the only easy day was yesterday

Sunday, October 28, 2007

At the gates will Thomas ask to see my hands?

No, we're not talking about aquinas right now. I just like the line. The topic is just a question worth being brought to the attention of those who have not yet confronted it. It's called Pascal's Wager, and it goes like this:

if you believe in God, and he exists, you go to heaven
if you believe in God, and he does not exist, you wast your sundays (live a pious life, etc)
if you do not believe in God, and he exists, you go to hell
if you do not believe in God, and he does not exist, it's all good

Pascal said that logically, there's no question. if you believe in God, you're much better of and safer because you aren't going to hell. I'll leave it at that for now, if anyone shows interest I'll get into it more later.

Friday, October 26, 2007

If you were watching towarsd the end of the 2nd q in the celts cavs preseason game friday, you know what i mean when i say it's again the season for me to scare my dog and make my mom worry that i broke something and run into the room asking what happened. basketball is back and lebron continues to make me shout involuntarily like ive just been upercutted in the nuts.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity."
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)

Why "Jokes" Still Make Me Really Uncomfortable and Paranoid

Background: Cam says a Yiddish word in an email, i point it out....
I would be The W, the "jokers" will make their identities known soon after my first post.

The rants unfortunately continue here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

I have to go take a test, but real quick... maddy had brought up in an email something about some guy saying africans aren't intelligent or some shit. today on the bbc's program 'world have your say' which is an hour conversation every weekday about some current issue, which features callers from all around the world who are all well spoken and seem objective and intelligent. what surprised me was that in the few minutes I caught of it after french class today, the best point I heard made was that it is a useless conversation to have and that we have much more important things to worry about. While I agree with that, it being my initial reaction to hearing the argument, the most prominent message coming through other than that was that he said it in a 'popular' newspaper and not in a scientific environment. I suppose, being that I've been studying biological anthropology for the last 674,934 hours, that Darwin's Origin of Species was treated as such when it first was published; but lo and behold evolution is a highly accepted theory now in (intelligent) society. Now it's not that I support this idiot, I'll prove that untrue, but it's that a refutation of the nature that I was hearing won't do as a formal rejection. I have and answer that I think does shut this theory up. This man is obviously a westerner, he's form london or something. The west has a clearly defined idea of intelligence, one that is not necessarily consistent with what other parts of the planet will find; that is, it is narrowly defined by whoever it is who sets the intellectual standards of the time in the west (by the way this guy won a nobel prize, im not sure what year, though). It's one thing to associate minorities in our country to a lack of intelligence because largely it's due to a poor educational system in poorly performing economi areas, but they still remain geared in the mindset of the west, the same type of intelligence knows that name to them as it does to this idiot making these remarks. But in africa, the learning experiences and the lifestyle are such that the childrens minds are adapted and learn a different way of life than our fast-moving, technology, blablabla, intelligence - the underdeveloped nations don't have nearly the resaources that the poorest city in the u/s have for educcation, the children are often malnourished (the mind demands 2/3 of the calorie input for humans), and exposed to a different type of life in which their minds develope; they are different minds which he's attempting to compare ours to, the difference in American's mind development and African's mind development is monumental; does this mean that our 'intelligence' is right? who knows. but what is important is that this in no way can take away ffrom the humanity of africans. they are the same as us, simply undergoing different experiences when they are young; that's why were interesteed in other people isnt it? why would we care if we were all raised the same way, we'd be the same damn people. it's an inherent violation of all black peoples human dignity to even suggest such a thing, the only difference in us is two especially human characteristics; our ability to see and perceive and organize different 'colored' people as the same species, that is human brain organization and advanced vision, as well as our minds, which are wholy created and shaped by our experiences as young children. this is silly. put it to rest. on to more important things...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"...we coulda tooken that chance..." - forida gators head coach whose name ive forgotten. nice goin champ. wait, you work for a college?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Representative Pete Stark, D-Fremont, On Health Insurance

"You don't have money to fund war or children, but you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blwon off for the president's amusement."

