Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

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Notvacka
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Notvacka »

Bernard wrote:The first instance of syntax Casteneda presents relies on language, but the second draws from something else, something he would have described as silent knowledge, a syntax more related to vision than sound, as is with talk/language.
I don't see the difference. (I'm not saying that it's not there, just that I don't see it.)
Bernard wrote:I believe I have repeatedly demonstrated that my argument is based on observation of the actual reality of things around us. That I present my argument thru language is a non- issue.
It's not that you present the argument through language. It's that you confuse categories with what they denote in reality. (The difference can be hard to spot, and you still don't see it.)

I think it says something, that you see a difference that I don't see, while I see a difference that you don't see. :)
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Bernard
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Bernard »

Surely when I say actual universe you don't believe I mean the category universe? I have been quite explicit in separating concept or category from actual things.
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Notvacka
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Notvacka »

Bernard wrote:Surely when I say actual universe you don't believe I mean the category universe? I have been quite explicit in separating concept or category from actual things.
Your claims have been quite explicit, yes. But the whole time you have failed to separete category from actual thing in your reasoning. And you fail to see where you fail. I could go on trying to show you, but there seems to be little point, since I'd be repeating myself, just like you are repeating yourself. :)

But I'll give it one more go anyway: (My interpretations/comments in red)
Bernard wrote:So seeing that we think\and talk about the universe, (seeing that we have made a category "universe" which we use to denote the whole of physical reality) we can safely say it is a thing (we can safely say that we have a category for it), and because we can say it is a thing (and because we can use this category to denote it) we MUST deduce that it is one of many like things (it is clear that this category could be used to denote other "universes" too, because that's how categories work. We MUST not draw any conclusion about the existensce of such other universes in physical reality based upon how categories work), because there is no observation of any thing that tells us that there are 'one off' things. (because the whole point of having categories is that they help us categorise and recognise things that are similar to each other, and we usually don't come up with categories for 'one off' things.)
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Bernard
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Bernard »

What a load of bollocks! Again and again I separated category and actual thing in my reasoning. I did this almost from the start. Is it me, or does everyone not usually refer to anything they are talking about without having to qualify that they are not talking about it as a conceptual thing only?
chaz wyman
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by chaz wyman »

Oh dear the conversation has got to the bollocks stage.

This is when it is time to get back the the thread.

"Anti-Philosopher" implies that he is against philosophy or somehow rejects is methods or findings.
As this is not the case, then the answer to the Header is in the negative.
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Notvacka
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Notvacka »

Bernard wrote: Is it me, or does everyone not usually refer to anything they are talking about without having to qualify that they are not talking about it as a conceptual thing only?
Of course, Usually this is not a problem. But ususally, people are not claiming knowledge of the unknown based upon this kind of deduction. It's no use repeating ourselves. I suggest that you read my previous post carefully once more, then forget about it for a few weeks or so. Sometimes the brain has a way to figure things out subconsciously. As for now, you just don't see it. And I'll put that Castaneda quote on a slow burn in the back of my mind too.
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Bernard
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Bernard »

There is no problem. All I have been saying is that because the universe is an actual thing, and that because it is observable of any actual thing, without exception, that there are multiple of things like to it, then the universe is one of many like things to it, ie; like universes. There can be no problems with such a simple argument.
tbieter
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by tbieter »

Richard Dawkins is a fanatical atheist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins He proselytizes his atheism. I have often wondered why the sincere atheist spends any time on any aspect of religion. After all, he has made up his mind. He is firm in his unbelief. In my reading of The True Believer, I noted this possible explanation for his obsession.

I recall reading that Jacques Maritain, The Catholic Thomist philosopher, said that the militant atheist suffered from a “metaphysical anxiety.” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/maritain/

I think that Hoffer and Maritain are saying the same thing.

“Whence comes the impulse to proselytize? Intensity of conviction is not the main factor which impels a movement to spread its faith to the four corners of the earth: “religions of great intensity often confine themselves to contemning, destroying, or at best pitying what is not themselves.”40 Nor is the impulse to proselytize an expression of an overabundance of power which as Bacon has it “is like a great flood, that will be sure to overflow.”41 The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgiving, some pressing feeling of insufficiency at the center. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse.”
Hoffer, Eric (2011-05-10). The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) (p. 110). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
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Jonathan.s
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Jonathan.s »

You won't get any argument out of me! Evangelical atheism - 'evangatheism' - often seems to arise from a quasi-religious view of life, with 'science' occupying the role previously occupied by the Faith. I am sure that this is because, historically, the 'scientific revolution' arose out of the prior Christian monotheism. One of the things it inherited was monism - the idea that the ultimate ground of reality was of one kind or substance, and there is only one correct way to discover it. In the case of scientific materialism, this 'substance' is depicted as 'matter-energy' (never mind that what this actually is, is still profoundly mysterious). Hence also the tone of righteous umbrage - the anger directed at that those who worship the 'false God of religion' as opposed to basing their convictions on the supposed certainties that science alone can provide.

There's an interesting analysis provided on this site:
Dawkins's message is basically that we are social animals on an evolutionary trajectory to ever more rational and therefore higher moral standards, but that the process has been derailed somewhere along the line by the appearance of religion. It had looked until recently as though we were shaking off religion and entering an Age of Reason. But now, with the rise of religious fundamentalism, there is a relapse which accounts for the world's present troubles. Nevertheless, thanks to the enlightenment Science brings, we can root out religion and get back on track.
'New Atheist' polemics are often loaded with these kinds of unconscious assumptions. As Einstein laconically remarked 'atheists are those who still feel the weight of their chains'.

