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Passions in Poetry

Antony Flew the Theist

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serenity blaze
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25 posted 12-21-2004 03:04 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Stephan?

"But many (especially of the intelligensia)  often pass through a sort of "deism" on the way to a more Christian belief (C.S. Lewis did something similar to this).  And it's certainly nothing to disparage.  It's a step closer."

Um...this "intelligensia"?

explain please?
Essorant
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26 posted 12-21-2004 06:46 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Skyfyre,
You challenged me to be concise.  
I think Christopher said it best here:

Post #36 "What is Reality"


With the exception of where he says "seperate" where perhaps "distinct" would be a bit more accurate.  
Essorant
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27 posted 12-21-2004 06:49 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Types as tokens" exist as words but not in reference to anything."

Brad,

I think the way we use "types as tokens" here is basically the same as saying "types are tokens" which sounds like a metaphor: referring to types in the word "types" and refering to types in the term of something else as well "tokens"  Even though our central reference is types there is a sub-reference to token used metaphorically.  Therefore "types as tokens" if it does mean the same as "types are tokens" I think may have three existant references to two existant referents:  

"Types" literally refers to types

"Tokens" literally refers to tokens and  
        And metaphorically refers to types.  

It is just like saying "the sun is a candle"
The "sun" literally refers to the sun, and the "candle" literally refers to a candle, but metaphorically refers to the sun too.  

I hope that makes sense.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-22-2004 05:29 PM).]

jbouder
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28 posted 12-21-2004 08:50 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

As I'm thinking this through, I think the "how" and "why" questions, depending on the answer, can both be important questions to ask.  In questions of metaphysics, however, I think the "why" questions lead to the "what do I do now?"

In my own experiences with my son, I've always said:

quote:
"My first thought wasn't, 'What caused this?' My first thought after we finally had a diagnosis was, 'OK. What do we need to do now?'" Jim Bouder said.


http://www.thewgalchannel.com/health/3302031/detail.html

In questions of parenting, "what caused this" or "how did this happen" are not nearly as important as "where do we go from here?"  They may be more important in cases such that answers to the "how" are ascertainable, but if the answer to "how" is silence, then we are left with doing nothing or doing something.  By analogy, our knowledge of God ought to prompt us to prioritize questions that lead to action over those that do not.  If God, the creator of the universe, acted in space and time to reconcile me to Him, how He did it may be important in a credal sense, but if I don't respond to His action in a way that expresses gratitude to Him, then I don't believe my priorities are in the right order.

We bark because we are dogs, we don't bark to become dogs.  We do good things because we are Christians, we don't do things to become Christians.  In a similar sense, we don't do what good parents do to become good parents - we do what good parents do because we are parents.  For me (and I'm willing to wager that this is also the case with you), I provide for my children because they are my children.  Not out of cold duty or obligation, but because of my love for them and the sense of gratitude that I feel for simply having them around.

Jim
Brad
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29 posted 12-21-2004 11:00 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Of course. I disagree slightly in that I see no negative connotation to "obligation". It's what I what I want to do. I don't need God to do that. If it works for you, great. But I see no reason to worry about ultimate metaphysics when I'm worried about how my daughter deals with other children.

And if God cares that He's not a part of that, he's a narcissitic pig!
jbouder
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30 posted 12-21-2004 11:46 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

But aren't you assuming He is not part of it?  Providence can be either direct or concurrent ... and, most often, I believe it is concurrent.  God operates both outside and through His creation ... and His creation includes you.

Jim
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31 posted 12-21-2004 01:26 PM       View Profile for JoshG   Email JoshG   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JoshG

I would also like to point out that a lack of belief does not constitute as a lack of existence.
Skyfyre
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32 posted 12-21-2004 05:21 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

OK Essorant... Chris says:

quote:

  • Solid Reality - That which we can interpret with our five senses.
  • Emotional Reality - That which we attribute to (whatever you want to contribute them to... not even going to go there! )
  • Conceptual Reality - That which we can conceive of has its own reality separate from the above two, but still with an existence of its own.



You say:

quote:
Belief by itself already betokens the existence of what is believed in; for there may be no belief, unless there is that existing to be believed in.


I said:

quote:
Certainly you can argue that the image or the idea of a flying pig might be brought into existance by the mere mention of it, but it doesn't make the idea nor the image a reflection of reality.

If, for example, you are arguing that God is an idea, and that idea exists merely by virtue of having been conceived, then I agree with you.  But stating that belief = existance without some qualifier is still false.
  

