If every person is essential, then is every atom essential?
In their own, inimitable fashion, yes. Consider the atoms that make up our DNA, for instance.
Some are more essential than others? Well, the more 'essential' are essentially dependent on those that we suppose are less so. Consider the holders of the Vice Presidency, such as Lyndon Johnson, just as a for instance. One day he is a joke. The next day he is the savior.
God keeps all of us on our toes.
But what does this have to do with immaterialism? Well, essentiality has everything to do with immaterialism. Do materialists dispute that the President is essential? Well, not in so many words, and not in public. But, to be consistent, they should so dispute!
Materialists are not dumb. They don't go around disputing Presidents. They only dispute God, bless their little hearts.
I might point out that, in a bureaucracy, every bureaucrat, theoretically, at least, is essential, bless their little hearts, and their little flow charts. In an ecosystem, every gazelle is essential to the pride whose last meal she was, or whose next meal she will be.
Would a materialist dispute this? Theoretically, they have to. It's all just atoms swerving in the dark. Everything else is purely subjective, i.e. illusory. Don't ya know?! What about for the ecologist? Are they all just smoking? They like to play their own little word games. Don't we all? Do ecologists believe in God? No, just in Gaia.
And what about ethics, and ethicists? Is ethical materialism an oxymoron? Ehthical Societies pride themselves on their atheism. Kant was famously agnostic. Was he a humanist? From whence comes humanism, and how do they distinguish themselves from animism?
Ok, let's take a look at humanism.......... and also, perhaps, at anti-humanism(!).......
The young Karl Marx criticised the project of political emancipation, embodied in the form of human rights, as symptomatic of the very dehumanisation it was intended to oppose. Marx argued that because capitalism forces individuals to behave in an egoistic manner, they are constantly in conflict with one another, and are thus in need of rights to protect themselves. True emancipation, he asserted, could only come through the establishment of communism, which abolishes the private ownership of all means of production. While the mature Marx may have retained a belief in the inevitability of progress, he also became more forceful in his criticism of human rights as idealist or utopian. For the mature Marx, humanity is an unreal abstraction: because rights themselves are abstract, the justice and equality they protect is also abstract, permitting extreme inequalities in reality.
For Friedrich Nietzsche, humanism was nothing more than a secular version of theism. He argues in Genealogy of Morals that human rights exist as a means for the weak to constrain the strong; as such, they deny rather than facilitate emancipation of life.
It is true that ethics and humanism are incoherent, just to the degree that they reject metaphysics.
And the only coherent metaphysics is the one that can speak to the question of who we are and whither we go. And there is only one coherent answer...... We come from a Source, to which we return.
I understand that Gus Russo has been invited to submit proposals on three topics to a major TV investigative journalist outfit. Two topics are given..... Watergate and the JFK assassination. For the third, to be of his own choosing, he is contemplating an eschatological theme...... along the lines of a human induced cataclysm, along the lines of What a Way to Go and Surviving Progress. I did not realize that he was pursuing this interest mostly on his own, and mostly independent of Sam.
No...... that there be an additional topic, and the theme of it, was suggested purely on his own initiative. Sam has already submitted a draft proposal for Gus to consider, which I'm about to peruse.
Along with the draft proposal, Sam sends the following Op-Ed piece........
Sam's draft to Gus is excellent. We need a place to archive such material. What can I add to it......?
It would be simply to expand on some of the above......
An essential point is that Humanism will be the very first victim of the death of Progress.
Humanism is essential a pean to human progress. And so is its intellectual cousin, materialism. And both worldviews are incoherent, just to the extent that their metaphysics is truncated, i.e. denies Simplicity...... simplicity being a species of emergentism.
What I have to do is combine various points into something newly coherent.......
5.) limits to progress
Somehow we have to find a joint critique of Kant and Kripke. Both reside on the fringe of rationalism. Both have a piece of a transcendental imperative. Their greatest common denominator is their agnosticism. Is not agnosticism the end of coherence? How can we avoid Pascal's wager?
My main criticism of Kripke is his overindulgence of modalism. I wonder if Kant may have fallen into the same trap, implicitly.
See this..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigid_designator where such entities are refered to as Kripkean souls. If this is not about essences, then what is......?
In Naming and Necessity, Kripke argues that proper names and certain natural kind terms—including biological taxa and types of natural substances (most famously, "water" and "H2O") designate rigidly. He argues for a form of scientific essentialism not unlike Aristotelian essentialism. Essential properties are common to an object in all possible worlds, and so they pick out the same objects in all possible worlds - they rigidly designate.
Can anyone who believes in essences also be coherently agnostic? I doubt it.
OMG........ Take a look at the 1980 review from the LRB.....
Rorty is saying it all.
Then we have this...... http://www.iep.utm.edu/kantmeta/