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Is reason and intelligence inherent in nature and reality?

 
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 03:24 pm
@Sean OConnor,
Sean O'Connor;136502 wrote:
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.



Yes, one cannot even speak or write w/o form. Thought is form. One can attack particular forms, but never form itself.

---------- Post added 03-06-2010 at 04:25 PM ----------

Sean O'Connor;136925 wrote:
If reason and intelligence were not inherent in the world, why are we disputing it amongst ourselves?


Excellent point. I completely agree. We are reason and intelligence. And when have we experienced the world apart from "ourselves?"
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 03:56 pm
@prothero,
prothero;136912 wrote:
"being" is always temporary and thus illusion (maya)


I would suggest 'existence' here (as distinct from 'being'). As you have used the term 'maya' I can refer to the corresponding ideas in Hinduism. In Hindu thought the fundamental reality or ground-of-being is sat-chit-ananda which is usually translated as being-knowing-bliss. In this expression, 'sat' is almost a direct translation of the latin EST 'to be'. So Being is in an important sense apodictic, that which cannot be meaningfully denied. I think 'existence' is the term that equates with maya, as the very word is derived from 'ex', meaning 'apart', and 'ist' from is or est, thereby connoting seperateness and temporality.

in which case your sentence would read 'existence is always temporary...'
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 04:35 pm
@Sean OConnor,
Sean O'Connor;136925 wrote:
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.
If what you are saying is we "know" reason and intelligence are inherent in nature (let's move on) because we "humans" have reason and intelligence.

The reply would be we only know that reason and intelligence "exist" in the world not that they are inherent. The development of mind, of reason, of intelligence could still be seen as "emergent" and rare properties and as the result of blind indifference in a universe where mind, reason and intelligence are rare, brief, incidental (only humans), and insignificant chance occurences.

The OP asks the deeper question about whether reason and intelligence are foundational or inherent in nature (ontological) and that mans reason and intelligence are emmanations or manifestations of "mind" as a property of nature not a new property that has emerged from innate insenate mindless reality. Did reason and intelligence first appear as "man"? or are they properties of nature itself.

If you find the question irrelevant and meaningless in the task of creating our own reality, fine. It is nontheless a significant metaphysical question on which rational speculation (philosophy) can be done.

If you are saying something else, please expound, do not make me guess.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 04:39 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136967 wrote:
So Being is in an important sense apodictic, that which cannot be meaningfully denied. I think 'existence' is the term that equates with maya, as the very word is derived from 'ex', meaning 'apart', and 'ist' from is or est, thereby connoting seperateness and temporality.

in which case your sentence would read 'existence is always temporary...'


This is great. I think this is on the nose, and very important. Why is Being apodictic? We can't think non- conceptually. Thinking is built on being.

From Hegel:
Quote:

... there is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in nature or in mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both immediacy and mediation, so that these two determinations reveal themselves to be unseparated and inseparable and the opposition between them to be a nullity.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 05:59 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136967 wrote:
in which case your sentence would read 'existence is always temporary...'
There is a certain sense in which the mystical vision and the "oneness or monism" of ultimate reality must contain and encompass what "we" usually experience as contradictions.

the tension between immanence and transcendence.
the tension between becoming and being.
the tension between mind and matter.
and many others.
At question here is becoming and being.
Being- eternal changeless, immutable, perfection Platonic forms
versus
Becoming- change, novelty, creativity, responsiveness, temporal, non permanence
There is a certain sense in which both are required and complementary.

When I say "becoming" is primary reality, I mean it in the sense of the material world, the actual world, the world which we primarily perceive with our senses and the material aspects of our existence. In A.N.Whitehead. terms the consequent nature of the world or god.

Being- the realm of possiblities and of ideals, values, a world only accessible in its perfect forms in the realm of mind and reason. In A.N.W. terms the primordial nature of the god or the world.

Process (or evolution, or manifestaton, or emmanation if you prefer) is the means through which the possible the primordial (the ideal) seeks to become the actual, the consequent or the real. Total reality encompasses both realms (real/ideal, mind/matter, etc).
0 Replies
 
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:11 pm
@Reconstructo,
There are examples of order in nature other than the existence of man. There is the solar system, for example. The periodic table of elements is another example of order found in nature that is other than man.

How can we account for these examples of order? Where there is order we can reasonably infer that there is intelligence - but intelligence that is different from human intelligence.

