I went out and did a little reading and found info at wikipedia (my favorite learning destination). It talks about the philosophy of the Stoics, who believed that truth could be absolutely apprehended, which is katalepsis. There was an “opposing” group called The Academics, who believed this was not true, and called it acatalepsis. From wiki:
The Academics responded to the Stoic theory of katalepsis with the following syllogism:
1.There are true and false impressions (phantasiai).
2.False impressions are non-kataleptic
3.True impressions are always such that false impressions could appear identical to them.
4.Among impressions with no perceptible difference between them, it is impossible for some to be kataleptic and others not.
5.Therefore, there are no kataleptic impressions.
Acatalepsy in philosophy is incomprehensibleness.
One way I think the theories of katalepsis and acatalepsis fall short as a philosophy is their assumption of one definition of knowing a thing. Another weakness is that neither takes into account the relativity of things.
Each thing on the planet is a unique plot point on the map of existence. Each thing is a unique convergence of elements that transcend time and space to exist. Each thing has its own perspective. Just because we might believe a rock is not alive and can’t have a perspective, who is to say it doesn’t? There are belief systems where everything is believed to be alive.
Each of the 10,000 things (i.e. all-that-is) has a point of view. There is no possible way to say with certainty any one point of view is the correct point of view because there are as many of them as there are things. Who would be the arbiter of “truth” and say one perspective is the right one and any who oppose or differ from that perspective are “false.”
I believe – just me, not speaking for anyone or anything else – that a whole philosophy that believes one can apprehend absolute truth is delusional. I also believe that a delusion is enough to base a philosophy upon and draw together enough guidelines, “logic,” and followers to make sense enough to practice it with peace of mind.
John Lennon sang, “Whatever gets you through the night.” So what if the Stoics believed what they believed. So what if the acataleptics had a sound syllogism to neutralize their belief system. As long as a system doesn’t intricately rationalize extermination, destruction, exclusion, exploitation of others for malicious and/or personal gain, I’m OK with it.
In conclusion, I don’t believe in either of these philosophies. I don’t believe things can be universally comprehended or are universally incomprehensible. I believe some things can be comprehended by some at some time, by individuals only, and only for momentary glimpses, as they are slippery little beasties – and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I sip my warm tea
and watch the sun set tonight —
and know God exists.
Reena is the host of Reena’s Exploration Challenges. Reena says:
There are two words given below, with the meaning. Choose any one and write a piece encapsulating the spirit. It is not necessary that the word appears in your piece, unless you want to include it. You are brilliant if you can include both.