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Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Hahiha @Doombreed
Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God
(John Locke, Concerning Human Understanding: Chapter X, pages 349 – 351)
(Articles I – VI, VIII)

I. We are capable of knowing certainly that there is a God. Though God has given us no innate ideas of Himself,; though He has stamped no original characters on our minds, wherein we may read His being; yet having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, He hath not left Himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of Him, as long as we carry ourselves about us...

II. For man knows that he himself exists. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. He that can doubt whether he be anything or no, I speak not to; no more than I would argue with pure nothing, or endeavor to convince a nonentity that it were something. If any one pretends to be so skeptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary. This, then, I think I may take for a truth, which every one’s certain knowledge assures him of, beyond the liberty of doubting, viz. That he is something that actually exists. [Note well the meaning of “actually,” that is, something that is actual vs. that which does not exist.]

III. He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed from eternity. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If a man knows not that nonentity, or the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two right angles, it is impossible he should know any demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else.

IV. And that eternal Being must be most powerful. Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and origin of all power; and so this eternal Being must also be the most powerful.

V. And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, where was no knowing being and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from eternity.

If it be said, there was a time when no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there should ever have been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. For it is as repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it should put into itself greater angles than two right ones.

VI. And therefore God. Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, – That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which whether any one will please to call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being.

If, nevertheless, any one should be found so senselessly arrogant, as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance; and that all the rest of the universe acted only by that blind haphazard; I shall leave him that very rational and emphatical rebuke of Tully (1. ii. De Leg.), to be considered at his leisure: “What can be more sillily arrogant and mis-becoming, than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no such thing? Or that those things, which with the utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all?” Quid est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet inesse, in caelo mundoque non putet? Aut ea quae vic summa ingenii [ingenī] ratione comprehendat, nulla ratione moveri puter?

From what has been said, it is plain to me we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of anything our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say, that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that…

VIII. Recapitulation – something from eternity. There is no truth more evident than that something must be from eternity. I never yet heard of any one so unreasonable, or that could suppose so manifest a contradiction, as a time wherein there was perfectly nothing. This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings [Id est, the complete absence of actualities], should ever produce any real existence. [Id est, actualities have potential, where there is no actualities there is no potential, nor can there ever be.]

Of God – His Existence
(Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Part I)

DEFINITIONS

1. BY CAUSE of itself, I understand that, [a Being] whose essence involves existence; or that, [a Being] whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.

2. That thing is called FINITE in its own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is called finite, because we [may] always conceive another which is greater. So a thought is limited by another thought; but a body is not limited by a thought, not a thought by a body.

3. BY SUBSTANCE, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.

4. BY ATTRIBUTE, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence [constituting the essence of a substance, not the intellect].

5. BY MODE, I understand the affections of substance, or that which is in another thing through which also it is conceived.

6. BY GOD, I understand Being absolutely infinite, that is to say, [a] substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

Explanation. I say absolutely infinite but not infinite in its own kind (in suo genere); for of whatever is infinite only in its own kind (in suo genere), we can deny infinite attributes; but to the essence of that which is absolutely infinite pertains whatever expresses essence and involves no negation.

7. That thing is called FREE which exists from the necessity of its own nature alone, and is determined to action by itself alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather compelled, which by another is determined to existence and action in a fixed and prescribed manner.

8. BY ETERNITY, I understand existence itself, so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow from the definition alone of the eternal thing.

Explanation. For such existence, like the essence of the thing, is conceived as an eternal truth. It cannot therefore be explained by duration or time, even if the duration be conceived without beginning or end.

AXIOMS

1. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another.

2. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through itself.

3. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4. The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.

5. Those things which have nothing mutually in common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the other. [A blind man cannot understand the sense of sight merely through the sense of hearing; nor can a deaf man understand the sense of hearing merely through the sense of sight.]

6. A true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea (*** suo ideato).

7. The essence of that thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION 1. Substance is by its nature prior to its affections.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definitions 3 and 5. [That is to say, nothing can have no affections.]

