Vibroverse

Rationalism

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Rationalist epistemology claims, basically, that the main source of knowledge is reasoning. However, how much do they think we can know by thinking, by merely using mind, alone, without needing to refer to empirical attempts? 

I mean, for instance, do they claim that they can know what I ate last week at lunch, or do they simply refer to being able to know "grand knowledges" through the mind alone, like whether God exists or not, etc? 

I mean, it is like there is a wide variety in the rangings of the rationalists, but, for instance, do Leibniz and Spinoza believe that we can know EVERYTHING through thinking alone? I'll be happy if some someone knows the answer to this question. 

 

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Rationality is a powerful cognitive tool that only becomes a problem when misused in a reductionist way (the same goes for empiricism). Unfortunately Western philosophy has made this mistake over and over, and it wasn't until Heidegger and later Merleau-Ponty that this epistemic error was deconstructed in a penetrating way.

The fatal error of all rationalist epistemology is the mistaken assumption that the mind is disembodied (ie a detached observer), rather than being embodied and embedded in a world.

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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24 minutes ago, DocWatts said:

Rationality is a powerful cognitive tool that only becomes a problem when misused in a reductionist way (the same goes for empiricism). Unfortunately Western philosophy has made this mistake over and over, and it wasn't until Heidegger and later Merleau-Ponty that this epistemic error was deconstructed in a penetrating way.

The fatal error of all rationalist epistemology is the mistaken assumption that the mind is disembodied (ie a detached observer), rather than being embodied and embedded in a world.

I think we can see the embodiedness of the being in the world in Spinoza, to some extent, and in Hegel, also. I think, especially Hegel, took a great step in that, and criticized Kant for abstracting the subject from the world by all his categories and ideas, and said that we need to be perceiving ourselves in and as the world, seeing being as one consciousness that is being, and becoming, itself. 

I mean, he said that we cannot distinguish being as phenomena and noumena for we do not even know whether such a thing as noumena exist or not, and he thought that there is no such thing as an atemporal mind, that mind is a historical thing, that human is knowing itself in the process, and in fact he, I think, was the first one who used the term "dasein" to emphasize the being-in-the-fenomenal-realmness. 

And, of course, this is a deep discussion for now where we should also discuss about Kant and Heidegger, and these guys, in more depth, so I don't wanna get lost in this now. But to turn back to main question, I'm thinking of it like this: for instance, let's take Spinoza and his rationalism. I think, at the ultimate sense, if we think of Reason, Nature and God as the same "thing", then, I think, we can say that everything can be known by Reason alone, then. 

Mind, then, would be one with God, at the ultimate level, and so mind would be able to find every answer of every question without needing to take any empirical steps, in theory. I think Leibniz says something like this also, but then he also says that we humans are all, pretty much, empiricists when we come to the practical level of being, in gathering knowledges.

The thing, then, I guess, is rationalists like Spinoza and Leibniz, perhaps, would agree that every knowledge can be gained through reasoning and thinking alone, for mind exists by its "being-informed-ness" by God at its core, and God knows everything that can be known, but we, being humans that we are in the certain modes of being that we are, need empirical data and analysis, also, for, perhaps, out of habit. 

 

Edited by Vibroverse

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1 hour ago, Vibroverse said:

I think we can see the embodiedness of the being in the world in Spinoza, to some extent, and in Hegel, also. I think, especially Hegel, took a great step in that, and criticized Kant for abstracting the subject from the world by all his categories and ideas, and said that we need to be perceiving ourselves in and as the world, seeing being as one consciousness that is being, and becoming, itself. 

I'll restrict myself to Hegel since I'm far less knowledgeable about Spinoza, but you make a good point. Hegel was very insightful in his criticism of Kant's transcendental idealism for bifurcating Reality into a knower and an unreachable 'thing in itself'.

Implicit notions that human beings are connected to an Absolute through a Great Chain of Being have been common throughout much of human history.

Hegel's contribution was to reinvigorate this idea in a society that was losing its taste for esoteric mysticism. The way he was able to do this was by thoroughly secularizing it using the tools of a rigorous process oriented method (his dialectics).

So while precursors to embodiment could be extracted from implicit notions within Hegel's dialectic of the Absolute, it took until the advent of phenomology to work out the specifics of how embodiment is actually disclosed to us in our direct experience.

And of course it's worth bearing in mind that we're just talking about the West specifically, as Eastern philosophers had already been exploring embodiment for thousands of years by this point.

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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17 minutes ago, DocWatts said:

I'll restrict myself to Hegel since I'm far less knowledgeable about Spinoza, but you make a good point. Hegel was very insightful in his criticism of Kant's transcendental idealism for bifurcating Reality into a knower and an unreachable 'thing in itself'.

Implicit notions that human beings are connected to an Absolute through a Great Chain of Being have been common throughout much of human history.

