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The Philosophy of Spirit

Angel

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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)
 

Skeptic Bob

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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.
 

Angel

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... 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.
 

Angel

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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)
 

Angel

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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.
 

devildavid

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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.
 

Skeptic Bob

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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. ;)
 

Angel

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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.
 

Angel

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...
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"?
 

devildavid

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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"?
That isn't what Berkeley was saying.
 

Angel

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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"?
The difference, as per the Stanford entry above at #4, lies here, it seems: subjective idealism is a form of immaterialism, whereas objective idealism is not.

So what does that mean? devildavid? You want to tackle this question for the team?
 

Sweden

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'Mind' is not a noun, it is a verb. 'Mind' is what brains, which actually exist do. Just as 'walking' is one of the things that 'legs' do. This false characterisation has been the source of endless confusion across the centuries-

So no minds, no 'spirits' and no 'ghosts'. (The German 'Geist' means ghost. I believe 'the mind' is der Verstand).
 
Last edited:

Angel

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'Mind' is not a noun, it is a verb. 'Mind' is what brains, which actually exist do. Just as 'walking' is one of the things that 'legs' do. This false characterisation has been the source of endless confusion across the centuries-

So no minds, no 'spirits' and no 'ghosts'. (The German 'Geist' means ghost. I believe 'the mind' is der Verstand).
The German "Geist" means both "Spirit" and "Mind"
"Mind," in English, is a noun.
Your argument by analogy to legs fails.
 

Tim the plumber

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"Spirit" is, in the first instance, synonymous with "Mind,"

Well, when you start with gibberish you ain't going to get too far.

In order to talk about it you need to define what the thing is not just say it is the same a x.

If I define quaggg as the same a flunckitate which is similar to perplex but in German you have no clue at all what quaggg is.
 

Angel

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'Mind' is not a noun, it is a verb. 'Mind' is what brains, which actually exist do. Just as 'walking' is one of the things that 'legs' do. This false characterisation has been the source of endless confusion across the centuries-

So no minds, no 'spirits' and no 'ghosts'. (The German 'Geist' means ghost. I believe 'the mind' is der Verstand).

Well, when you start with gibberish you ain't going to get too far.

In order to talk about it you need to define what the thing is not just say it is the same a x.

If I define quaggg as the same a flunckitate which is similar to perplex but in German you have no clue at all what quaggg is.
Mind​

Etymology

From Middle English minde, münde, ȝemünde, from Old English mynd, ġemynd (“memory, remembrance; memorial, record; act of commemoration; thought, purpose; consciousness, mind, intellect”), from Proto-Germanic *mundiz, *gamundiz (“memory, remembrance”), from Proto-Indo-European *méntis (“thought”), from Proto-Indo-European *men- (“to think”). Cognate with Old High German gimunt (“mind, memory”), Danish minde (“memory”), Icelandic minni (“memory, recall, recollection”), Gothic 𐌼𐌿𐌽𐌳𐍃 (munds, “memory, mind”), Latin mēns (“mind, reason”), Sanskrit मनस् (mánas), Ancient Greek μένος (ménos), Albanian mënd (“mind, reason”). Related to Old English myntan (“to mean, intend, purpose, determine, resolve”).

mind - Wiktionary
 

Tim the plumber

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Mind​

Etymology

From Middle English minde, münde, ȝemünde, from Old English mynd, ġemynd (“memory, remembrance; memorial, record; act of commemoration; thought, purpose; consciousness, mind, intellect”), from Proto-Germanic *mundiz, *gamundiz (“memory, remembrance”), from Proto-Indo-European *méntis (“thought”), from Proto-Indo-European *men- (“to think”). Cognate with Old High German gimunt (“mind, memory”), Danish minde (“memory”), Icelandic minni (“memory, recall, recollection”), Gothic (munds, “memory, mind”), Latin mēns (“mind, reason”), Sanskrit मनस् (mánas), Ancient Greek μένος (ménos), Albanian mënd (“mind, reason”). Related to Old English myntan (“to mean, intend, purpose, determine, resolve”).

mind - Wiktionary
So the usual meaning of mind;

The collection of thoughts and awareness of the world as constructed in your brain which uses the inputs from nerves and memories etc to do this.

OK, that will do as step 1.

Step 2; ask a question.
 

Sweden

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The German "Geist" means both "Spirit" and "Mind"
"Mind," in English, is a noun.
Your argument by analogy to legs fails.
Yes 'mind' in English is mistakenly thought to be a noun. But grammar and science are different things. In the absence of a functioning brain 'mind' cannot exist, anymore than can 'walking' in the absence of legs. You are a prisoner of a false concept, like generations of would-be philosophers before you.
 

Angel

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Yes 'mind' in English is mistakenly thought to be a noun. But grammar and science are different things. In the absence of a functioning brain 'mind' cannot exist, anymore than can 'walking' in the absence of legs. You are a prisoner of a false concept, like generations of would-be philosophers before you.
No, you are blinded by your faith in science and prevented thereby from recognizing that brain science has not accounted for mind at all, that mind continues to elude the best efforts of physical science, limited by its materialist assumptions, to understand it.
 

Sweden

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Mind​

Etymology

From Middle English minde, münde, ȝemünde, from Old English mynd, ġemynd (“memory, remembrance; memorial, record; act of commemoration; thought, purpose; consciousness, mind, intellect”), from Proto-Germanic *mundiz, *gamundiz (“memory, remembrance”), from Proto-Indo-European *méntis (“thought”), from Proto-Indo-European *men- (“to think”). Cognate with Old High German gimunt (“mind, memory”), Danish minde (“memory”), Icelandic minni (“memory, recall, recollection”), Gothic (munds, “memory, mind”), Latin mēns (“mind, reason”), Sanskrit मनस् (mánas), Ancient Greek μένος (ménos), Albanian mënd (“mind, reason”). Related to Old English myntan (“to mean, intend, purpose, determine, resolve”).

mind - Wiktionary
All or these words originate from pre-scientific ages when brains were poorly understood, if at all. They were used by primitives who often considered that the organ of cognition was the heart. Your list is therefore entirely pointless.
 

Angel

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All or these words originate from pre-scientific ages when brains were poorly understood, if at all. They were used by primitives who often considered that the organ of cognition was the heart. Your list is therefore entirely pointless.
You made an erroneous semantic point and I corrected it.
The brain is not the mind. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you'll be free of your scientific blinders.
By the way, in case you haven't noticed, this is the Philosophy forum.
 

Sweden

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No, you are blinded by your faith in science and prevented thereby from recognizing that brain science has not accounted for mind at all, that mind continues to elude the best efforts of physical science, limited by its materialist assumptions, to understand it.
Science is but organised knowledge, while 'philosophy' is, sadly, all too often a playground of the scientifically illiterate. The Greeks had a word for them: sophists.
 

Angel

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Science is but organised knowledge, while 'philosophy' is, sadly, all too often a playground of the scientifically illiterate. The Greeks had a word for them: sophists.
Spoken like a true cultist of scientism, with the flair of the philosophically challenged, to borrow a euphemism.
And I remind you a second time of where you are posting.
 

Sweden

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You made an erroneous semantic point and I corrected it.
The brain is not the mind. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you'll be free of your scientific blinders.
By the way, in case you haven't noticed, this is the Philosophy forum.
Of course I noticed it's a 'Philosophy Forum'. Where else would one find playing with words substituting for knowledge? No wonder you disdain science, you know so little of it.
 
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