Sunday, May 10, 2009

34 Antoine Arnauld

Antoine Arnauld, 16 years younger than Descartes, was not an philosopher who introduced real new ideas, but he was a brillant mind and debater. One thing he is famous for is his book "Logique ou l'art de penser" (logic or the art of thinking).

Let's listen to what he has to say: "Nothing should be more valued than the ability to discriminate between true and false. Other capabillities of the mind are of limited use, but accuracy in thinking is essential for every aspect of or derection in life.

To draw a disctinction between true and false is not only difficult in science, but also in the daily affars of man. Man is contronted everywhere with alternatives -- some good, some bad -- and he must choose betwen them using his ratio.

He who makes a good choice, has a sound mind; he who chooses wrong, has an evil mind. The ability to see the truth is the most important standard to judge a ming."

To Arnauld it is all about clear thinking, which gets shape in logical reasoning. But he looks at the subject from a wider angle. The main functions of the ratio or mind are: to understand, to judge, to reason and to organize.

Understanding and judgement presuppose the knowledge of langue, because conceprts and propositions, essentially linguistic elements, have to be uderstood and evaluated.

Reasoning is a next step in the process where try to come to conclusions based on concepts and propositions. And finally the orgazing is a mental process which you could compare with the methods of inductive sciences.

And here we run into an interesting problem. We observe and from our observations we reason and come to conclusions about the material world, about reality.

It is in fact th same problem with mathematics. We observe, calculate and come to conclusions about the material word.

Logic belongs to the domain of the mind. It is in our mind only, like mathematics. Descartes made this sharp distinction btwen mind and body, mind and matter. The question we have to face now is: how does the mind, a non-material substance interact with the material world.

For instance....this material world.....we apply logic an mathematics to it. Can we conclude that this material world as such is logical ---think of causality here -- and mathematical?

Or are we just shuffling and reshuffling concepts in our mind? I mean, dont we get any further than the inside of our mind? To take it one step further: Can we really have certain knowledge of an external material world with its properties, or do we have only certainty of knowledge of our sense data and concepts?

To establish the existence of a material world, which means deciding on the ontological status of the content of our concept, is now a big issue. How do mind and matter interact?

Descartes and Arnauld and many of their contemporaries made god do the job to establish the connection between mind and matter. There was a lot of belief in their theories. It will be interesting to see how god lost his job in this matter and which philosophers will be responsable for that.