Oh - and as regards the 'metaphysical anxiety', I am sure this is actually a very pervasive condition nowadays. Here is one of my favourite quotations on the topic:
Cartesian anxiety refers to the notion that, ever since René Descartes promulgated his highly influential form of body-mind dualism, Western civilization has suffered from a longing for ontological certainty, or feeling that scientific methods, and especially the study of the world as a thing separate from ourselves, should be able to lead us to a firm and unchanging knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. The term is named after Descartes because of his well-known emphasis on "mind" as different from "body", "self" as different from "other".
Richard J. Bernstein coined the term in his 1983 book Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis.
Last edited by Jonathan.s on Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bernard
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Bernard »

I got an idea... what if I say that "for argument's sake there must be multiple universes because where there is one of any thing there is always more of like kind to it?"

Notvacka wrote:
Bernard wrote: Is it me, or does everyone not usually refer to anything they are talking about without having to qualify that they are not talking about it as a conceptual thing only?
Of course, Usually this is not a problem. But ususally, people are not claiming knowledge of the unknown based upon this kind of deduction. It's no use repeating ourselves. I suggest that you read my previous post carefully once more, then forget about it for a few weeks or so. Sometimes the brain has a way to figure things out subconsciously. As for now, you just don't see it. And I'll put that Castaneda quote on a slow burn in the back of my mind too.
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Jonathan.s
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Jonathan.s »

Maybe another thread should be started on 'multiverse speculations'. It is an interesting topic but has little or no relation to this thread.
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Bernard
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Bernard »

It's. Not just speculation. It's an argument that no one has yet been able to refute. The relevance is high with this thread because it shows how the universe is replacement in the scientific psyche (Dawkins) for God (represented by Pell).
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Notvacka
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Notvacka »

Bernard wrote:I got an idea... what if I say that "for argument's sake there must be multiple universes because where there is one of any thing there is always more of like kind to it?"
I can accept anything for argument's sake. But "there must be multiple universes because where there is one of any thing there is always more of like kind to it" is your whole argument in slightly condensed form. Let's break it down:

1. If we (for argument's sake) accept that it's possible to draw necessary conclusions about reality from the way we think and talk about reality, then there must be multiple universes (in reality) because where there is one of any thing (in reality) there is always more of like kind to it (at least in our imagination).

That's the hard part, keeping concept or category separate from actual things. But that's not all.

2. We must also (for argument's sake) accept that it's possible to draw necessary conclusions about the unobservable (things outside the universe) from what we observe (things inside the universe).
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Bernard
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Bernard »

I just changed 1. a little bit

1. If we (for argument's sake) accept that it's possible to draw necessary conclusions about reality from the way we physically observe reality, then there must be multiple universes (in reality) because where there is one of any thing (in reality) there is always more of like kind to it (at least in our imagination).
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Notvacka
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Re: Richard Dawkins as 'Anti-Philosopher'

Post by Notvacka »

Bernard wrote:I just changed 1. a little bit

1. If we (for argument's sake) accept that it's possible to draw necessary conclusions about reality from the way we physically observe reality, then there must be multiple universes (in reality) because where there is one of any thing (in reality) there is always more of like kind to it (at least in our imagination).
No. No. No. :lol:

You changed the most important part.

I'm sorry, but that you even suggest this (not the fact that you believe it, but the fact that you suggest it at this stage) clearly shows that you have not undertood what I mean at all. I don't demand that you agree with me, of course, but I would like you to understand what I mean. I could go on trying to explain, and part of me would like to, because you seem not only blind to your own blind spot, but also honest in your blindness.

But Instead I offer the following as a contemplation and incentive towards understanding:



Syntax

A man staring at his equations
said that the universe had a beginning.
There had been an explosion, he said.
A bang of bangs, and the universe was born.
And it is expanding, he said.
He had even calculated the length of its life:
ten billion revolutions of the earth around the sun.
The entire globe cheered;
They found his calculations to be science.
None thought that by proposing that the universe began,
the man had merely mirrored the syntax of his mother tongue;
a syntax which demands beginnings, like birth,
and developments, like maturation,
and ends, like death, as statements of facts.
The universe began,
and it is getting old, the man assured us,
and it will die, like all things die,
like he himself died after confirming mathematically
the syntax of his mother tongue.


**************************

The Other Syntax

Did the universe really begin?
Is the theory of the big bang true?
These are not questions, though they sound like they are.
Is the syntax that requires beginnings, developments
and ends as statements of fact the only syntax that exists?
That's the real question.
There are other syntaxes.
There is one, for example, which demands that varieties
of intensity be taken as facts.
In that syntax nothing begins and nothing ends;
thus birth is not a clean, clear-cut event,
but a specific type of intensity,
and so is maturation, and so is death.
A man of that syntax, looking over his equations, finds that
he has calculated enough varieties of intensity
to say with authority
that the universe never began
and will never end,
but that it has gone, and is going now, and will go
through endless fluctuations of intensity.
That man could very well conclude that the universe itself
is the chariot of intensity
and that one can board it
to journey through changes without end.
He will conclude all that, and much more,
perhaps without ever realizing
that he is merely confirming
the syntax of his mother tongue.

***************************


From "The Active Side of Infinity" by Carlos Castaneda
Copyright 1998 by Laugan Productions



I know that you offered this quote first. But your offer was as a contemplation and incentive towards knowledge. If you believe that "knowledge" can be deduced from the second syntax any better than from the first syntax, then you have not understood.

Let me rephrase my earlier statement slightly:

1. If we (for argument's sake) accept that it's possible to draw necessary conclusions about reality from syntax (the way we think and talk about reality), then there must be multiple universes (in reality) because where there is one of any thing (in reality) there is always more of like kind to it (at least in our imagination).

And let's not forget number two:

2. We must also (for argument's sake) accept that it's possible to draw necessary conclusions about the unobservable (things outside the universe) from what we observe (things inside the universe).
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