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Author Topic:   Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9973
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 31 of 262 (618716)
06-05-2011 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by GDR
06-05-2011 5:25 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
GDR writes:

Fine, but then doesn't that rule out the appreciation for anything philosophical?

As long as we are conscious creative imaginative thinking beings I don't see how anything will rule out the need or appreciation "for anything philosophical". Why do you think it does?

GDR writes:

Evidence, whether it be the study of human nature or whatever, is then essentially ruled out, therefore atheists are philosophically limited.

I don't see how the requirement that to qualify as a form of "evidence" something must lead to conclusions that are demonstrably superior to blind random chance precludes studying human nature. Nor can I see how that requirement can really be contended. Are you unhappy with that requirement?

What forms of "evidence" did you have in mind with regard to atheists being "philosophically limited"? Can you give an example?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 5:25 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 6:03 PM Straggler has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 61 days)
Posts: 2812
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 32 of 262 (618718)
06-05-2011 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by GDR
06-05-2011 5:25 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
GDR writes:

Evidence, whether it be the study of human nature or whatever, is then essentially ruled out, therefore atheists are philosophically limited.

What on earth makes you think that atheists would rule out evidence related to the study of human nature?

Someone who opts for a Faith in interpretation "x" of sect #18 of religion #287 would certainly be philosophically limited. Such a person would have ruled out more than 99.9 % of possible explanations of the universe.

But lack of belief is not philosophically limiting.

Atheism is not something that claims to explain the universe, existence and everything. An atheist could remain open to all possible explanations of the universe.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 5:25 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 3765
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 33 of 262 (618719)
06-05-2011 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Straggler
06-05-2011 5:41 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
Straggler writes:

As long as we are conscious creative imaginative thinking beings I don't see how anything will rule out the need or appreciation "for anything philosophical". Why do you think it does?

You said in post 28:

quote:
Unless a form of "evidence" can demonstrate that it leads to conclusions that are demonstrably superior to those derived from random chance how can it even qualify as "evidence" at all?

I agree that there is no evidence to show that any particular philosophy is "demonstrably superior” to random chance, in terms of what you accept as evidence.

Straggler writes:

I don't see how the requirement that to qualify as a form of "evidence" something must lead to conclusions that are demonstrably superior to blind random chance precludes studying human nature. Nor can I see how that requirement can really be contended. Are you unhappy with that requirement?

What forms of "evidence" did you have in mind with regard to atheists being "philosophically limited"? Can you give an example?

Let's try the fact that humans have the capacity to exhibit altruism. I see that capacity in our human nature as evidence of something that points beyond ourselves, or if you like, beyond our material world. I do not claim that I can show that my view is demonstrably superior to the materialistic view. It can't be worked out mathematically or put in a test tube.

It seems to me then that the atheist in rejecting the possibility that there is something more beyond the material world limits himself philosophically. An agnostic, deist or theist is open to the possibility of something more, or that which can at least be partly discerned philosophically.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Straggler, posted 06-05-2011 5:41 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Straggler, posted 06-05-2011 6:22 PM GDR has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9973
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 34 of 262 (618720)
06-05-2011 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Trae
06-04-2011 4:44 AM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
I think your reply is succinct and insightful and worth drawing to the attention of other partrcipants in this thread.

Trae writes:

The theist viewpoint seems to hold that atheists are more restrictive in that they reject one possible explanation theists do not. What theists fail to grasp is that the atheist view permits for an unknown number of possible answers replacing the theist’s single answer.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Trae, posted 06-04-2011 4:44 AM Trae has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9973
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 35 of 262 (618721)
06-05-2011 6:22 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by GDR
06-05-2011 6:03 PM


Ask Yourself This.....
Do you actually disagree that to qualify as a form of evidence something needs to be able to demonstrate that it leads to conclusions that are superior to blind random chance?

GDR writes:

Let's try the fact that humans have the capacity to exhibit altruism. I see that capacity in our human nature as evidence of something that points beyond ourselves, or if you like, beyond our material world.

OK. But why evidence for god/God/GOD rather than evidence in favour of (for example) mind control exacted by distant benevolent aliens trying to make us be nicer to each other? Seriously - Is one conclusion more evidenced that the other?

