Biblical and Philosophic Prophecies (3)

Philosophic Prophecy:

Philosophy is an intellectual inquiry originating in the mind of a human being in his effort to understand matters mostly outside himself. Because the process is directed from below towards subjects on high, the level of understanding is limited and finite. Revelation, conversely, describes the infusion of Truth from Above into the human intellect below, which will reveal truths otherwise clogged by little intelligence alone. Philosophy conclusions are based on instruction guidelines in formal logic, analysis, technical terms, and mechanical concepts; they are not inherently intuitive or correct.

Prophecy, however, is a purely fluid and natural result of spiritual refinement through which, with the grace of God, a person knows the existential truths that stimulate his soul and subconsciously spark a vision in the minds of others. A philosopher is called “a prophet of immortal nature (Dio Chrysostom, A.D. 40-120).” Philosophic prophecy is not the activity of offering noble lies (false claims).

According to the famous sociologist of science, Robert K. Merton:

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior, which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of terror. The prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning. (Merton, 1996, 185)

Self-fulfilling prophecies and self-refuting predictions take for granted that publicly expressed ideas can significantly affect the world. In particular, their impact can change the truth-functional status of descriptions of the world. Even in the social sciences, a class of theorems shows that there are productive, non-trivial predictions that need not change the underlying system. In an online article written on June 3, 2012, Eric Schliesser distinguished ten features of philosophic Prophecy (Schliesse, 2012). Schliesser’s features are summarized thus:

  • Philosophic prophecy is a ‘secular’ prophecy that appeals to the imagination.
  • It is not primarily about offering predictions;
  • it intends to help create a possible future.
  • Philosophic prophecy, like a Teleological concept, avoids apparent falsehoods.
  • It is characteristic of philosophic prophecy to invent or restructure intellectual traditions.

The  nub of “philosophic prophecy” is that the present or even the future once-unforeseen actions can be the intended outcome of the past design. So, while the content of philosophic prophecy can be rich in detail, it needs not to anticipate the exact variety of ways history unfolds. Instead, philosophic prophecy entails a shared horizon between the prophecy and the often-implied prophesied future. Philosophic prophecy, therefore, introduces a set of conceptual oppositions that help delimit how philosophical problems, controversies, and questions are treated subsequently.

Plato’s discourses are probably the origin of the genre of philosophic prophecies: Socrates is contrasted with false authorities (the best of which are Sophists), and Plato’s characters use narratives full of claims that are probably false and enhance philosophic doctrine. In philosophic prophecy, the exoteric text is doing the work of shaping the thought of future generations. ***continues on Wednesday,05/18/22


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