I was reading Jordan Petersons "MAPS OF MEANING: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BELIEF" and came across this on the bottom of page 15.
The significance of something – specified in actuality as a consequence of exploratory activity undertaken in its vicinity – tends “naturally” to become assimilated to the object itself. The object, after all, is the proximal cause or the stimulus that “gives rise” to action conducted in its presence. For people operating naturally, like the child, what something signifies is more or less inextricably part of the thing, part of its magic. The magic is of course due to apprehension of the specific cultural and intrapsychic significance of the thing, and not to its objectively determinable sensory qualities. Everyone understands the child who says, for example, “I saw a scary man”; the child’s description is immediate and concrete, even though he or she has attributed to the object of perception qualities that are in fact context-dependent and subjective. It is difficult, after all, to realize the subjective nature of fear, and not to feel threat as part of the “real” world.
The automatic attribution of “meaning” to “things” – or the failure to distinguish between them initially – is a characteristic of narrative, of myth, not of scientific thought. Narrative accurately captures the nature of raw experience. Things are scary, people are irritating, events are promising, food is satisfying – at least in terms of our basic experience. The modern mind, which regards itself as having transcending the domain of the magical, is nonetheless still endlessly capable of “irrational” (read motivated) reactions. We fall under the spell of experience whenever we attribute our frustration, aggression, devotion or lust to the person or situation that exists as the proximal “cause” of such agitation. We are not yet “objective,” even in our most clear-headed moments (and thank God for that). We become immediately immersed in a motion picture or a novel, and willingly suspend disbelief. We become impressed or terrified, despite ourselves, in the presence of a sufficiently powerful cultural figurehead (an intellectual idol, a sports superstar, a movie actor, a political leader, the pope, a famous beauty, even our superior at work) – in the presence, that is, of anyone who sufficiently embodies the oft-implicit values and ideals that protect us from disorder and lead us on. Like the medieval individual, we do not even need the person to generate such affect. The icon will suffice. We pay vast sums of money for articles of clothing worn or personal items used or created by the famous and infamous of our time.
The “natural,” pre-experimental, or mythical mind is in fact primarily concerned with meaning – which is essentially implication for action – and not with “objective” nature. The formal object, as conceptualized by modern scientifically-oriented consciousness, might appear to those still possessed by the mythic imagination – if they could “see” it at all – as an irrelevant shell: as all that was left after everything intrinsically intriguing had been stripped away. For the pre-experimentalist, the thing is mostly truly the significance of its sensory properties, as they are experienced in subjective experience – in affect, or emotion. And, in truth – in real life – to know what something is still means to know two things about it: the first is its motivational relevance; the second is the specific nature of its sensory qualities. The two forms of knowing are not identical; furthermore, experience and registration of the former necessarily precedes development of the latter. Something must have emotional impact before it will attract enough attention to be explored and mapped in accordance with its sensory properties. Those sensory properties – of prime import to the experimentalist or empiricist – are meaningful only insofar as they serve as cues for determining specific affective relevance or behavioral significance. We need to know what things are not to know what they are but to keep track of what they mean – to understand what they signify for our behavior.
It has taken centuries of firm discipline and intellectual training, religious, proto-scientific, and scientific, to produce a mind capable of concentrating on phenomena that are not yet or are no longer immediately intrinsically [instinctively (?)] gripping – to produce a mind that paradoxically regards real as something separable from relevant. Alternatively, it might be suggested that all the myth has not yet vanished from science, devoted as it is to human progress, and that it is this nontrivial remainder that enables the scientist to retain undimmed enthusiasm, while he endlessly studies his fruitflies. How, precisely, did people think, not so very long ago, before they were experimentalists? What were things, before they were objective things? These are very difficult questions. The “things” that existed prior to the development of experimental science do not appear valid either as things, or as the meaning of things, to the modern mind. The question of the nature of the substance of sol – the sun – (to take a single example) occupied the minds of those who practiced the pre-experimental “science” of alchemy for many hundreds of years. We would no longer presume even that the sun has a uniform substance, unique to it, and would certainly take exception to the properties attributed to this hypothetical element by the medieval alchemist, if we allowed its existence. Carl Jung, who spent much of the latter part of his life studying medieval thought patterns, characterized sol: -Jordan Petersons "MAPS OF MEANING: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BELIEF"
The Form of beauty
The fundamental datum in understanding Platonic beauty as part of what we would call Plato's aesthetics, or philosophy of art, is that Plato sees no opposition between the pleasures that beauty brings and the goals of philosophy. Plato mentions no other Form in the Symposium; beauty is Form enough. Philosophers meet this beauty in an experience in which they consummate their deepest love while also attaining the loftiest knowledge.
Physical beauty is again atypical as a Form that human beings want to know. This is the second reason Plato makes beauty such a frequent example of a Form. The process known as anamnêsis or recollection is more plausible for beauty than it is for most other properties. The philosophical merit of things that are equivocally F is that they come bearing signs of their incompleteness, so that the inquisitive mind wants to know more (Republic 523c–524d). But not everyone can read those signs of incompleteness. Soft or large items inspire questions in minds of an abstract bent. The perception of examples of justice or self-control presupposes moral development, so that the perceiver can recognize a law's double nature as just and unjust. By contrast, beautiful things strike everyone, and arouse everyone's curiosity. Therefore, beauty promises more effective reflection than any other property of things. Beauty alone is both a Form and a sensory experience (Phaedrus 250d).
