Thursday, May 7, 2015


Amerikalı fotoğrafçılar Robert ve Shana Parke Harrison‘ın çalışmalarında göreceğiniz beyaz gömlekli, takım elbiseli, ince suratlı garip şahsın adı Everyman. Aşırı ve hoyrat tüketim nedeniyle eski püskü bir yer haline gelmiş Dünya’da yalnız kalan Everyman’i, başından büyük işlere kalkışmış hallerde, kırık dökük doğayı tamir etmeye çalışırken görüyoruz. Bu amaç doğrultusunda, kütüklerin hikâyelerini dinleyip kayda geçirmek, ağaçlara keman çalmak, büyük bir iğne ile yeryüzünün açılan yerlerini dikmek gibi yöntemlere başvuruyor Everyman.
Robert ve Shana ParkeHarrison’ın on yıldır devam ettirdiği bu seri, sıradan başkahraman Everyman’in nafile, ancak anlamlı çabalarını işliyor. Sanatçılar on yıl boyunca birbirinden farklı ve deneysel fotoğraf teknikleri kullanmış, fotoğrafları ilginç işlemlerden geçirmişler. Çalışmalarını özgün kılan işlemlerden biri ise, fotoğrafları bastıktan sonra üzerlerine yaptıkları çizimler ve  ekledikleri renkler. Everyman’in karamsar ve sıradan dünyasını yansıtan renk dünyasına da sonradan yapılan eklemelerle ulaşmışlar. Çalışmalarını bu işlemlerden geçirmelerinin bir amacı da, yarattıkları dünyayı zamansız kılmak. Robert bir röportajda, fotoğrafların zamansız görünmelerine rağmen, anlatılan hikâyenin günümüzde geçtiğini belirtiyor. İnsanlığın doğadan günbegün kopan, giderek yalnızlaşan durumunu tartışmaya açmayı amaçladıklarını söylüyor.

Everyman balances on a small circus platform as he breaks from his burden of salvaging a dying world. These unexpected visual moments are not necessarily what the Everyman signed up for. But he partakes in the timelessness of ritual and make-believe. It is a world only slightly removed from his standard tasks. In fact, outside, beyond the velvety curtains and spangled chandeliers, we see the very the landscape he often tirelessly tries to rejuvenate and repair. The stage offers endless narrative possibilities and favors contradictions – hope and despair, desire and failure… to explore the fragile human condition, and the overarching shadow of environmental destruction. Perhaps the only true hope for our world and our human spirit rests in our ability to imagine

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether or not God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable. In the popular sense of the term, an "agnostic", according to the philosopher William L. Rowe, is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God, while a theist believes that God does exist and an atheist believes that God does not exist. Agnosticism is a doctrine or set of tenets rather than a religion as such.
Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, coined the word "agnostic" in 1869. Earlier thinkers, however, had written works that promoted agnostic points of view, such as Sanjaya Belatthaputta, a 5th-century BCE Indian philosopher who expressed agnosticism about anyafterlife; and Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher who expressed agnosticism about "the gods". The Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda is agnostic about the origin of the universe.

"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle ... Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable."

Thomas Henry Huxley

Since Huxley coined the term, many other thinkers have written extensively about agnosticism.
Though there are a couple of references in The Oxford English Dictionary to earlier occurrences of the word ‘agnostic’, it seems (perhaps independently) to have been introduced by T. H. Huxley at a party in London to found the Metaphysical Society, which flourished for over a decade and to which belonged notable thinkers and leaders of opinion. Huxley thought that as many of these people liked to describe themselves as adherents of various ‘isms’ he would invent one for himself. He took it from a description in Acts 17:23 of an altar inscribed ‘to an unknown God’. Huxley thought that we would never be able to know about the ultimate origin and causes of the universe. Thus he seems to have been more like a Kantian believer in unknowable noumena than like a Vienna Circle proponent of the view that talk of God is not even meaningful. Perhaps such a logical positivist should be classified as neither a theist nor an atheist, but her view would be just as objectionable to a theist. ‘Agnostic’ is more contextual than is ‘atheist’, as it can be used in a non-theological way, as when a cosmologist might say that she is agnostic about string theory, neither believing nor disbelieving it. In this article I confine myself to the use of ‘agnostic’ in a theological context.

