Are there arguments for materialism?

For intuitive and critical discussions, from spirituality to theological doctrines. Fair warning: because the subject matter is personal, moderation is strict.

Moderator: Dan~

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Thu Feb 17, 2022 9:09 pm

I love Horgan’s authenticity.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Fri Feb 18, 2022 1:30 pm

"… comprehending is better than understanding because comprehending you encircle it everything there is to know about self and world, about what's really going on. I think I am with you, that it's fundamentally beyond us to be sure, but I do think that on the basis of what we know, in terms of our logic, our values, you know: parsimony is better than inflationary hypothesis, and Occam's razor, and on the basis of the empirical evidence that we have accumulated thus far. On the basis of all this I think there are such things as the best hypothesis and worse hypothesis, and the problem is that there is always behind any culture, any civilization, there is always the working hypothesis, and it is the working hypothesis that sets the tone for how people think and how people live. I mean, in the West we live in a society of rampant consumerism. I mean, we are so immersed in this consumerism that we lost the ability to be to be shocked about it, we've lost the ability to see how inconceivable this is. I mean, each one of us lives in a way that only Kings would have lived only 500 years ago or even 400 years ago, and why is that so? Because, you know, if the working hypothesis of a culture, that subliminal thing, that even if you say I don't agree with it, I'm a Christian and a dualist, you know underneath that layer of your mind that's telling you that, there is another layer and that layer, that's what you really believe in, is telling itself matter is all that exists, so the only game in town is to accumulate objects as fast as I can, as much as I can, because at the end of the day I’m dead and then nothing will matter anyway.
I mean, this is the operating system we are running on as a culture, even if not individually, and even the people who think that they don't bind to this story behave as if they did, because in a subliminal layer of mind, that's the operating system. That's the little demon running in there and I think that's very dangerous, because our current working hypothesis for Western civilization, which now dominates the entire world - you go to China and you look at how they live, their God is money - if that's the value system of Western civilization running there, it has dominated the world. And what is underlying this value system of our Western civilization it is not the best hypothesis on the table, given logic, and given the empirical evidence, and I think that is tragic. Even though we cannot be sure, we know enough to know that our working hypotheses is not the best one. It's a dead end and it has percolated through our entire culture, through an entire way of life, through the economy, through politics, it's everywhere. It's like a virus and I think it's very important that we try to at least reduce the extent of the infection.
I don't think this is the reason to choose idealism. I think the reason to choose idealism is the logic of it the empirical evidence, but if it is the best option, I think we only have to gain if we will replace mainstream physicalism with it."
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Sat Feb 19, 2022 7:55 pm

Bob wrote:"… comprehending is better than understanding because comprehending you encircle it everything there is to know about self and world, about what's really going on.
I think I am with you, that it's fundamentally beyond us to be sure, but I do think that on the basis of what we know, in terms of our logic, our values, you know: parsimony is better than inflationary hypothesis, and Occam's razor, and on the basis of the empirical evidence that we have accumulated thus far.
On the basis of all this I think there are such things as the best hypothesis and worse hypothesis, and the problem is that there is always behind any culture, any civilization, there is always the working hypothesis, and it is the working hypothesis that sets the tone for how people think and how people live.
I mean, in the West we live in a society of rampant consumerism.
I mean, we are so immersed in this consumerism that we lost the ability to be to be shocked about it, we've lost the ability to see how inconceivable this is.
I mean, each one of us lives in a way that only Kings would have lived only 500 years ago or even 400 years ago, and why is that so?
Because, you know, if the working hypothesis of a culture, that subliminal thing, that even if you say I don't agree with it, I'm a Christian and a dualist, you know underneath that layer of your mind that's telling you that, there is another layer and that layer, that's what you really believe in, is telling itself matter is all that exists, so the only game in town is to accumulate objects as fast as I can, as much as I can, because at the end of the day I’m dead and then nothing will matter anyway.
I mean, this is the operating system we are running on as a culture, even if not individually, and even the people who think that they don't bind to this story behave as if they did, because in a subliminal layer of mind, that's the operating system.
That's the little demon running in there and I think that's very dangerous, because our current working hypothesis for Western civilization, which now dominates the entire world - you go to China and you look at how they live, their God is money - if that's the value system of Western civilization running there, it has dominated the world.
And what is underlying this value system of our Western civilization it is not the best hypothesis on the table, given logic, and given the empirical evidence, and I think that is tragic.
Even though we cannot be sure, we know enough to know that our working hypotheses is not the best one.
It's a dead end and it has percolated through our entire culture, through an entire way of life, through the economy, through politics, it's everywhere. It's like a virus and I think it's very important that we try to at least reduce the extent of the infection.
I don't think this is the reason to choose idealism. I think the reason to choose idealism is the logic of it the empirical evidence, but if it is the best option, I think we only have to gain if we will replace mainstream physicalism with it."