So the Phaedrus (250d–256b) and Symposium ignore people's experiences of other properties when they describe the first movement into philosophizing. Beautiful things remind souls of their mystery as no other visible objects do, and in his optimistic moments Plato welcomes people's attention to them.
Those optimistic moments are not easy to sustain. To make beauty effective for learning Plato needs to rely on its desirability (as foregrounded in Konstan 2015) while also counting on the soul's ability to transfer its desiring from the visible to the intelligible (see Philebus 65e). Plato is ambivalent about visual experience. Sight may be metaphorically like knowledge, but metonymically it calls to mind the senses, which are ignorant (Pappas 2015, 49).
The ancient philosopher Plato developed an idealistic concept of eros which would prove to be very influential in modern times. In general, Plato did not consider physical attraction to be a necessary part of eros. "Platonic love" in this original sense can be attained by the intellectual purification of eros from carnal into ideal form. This process is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium. Plato argues there that eros is initially felt for a person, but with contemplation it can become an appreciation for the beauty within that person, or even an appreciation for beauty itself in an ideal sense. As Plato expresses it, eros can help the soul to "remember" beauty in its pure form. It follows from this, for Plato, that eros can contribute to an understanding of truth.
Eros, understood in this sense, differed considerably from the common meaning of the word in the Greek language of Plato's time. It also differed from the meaning of the word in contemporary literature and poetry. For Plato, eros is neither purely human nor purely divine: it is something intermediate which he calls a daimon.
Its main characteristic is permanent aspiration and desire. Even when it seems to give, eros continues to be a "desire to possess", but nevertheless it is different from a purely sensual love in being the love that tends towards the sublime. According to Plato, the gods do not love, because they do not experience desires, inasmuch as their desires are all satisfied. They can thus only be an object, not a subject of love (Symposium 200-1). For this reason they do not have a direct relationship with man; it is only the mediation of eros that allows the connecting of a relationship (Symposium 203). Eros is thus the way that leads man to divinity, but not vice versa.
[...] Nevertheless, eros remains always, for Plato, an egocentric love: it tends toward conquering and possessing the object that represents a value for man. To love the good signifies to desire to possess it forever. Love is therefore always a desire for immortality.
Paradoxically, for Plato, the object of eros does not have to be physically beautiful. This is because the object of eros is beauty, and the greatest beauty is eternal, whereas physical beauty is in no way eternal. However, if the lover achieves possession of the beloved's inner (i.e., ideal) beauty, his need for happiness will be fulfilled, because happiness is the experience of knowing that you are participating in the ideal.
for Plato, daimon, is a spiritual being who watches over each individual, and is tantamount to a higher self, or an angel; whereas Plato is called ‘divine’ by Neoplatonists
Essentialism is the view that every entity has a set of attributes that are necessary to its identity and function. In early Western thought Plato's idealism held that all things have such an "essence," an "Idea" or "Form". Likewise, in Categories Aristotle proposed that all objects have a substance that, as George Lakoff put it "... make the thing what it is, and without which it would be not that kind of thing". The contrary view, non-essentialism, denies the need to posit such an "essence'".
Essentialism has been controversial from its beginning. Plato's Socrates already questions the notion by suggesting, in the Parmenides, that if we accept the idea every beautiful thing or just action partakes of an essence in order to be beautiful or just, then we must also accept the "existence of separate essences for hair, mud, and dirt". In biology and other natural sciences, essentialism provided the rationale for taxonomy at least until the time of Charles Darwin; the role and importance of essentialism in biology is still a matter of debate. In gender studies the essentialist idea that men and women are fundamentally different continues to be a matter of contention
Social constructionism or the social construction of reality (also social concept) is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality. The theory centers on the notions that human beings rationalize their experience by creating models of the social world and share and reify these models through language
The concepts of weak and strong as applied to opposing philosophical positions, "isms", inform a teleology – the goal-oriented, meaningful or "final end" of an interpretation of reality. "Isms" are not personal opinions, but the extreme, modal, formulations that actual persons, individuals, can then consider, and take a position between. There are opposing philosophical positions concerning the feasibility of co-creating a common, shared, social reality, called weak and strong.
John R. Searle does not elucidate the terms strong and weak in his book The Construction of Social Reality, but he clearly uses them in his Chinese room argument, where he debates the feasibility of creating a computing machine with a sharable understanding of reality, and he adds "We are precisely such machines." Strong artificial intelligence (Strong AI) is the bet that computer programmers will somehow eventually achieve a computing machine with a mind of its own, and that it will eventually be more powerful than a human mind. Weak AI bets they won't.
