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Thread: The Philosophy of Spirit

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    The Philosophy of Spirit

    The Philosophy of Spirit



    First things first.

    This thread is intended to be, and has been formulated to generate, a philosophical discussion.

    This is a philosophy thread.

    This thread concerns "the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence"
    and invites a philosophical approach, philosophical argument, philosophical discussion and disagreement.

    Lest there be any doubt and to avoid any misunderstanding, let us repeat in caps, not shouting but emphasizing:

    THIS IS A PHILOSOPHY THREAD.

    Thank you.



    A Note on the Thread Title

    "Philosophy" here means conceptual analysis and argument.
    "Spirit" is, in the first instance, synonymous with "Mind," as in the German word Geist.


    Thread Questions

    Is Spirit, or Mind, the ground of all reality?

    Is what we call objective reality in all its myriad forms the objectification of Spirit?

    What does "objectification of Spirit" mean?

    Why is metaphysics, rather than physics, the proper study of reality?

    Inspired by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    I don't really have an opinion on the last three questions. But as for:

    Is Spirit, or Mind, the ground of all reality?
    I don't know. Spirit isn't a word I use or find useful, so I will go with mind. But otherwise you are asking if I am a materialist or an idealist. And I'm on the fence. I'm certainly a materialist in my everyday actions. But when I sit down and really contemplate existence the only thing that I can truly know with 100% certainty that actually exists is my own mind. My consciousness. My sense of self could be an illusion, but my consciousness can't. For something to be an illusion, after all there has to be a mind to fool.

    As for the material world I feel fairly certain it exists, but that could be an illusion. A waking dream. Furthermore, if there is a material world out there, I can never truly know it. I can only know my mind's "interpretation" of it. When I experience the world the things that seem real are the colors, and the smells, and the sounds and the textures. But those are all illusions. There is no "color red" without consciousness to perceive the light waves as red. There is no sound or smell without a consciousness to perceive the waves as sound or the molecules as scents.

    So I haven't settled on a position yet, even though it is the kind of thing I often think about.
    “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide

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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic Bob View Post
    ... Furthermore, if there is a material world out there, I can never truly know it. I can only know my mind's "interpretation" of it. When I experience the world the things that seem real are the colors, and the smells, and the sounds and the textures. But those are all illusions. There is no "color red" without consciousness to perceive the light waves as red. There is no sound or smell without a consciousness to perceive the waves as sound or the molecules as scents.
    ...
    Now that's philosophy! Much obliged, Bob. If some other members follow suit, this thread could become exciting.
    Moreover, though you disclaim any opinion on the other three questions, you may have answered the question about the objectification of Mind (Spirit) in the portion of your post quoted here.
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    2.1 Background: Idealism as understood in the German tradition
    “Idealism” is a term that had been used sporadically by Leibniz and his followers to refer to a type of philosophy that was opposed to materialism. Thus, for example, Leibniz had contrasted Plato as an idealist with Epicurus as a materialist. The opposition to materialism here, together with the fact that in the English-speaking world the Irish philosopher and clergyman George Berkeley (1685–1753) is often taken as a prototypical idealist, has given rise to the assumption that idealism is necessarily an immaterialist doctrine. This assumption, however, is mistaken. With the possible exception of Leibniz, the idealism of the Germans was not committed to the type of doctrine found in Berkeley according to which immaterial minds, both infinite (God’s) and finite (those of humans), were the ultimately real entities, with apparently material things to be understood as reducible to states of such minds—that is, to ideas in the sense meant by the British empiricists.

    As Leibniz’s use of Plato to exemplify idealism suggests, idealists in the German tradition tended to hold to the reality or objectivity of ideas in the Platonic sense, and for Plato, it would seem, such ideas were not conceived as in any mind at all—not even the mind of Plato’s god. The type of picture found in Berkeley was only to be found in certain late antique Platonists and, especially, early Christian Platonists like Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. But especially for the German idealists like Hegel, Plato’s philosophy was understood through the lenses of more Aristotelian varieties of neo-Platonism, which pictured the thoughts of a divine mind as immanent in matter, and not as contained in some purely immaterial or spiritual mind. It thus had features closer to the more pantheistic picture of divine thought found in Spinoza, for example, for whom matter and mind were attributes of the one substance.
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    Yes, I do believe Skeptic Bob has provided us with a way to understand the abstruse Hegelian concept of the "objectification of Spirit (Mind)" -- see second paragraph of post #2.

    That cylindrical, red, hard, sour, stinky object over there -- that object is the object it is, there, now, for us human beings, because our human minds objectify it thus, there, now.
    Get it?
    Think about it.

    The objectification of spirit (mind).

    This should be a very exciting moment in your intellectual life.
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic Bob View Post
    I don't really have an opinion on the last three questions. But as for:



    I don't know. Spirit isn't a word I use or find useful, so I will go with mind. But otherwise you are asking if I am a materialist or an idealist. And I'm on the fence. I'm certainly a materialist in my everyday actions. But when I sit down and really contemplate existence the only thing that I can truly know with 100% certainty that actually exists is my own mind. My consciousness. My sense of self could be an illusion, but my consciousness can't. For something to be an illusion, after all there has to be a mind to fool.

    As for the material world I feel fairly certain it exists, but that could be an illusion. A waking dream. Furthermore, if there is a material world out there, I can never truly know it. I can only know my mind's "interpretation" of it. When I experience the world the things that seem real are the colors, and the smells, and the sounds and the textures. But those are all illusions. There is no "color red" without consciousness to perceive the light waves as red. There is no sound or smell without a consciousness to perceive the waves as sound or the molecules as scents.

    So I haven't settled on a position yet, even though it is the kind of thing I often think about.
    Don't fall prey to solipsism. It is a philosophical dead end. I really exist, independent of your mind. And you, independent of mine.
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by devildavid View Post
    Don't fall prey to solipsism. It is a philosophical dead end. I really exist, independent of your mind. And you, independent of mine.
    That’s just what I want you to think.
    “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide

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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by devildavid View Post
    Don't fall prey to solipsism. It is a philosophical dead end. I really exist, independent of your mind. And you, independent of mine.
    The topic of this thread is not the Problem of Other Minds; the topic of this thread is the Nature of Reality. Yours is a common enough confusion among those unacquainted with philosophy save through hearsay. Please read Bertrand Russell's The Problems of Philosophy, a slender volume introducing the neophyte to the basic philosophical concepts.
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit


    The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell - Free Ebook

    Not only for devildavid, but for all those interested in philosophy, a must-read.
    Here in the form of a FREE e-book.
    Best wishes on the start of your exciting journey!
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    Re: The Philosophy of Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    ...
    That cylindrical, red, hard, sour, stinky object over there -- that object is the object it is, there, now, for us human beings, because our human minds objectify it thus, there, now.
    Get it?
    Think about it.

    The objectification of spirit (mind).
    ...
    We are in the realm of perception at this stage.
    So how does the Hegelian "objectification of spirit (mind)" square with the Berkeleyan concept that "to be is to be perceived"?
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    Angel Trismegistus

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