What Chris and I provided, and you did not, were the qualifiers I mentioned.

Certainly you could conceptualize having $100,000 all day long, and therefore the idea of it would exist in your mind, but it wouldn't buy you that Mercedes at the dealership.  So in this case, as in many cases, the "conceptual reality" means next to nothing (and I'm being kind here) without the "solid reality."

In fact, you will find very few instances in which conceptual reality is useful unless it is eventually translated into solid reality in some form.  Even God, the ultimate abstract, has His "solid reality" media in the form of the Bible.

JoshG also makes a very good point.  
Brad
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33 posted 12-21-2004 08:45 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim,
But if he's already working through me, if it is indeed concurrent, why appeal to something outside?
Essorant
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34 posted 12-22-2004 12:01 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Skyfyre

Here is the qualifier: Everything
  
Who may give a better qualifier than that?  


Skyfyre
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35 posted 12-22-2004 04:39 AM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

Essorant,

Once again I have no idea what you're talking about.

Oddly, I am not surprised.

[This message has been edited by Ron (12-22-2004 05:42 AM).]

jbouder
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36 posted 12-22-2004 10:29 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

quote:
But if he's already working through me, if it is indeed concurrent, why appeal to something outside?


Good question.  That depends on the importance and nature of the issues at stake.  If good parenting is a component of God's design, then little else besides verification of what He has revealed about good parenting is of much value.  Most of us know, intuitively, that a child who is loved and cared for adequately is most likely to develop into a happy, healthy, adult human being.

Issues that are, by nature, spiritual (e.g., sin, reconciliation, propitiation, sanctification, etc.), require outside appeals.  Jesus' death may not satisfy the tough-minded of the necessity of belief, but His resurrection raises important questions regarding the relevence of Christian teaching on soteriology to everyone - including Brad and his daughter.

Certainly, I believe the religious instruction I give to my children to be true - but in terms of usefulness, I would choose the liberation of faith over the liberation of deconstruction any day of the week ... ESPECIALLY if I had a daughter ~shiver~.  

Jim
Stephanos
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37 posted 12-24-2004 01:00 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
Stephan, how is "we don't have a clue" undermining my position when "we don't have a clue" is precisely my position.



Brad, sorry not to respond earlier.  Things have been busy enough for me that philosophy 101 has become a rare indulgence.  And I hate "peeping" into deep subjects and conversations, which deserve so much more.  

But here goes another "peep"    
In response to your question, I want to ask another one.  With an epistemology which so denies absolute knowledge of any kind (especially of the metaphysical kind), how can believing "no one has a clue" escape the ignominy of being that very same kind of universally applied (and non-empirical I might add) knowledge?


The kind of reply I might imagine, is that such a belief is not dogmatic in nature, but existential ... a hunch, a felt certainty, and a mere lack of belief as opposed to a positive assertion.  But I would say that it's been my experience that it is not treated at all as if it were only a particular individual belief, but as an over-arching universalist claim to truth, albeit a negative one.  The doctrine which dispells all metanarratives, has itself become the grand monolithic story of (as Betrand Russell called it) Omnipotent matter.  My personal evidence for this is from my reading.  Many expressions of these ideas have smelt and tasted of the very dogmatism, mysticism and even ardent devotion which they tend to oppose.

And really that's all I was saying.  For a particular, atomistic individual in a closed cosmic machine to have mystical knowledge of the transecdent nature of the whole, which is more than purely autobiographical, is amazing indeed and almost worthy of worship ... and that according to it's own assumptions.


Karen:
quote:
Um...this "intelligensia"?
explain please?



It seems to me that there are many people living, who though not incredulous or gullible, do not require a strict measure of empirical immediacy in order to believe spiritual things.  What I meant by "intelligensia"  (though I know I'm stereotyping, and that can always get you in trouble) is a population largely influenced by the principles and assumptions of the Renaissance Enlightenment.  That was the period when closed-naturalism and the strictest demands of empiricism were made the standards for human knowledge.  Anything beyond either the purely mathematical, or purely logical, cannot and should not be believed (as the story goes).  


It just so happens that in the world of acedemia, these presuppositions have taken root more deeply than anywhere else.  And therefore many "intellectuals" have unquestionably accepted the first principle, that no first principle is valid.  Only tested hypothesis is valid, according to this mindset.  


Therefore, when it comes to believing in God ...  When one comes to see evidence which is not mathematically quantifiable, (By the way, whether or not love exists, is not mathematically quantifiable either, but the testimony of countless poets and lovers suggests otherwise), one may view God as impersonal force, or the semi-personal God of  physics.  Einstein did this very thing.  He saw a marvelous design, and what would be intuitive evidence for intelligent personality.  And yet he constantly denied any  "personal"  God.  