The law of obligations is one branch of private law under the civil law legal system and so-called "mixed" legal systems. It is the body of rules that organizes and regulates the rights and duties arising between individuals. The specific rights and duties are referred to as obligations, and this area of law deals with their creation, effects, and extinction.
An obligation is a legal bond (vinculum iuris) by which one or more parties (obligants) are bound to act or refrain from acting. An obligation thus imposes on the obligor a duty to perform, and simultaneously creates a corresponding right to demand performance by the obligee to whom performance is to be tendered. Obligations may be civil, which are enforceable by action in a court of law, or natural, which imply moral duties but are unenforceable unless the obligor consents.
Evolutionary thought, the conception that species change over time, has roots in antiquity - in the ideas of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese as well as in medieval Islamic science. With the beginnings of modern biological taxonomy in the late 17th century, two opposed ideas influenced Western biological thinking: essentialism, the belief that every species has essential characteristics that are unalterable, a concept which had developed from medieval Aristotelian metaphysics, and that fit well with natural theology; and the development of the new anti-Aristotelian approach to modern science: as the Enlightenment progressed, evolutionary cosmology and the mechanical philosophy spread from the physical sciences to natural history. Naturalists began to focus on the variability of species; the emergence of paleontology with the concept of extinction further undermined static views of nature. In the early 19th century Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution
Plato was called by biologist Ernst Mayr "the great antihero of evolutionism," because he promoted belief in essentialism, which is also referred to as the theory of Forms. This theory holds that each natural type of object in the observed world is an imperfect manifestation of the ideal, form or "species" which defines that type.
In my opinion I believe Ernst Mayr,had a complete mis-understanding of Plato's Forms,as so many others do. Clearly above states "This theory holds that each natural type of object in the observed world is an imperfect
Taking a Look at Review of Mayr’s One Long Argument(Ernst Mayr )
Mayr belongs to the select company who devised, in the Forties, the reconciliation of Darwinism to Mendelian genetics called Neo-Darwinism. One monument to this synthesis is the University of Chicago Centenary volumes published in 1959, where leading lights exalted the vindication of Darwin’s theory. In the intervening decades enormous advances in all the sciences bearing on evolution have been made. Does Neo-Darwinism survive? Mayr believes that it does. To establish this improbable case, he begins his effort with a characterization of Darwin’s achievement in terms compatible with what he takes to be the current state of evolutionary theory.
A fundamental historical component of the Darwinist credo is that the publication of the Origin marks an abrupt break, styled the Darwinian Revolution, in European thought, not merely in science but across the board, starting with religion and theology. Mayr’s proposed characterization of this transformation is specified by four claims.
Claim 4. Darwin was >the first person to work out a sound theory of classification, one which is still adopted by the majority of taxonomists<. Crikey! Darwin’s theory of classification amounts to little more than the proposal that it be based on evolutionary descent. The proposal was made by pre-Origin evolutionists and sketches of plausible lines of descent, including the pithacoid origin of our species, were readily available. The first edition of the Origin presented but one descent scenario—of whales from bears—but it attracted such ridicule that Darwin withdrew it in the second printing. His few subsequent proposals of descent, eg, the origin of mammals and of the human species, reiterated proposals made by others. The first attempt at an evolutionary phylogeny stems from Darwin’s ardent discipline, Ernst Haeckel, which he based on the >biogenic law< (long since abandoned). Systematics has undergone profound change since 1959, first through Willi Hennig’s reconceptualization of classification as cladistics, and then the elaboration of cladism by molecular analysis. (When Mayr wrote this book, his own earlier contributions to systematics had been superseded). To suggest a connection of this development with Darwin’s modest contribution is to genuflect before the Holy Father.
These criticisms address statements made in but two pages of the text. The remainder of the book is of like character: Mayr pays no mind to the recent outpouring of history/philosophy of science literature that has placed Darwin in context. Thanks to these advances in historical knowledge, we now know that his original contributions were few, that his errors and oversights were many, and that he and his True Believer disciples relentlessly campaigned to promote the Cult of Evolution, whose dogmatism sometimes retarded or distorted the growth of evolutionary science. This book is a living fossil.
Excerpt from :" Sense experience to the forms"
HOW CAN WE ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FORMS? Those people in Plato’s republic who eventually acquire knowledge of the Forms are those guardians who become philosophers. The guardians are trained in arithmetic, geometry and astronomy to bring them to dianoia. But to achieve noésis, the guardians must be additionally trained in dialectic, or philosophical argument. For further discussion of this argument, see the handout on ‘Plato’s similes of the Cave and the Divided Line’.
Plato argues that to gain knowledge of the Forms, a person must be ‘re-oriented’, away from being concerned and caught up in the world of the senses: ‘the mind as a whole must be turned away from the world of change until its eye can bear to look straight at reality, and at the brightest of all realities which is what we call the good’ (518c). The final step in the philosophers’ education is not so much about imparting knowledge, and but turning the mind towards the Forms. However, the question still remains how dialectic leads to an understanding of the Forms.
