And an Introduction to Part VIII



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Finding a Place for the Idea of God – A Brief Overview of Parts IV-VII

And an Introduction to Part VIII:


Subtitled -

Dead or Alive?:

The Examination and Intersection of Three Arguments In a Skeleton Format

For an Positive, Actual and Personal Theological Difference?1

0. Introduction To Our Skeleton

I have to date presented the first four papers in my series Finding a Place for the Idea of God. In the next three papers I have entered into a number of very technical, and interesting, digressions. In an abridged version I have tried to reduce some of these necessary wanderings in the wilderness in order to concentrate on the main skeleton of my argument. However, because of the length of that abridgment and the unsuitableness of it as a presentation-paper I have written in its place this Brief Overview and will also use it as a introduction to Part VIII in my series of theological essays titled Finding a Place for the Idea of God in which I explore what significance an expression like the word ‘god’ could or might have or might not have in a critically constructed theology. (1)


In this brief paper I will sequentially look at three interconnected arguments for the existence of the divine sketched out in a skeleton-like format proposing that their intersection does tentatively give us a relatively powerful argument for the existence of the Divine (i.e., a some form of divinity with a sense of personhood or personal identity albeit embodied in a different manner to our own sense of identity). At the end of the paper I would like to seek your advice on whether these three arguments both individually and in their intersection could actually ‘run’ and perhaps even ‘dance’? Hence my subtitle Dead or Alive (with a passing allusion to the 'death of God' which will be looked at in a future paper). (2)
These three arguments involve, metaphorically, a horizontal dimension, a vertical dimension and a personal third dimension respectively, along with their theoretical unification; these three axes being modelled on the x, y and z-axes in mathematics. On the horizontal ‘x-axis’ I will re-run an argument for a positive theological difference, i.e. an envisaged concept of the world possessing some sense of the divine in contrast to a negative theological difference2 in which a concept of world is envisaged without some sense of divinity in any form. On the vertical y-axis I will run an argument for the naturally nested hierarchy of relationships within relationships with the implication that some form of epistemological hierchicalization is operative throughout the ‘space’ of the life-world. On a third dimensional z-axis I will argue that this hierachicalization could possibly take on some sense of personal identity through that form of embodiment being seen as a form of embodiment per se. A ‘fourth dimension’ invoking the unity of these ‘three dimensions’ will be looked at in the body of the eighth essay titled Part VIII and will be viewed as a process that possibly manifests as a type of divine conversation, being the primary topic examined in that particular paper. (3)


  1. Theological Difference

In Papers III and IV the concept of theological difference was introduced. (4)


Quite simply it is the 'difference' between 'a vision of the world with some sense of the divine (with or without a large 'D') and 'a vision of the world with no sense of the divine'. A positive theological difference being a vision of the world with some sense of the divine or Divine (where the latter is considered to possess some form of self-consciousness and the relative embodiment of a personal-like sense of identity). A theologian, by definition, should be considered to be a philosopher of some type who argues for and accepts a positive theological vision of the world (treated as a life-world by the transcendental philosopher, i.e., the philosopher whose work is conducted through the auspices of an overall transcendental suspension, etc., as defined elsewhere [within the total ambit of the hermeneutic circle as defined elsewhere]).3 (5)

2. The 'Horizontal Dimension'
How might the philosopher and/or the theologian argue for a positive theological difference? (6)
In my fourth paper I have sketched out an argument that takes us from the equality of a positive and negative theological sense of difference to an actual positive theological difference. Essentially the argument is able to run (?) by virtue of the 'epistemological fact' that no pure concepts can be entertained and therefore from the possibility of a positive theological difference we must argue for the actuality, in some manner or other, of the same. But, of course, neither its pure actuality nor its pure potentiality can be argued for epistemologically and claimed to exist ontologically, both positions or 'polarities' are equally impossible to realize epistemologically or recognize ontologically (on the grounds that even the epistemological-ontological 'divide' is not an absolute one, indeed, only an orientation or attitude of being in our-being-'within'-this-one-world-of the-life-world4). By default, therefore, we have also argued neither for the pure potentiality nor the pure actuality of a negative theological difference. But that should poss no real problem to the possible existence of the divine in some form or other as our vertical and personal axes will also co-establish this possibility as a non-pure, ideal ‘actuality’ in some non-absolutist, relative manner or other (and other arguments could dispose of an non-integrated sense of world already pre-supposed in apparent ‘unity’ or ‘thisness’ of the life-world iself?)? Hence this x-axis must also envisages some sense of a positive-negative theological continuum. (7)
Please note that all arguments in these papers are being ran in their (transcendental) ideality, i.e., all ontological commitments are being entertained merely as matters of phenomenological sense (hermeneutic meaning and existential meaningfulness). Please also note that traditional matters of faith and belief are here not the direct object of our concern! All arguments are being run in their transcendental ideality as I am only interested in whether the significance of this type of concept can be coherently and consistently entertained (i.e., found to possess sense, meaning and meaningfulness). (8)
Let me illustrate this horizontal sense of a positive/negative theological continuum. (9)


A. Diagramatical Depiction of Theological Difference

(ideal impossible to obtain) (ideal impossible to obtain)

positive-theological difference ………………….…….negative theological difference
(World + divine) (World – divine)
.

@

Possible theological reality



being ‘actualized’ somewhere in between…

Let me now summarize our arguments on the horizontal axis:


i. It is possible to envisage a world with a sense of the divine and a sense of world without a sense of the divine.

