The nature of "KNOWLEDGE"

The human project is to find knowledge that is adequate to serve as a basis for life” [D Willard]

We do not know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable”[G K Chesterton]

There must be an objective standard by which we define truth that is independent of subjective bias, feelings, limited appreciation and emotion if we are to have any objective values.

“To live well in a complex world we need to effectively engage with 4 kinds of knowing:-

  1. Propositional Knowing – in books where there are propositions, facts, beliefs, concepts, rules, how we persuade and win arguments, thinking knowing about things in science, philosophy, what is true.
  2. Procedural Knowing – how to do things, the procedures, gives power, how specific actions reliably get specific results, skills that help us become experts.
  3. Perspectival Knowing – recognizes the situation we’re in and knows the appropriate skills needed, knowing how to perceive and absorb environments, a sense of what is needed n the situation, provides presence and limits and values of other perspectives.
  4. Participatory Knowing – being in dynamic connection with others in the flow of an arena we find ourselves in, influencing and being influenced, handling complexity, ambiguity and novelty, at home in the arena.”

[with thanks to Rich Watkins analysis of John Vervaeke]

All possible knowledge… depends on the validity of reasoning. If the feeling of certainty which we express by words like must be and therefore and since is a real perception of how things outside our own minds really “must” be, well and good. But if this certainty is merely a feeling in our own minds and not a genuine insight into realities beyond them — if it merely represents the way our minds happen to work — then we can have no knowledge. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.” [C S Lewis]

Truth must correspond to reality. The truth, or the falsity of a statement, depends on whether the statement accurately describes the world and its properties. The use of “subjectivism” as the basis for a wider rule is logically absurd, as Plato pointed out. It’s self-refuting. Someone named Protagoras said essentially that everyone’s opinion is true, and so Plato pointed out that Protagoras has to accept the truth of his opponents’ rejection of that. So, when we both reject each other’s definitions, what’s left?

The more you know the more you know how little you know.

CONDITIONS generate

IDEAS which generate

THOUGHTS (The process of thinking involves INTERESTATTENTIONANALYSIS of THOUGHTS for SUGGESTIONSDECISIONS) which produce

INTENTIONS that motivate the

WILL which generates

ACTIONS based on OBSERVABLE BEHAVIOUR based on BEHAVIOUR MODELS

BEHAVIOUR MODELS are derived from our

FEELINGS, DESIRES, ATTITUDES and OPINIONS which in turn are derived from our

WORLD VIEWS that are based on our ASSUMPTIONS and ATTITUDES which we form around our

SENSE OF VALUES and LIFE EXPERIENCES (in certain CONDITIONS)

What impedes thinking?…

IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY which are intellectual faults.

IMPATIENCE – rush hastily to a conclusion without giving proper attention to the evidence

TIMIDITY – or excessive caution makes us afraid that we have been impatient in drawing conclusions

LAZINESS – the dislike of the exertion of examining the evidence.

Make for bad thinking.

There are more features to “TRUTH” than anybody or any “body” could manage because Truth may also be called REALITY, if it is Truth, then philosophy, psychology, poetry and science will all be seeing the same thing, but from different angles, at different levels, and describing it with different vocabularies. Claims to KNOWLEDGE are not KNOWLEDGE.

SKEPTICISM calls claims to KNOWLEDGE into doubt, SKEPTICISM is not KNOWLEDGE, it is not DOUBT and it is not an aim in itself.

Traditional cosmologies see reality from two completely different perspectives:

From “The Language of Creation” by Matthieu Pageau

1) Material perspective -in terms of its practical and material implications – the specialty of modern science, which conceptualizes all things in terms of meaningless matter and mindless causality

and

2) Spiritual perspective – in terms of its higher meaning – the specialty of religion, which interprets every phenomenon as the manifestation of spiritual truth.

When interpreting reality, each of these worldviews raises its own types of questions. For example, when looking at a plant from a material perspective, one might ask the following questions: “What is this plant made of?” and, “How does it work?” However, when looking at the same plant from a spiritual perspective, one might ask the following questions: “What is the meaning of this plant?” and, “What higher truth does it embody?” Not surprisingly, these questions have little or nothing in common, which demonstrates the distinct nature of these worldviews. … The spiritual and material perspectives have always been in competition because they are fundamentally different. Nevertheless, since neither of these worldviews has successfully subsumed the other, they have learned to coexist and even cooperated in the past. However, a series of important scientific discoveries have dealt a fatal blow to the spiritual worldview, one from which it has never recovered. …

The gap that separates ancient cosmology from materialistic science is enormous. On one hand, we may interpret reality exclusively with mechanical causality, where everything is devoid of meaning and higher purpose. On the other hand, we may interpret reality exclusively through a cosmic language, where facts and events are the hosts of spiritual meaning. Neither of these worldviews is complete without the other. A purely material perspective knows how the universe works but perceives no higher reason for its existence, while a purely spiritual perspective knows the meaning of the universe without understanding how it technically works. Ideally, we should be able to adopt both perspectives without having to sacrifice one or the other.” [Matthieu Pageau]

Then there is the difference between ….

NESCIENCE vs IGNORANCE

NESCIENCE – to not know because knowledge was absent or unattainable.

IGNORANCE -to not know even though necessary information is present and available, because that information has been willfully ignored or disregarded

TRUTH can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.” [William Blake]

TRUTH is the authority, authority is not the TRUTH.

