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History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 9

Rationalism

One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 9
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Rationalism

Platonic Philosophy

Part 4
 

V. Plato's Rationalism

A. The Phaedo

1. a posteriori knowledge

2. a priori knowledge

B. Argument for the Immortality of the Soul

C. Outline of Plato's Argument

1. All knowing presupposes a prior knowledge of some Form, rule, or standard.

2. Human knowledge of the Form, rule, or standard cannot be acquired through the senses.

3. Therefore, human knowledge of the Forms is acquired in an earlier existence.

4. Therefore, the human soul is immortal.

D. Critique of Plato's Argument

1. Human beings are not necessarily guaranteed continual life after death.

2. There are other explanations for the preexistence of human knowledge.

E. Augustine's Response

1. God implanted this knowledge in the human mind at birth.

2. Forms are eternal ideas in the mind of God.

F. Practical Application


Lessons
About
Transcript
  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash

History of Philosophy and Christian Thought

th620-09

Rationalism

Lesson Transcript

 

If you will, turn in your text to page 70. Because of the way we treated this material last week, we skipped a unit of material that is called Plato's Figure of the divided line. And this is often an important this is often treated as an important part of Plato's theory of knowledge. Okay. Incidentally, if you're keeping track of where we are in Plato's worldview, we have not. We've talked about Plato's view of God. We haven't finished that yet, but at least we we gave you that introduction to Plato's view of God last week. We've talked about Plato's metaphysics or his theory of ultimate reality. That's the the two worlds. And we began last week to talk about Plato's theory of knowledge. And this figure of a divided line is material that I'm not going to cover in my lecture. But you are responsible for the material that's in your textbook on pages 70 and 71, and later on in the chapter. I do tie that in with the allegory of the cave and the three story universe and all of that material. Now we're ready to look at the fetal. And once again, the basic reason why we're reading two philosophical classics is to show you, number one, that you really can understand a lot of these philosophical works. There are only about 10% of Plato's writings are are not accessible to the regular reader. Now, I realize there, you know, you may have more important things to read than Plato, like the Bible. And I understand that. Good for you. But nonetheless, Plato's Feito is one of the great works of Western literature.

 

[00:02:29] And I want you to understand from reading it that Plato was not only a philosopher, he was also a great author. This is great literature, and it grieves me that in so many American colleges and universities, great literature by dead white European males, great literature like that isn't read anymore. And what we what we often read are papers about how I spent my summer vacation by people from well, that that often is the required reading in America's colleges and universities. Now, let me just read a little bit of this introduction. This is the heading title, Plato's Rationalism. Just to get us started here. Plato made at least three important contributions to the rationalist tradition. Keep in mind that we're contrasting two basically different theories of knowledge, rationalism and empiricism. As we've just learned, there are members of this class who are empiricists up to this moment. Okay, but we'll see. In case you don't know what Plato and I are rationalists, Do you know the opposite of rationalism? It's called irrationalism. Okay, that's just, you know, I'm just. I'm. I don't know if I mentioned this. Forgive me, but when I gave my first talks in Moscow ten years ago, maybe I said this. A professor of philosophy came up to me and wanted to start an argument. And she said, You know, you've got one problem doctrine and you're too much of a rationalist. And I thank her, but I think that's a compliment. Okay. First, Plato taught that all human knowledge contains an unavoidable reference to a universal element that is known independently of sense experience. The technical term for this kind of knowledge is a priori. Let's put that on the board. Let's take the word posteriori first. Notice in this Latin term, our posteriori, there is the little word posterior.

 

