Saturday, April 19, 2014

524: Al Farabi

Let’s listen to some words of Al Farabi (died c. 950): “The substance of the First is a substance from which every existent emanates, however it may be, whether perfect or deficient. 

But the substance of the First is also such that all the existents, when they emanate from it, are arranged in an order of rank, and that every existent gets its allotted share and rank of existence from it. 

It starts with the most perfect existent and is followed by something a little less perfect than it. (..) Inasmuch as the substance of the First is a substance from which all the existence emanate, 

... it is generous and its generosity is in its substance; and inasmuch as all the existents receive their order of rank from it, ... the First is just.”

Are you still with me? I don’t think that you’ll hear such words from a contemporary philosopher anymore and yet for some reason scholars were impressed by them in those days.

For al-Farabl, the First Cause is the summit of existence, uncaused, self-subsistent, unmoved, intrinsically perfect; even so, the lower levels of existence mirror its perfection. 

The human soul and the human body are also governed hierarchically: In the body, the heart rules and is followed by the brain, under which all other organs are subordinated. 

Likewise, human society is arranged in orders of perfection: The ruler of this excellent city stands in relation to his subjects as the First Cause stands in relation to all other existents. 

The order of existence is thus not only hierarchical but microcosmic: Each order of being is such that it mirrors a higher order and is itself reflected in a lower.

But why did they believe in such metaphysical theories then? One important reason, in my opinion, is the influence of religion and the other is Aristotle. What he had achieved was unique.

He had created order in thinking. For instance, now we call it “Set Theory” and we use Venn Diagrams, but in those days it was a impressive innovation: logic 

The basic rule is, that if  in a valid reasoning the premises were true, the conclusion is also necessarily true. Just imagine, whatever you say, you can not deny the truth of the conclusion!

And with the universal ideas (Plato) or categories (Aristotle) he had organized our observations. Everything could be classified under a general name, the genus, 

and differentiated from other things of the same genus by a specific property, so that you get a species, like man = living being with rationality; animal = living being without rationality.

Thus was the discovery of Al Farabi and as with Aristotle his logic falls into two divisions, the first of these comprising the doctrine of Ideas and Definitions and the second, the doctrine of Judgments, Inferences, and Proofs. 

Ideas have in themselves no relation to reality, that is to say, they are neither true nor false. Among 'Ideas' Al Farabi recognizes here the simplest psychological forms, that is, both the representations of individual objects arising from Sense-Perception, 

and those ideas which have been stamped upon the mind from the First Intellect, such as the Necessary, the Actual, the Possible. The real metaphysical ideas, of which we ask ourselves now: where did he get them from?

Such representations and ideas are immediately certain. A man's mind may be directed to these, and his soul made observant of them, 

but they cannot be demonstrated to him, nor can they be explained by deriving them from what is known, seeing that they are already clear in themselves, and that too with the highest degree of certitude.

In the latter it is as if you hear Descartes, who also claimed to know such clear  and certain ideas. There metaphysical explanation was then and is now clear: they come from The First Mover, The First Intellect, God.  

Such line of thinking, put into the machinery of Aristotelian logic has burdened us for centuries with all kinds of almost cosmological theories.

One of the last, who closed the door on this approach was Thomas Fludd, who in 1617 stil created the pictures behind  me, where you can see the geocentric structure of the Macrocosmos and how man is connected to the cosmos.