  1. But it is not possible to envisage a pure ideal world with or without the same.

  2. Hence ‘reality’ must actualize itself somewhere in between.

  3. Hence there must exist a vision of the world with some sense of the divine and

some sense of the non-divine (which could exist merely as world, or world-oriented).

  1. Hence a positive theological difference is not only viable but necessary(?)!

(10)


3. The 'Vertical Dimension'
The sketch of this argument, continued in a 'vertical direction', is found in IV.78/Abridgment [16]. (10)
i. All relational parties are found within relational contexts, and those contexts likewise are in super-relational contexts, and so on, in effect these processes of emergence continuing ad infinitum.

ii. It follows that through higher levels of epistemological emergence that higher levels of self-awareness, or sentience, also arise, and so on, in effect these processes of emergence continuing ad infinitum.

iii. What is relatively greater than our own level of highest epistemological functioning is relatively divine-like in nature.

iv. Therefore, there must exist forms of divinity with a higher level of epistemological performance than us in this world-of-life.

v. Because this world of life is ‘one’ world of life these forms and levels of divinity, in practice could engage with us human beings and vice versa if only as a possibility (because what does not exist for us might as well not exist-for-us!).

vi. But pure possibility cannot exist, therefore this world must have a theological difference, i.e., be constituted with some sense of an active divinity emergently embodied within the same in some form or other.



  1. Hence the divine exists in some form or other…. (IV.78) [16] (11)

Essentially this 'vertical' argument tells us that a positive sense of the divine must exist - not how that sense of the divine must manifest itself/themselves...! This type of argument is based on the nature of a gestalt field, i.e., a field consisting of polar aspects (between the sense of an intentional object-state and the sense of an intentional background field, and, [in a meta-relationship with that field] an intentional sense of self in keeping with the nature of that overall intentional field). Polar aspects by definition never being 'obtainable' in a pure form through the necessary interdependence upon its other correlative polarities for their collective and individual senses of provisional identity/identities. Therefore, being unable to epistemologically entertain any pure form of conceptuality all reality-there-for-us is 'contaminated' likewise by all forms of correlativity in whose matrix that sense of identity is realized intentionally! Therefore, there can be no pure form of theological potentiality, hence the necessary existence of the divine in some form or other! Hence the intention of our 'horizontal' argument, i.e., between the impossible to obtain, recognize or realize polarities of 'pure potentiality' and 'pure actuality' a critical philosopher must position themselves somewhere in between. Moreover, this is cashed out in a vertical dimension through the fact that all relationships occur within a context, and that all contexts themselves are within meta-contexts (which through meta-transformational treatment can be re-cognized on a similar ontological/epistemological par as the contents of that relationship, etc) etc. By such nesting the world is epistemologically structured in the same fashion that personal identity is realized through non-substantial forms of embodiment. Hence the possibility of the divine established horizontally is metaphorically ‘fleshed’ out in a vertically dimension [preparing the way for the possible-actual style of argument to invoke, hypothetically, a relatively-actual divine identity in a 'personally embodied form' to operate as an 'agent' in some relatively possible-actual manner or other (be that relatively simple and/or complex in nature?)?]?! (12)

For all we know that vision of the divine might well be found to be no more than a mere shadow of the cosmos? Or, as an ironic critic or critical supporter of this 'horizontal' argument (and its necessary conjunction with its 'vertical' argument) might like to run with the following 'parallel' argument - as we can entertain a 'vision of the world without any sense of the satanic or demonic' and a 'vision of the world with the presence of the satanic or the demonic' it stands to reason that the satanic or the demonic must exist. Hence the necessary existence in some form or other of a satanic difference or a demonic difference! However, in conjunction with our 'vertical' argument, as that patently evil is dependent upon the good, through its parasitic dependence and its subsequence deprivation, it follows that to that extent it subtracts from the existence of the world it subtracts from its own existence, its own possibility. On the other hand, to that extent it does not do this it may exist with all the qualifications imposed by these limitations but never in a manner consistent with the 'integral' goodness of some hypothetical sense of the divine/Divine.5 Thus, on one hand, this does not rule out the relatively evil, whereas, on the other hand, it does rules out both the absolutely evil and/or its personification and personal embodiment in some (non-relatively simple and/or complex) manner or other! (13)
Let me now illustrate diagrammatically this idea of a vertical dimension. (14)

B. The Vertical Dimension Illustrated Diagrammatically

Epistemological-like Level IV

++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Epistemological-like Level III


**************************** *********** *********************

Epistemological-like Level II

------------------------ ----------------- ---------------- --------------- ---------------

Epistemological-like Level I

……….. ………….. ……. …………. …………. …. ……………… ….
A Diagrammatical representation of epistemological-like levels of structural-functioning being subsumed by higher level each of which are also subsuming lower levels of epistemological-like structural-functioning, etc. (15)

