Ideas of Peter Watson, by Theme

[British, fl. 2005, At the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University.]

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Because of Darwin, wisdom as a definite attainable state has faded
1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 1. History of Ideas
The three key ideas are the soul, Europe, and the experiment
The big idea: imitation, the soul, experiments, God, heliocentric universe, evolution?
2. Reason / E. Argument / 3. Analogy
Babylonian thinking used analogy, rather than deduction or induction
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / p. Counting
Mesopotamian numbers applied to specific things, and then became abstract
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 1. Political Theory
Machiavelli emancipated politics from religion
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / d. Representative democracy
Modern democracy is actually elective oligarchy
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 1. Nature
Greek philosophers invented the concept of 'nature' as their special subject
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 3. Evolution
DNA mutation suggests humans and chimpanzees diverged 6.6 million years ago
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 2. Divine Nature
During the rise of civilizations, the main gods changed from female to male
29. Religion / A. Religious Thought / 1. Religious Belief
The three basic ingredients of religion are: the soul, seers or priests, and ritual
29. Religion / B. Polytheistic Religion / 1. Hinduism
Hinduism has no founder, or prophet, or creed, or ecclesiastical structure
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 1. Judaism
Modern Judaism became stabilised in 200 CE
The Israelites may have asserted the uniqueness of Yahweh to justify land claims
Monotheism was a uniquely Israelite creation within the Middle East
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 2. Zoroastrianism
The Gathas (hymns) of Zoroastrianism date from about 1000 BCE
Zarathustra was the first to present a god who is an abstract concept
Zoroaster conceived the afterlife, judgement, heaven and hell, and the devil
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 3. Christianity / a. Christianity
Jesus never intended to start a new religion
Paul's early writings mention few striking episodes from Jesus' life
29. Religion / D. Spiritual Disciplines / 1. Confucianism
Confucius revered the spiritual world, but not the supernatural, or a personal god, or the afterlife
29. Religion / D. Spiritual Disciplines / 2. Taoism
Taoism aims at freedom from the world, the body, the mind, and nature
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 1. Immortality
In ancient Athens the souls of the dead are received by the 'upper air'