John, list,

Maybe (or maybe not) I should add, that Goedel's work seems to be about 
mathematical systems' "representations" as actually developed by mathematicians 
in their finitude, not about "math in itself" such as would be embodied in the 
grand Multiverse.
I can see a mathematicians' reasonable "faith," based on accumulated and 
historical experience in mathematical research, that whatever inconsistencies 
turn up in mathematicians' systems can be remedied without surrendering in any 
permanent way the kind of power which we associate with mathematics. But the 
inexhaustible mathematical realities themselves in their surreal infinitude? 
I'm not sure how to think of consistency in those terms. (For my part, I 
associate deductive logic, deductive mathematical theories of information and 
probability, etc., with Tegmark's Level III, not with his Level IV.)

With a heightened sensation of fallibility,

Best, Ben Udell

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Benjamin Udell" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "everythinglist" <>
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 8:40 PM
Subject: Re: Paper+Exercises+Naming Issue-faith

The usual translation, to which you alluded, of "Credo quia absurdum" is "I 
believe [it] because [it's] absurd."

But you're right either way in that, either way, it represents a stubbornness 
of belief, maybe even a use of habitual stubbornness as a method of solidifying 
one's belief, which is, despite that which I said in my earlier post, is not 
really what Bruno is getting at -- at least so it seems to me now. Maybe I'm 
wrong this time rather than last time. I'm feeling quite uncertain now!

Believing math to be consistent, is that really stubbornness? I mentioned 
"contradictory or inadequate" understandings and confirmations, but really it's 
a question of Goedel-unprovability and that sort of thing. And if you didn't 
fully believe math to be consistent, what then? Well, which math? Before an 
apparent consistency is uncovered, or afterward, when maybe it's been remedied 
through revision? Having said that I may have overstated the kind of 
stubbornness involved in the kind of belief which interests Bruno, I still 
hesitate to go down the path of revealing ever more of my ignorance. 

I don't know a whole lot about math, and I tend to be fallibilist, so I wonder 
whether anybody really does "know," like Penrose claims, that those maths are 
in fact really and truly are consistent, which are consistent _provably_ only 
on the unprovable assumption of arithmetic's consistency. I think of seeming 
inconsistencies that get patched up, 0 divided by 0 equals "any number" you 
want -- so, more carefully define equality to exclude that problem. 
Denominators seemingly turning to 0 in calculus got remedied. And so on.

I guess I'll stop there. Thanks for your response, and for liking my previous 

Ben Udell

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John M" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Benjamin Udell" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>; "everythinglist" 
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: Paper+Exercises+Naming Issue-faith

Dear Ben U, 
What a post! 
It is a joy to read it, however let me pick one little
phrase with a question attached to it:

>"...The focus in religion and theology on faith, belief, etc., seems (e.g., in 
>"Credo quia absurdum") to arise from a stubbornness in the belief despite 
>resultant seemingly contradictory or inadequate interpretations and 
>understandings, and despite seemingly contradictory or inadequate 
>confirmations, corroborations, knowledge ("knowledge" in the everyday

Does not the Latin phrase express that "Since I cannot KNOW so (in all what you 
added) the only way left for me is TO BELIEVE? Does it not express the idea in 
the back of the mind that it should be rejected, unless (by the stubbornness 
you mentioned) you WANT to uphold it and the only way is faith?
I know it is not the customary explanation, but I try it.


