Sunday, May 10, 2009

35 Nicolas Malebranche

Malebranche was a priest. Thus the existence of god wasnt questioned. and that leads to real peculiar theories.

In 1664 he was ordained as priest and in the same year he ran into a copy of Descartes' Traité de l'homme..Treatise on Man. It offers a rather mechanical description of the body (Lamettrie still had to be born 50 years later to publish his" L'homme machine" -Man a machine -)

And besides that is presents the strict distinction between body and mind. I'l get back to that later, but try to feel what was going on in those minds in those days.....the more you concentrate on it the more fascinating it becomes. How could the really take these theological things for serious.

Real empirical science was just observation they turned the universe upside down and there was a religious power that was against it and had a big political influence and power too.

So there is a tremendous tension between real empirical science and all kinds of religious convictions. And for Malebranche, being a priest, this must have been ....well I guesss sensational.

He was a brilliant mind and he thought Descartes was right: there was a material body and an immaterial mind. And there was his philosophical problem. How could an immaterial entity affact a material one. Dont forget....the issue of causality was a hot issue in those days....god as first mover was seriously questioned.

And they thought in terms of qualities..qualitas in Latin,,,,way of being. And being immaterial means in their ideas of causality that you can not affect material bodies
We may smile at the way they look at reality, but just imagine all which they didnt know what we know now.

And then Malebranche comes with his theory. He maintainded that created things are in themselves causaly inefficacious and that God is the true sole cause of change in the universe.

In his opinion it was God who creates us and conserves us from moment to moment and who alone acts on us and for us. So when my mind thinks 'Now I will raise my hand" and the body raises a hand, it is God who makes this work. That is how mind and body interact.

Last Sunday in the discussion I already refered to the fact that till this moment in history so many time and energy was spent on the phenomenon god. And here you see the ultimate...a philosopher who believes that the causal relation between body and mind was supervised and executed by god himself.

Here in 2008 I have difficulty to take this serious.....but put yourself in those days, with their knowledge of the world. Man just had discovered laws of nature, just had discovered that we are part of a planetary system, just had discovered that the earth was round not flat.

And sitting on that was a religious system which was well aware of its fading power and influence. When you say that the church is loosing its sheep these days. Forget it....this is the time the process started: 1600 A.D. Four hundred years ago..

Intellectually it must have been a sensational time and what is so beautiful of those days: they had time.....the next polemic book against the other was published two year later...

This is the history of the human mind,..and I can tell you..after so many years and teaching this class now brings so many new tinsights to me. It all again is so fascinating and I love to share this with you all.