PROPOSITION 2. Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another.
DEMONSTRATION. This is also evident from Definition 3. For each substance must be in itself and must be conceived through itself, that is to say, the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other. [That is to say, if two substances – which are wholly independent of each other – have different attributes, it is self evident that they share nothing in common – the opposite of proper – with each other.] Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 3. If two things have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other.
DEMONSTRATION. If they have nothing mutually common with one another, they cannot (Axiom 5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Axiom 4) one cannot be the cause of the other. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 4.Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their affections.
DEMONSTRATION. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another (Axiom 1), that is to say (Definitions 3 & 5), outside the intellect there is nothing but substances and their affections. There is nothing therefore outside the intellect by which a number of things can be distinguished one from another, but substances or (which is the same thing by Definition 4) their attributes and their affections. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 5. In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
DEMONSTRATION. If there were two or more distinct substances, they must be distinguished one from the other by difference of attributes or difference of affections (Proposition 4). If they are distinguished only by difference of attributes, it will be granted that there is but one substance of the same attribute. But if they are distinguished by difference of affections, since substance is prior by nature to its affections (Proposition 1), the affections therefore being placed on one side, and the substance being considered in itself, or, in other words, (Definition 3 and Axiom 6), truly considered, it cannot be conceived as distinguished from another substance, that is to say (Proposition 4), there cannot be two or more substances, but only one possessing the same nature or attribute. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 6.One substance cannot be produced by another substance.
DEMONSTRATION. There cannot in nature be two substances of the same attribute (Proposition 5), that is to say (Proposition 2), two which have anything in common with one another. And therefore (Proposition 3) one [substance] cannot be the cause of the other, that is to say, one [substance] cannot be produced by the other [substance]. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 7. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist.
DEMONSTRATION. There is nothing by which substance can be produced (Proposition 6). It will therefore be the cause of itself, that is to say (Definition 1), its essence necessarily involves existence, or in other words it pertains to its nature to exist. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.
DEMONSTRATION. Substance which has only one attribute cannot exist except as one substance (Proposition 6), and to the nature of this one substance it pertains to exist (Proposition 7). It must therefore from its nature exist as finite or infinite. But it cannot exist as finite substance, for (Definition 2) it must (if finite) be limited by another substance of the same nature, which also must necessarily exist (Proposition 7), and therefore would be two substances of the same attribute, which is absurd (Proposition 5). It exists therefore as infinite substance. Q.E.D.

Scholium 1. Since finiteness is in truth partly negation, and infinitude absolute affirmation of existence of some kind, it follows from Proposition 7 alone that all substance must be infinite.

Scholium 2. I fully expect that those who judge things confusedly, and who have not been accustomed to cognise things through their first causes, will find it difficult to comprehend the demonstration of the 7th Proposition, since they do not distinguish between the modifications of substances and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced.
Hence it comes to pass that they erroneously ascribe to substances a beginning like that which they see belongs to natural things; for those who are ignorant of the true causes of things confound every thing, and without any mental repugnance represent trees speaking like men, or imagine that men are made out of stones as well as begotten from seed, and that all forms can be changed one into the other. So also those who confound human nature with the divine, readily attribute to God human affects, especially so long as they are ignorant of the manner in which affects are produced in the mind. But if men would attend to the nature of substance, they could not entertain a single doubt of the truth of Proposition 7; indeed this proposition would be considered by all to be axiomatic, and reckoned among common notions.
For by “substance” would be understood that which is in itself and is conceived through itself, or, in other words, that, the knowledge of which does not need the knowledge of another thing.
But by “modifications” would be understood those things which are in another thing – those things, the conception of which is formed from the conception of the thing in which they are. Hence we can have true ideas of non-existent modifications, since although they may not actually exist outside the intellect, their essence nevertheless is so comprehended in something else, that they may be conceived through it.
But the truth of substances is not outside the intellect unless in the substances themselves, because they are conceived through themselves.
If any one, therefore, were to say that he possessed a clear and distinct, that is to say, a true idea of substance, and that he nevertheless doubted whether such a substance exists, he would forsooth be in the same position as if he were to say that he had a true idea and nevertheless doubted whether or not it was false (as is evident to any one who pays a little attention).
Similarly, if any one were to affirm that substance is created, he would affirm at the same time that a false idea had become true, and this is a greater absurdity than can be conceived.
It is therefore necessary to admit that, the existence of substance, like its essence, is an eternal truth.
Hence a demonstration (which I have thought worth while to append) by a different method is possible, showing that there are not to substances possessing the same nature.
But in order to prove this methodically it is to be noted: 1. That the true definition of any one thing neither involves nor expresses anything except the nature of the thing defined. From which it follows, 2. That a definition does not involve or express any certain number of individuals, since it expresses nothing but the nature of the thing defined. For example, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing but the simple nature of a triangle, and not any certain number of triangles. 3. It is to be observed that of every existing thing there is some certain cause by reason of which it exists. 4. Finally, it is to be observed that this cause, by reason of which a thing exists, must either be contained in the nature itself and definition of the existing thing (simply because it pertains to the nature of the thing to exist), or it must exist outside the thing.
This being granted, it follows that if a certain number of individuals exist in nature, there must necessarily be a cause why those individuals, and neither more nor fewer, exist.
If, for example, there are twenty men in existence (whom, for the sake of greater clearness, I suppose existing at the same time, and that no others existed before them), it will not be sufficient, in order that we may give a reason why twenty men exist, to give a cause for human nature generally; but it will be necessary, in addition, to give a reason why neither more nor fewer than twenty exist, since, as we have already observed, under the third head, there must necessarily be a cause why each exists.
But this cause (as we have shown under the second and third heads) cannot be contained in human nature itself, since the true definition of a man does not involve the number twenty, and therefore (by the fourth head) the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause of why each exists, must necessarily lie outside each one; and therefore we must conclude generally that whenever it is possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence.
Since now it pertains to the nature of substance to exist (as we have shown in this Scholium), its definition must involve necessary existence, and consequently from its definition alone its existence must be concluded.
But from its definition (as we have already shown under the second and third heads) the existence of more substances than one cannot be deduced.
It follows, therefore, from this definition necessarily that there cannot be two substances possessing the same nature.

