Saturday, May 9, 2009

21 Anselmus

Boethius died in 524 AD. The philosopher , who has our attention now was born 1033 AD. Five hunder years later??!! What had happened in the 500 years inbetween?

Well...very simple..Europe was a mess...It wasnt a world with clearly defined states like we know now. It was a world of tribal battles and conflicts. The Roman empire had collapsed, so local tribes ruled again.

And amidst all that tribal conflicts there was one "international" organisation, which was a power on its own, the Catholic church with a pope, bishops, priests all over Europe.

In those days it was that organisation, which kept culture and education alive. Taught people reading and writing. In 800 Pope Leo III crownd Charlamagne, Charles the Great, to emperor. Just keep that in mind...

And finally things quiet down, no more invasions. And then we meet Anselmus, archbisshop of Cantebury. And he made history with his ontological proof of the existence of God.

What was the argumentation?

When we think of God we only can think of the greatest , largest, biggest object there is. God is all. So, logically, you have to deduce from that thought that he exists.

For it would be a contradiction to think of God as the greatest being there is in our thoughts and on the other hand say that he doesnt exist, which would make him less great.

A God you think of who doesnt exist, isnt as great as a God,who exists. And because we clearly can think of God and can assume that he exists as something that is the greatest object of our thoughts, he must be something that really exists.

So, because we can think a God as being the greatest being there is, he must exist otherwise we would be thinking about a 'nothing'.

The quintessence of this kind of reason is, what we already saw in Parmenides about 500 B.C. He said there is only Being. When you think of a not-Being, you still thnk of something, so it is impossible for the not-Being not to exist.

This is an interesting epistemological matter. It is about what exists IN the mind and what exists OUTSIDE the mind. And like Parmenides Anselmus believes that what exits in the mind as a concept also exists outside the mind as a real entity.

Let me explain is in another way and keep in mind, that, what this is all about is, that in the past 1000 years man had discovered the ratio, thinking, the mind.

You see ten men standing in line. They all look different. You can identify one by one as John, Jack, Peter..and so on, but also you can say they are all MAN. So they have that all in common.

But you only see John and Jack. The BEING A MAN is knowledge generated by the ratio., deduced from the material things. Thus this BEING A MAN is a kind of universal thing, while John and Jack are particular material things.

We then have to conclude that this universal concept BEING A MAN can not be a material particular thing, but YET it exists in our mind. It is there....Where does it come did our mind, our ratio find out?????

This observation led philosophers to believe that because we THINK of it, it must have real existence. That is what Plato thought. The idea, the concept exists on its own, but it is not material. Aristoteles didnt agree and considered these universals as mental concepts. But these concepts still had a special epistemological status.

From now on the debate will be about the existential and epistemological status of these Universalia, these universal concepts. Like God it the ultimate universal concept of being.

Are they real independently existing, immaterial things, or do they only exist in the mind and either way.....where do they come from.

In a more common way we know this as generalization. When we talk in general trm, are we talking about reality or only the content of our mind?

