Epistemology vs. Atheism

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Epistemology vs. Atheism

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Epistemology divides knowledge into three categories: 1) Rationalism, 2) Empiricism, 3) Intuitionism.

 

From the perspective of rationalism, empiricism and intuitionism are rejected because they are irrational. Empiricism rejects rationalism and intuitionism because they are unempirical. And thirdly, intuitionism rejects rationalism and empiricism because they are unintuitive e.g. intuitionist mathematics considers itself epistemologically superior to rationalist mathematics.

 

Atheists, for some strange reason, usually take the side of rationalism, and therefore reject empiricism and intuitionism without even thinking about them. For example, atheists say that they reject intuitionism (including mysticism), simply because it is irrational. See this list of irrational precepts rejected by atheists: http://www.rationalresponders.com/hamurookis_irrational_precepts

 

In that list, atheists reject mystical knowledge (intuitionism) simply because it is irrational. Atheists therefore reject a huge swath of mathematics, which is intuitionism. This article introduces intuitionism: http://www.philosophyprofessor.com/philosophies/intuitionism.php

 

Of course intuitionism is irrational. That’s why it’s called ‘intuitionism’ and not ‘rationalism’. And of course empiricism is irrational, simply because empiricism is the opposite of rationalism.

 

In summary, atheists usually say that they reject ideas simply on the basis of whether or not they are rational. But by doing that, atheists are rejecting empiricism and intuitionism without even thinking i.e. atheism actually discourages thinking in this respect. Atheists are therefore not the ‘deeper thinkers’ that they claim to be. Atheists therefore actually think less about the boundary between knowledge and belief than do epistemologists.

 

To help clarify my position, I am neither an atheist, nor a theist. I am an epistemologist. I am therefore open to all three categories of knowledge – rationalism, empiricism, and intuitionism.


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The Atheist Creed

 This is the atheist creed, which atheist parents probably recite to their children:

 

Now children, make the sign of the atheist cross . . .

 

‘In the name of rationalism and empiricism, and the holy combination of rationalism and empiricism.’

 

Now children, repeat after me . . .

 

‘There is no truth or knowledge beyond the boundaries of logic.’

 

Well-done children. Your faith will save you from the wicked snares of the mystics who dare to blaspheme against holy and sacred logic.

 

To be an atheist person. Smiling


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Epistemologist wrote: After

Epistemologist wrote:

After mystical training, your soul could travel outside time and space into other worlds, which are non-physical. Because those worlds are infinitely different to the physical universe we inhabit, you would not be able to present any physical or rational evidence that you undertook the journey. In fact, all the physical and rational evidence would suggest that you did not undertake that journey, even if you did indeed undertake it.

Then, I presume that you have taken one of these journeys yourself? 

Epistemologist wrote:
Mystics, particularly apophatic, don’t use reason to evaluate the experiences of other mystics. People possess a spiritual sensory aura. When one attains mystical enlightenment, or arcane initiation (union of the soul with ultimate reality), one learns to feel other people’s feelings through the aura. A mystic can just feel if another person is enlightened or not (whether the soul of another person has journeyed outside time and space into the higher worlds). The feelings can only be known through feeling, so they are ineffable.

Then you've provided a method of potential falsification. We could even do a scientific study. Find 50 people that claim they've been on a trip, and 50 people that haven't. Find one person that claims he can sense auras. Observe how often he gets it right. I will bet money that he can't sense squat.    

Epistemologist wrote:
‘Hell’ and ‘heaven’ are labels. Ultimately these experiences are ineffable, but they can be known through direct perception of the soul.

This is still inconsistent with what you wrote earlier in this thread.

You wrote, "Mysticism can be objective. For example, mystics are in agreement that sin takes the soul to hell, and virtue takes the soul to heaven. Mystics have defined hell as suffering that increases exponentially over infinite time, and heaven as the symmetrical opposite – happiness that increases exponentially over infinite time.