Such descriptions of reality you now only find but esoteric philosophies today,

Thank you.... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:31] herman Bergson: You endured it quite well, I must say :-))
[13:32] .: Beertje :.: hmm..may I ask..were is the woman in this? are only talking about man...
[13:32] herman Bergson: fell asleep ^_^
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: there's nothing to endure
[13:32] herman Bergson: Beertje...
[13:32] herman Bergson: The first project ever I did was about 100 philosophers
[13:33] herman Bergson: among them were TWO women!
[13:33] .: Beertje :.: and?...
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: 98 men
[13:33] herman Bergson: So my next project was about woman philosophers
[13:34] .: Beertje :.: a short project?
[13:34] herman Bergson: I had found 35 women through the ages :-)
[13:34] .: Beertje :.: but all those philosophers talk about man..even the picture in the circle is a far as I can see....
[13:34] Areyn Laurasia: yet we outnumber attendance in the class 3:1
[13:35] herman Bergson: the other one it is a woman :-)
[13:35] Areyn Laurasia: perhaps it's more symbolic.. like woman is mother earth.. and nature
[13:35] herman Bergson: and a second problem is that women in Arabaic culture do not count that much
[13:36] herman Bergson: Don’t blame me for that :-)
[13:38] .: Beertje :.: i can't discus this lecture's far beyond my head...sorry
[13:38] herman Bergson: What I don’t feel is what they must have feelt in those days........
[13:38] herman Bergson: They were franticly translating the works of Aristotle and Plato in those days.....
[13:39] herman Bergson: I think it must have felt the same as for us a new book of our favorite author
[13:39] Areyn Laurasia: Seems they were more open to the free flow and sharing of knowledge.
[13:39] herman Bergson: and besides that.....if a book was many copies were there....?
[13:40] herman Bergson: this was of course only an issue of the ruling class
[13:40] herman Bergson: The calif financed the translations
[13:40] herman Bergson: Maybe...the more knowledge the more power..?
[13:41] .: Beertje :.: most translations are not very secure
[13:41] Qwark Allen: i`ll say , the less the population know, the easier to control it
[13:41] .: Beertje :.: maybe they wrote what the kalief would hear or read?
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: still today we say that knowledge is power
[13:41] herman Bergson: no Beertje.....
[13:42] herman Bergson: They had a deep respect for the greek philosophers, especially Aristotle...
[13:42] herman Bergson: I really wonder how it was in those days......
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: The world today could use more of the same openness from those days.
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: we need a time machine
[13:43] .: Beertje :.: but there are always words that can't be translated...look in our own language..."gezelligheid" doesn't exist in any other language
[13:43] herman Bergson: Was there someone waiting impatiently for the translation of the next page for instance?
[13:43] herman Bergson: Of course they ran into such difficulties Beertje...they are also documented
[13:44] herman Bergson: also
[13:44] herman Bergson: Same happened with the Jesuits in China....
[13:44] herman Bergson: Chinese had no word for God in the monotheistic catholic sense...
[13:45] herman Bergson: Bu the works of Aristotle are rather technical....
[13:45] herman Bergson: on reasoning, classification, definition.....
[13:47] Qwark Allen: would be very abstract the meaning of God to the chinese
[13:47] .: Beertje :.: could the population ..the common man and the book?
[13:47] herman Bergson: no, I don’t think so.....
[13:48] herman Bergson: In India education was accessible for everybody who showed intelligence.....
[13:48] Qwark Allen: in those days education was not for the comon population
[13:48] herman Bergson: Bu tint the Arabic world.....?
[13:48] herman Bergson: I don’t know...
[13:48] herman Bergson: and not for women ....
[13:48] Qwark Allen: ahahaha true
[13:49] Qwark Allen: should be much worst then now for sure
[13:49] Qwark Allen: maybe in the monasteries
[13:49] herman Bergson: Which was the same in Europe for cnturies too btw :-)
[13:49] Qwark Allen: yes
[13:49] Qwark Allen: darn dark ages
[13:50] herman Bergson: From an intellectual point of view they werent dark at all
[13:50] Qwark Allen: they were to the mass population
[13:50] herman Bergson: scholarship and education were at a high standard....
[13:50] Qwark Allen: for the rich
[13:50] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:50] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:50] .: Beertje :.: yes for the happy few
[13:51] herman Bergson: yes and those knights were peasants :-)
[13:51] Qwark Allen: ehehh
[13:51] herman Bergson: Well around 1700 there were only a handful of real scientific minds in Europe.....
[13:51] Areyn Laurasia: How many philosophers through the ages have an interest in science as well?
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well...started with Pythagoras and Archimede
[13:52] .: Beertje :.: and how many arabic philosophers?
[13:52] herman Bergson: then the real "scientist” were the alchemists
[13:52] herman Bergson: all of them Beertje....
[13:53] herman Bergson: they were specialized in astronomy mathematics medicine......that was common practice
[13:53] herman Bergson: that is the big historical issue....
[13:54] herman Bergson: till 1100 they were the greatest mathematicians present on earth....
[13:54] herman Bergson: all their wisdom reached Europe through Spain....
