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This is a discussion on He's Dead! within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by C_ntua Etymology means true/accurate meaning of the word. It doesn't really changes. It is defined preferably once. ...

  1. #46
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua
    Etymology means true/accurate meaning of the word. It doesn't really changes. It is defined preferably once. If you want a new meaning you can use a new word.
    Then the meaning of "etymology", according to you, is "fantasy" Either that, or etymology is a concept only applicable to dead languages.

    The same word can have different meanings based on context. Indeed, taking a quick check of an online dictionary, I see that etymology means:
    • the derivation of a word.
    • an account of the history of a particular word or element of a word.
    • the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words.


    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua
    Commonly used is not a good way to go with the meaning of a word. Religion is commonly used differently for example.
    If you want to avoid misunderstanding, define your intended meaning of a word whose meaning may be in contention.
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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Well, my mother language is Greek Which is an ancient, but not dead language. For English we can say that there is no etymology if you prefer for most of the words. But there is no sense of saying that the word etymology doesn't have a specific etymology. If etymology itself cannot be well defined then there is no point...

    How you use a word and what is its etymology are different things. Astronomy and astrology as an example. Their etymology doesn't really tell you anything about the distinction of the two meanings the words have. But their use is different, one is considered a science the other not.

    Everything taking under consideration, I would just say that most English words don't have an etymology based on English itself. You can track their etymology if you go to the initial language that the root is based of, but that is probably not really useful for a language. Main reason I don't like English...

    But regardless, as a "preferred" use of the word religion I would say that it has to do with the divine. I will exclude God, since the meaning is different from divine in the English language. Now, what is considered divine is subjective. The emotion and the feeling though is common, that is why we have a word.

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Everything taking under consideration, I would just say that most English words don't have an etymology based on English itself.
    Which is a good thing. If a word is original to speakers then it is likely, if not always, a concept not directly translatable to other languages. Words like that might at least become loan words if said speakers can interact with the rest of us. If a language can't influence any other language for sake of its purity, you really are talking about a culture that is either gone or does nothing of interest to the rest of the world.

    But still I find this to be a point of pedantry. Discussing etymology doesn't mean you have a point here. God or divine, it makes no difference, god exudes the divine. You literally define god in terms of being divine, doing divine things: like answering prayers, or world building, or managing the afterlife. Even animist religions, where things are godlike (at the least), don't exclude god.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    So, why wouldn't Buddhism be considered a religion?
    Buddhism is a religion, and it includes supernatural beliefs. Traditional Buddhism has a pantheon.

    New age Buddhism tends to focus on pragmatic, conceptual use of terms like karma and maya, but this is still reification, which is a cornerstone of all religion.

    Reification is not limited to religion, but it is often what we mean when we use the word religion pejoratively (to refer to beliefs based on flawed premises). However, not every form of belief or value is about reification. Which is why this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    I agree but I have to say though, that rationalism (logic) often answers a different set of questions.
    Is an obfuscation. A religious person might have such a conviction, because they must compartmentalize their thinking, giving reason it's "proper domain" excluding the "spiritual". A pseudo-religious version would be to exclude "existential" questions of meaning and value from the domain of reason, but that is another prejudice and probably involves a lot of reification .
    Last edited by MK27; 05-11-2011 at 08:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Is an obfuscation. A religious person might have such a conviction, because they must compartmentalize their thinking, giving reason it's "proper domain" excluding the "spiritual". A pseudo-religious version would be to exclude "existential" questions of meaning and value from the domain of reason, but that is another prejudice and probably involves a lot of reification .
    It's not an obfuscation and it doesn't rely on conviction either, there are quite a lot said about it in the 20th century logic movement. But I can see how it can easily be mistaken as such. Any statement made about for example existentialism or religion, where no verifiable empirical observations has been/or can be made, can only be said to be neither true/nor false, and thus from a logical standpoint are meaningless nonsense. Trying to prove them, would be foolish and not rational.

    Let's put it this way, "truth" in an absolute sense only exists in purely analytical propositions, ie of the form "1 + 1 = 2" or "All triangles have three corners" they are tautologies, not useful to gain new knowledge. But I'm tired of arguing about this, but if your interested there is a lot said about it already, look up the Vienna circle which had members like Rudolph Carnarp, Bertrand Russel, Wittgenstein, Kurt Gödel the list goes on. I'm just going to paste in this paragraph of Nietzsche to end with.

    Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. _One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. Rather, it is human, and only its possessor and begetter takes it so solemnly-as though the world's axis turned within it. But if we could communicate with the gnat, we would learn that he likewise flies through the air with the same solemnity, that he feels the flying center of the universe within himself. There is nothing so reprehensible and unimportant in nature that it would not immediately swell up like a balloon at the slightest puff of this power of knowing. And just as every porter wants to have an admirer, so even the proudest of men, the philosopher, supposes that he sees on all sides the eyes of the universe telescopically focused upon his action and thought.
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  6. #51
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    It's not an obfuscation and it doesn't rely on conviction either, there are quite a lot said about it in the 20th century logic movement. But I can see how it can easily be mistaken as such. Any statement made about for example existentialism or religion, where no verifiable empirical observations has been/or can be made, can only be said to be neither true/nor false, and thus from a logical standpoint are meaningless nonsense.

    [...]

    Trying to prove them, would be foolish and not rational.
    look up the Vienna circle which had members like Rudolph Carnarp, Bertrand Russel, Wittgenstein, Kurt Gödel the list goes on. I'm just going to paste in this paragraph of Nietzsche to end with.
    Yeah, I'm aware of all that, but you are presenting one side of an argument as if it were the only side, which is more pejorative obfuscation. Wittgenstein changed his mind about this.

    The idea that one cannot make empirical observations about existential reality, or from an existential perspective, is foolish. Check out phenomenology -- Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Heidegger, et. al. -- and the various things derived from it (the Frankfurt school, deconstruction, et. al.) which can be used to critique a naive application of logical positivism. Logical positivism works inside a box. That's "truth as tautology". The box does have a true ground (the real) within which tautologies make sense. Which is to say, the concept of tautology relies on some semantic presuppositions which can be exposed/deconstructed. One of those is the reification of the concept of truth. Truth is not meaningful without context; it's a rational tool, and it cannot be made "false" via the concept of tautology because you need the tool to do this. This is the paradox that leads to beliefs like:

    "truth" in an absolute sense only exists in purely analytical propositions
    There is a parallel naive reading of Nietzsche whereby his "revaluation of all values" leads to a nihilistic conundrum. This is an incomplete revaluation, implying there is some objectivity which trumps the objectivity of the subject and renders the subject "meaningless" or without rational tools.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-11-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Well, you just demonstrated how rational thinking also answers these questions. Haven't you? And you did so in a manner that no religious person would accept due to the limitations to rational thinking they impose to themselves. No true faithful can ever accept the rationalization you made on the first paragraph. But you make it because rational thinking is what allows you to debate the issue from the outside and to provide answers (true or false, more on that below) to a problem you identified.

    Meanwhile, rational thinking and its results are entirely different beasts. The first is a process that doesn't guarantee correctness. It's not even about that. It's just a means to an end. It's through rational thinking that you build actual tools and methods to test your thoughts. Not being precise I think, but could be said that rational thinking is what drives you to create an hypothesis and what drives you test it. Whether your hypothesis ends up being right or wrong or your methods are adequate or not, is a largely unrelated thing. However, Religious doctrine is implemented not through the application of rational thinking, but by enforcing unproved, and unprovable, "truths"; dogmas. Here, rational thinking is inhibited, shunned even. You must accept what you are told and obey. Anyone caught in this context and accepting their faith, will surely think that Rational Thinking has no place answering their questions. They are wrong naturally.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Yeah, I'm aware of all that, but you are presenting one side of an argument as if it were the only side, which is more pejorative obfuscation.
    No, I don't think so. I'm not denying that there is a place for rational thinking, what I want is to say there is also a place for intuition, compassion and tolerance.

    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Wittgenstein changed his mind about this.

    The idea that one cannot make empirical observations about existential reality, or from an existential perspective, is foolish.
    I'm not meaning to say that you can not make the observation, just that it's highly subjective. In fact my whole point here is to embrace this. Of course rational thinking is involved in anything we do as a tool, we would not be able to function without it.

    And regarding Wittgenstein he is the one figure that seemed to more point at the areas outside meaningful statement with an absurd reductionism as his method, it's the most interesting about this in general as far as I'm concerned. A clue is that he him self meant that regarding his thoughts as logic positivism was a gross misreading.


    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Check out phenomenology -- Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Heidegger, et. al. -- and the various things derived from it (the Frankfurt school, deconstruction, et. al.) who critique the naive definitions of logical positivism.

    There is a parallel naive reading of Nietzsche whereby his "revaluation of all values" leads to a nihilistic conundrum. This is an incomplete revaluation.
    I'm aware of this too, tell me one school of philosophy that doesn't have another one disagreeing with it, you need to be aware of all sides to get a balanced view of it. But having said that, I have not made any claims where this is taken to the absurd just the most fundamental part that is hard to disagree with if you are honest. I don't know why you bring up Nietzsche's morality here, I have made no references to it at all. I don't really like the man generally speaking and can certainly agree with your point there. It's just that I happen to like this particular text, and I thought it was fitting here. that is about it, it's part of a 12 page rant basically leading to no conclusion. Here it is in it's entirety: http://imrl.usu.edu/6890/OnTruthandLies.pdf
    Last edited by Subsonics; 05-11-2011 at 10:55 AM.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    I'm aware of this too, tell me one school of philosophy that doesn't have another one disagreeing with it, you need to be aware of all sides to get a balanced view of it.
    Of course. But if one side is wrong then the "balanced view" is the other and IMO you are promoting the wrong one, LOL.

