Can Athiests be Essentialists?
#1
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Existentialism is in contrast to classical Essentialism. Now Existentialists can range from the religious to the hyper-atheistic, but can the same be said for Essentialism?

Essentialism, in today's world is seen as simply the opposite of existentialism which believes that existence proceeds essence (things exist, and then meaning it even to them), so by that definition, essentialism is that essense proceeds existence. Things but into the world already have their meaning before they come to be.

This isn't always the case though, in the past essentialism was simply the belief that "for any specific entity there is a set of attributes which are necessary to its identity and function."

I personally hold a lot of essentialst view in my life, when you ask me what makes a thing, I give a specific attribute, and if you take that way, it is no longer the same thing (this leads to weird things in metaphysics, but that is another discussion). In particular, mathematics and metaphysics ring true a lot of essentialism:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that almost all mathematicians are Platonists, at least when they are actually doing mathematics" -- Gerald B. Folland

The issue is however, what gives things there essence in an atheistic universe? A few of my friends have pointed out this issue in my world view, I don't see a direct contradiction here, do things need a mind to give them essence? However, it is a troubling issue.

The more I think about it, the more modern atheism is opposed to essentialism in all forms, not even platonic numbers are safe from the skepticism of atheists.

This isn't really an essay or anything, I am just curious if anyone has any thoughts on this matter.
 
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#2
i have no idea why you think existentialism or essentialism are in any way predicated upon atheism
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#3
also kirby when you make a post about philosophy, a field dedicated to making meticulously constructed arguments which are inextricably intertwined with pedantic syntax, can you at least proof read your fucking posts

Quote:I don't see a direct contradiction here, do things a mind to give them essence?

christ that hurt to read
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#4
lol

I will admit, this is a jumbled mess, I didn't intend any formal debate here, I just want to hear other thoughts on the subject
 
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#5
this might be helpful



 
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#6
(07-16-2016, 03:14 AM)Ascaris Wrote: also kirby when you make a post about philosophy, a field dedicated to making meticulously constructed arguments which are inextricably intertwined with pedantic syntax, can you at least proof read your fucking posts

while I will agree that is how modern philosophy functions, classical philosophy, like with Socrates, is focused on discussion at the public forum
 
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#7
i know what existentialism is, but i still

(07-16-2016, 03:09 AM)Ascaris Wrote: have no idea why you think existentialism or essentialism are in any way predicated upon atheism
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#8
Ascaris so grumpy today

It honestly seems like a difference of semantics, don't you think? I think essentialism is compatible with atheism, as long as you accept that human understanding of a thing, and the relation of that thing to other human beings, is the essence of it.

Let us accept that all the "thing"s in this universe are really just categorical constraints imposed by us (humans), so that we can better understand them. Meaning, what I call you, or me, or a star, is just a series of bonded molecules that we have arbitrarily decided to name. An atheist-compatible essentialism might say that the creation of a boundary, of a hard category within a gradient, is meaningful, because it is meaningful to us.
Cool
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#9
(07-16-2016, 03:21 AM)Kirby Wrote:
(07-16-2016, 03:14 AM)Ascaris Wrote: also kirby when you make a post about philosophy, a field dedicated to making meticulously constructed arguments which are inextricably intertwined with pedantic syntax, can you at least proof read your fucking posts

while I will agree that is how modern philosophy functions, classical philosophy, like with Socrates, is focused on discussion at the public forum

arguments being verbal as opposed to textual doesnt change the fact that the things they said made sense
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#10
(07-16-2016, 03:22 AM)Slam Ander Wrote: Ascaris so grumpy today

Finger
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#11
(07-16-2016, 03:21 AM)Ascaris Wrote: i know what existentialism is, but i still

(07-16-2016, 03:09 AM)Ascaris Wrote: have no idea why you think existentialism or essentialism are in any way predicated upon atheism

I think what he's getting at is that it is very difficult to consolidate the idea of there being no greater, spiritual power with the idea that there is some kind of objective categorization of things.
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#12
I don't want to get into gender shit, but on a simplistic level I agree with gender essentialism, people are born mentally as men and women in the same way someone is born gay or straight. This isn't something developed later in life, it is who one is at their foundational core, and without it, the person isn't themself. If you could un-gay a gay guy, he would no longer be the same person.
 
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#13
Actually, re-reading the post, I can see what Kirbx is getting at. There seems to be a contradiction between the idea of things like mathematics being absolute, and the seemingly arbitrary nature of the universe that is foundational to the atheist worldview.

