Philosophy

Summary of Contention

Let me package my weirdness so you can decide with minimal effort whether I am worthy of your attention. It’s not a sales pitch, because I really don’t mind rejection. I just want to make sure your rejection is fully informed.

The most important thing to know about me is my epistemology. That’s a fancy word meaning basic assumptions about knowledge — what is knowledge and issues of validity. Often unstated is the test of what knowledge is: What can we do with it? The whole thing rests on your basic assumptions about reality, things we don’t debate, but we might describe them so you’ll know what to expect. I’ve outlined my epistemology before and it should answer those who really need a longer explanation.

If you were raised in any part of Western Civilization, you are under a heritage, a background of influences which include the Enlightenment. Pertinent point: Western Civilization at its core is Aristotle filtered through the ancient Germanic tribal culture. It’s not entirely rational, but carries a very deep stain of irrational assumptions. But then, Aristotle comes to us through Greek Mythology, too, so purity is simply not a reasonable point of contention in the first place. It can be boiled down to saying Western Civilization is inherently materialistic, worships youthfulness, and recognizes only what can be measured (owned and controlled) by human perception.

Christian theological assertions are tacked onto the outside of this and do not fit. Fundamental assumptions about reality are inherently hostile to any claims of the Gospel. By standing your Christian witness on the ground of Western Civilization, you foolishly weaken your claims, because they are excluded before you start. People do still come to spiritual life, but do so in spite of your folly. Meanwhile, you are derelict in building a witness on sand and miss out on a host of rich blessings freely offered, but unavailable to those who reject God’s ways on this earth.

I cling to Hebrew epistemology (asserting it is also not the same as Jewish). Hebrew epistemology is a particular branch of Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) epistemology. Aristotle rejects the ANE, and quite bluntly so. The ANE regards Aristotle as a subordinate clause, a lower default acceptable for very limited use. Thus, ancient Hebrew intellectual assumptions about reality include much of what Aristotle taught, but don’t give it much weight. Hebrew is not the enemy of Aristotle, but Aristotle is the enemy of Hebrew.

Of particular importance to what I do here is my assertion that holding to the Western epistemology guarantees you cannot understand the Bible. Your subconscious mind will be imbued with an arrogant assumption you do understand it, and better than those who wrote it. That’s wrong. Further, the Hebraic approach is what God designed as the proper viewpoint for humans in this world, so if you don’t embrace it, you fight God.

Good luck with that.

18 Responses to Philosophy

  1. Pingback: A Piece of Jeremiah « Do What's Right

  2. Guymax says:

    Sorry to differ, but I would object that ‘epistemology’ does not mean ‘basic assumptions about reality’. Indeed, as it is about knowledge, its content and sources, it is not about assumptions at all, other than identifying them. It also seems a bit rich to claim that an Aristotlean thinker could never understand the Bible and then omit any explanation. You’d need to identify where exactly the fault lies in Aristotle’s epistemological approach. I feel you sell him short.

    At any rate, to state that God ‘designed the Hebraic approach as a proper viewpoint for humans’ is to ignore epistemology completely and make no distinction between knowledge, assumptions and dogma. I suppose that is an epistemology, in a way, but it’s an unusual approach.

    Like

  3. Ed Hurst says:

    The answer is not available in the form you demand. So much is adequately explained for those amenable to hear it. To others, it will ever remain a stumbling block. I don’t debate; I am a prophet who declares what he receives from God. You don’t have to take me seriously.

    Like

  4. Ed Hurst says:

    Maybe I need to add just a bit more: My whole purpose on this blog is to address the needs of the spirit, not the needs of human intelligence. I offer just enough to help folks let go of this life, including it’s intellectual concerns, and live in and for the Spirit Realm. I have a mandate from God to deliver people from the damnable lies of Aristotle and others like him. Aristotle is roasting in Hell and his teachings were one of Satan’s greatest triumphs on this earth.

    Like

  5. You have an interesting site and have obviously given a lot of thought to your theology.

    Like

  6. Ed Hurst says:

    Thanks, Jason. It works for me. I share in case other folks find bits and pieces useful.

    Like

  7. Ed Hurst says:

    Note: Edited and updated 19 SEP 14 to clarify.

    Like

  8. Hi Ed, I’m reading your debian book which I’m enjoying immensely. I was really surprised to see such a technically minded person embrace Christian concepts. As a jungian ‘therapist’ I’m used to dealing with religion, mythology and fairy tales as ‘the psyche describing itself’ so your philosophical expression is very interesting from that perspective. As an atheist I take little comfort in gods or supreme beings, If I believe in anything it would be kindness. Life is empty and meaningless and we are meaning making machines! Life is ‘out there’ but descriptions of it are not. We make it mean things when in fact it doesn’t mean anything. I’m learning Debian not because it means something, simply because I’m choosing to learn Debian because that’s what humans do! Things matter, but they don’t mean anything. I want to let you know that your Debian book really matters to me and I appreciate your writing style and your deep knowledge of the subject. Your work is excellent and appreciated in my life. Thank you.

