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The Cleveland Freethinkers Message Board The Cleveland Freethinkers Discussion Forum General Discussions › Good philosophy: A conversation with Mark T., et alia

Good philosophy: A conversation with Mark T., et alia

Mark R. O.
MROrel
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 112
Mark T.:

In a previous discussion I asked you what you
consider to be good philosophy, in your response
you gave me Rationalism and Naturalism. I have
included the definitions of each (see below)
has given by Wikipedia. First do you agree with
these definitions? If not, please clarify. We
can then begin our discussion.


Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know.[1] Followers of naturalism (naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the universe is a product of these laws and that the goal of science is to discover and publish them systematically.

Note that the term "naturalist" is also used to describe a person involved with natural history, the scientific study of (or education about) nature and the natural world (particularly fields of botany and zoology), as distinct from someone holding any specific philosophical position.

Philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass, energy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spirits, deities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no "purpose" in nature. This sense of naturalism is usually referred to as metaphysical naturalism or philosophical naturalism.[2]

Theists challenge the idea that nature is all there is. They believe in a god (or gods) that created nature. Natural laws have a place in their theology; they describe the effects of so-called secondary causes (see History section, below). But, natural laws do not define nor limit the deity(ies), who is the primary cause.

In the 20th century, W.V. Quine, George Santayana, and other philosophers argued that the success of naturalism in science meant that scientific methods should also be used in philosophy. Science and philosophy are said to form a continuum, according to this view.


Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" (Lacey 286). In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive" (Bourke 263). Different degrees of emphasis on this method or theory lead to a range of rationalist standpoints, from the moderate position "that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge" to the more extreme position that reason is "the unique path to knowledge" (Audi 771). Given a pre-modern understanding of reason, "rationalism" is identical to philosophy, the Socratic life of inquiry, or the zetetic (skeptical) clear interpretation of authority (open to the underlying or essential cause of things as they appear to our sense of certainty). In recent decades, Leo Strauss sought to revive Classical Political Rationalism as a discipline that understands the task of reasoning, not as foundational, but as maieutic. Rationalism should not be confused with rationality, nor with rationalization.

In politics, rationalism is a development of the Enlightenment that emphasizes a "politics of reason" centered upon support of the concepts of rational choice and utilitarianism; this has especially been promoted by liberalism.[1]


M. Orel
Sam S.
secuhumatheist
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 28
That's why I emphasized metaphysical naturalism or materialism. There is no place for religion in those concepts. And better yet for me methodological naturalism. The study that thing s are brought to light by mathematical or scientific method. If you go through Richard Carriers book "Sense and Goodness Without God." You will get a good idea of my worldview.
Mark R. O.
MROrel
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 114
That's why I emphasized metaphysical naturalism or materialism. There is no place for religion in those concepts. And better yet for me methodological naturalism. The study that thing s are brought to light by mathematical or scientific method. If you go through Richard Carriers book "Sense and Goodness Without God." You will get a good idea of my worldview.

Sam:

Just to be clear, by materialism you mean matter and energy.
As a methodological naturalist you believe that only the
physical world exists. Am I correct in this?


M. Orel
A former member
Post #: 222
That's why I emphasized metaphysical naturalism or materialism. There is no place for religion in those concepts. And better yet for me methodological naturalism. The study that thing s are brought to light by mathematical or scientific method. If you go through Richard Carriers book "Sense and Goodness Without God." You will get a good idea of my worldview.

Sam:

Just to be clear, by materialism you mean matter and energy.
As a methodological naturalist you believe that only the
physical world exists. Am I correct in this?


M. Orel
Sam can answer regarding what he meant by materialism, but methodological naturalism means that science can't be used to know about the supernatural and therefore it is fruitless to pursue supernatural explanations using science. Metaphysical/philosophical naturalism would be the belief that there is no supernatural.

http://rationalwiki.o...­
Sam S.
secuhumatheist
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 29
Yes Mark you are correct. I believe only matter and energy exist. Until evidence can prove otherwise, that's what I'm sticking with.

G is correct in the definition of methodological naturalism. However, I do believe the Abrahamic god can be tested by the scientific method. Because god is claimed to intervene in our lives we should be able to test what intervention has been done. And in fact we all know prayer tests have been done and proved unfruitful.
Mark R. O.
MROrel
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 115
Though I do believe that Wikipedia, in general
does a good job of disseminating information,
in this case there is a bias in the article Ginger
provided. Look at the foot notes, to its credit
Wikipedia acknowledges that the article is in need of
attention. You might want to look at Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy -
http://plato.stanford...­

Ontological Naturalism is basically a priori, i.e.
relies on deductive reasoning. Or from cause
to effect. methodological naturalism is basically
a posteriori, i.e. relies on inductive reasoning.
Or from effect to cause.

Methodological naturalists will of course allow that there are some differences between philosophy and science. But they will say that these are relatively superficial. In particular, they will argue that they are not differences in aims or methods, but simply a matter of philosophy and science focusing on different questions. For one thing, philosophical questions are often distinguished by their great generality. Where scientists think about viruses, electrons or stars, philosophers think about spatiotemporal continuants, universals and identity. Categories like these structure all our thinking about the natural world. A corollary is that alternative theories at this level are unlikely ever to be decided between by some simple experiment, which is no doubt one reason that philosophers do not normally seek out new empirical data. Even so, the naturalist will insist, such theories are still synthetic theories about the natural world, answerable in the last instance to the tribunal of empirical data.


Would anyone disagree with this?
A former member
Post #: 5
That is the description that I am familiar with. And it is not the school of thought that I subscribe to. Anything that cannot be understood or analyzed scientifically does not exist. Debating over purely philosophical concepts is fine, but it falls into the same category as debating over god, or the force. The second that you propose that something exists objectively, instead of being simply an idea, then it becomes a scientific proposition and thus testable, and consequentially able to be confirmed or disproved.

Michael

Rafiq M.
RafiqMahmood
Bogor, ID
Post #: 1,095
I wouldn't say that anything that cannot be understood or analysed scientifically does not exist because that depends on our ability to understand or analyse something at the time in question. Electricity, microwave radiation and many other things actually existed before we achieved the ability to understand or analyse them.

Some concepts that we may propose existing may indeed take some time before they can be confirmed or disproved. They may not be immediately testable.

What we can say is that nowadays the concept of god actually solves nothing but raises more questions and difficulties. It has effectively been superseded as a useful working supposition in the same way that the phlogiston theory or the humoral theory have been superseded. The question of whether the Abrahamic style god exists has become so trivial and unlikely that it is pointless being agnostic about it. Agnosticism as a philosophy of science still retains a great deal of merit and psychological usefulness.

And for that matter, being an atheist will, sooner or later, be as pointless as being an anti-phlogistonist.
A former member
Post #: 6
Just because we may at present lack the ability or the understanding necessary to investigate something scientifically does not change the fact that it either can or cannot be done. What I meant was that all things fall into 1 of those categories; either real and scientifically unraveled, or unreal and ultimately incomprehensible.

Michael

Mark R. O.
MROrel
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 117
Is there anyone out there who considers themselves
to be a rationalist, Mark T. are you a rationalist?

I would like to know what a rationalist thinks
rationalism is?


M. Orel
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