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Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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From Religion to Philosophy, what drove you?

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  • From Religion to Philosophy, what drove you?

    A lot of us wether dilettantes or professionals of philosophy from religious backgrounds, it draws us. What I am curious is what drew you to it? William Vallicella draws 5 typologies, which one(s) did you fit in, or what alternatives drove you?
    Going to sum them up, I'll provide the link if you want to see the detailed typologies:

    1. The Apologetic Motive. Some look to philosophy for apologetic tools.

    2. The Critical Motive. Someone who is animated by the Critical Motive seeks to understand religion and evaluate its claim to truth, while taking it seriously.

    3. The Debunking Motive. If the apologist presupposes the truth of his religion, or some religion, the debunker presupposes the falsehood of a particular religion or of every religion.

    4. The Transcensive Motive. The transcender aims to find in philosophy something that completes and transcends religion while preserving its truth.

    5. The Substitutional Motive. The substitutionalist aims to find in philosophy a substitute for religion.

    https://maverickphilosopher.typepad....f-motives.html

    In my case, mine was initially a #1, but also blended it with #2. I examined the claims of Christendom highly, contrasted it with other creeds such as some aspects of Agnosticism and Atheism, LDS Church, Islam, Vedic scriptures, Buddha's teachings, Marxism, Humanism, etc. I also acknowledge that experiencing the "Void" in the Simone Weill sense also drove me to a certain extent to takeup a bit of philosophy.

    To you philosophically minded; What say you?
    Last edited by Andius; 10-07-2020, 07:42 PM.
    Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.

  • #2
    I did a Philosophy major when I was a Christian, but I didn't perceive the two as interacting. What drew me to Philosophy was an interest in logic puzzles and difficult questions. I didn't perceive it at the time as connecting to my religion in any way, for or against, any more than other subjects. The vast majority of topics in philosophy aren't religious ones, or at least they weren't at the secular university I was at.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
      I did a Philosophy major when I was a Christian, but I didn't perceive the two as interacting. What drew me to Philosophy was an interest in logic puzzles and difficult questions. I didn't perceive it at the time as connecting to my religion in any way, for or against, any more than other subjects. The vast majority of topics in philosophy aren't religious ones, or at least they weren't at the secular university I was at.
      Intriguing. Mmmhhhh, well, considering how Philosophy and Religion take off from completely different metaphysics, it is difficult to "link them up" properly, but it is a difficulty (The Straussian tension between Athens and Jerusalem) that is ever so fruitful. Your interest in logic puzzles and difficult questions paints me the impressions that you probably lean or leaned into the Analytic trends in Philosophy. Well who knows what % philosophy of religion covers in the "canon" of philosophy, but it's definitely still there.

      Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.

      Comment


      • #4
        4 would be my choice.....but....

        Here in the East, there is not a separation between philosophy and religion...for example, the concept of zero, used in our math calculations, came from Hindu philosophy---which was concerned with a theological question about the nature of God. (non-being, no-thing = shunya/zero) (...a philosophical concept also carried into Buddhism)
        Islamic philosophy,(or Islamicate philosophy) which some say starts with Kalam (or ...some also include Sufism) and leading into Falsafa occurs within an "Islamic paradigm" which is based on the (Quranic) premise that superstition (blind belief) is different from "religion"(reasoned belief), that nature/natural world is a revelation from God, and all knowledge is from God. The study of Greek philosophy---as well as Persian, Chinese and Indian philosophy ---during the Islamicate period occurs within this paradigm.
        This difference in definitions of religion/philosophy probably stems from the "purpose" of "religion"---which in the East was not merely about rituals and/or theology, but also concerened "law" (specifically ethico-moral principles transferred into "laws" for social/communal benefit)....?...

        This article talks of the difficulty of Chinese (but can also apply to Indian) philosophy which has a 3 to 4,000 year tradition. and touches upon who decides the definitions...
        https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/highereducat...-the-solution/
        "...part of the problem lies in the fact that what is “Chinese thought” is so deeply contested, over so many thousands of years, that deciding what should be taught is one key dilemma in including it. There exist Chinese-language texts relevant to political thought that date back more than 3,000 years, ..."
        (Comparatively, Islamic/Islamicate philosophy is only 1,400 years old and Enlightenment philosophy even younger....)

