Greek Roman GodStructures Essay Research Paper Wherever

Greek +Roman God-Structures Essay, Research Paper

Wherever we run across a morality we find an assessment and ranking of human drives and actions. These assessments and rankings always express the needs of a community and herd: whatever profits it in the first place-and in the second and third-is also the supreme measure of the value of all individuals. By means of morality, individuals are led to be functions of the herd and to attribute value to themselves as merely functions?morality is herd instinct in the individual. (Pg.130, Nietzsche)

Nietzsche, in this quote, is saying that humans will tend to see things in a specific way due to their shared heritage and historical formation.

When Nietzsche says, “God is dead”, he means that Westerners and Christians have killed the idea of a loving God because their ideas were often hypocrisies. After all, how can a purely good God promise eternal damnation for our sins? Christians are brought up to fear their own desires. Nietzsche writes, ” Faith is always most desired, most urgently necessary, where will is lacking, for the will, as the feeling of command, is the distinctive sign of self assured authority and strength. In other words, the less one knows how to command, the more urgently one desires some commander, some strict commander- a god, prince?”(p. 147. Existentialism) Nietzsche, here, is explaining what gave rise to religions, such as Christianity. Since we are constantly enslaving ourselves to new masters, and never following our own ideas, we are weak. I feel that Nietzsche is saying that Christians, do to the lack of faith in themselves, need some other commanding force. Faith in someone other than yourself, weakens the will in the sense that it takes away from the faith and authority you should have compiled in yourself.

Nietzsche felt that humanity has been trained in slavery, or to follow our herd instinct. He believed that Christianity is a sickness of will. Christians enjoy the intoxication they feel in church. They become addicted to this feeling, and blinded by their herd instincts. This reflects, in Nietzsche’s eyes, that these people cannot find their own way. They become slaves to their religion and are therefore constantly judging themselves. They judge themselves because they have set affirmations passed down to them by previous Christians. This leads to a suppression of their own emotions and fear of themselves. Christian virtues, Nietzsche felt, take away from the joy of becoming. They do not focus in on the needs and virtues of the self. Nietzsche views this as a great weakness. He writes about Christianity in The Gay Science. He states that it has destroyed in every individual human being the belief in one’s virtues. It made those great virtuous individuals disappear from the earth- popular individuals who strode around, confident in their own perfection. (Pg132 Nietzsche) Nietzsche believed that a human should experience life to the fullest. If we judge experiences according to the opinions of others, we will never truly develop our own identity. Life is full of obstacles that a person must face to achieve a better understanding of what living consists of. Nietzsche also felt that the highest point of power was to be a true artist in expressing him/her self. He writes, ” Tragic artists are not pessimists, in fact, they say ‘Yes’ to everything questionable and terrible itself; they are Dionysian”. (p. 172 Nietzsche) It is this “Yes” saying to every moment of our lives, that Nietzsche feels makes a human powerful. He felt that we should stop worrying so much about the future, and stop to enjoy and live in the moment. Dreaming of a better life we might achieve in the future, or possessing a superior state of affairs in contrast to our present condition, seems inferior or worthless. This type of mentality is what causes sickness of will. Nietzsche felt that we should take perspectives handed down from the past and work them over into new, original perspectives expressing a unique, creative intent. This is how an artist perceives life.

To believe in God, is to believe in a certain comforting order to the way things are. Nietzsche’s belief, is that there is no order that we should be constricting ourselves to. Nietzsche toys with the idea that what exists out there in reality, the ultimate “truth” about the world, might be what we regard as “chaos”. He takes note that we could never prove God to be indefinitely true. Perhaps we should stop trying. Perhaps, only then, can we “dance even by abysses”.(p.147, Existentialism) When we stop worrying about the ideas or rules of a commander, or a God, we are truly free, and as Nietzsche writes, “Every daring act of the knower is allowed again. The sea, our sea lies open there again; maybe there was never before such an open sea.” (p.141, Nietzsche) Nietzsche, in this quote, is trying to say that once God, or order, is out of our lives, we take our lives back. When we are free from this form of self- enslavement, we begin to realize that our lives are open to experiences and cravings that are natural instincts. This is when we become who we truly are. “The secret,” he writes, ” to reaping the greatest fruitfulness and enjoyment from existence is to live dangerously.” (p. 135, Nietzsche)

Nietzsche hopes that through his claim that “God is dead,” people will be set free from slavery. They will no longer feel the need to conform to the ideas if others. In other words, they will be leaders not followers, creators of their own lives.

