Thursday, April 17, 2014

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

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