History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 41

Two Worlds

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

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 41
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Two Worlds

Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

Part 2

I. Immanuel Kant (part 2)

A. Understanding Kant


B. Kant's Two Worlds

1. Phenomenal World

2. Noumenal World

  • 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.

Two other books that are recommended reading for this class are Confessions by Augustine and Phaedo by Plato.


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    Two Worlds

    Lesson Transcript


    [00:00:02] Can't believed that human beings live in two different worlds. Yup. You've heard that before. Now you've heard it again. You know, you could almost say. Put this down in your notes and give me credit. There is nothing new under the sun. Go ahead. Put that down and give me credit. There's nothing new under the sun. Did anybody else ever say that? No. Okay. There are human beings live in two worlds. Now, here are constant names for these two worlds. Only instead of using a horizontal line, we're going to use a vertical line. Okay. One world. One of the two worlds is called the Phenomenal World. This is the world as it appears to us. The world as it appears to us. The other world is called the Numinous World. Now, this comes from the Greek word noose. We've seen that word before. There's no close affinity between Noose and Numenera. But, you know, it's and this is the world as it really is. This is the world as it really as it really is. Now, let me relate these two worlds to our picture of the sausage machine. The phenomenal world is the world that we become aware of. After all of our sense information has been modified, categorized, organized after the pattern of these categories. But this cannot be the real world. This is only the way the world appears to us. And the reason the world appears to us in this way is because our mind forces us to perceive the world. This is we think of the I mean, just supposed to use a bad example that you were born with, rode rose colored lenses on your eyes. Everything then would appear to you as though it's rose colored, even though it isn't.


    [00:02:42] Well, something very much like that. Someone in something analogous to that is what's happened. Only we're talking about the cognitive faculties of the human mind. So this is the world as it appears to us. The norm in a world is the way the world really is. Okay. And the way that the normal world is way up here, outside of the sausage machine. In back of the sausage machine. And that's a world which is really unknowable. If you're listening and you're getting this stuff in your notes and you're reading the textbook, you're going to understand can't. Okay. The reason why the real world is unknowable is because it lies beyond the boundaries. Of our cognitive faculties. We can't know what. Now let's make a distinction between what I'm holding in my hands for the sake of. Our many friends listening by audiotape. I have a magnificent mug with a picture of the Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo. Okay. And what's it say here? Oh, there's no message. I have another mug. I call it my Armenian mug. It's got a picture of Chief Wahoo, but it says Good luck Indians. That's the Armenian mug. Pardon me while I take a swig of water Here. This is only the phenomenal mug. Now, we could make some jokes there, couldn't we? We can say that's a phenomenal mug. But it is the phenomenal mug. Because it is. It is the mug as it appears to you. Does anybody look at this and not see or read Chief Wahoo? Anybody not see? So you all see the same phenomenal mug in the same way. But do you understand that this is not the numeral mug? The nominal mug is what card calls the mug in itself. The pun is intended.


    [00:05:04] The mug in itself. Now, card, of course, did not write English. He wrote German and he talked about the din on. See, here's the German spelling ding on Sikh. The thing in itself. You see a tree. What you see is a phenomenal tree. The tree as your mind forces you to perceive it. But there is a tree in itself. Now, the the mug in itself is unknowable. We don't know what its shape is, although presumably it's of a shape that will enable it to hold some liquid. All right. An ice. But who knows? Maybe the nominal mug is a very unusual mug. All right. And we don't know its shape. We don't know what's color. We don't know. Have we heard of something like this before? Dum dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum. That were almost back in the world of the op from that which is unknowable. Hmm. Now, Conte says a number of things here. Conte says that the phenomenal world is also the world of science. Okay, but what does it mean to talk about the world of science? It is simply to talk about the world as our cognitive faculties force us to understand it. And then Conte says, Over here in the world of science, there are three things that we can say about the phenomenal world for. For one thing, there is no free will. There is secondly, no God. And there is no life. There is no immortality. We'll use that word because they all use it, even though, you know, I prefer a different word. I prefer survival after death. Here's what Conte means. If you're if you're going on the basis of what you know about the phenomenal world. There is no proof that human beings have free will.


    [00:07:33] In fact, the basic assumption of science is that everything that happens has a cause. Everything is determined. And furthermore, there is no proofs for God's existence. Conte thought that he had disproved all of the all of the arguments for God's existence. And I'll give you the basic objection he has to the proofs for God's existence. And then there is no life after death. That is, there is no scientific proof for God. There is no scientific proof for life after death. However, Conte says that's only the phenomenal world. We must not despair here. We must remember that there is the real world, the world of things in themselves. Even though the world of things in themselves is unknowable, I have already given you some advice about what to say to anybody who tells you that something is unknowable. He's contradicting himself as Katia. If the world of things in themselves is unknowable, how does can't know what exists? Okay. And notice all of these other things. We can't know about the unknowable world. But here's where Conte reaches one of his major famous points. If we forget the phenomenal world and if we can find a way to get ourselves into the normal world, what we're going to discover is that there is free will after all. Now, remember, Scott is not a Calvinist, so we put up with him here. There is no free will, but there is free will. There is God and there is immortality. And let me quickly tell you what what con thought were arguments for these three things he called them. Not that I'm going to ever ask you this. I guess he called these three things, postulates of practical reason. And to make a long story short, what he meant by all of that was, even though we can't prove that human beings have free will, that there is a God, that there is life after death.


    [00:09:44] We have to presume these things because without these presumptions, life would lose all purpose, meaning, significance. Isn't that an interesting way to slip in certain things that you can't prove? But here's how. Can't. Oh, boy, I'm losing time here. Let me just suggest here that if you want to know his arguments in this case, that you'd better look them up in other books.