        Comment


        • #5
          I have studied philosophy and religion all my adult and a bit before. I do not divide them in two. Philosophy and Religion have evolved naturally, For the Nature of our physical existence I go with Karl Popper an evolved philosophy of Methodological Naturalism from Descartes. The study philosophers of the past is to understand the evolution of human thinking philosophy, but nonetheless thinking in ancient context. Religions reflect the culture and context of 'belief' in the time they originated and cannot justify the universal from their ancient perspective, nor relate to perspective of the whole history of humanity. The ancient belief in God(s) becomes problematic from the contemporary perspective. I utilize philosophy and religion to put the entire history of humanity and our physical existence in a universal perspective in harmony with the knowledge of our physical existence and any possible 'beliefs' beyond our physical existence.

          My view of Logic is more simply the natural way of thinking and reasoning. Formal Logic is too mechanistic, in fact boring and circular in recent history manipulated and contrived, and to often used to justify what one believes. The purpose of thinking and reasoning is to reach beyond what we believe as true. Our philosophy and religion should not be static, but always changing and evolving. Our desire for a sense of belonging. being and identity must divorce us from clinging to the past paradigms.
          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

          go with the flow the river knows . . .

          Frank

          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by siam View Post
            4 would be my choice.....but....

            Here in the East, there is not a separation between philosophy and religion...for example, the concept of zero, used in our math calculations, came from Hindu philosophy---which was concerned with a theological question about the nature of God. (non-being, no-thing = shunya/zero) (...a philosophical concept also carried into Buddhism)
            Islamic philosophy,(or Islamicate philosophy) which some say starts with Kalam (or ...some also include Sufism) and leading into Falsafa occurs within an "Islamic paradigm" which is based on the (Quranic) premise that superstition (blind belief) is different from "religion"(reasoned belief), that nature/natural world is a revelation from God, and all knowledge is from God. The study of Greek philosophy---as well as Persian, Chinese and Indian philosophy ---during the Islamicate period occurs within this paradigm.
            This difference in definitions of religion/philosophy probably stems from the "purpose" of "religion"---which in the East was not merely about rituals and/or theology, but also concerened "law" (specifically ethico-moral principles transferred into "laws" for social/communal benefit)....?...
            I can see why the 4, and with the definitions you provided (which I imagine you derive either from Persian or Arab I think), I can see why there is no separation. And you are correct in noting that the definitions of religion and philosophy as used in English (And to certain extent other European languages) do definitely matter. As how I use religion and philosophy, I am admittedly using to refer to this specifically:

            Philosophy: The dialectical inter-generational interaction of thought that kickstarted with the Pre-Socratics in old Ionia, consolidated in old Athens, and the conversations carried on primarily by later Helens, Latins, and the Europeans and their Euro-descendants (considering how they spread over much of the globe, Empire and all that) that came about after them from all sorts of backgrounds. To a certain extent I like to include the Berbers and Arabs from old al-Andalus (Ibn Rushd/Averroes comes to mind) for also participating in that long lineage of said dialogue. It has particular understanding of Nature(fisis, deemed eternal) and a metaphysical place to truth and knowledge (it's valuable in and of itself, not subordinate to anything), an understanding that is particularly Helenic (I am awfully hesitant to equate/associate philosophia with Islamic, Vedic, or Chinese thought in the way they developed their knowledge).

            Religion: The old Latin notion of "scrupples" with morality and/or the gods/God (gods/God as understood by ancient Hellenic and Latin peoples, and later Christians). Nature, truth, knowledge, are of/subordinate to God, notions that are particularly Semitic (Jewish specifically in the case of the West), but were embraced by Hellenic, Semitic, Latin, Germanic, Slavic, etc. peoples The spirituality and scrupples as carried forth in Rabbinic and Christian thought, so yeah, very particularly Semitic.

            So yeah, the interaction between these two, super-intriguing.