4. The 'Personal Third Dimension'
In a 'vertical dimension' our argument also concerns the attempt to demonstrate what theological relevance this positive theological difference might be able to take hypothetically for the religious person. Hence this third axis concerns itself with a personal dimension. (16)
The acceptance of a positive theological difference, in a process theological format6, in an of itself does not immediately suggest that the vision of the sense of the divine promoted by the same has any relevance and personal significance for the religious person. Put baldly and bluntly - what relevance and significance can a process theology have for the religious individual? If god, or God (with a sense of self-consciousness and an ability to positively engage in the activity of the life-world), is accepted, how could the presence of such an entity/force enter into the personal life of the individual and/or community? If that sense of the divine is realized through the integrated, and epistemologically organized, vastness of the cosmos how could such an entity/force be experienced in and through religious experience? What human relevance could its relationship with us possess, and, what personal significance could be found for-us before-it? Or, is any sense of the divine so remote from our worldly stage for ourselves to have no relevance-to-it and for ourselves to have no significance-for-it? (17)
To overcome this barrier (these barriers) I will propose the following provisional argument that essentially states that as all relationships are holographically imprinted on the body of their relational space, and the intersection of the same, that it follows the inspection of any part of the same, viewed through the appropriate interpretive lens, should reveal the (theological) nature(s) of that relationship! According to theory…. (18)
Let me quote the following arguments as previously presented. (19)
1. The ‘unity’ of the life-world must be present and must be demonstrable (at least from a transcendental perspective). (V.44) [55] (20)
2. This ‘unity’ must present itself as conscious to some degree or other. (V.45) [56] (21)
3. That consciousness must be demonstrated to be ‘self-conscious’ to some extent. (V.46) [57] (22)
4. That that degree of self-consciousness must surpass that characteristic of the human ego. (V.47) [58] (23)
5. Penultimately, that that self-consciousness is in some form of a relationship with human egos. (V.48) [59] (24)
6. Finally, that that ‘relationship’ is in some sense ‘relevant’ in the life of human agents. (V.49) [60] (25)

In effect, all levels and manifestations of divinity in a process theology, in actual relationship with-us/through-us, holographically pervade, i.e., essentially, the life-world and all parties found therein, these relationships being interpretively experienced through the formation of the appropriate lenses! Hence the implication of a vertical dimension. (26)


Hence even a grain of sand should reflect the many 'faces' of the divine! (27)
This third argument of our skeleton has three parts, namely, an epistemological ego-formation, a revelation of significance in the 'here and now' through, thirdly, the form of a metaphorical dialogue! (28)
Through forms of emergence on higher and higher levels of epistemological organization there is an increasing sense of self-formation along with a sense of an increasing, actively engaged sense of involvement (according to theory). Even if only through the integrational interrelationship of individuals, persons in a collectively organized sense of identity will, by proxy, create an existential excess (along with an increased sense of intentional self-identity). Hence the implication of this complex personal dimension along with the complexity of an interpersonal dimension along with all senses of dialogue to be invoked there between. (29)
Because of the holographic re-presentation of a relational 'whole' (as a relational excess) is present through out the relational body of that relationship, each point perceiving that relationship from its own perspective, it follows that the sense of the divine, given its provisional 'actuality', must be present in the 'here and now' - being able to be perceived as such when 'viewed' through the appropriate interpretative lens/lenses. (30)
Because all relationship are 'in process', in order to be in a relationship, it follows through the epistemological sense of self-consciousness created and simulated at the centre of that relationship that relationship essentially enters into a dialogue with its relational participants in a form that is not just metaphorical. Hence the concept of a theological dialogue present in the 'here and now' [which implicates a ‘fourth’ dimension of a ‘theological process in time’, i.e., metaphorically a dialogue if both parties can in some fashion or other participate?]. It being a primary task of the theologian to articulate in what manner speculatively and experientially such a 'conversation' might take place!? Hence the concept of a divine conversation, the main theme of Paper VIII. (31)



  1. Can Our Skeleton 'Dance'?

These three arguments, and their collective integration in a ‘fourth dimension’ of a theological sense of process, are philosophically connected by virtue of the fact that they can be extracted from a deep understanding of the nature of intentional consciousness (and a trans-intentional consciousness [as found in acts of judgment], pre-intentional consciousness [as would be argued for in a process derivation of intentional consciousness through forms of hierarchically stratified relational excesses in an epistemological hierarchicalization of consciousness], post-intentional consciousness [as is found in the consequential aftermath of intentional activity], not-intentional consciousness [as found through the suspension of conjunctive/disconjunctive suspensions , etc.{as present in the reading of a novel, etc.}]). Or, to the same effect, one might argue that as there is already a sense of personal identity in the (life-)world, namely our own, it follows that there can be no bar on the same grounds for a similar epistemological possibility (given our vertical argument) in the emergence likewise of (a non-substantially based) identity (given our ‘third dimensional’ argument) on a more cosmologically embodied level (along the lines of a process theology as previous argued earlier in this set of theological essays)(?). (32)


Restated this arguments states that our three theories are interconnected by virtue of the deep structural-functions of intentional consciousness, etc. (where by ‘etc.’ is meant all open-ended aspects of reality that informatively contrast intentional consciousness [as listed briefly above in paragraph 30]). (33)
Hence the provisional formulation of a positive, actual and personal sense of the theological (in some simple and/or complex form or other)! (34)

Hence our 'skeleton' has a 'provisional existence', can 'run', is 'embodied' through its process-derivation, has, therefore, 'living flesh' and might even be able to 'dance'… with no disrespect meant… in and through all the harmonies of this one-world-of-life in all its beauty of re-presented 'being' despite, and because, of its 'emptiness', its absence of being, its complete lack of a substantial existence 'grounded' upon a substantial foundation… the substance of a dream dreamt up by short-sighted, totally misguided absolutist philosophers who, alas, have no idea of a transcendental sense of the mean… wherein we find this theological-oriented middle path..(?). (35)


Hence my hypothetical salutations, therefore, to all senses or 'active traces' of divinity in the 'here and now' in what ever form they may (or may not?) take(?) in processes of divine conversation within the embrace of the life-world! (36)

This 'working paper' also forms an Introduction to Paper VIII titled On Extending the Divine Conversation. (37)


Let me now summarize, as simply as possible, the basic skeleton of this complex argument (as a basic introduction to a ‘fourth dimensional approach’ to this topic in the form of a hypothetical examination of a personal-oriented process theology and its invocation of the concept of divine conversation). (38)

6. Basic Summary of this Complex Argument (in Three Dimensions)
1. We can envisage a world with some sense of the divine and, in contrast, a world without the same. This is the concept of theological difference!