You wrote, "Likewise, if the soul of a mystic descends into Hell, as a consequence of sin, the mystic perceives the pain of Hell. They therefore know that sin leads to Hell."

Both the popular and dictionary definitions of heaven and hell possess characteristics than can undoubtedly be understood in terms of this universe, such as happiness, pleasure, pain, torture, fire, etc. Thus, if the 'heaven' and 'hell' experienced by the souls of these mystics are ineffable (I'll be using this word a lot since you seem to like it), they cannot possibly be the aforementioned heaven and hell, but some purely arbitrary label. The mystic would be equally justified in calling hell heaven and calling heaven hell because there aren't any coherent characteristics or descriptions that they could apply to each location. In fact, it would be arbitrary to even state that they were in any 'place' or 'location' at all, as using the concept of "location" is already describing something in terms that we can understand. Why, then, would they even use these labels? Perhaps it's because you're contradicting yourself. You've already introduced the concepts of happiness, suffering, opposite, increase, exponentially, infinity, time, etc., all of which are not ineffable, directly violating your own definition. 

Here's how I see it. To make these journeys unfalsifiable, you must claim that these journeys are ineffable. Unfortunately, that would make them useless and meaningless as a source of knowledge. So, to fix this, you simply violate your own definition by attaching characteristics that are not ineffable. Problem solved! You are exactly like the theist that claims their God is supernatural, but then makes falsifiable claims about reality based on their God belief. 

Epistemologist wrote:
As far as I’m aware, atheism doesn’t have anything to do with the mystical journey. Apophatic mystics are atheists. The mystical journey is simply achieved by taming the desires of the body – asceticism.

You completely missed my point. Of course atheism itself has nothing to do with the mystical journey. Atheism is just not believing in God.

You wrote, "Putting it bluntly, if atheists succeed in eradicating mysticism off the earth, then there will be no guidance left to lead people away from Hell and into Heaven. So atheists, ultimately, could be leading people to hell – suffering that increases exponentially over infinite time. That makes atheism (the type promoted by this website) the most dangerous and harmful philosophy on the earth. Therefore, that type of atheism must be eradicated off the earth"

Uuuhh, yeah, how do they know that they should lead people away from hell and into heaven? I thought the journey was ineffable.

Epistemologist wrote:
That might be possible. It would be like the difference between studying a degree in a traditional university or by correspondence.

Alright, that sounds good. 

If someone wrote a book about mystical journeys and pretty much any intelligent, open-minded person could go on a trip just by reading it, then I would think that this form of mysticism has some merit. Of course, I still wouldn't think that their 'soul' is actually traveling anywhere until there is further evidence supporting it, merely that these mystics are unintentionally adept at hypnosis, manipulating mental states, etc. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Epistemologist wrote: Yes

Epistemologist wrote:

Yes we do need standards to determine what is and what is not true, to help us get by in everyday life. Yes, without logical standards, anything could count as truth. However, that does not mean that there is nothing real or true outside the boundaries of logic. The idea that logic is the only route to truth is actually a faith. On the other hand, the apophatic mystical experience is direct perception, by the soul, of ultimate reality.

 

My point is that any standards are meaningless without logic.  I.e. your position that illogical concepts can be truth immediately means there is no distinction between true and not true.

 

In other words, if you believe truth can be found in the illogical, then there exists nothing that is not true.  You are contradicting yourself by asserting there can be standards of contradiction (truth or not truth) without the agent that establishes that contradiction (logic).


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Mystical Journeys

 Thanks butterbattle for your thoughtful responses.

 

I won’t say whether I have been on mystical journeys. But I know of people who have e.g. Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross.

 

butterbattle said: “Then you've provided a method of potential falsification. We could even do a scientific study. Find 50 people that claim they've been on a trip, and 50 people that haven't. Find one person that claims he can sense auras. Observe how often he gets it right. I will bet money that he can't sense squat.”

 

Mystical training – asceticism – is similar to academic training. It is tough, and not everyone succeeds in reaching the goal of initiation, or union of the soul with ultimate reality. It is only the strong people who get through the training. The weak people, as with every other form of training, fail. So out of fifty people, only the strongest will reach the point of their souls travelling on the journey into other worlds, outside time and space. As exaples of esoteric mystical initiates, Masonic and Rosicrucian initiates of the higher degrees maintain that they do have the same mystical experiences.

 

Epistemologist said: “‘Hell’ and ‘heaven’ are labels. Ultimately these experiences are ineffable, but they can be known through direct perception of the soul.”

 

butterbattle replied: “This is still inconsistent with what you wrote earlier in this thread.”

 

Regarding, heaven, hell, and the other concepts I mentioned, which can be experienced on the mystical journey. I am not contradicting myself by saying they are ineffable. What I mean is that they can only be known by direct perception of the journeying soul. If you read the definitions of them, but have not actually experienced them, then you do not know what they are.

 

butterbattle said: “Here's how I see it. To make these journeys unfalsifiable, you must claim that these journeys are ineffable. Unfortunately, that would make them useless and meaningless as a source of knowledge. So, to fix this, you simply violate your own definition by attaching characteristics that are not ineffable. Problem solved! You are exactly like the theist that claims their God is supernatural, but then makes falsifiable claims about reality based on their God belief.”

 

The mystical journeys are ineffable in that they cannot be represented or defined through reason. However, you know what they are when you experience them. They can only be known through direct perception of the soul.

 

butterbattle said: “You completely missed my point. Of course atheism itself has nothing to do with the mystical journey. Atheism is just not believing in God. . . . Uuuhh, yeah, how do they (mystics) know that they should lead people away from hell and into heaven? I thought the journey was ineffable.”

 

Apophatic mystics are atheists. So what confuses me about the atheism advocated by this website is that it rejects mysticism. This website is not a united front for atheist activists. It is a united front for naturalist activists. The difference between naturalism and atheism is significant. So this website should convey that it is promoting naturalism more than atheism.

 

I will admit now that I am an activist atheist. I am just not a naturalist.

 

butterbattle said: “If someone wrote a book about mystical journeys and pretty much any intelligent, open-minded person could go on a trip just by reading it, then I would think that this form of mysticism has some merit. Of course, I still wouldn't think that their 'soul' is actually traveling anywhere until there is further evidence supporting it, merely that these mystics are unintentionally adept at hypnosis, manipulating mental states, etc.”

 

That is an outsider’s conclusion. However, if you had a genuine mystical experience, in which your soul travelled outside time and space into other worlds, you would know the journey was real. That’s the only way you can know. 


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Mystical Journeys

v4ultingbassist said: “My point is that any standards are meaningless without logic.  I.e. your position that illogical concepts can be truth immediately means there is no distinction between true and not true. . . . In other words, if you believe truth can be found in the illogical, then there exists nothing that is not true.  You are contradicting yourself by asserting there can be standards of contradiction (truth or not truth) without the agent that establishes that contradiction (logic).”

 

Direct perception is a way of knowing other than by logic. Knowing that something is true doesn’t necessarily require justification through logic. For example, the philosophers Spinoza and Bergson maintained that intuition is a genuine way of knowing that is different from reason (logic and mathematics) and observation (natural science). It depends who your favourite philosophers are. Smiling


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Epistemologist wrote:

Epistemologist wrote:

Direct perception is a way of knowing other than by logic. Knowing that something is true doesn’t necessarily require justification through logic. For example, the philosophers Spinoza and Bergson maintained that intuition is a genuine way of knowing that is different from reason (logic and mathematics) and observation (natural science). It depends who your favourite philosophers are. Smiling

 

Without logic it is impossible to distinguish true versus false.  So you honestly accept that anything can be true?


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Intuitive Knowledge

v4ultingbassist said: “Without logic it is impossible to distinguish true versus false.  So you honestly accept that anything can be true?”

