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Is reason and intelligence inherent in nature and reality?

 
 
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 06:17 pm
@prothero,
If reason and intelligence is not inherent in nature so far we've been taught to reason and sophisticate our intelligence I would solely question the motive behind he or she who thinks that way. Free will is perfectly clear. If it weren't what difference would that make to a true fatalist?
As for God, it is a matter of weather you spiritualize and deify the mysteriousness of the Universe. I do.
0 Replies
 
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 06:19 pm
@prothero,
prothero wrote:
Blind, pitiless, indifference
vs.
Reason and intelligence foundational or inherent (by implication some purpose)


When I first read your post I was reminded of a priest that once said to me, "You don't believe in God?! Well, then you are amoral!". He quite frankly believed that my lack of a belief in God meant that I could not hold any moral beliefs. Quite strange.

What you say here seems to be a false dilemma. Just because I don't believe in intelligent design does not mean that I think of the world in this way. What does thinking the world blind or pitiless mean, though? You make it out as if atheists consider the world in this pessimistic, or dark, manner. Perhaps you would be surprised, but atheists can find just as much purpose in this world, and be just as optimistic and moral, as anyone else.
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 06:37 pm
@Zetherin,
I agree with you and spent most of my life as an atheist. I would say my belief in God is first of all of a semantic nature, second that I deify what is unknown as creative force, if taken more "physically" you don't have to call it "God" but a particular motion which I happen to "call" god and attribute to great achievement. I certainly don't find atheism bleak or dark. I think those who find the world bleak and dark are probably wrong.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 07:12 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;135679 wrote:
What you say here seems to be a false dilemma. Just because I don't believe in intelligent design does not mean that I think of the world in this way. What does thinking the world blind or pitiless mean, though? You make it out as if atheists consider the world in this pessimistic, or dark, manner. Perhaps you would be surprised, but atheists can find just as much purpose in this world, and be just as optimistic and moral, as anyone else.
I did not mention morals at all, In fact several times I said I do not see god as moral agent. So there is no reason for you to suppose I think atheists are less moral. (In some respects they are more moral, for they can not fear hell or do good in hopes of eternal reward).

I am sure one can think that there is no ultimate purpose and imbue their life with a great deal of meaning. (family, work, freinds, etc). It is a metaphysical speculation about the larger purpose or meaning of the universe that we are currently engaged in. Some will say it does not matter (perhaps it does not), so will say you can not know so why bother.

In general though many people (perhaps most people) feel the need to attach to some larger purpose and to touch the divine (that either exists or they imagine). I am just trying to get both sides to stop calling each other irrational and or anti science or unscientific. I am just trying to show they are really both on the same footing: rational metaphysical assumption and philosophical specualtion.

Personally, I think the simplest form of theism is on firmer rational, experiential and scientific grounds but atheism is perfectly rational and not in conflict with science. I do not care for fundamentalist religion or even supernatural religion. Perhaps agnostics are being the most rational and the most scientfic.
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 07:18 pm
@prothero,
to an extent I agree however i think the question of god, and of course this is me, has more to do with to what we attribute the creativity of the universe---the idea that the universe is creative so long as we can think about it says a great deal, and how we treat and base more thinking on that concept has more importance than direct theism or atheism, however, the power of such thinking does lead me to deify it
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 07:43 pm
@Sean OConnor,
Sean O'Connor;135698 wrote:
to an extent I agree however i think the question of god, and of course this is me, has more to do with to what we attribute the creativity of the universe---the idea that the universe is creative so long as we can think about it says a great deal, and how we treat and base more thinking on that concept has more importance than direct theism or atheism, however, the power of such thinking does lead me to deify it
Well, in the other thread, I put forth the notion that Creativity was the purpose (the ultimate principle) and process was the means, so we are close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades as they say.
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 07:46 pm
@prothero,
indeed, then I think comes a question of sharing and appreciating the more projected artistic thinking of one another
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 08:54 pm
@Sean OConnor,
Sean O'Connor;135710 wrote:
indeed, then I think comes a question of sharing and appreciating the more projected artistic thinking of one another
I am not a very original thinker, almost all my ideas come from other people. My views are mostly in the realm of:
1. process philosophy
2. panpyschism
3. neutral monism
4. panentheism (process theology)
All in forms that do not conflict with the knowledge and facts of science, but clearly not confirmed or limited by science either. One of my major points is everyone engages in metaphysics in constructing a worldview, some just refuse to admit it or perhaps are unable to see it.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 09:03 pm
@prothero,
prothero;135721 wrote:
I am not a very original thinker, almost all my ideas come from other people.