            This article talks of the difficulty of Chinese (but can also apply to Indian) philosophy which has a 3 to 4,000 year tradition. and touches upon who decides the definitions...
            https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/highereducat...-the-solution/
            "...part of the problem lies in the fact that what is “Chinese thought” is so deeply contested, over so many thousands of years, that deciding what should be taught is one key dilemma in including it. There exist Chinese-language texts relevant to political thought that date back more than 3,000 years, ..."
            (Comparatively, Islamic/Islamicate philosophy is only 1,400 years old and Enlightenment philosophy even younger....)
            Very interesting read, and I can understand the tension, how to purge the notions of "Western Superiority" in thought and academia, whilst integrating native knowledge without losing academic effectiveness and integrity. I don't know if Professor Jenco has considered taking the School of Mozi (Mohism in English) as referent (Having a highly utilitarian tradition) when deciding what to include in a curriculum. And I think the tension can be resolved if in the project of decolonization, they should at least acknowledge that they will be Sino-centric in their approach, and actually notice that even in Sino-centrism, much has been and can be drawn from non-Chinese thought, such as Indo-Aryan thought (the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama being the most obvious example) or German thought (the teachings of Marx and Engels), thus recognizing an inherent openness.


            Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Andius View Post

              Philosophy: The dialectical inter-generational interaction of thought that kickstarted with the Pre-Socratics in old Ionia, consolidated in old Athens, and the conversations carried on primarily by later Helens, Latins, and the Europeans and their Euro-descendants (considering how they spread over much of the globe, Empire and all that) that came about after them from all sorts of backgrounds. To a certain extent I like to include the Berbers and Arabs from old al-Andalus (Ibn Rushd/Averroes comes to mind) for also participating in that long lineage of said dialogue. It has particular understanding of Nature(fisis, deemed eternal) and a metaphysical place to truth and knowledge (it's valuable in and of itself, not subordinate to anything), an understanding that is particularly Helenic (I am awfully hesitant to equate/associate philosophia with Islamic, Vedic, or Chinese thought in the way they developed their knowledge).

              Religion: The old Latin notion of "scrupples" with morality and/or the gods/God (gods/God as understood by ancient Hellenic and Latin peoples, and later Christians). Nature, truth, knowledge, are of/subordinate to God, notions that are particularly Semitic (Jewish specifically in the case of the West), but were embraced by Hellenic, Semitic, Latin, Germanic, Slavic, etc. peoples The spirituality and scrupples as carried forth in Rabbinic and Christian thought, so yeah, very particularly Semitic.

              So yeah, the interaction between these two, super-intriguing.
              Very exclusive definitions....but then, the term "philosophy" itself is Greek...so your point may be somewhat valid....
              Yet, it presumes that Greek thought/philosophy was "original"?... which might be unlikely as in antiquity, Persia and Egypt were the cultural giants that influenced the smaller cultural/linguistic systems around them. (Here in the East, it was India and China....though since both Persia and India have the same Indo-European (PIE) cultural/linguistic roots, there is not a clean separation)....

              Which brings me to Shunya's point of the evolution of human thought/philosophy. While I agree that evolution (=progress) does occur, I do not think it is necessarily linear (as in---an upward improvement for the better) but rather there is progress and also regress. A process that creates conditions for change. (radical change, rather than incremental change)

              You seem to be saying that philosophy is an understanding of nature/Nature not subordinate to God whereas religion is the understanding of nature subordinate to God? (....Is it possible that "Nature" and "God" are interchangeable concepts?) How do you understand and/or define "Nature"?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                I have studied philosophy and religion all my adult and a bit before. I do not divide them in two. Philosophy and Religion have evolved naturally, For the Nature of our physical existence I go with Karl Popper an evolved philosophy of Methodological Naturalism from Descartes. The study philosophers of the past is to understand the evolution of human thinking philosophy, but nonetheless thinking in ancient context. Religions reflect the culture and context of 'belief' in the time they originated and cannot justify the universal from their ancient perspective, nor relate to perspective of the whole history of humanity. The ancient belief in God(s) becomes problematic from the contemporary perspective. I utilize philosophy and religion to put the entire history of humanity and our physical existence in a universal perspective in harmony with the knowledge of our physical existence and any possible 'beliefs' beyond our physical existence.

