Brother David Argues Math Proves Divine Mind

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Brother David Argues Math Proves Divine Mind

 

Here's a bit of a discussion I'm having with my epistemologist brother about divine mind - we started out somewhere else and it took a predictable turn - what does everyone think about math proving the divine, or intellect proving the divine - to me it's pure speculation but to Brother David it's the core of the matter. If mind is divine, not sense, then it is soul and a whole raft of unrealities are cemented. What do those with a bent for philosophy think? I wrote:

 

 

Interesting thoughts from Thomas (Aquinas) but I’m not sure he doesn’t succeed in making my broad point which is, generally, that in the absence of proof of miracles and divine claims (rising from death, god-son on earth, bearing of sins of world, the historical actuality of the fall - which is the fulcrum of Christianity and inadequately proven), Aquinas instead argues like a greek - calling on the authority of the philosopher - for a separation of undefined ‘intellect’ from the lateral processing of senses, (and mental projection of senses?) yet without shaping/proving this separation, in order to show that there is a way for base humans to know similarly undefined ‘divine’ things. He also suggests math is entirely imagination or intellect when, while it is an abstract science, math concerns itself with numbers, quantities, and measurements of space. So while it lends itself to lateral speculations, these are all properties of this universe. 

I contend Christian/jewish/gnostic theology freely melds spirit and material assertions simultaneously in support of its biggest questions – those of original sin and first cause and earth-bound god - and I argue it cannot lightly set the need for proof of such pivotal assertions aside. The fact the thought process is mysterious does not prove anything but that we do not know how it operates. Suggesting this mystery must assuaged by a divine explanation is an hypothesis not supported by any proofs we know and it’s difficult for me to accept that when challenged for material proofs of its material claims, the unbiblical hypothesis Christians proffer rests entirely on the simple fact we can know.

 

 

 

BrotherDavid wrote:
You raise a very interesting point, in saying number and measure are properties of this universe.

 

It is worthwhile thinking about this with great care. Strictly, a property is an attribute of something. Susceptibility to measurement is only a property of that to which measurement belongs as a distinguishing mark. So for example the standard metre rule, which is kept in Paris, might be said to have the property of measurability: its reason for being is to be measured, in order to determine universally the length of a metre. (That this ‘standard metre’ is only conventional does not change the fact that its purpose is to be measured.)

 

Just because something can be measured does not mean it has the property of measurability.

 

On the other hand, perhaps if there were no minds, there could be no numbers. If there was no-one to think, perhaps the universe would not have a rate of expansion. Then, it would simply behave as it did, as a brute association of events with no relation to counting.

 

If this is true, to speak of number as though it is intrinsically to do with physical realities like the numbers of things and measurements of space seems incorrect. For if number never had existed, did not now exist, and never was to exist, nothing whatsoever would change about the natural behaviour of matter under the influence of normal physical forces. The sphere of human culture would alter drastically, but nothing else would be affected.

 

However, looking at the problem of number from the point of view of religious considerations, it does not further the cause of atheism to argue that number has objective existence in the world around us. For number is obviously rational. To argue that number is so to speak an intrinsic aspect of physical objects and their behaviour, that is to say to propose that number has any form of extra-mental reality, is to argue, as an entailment of one’s first position, that the physical universe is intrinsically logical.

 

Something worth contemplating, if you have never had the chance to do so. It is interesting to consider that number, which of course is the basic constituent of the evaluation of evidence performed by the physical sciences, has no sophisticated definition. The notion one is extraordinarily enigmatic. Every attempt to provide more than a dictionary definition for it leads to a hundred extremely damaging problems. Is it a concept? A real extra-mental object? An essential characteristic? A conclusion reached by inference from experience? Is it intrinsic, a priori knowledge? I think that no-one really knows.

 

Setting aside these ideas, it is worthwhile reminding ourselves that we should try extremely hard not to squash any phenomena arbitrarily into a shape that serves our religious views. Number is what it is. Whether its nature supports one religious view over another, or an anti-religious view over religious views, or religious views over an anti-religious view, we should have the intellectual courage and intellectual integrity to accept the phenomenon, as we find it to be. We should also be brave enough to accept its religious implications and suggestions.

