0
   

Buddhism - Four Noble Truths - Suffering

 
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 03:50 pm
@Kage phil,
I had to dissappoint you, but Buddhism is a religion in some very basic respects, albeit without many of the distortions of Christianity. So if you believe 'religion is crap' then you really ought to not waste your time on it. there are presumably many other things to study which are not.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 06:53 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
I had to dissappoint you, but Buddhism is a religion in some very basic respects, albeit without many of the distortions of Christianity. So if you believe 'religion is crap' then you really ought to not waste your time on it. there are presumably many other things to study which are not.


I'm not saying that all religion is crap, or that everything that religions teach is non-sense (though a lot of it seems to be). Just because I disagree with something doesn't mean that I don't think it makes for a meaningful inquiry. Buddhism has many good things to teach, but as an independent inquirer, I am also able to say, without the burden of guilt, that some of the teachings are nonsensical and misguided.
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:03 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
I've heard some Buddhists speak about nirvana, reincarnation, and those force-like deities, and it doesn't seem allegorical to me. They seem to literally believe in that crap. I mean, one can interpret it as allegorical or metaphorical, but I don't believe that that's the intent.


Maybe they did believe it literally. There are fundamentalist Buddhists in this world.

Why would you say that those concepts are not allegory or even metaphor?
THE FINGER AND THE MOON
The Finger and the Moon
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:15 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Maybe they did believe it literally. There are fundamentalist Buddhists in this world.

Why would you say that those concepts are not allegory or even metaphor?
THE FINGER AND THE MOON
The Finger and the Moon


I'm not saying that they can't be read metaphorically. I'm saying that Buddhists have told me that they really believe in this stuff (force deities and the reincarnation of consciousness).
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:18 pm
@Kage phil,
Creation is allegorical to some Christians and literal to others. Indra is a god to some Hindus, an aspect of Brahman to others, an allegory to others, and a historical relic to others. That's what religious stories are -- they appeal to all kinds of different levels.

We have a secular mythos too in many cultures. Look at the different ways people regard documents like the US Constitution, or historical individuals (Tolstoy's rant about Napoleon in the last chapter of War and Peace comes to mind).
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:22 pm
@hue-man,
Are "really believing X" and "understand X to be literally true" the same thing, though?

If we look at a variety of sources, Buddhism by and large seems to recognize that when language is used to express a pure religious experience that the language cannot be entirely literal.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:30 pm
@Kage phil,
Well, these sources may indeed recognize this, but the difference between them and the "common" Buddhist may be as great as the difference between Aquinas and the "common" Christian. Most people in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Tibet, and probably even in cultures with better education (Japan, Korea, etc) probably regard Buddhism a bit less analytically than the source materials do.
0 Replies
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:32 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Are "really believing X" and "understand X to be literally true" the same thing, though?

If we look at a variety of sources, Buddhism by and large seems to recognize that when language is used to express a pure religious experience that the language cannot be entirely literal.


By literally believing I mean that they believe that the supernatural claims and stories are actually true. Meaning that they believe the stories are mind-independent realities. Meaning that they believe that the stories are as real as the event of a PC user named hue-man posting on a philosophy forum. Not like the moral you get from watching Pinocchio.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:42 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;58965 wrote:
By literally believing I mean that they believe that the supernatural claims and stories are actually true.
Some may, some certainly don't. But who cares? The upshot of religion is how we act towards one other as a consequence of our understanding -- beyond that it doesn't really matter whether it's regarded literally or not by this person or that.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:54 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Some may, some certainly don't. But who cares? The upshot of religion is how we act towards one other as a consequence of our understanding -- beyond that it doesn't really matter whether it's regarded literally or not by this person or that.


It matters to me because the truth matters to me. I'm not talking about
"subjective truth" (which is an incoherent concept). I'm talking about objective truth. We're talking about metaphysics right now, not axiology.

You don't need bad reasons to believe in good things. Believing in something based on a falsehood can be very dangerous, as it can be very misguiding. You may end up believing that committing suicide in order to kill innocent people is the right thing to do because it will make you a religious martyr and get you 72 virgins in heaven.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 07:59 pm
@hue-man,
Metaphysics?

Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 08:01 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;58969 wrote:
I'm talking about objective truth. We're talking about metaphysics right now.
How can metaphysics possibly provide objective truth when by its very nature it comes out of a human brain? Collective agreement about a metaphysical proposition, however logical or plausible it seems, has no bearing on its objective truth or lack thereof. Objective truth cannot be ascertained when the human conception of logic is its only measure.

Buddhism does have a metaphysics of sorts, but it doesn't take nearly the same form nor serve the same role as metaphysics in Western philosophy, so I don't think that term can be appropriately applied to it. Mysticism is (a bit) more appropriate, because Buddhist "truths" are (in part) revealed through things like meditation, mandalas, chanting, etc.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Apr, 2009 08:18 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
How can metaphysics possibly provide objective truth when by its very nature it comes out of a human brain? Collective agreement about a metaphysical proposition, however logical or plausible it seems, has no bearing on its objective truth or lack thereof. Objective truth cannot be ascertained when the human conception of logic is its only measure.

Buddhism does have a metaphysics of sorts, but it doesn't take nearly the same form nor serve the same role as metaphysics in Western philosophy, so I don't think that term can be appropriately applied to it. Mysticism is (a bit) more appropriate, because Buddhist "truths" are (in part) revealed through things like meditation, mandalas, chanting, etc.


When I speak of Buddhist metaphysics I am speaking of Buddhist cosmology and the like. Mysticism is an epistemic metaphysical belief, and it mistakes feeling for knowing.

Asking how can metaphysics bring about objective truth is like asking how can science bring about objective truth. Let me guess, you don't believe that science can bring about objective truth either because its practice is dependent on the human mind, correct? You also don't believe that there is a such thing as objective truth, correct?

Science, as a practice, is indeed dependent on the minds that infer it, but the objects it refers to are independent of the mind and matters of personal perspective. Needless to say, science is closely related to metaphysics.

---------- Post added at 10:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:18 PM ----------

Didymos Thomas wrote:


Yes, metaphysics. This is the philosophy of religion board, right? Philosophy of religion is related to metaphysics in the same way that political philosophy is related to ethics. I am speaking of Buddhist cosmology -- its references to the nature of the universe, existence and reality. Mahayana Buddhism's claims of spiritual force-like deities and the rebirth of consciousness in a non-physical form are metaphysical claims.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 04:56 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;58980 wrote:
Asking how can metaphysics bring about objective truth is like asking how can science bring about objective truth. Let me guess, you don't believe that science can bring about objective truth either because its practice is dependent on the human mind, correct? You also don't believe that there is a such thing as objective truth, correct?
Incorrect.

I believe there is an objective truth. I don't believe that we have any way to access it. I believe science allows us to develop a functional truth, however, (i.e. something we collectively hold as true), because the mere existence of something external to observe provides for a common denominator. Even if you and I completely disagree about the nature of a rock (I think it's igneous, you think it's a meteorite), we both agree about the existence of the rock.

There is no such measure in metaphysics. And the only thing that makes us believe that our logic corresponds to truth is that there are physical things that can corroborate our logical musings. That in itself cannot prove that there is a logically necessary truth correspondence with ANY metaphysical proposition.

Quote:
Needless to say, science is closely related to metaphysics.
It's not even close. And it's immaterial anyway, because you have not correctly ascertained my point of view here.

Quote:
Mahayana Buddhism's claims of spiritual force-like deities and the rebirth of consciousness in a non-physical form are metaphysical claims.
A metaphysical claim is not metaphysics, in which claims result from a logical derivation. These "claims" you speak of in Mahayana Buddhism are religious concepts. There would be no sense in calling Genesis a work of metaphysics either.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 11:18 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I believe there is an objective truth. I don't believe that we have any way to access it. I believe science allows us to develop a functional truth, however, (i.e. something we collectively hold as true), because the mere existence of something external to observe provides for a common denominator. Even if you and I completely disagree about the nature of a rock (I think it's igneous, you think it's a meteorite), we both agree about the existence of the rock.


If you don't believe that we have access to objective truth, then what leads you to believe that there is such a thing as objective truth?