Suggestion and Decision can be influenced by emotions and desires, they are deceptive. Emotions and feelings move us, and we enjoy being moved.They give us a sense of being alive. Without feeling we have no interest in things, no inclination to action, however …”An emotion as such tells you nothing about reality, beyond the fact that something makes you feel something. Without a ruthlessly honest commitment to introspection—to the conceptual identification of your inner states—you will not discover what you feel, what arouses the feeling, and whether your feeling is an appropriate response to the facts of reality, or a mistaken response, or a vicious illusion produced by years of self-deception” [F Shostak] … “Feelings are, with a few exceptions, good servants. But they are disastrous masters.” [D Willard]

As an “organon” (instrument), “logic” is the supreme tool necessary for all other sciences. It is the necessary condition for science even to be possible.This is because logic is essential to intelligible discourse. However …

“Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.” [G K Chesterton]

Most of what follows on this page is directly quoted from these great minds:

C S Lewis (1898 – 1963)

  1. Fellow and Tutor at Magdalene College Oxford (1925 -1954)
  2. Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge

and…

Dallas Willard (1935-2013)

  1. Research and Teaching Assistant at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), 1960-1963
  2. Advanced Knapp Fellowship at Wisconsin, 1963-1964
  3. Instructor in Philosophy at Wisconsin, 1964-1965
  4. Assistant Professor in Philosophy at the University of Southern California, 1965-1969
  5. Visiting Associate Professor, UCLA, Summer Quarter 1969
  6. Associate Professor of Philosophy at USC, 1969-1984
  7. Director, School of Philosophy at USC, 1982-1985
  8. Visiting Associate Professor, University of Colorado, Fall Semester 1984
  9. Professor, School of Philosophy USC, 1984 –

and…

N T Wright (1948 –   )

  1. Research Professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St Andrews
  2. English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian and Anglican bishop. He was the Anglican Bishop of Durham from 2003 to 2010.
  3. Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, and Dean of Lichfield Cathedral.
  4. Over the past twenty years he served as Professor of New Testament Studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities.

and…

Irving M Copi (1917 – 2002)

  1. Associate Professor of Pilosophy University of Michigan 1958 -1969.
  2. Associate Professor of Pilosophy University of Hawaii 1969 -1990.

…or my interpretation of their statements.

“By doubting we come to questioning, by questioning we come to Truth” [Peter Abelard (1079–21 April 1142)]

Most thinking is consists of a few elementary maxims:-

  1. All “proofs” begin with something that cannot be proved, something that can only be perceived or accepted – an “axiom” or a “first principle“. Even Euclid can not prove a “proposition” without getting us to agree to his “assumptons“. You can not prove an assumption, you can only assume it, but you can not reason without it.
  2. There can be no argument except between those who accept the same “first principle“.
  3. An action can only be judged by defining its object. [Dale Alquist]

What are we aware of? What are we experiencing or having experiences of?
The crucial word in all these questions is the little preposition “of.” Grammatically, it calls for an object. What is the object that provides the answer to all these related questions? – the object of the understanding when a man thinks – is whatever it is which the mind can be employed about in thinking.

Let us pause for a moment to consider the meaning of the words “objective” and “subjective.” We call something objective when it is the same for me, for you, and for anyone else. We call something subjective when it differs from one individual to another and when it is exclusively the possession of one individual and of no one else.
To reinforce this understanding of the distinction between the subjective and the objective, let me introduce another pair of words: “public” and “private.” These two words can be used to divide all our experience into that which is public and that which is private.

For John Locke, the awareness we have of our own ideas is entirely a private experience, exclusively our own and instead of being themselves objects of apprehension, they are “the means by which” we apprehend objects that are not ideas. Those two little words “by which” hold the clue to the difference between Locke’s view and the opposite view. For Locke, all ideas are that which we apprehend when we are conscious of anything. For the opposing view, some ideas (our cognitive ideas) are “that by which” we apprehend the objects of which we are conscious. [Mortimer J Adler]

Tell all the truth but tell it slant

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

[Emily Dickenson]

” … the notion of truth has been under scrutiny and indeed attack. Many
today operate with two quite different types of “truth.” If we asked, “Is it true
that Jesus died on a cross?” we normally would mean, “Did it really happen?”
But if we asked, “Is the parable of the Prodigal Son true?” we would quickly
dismiss the idea that “it really happened”; that is simply not the sort of thing
parables are. We would insist that, in quite another sense, the parable is indeed
“true” in that we discover within the narrative a picture of God and his love, and
of multiple layers of human folly, which rings true at all kinds of levels of
human knowledge and experience.
So far, so good—though most people do not always stop to muse over these
different senses of “true” and their implications for other questions. Instead, late
modernity has tried to squeeze more and more areas of human discourse into the
first type of “truth,” making a “fact” out of everything and thereby trying to put
everything into the kind of box which can be weighed, measured, and verified as
if it were an experiment in the hard sciences like chemistry, or even an equation
in mathematics. But this attempt has overreached itself, not least in areas like
history and sociology. Now post-modernity has pushed us in the other direction:
toward supposing that all “truth,” including the supposed “facts” of scientific
experiment, can be reduced to power-claims (the scientists were, perhaps,
working for a firm which wanted to make money by selling a particular kind of
drug, and so forth). All claims to truth thus collapse into claims to power, as
Nietzsche argued over a century ago. All statements about “the way things are”
turn into variations on “the way I see them,” or even “the way it suits me to see
them.” [N T Wright]

