How much of philosophy is merely Judeo-Christian heresy?

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jgweed
 
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 12:08 pm
@paulhanke,
Without reading the essay, I would find it hard to understand his conclusion about current students, let alone agree with the conclusion, especially if his argumentation were as facile as his discussion of "practical reasoning" through the ages.

What in the world does "and little else" mean, what would he have included? And precisely what the putative student deprived of?
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 02:08 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
What in the world does "and little else" mean, what would he have included? And precisely what the putative student deprived of?


... can't say I've read MacIntyre's book either ("Whose Justice? Which Rationality?") ... again, I just ran across some quotes in Watson's "The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century" ... the context of these quotes is a chapter on postmodern age thinkers ... to give the full of the second quote above, MacIntyre says:

Quote:
What the student is in consequence generally confronted with ... is an apparent inconclusiveness in all argument outside the natural sciences, an inconclusiveness which seems to abandon him or her to his or her pre-rational preferences. So the student characteristically emerges from a liberal education with a set of skills, a set of preferences, and little else, someone whose education has been as much a process of deprivation as of enrichment.
... I know this doesn't directly address your questions, but it would seem that MacIntyre feels that positivism is alive and well and that one thing that's missing from the contemporary tradition of liberal modernity is that which has been present in every other tradition before it: that an individual's practical reasoning is grounded in their role in society ...
 
John W Kelly
 
Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2008 03:08 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... if western science can be viewed as being so derivative of the Judeo-Christian tradition, what of western philosophy? ... how many modern philosophical concepts are grounded in the Judeo-Christian belief system? ... and does this grounding call anything into question?
Then why do I see so many similarities between eastern and western thought? Didn't Descartes question his own existance?
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2008 05:14 pm
@John W Kelly,
John W. Kelly wrote:
Then why do I see so many similarities between eastern and western thought? Didn't Descartes question his own existance?


... I agree that it's easy to find similarities between eastern and western religions/thought (after all, we're all human) - but I don't think that erases the differences ... for example, dualism (mind/body; man/nature; etc.) seems to be stronger (if not unique to) western thought ... and it could be argued that dualism is one artifact of a tradition of philosophical gymnastics running from Aquinas through Descartes to Kant (and beyond?) where the Christian God is assumed as ground truth and any lines of thinking that contradict that truth are automatically untenable ...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 08:27 am
@paulhanke,
The difference between the two, as Mr. Kelly has suggested, is not in the subject matter or in the questions themselves, for these seem to be common amongst all, but in the kinds of answers that are deemed acceptable.

Without wanting to defend this impression, it does seem that a critical attitude and a reliance upon rational processes in providing answers is basic to Western thought, and a reliance upon authority and its explication to Eastern thought. One might suppose this difference can be in part explained by how each sphere understands the role, ability, and importance of the individual selfhood.
 
John W Kelly
 
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 10:10 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... I agree that it's easy to find similarities between eastern and western religions/thought (after all, we're all human)
Maybe we should just call it philosophy; regardless of where it comes from. Smile
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 05:24 am
@John W Kelly,
And maybe we shouldn't.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 02:51 pm
@paulhanke,
I would have to respectfully disagree with the view of this article. The rape of the earth began with the enlightenment, and the concept of human mastery and supremacy over their world begins their as well. The idea that humanity could do whatever it wanted, that we could choose our own moral path, that we were seperate from the natural is a very post mediaval, post christian view. The idea that we were created to rule over animals and plants, to rule over the natural, is one of stewardship. It is responsibility for nature, whereas a seculr view of nature, that of it as a coincidental occurance that we happened to be part part, promotes a detached view of nature. It is no conincidence that at the same time as rapacious expansion in the fields of scince and across the continents of the world, that religion began to be attacked.
As to pagans being more respectful of nature the answer is yes and no. On the one hand holders of the druidic faith held woods and streams and the natural world to be sacred. On the other hand the romans, also pagan, cut those trees down and in their roadbuilding, aqueducts and underfloor heating can be seen as masters of nature.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 03:43 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
The rape of the earth began with the enlightenment, and the concept of human mastery and supremacy over their world begins their as well.


