Tuesday, March 25, 2014

516: Why would Islamic Philosophy trouble you?

In  my  previous lecture I said : “I can’t help it, but words like “Islam” or “Islamic” carry rather unpleasant connotations for me.”

Everyone of you knows that just a single unwelcome remark or picture about Islam has lead to massive riots in certain countries and all kinds of fatwas and death threads towards the person(s) responsible for it.

So, what is the trouble with these people or with Islamic philosophy, especially in the light of the extensive quote in my previous lecture, which more than a thousand years ago already emphasized “REASON” as the core of Islamic thinking?

Dr. Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri  from Ain Shams University in Cairo wrote in 1997 on the pages of the www. muslimphilosophy.com website about one of the Islamic discourses:

(One is) a populist salvationist “messianic” discourse. This is the discourse of the overwhelming majority of the Muslim masses that have instinctively realized that the processes of modernization, secularization, and globalization do the umma (Muslim community) no good and bring no real reform. 

These masses have observed that these processes are in essence nothing but processes of Westernization, that rob the umma of its religious and cultural heritage, giving it nothing in return, and that have only led to further colonial hegemony and class polarization within society. 

Adhering and clinging to Islam, which they know well, the masses encapsulate themselves within their Islamic heritage, cry for help, and hope for salvation from Allah. But they are incapable of contributing new ideas or organizing political movements. 

Such a discourse frequently expresses itself in the form of spontaneous and, at times, violent acts of protest against all forms of radical Westernization and colonial invasion.
- end quote -

The core of the problem is the thread of Westernization. But what does that mean? The introduction of standards of our prosperous and high tech, highly educated Western societies?

I don’t think so. The roots of Westernization go way back into history. About 55 A.D. wrote the apostle, Paul to the Galatians: “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” (Gal. 3:23)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

This was according the American-British historian Larry Siedentop in is resent book “Inventing the Individual” the fist time in human history, that homo sapiens comes to the conclusion that we all are equal.

As Paul says, before we were kept under the law, which may be traditions, tribal rules, social inequality rules and so on, and now we are all equal in Christ Jesus.

Tho christianity wasn’t exactly the religion itself that took this idea of individuality to the letter (All christians are equal, but some christians are more equal :-), yet this concept of individuality developed through the centuries in Europe.

It developed from “all equal for God” into the more secular concept of “all equal for the law”. In the long run, this led to the rule of law and fundamental rights, rights that people “by nature 'have, simply because they are humans. 

The equality of all human beings involves the "invention of the individual”. That equality means namely that your value does not depend on your gender (male or female), ethnicity (jew or gentile) or social status (slave or free).

I know this equality is not yet reality anywhere on this globe, but at some places it is at least more real than in other places and in any case it is already real on paper in the articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

And this invention of the individual is the fundamental “threat” to all cultures, some of which even never came to the idea of human equality. 

And calling it Westernization doesn’t justify at all , that you may think that you have the right to kill those who don’t share your religion, or throw homosexuals from the highest building, or that a society has to consist of castes, and so on…

This however is only modern history. When Arab philosophy reached full development in the 9th century there existed no Westernization, which explains why al-Razi could assume that reason is the basis of Islamic philosophy.

