Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tapping Philosophy: Loretta bashes theory

Hey Frank,

Indulge me. I want to finish my point. It is inappropriate to see science as the epitome of rational thought and all speculative "narrative" thinking as a sad imitator that cannot uphold scientific rigor. Science, as practiced today, makes the positivistic claim that nothing can be considered true unless is can be proven empirically. Yet, for science to be conducted at all there must be starting point- premises that are merely accepted (without proof otherwise the line of cause and effect would extend backward forever and there would be no way to make an approach.) In math these premises are called axioms. A good example is the fact that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. There is no mathematical proof for this statement. It itself is taken as a given on the basis of which other claims can be proven (nearly all of Euclidian geometry is extrapolated from this fact.) This axiom, while not proven, is rationally compelling. It is self-evident. At the base of math (called the pure science by some) is the human capacity to apprehend realities without empirical proof. Science's claim to deal merely with empirical realties is self-contradictory. Science must affirm the capacity to apprehend self-evident realities. This ability to be moved by rationally compelling statements is what we use when we conduct speculative thought about non-physical realities. While science also depends on this capacity, it typically narrows it view to the merely physical in order to avoid error. It accepts existence because it has to, not because it can prove existence. Likewise it can neither prove nor disprove anything that cannot be defined in strictly physical terms, ie. God, the soul, etc. Since both science and speculative philosophy have a basis in the immediate apprehension of reality, I submit that they are both valid. I would further submit, that since speculative philosophy attempts to understand what science merely accepts, it is in fact the more important study, and must not be confined to the evidential limits of science.

Forgive my spelling errors. All add as epilogue, (since I can hear your objection) that speculation is not nearly so neat and tidy as science, not because it is deficient, but because while there are many things that are rationally compelling, human reason can only process them so fast. Often, under examination, apparently contradictory statements can be reconciled. Heidegger called this circular logic, not to imply that it didn't get anywhere, but point out that one must often retread the same path each time getting a clearer understanding of something that is in many ways too big for human reason. The fact that the question is never closed is what makes it worth asking in the first place.


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