PROPOSITION 9. The more reality or being a thing possesses, the more attributes belong to it.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definition 4. [For as attributes constitute a thing’s essence to the intellect, the more “essence” a thing has, a corresponding number of attributes is perceived by the intellect.]

PROPOSITION 10. Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.
DEMONSTRATION. For an attribute is that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence (Definition 4), and therefore (Definition 3) it must be conceived through itself. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 11. God, or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
DEMONSTRATION. If this be denied, conceive, if it is possible that God does not exist. Then it follows (Axiom 7) that His essence does not involve existence. But this (Proposition 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. For the existence or non-existence of everything there must be a reason or cause. For example, if a triangle exists, there must be a reason or cause why it exists; and if it does not exist, there must be a reason or cause which hinders its existence or which negates it.
But this reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing or lie outside it. For example, the nature of the thing itself shows the reason why a square circle does not exist, the reason being that a square circle involves a contradiction. And the reason, on the other hand, why substance involves existence (see Proposition 7).
But the reason why a circle or triangle exists or does not exist is not drawn from their nature, but from the order of corporeal nature generally; for from that it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that is impossible for it to exist. But this is self evident.
Therefore it follows that if there be no cause nor reason which hinders a thing from existing, it exists necessarily. If, therefore, there be no reason nor cause which hinders God from existence, or which negates His existence, we must conclude absolutely that He exists.
But if there be such a reason or cause, it must be either be in the nature itself of God or must lie outside it, that is to say, in another substance of another nature. For if the reason lay in a substance of the same nature, the existence of God would by this very fact admitted.
But substance possessing another nature could have nothing in common with God (Proposition 2), and therefore could not give Him existence nor negate it.
Since, therefore, the reason or cause which could negate the divine existence cannot be outside the divine nature, it will necessarily, supposing that the divine nature does not exist, be in His Nature itself, which would therefore involve a contradiction.
But to affirm this of the Being absolutely infinite and consummately perfect is absurd. Therefore neither in God nor outside God is there any cause or reason which can negate His existence, and therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. Inability to exist is impotence, and, on the other hand, ability to exist is power, as is self-evident. If, therefore, there is nothing which necessarily exists excepting things finite, it follows that things finite are more powerful than the absolutely infinite Being, and this (as is self evident) is absurd; therefore either nothing exists or Being absolutely infinite also necessarily exists.
But we ourselves exist, either in ourselves or in something else which necessarily exists (Axiom 1 & Proposition 7). Therefore the Being absolutely infinite, that is to say (Definition 6), God, necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Scholium. In this last demonstration I wished to prove the existence of God a posteriori, in order that the demonstration be the more easily understood, and not because the existence of God does not follow a priori from the same grounds.
For since ability to exist is power, it follows that the more reality belongs to the nature of anything, the greater is the power for existence it derives from itself; and it also follows, therefore, that the Being absolutely infinite, or God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and that He therefore necessarily exists.
Many persons, nevertheless, will perhaps not be able easily to see the force of this demonstration, because they have been accustomed to contemplate those things alone which flow from external causes, and they see also that those things which are quickly produced from these causes, that is to say, which easily exist, easily perish, whilst, on the other hand, they adjudge those things to be more difficult to produce, that is to say, not so easy to bring into existence, to which they conceive more properties pertain.
In order that these prejudices may be removed, I do not need here to show in what respect this saying, “What is quickly made perishes,” is true, nor to inquire whether, looking at the whole of nature, all things are or are not equally easy.
But this only it will be sufficient for me to observe, that I do not speak of things which are produced by external causes, but that I speak of substances alone which (Proposition 6) can be produced by no external cause.
For whatever perfection or reality those things may have which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or of few, they owe it all to the virtue of an external cause alone and not from their own.
On the other hand, whatever perfection substance has is due to no external cause.
Therefore its existence must follow from its nature alone, and is therefore nothing else than its essence.
Perfection consequently does not prevent the existence of a thing, but establishes it; imperfection, on the other hand, prevents existence, and so of no existence can we be more sure than of the existence of the Being absolutely infinite or perfect, that is to say, God.
For since His essence shuts out all imperfection and involves absolute perfection, for this very reason all cause of doubt concerning His existence is taken away, and the highest certainty concerning it is given, – a truth which I trust will be evident to any one who bestows only moderate attention.