He didn't say it all that well, it's better put: you're wasting you're fucking money spending $35 Bil helping children to be healthy because when they get old enough they're gonna go get killed in a frivolous war.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"There is another way to rank colleges already, it's called the Bowl Championship Series"

---Colbert interviewed (I guess last night) some guy from some magazines that was ranking colleges in some different way like their positive effect on the community or some good shit I wasn't really paying attention. Nor is that the point. It reminded me of a topic that is quite fitting for my cute little blog here. College.

The topic I am concerned with is college sports. You know I love them, where would I be without march madness? But college sports present two large problems to the human community:

The first of these problems is the general auora around education. There's a certain time in many American childrens lives - and indeed many never get out of this - where a dedication to education is somwhat socially frowned upon. 'nerd', 'geek', they don't have positive conotations when kids use them. So, at some point this became a trend, and trends get commercialized and fed back to us. It has become integrated into the machismo driven sports culture to a certain degree, but not so blatantly that the casual sports fan disapproves of intellectual efforts, but more that they are not a legitimate lifestyle, that the real life is bussiness, beer and football. Yes, I was exagerating. The idea is that sports culture is - and mind you sports culture is HUGE, it is probably the thing that can bring the most people with differing interests together, it's less specialized than movies and music - predisposed towards manliness, which has taken on a tone of physical strength over intellectual integrity, and that this only exacerbates the problem when we arrive at college sports. I love college football, i love college basketball, but if i transfer to a college with a great athletic department, sure ill watch the games, but thats nothing to be proud of; people have more pride in their football team than their degrees. When I went to the cal game last weekend there weren't 60000 students and alumni there to cheer for their university, or rather, for the countless professors who are doing an incredible ammount of inovative research there (or so says the sf chronicle, and i believe them), they're cheering for de-shaun jack-son (!) who will likely get a degree in the most generalized and useless field cal has to offer (indeed, berkely might be a bad example because it's supposedly a good academic school) and then move on to make a fortune in the NFL. It's understandable, I suppose, to root for your team whole-heartedly, but it's a UNIVERSITY, you're in essence meant to be rooting for an educational institution, and really these people could be spending their time much more wisely than throwing an oval around and beating each other up, not to mention, our second issue. but not yet. this needs to be said point blank. education is embarrasingly devalued by commercialized college athletics. so, you say, the colleges can use this money they make by not paying the athletes who are responsible for bringing in the millions of dollars for educational purposes.

I find this hard to wrap my mind around. First they spend the money on athletic scholarships, which ill get to in a second. I bet that colleges certainly have quite a stash of money, and they all build new buildings sports facitilites etc. So, my biggest problem with college sports, the scholarships to athletes. Certainly, i suppose, if colleges were silly and just wanted athletes there refardless of commercial prospect it would be an honorable thing to use to get into a highly acclaimed academic institution, but beyond that it should be education. and even so, it isnt going to change, to many selfish people with too much interest in money. the only thing that could cure my aversion to college sports would be for the athletic scholarships to be taken from athletes and given to those people with academic promise and the need for helpwith paying. So, those who try hard enough get the money. No. The ones who try from long island get the damn money because they have the time and the schools have the money and recourses to provide kids with the academic help they need in the right areas such that their sats will get them into a good school, this is not the same in poorer areas, they dont have the resources so they CANNOT do as well as wealthier people, if you put john stuart mill in visitacion valley he won't know anything. Actually, mill was a good example, he's agree with me 100% here. His father and Jeremy Bentham actually told him that he wasnt that smart and that it was just his advantages (bentham was ludicrously rich, he had some title in the english royal family, he actually got mill a job out of college out of his status. the job was ceo of the east india trading company.). Anyway, the point is that for the most part, no matter how exceptionally smart (mill had a projected iq of over 200. yes, 200) people form poor backgrounds dont have nearly the opportunites that they need for their educational good, and scholarships should not go to bodies in a place for minds, if these football players want to playe football then drop out after their last game (this does happen quite a bit) fine, make a team that is part of the college, but that is markedly dissasociated enough that the idea does not get muddles with the importacne of education over commercial sports; this way they can reek the benefits of the money the teams bring in and give it to the people who need the scholarships for educational purposes not to play sports.

i left a lot out. im tired. it would take dyas to write and organize the relevance of this to everything.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Ontological Essay

I had to write an essay for philosophy class, this is one of them I've written and as it is currently relevant to what I'm putting on this site it seemed logical to post it. I'd appreciate it if anyone who reads this would read the essay and tell me where I'm not being clear and where it get's sloppy and all that...