2. Both possibilities cannot be absolutely actualized hence the reality of the matter must lie between (and at least one of those possibilities is able to be envisioned, namely, a relative sense of world by itself without going to the trouble of envisaging some sense of the divine in association with the same; therefore, we are presuppositionally starting from a position of actualized/actualizable-possibility7)!

3. Therefore, the necessary existence in some form or other of both a positive and a negative theological difference; but, a ‘sense of a world with some sense of the divine’ minus a ‘mere sense of world’ gives us a positive theological residue! Hence our ‘horizontal first dimension’!

4. Because all relationships are themselves in a (presuppositionally necessary) relational context it implies that all relationships are epistemologically-like-oriented in organization (on par with the non-substantial emergence of personal identity [mistakenly reified in the form of an absolutistic sense of ego]). Hence the implication of a vertical second dimension’!

5. But the possibility of personal identity entailed in this ‘vertical second dimension’ cannot remain as a ‘pure possibility’ hence its possible-actuality in some form or other!

6. And this possible-actuality in some form or other not being merely simple, as simples cannot be thought in a pure form, correctly implies that it must take some form of a trans-simple-complex format! Hence the personal third dimension!

7. But such a ‘non-substantial complex entity’ must be in a relationship with itself hence the implication of a process theological complexion and thence our 'fourth dimension'!8

8. Hence the implication of a holistic ongoing divine conversation(al two-way 'dialogue') between relative totalities as personal identities (as phenomenally apparent, non-substantially based egos) and their matrix of interactive factors be they ego-directed and/or non-ego-directed in complexion!

9. Moreover, in this complex divine sense of personal identity there can be no absolute personification of evil as evil is the deprivation of the integrated totality of the relatively good. To that extent, therefore, a positive theological difference must manifest itself as relatively ethical! And this forms, in part, the theological nature of all such trans-simple-complex-divine-like entity/entities (in the ideal, hypothetical ‘space’ of this complex argument)!

10. Such divinity being ‘reflected’ in all forms of agency through holistic meta-transformational treatment (ontologically and/or epistemologically, or, more correctly, in a non-substantial trans-ontological-epistemological format) (through the ‘divine imprint’ being stamped on all aspects of the living-world involving a sense of agency)! Implying, in this qualified sense, that we too must partake of divinity, operate within the Divine!! (39)


Noël Tointon, Sydney, 12.10.02.

Re-edited 21.12.02./27.5.03.


Appendix A:
A Simplified Skeletal Version of Our Argument for Theological Existence

0. Introduction
In Section 6, as a summary, a ten point set of arguments was outlined, this document in turn being commented upon in my Eighth Essay in order to closely attend to the presuppositional ground upon which this argument will eventually find itself allowed to work or not to work. Because of such complexity I have felt the need to reduce this argument to its bare bones, so to speak, in order to introduce its broad outline. This will be done in three sections. First, I will look at the bare skeleton. Second, I will give to it some flesh by looking at some presuppositonal issues that would need immediate attention. Finally, we need to ask ourselves whether this overall argument can find some form of life and therein 'run', observing in this hypothetical process just what sort of clothes it might be found to wear or could possibly wear, i.e., just what would be its religious ramification for the religious person if any? Hence these three subtitles of Skeleton, Flesh and Clothes. (A)

1. Skeleton
This section is divided between a horizontal dimension, a vertical dimension and a z-axis of the personal. Then, I will look at the overall implications this argument has for our reading of the life-world if its theologicalization were to be considered in the light of the above. (B)



  1. The Horizontal Dimension


Theological difference is the difference between 'a vision of the world with some sense of the divine (in what ever form that might take)' and 'a vision of the world without some sense of the divine'. A theologian, to be a theologian, would accept a positive theological difference, i.e., that 'their vision of the world would include some sense of the divine'. An atheist would argue for a negative theological difference. (C)
Both positive and negative visions of the world could metaphorically be envisaged as being equal in logical weight and on the same level of discourse hence this horizontal appellation. (D)

Now, if we were to subtract, hypothetically, in general terms of reference, a negative difference from our positive difference we are left with a theological residue. How this residue is to be specifically specified is the province of a specialist theologian. On the other hand a broad-spectrum, holistic approach to the nature of this residue is the province of either a philosopher or a generalist theologian. (E)

Our scheme here is dependent on the presuppositional ground of :




  1. A coherent, non-contradictory vision of the world.

  2. A coherent, non-contradictory vision of the divine.

  3. A coherent, non-contradictory interaction between i. and ii. (F)

By 'world' is meant 'the life-world', i.e., that transcendental 'space' wherein the three polarities of object-state, ego and field can interact in a non-representationalist frame of reference (with no sense of an external worlds/internal worlds, etc!) along phenomenological, hermeneutical and existential frames of reference as integrated in and through the auspice of the hermeneutic circle of comprehension (as examined by myself elsewhere). (G)


