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Empiricism: the be all and end all of human existence?

  1. A.Villarasa profile image79
    A.Villarasaposted 3 weeks ago

    As  some Hubbers have suggested  empiricism aka scientific exploration is the only destiny that humans must aim for? Empiricism is tethered solely to  materialism  and physicalism. But humans as a specie have    unique qualities and qualifications  that no other life forms on earth possess ie subjectivity and consciousness. Philosophers have always believed that it is impossible for humans to ever or fully understand the true  nature of subjective experiences and consciousness. Scientists on the other hand  believe that empiricism will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe.

    So what side of this debate  are you in?

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
      Kathryn L Hillposted 3 weeks ago in reply to this

      <As some Hubbers have suggested, empiricism, aka scientific exploration, is the only destiny we should aim for.

      Empiricism is tethered solely to materialism and physicalism. Scientists believe that empiricism will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe.
      (concrete: "existing in a material or physical form; real or solid." )

      Philosophers, on the other hand, have always believed that it is impossible for humans to fully understand the true nature of subjective experiences and consciousness. But, humans, as a specie, have unique qualities and qualifications which no other life forms on earth possess, i.e., subjectivity,("based on personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.") and consciousness, ("the state of being awake and aware of one's surrounding.")
      (abstract) "existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence.")

      So what side of this debate are you on?>

      The philosophers. They admit there is the metaphysical realm. Plato mentions "soul" and the "gods."

      (Maybe I have gotten this thread off on the wrong foot. I don't know.)

    2. oceansnsunsets profile image89
      oceansnsunsetsposted 3 weeks ago in reply to this

      I love science and think it matters a great deal in understanding our universe.  It's simply amazing and fascinating all the time.  Materialism and physicalism are great for understanding things that they are able to explain.  For the rest, one must use the kinds of things that explain those things.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image79
        A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

        The last sentence of your post is quite intriguing. Kindly elucidate.

        Before science became the primary vehicle for searching  answers to questions about life and existence, philosophy lorded it over the intellectual landscape and have made quite a significant  and overarching inspiration  to the concordant  understanding of our existence and its meaning  and purpose. . For that we take a grateful pride in all of the philosophers who contributed to that understanding.

        Now that empiricism has taken hold as the premier vehicle for moving forward, do we just discard what has been philosophically intuited and attuned in the past?  Hardly. IMO  science without philosophy is un-visionary.

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 weeks ago

    For Instance:
    "Socrates points out and Glaucon agrees, that the soul desires to do something and at the same time is averse to doing that same thing. This happens, for instance, when a person is thirsty and on that basis wants to drink, but at the same time wishes not to drink, on the basis of some calculation or deliberation, and in fact succeeds in refraining from drinking, thirsty though they are. It follows from the premises stated that the human soul includes at least two distinct subjects, so that one opposite (the desire to drink) can be assigned to one of them and the other (the aversion to drinking) can be assigned to the other. Taking himself to have identified reason and appetite as distinct parts of the soul, Socrates draws attention to other kinds of conflict between desires, which are meant to bring to light spirit, the third part of the soul.

    The Republic contains a great deal of information that we can rely on in characterizing the three parts of the soul that Socrates introduces, information that can be found not only in Book 4 itself, but also (among other places) in the catalogue of corrupt forms of city and soul in Books 8 and 9. Here is an outline of what emerges. Reason is the part of the soul that is, of its own nature, attached to knowledge and truth. It is also, however, concerned to guide and regulate the life that it is, or anyhow should be, in charge of, ideally in a way that is informed by wisdom and that takes into consideration the concerns both of each of the three parts separately and of the soul as a whole; these concerns must be supposed to include a person's bodily needs, presumably via the concerns of appetite. The natural attachment of spirit is to honor and, more generally, to recognition and esteem by others. As a motivating force it generally accounts for self-assertion and ambition. When its desires are frustrated, it gives rise to emotional responses such as anger and indignation, and to behavior that expresses and naturally flows from such responses. Socrates takes spirit to be a natural ally of reason, at least part of its function being to support reason in such conflicts as may arise between it and appetite. To assign it this function is neither to say nor to imply that spirit cannot, in the case of a corrupt and de-natured soul, turn against reason, even if well brought-up individuals like Glaucon are not familiar with such corruption either in their own case or in the case of others."

