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Paul Bloch openartist at
Fri Apr 18 00:44:07 PDT 2008

That's a difficult one to tackle and I think the there is perhaps even
more subtleness to the situation.  Within every religion is a
philosophical process of the digestion of the logic of the spiritual
beliefs.  The whole cosmological concept is that the height of any
sort of philosophical inquiry would lead to the understanding to which
the religion in question has already arrived.  For instance, when I
was younger I travelled to many different kinds of churches just to
see what they were like, why they believed the way they did, and why
they saw themselves as possessing something different or more True
(the pure divine kind--the limited edition version that comes in the
popular book form but now available as an ebook).  So when you start
talking to these people and asking them questions, it's interesting to
see that these are thinking people, they've thought about why they
think the way they do, perhaps not in a very sophisticated way where
they can see outside of their own cultural conditioning, but they do
think about and talk about it together.  That's what apologetics
basically is, the best use of logic they have created to justify their
positions (also published greatly in book form and now online).

Perhaps we should see that Philosophy comes in in multiple forms: to
explore what I don't already know without bias to protecting what I
already believe, and exploring philosophy in a controlled context that
isn't at odds with the ideas I already have and share with members of
my group, and instead validates them.  It's philosophy designed to
explain something I already believe.  It would be like creating an
experiment in order to justify the results I already decided upon.
But, this isn't the only kind of philosophy that happens inside
religion, all religions have examples of extraordinary thinkers and
teachers that go outside the cultural norms and stir things up, and
yes most often they're killed then sainted.

The reason I think it's interesting to think about is because
interfaces and programming also deal with this concept of logic or
causation.  For instance, what is the most logical or natural way to
design the interface?    Some people try to explore new things
(Symphony OS) while others adhere to what we already know out of
comfort (the whole concept of some sort of "start"-ish type button
that everything is hidden under), convention, accessibility, and
perhaps the idea that this is THE way it should be done.

So you can see the same logic or form of inquiry used in both religion
and in interface usability.  That's kinda funny.  What continues to be
interesting though is when we bring philosophy to interface design,
proper taxonomical sorting of IDEAS ("Where should Religion go?"), we
enter into deep questions of logic and defining the relationship
between things, but specifically between THOUGHTS.  So what is
Religion's relationship to the things around me, the ideas I have, the
things I do?  Perhaps there are conventional ways of thinking about
that, perhaps ways we've inherited by what we already think, and then
there's another deeper philosophical way of thinking about it that
goes outside the norm of fitting Religion into the mold we've already
created for it.  I hope this is all making sense because it's rather
difficult to properly sort out in a clear way.

I agree that Philosophy as a descriptor doesn't entirely cut it
because the raw discipline of philosophy doesn't embrace the specific
practices of cultures and faiths around the world.  "Spiritual
Practice" is the concept of *exercising the soul* as compared to
specifically *exercising the mind* which is what philosophical
discourse and inquiry addresses.

Great conversation everyone!  Really stimulating, I think I'll write
about this more on my blog (

On Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 6:55 AM, Liam R E Quin <liam at> wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-04-17 at 09:57 -0400, Randy Kramer wrote:
>  > The reason(s) I suggest philosophy include:
>  Philosophy is the secular counterpart to theology.
>  It hardly seems appropriate for tools relating to
>  contemplation of the Spirit, and in any case it would
>  only be appropriate for certain sorts of application.
>  One would not find (for example) a bible-themed game
>  for small children under Philosophy.  Nor a program
>  that issued a call for prayer at dawn.  I suppose
>  that a "Ritual" category could exist alongside
>  "Philosophy", and another for "Ministry", but what
>  Ritual (religious practice) and Ministry (spreading a
>  religion or faith) have in common is a belief in
>  something spiritual, in contradistinction to philosophy,
>  which describes and studies from outside.
>  Hope this helps...
>  Liam
>  --
>  Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C,
>  Pictures from old books:
>  Ankh:
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>  xdg at

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