Sartre, in The Humanism of Existentialism, states that he represents atheistic existentialism. He writes, ” It states that if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being whom exists before he can be defined by any concept, and this being is man?” ( p. 270, Existentialism) Sartre expresses his view man, through living, defines himself. Even though man didn’t create himself, humans are still in some way, free to become what they plan to be. Sartre writes, “Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet in other respects is free because once thrown into the world he is responsible for everything he does.” (p.274, Existentialism)

In Sartre’s view man is nothing else than what he makes of himself. Sartre also talks about a great plan that humans are part of. This great plan is a shared plan, or consciously shared existence. Sartre writes, ” Man is at the start a plan which is aware of itself, rather than a patch of moss, a piece of garbage, or a cauliflower; nothing exists prior to this plan; there is nothing in heaven; a man will be what he will have planned to be.” (p.271, Existentialism) Sartre, in this quote, explains that human beings are aware of their own existence: Humanity is a plan aware of itself. Humans are always moving forward in time, constantly imagining themselves in the future. This plan goes on infinitely, and it is shared by each and every human existing. It is impossible for an individual to escape his/her role in humanity, even though one has the ability to create themselves.

Sartre writes, ” To choose to be this or that is to affirm at the same time the value of what we choose, because we can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good for all.” (p. 271, Existentialism) Sartre’s idea, that an individual’s decisions effect the whole plan of humanity, is evident in this quote. We all have a deep responsibility to follow through with our plans of action. We have been given no a priori ideas of good and evil. We create our own values by living life. Sartre writes, “You’re free, choose, that is, invent. No general ethics can show you what is to be done; there are no omens in the world.” (p. 276, Existentialism)

The idea that man is nothing else than his plan, and actions, Sartre explains, can horrify people, this is due to the fact that people, now defined by their actions, are left responsible for their own self well-being. Sartre writes, “according to this, we can understand why our doctrine horrifies certain people. Because often the only way they can sear their wretchedness is to think, ‘Circumstances have been and done doesn’t show my true worth. To be sure, I’ve had no great love, no great friendship, because I haven’t met a man or woman who is worthy?” (p.278, Existentialism) People are always making excuses for themselves. I feel humans to the realization that they control their own destiny. It is the responsibility of the individual to create him/herself through certain actions. I feel that Sartre wants people to start taking actions and be aware that they are part of a shared plan by being human.

Sartre, as Nietzsche does, wants people to realize that they are free to follow their instincts. Both Nietzsche and Sartre believe that a human is what that person makes of him/her self. The joy of becoming should never be lost to the herd instinct. Nietzsche is cheerful in his claim that God is dead. This is because, with the death of God, man is faced with his true self, defined by his actions and instincts. Sartre takes a more subdued attitude towards God. Sartre states that if God doesn’t exist, this would make humans responsible for creating their own lives. He simply expresses that we could never know, as human beings if God exists, but we are part of a shared plan. It makes no point to enslave ourselves to an idea that could never be understood from our points of view. With these ideas, I believe Sartre would like people to realize that they are not alone in life, and also that their roles as humans are important. Sartre wants people to come to the understanding that they are responsible for their own destinies, “?free to choose, that is, invent.”

Husserl believed that Phenomenology was a rigorous science whose principal purpose was to study the phenomena, or appearances, of human experience. However, he did not think of it as a science of facts, but rather as an apriori or “eidetic” science, which deal with essences, and is grounded on the absolute certainty. This type of certainty was thought to be achieved through examination of consciousness by consciousness itself.

According to Husserl, the natural standpoint is the customary/ involuntary attitude that we all have, where everything about cognition and its validity is taken for granted. When one aware from this view, there is no distinction made between the objects of knowledge and the act of knowing. In contrast, Husserl introduced the phenomenological standpoint which may be characterized as critical or aware of this distinction.