The Discussion

[13:22] Herman Bergson: Intellectually it must have been a sensational time and what is so beautiful of those days: they had time.....the next polemic book against the other was published two year later...
[13:23] Herman Bergson: This is the history of the human mind,..and I can tell you..after so many years and teaching this class now brings so many new tinsights to me. It all again is so fascinating and I love to share this with you all.
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: flux?
[13:24] Herman Bergson: I thank you for your attention..:-)
[13:24] Rodney Handrick: please do...
[13:24] Cailleach Shan: Thank you God :)
[13:24] Herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..feel free
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: hmmm
[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: since he said that ideas come from god, did he believe in preknowledge
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: i think that the big problem at the time for the catholic church was not as much the question about god-- because most philosophers believed in god.. but the question of the soul. that was the stronghold of the church on men..
[13:25] Herman Bergson: Good observation Aristotle....
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: I think there are many today who are followers of Malebranche and have no idea who he is
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: I how these ideas were deliverd
[13:26] Herman Bergson: for he was the first to postulate a priori knowledge
[13:26] cheryl3100 Korobase is Offline
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: wonder
[13:26] Turkiy Oh is Offline
[13:26] Cailleach Shan: Malbranche makes sense if you consider was are all God
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: that is a thought
[13:27] Herman Bergson: Kant will be the master of the a priori, but here it already was born
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: but therre are those today who firmly believe every move is directied by God
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: seems like a struggle for the church to maintain influence
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: well the church is not the church any more it is now many
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: excesses born through panic
[13:28] Rodney Handrick: They preach that here on a tv show called the 700 club everyday
[13:28] Herman Bergson: as I Western europe they were always on the loosing side
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: exactly
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: and other avenues too
[13:29] Woodstock Burleigh is Online
[13:29] itsme Frederix: Herman if you say M. was the first to postulate a priori knowledge - do you mean the postulation was a priori ... or .. the guy really recognized he was busy .. a priori and distinguesed between a priori & post
[13:30] hope63 Shepherd: with something like a billion catholics still existing today they haven't lost all ..there must be someting more to it than just power and money..
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: oh yes
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: fundenmentalism: a way to keep the staus quo, and stay in control
[13:30] Herman Bergson: stop...
[13:30] Rodney Handrick: yes...lack of accurate knowledge
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: that too Ari
[13:31] Herman Bergson: let's stick to epistemological matters
[13:31] Cailleach Shan: A priori means self evident... right?
[13:31] Herman Bergson: yes...inborn
[13:32] Herman Bergson: Now we enter an aera in which philosophers will we have some kind of inborn knowledge or dont we
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: he met a lot of oppositon?
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: in the eastern philosophies i think they would say yes
[13:33] Herman Bergson: and Malebrance was one of the firts to sugges that
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: from other lives
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: of course the slate is clean
[13:33] Cailleach Shan: I think our creativity and imagination is a manifestation of inborn knowledge.
[13:33] Herman Bergson: that isnt true actually,,beccause Plato already did,,,,,but it is the setting in which Melbranche said it...
[13:33] itsme Frederix: @Herman, so the guy really was hinking about thinking and made a contribution to epistomo;ogy
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: ys
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: he did
[13:34] Herman Bergson: you know...lile old ideas suddenly look so new
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: nothing new under the sun?
[13:34] Cailleach Shan: Of course there is.... every child born is new..
[13:34] itsme Frederix: Aristotle every day is a new day!
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: what of reincarnation?
[13:34] Zara Kraft is Online
[13:35] Herman Bergson: Well I dont think he wa scontributing to epistemology.....
[13:35] Herman Bergson: he was a man of his his work you read what was going on...
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: I can see the struggle for here
[13:36] Rasana Destiny: being ordained did he believe every thing was predetermined
[13:36] itsme Frederix: Herman was he aware that he was postulating a priory -?
[13:36] Herman Bergson: Predestination was a hotissue in those days Rasana..
[13:36] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: then just let me sleep and wake me when life is over
[13:37] Herman Bergson: I think so, Itsme..yes...but not as clear as Kant did
[13:38] itsme Frederix: Oke, so old stuff really again - the unmoved mover and the dwarf in the chessplaymachine
[13:38] Woodstock Burleigh is Offline
[13:38] Rodney Handrick: interesting metaphore
[13:38] Herman Bergson: To Malebranche maybe, Iguess..:-)
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: the a priori has always been given the name god.. now the question is.. in what way the a priori will influnece life.. for example.. free will.. is it possible?
[13:39] Woodstock Burleigh is Online
[13:39] Herman Bergson: never was giventhe name god...
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: phtsics and math constitue preori
[13:39] Cailleach Shan: It's much easier to just blame God for everything..
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: phtsics