[13:54] herman Bergson: and after 1200 all was gone....
[13:54] Lizzy Pleides: they were polymaths
[13:54] herman Bergson: yes Lizzy....
[13:54] .: Beertje :.: why was it gone after 1200?
[13:54] Qwark Allen: in a way they are still in the dark ages
[13:54] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:54] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:54] herman Bergson: But is disappeared into the desert
[13:54] .: Beertje :.: what happend?
[13:55] herman Bergson: I really don’t know what caused this development
[13:55] Qwark Allen: come to my mind the same fate of karl marx ideas
[13:55] Areyn Laurasia:
[13:55] Lizzy Pleides: religious fanatics probably?
[13:55] herman Bergson: The  only explanation I can think of that they just went down fighting their religious wors
[13:56] Qwark Allen: think... the less the population know, the easier to control it
[13:56] .: Beertje :.: yes Qwark,,that was in Europe in the last century too
[13:57] herman Bergson: Abbasids.....isnt that the period of religious wars..fitnas or something like that?
[13:57] Lizzy Pleides: in spain the muslims must have been still very tolerant
[13:57] Qwark Allen: they kept the religion part to control the population, and reduced the access to knowledge to everyone
[13:57] .: Beertje :.: yes
[13:57] .: Beertje :.: true
[13:57] Qwark Allen: if you look in the recent past
[13:57] Qwark Allen: you have karl marx
[13:57] Areyn Laurasia: No idea.. but I thought it was a time of great growth and knowledge until 1258 when the the Abbasid caliphate got broken up.
[13:58] herman Bergson: yes...that was it Areyn.....
[13:58] Qwark Allen: still think that its much worst to the arabians
[13:58] Qwark Allen: its like a milenia under this totalitarian system
[13:59] herman Bergson: I think  that the imams have taken over since 1258....and stayed in power since then
[13:59] Areyn Laurasia: They were doing better then.. while the East-West schism happened in 1054..
[13:59] herman Bergson: which meant total stagnation
[13:59] Qwark Allen: yes herman, terrible
[14:00] herman Bergson: Like I said in a previous lecture......
[14:00] herman Bergson: Arabs aren’t fighting each other individually like we do....
[14:00] Areyn Laurasia: have a read at the wiki, Qwark :) I was enlightened.
[14:01] herman Bergson: they fight as one group of believers agains another group which they see as non believers
[14:01] herman Bergson: since 640 they have been fighting religious wars among each other
[14:02] herman Bergson: and in Syria today they still do
[14:02] .: Beertje :.: is there nobody that thinks.,.what are we doing???
[14:02] herman Bergson: like in other parts where tribal and religous groups coincide
[14:03] herman Bergson: no Beertje, that is not how masses operate....
[14:03] Lizzy Pleides: they think they get to heaven directly when they die for their ideals
[14:03] herman Bergson: even in a group...when one asks...he man what are we doing, he might be shot imediately  as a non believer
[14:03] Areyn Laurasia: How's that, Beertje?
[14:04] .: Beertje :.: how is what Areyn?
[14:04] Areyn Laurasia: The questions about what are we doing?
[14:04] herman Bergson: we are not so much different......
[14:04] herman Bergson: Who has the guts in a group to question authority?
[14:05] .: Beertje :.: uhmm..i don't know what you mean
[14:05] Qwark Allen: eheheh
[14:05] Areyn Laurasia: What are we doing in the class now or in general? I was trying to understand the context.
[14:05] herman Bergson: Look at the PVV fractie :-)
[14:05] .: Beertje :.: ja...
[14:05] .: Beertje :.: treurig
[14:06] herman Bergson: We are looking at the history of Arabic philosphy Areyn
[14:06] .: Beertje :.: [14:02] Beertje Beaumont: is there nobody that thinks.,.what are we doing???..I ment ..those people in Arabia...
[14:06] Lizzy Pleides: could you explain that please? PVV fractie?
[14:06] herman Bergson: and at this moment in particular at the great influence of Greek philosophy on Arabic philosophy.....
[14:07] Areyn Laurasia: yes, I was refering to Beertje's question :)
[14:07] herman Bergson: PVV is a right wing party....fraktie is a dutch word...for the group im parlement...
[14:08] Lizzy Pleides: Fraktion in german
[14:08] Qwark Allen: omg, i have to go
[14:08] herman Bergson: Google translates it as Parlementairy group
[14:08] Qwark Allen: was really nice this class herman!!!
[14:08] .: Beertje :.: bye Qwark:)
[14:08] Areyn Laurasia: bye Qwark
[14:08] Qwark Allen: ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°•  Bye !  •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜  
[14:08] Qwark Allen: for now
[14:09] herman Bergson: Ye sindeed it is geting late!!!!!1
[14:09] Lizzy Pleides: TC Qwark
[14:09] Qwark Allen: 10 minutes past
[14:09] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[14:09] Qwark Allen: lol
[14:09] .: Beertje :.: I have to go's late....thank you Herman for this wonderfull lecture
[14:09] Qwark Allen: we got distracted with the discussion
[14:09] Qwark Allen: which is a good sign
[14:09] Qwark Allen: ^^
[14:09] Areyn Laurasia: wonders now what PVV has to do with arabic philosophy :)
[14:09] herman Bergson: ok....emergency Class Dismissed :-)
[14:10] Lizzy Pleides: lol
[14:10] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[14:10] Qwark Allen: lol
[14:10] .: Beertje :.: Goodnight and sweet dreams about any 'fraktie'
[14:10] Lizzy Pleides: thank you herman, byeeee
[14:10] herman Bergson: I'd rather not
[14:10] Areyn Laurasia: Happy Easter for those who celebrate and happy chocolate weekend to the rest :)
[14:10] .: Beertje :.: lol
[14:11] Areyn Laurasia: good night :)
[14:11] herman Bergson: Good night Areyn :-))