“Institutions of religion, learning and power are coming to terms with their insistence that intellect and character need not be based on a morality. Not only are the people affected by these institutions confronted with dishonesty, deception and normal human failing but those in positions of authority and responsibility in the institutions are recognizing that the very existence of the institutions themselves is threatened by the same failings” [D Willard].Contrary to modern philosophical thought – the centuries-long attempt to devise a morality from within merely human resources has now proven itself a failure. “What is the basis of such a statement? Simply this: there is in fact no body of moral knowledge now operative in the institutions of knowledge in our culture. This is the outcome of the now centuries-long effort to develop a moral guide to life within the framework of human thought and experience alone,unassisted by revelation.” [D Willard]

The word “knowledge” in the history of Western thought is used in two senses: “EPISTEME” – The Greek word which states an ideal form of knowledge not recognized by the empirical sciences, not in history, nor in mathematics:

and the other Greek word “DOXA” – which contrasts with the word”episteme” and has been translated into the word “opinion” in modern english. Empirical science uses the word “episteme” to claim the word “knowledge” for itself, and when we claim that “phlosophy” is a branch of knowledge we should use the same word.

“It is important to make a distinction between “first order knowledge” and “second order knowledge“. Knowledge is of the first order if it is knowledge about reality, and of the second order if it is knowledge about knowledge. eg. the knowledge a biologist has about the anatomy and physiology of living organisms is first order knowledge, but the knowledge a philosopher has about biology as a field of natural science and in relation to the physical sciences on which it may depend is second order knowledge.” [Mortimer J Adler p13-14]

“Aristotle wrote about the fundamental laws of logic, including the law of “noncontradiction.” The chief principle of logic is the law of noncontradiction: Something cannot be what it is and not be what it is at the same time and in the same sense or relationship. A cannot be A and-A (non-A) at the same time and in the same relationship. … Aristotle’s concern for truth was also a concern for reality, for the two are inseparably related. … For Aristotle, the law of non-contradiction is not merely a law of thought but also a law of being. The very word for truth in Greek, aletheia, means, among other things, “real state of affairs.” According to Aristotle, the laws of logic apply to all sciences because they are valid for all reality.” [R C Sproul]

It is impossible to understand what “a whole” is, what a “part” is, and the relationship of “greater than” or “less than”, without at the same time understanding “a whole” to be greater than it’s parts.

knowledge” is a “process” not a “product”, …the learning, whilst gathering and compiling ”data”, not the data itself.

This is the absolute crux of the argument. Science strips away the subjective in an effort to leave only the objective behind. But this “objective reality” represents a “mind independent reality”. This “mind independent reality” is intrinsically meaningless and attempts to turn individuals into objects. The subject is completely devalued, and the subject/objective relationship is ignored. So there is an inherent contradiction trying to value this objective reality, because”value” does not exist in this “objective reality”. This is where the nilihism emerges from.

Scientific truth relies on metaphor and therefore has to submit to metaphor in the hierarchy.

Imagine living in a world in which you couldn’t distinguish between truth and deception, food from poison, friend from foe, facts from fiction. You could not tell good from bad, right from wrong, healthy from unhealthy, or safe from unsafe. You would not survive for long in such a dangerous world. What protects us from this world? – a properly thinking and reasoning mind is our first defense. (see my page – https://patrickwagnerblog.wordpress.com/re-think-the-way-you-think/)

If your goal is acceptance, then the first step is accepting reality.” … and Truth is what helps you relate to Reality.

“The study of philosophy is not about knowing what individuals thought, but about the way things are.” [Thomas Aquinas]

Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what is and you must bend to its power or live a lie”. [Miyamoto  Musashi]

It is impossible to reach agreement on what is good and what is evil, or what value has more quality than another without some commonly understood and accepted standard, or without some scale or target at which to aim. This seems so obvious to state, yet it is the fundamental principle that society has ignored. One cannot say “job well done” without a standard or value by which “well done” can be measured.

Or put it this way – “Logic insists that a finite point is absurd if it has no infinite reference point. If there is no universal, absolute moral standard then one can not say in a final sense that anything is “right” or “wrong”, so there is no point in debating with people who do not respect a universal moral absolute because they will always be “right” or “wrong” under their own terms of reference.“Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are.” [CS Lewis]

My interpretation of the “symbolic tree and the dimensions of a culture” using Matthieu Pageau’s “Language of Creation” …Serpent template 3

“The modern man says, “Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace liberty.” This is, logically rendered, “Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it.” [G K Cheterton]

My friends, the Truth is a Person.” – Constantine Zalalas

Truth co-exists as:-

ideas – which are changeless (objective substance) and

appearances – which change (subjective form).

DECEPTION leads to IGNORANCE leads to DOMINATION leads to DESTRUCTION

REALITY -> TRUTH -> FACTS -> EVIDENCE  ->  observation ->examination -> LOGIC -> understanding -> comprehensive perspective -> insight  -> ACCURACY  ->  truth  -> worldview ->  KNOWLEDGE -> WISDOM -> TRUTH -> REALITY

NB. The words in “CAPITALS” are “OBJECTIVE” and those words not in capitals are “subjective” or limited to the personal or group perspective.