In fact, Plato doesn’t say. One theory is that, as shown in Plato’s The Republic and other dialogues, dialectic establishes both the existence and the nature of the Forms. Another relates to the fact that the Forms are ‘one-over-many’. A Form is unitary and simple, but many particular things can participate in it. There is only one Form of Beauty, but many things can be beautiful. Mathematics helps us to understand the idea of ‘one-over-many’, and helps us understand how the ‘one’ is the real essence that the many share in. For example, mathematics establishes the necessary properties that all triangles must have in common. And all existing triangles are triangles because they share the essential properties of the Form of the Triangle. Dialectic helps us understand this more generally, or abstractly, because it searches for a unifying account of each and every thing. Dialectic asks ‘what is justice?’ or ‘what is courage?’, and so we think about the abstract ideas, the Forms, of justice and courage.
Plato used the word nous in many ways which were not unusual in the everyday Greek of the time, and often simply meant "good sense" or "awareness". On the other hand, in some of his Platonic dialogues it is described by key characters in a higher sense, which was apparently already common. In his Philebus 28c he has Socrates say that "all philosophers agree—whereby they really exalt themselves—that mind (nous) is king of heaven and earth. Perhaps they are right." and later states that the ensuing discussion "confirms the utterances of those who declared of old that mind (nous) always rules the universe".
In his Cratylus, Plato gives the etymology of Athena's name, the goddess of wisdom, from Atheonóa (Ἀθεονόα) meaning "god's (theos) mind (nous)". In his Phaedo, Plato's teacher Socrates is made to say just before dying that his discovery of Anaxagoras' concept of a cosmic nous as the cause of the order of things, was an important turning point for him. But he also expressed disagreement with Anaxagoras' understanding of the implications of his own doctrine, because of Anaxagoras' materialist understanding of causation. Socrates said that Anaxagoras would "give voice and air and hearing and countless other things of the sort as causes for our talking with each other, and should fail to mention the real causes, which are, that the Athenians decided that it was best to condemn me". On the other hand, Socrates seems to suggest that he also failed to develop a fully satisfactory teleological and dualistic understanding of a mind of nature, whose aims represent the Good, which all parts of nature aim at.
Concerning the nous which is the source of understanding of individuals, Plato is widely understood to have used ideas from Parmenides in addition to Anaxagoras. Like Parmenides, Plato argued that relying on sense perception can never lead to true knowledge, only opinion. Instead, Plato's more philosophical characters argue that nous must somehow perceive truth directly in the ways gods and daimons perceive. What our mind sees directly in order to really understand things must not be the constantly changing material things, but unchanging entities that exist in a different way, the so-called "forms" or "ideas". However he knew that contemporary philosophers often argued (as in modern science) that nous and perception are just two aspects of one physical activity, and that perception is the source of knowledge and understanding (not the other way around).
Just exactly how Plato believed that the nous of people lets them come to understand things in any way which improves upon sense perception and the kind of thinking which animals have, is a subject of long running discussion and debate. On the one hand, in the Republic Plato's Socrates, in the Analogy of the sun and Allegory of the Cave describes people as being able to perceive more clearly because of something from outside themselves, something like when the sun shines, helping eyesight. The source of this illumination for the intellect is referred to as the Form of the Good. On the other hand, in the Meno for example, Plato's Socrates explains the theory of anamnesis whereby people are born with ideas already in their soul, which they somehow remember from previous lives. Both theories were to become highly influential.
As in Xenophon, Plato's Socrates frequently describes the soul in a political way, with ruling parts, and parts which are by nature meant to be ruled. Nous is associated with the rational (logistikon) part of the individual human soul, which by nature should rule. In his Republic, in the so-called "analogy of the divided line", it has a special function within this rational part. Plato tended to treat nous as the only immortal part of the soul.
Concerning the cosmos, in the Timaeus, the title character also tells a "likely story" in which nous is responsible for the creative work of the demiurge or maker who brought rational order to our universe. This craftsman imitated what he perceived in the world of eternal Forms. In the Philebus Socrates argues that nous in individual humans must share in a cosmic nous, in the same way that human bodies are made up of small parts of the elements found in the rest of the universe. And this nous must be in the genos of being a cause of all particular things as particular things.
excerpt from: "Plato's Middle Period Metaphysics and Epistemology"-More doubts about the strict simplicity of Forms emerge from reflection on the nature of definition in Plato's middle period. Ontologically, all definitions predicate the essence of the Form whose essence it is. Plato is attempting to discover through scientific investigation, or (inclusive or) through an analysis of what words mean, or through any other method, what the nature of, say, Justice is—compare the ways in which philosophers and scientists work to discover what, e.g., gold, or red, or justice, is. Ultimately, then, the answer to any ‘what is X?’ question will be some specific formula unearthed at the end of much study. According to this line of reasoning, the self-predication statements in the texts are promissory notes, shorthand for what will turn out to be the fully articulated definition. Plato is thus committed to there being Forms whose nature or essence will ultimately be discovered. To say that ‘Justice is just’ is then to stake a claim to the ultimate discovery of the nature of Justice. The problem is that the fully articulated linguistic definition, when it is ultimately discovered, will turn out to be complex. For instance, Heat, one thing, is mean molecular kinetic energy, a seemingly complex notion. So in Plato we find (Republic, 441d) that Justice is Doing One's Own, that a Name is (Cratylus, 388b) a tool that is informative and separates nature, or, though Plato never says it, that Human is rational bipedal animal. Since philosophical and (scientific progress) is supposed to teach not that Justice is just but what Justice is, at some level at least Forms cannot be considered to be utterly and strictly simple. The problem is that given just two predication relations, it is unclear whether Plato thinks that Forms partake of the properties to which they are related or whether they are those properties.
