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Paul Kurtz - "I refuse to be defined... as an Atheist"

Started this discussion. Last reply by Howard S. Dunn May 30, 2010. 49 Replies

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Comment Wall (12 comments)

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At 10:29pm on May 12, 2011, Ruth Anthony-Gardner said…
Greetings, AcesLucky! I'd like to invite you to a group where we talk about anything on our minds, Hang With Friends. :D Funny picture.
At 2:50am on November 30, 2009, Wonderist said…
BTW, your comment sparked me to write a better description of What is wonderism? Thanks!
At 3:01pm on November 28, 2009, Wonderist said…
Hi AcesLucky, the most info about wonderism is in the discussions on the Wonderism group. I never really could consistently make videos, largely due to my ADHD and procrastination. But now I'm writing regularly for the group, so more info will continue to be posted there.

Wonderism is an attempt to articulate what I see as a common underlying set of ideas held by many of the best defenders of reason and science (best example being Carl Sagan). I personally adopted it as my own philosophy a few years ago, as opposed to just playing around with the ideas I was seeing in common.

I'm absolutely open to any doubts, skepticism or criticism, or just questions, comments, or other feedback. Please feel totally free to ask me anything on your mind about it. I would especially like to hear from those who have serious doubts or trepidation.

From checking out your site, you may be interested in the posts on pragmatism (about truth) and faith (about, well, faith). I totally agree with your sentiment about truth above faith. I think we likely hold similar evidence-based, rational philosophies. Wonderism is about bringing those ideas to a greater public audience, very much along the lines of what Carl Sagan was trying to do.
At 8:17am on September 10, 2009, James Croft said…
I may be misreading Elgin's piece, but I didn't read the las page as equating "tenable" with "invalid". Rather, I feel that we could say "it may have been tenable at one time, but no longer in light of competing theories which are more tenable". So there's a sort of bounded relativity to it. I will ask her about this question on Monday especially for you!
At 1:45pm on August 25, 2009, James Croft said…
Those are some tough questions!

You ask:

"1.) Is faith epistemologically valid? 2.) Is the universe deterministic? 3.) How do you measure - or even discuss-aesthetics (as form? function? grace? morality?), what?"

I'll see if I can say something about these questions in a short way. 1.) It depends on how you view the enterprise of epistemology. The philosophers I respect the most see epistemology as an attempt to define the process of gaining "understanding", rather than "knowledge" (as knowledge traditionally conceived is almost impossible to get, and our understanding of the world from science depends critically on obvious and egregious falsehoods). That opens the door for faith, because one's faith might well help you understand the world. But it doesn't open the door very far, because it also requires that we judge between different ways of understanding the world on the basis of certain criteria (which end up putting faith-based perspectives very low on the list). So it becomes a case of "faith based perspectives can be minimally epistemologically valid but generally nowhere near as valid as scientifically-based systems". This puts many atheists in an uncomfortable position, but it seems to me an arguable epistemic approach. Kate Elgin's paper "True Enough", in Philosophical Issues, 14, Epistemology, 2004, is great on this.

2.) I have no idea! But I think a more important question is the question of human free-will - how it seems to us, and whether it actually is how it seems. There's a lot of debate about this amongst philosophers, neuroscientists etc. but I honestly think the jury's out at the moment. Some think that ultimately we will discover we have no free will. Others think that there are types of materialistic explanation of human consciousness that would leave the door open for free will.

3.) How you discuss aesthetics? Well, there are as many answers to that question as there are aestheticians, but I like to look at it in terms of symbolic function - how are these objects / actions functioning as symbols, and how does that affect us? This allows us to consider not only traditional art, but all symbolic interactions as "aesthetic" - including the moral interactions you describe. I am much influenced by Nelson Goodman here (a teacher of Kate Elgin's).
At 9:17pm on August 20, 2009, HotMess said…
Welcome to "Are You Experienced?" We look forward to getting to know you!
At 12:01am on August 5, 2009, sacha said…
I'm pleased to make your acquaintance as well.

At 4:54pm on July 31, 2009, Niko Theris said…

Thanks for the compliment. I owe my condition to the good genes my mother and father gave me. True, I don't smoke. I quit when I was a little boy after my father caught me stealing his cigarettes. Fortunately, I've always eaten good and nutritious foods and in moderation. Thanks again.

Niko Theris, aka Naughty Niko
At 11:13pm on July 23, 2009, Evilgenius20 said…
Thanks, I'm glad you liked them.
At 11:25am on June 9, 2009, bruce Hilpert said…
The Arizona Daily Star is the "liberal" paper in Tucson, but I am still surprised they printed it.



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