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> A New Religion Thread, What does it mean to you?
Guest_Research Monkey_*
post Oct 18 2012, 01:06 AM
Post #361





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QUOTE (TheAwesomeKid @ Oct 16 2012, 08:49 AM) *
That's a nice pragmatic solution you're offering, but I don't know that it actually does the work you're positing it does.


I didn't intend for it to actually be a conclusive solution, so hopefully I didn't accidentally overstate the case I had.

QUOTE (TheAwesomeKid @ Oct 16 2012, 08:49 AM) *
We haven't actually hashed out your framework, but it seems that it precludes things like intuitive moral/aesthetic knowledge (rape is wrong, The Beatles are magnificent) and intuitional non-linguistic experiential knowledge (My parents love me). I remember you saying a while ago that you don't think your framework precludes those, but my fear is that if you start talking about justification only through (an as yet undefined) observation or logical formulation, you're going to get no where fast with regards to knowledge claims. You're setting too high a standard for knowledge and as such, excluding things which it is just the case that people really do know.


I'd like to know where I suggested that aesthetic, emotional, or intuitive judgements or sentiments could be called knowledge, because I certainly don't think those are positions I would support at all. I would be very interested in finding if I did say that, however. I absolutely am a moral relativist and moral subjectivist, but I'll stop short of suggesting I'm a moral skeptic, so I'm willing to go along with the idea that one can know that rape is (locally) wrong based on (local) observation.
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Guest_TheAwesomeKid_*
post Oct 18 2012, 12:15 PM
Post #362





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QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Oct 17 2012, 08:43 PM) *
Sure, but knowing that one's parents love them has no social consequence. Saying one knows God exists has a significant one. I don't know my parents love me. I have substantial evidence to suggest such (evidence which is tangible and observable, no less), but I would still be incorrect to say that I knew as much. The reason I don't go around correcting people's choice of words in that context is because it really makes no difference to me, or anyone else.
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I do think to be called knowledge something must be directly observable, and I'm hardly alone in that regard.


This then actually seems like a very problematic point for your epistemology. As I posed to Will, if your standard for knowing is this high, you are probably epistemologically crippled, unless you live life with a double standard of not being skeptical of lots and lots of things which you could just never observe (and yet we think it reasonable to 'know').

Why do you trust direct observation? There are lots of things we observe and interpret wrongly just as a fact of life, so the only way we should trust observation is if we know our method of apprehending and comprehending observation is valid. But how could we, if the only way we could know things is by direct observation? If we begin observing our methods of observation we seem to be caught in an infinite epistemological race to the bottom of a necessarily bottomless pit. Direct observation as a standard for knowing is a poor one; I know that Australia exists without ever visiting it. I rely on the testimony of others who have seen Australia, and as such, trust their maps. But your standard would preclude my justification in this belief, which to me says that your standard is just bad, not that I'm not justified in believing Australia exists.

QUOTE
None can be authoritatively proven or disproven, that doesn't make every single one equally valid.


Fine, but this doesn't get at the meat of the question, namely, what makes a framework valid? By the way, I disagree that you can't demonstrate a framework to be false. Hegel's project in Phenomenology of Spirit seems to be that, and while it's not always clear how he's doing it, there are at least some frameworks which he shows to be either internally inconsistent or inconsistent with practice, and as such, demonstrates to be explicitly bad frameworks.
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Guest_TheAwesomeKid_*
post Oct 18 2012, 12:19 PM
Post #363





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QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Oct 17 2012, 09:06 PM) *
QUOTE (TheAwesomeKid @ Oct 16 2012, 08:49 AM) *
That's a nice pragmatic solution you're offering, but I don't know that it actually does the work you're positing it does.


I didn't intend for it to actually be a conclusive solution, so hopefully I didn't accidentally overstate the case I had.

QUOTE (TheAwesomeKid @ Oct 16 2012, 08:49 AM) *
We haven't actually hashed out your framework, but it seems that it precludes things like intuitive moral/aesthetic knowledge (rape is wrong, The Beatles are magnificent) and intuitional non-linguistic experiential knowledge (My parents love me). I remember you saying a while ago that you don't think your framework precludes those, but my fear is that if you start talking about justification only through (an as yet undefined) observation or logical formulation, you're going to get no where fast with regards to knowledge claims. You're setting too high a standard for knowledge and as such, excluding things which it is just the case that people really do know.


I'd like to know where I suggested that aesthetic, emotional, or intuitive judgements or sentiments could be called knowledge, because I certainly don't think those are positions I would support at all. I would be very interested in finding if I did say that, however. I absolutely am a moral relativist and moral subjectivist, but I'll stop short of suggesting I'm a moral skeptic, so I'm willing to go along with the idea that one can know that rape is (locally) wrong based on (local) observation.