    FROM: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-soul/#3.2

    1. A.Villarasa profile image79
      A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

      Plato and Socrates were the primal philosophers of their respective times, and their theory of the soul  has been expanded by succeeding generations of  philosophers, that ultimately led  to congruent  concepts such as epicureanism and stoicism. These philosophies on how to live life at its utmost  sadly has been overtaken by liberalism/secularism and  their  consequence, perhaps unintended, societal disorder aka anarchy. The intellectual discussion now pervading current historical narrative is replete with physical   aggression  that one constantly see or experience in extremism be it on the right or the left. A  "soul-less"  society with compunctions that are  undergirded solely by materialistic impressions and insinuations.

  3. cheaptrick profile image58
    cheaptrickposted 2 weeks ago

    The only thing the human species has that is not present in any other species to one degree or another is the foreknowledge that 'We will die'. Other species may feel the onset of death and react instinctively but humans have the foreknowledge of death independent of their physical condition;This knowledge has a Huge impact on how we live and what we believe as we attempt to 'mitigate' the concept of Nonexistence...which we are incapable of understanding...imo

    1. A.Villarasa profile image79
      A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

      The  foreknowledge or prescience   of death   is consciousness at its most  incipient functionality.  However obvious it is to most of us,  birth and death are but part of the cycle of life; however we  don't   conceptualize the reality of those two existential truth until our consciousness starts to integrate itself into our objective experiences.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image79
        A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

        Addendum to the above post:  If by "the concept of non-existence"  you mean the concept of transcendental existence.... of course, we could come to an understanding of its essential  quality and consequential factuality.

        Two of  the most perceptive empiricists that has ever lived i.e.  Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein have expressed their belief that cosmological existence  could not be purely physical or solely material.
        To paraphrase Newton: This most beautiful cosmological system, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of a transcendent Being. To paraphrase Einstein: In view of such harmony in the cosmos, my limited human mind is able to recognize the existence of  a transcendent Being  and  the deeper we penetrate into nature's secrets, the greater become our respect for that  transcendent Being.

      2. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

        Watching some of the extreme sports, I'm not sure that some people EVER get integrated. big_smile

        1. A.Villarasa profile image79
          A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

          Oh their consciousness gets integrated alright, but it is the need of their super ego that overcomes that process of integration....otherwise who would want to be involved in such a violent activity, except perhaps to not call it violent but sports.

  4. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 weeks ago

    Empiricism
    the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience.
    Stimulated by the rise of experimental science

    phenomenalism
    the doctrine that human knowledge is confined to or founded on the realities or appearances presented to the senses.

    What about the 6th sense, Mr. A.V.?
    Do you believe we can sense the invisible essence of omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient Spirit (Holy Spirit?) which causes all to manifest and also manifests in all??

    1. A.Villarasa profile image79
      A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

      A short answer to your question- yes I do believe in the 6th sense. In some philosophic quarters, the 6th sense is closely associated with QUALIA., which is defined as the internal and subjective component of sense perception arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena.

      You might want to google Qualia and Erwin Schroodinger. You would find it interesting  that  the person whose intense interest in quantum mechanics  made him aware of the phenomenon that is qualia.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

        Are you speaking of the perception?  How the brain takes the electrical impulses and "converts" them to a "picture" of what is being seen?  The "interpretation" our brain makes of what our sensors send it?

        1. A.Villarasa profile image79
          A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

          A direct quote from E. Schroodinger: "The scientific picture of the world  around me is very deficient. It gives me a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but is ghastly silent about all that is really near to our hearts (sic and minds) that really matters to us. It cannot tell a word about the sensation of red and blue, bitter and sweet.... it knows nothing of beauty and ugly, good or bad, Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in those domains, but the answers are so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously."

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

            From which I deduce that you ARE talking about the brains "translation", based on past history, feelings, etc. of sensory input into that mental picture of what is there.

            An analogy might be a simple radio.  The antenna picks up the photonic radiation and converts it to an electrical signal.  The radio (brain) then uses specific rules and methods to convert that into movement of a speaker diaphragm.  But the radio didn't actually "sense" anything - the antenna did.