GDR writes:

It seems to me then that the atheist in rejecting the possibility that there is something more beyond the material world limits himself philosophically. An agnostic, deist or theist is open to the possibility of something more, or that which can at least be partly discerned philosophically.

As has been pointed out by others - It is the exact opposite!!!!

It is you that ignores all of the possible causes and focuses exclusively on the subjectively preferred one of GOD. Meanwhile atheists see all such baseless potential answers as philosophically possible whilst giving significant weighting to those which have reliable evidence in their favour.

Ask yourself this - Whatever it is that you think is indicative of the existence of GOD - What else could conceivably also account for that and are these alternatives any more or less evidenced than the theistic answer?

Ask yourself that and you might get an insight into where it is we are coming from here.............


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 6:03 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 7:41 PM Straggler has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 10858
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 36 of 262 (618722)
06-05-2011 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by GDR
06-05-2011 5:19 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
quote:

I won't try and pretend I'm not out of my depth here, but it seems to me that if we live in an entirely material world then we are all just a collection of atoms and everything is relative and thus philosophy is meaningless.

Obviously you are philosophically very limited yourself. You are unable to understand that the origin of a word does not dictate it's subsequent use for ever more. And you certainly have no understanding of materialism as a philosophical position. I doubt if you could even provide a sound explanation of your position if you tried.

quote:

That's a circular argument. It is understood that non-empirical evidence cannot be produced for investigation.

Of course I am not literally demanding that the experiences of whatever is alleged to be "evidence" be literally piped into the minds of the others present. But at least we should have a description of the evidence and an explanation of why it should be considered evidence. And as I remember it, that never occurred.

quote:

You can't have it both ways, but it shows the point I was trying to make. Atheists or materialists don't accept as evidence that which can't be produced through material means, therefore they limit themselves philosophically.

Of course the mere claim to have "non-empirical" evidence should not simply be accepted. So your "point" fails.

So let me make a philosophical point. If neither this alleged evidence nor the connection between it and the assertion it is alleged to support can be adequately explained how can it possible be the case that the claim to have "non-empirical evidence" is actually true ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 5:19 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 7:53 PM PaulK has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3765
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 37 of 262 (618725)
06-05-2011 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Straggler
06-05-2011 6:22 PM


Re: Ask Yourself This.....
Straggler writes:

OK. But why evidence for god/God/GOD rather than evidence in favour of (for example) mind control exacted by distant benevolent aliens trying to make us be nicer to each other? Seriously - Is one conclusion more evidenced that the other?

No, and I'm not claiming that. I'm not arguing far any particular theological answer. It's a discussion of whether an atheist is philosophically limited compared to everyone else including agnostics.

You liked this quote from Trae.

Trae writes:

The theist viewpoint seems to hold that atheists are more restrictive in that they reject one possible explanation theists do not. What theists fail to grasp is that the atheist view permits for an unknown number of possible answers replacing the theist’s single answer.

Once again this isn't just about theists but I want to respond to this. As a Theist I also accept an unknown number of possible answers. Yes, I believe God dun it, but I don't pretend to know how He dun it. I am only suggesting that if someone believes that the material world is all there is, they are limiting any answers to things like altruism to material causes. As a theist I can accept that there might be material causes but in the end I do believe that there is an intelligence behind it all.

Straggler writes:

Ask yourself this - Whatever it is that you think is indicative of the existence of GOD - What else could conceivably also account for that and are these alternatives any more or less evidenced than the theistic answer?

This is dragging things off track but there is always the basic question - why is there something instead of nothing. As far as I'm concerned it is more reasonable to believe that there is an intelligence behind all of this than to accept that everything exists because of random chance. The fact that anything exists is evidence of something and we can all make up our mind as to where that evidence points, but none of us can prove our conclusions.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Straggler, posted 06-05-2011 6:22 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Straggler, posted 06-06-2011 5:00 AM GDR has responded

    
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 2357
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 38 of 262 (618726)
06-05-2011 7:50 PM


Philosobabble
I see this whole thread as theists saying an atheist is “philosophically limited” by excluding non-evidenced speculations and religious wishful thinking in the same way they say an atheist is “morally limited” by not having faith in the ten commandments. The observation is self-serving to the theist and in actuality carries no weight.