The Discussion

[13:26] Cailleach Shan: Isin't it just a matter of creating language to explain the inexplicable, which gradually becomes accepted generally.
Herman Bergson: just refering to creating language isnt the answer I think, Cailleach
Herman Bergson:Language is about when we talk about universlas we talk about something
Herman Bergson: when we talk about God we talk about something
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: Or think we do.
Herman Bergson: but what is essential here...what do we mean by 'something'
[13:27] Ledddd Zabelin: i thought god created tongues language to prevent the mass collectivity of humanity?
Herman Bergson: what is the ontological status of that something, as it occurs in our language
[13:30] Maphisto Mapholisto: just because societies invent words and change the meanings of words over time, doesn't mean that each and every word has some physical counterpart in some parallel universe, let alone this one
[13:30] Cailleach Shan: It think it's beyond definition.. you can only 'point' to it.
Herman Bergson: and this debate on the kind of existence these universal concepts like MAN, LOVE, FREEDOM, ANIMAL, GOD and so on have will dominate the philosophical discourse for centuries
[13:31] hope63 Shepherd: i think anselmus saw the liear. not dialectic or parallel.. maff..
[13:31] hope63 Shepherd: linear..
Herman Bergson: I agree with you Maff...
Herman Bergson: it is all about reference
[13:32] Maphisto Mapholisto: why did such intelligent men confuse a mental abstraction with a particular empirical existance, herman ... what was the difficulty they saw?
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: Isnt lanuage merely a concept tag?
[13:32] Ewa Aska: yes your mind references
Herman Bergson: No ..I think I can imagine what puzzled those phisolophers...
Herman Bergson: Just imagine....
Herman Bergson: all we have is the input of our senses....
Herman Bergson: and they are all experiences of one individual...
[13:34] Ewa Aska: ye
Herman Bergson: yet one individual can communicate with the othere about what he experiences....
Herman Bergson: by using universals....
Herman Bergson: for instance....
Herman Bergson: he tells...I saw a dog and ......
Herman Bergson: the other person understands what he means....
[13:36] Cailleach Shan: Hey Rodney!!
Herman Bergson: but it wasnt just a was a particular animal..brown, three legs, no tail
Herman Bergson: Hi Rod
Herman Bergson: Yet a dog...
[13:36] Rodney Handrick: hi everyone
[13:36] Ewa Aska: hi rod
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: Yo.
Herman Bergson: Just imagine what it means when you think about that observation
Herman Bergson: why do we all KNOW what is meant by the word DOG
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: Experience
[13:37] Maphisto Mapholisto: just because the particulars exist for each individual doesn't mean the abstrations of the their communication must also exist - they are the phantoms thrown up by language
Herman Bergson: Well..Maff I tend to agree with you, but think about those Greek....
Herman Bergson:Just think about how amazed they were that every one knows what a dog is...
Herman Bergson: without refering to specifics
[13:39] Miralee Munro: How do babies 'know' they have to learn?
[13:40] Maphisto Mapholisto: zen buddhism spent a lot of time pondering the existential implications of the matter ... which is why they would make such apparently obscure observations as "a blck cat is not a a cat - it is a black cat' ... they wanted to kill abstractions and get us back to the particulars of our being (sorry, i know this WESTERN philosophy, lol)
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: tabula rasa
Herman Bergson: Yes babies are a very interesting group in a cognitive sense
[13:40] Cailleach Shan: What about collective consciousness?
[13:41] Ewa Aska: they do it must faster then we, in theearly year
[13:41] Cailleach Shan: I don't believe babies are tabular rasa
Herman Bergson: That is an idea of Jung Cailleach..another attempt to understand the universal concepts
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: What else beside mystics?
[13:42] Maphisto Mapholisto: artists too know they must 'undo' the abstract notions of 'eye', 'mouth', 'nose' when drawin a face or it will end up looking nothing like the actual subject
[13:42] Cailleach Shan: oops sorry... getting ahead of things.
[13:42] Ewa Aska: noo jung mean you have experience from the Architypes
[13:42] Maphisto Mapholisto: to believe that one's own cognitions necessarily have empirical reality is magical thinking
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: heavy maff
Herman Bergson: yes...archetypes are also an answer to the universal concept problem
[13:43] Ewa Aska: yes
[13:43] Maphisto Mapholisto: hey, we are philosophers, Aristo, lol
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
Herman Bergson: Dont junp to conclusions yet....
Herman Bergson: just keepp in mind that we use universal concepts...and while using them we believe we talk about reality
[13:45] Maphisto Mapholisto: but a 'social' and 'cultural' reality, not an empirical reality
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: Is the proof in reality, mutual sighting of the dog?