“The world has succeeded in opposing intelligence to goodness” (in other words, you have to be really dumb to qualify as a saint) Today, any attempt to combine spirituality (or moral purity) with great intelligence causes widespread pangs of ‘cognitive dissonance” There has been a TRAGIC DISPLACEMENT of:

  • the central beliefs of Christianity have been pushed out of the domain of knowledge, this is a social fact
  • today the Christian, to be a Christian, must take leave of his knowledge and engage in “leaps”
  • We must reclaim Christian knowledge for faith” [Dallas Willard]

In order to even understand what the Bible says to us we must have a renewed and properly working mind (see my page – https://patrickwagnerblog.wordpress.com/re-think-the-way-you-think/), with our mental faculties intact and God/the Holy Spirit must be managing our thinking processes if we are going to understand the Truth of the Word accurately. Loving God with all your mind (Mark 12:30) is not a passive process, it involves coming to conclusions based on observation, revelation and careful reflection or contemplation about the data (range of information) that is being offered for your consideration. “REASON” is our ability to use our mind to sort through the data and draw accurate and truthful conclusions that relate to Reality. Reason is the tool God has given us for aquiring knowledge. (sse my page – https://patrickwagnerblog.wordpress.com/the-first-topic-to-think-about/)

Knowledge of Truth helps us synchronize and harmonize our actions, thoughts and lives with Reality so we can confront it and not suffer too much pain at adjusting our lives.The only successful way to deal with reality is Truth. “NOTHING IS MORE SUPPORTIVE OF ‘RIGHT’ BEHAVIOUR THAN THE “TRUTH”.

“When a tossed coin lands heads-up, we know at once that the other side of the coin is tails without having to turn the coin over – this is “immediate inference”.

When we know something, what we know is the truth about it. When we try to think correctly and soundly, our effort is to get at the truth. The difficult question to answer is “how can we tell if a particular statement is “true” or “false”? It is not difficult to answer the question “What is truth?” when you understand what “truth” is.

Everyone understands the difference between “telling the truth” and “telling a lie”. To say, “is”, when you think, “is not”, or to say “is not” when you think “is” – is to tell a lie. The truth is the opposite of this.

A liar is a person who wilfully misplaces his ontological predicates.

Truth is the agreement between what one thinks and what one says. We think truly, or have truth in our mind, if we think that which is, is; or that which is not, is not. Truth is the correspondence between reality, the thought, the word , and the action.

Degrees of probability are not measures of the truth of a statement, but only measures of the assurance with which we can determine its truth.”[Mortimer J Adler – Aristotle for Everybody]

The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.” [Mortimer Adler]

OPINION VERSUS KNOWLEDGE
“Now in terms of this definition of truth, let me talk about knowledge and
opinion. Knowledge consists in having the truth and knowing that you have it,
because you know why what you think is true is true. Whereas opinion consists
in not being sure that you have the truth
, not being sure whether what you say is
true or false. And even if what you say happens to be true, you aren’t sure
because you don’t know why it is true.” [Mortimer Adler]

“Reality is that which when we stop believing in it doesn’t go away.” [Philip K. Dick] “Reality is what we bump our head against when we are wrong.” [D Willard]

“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline” [Mortimer Adler]

To read is not to know.

To think about is not to know.

To believe is not to know

What is information? Or, more precisely, what are information? What are its various forms? What conceptions of intelligence, wisdom and learning does each insist upon? What conceptions does each form neglect or mock? What are the main psychic effects of each form? What is the relation between information and reason? What is the kind of information that best facilitates thinking? Is there a moral bias to each information form? What does it mean to say that there is too much information? …For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users un-derstand what its dangers are. It is not important that those who ask the questions arrive at my answers or Marshall McLuhan’s (quite different answers, by the way). This is an instance in which the asking of the questions is sufficient. To ask is to break the spell. To which I might add that questions about the psychic, political and social effects of information are as applicable to the computer as to television.” [Neil Postman]

“The knowledge of good and evil appears to be the goal of all ethical reflection. The first task of Christian ethics is to supersede that knowledge.” [Detrich Bonhoeffer – Ethics]

Love is the deepest mode of knowing, because it is love that, while completely engaging with reality other than itself, affirms and celebrates that other, than self reality.” [N T Wright]

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“Before the 1930’s to the 1950’s, when people read Medieval texts they had no problem with the fact that the texts had multiple meanings, and they had no problem putting those meanings in a hierarchical structure of relevance –

(metaphysical meaning – spiritual meaning – social meaning – personal meaning).

God is not a symbol of goodness. Goodness is a symbol of God.” [G K Chesterton]

“The problem is created when the hierarchy or structure of meaning is removed, when a lower level meaning is placed above a higher, or when marginal texts are made central and central texts made into minor texts. Post Modernists got rid of hierarchy and structure by placing marginal texts as central texts or by making “counter patterns” in the text “central patterns”, which flipped the meanings of the texts upside down or inverted their purpose. By placing the counter text or marginal text at the top of the meaning hierarchy instead of leaving them in their meaningful structure they made the text say exactly the opposite to what it actually said, simply because “marginal” and “central” determine functionality, which differs, (central holds together from the inside out, while marginal holds the inside together from the external and defines borders) and so the “competence hierarchy” and “embedded purpose” of the text is lost.”[my translation of a quote by Jonathan Pageau]

“Historically, three presumed sources of knowledge have domi-nated human life in turn, and they have been set in opposition to one another because of the political dynamics into which they have fallen.