[13:40] Herman Bergson: the a priori (in latin means BEFORE) is a real epistemological matter
[13:40] hope63 Shepherd: but if we look carefully at what they say.. especially malebranche.. we could come to that conclusion.. anyway the bible has god as a priori to man..
[13:40] itsme Frederix: @hope I might agree about you setting priority
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: and teh bible'sauthor?
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: ari.. god dictated.. at least at the time it was thought as such..
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: so they say
[13:41] Herman Bergson: Oh sure...this perculiar occasionalism of Mle branche...for that was the name of his mind matter interaction thery
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: new testament is the word of god..
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: no matter how we try to stay in philosophy it always runs over into religion
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: of course
[13:41] Rodney Handrick: there all interesting stories..yet no validated
[13:42] itsme Frederix: @Hope actually the old was, the new is by man - apostle etc.
[13:42] Rodney Handrick: *not
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: each philosphere removes and then abother puts him back
[13:42] Herman Bergson: No Gemma....
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: i mean in our discussions
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: well... they do recal the words and deeds of jesus. and as the son of god..
[13:42] Herman Bergson: The fact is...the more we progress in history the more we are freed fromtheology
[13:43] Herman Bergson: just be patient..:-)
[13:43] itsme Frederix: @hope lets pass that
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: not in this room!!!
[13:43] Cailleach Shan: lol
[13:43] herman Bergson smiles
[13:43] Rodney Handrick: lol
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: tha is what i meant
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: I see religion as a common thread that runs though philosophy so far
[13:43] Rasana Destiny: the two seem to tango quite a bit
[13:43] Herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle..I agree....
[13:44] Rodney Handrick: Philosophy & religion are intertwined
[13:44] Cailleach Shan: It's only relevant in a historical context though.
[13:44] Herman Bergson: the philosopher up to 1600 took it for granted that god exists...
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: but should the be intertwined?
[13:44] hope63 Shepherd: my remark was made in theunderstanding of those days:)
[13:44] itsme Frederix: @Arisotle - I think you are right because it is the way to talk about values in life, and church has been very dominant these days. But remember the greek and good life style discussions
[13:44] Herman Bergson: so they incorporated that iea in their epistemological jsutifications
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Malebranche did to explain the interaction between a material and immaterial world
[13:45] Rodney Handrick: Proving good exist is "really " hard work because it brings the definition of our own existence into question...
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: man is worthy enought to stand on his own
[13:45] Rodney Handrick: *god
[13:46] Turkiy Oh is Online
[13:46] Herman Bergson: I think it is nonsense to proof something that is non empirical
[13:46] Herman Bergson: but just a concept
[13:46] hope63 Shepherd: that he stands is a fact ari.. whether it was woorthy in history is a ethical question :)
[13:46] itsme Frederix: Herman what about math. godel - is that empirical?
[13:47] Herman Bergson: No..math isnt empirical..but it is a product of the brain
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: that is a moral
[13:47] itsme Frederix: Herman and it is full of proofs!!!!
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: that is a moral judgement hope
[13:48] Herman Bergson: in itself yes..but what doe it proof execpt its own consistancy
[13:48] itsme Frederix: even not consistency Herman , even not consistency thats a ... a priori beleif
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd is Offline
[13:48] *Drinks* Elite Rum & Coke whispers: Courtesy of Club Elite
[13:49] Herman Bergson: oh all is based on the simple laws of logig
[13:49] Herman Bergson: all math starts with postulates only
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: Rodnye control yourself
[13:49] itsme Frederix: But sure I think mosly the proof jus proofs what is obvious (remember Thomas and the 5 god-proves)
[13:49] Cailleach Shan: Hehe....
[13:50] Herman Bergson: my godness.should I remember them all five?
[13:50] Rodney Handrick: sorry...I was thirsty
[13:51] itsme Frederix: just he principel will do
[13:51] Herman Bergson: I never saw ONE proof..:-)
[13:51] Cailleach Shan: lol... I can only remembver two... moran.. ontological...
[13:51] Cailleach Shan: moral
[13:51] Herman Bergson: and then...
[13:51] Herman Bergson: why do we need to proof the existence of soemthin g we dont need at all
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: Like morality?
[13:52] Herman Bergson: or to say it otherwise...that doesnt affect our lifes at all
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: but whose interpretation of morality
[13:53] Rodney Handrick: because it is something in our sub-concious that tells us there is something larger than ourselves
[13:53] Rasana Destiny: trying to prove something is just a way of trying to sway someone to your way of thinking
[13:53] Herman Bergson: No Rasana I dont agree....
[13:54] Herman Bergson: If you have a logical is a proof...
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: nature is the only thing telling me it is lager thatne me
[13:54] itsme Frederix: (for those interested 5 proofs
[13:54] Rasana Destiny: i see your point
[13:54] Herman Bergson: But Itsme..the proofs didnt proof a thing
[13:55] itsme Frederix: sure, thats why he needed 5
[13:55] Herman Bergson: lol
[13:55] Rodney Handrick: hmm...interesting web site
[13:55] Herman Bergson: we already have a problen to proof the existaence of a reality outside our mind...
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: logical is the keyword
[13:56] itsme Frederix: I was refering to math and tautologie more or less
[13:57] itsme Frederix: Herman most logical proofs are not interesting aren't they -
