Published on www.philosophyoffreedom.com (http://philosophyoffreedom.org)

Chapter 2 The Desire For Scientific Knowledge

Revised 3/07/2010
Copyright © Tom Last 2009-10

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Chapter 07 [0]   reality-based thinking
ego  Chapter 08 [0]   ethics of self-knowledge  
 Chapter 06 [0]   independent thinking  
 mental picture 
 Chapter 09 [0]   ethical individualism
 Chapter 05 [0]   critical thinking concept  Chapter 10 [0]   ethics of authority
 Chapter 04 [0]   reactive thinking perception  Chapter 11 [0]   ethical naturalism
 Chapter 03 [0]   reflective thinking 
thought  Chapter 12 [0]   ethical norms
 Chapter 02   one-sided thinking desire  Chapter 13 [0]   ethics of self-gratification 
 Chapter 01 [0]   compelled thinking action  Chapter 14 [0]   group ethics



The Philosophy of Freedom

Chapter 2
The Desire For Scientific Knowledge

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Summary 2 [0]
Summary 3 [0]
Self-Observation: Intellectual Curiosity [0]
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Factual Thinking:  We will not engage in any speculations. We will rather descend into the depths of our own being. (2.9)

The fact that thinking, in us, reaches out beyond our separate existence and relates itself to the general world-existence, gives rise to the desire for knowledge in us. Beings without thinking do not experience this desire. When they are faced with other things no questions arise for them. These other things remain external to such beings. But in thinking beings the concept rises up when they confront the external thing. (5.8)

They ought as dispassionate and, so to speak, divine beings, to seek and examine what is, not what gratifies. He should, equably and quietly, look at and survey them all and obtain the test for this knowledge, the data for his deductions, not out of himself, but from within the circle of the things he observes.  -Goethe

The truth of a view in the domain of which it belongs is no evidence for its universal validity. Anyone who seeks a conception of the world must recognize that the first essential is to avoid one-sidedness. -RS, Human and Cosmic Thought


Question: With what world-view or in what way do we try to reconcile our thought-content with the world-content?

Thought Training Exercise:
PTIT exercise #2A Right Thinking [0]
PTIT exercise #2B Right Thinking [0]

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K3 Mind-Body [0]

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K4 Seek Unity
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K5 Materialism
Spiritism
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K6 Introspection [0]

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[0]Thinking as the Instrument for Understanding the World [0])
 


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[0]2.0 [0] Transcending The World Of Phenomena
We search everywhere for what we call the explanation of the facts. We seek something more in things that exceeds what is immediately given to us. This addition we seek splits our whole being into two parts; we become conscious of contrasting with the world. We confront the world as independent beings. The universe appears to us as two contrasting sides: Self and World.

2.1 [0] Materialism
The Materialist tries to understand thoughts by regarding them as a purely physical processes. His belief is that thinking takes place in the brain, much like digestion takes place in the animal organs.

2.2 [0] Spiritualism
The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) and regards it as merely a product of Mind (the Self).

2.3 [0] Realism
If one would really know the external world, one must look outwards and draw on the fund of experience.

2.4 [0] Idealism
What Fichte has actually accomplished is a magnificent thought-picture of the world, but one without any empirical content.

2.5 [0] Materialistic Idealism
Materialism is right when it explains all world phenomena, including our thoughts, to be the product of purely material processes, but, conversely, Matter and its processes are themselves a product of our thinking.

2.6 [0] Indivisible Unity
The third form of Monism sees the indivisible unity of Matter and Mind in even the simplest physical atom.

2.7 [0] Contrast Self With World
We first encounter the basic and original polarity in our own consciousness. We are the ones who detach ourselves from the mother soil of Nature and contrast ourselves with the World as Self.

2.8 [0] Nature's Influence
It is true that we have estranged ourselves from Nature; but it is equally true that we feel we are within Nature and belong to her. This can only be due to Nature's influence on us, which also lives in us.

2.9 [0] Knowing Nature Within
We can only find Nature outside us after we first know it within us. What corresponds to Nature within us will be our guide.

2.10 [0] Something More Than “I"
We must come to a point where we can say: Here we are no longer merely 'I', here is something more than 'I'.

2.11 [0]
Description Of Consciousness
I have not been concerned with scientific results, but rather with a simple description of what we all experience in our own consciousness. Even those sentences about the attempts to reconcile Mind with the World have only been included to clarify the actual facts.

2.12 [0] Facts Without Interpretation
My concern is not how science has interpreted consciousness, but rather how we experience it hour by hour.



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[0]2.3 [0] Absolute Idealism
For Fichte, the external world lost its independent existence in this way: It has an existence that is only ascribed to it by the ego, projected by the ego's imagination. In his endeavor to give to his own “self” the highest possible independence, Fichte deprived the outer world of all self-dependence. Now, where such an independent external world is not supposed to exist, it is also quite understandable if the interest in a knowledge concerning this external world ceases. Thereby, the interest in what is properly called knowledge is altogether extinguished, for the ego learns nothing through its knowledge but what it produces for itself. In all such knowledge the human ego holds soliloquies, as it were, with itself. The Riddles of Philosophy (TROP)

2.5 [0] Agnosticism
Lange's world conception leads to the opinion that we have only a world of ideas. This world, however, forces us to acknowledge something beyond its own sphere. It also is completely incapable of disclosing anything about this something. This is the world conception of absolute ignorance, of agnosticism. It is Lange's conviction that all scientific endeavor that does not limit itself to the evidence of the senses and the logical intellect that combines these elements of evidence must remain fruitless. That the senses and the intellect together, however, do not supply us with anything but a result of our own organization, he accepts as evidently following from his analysis of the origin of knowledge. The world is for him fundamentally a product of the fiction of our senses and of our intellects. Because of this opinion, he never asks the question of truth with regard to the ideas. No matter what the idealistic philosophers had thought concerning the nature of facts, for him it belonged to the realm of poetic fiction. (TROP)

2.6 [0] Indivisible Unity
Haeckel’s very way of looking at things predestines him to be a monist. He looks upon spirit and nature with equal love. For this reason he could find spirit in the simplest organism. He goes even further than that. He looks for the traces of spirit in the inorganic particles of matter: “Without assuming a soul for the atom, the simplest and most general phenomena of chemistry are unexplainable. Pleasure and displeasure, desire and aversion, attraction and repulsion must be a common property of all material atoms.” As he traces spirit down to the atom so he follows the purely material mechanism of events up to the most lofty accomplishments of the spirit: “As the motion of our flesh is bound to the form elements of our muscles, so our mind's power of thinking is bound to the form elements of our brains. Our spiritual energies are simply functions of these physical organs just as every energy is a function of a material body.” (TROP)

 


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