 

It is controversial in philosophy that logic is the only way to justify truth. I don’t accept that anything can be true, but it is possible to know something is true without justifying it logically. The mystical experience is an example of knowledge that cannot be justified logically. Intuitive knowledge does not require logic to justify it; it only requires direct perception. This article outlines arguments in support of intuition as a way of knowing that does not require logic: http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/P059

 


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Epistemologist wrote: It is

Epistemologist wrote:

It is controversial in philosophy that logic is the only way to justify truth. I don’t accept that anything can be true, but it is possible to know something is true without justifying it logically. The mystical experience is an example of knowledge that cannot be justified logically. Intuitive knowledge does not require logic to justify it; it only requires direct perception. This article outlines arguments in support of intuition as a way of knowing that does not require logic: http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/P059

 

 

How do you know that a pineapple is not a ham?  If logic is not your standard for truth, what is?  Earlier you said pleasure and pain.  How does this relate to the pineapple/ham?

 

Also I would argue that direct perception is logical, because nature is and we evolved from it and whatnot. 

 


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Epistemologist wrote:

Epistemologist wrote:

v4ultingbassist said: “My point is that any standards are meaningless without logic.  I.e. your position that illogical concepts can be truth immediately means there is no distinction between true and not true. . . . In other words, if you believe truth can be found in the illogical, then there exists nothing that is not true.  You are contradicting yourself by asserting there can be standards of contradiction (truth or not truth) without the agent that establishes that contradiction (logic).”

 

Direct perception is a way of knowing other than by logic. Knowing that something is true doesn’t necessarily require justification through logic. For example, the philosophers Spinoza and Bergson maintained that intuition is a genuine way of knowing that is different from reason (logic and mathematics) and observation (natural science). It depends who your favourite philosophers are. Smiling

Direct perception is an illusion - you have no way whatsoever to validate such 'perceptions' against anything outside the context of the mental state in which you experience them. And anyway, logic is not a form of perception, it is the most basic method of organizing any perceptions into a coherent form.

All you have is perceptions - the 'directness' is a pure assumption on your part, because they feel different to 'normal' perceptions. They are far more likely to be simple delusions and hallucinations. They have all the usual characteristics of such misperceptions.

The 'ineffable' nature of these 'perceptions' are exactly what we get with most 'heightened' or otherwise abnormal mental states, states that we don't experience under normal conditions, so we have not learned how to incorporate them into our normal framework of ideas. That is why they are 'ineffable'.  Has no relevance to whether they are derived from any form of actual perception of some other 'realm', apart from the realm of the fevered imagination.

If you are effectively forced to go outside logic, you have really just conceded you have no warrant for your claims, as v4ultingbassist already pointed out. It is terribly dishonest to claim logic doesn't matter when you are trying to defend some blatantly illogical idea. That opens the door to nonsense and chaos.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Intuitive Knowledge

 v4ultingbassist said: “I would argue that direct perception is logical, because nature is and we evolved from it and whatnot.”

 

Well, in philosophy, direct perception (intuition) is defined as a way of knowing truth other than by logic. It is a well-established idea in philosophy that intuition is a way of knowing other than by logic, so I am surprised it is being disputed so heavily in this forum. It is pretty pointless to dispute it. I think we should all read this article on intuition before we carry on discussing, otherwise people might think we’re drunk or on drugs: http://www.answers.com/topic/intuition


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Intuitive Knowledge

BobSpence1 said: “Direct perception is an illusion - you have no way whatsoever to validate such 'perceptions' against anything outside the context of the mental state in which you experience them. And anyway, logic is not a form of perception, it is the most basic method of organizing any perceptions into a coherent form. . . . If you are effectively forced to go outside logic, you have really just conceded you have no warrant for your claims, as v4ultingbassist already pointed out. It is terribly dishonest to claim logic doesn't matter when you are trying to defend some blatantly illogical idea. That opens the door to nonsense and chaos.”