    Like

  9. Ed Hurst says:

    Thank you, Francis. I suppose it was more a matter of a devoted Christian embracing technology as a tool for expressing my faith. However, I agree there aren’t that many vocal Christians in the Open Source technology community. Here’s hoping you get as much good use from Debian as I do. Feel free to pester me about things that puzzle you.

    Like

  10. PeterJ says:

    To me epistemology is the study of how we know things and what we know. I find it difficult to see how this needs to become a sectarian issue. Christians know things in just the same way as Aristotle and everyone else. You can reject his ideas but one of them is that true knowledge is identical with its object, and as an epistemological statement this is sound. It is also in agreement with the Jesus of A Course in Miracles, if you lend any credence to this book.

    I often see criticisms of Aristotle’s effect on later thinking, but find that usually it’s his interpreters that are the problem.

    .

    Like

  11. Ed Hurst says:

    Thanks, PeterJ. I suppose it wouldn’t surprise you that I don’t much care for A Course in Miracles, but I’m not crusading for my point of view over others. The point here is to make it clear that there is a clear difference between the epistemology of the West and that of the Hebrew people who gave us the Bible, and that I embrace the latter.

    Like

  12. Debian is very tough because there are many presumptions on the experts side. Learning it from scratch with the banks of terminology is very challenging. It’s a good job I don’t live close to you Ed otherwise I’d be knocking on your door every night and driving you insane. Ha ha

    Like

  13. Ed Hurst says:

    But you’d be welcome if you did, because it’s too late to worry about my sanity. 😉

    Like

  14. PeterJ says:

    I suppose I’m not so much commenting on your post as on a general issue. I often object to the way the word ‘epistemology’ is used, but it’s my problem. To me the idea that there is a difference between the epistemology of the West and that of the Hebrew people quite literally has no meaning for me. They certainly had a different system of beliefs, but I do not know what was different about their theories of knowledge.

    It’s possible I’m being a bit dense about this since you’re far from alone in using the word in this way. So no worries…

    Like

  15. Ed Hurst says:

    I’m not forging new territory, PeterJ; this is what I was taught by professors and what I read in books on Philosophy and Antiquities. Obscure, for sure, but by no means novel. The primary difference between the Hebrew people (and the Ancient Near Eastern civilizations in general) versus Aristotle and the West is the basic assumption about what is acceptable for inclusion in sources of knowledge. The term “epistemology” is partially a question of what you regard as valid input. Aristotle emphasized sensory input and his brand of reason. The Eastern folks would have said it doesn’t go far enough, that you have to allow for input from other sources that Aristotle would have denigrated as mere sentiment. The Easterners would insist there is something higher than intellect that is not mere sentiment, but revelation from outside this universe. I don’t expect you to read my book, but the Course in Biblical Mysticism covers this in some detail. The key term here is “mysticism” as an approach to what is acceptable input.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Like

  16. PeterJ says:

    Okay. I get you now. My apologies, I really was being dense.

    The thing is, I wonder whether Aristotle actually did believe what you credit him with believing. I read him as being open and sympathetic to a ‘mystical’ view that does not stop at sensory knowledge. But then I see a thousand people blaming him for holding too narrow a view. I just can’t ever seem to find the passages that condemn him.

    This is why I mentioned his comment that true knowledge is identical with its object. It is a ‘mystical’ view of knowledge, perfectly compatible with Buddhist or Sufi epistemology, and bang in line with the doctrine of Divine Simplicity. Furthermore, his dialectic logic is used by The Buddhist sage Nagarjuna to prove nondualism.

    I would want to defend Aristotle, but I do see what you mean about different epistemologies. I feel a lot of damage has been done by misinterpretation of the great man, as with Darwin and so many others. .

    If you do not give credence to ACIM then we are going to have to stay off that topic. 🙂

    .

    Like

  17. Ed Hurst says:

    It’s notoriously difficult to pin down Aristotle the man. That’s why I take the dodge of focusing on the effects of his teaching. I’m far more interested in dealing with where we are now than where we might have been had things been different. Aristotle becomes a symbol and very few people know even half enough to argue any of the finer points. Over a cup of coffee we might end up closer than it might appear to casual readers.

    Like

  18. PeterJ says:

    Yep. I suspect that over a cup of coffee most internet disagreements would fizzle out. I take your point about the man as a symbol. I just feel he gets a raw deal. No problem.

    I think the ‘epistemology’ issue I raised is caused by using this word as shorthand for ‘epistemological theory’. But everybody does this so I shouldn’t moan.

    Good to chat…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s