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Religion / Confusing branches of Philosophy

robGRAUERT
Posts: 3
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3/11/2013 1:45:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
While I was debating someone about Christianity and God I asked, "How does God know he's all knowing? How does he know there isn't a bit of knowledge he doesn't know?" I was challenging the idea of omniscience.

He responded to me with, "You're confusing epistemology with metaphysics," and he kept saying that no matter how I phrased the question. I never got a straight answer...

Am I confusing these two branches of philosophy? If epistemology is concerned with how knowledge is acquired and metaphysics concerned with reality, it seems perfectly acceptable to "confuse" these two branches of philosophy if someone is claiming that God is all knowing.

Thanks.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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3/11/2013 1:58:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/11/2013 1:45:11 PM, robGRAUERT wrote:
While I was debating someone about Christianity and God I asked, "How does God know he's all knowing? How does he know there isn't a bit of knowledge he doesn't know?" I was challenging the idea of omniscience.

He responded to me with, "You're confusing epistemology with metaphysics," and he kept saying that no matter how I phrased the question. I never got a straight answer...

Am I confusing these two branches of philosophy? If epistemology is concerned with how knowledge is acquired and metaphysics concerned with reality, it seems perfectly acceptable to "confuse" these two branches of philosophy if someone is claiming that God is all knowing.

Thanks.

I don't know whether it's proper to say that you're confusing them, but the question you asked is clearly epistemological in nature. It's a perfectly legitimate question, but if the topic is metaphysics you should probably just stick to that. It's fairly common to draw boundaries on whether it be philosophical discussions or just discussions in general; it's generally considered out of place to bring in epistemology in an ethics conversation or metaphysics into a physics one.

As I said earlier though, it's a perfectly legitimate question and don't let answers that push aside the question stop you from getting an answer.
Cinco
Posts: 63
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3/13/2013 9:50:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/11/2013 1:45:11 PM, robGRAUERT wrote:
While I was debating someone about Christianity and God I asked, "How does God know he's all knowing? How does he know there isn't a bit of knowledge he doesn't know?" I was challenging the idea of omniscience.

He responded to me with, "You're confusing epistemology with metaphysics," and he kept saying that no matter how I phrased the question. I never got a straight answer...

Am I confusing these two branches of philosophy? If epistemology is concerned with how knowledge is acquired and metaphysics concerned with reality, it seems perfectly acceptable to "confuse" these two branches of philosophy if someone is claiming that God is all knowing.

Thanks.

Such irrelevancies are of no use to a thinker. Don't get sidetracked - follow your own lines of thought and go where they go. When someone throws a fence up in front of you, jump over it and move on. They are of no use to you. You don't have to argue - just ignore them and keep moving.

That said - your question seems unanswerable. Who could answer for such a being but the being itself? In the throes of defending his or her beliefs, a religious person would almost certainly be loathe to say anything like "I don't know.". Hence, the side-stepping of the question, altogether.

That, by the way, is my answer: I do not know. To be "all-knowing", one must not only know all "answers" but must also know all possible questions, which doesn't seem very likely. To know all possible questions, it would have to own, outright, all possible thought and combinations of thoughts, yes? Wouldn't it have to possess all possible combinations of all thoughts? As I said, I don't know.

An "all-knowing" being would be so far from where I am that I cannot imagine it mattering, one way or the other, from my puny perspective. Nor can I imagine any form of being making such a claim about itself - for surely such intelligence would be aware of the possible existence of a question it hasn't been asked.
If your time, to you,
Is worth savin',
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan