A philosophical worldview is a complex phenomenon influenced by a number of factors including scientific knowledge and philosophical doctrines, religion and everyday experience of a person. Along with the worldview comes a social system, an accompanying ideological structure. In some instances, the person may not be aware of the extent to which she or he is stepping into a new world—or a new way of grasping the world and understanding oneself influenced by new ideas and ideologies. Nevertheless, the subtlety of the process does not diminish its impact, which is to achieve change toward a specific end.
The desired goal is the transformation of the adherent into a committed believer, which means becoming a loyal group member or follower in those instances in which a group is attached to a belief system. Science, logic and religion play a crucial role in the philosophical worldview determining the main priorities and concepts accepted or rejected by an individual. It is possible to say that science stipulates the frames through which we perceive the world.
Following David Hume: The identity, which we ascribe to the mind of man, is only a fictitious one, and of a like kind with that which we ascribe to vegetables and animal bodies.
It cannot, therefore, have a different origin, but must proceed from a like operation of the imagination upon like objects” (Hume, n. d. ). Science helps humanity to understand natural phenomena and biological changes, evolutionary processes and shifts. Descartes explains that: “Arithmetic, Geometry, and the other sciences of the same class … contain somewhat that is certain and indubitable” (Descartes, 2005). Science influence the worldview representing a particular way of knowledge and perception of the world and human beings based on historical information, hypotheses and experiments.
Science is not a self-contained or self-sustaining activity. The most important it is conducted only in a community that has reached a certain level of intellectual development, which involves and implies social organization, culture, art, and religion, as well as philosophy. Religion can be interpreted as a worldview itself determining the main values and concepts which help a person to interpret the world. The person who begins to think about religion may find himself identifying his particular beliefs with the essence of all religion.
His own religious beliefs are vivid and vital to him, especially if his religious training has been consistent and regular, and if his religion is emotionally allied with valued experiences at home, at school, and with friends. Again, if his specific beliefs have become connected with satisfying moments of high inspiration and if he has found these beliefs helpful in time of need, his religion will have so permeated the nooks and crannies of his life that any other “religion” is a relatively dead thing, something foreign and alien, and, indeed, not really religion.
There is only one religion for him. As he tries to evaluate his religion, it will be difficult for him to examine his beliefs impartially and to give adequate weight to those factors in the experience of others which have little meaning to him in terms of his own emotional background. For instance, Descartes gives the following example of the role and influence of religion in the worldview: it is true that when I think only of God (when I look upon myself as coming from God, Fr. ), and turn wholly to him, I discover [in myself] no cause of error or falsity” (Descartes, 2005).
In this case, the worldview of a person is determined by his religious beliefs and perception of the world influenced by interpretation of God and his authority. Religion helps to develop a perspective toward life which determines ideas, rituals, and emotions. What happens to religious belief depends on innumerable factors in the life-experience of the believer. What the individual calls his religion is interwoven with experiences which are religiously significant for him (Warburton, 2006). Logic exhibits an ideal of knowledge, namely, a one-possibility consistency derived from established premises.
This ideal is demonstrated unusually well in the realm of mathematics and geometry where all conclusions are logically bound to accepted definitions or axioms. This pattern of thought is what many people have in mind when they refer to reason or to its conclusion, rational truth. For Descartes, a logical conclusion in this sense would have a must-be-so character; almost-surely-so would have no more validity than to say that two and two “almost surely” equal five. One can understand why this conception of logical reason (and of truth) has been held up as the ultimate ideal.
When a proof is logically valid, there are no other possible conclusions, and our uncertainty vanishes. Logic influenced the worldview helping to explain, select, organize and interpret information combining it into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world. Reality is a function of the interpretation we assign to our own perceptions and logic. Using three frames, logic, science and religion, people interpret the world and events take place around them; logic, science and religion become lenses through which we determine and perceive the world and its processes.
Science, religion and logic allows a person to perceive ideas of others and create a unique worldview and understanding of reality. Our worldview is derived from the science base we bring to the system and the development of that base as we operate within the system. In many ways, religion and logic is both the instrument with which we succeed by making sense out of the world and the limitation on our ability to see greater or different issues that might be critical to our interpretation of the world. All of the readings (Descartes, Hume, Sartre) can challenge and expend the philosophical worldview.
All of them present a unique interpretation and explanation of events and philosophical concepts which force a reader to rethink and test his worldviews. For instance, Descartes and Hume can help to perceive certain things that other people do not necessarily notice. They are more likely to see particular characteristics as important. Hume explains: “’Tis evident, that the identity, which we attribute to the human mind, however perfect we may imagine it to be, is not able to run the several different perceptions into one, and make them lose their characters of distinction and difference, which are essential to them” (Hume, n. . ).
