The Kuzari Proof, part II

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  1. jacob says:

    “Just as we rely on information from our senses and generalizations from them to produce postulates about which we reason, we can also rely on mental experience.”

    We develop a fear of falling because we perceive with our senses that falling leads to pain. We then ‘produce postulates’ based on these facts to apply to our lives. Should we find truth in mental experiences too? Absolutely. For example, ‘when X happens I feel sad – therefore, I will deal with X to prevent sadness.’ We can deduce that X makes us feel sad and this can be demonstrated scientifically.

    However, someone who grows up in a culture in which they are indoctrinated from birth that when X happens, you feel sad because supernatural Y is punishing you – they might believe that. However, there is no scientific indication or truth that Y actually exists. All that can be drawn from event X is that the individual feels sad.

    There is nothing wrong with making postulates based on real experiences that can be proven and that are logical. But to assume that the feelings felt due to indoctrination from a young age that are not provable scientifically and have no indication that they exist is foolish. This especially true when biology can explain why one would think these experiences are real when in fact they aren’t.

    “Simply, we trust ourselves, particularly after repeated experience. ”

    This is foolish. Look at the religious experiences we have and you’ll see that they are very likely imaginary.

    • micha says:

      Einstein thought that the gedanken experiment had merit. And for that matter, you only know the Euclidean postulates by mental experience. You never encountered two infinite lines of the same slope. Nor even a flat Euclidean space. And yet the intuition that such lines would never meet is deemed reliable, no?

      Your example is flawed in that it invokes an emotion, not a mental assessment of truth. My argument is not that one should believe because they enjoy Shabbos. But that the reality of a G-d-given Shabbos is as self-evident to someone who does Shabbos right as the reality that two parallel Euclidean lines won’t cross is to someone who contemplates such lines.

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