It would be a difference of intelligence similar to the difference between human intelligence and the intelligence of plant life in that it is not biological. It would be an unbiological intelligence. I think this was Leibniz's position.

--
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:19 pm
@prothero,
Interesting post by prothero, but I can't agree with this part of it:
Quote:
God is not particularly concerned with human morals in the sense we typically mean or perceive
A powerful being who is "not particularly concerned with human morals" should not be called "God", or worshipped or revered or admired.

---------- Post added 03-07-2010 at 12:21 AM ----------

(Good heavens, this thread is longer than I thought! I was replying to post #99, which I thought was very near the end, but wasn't.)

---------- Post added 03-07-2010 at 12:24 AM ----------

Reconstructo;136944 wrote:
We are reason and intelligence.

No, we are only partly that, and it is only part of what we are.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:30 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;137035 wrote:
Interesting post by prothero, but I can't agree with this part of it:
A powerful being who is "not particularly concerned with human morals" should not be called "God", or worshipped or revered or admired.

God as creative principle
God as rational principle
God as moral agent
God as personal agent.
In order to avoid the inevitable disputes about god as "personal" or god as "moral" agent, I focused on god as creative and rational agent in the OP.

I am happy to discuss the sense in which we might regard god as personal or moral but I was seeking to present the minimalist theist concept. With respect to worship and admiration, any being who can bring forth order from the formless void and from chaos; and create a world of such infinite and extraordinary beauty (forms endless) gets my admiration and worship. Life itself and the universe is a gift of boundless value even if life seems short, bruttish and nasty when seen from a purely anthropomorphic perspective. I do not expect the divine to alter the processes of nature for my personal benefit. Perhaps I hope for too little, perhaps you hope for too much.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:52 pm
@prothero,
prothero;137038 wrote:
With respect to worship and admiration, any being who can bring forth order from the formless void and from chaos; and create a world of such infinite and extraordinary beauty (forms endless) gets my admiration and worship. Life itself and the universe is a gift of boundless value even if life seems short, bruttish and nasty when seen from a purely anthropomorphic perspective. I do not expect the divine to alter the processes of nature for my personal benefit. Perhaps I hope for too little, perhaps you hope for too much.

If you admire and worship a being who you believe has given you a lot of good things, it is hardly logical to suggest that someone else is being "anthropomorphic" and "hoping for too much"! Nor is it logical to equate human moral judgements with "expecting the divine to alter the processes of nature for one's personal benefit".

Perhaps I did not make my meaning clear. I was saying that part of the absolute minimum requirement I have for calling a being "God" is that I judge that being to be good. Obviously, a being who is "not particularly concerned with human morals" is not one whom I, as a human being, can judge to be good. Nor can I imagine how you propose to do better, because you are also a human being. Have you found some way of judging the moral character of superhuman beings which transcends your own "anthropomorphic perspective"? Or have I misunderstood your meaning as much as you appear to have misunderstood mine?
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:54 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;137033 wrote:
Where there is order we can reasonably infer that there is intelligence -
How do you deal with the regress?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 07:00 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;137033 wrote:
There are examples of order in nature other than the existence of man. There is the solar system, for example. The periodic table of elements is another example of order found in nature that is other than man.

How can we account for these examples of order? Where there is order we can reasonably infer that there is intelligence - but intelligence that is different from human intelligence.

It would be a difference of intelligence similar to the difference between human intelligence and the intelligence of plant life in that it is not biological. It would be an unbiological intelligence. I think this was Leibniz's position.

--


From an interesting essay on the 'new arguments from Design' by Charles Thaxton:

Quote:
Most of Western history has been characterized by belief in design. Scientists accepted an ordered world as a given, a designed given. According to Whitehead, these were not "the explicit beliefs of a few individuals," but rather "the impress on the European mind arising from the unquestioned faith of centuries." It was thus an "instinctive tone of thought and not a mere creed of words." In this context of faith the scientific quest involved discovering the laws describing the world's patterned behavior, reducing an apparent chaos to order. These scientists, and the larger culture, had an implicit belief structure that behind the order lay the great ordering intelligence, or God.

So deep was this impress on the European mind that few scientists, even well into the nineteenth century, disagreed with Isaac Newton who had written that "This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being."

Because of the cultural conviction of a created and designed universe, including earth and life upon it, it was very widely appreciated, from the early days of seventeenth century science onward until the time of Darwin, that science is not concerned with the question of origins. Why, they must have thought, would we want to scientifically pursue an answer we already possess? The world is created and designed; science seeks laws that describe the regular patterns we observe. A London Times newspaper article in the days of the Darwin controversy expressed the predominant cultural view, including that of most scientists, when it said, "we look to men of Science rather for observation than for imagination."

