PSCI 181 – Norton/Adalet
April 27, 2010
An Analysis of the Perpetuation of Knowledge over Time
Throughout the course of humanity, mankind’s various methods of socio-cultural progress have given birth to a vast range of phenomena which established the norms by which we interact and live today. The existence of religion, for example, has had a profound effect upon how present ideologies evolved and has been explored by a multitude of philosophers in the context of one of the main struggles that plagued early humanity: freedom from oppression (mentally and physically) inspired by our developing ideals of equality and liberty. David Hume encapsulated one viewpoint on the subject by expressing the notion that “In all ages of the world, priests have been enemies of liberty”. Priests, in the generic sense of the term, are the earthly embodiment of all divine religious ideals and have served as guides for spirituality throughout the course of history. The existence of true divinity, however, is a question that cannot be answered by any philosopher or theory in this Earthly realm. Mortality, on the other hand, is defined by our ability to make mistakes, to be fallible. Therefore, subjecting ourselves to the will of another human, whether or not they are bound to the divine, carries the risk of relinquishing some form of liberty. Fredrick Nietzsche explores this subject in the context of our development of moral standards and claims that modern religions were originally formed due to a perception of a debt to our ancestors for establishing a cooperative agrarian society. This origin, in turn, has inhibited any other form of moral code from developing. Alternatively, Max Weber’s sociological approach presents philosophy that religion has actually been a highly influential factor in the development of rational thought (a pivotal condition of many disciplines within our current intellectual sphere). The question we are then left with is...