(1) Authority based on historical or social posi-tion (mainly in church and government) has mostly dominated human life and is still dominant today in many parts of the world—often where it is least suspected. In European history, the power to know by

(2) thinking, by reason (by René Descartes and others), came to dominance in “intellectual” circles in response to the failures and breakdown of the old systems of authority. The excessive claims of reason led to revolt against it and to the emergence of

(3) experience as the preferred source of knowledge (the empiricism of John Locke and David Hume, later to become naturalism).

Empiricism (later often called “positivism”) is simply a failed ideological gambit in Western culture that prevailed from roughly the eighteenth century on and should be regarded as nothing more than an instructive, if somewhat unfortunate, historical episode. It arbitrarily specifies the senses or feeling as boundary markers for knowledge and reality. But it cannot guide us in the interpretation of knowledge and reality, for it fundamentally misconstrues them. Its primary function was to replace religious orthodoxy with a sec­ular, epistemological orthodoxy, as cultural authority was passing from religious to merely intellectual institutions in modern West­ern society. As an orthodoxy, it is, of course, repressive and, among other things, makes impossible knowledge of the human self. One can judge for oneself the cost of this by candidly observing the intellectual and moral chaos that rules modern society—not least, intellectual society itself. Of course, empiricism is not itself an empirical theory, and in the nature of the case could never be. It stands self-refuted.”

[Dallas Willard]

“C S Lewis believed it was important to remind people that the Great Myth is imaginative metaphysics. It is philosophy and not science.” [Stewart Goetz] …”the essence of a myth being that it should have no taint of allegory to the maker and yet should suggest incipient allegories to the reader… mythmaking was “Breathing a lie through Silver.[Tolken] Myth and truth were totally divorced. [C S Lewis]

The word “philosophy” used to mean – “the science of, or the theory, logical analysis of principles underlying; the general principles of a field of knowledge (eg. the philosophy of economics); particular system of principles for the conduct of the life of; the study of human morals, character etc. [1978 Collins Dictionary definitions]”

Today most people define the word “philosophy” distinctly differently as:

metaphysics – the nature of mind

epistemology – the theory of knowledge, belief and opinion

logic – strict principles and validity of reasoning

“The problem of the immortality of the soul is the pivot of metaphysics.” [Gabriel Marcel – Being and Having]

“Science takes things apart to see how they work; but religon puts things together to see what they mean.” [Jonathan Sacks]

A finite point is absurd if it has no infinite reference point. If there is no universal, absolute moral standard (of Right and Wrong)then one can not say in a final sense that anything is “Right” or “Wrong” [F Schaeffer].

“Paradoxically Ultimate Reality must be the beginning of the quest if Ultimate Reality is the end of it” [Kitty Ferguson – The Fire in the Equations]

“We have “knowledge” of  something when we are representing it (thinking about it, speaking of it, or treating it) as it actually is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience. It involves TRUTH of accuracy of representation, but it must also be TRUTH based upon adequate evidence or insight.The evidence or insight comes in various ways depending on the nature of the subject matter. But it must be there.” [Dallas Willard]

Reason is not dependent on rationality. At some point the mind must decide if paradoxical logic is permissible or not. The first question raised in Christian thinking is the concept of the Trinity, can 3=1. Reason permits 1 to contain 3 features or characteristics but this is a combination of numerical logic and the reality of one object having more than one characteristic.

I realize this is a paradox.

The difference in logic between the philosophy methods of Aristotle and Plato.

  1. Aristotle – A=A, A can not = nonA, A can not = both A and nonA simaltaneously
  2. Plato – A=A and A = nonA simaltaneously

Plato’s philosophic method is “paradoxical logic”, it allows for paradox in thinking.

Most of the philosophers of the great Eastern religions (in contrast to many philosophers in Western religions) are comfortable with paradoxes and willing to accept and live with them in their thinking and theology, rather than discard them.

There are then two kinds of intellect: the one able to penetrate acutely and deeply into the conclusions of given premises, and this is the precise intellect; the other able to comprehend a great number of premises without confusing them, and this is the mathematical intellect. The one has force and exactness, the other comprehension. Now the one quality can exist without the other; the intellect can be strong and narrow, and can also be comprehensive and weak.

There is the conflict between faith and reason on the one side of the brain and the conflict between emotions and imagination on the other.

Contradiction has always been permitted, in order to blind the wicked; for all that offends truth or love is evil. This is the true principle.

“Knowledge is the ability to represent the facts in a way that truthfully represents reality experientially.”[Dallas Willard]

“Truth is the way we do life, not what we think or believe. Our life situation and our way or relating to  others is the “truth” [Richard Rohr]

“The target that Truth is aiming at is Reality.” [Dallas Willard]

“Truth is precious to human life in all of its dimensions, because it alone allows us to come to terms with reality.”[Dallas Willard]

“I cannot really stand aside from the universe, even in thought. Only by a meaningless pretense can I place myself at some vague point outside it, and from there reproduce on a small scale the successive stages of its genesis.  Nor can I place myself outside myself (a revealing parallel) and question myself upon my own genesis.” [Gabriel Marcel]

