February 5th, 2015
Rationalism & Empiricism, a priori & a posteriori, Analytic & Synthetic—Differences?
In regards to rationalism and empiricism, the rationalist says that knowledge can be known by reason alone whereas the empiricist will claim that knowledge is derived from the senses–we are born tabula rasa, a blank slate for a mind and we fill that slate with sense perceptions. The rationalist will have no problem affirming the synthetic a priori and analytic a posteriori category. The empiricist will primarily affirm the analytic a priori and synthetic a posteriori (although there is definite psychological overlap–the affirmations primarily concern epistemic justification).
||“All bachelors are not married.”
“Triangles have three angles.”
Objective Morality? (e.g. Kant’s pure reason)
||“Gold has the atomic weight of 196.966543”
||“This elephant is gray.”
“Edinburgh receives more rain than the Sahara.”
Subjective Morality? (e.g. “Twenty’s Plenty”)
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December 30th, 2014
Subjectivism begins with personal experience. One might actually regard philosophical subjectivism as doing philosophy from the inside-out (which can eventually lead to critical-realism/non-realism). Both René Descartes (1596-1650) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) attempted to construct philosophical systems from this starting point (although in the end both were realists). In the modern world subjectivist philosophies have become very popular as they challenge the notion of absolute Truth which allows people to democratize truths. This means truths become relative to each person. As a result, a society built on subjectivist principles is believed to be tolerant and willing to allow people to live and let live (providing they do not harm others – which, ironically, is not a subjective, and therefore relative, statement).
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December 14th, 2012
Immanuel Kant’s Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone synopsis
- How the free will, even though radically evil, can regenerate itself
- How Christianity as rationally interpreted exemplifies this process of moral regeneration
- As such, two views about humanity are rejected by Kant
- Rejects the view of the enlightenment (Aufklarung) that humans are basically good
- Rejects the view of human depravity
- How can the evil disposition be converted to a good one? How is it that oughtness is a can?
- There must be a revolution of habits, which Kant understands to be the new birth (Jn. 3)
- How, if we are corrupt, can we cause ourselves to be born again?
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June 13th, 2012
Newtonian physics treated space and time as absolute inertial reference frames. Space and time was independent of all that it embraced and in that sense, absolute. Space and time was isomorphic, and together with the particle theory of nature formed a mechanistic universe and static concepts that go along with it. Kant used Newtonian physics of space and time as intuitions. The sensorium (reference frame) was transferred from space and time itself (or even God) to the mind of the subject. Thus, the intellect imposes its laws upon nature and not nature upon the intellect. Kant believed our thought imposes Newtonian concepts on our experiences. Independent of experience our minds are organized to think about the world in the Newtonian framework. Scientific knowledge was considered a priori knowledge of synthetic truths.
This is what accounted for deductive methodology—using fixed premises and drawing one’s conclusions from these premises. Kant believed that one could not know the Ding an Sich by pure reason. The subject is limited to the fixed categories of the mind and one shapes the apprehensions through these categories. Kant used these space and time intuitions as necessary. It proved inept for scientists to follow Kant’s use of Newton’s ideas as permanent features of the intellectual landscape having based their philosophy on his model of the universe.
In 1865 James Clerk Maxwell had unified electricity and magnetism by developing his equations of electromagnetism. It was soon realized that these equations supported wave-like solutions in a region free of electrical charges or currents, otherwise known as vacuums. Later experiments identified light as having electromagnetic properties and Maxwell’s equations predicted that light waves should propagate at a finite speed c (about 300,000 km/s). With his Newtonian ideas of absolute space and time firmly entrenched, most physicists thought that this speed was correct only in one special frame, absolute rest, and it was thought that electromagnetic waves were supported by an unseen medium called the ether, which is at rest in this frame.
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May 25th, 2012
The distinctions and categories in Kantian Epistemology:
What are true elements of knowledge? Kant is a rationalist (the mind shapes the object with a priori categories). A priori, meaning prior to experience. Not from experience but from definition. A posteriori, after experience.