The Ontological Argument is the oldest of the ‘classical arguments for the existence of the (Christian) God’, which attempts to prove God’s existence a priori. There are two prominent articulations of the Ontological Argument, the passionate and concise assertions of Saint Anselm in the 11th century, and the systematic approach of Rene Descartes in the 16th century.
The earlier version of this argument, belonging to the fore mentioned Saint Anselm of Canterbury, is the first intellectually acceptable proof for the existence of God since the rise of Christianity which seeks it’s task via an a priori and analytic approach to the idea of God, claiming that this idea necessitates God’s existence. Anselm’s first order of business is to determine a definition of God that will be supposed as the idea necessary to the understanding of God. Anselm identifies this idea as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”; by which he means the culmination of all human perceptions of goodness and justness. If we can imagine something being good, says Anselm, and something just, and something happy (and whatever other ‘good’ things one can think of), and imagine the ultimate and absolute forms of each of those things, and continue a step further by combining all those absolute good, perfect qualities into one idea, then we arrive at “that than which nothing greater can be thought.” Almost.
Now, if something is to be that thing than which nothing greater can be thought, it must exist; consider the perfect pizza, I’m very hungry right now and I’d really like the perfect pizza, I can imagine it – sitting in my high-rise apartment on Lakeshore Drive with my deep dish pizza that – but it’s not nearly as good as actually eating a deep dish pizza in Chicago. So we can see that existence is better, or greater, in the language of Anselm, than not existing; or rather existence in the world is greater than existence only in understanding. Thus, we arrive, by analogy, back at “that than which nothing greater can be thought”, which, as we’ve established, has all the conceivable characteristics that we can ascribe to it such that it is “that than which nothing greater can be thought”, except one thing. Existence. We have not yet specified its state of existence in the world. But, says Anselm, the idea dictates a priori and analytically (he does not use these actual terms), that is, without any further consideration beyond the thought and our definition of “that than which nothing greater can be thought”, that it does in fact exist. And it follows. If the idea is of “that than which nothing greater can be thought,” and existence in the world (among the other things we defined as being part of ‘goodness’) is greater than just the understanding of something, then “that than which nothing greater can be thought” must exist, and we call this being God.
At last, Anselm closes his argument with the assertion that by the definition of God we’ve described not only have we proved that he exists, but that he cannot be thought not to exist. Anselm need only apply the same rule again, with a little twist. If we can agree that “that than which nothing greater can be thought” can exist in the understanding of man (which he addresses, but it is of little importance to the overall health of the argument), then it cannot be said not to exist; for if, as we’ve established, “that than which nothing greater can exist” is said not to exist, still given that existence is greater than not-existence (or existence only in the understanding), it will prove a contradiction to the idea because the idea includes the property of existence, and if it is thought not to exist the idea becomes less than “that than which nothing greater can be thought” and becomes ‘that than which something greater can be thought,’ thus God cannot be thought not to exist.
Descartes form of the Ontological Argument is different in the explanation somewhat, but he arrives at the same conclusion, namely that God exists purely by definition, a priori. Descartes’ proof builds off of a long discourse on the deceptive nature of the world and his attempts to build a new a wholly knowable basis of knowledge for himself in his Meditations on First Philosophy. The most important idea gathered from the ‘meditations’ prior to his fifth, where he states his case for his Ontological Argument, is the way in which he determines that all of his clear and distinct perceptions can be taken as substantively true. He arrives at this conclusion through extensive discourses involving the rejection of everything as fictions and conclusion that through the knowledge of himself being a thinking thing, and everything which that entails, he eventually arrives at the assertion that everything he perceives as clearly and distinctly as he perceives himself as a thinking thing must, then be true, because of the nature of the truth of his knowledge of himself.