... I guess my first question would be, when do you consider the beginning of the enlightenment? ... a quick look at Wikipedia puts its peak in the 1700s, but doesn't the European attitude of world colonization/domination begin long before that? (1492 seems to be a relevant date here) ...

avatar6v7 wrote:
The idea that we were created to rule over animals and plants, to rule over the natural, is one of stewardship. It is responsibility for nature, whereas a seculr view of nature, that of it as a coincidental occurance that we happened to be part part, promotes a detached view of nature.


... I'm not sure I understand ... it would seem that the idea that one has been created to rule over nature creates a more detached view of nature than does a view that one is a part of nature ...

avatar6v7 wrote:
It is no conincidence that at the same time as rapacious expansion in the fields of scince and across the continents of the world, that religion began to be attacked.


... I'm not going to defend combative fanatics like Dawkins and Falwell here - their verbal warring certainly doesn't help the discussion ... but permit me the opportunity to rephrase your observation in a different tone: "It is no coincidence that at the same time the fields of science began to establish themselves across the continents of the world, that the tenets of religion began to be questioned." ... after all, isn't it only natural that when one stumbles upon a tool that works astonishingly well (scientific inquiry) to try and apply that tool to anything and everything? ...
 
Whoever
 
Reply Sat 29 Nov, 2008 06:38 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
..., it does seem that a critical attitude and a reliance upon rational processes in providing answers is basic to Western thought, and a reliance upon authority and its explication to Eastern thought.

I would say it is exactly the other way around. The whole raison d'etre of 'Eastern' thought is the discovery of truth and in this authority counts for very little, if anything. In Eastern thought borrowed knowledge is rated as a lowly thing. Of course, this is over generalising.

Nor would I agree that a reliance upon rational processes in providing answers is basic to Western thought. If it were then the world would be a better place.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Sat 29 Nov, 2008 04:36 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... I guess my first question would be, when do you consider the beginning of the enlightenment? ... a quick look at Wikipedia puts its peak in the 1700s, but doesn't the European attitude of world colonization/domination begin long before that? (1492 seems to be a relevant date here) ...

The enlightenment's peak is in the 18th century but it is in the 17th century that it begins. It is also then that the most major colonisations take place. Also another great element of the beggining of mans antagonistic relationship with nature is with the event of the industrial revolution, that occurs thanks to scintific discoverys and starts in the 18th century.
paulhanke wrote:

... I'm not sure I understand ... it would seem that the idea that one has been created to rule over nature creates a more detached view of nature than does a view that one is a part of nature ...

Christianity embraces the idea that we have a predefined role. We are to rule over nature. However rulership has gathered negative connotations in more modern cynical times, whereas in the middle ages the idea of rulership is, at least as an ideal, a very positive one. If we are rulers should we not be good ones? Whereas the concept of evolution seems to promote the opposite. Under it we are animals, and the fittest survive by virtue of might, not right. Power is its own justifcation, and it is if anything our evoulotionairy duty to eliminate rivals and do everything to ensure our supremacy damn whatever gets in our way.
paulhanke wrote:

... I'm not going to defend combative fanatics like Dawkins and Falwell here - their verbal warring certainly doesn't help the discussion ... but permit me the opportunity to rephrase your observation in a different tone: "It is no coincidence that at the same time the fields of science began to establish themselves across the continents of the world, that the tenets of religion began to be questioned." ... after all, isn't it only natural that when one stumbles upon a tool that works astonishingly well (scientific inquiry) to try and apply that tool to anything and everything? ...

One word- Eugenics.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sat 29 Nov, 2008 05:22 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
The enlightenment's peak is in the 18th century but it is in the 17th century that it begins. It is also then that the most major colonisations take place.


... but again, when did the attitudes that allowed for colonization begin? (prior to the enlightenment, I think) ...

avatar6v7 wrote:
Also another great element of the beggining of mans antagonistic relationship with nature is with the event of the industrial revolution, that occurs thanks to scintific discoverys and starts in the 18th century.