The Discussion

[13:24] Merlin: Phew
[13:24] Gemma Allen: right
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:25] .: Beertje :.: wow
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats some stuff
[13:25] Nectanebus: Well, I'm sure there's more to Westernization than individuality, but it's one viewpoint to take.
[13:25] Gemma Allen: sad history
[13:25] herman Bergson: Take your time to digest it :-)
[13:25] Gemma Allen: you are treating this as a philosophy then as opposed to a relligion?
[13:25] .: Beertje :.: *burbs*..oops sorry
[13:26] Gemma Allen: i missed the first class on it
[13:26] Gemma Allen: i think
[13:26] herman Bergson: True Nectanebus.....
[13:26] .: Beertje :.: are those muslems afraid of western religions?
[13:27] Gemma Allen: I think it is more the culture
[13:27] Gemma Allen: western culture
[13:27] herman Bergson: I think the point is that human equality threatens a lot of hierarchical power structures in certain societies
[13:27] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:27] Gemma Allen: oh wow
[13:27] Nectanebus: I think it's more the erodation of moral values by gradual Americanization of the globe
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: they try to protect their culture by destroying all other different ones basically
[13:27] vladimir Hoxley: But if Christianity is the source of individualism, what is particular about Islam that reacts to it compared to Hinduism, Buddhism etc?
[13:28] Gemma Allen: i dont even think Paul believed what he was saying
[13:28] Gemma Allen: I have always looked on him as anti woman
[13:28] herman Bergson: And that Nectanebus is something which I dont agree with :-)
[13:28] Kimmy Jannings: why america
[13:29] herman Bergson: If you study the philosophy of ethics there is no erodation of moral thinking at all
[13:29] Nectanebus: please extrapolate a little there, I'm not sure I follow...
[13:29] herman Bergson: What is erodating our culture is the dominance of economics...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: that i can agree with
[13:29] Gemma Allen: capitalism maybe
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: money is more worth then a life today
[13:30] herman Bergson: Human rights aren’t the highest good  even in our society..
[13:30] herman Bergson: Profit is....
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: thats insane
[13:30] Nectanebus: Right, and you're saying capitalism isn't the modus operandi of american culture?
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: the more money the more value u have as person it seems today
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: nuts
[13:30] herman Bergson: That is why we exploit people in Bangladesh to make our clothes
[13:30] vladimir Hoxley: I agree Herman - the marketization of all value, see recent book by Michael Sandel
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: you cant set value on a person
[13:30] Merlin: I think America is very materialistic
[13:30] Kimmy Jannings: money always rules
[13:31] Merlin: money can mean life or death in usa
[13:31] herman Bergson: Indeed Vladimir....people should read Sandel !!!!!
[13:31] Gemma Allen: true merlin
[13:31] Gemma Allen: but dont recognize it as such
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes Merlin..... and even your death might be good money....when you have a life insurance
[13:31] Gemma AllenGemma Allen GIGGLES!!
[13:31] Gemma Allen: ...LOL...
[13:32] Merlin: hmm
[13:32] Gemma Allen: not for the insured
[13:32] Merlin: I am thinking about health cover
[13:32] herman Bergson: that is the point Gemma...
[13:32] Merlin: medical treatment
[13:33] Gemma Allen: I think it is sad that there is so much disparity in the muslim culture
[13:33] herman Bergson: AIDS patients bought high life insurances and sold them then for big money to others based n the idea that that person would cash a huge profit from the death of the AIDS patient
[13:33] Gemma Allen: It is a good philosophy in many ways
[13:33] vladimir Hoxley: Still not sure what is particular about Islam that is reacting to modernism
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is very true Gemma.....
[13:34] Gemma Allen: I dont think a lot of aids patients did that tho because they had no money to pay after paying for their treatment
[13:34] herman Bergson: I would say the male based power structures of arabic culture
[13:34] Kimmy Jannings: which is totally wrong
[13:34] Kimmy Jannings: lol
[13:34] vladimir Hoxley: So it is the threat of feminism rather than the enlightenment?
[13:34] .: Beertje :.: woman are worth less than a pig there
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: indeed, in saudia arabia women are treated worse then trash
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: really sad
[13:35] Kimmy Jannings: in the west us girls are in control lol
[13:35] herman Bergson: it is the threat of human equality...independent of gender
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i dont get it
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but its all about power and control i guess as usual
[13:35] herman Bergson: Just as the Declaration of Human Rights state
[13:36] herman Bergson: I htink so too Bejiita....
[13:36] .: Beertje :.: i think man are afraid to loose their control there
[13:36] Gemma Allen: but in saudi the women live extremely well if married to the right persons
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: and since males are often more rough then women they take advantage of that to push women down in the mud
[13:36] Gemma Allen: but
[13:36] herman Bergson: Just the idea that women are not allowed to drive a car...but it is reality in Saudi Arabia
[13:36] Gemma Allen: still as chattel
[13:36] Gemma Allen: right!!
[13:37] Gemma Allen: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:37] Kimmy Jannings: omg
[13:37] Gemma Allen: they are arrested if driving
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: yes its so weird
[13:37] Kimmy Jannings: im not going there
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: make s me really sad
[13:37] Gemma Allen: there is a bigg movement
[13:37] Kimmy Jannings: mind u u aint seen me drive
[13:37] Gemma Allen: women drivers
[13:37] vladimir Hoxley: but dont tar all islam with Wahabbism
[13:37] Gemma Allen: protesting
[13:37] herman Bergson: You can if you have no drivers license Kimmy :-))
[13:37] .: Beertje :.: you have to wear a Djlebbah there Kim
[13:37] Gemma Allen: driving all over
[13:37] Gemma Allen: at certain times
[13:37] Merlin: Saudi Arabia are supposed to be a big ally of USA and UK
[13:37] Gemma AllenGemma Allen GIGGLES!!
[13:37] Gemma Allen: ...LOL...
[13:37] Gemma Allen: we know
[13:38] Gemma Allen: they really are too
[13:38] Gemma Allen: sad
[13:38] Merlin: that was true once of Iraq I think
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: its just cause of that damn oil
[13:38] Merlin: and Iran etc etc
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: for their cars
[13:38] Merlin: Pakistan now
[13:38] Kimmy Jannings: its just we are better drivers
[13:38] Gemma Allen: oh in iraq the women were much more free b4 the wars then they are now!!!!!!
[13:38] herman Bergson: But I think you should not evaluate situations from details of certain cultures...
[13:38] Gemma Allen: many highly educated
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: its really complicated this
[13:39] Gemma Allen: very complicated
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: but something must change
[13:39] herman Bergson: You should think about the individuality and equality as an a priori of human existence
[13:39] Gemma Allen: it will
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hope so for sure