Herman Bergson: and THAT is the big question Maff...
[13:45] Maphisto Mapholisto: there is no such thing as motherhood, only mothers
[13:46] Ewa Aska: I dont agree with you Maff
[13:46] hope63 Shepherd: i think you are wrong on that maff..
Herman Bergson: according to some philosophers you are right Maff
[13:46] Miralee Munro: Why do you say that Maphisto?
[13:46] Ewa Aska: there is motherhood
[13:46] Cailleach Shan: There is only 'motherhood' if we collectively agree there is.
Herman Bergson: Well....let is stop here.....
[13:46] Maphisto Mapholisto: motherhood is an abstract notion, only actual mothers, millions of them, are real
Herman Bergson: Maff put the finger on the painful spot!
[13:47] Ewa Aska: wrong what is motherslove then?
[13:47] Maphisto Mapholisto: there is not Justice, only just actions
Herman Bergson: does there exist something like motherhood or not....?
[13:47] hope63 Shepherd: if there's no justice.. why don't we live in chaos ..
[13:47] Maphisto Mapholisto: mother love is the love shown by millions of actual mums to their actual children
[13:47] Ewa Aska: yes it does
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: Love, love love?
[13:48] Gray Cardiff: is there no such thing as love then
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: all we need ari.
[13:48] Ewa Aska: call it motherhood or love or.. same as for all animals
[13:48] Gray Cardiff: just actions of love
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: Is mothers love something you cannot help to have?
Herman Bergson: far as I know there is only individual human behavior
[13:48] Maphisto Mapholisto: yes, actions of love, not notions of love
[13:48] Miralee Munro: But isn't motherhood the 'umbrella' under which a mother's love, her nurturing, her skill, her instincts gather?
[13:48] Miralee Munro: her actions
[13:49] Maphisto Mapholisto: it is how we gather them into a sing;le concept
[13:49] Gray Cardiff: maff hope you're wrong
[13:49] Miralee Munro: But isn't there group behaviour Herman?
[13:49] hope63 Shepherd: gosh.. we come down to the question of love now.. there is more sense in what has been said about god than in what has been written about love.
[13:49] Maphisto Mapholisto: but the concept is not 'real', only the actual mothers are real
[13:49] Maphisto Mapholisto: stopped
[13:49] Ewa Aska: i have to leave sorry GRIEFERS on Luaks Nest
[13:49] hope63 Shepherd: your thoughts are real.. accept the neutrons in your brain..
Herman Bergson: we can learn from what is said a lot.....
Herman Bergson: just notice.....
[13:50] Miralee Munro: Good luck Ewa.
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: bye
Herman Bergson: there are mothers.....individuals.....there is motherhood.......does that exist in the same way as mothers exist...
Herman Bergson: then there is the isssue how we acquire knowledge
Herman Bergson: the Greek already struggled with that issue...
[13:51] Rodney Handrick: It's in the dna
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: and how we describe that knowledge in words..
[13:51] Miralee Munro: But isn't everything connected? things don't exist in isolation.
Herman Bergson: they too knew that they only had their private sensory data...
Herman Bergson: all see what the questions are....
Herman Bergson: we start with private sensory data.....and then...?
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: Have to go... bye everyone. This mother has to give her husband some 'mothering'.....:)
[13:52] Gray Cardiff: bye cail
[13:52] Rodney Handrick: Bye
[13:53] Miralee Munro: Bye Cailleach
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: Fare tee well Callieach
Herman Bergson: Be well Cailleach
[13:53] Miralee Munro: I'm thinking of how we all need one another in SL ... there is so much to learn and know ... that we depend on others passing on knowledge to us.
Herman Bergson: that is the big issue....where does our knowledge come from....?
Herman Bergson: Just from our sensory experiences....?
Herman Bergson: or is there more......
[13:54] Miralee Munro: Gradually, we build a body of knowledge from nowhere/nothing ...
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: Pushing the envelope?
Herman Bergson: inborn in our mind?
[13:55] Maphisto Mapholisto: i'll wait till you Chomsky, lol
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: Not.
[13:55] Rodney Handrick: I don't think the knowledge comes from "nowhere"
[13:55] Miralee Munro: Well, we start off here in SL knowing nothing ...
[13:55] Miralee Munro: or at least very little
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: We pass it on.
[13:56] Rodney Handrick: We just haven't reached that level of undersstanding odf the lifeforce
Herman Bergson: That is the problem Miralee......
[13:56] Miralee Munro: We are empty of SL knowledge when we arrive
[13:56] Miralee Munro: pretty much.
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: Miralees analogy rings true.
Herman Bergson: if there is really nothing in our are we then able to interpret what is registed by our senses?
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: Gray matter.
[13:57] oola Neruda: recognizing pattern?
