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Belief without Warrant

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bruce culver

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Reality vs Rationality
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2011, 01:48:39 pm »
If God does not exist there are only illogical reasons to think our senses give us true beliefs

      

         --- true or false?

   

   I would say false. It is only true under a very strictly skeptical epistemology. If one accepts a more common sense epistemology, it is not true at all.

   

   If God exists he could guarantee that our senses give us true data, such that one who believes in God would have a logical reason to think that his sense experience is reliable

     

        ---  true, or false?

   

   It depends on how one defines God. Maybe under your definition of God, it is true. But how do you know you define God correctly and how do you even know there is a God?

   

   I am quite sure you would answer true, and false, and so you admit the argument. The theist has a good reason to think that his senses are reliable, and the atheist has none.

   

   I'm afraid you have fallen for a bit of sophistry on this one.

   

   I answered false and indeterminate, how do you respond to that?
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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Alyosha

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Reality vs Rationality
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2011, 10:11:12 am »
Why does this descend into the argument for the existence of God? If we can not claim a reliable epistemological foundation, how can we start off to anything?

Every single system of truth claims including science have its counterargument. I agree that "I think therefore I am" is fallacious, it puts the cart before the horse. "I am therefore I think" is a better start. After that, how can we go from...I am.

Do I believe there is external world? I guess I do. Can I justify it? In the manner of the most skeptical epistemology, no I cannot. Philosophically, we are all stuck here and wonder whether we can move on. Furthermore, if indeed we can justify it... Is it objectively true? Or is there even such a thing as objectively true? What is wrong with being self-refuting? And all that. Sigh...

@emailsthourne,

It is difficult to pull a Descartes and claim that existence of God will help solve the problem since the existence of God is a matter of more debate and questionable than let says ... empiricism. We cannot assume a more debatable axiom and claim that it will solve many problems to assume it.
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bruce culver

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Reality vs Rationality
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2011, 01:35:04 pm »

  Why does this descend into the argument for the existence of God? If we can not claim a reliable epistemological foundation, how can we start off to anything? Why does this descend into the argument for the existence of God? If we can not claim a reliable epistemological foundation, how can we start off to anything?


You make the statement that the theist has good reason to think his sense are reliable and the atheist has none, and then you ask why this descends into an argument over the existence of God? But, actually, I  nowhere argued either that God exists or that he does not.

But I think that I do not need to assume God to have a warranted belief in the basic reliability of my senses. Why? Because they have proven to be reliable, when I feel my hand burning I pull it away as a reflex. But I know that that sense and reflex is reliable for protecting me from burning my hand. When I look outside and see it is pitch dark and reason that it can't be midday, I have found every single time that, in fact it was not midday. Now, I will wander a bit further away from what I know, but I think it is very reasonable to believe that it is at least possible that nature through evolution has endowed me with remarkably reliable senses and basic reasoning abilities.
I don't know that the way that I know that when it is pitch black out it is not midday, I won't call it knowledge, but reasonable belief. To seriously doubt the possibility of such is IMO to take 'brain in a vat', Zhuangzi's butterfly dream and other such skeptical thought experiments all too seriously.


Every single system of truth claims including science have its counterargument. I agree that "I think therefore I am" is fallacious, it puts the cart before the horse. "I am therefore I think" is a better start. After that, how can we go from...I am.


The more abstract the truth claims the more I am likely to doubt them. I think that is a rational principle. By the time you get as abstract as to try and imagine the nature of an eternal uncaused cause, I think it is reaonable to believe that that is exactly the kind of truth claim that may just require an unreachable level of justification. That is why I believe, but do not know that there is no knowledge of the metaphysical. Beliefs about it may be more or less reasonable, some may even be true, but none that I know reach the level of knowledge.

Do I believe there is external world? I guess I do. Can I justify it? In the manner of the most skeptical epistemology, no I cannot. Philosophically, we are all stuck here and wonder whether we can move on. Furthermore, if indeed we can justify it... Is it objectively true? Or is there even such a thing as objectively true? What is wrong with being self-refuting? And all that. Sigh...


I'd say forget the most skeptical epistemologies, they serve little purpose but perhaps to keep us from getting too big for our britches. You can have a very reasonable faith in the power of science to tell us a good great deal about objective, physical reality. Maybe, lets say it is innocent of being nonsense until proven guilty. If you believe that the intelligibility of the universe is proof of God, I don't think that is an unreasonable belief. However, I don't think it rises to the level of probabilty of being true to warrant as knowledge.

That is, OK, because besides objective reality, there is the even more interesting, meaningful but tricky realm of subjective reality. In this realm there may be no knowledge, but that leaves it wide and hospitable to belief and faith.