[13:57] hope63 Shepherd is Online
[13:57] Herman Bergson: no..for they are deductions...not offering new knowledge at all...
[13:57] Rodney Handrick: no because logic requires detail
[13:58] itsme Frederix: oke, so we are moving to empirical stuff for the interesting part
[13:58] Rodney Handrick: most people get frustated with detail
[13:58] Herman Bergson: very true itsme..:-)
[13:59] Rasana Destiny: This has been interesting I must go RL.. er.. I mean FL calls
[13:59] itsme Frederix: but we not all are empirics
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:59] Herman Bergson: So I would suggest to look how the next philosopher on the list will handle knowledge
[13:59] Cailleach Shan: True
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: that is who, Herman
[14:00] Cailleach Shan: Most people are very sceptical about anything new
[14:00] Herman Bergson: and I thank you for your attention agian...and good cotributions tothe discussion
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: yes TY Herman
[14:00] Rodney Handrick: thanks herman
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: and class on Thursday
[14:01] Sophianne Rhode is Online
[14:01] Gemma Cleanslate: I talked with Malph today . He really misses class and said he might be able to pop in once in a while and is enjoying the blog and the discussion.
[14:01] Cailleach Shan: Friday for the Antipodeans...:)
[14:01] Herman Bergson: interesting discussion today again..:-)
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: will be good to see Maff agin
[14:01] Rodney Handrick: yes
[14:01] Gemma Cleanslate: yep
[14:01] Herman Bergson: OH ..great Gemma
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: add some more spice to the soup
[14:02] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[14:02] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:02] Rodney Handrick: hehehe...yes
[14:02] Herman Bergson: Give hi m my regards...
[14:02] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[14:02] Herman Bergson: and tell him ..I miss him
[14:02] itsme Frederix: yes inspiring comments and very inspiring class Herman
[14:02] Gemma Cleanslate: i will
[14:02] Cailleach Shan: Tell him we all miss him....
[14:02] Gemma Cleanslate: ok!
[14:03] Herman Bergson: YEAH!!!
[14:03] itsme Frederix: who do I miss?
[14:03] Rodney Handrick: agreed!
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: i am sure he would like to hear from all of you
[14:03] AristotleVon Doobie: well I wil drop him a notecard
[14:03] Herman Bergson: You never met him Itsme....
[14:03] Cailleach Shan: lol.... sorry Itsme... never asked permission...
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: oh you missed it
[14:03] hope63 Shepherd: he could aways sent a message to the group..
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: ttrue
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: i will tell him that
[14:04] Herman Bergson: but he was one of the greatest in the discussion for months
[14:04] itsme Frederix: Nope Herman, that why I ask it - or I would like a reformulation - or it's a priopry knowledge I do not have
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: tell us what 3we are doing worng
[14:04] Rodney Handrick: off many are regulars to the class?
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:04] Herman Bergson: allmost all Rodney
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: about 10 i would say
[14:04] Gemma Cleanslate: at least
[14:04] Herman Bergson: yes
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: I thnk that right
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: this is a small group today
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: for sure
[14:05] itsme Frederix: I see you knew it, I iss him to - I've missed the first start discussions so thats logical correct ;)
[14:05] Cailleach Shan: Ten Apostles of Herman the Professor...:)
[14:05] Rodney Handrick: lol
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: well you can read all his comments on the blog
[14:05] Herman Bergson: lol...aamen...
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: of course there ar others who jus monitor the blog
[14:05] Rodney Handrick: which apostle would I be...
[14:05] hope63 Shepherd: its.. if you reread the discussions.. easy to find out what kind of character maff is:)
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: true
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[14:05] itsme Frederix: my 2nd time Herman, it will count up to .... 100 minus
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: Lighthorse Wilkinson is one
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:06] Gemma Cleanslate: ok
[14:06] itsme Frederix: hope thx, i did some reading backward - but have to it forward too ;)
[14:06] hope63 Shepherd: and we should mention that we all missed os tonight..
[14:06] Gemma Cleanslate: se you all thursday i hope
[14:06] Gemma Cleanslate: oh yes
[14:06] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Os
[14:07] Rodney Handrick: ok Gemma
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: I hope he is well
[14:07] Cailleach Shan: Yes.... I think he is drowning in wet over on the Goldcoast...
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:07] Herman Bergson: OH.....that is what I wa s missing......OSRUM..indeed...
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: yes he complain of the rain
[14:07] hope63 Shepherd: the quiet cool thinker..
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: it is snowing here
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: now
[14:07] hope63 Shepherd: where are you gemma..
[14:07] Cailleach Shan: wow..... 30 degrees
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: usa
[14:07] Herman Bergson: I constantly had the feeling of incomplete...
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: Aus?
[14:07] hope63 Shepherd: which state?
[14:07] Gemma Cleanslate: east coast
[14:07] Herman Bergson: Osrumfrom Australia
[14:08] Gemma Cleanslate: i think just passing flurries
[14:08] Cailleach Shan: Queensland.
[14:08] Cailleach Shan: Across the ditch from me.
[14:08] tak Bekkers is Online
[14:08] Rodney Handrick: It was snow flurries here earlier
[14:08] Gemma Cleanslate: ok i am off
[14:08] Gemma Cleanslate: bye
[14:08] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gem

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-01-15 17:36:33

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