Notes on what I'm reading

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HoPwaG: Xenophanes

Greek gods as extension of human features and properties into the ultimate cosmological explanatory principles.

Xenophanes as:
  • in one sense continuing the Milesian tradition of replacing the gods with other things (water, apeiron, air) as ultimate cosmological explanatory principles;
  • but specifically, thinks that the extension mentioned above (gods as possessing human properties and attributes) is inconsistent with divinity, appropriate reverence, etc.;
  • rather, argues for what attributes gods (or a god) must have: gods need nothing, don't move, are not necessarily embodied, are omnipotent, only think and perceive; possible argument for singular godhead;
  • implication: physical explanatory principles have nothing to do with gods (e.g. of rainbows);
  • idea of epistemic humility about what we can know about gods [consequence of their difference from us] and what we can (justifiably) believe.

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