Yet, out of view, there was an undercurrent of variant opinion, as the scientific naturalists were marching to a different drummer. The culture and most scientists were so enamored with nature's many regularities and confirmations of their underlying beliefs, that they hardly noticed when the scientific naturalists inferred from these regularities absolute natural laws which even God (if He existed) must obey. For the naturalists nature had replaced God. The external signs of religious orthodoxy remained, but a mental dislocation had occurred in the intellectual world, which represented a radical shift from theism to naturalism. (emphasis added)
Source


Naturalism has gone so far now that to even suggest the idea of design is to be characterized as 'creationist' (or 'cretinist' as one of our witty contributors refers to it.) Yet science really bites the hand that fed it. There is no clear 'scientific' foundation for much which scientists themselves take for granted in their work every day: for example, number, meaning, or reason. We are endowed with all of these, we use them, and they work very well, yet if you ask any of the scientific philosophers why they do, how they work, or where they come from, the answer is simply 'well, they evolved, of course'. Now I detect a circularity in all of this. We arose by natural causes>natural causes can be explained by natural means>the natural explanation for human ability is the theory of evolution>the theory of evolution says we arose by natural causes. This is very much the approach of Dawkins/Dennett/Wilson et al, and the preferred model for your evolutionary philosophers worldwide.

It is what I call 'Darwinian rationalism'. Basically it subsumes every attribute under the umbrella heading of 'The Descent of Man' and then assumes that this provides an explanation for who we are. "Scientists do not 'do' wonder," says science journalist James Le Fanu, "Rather . . . they have interpreted the world through the prism of supposing there is nothing in principle that cannot be accounted for."

From the introduction to Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves by James le Fanu.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 07:12 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;137045 wrote:
If you admire and worship a being who you believe has given you a lot of good things, it is hardly logical to suggest that someone else is being "anthropomorphic" and "hoping for too much"! Nor is it logical to equate human moral judgements with "expecting the divine to alter the processes of nature for one's personal benefit".

Perhaps I did not make my meaning clear. I was saying that part of the absolute minimum requirement I have for calling a being "God" is that I judge that being to be good. Obviously, a being who is "not particularly concerned with human morals" is not one whom I, as a human being, can judge to be good. Nor can I imagine how you propose to do better, because you are also a human being. Have you found some way of judging the moral character of superhuman beings which transcends your own "anthropomorphic perspective"? Or have I misunderstood your meaning as much as you appear to have misunderstood mine?
my apologies, I did not mean to offend. Yes, short exchanges in a forum are always subject to misinterpretation. I am out for the night probably but I would like to clarify with you later. god is good is subject to some interpretation itself, eh? Although it takes me away from the minimalist claim of the OP, I do think god takes in the experience of the world and both suffers and delights with his creatures. I do not think god can prevent Auschwitz or prevent the many sufferings that are inherent in the nature of the world. So god may be all good but not all powerful as I would envision it.
Twirlip
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 07:16 pm
@prothero,
prothero;137048 wrote:
[...] I do think god takes in the experience of the world and both suffers and delights with his creatures. I do not think god can prevent Auschwitz or prevent the many sufferings that are inherent in the nature of the world. So god may be all good but not all powerful as I would envision it.

That is also how I see it.
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 08:21 pm
@Twirlip,
jeeprs:

Yes, there has been a historical revolt against classical rationalism. Instead of looking to the natural ends to solve problems the moderns looked instead to the proximate cause.

But there are some good things associated with this revolt. To quote an old teacher of mine: "When man revered nature we were poor".

The rejection of natural teleology in modern political philosophy is especially noteworthy. In it, the nature of man is not posited as being directed toward a natural end, as in the virtues, it is posited rather as arising from the state of nature within which man's origin was found. The moderns looked to the superficial origins as their guide and not the purposeful ends. Modern man is free from nature's grip in a way that classical rationalism could not have imagined. Modern man controls nature precisely to the extent that he does not look into it for a purpose.