[13:39] Kimmy Jannings: yes women rule
[13:39] Gemma Allen: if you look at the history or women in the usa 100 years ago was a huge battle for recognition
[13:39] Gemma Allen: huge
[13:39] Gemma Allen: women arrested
[13:39] herman Bergson: and this a priori is reached at least to some extend in western democracy...
[13:39] Gemma Allen: for demonstrating
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:40] Nectanebus: equality a priori? That's half of what got us into this mess..
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....and they WON!
[13:40] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:40] Gemma Allen: but it was not easy
[13:40] .: Beertje :.: it was not until 1950 that woman here in the Netherlands got the right to vote
[13:40] Gemma Allen: and still
[13:40] Merlin: Ive noticed through SL that women in USA seem to be a bit downtrodden compared to UK
[13:40] Gemma Allen: women earn 77 cents for every 1.00 a man makes
[13:40] .: Beertje :.: we are not as modern as we think we are
[13:40] herman Bergson: Equality in the sense of equal rights Nectanabus...
[13:40] Gemma Allen: that is correct!!!
[13:41] Kimmy Jannings: here in the uk we earn the same
[13:41] herman Bergson: And indeed...if you look at all the facts
[13:41] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:41] Gemma Allen: UK women has the same battle
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: inddeed thats also goes here in Sweden, women earn less then male
[13:41] Gemma Allen: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:41] Gemma Allen: you see
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: even i seem going in right direction still differences
[13:41] Kimmy Jannings: but then i dont know any male midwifes to ask
[13:41] herman Bergson: our ideas are nice, but we ourselves are still rather limited gifted in handling these ideas
[13:41] .: Beertje :.: as if we woman don't need the same money as man do
[13:41] Gemma Allen: eventually I believe the muslim countries will have the same happening
[13:42] Gemma Allen: some already have if they do not go backwards
[13:42] Gemma Allen: Turkey was a great example
[13:42] herman Bergson: I htink so too Gemma....but ut will take some centuries
[13:42] Gemma Allen: but things are changing there not for the best at the present time
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: hmm turkey, one of few places you can safely visit in middle east nowadays
[13:42] vladimir Hoxley: Remember there have been secular muslim states eg Ataturk's Turkey
[13:42] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:43] Kimmy Jannings: its shocking what muslims do to a women’s body down there
[13:43] Gemma Allen: and so was sadam husseins iraq
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: been there once and loved it, the entire middle east could be a paradise if it wasn’t for all this that happens all around
[13:43] vladimir Hoxley: But Erdogan in Turkey is a reactionary
[13:43] herman Bergson: Egypte claims to be secular too Vladimir....
[13:43] Merlin: aaagh Egypt!
[13:43] herman Bergson: That is their big fight with this Muslim Brotherhood
[13:43] Kimmy Jannings: ive seen it
[13:43] Kimmy Jannings: india is the same
[13:44] vladimir Hoxley: Yes, but unfortunately there seems to be either the choice of islamism or military rukle there herman
[13:44] herman Bergson: India is really complex with its castes system
[13:44] herman Bergson: Indeed Vladimir...
[13:44] Kimmy Jannings: they away part of her bits so she doesn’t have pleasure from sex
[13:44] vladimir Hoxley: We were too optimistic about the Arab Spring
[13:44] vladimir Hoxley: optimistic
[13:44] Gemma Allen: well that is prevalent in many African countries also
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: that i also dont get, why take away a such thing, thats awful to do
[13:45] Merlin: They call it FGM ... often in the news here
[13:45] Gemma Allen: our western enlightenment (ha) cannot understand the cultures that move slowly
[13:45] Merlin: Female Genital Mutilation
[13:45] herman Bergson: circumcision...yes
[13:45] Kimmy Jannings: ive seen it when delivering babies
[13:45] herman Bergson: That is not a specifically muslim rule...
[13:45] Gemma Allen: oh dear
[13:46] Gemma Allen: no
[13:46] Kimmy Jannings: some are really bad
[13:46] vladimir Hoxley: Sorry have to go. Food for thought today Herman on your statement about a priori equality and individualism. Not sure about that but stimulating
[13:46] herman Bergson: also in christian countries and animistic countries it occures
[13:46] Gemma Allen: imagine the pain omg
[13:46] Gemma Allen: OMG!!!
[13:46] herman Bergson: ok Vladimir...
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ooow yes most sensitive part of your body
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ooow
[13:47] Kimmy Jannings: they have pain in child birth too
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: byr then vlad
[13:47] Gemma Allen: more pain?
[13:47] Kimmy Jannings: yes
[13:47] vladimir Hoxley: bye
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: can imagine that
[13:47] herman Bergson: the right of the person to his or her own body....
[13:47] .: Beertje :.: ans all in the name of Allah?
[13:48] Gemma Allen: nono
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: sexual pleasure is a natural thing and a horrible thing to be taken from you, i dont get why they do a thing like that
[13:48] Kimmy Jannings: the idea behind some of it is they wont sleep around
[13:48] herman Bergson: no no Beertje ..not only Allah...
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: seems feeling good and be happy is a no no in these cultures
[13:48] Gemma Allen: we sidetracked ot other cultures
[13:48] Gemma Allen: for the men it is
[13:48] herman Bergson: It is a cultural phenomenon not just a religious one...
[13:49] herman Bergson: We dont know where the idea came from....is a mystery...
[13:49] Nectanebus: This thread is too off-topic
[13:49] Gemma Allen: true
[13:49] herman Bergson: But I think we are loosing ourselves in details....
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hmm head spins now
[13:49] Kimmy Jannings: lol
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: advanced stuff indeed
[13:50] herman Bergson: Time to take the thoughts home with you and think it over....
[13:50] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:50] Kimmy Jannings: aww poor bejiita
[13:50] herman Bergson: or re  read them in the blog
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: but i think i have some hang on it at least
[13:50] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: yes the blog is a good thing to re check on
[13:50] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:50] Gemma Allen: to review
[13:50] .: Beertje :.: a lot to think about again
[13:50] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation again....
[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: the only thing i want is for everything and everyone to be equal without wars bombs ect
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: a good world
[13:51] Kimmy Jannings: thank you sir
[13:51] .: Beertje :.: dankjewel Herman
[13:51] Gemma Allen: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:51] Kimmy Jannings: may i ask if anyone wants something funny
[13:51] Merlin: bye everyone
[13:51] Gemma Allen: Bye, Bye   
[13:51] Gemma Allen: for now
[13:52] Gemma Allen: i think I will be here thursday
[13:52] herman Bergson: Bye Gemma :-))
[13:52] .: Beertje :.: welterusten en tot donderdag
[13:52] herman Bergson: dag dag :-))
[13:53] Kimmy Jannings: sorry if i got carried away
[13:54] herman Bergson smiles
[13:54] herman Bergson: As long as I dont carry you away Kimmy all is well :-)