[00:04:53] Which of course refers to things that come later. But the real meaning of our posteriori is knowledge that is dependent upon sense experience, dependent on sense experience. Now, what are examples of our posteriori knowledge? Well, what color shirt Nash is wearing today? What color crayon he's writing with. You know how he parted his hair today and things like that? You can't know how I parted my hair today without having access to such information about me. Okay. Priori, that's a Latin term. If it appears in a book, it ought to be italicized, as this should be italicized. But notice in the word a priori there is a little word prior, which means before. Well, the whole point to our priori knowledge is it is independent of sense experience. It is independent of sense experience. Its truth, a proposition that is known a priori is known independent of sense experience. Examples would be two plus two equals four. All bachelors are unmarried men. Do you need sense experience? To tell you the truth, that all bachelors are unmarried men, All spinsters are unmarried women. Those truths are known a priori. Okay, well, now let's go back and reread the sentence we just read. Plato taught that all human knowledge contains an unavoidable reference to a universal element that immediately directs our attention to the forms that is known independently of sense experience. The technical term for this kind of knowledge is a priori. Okay. Oh, there's a footnote. You might want to mark that footnote. I'm on 77. Okay. Footnote 17. Page 77. Second, Plato argued that reason is superior to sense perception because sensation is powerless to provide the crucial, universal and necessary element present in knowledge. And finally, the superiority of reason over sense experience led Plato to think in terms of a hierarchy of epistemological states with reason at the top and sense perception at the bottom.

 

[00:07:21] Plato's Veto. One of his greatest achievements, contains what I regard as one of the most important passages in all of philosophical literature. Even though the passage appears to focus on an argument for the immortality of the soul, its greatest significance is the contribution it makes to the debate between rationalism and empiricism. Now, let me put that in my own words. Oh, I'm glad you caught on to that. That was a, you know, once, once a year I say something that's really dumb and I just did. Okay, here's what's going on in the Fito. Socrates disciples are awaiting Socrates execution. His trial was a sham. We don't need to go into the reasons why he was tried and the particular reasons why he was threatened with execution. The fact is that his followers had already bribed the jailer. They already had a ship down in the seaport waiting to take Socrates and his family away from Athens. No one, none of Socrates enemies really thought that he would die. They wanted to embarrass him. They wanted to get him out of Athens. They wanted to shame him. They wanted to silence him. They also wanted to get revenge for certain political things that had happened in Athens prior to this. But nobody thought the old man was really going to die. The catch is that Socrates refused to cooperate with this plan to get him out of jail. The jailer had said, The door is open. All he's got to do is get up and walk out of here. And Socrates said, no, that would violate everything I have stood for in my life. Of course, last week we noticed that Socrates was also a sinner. Okay, as we all are. But in spite of the man's private moral problems, which we mentioned briefly last week, the man nonetheless had moral scruples.

 

[00:09:38] He had principles, and he was not about to take advantage of the opportunity to flee this execution because he thought that would violate things that he had stood for during his entire life. When the dialog the FETO begins, we're told that Plato was not present. This is specifically mentioned near the beginning of the FETO. Let me give you a possible reason why I'll give you two possible reasons why Plato's absence is noted. Number one, it was the true. He wasn't there. Okay. Why was he not there? Well, perhaps he knew that he could not stand to see Socrates die. But there's another reason why Plato's absence is noted. It probably is a clue that we shouldn't take everything that is said in the Fito as literal truth. Okay. And as we now know, it is highly unlikely that any of the grandiose theories that Socrates presents in defense of the immortality of the soul. Highly unlikely that any of those things were known by Socrates during his lifetime. Because most of those arguments in support of the immortality of the soul were probably picked up by Plato during his journeys in southern Italy after Socrates execution, after Plato never traveled in southern Italy prior to Socrates execution. Okay. Now, Socrates disciples say, Are you afraid of dying? Why aren't you afraid of dying? And this illness? In a nutshell, it's Socrates answer, and forgive me for paraphrasing this for the third time, but it will be the last time. This world is not my home. My body is the prison house of my soul. What death will do is free my soul from its imprisonment in this body so that my soul can wing its way to the world of the forms. My life. All of my life I've been seeking a knowledge of the forms.

 

[00:11:52] Now that knowledge is at hand. I can't. You know this. This is not something to be afraid of. I will soon experience what I've. What I've been seeking to know all of my earthly life. Now, one of the disciples, then probably a member of this class, says to Socrates, Well, if death is so advantageous, why don't you just kill yourself, okay? And Socrates says, No, no, we must not push the door. Now, I don't know that Socrates really gives what are what any of us would regard as a legitimate argument against suicide. I just mention that so that you will recognize that people like Plato and Socrates and Aristotle did oppose suicide. The later Stoics did not oppose suicide, but this was not, of course, on that particular problem. Then Socrates begins to give three or four arguments for the immortality of the soul. They are horrible arguments. One of the reasons I love to read the FETO is my confirmation of the fact that to my credit, I've never said anything as dull as Socrates says in the Fito. His arguments are are horrific. They're logically fallacious. None of them work. But it just so happens that one of these inadequate arguments for the immortality of the soul turns out to be, as I've said, one of the one of the definitive passages in the whole history of philosophy. And that's what I want us to focus our attention on. If you brought your Fito, I'm going to tell you where to turn. If you didn't bring your Fito, then I'm going to tell you where to where to focus your attention. All right. Now, notice that my edition of the Fito will be different than yours because this I bought this for many, many years ago.

 

[00:14:11] But please notice the numbers in the right hand margin or the left and the margins, the outer margins. Those numbers are the key to finding out where you're supposed to pay attention. Those numbers, for example, right here, I'm looking at 74 and the right hand margin. Forget the number. Forget the page number in the book here. You're going to read numbers in the margin are what we call the standard pagination. Let me tell you how this standard pagination came to exist during the 19th century. German scholars put together what for them at that time was what they thought the definitive edition of Plato's Works. Okay. And what we ever since the pagination that was used in that standard definitive German edition has become what? We call the standard pagination. That is page 74. And the margin here is where this page stood in the original definitive German edition that was done during the 1800s. Furthermore, what those what later people have done is divided a page into four five parts. And so you have 74, A, B, C, D, and E, so that if you were looking at the at the original standard German edition, A would be the first fifth of the page, E would be the bottom fifth of the page and so on. The advantage to standard pagination is no matter what edition, no matter what translation you're using, you can immediately turn to the precise passage, the same passage, even if you're reading the King James version of Plato and somebody else is reading the revised Standard version of Plato. Okay. Now I'm going to begin to read on page 74, and this would be 74 a. All right, Plato, Socrates is giving an argument for the immortality of the soul.

 

[00:16:24] And this is. This is how he begins. Do we not believe in the existence of equality, not the equality of pieces of wood or of stones, but something beyond that equality in the abstract. Some translations put this in this term the equal itself, the equal itself and the E is the E of equal is is capitalized, clearly. You now know that whatever Plato's talking about here is the form of equality, the standard, the universal perfect equality. So Plato is saying we can know the two triangles are equal. We can know the two circles are equal. We can know the two lines segments are equal. And where do these equal things exist in the higher world or the lower world? They exist in the lower world, the world of particular things. But before you can know, the two sticks are equal, or two triangles are equal or two circles are equal. And where does your information about those equal sticks come from? Through experience, Through sense experience, before you can know that two things are equal? You have to know what the standard of equality is, what the concept of equality is, what the equal itself is. Okay, well, all of that is discussed. Middle of page 74, the standard pagination. Now, Socrates asks this question Where did we get our knowledge of it from? Now we know where you get your awareness of equal sticks or stones or triangles. You get that through your sense experience. But where do you get your knowledge of the standard of equality? The concept of equality? Okay. Now, here is the first answer to that question. Somebody and the person's name is Soumya says, Did we not get our knowledge of the equal itself from seeing the equal pieces of wood and stones and the like, which we were speaking of just now? Did we not form from them the idea of abstract equality, which is different from them, or do you think it is not different? Okay, Now when you get your copy of the Feito, which is presently in most cases at home, this is the point where I want you to write a couple of words in the margin.

 

[00:19:16] I want you to write in the margin right by the paragraph that I just read these words empiricism, and I want you to write a name Aristotle. Okay for all of you who are empiricists or Aristotelian. Write your own name right there. Sam, Bill, Susie, write your name there too, if you're an empiricist. Okay. Now, let me explain what the empiricist answer is here. The empiricist says, Here's how we get our knowledge of the equal itself. The form. First of all, we see particular examples of equal things and then we abstract from that sense experience. We abstract from that the idea of what is common to all of those particular examples, the idea of the equal itself, equal abstract equality. The whole point for the empiricist answer is we get our knowledge of the universe, so we get our knowledge of the form from our sense experience. Now here's how Plato refutes empiricism. And maybe before I go any further, I'll tell you this. I have taught a lot of people in my life. The last time I counted, I guess I had I was over 20,000 students. And I must admit to you that my former students are messing up the church all over the world. They really are. Okay, Over. Maybe I'm over 21, 22,000. My target is to hit 100,000 before my career ends. Okay. When I was writing Life's Ultimate Questions, and maybe. Maybe these students are going to listen to this tape. I sent out five or six copies of the manuscript so that people would make suggestions. All right. I didn't listen to all of the suggestions, but I got a few good examples. But one of my former students who stay at a Ph.D. in his teaching philosophy at a college that shall remain nameless.