Kastrup connects materialism as a human value with metaphysical materialism. What he calls "a working hypothesis" is what Charles Taylor calls a "cosmic imaginary"--a worldview resting on presuppositions that operate as the basis of the collective consciousness of our age. It is the dominant pre-philosophical worldview we were born into. Even when one entertains the propositions of metaphysical idealism there it is lurking in the margins of consciousness ready to be corroboratted by the world system in which we are enmeshed. It takes psychedelics to shock some out of it. Others will be mesmerized by Maya throughout the long dream they call life. For them the myth of rebirth holds out hope.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Sun Feb 20, 2022 8:57 am

felix dakat wrote:Kastrup connects materialism as a human value with metaphysical materialism. What he calls "a working hypothesis" is what Charles Taylor calls a "cosmic imaginary"--a worldview resting on presuppositions that operate as the basis of the collective consciousness of our age. It is the dominant pre-philosophical worldview we were born into. Even when one entertains the propositions of metaphysical idealism there it is lurking in the margins of consciousness ready to be corroboratted by the world system in which we are enmeshed. It takes psychedelics to shock some out of it. Others will be mesmerized by Maya throughout the long dream they call life. For them the myth of rebirth holds out hope.

I have read that cosmic imaginary first took shape as an inflection of prevailing Confucian and Daoist ways of understanding the natural world among monks and poets who pursued the Buddhist teachings in the mountains, however I’m sure that it began well before. Reading the book by David Graeber and David Wengrow, they make a convincing argument for the intelligence of pre-historical human beings and argue that the lack of written tradition from this time is no indication that these people were not civilised, but that much of their tradition will have been memorised, similar to indigenous people encountered from the 17th century onwards. This is similar to what the authors of “Hamlet’s Mill” inferred, showing how oral traditions have been passed down, possibly from pre-history, containing archetypes that turn up in modern culture. Hamlet is one such figure.

I think we are approaching a transitional time, mainly because, like Kastrup says, we’re in a dead end. People are destitute in many ways, and the materialist worldview is not holding up, rather it could cause a catastrophe, if the world continues. In a way, I see a reformation only possible in returning to a basic understanding, a religious expression in art, music and theatre, and a reawakening to the subtility of nature and existence. The huge importance of the competitive/cooperative nature of the natural world has to be rediscovered as the accepted foundation of existence and what I call a “schismatic individualism” needs to be overcome in favour of an “expressive individualism” with collectivist tendencies.

I found the chapter on “The science of life: a study on left hemisphere capture” in McGilchrist’s last book very enlightening, showing as he does, that we have been led astray by materialism to believe in the machine as an adequate metaphor, which estranges us from the natural world. The mystery of existence right down to the microcosmic level, with the intricacies of cellular interaction, and the lack of linear causation, but rather a fascinating concoction of everything with everything else, with an underlying in-form-ation guiding the reciprocal processes that form a multicellular organism, must send shivers down our spine, and fill us with awe. The evidence of a manifestation of intent is not just a reaction to the night sky and our environment, but also down to this microscopic dimension. Whether one deifies this intent or not is merely a question of metaphor.

I think that spiritual practice needs to extend beyond ordinary church practice to involve meditation, charitable work, pilgrimages, comparative studies, etc., which is something that we see in Europe, wherever a congregation has managed to keep its church. The widening of an ecumenical concept that acknowledges the efforts of each tradition to capture the essence of the mystery in its cultural environment is also necessary. Because of our materialist and fundamentalist interpretation of monotheism, I feel that it is the monotheistic traditions that need to move towards the Eastern traditions more than the other way around. The disenchantment of Europe was not only due to the Enlightenment, but Christianity had done its share of damage beforehand, translating any kind of pagan spirit into a devil. As Kastrup says, the spread of the value system of Western civilization couldn’t be avoided and has spread into countries where previously a non-materialist and collectivist mindset had prevailed. Its bankruptcy will presumably come about when we all realise that we are in a dead end.

In the end, the golden rule seems to be a common denominator upon which we can build, similar to the “maximal demand” of Taylor, as well as the universality of compassion and respect for ordinary human flourishing. Kastrup doesn’t believe in the Catholicism of his mother, but he still lays emphasis on the mental or spiritual components of experience and renounces the notion of material existence. For him, the mind or spirit as the most essential, permanent aspects of one’s being, and could serve as another foundation for the way ahead.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Sun Apr 24, 2022 10:13 pm

Somewhere we were discussing Schopenhauer’s alleged pessimism. I thought you might find it interesting to read Schopenhauer’s own thoughts on the distinction between optimism and pessimism.