Furthermore, Husserl thought that Phenomenology symbolized a philosophical method that lacked presuppositions, and would therefore describe phenomena without aspects extraneous to the act of consciousness. In other words, it could be thought of as a descriptive analysis of subjective processes.

Husserl’s method entailed setting aside the question of whether there is a world behind appearances, and focusing on the appearances themselves. The goal was to find the basic components of a phenomena, and to probe the thinking life hidden within us. This method, phenomenological reduction, is similar to the method used by Descartes when he tried to isolate what could be known. It consists of eliminating assumptions, and “purifying” data. This allows the essential characteristics of the phenomenon to be elucidated and examined. In addition, it prevents one from circular reasoning caused by the problem of cognition.

In summary, Husserl, through phenomenology attempted to form detailed comparisons between the phenomena as presented in consciousness and the universal form of the phenomena. We, as humans, struggle to align our experiences with our scientific knowledge. Phenomenology attempts to reconcile what humans experience with what humans suppose they know via theory. Husserl compared appearance to that which appears.

The importance of this type of analysis is important in Philosophy is because of the problems/ debates found in areas such as epistemology. When one wishes to study knowledge, or anything which applies the use of knowledge it is important for one to have a grasp on what it is that one may know, whether it be objective or subjective. Moreover, Phenomenology is also important in the history of Philosophy for its repudiation of positivism, and its integral role in shaping Existentialism.


Husserl along with most phenomenologists rebelled against the empiricists who held that all knowledge, all truth, and all knowing can be discovered through traditional science. Positivism claims that almost nothing is knowable a priori, insisting that metaphysics is an inadequate mode of knowledge, and that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and should only be derived from experience.

However, while positivism has sought to expel assumptions, this predominant view in the scientific community inherently has several philosophical assumptions and prepossitions such as the assumption that nature is orderly, has causes, and that we may know nature and its causes.

In contrast, Husserl’s epistemology requires careful attention to our experience — but in a mode that differs fundamentally from ordinary experience. According to Husserl, true positivism does not reduce phenomenon to a physical perspective, but instead places the emphasis on consciousness itself. In his original conception of phenomenology, Husserl’s idea of a presuppositionless science amounted to rejecting all antecedent commitments to theories of knowledge, both those formally developed as philosophical systems and those which pervade our ordinary thinking. Identifying any previous knowledge, ideas, or beliefs about phenomenon under investigation, allowed the examiner to be impartial. He intended by this bracketing of scientific or cultural presuppositions to reach “the things themselves”.

Therefore, for Husserl, logical empiricism should not be the model for all knowledge because it is ultimately self-defeating, since empirical scientific enquiry always presupposes some knowledge that is not itself empirical natural scientific knowledge. As Husserl states “if by “Positivism”, we are to mean the absolute unbiased grounding of all science? then it is we who are the guenuine positivists.” (pg 78 )


Husserl’s aim was to find a philosophy that can serve as an absolutely certain basis for the development of all the sciences, by searching for facts which can’t be doubted. Further, if we understand Phenomenology to be the study of the structures of consciousness that enable consciousness to refer to objects outside itself , we can see that a phenomenologist would consider only what was immediately presented to consciousness. In other words, this study requires reflection on the content of the mind to the exclusion of everything else. Husserl called this type of reflection the phenomenological reduction. In this reduction, there is exclusion from consideration of everything which is derived via scientific or logical inference, all beliefs about the external existence of the objects of consciousness, are bracketed, and descriptions deal exclusively with subjective phenomena. This bracketing of external sources of information was meant to allow one to investigate “the things themselves” leaving the philosopher with nothing but the experiencing itself.

Furthermore, each act of bracketing was a step in the reduction and was defined as an Epoche . However, the fact that the external world is disregarded, that epoche is committed, does not deny this world; the external world maintains its existence. A philosopher committing epoch? refuses to deal with the external world prior to its entry into consciousness. He claims we should describe experience purely as we experience it, without prejudging it by any philosophical doctrine, any scientific theory, or even by our everyday faith that there are things in the world independent of our experience. We should take what we are conscious of at face value and not twist our experience into what we believe it should have been.