The scientific method is what we use to access objective truth. The methodology is done in such a manner that it rules out personal perspective or observer bias. That's why they do double blind experiments to come to an objective conclusion.

Aedes wrote:
There is no such measure in metaphysics. And the only thing that makes us believe that our logic corresponds to truth is that there are physical things that can corroborate our logical musings. That in itself cannot prove that there is a logically necessary truth correspondence with ANY metaphysical proposition.


Some metaphysical propositions can be verified by empirically testing. For example, the metaphysical proposition of causality can be verified by empirical observation and scientific testing. Metaphysics makes both analytic propositions and synthetic propositions. If a proposition cannot be verified by logical decidability, nor empirically observation, it does not state a proposition, and is thus meaningless as a proposition. Metaphysics does refer to things that are physical (related to the field of physics and nature). Metaphysics and science are indeed related. Look into the history of both.

Aedes wrote:
A metaphysical claim is not metaphysics, in which claims result from a logical derivation. These "claims" you speak of in Mahayana Buddhism are religious concepts. There would be no sense in calling Genesis a work of metaphysics either.


"A metaphysical claim is not metaphysics"??? Maybe your getting too caught up in technicalities, because that's like saying that a scientific claim is not science, or that a religious claim is not religion. One of the primary identifiers of a religion is its metaphysical beliefs. Questions about the nature of reality, & the existence of beings and entities, are metaphysical. It is absurd to imply that religion has no relationship with metaphysics and philosophy.

Religion, Metaphysics, and Cosmology

Philosophy of religion as a part of metaphysics
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Apr, 2009 01:56 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
If you don't believe that we have access to objective truth, then what leads you to believe that there is such a thing as objective truth?
One question doesn't lead to the other. If we're not engaging in Descartes' reductionist thought experiment, then we can easily accept that a basic fact of the universe is that our mind is not the entirety of existence. If you and everyone else exist enough for me to have a conversation with you, and this chair exists enough for me to sit on it, then I am willing to accept as a fundamental token of existence that there are things that exist. If things exist, then the subjectivity of my own perspective, the subjectivity of your own perspective, can in no way access the objective nature of it because our perspectives will ALWAYS be subjective.

hue-man wrote:
The scientific method is what we use to access objective truth.
In a functional sense. Science doesn't ever make a claim of absolute knowledge. It just systematizes observations such that we can express confidence in our findings.

hue-man wrote:
The methodology is done in such a manner that it rules out personal perspective or observer bias. That's why they do double blind experiments to come to an objective conclusion.
I've spent a loooong time in science, and I understand the methodology. The scientific method lowers the probability of bias, and we thus have much more confidence than an individual anecdote or supposition could offer. But it would be hubris to call this objective in a metaphysical sense. There are always limitations, even in perfect experiments. A p value of 0.00001 still leaves a .001% probability of random chance. A finite number of observations always has suspect generalizability -- and observations are always finite.

hue-man wrote:
Some metaphysical propositions can be verified by empirically testing. For example, the metaphysical proposition of causality can be verified by empirical observation and scientific testing.
That isn't a test of the proposition of causality. Causality is abstracted out of the observable example -- that has nothing to do with an assertion about a universal ideal of causality, however. Plato had it backwards.

hue-man wrote:
Metaphysics and science are indeed related. Look into the history of both.
They've diverged long ago. The history is immaterial.

hue-man wrote:
"A metaphysical claim is not metaphysics"???
If I claim that the world is made out of goodness, that is a metaphysical claim. And I can get a whole crowd of followers and start a goodness cult. But that is not the philosophical discipline of metaphysics in which claims are developed by use of logic.

And your analogy with science is a bit off the mark (semantically). An unfounded scientific claim is a hypothesis, nothing more. The science comes when you decide how to test that hypothesis.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 11:15 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
One question doesn't lead to the other. If we're not engaging in Descartes' reductionist thought experiment, then we can easily accept that a basic fact of the universe is that our mind is not the entirety of existence. If you and everyone else exist enough for me to have a conversation with you, and this chair exists enough for me to sit on it, then I am willing to accept as a fundamental token of existence that there are things that exist. If things exist, then the subjectivity of my own perspective, the subjectivity of your own perspective, can in no way access the objective nature of it because our perspectives will ALWAYS be subjective.