And though some simpler people may take God for granted, and believe in him seemingly as easily as breathing air they do not see, for some it is not so easy.  For some the wrangling of philosphers, is just that ... wrangling.  For others, their observations have been assumed for so long, that their dogmatic agnosticism is more difficulat to elude.  


But God has inroads to many many different kinds of minds and hearts, and that is a comfort.  


I just didn't want you to think that I was equating Christian conversion with being an "intellectual".  I'm sure that the intelligensia, as well as more modest minds (like mine), have their own peculiar benefits and struggles when it comes to faith.

(It's late, please forgive if I've rambled)

Stephen.
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38 posted 12-24-2004 12:13 PM       View Profile for ~DreamChild~   Email ~DreamChild~   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ~DreamChild~

i believe i'll hit the lotto...
Brad
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39 posted 12-27-2004 08:33 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim,

And yet, the serious questions you mention are already within the accepted metaphysical framework (Supernatural Dualism).  Everything I see and think, inner and outer, seems to point in a different direction (barring some fortuitous coincidences now and then ).

It is, however, the 'common' sense idea these days.

Stephan,

Are you arguing the hoary old, "if everything is relative, then 'everything is relative' is absolute" conundrum? Still?

First, we don't have a clue doesn't mean we can't have a clue.

Second, the problem with absolutes isn't that there aren't any, it's that people use the idea of absolutes to promote arbitrary designations. "Murder is wrong" as an absolute is a usual culprit. You have two ways to go:

1. Killing Bin Laden is not wrong because you can't murder a murderer. That is, change the definition to suit your purpose. A real example of this is Mao Tse Tung's famous, "My father is not a father," line.

2. Limit the proposition to a specific time and place: It is universally wrong to murder Mother Theresa when she was still alive.

So, absolutes are fine. They just don't always have a lot to offer.

When it comes to Deism, the mistake, I think, is that we stop there. That's just an initial assumption. My daughter, as all children, realize intuitively that there is no reason to stop there.

Why does the earth exist?

Because God said so.

Why did he say so?

[No answer]

How did he do it?

[No answer]

Insofar as Deism leads in this direction (and I don't know why it should, it just seems to), I'm not satisfied.

Essorant
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40 posted 12-28-2004 12:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Half the puzzle is in the House of Science and the other half is in the House of Religion.  
Either house may only ever have a "whole" that is a "half"  but neither house even sees that whole half because it divides its own pieces into so many seperate chambers therein.  
Now every chamber has a "whole" piece, but now every chamber may little see that whole piece for grinding it into so many smaller pieces.  
Thus the "puzzle" is for ever more divided into houses, chambers and specifications so that it is almost impossible to see a "whole" or more whole, or more general whole, of all the pieces thro so many specifications and divisions for every minute difference.
University is the same thing.  Every grain of lore is divided into a new "expertise" and put into a new house of learning, so that things are not very much learned generalization and conjunction with each other very much anymore.  But are scattered into "islands" and one needs to hop from one island to another, and then finally try to imagine what Landscape those islands were or may be if they were all put together like puzzle pieces.  
The more lore is milled into smaller grains all the time, the less we are able to see our the body of lore in a oneness that all men give to.  We may have such puzzle pieces as could show us a whole picture, but we are too divided for our differences, too divided for our specifications and too fixed and fond of our own seperate "wholes" to put the puzzle piece with our differences included,  into a more whole and general lore.  It is too much for men too overlook some differences and specifications to hold onto a more "whole" picture.
A "fire, water, air, earth" philosophy that most men may remember and most men may have a sense or understanding of elemental wholness with, if it has some flaws and lack of specification, is still more helpful I believe than a periodic table of too many specifications that most people forget many things about; and that is difficult to ever find a wholeness about because there are always more specifications to be made about everything; especially about the things we forget over and over again.  
Essorant
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41 posted 12-29-2004 12:51 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Brad,
I'm not sure how you feel that deism/theism doesn't propose answers to such questions.  
It seems that almost all forms of deism/theism offer symbols, lores, beliefs, literature, all in attempts to give an answer of the wonders of existance, not a "[no answer]"  If you aren't content with the answers that deism/theism gives than you are free to amend it where it is wrong or give anything better or refer to something better.  Saying that a nothing or [no answer] is there though, I think is an ungrounded saying in respect to deism/theism.  
Brad
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42 posted 12-29-2004 09:35 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Offer an answer and I'll show the problem.


tfreddtytst577797ree
trt6t86t7ie7il
hhyyiu6ii8yu;tyuu
l
Essorant
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43 posted 12-30-2004 12:33 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I will answer your first question.

