KARL JASPERS FORUM
TA 106 (Müller)

Commentary 1

 

IS  IT  NATURAL  TO  BE  A  NON-BELIEVER ?
by Serge Patlavskiy
29 February 2008, posted 8 March 2008

<1>
[Herbert Müller] wrote:
"[4] The problem is that the mind cannot be a manifestation of matter because matter is a concept structured within the mind; this is, if you like, a topological question. Materialism-type of opinions are based on traditional (naϊve) metaphysics-ontology, which assumes that one can know (about the existence, or various other aspects, of) a mind-independent reality, transcending experience by doing so - it means being oblivious to warnings since the time of Plato that this cannot be done.  This neglect is easy to comprehend, since Plato's opinion was couched in ambiguous language: though MIR cannot be known, it is nevertheless supposed to be ‘real'; and one can see its shadows (commonly called ‘appearances') on the wall."

<2>
[S.P.]
Somebody may believe in God; somebody may believe he (it) doesn't exist.  But what is common to those two persons is that they both are BELIEVERS.  In general, it would be nonsensical to criticize somebody for being a believer, since to be a non-believer is unnatural.  But why I think that to be a believer is natural ?  The case is that the result of organism's intellectual activity -- the intellectual product -- necessarily dissociates into four elements, or levels: the level of description (the D-level), the level of generalization and systematization (the GS-level); the level of an applied theory (the AT-level); and the level of meta-theory (the MT-level).

<3>
For example: if I construct an AT-level intellectual product -- "If I will go to a supermarket at X-street, I will be able to buy my lovely bread" (I have verified this dependency many times), then there is always a D-level intellectual product -- "I have no bread for a dinner" (a statement of a fact, or a description of a concrete situation), there is always a GS-level intellectual product -- "One loaf of bread must be sufficient for me for two days" (a hypothesis that grounds on a systematization of the previous facts of using a bread as a food), and there is always the MT-level intellectual product -- "Whenever a human will go to a supermarket in any country on the Earth, he will always be able to buy a food there; at that his gender, physical condition, social position, nationality, colour of skin, religious preferences, etc. etc. does not matter; the only what matters is being able to pay for that food".

<4>
So, the MT-level intellectual product -- it is always a collection of beliefs.  Think: I have never been to Canada, but I have a belief that if I turned out to be in Montreal some day when visiting my friends -- the emigrants from the Ukraine, and, having a need to buy a loaf of bread, I would be able to do this by going to a supermarket there.  At that, I do not know whether the Montreal's supermarkets are real, and whether the very Canada is real.  So, the meta-theories are not about knowing, but about believing.  I mean that to BELIEVE in mind-independent Reality is not the same as to KNOW mind-independent Reality.

<5>
But what the role the meta-theories play then? What they are for? The answer is simple: the meta-theories organize our cognitive activity. We are always under the influence of such or other beliefs, whether we go shopping, playing with kids, or doing science. But let us ask ourselves what is more productive when conducting scientific investigations: a) to have a belief that mind-independent (Noumenal, or subject-exclusive) Reality does exist; at that we have knowledge about it in the form of Phenomenal (or subject-inclusive) Reality which exists in our minds; or b) to have a belief that mind-independent Reality does not exist (by the way, from this immediately follows that the Moon does not exist when it is not being observed), and what we have around us is just a figment of our collective imagination ?  Personally, I choose the variant (a).

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Serge Patlavskiy
     e-mail <prodigyPSF (at) rambler.ru>

P.S. Maybe, having got more free time, I would be able to read the paper to the end, and to suggest more comments.