To accomplish this unbiased description, the epoche must, in particular, suspend any reference to the causes of our experiences. If I experience an apple, and describe it as being red and round, the validity of this description is independent of whether the experience was caused by a real apple in a physical world, or by a neurological fabrication in my brain. How it is experienced is how it is experienced. Furthermore, the difference between the “imagined” and “real” objects is only in the mode of the phenomena; both objects are actualized within consciousness.

Analogous to Descartes doubt, performing the epoche permits the philosopher to arrive at evidence that is absolutely certain. Therefore, what a phenomenologists considers important is that which can be experienced via the human senses. After reduction and abstraction, what remains is what an individual knows, regardless of the scientific or transcendental data. This is the Phenomenological Residue of the phenomena.

4. Ordinarily, the mysteries of cognition do not affect the way people think, or form judgements. However, the problem of cognition has plagued philosophers for centuries beginning with Descartes. How can one be sure that what one percieves, and experiences is in fact real? Husserl attempted to deal with this problem. His foundation is influenced by Brentano’s philosophy which introduces the concept of intentionality, which according to Husserl is the most important thing found in his phenomenological reductions.

Consciousness is of or about an object. That is, when we experience something, it is that object itself we are conscious of, not a representative of it.

All agree that objects don’t appear before consciousness magically: A process is involved that makes the presence of the object possible. A fundamental mistake occurs, thinks Husserl, when, in theorizing about the process, we succumb to the temptation to say that it is the process we are conscious of, rather than the object. We then substitute some part of the process for the object and misunderstand consciousness as consciousness of this representative of the object, rather than of the object itself. The doctrine of intentionality is the rejection of this mistake . For example, when we visually perceive a chair, we do it by means of a retinal image and then mental images. Almost no one makes the mistake of claiming that what we are conscious of is the retinal image, but many do hold that it is some mental representative of the chair that we are really conscious of, rather than the chair itself. The most notorious offender, of course, is Descartes, who, in proposing his Theory of Ideas, claims that the mind is never in contact with anything outside of itself. The notion is also prevalent in traditional Empiricism. Husserl insists that it is the object itself that consciousness grasps and he repudiates all . Intentionality is not, of course, a claim that there are no representations – the existence of retinal images itself would overthrow such a foolish stand. Rather it is the claim that whatsoever intermediate entities there may be in the process of grasping an object, it is not these representatives that we are conscious of, but the object itself. Husserl’s doctrine of intentionality maintains that consciousness is of the objects experienced and does not stop at intermediate events along the way, whether these are on one unified stage or dispersed throughout the brain. It’s not just that there is no big picture; there are no little pictures either. Brain events are part of the process, never the objects of experiencing. (An obvious exception, of course, is the case of a neuroscientist for whom brain events are themselves the objects of investigation.)

One of the reasons for this error is an ambiguity in the notion of representation. In the philosophical tradition from Descartes to Kant, “representation” is a mental object, and it is in that sense of the term that Husserl attacks representations. In recent Cognitive Science, “representation” is a brain structure which in one way or another tracks something in the world. While Husserl knew nothing of Cognitive Science, he was fully aware of the fact that the body is involved in perception, so I doubt he would have had any objection to the notion of a brain-representation. His attack on representativism is not a repudiation of representations in the sense of brain-representations. What he objects to is any analysis of experience which would describe us as conscious of mind-representations rather than of objects in the world. Dennett’s distinction between the representing and the represented, correct as it is, slurs the distinction between brain- and mind-representation so that it seems to make sense to ask whether a heterophenomenological report might “unwittingly” be about some event in the brain. But this is to treat the brain event as something represented that experience could be about. What the speaker is reporting, however, is an experience of something which presents itself, correctly or incorrectly, as, say, a moving light in the world. If there is a brain-representation involved, it is on the side of the representing process and is not an object represented to consciousness, a mind-representation. In rejecting representativism, Husserlian intentionality rejects the possibility that a brain-representation could be the object or terminus of consciousness. I think Husserl would claim that Dennett, though he jettisons much of Descartes’ position, hasn’t gone far enough and appears to be stuck with a residual Cartesianism. It is the very notion that to be conscious is to be conscious of some intermediary, be it mental or physical, that Husserlian intentionality is opposed to.