 

   

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Am I missing something, or

Am I missing something, or is this just plain old argument from ignorance ?  


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I always accuse

 

Antipatris wrote:

Am I missing something, or is this just plain old argument from ignorance ?  

 

brother of appealing to complexity - we can't understand mind so therefore his opinion that it is soul is as possible as any other explanation. 

But yes he is saying too that unless we can prove beyond doubt that mind is; well, mind; then he will say it might possibly be something that could be called spirit. 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Ask him if math can prove

Ask him if math can prove Allah vs Yahweh vs Vishnu? When the theist, of any label, cant use their works of fiction with circular reasoning to prove their pet god claim, they try to incorporate science, but still are stuck with a self serving argument. Of course math proves the divine and what a shocker, it always seems to lead to that person's pet god.

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 Brother David has a point

 Brother David has a point in that numbers are a creation of the human mind and are not an intrinsic aspect of objective reality. Math is a language, if one that is carefully crafted and scrupulously maintained. As such, math is a tool we use to interpret objective reality and can use to model and predict objective reality, but is not objective reality itself. Math is extremely accurate for simple things (if you pick one apple and then another you will have picked two apples) but as you get into advanced physics it doesn't work so perfectly.

I have read articles of physicists suggesting that to really understand the quantum level we might have to overhaul our entire concept of mathematics more dramatically than anything since non-euclidean geometry (which challenged what was considered proven and "real" for thousands of years). I think we often have a tendency to put math on too high a pedestal as something that can be proven and is inherently correct because for most of what we use it for, it is accurate enough.

We use language to attempt to explain our thoughts and experiences with reality to others, and I think it is pretty easy to see how language is often insufficient to the task. How many times has someone said "words can't explain", because they can't. As a human construction it is riddled with imperfections and plagued with human error. While mathematics is far more scrutinized than your typical language and treated with more care, it too is limited by humans and our own imperfections. We use mathematics to interpret our interactions with objective reality and our formulas are based on our observations of objective reality but I think it is a mistake to consider it to actually be a part of objective reality. Just because you can create something that is proven in a mathematical framework does not mean that it is going to match reality. Ask Pythagoras. 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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The existence of math proves

The existence of math proves a semi intelligent species figured out how to count. That's all.

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BrotherDavid wrote:Setting

BrotherDavid wrote:
Setting aside these ideas, it is worthwhile reminding ourselves that we should try extremely hard not to squash any phenomena arbitrarily into a shape that serves our religious views. Number is what it is. Whether its nature supports one religious view over another, or an anti-religious view over religious views, or religious views over an anti-religious view, we should have the intellectual courage and intellectual integrity to accept the phenomenon, as we find it to be. We should also be brave enough to accept its religious implications and suggestions.

  "...intellectual courage and integrity..","..be brave enough.." ?? Excuse me, but how is it "brave" to even drag religion into this ? 
 I mean, isn't it just lazy ? 

 


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Another good point . . . .

Beyond Saving wrote:

We use mathematics to interpret our interactions with objective reality and our formulas are based on our observations of objective reality but I think it is a mistake to consider it to actually be a part of objective reality. Just because you can create something that is proven in a mathematical framework does not mean that it is going to match reality. Ask Pythagoras


Ask Benoit 'Mandelbrot', ask my hero Sir Isaac Newton (Newton was a Theist), or Albert Einstein .... or even ask a Theoretical physicists like Lisa Randall.

Nu 1 second paragraph

To the OP Strictly speaking, "Divine things" are not undefinable, however fuzzy. Fore mankind has been (quote/unquote) defining (& refining) "Divine things", often in human terms, for millenia now.

p.s. -- Yes I know some of these people mentioned are no longer with us or available for comment.


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P'raps

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

Brother David has a point in that numbers are a creation of the human mind and are not an intrinsic aspect of objective reality. Math is a language, if one that is carefully crafted and scrupulously maintained. As such, math is a tool we use to interpret objective reality and can use to model and predict objective reality, but is not objective reality itself. 