I suppose I've misunderstood a point I thought you made from another time, but even if we don't talk about aesthetic or moral judgments, we can still talk about metaphysical and epistemological ones, many of which (by definition) sit outside the realm of direct observation and yet we consider people justified in holding as knowledge. Can I observe that the world wasn't created with appearance of history five minutes ago? Necessarily, no. Yet I seem justified in saying, "I know this isn't the case," and even if you think I'm not, we never challenge people who act as if they know this even though it would be an incredibly important problem socially to figure out (if an alien race was affecting the minds of upwards of 6 billion people, that would be a massive question to answer as a community).
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Guest_michelangelo_*
post Oct 18 2012, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE (TheAwesomeKid @ Oct 15 2012, 08:52 PM) *
QUOTE (Research Monkey @ Oct 15 2012, 09:03 PM) *
Three is a somewhat iffy statement, but four is much worse. If God exists only in the mind, then one cannot conceive of a greater being because one cannot imagine a being greater than that God as a shared idea. God's existence outside the mind is not known, and thus one can't know if the conception of God they believe to exist outside the mind actually exists outside the mind, and thus they can't know if they must imagine a more powerful entity. One isn't suggesting there is an entity "greater" than God, merely that God would be "greater" than the idea of God, but the two are indistinct in our minds in real terms. Because we cannot determine if God exists outside the mind, we cannot determine if we can conceive of an entity "greater" than it.


Like I said, 3 is probably not the worst sentence in the argument. I agree that 4 is worse, although my suspicion is that actually 2 is the least convincing sentence. However, someone committed to defending St. Anselm's argument against your critique would most likely respond by saying that your 'if' statement is going to undermine the argument, but only trivially. What would it mean for God to only exist in the mind? For St. Anselm, that's really just the equivalent of saying that God doesn't exist, but instead only the idea of God exists. This is because Anselm's argument (which we can agree is at least valid if not sound) already contends that if there is such a thing as God, he must exist in actuality and not just in the mind. Therefore, to introduce an 'if' statement which contends that God could exist only in the mind is to introduce If (~P) to an argument which has already claimed If (P). Of course, then, this is going to undermine the argument...but that's pretty trivial. Anyone can introduce to an argument "well, if your conclusion actually isn't true, then your conclusion isn't true." But if the argument is internally valid then surely you've got to attack the argument on the truth of its premises rather than introducing a counterfactual to the conclusion.

So if only the idea of God exists, sure, it's trivially true that God doesn't exist, and as such, isn't 'greater' than the idea of God. But I'm not sure that the two are indistinct in our minds in real terms, as you've put it. You do not believe God exists, and so in your mind, God is in a set of items, S which might include Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and Unicorns. Your belief in all of these items is equivalent, and as such, your conception of their existence is precisely their existence in your mind, and for you, it couldn't be anything more than that. But, for someone who does believe in God, the conception of God is quite distinct from that of a unicorn (presuming he doesn't believe in unicorns). Therefore in his mind, the notion of God is conceptually distinct from the conception of any other item in set S which exists only in one's mind. Therefore, the two terms aren't indistinct ontologically, they are only indistinct if you've already committed yourself to not believing that God exists.

You might not think that this is such a bad objection, though, if you want to begin from a position where it's proper to commit yourself to not believing in something unless it can be shown that the thing exists. The problem with that is that if this not-belief becomes itself a sentence which you levy against the proof you're committing the proof to failure before it begins not on its own terms but on your presuppositions about proofs concerning God's existence. This doesn't seem to be a fair way to read St. Anselm's Ontological Argument (or any other one). However, I think this argument against sentence '4' of the proof is probably the most sophisticated one we've heard so far in this conversation. I'd still contend that sentence '2' is worse, but I agree with you that there's room to push on '4' as well.


I like that critique of (4). What is it, though, that makes (2) the most controversial sentence in the argument? I know St. Thomas Aquinas offered some critique of the premise that man can conceive of God at all, saying that only God himself can conceive of the greatness of God, which uproots the idea that the idea of God exists in the mind. He would contend, I suppose, that on those grounds the idea of God does not exist in the mind. Is this the same direction you'd go with that? Or somewhere else?
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Guest_TheAwesomeKid_*
post Oct 19 2012, 06:33 AM
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That's basically the form of my problem with '2', yes, that I can't begin to think about what it would mean to conceive of God, let alone actually conceive of Him. Some properties of God: infiniteness (a concept which I can't hold in my head), external to time (the same thing), Trinitarian (shall I keep going?). I essentially agree with Aquinas that this is just really strange, to begin to hold a conception of God in one's mind, and it might even be necessary that only God could do that. Therefore, the idea of God doesn't exist in the mind. I think that this is why 2 is the least successful sentence.
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Guest_Sean Lev_*
post Mar 22 2013, 12:56 AM
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I've lately been going through a period of confusion in my belief in God. I definitely feel that there is some higher power, but the connection that I used to have when I was younger is gone. It used to be that I felt like god was always there listening to my thoughts and that my thoughts were my conversation between God and me. However, now I feel that it is just an inner monologue, and that God, if he exists, is just observing my life. Especially since I've been trying to understand my emotions/attraction(thank God I grew up in a church with a very accepting congregation). But I really want to have the same connection I had with God before, but no matter how much I go to church or pray or read the bible, it just wont come back.
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Guest_Research Monkey_*
post Mar 22 2013, 01:17 AM
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I can't say I know how one might recreate "the same connection I had with God before," but as someone who has tried and failed to recreate the same, I would be more than happy to speak with you about my personal journey of faith. Feel free to respond here, send me a PM, or message me on Facebook if you want to talk about it.

Best of luck, regardless.
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