All “houses of knowledge”–including philosophy, science, and religion–are built upon certain

 

“FOUNDATION STONES”*

 

that are NOT scientifically proven. They’re assumed by faith to be true. These may be called assumptions, suppositions, self-evidences, postulates (as in geometry), or axioms depending on what you read.

 

“That’s crazy!” you say. “I just go by what has to be ‘real,’ the facts, the findings of MODERN SCIENCE. ‘Faith’ has nothing to do with it!”

 

To that we say…

 

[For MORE use the DOOR.]

 

[MORE]

 

“No… I think I hear what you’re saying, but you’re jumping too far ahead.  First, you have to assume that the ‘lumps of human matter’ on top of our necks have somewhere inside them human consciousness or minds at work.

“It’s that weightless, unmeasurable ‘package’ inside of you that informs, or questions you:  ‘Boring!’   Or ‘I hate this!  Stop! 12 seconds was more than enough!  Or, “I wonder what this means?”  Or ‘What is the real issue here, if any?’  Or, ‘This is a little scary!’  Or, ‘Is there a hidden agenda here?’  Or, ‘I wonder when dinner is ready?’”

It’s the “I,” or “me,” inside a person that for whatever reason, when agreeing to “do science” (look at all science has done in the past!) assumes the truth and value of scientific method, accepts (for working purposes anyway) standard science laws and ways to observe and measure, with the “confidence” that people who share your “attitude” and “respect” for science, when repeating what you’ve done will verify your work. Accepting the reliability and regularity of science methods is a FOUNDATION STONE built into science.

(No “randomness” or “accidental mutation of thought,” no willy-nilly results expected or allowed here.)

Science may be likened to a military company of specialists, highly trained and able to do many things, but whose soldiers in battle dress stand idle, forever at attention until a captain, with purpose and direction puts them into action.

A mind is the captain.

Science is a way to do things–spectacular things.

But it cannot examine why a person actually uses its procedures to do them.

Or should do them.

Materialism** says in effect that the cards are stacked. What will happen will happen. It’s “determined” (hence determinism). Without any planning or “thought” from “anywhere” (because all thought is illusion) matter changes from this form to that form and that form to another form and so on…This is sometimes called reductionism. In short, everything is just matter doing its thing. And what humans call “thoughts” are nothing more than tangles of responses received by people’s brains which in turn send out responses to cause bodies to do things. Any time we say that our thought, idea, or belief caused us to do something, well, that’s  just a made-up fairytale to make us feel better. (This probably isn’t the way a materialist would choose to say it.)

Key to materialist philosophy is the FOUNDATION STONE or assumption (or belief) that matter (along with energy) is the only real thing that exists. This is accepted by “faith.” It cannot be proved. (Practically speaking, a materialist often has more difficulty deciding morals and values.) 

Idealists (Idealism)*** strongly disagree. As to the importance of what really exists, human consciousness or the mind stands at the head of the line.  This is the key FOUNDATION STONE. It is assumed, or accepted by faith. Science isn’t able to prove or disprove it. No one denies that electrical connections to, in, and from the brain make the body do what’s “necessary.” That isn’t the issue. It’s that the mind is the “engine” and is the most important factor in determining much of human behavior. 

Knowing things, then, comes from recognizing and accepting FOUNDATION STONES, or assumptions, then by proving things by science…and perhaps by proving things in nonscientific ways that we haven’t discussed.

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* This is adozenseconds term for purposes of this discussion.

** Of course, there are varieties of materialism whose adherents would accuse us of overgeneralizing. If so, we apologize. We are probably overgeneralizing on the “other side” as well. We still believe we’re basically accurate in the key differences here. Also, one big omission is any mentioning of Naturalism, which, we feel, is essentially the same as materialism, though it’s defined a bit differently. Also not mentioned is the heated discussion of the differences between Methodological Naturalism (or materialism) and Metaphysical Naturalism (or materialism). We decided, at least for now, not to muddy the water with these, or to name drop certain key figures such as Boyle, Hume, Newton, Gilbert Ryle, A. J. Ayers, and others. We hope these posts are springboards for some of you.

*** Idealism, in general, is older Classical philosophical theory. Strict materialist philosophers, once numerous, now, for various reasons which I won’t go into, are very few. Keith Ward, who I’ve referred to many times, considers himself a Duel-aspect idealist. For some of you, watching some of his (1 hr. long) Boyle lectures on the Internet would be a worthy adventure.