"Why does the earth exist?"

The earth exists for the same reason a poem exists.
Because a Shaper exists to shape it and influence thro it and give it grace.  
Earth is God's work, as a poem is Poet's work.  And it is worked for all things at this earth, and for a more universal work too.  
Earth is shaped because a Shaper wished to give more shape to the universe.   Without earth we should not have solid thing to live upon and stand upon, build a garden upon, have a family upon, build a civilization upon.  
For all these things and much more God shaped this part of the universe into what we know as Earth.  
Essorant
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44 posted 12-30-2004 01:32 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

A cloud of letters:

tfreddtytst577797ree
trt6t86t7ie7il
hhyyiu6ii8yu;tyuu
l


A question mark:


              dtytfred
          tst7       97ree
         577           trt6
                         t86
                        6t7    
                      ie7
                   ilh
                 hyy
                iu6
               ii8
              
               yu;t
               yuul

    

Do you see now how all the same (existant) things (in this case letters) from one shape to a very different and more meaningful shape, may be shaped?
Essorant
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45 posted 12-30-2004 01:33 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

[sorry, double post]
Brad
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46 posted 12-30-2004 04:08 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Sorry, about the nonsense -- that was my daughter.

Your example points to the problem, anthropocentrism. You offer no motivation for the shaper except that he or she or it provides for us, does what it does for us.

I know you know that poet means the same thing as maker. And no doubt poets don't have to give reasons for their work, yet the question, why did you write that poem, isn't answered if one responds, "Just because."

or "It just happened."

or "I don't know."
Stephanos
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47 posted 12-30-2004 05:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
Are you arguing the hoary old, "if everything is relative, then 'everything is relative' is absolute" conundrum? Still?

First, we don't have a clue doesn't mean we can't have a clue.

In simplest terms, yes.  Because it still presents a problem for those who want to assert that their agnosticism is more than just a personal state of mind.  


Your second sentence only illustrates my point because it is so different (in degree of ambition) from what things I've read regarding anti-foundational philosophies, and the like.


But, in pondering what you've said, I wonder, is there that much of a difference between saying "We CAN'T have a clue", and "We may have a clue, but surely never have, and probably never will"?  As I've said before, one is indeed theoretically dogmatic, but the other is at least pragmatically dogmatic and achieves the same nixing effect.  It is the projecting of a personally existential state of mind, onto the whole.  And when it is questioned as to it's overly ambitious goal, the concession IS usually there that such a stance of certainty is not what was meant.  But then come those modifying phrases, looks, and innuendos, which clearly communicate that it is more than ridiculous to not accept this universal negation as absolutely true ... at least in the real world.  Same end, different method.  That's why existentialists best communicated themselves in films, sharing and giving expression to their moods.  If they had attempted to do so under the auspices of systematic philosophy or whatever, the contradiction would have been too obvious.  
  

quote:
Second, the problem with absolutes isn't that there aren't any, it's that people use the idea of absolutes to promote arbitrary designations.



People use math to come up with wrong answers too, but that doesn't negate the usefulness of math.  Most often even political criticisms (including some of yours I've previously read, and which I don't wholly disagree with) are based upon one or more moral objection.  And these are at least argued as if the concerns were more than just arbitrary espousals, forwarded merely for the sake of a different political agenda or slant.


quote:
Killing Bin Laden is not wrong because you can't murder a murderer. That is, change the definition to suit your purpose



That is really problematic.  I often mistrust such justifications too, and therefore am closer to your way of thinking about such matters, than you might think.  Because I live in America doesn't mean that I necessarily support what her Governmental agents decide to do in a crisis.  Regardless of whether such actions are at all justifiable  (because I think at least some weight must be given the idea that God has granted rulers to have the power of their sword to protect their own)  I do not think it is the best or highest way.  And it is certainly not the Christian way as taught by Jesus.


quote:
Limit the proposition to a specific time and place: It is universally wrong to murder Mother Theresa when she was still alive.



It seems murder, by it's nature, would HAVE to be limited to a specific time and place.  After all, how could anyone murder mother Theresa when she's dead?  The principle still retains it's universality in a universe where life is the theme.  Just like math itself is pure theory until you add two and two pecans to make four pecans, moral directives are meant to be "limited" by actual experience.  Where is the problem here?


quote:
So, absolutes are fine. They just don't always have a lot to offer.