 

I didn't manage it but I meant to say something very much like Beyond says here - that math is something we created and we apply to our experience of this universe. It serves BD to point out that math, arguably the basis of science, is nebulous. All this fug of unknowns and unknowables serves to provide a rich bed for the nurturing of his very delicately arranged assertions. If he was a deist I would be much more inclined to his side but he loves some jesus and believes jesus died to save us from sin so at some point he stops carefully assessing the options and chooses one - although for the divinity of this choice no proof exists. 

Having an older brother who is cleverer than you is annoying enough but what I find most irritating is his selection of battlefield - despite the bible's insistent metaphysical assertions, this battlefield is always in a place without similar absolutes. As I've said a few times here, sense data gets primacy as a knowledge tool from me because billions of years ago it gave the first life biochemical 'reasonable belief' about its environment. That this simple life survived using biochemical knowledge and still survives (inside our cells and all over us) attests to the veracity of basic chemical signal paths. They can communicate things about this universe that are true or life could never exist.   

When I hear BD's seemingly intensely objective arguments what pisses me off is that he does not decry the bible for failing to say something as 'brave and courageous' as this in its first verse:

“In the beginning god arguably created the heavens and the earth and there was darkness over the face of the waters but there are problems with this for the prospective believer because the stars are part of the heavens, the earth is stardust gathered by gravity and it simply must have formed after the bright sun...”

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Oh yes

Anonymouse wrote:

BrotherDavid wrote:
Setting aside these ideas, it is worthwhile reminding ourselves that we should try extremely hard not to squash any phenomena arbitrarily into a shape that serves our religious views. Number is what it is. Whether its nature supports one religious view over another, or an anti-religious view over religious views, or religious views over an anti-religious view, we should have the intellectual courage and intellectual integrity to accept the phenomenon, as we find it to be. We should also be brave enough to accept its religious implications and suggestions.

  "...intellectual courage and integrity..","..be brave enough.." ?? Excuse me, but how is it "brave" to even drag religion into this ? 
 I mean, isn't it just lazy ? 

 

 

I know. And despite his call for intellectual integrity he believes there are significant problems with evolutionary theory. To wit, he wants all the transitional fossils and a lab demonstration of how life formed because he simply can't accept anything but the most complete empirical proofs for everything but christian assertions...

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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"A rose by any other name

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Numbers are the creation of humans, 1,2,3,4. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro... blah blah.

but if no minds existed would numbers exist? of course not, but the time it takes a moon to orbit a parent planet is always there even if no one is counting.

 


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Atheistextremist wrote:...

Atheistextremist wrote:

... despite his call for intellectual integrity he believes there are significant problems with evolutionary theory. To wit, he wants all the transitional fossils and a lab demonstration of how life formed because he simply can't accept anything but the most complete empirical proofs for everything but christian assertions...

 

Doesn't sound smarter than you tbh... How come he can't understand that we are all transitional forms? Shouldn't be too hard for someone with intelligence..


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BD's original contention based on this...

 

 

 

I should have posted this first but it's a bit late to plug it in upstream - BD believes intellect/rationality are a separate thing, separate to brains, separate to senses and here he quotes De Trinitate of Aquinas in support:

 

"‘In all knowledge two factors must be taken into account: the beginning and the end. Knowledge begins with apprehension but it ends with judgment, for it is there that knowledge is completed.

 Now all our knowledge begins in the senses; from sense perception results the apprehension of the imagination (which is a movement arising from sensory knowledge, as the Philosopher says), and from it in turn springs our intellectual apprehension, for images are like objects to the intellectual soul, as is clear in the De Anima.

But knowledge does not always terminate in the same way. Sometimes it terminates in the senses, sometimes in the imagination, and sometimes in the intellect alone. In some cases the properties and accidents of a thing disclosed by the senses adequately reveal its nature, and then the intellect’s judgment of that nature must conform to what the senses reveal about it. 