“Logic is the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct from
incorrect reasoning. The logician is not in the least concerned with the dark ways by which the mind arrives at its conclusiions during the actual process of reasoning. He is concerned only with the correctness of the completed process.
When we reason about any matter, we produce arguments to support our
conclusions. Our arguments include reasons that we think justify our beliefs.
However, not all reasons are good reasons. Therefore we may always ask, when we confront an argument: Does the conclusion reached follow from the premises assumed? To answer this question there are objective criteria; in the study of logic we seek to discover and apply those criteria.
Reasoning is not the only way in which people support assertions they make or accept. They may appeal to authority or to emotion, which can be very persuasive, or they may rely, without reflection, simply on habits. However, when someone wants to make judgments that can be completely relied upon, their only solid foundation will be correct reasoning. Using the methods and techniques of logic—one can distinguish reliably between sound and faulty reasoning.”[Irving M Copi]

“Aquinas describes:

intellect” (intelligere) is the simple (i.e. indivisible, uncompounded) grasp of an intelligible truth

reasoning” (ratiocinari) is the progression towards an intelligible truth by going from one understood (intellecto) point to another.

The difference between them is thus like the differences between rest and motion or between possession and aquisition” [C S Lewis – The Discarded Image p157]

C S Lewis then distinguishes between reason as intellectus and reason
as ratio:
“We are enjoying intellectus when we “just see” a self‐evident truth; we
are exercising ratio when we proceed step by step to prove a truth which is not self‐evident … When ratio is used with this precision and distinguished from intellectus, it is … very much what we mean by “reason” today …” [C S Lewis]

There are two types of arguments:-

deductive – arguments which provide conclusive evidence of their premises (valid vs invalid argument) A deductive argument makes the claim that its conclusion is supported by its premises conclusively.

inductive – arguments which provide some evidence for their conclusion (better vs worse argument) In contrast to deductive arguments, the central task of inductive arguments is to ascertain the facts by which conduct may be guided directly, or on which other arguments may be built.

Confirming the introduction of Hegel’s deception – “Two warnings may be useful to some; others, I hope, will pardon them… “DIALECTIC” in the modern Marxist sense is Hegelian in origin, it must be completely set aside when we speak of Medieval or ancient dialectic. Dialectic is concerned with “proving”. Before the Middle Ages there are two kinds of proof; from REASON – establishes geometrical truth from AUTHORITY – establishes a historical truth And then in the Middle Ages there are three – from EXPERIENCE – establishes that oysters do, or do not, agree with us. Unfortunately the word “experience” is not always used for the third type of proof . To ‘feel’, or even more misleading to “know by experience” is used as proof. Neither the grammar nor the rhetoric had anything to say about the point of view or the individual sensibility. The ancient teachers of rhetoric saw no distinction or antithesis between RHETORIC and POETRY but by the Middle Ages it has become literary, its precepts addressed quite as much to poets as to advocates. … But unfortunately the word experience is not always used for the third type of proof. The variants are two. To learn by experience may be to feel; or, more misleading, know¬ledge by experience may be preve (that is, proof) There is no antithesis, indeed no distinction, between Rhetoric and Poetry… [C S Lewis]

Communication1

  1. The knowing subject 3, is made in the image of his/her Creator, and thus is called to reflect or communicate the Creator’s message and care into the world. (Within this mould, knowing can never mean simply amassing knowledge or accumulating a range of data) Knowing 4, enables personal reflection, contemplation and constructive contribution to the Creator’s message and purpose for communicating the message in the first place. The recipients understanding (plus his contribution or version) communicated back to the Messenger 5, enables or opens up 6, the recipient of the message to deeper “knowing” or “wisdom” of the Messenger 1.
  2. The relation of the knower/recipient/subject to the material being studied varies in accordance with the nature of the object being known.
  3. The knower/recipient/subject can never know in isolation, only in a community of knower’s/recipients/subject’s, the knowledge being part of a much larger world of interlocking connections and mutual relationships. [N T Wright – Surprised by Scripture]

“Anyone who creates a new symbol has complete freedom to stipulate what meaning is to be given it” [Irving M Copi]

Definitions are always definitions of symbols (not of objects), because only symbols have the meanings that definitions may explain. To illustrate, we can define the word “chair” because it has meaning; but a chair itself we cannot define. We can sit on a chair, or paint it, or burn it, or describe it—but we cannot define it because an actual chair is not a symbol that has a meaning to be explained. Sometimes we say, misleadingly, that the thing is being defined; in fact, what we define are always symbols. … The symbol being defined is the “definiendum“. …and the symbol or set of symbols (the word) used to explain the meaning of the”definiendum” is called the “definiens“.(the “definiens” is not the meaning of the “definiendum” but another symbol or set of symbols which has the same meaning as the “definiendum“.)

“definitions”, depending on how they are used, are of five kinds:

(1) stipulative – A definition that has a meaning that is deliberately assigned to some symbol is called a stipulative definition.

(2) lexical – Most often the term being defined has some established use. When the purpose of the definition is to explain that use, or to eliminate ambiguity, the definition is called a lexical definition.

(3) precising – are those used to eliminate ambiguity or vagueness.

(4) theoretical – a definition that encapsulates a larger understanding we rightly call a theoretical definition.

(5) persuasive – A definition put forward to resolve a dispute by influencing attitudes or stirring emotions may be called a persuasive definition.”

“A “sentence” is commonly defined as a unit of language that expresses a complete thought” …the principal uses of language are three:

1. informative

2. expressive

3. directive.