 

[00:21:43] If you're listening, we love your guy, but you're wrong. All right. He says, That's the dumbest stuff I've ever read. Ah, no, it's not. This is a man looking at the world through empiricist lenses and see he can't. Even though he sat at my feet and listened to these pearls of wisdom. Dribbling from my mouth. Those are mixed metaphors there. The message didn't get through. Here is a man who's down in the cave. I'm kidding. He's a prisoner. He's looking at the shadows on the back wall of the cave. And we're going to pray for him once this class is over with. Okay. But he this is what empiricism does to you. It blinds you to such important truths. Whereas rationalism is liberating. All right. No one in the world has ever been blinded by rationalism. It's empiricism that blind you. I've been freed from the chains. I've left the cave. Now here is how Plato refutes his empiricism. And listen to this is Aristotle. I It's not difficult for me to imagine that Plato see. I mean, I've had my students whom this truth could not penetrate. And Plato had his Aristotle. No doubt Aristotle raised this objection. Plato was away, was lecturing, just like I am. And then Aristotle raised his hand. I suspect that Aristotle was also an Armenian. But we won't we won't go into that. Now there are two reputations. Number one, Plato says. Will you allow me to use a pejorative statement? Okay, I'm paraphrasing. Plato says, You dummy, You dummy. Can't you realize the foolishness of your position? Because see, here again, here's your view. You see equal lines, segments, and then you you abstract from that the notion of equality. But Plato says, think, think, think what? How could you have ever known that these line segments were equal in the first place unless you knew what equality was? What you empiricist do is you look at two lines and you say they're equal and then you think you're going to generalize and get the.

 

[00:24:39] But you knew what equality was before you recognized that the two lines were equal. The notion of the universal comes before your knowledge of the particular thing. Name. I can see we're moving in the right direction here. The second objection to empiricism in Aristotle is this. The form is perfect. It admits it allows of no imperfection. But the equal things are imperfect in all kinds of ways. If I try to draw an equilateral triangle, for example. It's going to it's going to fall short in some way or other. They are look at that. Or if I draw a perfect circle, all of the examples are imperfect. But the standard, the form is perfect. Hmm. Therefore, we're talking about two different worlds here. Okay. But when you're trying to visualize the perfect circle, you're forced to bring this space, this object, into your spatial temporal scenario. You know, I've never said that before. That sounds magnificent, doesn't it? When you contemplate the perfect circle, which is faceless and non temporal and a process of analogy occurs in which you bring that world into the world of your own consciousness, and thus you perceive it as though it were in space and time. Whew. There are reminiscences there of something we're going to learn near the end of the course. How does it happen? Nobody knows. But it happens, doesn't it? Sure. But. But listen, something like that happens in theology. You know, a lot of people say God is unknowable, but nonetheless, God reveals all kinds of truth about himself. But what happens is we we make accommodations or maybe God makes accommodations for us. And so he reveals truth about himself that nonetheless gets contaminated by our finitude. Okay. Boy, this is deep stuff, isn't it? In other words, we try to use human language to convey information about an infinitely perfect deity.

