The Nature Of Beings Essay Research Paper

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The Nature Of Beings Essay, Research Paper The Nature of Beings and Their Not Being The western way of living and more generally, the way westerners think and behave, in the twentieth century appears to have little or no connection to the east and eastern philosophies, but in fact America has been more influenced in these factors by the east than almost any other region. A society s way of life is governed, to an extent, by the current theories and philosophies of that time period, and so to analyze a society s outlook, an analysis of the philosophies of the time is essential. Current philosophy is descendant mainly of pragmatism and existentialism, both of which owe its own past to every other philosophy that has come before it. However, philosophies can be looked at

individually within spheres of thought without losing the meaning of any individual philosophy. Late in the nineteenth century, Charles Peirce wrote How to Make our Ideas Clear, intending it to be a formula for making ordinary thought more scientific. The book was ignored until later in the beginning of the twentieth century, William James interpreted the book s ideas as a philosophy capable of resolving metaphysical and religious dilemmas, and saw it as both a theory of meaning and a theory of truth. The conclusion reached by James was that there can be no difference anywhere that doesn t make a difference elsewhere. To understand what James means with this philosophy, the phrase God exists can be tested for pragmatic meaning. If certain people believed that God existed, they

would conceive of the world very differently from those that believed God did not exist. However, there are still others besides these two groups whose conceptions would be identical in practice whether the believed in God or not. For them, the proposition that God exists and God does not exist would mean the same thing. For people who find themselves somewhere between these two extremes, the proposition God exists means On Sunday, I put on nice clothes and go to church. This is because for them, engaging in this activity is the only practical outcome of their belief (and as Peirce said, a belief is just a rule for action). The theory of truth evidenced in this phrase can only be applied to those for whom the distinction between God s existence and non-existence is meaningful.

According to James, the empirical evidence is equally indecisive for or against God s existence. About this and similar cases, James said, Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but must, decide an option between propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual ground. James went on to say that this would put the people into a state of paranoic fear vis- -vis the rest of their experiences. Therefore, for the group of people, God exists is true, and for the second group, it is false (Palmer 279-281). The evolution of and the retaliation to pragmatism, existentialism, was primarily founded by Jean-Paul Sartre. Although it is more of a shared attitude than a school of thought, it can nevertheless be roughly defined by saying

that existence precedes essence. This is the thesis that there is no human nature that precedes our presence in the world, and all humans individually create humanity at every moment through their free acts. The thought processes involved in existentialism therefore are unique to each person, and not simply a set of rules and beliefs that make up a philosophy, as is the case with most belief systems. Because of this ambiguity, existentialism is harder to pin down than pragmatism, which is precisely what makes it existentialism. In Zen aesthetics there is also a clear parallel to this phenomenology. When, following Kierkegaard, existentialists speak of the need to leap from one state of awareness commitment to another, higher, state they are saying essentially precisely what the