I appreciate your honesty. I think applies not only to the best of us, but especially to the best of us.

To connect this to the topic of the thread, I think that human experience is never devoid of reason, as man qua man is reason, and that this Reason (or Word-system) is transcendentally numinous, and thus inherent progressive. Occam's Razor is an aesthetic principle, not an inductive or deductive principle, which like the beauty of the equilateral triangle, mirrors man's essence....and his essence is not simply essence but essentialization, or abstraction, or synthesis. His achievement of self-consciousness, also known as philosophy, is, in a manner of speaking, his "destiny." Or, for the cynics, his programming.
Because we are transcendentally reasonable (though not immune to error), we cannot imagine a reasonless world that isn't paradoxical, for this reasonless world is a construction of our reasonable mind, and it's mirror image in negation -- negation being the numinous heart of synthesis that drives the system to self-consciousness.

My influences as far as this thought go are Hegel, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, John's Gospel, Blake, Jung, Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Tao, Negative Theology, Hume, Freud, Rorty....
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:44 pm
@prothero,
The good is true, because the true is always looking for the good, in order to represent it.........?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:25 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;135780 wrote:
The good is true, because the true is always looking for the good, in order to represent it.........?


And the cat is the mouse because the cat is always looking for the mouse in order to eat it (I mean for the cat to eat the mouse, not in order for the mouse to eat the cat).
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:29 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;135809 wrote:
And the cat is the mouse because the cat is always looking for the mouse in order to eat it (I mean for the cat to eat the mouse, not in order for the mouse to eat the cat).


Nice try, but we are dealing with fundamental epistemology here. It's close to the TLP. Logic is transcendental. It's true because it attracts us. And then it is also socially re-enforced and re-enforces socialization. It grounds discourse.

---------- Post added 03-04-2010 at 02:31 AM ----------

Logic is binary. Man's thinking is binary. He can posit and negate. Equations are posits. Negation is the same as addition. The number spectrum uses a fulcrum for convenience, not essentially.

This gels with a coherence theory of truth, that the truth is the most beautiful coherent picture of reality, in which reality is experienced.

Reality is experienced by a being who compulsively makes pictures, including the picture that reality and appearance are something separate. Solipsism is realism. Life is in the middle somewhere.
Quote:

5.5352 In the same way people have wanted to express, 'There are
no things ', by writing 'P(dx). x = x'. But even if this were a
proposition, would it not be equally true if in fact 'there were things'
but they were not identical with themselves?
The TLP is twisted...wonderfully twisted. Beneath its white shirt.
0 Replies
 
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 09:33 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;135679 wrote:
When I first read your post I was reminded of a priest that once said to me, "You don't believe in God?! Well, then you are amoral!". He quite frankly believed that my lack of a belief in God meant that I could not hold any moral beliefs. Quite strange.

What you say here seems to be a false dilemma. Just because I don't believe in intelligent design does not mean that I think of the world in this way. What does thinking the world blind or pitiless mean, though? You make it out as if atheists consider the world in this pessimistic, or dark, manner. Perhaps you would be surprised, but atheists can find just as much purpose in this world, and be just as optimistic and moral, as anyone else.

This is an interesting observation! Since it seems to me that this thread is more about perceiving the purpose in this world than it is about theism, I am very interested in a description of what purpose you find in the world, if you don't mind elaborating.
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 09:48 pm
@Reconstructo,
I love the last two posts, especially the mention of "thought process" but want to add some quick remarks regarding a higher standard of artistry and originality. Certainly it is lovely to develop thinking based on the greatest thinkers, scientific tendency, and reason, but perhaps you're underestemating your importance? We ought to be creating our world. Getting a touch audacious but with abundance of love, enrichment, idealism. There is only benefit it in and well, we should have more mysticism, adventure, and cultivate a sense of wise thinking rhythm....yes key word rhythm in fluctuating values.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:57 pm
@1CellOfMany,
1CellOfMany;136321 wrote:
This is an interesting observation! Since it seems to me that this thread is more about perceiving the purpose in this world than it is about theism, I am very interested in a description of what purpose you find in the world, if you don't mind elaborating.


My purpose in this world?

