Traditional cosmologies?
#21
Melkite, when you have doubts I advise you to pray the prayer of the father of the demoniac, "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!"
Nothing you do for God will ever be in vain, the beauty of sin is only apparent, don't let this world fool you.
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#22
(11-21-2015, 09:20 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote:
(11-21-2015, 09:02 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I don't really see much point in comparing classical and medieval views of the world to the modern technological one in an unnuanced way. First, I think we need to understand that science does not describe the thing in itself or in any way give us access to some sort of absolute reality. Rather, it is simply one way in which beings can manifest themselves to us. In particular, it is a way of seeing that is oriented toward abstraction, calculation, and control. With this in mind, I would say that the difference between the technological worldview and the medieval Christian one cannot be accounted for with a simplistic narrative of progress. In fact, the two worldviews (for lack of a better term) are incommensurable in their basic assumptions and ends and so cannot really be compared in the way that whiggish types often do. After all, the medieval worldview will always seem ridiculous if we start with the assumptions of the technological worldview and vice versa, so in order to make any kind of final conclusion about the two we would need to find some sort of absolute vantage point from which to make definitive judgments, but where exactly might we find this vantage point? All truth is historically situated.

Is this assertion also historically situated?

Anyway, I see your MacIntyrean approach and respond it MacIntyreanish myself: one doesn't need an absolute vantage point to encompass all possible views in order to criticize one or the other (and I don't know if I'd call them historically situated, after all, there's nothing stopping one of adopting a medieval view today. There's no necessity of why one holds this view today just because it is today), but one needs only to exhaust one system, to find it lacking by its own reasonings, to find paradoxes, etc.

I think there was a thread about relativism somewhere here, maybe we should take this up there.

All truth that is expressed in propositions by material beings are historically situated only insofar as temporal beings we exist in history (but this isn't really saying anything that we don't already know... Even St. Thomas would grant it, I imagine). But does it follow that this historical quality of truth renders it relative to specific circumstances that therefore we cannot have universal or timeless truths? No. That's a non sequitur without some serious philosophical argumentation added to clarify... And even then, some of the top analytical philosophers of our time (atheists and theists alike) reject as untenable this sort of historical situatated-ness that was popular during the postmodern movement. More on it later maybe... and yes, maybe for the relativism thread.
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#23
I found this really nice post by Vox called Disenchantment and it's Discontents that really ties into this one.

http://www.fisheaters.com/forums/index.p...sg33941351

It's a bit lengthy but well worth reading.
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#24
Catholic cosmology was (and is) established on the metaphysics of the Church Fathers and Doctors. St. Robert Bellarmine:

Quote:Second. I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe. Now consider whether in all prudence the Church could encourage giving to Scripture a sense contrary to the holy Fathers and all the Latin and Greek commentators. Nor may it be answered that this is not a matter of faith, for if it is not a matter of faith from the point of view of the subject matter, it is on the part of the ones who have spoken. It would be just as heretical to deny that Abraham had two sons and Jacob twelve, as it would be to deny the virgin birth of Christ, for both are declared by the Holy Ghost through the mouths of the prophets and apostles.

http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/16...letter.asp

If you get metaphysics wrong, your cosmology is totally dependent on the opinions of atheists.
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#25
(11-21-2015, 09:08 PM)Clare Brigid Wrote:
(11-21-2015, 09:02 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: After all, the medieval worldview will always seem ridiculous if we start with the assumptions of the technological worldview and vice versa, so in order to make any kind of final conclusion about the two we would need to find some sort of absolute vantage point from which to make definitive judgments, but where exactly might we find this vantage point? All truth is historically situated.

In his essay, von Balthasar locates it in Christ's self-emptying and downward descent, and in our creatureliness and the obedience this entails.

His homily, "Into the Dark with God," makes the same basic points.

I'll have to take a look at the essay and the homily. I think I agree with the basic idea that Christ's descent into human being must be at the center of our thinking, though perhaps I tend more toward the apophatic. I think especially of St. Maximus's assertion that the basis for both cataphatic and apophatic theology is to be found in Christ. At one point, while discussing the Transfiguration, he suggests that Christ's garments represent the knowledge of God's relations with the world that we attain through nature and scripture while His face represents that which transcends all knowledge and language. Perhaps this isn't really to Balthasar's point, but it has always made me think that the negative way of theology and an ardent focus on our Lord's Incarnation go hand in hand. Consequently, though perhaps this is a bit of a leap, one with a Christocentric orientation can and ought to be skeptical of any claim to absolute knowledge, as both the extent of our possible knowledge and its ultimate inadequacy are revealed in Christ. Anyway, I'm not sure if I'm explaining my position very well. I'll have to see what Balthasar has to say. 