Huxley's agnosticism seems nevertheless to go with an extreme empiricism, nearer to Mill's methods of induction than to recent discussions of the hypothetico-deductive and partly holistic aspect of testing of theories. Though we might not be able to prove the existence of God might we be able to disprove it? Many philosophers hold that the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and good God is empirically refuted by the existence of evil and suffering, and so would be happy to be called atheists rather than agnostics.Of course the existence of a non-benevolent creator God would not be so refutable and atheism would have to depend on arguments other than that of the mere existence of evil. More commonly the theist will continue to include benevolence in the concept of God and attempt to deal with the problem of evil with the help of various auxiliary or even ad hochypotheses or considerations, much as a scientist may attempt, often successfully, to shore up against empirical refutation a previously well tested theory. Bayesian considerations may determine rationally, though roughly, the appropriate degree of belief or unbelief.
According to philosopher William L. Rowe, in the strict sense, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist.[2] Others have refined this concept to distinguish between agnostic atheism (the view of those who do not believe in the existence of any deity, but do not claim to know if a deity does or does not exist) and agnostic theism (the view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in some such an existence). Most recently, the terms apathetic and pragmatic agnosticism have been coined with regard to the view that there is no proof of either the existence or non-existence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic and that their existence therefore has little to no impact on personal human affairs and should be of little theological interest.
Agnosticism has sometimes been divided into two categories in academic and philosophical treatment:

Strong agnosticism (also called "hard", "closed", "strict", or "permanent agnosticism")
The view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities, and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I cannot know whether a deity exists or not, and neither can you."
Weak agnosticism (also called "soft", "open", "empirical", or "temporal agnosticism")
The view that the existence or nonexistence of any deities is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable; therefore, one will withhold judgment until evidence, if any, becomes available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether any deities exist or not, but maybe one day, if there is evidence, we can find something out."
Agnosticism is sometimes used colloquially to refer to plurality of beliefs. An agnostic in this case might claim, "The concepts of a universe with or without a God represent intellectual tools that aid our exploration of reality; neither of these ideas are inherently wrong and both bear a useful conceptual utility."


Greek philosophy
Agnostic thought, in the form of skepticism, emerged as a formal philosophical position in ancient Greece. Its proponents included Protagoras, Pyrrho, Carneades, Sextus Empiricus and, to some degree, Socrates, who was a strong advocate for a skeptical approach to epistemology.

Pyrrho said that we should refrain from making judgment as we can never know the true reality. According to Pyrrho, having opinion was possible, but certainty and knowledge are impossible. Carneades was also a skeptic in relation to all knowledge claims. He proposed a probability theory, however. According to him, certainty could never be attained.Protagoras rejected the conventional accounts of the gods. He said:

Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.

Hindu philosophy
See also: Sanjaya Belatthaputta
Throughout the history of Hinduism there has been a strong tradition of philosophic speculation and skepticism.[33][34]

The Rig Veda takes an agnostic view on the fundamental question of how the universe and the gods were created. Nasadiya Sukta (Creation Hymn) in the tenth chapter of the Rig Veda says:

Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?

Hume, Kant, and Kierkegaard
Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, and Descartes presented arguments attempting to rationally prove the existence of God. The skeptical empiricism of David Hume, theantinomies of Immanuel Kant, and the existential philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard convinced many later philosophers to abandon these attempts, regarding it impossible to construct any unassailable proof for the existence or non-existence of God.

In his 1844 book, Philosophical Fragments, Kierkegaard writes:

Let us call this unknown something: God. It is nothing more than a name we assign to it. The idea of demonstrating that this unknown something (God) exists, could scarcely suggest itself to Reason. For if God does not exist it would of course be impossible to prove it; and if he does exist it would be folly to attempt it. For at the very outset, in beginning my proof, I would have presupposed it, not as doubtful but as certain (a presupposition is never doubtful, for the very reason that it is a presupposition), since otherwise I would not begin, readily understanding that the whole would be impossible if he did not exist. But if when I speak of proving God's existence I mean that I propose to prove that the Unknown, which exists, is God, then I express myself unfortunately. For in that case I do not prove anything, least of all an existence, but merely develop the content of a conception.