Well, my first purpose is to help my mother out financially. My second purpose is to continue my studies not only in philosophy but critical thinking in general - I'm also in the beginning stages of learning propositional logic. My third purpose is to make sure the two women I love are happy, my mother and my significant other. My fourth purpose is to demand clarity on philosophyforum.com in a sharp, but often admittedly rude, manner. My fifth purpose to become a better Street Fighter IV player; I'm currently maining Guile, thanks for asking.

I have further purpose in this world, like my purpose at my job, but I don't feel like getting into that.

If you have any further questions, you know where to find me.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 01:10 am
@Sean OConnor,
Sean O'Connor;136328 wrote:
I love the last two posts, especially the mention of "thought process" but want to add some quick remarks regarding a higher standard of artistry and originality. Certainly it is lovely to develop thinking based on the greatest thinkers, scientific tendency, and reason, but perhaps you're underestemating your importance? We ought to be creating our world. Getting a touch audacious but with abundance of love, enrichment, idealism. There is only benefit it in and well, we should have more mysticism, adventure, and cultivate a sense of wise thinking rhythm....yes key word rhythm in fluctuating values.


Nice post. I view real human life as the collision of essence and accident, and most of it is accident, for most of our concept systems are contingent....

i like what joyce did in FW. his man symbol was a castle on a river who was his wife. no structcure, no meaning. no flow or play, no novelty. and the third in this not-yet trinity is the idea of the first two.
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 10:46 am
@Reconstructo,
Quite erotic really... I think form get's misconstrued as a "standard" or "convention". I mean, obviously the concept of "form" could be obliterated by Nietzsche and the nihilistic type, but I think it's not "informality" to strive for so much as complete flexibility, magnitude, and genius of form. Schopenhauer makes this evident in The World As Will & Representation when he compares the evolution of thinking to the development of a building; that it needs sturdy foundation, something to support it and although Nietzsche or Joyce may think they refute it they don't because there is still a sense of foundation, consistency, and substance within them. so I would like to echo that it's not that form is bad but that what people do with form is often lazy and way to conventional as of course, somebody should always have the audacity to say, but always with all due respect with progress of humanity in mind.
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 09:23 am
@prothero,
prothero;135112 wrote:
It seems to me the subject of god (in some form) crops up in almost every philosophical thread other than those devoted to analytic philosophy or logical positivism.

Often the subsequent discussions cannot find common ground because one side sees reason and intelligence as inherent in the universe (perhaps the simplest form of theism)
And
The other side sees the universe as blind, indifferent and without any particular purpose, in which life, mind and reason are rare and ultimately insignificant accidents.
Until one determines which side of this question the other party inclines toward a great deal of fruitless exchange can occur. So I ask you is reason and intelligence (hence a form of mind) inherent in nature and reality.

I say yes

The ability of man to probe deeply into the fundamental structure of nature with our minds and reason

The ability of the laws of nature to be represented as simple, elegant, mathematically beautiful symmetrical equations (math is abstracted logic and thus reason).

The anthropic values of fundamental universal constants which allow for the development of life and subsequently human mind, reason and intelligence

Are all arguments that make the notion of god (defined as the rational, ordering and creative principle of nature) a rational speculation and a reasonable metaphysical assumption?

My perception, from the short time that I have been participating on this forum, is that the main reason that common ground is not found is that words like "theism," "atheism," "religion," "God," and even "evolution" are loaded down with a whole complex accretion of meanings in the minds of most people. It seems to me that being objective means that one must let go of preconceptions about what these words IMPLY in one's own mind, and pay attention instead to what is actually being communicated. For example, where Prothero said that he sees, "reason and intelligence as inherent in the universe," and used this as the definition of "perhaps the simplest form of theism," it appeared that some participants saw the word "theism" and, instead of discussing the concept which he put forward (perhaps we could call it "materialist theism," for reasons I will mention later), they cloaked that word in all of the other characteristics of classical theism which they find so abhorrent, or else they thought that he was introducing an argument for "intelligent design" with the implication that the "designer" must be some version of the classical Deity which, again, they take to be utter superstitious drivel.

In a previous post, Prothero has said "That nature is inherently self organizing and that order, complexity, life, mind and experience have emerged as part of a divine purpose or divine plan. God is not all powerful but very powerful. The primary divine value is creativity, to bring value from the primordial chaos and the formless void. Creation is an ongoing process not a completed act." It seems to me that Prothero is talking about something that resembles the God of Christianity as closely as an abacus resembles the human mind.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:09 pm
@1CellOfMany,
Thank you for your thoughtful post and for trying to perceive what was being said versus just an instant response to the terminology.