All natural things, which are bound up with sensible matter, are of this kind. So the terminus of knowledge in natural science must be in the senses, with the result that we judge of natural beings as the senses manifest them, as is evident in the De Caelo et Mundo. Accordingly, the man who neglects the senses when dealing with natural things falls into error. By natural things I mean those that are bound up with sensible matter and motion both in existence and in thought. 

Our judgment about some things, however, does not depend upon what the sense perceives, because even though they exist in sensible matter they abstract from it when their essences are defined, and we judge of anything chiefly according to the definition of its essence.  

But because they do not abstract from every kind of matter when their essences are defined but only from sensible matter, and because an object for the imagination remains after sensible characteristics have been set aside, we must judge about such things according to what the imagination reveals. Now the objects of mathematics are of this kind.  

Accordingly, the knowledge we have through judgment in mathematics must terminate in the imagination and not in the senses, because mathematical judgment goes beyond sensory perception. Thus, the judgment about a mathematical line is not always the same as that about a sensible line. For example, that a straight line touches a sphere at only one point is true of an abstract straight line but not of a straight line in matter, as is said in the De Anima. 

There are other beings, however, that transcend both that which falls under the senses and that which falls under the imagination; namely, those that are entirely independent of matter both with respect to their being and with respect to their being understood. So, when we know things of this kind through judgment, our knowledge must terminate neither in the imagination nor in the senses. 

Nevertheless we reach some knowledge of them through the objects of the senses and the imagination, either by way of causality (as when from an effect we come to know its cause, which is not proportionate to the effect but transcends it), or by way of transcendence, or by way of negation (as when we separate from such beings whatever the sense or imagination apprehends). These are the means of knowing divine things from the sensible world proposed by Dionysius in his Divine Names. 

It follows that we can use the senses and the imagination as the starting points but not as the termini of our knowledge of divine things, so that we judge them to be the sort of objects the sense or the imagination apprehends. Now to go to something is to terminate at it.  

Therefore, we should go neither to the imagination nor to the senses in divine science, to the imagination and not to the senses in mathematics, and to the senses in the natural sciences. For this reason they are in error who try to proceed in the same way in these three parts of speculative science."

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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And in the course of our

 

 

argument which it's pointless to post here as it goes all over place, BD pulls out this argument I'd love people's input on:

"The definition of god is a succinct as any other definition we have, including the definition of truth". 

It goes without saying this really irritates me and in my mind, amounts to saying something like this: Because rationality informed by data can be doubted, then rationality alone can be doubted less.

Or so it seems to me. Personally, I think rational thinking should be supported wherever possible by observable data. Cutting loose of this means that assertions can be called facts. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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How exactly does he define

How exactly does he define god and truth? I've never seen a coherent and succinct definition of god.
As for truth, theists almost always link the definition of truth to their religion. It's part of the brainwashing process. Similar to how it was shown to be manipulated in "1984". So it's likely he doesn't define the term the way you or I would, which proves there's a lack of agreement on the definition of truth, making it proveably impossible to call it succinct.
I agree with you that a rational process based on observation is the best. We'll never understand the universe if we sit around making shit up and forcing our children to believe it. We'll just get wiped out like so many billions of species before us.

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

 

I should have posted this first but it's a bit late to plug it in upstream - BD believes intellect/rationality are a separate thing, separate to brains, separate to senses and here he quotes De Trinitate of Aquinas in support:

 

"‘In all knowledge two factors must be taken into account: the beginning and the end. Knowledge begins with apprehension but it ends with judgment, for it is there that knowledge is completed.

 Now all our knowledge begins in the senses; from sense perception results the apprehension of the imagination (which is a movement arising from sensory knowledge, as the Philosopher says), and from it in turn springs our intellectual apprehension, for images are like objects to the intellectual soul, as is clear in the De Anima.

But knowledge does not always terminate in the same way. Sometimes it terminates in the senses, sometimes in the imagination, and sometimes in the intellect alone. In some cases the properties and accidents of a thing disclosed by the senses adequately reveal its nature, and then the intellect’s judgment of that nature must conform to what the senses reveal about it. 