I asked the question because if what you say is true, and there is no way to access objective truth, doesn't that mean that all knowledge and all beliefs are subjective (including you sitting on a chair) merely because a mental subject is needed to process the information?

I get the point of what you're saying, but I am trying to make you understand that we do have access to objective truth. For example, it is an objectively true, scientific fact, that objects of smaller mass are attracted to objects of larger mass. It is an objectively true, scientific fact, that life forms can and do evolve from other life forms. It is objectively true that I am typing this response right now, etc. etc. etc.

Fact - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aedes wrote:
In a functional sense. Science doesn't ever make a claim of absolute knowledge. It just systematizes observations such that we can express confidence in our findings.


I never said nor implied that science makes claims of absolute certainty. Knowledge is not absolute certainty unless you view knowledge as a dogmatic concept. Knowledge is justified true belief -- it is a provisional and practical concept.

Aedes wrote:
That isn't a test of the proposition of causality. Causality is abstracted out of the observable example -- that has nothing to do with an assertion about a universal ideal of causality, however. Plato had it backwards.


Science is not completely divorced from metaphysics or philosophy. They are still related whether a practitioner wants them to be or not. Scientists have set up experiments to determine causality in the physical world. However, there is a disagreement on whether experiments are needed to determine causality.

Causality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aedes wrote:
If I claim that the world is made out of goodness, that is a metaphysical claim. And I can get a whole crowd of followers and start a goodness cult. But that is not the philosophical discipline of metaphysics in which claims are developed by use of logic.


Let's not get caught up in technical semantics or we'll be here forever. I am not saying that Buddhist metaphysics (or any religious metaphysics for that matter) is the secular philosophic field/discipline of metaphysics. Religious metaphysics are most certainly not disciplined, lol. I'm saying that every religion, including Buddhism, has a philosophical (and metaphysical) underpinning. Claims of force-like spirit deities and the rebirth of consciousness are examples of Buddhist metaphysics.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 05:42 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;59235 wrote:
if what you say is true, and there is no way to access objective truth, doesn't that mean that all knowledge and all beliefs are subjective (including you sitting on a chair) merely because a mental subject is needed to process the information?
Yes. But independent corroboration from other people strengthens our confidence in the truth of something. This is still a functional truth, though, not an objective truth. It may well be identical to objective truth, but seeing as we have no way to access objective truth (via omniscience), we'll never know for sure.

hue-man;59235 wrote:
it is an objectively true, scientific fact, that objects of smaller mass are attracted to objects of larger mass. It is an objectively true, scientific fact, that life forms can and do evolve from other life forms.
It is only true insofar as our science, experience, communications, and agreement leads us to make these proclamations with yet greater confidence. It seems impossible that these scientific facts you offer could be wrong, based on the extent of their documentation in science - but that is a statement of confidence, not objective truth.

hue-man;59235 wrote:
Knowledge is justified true belief -- it is a provisional and practical concept.
That's just a restatement of my contention that it is functional and never "objective".

hue-man;59235 wrote:
Science is not completely divorced from metaphysics or philosophy. They are still related whether a practitioner wants them to be or not.
And one can spend one's entire life in science without ever making a metaphysical claim or using a metaphysical concept; and one can spend one's entire life exploring metaphysics without ever regarding a scientific principle.

hue-man;59235 wrote:
Scientists have set up experiments to determine causality in the physical world.
Not general causality, though. Causality in specific instances. Causality in specific instances is mechanical in science, but it's abstract in metaphysics.

hue-man;59235 wrote:
However, there is a disagreement on whether experiments are needed to determine causality.
The debate is more whether mechanistic causality can be demonstrated at all by science. And if you read scientific papers that assert causality, it's never asserted so simply. Rather, it's expressed in terms of statistical power, magnitude of effect, limitations, generalizability, etc. Causality is associative in science, even when examined prospectively in a controlled way. If I give 10,000 febrile patients Tylenol and 10,000 a placebo, I can say with tremendous statistical confidence that administration of Tylenol causes a reduction in fever. But causality is inferred from the likelihood of a real effect from the intervention -- it's not directly demonstrated.