Coherence of i. is assumed through the integrity of the life-world as a space-of-interaction wherein we can encounter other egos and our own sense of embodiments along with other objects-states. (H)
Coherence of ii. has been examined in various Essays and noted on the grounds that in our psychic mapping of the life-world areas of the life-world appear to possess a region of sense dealing with the overall concept of the divine whether treated in general and/or specific terms of reference. (I)
A serious theology, one with religious ramifications for the religious person, must consider the coherence of the relationship between i. and ii. as a 'given' on the phenomenological grounds that that not there for us is not there for us! In other words, the divine defined as wholly other exempts itself from serious discussion.9 (J)
The second part to my 'horizontal' examination is a recognition that absolute identity can be neither epistemologically thought nor ontologically recognized! The appearance of an absolute definition is realized either analytically, as in an examination with all answers answered correctly on pre-determined a priori grounds, or, through approaching a limit that gets mistakenly treated in extreme, ideal terms of reference, e.g., certain considerations that perceive a male as absolutely different from a female which cannot be correct as both are members of the human species and therefore cannot be absolutely different (except by definition which is to establish the same on a priori grounds as previously argued). (K)
The implication of this concept (in demarcational theory) of the non-absolute demarcation of identity is to realize that both positive and negative versions of a theological difference can be neither epistemologically thought nor ontologically recognized because all concepts are 'experienced' in and through the correlative communication with all textual counter-concepts, etc., and all meta-textual counter genres, etc! That, in effect, the truth/reality (of that concept) must lie somewhere in between with the implication being that a theological residue must have some degree of existence in some form or other(?)! But what that form is or is not is for a theologian to argue for/against. (L)
Hence on 'horizontal' terms of reference the existence of the divine in some form or other is established. But what this argument does not establish is to what degree and in what form a vision of the divine could be envisaged. (M)



  1. Vertical Dimension

In this (section of my overall) argument I propose that all contexts themselves are contextually bound, and, that which has a greater degree of epistemological organization is, in effective, relatively divine (to that same degree). (N)


On the grounds that wholes cannot be reduced to the mere sum of their parts it follows that contexts are epistemologically richer in organization than those parts by virtue of the fact that that relationship includes those parts within their sense of organization. That the relational facticity of a relationship is to that extent that the whole is psychically greater than the mere sum of its parts. (O)
Note that using this definition we could say a bowl of apples, e.g., is not that much more organized than its constituent parts and therefore should not be considered to have a sense of epistemological difference that much different form the degree possessed by those individual apples themselves. On the other hand the functioning of a body of an organism is considerably greater hence the normal invocation, rightly or wrongly, of life, mind, soul, self, sense of person, etc. (which if reified beyond their maximum level of metaphorical/empirical deployment(s) is to commit a transcendental mistake of the same kind with the consequent creation of a transcendental confusion of the same kind). (P)
Now, as all contexts are contextually bound it implies the ongoing integrity of the life-world is a fait accompli! That this open integration of all contexts within greater (meta-) contexts is a given! That, therefore, this increasing epistemological envelopment of the life-world itself must realize a sense of the relatively theological through possession of a greater degree of epistemological organization. Hence the vertical dimension of this overall argument! (Q)

c. The 'Personal' Z-axis
This argument, on a personal dimension, effectively states the 'fact' that when all factors of a certain type of self are present, and appropriately integrated with respect to each other, then that type of self is present to that same extent! This vision of 'self' has no recourse to absolute, substantial entities such as a 'soul', 'spirit', etc. (and runs contrary to the Turing argument to that extent that it argues that there is an absolute distinction to be made between say 'robots and humans', and, between 'humans and divine identities/entities', etc. What distinctions can be made can not be absolute in complexion. However, on the other hand, qualitative distinctions can be made vis-à-vis each other. Obviously, e.g., a rock is not as conscious or as self-conscious as a person because the requisite degree of epistemological organization is not evident! (R)



  1. The Overall Effect of these Three Dimensions


That a theological residue must exist in some form or other to some degree or other!(?) (S)

That the (ongoing) vertical integrity of the life-world implies its theologicalization!(?) (T)
That the increasing epistemological organization of that theological integrity implies an increasingly sophisticated sense of self, hence the implication of a personal (or personal-like) dimension to this sense of the theological!(?) (U)



  1. Flesh

A very large number of presuppositions lurk behind the complexity of this overall argument.10 That the running of this argument depends on a satisfactory integration of these presuppositions that support these argument factors. Hence this enterprise must be subject to an ongoing transcendental suspension, etc! The articulation and positive verification of the supporting presuppositions in the context of this overall argument giving our skeleton its 'flesh'. Such considerations needing to look into the implication of the demarcational discrimination of fields, necessary prerequisites for consciousness, self-consciousness, personality, identity, etc., etc.(V)