In volume II of World as Will and Idea chapter XVII Man’s need of metaphysics, page 372, he discusses “the fundamental difference of all religions… in the question whether they are optimistic or pessimistic , that is, whether they present the existence of the world as justified in itself, and therefore praise and value it ,or regard it as something that can only be conceived as the consequence of our guilt, and therefore properly ought not to be, because they recognize that pain and death cannot lie in the eternal, original, and immutable order of things, in that which in every respect ought to be. The power by which Christianity was able to overcome first Judaism, and then the heathenism of Greece and Rome, lies solely in its pessimism, in the confession that our state is both exceedingly wretched and sinful, while Judaism and heathenism were optimistic. That truth, profoundly and painfully felt by all, penetrated, and bore in its train the need of redemption.”

It was in that mood of pessimism that modern existential philosophy was born. Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche and the twentieth century existentialist all had their renditions on existential alienation, estrangement, and dehumanization. Although he became deeply critical of Schopenhauer accusing him of nihilism, Schopenhauer’s influence on Nietzsche was greater than any other philosopher. Schopenhauer claimed to be truer to the transcendental idealism of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason of 1781 than Kant was himself in subsequent editions. Schopenhauer published the first edition of his masterpiece The World as Will and Idea when he was 30 and never swerved from it over his lifetime. He died on 9/21/1860 at the age of 72.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Mon Apr 25, 2022 8:17 am

felix dakat wrote:Somewhere we were discussing Schopenhauer’s alleged pessimism. I thought you might find it interesting to read Schopenhauer’s own thoughts on the distinction between optimism and pessimism.

In volume II of World as Will and Idea chapter XVII Man’s need of metaphysics, page 372, he discusses “the fundamental difference of all religions… in the question whether they are optimistic or pessimistic , that is, whether they present the existence of the world as justified in itself, and therefore praise and value it ,or regard it as something that can only be conceived as the consequence of our guilt, and therefore properly ought not to be, because they recognize that pain and death cannot lie in the eternal, original, and immutable order of things, in that which in every respect ought to be. The power by which Christianity was able to overcome first Judaism, and then the heathenism of Greece and Rome, lies solely in its pessimism, in the confession that our state is both exceedingly wretched and sinful, while Judaism and heathenism were optimistic. That truth, profoundly and painfully felt by all, penetrated, and bore in its train the need of redemption.”

I believe too, that in the Old Testament there is an attitude in which the world is presented as justified in itself. I do see that the expulsion from the garden is portrayed as a disturbance, which has consequences for man, but mainly in his new perception of the world. This also leads to the fratricide and ultimately to the flood, but since these representations are a mythical processing of the inner conflict in man, I do not recognize any representation of nature as not good. On the contrary, the world suffers from our discord because we are appointed as stewards. Nor do I discern in Jesus words, a change in this attitude, and rather see the call to take up the role as light in the world. The NT sees the crucifixion and resurrection as the necessary condition to do that. So, reason for optimism actually. So I don't agree with the idea that Scripture is to blame, but admittedly the Church has portrayed all of creation as decrepit and consequently wretched, just like humans in their inner conflict were.
It was in that mood of pessimism that modern existential philosophy was born. Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche and the twentieth century existentialist all had their renditions on existential alienation, estrangement, and dehumanization. Although he became deeply critical of Schopenhauer accusing him of nihilism, Schopenhauer’s influence on Nietzsche was greater than any other philosopher. Schopenhauer claimed to be truer to the transcendental idealism of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason of 1781 than Kant was himself in subsequent editions. Schopenhauer published the first edition of his masterpiece The World as Will and Idea when he was 30 and never swerved from it over his lifetime. He died on 9/21/1860 at the age of 72.

It is telling of the times that all revolutions somehow were pessimistic, leading up to the nineteenth century, as were all the religious wars. From what I have read from The World as Will and Idea, he didn’t follow that lead, like Kierkegaard, Marx and Nietzsche, but followed the idealism we have spoken about as a result of reading Kastrup.

It is telling that the church failed on the whole to inspire a change of awareness, in which Christians felt included in the resurrection of Christ and empowered to be the light of the world. There were some people who were in that way inspired, but too few. It could have been an optimistic and inspiring development.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Sculptor » Mon Apr 25, 2022 10:57 am

Bob wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Somewhere we were discussing Schopenhauer’s alleged pessimism. I thought you might find it interesting to read Schopenhauer’s own thoughts on the distinction between optimism and pessimism.