[13:55] Kimmy Jannings: lol

515: Arabic Philosophy, the Introduction...

Well, my friends, this is going to be a difficult exercise: Arabic philosophy. The MacmIllan Encyclopedia has a lemma “Arabic philosophy”, but that refers straight to the lemma “Islamic philosophy”

Thus you may call it either way. I preferred Arabic philosophy just to escape the use of “Islamic”. I can’t help it, but words like “Islam” or “Islamic” carry rather unpleasant connotations for me.

Of course one might say immediately, that this is due to all kinds of prejudices I have regarding Islam or Muslims or what is happening in the Arabic world.

Initially I thought that Eastern, Chinese and Indian philosophy would be somewhat troublesome to handle philosophically due to its heavy load of theology.

But now that I concentrate on Arabic philosophy, where the term Islamic philosophy is more generally used, it seems, I get the feeling that this is an even more difficult subject to handle.

Not only because of the religious connotations and metaphysics of the philosophy, but especially because of its political topicality.

When we hear the word “Islam” we  are easily inclined to see images of bloodthirsty mobs of the evening news, exploded car bombs and the like.

And then, when you dig into the literature you read, that reason is central to Islam. I beg you pardon….reason? Through the fog of all my prejudices and bias, I try to get hold of that observation: reason.

But it is true. And history shows this clearly. It also made me think of the Indian philosophers, who first wished to decide on the question “What is the source of knowledge? Perception, inference, intuition , revelation?” before starting the debate.

The dominance of reason in Islamic philosophy and thence inference as the source of knowledge has its clear roots.

There is within Islam, as in many other theocentric cultures, a conflict between the dictates of reason and the prescriptions of revelation. 

But reason and the use of the human intellect, though seen by some as challenges to the all-encompassing mind of God, have occupied a position of unusual importance in the tradition of  Islamic thought.

For Islamic thinkers the perennial problem was to strike a precarious and sometimes dangerous balance between reason and belief.

Just listen to this:
- quote -
Through reason we humans are made superior to inarticulate beasts so that we can own them and train them, tame them and manage them in ways by which advantages accrue to us as well as to them. 

Through reason we apprehend all that by which our life is elevated and made beautiful and good; through reason we attain our desires and the fulfillment of our wishes .... 

Through reason we perceive distant and hidden matters that are veiled from us; through reason we know the shape of the earth and of the firmament and the magnitude of the sun and moon as well as the other stars, together with their distances and their motions. 

Through reason we arrive at knowledge of the Creator -He is exalted!- which is the most immense knowledge we can to attain, and the most beneficial object of our aspiration. 

In sum, reason is something without which our state would be the state of beasts, infants, and the insane.
- end quote -

These are the words of Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī  (854 CE – 925 CE), a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist and chemist, philosopher.

So, I think it is quite reasonable to pay attention to Islamic philosophy with an open mind.