  1. Clothes


That the integrity of the life-world, to some non-absolute extent, is a given! In the light of our overall argument a theologicalization of the life-world would seem to follow in some manner or other to some degree or other! That this theologicalization of the life-world would take a personal-like complexion, since that which has all the conditions for selfhood present in an integrated fashion must possess a sense of self in keeping with the same! Hence there are grounds for religious faith, etc., assuming such requisites can be determined theoretically, practically (in experience) and critically, etc? (W)
This multi-layered, multi-relational integrity must be essentially present throughout the extent or 'space' of each and every relationship(including a theological one)! Just as houseness pervades the entire house, and a sense of personhood pervades the entire organism in its current form of embodiment, etc. Therefore, this theologicalization of the life-world should be able to be viewed in any part of that organism given the appropriate and proper interpretative 'glasses' through which to view the same! (X)
But, we do not need to do that hermeneutic appreciation of non-substantial sense of essence in any exalted form (or format) since to merely attend to any level of psychic organization greater than (the potential of) our own is to 'see' the divine as it manifests to that extent if that was indeed to be a fact embedded holistically in that relationship! So we could look for this sense and degree of the theological through a critical phenomenological-hermeneutical-existential inspection, e.g., of personhood, community, through the care and trust present in a community, the phenomena of love, relationships, insight, etc. (Y)
As all relationships are realized through reciprocity, therefore it follows that this theologicalization of the life-world must also enter into some form of a dialogue, or rather, sets of dialogues within and between embodied beings within this world-of-life! Hence the implication of positive religious ramifications for this type of theological enterprise. What those ramification turn out to be must be determined by the theologian and by those testing such work through their own forms of religious experience and expression!! That that such research must be theoretically, practically and critically conducted through the auspices of the overall transcendental suspension, etc!!! (Z)
Noël Tointon, Sydney, 21.6.03.
P.S: Please note the overall argument being presented here should, correctly, be seen as hypothetical and provisional. In its presentation I am merely seeking to understand if it can run and on what presuppositional grounds is it allowed to do that or not allowed to do that! Therefore, I would be most grateful for all input on this matter. Currently, I am undecided as to whether this type of complex argument could run although admit I do find this type of argument attractive (and a fruitful one to examine presuppositionally!)? N.


Appendix B:
A More Detailed Skeletal Version of Our Argument for Theological Existence



  1. Introduction in the Form of an Outline Only!

The overall argument falls into three sections. (1)




  1. Horizontal Argument: The concept of theological difference:


Part 1. Noting the difference between positive and negative theological difference.
Theological difference, quite simply, is ‘a vision of the world with a place for the divine in some form or otherversusa vision of the world without a place for the divine in any form’. Positive theological difference asserting that there is a place for divine in some (as yet to specified) form or other in our understanding of the world (read life-world). Negative theological difference stating the opposite. Note: the concept of a negative theological difference is not to be confused with a negative theology. (2)
Earlier in this series of essays I have shown that the sense of the divine is a meaning cultural item in our collective mapping of the world regardless of whether our philosophical position in this regard is as one who accepts a negative theological difference (as an atheist) or a positive theological difference (as a religious possibility for the agnostic or as a religious actuality for that type of religionist). This does not mean that some specified form of the divine is necessarily sensible in its theological presentation/representation, i.e., meaning that its presentation and definition should not be, fundamentally, both self-contradictory and non-self-coherent as a concept (besides being literally tenable trans-metaphorically, etc., if its modus operandi of introduction is initially metaphorical in nature, etc.).11 (3)

Part 2. Noting that there can be no absolute difference between the same: (4)
Therefore the world with some form of the divine in some form or other does exist.

(5)


Because correlative concepts cannot be thought in an absolutely pure mode. (6)
Hence we cannot think, recognise nor engage knowingly with the same such as:
Presentations/representations that purport to be or possess:

Absolute potentiality/actuality,

Absolute intentional/formal existence,

Absolute positive theological existence/negative theological existence. (7)


Because concepts, etc., are thought in a gestalt field as the relationship between that analytically focalized in that gestalt field (one particular correlative concept) and its background (where we metaphorically find its anti-correlative concept), the relationship between both correlative parties in the context of their genre of introduction, establishing the sense, meaning and meaningfulness of that process through gestalt contrast. Therefore no pure concept, etc., can be thought, etc! (8)
The implication of this argument is that relative-actuality of the divine is established in existence in some form or other, (as yet) to be cashed out by the theologian, etc. (9)

Part 3. The serious consideration of various counter-examples of this positing of the relative-actuality of the divine in some form or other. (10)
Counter-example 1. The argued invocation of demonic existence (in some form or other). (11)
We can think of the world both ‘without some sense of the demonic’ and ‘with some sense of the demonic’, therefore, the demonic difference in some form or other must exist because its pure possibility, and its absolute negation, is not tenable. This does not mean that it absolutely exists as that too is ruled out of court. (12)
A counter-counter-argument to the above: If evil is defined as the deprivation of the good absolute evil would both not exist (by definition) nor be thought (as per our gestalt argument). The implication being that the more evil that demonic existence the less it could exist qualitatively, i.e, with powers of being an entity in this world-of-life. Furthermore, through the disruption of its relationships with others it would also loose its ability to exist and function in the life-world since existence, certainly the quality of our/its existence, is realized in dependence upon others and the world at large! (13)
Counter-example 2. The mythical entity of Pegasus, the winged-horse, must have some form of existence as its pure possiblity cannot be thought. (14)
But cashed out (by looking at our empirically based inventories) we find that only ‘wings’ and ‘horses’ have existence and not their factual conjunction in a fully integrated functional sense as a ‘winged-hose’. Moreover, this Pegusus as a mythological entity, as an ‘integrated entity’, only actually ‘exists’ as a mythological entity; as a Greek mythological entity. (15)
Counter-argument 3. We can think of a blue Pegausus and a green Pegusus therefore Pegususes of all colours under the rainbow must exist in some form or other. (16)
But Pegusus is not a factual entity, other than as a mythological entity, therefore we need not proceed any further on such relative-actual-factual speculation because mythological entities do not have, as a rule, synthetically determined colour attributions. (17)
Returning to our argument for a relative-positive theological difference we can note that because the world has an intersubjectively established existence, and a self-established existence (because it presupposes itself in order for us to enter into this argument contra the impossible-to-contemplate-absolute-skeptic) we can accept the relative-actual-formal existence of the world. Hence we can operate, in our further arguments, on this relative pre-suppositional surety that the world (read life-world) exists. (18)