John Mikes  

--- Benjamin Udell <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> Bruno, list,
> I've looked over Bruno's recent replies and, though
> I don't understand much about Bruno's work or modal
> logic, etc., I wish to attempt a few general
> remarks.
> If Bruno is, as he puts it, "[searching for] a
> general name for a field which studies fundamental
> type of faith, hope, fear, bets, etc.," then there
> are set of Ancient Greek words like _pistis_ (faith,
> belief, confidence), _pistos_ (confident, faithful),
> _pisteuticos_ (deserving of faith or belief), etc.
> So he could call it Pistics (sounds awful in
> English, though, because of that to which it sound
> similar) or Pisteutics, etc. Or maybe there's some
> form of this word with a prefix which would make it
> sound less like, well, um, "piss" plus a suffix,
> and, having considered it, I do think that that's an
> issue. Ancient Greek is too unfamiliar to me,
> otherwise I'd try to come up with such a word
> myself, keeping in mind the next paragraph:
> What kind of belief? The focus in religion and
> theology on faith, belief, etc., seems (e.g., in
> "Credo quia absurdum") to arise from a stubbornness
> in the belief despite resultant seemingly
> contradictory or inadequate interpretations and
> understandings, and despite seemingly contradictory
> or inadequate confirmations, corroborations,
> knowledge ("knowledge" in the everyday sense). This
> is a special kind of belief, not the most general
> kind, and we tend to distinguish it in English by
> calling it "faith" though "faith" does have other
> meanings. It tends to be motivated by valuations not
> pertaining primarily to investigating and
> establishing the character of the world. For Bruno,
> the question is, does he mean a kind of belief
> which, howsoever motivated, is stubborn? (in the
> face of resultant contradictory or inadequate
> understandings and in the face of contradictory
> "knowledge" or inadequate knwledge). For what it's
> worth, I think that the name most suitable will have
> the meaning!
>   of this kind of belief.
> Are religion and theism just about belief? Maybe I'm
> wrong, because there's a lot of background here on
> the everything-list threads that I don't understand,
> so maybe I'm interpreting things in the wrong light,
> but there seems to be a tendency here to regard
> religion as if it were fundamentally a cognitive
> discipline -- as if it consisted in a set of
> cognitive beliefs about facts. Religion has been
> many things and in some societies has taken many
> forms in being involved in every aspect of life. But
> the core toward which it seems sometimes to
> retrench, seems to be affectivity and valuing with
> regard to decision-making, power, submission,
> governance and self-governance -- including valuing
> with regard to the greatest powers in one's life and
> in the universe. 
> (All the same, I fully admit that religion can get
> involved quite widely, in valuings with regard to
> competence and work, and with regard to feelings and
> gratifications, and with regard to cognition and
> knowledge -- and, also, it can get involved in a
> variety of cognitively based disciplines with regard
> to those just-listed subjects, so as to influence,
> e.g., education and community planning, productive
> arts, affective arts {painting, literature, music,
> drama, cinema, etc., etc.} and, among the maths and
> sciences, cosmology, as well; and religion can get
> involved in the arenas -- political, economic,
> cultural, discussional, and in non-conflictual
> practices of corresponding kinds.) 
> Why do we associate religion especially with
> stubborn beliefs and certain disputed issues of
> fact? At the core of most of those things which we'd
> call religion in the strict sense, the sense in
> which the word "religion" is usually meant when the
> context is vague, are claims of miracles, miraculous
> powers in impassioned settings. Civilization tends
> to ask of religion that it renounce compulsion,
> tampering and interference, and provocation, but has
> tended in some cases to leave the improbable
> unsupported claims about facts more or less alone.
> For one thing, many of us who are not religious tend
> to recognize that we really don't know much about
> religion and society, we really don't know that much
> about how religion may be needed in society -- we
> look at all the bloody religious history and at all
> the civilizing influence which major religions have
> exerted as well and don't know quite what to make of
> it all. Those of us who live far from academic
> communities are well aware that !
>  religion has roles in filling gaps in in the
> everyday lives of many around us. That's us
> non-religious types. Most people in civilization are
> more or less religious. Anyway, this variously
> hesitant, ambivalent, and belligerent confrontation
> with religion's ill supported claims about facts may
> tend to create the impression among some that this
> is what religion is about -- those cognitive beliefs
> standing unconquered by, and outside of and
> sometimes opposed to, science. But it's not at all
> everything that religion, or theism, monotheism,
> polytheism, etc. are about. (There is a kind of
> philosophical "panpsychism" which tends to be more
> cognitive in aim, but that's the exception). And in
> fact the secularist-religious conflicts ongoing
> today are about all that further stuff, and not just
> about the particular factual issues which sometimes
> are made their arena.
> So, again, I think that Bruno needs a name that
> carries the meaning of a kind of belief, and not one
> that just says "God."
> One added note: "Agnosticism" originally meant
> holding that it can't be known whether God exists --
> "un-knowledge-ism". It is still used, I think, by
> some in that sense. Anyway, earlier in philosophical
> and theological traditions it was used in that
> sense. Many also use it to mean that one is simply
> unsure -- I don't know whether God exists, but maybe
> you do, etc. There one simultanously suspects and
> doubts that God exists, i.e., neither believes nor
> disbelieves, but has some awareness of the question
> and treats it as suitable for belief-attitudes.
> Best, Ben Udell

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