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
From Africa to Zen, R.C. Solomon & K.M. Higgins
The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, P.Adamson & R.Taylor

The Discussion

[13:17] herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
[13:18] Zanicia: Bravo
[13:18] herman Bergson: Thank you ZANICIA
[13:18] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours ^_^
[13:19] Zanicia: Incredible insight into how they thought....well one in particular!
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: yes this was something for sure
[13:19] herman Bergson: Yes it is most interesting and contrary to what people think in general about Islamic philosophy
[13:20] Zanicia: however...'reason' is it's own variable
[13:20] herman Bergson: One thing is already interesting...
[13:20] herman Bergson: Islamic thought came to life about 700 to 900 CE....
[13:21] herman Bergson: so much later than Greek or Indian philosophy
[13:22] Zanicia: please take a chair with us Areyn
[13:22] herman Bergson: But it is a delicate subject...as soon as the word "Islam" is mentioned....
[13:22] Areyn Laurasia: trying to... sorry.. having technical issues
[13:22] herman Bergson: Like we have that crazy politician here in the Netherlands who pleads against islam in the Netherlands...
[13:23] Zanicia: you were right, Herman, to mention prejudices
[13:23] herman Bergson: I cant deny it....
[13:24] herman Bergson: I have may personal ideas about the arabic world....
[13:24] Merlin: I dont know about someone in NL but I think something happened in Denmark
[13:24] Zanicia: in light of recent world events, I think the feeling is worldwide
[13:24] herman Bergson: But I'll set them aside and  I will try to show you the historical roots of Islamic philosophy
[13:25] Zanicia: yes
[13:25] herman Bergson: the cartoonist, you mean Merlin?
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:25] Merlin: Aah yes that was it
[13:25] Zanicia: there can't be any sort of reason until we examine things from all aspects
[13:26] Merlin: I have got brainwashed into not daring to say anything about Muslims
[13:26] herman Bergson: made a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb on is head or something like that...
[13:26] herman Bergson: That is what I tried to say too Merlin.....
[13:26] Merlin: Yes it think someone I know found them on the internet
[13:26] Merlin: but it wasn’t me, honestly
[13:26] Merlin: hehe
[13:27] Merlin: Thinking also about Mr Snowdon
[13:27] herman Bergson: But I think we'll try to avoid discussing such more cultural, non philosophical issues :-))
[13:27] Zanicia: don't you remember the guy in England who had to go into hiding because of the book he wrote?
[13:27] Merlin: Salman Rushdie
[13:27] Zanicia: (name escapes me for the moment)
[13:27] Zanicia: yes that's it
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: Ruslie or something like that.....
[13:27] Oceane: yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: He wrote that book
[13:28] herman Bergson: He is still alive btw :-))
[13:28] Merlin: I think he is still under protection even now
[13:28] Oceane:
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: and the ayatollas in iran came after him so he fled
[13:28] Merlin: but he appears on TV occasionally
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes he does
[13:29] herman Bergson: I 'll try to be careful in what I say...otherwise they'll call a fatwa over me too :-)
[13:29] Zanicia: lol
[13:29] Merlin: hehehehe
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:29] Zanicia: but thinking back to the quote........
[13:30] Merlin: Then there's LL too!
[13:30] Zanicia: centuries before God dictated to man that the world was a sphere....
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: well as son there is a small think like someone painted mohammed ect hell break lose it seems
[13:30] herman Bergson: What about it ZANICIA?
[13:30] Zanicia: 'civilised men had reasoned that the world was flat
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: that i dont call reason however i also think the islamic ideas are distorted heavily by these guys from what it was in the beginning
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: and thats why it is like this
[13:31] Zanicia: the patheitic thing is.....there is still a 'flat earth society'!!!!
[13:31] Zanicia: in 2014
[13:31] Merlin: Yes Bejiita... people will just believe what the WANT to believe
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: i guess so
[13:31] herman Bergson: People believe what they are made to believe, I would say.....
[13:32] Merlin: yes that too
[13:32] Zanicia: I believe this
[13:32] herman Bergson: And ZANICIA....one important point is, that knowledge can be obtained by inference....
[13:32] Areyn Laurasia: don't they have the ability to question?
[13:32] herman Bergson: not just mere perception.....
[13:32] Merlin: Well I often mention Dawkins and he thinks it is terrible to talk about a Muslim child etc
[13:33] Merlin: or any religion ...
[13:33] herman Bergson: for that Arab philosophy leaned heavily on Aristotle's logic...
[13:33] Merlin: because a child clearly has not made up its mind
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:33] Zanicia: "beast/child/insane"
[13:33] herman Bergson: I would put it more general, Merlin...I just wonder about the phenomenon called religion as a part of human behavior
[13:34] herman Bergson: and as we will see...... the conflict between reason and belief...revelations
[13:35] herman Bergson: This will be an interesting issue in Islamic philosophy....
[13:35] herman Bergson: and also its metaphysics....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: its a complicated subject for sure
[13:35] herman Bergson: Especially because it still is stuck with it, it seems
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: wish I had caught the class earlier
[13:36] herman Bergson: Tomorrow or the day after I'll post it on the blog Areyn...
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: Thank you
[[13:38] herman Bergson: It really is a challenge
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: will be really interesting
[13:38] Zanicia: yes
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes...we have to look past and through the picture the media show of Arabic culture
[13:39] herman Bergson: We'll see how far we'll get ^_^
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:39] Zanicia: I have long suspected we only get what we are fed from the one-sided media
[13:39] herman Bergson: So...thank you all again for your interest :-)
[13:40] Zanicia: Thank you Herman
[13:40] .: Beertje :.: thank you Herman
[13:40] herman Bergson: We'll see ZANICIA.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: can be an interesting experiment
[13:40] Oceane: thank you herman, great class
[13:40] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: this was a nice start
[13:41] herman Bergson: Enjoy tyour Steampunk party ^_^
[13:41] Areyn Laurasia: Sure sounds interesting
[13:41] Oceane: well it will take awhile till the party starts ;)
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: aa ill check that out maybe¨
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: _=
[13:41] Bejiita Imako:
[13:42] .: Beertje :.: have a goodnight all en till next time
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: have a great night, bye everyone
[13:42] Merlin: Bye Beertje
[13:42] herman Bergson: you too Beertje
[13:42] Zanicia: you too everybody
[13:42] Merlin: and everyone
[13:42] Zanicia: Goodnight
[13:43] herman Bergson: Bye all :-)

