Archive for the ‘Religion And Conceptual Muddle’ Category

Letting The Fly Out Of The Fly-Bottle

“Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of our language,” said Wittgenstein. And again: “The results of philosophy are the discovery of some piece of plain nonsense and the bumps that the understanding has got by running up against the limits of language.” Reading the Philosophical Investigations very late […]

Posted on May 10, 2009 at 18:33 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Religion And Conceptual Muddle

More On The Natural Language Of Death

People wondering whether the game of life is worth the candle are invariably informed that their burden or problem is “better than being dead”. Oh, really? How would the speaker know? This is yet another example of the logical error of treating existence (in our case, life) as a predicate attachable to a subject or […]

Save Our Whats?

“Oh God, if there is a God”, prayed an anonymous soldier before the Battle of Blenheim, “Save my soul, if I have a soul”. Clearly the soldier did not know whether or not he ‘had’ one of these things, despite presumably knowing who he was and other useful things about himself. When I was a […]

Having And Being

As well as describing ourselves in noun-driven language, which forces us to think of our future deceased selves as the persisting subjects of the predicate “dead”, we make further trouble for ourselves with the verb “to have”. For whenever we say that we “have” a body, we are implying that we are not our body; […]

Posted on May 16, 2009 at 10:36 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 3 Comments
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion And Conceptual Muddle

Body, Mind And What Exactly?

Ever since Socrates, we have known that people are often quite unable to explain what they mean by the words they use every day. It is the same with the terms “spirit” and “spiritual”. If you ask people what these words mean, you will get at best concepts or entities that are already quite adequately […]

Spiritual As Superfluous Synonym

So what, as a matter of empirical fact, do people tend to mean by the word “spiritual”? When someone claims a “spiritual” experience or blessing, in reality she is probably talking about an emotional one. This is particularly notable among Pentecostals and charismatics, who like to manipulate themselves and others into states of emotional excitation. […]

The Driving Seat

Daryl Gregory has said, “Thought is an afterthought”, for the brain warms up for action 120 milliseconds before the act of volition. Whenever we decide to do something, the brain has already started doing it. Sometimes we can even catch ourselves jumping the gun. The implications are profound; what we think of as our Self, […]

Pascal’s Losing Wager

I know a Christian with a really good heart, but not that well-read, who once quoted Pascal’s Wager at me as if he thought it the last word in philosophy. Nobody else takes it seriously, as it can be utterly demolished, for a Christian at least, by pointing out that it works the same way […]

Thoughts On A Really Dangerous Word

Some people seem to think that “faith” means believing six impossible things before breakfast. Both Christians and anti-Christians are sometimes under this impression. The English word “faith” is ambiguous. It can mean either an emotional or a cognitive relationship. The emotional relationship is also called “trust”; that is to say, trust in another person, while […]

Why Do We Want This Anyway?

It is time to ask the question: why would we want to live forever anyway? Or rather: Do we truly want to live forever, in the sense of continuing as we are, or even as ourselves in a reinvigorated body? Might it be that it is actually something else that we want, which we then […]