Arguments for the Existence of God
by Metacrock - edited by JMT
Used with Permission
XXVII. Hartshorne's Deep Empiricism.
I. Hartshorne’s Deep Empiricism.
A. Order and Logic.
1) Order in the world made intelligible only through world soul.
This argument is based upon one by Hartshorne, which is ground in his "deep empiricism" or Panphysicalism. It depends upon certain assumptions with which I disagree. But I think the basic notion can be applied to Judeo-Christian scheme.
"Besides showing belief in God to be intelligible, pan-experientialism shows it to be necessary. The idea that the world is comprised exhaustively of partially free experiences makes it clear that the order of the world can be made intelligible only through the idea of an all-inclusive soul, whose purposes order the world through becoming internalized by the creatures, somewhat as our purposes order our bodies through becoming internalized by our bodily members."
2) Metaphysical truths a priori--derived only through analysis of meaning.
"nature as immediately given is essentially feeling."
A PRIORI (219 in relation "not to all experience but only to particular, contingent aspects of experience," but based on "the strictly general traits of experience") METAPHYSICS
"Metaphysical or necessary truths, such as the existence of God, are to be discovered a priori, through an analysis of meanings.
If we follow Karl Popper's understanding of an "empirical fact" as "a state of affairs that might not have been"
an empirical truth is one that could in principle be falsified by conflicting with a conceivable observation. Metaphysics is not empirical in this sense because the truths it seeks are necessary truths.
219 Since metaphysical truths are
illustrated in any experience whatsoever, they need not be sought through special experiments or in special places; they can in principle be derived by reflection upon any experience."
3) DEEP EMPIRICISM.
(Griffin's term) refers to
219 universal features at the depths of every experience, beneath the fleeting superficialities.
"Relativistic [deconstructive] postmodernism, . . . which denies that there is any deep layer common to all people, follows from retaining early modernity's sensationism while rejecting its supernaturalism. Richard Rorty, for example, claims that all the "intuitions" we have are due to tradition and education, so that "there is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves." . . . By affirming nonsensory perception as fundamental, Hartshorne's postmodern philosophy rejects supernaturalism without falling into relativism. These beliefs, in their preconceptual form, can be called knowledge, because they consist in direct apprehensions of those universal features of reality which are always present to experience.
The task of metaphysics is, hence, simply to formulate explicitly, and thereby to make us more conscious of, what we already know in an implicit, preconscious way."
229, n. "94 Hartshorne in Creative Synthesis, p. xvi, The reason to have a philosophic profession is to struggle for "the sharp vision of the whole truth."
Hartshorne says that
the basic task of philosophical theology . . . is to discover . . . "what the bottom layer of our common human thought really is." Instead of a priori and nonempirical, this approach could well be called "deep empiricism," because it seeks those universal features at the depths of every experience, beneath the fleeting superficialities. . . . Relativistic postmodernism, by contrast, . . . denies that there is any deep layer common to all people[. This] follows from retaining early modernity's sensationism while rejecting its supernaturalism.
Hartshorne's postmodern philosophy rejects supernaturalism without falling into relativism. Through our nonsensory apprehension we all share a common sense of beliefs. These beliefs, in their preconceptual form, can be called knowledge, because they consist in direct apprehensions of those universal features of reality which are always present to experience."
"The task of metaphysics is, hence, simply to formulate explicitly, and thereby to make us more conscious of, what we all already know in an implicit, preconscious way."
"That everyone knows or believes in the universal truths becomes evident in their [sic] action, which is the ultimate expression of what we most deeply believe."
B.IMPLICIT ARGUMENTS AND NEED FOR GOD.
219-20 "Our actions reveal our universal beliefs. We may assert incorrect ones, such as determinism, but we don't live them.
220 With the pragmatists, Hartshorne says that, if a doctrine cannot be lived, it cannot be true, and no one really believes it."
"Hartshorne puts belief in God in the same class. . . . "[A]t some point [all people] betray that they know, that the object of our total allegiance is God." The difference between believers and unbelievers is, therefore, "nothing but a difference in self-consciousness and consistency in regard to what all believe 'at heart.'" "The real argument for God," Hartshorne says, "is just that every view which tries to deny him also denies . . . some practically indispensable belief."
"including the reality of
 truth,  the past,  an inclusive ideal, and  an ultimate purpose to our lives.
 Apart from an all-inclusive perspective, there is no locus for that complete truth whose existence is presupposed every time [sic] we criticize an inadequate perspective on reality.
 Apart from a cosmic memory, there is no conceivable locus for truths about the past, yet historians and the rest of us constantly presuppose that assertions about the past can be true or false.
 Apart from belief in a cosmic ideal and evaluation, we cannot account for our common conviction that there is a standard of importance and value in terms of which to criticize inadequate human desires.
 Without belief in a cosmic and permanent receiver of value-experiences, we cannot make sense of the idea, which we all presuppose at some level, that our experiences and decisions have an ultimate meaning.
MEANINGS OF GOOD, TRUTH, PAST, REALITY, AND THEISM
220 Good is that "which is good in the eyes of God."
Truth is "conformity to what is experienced by an omnipresent 'observer.'"
The past is "what unlimited or cosmic memory can never forget."
Reality is "that which God knows."
"We find God in our fundamental meanings, "Hartshorne says.
Theism is hence simply "the elucidation of the full bearings of unavoidable word uses, categorical meanings. . . ."
We presuppose all these ideas, Hartshorne maintains, because God not only exists necessarily but is also necessarily present in our awareness, at some level."
"Theism is, accordingly, implicitly present in our basic beliefs and meanings. A philosophy that denies theism necessarily denies at the explicit level various beliefs that it is implicitly presupposing. An atheistic philosophy, therefore, can never be consistent."
But Panphysicalism only serves to create a ground whereby our basic assumptions are right. We could also create that same ground in any number of ways, with the Platonic theory of knowledge, with the Christian notion of the soul, or even just out of the assumption that basic assumptions are all we have to cope with the world.
By Metacrock. Used with Permission.
For more articles by the same author, see Doxa.