[13:43] Merlin shouts:

514: A Conclusion of Indian Philosophy

What fascinates me most is not philosophy with all its theories, but primarily the human mind which produces all these thoughts, in other words the question: what makes it tick.

Then it is exciting to see how minds, separated from each other in space and time ponder about the same questions. Not just for a day or so but for centuries.

In the previous lecture I introduced to you the Carvaka philosophy, Indian materialism. Materialism is the name given to the metaphysical doctrine which holds that matter is the only reaIity. In this respect it is opposed to spiritual interpretations of the universe.

One of the chief topics of Indian philosophers was epistemology, that is the question “How far can we know reality?”  How does knowledge originate and develop ? This last question involves the problem: What are the different sources of knowledge?

The Carvaka philospohy hold that only perception can be the source of pramana…source of knowledge. Almost all other schools, among others Hinduism, claimed that inference is a valid source too.

But inference cannot fulfill  these conditions, because when we infer, for example,the existence of fire in a mountain from  perception of smoke in it, we take a leap in the dark, from the perceived smoke to the unperceived fire.

Here comes the first interesting observation. The Indian philosophers used a kind of logic, which Aristotle would develop to its fullest, three hundred years later: the syllogism.

A syllogism is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two (the major and the minor) or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.

All cases of smoke are cases of fire, this mountain is a case of smoke, therefore, this this mountain is a case of fire. Look at the blackboard for details.

The Carvaka points out that this connection would be acceptable only, if the major premise, stating the invariable relation between the middle term (smoke) and the the major (fire), were beyond doubt. 

But this invariable relation can be established only if we have knowledge of all cases of smoke and all cases of fire. 

This, however, is not possible, as we cannot perceive even all the cases of smoke and fire existing now in different parts of the world, to speak nothing of those which existed in the past or will exist in the future.

No invariable, universal relation  can, therefore, be established by perception, but no supernatural principle need be supposed to account for the properties of experienced objects of nature. There is neither any guarantee that uniformity perceived in the past would continue in future.

This all may sound rather technically to you, but it is what the human mind in India about 500 BCE produced. And then you read in Wikipedia about the syllogism “In its earliest form, defined by Aristotle,……” NOT TRUE !

But there is an other interesting issue here: the truth value of a universal statement, what we use to call a generalization: All A are B. and the Carvaka observation, that perception never can lead to definite knowledge.

There was one philosopher, who made it the core of his philosophy of scientific discovery: Karl Popper (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994), more than 2000 years later.

He also held that scientific theory, and human knowledge generally, is irreducibly conjectural or hypothetical, 

and is generated by the creative imagination in order to solve problems that have arisen in specific historico-cultural settings.

Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single counterexample is logically decisive: it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. 

Tho not related at all, we see here the same line of reasoning as we saw in the Carvaka philosophy, in people who lived in a completely different cultural and historical world. That makes philosophy and the mind such intriguing subjects.

