in control of it. Now our republic is as perverted as the republic of Germany that lead to Hitler and this is so because the US adopted the German model of bureaucracy that shifts power and authority away from the individual to the state, and we adopted the German model of education that goes with the bureaucratic change. If the population were aware of what happened and why it happened and how it happened, there is a chance we could save our democracy and make it even better than it was. Only when our democracy is defended in the classroom is it defended, and that is NOT education for a technology society with unknown values!

    PS to clarify, the Act replaced our liberal education (starting with the first day of school) with education for technology for industrial and military purpose. As military leaders took over Rome, so have they taken over the US, and even if we threw every weapon in the ocean we would still be an industrial-military complex, not the democracy with liberty we defended in two world wars.


    t.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    and divergent systems of thinking. Is there one which is the ultimate in terms of establishing truth?Jack Cummins
    Sure, but what you gain in generality you lose in particularity - even to the extent that the general and particular no longer seem related. For example, truth. What does that mean? In my view, there ain't no such thing. In every case, reference to truth being exactly reference to some statement that is true - "truth" being the generic name for that that makes that statement true. Or abstractly, the quality of being true - but then you've lost all particularity.

    Let's see, there's logical, scientific, mathematical, political, ethical/moral, religious truth, for starters. More? The real problems arise from confusing them - a consequence of ignorance mainly through inadequate education - and it's a truth that there's a lot of that going 'round.

    And what said.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k
    I have been out today and found more responses to my post than I expected. So, I will read them thoroughly and hopefully respond to the various comments tomorrow.

    Thanks for all the comments,
    Jack
  • MondoR
    335
    That is what happened! The 1958 National Defense Education Act, changed the purpose of education and those who are in control of it. Now our republic is as perverted as the republic of Germany that lead to Hitler and this is so because the US adopted the German model of bureaucracy that shifts power and authority away from the individual to the state, and we adopted the German model of education that goes with the bureaucratic change. If the population were aware of what happened and why it happened and how it happened, there is a chance we could save our democracy and make it even better than it was. Only when our democracy is defended in the classroom is it defended, and that is NOT education for a technology society with unknown values!

    PS to clarify, the Act replaced our liberal education (starting with the first day of school) with education for technology for industrial and military purpose. As military leaders took over Rome, so have they taken over the US, and even if we threw every weapon in the ocean we would still be an industrial-military complex, not the democracy with liberty we defended in two world wars.
    Athena

    I agree. And the "truth" of scientific materialism propaganda is a prime example. Humans are no more than machines and are expendable. Thankfully, there is resistance to this way of viewing life, mostly coming from religious quarters since both are fighting for the same turf.
  • Gnomon
    2.3k
    But apart from the idea of providing a system of convergence I think that there is a need for more discussion between those who hold religious perspectives and the various scientific viewpoints.Jack Cummins
    There won't be a detente between Science's Materialists and Religion's Spiritualists until they find some kind of common ground. For me, that common denominator is Generic (universal) Information. In the form of invisible causal Energy, Information -- or what I call EnFormAction -- serves the same role as Spirit in ancient worldviews.

    For example, Chinese "Chi" and Indian "Prana" were imagined as analogous to spiritual energies that caused various changes in bodies, including Life itself. In the Frankenstein novel, electrical energy was the cause of re-vivifying the dead body of the monster. Also, in it's visible tangible form of Matter, Energy is converted into the materials that scientists study empirically. Moreover, what we call "Mind", is well-known as the processing of Information, which is both the data being acted upon, and the causal force behind of the process of Thinking or Minding.

    At the same time, Information has the potential to convert its Energy into Matter (E=MC^2). And cutting-edge physics has done it both ways. See Scientific American article below.

    Therefore, in the Enformationism worldview, Generic Information bridges the gap between Physics & Metaphysics, between Matter & Mind, between Science & Religion. But, until a significant percentage of the world population accepts that underlying commonality, we will continue to talk past each other in our ecumenical efforts. :smile:


    Chi : (Qi or Ki) is the energy of life itself, a balance of Yin and Yang, positive and negative, electromagnetic energy which flows through everything in creation. So Chi can possibly be described as an electromagnetic phenomenon, as a form of light energy, as a form of bio-electromagnetic energy or electricity.