Descartes Ontological Argument goes as such (following his contrived assertion of the nature of the truth of his distinct perceptions): I have a distinct and clear perception of an idea of God and that idea necessitates that God exists, thus he must exist given the nature of my clear perception of this idea. At length this is to say, as he puts it slightly differently; I know that I am a thinking thing and that I exist as such, I have this clear and distinct idea that there is a supreme being, given that I am an imperfect (because he had been deceived throughout his life, a perfect being is theoretically incapable of being deceived) being I could not have come up with this idea of such perfection on my own, a perfect being, or God, must have put it in me, to be perfect, as a component of perfection (as Anselm also says), God must exist to be perfect, so God exists.
Since I have a better working knowledge of Anselm’s argument, and since the arguments are so similar in proposition and conclusion, I will address the objections to the Ontological Argument in terms of Anselm’s version.
The first objection comes from a monk named Gaunilo, and is regarded as negligible, and Anselm has quite a simple retort to it. Gaunilo’s objection is known as the “perfect island”. Gaunilo’s objection is known as a reductio ad absurdum objection, which means that he wants to make Anselm look silly, but he doesn’t do a very good job. Gaunilo say that according to Anselm’s argument he could make an argument that as long as he can ‘understand’ the idea of the perfection of something, it can exist. His example is the perfect island; he says that according to Anselm’s argument that he is justified in saying that since he understands what the perfect island consists of, and that existence is one of these qualities, that the perfect island must therefore exist. Anselm’s rebuttal is short and sweet, and really disposes of Gaunilo’s simple objections, all Anselm needs to say is that God, being “that than which nothing greater can exist”, is not a thing, it is not something defined in terms of a physical thing that can be extrapolated into absolute greatness. In essence Anselm is saying that “that than which nothing greater can be thought” is the thing than which nothing greater can be thought, it is the amalgamation of everything good and just and happy; it is the combination of everything great, and it must exist by it’s definition because existence is one of the components of being great, in that it is better than existence only in understanding. The island to Anselm, as a perfection, has only the components of perfection of an island and not the components of an absolute and perfect all encompassing being, which God is. In short, the island is particular, God is universal.
Getting on to more serious objections to Anselm’s Ontological Argument, we come to the 18th century philosopher David Hume. Hume did not only object to the a priori proof of the existence of God, but he claimed that nothing could be proved to exist a priori. His argument rests on his theory of the relation of ideas, as opposed to matters of fact. He proposed that all knowledge is known and learned through two operations of the human intellect, either the relation of ideas, which is the analytic relation of ideas to one another – the idea of bachelor is analytically related to the idea of unmarriedness, the predicate unmarried is included in the subject bachelor in the statement ‘all bachelors are unmarried’. For example, someone who does not know the word ‘appellation’ and learns it’s definition relates the idea of appellation to the idea of ‘a formal title’ such that when they hear the sentence ‘an appellation is a formal title’ they are aware of the redundant nature of the sentence and that ‘formal title’ is included in and non-ampliative of the subject.
