I have located my personal spiritual 'conviction' within the domain of pantheism, but am dissatisfied with the general discussion for the absence of what is to me a fundamental premise. To consider oneself coextensive with the universe and the universe to be coextensive with God is not to depersonalize God at all. From 'my' perspective, this conciousness I call "I" is as a cell in the universal conciousness, as my body is a cell in the universal body.
Where is the doctrine that supports this notion of divinity?
Many philosophers seem to believe that belief is involuntary. But if this were the case, wouldn't it be true that every human being, when presented with the right information, would automatically assume a certain belief? So when person A and person B are presented with information Y, the will always comes to believe X. Just as in other involuntary acts of the human body. If person A and person B are both given a chemical depressant, let's say a tranquilizer, they will always fall asleep. They have no control over it, it is just an involuntary chemical reaction in the body. It does not seem to me that belief works with this same type of involuntary, automatic, mechanistic quality. For example, we could take a sample of 100 Americans and show them all the evidence in support of Darwin's evolutionary process. About half would afterwards support evolution, and half afterwards would say it is phoey. Although I have not seen the results of such a study, I think it is safe to assume that this would be the...
This is more like a comment to the question in Mathematics that starts with:
"If you have a line, and it goes on forever, and you choose a random point on that line, is that point the center of that line? And if you ..."
The answer provided by the panelist, as well as the initial question, assume that one can distinguish between points at infinity. As far as Math goes however, one cannot do that, and this is the reason the limit for cos(phi) does not exist, as phi goes to infinity. Revisiting the argumentation provided by the panelist, the error starts with the 'definition' of the distance between a fixed point and infinity - this distance cannot be defined, and therefore it cannot be compared (at least, as math goes).
A somewhat similar problem can be stated, without the pitfalls of the infinity concept, for a point on a circle, or any closed curve.
For what reason should beliefs of others be honored or respected? That is to say, if something I say makes another uncomfortable because of their belief, what reason do I have to not say it? I have heard many times people say, "Don't say that, it will insult people because of their beliefs." Given this reason, if there were a person who was deeply insulted by the word "is" in any conjugation I would have to really tip toe around any speech! I suppose I am talking mostly about religious/superstitious belief. There doesn't seem to be any reason to respect beliefs in this regard when the belief may or may not be true.
My second question: Did I just answer my own question?
This is a follow up on http://www.amherst.edu/askphilosophers/question/51, whether the mind can understand how the mind works. In Alexander George's response, he said, "it 'follows' from Gödel's result that there is some basic fact about our minds that we cannot ever know, that we could not in principle access." But is that fact necessarily about the how the mind works, or could it be about some other aspect of mind? As a second question, if we were told what it was, we might not be able to prove it for ourselves, but what would keep us from understanding it in its stated form?