Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Faith & Reason Part 1

Finally, someone with some sechel talks about Faith and Reason. Pity I don't understand a word of it. (From Hirhurim Comments)

I am glad to see a collection of different positions to shed light on the Greek-based dichotomizing of Judaism known as "fact vs. faith", where Yahadut is posited as "scientific" and "rational" (neither of which are hebrew terms), as opposed to being Divine in origin and outside imposed temporal dichotomies. Many who try to use the "faith v. fact" dichotomy (Kiruv often), adopt whole-heartedly materialist definitions for both terms, implying that the two exhaust all possible modes of knowing, under the pretentions of "fighting the enemy on their battlefield".

It is far too easy in such a intellectual skirmish to fall victim to the Cliffordian maxim of an unconditional demand for empirical evidence (terms needing tradition-bound definition), for ANY and all beliefs at all times, despite the obvious impossibility of such a life. It's likewise too easy to be pressured into an ultimately Fideistic trap of "I simply believe", despite reason and reality.

EVERY doxastic system to be systematic must posit a fundamental Given which is reasoned FROM not reasoned TO; this holds for "secular" systems as well as (explicitly) religious systems. Roy Clouser gets into this in his "Myth of Religious Neutrality" and a little bit in his "Knowing With The Heart" (KWTH is more xtian polemic and argues on other peripheral issues). Kelly James Clark (xtian) argues against the fallacious nature of the Evidentialist "fact v. faith" approach and the Cliffordian Standard in his "Return To Reason". R. Eliezer Berkovits is a Jewish source who'd written very briefly around similar themes in parts of his "God, Man and History". (N Paulovic)

I think I was doxastic once, but then I took some tylenol and felt much better.

At times like these I really wish I had listened to what my philosophy teacher told me.
Why, what did he tell you ?
I don't know, I didn't listen.

Seriously though, I think I get what he is saying. That all systems rely on some givens, which cannot be proven, and that either extreme of ultimate rationalism or simple faith is bad.