Hume’s other side of his fork of understanding is called matters of fact, which he considers the a posteriori side of the fork. On one side is the a priori, analytic side, and on this side is the a posteriori, and synthetic. Hume calls synthetic propositions ampliative of their subject, that is to say, they add to the idea of the subject something that is not known itself in the idea of the subject. For example, the bachelor has a girlfriend; the idea of bachelor, according to the ideas we relate to it, says nothing about having a girlfriend, that this particular bachelor has a girlfriend is a synthetic judgment that is ampliative of the subject ‘the bachelor.’ This judgment about the bachelor is also made a posteriori, or after experience; Hume says, through examples like these that since we need experience to say that any particular bachelor has a girlfriend, or only has one leg, or likes to play the violin, don’t we need experience to make all synthetic judgments? How can we add anything to analytic concepts without a posteriori experience of the world? Thus Hume divides all knowledge into his fork of understanding: matters of fact and relation of ideas.
Now, back to the Ontological Argument. Hume’s rejection of Anselm comes as a simple application of his ideas on understanding. All he has to say is that existence is not a necessary property: just as one thing does not exist in one place at one time (or more extensively: if a certain thing does not exist in all places at all times then that certain thing can be thought not to exist), it can be thought not to exist at all, and thus we need experience of it and it’s property of existence to judge it as existing, this judgment being a poseteriori. Now, if as Hume says, we cannot judge the existence of something a priori because the property of existence is not included in the relation of ideas for anything until that thing is experienced in existence, and thus the other side of the fork towards which our understanding of the synthetic judgment of the existence of something steers is the a posteriori side. And given that it is the synthetic, and thus a poseteriori, or experiential, side of the fork that our knowledge of existence travels an argument for the existence of anything, God included is impossible.
But the argument is not complete, there are holes in Hume’s reasoning which Anselm may not have an answer to, but Immanuel Kant comes along and decides, in his mind, to clean up the mess that is philosophy and put an end to it. He obviously didn’t quite do that, but he was a clearly brilliant thinker. Kant comes into the picture after Hume is done and is ‘awoken from his dogmatic slumber’ by Hume, whom he promptly seeks to disprove in certain aspects.
So Kant gives Hume the respect he deserves for bringing a lot of what needed to be brought to light to light, but he knows what Hume got wrong. In the process of disproving Anselm, and saying that something cannot be proved to exist a priori, Hume takes that analogy as universal and aligns a priori (before experience) with analytic (true by definition), and a posteriori (after experience) with synthetic (ampliative of the subject), which Kant claims to be Hume’s biggest problem with many of his theories. In short, Kant says that Analytic things are always known a priori but says that Hume is wrong in that synthetic judgments can be a priori. He gives the example that we know that 7 + 5 = 12; we know this without experience, but when we look at this closer there is nothing directly within the idea of ‘7’, ‘5’, or the sings ‘+’ or ‘=’ on their own that denote the number 12, yet utilizing the signs together we can make an a priori and synthetic judgment about the statement 7 + 5 = 12, thus Kant concludes that a priori synthetic judgments are possible, and that this may have been one of Hume’s bigger mistakes.
Now, says Kant, it would be possible to prove a priori and synthetically that something exists through a relation of ideas such as Anselm suggests, but only if we can take existence itself to be a property, which he says we cannot. Synthetic judgments require that we add to the subject, and existence is not a quality which is ampliative of the subject, asserts Kant, he says that it adds nothing to the idea of what is being thought of. The idea simply dictates that it may or may not correspond to an object in the real world, the idea of existence as a property adds nothing, whereas a property is a synthetic judgment about an object: for example, this computer, if I say it is white, I add to the idea of the computer synthetically, if I say that this computer exists it adds nothing to your idea of this computer; whether it exists or not is irrelevant, the idea in your mind when you picture this computer is amplified by the predicate white, whereas the idea is not changed by the description of existence.
Kant is widely believed to have put the Ontological Argument to rest with his disposing of existence as a synthetically attributable property and a conceptual tool with which to assert the presence of God.