In volume II of World as Will and Idea chapter XVII Man’s need of metaphysics, page 372, he discusses “the fundamental difference of all religions… in the question whether they are optimistic or pessimistic , that is, whether they present the existence of the world as justified in itself, and therefore praise and value it ,or regard it as something that can only be conceived as the consequence of our guilt, and therefore properly ought not to be, because they recognize that pain and death cannot lie in the eternal, original, and immutable order of things, in that which in every respect ought to be. The power by which Christianity was able to overcome first Judaism, and then the heathenism of Greece and Rome, lies solely in its pessimism, in the confession that our state is both exceedingly wretched and sinful, while Judaism and heathenism were optimistic. That truth, profoundly and painfully felt by all, penetrated, and bore in its train the need of redemption.”

I believe too, that in the Old Testament there is an attitude in which the world is presented as justified in itself. I do see that the expulsion from the garden is portrayed as a disturbance, which has consequences for man, but mainly in his new perception of the world. This also leads to the fratricide and ultimately to the flood, but since these representations are a mythical processing of the inner conflict in man, I do not recognize any representation of nature as not good. On the contrary, the world suffers from our discord because we are appointed as stewards. Nor do I discern in Jesus words, a change in this attitude, and rather see the call to take up the role as light in the world. The NT sees the crucifixion and resurrection as the necessary condition to do that. So, reason for optimism actually. So I don't agree with the idea that Scripture is to blame, but admittedly the Church has portrayed all of creation as decrepit and consequently wretched, just like humans in their inner conflict were.
It was in that mood of pessimism that modern existential philosophy was born. Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche and the twentieth century existentialist all had their renditions on existential alienation, estrangement, and dehumanization. Although he became deeply critical of Schopenhauer accusing him of nihilism, Schopenhauer’s influence on Nietzsche was greater than any other philosopher. Schopenhauer claimed to be truer to the transcendental idealism of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason of 1781 than Kant was himself in subsequent editions. Schopenhauer published the first edition of his masterpiece The World as Will and Idea when he was 30 and never swerved from it over his lifetime. He died on 9/21/1860 at the age of 72.

It is telling of the times that all revolutions somehow were pessimistic, leading up to the nineteenth century, as were all the religious wars. From what I have read from The World as Will and Idea, he didn’t follow that lead, like Kierkegaard, Marx and Nietzsche, but followed the idealism we have spoken about as a result of reading Kastrup.

It is telling that the church failed on the whole to inspire a change of awareness, in which Christians felt included in the resurrection of Christ and empowered to be the light of the world. There were some people who were in that way inspired, but too few. It could have been an optimistic and inspiring development.


Wow.
I was not expecting to se this nonsense in a thread about materialism.
Have you heard of the phrase " off topic"?
Ichthus77 loves himself
Sculptor
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Mon Apr 25, 2022 1:47 pm

Bob—

“Only to the brutes, who are without thought, does the world and existence appear as a matter of course; to man, on the contrary, it is a problem, of which even the most uneducated and narrow-minded becomes vividly conscious in certain brighter moments, but which enters more distinctly and more permanently into the consciousness of each one of us the clearer and more enlightened that consciousness is , and the more material for thought it has acquired through culture, which all ultimately rises, in minds that are naturally adapted for philosophizing to…that wonder which comprehends in its whole magnitude that problem which unceasingly occupies the nobler portion of mankind in every age and in every land, and gives it no rest.” (Schopenhauer, ibid, pages 373-374)


This comment, which in context refers to the monistic materialism of Spinoza, I present as clarification of Schopenhauer’s pessimistic metaphysical idealism for which his entire body of work makes a thorough and consistent case.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Mon Apr 25, 2022 5:50 pm

felix dakat wrote:Bob—

“Only to the brutes, who are without thought, does the world and existence appear as a matter of course; to man, on the contrary, it is a problem, of which even the most uneducated and narrow-minded becomes vividly conscious in certain brighter moments, but which enters more distinctly and more permanently into the consciousness of each one of us the clearer and more enlightened that consciousness is , and the more material for thought it has acquired through culture, which all ultimately rises, in minds that are naturally adapted for philosophizing to…that wonder which comprehends in its whole magnitude that problem which unceasingly occupies the nobler portion of mankind in every age and in every land, and gives it no rest.” (Schopenhauer, ibid, pages 373-374)


This comment, which in context refers to the monistic materialism of Spinoza, I present as clarification of Schopenhauer’s pessimistic metaphysical idealism for which his entire body of work makes a thorough and consistent case.