Thursday, April 17, 2014

523; Islamic metaphysics

The word universal,  used as a noun, has belonged to the vocabulary of English-writing philosophers since the sixteenth century, but the concept of universals, and the problems raised by it, has a far longer history.

It goes back through the universalia  of medieval philosophy to Plato’s with his Ideas and Aristotle with his categories.  

Indeed, Plato may be taken to be the father of this perennial topic of philosophy, for it is in his dialogues that we find the first arguments for universals and the first discussion of the difficulties they raise. 

Plato believed that the existence of universals was required not only ontologically, to explain the nature of the world that as sentient and reflective beings we experience, but also epistemologically, to explain the nature of our experience of it.

And by this Plato was in fact the father of the same philosophical non issue as Descartes has been with his dualism by splitting up body and mind.

However, in both cases these philosophical solutions to fundamental questions suited the dominating religions of those days and maybe even today quite well.

Let me explain it in a simple way. All animals recognize their own kind. Dogs in particular for in my experience they start barking completely insane when they see a fellow dog. So does man… I mean recognizing his own kind.

But we do more, we wonder about the question how we can be able to recognize another man as human being?

The problem is: you have John, Mary, Pete, Harry, Maria and they have one thing in common: being human.

Now comes the philosophical catch: but where did I get this concept “being human” from? Did I know it in advance,

so that I could classify the people under that category, or did I just discover in the long run what they had in common, what I then called “being human”?

If you would answer: Well this is just the way our senses in relation to the working of our brain respond to sensory experiences. Thus general concepts are formed,

first of all you had to wait for John Locke who started this debate with his  Essay on Human Understanding (1690). For cognitive psychology and neuroscience you have to wait another couple of centuries.

But no, the philosophers started to wonder about the ontological status of universals. In what sense do they exist? In what sense are they real.

And these questions are most convenient for theologians, because they have the answer. The perfect general Ideas exist only in the mind of God and because he is thinking them, we can think them.

This is the simple way to put it, but wait till Metaphysics gets in. Then this line of thinking is wrapped up in such complex and elaborate theoretical constructions.

The most impressive works here is from the Arabic philosopher Al-Farabi (872 - 951 in Damascus). As expert on Aristotle he created a whole system of First Mover, Active Intellect and so on and so on.

Each level of existence in al-Farabi's cosmology is characterized by its movement towards perfection, which is to become like the First Cause; a perfect intellect. 

Human perfection (or "happiness"), then, is equated with constant intellection and contemplation. And again a philosophy that tells us, that we have to become like a self invented idea.