                My view of Logic is more simply the natural way of thinking and reasoning. Formal Logic is too mechanistic, in fact boring and circular in recent history manipulated and contrived, and to often used to justify what one believes. The purpose of thinking and reasoning is to reach beyond what we believe as true. Our philosophy and religion should not be static, but always changing and evolving. Our desire for a sense of belonging. being and identity must divorce us from clinging to the past paradigms.
                I think that some knowledge (such as "wisdom") is timeless in that its truth holds for humanity regardless of time. For example, Confucius was asked, "Is there a word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" and the reply was "Is not reciprocity such a word? what you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others". This is because there is in human "nature" a core that remains the same throughout the generations---the desire to eat, sleep, socialize, think...etc...and there are laws of physics and biology that propel humanity towards certain outcomes---for example, the only way for humanity to survive, ---not just today, but throughout the history of Homo Sapien s, is non-zero-sum or co-operation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by siam View Post

                  I think that some knowledge (such as "wisdom") is timeless in that its truth holds for humanity regardless of time. For example, Confucius was asked, "Is there a word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" and the reply was "Is not reciprocity such a word? what you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others". This is because there is in human "nature" a core that remains the same throughout the generations---the desire to eat, sleep, socialize, think...etc...and there are laws of physics and biology that propel humanity towards certain outcomes---for example, the only way for humanity to survive, ---not just today, but throughout the history of Homo Sapien s, is non-zero-sum or co-operation.
                  OK?
                  Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                  Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                  But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                  go with the flow the river knows . . .

                  Frank

                  I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ...therefore, claims of "Universalism" might be justified insofar as these religio-philosophies have aspects of such timeless wisdom. Islam for example...makes claims of "universalism" based on the idea that it is a religion suited to the needs of "natural man". However, the good/bad of such "Universalism" might depend on how it is implemented?....Enlightenment philosophers also justified "Universalism" on the basis of reason. But their concept was used/misused for the justification of colonial projects such as ideas of "Civilizing mission" (France) to justify the imposition of "Universal values" on a population that did not give free assent to their propositions. Thereby wiping out other socio-cultural systems/values/philosophies.....

                    Today far-right (Christians) who feel their values are "universal" and left (?) far-left(?) who feel their "universal values" are better, are clashing in the West.
                    The selection of the Supreme court nominee is raising controversy in the U.S.....as a thought experiment, I wonder what would happen if a number of these judges converted to Islam? What issues and controversies would it raise? (If reason were the only arbiter, one's affiliation would not matter---but if emotion/tribalism rather than reason alone were the arbiter of values...?....)

                    Yr quote "The ancient belief in God(s) becomes problematic from the contemporary perspective"---...only because "universalism" is contested?
                    Myths are needed to make sense of "reality"---it does not matter if a myth has a God/s in it or not...One can call it "Nature"---as in an "unknown entity" that somehow "gives" inalienable rights to man, that governments cannot take away
                    https://courses.lumenlearning.com/su...h%20as%20civil
                    "Natural rights, understood as those that are not dependent on the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government,(and therefore, universal and inalienable) were central to the debates during the Enlightenment on the relationship between the individual and the government."
                    ...or the myths about human nature---that reason is the supreme arbiter of truth...etc...these and other such presumptions that make up a paradigm/worldview are needed in order to situate humans into a "reality" that produces meaning and purpose that can then give rise to ethico-moral principles.
                    thus, as in the Buddhist concept of maya---such "realities" might be relative (or illusory)...?...that may be why, diverse paradigms can claim "Universality" and still be viable/applicable to humanity?
                    Last edited by siam; 10-13-2020, 02:56 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a strong Critical motive, including a self-critical motive that anything I believe beyond the relative reliable knowledge of science is potentially questionable. I am a philosophical agnostic questioning my belief by the same critical standard of any other belief system. How different religions and belief system consider science is an important measure of their credibility.
                      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                      go with the flow the river knows . . .

                      Frank

                      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                      Comment

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