Curtis, I just had a lunch of veggies and salmon so maybe my brain is a little 
more up to respond. Maybe! Definitely not as good as Sam Harris (-:

Anyway, my questions are: 

1. how do we know that we know? Which is kind of abstract and probably just me 
reliving a past life as a haetera!

2. what do we mean by knowing?
Ok, we see a tree fall so we think we know that it fell. Of course, perception 
could be faulty.

Or, to go into the arts as you suggested, we listen to a song about first love, 
and from our own memories of that, we recognize the "truth" of the song.

But here's my really favorite question, 

3. Back to your post: what is meant by "worthwhile reality"?
Are there some realities that are not worthwhile?

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:18 AM, " 
[FairfieldLife]" <> wrote:

M: I hope you don't mind me weighing in,this was a particularly thought 
provoking post. I too am an amateur philosopher. But I am not sure philosophy 
is the right discipline to answer your question from, except to enhance the 
discussion of "how could we know?"

Here is the section you quite wisely focused on:

"Is a believe in the existence of component or realm beyond the 
physical/material justified?  When I use the expression 
'physical/material' I include anything that is physical/material, or 
anything that interacts with the physical/material."

M: It seems to me that in a sense this ship has sailed with the advent of 
knowledge about a level of matter that is so squirrely to our sense-bound 
intuitions that it does not resemble matter as we know it, even though 
technically it IS matter from physics. That we do not know all or in some cases 
very much about this level of reality should give us all some humility about 
what is real.

But for me those who confidently claim to know about a non physical realm 
through internal experience have not made their case convincingly to me. We 
have a lot of mystery to explore and I am dubious that anyone has cleared it up 
from a mystical tradition. I am putting my bet on neuroscience and physics to 
push back into the mystery in a more satisfying way than has been accomplished 
by religious and mystical traditions. The deeper reality may be much more 
amazing than has been speculated about or assumed in those traditions whose 
stock in trade has been "We have it all figured out already" over "Let's find 

The question could be: how could we know about something non physical? I wish 
people proposing these ideas would spend more time studying these questions 
before they announce their assumptions. We need to address how we could be 
confident of such knowledge knowing how fallible and prone to self delusions 
humans are with all of our cognitive blind spots. I rarely see this aspect in 
the intellectual mix of confident assertions from the subjective angle.

Then of course you have the whole areas of human knowledge in the arts and 
humanities which is plenty non physical reality enough for me. We don't have to 
swing between the polarities of material reductionism and mystical claims to 
see that there is a lot of worthwhile reality beyond the hard physical. But IMO 
the better we are prepared to evaluate claims the quicker we will sort out the 
fascinating and true from the fascinating but bogus.

Thanks for opening up a new chapter on the discussion. Does any of this relate 
to your intention in your post?

---In, <inmadison@...> wrote :

there seem to be 2 questions running through this thread:  1) is a belief in 
God a mental illness and 2) is a belief in God justifiable.

the first question is too cumbersome for me - having the notion of mental 
illness imbedded in the question . . . and I can't speak as to what a mental 
illness is, but the question  is believing in the efficacy of trickle-down 
economics a mental illness could be fun  : )

Re the 2nd question, I'm skipping is there a proof for the existence of God 
since it's pretty clear no such proof exists - and I'm suggesting:   is a 
belief in God justifiable?

We may believe in many things where there is no direct evidence, or no proof, 
but yet that belief is justifiable.  For example, we may believe someone lied 
to us, even though we have no proof.

[BTW - I am very much an amateur philosopher]     I am going to restate the 2nd 
question as:    Is a believe in the existence of component or realm beyond the 
physical/material justified?  When I use the expression 'physical/material' I 
include anything that is physical/material, or anything that interacts with the 

An individual who did not believe a belief in God was justified, would believe 
that the material/physical world was sufficient to explain all observable 
phenomenon, including the existence of the of the physical/material world 

For me, I think the question is a bit of a red herring, but I admit to having  
read and heard nuanced and elegant expressions regarding the need for the 
nonphysical (spiritual) to explain stuff like value, and the moment by moment 
appreciation of an otherwise brutish world.

Reply via email to