II. Vertical Argument: That all relationships are context dependent.
Stage 1: All relationships are enacted in the context of a meta-context with wider terms of reference, i.e., whose range has a greater sense of horizon against which the range of that relationship finds its existence (and sense of definition, meaning and meaningfulness) in and through that meta-context. (19)
Stage 2: Let us provisionally define the sense of the divine as that which possesses a greater degree of epistemological order (complexity) than that possessed by an individual human being. (20)
Stage 3: As a relationship that includes (one or) more than one human individual is more complex than any one of those individuals (either as a relationship with or not with some sense of the divine) is relatively greater than any of its participants it follows that that more encompassing relationship is relatively divine by definition. (21)
Stage 4: That each time a relationship is subsumed in a wider context the relatively divine becomes relatively more divine…. (22)
Therefore the relatively divine must exist both in a relative intentional format and in a relative formal format ‘in fact’ (because we cannot make an absolute distinction between the same). Note that formal existence is directly met in a satisfaction of all modalities being found to be representatively present either as representation(-al trace) or as a re-presentation (when we directly meet the reality of the same in an adequate coincidence of time and space, etc.). (23)
Stage 5: Therefore the (qualified) relatively divine exists non-provisionally(?)! (24)
Qualification: How that sense of the divine might exist is another matter, being one for a theologian, etc., to examine. Furthermore, such a conceptual explication has to be fundamentally (i.e., dialectically) competent (i.e., non-self-contradictory, self-coherent and literally tenable, etc., moreover, the theologian would also need to seek a concept of the divine that merits an adequate and appropriate degree of religious valuation i.e., as an object for devotion or similar).12 (25)



  1. Z-Axis Argument: That some personal form of the divine must exist!


Basic Intent of Argument: Combining our horizontal and vertical axes implies that the sense/senses of the divine that have relative-formal existence must have some form of personal, embodied existence despite the fact that all forms of identity and agency are a transcendental illusion from a non-dependent, absolute point of view (because of the untenability of such a view!)! (26)
Stage 1: That which possesses a greater degree of epistemological organization (as per the y-axis) possesses a great psychic (read spiritual) sense of self. (27)
Stage 2: Therefore, that which possesses a greater degree of epistemological organization is both relatively more divine13 (by definition) and equally must possess a greater sense of self (as per definition in stage 1). (28)
Stage 3: But as all forms of identity and/or agency are context dependent (e.g., embodied, etc.) it follows that all agency and/or identity is a transcendental illusion when treated as separate from their context of existence (presentation/re-pre-sentation/representation, etc.). (29)
Stage 4: Therefore all forms of identity/agency, relatively divine or non-divine in orientation, are transcendental illusions, i.e., empty, regardless of the nature of their phenomenal manifestation (since, moreover, that which is not there-for-us is not-there-for-us-as-a-phenomenon; is not there phenomenally for us regardless of whether it is phenomenon or otherwise). (30)
Stage 5: Because all relative identity/agency is a transcendental illusion (i.e., has no absoute substantial existence), i.e., is dependent (and therein 'empty' in the Buddhistic sense) it follows that all valid forms of the divine can, in principle, interact with all forms of the relatively non-divine within the ambit of the ongoing unity of the life-world - hence the concept of a dialogical engagement.
Stage 6: The concept of a dialogical engagement implies that all intentional activity and/or all non-intentional changes in patterns of functionality are holistically recorded as, respectively, traces and/or functional remnants (or 'ripples'). Therefore, given the valid, appropriate and proper means for the hermeneutic and/or scientific reading of these imprints upon the fabric of the life-world such simulated/re-simulated representation should, in principle be able to be read (albeit in a non-representational perspective!).
Final Qualification: But how, and to what extent, this sense of the divine-personality/personalities can be cashed out as a meaningful religious phenomenon/phenomena), albeit as a transcendental illusion (i.e., in and though its phenomenally apparent [inter-]dependence/emptiness) (before us who are equally transcendental illusions) is for a theologian, etc., to divine!14 (31)

Some Final Comments:
The virtue of this argument is not something for the theologian alone to decide being, correctly, the province for a critical philosopher to examine, and, therefore, I challenge the critical philosopher to find genuine fault with this style of argument and demonstrate its incompetence! Even show, if possible, where it could be suitably and effectively emended? I suppose one might call this type of argument a (complex) theological theorem, and this argument in particular might be called a gestalt argument on epistemological grounds for the non-absolute actuality of the divine (in some form or other) (and, therein, through ‘grounds’ that insist on a non-absolute correlativity of concepts, etc.) and, therefore, I do not perceive it to be just another variant of the ontological argument (whose very first step in the definition of Divine Perfection et al I perceive to be utterly incomprehensible on gestalt grounds and whose consequences must be, therefore, to create an religiously untenable sense of the divine should one approve of that sort of argument or demonstration, etc.). On the other hand, this style of argument does utilize analytical necessity in its reading of the implications of a non-absolute, epistemologically-based reading of the world. Lastly, this sort of exercise can only work for a sense of divinity that is embodied, enmeshed in the phenomenality of the world in some manner or other and one that is limited, i.e., not absolutely all-powerful, etc., etc., but remains, for all that, a viable vision for the religious person?! Or, in the advent of the successful demolition of this type of argument at least we should find this an enjoyable philosophical exercise whilst still remaining a useful corrective for the religious person in testing the limits, etc., of their own religious speculations.
One vulnerable section of this argument, only noted in passing, is a questioning of the competence of the conceptual nature of some particular vision/version of the divine especially in regard to its metaphorical introduction, exhibition and demonstration. But left me briefly note this aspect of our research in Appendix C (which also serves as an introduction to my Ninth Theological Essay).