 

The problem is that direct perception (intuition) is actually a way of knowing, other than by logic and empiricism, according to several philosophers e.g. Bergson and Spinoza. Bergson and Spinoza actually concluded that intuition is a more complete way of knowing than logic and empiricism. Metaphysical idealism, for example, is more logically defensible than metaphysical materialism. The main defence of metaphysical materialism is that it is counter-intuitive to conclude that matter is inside our minds and not external. So metaphysical materialists, by intuition alone, conclude that matter must be external to the mind.

 

I’m not sure how much further we can go with this discussion, since none of us seem to have sufficient philosophical training to know what we are talking about. Smiling I’m studying the philosophy of mind next year. After that I’ll have more understanding of where we’re going with this.

 


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

BobSpence1 said: “Direct perception is an illusion - you have no way whatsoever to validate such 'perceptions' against anything outside the context of the mental state in which you experience them. And anyway, logic is not a form of perception, it is the most basic method of organizing any perceptions into a coherent form. . . . If you are effectively forced to go outside logic, you have really just conceded you have no warrant for your claims, as v4ultingbassist already pointed out. It is terribly dishonest to claim logic doesn't matter when you are trying to defend some blatantly illogical idea. That opens the door to nonsense and chaos.”

 

The problem is that direct perception (intuition) is actually a way of knowing, other than by logic and empiricism, according to several philosophers e.g. Bergson and Spinoza. Bergson and Spinoza actually concluded that intuition is a more complete way of knowing than logic and empiricism. Metaphysical idealism, for example, is more logically defensible than metaphysical materialism. The main defence of metaphysical materialism is that it is counter-intuitive to conclude that matter is inside our minds and not external. So metaphysical materialists, by intuition alone, conclude that matter must be external to the mind.

 

I’m not sure how much further we can go with this discussion, since none of us seem to have sufficient philosophical training to know what we are talking about. Smiling I’m studying the philosophy of mind next year. After that I’ll have more understanding of where we’re going with this.

 

WE don't need philosophical training to understand anything apart from philosophers. I was once very much into philosophy, but have progressively realized since reading up on and following the progress of scientific understanding of "Life, the Universe, and Everything", that philosophy is now mostly irrelevant as a source of any kind of knowledge. The realization of the wide range of mostly nonsense that many prominent philosophers have pronounced over the years has had me head-shaking and face-palming regularly. I like a few, such as David Hume, Bertrand Russell, and more recently Daniel Dennett, in particular.

Philosophy itself is not a way to truth, it is basically speculation about what might be, but it does rely very much on logic. If it relied more on empirical data and independent testing of theories, it would be Science. My favourite philosophers seem to span the ground between, keeping a firm connection with real 'knowledge', ie empirical science. Of course Math and Logic are still in there as essential tools for keeping our ideas on track, and avoiding contradictions and inconsistencies and other errors.

Intuition is NOT "direct perception", it is a series of learned or inherited shortcuts to reasoning, or 'rules of thumb' which 'work' well enough enough of the time to be useful, and save us having to take the time to reason everything out all the time.

I see that according to my dictionary it originally did mean something like 'spiritual insight' - I assume that is how you are using it. But that was just a naive assumption about how it worked.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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Epistemologist wrote: Well,

Epistemologist wrote:

Well, in philosophy, direct perception (intuition) is defined as a way of knowing truth other than by logic. It is a well-established idea in philosophy that intuition is a way of knowing other than by logic, so I am surprised it is being disputed so heavily in this forum. It is pretty pointless to dispute it. I think we should all read this article on intuition before we carry on discussing, otherwise people might think we’re drunk or on drugs: http://www.answers.com/topic/intuition

 

Well you're getting heavy opposition because almost everyone here holds some form of scientific naturalism.  We know that brain waves are intrinsically linked to consciousness.  As such, we find it a lot more reasonable that mysticism is akin to hallucinogenic drugs than it is to real violations of observed reality.  A pineapple is not a ham.  You can claim an experience where it happened, but you'd obviously be wrong by empiricism.