All natural things, which are bound up with sensible matter, are of this kind. So the terminus of knowledge in natural science must be in the senses, with the result that we judge of natural beings as the senses manifest them, as is evident in the De Caelo et Mundo. Accordingly, the man who neglects the senses when dealing with natural things falls into error. By natural things I mean those that are bound up with sensible matter and motion both in existence and in thought. 

Our judgment about some things, however, does not depend upon what the sense perceives, because even though they exist in sensible matter they abstract from it when their essences are defined, and we judge of anything chiefly according to the definition of its essence.  

But because they do not abstract from every kind of matter when their essences are defined but only from sensible matter, and because an object for the imagination remains after sensible characteristics have been set aside, we must judge about such things according to what the imagination reveals. Now the objects of mathematics are of this kind.  

Accordingly, the knowledge we have through judgment in mathematics must terminate in the imagination and not in the senses, because mathematical judgment goes beyond sensory perception. Thus, the judgment about a mathematical line is not always the same as that about a sensible line. For example, that a straight line touches a sphere at only one point is true of an abstract straight line but not of a straight line in matter, as is said in the De Anima. 

There are other beings, however, that transcend both that which falls under the senses and that which falls under the imagination; namely, those that are entirely independent of matter both with respect to their being and with respect to their being understood. So, when we know things of this kind through judgment, our knowledge must terminate neither in the imagination nor in the senses. 

Nevertheless we reach some knowledge of them through the objects of the senses and the imagination, either by way of causality (as when from an effect we come to know its cause, which is not proportionate to the effect but transcends it), or by way of transcendence, or by way of negation (as when we separate from such beings whatever the sense or imagination apprehends). These are the means of knowing divine things from the sensible world proposed by Dionysius in his Divine Names. 

It follows that we can use the senses and the imagination as the starting points but not as the termini of our knowledge of divine things, so that we judge them to be the sort of objects the sense or the imagination apprehends. Now to go to something is to terminate at it.  

Therefore, we should go neither to the imagination nor to the senses in divine science, to the imagination and not to the senses in mathematics, and to the senses in the natural sciences. For this reason they are in error who try to proceed in the same way in these three parts of speculative science."

 

 

 

 

To paraphrase:

1) We can perceive things in three ways - with senses, or imagination or, he argues, with intellect.

2) material things are perceived with senses

3) abstract concepts are perceived with imagination (i.e. maths - logic being a subset of imagination)

4) There's a third category of things (Divine) that are neither material nor abstract

5) We know about them because they:

a) cause things to happen in the material world greater than purely material causes would

b) are perceived through transcendence

c) are left when we remove material and imaginary aspects from something

6) Therefore we can use senses for the material world, imagination (logic) for maths, but can't use either for divinity. We must use our intellect for this.

 

Issues with this:

I would dispute any evidence of 5). if 5a or 5c were true, it could be proven by experiment. 5b is argument from personal experience fallacy. Aquinas attempts with 5) to bring in divinity to be experiential, which is tautological, as he's already said it can't be experienced through the senses - if you take something, remove all material form from it and say you have something left, how do you know, since you can't experience it?! You MAY have something that your senses can't perceive, but this is analogous to Russell's teapot. therefore, all you have left is imaginary. Intellect may tell us it might exist, but should also tell us it might not, and be able to weigh up the probabilities.

So my conclusion is that his separation of 'divine forms' and 'imaginary forms' is a false one - maths is an abstract concept that we can consider in our minds and make useful predictions from, but doesn't actually manifestly exist, and god is similarly an abstract tool that we may use to make decisions, but cannot be said to exist, nor occupy a realm outside of our imagination that we get to via our intellect.

His problem is really one of presupposition - he evidently believed in a divine being and had to force some way for it not to be purely imaginary, so invented this 'third way' of discounting it from sense or logic (intellect) - but hasn't (as far as this text goes) provided any actual way to show with confidence that it is likely that this divine realm is valid in any more way than my imaginary world of elves and unicorns that i dream about when I go to sleep.