  • 180 Replies
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

Yet his definition of God is not Anti-Catholic.
In that case, the catholic definition of God is pantheistic and basically an overwhelming exception.

So?
Locke's premise is therefore obviously false.

[...] we know that only intelligence can accomplish intelligence.
No, you just assumed that without providing any grounds for the assumption.

If you do not acknowledge the existence of man's immaterial form, which I call the soul, you must at least acknowledge the immaterial form of man by which a man can be distinguished from a corpse -- you must recognize the principles of life, reason, etc. These principles necessarily must be immaterial, or no such thing as a corpse would exist were these principles sprung from the material.
1 These aren't principles; they're the attributes of an aggregate of particles which isn't permanently stable under normal conditions. They are immaterial only in the sense that they aren't actual things.
2 By your reasoning, we would have to assume that turning on a light bulb would be impossible without spiritual intervention, because an immaterial principle of luminosity must manifest itself inside the bulb in order to produce the light.

Since an attribute of the universe is the physical dimension, and intelligent subsistence takes place in that dimension, intelligence necessarily created the universe.
Except that in reality it didn't, because (a la Darth Vader) that intelligence is necessarily fictional.

[...] something new must have been spontaneously generated to be something more than just the some of its parts.
Another fine example of begging the question. What you're arguing here is just "nothing can be more than the sum of its parts because nothing can be more than the sum of its parts".

Well, the essence of a thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.
That specifically applies only to eternal existence. Trying to apply it to everything just leads to the conclusion that nothing in the universe ever changes, which is demonstrably false (unless you're willing to argue temporal existence monism, but that destroys your " proof" entirely).

Life is what distinguishes a body from a corpse -- Life is the principle of life.
One problem: Your definition is meaningless and recursive. It doesn't tell us anything we didn't know about life.

Yet the same matter exists in both a corpse and a body, except in a different form. Simply put, the soul is man's form, using the Aristotlean sense of the word. A corpse does not have the form of man, but of a corpse.
So even you agree that a soul is a property of matter, and not an actual thing.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Moegreche


He does, in fact, deny that god does (or even can) intervene. Everything that happens, happens of necessity. Not only is intervention not required, but it would not be possible in his view. Again, here is the relevant quote from the same article

Yet God is Nature.

@Hahiha


The problem I have here is that you base your claims on the assumption that something like a soul exists. I understand why, because it is your deeply held belief; and I can't say anything against that. But you should at least be able to understand that your claims are structured on pre-established, unverified premises.

I am not making a claim by calling consciousness or the principle of life the soul, rather, I am naming them the "soul." For you, your "soul" is your body, you believe that the principle of life is the body.

It is just a term I use to signify consciousness in general, or, life.

On a side note, are you a materialist?

Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Duke

Yet God is Nature.

If Superman is Clark Kent then, by the symmetry of identity, Clark Kent is Superman. Thus if God is nature, then nature is God. This is precisely the point I was trying to argue for--that Spinoza's notion of god (if he endorses a god) is a kind of pantheistic god, where everything in the universe is identical to God. And my point here, again, was that this is at odds with the traditional Judeo-Christian notion of God, where God is an intelligent agent who intervenes on our behalf. And really, the only reason for me bringing up this point was to argue for leaving Spinoza out of the discussion as he's not going to do any work for you here.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

@Ntech

Yet God is Nature.
Then God is not intelligent, benevolent, or deliberate.

For you, your "soul" is your body, you believe that the principle of life is the body.
Exactly where did he say anything like that?

It is just a term I use to signify consciousness in general, or, life.
Then your insistence that it can't arise from material things is entirely unfounded.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Regent

Yet God is Nature.

"Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god and instead characterizes a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity."

As far as I know, the Christian belief is that God created nature. He Himself has always existed, and cannot have created Himself. Or have I fundamentally misunderstood Christianity?

I am not making a claim by calling consciousness or the principle of life the soul, rather, I am naming them the "soul."

What I meant is that you assume the existence of a soul (soul in the spiritual sense, judging by all our previous discussions), and that you base your claims on that assumptions.

On a side note, are you a materialist?

I usually use the term naturalist.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Moegreche


Thus if God is nature, then nature is God.

Yes, to a certain degree. But you're right, Spinoza's argument would be harder to argue for than Locke's so for the moment I'll let that alone.

@FishPreferred


Then God is not intelligent, benevolent, or deliberate.

By Nature is meant existence as a attribute, and of itself, not those that possess it.


Exactly where did he say anything like that?

He believes that man has no soul, thus, I assume that the principle of life in his mind is material, thus, the body.


Then your insistence that it can't arise from material things is entirely unfounded.

My point is that consciousness isn't material because it is not a material organ or organs - e.g. you cannot squish consciousness, touch consciousness, etc.

Consciousness is the immaterial thing which I call the principle of life, independent of the body, and when in conjunction with the body animates it. Consciousness (the principle of life) is what distinguishes a body from a corpse. It is a form, a form of matter. And of course, forms are immaterial.

For by form is meant not the quiddity of a thing, nor its essence, nor its matter, but those in relation to one another. Every matter has a form -- e.g., these atoms in the form of a table, these atoms in the form of a hand, etc.

And this form is necessarily immaterial.

@HahiHa


As far as I know, the Christian belief is that God created nature. He Himself has always existed, and cannot have created Himself. Or have I fundamentally misunderstood Christianity?

We believe that God Is Existence, Existence is God, not all that exists is God, but God is the attribute/property of existence. We believe that He maintains everything in existence.

So, I do not exist, but I am in motion in Him, who sustains me.


What I meant is that you assume the existence of a soul (soul in the spiritual sense, judging by all our previous discussions), and that you base your claims on that assumptions.

I do not assume the existence of the soul, but call that which distinguishes a body from a corpse "soul."


I usually use the term naturalist.

Thanks. What do you think about these arguments?

http://www.telospress.com/the-critique-of-philosophical-naturalism/

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Regent

@Ntech

God cannot be existence, as He created existence; and something that has always been cannot be created. God cannot be an attribute/property, as He is an agent/being. That is the main point where the Judeo-Christian God differs from the pantheist 'God': to pantheists, nature is divine, but there is no independent being. Your God, on the other hand, is a being that transcends nature. He surely is omnipresent, but you cannot equal Him to His own creation.

Consciousness is the immaterial thing which I call the principle of life, independent of the body, and when in conjunction with the body animates it.

You just gave the standard definition of a soul: an immaterial essence which animates the body, yet is independent of it. Therefore you clearly do assume the existence of the soul -- which is normal: you're a Christian, and Christians believe in the existence of the soul. Any claim to the contrary makes no sense.

This is where we differ, as I do not believe in a consciousness that is independent of the body; rather, to me consciousness arises as a result of our neurological activity. Once the body dies, our consciousness stops as there is no more neurological activity to sustain it.

Thanks. What do you think about these arguments?
http://www.telospress.com/the-critique-of-philosophical-naturalism/

Have you read and understood that article?

If you did, can you please summarize the arguments in a more colloquial way, so that I may reply appropriately? As you know, I haven't studied philosophy, and can't do a lot with such technical terminologies.
Ntech
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Ntech
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Shepherd

@Hahiha


God cannot be existence, as He created existence; and something that has always been cannot be created.

God is existence, existence always Is.


God cannot be an attribute/property, as He is an agent/being.

I have been saying &quotroperty" loosely, my mistake.

What I meant by &quotroperty" is that everything that God keeps in existence is said to "exist," in that sense of "existence," existence is a property; God remains a being.


You just gave the standard definition of a soul: an immaterial essence which animates the body, yet is independent of it. Therefore you clearly do assume the existence of the soul -- which is normal: you're a Christian, and Christians believe in the existence of the soul. Any claim to the contrary makes no sense.

You misunderstand me, I assign the word "soul" to the concept of life. We have different conceptions of what life is and how it originates, but I merely call it "soul," an idea is immaterial.


This is where we differ, as I do not believe in a consciousness that is independent of the body; rather, to me consciousness arises as a result of our neurological activity. Once the body dies, our consciousness stops as there is no more neurological activity to sustain it.