I think the distinction here is that numbers are because they are. Atheism doesn't dispute the idea that things can just exist because they happen to be that way. It disputes the idea that there is some kind of greater intentionality, a "supernatural" force, behind this system of universal laws; it rejects the idea of some sentient entity that delegates laws of morality and physics.
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#14
(07-16-2016, 03:27 AM)Kirby Wrote: I don't want to get into gender shit, but on a simplistic level I agree with gender essentialism, people are born mentally as men and women in the same way someone is born gay or straight. This isn't something developed later in life, it is who one is at their foundational core, and without it, the person isn't themself. If you could un-gay a gay guy, he would no longer be the same person.

Ok, you lost me.

You're saying it's difficult to consolidate the skepticism of atheism with ideas of essentialism?
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#15
(07-16-2016, 03:31 AM)Slam Ander Wrote:
(07-16-2016, 03:27 AM)Kirby Wrote: I don't want to get into gender shit, but on a simplistic level I agree with gender essentialism, people are born mentally as men and women in the same way someone is born gay or straight. This isn't something developed later in life, it is who one is at their foundational core, and without it, the person isn't themself. If you could un-gay a gay guy, he would no longer be the same person.

Ok, you lost me.

You're saying it's difficult to consolidate the skepticism of atheism with ideas of essentialism?

No you were on the right track before.

I was simply giving an example of an essentialist property, if I swapped out the gay guy with the knife and its blade in the example Hank gave in the video I posted, it is the exact same thing. Without a blade, a knife isn't a knife, without his sexuality, a gay man isn't himself.

The question then becomes, if such essentialist properties exist, what is making them? We usually think of concious mind's giving essence: humans give essence to any tools we use for example, so what is essence without a creator? Is such a thing tenable?

If essence doesn't need a mind, does that mean it can come about spontaneously in nature? What gave the gay man his immutable gayness?
 
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#16
You have to remember that human sexuality works along a spectrum. Things like "gay" are artificial categories we have placed on a gradient of sexual attraction.

I don't think it's possible to be an atheist and believe there is an "essential" gayness beyond the brain or body, no.
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#17
Why does a spectrum entail existential qualities? I don't see that logic.

There is a spectrum between fresh water and salt water, with varying levels of salinity in between. Salt water exists in an objective way however and has certain properties, certain fish can only live in salt water, certain compounds form in salt water but not fresh water, ect. However, without a copious amount of salinity in it, salt water simply isn't salt water any more. At a certain point, a salt water fish won't be able to live in a low salinity brackish environment, this isn't something humans have constructed. Salt water exists beyond simply our perception of it.
 
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#18
And what is that certain point?
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#19
We should pass a mandate for thread quality in the debate section, because fuck sake.
Quote:Well, I open my eyes and I see things. I've seen spirits moving through the walls. I've seen a vortex coming through the wall. I've seen amorphous little balls of light bouncing all around in the front yard through the window. I've seen giant bugs on the floor. I was in a hotel room in Amarillo, Texas, and all I remember is standing on the bed and seeing the whole wall in front of me filled with lights that were [makes popping sound] popping like popcorn out of the wall. Then I'll wake up and I go "Wow, I was standing on my bed and staring at this wall."
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#20
(07-16-2016, 04:07 AM)Lord Wrote: We should pass a mandate for thread quality in the debate section, because fuck sake.

Wow, essentialist much?
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#21
http://thehoneybeeinn.com/showthread.php?tid=19721

This is the thread quality we should all strive for
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#22
(07-16-2016, 04:07 AM)Lord Wrote: We should pass a mandate for thread quality in the debate section, because fuck sake.

move this somewhere else for all I give a shit
 
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#23
the threads fine
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#24
(07-16-2016, 04:09 AM)Slam Ander Wrote: http://thehoneybeeinn.com/showthread.php?tid=19721

This is the thread quality we should all strive for

Someday I'll respond and elaborate.
Quote:Well, I open my eyes and I see things. I've seen spirits moving through the walls. I've seen a vortex coming through the wall. I've seen amorphous little balls of light bouncing all around in the front yard through the window. I've seen giant bugs on the floor. I was in a hotel room in Amarillo, Texas, and all I remember is standing on the bed and seeing the whole wall in front of me filled with lights that were [makes popping sound] popping like popcorn out of the wall. Then I'll wake up and I go "Wow, I was standing on my bed and staring at this wall."
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#25
(07-16-2016, 04:01 AM)Slam Ander Wrote: And what is that certain point?

We may never know. Who were you Aquarius 1!?

[Image: wisdom_of_the_ancients.png]
 
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