Noël Tointon, Sydney, 3/9/03.


Appendix C:

A Pre-Investigation into the Role of Metaphor in Theological Discourse?

Although the religious sense of the divine is pre-established culturally (even for the most ardent atheist) the competence of this type of concept needs to be adequately pre-examined before it follows that from this or some other theological theorem we could argue for this or that kind of theological entity or state, etc. As previously noted, a concept of the divine needs to be competent in order to be properly introduced, exhibited and demonstrated and therein, fully satisfy our presupposition of an assumed cultural competence of sense dealing with this type of topic, i.e., that part of our psychic-cultural mapping of the life-world dealing with the concepts of the divine, the spiritual, the religious, the numinous, etc. (1)


A satisfactory concept of the divine, for the theologian, in the light of the above, therefore needs to be (w.r.t. to its introduction, exhibition and demonstration):
1. Relatively non-self-contradictory,

2. Relatively self-coherent (in the theoretical context of the life-world),

3. Trans-metaphorically introduced, exhibited and/or demonstrated,

4. Merit an adequate and appropriate degree of religious valuation. (2)



Hence for the successful functioning of the overall theological theorem, as presented in this paper, the theological content of that theorem needs to adequately address the above! As all four conditions utilize metaphor we need therefore to investigate in what manner metaphors figure in theological discourse and to what extent they function competently, i.e., non-self-contradictorily, coherently, trans-metaphorically (through direct simulation of the life-world or otherwise through indirect forms of re-simulation), and merit a positive religious evaluation, i.e., can serve as suitable objects for religious devotion, etc! (3)
The essential problem to be addressed here is this: if metaphor cannot be treated literally then how could they figure in ‘literal’ theological discourse, discourse whose intent is to transcend the merely analogical. Furthermore, if metaphor, through metaphoring the phenomenal-phenomenological nature of the life world, actually do simulate the world, directly and/or indirectly, and, their philosophical utilization is conducted in a non-representationalistic treatment of the life-world, then how could such devices achieve this act of simulation and promote, therein, our insights into the constitution of our understanding/experience of the life-world, and by extension, what possible understanding might be allowed or not allowed in regards to theological matters (regardless of the validity or invalidity of the interpretations of such speculations, insights, experiences, etc., that appear to fall within that type of domain)?! (4)
These issues, and their relevance in the introduction and/or exhibition and/or demonstration of this theological topic will form the primary concern of my ninth theological essay, namely, the critical examination and determination of theological competence (from a hypothetical point of view). This Appendix, essentially acts, therefore, as an Introduction to Part Nine, my ninth theological essay in this series. (5)
Noël Tointon, Sydney, 9.9.03.

1 For the latest version of this paper www.homestead.com/noelshomepage/noelsintro.html

2 Not to be confused with a negative theology!

3 An overall transcendental suspension is the sense of suspension realized through the balanced interplay of all three moments of the hermeneutic circle itself consisting of a ‘consonant’ hermeneutical re-constitution, a ‘dissonant’ phenomenological reduction and a ‘harmonized’ existential suspension (being the balanced interplay between the first two moments and, therefore, not to be confused with the overall transcendental suspension which is the balanced interplay of all three moments).

4 On transcendental a priori grounds there can be only one World - all 'worlds' are provisional and 'contained' within the same. This expression 'within' is not meant to be treated literally. One could equally use the expression 'without' in a metaphorical sense of being drawn out of the World; the life-world (World) acting as a 'ground' but not in an absolute, i.e., absolutist, sense (since 'ground' is equally dependent on that 'grounded' on the same).

5 "There is honour even among thieves" - Even a thief cannot be an absolute thief. The possibility exists and in the world we have thieves but never absolute ones. In a similar fashion some one might want to argue for the personification of evil in some form or other. We have evil intending people why not evil intending divinities? But the application of our vertical arguments implies 'higher' and 'higher' senses of self with attendant privileges and obligations (as an additional premise) ruling out any form of evil personification equivalent to a divinity that might be manifested in some form or other at that level of epistemological organization. Moreover, survival of that manifestation is also directly dependent on its 'integrity' in all senses of that term. Hence not all 'differences' are equal! Our vertical dimension progressively establishing only a sense of divinity, all other possibilities being self-discounted or left behind.

6 As argued for in Papers V and VI.

7 Otherwise we have problems like “did the bachelor beat his wife?” where “yes” or “no” are both inapplicable answers. So we start form the highly probable existence of the-world-as-an-intersub-jective-experience for-us (and not form a non-existent basis like the horns on the heads of unicorns)!

8 The integration of our three dimensions of argument giving us the ‘dancing’ of our ‘skeleton’!

9 Such a concept can only have a non-literal, metaphorical currency.

10 Looked at to some extent in the commentorial sections of the Eight Essay.

11 The theologian would also seek a concept of the divine with religious merit, i.e., as a suitable object of religious devotion, etc. Refer to Appendix C.

12 Refer to Appendix C.

13 But that degree of difference would have to be, effectively, a quantum degree of difference rather than, merely, an incrementally advance degree of difference. On the other hand, even quantum differences arise through incremental advancement to that point wherein there is a chaotic change in phase in and through a ‘sudden’, radical self-re-organization of that psychic sense of state.

14 Some guidelines in this task being noted in the next Appendix.


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