Hi Felix, I had to get a German version of the book, and browse that, because I had seen something that had stuck in my mind, which is (translated by me) …
The wisdom of nature still speaks from the calmness of the animal's gaze; because in them the will and the intellect have not yet separated far enough to be able to marvel at each other when they meet again …

Only after the inner being of nature (the will to life in its objectivation) has risen through the two realms of unconscious beings and then through the long and broad series of animals, spry and well-tempered, does it finally, at the entrance of reason, that is, in man, come to its senses for the first time: then it wonders about its own works and asks itself what it is itself. Its astonishment is all the more serious, however, because here for the first time it faces death with consciousness, and besides the finiteness of all existence, the futility of all striving more or less imposes itself upon it. With this contemplation and this astonishment, therefore, arises the need for metaphysics that is unique to man: he is therefore an animal metaphysicum.

I read in these words a certain melancholy, which he says is unique to the reasonable man, but quoting Goethe, also to the genius of the poet:

Goethe also says:
My poetic rapture was very small,
So long as I only encountered good
But it burnt with a bright flame
When I fled from threatening evil.
The tender poem, like the rainbow,
Is only drawn on a dark ground;
Hence the genius of the poet
Loves the element of melancholy.

Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Idea: With Supplements (S.1091). Random Shack. Kindle-Version.

Is melancholy an attribute of pessimism? On the other hand, he says:

Mohammedan mysticism has a very serene character, Christian mysticism a gloomy and melancholy character, while that of the Hindus, standing above both, in this respect also holds the mean.

But all in all, he was very unhappy with pessimistic teaching, so perhaps melancholy and pessimism were not synonym in his mind.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Mon Apr 25, 2022 9:45 pm

I think the basis for Schopenhauer’s pessimism is belief that life in the phenomenal, only apparently material world is suffering and belief in neither in God nor an afterlife. Wisdom to him is avoiding pain and suffering as much as possible. The Will which is the thing itself is an irrational life force of not a good God per se. The will is behind the illusory world of separate consciousness. But, at the end of the day when the long dream of life is over, he saw insufficient evidence for reabsorption into the will.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Tue Apr 26, 2022 1:48 pm

felix dakat wrote:I think the basis for Schopenhauer’s pessimism is belief that life in the phenomenal, only apparently material world is suffering and belief in neither in God nor an afterlife. Wisdom to him is avoiding pain and suffering as much as possible. The Will which is the thing itself is an irrational life force of not a good God per se. The will is behind the illusory world of separate consciousness. But, at the end of the day when the long dream of life is over, he saw insufficient evidence for reabsorption into the will.

Yes, that will probably be the cause of an attitude that does not hold a pronounced optimism. But can it be interpreted as pessimism, or would he call it realism?
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Tue Apr 26, 2022 3:26 pm

Bob wrote:
felix dakat wrote:I think the basis for Schopenhauer’s pessimism is belief that life in the phenomenal, only apparently material world is Not suffering and belief in neither in God nor an afterlife. Wisdom to him is avoiding pain and suffering as much as possible. The Will which is the thing itself is an irrational life force of not a good God per se. The will is behind the illusory world of separate consciousness. But, at the end of the day when the long dream of life is over, he saw insufficient evidence for reabsorption into the will.

Yes, that will probably be the cause of an attitude that does not hold a pronounced optimism. But can it be interpreted as pessimism, or would he call it realism?


The question seems to suggest the possibility that pessimism might be unreal. Optimism is commonly viewed as unrealistic as well. But realism as understood by most today is materialist. For them the ideal is a fiction. Schopenhauer affirmed the reality of the ethical ideal on metaphysical grounds in the second volume of The World as Will and Idea. Nevertheless “philosophy like the overture to Don Juan commences with a minor chord.”
https://youtu.be/jyjVCbTo5F0
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Wed Apr 27, 2022 9:37 am

"...on the question of evil, which has always been put to Teilhard [de Chardin]. Because of Teilhard's vision, which is borne of great optimism, he is often accused of being too optimistic and that there is no place in his worldview for suffering, sin, and failure of any kind. Even if one accepts evolution as a fact, the question of the purposefulness of evolution remains controversial for some. Does evolution really mean "progress" or only constant "change"? Teilhard answers to it: The innumerable attempts to become one step by step mean disorder and destruction in the different stages of the evolution. At the moment when life appears, pain is added, from the appearance of man, sin. Evil is thus the expression of a state of multiplicity that is still incompletely organized. Teilhard argues that with every progress there would also be failures and errors. The evil is a secondary effect of the cosmos in evolution.