    Consciousness as a Physical Process Caused by the Organization of Energy in the Brain :
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6225786/

    What is EnFormAction? : http://bothandblog2.enformationism.info/page29.html

    Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind : Matter is done away with and only information itself is taken to be ultimately real. This abstract notion, called information realism . . . .
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/physics-is-pointing-inexorably-to-mind/
  • ssu
    5.8k
    I am sorry but I do believe determining creation stories are not factually true is as simple as that.Athena
    I agree. My point is that having those creation stories or other myths doesn't make religion totally false as it gives us moral rules how to behave. What I think that religion still has it's positive aspects too, that's all.

    I don't think religion is a root of evil and war. You could say the similar thing about all successful political ideologies, that they have gotten us war and misery. Yet ideologies have given us also good.
  • Wayfarer
    15.7k
    In particular, I have read 'The Tao of Physics' by Fritjof Capra, but I would imagine that the whole idea of God expressed in this book may be hard for many to equate with the God they have been brought up to believe in, and of course many are not brought up with any specific belief systems at allJack Cummins

    Hey you’re speaking my language. I read that in my twenties and it had a huge influence. At the time I was enrolled in Comparative Religion in which I did an Honors degree (on the American Transcendentalists.)

    ...the whole idea of God expressed in this book may be hard for many to equate with the God they have been brought up to believe in, and of course many are not brought up with any specific belief systems at all.Jack Cummins

    I am in total agreement. Around the time I read that book, I wrote an essay along the lines that 'God is not God'. It was an argument that 'God' is often a kind of social construct or 'consensus reality' which people believe in because it's been drilled into them or because those around them do. About this time I discovered the God of the mystical path of negation, which is a completely different kind of understanding. I've been reading about that ever since.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    You say, 'we must turn to something other than science to determine the criteria for truth,' and I do believe that on a daily basis most people search beyond the findings of science, which are just the foundations. And here, is where I would say that relativity comes in because everyone's search is unique.

    The reason I use the word 'myth' is based on the idea of the collective unconscious, as stressed by Jung, and he said that, 'There is nothing mystical about the collective unconscious.' Of course, I realise that many people reject the idea of the collective unconscious and many find Jung's writings to be a bit mystical.

    Personally, confronted by all the ambiguities of religion and science I have found his writings to be a helpful way of untangling knots in my own thinking. But I realise that each person approaches the matter of truth in their own individual way.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    'it's all mythos really. We construct narratives to make sense of the world. Science is just a lot more constrained in so far as it has to fit data and make restrictions.'

    Personally, I agree with you although I think that many of a scientific persuasion would like to claim that there path is the most accurate and valid.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    I take your point that, 'If you're interested in uncovering knowledge epistemology might answer your question.' I would not wish to ignore epistemology. I do believe that the majority of people, on some level, ask how can I know. But, also I do believe that cultural differences raise questions about truth as well.

    The anthropological study of cross-cultural categorical is an important marker. In, 'Magic, science, religion, and the scope of rationality', Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah(1990) suggest that the,
    'translation of cultures and their comparative study raises not only the question of the mentality of us and other peoples, but also ultimately the issue of "rationality" itself, and the limits of western "scientism" as a paradigm.'
  • Kenosha Kid
    3.2k
    Personally, I agree with you although I think that many of a scientific persuasion would like to claim that there path is the most accurate and valid.Jack Cummins

    I would agree with them too. I have come across people who treat scientific theory as if it had come via divine revelation, but I think most of us would agree that theory is a refinement of representation for what science might feasibly represent, not perfect, but a good enough and improving story to treat as if it were the case... for now.

    The kinds of narrative that fiction, for instance, is good at is not a tractable scientific problem. You can't arrive at whatever truth is in Dostoevsky's The Idiot by solving the wave equation or dissecting Dostoevsky. Even a deconstruction would likely be intractable, although would provide some insight.

    When I was writing my first paper on quantum transport theory as a PhD student, my professor was always on about 'the story'. "What is the story we're telling here?" "This interesting nugget does not contribute to the story." Exactly the same sort of criticism you would get on a piece of fiction. (I used to be a member of Critique Circle too.) At first I took this as an issue of communication, but later realised that this is fundamentally what theorists are doing: creating and refining narratives that are constrained by data points and the necessity of being predictive and novel.

    That doesn't belittle it in any way. Shakespeare was no less a genius than Newton. They just used the tools they had the best they could in the kinds of narrative-building that suited them. And there's no barrier to a story being true, or close enough to the truth to be useful.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.1k

    I certainly agree that while, Science may have the strongest claim to truth' the questions of philosophy cannot be grasped by science alone. But I think that philosophy is in danger of going too far towards reductive materialism and that in doing so it will stray away from the task of enabling people to think critically, and become too obscure.
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