A meta-level problem with self-verification of a system of beliefs and practices

wynn

˙
Valued Senior Member
If one believes and practices according to Catholicism, one will come to the conviction that Catholicism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to Calvinism, one will come to the conviction that Calvinism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to Theravada Buddhism, one will come to the conviction that Theravada Budhdism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to the Hare Krishnas, one will come to the conviction that the Hare Krishna doctrine and practice is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to modern Western science, one will come to the conviction that modern Western science is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to Nazism, one will come to the conviction that Nazism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
Etc. etc.


There is a systemic problem with traditional/established religions and philosophies: they are self-fulfilling, self-referential, self-verifying; within them, all proofs or evidence are circular.
"If you get the theory right, then you will practice right, and then you will see the particular religion/philosophy is the Absolute Truth."

In this regard, modern Western science is no better than the traditional/established religions and philosophies: "If you do it right, you'll see it's true."

A self-fulfilling, self-referential, self-verifying system is useless, if we want to know "how things really are".


How could one get around this problem of self-fulfilling, self-referentiality, self-verification that are defining for a system of beliefs and practices?
 
Catholicism means universal.

You can be a christian without being a christian.

I understand what you mean that people want people to think theres is the best. But Catholicism is a more open religion. Catholicism is not the christianity that americans believe in, and take the bible as literal fact word for word. Catholicism wrote the bible so they should know what it means and the meaning behind it, and they use the bible as a guide.

So you can be a christian without being a christian. Its a way of life, with not so many rules, but the one thing it does have is that all humans are part of it, and tolerance is part of that.

So stop judging Catholicism as the american form of christianity. The vatican knows how to interpret the bible, as there descendants wrote it.

I could not care less what you think of Catholicism, or whether you think other religions are better. If you resonate to them thats your bag, but i resonate to Catholicism and buddhism.

I think we all have a duality. Religious beliefs are not so simple that you should say your stuck in one. What ever you resonate too, thats fine, even if its atheism.
 
So stop judging Catholicism as the american form of christianity. The vatican knows how to interpret the bible, as there descendants wrote it.

Invent much?


I could not care less what you think of Catholicism, or whether you think other religions are better. If you resonate to them thats your bag, but i resonate to Catholicism and buddhism.

I think we all have a duality. Religious beliefs are not so simple that you should say your stuck in one. What ever you resonate too, thats fine, even if its atheism.

Just because something "resonates with one" doesn't automatically mean it is true or right. In fact, all the major systems of beliefs and practices, including science, posit that one's personal inclinations could be entirely wrong, pathological.
Obviously, one wants to be right, not wrong.
 
If one believes and practices according to Catholicism, one will come to the conviction that Catholicism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to Calvinism, one will come to the conviction that Calvinism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to Theravada Buddhism, one will come to the conviction that Theravada Budhdism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to the Hare Krishnas, one will come to the conviction that the Hare Krishna doctrine and practice is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to modern Western science, one will come to the conviction that modern Western science is true, and the most superior way to live life.
If one believes and practices according to Nazism, one will come to the conviction that Nazism is true, and the most superior way to live life.
Etc. etc.


There is a systemic problem with traditional/established religions and philosophies: they are self-fulfilling, self-referential, self-verifying; within them, all proofs or evidence are circular.
"If you get the theory right, then you will practice right, and then you will see the particular religion/philosophy is the Absolute Truth."

In this regard, modern Western science is no better than the traditional/established religions and philosophies: "If you do it right, you'll see it's true."

A self-fulfilling, self-referential, self-verifying system is useless, if we want to know "how things really are".


How could one get around this problem of self-fulfilling, self-referentiality, self-verification that are defining for a system of beliefs and practices?

Problem with various closed self-containing ideologies is that life comes along sooner or later and exposes their limitations. I was a christian once and totally believed in it and practiced its principles. But then as I learned more and experienced more I realized this model didn't fit reality. I then tried Jungian psychology. Same deal. Eventually it was seen to leave out alot of what I experienced. Then I tried existentialism and it too was found wanting. Science doesn't do this because it isn't an ideology. It is a way of discerning what is real and not real..a methodology that doesn't rely on faith in a given credo or set of teachings. And it evolves with us, adapting its theories to meet what we encounter in reality. That's why it succeeds so well. It is open to the natural manifesting trend of Being itself. At no point does it close itself off and declare of itself "This is IT!" Note that in the case of scientism science CAN be used as a closed ideology. But then scientism isn't very scientific. It's more like a religious dogmatism.
 
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The issue with "science", as its detractors would argue (and here I play devil's advocate), is that it limits itself to what it can examine and can not explore that which it is not capable of exploring.
The "self-referential" nature of science is that its adherents only accept as valid that which science can examine, which reinforces the idea that only that which science can examine is valid.

Personally I think that science is as close as we have to an open ideology, and it is those that can't garner the acceptance of such an ideology that try to claim that it is closed to their variety of ideology etc, thus excusing them from the need to be accepted, and thus perpetuating their own closed ideology.
But this view of mine could be argued merely to protect the "closed" ideology of science... and thus it is can be considered a viscious cycle irrespective of which ideology one belongs to.

Simply put, there is no ideology that can satisfactorily unite or disprove all other ideologies.
Each closed ideology has an excuse as to why others are themselves closed, irrespective of whether they are truly open or not.

Such that it is impossible to prove that an ideology is truly open.
 
...if we want to know "how things really are".