Classical rationalism interpreted nature differently:


[CENTER]Nature is a whole which structures the moral and political, providing a schema by which to give content to good and evil, a connection between "is" and "ought." Nature is a system of ends or perfections which is realized and gives meaning to notions of virtue.[/CENTER]


[CENTER]According to the understanding of classical natural moral law all natural beings, at least all living beings, are directed towards an end, a perfection for which they long; there is a specific perfection which belongs to each specific nature; there is especially perfection of man which is determined by the nature of man as the rational and social animal. Nature supplies the standard, a standard wholly independent of man's will; this implies that nature is good. Because man has a definite place within the whole, a very exalted place; one can say that man is the measure of all things or that man is the microcosm, but he occupies that place by nature; man has his place in an order which he did not originate. "Man is the measure of all things" is the very opposite of "Man is the master of all things." Man has a place within the whole: man's power is limited; man cannot overcome the limitations of his nature. The good life is the life according to nature, which means to stay within certain limits; virtue is essentially moderation...Not the maximum of pleasures but the purest pleasures are desirable; happiness depends decisively on the limitation of our desires. [/CENTER]


[CENTER]...ancient natural law is primarily and mainly an objective "rule and measure," a binding order prior to, and independent of, the human will, while modern natural law is, or tends to be, primarily and mainly a series of "rights," of subjective claims, originating in the human will.[/CENTER]


[CENTER]Ancient natural law is as an order seen as a model. The classical notion of "nature" is what is given prior to human willing. It is objective substance. [/CENTER]



[CENTER]Natural moral standards arise when we ask the question: what is the best human life? --Leo Strauss[/CENTER]

--

---------- Post added 03-06-2010 at 10:44 PM ----------

ughaibu;137046 wrote:
How do you deal with the regress?



Unmoved mover l> > > - - O

.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:12 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;137061 wrote:
jeeprs:

Yes, there has been a historical revolt against classical rationalism. Instead of looking to the natural ends to solve problems the moderns looked instead to the proximate cause.

But there are some good things associated with this revolt. To quote an old teacher of mine: "When man revered nature we were poor".

The rejection of natural teleology in modern political philosophy is especially noteworthy. In it, the nature of man is not posited as being directed toward a natural end, as in the virtues, it is posited rather as arising from the state of nature within which man's origin was found. The moderns looked to the superficial origins as their guide and not the purposeful ends. Modern man is free from nature's grip in a way that classical rationalism could not have imagined. Modern man controls nature precisely to the extent that he does not look into it for a purpose. .


I agree there are many great things about it too. Until the pendulum had swung so far towards what I call Darwinian rationalism, that anything that could not be explained by scientific means started to be regarded with suspicion. At that point, I think the pendulum has swung too far.

As for 'when man revered nature', when was that, exactly? I am sure the romantics did, and that throughout history there have been people that have, but on the whole, I don't know if Western culture has regarded nature with a great deal of reverence.

If you're saying, it is beneficial to be in an industrial rather than agrarian society, I would agree with that. I had a 'back to the earth' adventure when I was young and quickly realised it was nearly all manual labour and drudgery. On the other hand, our alienation from nature is pretty dramatic nowadays. I read that in urban Japan, there is a recognized malady that strikes in fall, which is caused by the untidiness of all the autumn leaves lying around. Apparently this disruption to the clean lines of concrete and glass is very upsetting to a significant minority of people, some of whom begin to exhibit symptoms of anxiety disorder.

I, for one, will always wish to feel like nature's child, to see nature in myself, and myself in nature. If I could not be like that, I would not want to exist. Thomas Traherne: "You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars."

(And another quote if his that I noticed, looking for that one: "To think the world therefore a general Bedlam, or place of madmen, and oneself a physician, is the most necessary point of present wisdom: an important imagination, and the way to happiness." Amen to that.)
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:21 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;137099 wrote:
Until the pendulum had swung so far towards what I call Darwinian rationalism, that anything that could not be explained by scientific means started to be regarded with suspicion. At that point, I think the pendulum has swung too far.
Wasn't it part of Thaxton's point, that scientists have inherited cultural baggage, in the form of presuppositions, from the centuries of religious thinking? One such presupposition is that the world is essentially rational and so can be fully understood by human beings, this follows from Leibniz' principle of sufficient reason, which is an axiom derived by considering the nature of god.
0 Replies
 
Sean OConnor
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 11:21 am
@Reconstructo,
Forgive me for taking so long to reply, but I am thankful that you have replied. I wouldn't want to be outside myself, yet I'd like to improve my ability of sharing my work with others.
0 Replies
 
awareness
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 03:53 pm
@prothero,
reason and intelligence is developed over many lifetimes and does not exist in full at the beginning of each individual consciousness.
0 Replies
 
 

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