We misunderstand each other a little bit, I believe.

We could apply "form" to the body in which consciousness arises as a result of neurological activity -- to you, neurological activity is the matter of life, which is its form.


Have you read and understood that article?

I skimmed it, and it seemed wise; besides, it helped further my point. I too have to look up a few terms, as I haven't had any formal philosophical education, and here's what I gather:

1) The first criticism lies in the circularity of its methodology, “a game of ring-around-the-rosie in which the scientific method is constantly applied to itself”

2) Though the scientific method is celebrated for its singular potency in unlocking the secrets of Nature, a philosophical orientation which weds itself to the scientific method effectively loses the epistemic means by which to criticize the same said method. That is, naturalism cannot prove the scientific method (which it relies on) because it relies on itself as proof, neither can it disprove itself, for it cannot use itself to disprove itself.

3) Naturalism binds itself to the science of that which it has not -- and cannot -- define: reality. Naturalism is in short circular, because it relies upon the science of what it consists of.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@Ntech

I'll follow you and Moe and leave the discussion that spawned from Spinoza alone. It looks like we're talking at cross-purposes.

---

Concerning the issue of the soul, we disagree on more than mere terminology. First, please note that life and consciousness are not the same processes. An organism that is conscious is necessarily alive, but an organism that is alive is not necessarily conscious.
Second, consciousness is a biological phenomenon, a result of the way our neurons interact. As such consciousness is not itself an organ, but it is a function/phenomenon supported by an organ (our brain). This is perfectly compatible with a naturalistic world view; after all, energy is a physical phenomenon, too, and yet it is not tangible. So is information. Or emergent phenomena.

A 'life essence' that is independent of the body, as you posit it, is completely at odds with such a view.

I skimmed it, and it seemed wise; besides, it helped further my point. I too have to look up a few terms, as I haven't had any formal philosophical education, and here's what I gather:

I mean, you did just copy and paste most of that... I can read... but whatever.

What I think this text addresses is a critique of methodological naturalism as a philosophy of science. I cannot judge if that critique is justified or not, but that is irrelevant. If I am correct, then this text doesn't concern me directly. I'm not a philosopher, in the same sense that most religious people are not theologians. I merely assume a naturalistic world view, meaning I believe that everything follows natural/physical laws, that nothing supernatural exists, and that there is no grand plan for existence. That's all.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Duke

By Nature is meant existence as a attribute, and of itself, not those that possess it.
No, in the context of pantheism it means the totality of everything; the universe and all things in it.

Consciousness is the immaterial thing which I call the principle of life, independent of the body, and when in conjunction with the body animates it. Consciousness (the principle of life) is what distinguishes a body from a corpse. It is a form, a form of matter. And of course, forms are immaterial.
Consciousness is not independent of the body; it exists only where there is a system with sensation. You don't have consciousnesses lying around inside rocks or open space, because those are not conscious things. The fact that it isn't a physical substance is irrelevant, so your insistence that it can't arise from material things is still entirely unfounded.

We believe that God Is Existence, Existence is God, not all that exists is God, but God is the attribute/property of existence.
Then your belief directly conflicts with Spinoza's argument.

Thanks. What do you think about these arguments?
"The first criticism lies in the circularity of its methodology, “a game of ring-around-the-rosie in which the scientific method is constantly applied to itself”"
This demonstrates a lack of understanding about what the scientific method is. It's a procedure that's specifically for examining collected observations; there is no way to apply that procedure to any procedure.

"Scientific method does not interpret; only those who use it do. Yet socially speaking the interpretation is as important as the method itself”"
Well, science isn't about whatever happens to be deemed socially important. This is like criticizing economic theory for giving no interpretation of classical literature.

"The sociohistorical context in which interpretation takes place is simply ignored by the naturalist “theory of society where everything will be improved by education in scientific method”"
No, because there is no naturalist theory like that. Szrot and Riepe both appear to be confusing naturalism with scientism.

"Naturalism amounts to cultural myopia, a narrowing of epistemic vision; the imposition of a priori limitations on what can be known, what should be investigated, and what philosophers ought to do."
No, that's exactly what it isn't. Naturalism demands sensical answers. The alternative is to give up on understanding and just say "because magic".

"[...] for naturalism “has failed to given an account of the nature of reality, but instead has said ‘let science, the Almighty New God, do it.’ Science of course cannot do it since this is the job of philosophy” (85). Naturalism explicitly rejects the onto-epistemic potentiality of the dialectic in favor of scientific actuality, adopting the scientific standpoint(lessness?) of studying what is at the expense of what could be."
No, that's all just drivel. A large part of science involves explanatory models, which are all about what could be.