The problem with philosophy is that as a discipline it has none. There are no rules. Anything that enters a human head can be built into a philosophical position. And since there are no rules, and thus no venues for determining strength and quality between them, even the most absurd philosophies stand shoulder-to-shoulder to all others.

Any practice that can be so structured as to promise absolutely anything and everything to everyone, in fact delivers nothing to anyone. Philosophy is such a practice.

A realistic analysis of the various philosophies (meaning a scientific treatment of the quest for knowledge) would eliminate all those that exist on un-evidenced speculations and emotional wishful thinking, those absurdities that are known to plague the human mind in the absence of critical analysis. Throwing out the obvious rubbish would surely make philosophy itself philosophically limited. Not a bad thing at all. It might then have some utility. But today that is pipe dream.

Other than for the intellectual entertainment and argumentative joy of it all, philosophy produces nothing of value for our species. Being “philosophically limited” in actuality has no meaning.


Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 7:56 PM AZPaul3 has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 3765
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 39 of 262 (618727)
06-05-2011 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by PaulK
06-05-2011 6:28 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
PaulK writes:

So let me make a philosophical point. If neither this alleged evidence nor the connection between it and the assertion it is alleged to support can be adequately explained how can it possible be the case that the claim to have "non-empirical evidence" is actually true ?

In trying to understand this I came to this site.

http://philosophy.uwaterloo.ca/MindDict/materialism.html

Here is an excerpt from it:

quote:
Materialists have always had the difficult task of explaining how their materialism can account for such psychological phenomena as thoughts, beliefs, desires, intentions, and sensory experiences—or at least for familiar talk of such phenomena. A materialist's options, put roughly, are these: (a) explain how ordinary talk of psychological phenomena ("folk psychology," for short) can, at least for the most part, be reduced to language that does not commit one to any kind of ontological dualism; (b) explain how folk psychology is misguided to such an extent that it will disappear altogether with the advance of science; (c) explain how folk psychology is perfectly compatible with materialism even if the kind of reduction sought by (a) is unavailable—in particular, explain either (i) how psychological phenomena actually depend on physical phenomena, owing to nonreductive "supervenience" relations of some sort, or at least (ii) how psychological phenomena are just special relational (for example, causal/functional) features of wholly physically composed systems (see Kim 1992).

So, to go back to my point the materialist is always limited to material answers, but for myself as a theist I'm am prepared to accept that there is something beyond the material where we might find answers.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2011 6:28 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2011 8:15 PM GDR has responded
 Message 43 by bluegenes, posted 06-05-2011 8:48 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3765
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 40 of 262 (618728)
06-05-2011 7:56 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by AZPaul3
06-05-2011 7:50 PM


Re: Philosobabble
AZPaul3 writes:

Other than for the intellectual entertainment and argumentative joy of it all, philosophy produces nothing of value for our species. Being “philosophically limited” in actuality has no meaning.

Tell that to Plato and Socrates. Have they added nothing?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by AZPaul3, posted 06-05-2011 7:50 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by AZPaul3, posted 06-05-2011 9:08 PM GDR has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 10858
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 41 of 262 (618729)
06-05-2011 8:15 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by GDR
06-05-2011 7:53 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
quote:

So, to go back to my point the materialist is always limited to material answers, but for myself as a theist I'm am prepared to accept that there is something beyond the material where we might find answers.

That isn't what you said before at all. It's a major retreat from your previous assertions. And all the quote says is that materialism doesn't accept mind as a separate substance.

Nor does it reveal any significant limitation for materialism. Materialists may certainly be open to alternatives. They just don't BELIEVE them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 7:53 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 8:22 PM PaulK has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 3765
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 42 of 262 (618730)
06-05-2011 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by PaulK
06-05-2011 8:15 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
PaulK writes:

That isn't what you said before at all. It's a major retreat from your previous assertions. And all the quote says is that materialism doesn't accept mind as a separate substance.

How is that.e is a quote from my post to Straggler which I think is consistent with what I posted to you, and maybe adds context.