Apparently itself the baggage of some "system" underlying the others, or what the latter would have sprouted from. But potentially inherent in many humans, maybe, rather than socially constructed back in the distant past. Richard Rorty a more recent example of those who have wanted to chuck the whole idea. ("These our gods; what are the gods of your tribe? Oh, those sound good or useful, too.") OTOH, much boot thumping about the realism of a view as opposed to treating it as practical or "warranted for now" or a coping tool could have speeded progress to this era (and our eventual doom as via either destruction of the world or engineering ourselves into posthuman species, or replaced by them).
 
The issue with "science", as its detractors would argue (and here I play devil's advocate), is that it limits itself to what it can examine and can not explore that which it is not capable of exploring.
The "self-referential" nature of science is that its adherents only accept as valid that which science can examine, which reinforces the idea that only that which science can examine is valid..
That's only because things science cannot examine are things for which no evidence is possible. So, no other method can examine it either in an objective way. Science is based on logic, the rules of which are self evident.
 
That's only because things science cannot examine are things for which no evidence is possible. So, no other method can examine it either in an objective way. Science is based on logic, the rules of which are self evident.

So science will never be able to explain logic or mathematics because such are not manifest to us in any empiricle sense? Wouldn't this extend to the mind itself, the private first-person nature of which keeps it from even being physically demonstrable as real?
 
So science will never be able to explain logic or mathematics because such are not manifest to us in any empiricle sense? Wouldn't this extend to the mind itself, the private first-person nature of which keeps it from even being physically demonstrable as real?

Logic is self evident, self proving. There is no such thing as a mind.
 
You don't think mind and consciousness are self-evident? That the fact that you are thinking cannot be doubted since it presupposes thinking in the form of doubt? See Descartes..
There are only thoughts, which is an activity of the brain. Consciousness is thought. The subjective experience of a mind is an illusion. There is thinking, but no thinker, no persistent self.
 
There are only thoughts, which is an activity of the brain. Consciousness is thought. The subjective experience of a mind is an illusion. There is thinking, but no thinker, no persistent self.

Consciousness is a subjective experience too. Is it an illusion as well?
 
Apparently itself the baggage of some "system" underlying the others, or what the latter would have sprouted from. But potentially inherent in many humans, maybe, rather than socially constructed back in the distant past. Richard Rorty a more recent example of those who have wanted to chuck the whole idea. ("These our gods; what are the gods of your tribe? Oh, those sound good or useful, too.") OTOH, much boot thumping about the realism of a view as opposed to treating it as practical or "warranted for now" or a coping tool could have speeded progress to this era (and our eventual doom as via either destruction of the world or engineering ourselves into posthuman species, or replaced by them).

How come some people interpret an uneasy feeling in the body as "Oh, apparently, I don't know how things really are"?

How come some people, when challenged by others or when feeling challenged by the existence of other utterances on "how things really are," begin to doubt their own certainty about "knowing how things really are"?

What if the whole enterprise of epistemology is build on a misapprehension of interpersonal conflict as such?
 
Simply put, there is no ideology that can satisfactorily unite or disprove all other ideologies.
Each closed ideology has an excuse as to why others are themselves closed, irrespective of whether they are truly open or not.

Such that it is impossible to prove that an ideology is truly open.

What if the whole problem is due to systems theory as our meta-tool for discerning the difference between religions, philosophies, worldviews, - what if the whole problem is due to us conceiving there are different religions, philosophies, worldviews, whereby each of them functions as a system?

It's the concept of a system that puts us into the predicament of self-referentiality/circularity.


What would be an alternative concept to "system"?
 
If one believes and practices according to X, one will come to the conviction that X is true, and the most superior way to live life.

I think that it's possible for people to think that many religious paths might conceivably exist, but X happens to be the one that's best for me. In other words, the "most superior" might just mean "most superior for me personally". I personally know people who think like that.

A self-fulfilling, self-referential, self-verifying system is useless, if we want to know "how things really are".

Obviously that's true if the self-fulfilling part amounts to - 'If you would just believe X is true, then you will be convinced that X is true'. (Some assertions about Christian faith sound like that.)

But it's less pernicious if somebody says - 'Practice in this way, and you will ultimately discover for yourself that X is true', where already being convinced of the truth of X needn't be a precondition for the practice. Presumably the practitioner would still have to believe in the real possibility of X being true, in order to think that pursuing the practice is worthwhile. But that's not quite the same circular thing.

Of course, this kind of thing is still going to be individual and personal. The practitioner might ultimately have experiences that cause him or her to become convinced of the truth of X. But that experience won't be particularly convincing to other people who aren't in the position to share it. They still need to perform the practice themselves.

There is a systemic problem with traditional/established religions and philosophies: they are self-fulfilling, self-referential, self-verifying; within them, all proofs or evidence are circular.
"If you get the theory right, then you will practice right, and then you will see the particular religion/philosophy is the Absolute Truth."

In this regard, modern Western science is no better than the traditional/established religions and philosophies: "If you do it right, you'll see it's true."

Except that even people who are philosophically or religiously anti-science still use cell-phones and fly in airplanes. What science supports, and religion seemingly doesn't, is technology whose pragmatic usefulness is obvious even to people who don't personally believe in the underlying science.

It's as if Catholic priests (or whatever it is, Tibetan lamas perhaps) really could summon up miracles, changing the weather, curing disease and creating extraordinary good fortune for their communities. That kind of obvious and objective pragmatic success would presumably even make non-believers sit up and take notice.
 
What if the whole problem is due to systems theory as our meta-tool for discerning the difference between religions, philosophies, worldviews, - what if the whole problem is due to us conceiving there are different religions, philosophies, worldviews, whereby each of them functions as a system?

It's the concept of a system that puts us into the predicament of self-referentiality/circularity.


What would be an alternative concept to "system"?
Objective reality.
 
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