Finally, the most damning phrase he states that destroys his own argument is: "Now all our knowledge begins in the senses" - so by his own blade he stabs himself.. without sensory perception of something we can have no knowledge of it. (This is actually a fallacious position in any case, as knowledge does not start with senses, as any theoretical physicist will tell you - imagination plays a critical role. Otherwise we wouldn't know about the Higgs until we'd experienced the Higgs. Now one might argue that this isn't actually knowledge until it's really experienced, but how do we know that our sensory experience is objectively true either?)

 


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Nice post, Mozzie.

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

 

I should have posted this first but it's a bit late to plug it in upstream - BD believes intellect/rationality are a separate thing, separate to brains, separate to senses and here he quotes De Trinitate of Aquinas in support:

 

"‘In all knowledge two factors must be taken into account: the beginning and the end. Knowledge begins with apprehension but it ends with judgment, for it is there that knowledge is completed.

 Now all our knowledge begins in the senses; from sense perception results the apprehension of the imagination (which is a movement arising from sensory knowledge, as the Philosopher says), and from it in turn springs our intellectual apprehension, for images are like objects to the intellectual soul, as is clear in the De Anima.

But knowledge does not always terminate in the same way. Sometimes it terminates in the senses, sometimes in the imagination, and sometimes in the intellect alone. In some cases the properties and accidents of a thing disclosed by the senses adequately reveal its nature, and then the intellect’s judgment of that nature must conform to what the senses reveal about it. 

All natural things, which are bound up with sensible matter, are of this kind. So the terminus of knowledge in natural science must be in the senses, with the result that we judge of natural beings as the senses manifest them, as is evident in the De Caelo et Mundo. Accordingly, the man who neglects the senses when dealing with natural things falls into error. By natural things I mean those that are bound up with sensible matter and motion both in existence and in thought. 

Our judgment about some things, however, does not depend upon what the sense perceives, because even though they exist in sensible matter they abstract from it when their essences are defined, and we judge of anything chiefly according to the definition of its essence.  

But because they do not abstract from every kind of matter when their essences are defined but only from sensible matter, and because an object for the imagination remains after sensible characteristics have been set aside, we must judge about such things according to what the imagination reveals. Now the objects of mathematics are of this kind.  

Accordingly, the knowledge we have through judgment in mathematics must terminate in the imagination and not in the senses, because mathematical judgment goes beyond sensory perception. Thus, the judgment about a mathematical line is not always the same as that about a sensible line. For example, that a straight line touches a sphere at only one point is true of an abstract straight line but not of a straight line in matter, as is said in the De Anima. 

There are other beings, however, that transcend both that which falls under the senses and that which falls under the imagination; namely, those that are entirely independent of matter both with respect to their being and with respect to their being understood. So, when we know things of this kind through judgment, our knowledge must terminate neither in the imagination nor in the senses. 

Nevertheless we reach some knowledge of them through the objects of the senses and the imagination, either by way of causality (as when from an effect we come to know its cause, which is not proportionate to the effect but transcends it), or by way of transcendence, or by way of negation (as when we separate from such beings whatever the sense or imagination apprehends). These are the means of knowing divine things from the sensible world proposed by Dionysius in his Divine Names. 

It follows that we can use the senses and the imagination as the starting points but not as the termini of our knowledge of divine things, so that we judge them to be the sort of objects the sense or the imagination apprehends. Now to go to something is to terminate at it.  

Therefore, we should go neither to the imagination nor to the senses in divine science, to the imagination and not to the senses in mathematics, and to the senses in the natural sciences. For this reason they are in error who try to proceed in the same way in these three parts of speculative science."

 

 

To paraphrase:

1) We can perceive things in three ways - with senses, or imagination or, he argues, with intellect.

2) material things are perceived with senses

3) abstract concepts are perceived with imagination (i.e. maths - logic being a subset of imagination)

4) There's a third category of things (Divine) that are neither material nor abstract

5) We know about them because they:

a) cause things to happen in the material world greater than purely material causes would

b) are perceived through transcendence

c) are left when we remove material and imaginary aspects from something

6) Therefore we can use senses for the material world, imagination (logic) for maths, but can't use either for divinity. We must use our intellect for this.