"In drawing a sharp line between fact and value, and then placing philosophy firmly on the side of fact, what then is left for the naturalist philosopher to do except to stand on the sidelines, a cheerleader to the scientists, having rejected the bulwark of fruitful philosophical inquiry and its centuries of accumulated history upon which rests the knowledge of the Western world?"
An obvious and very poor appeal to consequences, straddled with an appeal to tradition. Scientists and philosophers are not mutually exclusive, nor would that be a fault of naturalism.

"Central to the philosophical approach of the ancients were questions such as “What constitutes the Good Life?” and “What ought we to do?” Here, what pronouncements can naturalism provide?"
Indeed. And what pronouncements can anti-realism provide regarding questions of aesthetics? What has dualism to say about questions of cultural relativism, or moral nihilism about platonic idealism? Surely these omissions could only be due to some tragic flaw inherent in these branches of philosophical inquiry. It's the only possible explanation.
Ntech
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@Hahiha


First, please note that life and consciousness are not the same processes. An organism that is conscious is necessarily alive, but an organism that is alive is not necessarily conscious.

Agreed.


Second, consciousness is a biological phenomenon, a result of the way our neurons interact. As such consciousness is not itself an organ, but it is a function/phenomenon supported by an organ (our brain). This is perfectly compatible with a naturalistic world view; after all, energy is a physical phenomenon, too, and yet it is not tangible. So is information. Or emergent phenomena.

Ok, here's where we differ. But to center this argument, let's go back to Locke. At which specific statement does your disagreement begin? I shall prove each one that you deem unfounded.

@FishPreferred


Consciousness is not independent of the body; it exists only where there is a system with sensation. You don't have consciousnesses lying around inside rocks or open space, because those are not conscious things. The fact that it isn't a physical substance is irrelevant, so your insistence that it can't arise from material things is still entirely unfounded.

I shall concede the argument on Spinoza for the moment, and instead focus on Locke's argument.


This demonstrates a lack of understanding about what the scientific method is. It's a procedure that's specifically for examining collected observations; there is no way to apply that procedure to any procedure.

Still, the scientific method cannot be proven by itself. Thus, the naturalist philosophy so based upon the scientific method rests upon the presumption of the validity of the scientific method, and its valid application to the metaphysical.


No, that's exactly what it isn't. Naturalism demands sensical answers. The alternative is to give up on understanding and just say "because magic".

There is one Philosophy, the seeking of the Truth, in which many have different approaches known as &quothilosophies." All Philosophy makes sense, what is illogical is not philosophical. Philosophy does not rest upon for-granted premises, but proves each one. A &quothilosophy" which uses the term "because magic" is not philosophy, nor is it logical. On a side point, my claims are substantiated and never have I said &quotropter magicae."


Indeed. And what pronouncements can anti-realism provide regarding questions of aesthetics? What has dualism to say about questions of cultural relativism, or moral nihilism about platonic idealism? Surely these omissions could only be due to some tragic flaw inherent in these branches of philosophical inquiry. It's the only possible explanation.

Those are evident fundamental flaws in those respective philosophical methods. I profess neither of those.

But, my link to the critique of Naturalistic Philosophy was not part of my argument, just a piece I thought would be useful to my argument, not something that I wish to defend.

FishPreferred
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Duke

I shall concede the argument on Spinoza for the moment, and instead focus on Locke's argument.
Then do something to support your claim that consciousness can't arise from material things.

Still, the scientific method cannot be proven by itself.
You know what else can't be proven by itself? Chess, which is another system of rules and procedures that has nothing to do with proving things.

Thus, the naturalist philosophy so based upon the scientific method rests upon the presumption of the validity of the scientific method, and its valid application to the metaphysical.
No, it doesn't, because a) that isn't a presumption; it's a corollary of foundational logic, and b) science isn't about metaphysics.

All Philosophy makes sense, what is illogical is not philosophical.
Well, no. Trivialism, for example, is entirely illogical.

Philosophy does not rest upon for-granted premises, but proves each one.
Exactly the inverse. Each school of philosophy is founded on a certain set of unprovable premises that define it as separate from the others. That's why there are different schools of philosophy in the first place.

A &quothilosophy" which uses the term "because magic" is not philosophy, nor is it logical.
Correct. This is why "cultural myopia" is not a valid criticism of any philosophy.

