On 13.06.2012 18:24 meekerdb said the following:
On 6/13/2012 1:57 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
On 12.06.2012 20:17 meekerdb said the following:
Here's a thoughtful blog on the meaning of theology. Bruno may
want to comment, since his conception of theology might answer
the questions put forward.
I have just finished reading Collingwood's An Essay on Metaphysics.
A couple of quotes from Chapter XVIII "The Proposition 'God
p. 185. "In the last chapter but one I had occasion to comment on
the way in which a 'logical positivist', wishing to recommend the
doctrine that 'metaphysical propositions' not being verifiable by
appeal to observed fact are pseudo-propositions and meaningless,
quoted as examples propositions about God, such as the proposition
'God exists'. To him the proposition 'God exists' would seem to
mean that there is a being more or less like human beings in
respect of his mental powers and dispositions, but having the
mental powers of a human being greatly, perhaps infinitely,
It not only 'seems' to mean this, it does mean this to 99% of
I guess that we talk about educated people. To this end, one example
that I like.
"In his Proslogion, St. Anselm claims to derive the existence of God
from the concept of 'a being than which no greater can be conceived'."
In my view 'a being than which no greater can be conceived' is a nice
piece of thinking. I do not mean that it proves something but for 11th.
century A.D. it is not that bad. Note that you will find Kurt Goedel
among the authors of ontological arguments on the page above.
p. 186. "I have no fear of being contradicted when I say that the
meaning I suppose to be attached by this author to the proposition
'God exists' is a meaning Christian theologians have never
attached to it, and does not even remotely resemble the meaning
which with some approach to unanimity they have expounded at
And what is that meaning which they have expounded with unanimity and
has anyone who is *not* a theologian ever believed it?
I believe that educated people, for example scientists, have followed
p. 187. "If the proposition that God exists is a metaphysical
proposition it must be understood as carrying with it the
metaphysical rubric; and as so understood what it asserts is that
as a matter of historical fact a certain absolute presupposition,
to be hereafter defined, is or has been made by natural science
(the reader will bear in mind my limitation of the field) at a
certain phase of its history. It further implies that owing to the
presence of this presupposition that phase in the history of
natural science has or had a unique character of its own, serving
to the historical student as evidence that the presupposition is or
was made. The question therefore arises: What difference does it
make to the conduct of research in natural science whether
scientists do or not do not presuppose the existence of God?"
Then Collingwood shows that the metaphysical proposition 'God
Exists' has played the crucial role in the foundations of classical
physics. It seems to be a historical fact.
I seems to be an apologist interpretation. To say 'God exists' played
a *crucial* role, is ambiguous. Does Collingwood imply science could
not have developed without a supposition that there is a 'Big Guy in
the Sky', or has he just redefined theism so that it is
metaphysically important to science? Or has he just taken the residue
of theism after it's reduction by science, from 'The Big Guy in the
Sky' to 'The Ground of All Being'.
I should confess that in Collingwood's book there are some apologetic
statements, for example Chapter XIII Propaganda of Irrationalism have
not impressed me.
Yet, the statement above is just a historical fact. You may want to
browse for example
The book is partly apologetic but otherwise it is a nice review of
recent historical works. One quote to show that although the authors of
the book use historical results, they do not completely agree with
historians (this is a sign that historians have not been paid be the Church)
"But the new approach harbors its own dangers. Historical sensitivity
may give way to historical relativism, in which all cultures and beliefs
are regarded as equally true or valid. When that happens, the study of
history merges into historicism - the belief that there is no
transhistorical truth and that all knowledge is caught up in a continual
process of historical change.
Many scholars in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science today
in fact display a marked tendency toward historicism. They dismiss the
idea that science is a search for truth and instead reduce scientific
theories to constructions of the intellectual, economic, or political
conditions of a particular society and period. The history of science
even has its enfants terribles, such as Paul Feyerabend, who go so far
as to argue that the accumulation of knowledge we call science is a
limited, culture-bound worldview not to be prized more highly than any
other worldview, be it pagan myth or medieval witchcraft."
Anyway, at least in the book there are references to modern books on
history of science. It might be good to read them more carefully but it
seems that 'God exists' played the major role indeed. After all, it is
necessary just to check what historians say. There is nothing to
speculate about it, it is a matter of historical research.
Interestingly enough that David Deutsch in his The Beginning of Infinity
also strongly criticizes relativism. I was really surprised his Good vs.
Bad (for example, he condemns Wittgenstein and logical positivism). In
the book above, this seems to be logical but to here something like this
from David Deutsch was a surprise. Well, it could be that "The enemy of
my enemy ..."
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