The Discussion

[13:17] Herman Bergson: Sofar on Arnauld..:-)
[13:17] Herman Bergson: Your remark alarice about truth....
[13:17] Cailleach Shan: ;) God has lost his job...
[13:18] Herman Bergson: Was in issue indeed...
[13:18] Herman Bergson: For Descartes true were those concepts that were clear and evident...
[13:19] Herman Bergson: Like that I think...
[13:19] Herman Bergson: and for him to like for many others ..the existence of god
[13:21] Ze Novikov: for Arnauld what was "observation' how did he understand the word or action?
[13:21] AristotleVon Doobie: I think our primal survival instincts creates a compulsion for us to survive death in someway and there we have god and these philosophers just do not want to get rid of him
[13:21] Herman Bergson: In those days direct experience was the believed source of knowledge Ze
[13:22] Herman Bergson: He had a heavy debate with Malebranche on that matter..
[13:22] Ze Novikov: ok
[13:22] Herman Bergson: and there he holds the view that direct experience leads to concepts...
[13:22] Herman Bergson: in the mind
[13:22] Ze Novikov: ummmm
[13:23] Herman Bergson: These concepts represent the material world..
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: oh
[13:24] Ze Novikov: so no experience = no existence..?
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: strange
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: are we all inside our mind likeit is a home entertainment sytem with reality being broadcast in by our senses?
[13:24] Alarice Beaumont: no - only no concept
[13:24] Herman Bergson: Strange Alarice?
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: yes, what Ze said
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: i wouldn't conclude that without experience one does not exist
[13:25] Cailleach Shan: Is it possible to have 'no experience' I don't think so.
[13:25] Herman Bergson: ah...
[13:26] Osrum Sands: Agree with Gaill
[13:26] Herman Bergson: I wouldnt say that either
[13:26] Alarice Beaumont: well.. a new born baby does not has experience.. but it exists
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: well what if you do not believe in tabula rasa, you do not need experience to exist
[13:26] Herman Bergson: The very first experience you have is "I think"
[13:26] Osrum Sands: it has the experience of birth
[13:26] Alarice Beaumont: mmhh
[13:27] Abrasax Enoch: "no experience ---> no existence" or "no existence--->no experience"?
[13:27] Cailleach Shan: It has the experience of cold... hunger..
[13:27] Gray Cardiff: clean slate i dont hink so
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: one must experience
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: except the Pinball Wizard
[13:27] Gray Cardiff: to much evidence to the contrary
[13:27] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:27] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Yes....
[13:28] Herman Bergson: At least there is the self...
[13:28] Herman Bergson: and then the sensory experience...
[13:29] Cailleach Shan: I think direct experience leads to concepts only when we vocalise it.
[13:29] Cailleach Shan: or contemplate it.
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: what of thought then cal
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:29] Herman Bergson: Well...Cailleach...that makes sense in a social context...
[13:30] Alarice Beaumont: sounds sensibel
[13:30] Cailleach Shan: Yes... I observe most people conceptualise before the experience...
[13:30] Cailleach Shan: So is there any truth in that?
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: preconceptualize
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: ?
[13:30] Ze Novikov: why do we vocalise then ?
[13:31] Ze Novikov: to gain validation?
[13:31] Herman Bergson: well in fact acording to Descartes it would be indeed....
[13:31] Herman Bergson: if the concept is clear and evident.....for instance the concept of extension
[13:31] Herman Bergson: we perceive objects occupying space...
[13:32] Herman Bergson: the only problem is...when is a concept clear and evident
[13:33] Herman Bergson: that was a part of the debate between Arnauld and Malebranche...
[13:33] Herman Bergson: in fact we already have seen an answer in history...
[13:33] Herman Bergson: Plato refered to the innate Ideas in our Malbranche did too
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: hmmmm
[13:34] Herman Bergson: Arnauld rejected this idea....
[13:34] Herman Bergson: To understand , judge and reason about the concepts from direct experience we could establish truth
[13:34] Herman Bergson: using the laws of logic
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: that is what makes sense
[13:35] Herman Bergson: There were no metaphysical Ideas for him
[13:35] Cailleach Shan: mmmmmm so what about instinct?
[13:35] Osrum Sands: but that only makes sence if our understanding, judgement and reason are true in the first place??