The question why a good God allows evil, Teilhard can answer in the end just as little as theology otherwise. However, he points to two reactions of man: to fight avoidable suffering with all his might, to understand non-avoidable suffering as spiritual energy in the hope that it can be transformed. He also addresses the general human experience that defeats, and failures can be useful for further development. Lessons can be learned from mistakes. Teilhard knows, of course, that evolution is not a human idyll, but a cosmic drama. He justifies his optimism religiously: God as the driving force, rallying point and guarantor of evolution."
Adolf Haas, Teilhard de Chardin-Lexikon – Grundbegriffe, Erläuterungen, Texte, Freiburg 1971 (2 Bände)
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Wed Apr 27, 2022 3:01 pm

It seems that de Chardin sought to unite Darwinian evolution with Aquinas’ teleology. Some folks saw the emergence of the internet as the realization of the de Chardinian noosphere. Now that was optimistic!
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Wed May 04, 2022 2:50 am

https://youtu.be/tdlCv8SORu4

Consciousness All the Way Down? | Robert Wright & Bernardo Kastrup | The Wright Show

Among other things they discuss the compatibility of idealism with evolutionary theory.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Tue May 10, 2022 11:07 am

Prof. Richard Grego argues that, if we extrapolate the evolutionary trajectory of Western scientific and philosophical thought since the European Enlightenment, it becomes possible to discern that it is progressing towards a consciousness-only ontology convergent with Eastern thought. This is a very scholarly but accessible essay.
https://www.essentiafoundation.org/is-western-thought-marching-firmly-towards-eastern-inspired-idealism/reading/
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Tue May 10, 2022 11:10 am

Bernardo Kastrup does not endorse this interpretation or characterization of analytic idealism. Under the latter, all experiences—and, therefore, all seeming ‘objects’—are merely excitations of a universal field of subjectivity, just as ripples are excitations of water. As such, for the same reason that there is ultimately nothing to ripples but water, there is ultimately nothing to physical objects—and even seemingly individual subjects, such as you and me—but the field of subjectivity itself. The subject-object dualism is thus completely resolved under analytic idealism. Allusions to ‘substrates,’ under analytic idealism, are merely metaphorical, meant to aid understanding, but do not entail or imply the ultimate existence of anything but pure subjectivity.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Sculptor » Tue May 10, 2022 12:15 pm

Bob wrote:Bernardo Kastrup does not endorse this interpretation or characterization of analytic idealism. Under the latter, all experiences—and, therefore, all seeming ‘objects’—are merely excitations of a universal field of subjectivity, just as ripples are excitations of water. As such, for the same reason that there is ultimately nothing to ripples but water, there is ultimately nothing to physical objects—and even seemingly individual subjects, such as you and me—but the field of subjectivity itself. The subject-object dualism is thus completely resolved under analytic idealism. Allusions to ‘substrates,’ under analytic idealism, are merely metaphorical, meant to aid understanding, but do not entail or imply the ultimate existence of anything but pure subjectivity.


Whilst it is possible to argue this, it is all but useless.
Since our clearly subjective worlds interact and agree one with another, then it is possible to continue to think of the world as one think about which we all see different aspects: realism.
This always works and although you cannot prove it, like you cannot prove inductive assertions, this approach has utility, and is what is commonly accepted.
On the other hand to solipsism of the subjective idealist world that you have portrayed here is of almost no use whatever.
It might amuse us to consider it for a moment, and I would strain to argue that reflecting upon it might help unpack some of our hopeless assumptions - sadly it is rarely done. Rarely considered most by those that promote the subjective world view, rather using it as an excuse for belligerent scepticism.

In practical terms you have to adopt both, seeing the world from both directions.
On the one hand accepting that there is really a world out there; and on the other hand accepting that we only have a partial even personal view of it. In this way we can progress to make statements about the real world whilst avoiding the obvious pitfalls of our personal view points.
Would that such an approach could be used to combat bad science by the continual challenge of endemic assumptions.
Ichthus77 loves himself
Sculptor
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Tue May 10, 2022 1:05 pm

I think that the greatest single problem that we have on this planet is the fact that we fail to see the world and everything in it as a unity that may in fact go beyond this planet. Seeing everything as separate has led to failing to see everything involved in one huge process with many diverse sources of input, and an interpretation of natural history as one grand fight, from which the supposition of the appropriateness of competition and even war amongst human beings arises.

This may have been acceptable in the last century, and has continued into the beginning of the next, but it assumes that we human beings are but beasts that think, causing malevolence and benevolence according to our circumstances. I believe that we are more than that, and that it is our calling to transcend the duality of the past, whether by scientific discovery, religious insight, or philosophical wisdom – or all of them at once.