    I think the attempt to compartmentalize reason by contrasting it with "intuition, compassion and tolerance" is socio-politically and emotionally motivated. It is used by people who want to insist that there is no objective way to make existential observations, or that (as you claim) such observations are "highly subjective", and therefore things like religion can serve just as well or better than existential reality as a foundation for morality, which it cannot. Religion simply co-opts and sabotages morality for it's own socio-political purposes. Morality is an existential phenomenon*; it is not something you can choose to not believe in any more that it would make sense to choose not to believe in the sky and the color blue. Notice both of those true statements are contextual; that does not make them "useless tautologies", either. And I don't believe the sky is blue because that is the color God chose; that is not true (an objective, empirical, existential observation).

    I referred to Nietzsche because you did and I think he is very important WRT to modern conceptions of meaning and truth (but very much in contrast to anglo-american philosophy such as logical positivism).

    Wow. I think that was (mostly early) 20th century philosophy 101, or 404, or whatever, in a nutshell -- thanks for engaging, Subsonics.

    * the same is true for compassion, intuition, and tolerance, also easily co-opted/perverted by relativists. They can be discussed and analyzed objectively and rationally just like everything else.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-11-2011 at 11:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Well, you just demonstrated how rational thinking also answers these questions. Haven't you? And you did so in a manner that no religious person would accept due to the limitations to rational thinking they impose to themselves. No true faithful can ever accept the rationalization you made on the first paragraph. But you make it because rational thinking is what allows you to debate the issue from the outside and to provide answers (true or false, more on that below) to a problem you identified.

    Meanwhile, rational thinking and its results are entirely different beasts. The first is a process that doesn't guarantee correctness. It's not even about that. It's just a means to an end. It's through rational thinking that you build actual tools and methods to test your thoughts. Not being precise I think, but could be said that rational thinking is what drives you to create an hypothesis and what drives you test it. Whether your hypothesis ends up being right or wrong or your methods are adequate or not, is a largely unrelated thing. However, Religious doctrine is implemented not through the application of rational thinking, but by enforcing unproved, and unprovable, "truths"; dogmas. Here, rational thinking is inhibited, shunned even. You must accept what you are told and obey. Anyone caught in this context and accepting their faith, will surely think that Rational Thinking has no place answering their questions. They are wrong naturally.
    I agree with some of that, unless you mean to include personal faith/conviction or a belief someone holds. Because it's the fact that it's an unprovable "truth" that requires faith as far as I have understood. Another issue here is that since it's unprovable, in what position is you or I to oppose it? I mean by what means can someone claim to have a better understanding of unprovable claims. And if nothing else, that it's a personal matter, and that showing tolerance seems rational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Of course. But if one side is wrong then the "balanced view" is the other and IMO you are promoting the wrong one, LOL.
    Heh, I must say that my view sometimes is, since there is so little agreement generally in philosophy, and by necessity opposing sides can not both be right, and there are more then two sides, more like hundreds, lol. Then maybe they are all wrong.

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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    I think there has to a separation on believing in a religion and having faith in a religion. The first can be seen as accepting it as the truth. The second is trusting that it is the truth since you cannot apply your logic.

    Before you actually have faith in something you need to believe in it. There are a lot of things that can convince you to believe in something. But if you are a rational thinker you certainly will use rational thinking as a criteria. But there will certainly be a big emotional involvement as well.

    The question is what happens when those emotions change or as you change your way of thinking thus the outcome of your rational thinking. Then you can obey what you believed or change your belief. Again there is no faith. Faith is involved when you actually believe in something. When you question something and you are a rational thinker, the later will play a big effect. Your fear of having been wrong about your religion usually will have a bigger impact, but the logical thinking part should't be diminished.

    If you believe in a god and you pray to that god to help you then the faith part is to actually be positive and trust that you will be helped. Rational thinking here is irrelevant.

    Concluding, religion doesn't limit rational thinking. If people use it as an excuse because they are lazy to think or don't care to think about a matter that is another story.
    If you obey in a religion without you actually believing it, you are not faithful. You just don't believe in it. If you believe in it without being rational, then you are probably not a rational thinker in the first place.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Funny, because I always thought Faith had nothing to do with Belief.

    The latter is a rational process acquired through analysis and thought that may be as lengthy and detailed as one wishes. Regardless of on the end it may resulting in a false belief, it still is however a cognitive process. Whereas Faith is exactly what happens when this cognitive process is dumped in the sewer. In other words, Faith is what happens when you failed at believing.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 05-14-2011 at 07:44 AM.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    You cannot really have faith in something you don't believe. You can just be obedient.

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