            By your definition a child at night hears the wind blowing tree branches against a wall.  His ears sense that noise, but the brain "senses" a monster trying to get into his bedroom.  A monster that isn't there at all, and was thus never sensed.

            But if it makes you happy to say that using experience and imagination to interpret what our senses have detected is a 6th sense, have at it.

            1. A.Villarasa profile image79
              A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

              In the current movie The ARRIVAL, contact with what appeared to be a  gigantic heptapod alien was unbearably difficult for a top-notch linguist(played by Amy Adams)  to  decipher because the alien language  was  composed  of circular symbols with  a multiciplity of  splattered  density along its course. Near the end of the movie, the linguist finally realized ( attuned because of her subjective feelings, emotions, and imagination) that what  the alien was  trying to communicate with the circular symbols  was the message that  time is not linear but circular, and that language could be considered "a weapon" or a method for making that understanding mutually beneficial.

              It seems to me that in your densely splattered materialistic view, time is solely and purely linear, and that language could be used as a weapon for mutual mis-understanding.

              The 6th sense is Qualia and that is what humans have that make them distinctly human, thus separate from all the other life forms on earth.  Qualia is what makes humans better able to folow their destiny of being the witnesses to  creation.

              1. wilderness profile image96
                wildernessposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

                "attuned because of her subjective feelings, emotions, and imagination"

                Understood.  And those subjective feelings, emotions, imagination and experience are what made it possible.  But they are not a "sense" in any sense of the word; they are the software that decodes the message, not what receives it.  There is no "sensing" involved in bringing those things into play to understand what we have already sensed.

                It is perhaps just a matter of terminology, but specific terminology which is in use for distinctly other purposes and can thus only spread confusion rather than communication.  IMO, if the term "qualia" (which few have even heard of) is used, that's fine.  But to use "6th sense" can only confuse those that really do think we have a 6th sense with which to sense the world or even those that are familiar with the term.

                You did well to define the term, to indicate that you were making up a new definition for "sixth sense", but why is it even necessary?  You had to define "qualia" anyway - just leave it that.   Or with "cogitation", or maybe "understanding".

                1. A.Villarasa profile image79
                  A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

                  To define Qualia more succinctly: Qualia are the immediate individual conscious sensations that we experience, (such as redness or pain) that we then put together and interpret as we mentally  model the world. In the matter of redness for example... how do I know that the redness I perceive when I look at a red candle is the same as the redness you perceive?

                  David Misselbrook, (Dean Emeritus of the Royal Society of Medicine) argues this in favor of Qualia :  "Logically, if physical science can tell us all that can be known about the world, then a person with color blindness must be able to know what it is to see red.  We can construct this knowledge scientifically around a model of having the right sort of cones in the retina to perceive light with a wave length of 650 nm, for example. Yet if this person--in possession of all available knowledge about redness-- were to be cured of his color blindness, then he will learn something new that he did not know before: what it is to see red. An exhaustive scientific description of the perception of red objects does not contain an account of qualia I experience as 'redness'. This argument is a demonstration of something that is both profound and also obvious to all but the most extreme physicalist. 

                  'Extreme physicalist'--- doesn't that perfectly  describe you ?

                  1. wilderness profile image96
                    wildernessposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

                    "how do I know that the redness I perceive when I look at a red candle is the same as the redness you perceive?"

                    measure the wavelength of the light from the candle.  That will be the ONLY color received, whatever the perception the brain supplies.

                    But now I'm confused - you say qualia is the sensation received (as opposed to perceived), but that sensation comes from the 5 senses and cannot be from a 6th sense instead.  Are you sure you don't mean that qualia is the perception assigned to what those sense receive?

      2. tsmog profile image86
        tsmogposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

        Just a note . . . thank you for introducing me to Qualia . . .

        1. A.Villarasa profile image79
          A.Villarasaposted 2 weeks ago in reply to this

          You're  welcome. I hope reading about it and understanding its  meaning and purpose would be elucidating ....and comforting at the same time.

  5. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 weeks ago

    "God" can be sensed within and without. Its a simple fact. If we use our imaginations to imagine the God we read about in the Bible or hear about from imaginative ministers and priests preaching to us in pulpits, that is not the same thing as quietly sensing, feeling and perceiving reality for ourselves.

 
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