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the religious world actually believes [as strange as it may see,) that they keep Torah.

 Even if I learn a great deal R. Rav Nahman,I do not give approval to everything he says.

In terms of Torah I think that the Gra was right. The problem the Gra was addressing in the letter of herem [excommunication] was that of idolatry (or worship that is not of God alone.) This is totally ignored nowadays to the degree that the religious world actually believes [as strange as it may see,) that they keep Torah!?? No. Not at all. They keep rituals in order to seem as if they keep Torah. But the religious world is the opposite of Torah since their religion is based on idolatry.] [If the Torah is not about not to worship anything but God, then it is not about anything at all. The rituals do not count.]

See Proverbs  3 verse 5 and 6 in the commentary of the Gra. Trust in God. Forget about your own efforts. And not not trust in anyone except the First Cause.]


There is a right and wrong way in Torah.

 There is a right and wrong way in Torah. [So even if there some valid approaches that does not mean that all approaches are valid. Some are simply false. And that is the reason the Gra signed the famous letter of excommunication --to show that idolatry is not in accord with Torah. [This is kind of hard to miss in the Ten Commandments.] 

 For example in Philosophy. You might have a few different approaches to Kant. But that does not mean any approach approach is right. Some are false.

There might be better ways of approaching Beethoven. Some better and some not so much so. But that doe not mean scratching on a blackboard is playing Beethoven.


 You can see why Leonard Nelson was so perturbed by Einstein's Theory of Relativity. It goes against the major argument of the Critique of Pure Reason.[The Transcendental Analytic] Kant proves there is an objective order of events. (Plus causality. That is not against Relativity but it seems to be somewhat of a problem in Quantum Mechanics unless you go with 't Hooft who says the QM depends on fast variables, not hidden variables). He takes nine closed argued steps to prove this. [And to me it seems not clear if Friesian concepts can help Kant. 

[As for the first point, in some way Kant was right because events [for one observer] to be taken in reverse order [by another observer] would be out of one of the light cone of one of those observers. Kant wants events in the mind to have an objective order in time. And that is true. But then to apply that to the world outside one's mind is what he is trying to prove --in order to disprove sceptic claims about reality. But there is where the proof seems to fail. I mean to say Kant wants to prove that we have a priori knowledge of the phenomenal world--for example we know causality.(He goes with Newton as opposed to Leibniz.)  [Clearly Kelley Ross would have an answer for this that is. After all Gretta Herman found the reconciliation between Relativity and the Friesian School. Still, it seems that this is some area that shows a problem.] 

 Nietzsche is surely right that people's morality changes all the time. Both individual and in whole societies. And certainly right that they flow from some unconsciousness places inside of us. [The irrational unconscious of Schopenhauer.] 

But that does not show that there is no objective morality. Rather that it is hard to get to.

[He was attacking Hegel on that score. Hegel thinks that people keep on progressing towards the Absolute Idea. Well, yes and no. There is objective morality, but we do not progress towards it at all and there is no reason to think that we now have it or will ever have it. 

But as Michael Huemer points out that just like in math you can start with very simple assumptions and build a lot on that, so in Ethics it might be possible to start with a simple axiom and build on that.

In math that works by you have the idea of a number  and add to that the idea of a vector and then the idea that things have shapes. These are not hard assumptions. Then you come up with Vector Calculus and Algebraic Topology.  So in ethics you might start with a simple rule: one should not torture millions of people for the fun of it. 

In fact we do find in the Gemara that the laws of the Torah have simple reasons. The Gemara however never tells us what they are. But later you find starting from Saadia Gaon and Ibn Pakuda that the reasons for the laws were made more explicit. --[Not to do idolatry or believe in idols, rather to believe and trust only in the First Cause. Peace of the state.]