In this thread, I purposely put forth what seems to me the simplest of all theistic notions, that reason and intelligence are inherent in nature. My own more complete vision of the nature of the divine and how the divine acts in the world are not offered here, although in some other threads I have put forth more extensive notions of the concept known as "god".
The notion of reason as inherent in nature is widespread even among professional scientists. It is the concept of Einstein and many other quantum physicists. The ability of reason to unlock the secrets of the universe and of mathematics to represent them has brought many an accomplished scientist to hold some notion of divine presence as rational agent.

This was a far different view of "god" than that portrayed in traditional orthodox classical medieval scholastic supernatural theism (there are so many terms) and revealed religion.
God reveals himself through nature and through reason (natural theology) not through special revelations or angelic visitations. This was the program of deism which has long been misinterpreted to mean god no longer acts in the world, whereas the concept was actually that god does not act through supernatural means, not that god does not act at all..

Whatever I put forth below regarding the divine nature, the divine purpose or the divine action, I do not put forth as knowledge or fact only as rational speculation on which a great deal of my personal worldview is constructed. I freely acknowledge this and only ask that others in responding realize how much of their worldviews likewise consist of rational speculations and metaphysical assumptions, as well. Materialism is metaphysical assumption not a scientific fact, likewise for mechanism, determinism and several other components of the "modern" worldview.

I try to avoid extensively long posts, but your post deserves a response and so I hope you will bear with me.

[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863] My perception, from the short time that I have been participating on this forum, is that the main reason that common ground is not found is that words like "theism," "atheism," "religion," "God," and even "evolution" are loaded down with a whole complex accretion of meanings in the minds of most people. It seems to me that being objective means that one must let go of preconceptions about what these words IMPLY in one's own mind, and pay attention instead to what is actually being communicated. For example, where Prothero said that he sees, "reason and intelligence as inherent in the universe," and used this as the definition of "perhaps the simplest form of theism," it appeared that some participants saw the word "theism" and, instead of discussing the concept which he put forward (perhaps we could call it "materialist theism," for reasons I will mention later), they cloaked that word in all of the other characteristics of classical theism which they find so abhorrent, [/QUOTE] I am no fan of organized religion. I am no fan of creeds, doctrines, dogma, articles of faith, etc. In my view faith unites and doctrine divides. There are terms for the views I put forth which are basically the fundamental ideas of panentheism and process theology. I am such an ardent opponent of materialism, mechanism, reductionism, determinism that the term "materialist theism" is objectionable to me. It is true, I do not divide reality into the sacred (the spiritual) and the profane (the material), for I think such a division reinforces dualism which is how the world lost its soul and its mind in the first place. I am a monist and the spiritual and the material are both aspects of the divine. The world can perhaps be thought of as gods body (divine immanence) and the reason and intelligence behind nature as gods mind. (divine transcendence).



[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863]or else they thought that he was introducing an argument for "intelligent design" with the implication that the "designer" must be some version of the classical Deity which, again, they take to be utter superstitious drivel. [/QUOTE] The term "intelligent design" unfortunately has been usurped as front man for "special creationism". So I try to avoid using it. The universe is clearly ordered. The secrets of the universe clearly can at least partially be revealed to reason. Is the universe designed in some sense to some particular purpose or end? The traditional religious notion is the universe is designed for man (the modern version would be it is designed to bring forth man), both notions smack of profound anthropomorphism to me. The universe is designed to bring forth novelty and value. Creativity itself is the purpose and process is the means. Man in particular is not the purpose of the universe. IMHO


[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863]In a previous post, Prothero has said "That nature is inherently self organizing and that order, complexity, life, mind and experience have emerged as part of a divine purpose or divine plan. God is not all powerful but very powerful. The primary divine value is creativity, to bring value from the primordial chaos and the formless void. Creation is an ongoing process not a completed act." [/QUOTE]
1CellOfMany;136863 wrote:
It seems to me that Prothero is talking about something that resembles the God of Christianity as closely as an abacus resembles the human mind.

It is true, that I am not an orthodox Christian and I could not in good faith subscribe to any of the Christian written creeds. I do have a deeply mythological and symbolic understanding of Christian doctrine. I think fundamentalists and literalists have it all wrong and are basically doing more harm than good for the religious cause. The world is not a stage for some human drama at the end of which judgment is rendered and the eternal fate of your immortal soul is decided by god as ruler, judge and tyrant. The earth is no longer the center of the universe or man the crown of creation. We are one creature among many, unique in our abilities (as far as we know) but not the inevitable result of "intelligent design" or "special creation".


