One of the first arguments made was by St. Anselm of Canterbury, a Christian philosopher, and theologian. Anselm said that if you are going to think about God, your mind obliges you to think about a being than which no greater can be thought of, this is known as the ontological argument. Ontology is the category of philosophical systems that deals with the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and the relations between them all. This is an arguable idea when put in the context of theism because it is what you must think when you think about God and in itself does nothing in relation to the argument of whether or not God exists. This means that if someone was to think of the greatest possible meal, but in reality they ate out of a garbage can, what they ate out of the garbage can is greater than the meal that they had dreamed up because it is reality, and in Anselm’s idea, reality trumps non-reality, and so if God is supremely perfect, and the greatest possible thing, then He must exist since He cannot be greater than something that exists, if he does not. What Anselm is saying is that you must think of God as that which nothing greater can be thought of, or the supreme being. The major flaw in the ontological argument is that it assumes that God exists, or rather that one would have to assume that God exists.
Aristotle was one of the first philosophers who spoke about and documented the idea of theism. His argument was known as the Cosmological Argument. In the Cosmological Argument, He argued that:
- Everything that exists or begins to exist has a cause.
- The universe exists, and began to exist.
- The universe must have a cause.
- The cause of the universe is God.
This serves as the basis for many arguments for the evidence in proving the existence of God, or a Supreme Being, in the theist belief system. However this is a very basic logic idea, in that it is not specific on a certain idea. As it is a basic idea, it is not very in depth and it it does not specify certain ideas.
Ever since the beginning of time, people have wondered whether or not, there is indeed a God. There were many many different beliefs, ideas and theories, which began to spark what we now know as religion. However, we began to stray away from our ideas of using religion as proof for the existence of God because it did not give “valid” proof of God’s existence in the eyes of the non-believers, or atheists. So we took a different approach, trying to prove God’s existence through reasoning, this belief system is known as theism. This is basically the belief that one Supreme Being is the source and sustainer of the universe and at the the same time, different from it. This is slightly different from deism as theism believes that the Supreme Being created everything, and continues to intervene to this very day, and deism also believes that a Supreme Being did in fact create everything, but they believe that the Supreme Being no longer intervenes.
The thing about philosophies are whether or not they are applicable in modern times, and more often than not, it is. Kant is considered a central figure in modern philosophy for that same reason, the timelessness of his philosophies. Regarding his views on enlightenment, in today’s society, we highly require the professionals to help us to overcome our problems, and this way of life is truly based on putting our confidence in someone else, as mentioned before, by the simple idea of which we are simply too lazy, and the searching up everything like that, is much too tedious, and people question whether it is worth it. The perfect example of this is the technological advances that we have now, like computers, smartphones, etc. On these devices, we can get any information that we need at the click of a button, or the tap of a screen, and yet, we just believe whatever those professionals say, when we could just as easily, search it up for ourselves. What are people doing instead of searching these things up? social media like Facebook, and Twitter. While I do think that those things originally had the right idea (except for Twitter) of sharing things and lessening the gap between family and friends overseas, these things have been perverted and twisted into another way, in which people enable vulgar behaviour, sharing videos that are aggressive in nature, like street fighting videos, etc. I am straying away from the point here, but what I am saying is that we have all of this amazing technology and instead of using it in a productive way, which it was originally intended on being used for, and instead, using it purely for pleasure, and in doing so, setting us up to believe whatever the professionals say. The concept of knowledge cannot really be changed as knowledge itself cannot change and so that idea that it is based around the things that we experience, as well as our reasoning/way of processing the experience create our knowledge.