GDR to Straggler writes:

Once again this isn't just about theists but I want to respond to this. As a Theist I also accept an unknown number of possible answers. Yes, I believe God dun it, but I don't pretend to know how He dun it. I am only suggesting that if someone believes that the material world is all there is, they are limiting any answers to things like altruism to material causes. As a theist I can accept that there might be material causes but in the end I do believe that there is an intelligence behind it all.

PaulK writes:

Nor does it reveal any significant limitation for materialism. Materialists may certainly be open to alternatives. They just don't BELIEVE them.

OK if you say so, but it seems to me that if it is your firm belief is that there is nothing beyond the physical then you will not accept the possibility of non-physical answers, as non-physical answers can never be physically proven.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2011 8:15 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2011 2:07 AM GDR has responded
 Message 49 by AZPaul3, posted 06-06-2011 2:28 AM GDR has responded

    
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 61 days)
Posts: 2812
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 43 of 262 (618732)
06-05-2011 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by GDR
06-05-2011 7:53 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
GDR writes:

So, to go back to my point the materialist is always limited to material answers

Atheists aren't, though. Perhaps, given that the thread asks "are atheists philosophically limited?", you should have looked up "atheism" rather than "materialism".

Then, you would have found out that atheists can have a wide variety of philosophies, and that there are non-theistic religions with non-material beliefs that they can follow.

They can also, so far as moral philosophy is concerned, follow versions of your religion. Christian Atheism!

You, as a Christian theist, cannot be a Jain or a Buddhist. But there are atheists in these religions.

Atheists can also be agnostic about anything they wish to be agnostic about, including gods, and most do have some level of agnosticism towards the existence of gods (they do not claim to know that there are no gods, just don't believe in any of them).

Atheism in its broadest sense, which encompasses anyone who lacks belief in gods, doesn't really mean anything more philosophically than what it says.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 7:53 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 9:09 PM bluegenes has responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 2357
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 44 of 262 (618733)
06-05-2011 9:08 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by GDR
06-05-2011 7:56 PM


Re: Philosobabble
Tell that to Plato and Socrates. Have they added nothing?

As mathematicians and academics they provided the first “science” in its nascent form.

What did we get from them philosophically?

Divine fatalism, Platonism, knowledge as recollection, divine inspiration. They helped set the un-critical, non-empirical foundation of philosophy that remains useless to us all to this day.

What do you say they gave us of any philosophical value?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 7:56 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by GDR, posted 06-05-2011 9:24 PM AZPaul3 has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 3765
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 45 of 262 (618734)
06-05-2011 9:09 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by bluegenes
06-05-2011 8:48 PM


Re: Are Atheists "Philosophically Limited"....?
bluegenes writes:

Atheists aren't, though. Perhaps, given that the thread asks "are atheists philosophically limited?", you should have looked up "atheism" rather than "materialism".

I have been working on the assumption that if someone was an atheist it would also mean that they would also be materialists. I might be wrong. It's happened before.

bluegenes writes:

Then, you would have found out that atheists can have a wide variety of philosophies, and that there are non-theistic religions with non-material beliefs that they can follow.

They can also, so far as moral philosophy is concerned, follow versions of your religion. Christian Atheism!
You, as a Christian theist, cannot be a Jain or a Buddhist. But there are atheists in these religions.

I know this sounds like the "true Scotsman" thing, but are they really atheists? All of these cases have a social or philosophical basis. What would be their explanation for the basis of their belief? I would think that an atheist would be committed to the belief that there is no truth that is external to the physical world.

bluegenes writes:

You, as a Christian theist, cannot be a Jain or a Buddhist. But there are atheists in these religions.

In one sense yes, but on the other hand the moral underpinnings of Christianity and Buddhism are remarkably similar so on that basis I don't reject the teachings of Buddha. The big difference is really all about the person of Jesus Christ. From a philosophical point of view there doesn't have to be a great difference.

bluegenes writes:

Atheism in its broadest sense, which encompasses anyone who lacks belief in gods, doesn't really mean anything more philosophically than what it says.

My understanding is that would be someone who is agnostic. I understand that an atheist believes that there is no god or gods, and for that matter no ultimate truth.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by bluegenes, posted 06-05-2011 8:48 PM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by bluegenes, posted 06-06-2011 3:31 AM GDR has not yet responded

    
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