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
From Africa to Zen, R.C. Solomon & K.M. Higgins
An Introduction to Indian Philosophy, S. Chatterjee & D. Datta

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: Thank you :-))
[13:23] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T  * ::::::::::
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:23] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:23] Gemma Allen: i recall popper
[13:24] Guestboook van tipjar stand: Gemma Cleanslate donated L$50. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours :-))
[13:24] Qwark Allen: me to
[13:24] herman Bergson: YEs...and the exciting thing is that the human mind already formulated his ideas 500 BCE....
[13:25] Qwark Allen: reviewing karl popper
[13:25] Gemma Allen: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:25] Bejiita Imako:
[13:25] herman Bergson: That is....we have understood the weakness of the generalization form the beginning
[13:25] Gemma Allen: there is nothing new under the sun they say
[13:25] .: Beertje :.: don't se have 1 collective mind from the beginning?
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:25] Bejiita Imako:
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: in Sweden we say drawing it all over one comb about generalisation
[13:26] herman Bergson: no Beertje...we havent...unless you believe in people like Jung
[13:26] herman Bergson: same expresion in Dutch Bejiita....rhe comb
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:27] herman Bergson: I know these are not really controversal ideas....on the contrary....
[13:28] herman Bergson: the main point is that they show that as Gemma said....since 500BCE there seems to be little new under the sun :-))
[13:28] Qwark Allen: omg
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: seems so yes
[13:28] Qwark Allen: under what point of view?
[13:28] Gemma Allen: probably 10000 bc
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: many ideas are very old for sure
[13:29] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: between all is from materialism and all is from spiritualisme or so to speak , between the perception or the inference. what is left for us ?
[13:29] herman Bergson: from the logical and epistemological point of view Qwark....
[13:29] .: Beertje :.: if you know that the earth is billions of years old, 1000 bc is just a second
[13:29] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:30] herman Bergson: That indeed Beertje..
[13:30] .: Beertje :.: we only are at the beginning
[13:30] herman Bergson: What would you like to be left for us Alaya?
[13:30] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: something else than a duality
[13:30] Gemma Allen: ah
[13:31] herman Bergson: There is one thing....
[13:31] herman Bergson: our mind has a peculiar inclination to think binary....
[13:31] herman Bergson: warm - cold
[13:31] herman Bergson: light - dark
[13:31] herman Bergson: big - small
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:32] herman Bergson: hgh - low
[13:32] herman Bergson: and so on....
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: fast slow
[13:32] .: Beertje :.: rl-sl/lol
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: hhaha
[13:32] CONNIE Eichel: hehe
[13:32] Gemma Allen: ha
[13:32] herman Bergson: then next step is that we love to appluy this binary structure to reality....
[13:32] Qwark Allen: poor rich
[13:32] herman Bergson: name it....Qwark...:-)
[13:32] herman Bergson: right  - wrong...
[13:32] herman Bergson: good - bad
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: true false
[13:33] herman Bergson: I guess we can go on for ever
[13:33] herman Bergson: Ahhh Bejiita...
[13:33] Qwark Allen: more money, more shopping
[13:33] herman Bergson: You got a HOT one....
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:33] herman Bergson: TRUE -FALSE
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: true and false i guess is same as the logical statement in a computer too
[13:33] herman Bergson: worls so perfectly well when used in logic....:-)
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: always when i do programming
[13:33] Qwark Allen: far close
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: boolean logic, 1 = true 0 = false
[13:34] herman Bergson: right....
[13:34] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: its possible that from our perception it look true and from a syllogisme perspective , it look false
[13:34] herman Bergson: but this love for binary thinking ...dualism...is that  reality?
[13:34] Areyn Laurasia: in a way
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: thats just reflecting the high and low things, and nothing in between
[13:35] herman Bergson: I dont want to lecture you on logic Alaya, but you are not quite right...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: works in computers that are digital but what the computer represent to us is analog as is the world in general
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: contineous values
[13:35] herman Bergson: the FORM of the syllogism is perfect logically....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: not just 2 startes
[13:36] herman Bergson: but it works like this...
[13:36] herman Bergson: if you put statements in the form of a syllogism.....
[13:36] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: well, it snot the logic, tha ti was exposing, but the possibility that thee smoke , was not from fire,, as suposed,,, but from,, something else,,, since the perception spotted smoke,, and the assumption , fire, but it might be vapor
[13:36] herman Bergson: then you can say....
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: like the professor's pipe? :)
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes, steam or something similar
[13:36] herman Bergson: IF AND ONLY IF these major and minor statements are TRUE
[13:36] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: in that manner they aren’t opposing
[13:37] herman Bergson: then the conclusion is 100% TRUE
[13:37] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: but in other manner they may be oposing,
[13:37] herman Bergson: But the philosophical debate is on how to deside when a statement IS true....
[13:38] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: i see
[13:38] herman Bergson: that is beyond the logical form of a syllogism
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:38] herman Bergson: so ..in fact..logic has nothing to do with TRUTH,...
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: can be false as well
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: its just statements
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: just like in a computer program
[13:39] herman Bergson: It only says...that IF you use TRUE statements in a perfect logical reasoning...the conclusion has to be TRUE too
[13:39] Qwark Allen: Lamark come to my mind, about that
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: i can say to the machine that only if that AND alsothat is true then the resunt is true but i can also do the opposite