[13:35] Alarice Beaumont: instinct comes from expierence Caill
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: instinct is a function of the ancient brain
[13:36] Herman Bergson: primary responses from the organism?
[13:36] Herman Bergson: You mean ..they are not reasoned upon Cailleach?
[13:36] Cailleach Shan: Yes... there is nothing very logical about instinct.
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: no I think they are absolutly logical
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: survival?
[13:37] Herman Bergson: you use a term "INSTINCT"......but what is the meaning, to what does it refer?
[13:37] Kerya Beresford: hi apologies for lateness
[13:37] Alarice Beaumont: yes, crying of the baby to get attention
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: hunger
[13:37] Gray Cardiff: inherant knowledge?
[13:38] Osrum Sands: a baby sucking and gripping
[13:38] Alarice Beaumont: i think some yes
[13:38] Cailleach Shan: Yes.... that's what I understand 'inherant knowledge'
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: not knowledge...emotion
[13:38] Herman Bergson: yes....
[13:38] Herman Bergson: basic responses of the organism....
[13:38] Gray Cardiff: Hi kerya
[13:39] Herman Bergson: I guess this touches the issue of causality in the material world
[13:39] Gray Cardiff: why only basic
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Well...responses that dont seem to be the result of observation and reasoning
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: instincts are all emotional
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: they need to be controlled only
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: by reason
[13:40] Cailleach Shan: That sounds like a contradiction to me.... to control and instinct...
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: tempered then
[13:41] Herman Bergson: We can analyse these instinct behavior in its causal relations...
[13:41] Herman Bergson: the baby cant....but we as observer can
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: yes but the baby learns to contol
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: through experience
[13:41] Herman Bergson: yes..
[13:42] Ze Novikov: or an adult who cannot control because of mental illness..
[13:42] Osrum Sands: and why do we controll
[13:42] Alarice Beaumont: yes Ze
[13:42] Osrum Sands: surly to increas happiness and reduce pain
[13:42] Cailleach Shan: @ Os... fear.
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: for society to survive Os
[13:43] Osrum Sands: No guys surely simply to increass our own happiness
[13:43] Herman Bergson: I think instinct isnt so important as a special category.....
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: it is logical for our survival that society survive
[13:43] Herman Bergson: it is just a word that refers to a certain kind of behavior
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: yes personal happiness
[13:44] Kerya Beresford: Osrum you are a utilitarian?
[13:44] Osrum Sands: thank you
[13:44] Ze Novikov: very freudian...
[13:44] Osrum Sands: mostly
[13:44] Osrum Sands: but
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: we are the center of our universe
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: we are cocerned with our own happiness
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Well....anyway.....I guess one of the main philosophical issues then ( and still is) was to define certainty of knowledge...
[13:45] Kerya Beresford: are we solipsists Aristotle?
[13:45] Osrum Sands: even when we do stuff for anothere we do it to fill our ideas of a good person and thus make ourself happy
[13:46] Herman Bergson: There is the word....solipsits..
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:46] Kerya Beresford: ok
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: I know that I eexist
[13:46] Osrum Sands: .solipsits ?
[13:46] Herman Bergson: We have to discriminate between several kinds of solipsism
[13:47] Herman Bergson: the first is ....selfseeking....It is all about me...we may call that egoism
[13:48] Herman Bergson: The second kind of solipsism claims that all that exists for sure is the self....metaphysical solipsime
[13:49] Herman Bergson: and a third kind of solipsism is the view that the only source of knowledge is my direct experience....
[13:49] Herman Bergson: an epistemological solipsism
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: well then I calim all three
[13:49] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:49] Herman Bergson: so we have different tasts available..:-)
[13:50] Herman Bergson: well Aristotle.....that might be hard to defend...
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: where is the proof that anybody exists but yourself