The Discussion

[13:17] herman Bergson: Thank you...^_^
[13:17] herman Bergson: Take the floor if you feel to :-)
[13:18] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: did al farabi existed before the coran was written?
[13:19] herman Bergson: I always forget dates....:-(
[13:19] nu: how is perfection measured
[13:19] herman Bergson: But the Quran was written between 609 and 643 it is said
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:20] herman Bergson: Don't ask me Nu.....
[13:20] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: thanks y
[13:20] nu: i am not asking
[13:20] herman Bergson: I even dont know what to think of this First Intellect and so on
[13:20] .: Beertje :.: what is perfection?
[13:21] Areyn Laurasia: a state of stagnancy?
[13:21] nu: that is what one must have in mind if we are to measure our progress in that direction
[13:21] herman Bergson: But such theories are just the imaginationof one person......
[13:21] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: what if now, the race toward perfectibility , is link with universal . and against diversity
[13:22] nu: we are always making comparisons
[13:22] herman Bergson: Ok Alaya...the ultimate and perfect human being!
[13:22] Areyn Laurasia: ohoh.. are we going into eugenics?
[13:22] herman Bergson: and we all gonna belong to that category.....
[13:23] .: Beertje :.: why would we want to be perfect?
[13:23] herman Bergson: no.....that would be just an arbitrary choice....
[13:23] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: i meaned culturally talking, not geneticlaly talking Areyn
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje...that is the question too...
[13:23] herman Bergson: but all religions teach us that we are loosers unless we work on perfecting ourselves
[13:24] .: Beertje :.: ah don't believe them
[13:24] Bejiita Imako:
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: not only the religions
[13:24] .: Beertje :.: we are not loosers
[13:24] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: and they teached it toward universals as yu said
[13:24] nu: i dont believe i am a loser
[13:24] herman Bergson: well...the human being should eventually be one with the mind of (some) god
[13:25] herman Bergson: Neither do I Nu:-))
[13:25] nu: i dont accept the doctrine of original sin
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats the goal i guess in all religions sort of
[13:25] herman Bergson: but that is not the point culturally
[13:25] Areyn Laurasia: what if god is not some super being but just nature and knowledge?
[13:25] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: ah the return to the adamic,, state, well, if adam was alone, there was no unversal for all,
[13:26] herman Bergson: epistemologically we would havea problem then yes :-)
[13:26] herman Bergson: because knowledge is a product of our brain and nature is just there
[13:26] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: plus he might have beena monkey
[13:26] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: apparently
[13:27] herman Bergson: If you want to learn something about arabic metaphysics read something about AL-Farabi :-)
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:28] herman Bergson: It is amazing to read in which he put his intellect and energy and time....
[13:28] herman Bergson: IN those days a new discovery of the mind I assume...
[13:29] herman Bergson: from my perpective here and now a complete waste of time
[13:29] .: Beertje :.: but he didn't know that..
[13:29] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: so the mind, desire to reach or to know or to recognize, was seen as a metaphysic thing?
[13:30] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: he might have been a first degree psychologist
[13:30] herman Bergson: some conclusions of the mind were seen like that....and with the discovery of logic they thought of all kinds of things by inference....
[13:30] herman Bergson: He was Alaya
[13:30] herman Bergson: In his time he really was a great intellect....
[13:31] herman Bergson: and in that sense you should not judge him with our standards....
[13:31] nu: one cannot criticize him that the path he took bore little fruit
[13:31] herman Bergson: it is just amazing what such an intellect succeeded to metaphysics
[13:31] nu: someone had to take that path
[13:32] Areyn Laurasia: Think of all the time and energy you saved because he took that path for you.
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: i guess so
[13:32] Bejiita Imako:
[13:32] herman Bergson: no a time without science...without the knowledge we have now......
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: thats all they had back then
[13:32] herman Bergson: They just started to discover that there existed Air ans something like a vacuum.....
[13:32] herman Bergson: Al-Farabi experimented with it...
[13:33] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: i am not convince that they knew less than us, on human minds, since they had lesser material to take care of, and more time, to study humans
[13:33] nu: he seemed to be a natural scientist
[13:34] herman Bergson: and astronomer and psychologist and philosopher....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: a little of everything
[13:34] nu: now we are faced with the prospect that machines will soon have intelligence
[13:34] herman Bergson: I yet would say that they knew less about the human brain and the mind then we do now
[13:34] nu: how do we deal with that
[13:34] herman Bergson: they all ready have depending on the definition
[13:35] herman Bergson: the real problem is ..can machines have a mind....
[13:35] herman Bergson: and there I can be of some comfort.....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: machine intelligence would be that it can analyse an input and then reprogram its behaviour based in that
[13:35] nu: i dont see why self awareness is not possible
[13:35] herman Bergson: we ourselves still havent the slightest idea how we can have a mind
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: but a computer is just as smart as a light switch basically
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: on and off
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: however bilions of times per second
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: and thats what give it power
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: just think about google
[13:36] herman Bergson: dont be fooled Nu....responding to an environment by a machine isnt a proof of selfawareness
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: a machine can never be aware of its surroundings, all it 2sees" are these electrical impulses
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: 100010101101010101
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: nothing more
[13:37] nu: it ini the machine will realize what and eho it is
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: when they know who you are, what you like, your friends and family, personal interests, habits.. etc.. etc.. location and they have drones.. we are writing ourselves out of history
[13:38] herman Bergson: As soon as a machine says.."I think, so I am" without being programmed to do so and claims a private life we should get worried
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: what make what we see with computers possible ate the digital analog converter that turn the 1 and 0 to things we can see and hear
[13:38] nu: not necessarilywhy is that
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: but that in turn the compuer cant understand, the DAC and ADC circuits is an inpenetrable barieer between our analog world and the mind of the machine
[13:39] herman Bergson: Because then the machine is aware of its own identity....
[13:39] nu: it is difficult to predict the furure
[13:39] Areyn Laurasia: machine intelligence is more than a machine
[13:39] nu: we are all machines
[13:39] herman Bergson: yes
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: we only see analog the computer only see digital thats it
[13:39] herman Bergson: like our mind is more thanjust our brain
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: thats why a computer can never feel what we do
[13:40] nu: our intelligenvce is the result of superb self organizaion
[13:40] herman Bergson: But I tink our discussion has left already for some time the Arabina deserts and has moved into another :-)
[13:40] Areyn Laurasia: sorry, professor :)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Let me thank you allll for your participation again and pay Al Farabi a visit in Wikipedia :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...^_^
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: ill check
[13:41] Areyn Laurasia: Thanks for class
[13:41] nu: yet we have neurons OK
[13:41] Bejiita Imako:
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: cu soon again
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: Al Farabi.. I wonder if he meant the multiverse
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman thanx all
[13:42] CONNIE Eichel: great class, as always :)
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:42] Bejiita Imako:
[13:42] .: Beertje :.: thank you Herman:)
[13:42] nu: Lizzie thank you for inviting me here
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:43] Bernadettie: Yes, thank you
[13:43] Areyn Laurasia: back to the sandbox..
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: you are welcome nu
[13:43] CONNIE Eichel: kisses you all, till next class :)
[13:43] CONNIE Eichel: byeeee :)
[13:43] herman Bergson: What is happening there Areyn?
[13:43] Areyn Laurasia: inventory cleaning.. unfortunately :)
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: tc all!
[13:43] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: thanks yu, i will read more of al farabi.. i think
[13:43] Areyn Laurasia: such is the reality of SL :S
[13:44] herman Bergson: oh my...dont remind me of it!
[13:44] Areyn Laurasia: :)
[13:44] Areyn Laurasia: have a lovely evening :)
[13:44] .: Beertje :.: have a goodnight
[13:44] Alaya Chépaspourquoi: be well^^

[13:45] herman Bergson: You too Alaya :-)n

522; Al-Kindi

In previous lectures we learnt that if a Hindu debated with a Buddhist or Jain, he could not appeal to the authority of Hindu Scriptures, but had to find common epistemological ground.

In the case of Buddhism that would be perception and inference; in the case of Jainism, it would only be inference. Appealing to revelation was not accepted by Buddhist or Jains.

The unbound reason of Greek  philosophy grants primacy to reason and observation over revelation. The reason is simple: there is no way to verify the truth of what someone says, if it is based on revelation.

When today someone would appear in the news, telling us that God had revealed to him that……whatever, most people would shrug or smile and maybe a few would believe him and become his followers. Then we conclude…ok..another sect.

The Indian Buddhist and Jains didn’t trust revelations. The Greek didn’t fancy it and the Arabs? It seems that they made revelation the core of their theory of knowledge through the centuries.

And this creates a peculiar situation. When something is revealed, then that’s it. What the revelation says IS the case and it is blasphemy to question that.