The Oxford Companion to Philosophy writes "Platonic Ideas and Forms are noumena, and phenomena are things displaying themselves to the senses. [...] that noumena and the noumenal world are objects of the highest knowledge, truths, and values is Plato's principal legacy to philosophy." However, that noumena and the noumenal world were objects of the highest knowledge, truths, and values were disputed from the start, beginning with Democritus, his follower Pyrrho, founder of Pyrrhonism, and even in the Academy starting with Arcesilaus and the introduction of Academic Skepticism. In these traditions of philosophical skepticism, noumena are suspected of being delusions. Plato's allegory of the cave may be interpreted as an illustration of the noumenal/phenomenal distinction. From: Noumenon- Wikipedia
In Kantian philosophy, the unknowable noumenon is often linked to the unknowable "thing-in-itself" (in Kant's German, Ding an sich), although how to characterize the nature of the relationship is a question yet open to some controversy.
Patterns in nature- Wikipedia Early Greek philosophers attempted to explain order in nature, anticipating modern concepts. Plato (c. 427 – c. 347 BC) — looking only at his work on natural patterns — argued for the existence of universals. He considered these to consist of ideal forms ( eidos: "form") of which physical objects are never more than imperfect copies.
Perspectivism (German: Perspektivismus) is the philosophical view (touched upon as far back as Plato's rendition of Protagoras) that all ideations take place from particular perspectives, and that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made. This is often taken to imply that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively "true", but does not necessarily entail that all perspectives are equally valid. The term was coined by nineteenth-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Protagoras (/proʊˈtæɡərəs/; Greek: Πρωταγόρας; c. 490 – c. 420 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato. In his dialogue, Protagoras, Plato credits him with having invented the role of the professional sophist.
He also is believed to have created a major controversy during ancient times through his statement that, "Man is the measure of all things", interpreted by Plato to mean that there is no absolute truth, but that which individuals deem to be the truth. Although there is reason to question the extent of the interpretation of his arguments that has followed, that concept of individual relativity was revolutionary for the time, and contrasted with other philosophical doctrines that claimed the universe was based on something objective, outside human influence or perceptions.
Protagoras also said that on any matter, there are two arguments (logoi) opposed to one another, and according to Aristotle, Protagoras was criticized for having claimed "to make the weaker argument stronger (ton hēttō logon kreittō poiein)".
Protagoras is credited with the philosophy of relativism, which he discusses in his work, Truth (also known as Refutations). Although knowledge of his work is limited, discussion of Protagoras' relativism is based on one of his most famous statements: "Man is the measure of all things: of the things that are, that they are, of the things that are not, that they are not." By this, Protagoras meant that each individual is the measure of how things are perceived by that individual. Therefore, things are, or are not, true according to how the individual perceives them. For example, Person X may believe that the weather is cold, whereas Person Y may believe that the weather is hot. According to the philosophy of Protagoras, there is no absolute evaluation of the nature of a temperature because the evaluation will be relative to who is perceiving it. Therefore, to Person X, the weather is cold, whereas to Person Y, the weather is hot. This philosophy implies that there are no absolute "truths". The truth, according to Protagoras, is relative, and differs according to each individual.
Protagoras also was a proponent of agnosticism. Reportedly, in his lost work, On the Gods, he wrote: "Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not, nor of what sort they may be, because of the obscurity of the subject, and the brevity of human life." According to Diogenes Laërtius, the outspoken, agnostic position taken by Protagoras aroused anger, causing the Athenians to expel him from the city, and all copies of his book were collected and burned in the marketplace. The deliberate destruction of his works also is mentioned by Cicero.
The classicist John Burnet doubts this account, however, as both Diogenes Laërtius and Cicero wrote hundreds of years later and as no such persecution of Protagoras is mentioned by contemporaries who make extensive references to this philosopher. Burnet notes that even if some copies of the Protagoras books were burned, enough of them survived to be known and discussed in the following century. A claim has been made that Protagoras is better classified as an atheist, since he held that if something is not able to be known it does not exist. - Note ( here is good example of our need for Certainities,the need to set that final "judgement" so we can communicate,explain etc.) thus creating another "pre-conceived notion"
Anthropocentrism (/ˌænθroʊpoʊˈsɛntrɪzəm/; from Greek Ancient Greek: ἄνθρωπος, ánthrōpos, "human being"; and Ancient Greek: κέντρον, kéntron, "center") is the belief that human beings are the most significant entity of the universe. Anthropocentrism interprets or regards the world in terms of human values and experiences. The term can be used interchangeably with humanocentrism, and some refer to the concept as human supremacy or human exceptionalism. Anthropocentrism is considered to be profoundly embedded in many modern human cultures and conscious acts. It is a major concept in the field of environmental ethics and environmental philosophy, where it is often considered to be the root cause of problems created by human action within the ecosphere.
