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The Three Amigos


I employed the last three blog entries to discuss a book that offers a much-contested interpretation of  certain critical passages in the writings of David Hume.

The conclusion of it was that Galen Strawson sees a closer relationship amongst Berkeley, Hume, and Kant than many other commenters do. He sees a single message coming from the three of them.

I'm going beyond Strawson now, but I'll try to formulate the philosophy of these amigos in a series of propositions.

1. The world we unreflexively think we're living in is real only in a conditional sense, it is less than fully real.

2. Since our intellect and senses are adapted for [or to] this living world, we are definitionally not adapted to comprehension of the fully real world.

3. It is reasonable to expect that in that Really Real world there exists a relationship of cause and effect, though as implied in (2) there is much we cannot know about that.

4. One possibility we might imagine (though we may not claim to know it) about the Really real world is that it centers on a deep cosmic intelligence, a God, with whom we are all in direct contact, for he sends us the ideas that we mistake for self-standing material objects.

5. It is possible to do more than imagine this, (4) but to believe in it, to have faith in it. It simply isn't possible to know it to be the case.

Is that unified vision of the world as it appeared to these three thinkers an appealing one to us in the 21st century?

Probably not. One problem: doesn't it amount to postulating a God who is at work deceiving us? Isn't that uncomfortably akin to the creature Descartes worried about, a malicious deceiving demon?

"Demon, be thou my God." Is that the gist?

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