[13:50] Cailleach Shan: Yes... that goes back to your question Herman.... how do I get further than the inside of my mind...
[13:50] Kerya Beresford: there is a link here to Bishop Berkeley?
[13:51] Herman Bergson: well.....the meaning of words arent created by only you....
[13:51] Herman Bergson: Yes Berkley will be mentioned in this context too
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: how many senses does it take to verify reality?
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: lol... how many philosophers can you squeeze into a Wainscot..
[13:52] Herman Bergson: The meanings of words....their reference can be discussed with others
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:52] Herman Bergson: I guess..about 40 or so Cailleach...then the sim is full :-)
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: Hahaha.
[13:52] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:52] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: what senses are used by Arnaul to observe, judge, reason and organize?
[13:53] Herman Bergson: How many do we have....about 5 wasnt it?
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: so it has to be unanimous
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: no hung juries accepted
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: is the mind a sixth sense?
[13:55] Herman Bergson: Hmmmm....a matter of definition I think, but I would say no
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: hmmmm
[13:55] Herman Bergson: Now let's see what we have got......
[13:55] Gray Cardiff: is the soul a sense
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: it's more - it's sensing
[13:56] Alarice Beaumont: uuh
[13:56] Herman Bergson: We have a clear distinction between mind and matter
[13:56] Gray Cardiff: do we herman
[13:56] Herman Bergson: we have the problem of defining certain knowledge,,,
[13:57] Herman Bergson: I am talking historically was for Descartes and Arnauld
[13:57] Gray Cardiff: opps
[13:57] Herman Bergson: We see how Arnauld introduces logic as the only means of clear and correct thinking
[13:58] Herman Bergson: we have the problem of how the mind can interact with matter
[13:58] Herman Bergson: on the one hand due to Descartes we are inclined to consider solipsism as an option
[13:59] Herman Bergson: We have to wait for Locke and Hume to come up with an answer...
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: objectively I see Arnauld as correct but as long as god remanins there is subjective taint
[14:00] Herman Bergson: Well.....I must say..but this is a personal view...
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: and there is the rub
[14:01] Herman Bergson: Rereading all this history I am amazed how big a role is contributed to the idea of (a) god by all these philosophers
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[14:01] Herman Bergson: they have spent so much time and energy and intellect on that concept...
[14:01] Osrum Sands: there is a reason for that Herman
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: it is the desire to be immortal
[14:01] Alarice Beaumont: yes... even philosophers need something higher - they cannot reason everything!
[14:02] Herman Bergson: But starting with the greeks....and looking at our position now.....he is moved more and more to the perifery
[14:03] AristotleVon Doobie: but knowledge must be based on objectivity
[14:03] Kerya Beresford: this is a problem for modern philoosphy
[14:03] Cailleach Shan: Yes... there is no logic when it comes to God.
[14:03] Herman Bergson: We should be careful with the word objectivity
[14:04] Kerya Beresford: far more people in the modern world are interested in religion than in formal philosophy
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: well feelings should be kept out of the equation
[14:04] Herman Bergson: That is true.....Kerya
[14:04] Herman Bergson: it is an interesting phenomenon
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: If more peole had self esteem they would not
[14:05] Cailleach Shan: I agree Ari.
[14:05] Herman Bergson: I wouldnt say that is a psychological statement not a philosophical one
[14:05] Osrum Sands: there ae solid Psychological and Sociological reasons for Gods return
[14:06] AristotleVon Doobie: yes but the historical record shows that self esteem can be maniputed to advance religion
[14:06] Gray Cardiff: return? did he die
[14:06] Herman Bergson: that may be so....but it is not a philosophical issue that way
[14:06] Herman Bergson: Nietzsche said so..:-)
[14:06] Herman Bergson: wasnt it?
[14:06] Osrum Sands: no just went on a hoilday to NZ
[14:06] Cailleach Shan: lol
[14:06] Alarice Beaumont: lol
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: Nietzsche was kind of a wierd guy
[14:07] Gray Cardiff: well 2000 years without a break poor guy
