Thursday, 21 July 2011


Skeptics are transcendental realists, or animists. They believe that objects have the properties of their appearances, that light of 650nm really is red, that a tree makes a sound when it falls, etc.

This is a totemic anthropomorphism. That is, objects (the totems) belong to the human and scientific community in an intimate and mystical way. Intimate because objects and Man share common experiences and characteristics (e.g. light of 650nm is red in itself, and red as it appears to humans). If the match between how a thing is and how it appears is only approximate, the basic proposals of transcendentally real, animmistic objects remains intact. And, mystical or transcendent, because there is no explanation provided by transcendentally real objects for a bridge between sharing what a thing is in itself and its appearance.

Rationalism or empiricism are also animistic. Empiricism is based on observations mediated through the senses. But "senses" is an insignificant proposal. It is both, and neither, a physical object and an object of experience. The two objects have different properties. The fact that empiricism merges them into one pseudo-object that is in itself what it appears to be, is transcendental realism. The senses are totems of an animistic philosophy and science.

Rationalism is animistic because the objects that it considers, even though stripped down to their bare spatio-temporal essentials (logical objects also are grounded in spatio-temporal behaviours) are thought of as independent entities that are themselves how they appear.

What is strange in all this is that the Church, too, is inevitably grounded in animism. The very fact that God can be considered to be omnipotent or omniscience requires the prior belief in a world of self-identifying physical objects, where some events themselves are good or bad. It supposes a world where objects are as they appear to be, whether such appearance is approximate or not. At least then, in their fundamental beliefs, skepticism and the church are joined - at the hip, or so the phrase goes, in animism.

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