[13:57] Maphisto Mapholisto: our 'minds' are a riverbed waiting for the water of experience
[13:57] Gray Cardiff: i do
[13:57] Miralee Munro: Mmmm ... sounds good Maphisto
[13:57] Maphisto Mapholisto: the riverbed is put through genetics
[13:57] Maphisto Mapholisto: and evolved over the ages
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: That would assum existing knowledge.
Herman Bergson: how do we know to recognize patterns...where does the structuring of experiences come from?
Herman Bergson: Maff's metafore shows already existing knowledge
[13:58] Maphisto Mapholisto: we produce gestalts because of the hardwiring of the brain
[13:58] oola Neruda: ameboa recognize pattern
[13:58] Maphisto Mapholisto: it evolved that way through natural selection
[13:58] Miralee Munro: What do they call it, racial history, or something like that?
Herman Bergson: that doesnt explain Maff.....
[13:59] Maphisto Mapholisto: nothing explains maff
[13:59] Miralee Munro: lol
Herman Bergson: for..where is the logic in the hardwiring..why this wiring and not an otherone
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: The brain stem holds the ancient instinctual brain.
[13:59] Miralee Munro: Yes, that's what I was referring to
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: The rest is tabula rasa
[13:59] Miralee Munro: Okay ... I don't know what tabula rasa is.
Herman Bergson: but what is the instincual brain more than a word
[14:00] Rodney Handrick: What is tabula rasa?
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: Clean slate
[14:00] Rodney Handrick: ah...ok
[14:00] oola Neruda: Locke
[14:00] Miralee Munro: Aaah
[14:00] hope63 Shepherd: hitler and the jews..
[14:01] Maphisto Mapholisto: psychology abandoned the tabla rasa some time back - too much research demonstrated complex cognitive functions in neonates
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: Maybe so.
[14:01] hope63 Shepherd: neonates maff?
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: Maybe no.
[14:01] Maphisto Mapholisto: newly born infants
Herman Bergson: Well.....I think we touched a lot of unanswered questions
[14:01] hope63 Shepherd: ty..
[14:01] Miralee Munro: So newly born infants have tabla rasa?
[14:02] AristotleVon Doobie: Do you need them answered before next class?
[14:02] Maphisto Mapholisto: no, on the contrary - they have considerble prpacked mental abilities
[14:02] AristotleVon Doobie: I think so Miralee
[14:02] Miralee Munro: I can't help but think of how we begin in SL and then build a body a knowledge.
Herman Bergson: Lol..that is what I wanted to say Aristotle...
[14:02] hope63 Shepherd: the eperm entering the eggcell is full of information.. no need to go to neonates..
[14:02] oola Neruda: they used to ascribe blank slate to babies
Herman Bergson: Our primary goal isnt to answer these questions, but to understand these questions first
[14:03] Maphisto Mapholisto: but trying out some answers for 'fit' throws up the full complexity of the question
[14:03] Miralee Munro: I was telling Hope, that it's been taking me my full intellectual capacity just to skim the surface of this discussion! lol
[14:03] AristotleVon Doobie: :))
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: Me too.
[14:04] hope63 Shepherd: right herman,, in our discussions we have too many answers and not enough questions..
[14:04] Miralee Munro: I just don't have the dexterity of mind to hold two thoughts in my head at the one time!
Herman Bergson: I was a lot of difficult isssues
[14:04] Miralee Munro smiles
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: Very stimulating tho.
[14:04] Miralee Munro: Yes, indeed.
Herman Bergson:So...I would suggest that everyone should reread our discussion in our blog sometime....
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: Makes you think.
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: I shall.
Herman Bergson: for we have touched on a lot of essential philosophical issues now....
[14:05] Miralee Munro: I'm going to have to have a lie down!
[14:05] Miralee Munro: lol
[14:05] Maphisto Mapholisto: lol
[14:05] Maphisto Mapholisto: hit the bottle
[14:05] Miralee Munro: lol
[14:05] Maphisto Mapholisto: if i can a real one
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: Juice it up.
Herman Bergson: ok...for now..class dismissed..:-)
[14:06] AristotleVon Doobie: Thanks Prof.
[14:06] Maphisto Mapholisto: yeeee, school's out
[14:06] Maphisto Mapholisto: thnx herman
[14:06] Miralee Munro faints with exhuastion.
Herman Bergson: lol
[14:06] Miralee Munro: lol
[14:06] Maphisto Mapholisto: a real braincruncher today, phew
[14:06] Gray Cardiff: thanks herman
Herman Bergson: Miralee..she fainted...
[14:07] Miralee Munro: lol
[14:07] Maphisto Mapholisto: mouth to mouth??? in class???
[14:07] Miralee Munro: lol
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: Does she need resuscitation?>
Herman Bergson: an option
[14:07] Miralee Munro: Such a friendly bunch of philosophers
Herman Bergson: thanks for your attention and good discussion..:-)
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: This class is a hoot!

Posted by herman_bergson on 2007-11-21 00:22:33

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