Hegel's contribution was to reinvigorate this idea in a society that was losing its taste for esoteric mysticism. The way he was able to do this was by thoroughly secularizing it using the tools of a rigorous process oriented method (his dialectics).

So while precursors to embodiment could be extracted from implicit notions within Hegel's dialectic of the Absolute, it took until the advent of phenomology to work out the specifics of how embodiment is actually disclosed to us in our direct experience.

And of course it's worth bearing in mind that we're just talking about the West specifically, as Eastern philosophers had already been exploring embodiment for thousands of years by this point.

Yeah, I find Heidegger's approach pretty honest, and meditative, and he said that Zen Buddhism has already said everything he wanted to say. I find his approach of perceiving reality as it is without going for metaphysical grand narrarives to be very innovative in the western philosophical tradition. 

 

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Rationalism is correct.  You are proving it just now just by talking about it.  All knowledge is a form of thought.  Some people say that there is a knowledge through being because being is primary to thinking.  All knowledge is about being.  But being cannot be known because it is.  The hand cannot grasp itself so it creates a thought to create a game where the mind attempts to grasp being but it cannot.  Rationalism cannot get you to being.  But rationalism can point you in that direction, which is what all of this typing and thinking is.  

But think about it this way.  In the relative domain, rationalism is one of the best ways of knowing anything.  If you want to know the earth is round, you have to first experience it first-hand.  Then, you take note of those observations and store them into long-term memory.  You make sense of the world you are living right now through your mind, through critical thinking.  You know that the earth is round even when cannot see it because you have the memory of it when you did see it first-hand.  If you just relied on what you observe now (absent of rationalism), you would naturally believe that the sun moves across the sky rather than the earth rotating.  Rationalism is what says that the earth rotates because you have no experience of the earth rotating, only the sun moving.  Your senses can deceive you.  Another similar example is with poisonous plants.  Your mind identifies what plants are edible and poisonous through experience and memory.  It takes critical thinking to be able to remember what you previously observed.  

People may say that rationality can also deceive you too.  But I would suggest that it is irrationality that deceives you because if you are deceived, then somewhere along the way, you missed something and had an error in your thought processes.  If you consider all the options and think things through and are willing to admit you are wrong, you are being rational and that is a more reliable method than relying on anything else.  Critical thinking is essential because it analyzes experience.  

Without rationalism, you would not have any access to the knowledge you acquired through experience!!!!

Edited by r0ckyreed

Keep Growing! Stay Wise! - Wisdom Mastery: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZCVZgpDDaBM_muhYKKbWng

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What you're refering to is the a prior/a posteriori distinction.

It's a classic distinction which has plagued philosophers for centuries.

No, you can't know everything through thinking. That's not the interesting claim.

The interesting claim is: can you know anything at all through pure thinking? Which thing? And if so, how the fuck is that possible?

I started out an empiricist. Then I realized, everything is my own mind.

You can't know everything through thinking. But maybe consciousness is not just limited to thinking ;)

Edited by Leo Gura

You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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6 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

What you're refering to is the a prior/a posteriori distinction.

It's a classic distinction which has plagued philosophers for centuries.

No, you can't know everything through thinking. That's not the interesting claim.

The interesting claim is: can you know anything at all through pure thinking? Which thing? And if so, how the fuck is that possible?

I started out an empiricist. Then I realized, everything is my own mind.

You can't know everything through thinking. But maybe consciousness is not just limited to thinking ;)

Yeah, and by thinking I also meant imagination, I took it as a part of the greater set called thought. And when I think about it, if the substance of reality is imagination, is consciousness, then yeah, you can, possibly, know everything simply by "thinking", perhaps, in that sense, for the substance of reality is "thinking", is "imagination". 

You know, then there is no actual difference between reality and thinking. And I think Hegel and Parmenides might have, at least on some level, perhaps, meant that when they said "that which is rational, that which is thinkable, and that which is real are one". And you can also know that they actually meant by "thinking" also, for it is a part of reality 😂

I, by the way, also was an empiricist and a materialist before, until I met Osho and psychedelics, and then this crazy journey, etc. Anyways, however, there seems to be a need for the empirical in the, what you call, relative reality, and there, also, seems to be an inner intuitive intelligence. And that inner intuitive intelligence seems to be me myself, but also, at the same time, a greater part of me, like with an intelligence of its own, in a sense. 

I mean, it is like, for instance, you have a mind and personality that, at the same time, is me, but also not me. And, in a similar way, all beings seems to be the same one being, same one "thing", but it, "I", also have a way of doing that that is unknown, that is mystical, to me. It, in a sense, is like what I know myself to be me is only a tiny tiny, frickin tiny, part of what I actually am. 

 

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@Vibroverse rationalism is a part of a larger identity we know as universal being that it can use to bring logical coherence to its geometrical structure.

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