 

Issues with this:

I would dispute any evidence of 5). if 5a or 5c were true, it could be proven by experiment. 5b is argument from personal experience fallacy. Aquinas attempts with 5) to bring in divinity to be experiential, which is tautological, as he's already said it can't be experienced through the senses - if you take something, remove all material form from it and say you have something left, how do you know, since you can't experience it?! You MAY have something that your senses can't perceive, but this is analogous to Russell's teapot. therefore, all you have left is imaginary. Intellect may tell us it might exist, but should also tell us it might not, and be able to weigh up the probabilities.

So my conclusion is that his separation of 'divine forms' and 'imaginary forms' is a false one - maths is an abstract concept that we can consider in our minds and make useful predictions from, but doesn't actually manifestly exist, and god is similarly an abstract tool that we may use to make decisions, but cannot be said to exist, nor occupy a realm outside of our imagination that we get to via our intellect.

His problem is really one of presupposition - he evidently believed in a divine being and had to force some way for it not to be purely imaginary, so invented this 'third way' of discounting it from sense or logic (intellect) - but hasn't (as far as this text goes) provided any actual way to show with confidence that it is likely that this divine realm is valid in any more way than my imaginary world of elves and unicorns that i dream about when I go to sleep.

Finally, the most damning phrase he states that destroys his own argument is: "Now all our knowledge begins in the senses" - so by his own blade he stabs himself.. without sensory perception of something we can have no knowledge of it. (This is actually a fallacious position in any case, as knowledge does not start with senses, as any theoretical physicist will tell you - imagination plays a critical role. Otherwise we wouldn't know about the Higgs until we'd experienced the Higgs. Now one might argue that this isn't actually knowledge until it's really experienced, but how do we know that our sensory experience is objectively true either?)

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to go through that. I think the last sentence highlights the grey area in which BD's argument exists. I think the imagination is a real stumbling block. It's possible to conceive all manner of 'things' when it comes to the mind body problem. Dangerously, BD also employs the 'law' of non contradiction - to wit, anything that's possible (anything that can be imagined to be possible) can't be impossible, though why this is not applied to things like evolutionary theory for which actual evidence exists, he does not say...

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Theists talk out of both

Theists talk out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand, faith is this wonderful gift that God grants theists in order to believe what seems silly to those he doesn't choose. Then on the other hand there are proofs based on math and logic that require no faith, as if they agree with us that faith alone is not good enough to believe.

Which is it theists? Is faith a virtue or a vice? Will we ever get a strait answer?

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Maybe bro has been watching

The William L. Craig debates.  That is all the man says - his logic proves belief in god is justifiable.  And then he wins the debate because the audience wants him to win - not because Craig's points actually have any validity or truth. 

 

The math argument is just silly.  People invented math to describe the universe.  Math doesn't exist without people.  It has doodly squat to do with some imaginary friend.  Math is not universal or unchanging.  It does change as mathematicians and engineers and scientists refine what they thought they knew with what is actually happening.  Case in point - people thought Newton had mechanics explained and then Einstein came along. 

Having taken a couple of philosophy classes now, I have come to the conclusiion that philosophers need to study more physics and engineering.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote: Having taken a

cj wrote:

 

Having taken a couple of philosophy classes now, I have come to the conclusiion that philosophers need to study more physics and engineering.

 

Godel's incompleteness theory shows that the existence of a God that created the universe is neither provable or unprovable and the Bible can not be both true and complete.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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 I was at a lecture by

 I was at a lecture by Stephen Hawking last year, who matter of factly stated (not that his voice allows him to do otherwise),

 

Stephen Hawking wrote:

Most of us don't worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead; Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics.

Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. New theories lead us to a new and very different picture of the universe and our place in it”.


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shoot.....

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

 I was at a lecture by Stephen Hawking last year, who matter of factly stated (not that his voice allows him to do otherwise),

 

Stephen Hawking wrote:

Most of us don't worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead; Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics.

Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. New theories lead us to a new and very different picture of the universe and our place in it”.

 

Philosophers haven't kept up with physics from the 1930s.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.