[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863]I call his concept "materialist theism" because it seems that the intelligence and power of this "god" of his conception is a sort of mind based in a brain whose neurons may be suns, or cosmic strings or some other part of the natural universe. [/QUOTE] Again, this would get us into territory far beyond the OP theme. I am a panpsychist which means for me mind (primitive properties of mind) are inherent, widespread and pervasive in nature. Human consciousness is not the emergence of mind from mindless inert insensate nature but the result of a complex integrated society. Gods "mind" would be of a far different kind of structure. In some sense because the reason of man can reveal natural laws and our mathematics can represent natural law one could argue we are "made in the image" but so is everything else IMHO.




[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863]Since we can use scientific investigation to discover and then describe the chain of events (that is, the natural processes) through which many things have been produced, we can also look at the chain of events through which we evolved, and extrapolate from that what rolls we (humanity as a whole) play in the order of things. From those rolls (something just transcending our ecological niche) we can infer our "purpose" in this cosmic being that he calls god. [/QUOTE] I probably have spent too much time in a futile effort to develop a comprehensive coherent worldview. For me process is primary reality (process philosophy) and "being" is always temporary and thus illusion (maya). The primary principle at work in the universe is creativity. People always want to think purpose must mean (create a man, create a dinosaur, build a building) but no, that is not what is meant. The creation of novelty and value itself. Man is a byproduct of this creativity and this process, man is not the purpose, not the inevitable result.


[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863]While I heartily disagree with him (and, apparently, with many others here) about the nature of God, I do agree that, in this case, there is reason to make a choice between seeing "purpose" in our very existence versus "no purpose." Prothero protests that he "put forth the notion of god as rational, ordering and creative agent; not god as 'personal' or 'moral' agent," but it seems to me that by choosing "purpose," one is also choosing "direction" toward fulling one's own personal purpose in this universe, which implies the basis for a sort of morality: [/QUOTE] this is true but the typical sense of morals, means human morals and purposes, and the typical sense of personal means a god who takes special interest in you as an individual. In traditional religion god answers prays and supernaturally intervenes to save the faithful, sends the good to heaven and the wicked to hell, god is not "personal" in this sense, IMHO. God is not particularly concerned with human morals in the sense we typically mean or perceive. Again concepts why beyond the relatively modest proposal in the OP.

[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863] "I aught to become an agent for the advancement of myself and humankind towards fulfilling our purpose in the cosmos. I aught to investigate what our roll and purpose might be 1) through the scientific study of nature 2) through consultation with, and reading articles by, those who have studied nature 3) through discussion of the concept of 'purpose' with others." [/QUOTE] Again, and this is pure process philosophy, The ultimate purpose is creativity; production of novelty and of value. The ultimate reality is process "becoming" not "being". We are not talking about human purposes and human values here.

[QUOTE=1CellOfMany;136863]So, Prothero, is a discussion of the "nature and implications of our purpose in the cosmos" what you want? If so, can we, in this forum, provide that in a thread without the interference of those who don't see any value in the topic? [/QUOTE]The thread has not engendered the type of interest and discussion I hoped for perhaps because there is no definitive answer and because it is such a fundamental question about the nature of reality. The notion of reason and order in nature as a manifestation of the divine predates Christianity by thousands of years. In the fusion of Greek Philosophy and of Jewish theology which produced Christianity,logos was incorporated in the foundation.
Now any full fledged conception of god and divine purpose and action in the world is going to be more than a single thread or even this kind of format will allow. We can only deal with fragments of such a worldview and that is often misleading (a form of intellectual reductionism) in which the way the parts fit into the whole is lost. The world is dipolar mental (spirit) and matter (material). God is dipolar having a consequent nature (response to or participation in the world)the actual world and a primordial nature (the realm of forms, possibilities, ideals, values) the realm of possibilities (Platonic forms). I am happy to discuss any particular notion even any traditional Christian notion.
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:43 pm
@prothero,
To what extent may we use this question to enrich the world? If reason and intelligence were not inherent in the world, why are we disputing it amongst ourselves? That's enough proof. Or, if I say it exists, it exists that I say it exists and that others may build upon it. It's the same question, or of close relation to free will versus fate. Free will exists to create our fate. So let us add more relevance here, although i know we all want to be recognized for our technical merits, it is kind of like sticking your face in mud if you have no love for why you're using it.
 

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