... but I think that White's argument is to the effect that it was the prevailing Christian attitudes toward nature that allowed the scientific discoveries to be so abused ...

avatar6v7 wrote:
Christianity embraces the idea that we have a predefined role. We are to rule over nature. However rulership has gathered negative connotations in more modern cynical times, whereas in the middle ages the idea of rulership is, at least as an ideal, a very positive one. If we are rulers should we not be good ones? Whereas the concept of evolution seems to promote the opposite. Under it we are animals, and the fittest survive by virtue of might, not right. Power is its own justifcation, and it is if anything our evoulotionairy duty to eliminate rivals and do everything to ensure our supremacy damn whatever gets in our way.


... this point could be argued in exactly the opposite way ... that European rulers and ruling classes of the Christian era have been notoriously totalitarian, exploitive, and war-mongering, whereas the modern concept of evolution promotes niche-filling and co-evolution ...

avatar6v7 wrote:
One word- Eugenics.


... a distortion of evolutionary theories for personal gain ... roughly equivalent to preachers in the pre-civil-war south mis-quoting the Bible in order to justify slavery ...

We could probably go back and forth on this forever Wink
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sat 29 Nov, 2008 06:22 pm
@paulhanke,
... getting back on track for a moment Smile ... I've read a lot since initially asking this question - and it is quite obvious that theism remains a major component of contemporary philosophy (through Kierkegaard, Whitehead, etc.) ... but are contemporary philosophical positions on theism so far removed from the Judeo-Christian tradition that hardly any of it can be classified as heresies thereof? ...
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 03:17 am
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... but again, when did the attitudes that allowed for colonization begin? (prior to the enlightenment, I think) ...

The attitudes were formed as colinisation was taking place. Men with ambitions left for the new world, and the recources there fueled their greed and created their attitudes. It is materialism, not christianity.
paulhanke wrote:

... but I think that White's argument is to the effect that it was the prevailing Christian attitudes toward nature that allowed the scientific discoveries to be so abused ...

The scintific discoveries were abused because of the changing role of rulers. In the past leaders of countries were restricted in their power- by their nobles, the preisthood, the pope and the merchants. However with the rise of absolute monarchy, we see the rise of the state, a body that of its very nature demands total and illogical secular power. For instance Henry VIII establishs the role of absolute monarch by splitting away from the catholic church, a rejection of christian authority over political power. The new unrestricted powers of the great states of europe made use of scince to conquer nature and the world.

paulhanke wrote:

... this point could be argued in exactly the opposite way ... that European rulers and ruling classes of the Christian era have been notoriously totalitarian, exploitive, and war-mongering, whereas the modern concept of evolution promotes niche-filling and co-evolution ...

.. a distortion of evolutionary theories for personal gain ... roughly equivalent to preachers in the pre-civil-war south mis-quoting the Bible in order to justify slavery ...

See above for my take on the ruling class. The modern concept of evolution is just that, modern. Before world war two most western nations had programs for the 'sterilisation of the unfit' including the USA and the UK. In this time most scintests supported it, as did most in political power. It was infact only the church and christians that really opposed it at its peak. For instance christians such as GK Chesterton, who wrote 'Eugenics and Other Evils' were almolst the only people fighting against eugenics. It was only when the horrors of eugenics under Hitler became known that widespread popular revulsion ensued. Even today, with 'designer babys' and regular abortions of disabled foetuses we have eugenics in the womb. As for christianity and slavery, it was greed that led to the slave trade and christianity is the greatest force agaisnt slavery that has ever existed. Christianity effectivly ended slavery in most of europe by the middle ages, and it was only centuries later that greedy and immoral men landed in africa to take slaves yet again. The oppistion to slavery at this time was led almolst entirely by protestant christians. Slaves in the US converted to christianity, and a couple of hundred years later it was the force and rallying call for the civil rights movement.


paulhanke wrote:

We could probably go back and forth on this forever Wink

Or until you admit that I am right.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2008 08:13 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
Or until you admit that I am right.


... the point I'm trying to make with you is that both science and Christianity are capable of being used for good or misused for evil, depending upon the temperament of the user ... if I instead accept your assertions that science is inherently evil and Christianity is inherently good, then I must also accept that, as examples, modern medicine is inherently evil and that Crusades are inherently good ... is this what I should do?
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2008 08:59 am
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... the point I'm trying to make with you is that both science and Christianity are capable of being used for good or misused for evil, depending upon the temperament of the user ... if I instead accept your assertions that science is inherently evil and Christianity is inherently good, then I must also accept that, as examples, modern medicine is inherently evil and that Crusades are inherently good ... is this what I should do?