Thus, no matter how acute our own perceptual abilities might be, the reality we carry with us is essentially less than the actual event. Sartre’s ideas challenge a worldview forcing a reader to rethink his religious beliefs and ideals applying an existentialist point of view. Most of us have the same kind of experience as we try to grasp the scientist’s account of the world. If we are to understand at all, we have to be satisfied with a harder “thinkable” conception-that is, one which is consistent with the facts.
With the help of the microscope and the telescope, the scientist can check much of his mathematics and “thinking” about the “population” of the universe, its nature, and its extension in space and time. But ultimately he has the right to ask our intellect to accept his conception of the physical universe, provided no facts are left out, even if that conception outruns imagination. These readings can help to rethink and reinterpret some ideals and beliefs but they cannot change a philosophical view and perception of reality. These readings represent different historical epochs and are influenced by reality and traditions of these periods.
In many cases, philosophical doctrines and concepts differ from modern world and construction of modern reality. The further development of a person’s worldview can be drawn from existentialism. Existentialism addresses itself to what are today called the “existential” problems of man — the meaning of life, of death, of suffering, to name but these. The relationship of human existence to beings which do not enjoy human existence is transcendent in a double-edged manner. On the one hand human existence is thrown down into the world and is attuned to and utterly subject to the beings in it; in this way the world transcends human existence.
On the other hand, human existence is really the “formative” agent of the world; it transcends the world; the domination which it exercises over things in being is so complete that it actually draws them out of their fundamental hiddenness and endows them with being, that is, with meaning and truth. Existentialism is also clearly indebted to life-philosophy and is in certain ways an expansion of the latter especially in its actualism, its analysis of time, and its criticism of rationalism and natural science (Warburton, 2006).
The difficulty does not stem from inadequacy in expression or weakness in logical structure, for work always proceeds in very systematic fashion. The difficulty arises rather from the unusual and strange terminology which he has devised in the hope of providing a language for conveying his thoughts. Therefore the analysis of being as human existence is declared to be the starting point of the investigation. It is the peculiar quality of human existence that it is a being which, in being, is interested in this very being.
The understanding of being is in itself an element in the being of human existence, and for this reason human existence is said to be “ontological. To determine the essence of human existence requires much more than a matter-of-fact answer to the question “What? ” For the “essence” of human existence, is found in its existence, from which alone it can be understood. Following Sartre [man] “is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Thus, there is no human nature, since there is no god to conceive it.
Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also what he wills himself to be” (Sartre 2000, p. 36). In contrast other philosophers decide that they must either accept the biblical account of creation or reject altogether the conception of creation by God. They do not realize that two kinds of assertions are involved and that it is at least possible to maintain that God is creator without holding that he created by specific edict in the order suggested. It may be that the acceptance of evolution should modify only the conception of the way in which God creates the world (Warburton, 2006).
The main value to study different philosophies is to expand and challenge ones philosophical ideals, comparing and contrasting different perspectives and philosophical notions. It seems to me important that people should be familiar with the work of different branches of philosophy. It is not, necessarily, that some philosophers are more acute or profound than their scholastic predecessors. It is rather that the individual is unlikely really to get to grips with the thought of the classic scholastics unless he has been brought by the study of philosophy to a genuine appreciation of the problems in these fields.
Fields of inquiry has to do not with one set of events which occur in the world but with the nature of all events and of the universe as a whole. The second issue involves the question as to whether the actual steps in the development of man were those indicated. Different philosophies help to expend the knowledge and rethink philosophical ideals and truths. Understanding different perspectives is a crucial element of universal understanding because it is impossible to arrive at a position of knowledge from a single perspective.
Understanding different perspectives is a good thing because it allows a person to build his own worldview based on contrasting elements and concepts, values and views. It does not mean that a person should accept these perspectives but he should understand the different and value of each of them. The essential structure of understanding secures an existential grasp of the range of the capacity for being, and it is that aspect of human existence in which worldview is its potentiality.
To snatch ourselves back again out of the grip of man is to make a choice, to commit ourselves spontaneously to the possibility of being arising from the most intimate self. The worldview is determined by science and religion and the discoveries of the philosophers made during a particular period of time. Accepting these restraints, the person secures to himself the protection given by the community of others who accept the same canons of philosophy, religion logic and scientific knowledge.