Marion Jones & Co.

Now, you've noticed that I really don't give a shit about cheating in "professional" sports, Bill Bellicik, Rodney Harrison, Shawn Marrion, Barry Bond, who the hell cares, they're such contrived activities driven by American's pipe dreams of hyper-human athletic acheivement that it only stands to reason that everyone should be trying to transcend human athletic ability; the doctrine of professional sports in America is being more than human in every aspect down to cleats and night games - we cant turn that quickly on grass with just our feet or get a good grip, so it's okay to make us more that human by putting leather and spikes around our feet, humans can't see at night, the whole appeal of a night game is that we are doing something that human's cannot naturally do by playing in the dark with the lights on. My point is that it's alright to like these sports, I obviously do quite a bit myself, but get real it's not an honest effort at acheiving human athletic greatness, it's testing all facets of humanity, given the crown emotion, the intelligence of the players, the applied technology of the lights, the ingenuity of cleats, etc, but deceit is a highly human quality - has your dog ever lied to you? - steroids and Bellicek type cheating is only within what the culture of professional sports dictates, it is applying human ingenuity and technology (like HGH or whatever choice steroid) to make the game more exciting, etc.

Now, with that said, we probably know what I have to say on olympic sports; that, not because of the name 'Olympic Games' or any of that shit, but because it is an honest and international showcase of base athletic ability: running, jumping, etc (not running with a ball and throwing a ball to someone else and then running into a rectangle) - or so we thought. Well it was only a matter of time until someone embarrased a respectable country (Russia and China with their gymnastic scandals, yea, I don't respect Russia or China) by bringing the attitude of professional sports, which are closer to theatre in my mind than true athletics, to an international athletic competition. If you haven't heard, I speak of former multi-olympic gold medalist Marion Jones who has reacently admitted to taking steroids - and here's the great part - and lying about it for years that shes known about it (it's just so perfectly American professional sports culturish). So that's all well and good because we all are aware that steroid in that type of shit is just wrong, though many seem in denial that it's actually within the mindset of the professional sports they love so much. But now they're asking her relay team mates to return their medals, and it seemed like an issue deserving of discussion.

It is absolutly dispicable that she would do that and then lie about it in a pure athletic arena and I will be among the strongest supporters for the harshest punishment they can muster in order to discourage this type of behavior, but what of her team mates? She lied, even if she said she didn't know at the time, and they had no way of knowing, and now they will have to be associated with the extraordinarily embarassing act of their team mate and forfeit their Gold olympic medal. The first thought that comes to my mind is that they couldn't have won without this girl, and thus don't deserve the medals and they should rightly be taken away. I see no way to counter this argument besides that they were 3/4 of the team who were supposedly clean at the time, which is a majority of the relay - that says somewhere in my mind that it could be justifiable if they did not take the medals away, but it seems that bottome line they would not have won without the best female runner of that olympics...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

This is a response to the question of why "that than which nothing greater can exist" is automatically identified with God. It seemed like a good summary for the whole shabang at this point, the important parts at least...

It's not that "That than which nothing greater can be thought" reminds him of God or makes him think 'oh, that would be God', it's that that is what god is, he is proving to the mind with no previous conviction that there is a 'God', so instead of "you know God, well he's that than which nothing greater can exist", it's really:

given the human mind and it's ability to extract and create concepts of good and just and happy we can construct an idea that is the absoluteness of each of those qualities combined, that is, we know happiness so we can extrapolate the possibility of absolute happiness - the same goes for justness, goodness, etc (anything that we consider to be 'good') - thus when we take the ideas of these absolute concepts (absolute happiness, absolute goodness, etc) and combine them into one thing (after all if many separate things are deemed good it follows that together they are better because they are all at once, so to speak) we come to the idea of "that than which nothing greater can be thought", Anselm refers, as the whole of christian culture does, to this wholly perfect and good thing as God. We can see now that God is not identified with the idea of "that than which nothing greater can be thought", but rather that idea is the pretense of understanding what God is; to Anselm God is defined by this statement, and says that he exists solely because of this property.

This is known as an analytic (analytic statements will be a very important part of your philosophic basis of knowledge, and it's a fancy term to whip out in conversation once you get the hang of terms surrounding it that you'll get to soon enough) statement, which is a statement that is true simply by the nature of the subjects meaning, and that the predicate adds no further information to the subject. A simple example being: a bachelor is unmarried. Bachelor being the subject, which directly refers to an unmarried male, and unmarried being the predicate, which merely defines bachelor and adds nothing new to the term and idea of bachelor. Anselm believes that God is known analytically, that he exists purely by definition:

Now that we see that this idea of "that than which nothing greater can be thought" can exist in the understanding - we understand that we can extrapolate the idea of happiness into perfection and do such with every other goodness we know and combine them - Anselm says that God exists analytically, or by definition of this statement. First, we must agree that something in understanding is not as great as something in reality - imagine the perfect weekend, perfect sex, etc, thinking about it is not as good as the reality of it. So, says Anselm, God must exist because "that than which nothing greater can exist" as an idea, which we've accepted as being understood in our minds, has the property of existence because we also understand that existence is greater than something only in the understanding (sex better than thinking about sex); thus "that than which nothing greater can be thought", or God as we like to call it, must exist. Furthermore "that than which nothing greater can be thought" cannot be thought not to exist, because if it is thought not to exist it is then a thought of something that is not "that than which nothing greater can be thought", because that thought, as we've deduced, encompasses the property of existence. The language here is a little bit of a pain in the ass: all he's saying is that when you think of something than which a greater cannot be thought a necessary component of that thought is existence, because once the existence of that thought is doubted it ceases to be the thought of that than which nothing greater can be thought because a greater can be thought, that greater thing being an existing thing.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Chapter 4

He's so mushy with God it's repulsive.