Content goes into five senses. Content equals sense-data called intuition sense-data. There are innate categories of the mind. They mold, condition, and give form to the senses; a hermeneutical grid for the mind not the Bible. Time and space = pure intuition. The sermons form the hermeneutic “I make the world what it is to me.”
How did these elements develop into the two realms? A hypothesis that the mind is active requires that there be a distinction between the two realms (not a blank paper but something is already present to form the ideas). The objects present in the experience of the knower. The object rests beyond the experience of the knower. What they are?
- Def. The five later put through the grid of the mind
- Def. Things of thought, Plato, Kant, “Things in themselves (whatever they may be)” they exist but limited by rational apprehension and limiting concept. One cannot know the noumenal realm by pure [Newtonian] reason.
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May 24th, 2012
Theologian: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) on Noumenal Knowledge
More about his theology: Kant is known more for his philosophy but has greatly influenced 19th and 20th century theology. He is known as the watershed of 20th century theology. You may not realize it but that vast majority of our epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and theology have been influenced by Kant. This Theology Thursday will focus on Kant’s noumenal knowledge.
Immanuel Kant proposed the practical or moral realm of life as the proper sphere of religion. Kant sought to establish religion as the devotion to a transcendent Lawgiver whose will ought to be the goal of humankind. The theology produced by Kant remained anthropocentric (centered on man) and it leads to an inescapable emphasis on divine immanence even though Kant himself rejected it.
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May 10th, 2012
Theologian: Friederich Schleiermacher (1768-1834)
More about his theology: Schleiermacher develops a philosophy of religion whereby theology arises from the critical analysis of human piety or religious feelings. This means that there is no received content. Theology cannot be apologetic. Schleiermacher’s methodology: Examining the feelings…
This made the nature of religion not thinking (scientific approach eliminated by Kant). Here he is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science. Also, the religious nature is not ethics (acting morally) either rather, it is feeling which works its way out in the absolute dependence. The absolute dependence is the a priori form of self-consciousness that then works its way out from feelings.The human being is central here, rather than God as self-revealed. There is no “Thus says the Lord.” Also, theology is simply the outworking of prior religious feelings which are then subsequently analyzed.
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May 1st, 2012
I am approaching the world as a realist. (For a background of my epistemology please see: My Evidentialist Epistemology). What I mean by this is that the external reality is how it appears to be to an observer making an epistemic inquiry, the measurements from science accurately depicts reality. This is in contrast to instrumentalism, which suggests that our inquiry of the world, scientifically, do not accurately depict reality but as useful fictions. An instrumentalist is more concerned about data fitting theories and predictions than with an accurate depiction of reality.
For the realist-evidentialist, the ontology of the world determines one’s epistemology. They congruently correspond. It is important to note the order of entailment. Antecedently, reality determines our epistemology. It would be illicit to reverse the term order and as Roy Bhaskar notes, it would be the epistemic fallacy. I am not advocating a naïve realism where reality acts on the human mind without personal inquiry nor am I advocating postmodern anti-realism where one can construct whatever type of reality is desired. I am advocating a form of critical realism.
Lorenzo Valla’s (1406-1457) interrogative (interrogatio) form of inquiry. Valla’s mode of inquiry yield results that are entirely new, giving rise to knowledge that cannot be derived by an inferential process from what was already known. Valla transitioned from not only using this method for historical knowledge but also applied it as “logic for scientific discovery.”
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April 13th, 2012
For a greater context of discussion please see Part 1.
Concerning the human moral situation, there is a radical evil in us that tends toward evil and is linked to our actual will. There is good implanted in every man fighting an “invisible foe who screens himself behind reason.” Humans freely sin and are personally responsible to the God postulated and known to be true in the moral act. Our sin goes against the categorical imperative of the mind.
Humans ought to be perfectible and ultimately can be perfected, this is living in the cat-imp Which every is obligated to keep. Religion in Christianity gives a moral lawgiver whose will ought to be man’s final goal and end which is the ultimate goal for morality, “that which alone can render a world the object of a divine decree and the end of creation.”
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