The Enlightenment and Human Understanding – TUT 15 – FEB 6/2013
Q1) The extreme mystic has problems with this Anthropomorphism, but the modern
mystic has a problem with this and runs into an issue, explain.
Q2) Define designer of the world. Discuss a) Cleanthes and b) Philo (defense + critique)
Recall: not about existence of God … just about our use of language.
The language of the anthropomorphite is logically incompatible with the language about
2 way to think: mysticism
Mystic will believe that the anthropomophism will always fail. Starts with critique of
(EXAM: DOOM TO FAILURE, MYSTIC BELIEVES THAT WE SHOULD ADORE IN
SILENCE; ADORE IN OUR OWN MINDS)
This is based on the writing of Aristotle (who was not an EM): (REALLY
IMPORTANT ON EXAM)
He wirtes; take a claim
(SEE PREV. PPT)
This is a descriptive statement.
We also see here that the coffee is limited and finite, since it cannot be all things.
Aristotle then goes on to say that; the limitations inherent in the coffee itself must be
reflected in any language we use about the coffee
The only way that language can describe coffee accurately is if it in some way has
characteristic of the coffee itself
What do we mean the coffe is finite limited? LIMITED IN TERMS OF COLOUR.
BROWNCAPUTRES ITS LIMITAITONS
When we say this, we mean(SEE PREV) Aristotle says:
Whenever we use a descriptiver temr (apply predicate to object) we are describing it, and
that description serveds to classify thje object (SEE PREV)
We only have half the story
When we classify somehthng, linguistically speaking we have an act of inclusion.
For EVERY INCLUSION, we ALSO HAVE AN EXCLUSION (Coffee is
brown=inclusion, exclusion=complamntary class). We are saying the coffee is within
the things that are brown
Here, we are also invoked in an act of exclusion, we are saying that the coffee is brown
So just to repeat:
Linguistically there is a limitation on the coffee – it cannot be more than one colour at a
So now here we see the issue: (extreme mystic excludes anthromophism, and why it is
Take the claim of God is good;
According to the mystic, anthropomorphite is using this term literally, and is saying it is
unvocal – the goodness feature of God is the same as humans!
So the EM wants to say – God is good invoked the claim of inclusion. You are saying that
God is among the class of good things.
But the problem arises that is just not inclusion with descriptive language, but exclusion
Therefore, you include God linguistically in class of good things, but you are also
excluding god from the complementary class of “nongood” things.
The EM says this is problematic because you are imposing a limitation on God, from a
linguistic POV So, the upshot is:
Because God is believed to be without limit (fundamental belief of those who believe in
God), and yet when you speak about God linguistically you put a limitation on him, it
NO ANTHROPOMORPHIC claim about God can be accurate. What you say imposes
limits! It is not an accurate portrayal of His nature.
NOW WE ARE GOING TO REFUTE THE EM, though:
We ask ourselves; what is the most basic belief that a believer of God would have
A: Most basic would be existence
Q: Can this one survive the scrutiny of analysis
Turns out even silence is a problem in the face of God… Dialogues p. 122
Let’s unpack this:
The EM is a believer.
The skeptic is not sure if there is a God.
The atheist says there is no God.
Cleanthes wants to distinguish between the EM and the nonbeliever.
EM: You cannot say anything about God
Skeptic: I Don’t KNOW
Atheist: Nothing to say because no God
In the case of skeptic and atheist, they too would advocate silence with respect to God
Cleanthes shows that these three positions are indistinguishable in terms of language.
Conclusion from this: if you are mystic, you must reintroduce language to distinguish
from the atheist and skeptic.
So dielectrically, we are led to moderate mysticism, a position we actually don’t see
characterized in the Dialogues.
MM says we must be able to speak about God – we need language to differentiate from
ath/skep. On the other hand (bc of anthropo) the MM says we cannot use language descriptively
since this conflict with God’s perfections
Therefore – we must develop a use of language which is not literal in order to succeed in
speaking about God.
So MM says: Since our language can’t be literal it must be symbolic or figurative
( we don’t mean literally that God has a plan)
Okay, sure – symbolic/figurative use of language is an accepted use of langue for a long
Let’s see some examples:
Bob is as strong as Chuck Norris
Michelle is as slow as molasses
God has a plan
So; ½ are successful uses of figurative language; they convey meaning using figure
Let’s look at these statements. The key is that there is a literal meaning behind the
figurative language. What do you mean strong as chick Norris? Well, he’s an incredibly
strong guy. Slow as molasses? You understand that molasses moves quite slowly, so the
slowness of molasses allows you to compared both these motions.
What do we learn from all this?
Figurative language is successful provided that the speaker can offer a literal meaning
for the figure – must be able to ‘cash out’ the meaning and explain in literal terms
It follows from this, therefore, that if you say that God has a plan/desires/(any predicate)
and say that it is figurative or symbolic, that would be acceptable since you convey
meaning through it (provided you can locate the literal meaning)
For god, the only way we can have meaningful information is if we have
But… can the MM provide a literal meaning for the use of language? NO WAY! This
would be anthropomorphic, and the MM has already rejected this, so MM completely
(MM IS A BAD STANCE) rd
3 position: ANALOGY (MORE THOUGHTFUL STANCE)
Word analogy means that a comparison is drawn. Using an analogical argument:
argument in which things are being compared – there is a resemblance (similarities and
So… analogist is reacting to the first two positions. First he/she will say why first two fail
and analogy is superior.
Analogist RE: antrhopomorphism
Cleanthes is taking the analogist role in the D.
The analogist would say that the anthroporporphism attrivutes TOO MUCH
resemblamnce between us and God – too hard to have difference and therefore run into
It is difficult to begin with the claim that God has NO resemblance to us.
This does not enable us linguistically to have any claim of similiarty.
Analogist then argues his/her position:
We need a sue of language where differences between us and God can be capried as well
This is analogy, and this is the true position
So can we use analogical language to successfully talk about God?
Let’s take the claim people are faithful
“” “” pets are faithful
we don’t mean pets are faithful EXACTLY as humans are …. Lets explore how to
understand this. Faithful generally implies a sense of loyalties, both contain this idea.
Furthermore, when we argue faithful in both these cases, we believe they are protective
There are 2 ways in which fidelity applied to both case
The analogy is, yes there are similarities between humans and pets but there are also
There is a difference, however;
People develop fidelity/loyalty through