 

Also, violating logic is pretty much ridiculous.  I am trying to point out to you that the distinction between true and not true is automatically a logical proposition.  You are arguing things are true without a coherent set of standards for truth.  Coherency in reference to observed reality is impossible without logic.  Since I know drugs can trick my brain, I trust my observations over my intuition.


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Epistemologist

Epistemologist wrote:

Metaphysical idealism, for example, is more logically defensible than metaphysical materialism.

 

Not if you can hold that logic can be violated.  Also materialism is an outdated term. 


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Relying on intuition in

Relying on intuition in unusual situations which it was not 'trained for' is asking for trouble, ie error.

The most significant and successful theories in modern science, Quantum Theory and Relativity, are completely counter-intuitive.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Epistemologist wrote:I

Epistemologist wrote:
I won’t say whether I have been on mystical journeys.

Why not?

It would be an interesting detail to note. If you have, then I would think that you at least have some personal reason to believe in this stuff, even if it's not a very good reason.

Epistemologist wrote:
Mystical training – asceticism – is similar to academic training. It is tough, and not everyone succeeds in reaching the goal of initiation, or union of the soul with ultimate reality. It is only the strong people who get through the training. The weak people, as with every other form of training, fail. So out of fifty people, only the strongest will reach the point of their souls travelling on the journey into other worlds, outside time and space. As exaples of esoteric mystical initiates, Masonic and Rosicrucian initiates of the higher degrees maintain that they do have the same mystical experiences.

Two things.

Are you implying that it would be too difficult to find just 51 unacquainted people that have been on a trip?

What would "stronger" or "weaker" mean in this context?

Epistemologist wrote:
Regarding, heaven, hell, and the other concepts I mentioned, which can be experienced on the mystical journey. I am not contradicting myself by saying they are ineffable.

You are not contradicting yourself merely by saying they are ineffable. That is a single claim. You are contradicting yourself by saying they are ineffable and then proceeding to describe them with words. Ineffable means that they cannot be expressed or described in words. Heaven and hell are words that you used to describe these journeys.

I confronted you with this, and you said these were just labels and had no meaning. However, you attached meaningful characteristics to these terms, such as happiness and pain. Thus, you have contradicted yourself.   

Epistemologist wrote:
What I mean is that they can only be known by direct perception of the journeying soul. If you read the definitions of them, but have not actually experienced them, then you do not know what they are. 

The mystical journeys are ineffable in that they cannot be represented or defined through reason. However, you know what they are when you experience them. They can only be known through direct perception of the soul.

Irrelevant. You didn't address my argument. 

If heaven and hell can be described with meaningful words, then they are not ineffable. Furthermore, if they can be meaningfully defined, I also have a meaningful idea of what they are. If I have a meaningful idea of what they are, I can begin applying reason to them.    

Epistemologist wrote:
Apophatic mystics are atheists. So what confuses me about the atheism advocated by this website is that it rejects mysticism. This website is not a united front for atheist activists. It is a united front for naturalist activists. The difference between naturalism and atheism is significant. So this website should convey that it is promoting naturalism more than atheism.

I will admit now that I am an activist atheist. I am just not a naturalist.

Thank you for the clarification. 

Yeah, as far as I can remember, all of the administrators and moderators of site have been scientific naturalists. There are other mysticists on this site though. You should look up the posts of "Luminon." I think you two would like each other. 

Epistemologist wrote:
That is an outsider’s conclusion. However, if you had a genuine mystical experience, in which your soul travelled outside time and space into other worlds, you would know the journey was real. That’s the only way you can know. 

How would I know the journey was real? How I would know it wasn't like any acid trip?

 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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 I honestly don't

 I honestly don't understand why you people are engaging this guy in conversation still.  He's a nutcase. Have you read his other thread where he claims to be the King of England, the ruler of the Jedi, and God?