This is where I disagree.  You posted a thread a while back which basically told us that "terrorism" is an irrational kind of action, and one which may claim to have "reasons", but which really doesn't.  People kill because they want to.  They kill out of hatred and internal darkness and turmoil.  


If there's any truth to that, then might it also be true of those who claim to slaughter in the name of divine decree?  In which case, a belief in absolutes cannot blamed for what extremists do.  


In my experience, people who most believe in the binding nature of moral responsibility coming from a righteous Heavenly authority, act accordingly (even if not perfectly).  Someone who fears and respects the judgement of God against murder, typically has more of an aversion to murder than someone who doesn't.  A man who feels he will lose tenfold for stealing, doesn't steal as much.  Likewise a man who feels certain that good behavior will be in some way rewarded, will be more likely to act in a good way rather than not.  

How much of Neo-Darwinian theory (for example), might also be partially responsible for the moral slide we now see?  When survival of the fittest was repeatedly taught as the highest ideal, moral obligations become no longer obligatory.  Morality itself is no longer an end, but a means to an end, as easily shed as a cumbersome tail, or a third leg.  Moral innovation is permitted, whether individual or corporate.  And egoism doesn't really save the day, in my view.


quote:
Why does the earth exist?
Because God said so.
Why did he say so?
[No answer]
How did he do it?
[No answer]
Insofar as Deism leads in this direction (and I don't know why it should, it just seems to), I'm not satisfied.



Why does the Earth exist?  What type of answer are you looking for?  You are assuming one does not exist.  Even the phrase "Mother Earth" hints at it.  And the Bible, though not giving a full mathematical, business-like, prosaic answer, gives us answers that will appease the poet in us all.  Let the child begin to learn now, and the engineer later.  Suspend your disbelief and ponder the word "Creator" for a start.  It contains a depth of insight that an artist and lover like yourself ought to find quite genial and satisfying.  It's not an end, but a beginning.


The fact that you're not satisfied is not a bad thing.  But someone who is hungry doesn't rule out the existence of food as a solution to his hunger.  Gastrectomies are overrated.             Maybe what you are so sure is a stone, might turn out to be bread?  But at least there can be answers with a theistic view.  The only consolation in your presently chosen view, is that there shouldn't have to be answers, therefore hankering after them is an irrationality that can be parted with (even if it's a bit painful, like telling a loved imaginary friend to leave for good).  But I somehow doubt that that satisfies you much more than Deism.


Stephen.  

Stephanos
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48 posted 12-30-2004 06:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
I know you know that poet means the same thing as maker. And no doubt poets don't have to give reasons for their work, yet the question, why did you write that poem, isn't answered if one responds, "Just because."
or "It just happened."
or "I don't know."



Brad, it seems your answer is more subject to your own criticism than Essorant's.  At least a poem demands a poet.  Whether or not he wants to, or even should give an answer to your question, is another topic.  But "It just happened" is more like the thoroughgoing naturalist's answer about nature, than any other answer.  


The answer "A poet", coming from someone other than the poet himself may be too little for satisfaction.  But it's still better than, "no one", or "it just happened", because it answers more.  And theoretically it leaves the possibility open for future interaction with that very poet, the personal discovery of what others have said.


Stephen.  
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


49 posted 01-03-2005 04:48 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

No time right now, but I'll try to answer that last bit first. Yes, "it just happened" is an unsatisfying answer. Dawkins, Putnam and no doubt many others have pointed out that you don't explain how men and women reproduce by talking in terms of quantum mechanics.

Behe makes a  joke about how you don't explain how a stereo works by describing the speakers, the CD player, the tuner and whatnot.

Uh, yeah, Michael, that's exactly where you start.

The basic premise is then that you move one level down reductively. Jumping doesn't get you anywhere.

Thus, "It just happened," is really just a substitute for, "I don't have a clue, let's talk about something else instead."

I don't know which anti-foundationalists your reading, but the basic premise is fairly solid though there are different responses:

Fish might say, "Yeah, but that's not what you do."

Derrida might say, "But doesn't the what of your question already presuppose and answer and that answer must be something  that you already expect and is therefore not a true answer to the question, in fact the question is not a true question if you already know the answer .  .  . ."

Rorty, "Well, this is how we see it."

Davidson, "Anything can be questioned though not all things at all times."

I'm just throwing these out lightly, they aren't real quotes.
 
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