At what point did I say that these things are inherently good and evil? I am simply saying that the common view- enlightenment scince good, mediaval christianity bad, is a stupid one. I think that christianity provides a system of morality, one that scince should follow. I think that scince provides a system of understanding the physical universe, but this knowlage, this power, can be misused without proper guidance. I think that Christianity has for the msot part been a force for good, and I think that scince can be when it is applie morally, as it has more often than not. However I think that making scince more than it is, applieing it to politics and morality, is a fallacy, and leads to disarsarous consequances.
Also could you try to answer all of my points fully as I have done for you.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2008 10:20 am
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
At what point did I say that these things are inherently good and evil? I am simply saying that the common view- enlightenment scince good, mediaval christianity bad, is a stupid one.


... then I think we are saying the same thing :a-ok:

avatar6v7 wrote:
I think that christianity provides a system of morality, one that scince should follow. I think that scince provides a system of understanding the physical universe, but this knowlage, this power, can be misused without proper guidance. I think that Christianity has for the msot part been a force for good, and I think that scince can be when it is applie morally, as it has more often than not. However I think that making scince more than it is, applieing it to politics and morality, is a fallacy, and leads to disarsarous consequances.


... I absolutely agree that the physical sciences can have nothing to say about politics and morality - and I am on a personal search to find a philosophy/spirituality to complement science and give it direction and meaning for myself ... and my intuition has been whispering to me of late that the search itself is the philosophy/spirituality I am looking for - that is, the natural complement to ongoing scientific inquiry is ongoing philosophical/spiritual inquiry Smile ... the question posed in this thread is whether or not there are begged questions from the Judeo-Christian tradition that have found their way as unexamined axioms into Western philosophy, as I see these as potential impediments to philosophical inquiry ... jgweed suggested earlier that any such begged questions may actually go back even farther than the Judeo-Christian tradition, all the way to language itself:

jgweed wrote:
What if the "prejudices of philosophers" as Nietzsche called them predate even philosophy and religion? Could it not be argued, perhaps, that these assumptions owe their origin and continuation to the very structure of language or thought or to "human nature"?


... to which I replied:

paulhanke wrote:
... sounds like the initial question is off-base then (i.e., more finger-pointing than warranted) ...


avatar6v7 wrote:
Also could you try to answer all of my points fully as I have done for you.


... again, we could probably go back and forth on that forever ... that pretty much expresses what I think of the overabundance of such tit-for-tat Christianity-vs-science debates ...
 
Whoever
 
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 10:24 am
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... the question posed in this thread is whether or not there are begged questions from the Judeo-Christian tradition that have found their way as unexamined axioms into Western philosophy, as I see these as potential impediments to philosophical inquiry ... jgweed suggested earlier that any such begged questions may actually go back even farther than the Judeo-Christian tradition, all the way to language itself:

For the record, I would agree with jgweed. In metaphysics, as Bradley puts it, 'The separation of the predicate from the subject seems at once to be necessary and yet indefensible.' Predication is necessary for language, as jgweed and Nietzsche have pointed out, but it depends on an unexamined axiom. The language of mysticism is full of paradox and contradiction for this reason, for this is one way of getting around the problem.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 10:42 am
@Whoever,
Whoever wrote:
For the record, I would agree with jgweed. In metaphysics, as Bradley puts it, 'The separation of the predicate from the subject seems at once to be necessary and yet indefensible.' Predication is necessary for language, as jgweed and Nietzsche have pointed out, but it depends on an unexamined axiom. The language of mysticism is full of paradox and contradiction for this reason, for this is one way of getting around the problem.


... language - can't philosophize with it; can't philosophize without it! ... (is that paradoxical enough? Wink) ...
 
mysterystar
 
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 10:59 pm
@paulhanke,
Haven't we all heard usually on that first chapter on critical thinking or on that first day of ancient philosophy about the "sophists", the Jewish vagabonds, who taught fallacious reasoning as a tool of persuasion for Athen's politicians. Socrates tried to show ways to see through rhetoric.
 
 

 
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