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The theology he claims he

The theology he claims he espouses is interesting, though.

It claims that God is unknowable and by not knowing anything about God one can come to really know God.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote:The theology

jcgadfly wrote:

The theology he claims he espouses is interesting, though.

It claims that God is unknowable and by not knowing anything about God one can come to really know God.

Well, he claims elsewhere that he is God. I'm not sure if he's contradicting himself or not, but I am sure that he's weird.


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jcgadfly wrote:The theology

jcgadfly wrote:

The theology he claims he espouses is interesting, though.

It claims that God is unknowable and by not knowing anything about God one can come to really know God.

 

His theology is that he is God, that strawberry ice cream is the God particle, and that aliens with the power to destroy galaxies are going to invade in the near future.  I say ban his ass and quit wasting our time.


chndlrjhnsn
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Epistemologist has been

Epistemologist has been quiet for a while. Maybe somebody Baker Acted him.


pauljohntheskeptic
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chndlrjhnsn

chndlrjhnsn wrote:

Epistemologist has been quiet for a while. Maybe somebody Baker Acted him.

You live in Florida? The Baker Act is the name for the  confine & treat law here.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Yup. I didn't realize that

Yup. I didn't realize that was just a state law.


skeptic23 (not verified)
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Epistemological constitution

New here, so I have a quip/question about the first post, which stated that epistemology breaks down the study of knowledge into rationalism, empiricism, and intuitionism, subsequently augmented by natural with pragmatism:

Which "ism" was used to constitute epistemology into this or any other division of "ism"-s? Was epistemology rationally conceived and divided into these categories, empirically constituted, intuitionally, or pragmatically constituted, or was a mix of approaches used?

I like questions like that (here's the quip part) because they point out three things:

1. We like to throw around terms as if we know what they mean when we have at best intuitive/pragmatic notions about them that can easily contradict rationality and empirical evidence.

2. Although for the sake of our poor cognitive capabilities we love to divide things up into mutually exclusive categories, the reality is that we can't DO epistemological thinking or any other type of thinking without involving a mix of elements from all categories.

3. If we dig back far enough into our assumptions and definitions, we find they become progressively more intuitive, eventually becoming exclusively intuitive. We might find circular or infinite regression acceptable in theory, but in real experience we don't like it. In real life we stop the regression with some form of intuitive knowledge.

Rationality without empiricism is a blimp without a tether. Empiricism without rationality is confusion. Either without pragmatism is a waste. But none of them can do without intuition, without the "self-evident," without those things that we know so deeply that analysis, evidence, and utility are superfluous.

Every rational system starts with assumptions. Chase them back far enough and keep them non-trivial and you end up with intuition. Every empirical system started with non-empirical theory and the assumptions that theory entails. And where did the impetus come from that focused our interest on the subject or problem that the empirical system addresses? Every pragmatic system started with an intuitive sense of relative values prior to constituting the system, values which determined its constitution.

The only type of knowledge that isn't dependent on another type for its constitution and sense of inherent worth is intuitive knowledge. And by that I don't mean BobSpence1's "series of learned or inherited shortcuts to reasoning, or 'rules of thumb' which 'work' well enough enough of the time to be useful, and save us having to take the time to reason everything out all the time." There's that, too, but that's not all there is.

I'm talking about those deep, basic senses of truth and conviction without which we we have nowhere to start reasoning from. We all have basic beliefs. At any point in time, we start our reasoning from unexamined, intuitive senses of value, orientation, and motivation towards certain directions and goals of thought. Basic beliefs, of course, can be erroneous, and we tend to rotate them in and out, depending. When we try to be consistent, all too often we go too far, as if our intuitive knowledge were sacrosanct. It isn't. It should be examined rationally, empirically, pragmatically, and any other which way we manage to figure out. Given our cognition at this point in its development, though, we'll find that every reasonable thought and every attempt to understand that thought hearken back to something intuitive, if only we dig into them far enough.

Any thoughts?