However, many proponents of anthropocentrism state that this is not necessarily the case: they argue that a sound long-term view acknowledges that a healthy, sustainable environment is necessary for humans and that the real issue is shallow anthropocentrism.
Excerpt from above article @ lifescied.org:
Many modern scholars believe that as children actively seek to understand, explain, and predict the world around them, they develop implicit or explicit informal theories about how the world works. As contrary evidence accumulates, children may or may not revise these theories. These theories give rise to what psychologists refer to as cognitive construals. A cognitive construal is an informal, intuitive way of thinking about the world. It might be a set of assumptions, a type of explanation, or a predisposition to a particular type of reasoning. Three such cognitive construals—teleological thinking, essentialist thinking, and anthropocentric thinking—may have particular relevance in understanding challenges and misconceptions commonly encountered in biology classrooms.
In this paper, we attempt to make connections between each of these three cognitive construals and several areas of challenge in undergraduate biology teaching and learning. In addition, we explore how seemingly disparate biological misconceptions and misunderstandings may indeed have common origins in a single cognitive construal that undergraduate students may find implicitly useful in their thinking outside the realm of biology.
Consider which of the following statements you may have encountered in your own biology teaching and learning experiences. Some relate to molecular biology, others to transformations of matter and energy, and still others to evolution.
Genes turn on so that the cell can develop properly.
Birds have wings so they can fly.
Plants give off oxygen, because animals need oxygen to survive.
Individual organisms adapt and change to fit their environments.
Evolution is the striving toward higher forms of life on earth
Teleological thinking is probably not the only cognitive construal driving biological misconceptions. Consider the statements below, which do not appear to be mediated by a teleological mind-set.
Homeostasis keeps the body static and unchanging.
Members of the same species are almost identical in their physical characteristics.
If left alone, a wetland ecosystem will remain a wetland indefinitely.
Because different cells in an organism have different physical characteristics, they must contain different DNA.
Changing a single gene in an organism results in a new kind of organism.
Thus far, we have explored two cognitive construals, teleological thinking and essentialist thinking, and their connections to biological ideas. No doubt there are others involved. Consider the final set of statements below, which do not immediately appear to be mediated by either a teleological mind-set or an essentialist mind-set.
Disturbance in ecosystems has no beneficial role.
Cell death in an organism is unusual and pathological.
Sexual reproduction always involves two organisms mating, and therefore plants cannot reproduce sexually.
Plants suck up their food from the soil through their roots.
The males of any species are usually bigger and stronger than the females.
excerpt from above:
“When we treat nature as something that exists for us, we are engaging in Anthropocentric thinking, of the sort that has led us to the brink of ecological catastrophe,” Gottlieb said.
The Romantic poet, Wordsworth, was guilty of spreading this way of thinking.
“Wordsworth treats nature as a means to his own self discovery. To a certain extent, that’s harmless, it’s about destressing, but the problem with that attitude at large is that we think the world exists for us,” Gottlieb said. “We’ve treated it as a resource to be exploited.”
Shelley, on the other hand, went an entirely different direction. He was critical of Wordsworth, according to Gottlieb.
“The world cares little or nothing else if humans cease to exist,” Gottlieb said.-note: (to see ourselves separate from Nature?)-me
Anthropocentrism literally means human-centered, but in its most relevant philosophical form it is the ethical belief that humans alone possess intrinsic value. In contradistinction, all other beings hold value only in their ability to serve humans, or in their instrumental value.
"This idea of a great chain of being can be traced to Plato's division of the world into the Forms, which are full beings, and sensible things, which are imitations of the Forms and are both being and not being. Aristotle's teleology recognized a perfect being, and he also arranges all animals by a single natural scale according to the degree of perfection of their souls. The idea of the great chain of being was fully developed in Neoplatonism and in the Middle Ages.", Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy, p. 289 (2004)
|Dictionary of the History of Ideas|
Plato, as the speaker Timaeus, refers to the Demiurge frequently in the Socratic dialogue Timaeus (28a ff.), 360 BC. The main character refers to the Demiurge as the entity who "fashioned and shaped" the material world. Timaeus describes the Demiurge as unreservedly benevolent, and so it desires a world as good as possible. The world remains imperfect, however, because the Demiurge created the world out of a chaotic, indeterminate non-being. Plato's work Timaeus is a philosophical reconciliation of Hesiod's cosmology in his Theogony, syncretically reconciling Hesiod to Homer
Starting at least with Plato, philosophers tended to reject or de-emphasize literal interpretations of mythology in favor of a more pantheistic, natural theology based on reasoned arguments. In this framework, stories that seemed to impute dishonorable conduct to the gods were often simply dismissed as false, and as being nothing more than the "imagination of poets
Natural theology, once also termed physico-theology, is a type of theology that provides arguments for the existence of God based on reason and ordinary experience of nature. This distinguishes it from revealed theology, which is based on scripture and/or religious experiences, and also from transcendental theology, which is based on a priori reasoning.