The consequence is a standstill of the development of knowledge. The only thing you can do is comment on what is really meant with this or that revelation.

You would say that the Greek approach using reason and observation would be first choice, but historically the contrary seems to be true.

Hinduism, based on scripture, like mohammedanism and christianity became the ruling cultural systems. Maybe it is because thus the ruling class never could be questioned, because then you question god and as we saw in the previous lecture…that could lead to severe punishment.

Only about 350 years ago in Europe scholars began to develop their own language, based on experiment and observation, bypassing and ignoring truth based on revelation

And today we are in the peculiar situation, that Western science dismisses revelation as a reliable source of knowledge of all sorts and yet a large part of the world is socially organized, based on revelation.

The general question could be, why people are inclined to surrender themselves to someone, who claims to know things by revelations, and once written down, keep people living by the book, thus for instance obstructing the development of knowledge?

Something like that must have happened in the Arabic culture after 1200. Yet between 800 and 1200 there were great philosophers, who tried to integrate Greek reason in Arabic philosophy.

Al-Kindı (c.801 – c.873) is unanimously hailed as the "father of Islamic or Arabic philosophy" for his synthesis, adaptation and promotion of Greek and Hellenistic philosophy in the Muslim world.

The central theme underpinning al-Kindi's philosophical writings is the compatibility between philosophy and other "orthodox" Islamic sciences, particularly theology.

What puzzled early thinkers in epistemological history was this: take five completely different trees and ask: what are those things. The  answer is “Trees”, philosophically said “All these individual objects have ‘tree-ness’ in common”

In other words, we are able to classify a whole collection of individual objects under one property: the universal property of “being a tree” in this case.

According to Al-Kindi human beings can not arrive at a universal concept merely through perception. In other words, an intellect cannot understand the species of a thing simply by examining one or more of its instances. 

According to him, this will only yield an inferior "sensible form", and not the universal form which we desire. The universal form can only be attained through contemplation and actualization by the First Intellect.

This he had learnt from Plato. He called the world of ideas the First Intellect and thus he was able to stay within the boundaries of revelation. 

All universal ideas exist in the mind of god and because of that we are able to know them and can distinguish between trees and shrubs.