I completely agree with Kant’s beliefs on enlightenment because in society, there are professionals who specialize in many different aspects of daily life (for example: doctors, mechanics, carpenters, etc.), and whenever we require help, we go to these professionals. This way of life is based purely on trust which allows deception because it relies on the trustworthiness and the reliability of the person. This feeds off of the laziness of the person (which is arguably the general norm anyway) because since they do not want to do it for themselves, they are willing to pay money to these professionals in exchange for consultation or repairs. And once the person receives what they paid for, they do not know whether they have been told the truth, and had the work be done honestly and properly, or fed lies because they would only know what they are told, as well as what they see, and as we all know, our perception can trick us. For example, if someone said that they fixed the foundation in your house, you would have to believe them because its their job, so they must know what they are doing right? wrong, how can we really be sure that they did it properly and we did not get scammed, this is money after all, and when money is involved, people will scam each other without a second thought, and so the person could make it look like they fixed the place when in fact, they had not, just to get your hard-earned cash. And I also agree with Kant’s ideas about knowledge because knowledge is simply a concept which we draw on as reference whenever we think, and we create that concept based on processing what we experience physically, with our mind/reasoning. What this means is that we perceive something, and then we create an image, and after creating an image, we process the image, and we eliminate the insignificant things, in order to obtain what the main concept which we will draw upon later on when we think about it. For example, if one were to put their hand on a hot stove, they would burn their hand, which creates an image, or idea of the stove being hot and burning their hand, and then in their mind, it leaves a lasting impression on them not to touch hot objects, like the stove, or a fire, and whenever they see something hot, it becomes like common sense for them to not touch it. These two ideas relate because based on our experiences, we would say that what we know about professionals come from our experiences of them being an expert in their field, and the reasoning behind what we think of them makes us put our trust in them, like I said before, we perceive them fixing something, and that creates an image in our mind, which later on leaves an impression/concept, which is where we begin to see them as a professional.
The major concept of Immanuel Kant is the idea of what is enlightenment. He believes that enlightenment is when a person leaves their self-caused immaturity. He defines immaturity as the mental inability for one to use their intelligence, without the guidance of another, in other words depending on others. He believes it is self-caused because it is not a result of a lack of intelligence, but rather the lack of determination or courage to use their intelligence without the guidance of another. He believes that the reason why humans choose to remain immature is because of laziness and cowardice, laziness and cowardice as it is easy for one to give into another illegally taking the role of leader. That type of behaviour is comparable to a child because they seek refuge and find comfort in figures of authority, like their parents, and as a result, they believe everything that their parents say. Kant says that if there is a book that provides information for him, a pastor who acts as a conscience for him, and a doctor who will decide his diet for him, and so on, he does not need to do these things for himself. He does not have any need to think, for as long as he has money to pay, those others will do those tedious jobs for him. He says that all that is needed for enlightenment is freedom, freedom for a person to make use of their own reason in all matters. Basically what Kant is saying is that everyone has the ability to be enlightened, but it is much too tedious for one to actually go out and do research for themselves, than to just believe whatever people tell one. His ideas come from epistemology, which is the theory of knowledge, or the science of knowing, which also applies to Kant’s beliefs on knowledge. Kant believes that knowledge is the result of reason and experience. Think about it like this, your experiences are papers in a binder and your reason is the binder itself and and this organization, or unification is what we know of as knowledge. So if the binder falls and papers fly out, there is no more organization, and therefore, no knowledge. As the binder cannot hold the papers if they are not in the binder, in order. To give order to reality, we have the categories of space and time. The space mentioned is not a real and objective thing, instead, it is an idea that is subjective, which comes from the mind’s description of experiences.
So… Once again I have not posted in a while, simply due to being busy with all of the homework that I have been given to my teachers, so I have decided to use my next couple of blogs as a way of showcasing the work that I have been doing in my absence. Basically, I have this 3 page report to do on a historical figure of my choice, and I have to be prepared for an oral component as well explaining why chose them, and some other questions. For this I chose Immanuel Kant because I found his ideas on enlightenment to be very intriguing (p.s. be prepared to hear a lot about him, like at least 3 blogs about him). I am also working with a partner on a philosophy ISU on the topic: Is There A God? Basically we split it up into two parts: Theism and Atheism, for this I am doing Theism and my partner is of course doing Atheism. In it, I am exploring the different philosophers and their philosophies regarding Theism. This report is literally just review for me because we went over all of that stuff in class, so all I really had to do was find some finer details on it from books and internet sources and then I am done. I have also been reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green, and I’ll write a blog about that too when I am finished reading it, as of now, I am at page 122.