 

[00:27:35] And nonetheless, our language does carry with it some imperfections. It's not. There's no imperfection with God. But we can never quite. And this shouldn't surprise you. We will never completely grasp all of the truth about any of God's attributes. We get close. Well, something like that is happening here in Plato's in Plato's scheme of things. Look, when my daughter was a little was a child, I think she was probably five years old. I tested her with respect to innate understanding of logic. I said to her, I did. What's so funny about this? Cool. Hey, man. Cool. Oh, cruel. Oh. Oh, For the sake of the tape, I thought this student was saying cool, but he was saying, That's cruel. All right. It was not cruel. It was not cruel. What I did was this one day as a test, I said to little Jennifer, who was four or five years old, I uttered this proposition. All philosophers have beautiful daughters. Okay. She smiled. She came over. She hugged me and she gave me a kiss on the cheek. Now, do you understand what was going on there? Her mind supplied the missing premises. Her mind derived the necessary conclusion. And she smiled. I then gave her another example and I forget what it was. And she came over. She folded her fist and she hit me on the arm. All right. But lovingly, in a sanctified kind of way. Children, you don't. You don't. You have to take a logic course. But we. We have an innate ability to think. Okay, now turn the page. Turn to page 79. Because what I then do, what I then do, and this has never been done before. You don't know how blessed you are. You can't get this in Saint Louis or Philadelphia.

 

[00:29:52] Only hear from my stuff. Okay. What I do is I take Plato's proof for the immortality of the soul. And I'm about to use that to lead you into the mysteries of the universe. Okay. And when you read the Feito, I want you to notice how my summary of Plato's argument appears in the text of the fetus. First of all, Plato says this, this, and let's call this premise 1p1 premise one. All human knowledge. All human knowledge presupposes a prior knowledge. Have you seen that word before? A prior knowledge of some standard or rule or form? Okay. I believe that I'm going to put a check there. I believe that you can't know any of these are priori things without some prior knowledge of some form or standard or rule. Take knowing the truth. How can you know that two things are equal unless you first know what? And what's the word we want here? Equality is how can you know that one thing is better than another? Unless you know what? Goodness is. How can you know that something is more beautiful than another thing unless you know what beauty is? How can you know that a prop The two propositions are true unless you know what truth is. You can't know these things without a prior knowledge of the equal itself. Truth itself. Beauty itself. Goodness itself. Let's throw around two propositions here, and I'm not going to define them at this moment. And thus some people may not know what I'm talking about, and I apologize for that. Even if we say that since experience is a necessary condition for some kinds of knowledge, some at least we know that sense experience is not sufficient. It may be necessary, but it's not sufficient.

 

[00:32:37] That is, you can have the sense experience and still not know what you've got. Look at all the people who have, you know, sense experience of certain things and they still it isn't until the form the universal enters the picture that they then have knowledge. Okay, Now we got to we got to keep going here. Okay. Second point, because I know where I want to be when we get to the end of the period, this knowledge, the knowledge apprentice one the knowledge of some standard rule of form cannot be acquired, cannot be acquired in this life. And that means and I'm adding here in parentheses, either by teaching or since experience. Now I believe that to the knowledge is genuinely our priori that is the knowledge of the form. Now don't confuse the knowledge of the equal itself with your awareness of the color of a flower or the smell of a flower that's a posteriori. If you say some roses are red, you're making an apostasy or a judgment. And in this case, since experience I would say, is both necessary and sufficient for that. Okay. There's a difference between two kinds of knowledge. Don't confuse them and recognize that Plato himself wasn't as straight on this as he should have been. Now we come to two conclusions. We have two premises. Now we have two conclusions. We're going to call this. See, one goes like this If the human mind knows things that it did not and could not acquire in this life, either through teaching or experience. Therefore. The soul must have existed in a prior life. See what Plato does. You have knowledge. You could not have acquired this knowledge in this life. Therefore, you must have lived in an earlier life.

 

[00:35:05] Okay. And then Plato comes to his second conclusion, which all number four here. Therefore, the soul is immortal. That's the argument that's on these pages. Now we're going to start dismantling Plato's argument. I'm going to ask some of you to refute Plato. Because remember to me to say that you're a platonist does not mean that you believe. You accept everything Plato taught to be a Platonist means you recognize when Plato says something that's dumb, that doesn't work. And this is one of his bad arguments that makes me feel so good that I've never done anything this dumb myself. My own stupidity is unique in the universe. Now, can anybody can anybody tell me why Statement four does not follow from statement number three. And notice if you get this right, you may be displaying powers of logic without ever having taken a logic course. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I think about immortality, I ain't thinking about the past. I want to know what happens the next time I die. Okay. And Plato's theory doesn't help us there just because your soul may have existed before. It doesn't follow that your soul will continue to exist forever. That's what we call a logical howler. So we're going to eliminate that from the white board. That's just horrible. Now, somebody else tell me why this conclusion, therefore the soul must have existed in a prior life, doesn't follow, even if one and two are true. And of course, one and two are true. But that doesn't prove that the soul existed in a prior life. It's not a necessary conclusion. There are other. Thank you. There are other possible explanations. Okay. So what I want to do then is look at one of those other possible explanations.