The Discussion

[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you..^_^
[13:19] Merlin: Do you agree with that guy Herman?
[13:19] herman Bergson: The floor is yours :-))
[13:19] Merlin: Al Kindi
[13:19] Daruma Boa: Thank uuu
[13:19] herman Bergson: no of course not Merlin :-))
[13:19] Qwark Allen: we are all secondlifers, to start
[13:19] Merlin: Good!
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: that’s true
[13:20] Merlin: Its just that I thought you regard him as one of the great philosophers
[13:20] herman Bergson: In those early days philosophers tried to understand cognitive processes...for instance classification....
[13:20] Gemma Allen: there are many great philosophers that none of us agree with
[13:21] Gemma Allen: still they are considered great by many
[13:21] herman Bergson: Oh Yes he was THOSE days....and in his historical context....
[13:21] Merlin: ok
[13:21] herman Bergson: his ideas are of no use today
[13:21] Qwark Allen: i`m on the side of, the obstruction of the development of knowledge by non scientific ideologies
[13:21] Qwark Allen: can we say that a religion its a ideology?
[13:21] Areyn Laurasia: wouldn't that narrow the level of knowledge you seek, Mr. Allen?
[13:22] herman Bergson: That's what happened  in my opinion Qwark...
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes I would agree Qwark
[13:22] Qwark Allen: no no, i`m saying this old books, that rule the society, still obstruct the development of society
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:22] herman Bergson: yes they do.....
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: time goes backwards in those places
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: and even worse today i read about a shia muslim law in iraq
[13:23] Ciska Riverstone: so we should replace them with a dictate of science qwark?
[13:23] herman Bergson: make a pope condemn the use of condoms in our fight against aids
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: the jafaari law
[13:23] Gemma Allen: pilosophy is a part of science i believe
[13:23] herman Bergson: No Ciska....I wouldn’t say that
[13:23] Daruma Boa: true gemma
[13:23] Qwark Allen: yesterday on the news, there was the philipine pri minister, asking the bishop to ask the priests to start birth control ideas at the curchs
[13:24] herman Bergson: but maybe the dictate of rationality
[13:24] Qwark Allen: chirchs
[13:24] Qwark Allen: churchs
[13:24] Qwark Allen: lol typonese
[13:24] Daruma Boa: all is one and most things can not bee seen seperate in the world
[13:24] Ciska Riverstone: well- and who defines what that is herman? ;)
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: this law makes it legal to 1. marry away children less then 9 years, 2. rape your wife as much u want without punishment 3 unlimited polygami , forbids marriage with non muslims and if divorce the man will have the children no objection
[13:24] Gemma Allen: some philosophers do
[13:25] herman Bergson: well begin with the obligation to validate claims....
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: and this is to (move islamic ideas forward)
[13:25] herman Bergson: related to standards we agree on
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: i was shocked when i read this today
[13:25] Daruma Boa: where did u read it?
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: in my daily newspaper
[13:25] Daruma Boa: ok.
[13:26] .: Beertje :.: it was in our newspaper today too..
[13:26] herman Bergson: Let's stick to Ciska's question plz
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: a law stated by Jafaar al sadiq in iraq
[13:26] herman Bergson: Bejiita...plz
[13:26] Areyn Laurasia: have you read about Abraham, Bejiita?
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:26] Areyn Laurasia: he gave his wife up twice to other men.. calling her his sister
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: for me it sound we want to replace beliefs by new ones
[13:26] herman Bergson: Can we stick to that question plz
[13:27] Gemma Allen: who defines
[13:27] Qwark Allen: just come to my mind this--> what is associated with the "dark ages"?
[13:27] herman Bergson: Yes Ciska....
[13:27] herman Bergson: One thing we know....
[13:27] herman Bergson: knowledge is a social value....
[13:27] herman Bergson: we share knowledge
[13:28] herman Bergson: and it defines our existence....
[13:28] Qwark Allen: and this darkness is very related also with knowledge
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: yes - and knowledge develops...
[13:28] herman Bergson: this means that we have the right to test this knowledge on its validity
[13:28] Gemma Allen: as science discovers more and more
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:28] Qwark Allen: was the time of the state church
[13:28] Gemma Allen: about the universe
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: like einstein wanted to do something good - but never wanted the atom bomb
[13:28] herman Bergson: that is rationality...
[13:28] Gemma Allen: and our human bodies and minds
[13:29] Qwark Allen: its more a duality i think, there
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:29] herman Bergson: you have two hands Ciska.....
[13:29] herman Bergson: you can use them both to build or to beat me up...
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:29] herman Bergson: should we blame your hands for that?
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: so the decision is something different
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: in former times we solved that with religion
[13:30] herman Bergson: oh yes
[13:30] herman Bergson: true....
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: science obviously does not help there- it just sees whats there
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: so
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: we replace it with what you call rationality
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:30] herman Bergson: But with religion we also solved the question whether the earth was flat or round
[13:30] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:30] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hahah ok
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: thats the 3 force kind of - and thats what needs to be more clearly explored as it seems
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: well- thats a byproduct herman
[13:31] herman Bergson: rationality is not based on revelations....
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: so that folks concentrate on what they should do
[13:31] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:31] Gemma Allen: and that the earth is not the center of the universe
[13:31] Gemma Allen: which changed a lot of philosophers thoughts
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: nope not even our solar system
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: the sun is
[13:32] Qwark Allen: you learned that with science, not with the old book
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: but to organise people - you need a system- religion was one without too much scientific knowledge - but it was one ;)
[13:32] herman Bergson: rationality is based on the functioning of our brain as a reasoning entity using logic
[13:32] Gemma Allen: it was
[13:32] Gemma Allen: and still is in many cases
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: thats how it should be
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: mh... then lets talk about how we can influence our brainstructure by - for example - meditation
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: at least in my opinion
[13:33] herman Bergson: VERY GOOD Ciska....
[13:33] Daruma Boa: is there another way?
[13:33] Gemma Allen: true
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: meditation is an interesting thing
[13:33] Qwark Allen: or hypnose
[13:33] herman Bergson: In previous lectures I already mentioned the positve effects even on personality of meditation!
[13:33] Daruma Boa: true q
[13:33] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes that too
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: yes - but isn't that yet another system?
[13:33] Gemma Allen: more than once
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: meditation even i’ve tried
[13:34] Qwark Allen: think about meditation, as an altered state of mind
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: it does not exactly tell us right from wrong - does it?
[13:34] Areyn Laurasia: Are there any Arabs here tonight?
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: its relaxing
[13:34] Qwark Allen: in a way it self hypnose
[13:34] Ciska Riverstone: yes qwark