[13:40] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: i think a statement isn’t alone and separated from the person speaking, its background and experiences
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: not just but many things need to be in a certain condition to be true
[13:40] herman Bergson: a matter of fact is , Alaya....
[13:40] herman Bergson: I am dead or I am alive...
[13:40] herman Bergson: dead
[13:41] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: when a clif is hi, it is hi relatively to y hability to jump
[13:41] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: my*
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:41] herman Bergson: If someone says I am alive...his personal interests erc...do not matter there
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: for an ant 1 m is like mt everest
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: its relative
[13:42] herman Bergson: that is another discussion :-)
[13:42] herman Bergson: I love myrmecology...but it is not the issue here today :-)
[13:42] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:42] herman Bergson: But...as you see...
[13:42] herman Bergson: and that was my point....
[13:43] herman Bergson: some very basic ideas which have a real impact on our culture too...
[13:43] herman Bergson: already existed in India 5000 BCE
[13:43] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: a statement might be, not completely false of true, so to speak
[13:43] herman Bergson: sorry 500 BCE
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:43] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:43] Bejiita Imako:
[13:44] herman Bergson: Ohhh Alaya.....there you hit a philosophical berve :-))
[13:44] herman Bergson: nerve....
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: the real world is analog, there are no absolute states
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: like in a digital system
[13:44] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: hehe
[13:44] herman Bergson: You want to discuss the truth conditions of a statement.....
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: so yes Alaya i agree
[13:44] Areyn Laurasia: like the schrödinger's cat
[13:44] herman Bergson: That is exactly what the old Indian philosopher did.....
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: at least some things can be partially both true or false
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: depent how you see it i guess
[13:45] herman Bergson: Their first concern was to establish an understanding about the way you come to knowledge....
[13:45] herman Bergson: like you saw today....
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:46] herman Bergson: Hinduism accepts inference as a proper means....Carvaka rejects it and only relies on perception
[13:46] Gemma Allen: interesting
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:46] herman Bergson: All history of philosophy is focused on this debate....HOW CAN WE KNOW.....
[13:46] Gemma AllenGemma Allen GIGGLES!!
[13:46] Gemma Allen: ...LOL...
[13:46] CONNIE Eichel: hehe
[13:47] Bejiita Imako:
[13:47] herman Bergson: and those old Indian philosophers already understood the problem
[13:47] Areyn Laurasia: experiment
[13:47] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: the detail that prevent us to statuate about an absolute might be our materialist expectation, as well as syllogistic expectation
[13:47] herman Bergson: If you say experiment you already have chosen for perception as the way to know
[13:48] herman Bergson: What kind of absolute are you referring to Alaya???
[13:48] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: that we ought to statuate always about the fact
[13:49] herman Bergson: Or should I ask...how do you know of being there some absolute ?
[13:49] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: i made a mistake,
[13:49] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: the details that prevent us to statuate about as an absolute,
[13:49] Gemma Allen: I may make class thursday I hope
[13:50] herman Bergson: don’t understand the meaning of the verb "statuate"...:-)
[13:50] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: like it happend many time s in philosophy talk, people asking, so, what conclusion did yuo arrive too
[13:50] Gemma Allen: usually more questions than answers Alaya
[13:50] Areyn Laurasia: makes one think more
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hehe true
[13:51] herman Bergson: Indeed Gemma...
[13:51] Gemma Allen: always
[13:51] herman Bergson: if you want answers..go to the sciences
[13:51] Gemma Allen: that is how we continue so long
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:51] Gemma Allen: we never take the exam
[13:51] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: statuer, in french, , ok my bad, ill find better transaltion
[13:51] Qwark Allen: hehhehehe
[13:51] .: Beertje :.: lol Gemma
[13:51] herman Bergson: of course not Gemma....
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hehe hope we never do, this is infinite exploration for sure
[13:51] Bejiita Imako:
[13:51] herman Bergson: you would get en F if you came up with answers :))
[13:51] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:51] Gemma Allen: lol
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:52] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: infinite exploration loll
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well..this was again a nice discussion....
[13:52] Gemma Allen: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:52] Gemma Allen: going fishing
[13:52] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation.....
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:52] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.´ ¯¨.¸¸`**   **´ ¸¸.¨¯` H E R MA N ´ ¯¨.¸¸`**   **´ ¸¸.¨¯`
[13:52] Qwark Allen: thank you
[13:52] Qwark Allen: was very nice
[13:52] .: Beertje :.: thank you Herman
[13:52] Gemma Allen: Bye, Bye   
[13:52] Gemma Allen: for now
[13:52] herman Bergson: Class dismissed for Gemma needs to go fishing :-)
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: cu son
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: heheh
[13:53] .: Beertje :.: hahah
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you all :-))
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: a while since i did that
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: great class :)
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: need to take it up again sometime
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: its nice
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you CONNIE :-)
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: kisses you all, till next class :)
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: cu soon again
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:54] herman Bergsonherman Bergson blushes
[13:54] Areyn Laurasia: gotta run.. noisy cat..
[13:54] CONNIE Eichel: byee :)

[13:54] Bejiita Imako: hehe