. It was Edmund Husserl who first developed a phenomenological approach. That mean that he would look at the phenomena of consciousness, and bracket them from any question of whether they are true or not. Reflecting on the formal science of Geometry he came to the conclusion that the objectivity of ideas arose from their assent amongst a community of subjects. This was an intellectual development that closely paralleled Wittgenstein’s shift from truth tables to language

Metaphysical Naturalism (MN): The thesis that all reality is physical reality. (physicalism)

Epistemological Naturalism (EN): The thesis that all genuine knowledge is natural scientific knowledge. (scientism?)

Epistemological Naturalism Recast (EN’): The thesis that all genuine propositional knowledge (or all genuine knowledge except know-how) is natural scientific knowledge.

Explanation-Theoretic Naturalism (ETN): The thesis that all genuine explanation is natural scientific explanation. (hempelian positivism?)

Trivial Naturalism (TN): The thesis that all philosophers ought to know something about natural science.

Weisberg Naturalism One (WN1): The thesis that because natural science has been successful at gaining knowledge, philosophy ought to become natural science.

Cerberus Naturalism (WNk): The thesis that (a) epistemology is the study of the epistemic aspects of human cognition and of how humans can improve their epistemic performance; (b) one cannot understand the epistemic status of a state without understanding the processes that generate that state; (c) the main project of epistemology is to describe the processes that are most reliable at generating “epistemically virtuous states” in human beings in our world; and (d) almost nothing is knowable a priori. No epistemological principles are knowable a priori.

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B. What kind of naturalism is Husserl against?

It is important to be clear, I think, that Husserl is not against any and every philosophical position that calls itself naturalism. After all, labels and -isms don’t themselves matter. What is at issue is the content of the doctrines in questions. Thus for instance Husserl has no objection to TN — to take a simple case. More substantively, he can (at least in the context of the Logos Manifesto) grant MN. His quarrel with naturalism here is not a quarrel with physicalism.

Prejudice in Philosophy: Remarks, Conjectures & Confessions

Intentionality concerns the phenomena at the center of consciousness, at its focus. At the periphery of consciousness is what Husserl termed the “horizon,” the background that provides the conditions for comprehending phenomena. In other words, what the horizon provides is pre-understanding (Vorverst?ndnis). For instance, we understand the meaning of words in the context of a horizon constituted from our understanding of other words and their relations. Describing the relationships between horizon and intentionality, Husserl points out:

Consciousness–where the given object is led to its realization–is not like a box with data inside. A current state of consciousness is constituted so that every object shows its selfness.12

Heidegger uses a notion similar to Husserl’s horizon: readiness-to-hand (Zuhanden). The word Zuhanden–at hand–emphasizes that relevant objects are held near the focus of consciousness. Both horizon and intentional states are constantly changing, and a phenomenon placed at the horizon, in the background, can be readily moved to the center by consciousness. Conversely, the phenomena constituted in the field of intentionality form a part of the horizon for the next intentionality field. As they move from center to periphery, they move from present to just-past; they submerge into the horizon, sink in time


Because the mind can be directed toward nonexistent as well as real objects, Husserl noted that phenomenological reflection does not presuppose that anything exists, but rather amounts to a “bracketing of existence,” that is, setting aside the question of the real existence of the contemplated object. An object has meaning only to ion the extent that is given by the subject.

Husserl considered it a great mystery and wonder that a group of beings was aware of their existence. In effect human consciousness is the phenomenological result of introspection. By observing that “I can touch and see my being,” we recognize that we exist. The ego is always present, or nothing exists for the individual.


Because the mind can be directed toward nonexistent as well as real objects, Husserl noted that phenomenological reflection does not presuppose that anything exists, but rather amounts to a “bracketing of existence,” that is, setting aside the question of the real existence of the contemplated object. An object has meaning only to ion the extent that is given by the subject.

Husserl considered it a great mystery and wonder that a group of beings was aware of their existence. In effect human consciousness is the phenomenological result of introspection. By observing that “I can touch and see my being,” we recognize that we exist. The ego is always present, or nothing exists for the individual.


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