Marcus Terentius Varro (116 BC – 27 BC) established a distinction between political theology (the social functions of religion), natural theology and mythical theology. His terminology became part of the Stoic tradition and then Christianity through St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Natural theology is thus a type of philosophy, the object of which is explanation of the nature of the gods, or of one supreme God. For monotheistic religions, this principally involves arguments about the attributes or non-attributes of God, and especially the existence of God, using arguments that do not involve recourse to supernatural revelation.
Besides Zarathushtra's Gathas, Plato gives the earliest surviving account of a natural theology. In the Timaeus, written c. 360 BC, we read: "We must first investigate concerning [the whole Cosmos] that primary question which has to be investigated at the outset in every case, — namely, whether it has always existed, having no beginning or generation, or whether it has come into existence, having begun from some beginning." In the Laws, in answer to the question as to what arguments justify faith in the gods, Plato affirms: "One is our dogma about the soul...the other is our dogma concerning the ordering of the motion of the stars".
The Greeks succeeded in constructing a view of the natural world in which all references to mythological origins and causes were removed. By abandoning ancient ties to free acting, conspiring gods of nature, Greek philosophers inadvertently left the upper world vacant. The new philosophy of nature made unseen mythological forces irrelevant. While some philosophers drifted toward atheism, others worked within the new philosophy to reconstitute the concept of a divine being. Consequently, the new outlook toward the natural world inspired the belief for a supreme force that was compatible with the new philosophy—in other words, monotheistic. However, the path leading from nature to rediscovering a divine being was uncertain. Once again, the Book of Nature was consulted, and it was Aristotle who interpreted its spoken text.
The belief in causality in nature implied an endless, interconnected chain of causation acting upon the natural world. It is presumed, however, that Greek thought denied the existence of a natural world where causality was infinite, which gave rise to Aristotle's doctrine of "efficient cause," or “first cause," upon which the order of other causes must rely. The pathway to heaven became clear: “the First Cause is also the Prime Mover of the world; and, since motion is a fact revealed by the senses, the Prime Mover must exist by necessity, a being unable to be otherwise than it is. Consequently, it is also perfect and thus the ultimate object of desire, or the ‘Supreme Good’. And, since nature operates for a purpose, the Prime Mover must also be intelligent. Being eternal it is divine…” and we now know of it as “God.” The ultimate cause, or source, of all natural phenomena occurring in the natural world had been discovered. There was but one God, and He has created all that resides in the Book of Nature.
Scholars, natural philosophers, emerging naturalists, and other readers of the new Book of Nature enthusiastically renewed their investigation of the natural world. Alongside sacred Scripture, the Book of Nature also became a font of divine revelation and a source of knowledge of God. This also implied that for mankind, nature itself became a new authority concerning the divine. There now existed two ways of knowing God—two texts, or two "books"—sacred Scripture and the Book of Nature, and two separate authorities, which was disquieting to many contemporary observers. Which textual authority took precedence? How would inconsistencies between the two texts be resolved? Who would mediate between the two books and exercise final interpretive authority? As Harrison points out, the exegesis of the Book of Nature became a critical concern, especially to the Church. Religious indifference to the material world, which had survived for centuries, came to an end by the thirteenth century. Interest in nature by Church Fathers would transform the study of nature into a theological enterprise. The Book of Nature became a bestseller among clerics and theologians anxious for its knowledge in their search for divine truth and concern for preserving and strengthening the authority of the Church in all matters ecclesiastical, which now included the Book of Nature.
The first contact between Christianity and Greek culture occurred in Athens in the first century A.D. Christian theologians viewed the Greeks as a pagan culture whose philosophers were obsessed with the wonders of the material, or natural, world. Observation and explanation of natural phenomena were of little value to the Church. Consequently, early Christian theologians dismissed Greek knowledge as being perishable in contrast to true knowledge derived from sacred Scripture. Yet, the Church Fathers struggled with questions concerning the natural world and its creation that reflected the concerns of Greek philosophers. Despite their rejection of pagan thinking, the Church Fathers benefited from Greek dialectic and ontology by inheriting a technical language that could help express solutions to their concerns. As Peter Harrison observes, “in the application of the principles of pagan philosophy to the raw materials of a faith, the content of which was expressed in those documents which were to become the New Testament, we can discern the beginnings of Christian theology.” Eventually, Church Fathers would recognize the value of the natural world because it provided a means of deciphering God’s work and acquiring true knowledge of Him. In other words, God has infused the material world with symbolic meaning, which if understood by man, reveals higher spiritual truths. For the moment, however, the Church’s indifference to nature would prevail in ecclesiastical matters.
What the Church Fathers needed, and did not inherit from the early Greek philosophers, was a method of interpreting the symbolic meanings embedded in the material world. According to Harrison, it was Church Father Origen in the third century who perfected a hermeneutical method that was first developed by the Platonists of the Alexandrian school by which the natural world could be persuaded to give up hidden meanings. “This universal hermeneutic was to provide interpretive strategies for dealing with both texts and objects in the physical world. It lay at the foundation of the ‘symbolist mentality’ of the middle ages, and was the sine qua non of the medieval image of the ‘book of nature’.”