I also believe that we are seeing more and more that mankind has a role to play in achieving an equilibrium in the world that mankind itself, through its very presence and expansion, put out of balance. That equilibrium is achieved by acknowledging the unity of existence, pulling together and designing a future on a planet that has its limits and boundaries, preserving what natural order we can, and caring for life as a sacred phenomenon.
Hardly useless …
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Tue May 10, 2022 3:40 pm

Metaphysical materialism isn't necessary to avoid solipcism. I simply acknowledge that my conscious perceptions exist and extrapolate this to other entities as well, based on the similarities of their form and behavior to my own.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Wed May 11, 2022 6:40 am

The philosophical idea that only one's mind is sure to exist isn’t what criticism of the materialist mindset is about. The position that Kastrup takes is that, of course all of what we experience outside of our own mind exists, it isn’t just a product of my mind. It is a product of “mind at large” or cosmic mind, which I interpret as the ground of being, of which my mind is just a part. All things are manifest out of that and have the appearance of material things, but are in fact an illusion of solidity, being instead a manifestation of energy and motion.

Individual brains, which are all similarly “wired”, help to sort our perceptions, and give us a working interface, but we know that disturbing that interface can give us alternate perceptions, as we witness with patients with brain damage and also those people who use psychoactive substances. Thereby we gain knowledge that our perceptions are not undisturbed sensual information, but processed information. However, even with our processed sensual input, we discover that the essential “stuff” of the material world, as we delve deeper into it, is made up of patterns or form, and deeper still, encompasses unexpected quantities of space between elementary particles.

In the body, when it isn’t dead when investigating the cellular level, we witness an amazing reciprocal, interactive community of cells, all working to maintain the whole, even policing, and eradicating rogue cells that unrestrictedly reproduce and block the function of cells and organs. The complexity of this interaction is overwhelming, and much of the ideas that existed in the twentieth century about the cellular functions of living organisms have been re-thought and the lessons that I had during my nursing training have proved to be simplistic and mechanistic in concept. Iain McGilchrist talks about this in his latest book.

He too speaks of the uncanny fact that life in so many facets is held together by an elusive something "in between" that in some way provides information to overcome problems at the micro level, just as at our macro level it is that certain something "in between" that makes the difference in interaction in human societies.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Sculptor » Wed May 11, 2022 11:03 am

Bob wrote:I think that the greatest single problem that we have on this planet is the fact that we fail to see the world and everything in it as a unity that may in fact go beyond this planet. Seeing everything as separate has led to failing to see everything involved in one huge process with many diverse sources of input, and an interpretation of natural history as one grand fight, from which the supposition of the appropriateness of competition and even war amongst human beings arises.

This is an argument for realism and objectivism; and the tragic consequent authoritarianism that follows to impose a single world view.
Better that we accept and try to embrace other's POVs in the hope of finding understanding of the differences that clearly exist between different human groups.

This may have been acceptable in the last century, and has continued into the beginning of the next, but it assumes that we human beings are but beasts that think, causing malevolence and benevolence according to our circumstances. I believe that we are more than that, and that it is our calling to transcend the duality of the past, whether by scientific discovery, religious insight, or philosophical wisdom – or all of them at once.

I am happy to accept that differences in ethnicity, creed and religion is the result of the most base human tendancies to tribalism and groupthink, but that is not a thing to encourage.

I also believe that we are seeing more and more that mankind has a role to play in achieving an equilibrium in the world that mankind itself, through its very presence and expansion, put out of balance. That equilibrium is achieved by acknowledging the unity of existence, pulling together and designing a future on a planet that has its limits and boundaries, preserving what natural order we can, and caring for life as a sacred phenomenon.
Hardly useless …


Whose "equilibrium", whose view of what is and what is not unacceptable?
And whose POV is going to be pouted as anathema?
Where is the objective; where the bias?
Ichthus77 loves himself
Sculptor
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Sculptor » Wed May 11, 2022 11:04 am

felix dakat wrote:Metaphysical materialism isn't necessary to avoid solipcism. I simply acknowledge that my conscious perceptions exist and extrapolate this to other entities as well, based on the similarities of their form and behavior to my own.


The beginning of your statement contradicts the end, since accepting other entities and their perceptions is avoiding your personal solipsism.
Ichthus77 loves himself
Sculptor
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:52 pm

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby Bob » Wed May 11, 2022 12:59 pm

Sculptor wrote:
Bob wrote:I think that the greatest single problem that we have on this planet is the fact that we fail to see the world and everything in it as a unity that may in fact go beyond this planet. Seeing everything as separate has led to failing to see everything involved in one huge process with many diverse sources of input, and an interpretation of natural history as one grand fight, from which the supposition of the appropriateness of competition and even war amongst human beings arises.