(11-21-2015, 09:20 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote:
(11-21-2015, 09:02 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I don't really see much point in comparing classical and medieval views of the world to the modern technological one in an unnuanced way. First, I think we need to understand that science does not describe the thing in itself or in any way give us access to some sort of absolute reality. Rather, it is simply one way in which beings can manifest themselves to us. In particular, it is a way of seeing that is oriented toward abstraction, calculation, and control. With this in mind, I would say that the difference between the technological worldview and the medieval Christian one cannot be accounted for with a simplistic narrative of progress. In fact, the two worldviews (for lack of a better term) are incommensurable in their basic assumptions and ends and so cannot really be compared in the way that whiggish types often do. After all, the medieval worldview will always seem ridiculous if we start with the assumptions of the technological worldview and vice versa, so in order to make any kind of final conclusion about the two we would need to find some sort of absolute vantage point from which to make definitive judgments, but where exactly might we find this vantage point? All truth is historically situated.

Is this assertion also historically situated?

No, I am one who is situated at the endpoint of history, the final hermeneut for whom thought has become transparent to itself.  :P

(11-21-2015, 09:20 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Anyway, I see your MacIntyrean approach and respond it MacIntyreanish myself: one doesn't need an absolute vantage point to encompass all possible views in order to criticize one or the other (and I don't know if I'd call them historically situated, after all, there's nothing stopping one of adopting a medieval view today. There's no necessity of why one holds this view today just because it is today), but one needs only to exhaust one system, to find it lacking by its own reasonings, to find paradoxes, etc.

I think there was a thread about relativism somewhere here, maybe we should take this up there.

I know MacIntyre takes the same approach that you are taking here, but I don't think I really agree. Obviously, we can approach and criticize other narratives from within our own, and in some cases we can do so in a way that convinces adherents of this other narrative that our worldview is superior to theirs in some way. However, I'm not sure that this fact really does as much as MacIntyre seems to think. After all, pragmatic critera--what "works better" or seems to solve the greatest number of problems--are also contingent and relative. So, one narrative can seem to defeat another in a factual sense, yes, but this does not mean that there is some sort of process by which we could ever decide that one narrative can out-explain all other narratives. I think Milbank's critique of MacIntyre on this point in Theology and Social Theory is fairly convincing.

Also, when I say that truth is historically situated, I don't only mean that the propositions we fabricate about the essences of things are historically situated, though of course this is true. Actually, I am thinking of truth more as something that belongs to beings as they reveal themselves to us and which is reflected only secondarily in propositions. In a sense, I am thinking more of Adorno's "temporal core of truth," though I don't quite go along with all of the Marxian assumptions that Adorno made when using this phrase. At any rate, beings, and thus Being, reveal themselves to us only in time. There is no separate realm of timeless Being that we can come to know through abstraction from the data of experience. This being the case, when we come to know a being, it is always in a peculiar way: the being simultaneously reveals itself to us and conceals itself from us in time. Being, then, is not pure presence. In fact, in a certain way, we might say that Being is time. In this sense, all truth, just as all being, is historically situated.

I think we might also say that we only come to know Being in language. By this, I don't mean only--or even primarily--the language of philosophy, but rather language insofar as it constitutes the horizon against which we, as particular historical human beings, view the various beings that we come across. The consequence of this, I think, is that both the being of beings itself and our encounter with this being in language is tied to a unique historical moment.       

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#26
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#27
(11-21-2015, 10:30 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(11-21-2015, 09:48 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Actually no, it doesn't scare me at all. When I was converted I really experienced Jesus Christ in a way that I cannot deny. Of course it sounds nonsensical to many,and of course there's absolutely no way to prove this experience in some scientific way to you or anyone else, but it has kept me going and continues to be a source of direction and grace for me.

