Monday, August 16, 2010

A Brief Overview of Materialism and Supernaturalism

(Apologies to Idealists and Neutral Monists)

Empiricist Materialism: Stuff exists. Complex stuff is made of simpler stuff, until you get to the simplest stuff there is. We learn about stuff because we experience it with our senses and can reason about it--the combination of which leads to our ability to experiment on it.

Supernaturalism (aka Dualism): Two kinds of things exist. One kind we know about because we experience it and can reason about it, also letting us experiment on it, as above. The other kind cannot be experienced or understood, cannot be experimented on, and is nothing like the first kind of stuff.

Pantheism/Spinoza's God/Einstein's God: The basic nature of the first kind of stuff--the kind we do experience--is still mysterious, unknown, and awe-inspiring.

Supernaturalist religion: Option 1) The second kind of stuff is what is special, mysterious, and awe-inspiring, and has a truer reality than the first kind of stuff. Option 2) The first kind of stuff is mysterious, and so therefore it is explained by the unknown second kind of thing.


no one said...

Spinoza still has lots of sub divisions in the first type of stuff “nature naturing” “nature being natured” and infinite traits and moods. And he imposes conditions on that stuff also with no proofs.

JewishGadfly said...

Yes. I oversimplified just a tad, and also lumped Einstein with Spinoza. Spinoza does somehow still believe in one substance, though, despite natura naturans and natura naturata.