March 21, 2013 10 Comments
Famous philosopher Thomas Nagel recently published a book questioning the hallowed dogma of strict, reductionist materialism. I have not read the book, but a philosopher friend recommended it to me. It’s nice to see someone daring to challenge the ridiculous control grid that is modern so-called academia. In a similar vein this week, a friend set up a Google chat where I was able to meet an MIT professor and debate certain questions relating to materialism and Platonism. While I have to tread lightly here, I want to make it clear that I am not advocating everything Plato taught. However, in the course of debating academics and thinkers, appeals to the hallowed tradition of Platonism and mathematics seems to have some weight as an inroad. I don’t think I made much progress in my discussion/debate with the MIT chap, but it illustrates for me further confirmation of the correctness of my own positions on metaphysics.
In the course of this conversation several ideas came to mind that highlight the impossibility of rank materialism. Many of them have been highlighted here before, but it’s always good to rehearse them, since modernity is so committed to this dogma without question. The first faulty presupposition is naive empiricism. The scientific and academic establishment is still dominated by naive empiricism as its sole epistemological approach. Believe anything you want, in fact, just so long as undergirding all of it is the ridiculous idea that “all knowledge comes through sense experience.” This is the ancient error of the sophists, nominalists and Enlightenment empiricists.
Caught up in the populist ideas of their times, these strands of philosophers and thinkers simply assumed that the intellectual climate that fostered “progress” was and is only had in circles that adhere to this doctrine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since most in this school follow some form of what they would term “logic,” it is very easy to demonstrate that the claim “all knowledge comes through sense experience” is false by appealing to the sentence itself. The claim itself is an exceptionally strong universal claim about both knowledge and metaphysics. Given the propensity of those in this strand to bully theists for unsubstantiated claims, there is no possible way, on empirical grounds, to prove such a claim. The claim itself necessarily entails a whole host of metaphysical preconditions, too, which are anathema to naive empiricism. So the very dogmatic claim of naive empiricism, which even W.V.O. Quine, one of their own, showed was an impossible claim, is still quite impossible. In fact, you can read David Hume himself, the grandfather of modern atheistic materialism, for an elaborate explanation of how empiricism necessarily entails radical skepticism and is therefore utterly destructive to all knowledge. For example, in the Weekly Standard piece on Nagel’s recent workshop with materialists, we read: Read more of this post