Saturday, August 21, 2010

Epistemic Circularity

CORRECTION: About 3:50 "just as reliable as any other..." is supposed to be "epistemological" not "empirical."

William Alston's "Piercieving God" is an excellent resource for this concept. Although I do not fully agree with his conclusion.

His conclusion is that, basically, SP (spiritual perception) is just as unreliable as DP (doxastic perception.) Since there is no reasonable cause to doubt spiritual perception is true, it is beneficial to the individual to believe in their spiritual perceptions.

There are problems with this. The first is when spiritual perception is not at all beneficial to the individual, or life. For example, seeing an angel tell you that Jews need to be slaughtered, or God telling you to kill your babies, or demons/spirits telling you they demand rape and slaughtered black kittens. Furthermore, how do you logically separate the ones that tell you to do harm, and the ones that simply tell you you shouldn't have sex before marriage because that's bad for some reason?

The second, is that since that spiritual perception is so exclusive as to not be shared unless it is a group vision. I can go to my memory, or testimonies of others even to prove my sense perception is not lying to me. Or I can use other sense perceptions to validate one sense perception. If my eyes tell me when I stick a straw in the water it becomes contorted, I can reach in and verify with my sense of touch that it's not. Spiritual perceptions by nature are usually exclusive and can't be verified.

But.... this can easily become many other separate blogs.

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