The grammatical forms of language are essentially four:

  1. declarative
  2. interrogativ
  3. imperative
  4. exclamatory.

There is no sure connection between the grammatical form of a passage and the use or uses its author intends. Language that serves any one of the three principal functions may take any one of the four grammatical forms.”

[Irving M Copi]

“I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sun-beam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch‐black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam [the latter experi-ence], and looking at the beam [the former experience] are very different experiences.”  … “A physiologist … can study pain and find out that it “is” (whatever is means) such and such neural events. But the word pain would have no meaning for him unless he had “been inside” by actually suffering. If he had never looked along pain he simply wouldn’t know what he was looking at. The very subject for his inquiries from outside exists for him only because he has, at least once, been inside.” … “By experience I mean “That part or result of any event which is presented to consciousness”. Thus in a Toothache the total event is a complex physiological, bio‐chemical, and (in the long run) atomic event: what is presented to consciousness, i.e. the Pain, I call an experience.” [C S Lewis]

When we consider the three fundamental control structures in all software programming:-

1. Sequence – line by line sequential statement execution in the order that the code appears from beginning to end

2. Decision – true or false decision to skip or repeat sections of the sequential code

3. Loop – execution of a block or section of code multiple times until a specified condition is met or to achieve a certain objective

… then the Uroboros is a repeating “loop 3.” Perhaps the nearest I can get to expressing this is to say it this way: the “loop 3.” execution moves in a narrower but smaller circle which is quite as infinite as a large circle; but, though it is quite as infinite it is only a limited but essential part of the main “sequence 1.” execution process from beginning to end. Once a certain “decision 2.” condition is met or a certain objective achieved (read the 40 year repetitive loop in the wilderness of the Israelites after leaving Egypt and before they entered the promised land under Moses, the objective which was for God to teach them obedience) the main “sequence 1.” sequential processing will be resumed.

Software Development Path

To link the above picture to a physiological diagram click here – https://patrickwagnerblog.wordpress.com/spirit-and-soul/

” … the notion of truth has been under scrutiny and indeed attack. Many
today operate with two quite different types of “truth.” If we asked, “Is it true
that Jesus died on a cross?” we normally would mean, “Did it really happen?”
But if we asked, “Is the parable of the Prodigal Son true?” we would quickly
dismiss the idea that “it really happened”; that is simply not the sort of thing
parables are. We would insist that, in quite another sense, the parable is indeed
“true” in that we discover within the narrative a picture of God and his love, and
of multiple layers of human folly, which rings true at all kinds of levels of
human knowledge and experience.
So far, so good—though most people do not always stop to muse over these
different senses of “true” and their implications for other questions. Instead, late
modernity has tried to squeeze more and more areas of human discourse into the
first type of “truth,” making a “fact” out of everything and thereby trying to put
everything into the kind of box which can be weighed, measured, and verified as
if it were an experiment in the hard sciences like chemistry, or even an equation
in mathematics. But this attempt has overreached itself, not least in areas like
history and sociology. Now post-modernity has pushed us in the other direction:
toward supposing that all “truth,” including the supposed “facts” of scientific
experiment, can be reduced to power-claims (the scientists were, perhaps,
working for a firm which wanted to make money by selling a particular kind of
drug, and so forth). All claims to truth thus collapse into claims to power, as
Nietzsche argued over a century ago. All statements about “the way things are”
turn into variations on “the way I see them,” or even “the way it suits me to see
them.” [N T Wright]

Subjective Objective
Action Perception
Time Space
Relationship to reality Correspondence to reality
How? What?

“Beliefs must come to terms with facts, not facts with beliefs.” [Dallas Willard]

“A fact is a statement that is consistent with reality or can be proven with evidence. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability.” [Dallas Willard]

You don’t have to let go of your beliefs in order to examine the evidence for them, scepticism and belief are not contradictory. [Dallas Willard]

TRUTH is totally indifferent to human will and desire.

You don’t have to teach a child to lie, that’s because REALITY is so hard to deal with, so people want to change it or shift it.

TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE and AUTHORITY are connected.

Claims to KNOWLEDGE are not KNOWLEDGE.

AUTHORITY institutionalized or vested in individuals tends to drift away from

KNOWLEDGE into POWER. It then becomes oppressive and opposes TRUTH.

KNOWLEDGE DIFFERS FROM:

BELIEF/FAITH which is the readiness to act as if something is true (we must hope this is based on knowledge because “Belief needs to rest on knowledge”)

COMMITMENT a mere act of will, decision, possibly even without belief

PROFESSION saying one believes or is committed to something, whether or not one  is

There is a difference between informed opinion and uninformed opinion. We often hear people state as facts opinions that we know are not based on knowledge.

THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE ALONE GIVES:-

– the right and responsibility to act, to direct action, to formulate and supervise policy, and to teach.