 

[00:37:29] And we're going to erase Plato's position and we're going to give you and we're going to put it in red ink here. The ultimate explanation to one and two that comes from Saint Augustine. Therefore, and let's write his name up here, Saint Augustine. Let's write his dates up here. 354 up 354 to 430 A.D.. Now, before I write Augustine's solution on the board, let me tell you a little bit about the Bishop of Hippo. Augustine was born to a Christian mother in North Africa who prayed for her son during the years in which he ran away from God. Years in which he pursued immoral activities until about the age of let's see, Augustine was born in 354. He was about the age of 32 when he finally gave up on other world views and became a platonist. Now we'll talk about his other world views later in the course. But he became a full blown platonist. And in fact, for at least one or two years after his Christian conversion, Augustine believed premise one belief premise two and believed the rest of Plato's argument. Even though he probably got it from Plotinus, this other philosopher we're going to talk about later on. So here is the young Christian Augustine believing in the pre existence of the soul and in reincarnation, until all of a sudden he made a great discovery that this nonsense isn't taught in Scripture. And not only is it not taught in Scripture, but it's contradictory to Scripture. So Augustine thought through the whole system, and here's what he came up with. He accepted Premise one All human. Knowledge presupposes a prior knowledge of these forms. He accepted. Premise two This knowledge cannot be acquired in this life. But he came to a different conclusion.

 

[00:39:54] Therefore, God implanted this knowledge in the human mind at birth. In other words, every human being is born with an innate understanding of these eternal truths. The forms by virtue of the fact that God created us in His own image. Now, there's one other element of Augustine's theory that we need to add to this, Gus. One of the problems in Plato's system is that he had no world for the he had no home for the world of the form. The world of the forms for Plato existed in some kind of spacious non temporal world, but he never grounded this world. Here's what Augustine did. Augustine took the forms of Plato, and he said they are eternal ideas in the mind of God. Wow. Was this a major move forward? Of course. I'll tell you in a few weeks that there were other people between Augustine and Plato who had led him in this direction. But all of a sudden, do you see where we are? Where does absolute goodness exist? It exists in the mind of God, eternally. Where does the world where does the eternal number one exist? It has existed forever in the mind of God. All of these forms are eternal ideas in the mind of God. And when He created you in his image, he gave you. As content of your mind and innate understanding of these eternal ideas. MM. Which precede each and every sense experience you will ever have in life. Okay, so this is Augustine's alternative to Plato's theory in the Fito God gave us, gave every human being. Now, does that mean that we all have an explicit understanding of these ideas? No. It means we have an implicit understanding. And therefore, as we go through life, as we go through life, various experiences will jog us and help us remember what we have really known implicitly from birth.

 

[00:42:39] It's not that we learned it in the world of the forms, it's that God has given us this this cognitive equipment. That's Augustine's theory. One of the advantages to having access to these eternal ideas in the mind of God is there is is there practical advantage in helping us make important decisions about life so that when you encounter a moral situation. None of us have ever seen before an act of terrorism, such as occurred in September of 2001. But we know it's wrong. We know it's evil. How do we know that? Is it just a cultural thing? I mean, if you want to see the emptiness of humanistic worldview, of a naturalistic worldview, how can a naturalist like Bertrand Russell say that what those Arab terrorists did was wrong? You can't. I'm not yelling at you. I'm yelling at those terrorists and I'm yelling at Bertrand Russell. There is an innate understanding of the basic difference between right and wrong in most human beings, even though that is corrupted by sin. But nonetheless, when we are encountered by an act of evil, we know it's wrong. Even though we've never seen anything this evil, this iniquitous before.