[13:34] herman Bergson: No....give it a few centuries, Ciska....humanity will learn...but slowly
[13:34] Daruma Boa: it is concentrate thinking
[13:35] Laila Schuman: i know a person who began to meditate and it changed that person completely... new person
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: well- i am a meditator ;) - so i know that it works its way ;)
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: but about aims - i'm not sure
[13:35] Qwark Allen: oh yes
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: i do not know how to organise people
[13:35] Laila Schuman: in a good way
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: with meditation ;)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Let me add this.....
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: religions are so popular because they did in the past
[13:35] herman Bergson: We all want to be a good person.....
[13:35] Daruma Boa: when everyone mediates they can organize themselfs^^
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: not in a necessarily good way but they did ;)
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: heheh daruma
[13:36] Bejiita Imako:
[13:36] herman Bergson: Aristotle already pointed out that it means cultivation of virtues
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: true daruma
[13:36] Daruma Boa: there is no god, we are god^
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:36] Areyn Laurasia: I thought meditation is considered evil by christians
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: also true
[13:36] Gemma Allen: never
[13:36] herman Bergson: the asian philosophers pointed out that it could be done bymeditation
[13:36] Gemma Allen: meditation is part of christian life
[13:37] Qwark Allen: eheheh not to the ones i know
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: odd, they must have told be incorrectly in church.
[13:37] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:37] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes Gemma also the monks in cloisters did the same thing....
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: *me
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: just take this as kidding areyn but buddha would probably have said - you thought thats the problem ;)
[13:37] Daruma Boa: hahah q
[13:37] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:37] Gemma Allen: oh
[13:37] Daruma Boa: true i even do not know a christian who meditates
[13:37] herman Bergson: But the general conclusion is....
[13:37] Daruma Boa: meditates
[13:37] herman Bergson: that when we really want to change this world...all mankind has to train!
[13:37] Gemma Allen: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:37] Qwark Allen: i`m always suspicious of all "very religious person" nowadays
[13:37] Daruma Boa: train the brain
[13:37] Zanicia: True
[13:37] Daruma Boa: new slogan^^
[13:38] herman Bergson: meditation, practice it
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: thats true for sure
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: see fact, not magic
[13:38] herman Bergson: I am not joking....
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: that many need to be better in
[13:38] herman Bergson: Like we are educated as kids and learned what was right and what was wrong....
[13:38] Laila Schuman: i feel there is a difference between what religion CAN be ... and the whole thing of DOCTORINE
[13:39] Laila Schuman: they are not the same
[13:39] Zanicia: absolutely
[13:39] herman Bergson: Dont think that after that education  you are there as a human being...:-)
[13:39] Qwark Allen: what is indocrination?
[13:39] herman Bergson: We can become much better
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: to brainwash someone into belief
[13:39] Areyn Laurasia: what is better?
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: is indctrinatin
[13:39] herman Bergson: Better would be....
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: indoctrination
[13:39] herman Bergson: tobegin with....
[13:40] Gemma Allen: new study on religion i heard this morning re those who answer the most yeses to church attendance and prayer in both christian and muslim countries were actually those who lied about it the most
[13:40] Qwark Allen: that sounds a lot like some religions nowadays to
[13:40] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:40] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:40] herman Bergson: to be more willing to share all resources of this earth equally among each other
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:40] Qwark Allen: have you seen hermann the "cargo cult" at Polynesia?
[13:40] herman Bergson: and end the situation that about 85 people possess more than the other 3.5 billion
[13:40] Laila Schuman: there is too much doctrine... not enough practice of caring for each other
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: true indeed
[13:41] Laila Schuman: rules vs. having a genuinely loving heart
[13:41] herman Bergson: I know this is all high in the sky idealism...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: cause some people are might crazy
[13:41] Gemma Allen: ah laila
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: and so they do all to take everything for themselves
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: that has to stop
[13:41] herman Bergson: but mankind has to learn if it wants to survive
[13:41] Qwark Allen: i think if we are talking about religion, we have to check the cargo cult
[13:41] Daruma Boa: everyone has to look how he acts in the world
[13:41] Qwark Allen: its very enlightening
[13:41] Daruma Boa: even we
[13:42] Laila Schuman: cargo cult is very odd... interesting stuff
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:42] Zanicia: don't go anywhere near it
[13:42] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:42] Gemma Allen: it is
[13:42] Daruma Boa: also our daily lives. not only what we read in the newspapers
[13:42] Qwark Allen: its how a religion born
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: Too much propaganda in the newspapers anyway, that's how we get brainwashed.
[13:42] Laila Schuman: i feel like true religion is like what is in a mother's heart when she holds her children
[13:43] Zanicia: well done Laila
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:43] Qwark Allen: in 2000 years john frum, its like jesus or budha
[13:43] Laila Schuman: but... men are in charge ...
[13:43] Gemma Allen: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:43] Merlin: oh no
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: interesting idea
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:44] Qwark Allen: then we`ll be here talking about its knowlegde and pholosophy
[13:44] Qwark Allen: hehehe
[13:44] Bejiita Imako:
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well.....guess I lost you all :-))
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:44] Gemma Allen: WaaaHaHAhahAHA! AhhhhHAhahhAHhahHAH! haha!
[13:44] Qwark Allen: i know its not the theme of today, but put things in perspective
[13:44] Daruma Boa: haha
[13:44] Areyn Laurasia: minds do wander.. :)
[13:45] herman Bergson: so a good moment to thank yu all for your participation :-))
[13:45] Qwark Allen: ehhehe
[13:45] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T  * ::::::::::
[13:45] Gemma Allen: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: religion is soooo complex subject
[13:45] Qwark Allen: true
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed..^_^
[13:45] Gemma Allen: but this is not religion
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: interesting byt brainspinning
[13:45] Daruma Boa: thank you very much herman
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:45] Gemma Allen: we are philosoplers lol'
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman - thanx folks
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: yes but we discuss religion
[13:45] Qwark Allen: AAHH!!!
[13:45] bergfrau Apfelbaum: i God, have enjoyed your interesting discussion! ty class & herman
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: for now at least
[13:45] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:45] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.´ ¯¨.¸¸`**   **´ ¸¸.¨¯` H E R MA N ´ ¯¨.¸¸`**  **´ ¸¸.¨¯`
[13:45] Qwark Allen: always very nice your class
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:45] Gemma Allen: Bye, Bye   
[13:45] Gemma Allen: for now all
[13:46] herman Bergson: thank you all :-))
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ok cu on tuesday
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: bye all
[13:46] Zanicia: Thank you Herman
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: bye

[13:46] Daruma Boa: bye bye u all