[The hidden assumptions are in the modern world, not so hidden. The problem is not that they are hidden but rather that they are unexamined. The advantage of philosophy is that one learns to examine his or her assumptions about right and wrong. Feminists for example start with the assumption that they have been abused. That is perhaps sometimes true, but it is an unproven rule. Perhaps some girls have had good parents? I know for example that my mother had good parents.]

This mentality gives rise to the "Me Too" movement. And comes from a phenomenon seen by Nixon: that Americans believe in the news media more than they believe in their own eyes. Thus people will believe things that they are supposed to believe, - even when their own experience tells them that those beliefs are untrue. 


There is some fine line from where argument from authority stops and then you need to think for yourself. I mean to say that if you would have to think for yourself to come up with Atomic Physics you would have to be exceptionally smart. to combine the intellects of Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Feynman etc. And each one made mistakes on their own. Only together could Modern Physics emerge. But after you have done the homework. You have learned the material and understood it, then you ought to think for yourself. This idea applies almost in any field. 

But it is never a good idea to follow the crowd. And even when it comes to experts, it takes a great deal of common sense to tell who is the real thing and who are the fakers.

[The religious believe in following their leaders instead of thinking for themselves. Authority is some kind of fixation.



 Intuition in Kant is not just sense perception but also has a component of knowledge that that component of knowledge has to have already  a prior organization [being in space and time] (in order to be able to be processed by the mind.)

(if all it is is sense perception then how can it have anything to do with the mind? It is like apples and oranges.) [Critique of Pure Reason A-99. page 300]

[Another problem is unity of consciousness is what makes the unity of the Universe. But there are many consciousnesses [You must have noticed that there are lots of people around.] So I think you have to come to the answer of Fries that there is a deeper kind of knowledge [non intuitive immediate] that i the knowledge of things in themselves.[This gets rid of the problem that if all we have access to are representations then what are they representations of?]

This is probably the most troublesome aspect in all of Kant and for that reason it makes sense to hold like Fries that there is a sort of knowledge that is non intuitive and not by reason in order for there to be any possibility of the mind processing any kind of sensory input.

Introduction to Euclid by Rav Baruch of Shkolev a disciple of the Gra: there is a mizvah in learning Mathematics and Physics [all the seven wisdoms.]

 I  believe there is a mizvah in learning Mathematics and Physics. [ AS we can see in the Introduction to Euclid by Rav Baruch of Shkolev a disciple of the Gra.] Even though I recognize that not all rishonim [mediaeval authorities] agree with this. The most notable is the  Ramban [Nahmanides] who in answer to the debate about the legitimacy of the Rambam wrote a very emotional pleas to the sages in France to defend the Rambam. But in all that powerful deep felt letter there is not a word claiming the Rambam was right. [As David Bronson pointed out to me.] 

Just for some background there were three debates about the Rambam. The first was because of his comments on Pirkei Avot perek 4 on the mishna about not using Torah to make money. The second debate came because of the Guide for the Perplexed. [What was that all about? Well a lot of things. But probably the major issue was the positive approach to Aristotle.] The next one came up during the Renaissance.

I would in fact have preferred to sit and learn Gemara, but for reasons that are unclear to me today I eventually found that impossible and because of circumstances I found myself needing to go to the Polytechnic Institute of NYU to major in Physics. So I depend on the opinions of the Gra, Ibn Pakuda [the author of the Chovot Levavot] and Rambam. 

I should add here that I am really not sure about what the Ramban [Nahmanides] holds exactly. All that is clear is that he was against Aristotle. But as far as the natural sciences go I do not know. 

[And I am wondering if perhaps this makes the most sense--to hold by the natural sciences but to reject philosophy. Maybe that is what the Ramban [Nahmanides] is getting at? For after all he was a doctor who had certainly learned  what the universities were requiring to come a doctor. But openly rejected Aristotle. And In fact Rav Nahman [Breslov] also had said not to learn philosophy. (Sandra Lehman once told me that there is something about philosophy which detracts from common sense.) Yet I have seen that a little bit of philosophy can be highly beneficial--but not too much.]