hue-man;59235 wrote:
I'm saying that every religion, including Buddhism, has a philosophical (and metaphysical) underpinning. Claims of force-like spirit deities and the rebirth of consciousness are examples of Buddhist metaphysics.
I'm on board with that. But religions have traditional and cultural and dogmatized underpinnings that allow for philosophically inconsistent bases. And since religions appeal to the masses (because of their appeal to many of the 'general' problems we face in life), the evolution of religion often props up the ritual over the theology.
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 07:35 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Yes. But independent corroboration from other people strengthens our confidence in the truth of something. This is still a functional truth, though, not an objective truth. It may well be identical to objective truth, but seeing as we have no way to access objective truth (via omniscience), we'll never know for sure.

It is only true insofar as our science, experience, communications, and agreement leads us to make these proclamations with yet greater confidence. It seems impossible that these scientific facts you offer could be wrong, based on the extent of their documentation in science - but that is a statement of confidence, not objective truth.

That's just a restatement of my contention that it is functional and never "objective".

And one can spend one's entire life in science without ever making a metaphysical claim or using a metaphysical concept; and one can spend one's entire life exploring metaphysics without ever regarding a scientific principle.

Not general causality, though. Causality in specific instances. Causality in specific instances is mechanical in science, but it's abstract in metaphysics.

The debate is more whether mechanistic causality can be demonstrated at all by science. And if you read scientific papers that assert causality, it's never asserted so simply. Rather, it's expressed in terms of statistical power, magnitude of effect, limitations, generalizability, etc. Causality is associative in science, even when examined prospectively in a controlled way. If I give 10,000 febrile patients Tylenol and 10,000 a placebo, I can say with tremendous statistical confidence that administration of Tylenol causes a reduction in fever. But causality is inferred from the likelihood of a real effect from the intervention -- it's not directly demonstrated.

I'm on board with that. But religions have traditional and cultural and dogmatized underpinnings that allow for philosophically inconsistent bases. And since religions appeal to the masses (because of their appeal to many of the 'general' problems we face in life), the evolution of religion often props up the ritual over the theology.


OK, I'm not going to make specific answers to everything you said because this post looks long and I'm getting tired.

So you still don't believe that truth is objective? So you don't believe that it's an objective fact that I'm typing right now or that smaller objects are attracted to objects with larger mass? Let's clarify exactly what objectivity means in this context. Objective means a truth that remains true everywhere, independent of personal sentiment or opinion. For example, an objective statement is that humans exist. A subjective statement is that humans are beautiful. Objectivity is the absence of mere opinion or sentiment.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Apr, 2009 08:11 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;59303 wrote:
So you still don't believe that truth is objective?
You don't seem to be following what I'm saying.

I believe that there IS an objective truth. A rock has a finite number of atoms at any given instant, our body has a finite number of cells at any given instant, and by some process living things developed from non-living organic material. But we have no way to access objective truth. We can only surmise it by careful study. And while good science gets us closer to objective truth, plenty of paradigms have been rocked when good science has been overturned by better science.

hue-man;59303 wrote:
So you don't believe that it's an objective fact that I'm typing right now or that smaller objects are attracted to objects with larger mass?
I do believe that. But how is what I believe synonymous with objective truth?

hue-man;59303 wrote:
Objective means a truth that remains true everywhere, independent of personal sentiment or opinion.
Right. And insofar as science employs a finite number of observations, a finite number of subjects, a finite number of scientists, but is unable to control for a nearly infinite number of potential variables, science will never be able to deliver us a truth that meets your definition.

hue-man;59303 wrote:
For example, an objective statement is that humans exist. A subjective statement is that humans are beautiful. Objectivity is the absence of mere opinion or sentiment.
This is a colloquial use of objectivity, in which it merely connotes a degree of dispassion in the underlying assertion. And that's fine for a functional use of the word -- but "objective truth" has to do not only with the objectivity (always up for debate) but also the truth (also always up for debate).
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 04/21/2024 at 12:18:46