If it's not too personal, would you mind telling that story?
One thing that helps me is a consistent daily prayer life according to some form of the Office. You're an Eastern guy like myself, have you ever tried praying the basic hours from a Horologion or Prayerbook like the Jordanville, the Old Orthodox Prayerbook or the ones put out by the HTM monastery or Eastern Catholic publishers? [/quote]

I have a Melkite prayerbook that includes a very basic version of matins, vespers and compline, and one published by the Antiochian archdiocese that includes all the hours but is whittled down for lay use.  I probably should get back into praying them, especially Compline.  The prayers of repentance and supplication for mercy in Compline are beautiful.  But I haven't prayed them in a while, and I always feel guilty praying them if I don't believe them fully, even if I have doubt, like I'm being hypocritically by praying to a God I'm not always sure I believe in.

Quote:And finally may I ask, what is it that terrifies you about possibly being wrong?

Well, if there is no God (which I am certain as is reasonably possible that there is), or if the Christian faith is not the true faith, and that there is no afterlife, I'm terrified of wasting the one life I have here on an afterlife that would never come.  This is probably connected to my tendency towards scrupulosity in some way.  There are so many things in this life, here, right now, that seem like they would be beautiful and fulfilling to be a part of, but in some way, as a Christian, we are either called to avoid them altogether if they are sinful (I don't think I really see beauty and meaning in sin, at least not often, I am just using it as an example for the purpose of discussion), or if not sinful, must be avoided because of our particular station of life, or just avoided because we are told they are trivial and of no importance in comparison to striving for eternity with God.  I'm afraid that even if I go to my deathbed believing in God, that I may be so embittered over the lost opportunities that I could have had, but chose not to because I was afraid of hell, that I might then hate God and it would have been all for nothing anyway.
[/quote][/quote]


I'll PM you that story Melkite. I had a blog many years ago where I talked about it. I'll have to see if I can dig up that story so you get something closer to that moment, something more fresh than the years of hindsight youd get out of me now.

Oh, and I see your point about feeling like you're missing out on stuff, especially if you tend towards scrupulosity.  I'm hardly a poster child for holiness though.Theres a struggle within me for sure. I love all sorts of things that are sinful and struggle immensely. Perhaps I'll give you more over PM, but these other guys are getting into some really technical academic stuff that's way over my head and so I don't want to ruin the thread by talking about my own story and pet sins. I promise I'll dig something up for you and share it privately .
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#28
Well, yes, the criteria for insufficiency and even reasonableness are contingent, that's why we it generally doesn't work to criticize one narrative from another one.

I started writing some big response to your view, but, really, I'm simply tired so I'll just say that while we know things by their actions it simply doesn't follow we cannot abstract universals—or even worse, that being itself is time (pantheism!). This is just good ol' modernism.
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#29
(11-22-2015, 12:42 AM)Catholic Johnny Wrote: Catholic cosmology was (and is) established on the metaphysics of the Church Fathers and Doctors. St. Robert Bellarmine:

Quote:Second. I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe. Now consider whether in all prudence the Church could encourage giving to Scripture a sense contrary to the holy Fathers and all the Latin and Greek commentators. Nor may it be answered that this is not a matter of faith, for if it is not a matter of faith from the point of view of the subject matter, it is on the part of the ones who have spoken. It would be just as heretical to deny that Abraham had two sons and Jacob twelve, as it would be to deny the virgin birth of Christ, for both are declared by the Holy Ghost through the mouths of the prophets and apostles.

http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/16...letter.asp

If you get metaphysics wrong, your cosmology is totally dependent on the opinions of atheists.

Interesting, however I never saw any real disagreement between heliocentrism and geocentrism or at least the question is rather meaningless. I think of it as only an apparent difference. It is scientifically impossible to determine out of two objects moving relative to each other, which one is moving. If that makes sense. What do you think regarding my other questions?
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#30
(11-22-2015, 04:21 PM)Dominicus Wrote: Interesting, however I never saw any real disagreement between heliocentrism and geocentrism or at least the question is rather meaningless. I think of it as only an apparent difference. It is scientifically impossible to determine out of two objects moving relative to each other, which one is moving. If that makes sense. What do you think regarding my other questions?

Technically, yes, it is scientifically impossible to know with 100% certainty which object is moving around the other.  However, we can observe that every other planetary body orbits the sun, not us.  We can observe that all the stars in the galaxy appear to be orbiting around the galactic core.  It would take a serious suspension of reason to suggest it is more likely that the sun is orbiting us than that we are orbiting it.
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