– belief can not reliably govern life and action except in its proper connection with the knowledge and with the truth and evidence knowledge involves

“The relationship of religion to knowledge has become seriously misunderstood and distorted over the last two centuries. In particular, it has become the accepted view that religion stands free of knowledge, that religion requires only faith or commitment. In certain areas great faith has become equated with belief or commitment that manages to sustain itself, with great effort, against knowledge, or at least with no support from knowledge. Faith is then regarded as essentially a kind of struggle” [Dallas Willard]

“A natural consequence of the felt tension between the “fundamental things Christian disciples believe” and what is accepted by the secular world as “knowledge” is the destabilization of belief. [p2] This difficulty is not overcome by cultivating or manipulating emotions and feelings, nor by practicing ritual or art, or by “trying harder with renewed effort” to believe and act as we think we should. It is also not overcome by miraculous injections of divine inspiration from time to time. All of these may have their place. But the problems created by belief without knowledge, or belief in opposition to knowledge, cause belief to waver, to come and go, to become hesitant and variable at best, making it unsuitable for steady engagement with “REALITY” (and disengagement from unreality), they also make us depend on will-power and this often takes the form of encrusted close-mindedness, or harsh dogmatism.” [Dallas Willard]

“The very nature of what it is that the Christian wants to confess requires narrative as the necessary literary form.”, and individual … “Christian confession refers to events that have taken place in history, events which are understood to have redemptive and transforming significance, events which “live” in the sense that they continue to imbue the present with meaning and evoke hope in the future.”… for the author, not only because they have occurred in their personal reality but also because they have been confirmed by scripture. So, to narrate experiential, non-fictional, meaningful, personal theology as fictional entertainment will possibly diminish the depth and personal spiritual meaning for the author. The narrative is part of who they are, who they feel they were created to be. [“The Promise of Narrative Theology” by George W Stroup]

Bearing in mind, that objective “Truth” does not encompass or include everything, that there is truth outside and opposite to objective “Truth” our epistemology (or method that we use to search for “Truth”) can be divided into three main disciplines:-

WESTERN CULTURE

(Aristotle)

EASTERN CULTURE

(Plato)

HEBREW

(Jesus)

Matter Mind Spirit
Ritual (obedience) Religion (belief) Revelation of belief/obedience
Experience Knowledge Faith=Knowledge/Experience
Objective Subjective Revelation of Subjective/Objective
Measurable Measureless Measureless/Measurable
Logic

A=A

A≠non A

A≠both A and non A

Paradoxical Logic

A=A and non A

Divine logic
Experience Knowledge Experiential knowledge
Impersonal (unity) Personal (diversity) Personal/Impersonal uni-versity
Self-realization Self-transformation Spiritual renewal
Purposeless Purposeful Love
Determined Volition Volition/Determined
Reality Illusion Seen and unseen Reality
Value-free Value-full Love
Illusion Reality Natural and Super-natural

“The formulations in language of …

propositions – a statement or assertion that expresses a judgement or opinion.

questions – a sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information.

commands – give an authoritative or peremptory order

exclamations – a word that expresses sudden pain, surprise, anger, excitement, happiness, or other emotion

… are divided by grammar into …

declarative – of the nature of or making a declaration.

interrogative – having the force of a question.

imperative – of vital importance; crucial.

exclamatory – (of a cry or remark) expressing surprise, strong emotion, or pain

… sentences.

The logician is interested in propositions rather than in the sentences which formulate them.” [Irving M Copi’s – “Introduction to Logic”]

Logic – The study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning.
Proposition – A statement; what is typically asserted using a declarative sentence, and hence always either true or false—although its truth or falsity may be unknown.

There are two types of arguments:-

deductive – arguments which provide conclusive evidence of their premises (valid vs invalid argument) A deductive argument makes the claim that its conclusion is supported by its premises conclusively.

inductive – arguments which provide some evidence for their conclusion (better vs worse argument) In contrast to deductive arguments, the central task of inductive arguments is to ascertain the facts by which conduct may be guided directly, or on which other arguments may be built.

Every argument claims that its premises provide evidence for the truth of its conclusion, but only deductive arguments do – they are valid vs invalid not correct vs incorrect.

eg. PROPOSITION(VALID) – PREMIS(VALID) – CONCLUSION(VALID = DEDUCTIVE ARGUMENT

“If you live only according to human wisdom, you will find it necessary constantly to do what is wrong. And in that case you will become an authority on what is right and wrong, because in the end you will have to manage right and wrong. You will have to have ready explanations of why, though you do wrong things, you are still a good person, and why those who do not do as you do are fools. You will become an expert scorner, able to put everyone in their place with appropriate doses of contempt. We have a choice, but we cannot choose the consequences of the choices we make. And one of the consequences of choosing what we want without regard to God’s will is enslavement to our own self-conflicted will. On the path of self-will we eventually reach a state where we cannot choose what God wants and cannot want God. We can only want ourselves.” [Dallas Willard]

“Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich. The word “kleptomania” is a vulgar example of what I mean. It is on a par with that strange theory, always advanced when a wealthy or prominent person is in the dock, that exposure is more of a punishment for the rich than for the poor. Of course, the very reverse is the truth. Exposure is more of a punishment for the poor than for the rich. The richer a man is the easier it is for him to be a tramp. The richer a man is the easier it is for him to be popular and generally respected in the Cannibal Islands. But the poorer a man is the more likely it is that he will have to use his past life whenever he wants to get a bed for the night. Honour is a luxury for aristocrats, but it is a necessity for hall-porters.” [G K Chesterton]

“Beyond reason, beyond liberty, there is desire. Take, eat his body, drink his blood, and become less like the gods we fashion ourselves to be. Become less violent. Eat his body, drink his blood. We no longer need to consume ourselves or each other.” [David Gornoski]

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