Anyway, good ol' Anselm outdoes himself here. Apparently he's noticed the disconnect between hearing something and understanding it that he'd taken for granted in his first argument.

Al he has to say here is: to hear something on one hand can simply present a man with the objects of the symbols that are the words in the man's mind, but on the other hand these words can resonate in a man's understanding if he takes the time to analyze them, and only at this point does the argument become valid. If you just hear it you can say God does not exist because you do not actually understand it. If you have "that than which nothing greater can be thought" in your understanding then you must know that God exists because the previous arguments have proved that not doing so will be a contradiction.

Chapter 3

If you're confused at this point there's a good possibility that you're over thinking it, and if you're thinking that it's so simple that it can't possibly be a sound argument you're doing what's natural. The very satisfying criticisms will come soon enough, but now it's time for the next little section.

It should start clearing up for you if you read the text a few times over and reading the explanations, he methodical and really boring once you get the hang of where he's coming from. So here he's comin' from the same place just a slightly different angle, it's almost the exact same argument that ended the last section.Anselm is just sorta tweaking what he last said. He ended the last section with the claim that since something that exists in the understanding that can be described as "that than which nothing greater can be thought" it must exist in reality or else it will cease to be "that than which nothing greater can be thought" and become "that than which something greater can be thought" because something that exists is greater than something that does not exist, and this implies a contradiction, so "that than which nothing greater can be thought", or God, necessarily exists.

He continues with his unbelievably dull argument by proposing that "that than which nothing greater can be thought" cannot be thought not to exist. He proves this by virtue of the fact that since it is "that than which nothing greater can be thought" if it can be thought not to exist then it becomes less than that than which nothing greater can be thought and becomes that than which something greater can be thought. This is a contradiction, and thus it is impossible to think that God does not exist. This really just means if you think of a "that than which nothing greater can be thought" a necessary component of that idea is eternal and necessary existence, and thus it cannot be thought not to exist because the thought of something that may not exist is lesser than the thought of something that necessarily exists.

This aspect of the argument is a little more analytic than the original premise of this argument, which takes on the task of necessitating existence of something outside the human mind because of the human mind. This part is more passable given the first part just because it deals with the mind in itself and thoughts rather than stretching the minds habits to necessitating the reality of something.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Ontological Argument "Chapter 2" Explained

No questions helps me not with expanding on the important parts of this argument that may be of particular issue to people, so I'll get to a general explanation and hope that people ask questions, because I know if people read what I posted there's a very very little chance they understood it out of the gates, philosophy isn't like that. So if you read that and said oh, okay I get it he's right it's not a very complicated argument, you probably don't get it at all, it requires explanation from someone of far more expertise than myself, but I'll do my best. Bottom line is that philosophy just can't be read and understood you need to be taught and it needs to be explained and analyzed and whatnot, although it's already getting easier for me; I think it's just a way of reading and picking out what means what and for some part being a genious (I'm generally not too good at that part). Another thing; in reading phiosophy and understanding philosophy it is important to humor your author, if he says "let us believe" or "it follows", then you are to believe it follows even if your brain is screaming NO at you for two reasons. One, you need to be in his mindset to understand his argument and you won't get anything if you're just trying to be a smart ass and figure out how he's wrong - especially becasue we're all so narcissistic that in the process we will be trying to prove ourselves right. Secondly is that either someone's already thought of why it's wrong and put it better than you ever could and you'll get to that later (as we will with this argument), or the author, as he is a world famous philosopher, is just smarter than you and has already accounted for the error you see and is far beyond it; that tends to be the case. So humor the good Saint here...