Those are evident fundamental flaws in those respective philosophical methods.
Uh, no, they aren't. My point is that none of these schools of philosophy have anything to do with each other, so demanding that they all must give answers to each other's questions is absurd. We don't criticize our economics teachers for focussing on economic theory instead of literary criticism, do we?
HahiHa
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@Ntech

My disagreement begins with his very first sentence

I have already worded my main worry concerning his argument; namely, that it is based on many assumptions, one of them being that he equaled intuition with true knowledge, which I think is erroneous. But I shall provide a more detailed account of my thoughts about the text.

Article I
I consider this an introduction, therefore irrelevant.

Article II
He used Descartes' proposition that one's own existence must be real, to argue that something must exist. I agree so far.

Article III
He claimed that nothing cannot produce something, "therefore something must have existed from eternity."

I agree with the first part: 'nothing' cannot produce 'something'.

I disagree with the way he worded the second part. He used the word "eternity", presuming a linear timeline that has no beginning. But we don't know that. It sounds intuitive, but intuition is not knowledge, especially in quantum physics. Our intuitive assumption of time as a linear constant, based on our own experience, has already been compromised by Einstein's relativity, therefore intuition is no longer sufficient.

What Euclid has to do with anything, I don't know. Honestly, that part sounded more like intellectual onanism or sass, and is not essential to his argument.

Article IV
I entirely reject the sudden and unexplained transition he made from an existential 'being' to a personified 'Being'. It makes it possible for him to use the subjectively connoted term 'power', a sleight of hand which I disapprove.

I agree that all the mass and energy present in the universe today must have been present at its origin. I disagree that everything must always have existed. Information can arise and disappear. Interactions may create or destroy organisation. Emergent phenomena may happen.

Article V
Disagree entirely. Knowledge is acquired information, not a physical constant.

Again, followed by a load of sass and contempt for anyone that might even consider not agreeing with him. Idiot.

Article VI
"And therefore God". Bam. Out of the blue. His only proof is that "The thing is evident", which it isn't.

Again, followed by a contemptuous barrage trying to humiliate anyone who might disagree with him. Bloody fool.

Article VIII
Recapitulation, and more intellectual onanism.

Ntech
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@Doombreed


I disagree with the way he worded the second part. He used the word "eternity", presuming a linear timeline that has no beginning. But we don't know that. It sounds intuitive, but intuition is not knowledge, especially in quantum physics. Our intuitive assumption of time as a linear constant, based on our own experience, has already been compromised by Einstein's relativity, therefore intuition is no longer sufficient.

1. Time begun when the physical universe began. Time began when motion was created.

2. Time is a linear constant, relative to objects in motion. I quote Dr. Dennis D. McCarthy, Time Science Division, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington D.C. that time is "The dimension of the physical universe which orders the sequence of events at a given place; also, a designated instant in this sequence, such as the time of day, technically known as an epoch, or sometimes an instant... Time measurement consists of counting the repetitions of any recurring phenomenon (that is, MOTION)(emphasis mine) and possibly subdividing the interval between repetitions."


What Euclid has to do with anything, I don't know. Honestly, that part sounded more like intellectual onanism or sass, and is not essential to his argument.

He used Euclid as an example, because back in his day, every learned man knew Euclid's propositions. Thus, if one did not acknowledge that nothing cannot produce something, one did not have common sense coming from the knowledge of Euclid.

Once I have dismantled your first set of objections, we shall proceed to the other articles.

BTW, on a side note, regarding our previous conversation yesterday,

1. Moe agreed that in the Aristotlean sense, something cannot be the efficient cause of itself.
2. Something cannot be the efficient cause of itself for to do so it would have to be prior to itself (NOT in time, but in ORDER. Thus, Einsteinian Relativity does not apply. Even if it did, for something to exist prior to itself in a linear sequence is illogical, and impossible.)

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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You might have confused me with Doom a bit

Time is a linear constant,

Time is not a physical constant.

What I meant to say is that our intuitive experience-based comprehension of time as something that doesn't change has been challenged by Einstein's relativity, which shows that time can and does vary; see also the concept of space-time. Just one example where intuition tends to be wrong.

I do agree with the definition of time as the sequence of events, I have never said otherwise nor is it of any relevance to my issue with Locke's article. My issue (regarding article III) concerned his assumption of eternity, and you haven't disagreed with me on this.

edit PS:
1. Moe agreed that in the Aristotlean sense, something cannot be the efficient cause of itself.

Just be careful with Aristotle. His teachings in physics, for example, were very different to the Newtonian physics. Even his teachings in logic seem to have been criticized...
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