This is an argument for realism and objectivism; and the tragic consequent authoritarianism that follows to impose a single world view.
Better that we accept and try to embrace other's POVs in the hope of finding understanding of the differences that clearly exist between different human groups.

I am not talking about a single worldview, but about recognizing the reality in which we live. We are a species that has achieved an accelerating doubling of population on a finite planet with finite resources and a changing climate. It would make sense to sit down and figure out how we can achieve coexistence rather than consider a violent "solution" to these problems (which would likely have far-reaching consequences even for the survivors).
"I am not sure with what weapons the third world war will be fought, but in the fourth world war they will fight with sticks and stones." (Albert Einstein, German-Swiss physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1879 - 1955)

There is no guarantee that humanity will survive the ultimate consequences of climate change, so we really need to look for the least bad outcome. It is probably worth noting that there is no way that a peaceful solution will not require some sacrifice from all of us, depending on the value we place on things (and it is "things" that are at stake in the West, traditionally a bit more than in the East). It has already been established that humans are depleting natural ecosystems 1.7 times faster than the Earth's rate of regeneration, and that rate is steadily increasing. So even if the West (or the East) wiped out all the competition, it would be over in a century at most.

The East has traditionally been critical of clinging to “things”, often because of the illusion of security they give people, like holding on to a rock when falling off a cliff, but thinking one is safe. Although, if we had paid attention, Jesus said virtually the same things. We have in the last two centuries at least been working on the assumption that there will always be new resources, even if we have to take it from others, and habits are hard to overcome. We still entertain the sheer madness of “perpetual growth” in industry. Some countries still think they can expand. This is a largely materialist attitude.
Sculptor wrote:I am happy to accept that differences in ethnicity, creed and religion is the result of the most base human tendancies to tribalism and groupthink, but that is not a thing to encourage.

Perhaps primarily for the reasons stated above. I believe that each ethnicity, faith, and religion was fine in its own right because it provided society in isolation with a working basis with which it could at least survive and, at best, thrive. Relatively recently, we were able to discover that cultural differences had masked an evolution of forms of participation in the environment that they all shared to some degree. In fact, those who were willing to dialogue found that spiritual practice, especially when dualism was overcome, had great similarities despite the cultural differences.
"Only a world based on solidarity can be a just and peaceful world." (Richard von Weizsäcker, German politician, 1920 - 2015)

It is just a question of how to achieve this solidarity.
Sculptor wrote:
Bob wrote:I also believe that we are seeing more and more that mankind has a role to play in achieving an equilibrium in the world that mankind itself, through its very presence and expansion, put out of balance. That equilibrium is achieved by acknowledging the unity of existence, pulling together and designing a future on a planet that has its limits and boundaries, preserving what natural order we can, and caring for life as a sacred phenomenon.
Hardly useless …

Whose "equilibrium", whose view of what is and what is not unacceptable?

I’m talking about the world’s equilibrium, to which there seems to be a large consensus amongst environmentalists of all kinds, even if their methods of re-attaining that balance may differ. Environmental equilibrium is the balance among the components of ecosystem. The interaction among environmental components is a continuous process and keeps the balance among the components until a disturbance arises as a result of many factors. We must find out what enables a stable equilibrium or homeostasis, and all work towards that goal. There has been talk about terraforming Mars. How about doing something similar for the Earth?

This is of course a task of finding a working consensus, not dictating one. It is based on what Spinoza said about peace not being the absence of war. “Peace is a virtue, an attitude of mind, an inclination to goodness, trust, justice." So, what do you think is anathema? And how do we overcome bias? I think we all know the answer, but the problem is, it starts with us.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
User avatar
Bob
Philosopher
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are there arguments for materialism?

Postby felix dakat » Wed May 11, 2022 2:26 pm

Sculptor wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Metaphysical materialism isn't necessary to avoid solipcism. I simply acknowledge that my conscious perceptions exist and extrapolate this to other entities as well, based on the similarities of their form and behavior to my own.


The beginning of your statement contradicts the end, since accepting other entities and their perceptions is avoiding your personal solipsism.


It’s not a contradiction, it’s an inference based on the experience of empathy with other conscious beings. Beyond that I believe consciousness not matter is fundamental substance of the universe in which we live and move and have our beings. I recognize your consciousness as a manifestation of that fundamental consciousness of the universe. Your accusation of solipsism is totally unfounded.
User avatar
felix dakat
Janitor
 
Posts: 10953
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 am
Location: USA

PreviousNext

Return to Religion and Spirituality



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users