Here is what I believe. I believe there is a supreme being that is eternal and omnipotent in terms of whatever is possible within its own nature, though I certainly don't think I know its nature well enough to say much about it. I think it probably transcends human understanding and most if not all human categories of thought. Forget about arguing if it is personal or impersonal, good or evil, etc., etc. I think it probably behooves us to attribute positive characteristics too it though. It makes us feel good to think of it as a perfectly good person. Fine, just don't take that all too seriously, because its really hard to defend any of those attributes as belonging to an eternal being.

Some theologians say Deity is purely actual, but it makes more sense to me to think of it as pure potential. Yet, it exists actually, manifest also in the pyhsical universe which is its physical body. "The body is the temple of the holy spirit". According to the mystical traditions in almost every religion, it's mind also exists in the physical universe as the inner most mind or consciousness of every sentient being. Maybe God's mind within time and space is what causes matter to behave according to the laws that our minds are capable of extracting through science. Perhaps it is God's mind that collapses the wave functions necessary to make the universe exist and function. I'm out on a limb for sure, but none of that is particularly meaningful. It is what it is.

This view solves lots of problems for God. There is no problem of evil if you define evil as causing needless suffering on another, because the God of panentheism is one without other. How about the imperfection of the physical universe? Imperfect according to what? It is only imperfect according to some human judgement placed upon it. It is what it is. Perhaps it is not seem perfect  to us then because God's omnipotence doesn't include the ability to do anything that we can imagine. We think we can imagine a better universe or better ways to do things, that doesn't mean it is possible. We only see a tiny fraction of all that exists within space and time and we know perhaps nothing about what is or isn't metaphysically possible, yet we think we can judge whether creation is worthy or not of God's bothering with it?

Another problem solved by the panentheist view is the problem that in theism God is the efficient cause of the universe, but creatio ex nihilo violates our idea that nothing comes from nothing. In panentheism God is both the efficient and the material cause.

It's true panentheism is not compatible with many orthodox Christian dogmas such as the idea that all the evil in the world is the result of a single act of disobedience by the first humans. But that is such an absurd notion anyway that I don't see how it has managed to survive this long after the lifting of the death penalty for questioning it.

Deity must be accountable for everything in creation including evil, but as I explained before that doesn't make Deity evil because whatever it is doing it is doing to itself. Do you see ethical problems arising from this? I do also, but not unresolvable ones. I'd like to explain, but I have some ethical duties to attend to right now myself.

Maybe later if you have any interest in my line of wooly mindedness.


"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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jayceeii

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Re: Reality vs Rationality
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2020, 01:21:11 pm »
Hi People,

I have read a fair amount of philosophy books and now quite worried about the possibility of us arriving at truth/reality  (or whatever you termed it) through philosophy or any method of inquiry. The problem is that all  philosophy or knowledge rests on central axiom which we must take to be  self-evidently true. This is the part that concerns me. I have recently  encountered websites by ex(?)-philosopher who regarded most philosophy  as BS (he also considers natural philosophy (science) as BS) and suggests that if we accept any axiom, we can believe in  anything consistently including solipsism which he claims irrefutable although crazy to hold.  What is your take on this?

It is no good to argue that "you use philosophy to argue for this", I am not arguing for truth of my statement, in fact, I do not wish to argue at all. I want to know truth as simple as that.
It is not only axioms at the root of worldviews, but perceptions of axioms. The same words mean something different to different people, especially in cases of metaphysics. It is because of these different perceptions that the axioms cannot be brought into harmony by logical reasoning. Whatever you say, the person is going to see what they want to see.

Humans live by an axiom that material objects have intrinsic value. The axiom is unstated but deeply felt, guiding all thinking. Their acquisitive nature is a proof the axiom is alive and working in their minds, as consumers continue buying new things frequently with no emphasis on durability in manufacturing. As Jesus said where your treasure is there your heart is also, and people find their treasure in the objects they own and the money they have. Take this possibility away from them, and they become gravely upset. It isn’t just taking the objects away that upsets them, but the chance to acquire new objects, and specifically the chance to have more or better objects than their neighbor.

There has been little talk about angels, but I think Christians would agree that there would not be ownership in Heaven. They tell themselves they won’t be driven to own things when they can have anything they want, any time. (In this they don’t notice they could have set the economic system up on Earth this same way, in case they wanted to prove they are ready for Heaven.) Christians would admit that angels are not driven by the axiom that material objects have intrinsic value, fancying the state is easy to attain. One can surmise further that angels would be driven by the axiom that companionship has value, defined as that you wouldn’t deny a friend something he needed, if he had no money. This is not an axiom humans would accept; and steep and hard is the path unto it!