For their part, the Platonists believed the visible world reveals knowledge about the invisible world, which in turn, reveals truth and knowledge of the Creator. Origen then demonstrated how the natural world could be made intelligible to man through a process that exposed the spiritual realities which the material world signified. Thus, if the natural world was created to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of mankind, reading the Book of Nature ensured both needs could be fulfilled, in part through what the visible world signifies. The importance of reading the Book of Nature alongside sacred Scripture became evident because references to the natural world in sacred text were unintelligible unless the reader was knowledgeable about the Book of Nature in order to understand these references and interpret their meaning. However, whereas the Book of Nature served Scripture well, it lacked internal order and discernible relationships between the objects it represented thereby reducing nature to an inchoate and unintelligible language. The Book of Nature required substantial editing and revision, which would not occur for another nine hundred years.
The All :
The All (also called The One, The Absolute, The Great One, The Creator, The Supreme Mind, The Supreme Good, The Father, and The All Mother) is the Hermetic, pantheistic, pandeistic or panentheistic view of God, which is that everything that is, or at least that can be experienced, collectively makes up The All. One Hermetic maxim states, "While All is in The All, it is equally true that The All is in All." The All can also be seen to be androgynous, possessing both masculine and feminine qualities in equal part.
The Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy, originally published in 1908 by a person or persons under the pseudonym of "the Three Initiates", is a book claiming to be the essence of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus.
The book devotes a chapter to each of its seven "Principles", or axioms:
The Principle of Mentalism embodies the idea that "All is Mind." Everything that happens has to be a result of a mental state which precedes it. For anything to exist, thoughts had to form first, which then form physical reality or manifestation. "Your thoughts are seeds, plant positive seeds in your mind garden."
The Principle of Correspondence expresses the idea that there is always a correspondence between the laws of phenomena of the various "planes" of being and life. As above, so below; as below, so above. This principle states that there is a harmony which can be made, agreement and correspondence between these planes, delineated as:
This expounds the idea that motion is manifest in everything in the Universe, that nothing rests, and everything moves, vibrates and circles. This principle explains that the distinction between manifestations of Matter, Energy, Mind, and even Spirit, are the result of only different "vibrations". The higher a person is on the scale, the higher the rate of vibration will be. Here, The All is said to be at an infinite level of vibration, almost to the point of being at rest. There are said to be millions upon millions of varying degrees between the highest level, The All, and the objects of the lowest vibration.
Mental Transmutation is described as the practical application of this principle. To change one's mental state is to change vibration. One may do this by an effort of Will, by means of deliberately "fixing the attention" upon a more desirable state.
The Principle of Polarity embodies the idea that everything is dual, everything has two poles, and everything has its opposite. All manifested things have two sides, two aspects, or two poles. Everything "is" and "isn't" at the same time, all truths are but half truths and every truth is half false, there are two sides to everything, opposites are identical in nature yet different in degree, extremes meet, and all paradoxes may be reconciled.
The Principle of Rhythm expresses the idea that in everything there is manifested a measured motion, a to and from, a flow and inflow, a swing backward and forward, a pendulum-like movement. There is rhythm between every pair of opposites, or poles, and is closely related to the Principle of Polarity. It can be seen that this Principle enables transition from one pole to the other, and not necessarily poles of extreme opposites.
It explains that there is a cause for every effect, and an effect for every cause. It also states that there is no such thing as chance, that chance is merely a term indicating extant causes not recognized or perceived. The Principle is clarified in the chapter Causation.
The Principle of Gender embodies the idea that gender is manifested in everything. The authors state that this does not relate explicitly to the commonly understood notion of sex, but rather "... to beget; to procreate, to generate, to create, or to produce..." in general. Gender manifests itself on all planes as the Feminine and Masculine principles.
Mental Gender is described as a Hermetic concept which relates to the feminine and masculine principles. It does not refer to someone's physical sex, nor does it suggest that someone of a certain sex necessarily has a matching mental gender. Ideally, one wants to have a balanced mental gender.
The concept put forth in The Kybalion states that gender exists on all planes of existence (Physical, Mental and Spiritual), and represents different aspects on different planes. Everything and everyone contains these two elements or principles.
The Feminine principle is always in the direction of receiving impressions, and has a much more varied field of operation than the Masculine. The Feminine conducts the work of generating new thoughts, concepts and ideas, including the work of the imagination.
The Masculine principle is always in the direction of giving out or expressing, and contents itself with the "Will" in its varied phases.
It is said that there must be a balance in these two forces. Without the Feminine, the Masculine is apt to act without restraint, order, or reason, resulting in chaos. The Feminine alone, on the other hand, is apt to constantly reflect and fail to actually do anything, resulting in stagnation. With both the Masculine and Feminine working in conjunction, there is thoughtful action that breeds success, which points out that both the Feminine and the Masculine fulfill each other.