So The Ontological Argument...

Alright so it's very nice the way this reader is set up we have nifty little chapters and really a nice concise load of shit from our new buddy San Anselmo...

At first in his little introduction he, in my opinion, admits that he's being biased and unintelligent. He does so by implying his pre-existing faith and his want for an intellectual justification such that proves he is right. I think this is bullshit, and I suggest you think the same, that is unless you can contrive some incredible reason for how he can believe something is true and then decide to argue for any such a thing (hint: you can't do that in philosophy because then it's not philosophy it's litigation).

"Chapter 2"
I like that he writes half of this as if it's a shakespearean soliloquy directed at God...I actually don't I find it really annoying and in support of him being an absolute hipocrite and moron for the previously stated reasons. But after his akwardly affectionate monologue with God he gets to the good stuff: we are now to define God, as we believe him to be, "that than which nothing greater can be thought." The wording is really the only obstacle here; by that than which nothing greater can be thought Anselm means exactly that:: That one thing that is the amalgamation of everything we know to be good, just, happy, etc, that nothing greater can be thought of. The end definition, which he comes to later, is pretty concretely; if we take what we know to be good and just and happy and cultivate those great things in our mind so that they are at their pinacle, the idea created is necessarily that than which nothing greater can be thought, because what can be greater than the ultimate and absolute combination of good, justness, hapiness, etc? So that's not bad, God is that than which nothing greater can be thought.

Next he moves on to how God must exist through the understanding of this statement. He goes about this by bringing in the 'fool', who is of course the man who does not believe. The fool has said that "there is no God" but Anselm thinks that this is a contradiction if the fool has in his understanding the statement "that than which nothing greater can be thought." Anselms argument here is by analogy, he says that when a painter has a blank canvas is going to paint a painting he has the understanding of the painting in his mind, but does not yet understand that it exists in reality yet because he has not painted it. On the same note, says Anslem, a man can understand something, such as the statement "that than which nothing greater can be thought", and not have it in his understanding that it exists; we are lead here to believe that the fool does have this statement in his understanding. All Anselm's saying here is that if a painter can understand his painting before he paints it, he has it in his understanding and does not necissarily have the understanding that it exists; we can have something in our understanding regardless of the existence of that thing. Except, of course, God.

I'm spacing this to make it seem a little lesscluttered and overwhelming... So now we can say that the fool has the understanding of "that than which nothing greater can be thought", though he does not yet understand that it exists. Anselm says that it necissarily exists if it can exist in the understanding, and he proves this really just by a sophism::: If "that than which nothing greater can be thought" exists in the understanding of a man, then it necessarily exists. This is because it cannot exist only in the understanding of a man because existence is a trait far greater than non-existence (which God would be were he only in the understanding of men), and thus if "that than which nothing greater can be thought" does not exist in reality and only in understanding then something existent can be thought to be better and "that than which nothing greater can be thought" becomes "that than which a greater can be thought". This is a contradiction and thus proves that if "that than which nothing greater can be thought" must exist in reality if it exists in the understanding of man.

Okay I wrote a lot so I'm gonna leave the other two things til I know whoever is reading this understands this cuz if I move to fast people will get lost....

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Ontological Argument

Hooray, it's time for some real philosophy. And what better place to start with real philosophy than the annoying and biased sophisms of intellectual saints? We will begin with Saint Anselm's unfortunatly famous Ontological Argument; apparently this is what is required to be a saint...This is from my reader from a philosophy class, it's essentially what the Ontological Argument is, though Anselm wasted much more than 3 pages on explaining something that is apprently a priori, but we'll get to that good stuff in due time. For now read, I'll post up the relevant meaning and context of this, and then hopefully questions will be asked, answered, and we will move on to the criticisms (Kant! day you too will want to put that exclamation point there); and then on to some real Hume(!) and Kant(!). But patience, it's useless if we don't understand the simple shit...

Sorry if some of the pages are crooked, you'll live, I don't know how to do that ocr shit anyway...if you click on the pages you can read them in uber big font cuz theyre too small as they are...