[14:07] Osrum Sands: under modernity reason appears to have failed to deliver on its promises so people are once more turning to faith
[14:07] Herman Bergson: Ok...we will keep a close eye on the position of god in future development of philosophy....
[14:07] Osrum Sands: Poor old God even has to work on a Sunday
[14:08] Gray Cardiff: lol its the polish in the uk
[14:08] AristotleVon Doobie: educate and enligtment will revive reason
[14:08] Cailleach Shan: Yes.... there must be a reason for the term 'Blind Faith'
[14:08] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:08] herman Bergson smiles
[14:08] AristotleVon Doobie: via reason
[14:08] Kerya Beresford: the paradox is that most religions ask philosophical questions
[14:09] Osrum Sands: or is it really the other way round Kerya
[14:09] Herman Bergson: I dont think they ask philosophical questions....Kerya
[14:09] AristotleVon Doobie: The church hounded poor Arnauld
[14:09] Kerya Beresford: yes but
[14:09] Herman Bergson: They answer philosophical questions....that is the main issue of a religion
[14:09] Kerya Beresford: The Jesuits
[14:09] Kerya Beresford: were famous for their contributions to scholarship
[14:10] Kerya Beresford: science
[14:10] Kerya Beresford: exploration
[14:10] Kerya Beresford: our obsession with equality
[14:10] Kerya Beresford: which is a philosophocal one
[14:10] AristotleVon Doobie: yes but did they have any choice but to acknowledge the church?
[14:10] Kerya Beresford: can be traced back to Christianity
[14:11] Kerya Beresford: most of Christianity is based on stoic philosophy
[14:11] Kerya Beresford: I think lol
[14:11] AristotleVon Doobie: the church had the money and the power
[14:11] Herman Bergson: Yes...Kerya...I agree
[14:11] Kerya Beresford: maybe it is a bit of both
[14:11] Kerya Beresford: there is an overlap
[14:11] AristotleVon Doobie: I think we would twice as far if not for religion
[14:12] Osrum Sands: ? Aris
[14:12] Kerya Beresford: have you read Durkheim Atristotle?
[14:12] Kerya Beresford: you would like him
[14:12] AristotleVon Doobie: We have beeen hinderd philosophically I believe
[14:12] Kerya Beresford: Emile Durkheim
[14:12] AristotleVon Doobie: and scientifically
[14:13] Herman Bergson: Well...let me conclude our discussion and give god a day off...:-)
[14:13] Kerya Beresford: lol
[14:13] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[14:13] Kerya Beresford: rofl
[14:13] Gray Cardiff: lol
[14:13] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:13] Cailleach Shan: Good idea Herman....
[14:13] Alarice Beaumont: hahaha
[14:13] Alarice Beaumont: but was so great again!
[14:13] AristotleVon Doobie: a true statesman
[14:13] Osrum Sands: She will appreciate that
[14:13] Alarice Beaumont: thank you herman
[14:14] Cailleach Shan: lol Go Os..
[14:14] Herman Bergson: and we'll see how the next philosophers on the list will handle this subject..
[14:14] AristotleVon Doobie: whos next?
[14:14] Alarice Beaumont: oh yes please
[14:14] Herman Bergson: Malebranch....
[14:15] Herman Bergson: a contemporary of Arnauld
[14:15] AristotleVon Doobie: but different from Arnauld?
[14:15] Herman Bergson: God will be there again....on Tuesday...:-)
[14:15] AristotleVon Doobie: He will recognize me.
[14:15] Kerya Beresford: I think you are god-like herman and thank you so much
[14:15] Cailleach Shan: Are you sure.....:)
[14:16] Kerya Beresford: for another fascinating talk
[14:16] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[14:16] Alarice Beaumont: Herman, is there anything written which shows in a short form the ideas of every philosopher?
[14:16] Ze Novikov: yes ty!!
[14:16] Herman Bergson: thank you Kerya
[14:16] Kerya Beresford: Alarice
[14:16] Alarice Beaumont: yes, Kerya?
[14:16] Kerya Beresford: Try 'A short History of Western philosophy ' by Bertrand russell
[14:16] Gray Cardiff: yes alarice there is a book that follows these lectures
[14:16] Kerya Beresford: it is still in paperback
[14:16] Cailleach Shan: Thanks Herman.... Bye everyone...
[14:17] Gray Cardiff: 100 philosophers
[14:17] Herman Bergson: Yes that is a nice one Kerya..
[14:17] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Cal
[14:17] Herman Bergson: but try WWW.IEP.COM too
[14:17] Alarice Beaumont: oh do you remember the name?
[14:17] Kerya Beresford: by everyone
[14:17] Kerya Beresford: thank you Herman
[14:17] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Kerya
[14:17] Alarice Beaumont: ok ty Herman!
[14:17] Herman Bergson: Encyclopedia of Philosophy...
[14:17] Herman Bergson: Superb source....high quality of articles
[14:18] Alarice Beaumont: ok i will check that out then
[14:18] Herman Bergson: Hey Laila..:-)
[14:18] Herman Bergson: you will have to read the blog..:-)
[14:19] Herman Bergson: and you all..thanx for your attention and participation..:-)

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-01-13 18:40:00

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