Thomas Henry Huxley
Agnostic views are as old as philosophical skepticism, but the terms agnostic and agnosticism were created by Huxley to sum up his thoughts on contemporary developments of metaphysics about the "unconditioned" (William Hamilton) and the "unknowable" (Herbert Spencer). Though Huxley began to use the term "agnostic" in 1869, his opinions had taken shape some time before that date. In a letter of September 23, 1860, to Charles Kingsley, Huxley discussed his views extensively:

I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force or the indestructibility of matter ...

It is no use to talk to me of analogies and probabilities. I know what I mean when I say I believe in the law of the inverse squares, and I will not rest my life and my hopes upon weaker convictions ...

That my personality is the surest thing I know may be true. But the attempt to conceive what it is leads me into mere verbal subtleties. I have champed up all that chaff about the ego and the non-ego, noumena and phenomena, and all the rest of it, too often not to know that in attempting even to think of these questions, the human intellect flounders at once out of its depth.

And again, to the same correspondent, May 6, 1863:

I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school. Nevertheless I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel. I cannot see one shadow or tittle of evidence that the great unknown underlying the phenomenon of the universe stands to us in the relation of a Father [who] loves us and cares for us as Christianity asserts. So with regard to the other great Christian dogmas, immortality of soul and future state of rewards and punishments, what possible objection can I—who am compelled perforce to believe in the immortality of what we call Matter and Force, and in a very unmistakable present state of rewards and punishments for our deeds—have to these doctrines? Give me a scintilla of evidence, and I am ready to jump at them.

Of the origin of the name agnostic to describe this attitude, Huxley gave the following account:

When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion ...

So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic". It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. ... To my great satisfaction the term took.

William Stewart Ross
William Stewart Ross wrote under the name of Saladin. He championed agnosticism in opposition to the atheism of Charles Bradlaugh as an open-ended spiritual exploration. In Why I am an Agnostic (c. 1889) he claims that agnosticism is "the very reverse of atheism".

Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll, an Illinois lawyer and politician who evolved into a well-known and sought-after orator in 19th-century America, has been referred to as the "Great Agnostic".

In an 1896 lecture titled Why I Am An Agnostic, Ingersoll related why he was an agnostic:

Is there a supernatural power—an arbitrary mind—an enthroned God—a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world—to which all causes bow? I do not deny. I do not know—but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme—that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken—that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer—no power that worship can persuade or change—no power that cares for man.

I believe that with infinite arms Nature embraces the all—that there is no interference—no chance—that behind every event are the necessary and countless causes, and that beyond every event will be and must be the necessary and countless effects.

Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.

In the conclusion of the speech he simply sums up the agnostic position as:

We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell's pamphlet, Why I Am Not a Christian, based on a speech delivered in 1927 and later included in a book of the same title, is considered a classic statement of agnosticism.[54][54][55] He calls upon his readers to "stand on their own two feet and look fair and square at the world with a fearless attitude and a free intelligence".[56]

In 1939, Russell gave a lecture on The existence and nature of God, in which he characterized himself as an atheist. He said:

The existence and nature of God is a subject of which I can discuss only half. If one arrives at a negative conclusion concerning the first part of the question, the second part of the question does not arise; and my position, as you may have gathered, is a negative one on this matter.

However, later in the same lecture, discussing modern non-anthropomorphic concepts of God, Russell states:

That sort of God is, I think, not one that can actually be disproved, as I think the omnipotent and benevolent creator can.

In Russell's 1947 pamphlet, Am I An Atheist or an Agnostic? (subtitled A Plea For Tolerance in the Face of New Dogmas), he ruminates on the problem of what to call himself:

As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

In his 1953 essay, What Is An Agnostic? Russell states:

An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time.

Later in the essay, Russell adds

I think that if I heard a voice from the sky predicting all that was going to happen to me during the next twenty-four hours, including events that would have seemed highly improbable, and if all these events then produced to happen, I might perhaps be convinced at least of the existence of some superhuman intelligence.

Leslie Weatherhead
In 1965 Christian theologian Leslie Weatherhead published The Christian Agnostic, in which he argues:

... many professing agnostics are nearer belief in the true God than are many conventional church-goers who believe in a body that does not exist whom they miscall God.

Although radical and unpalatable to conventional theologians, Weatherhead's agnosticism falls far short of Huxley's, and short even of weak agnosticism:

Of course, the human soul will always have the power to reject God, for choice is essential to its nature, but I cannot believe that anyone will finally do this.

Charles Darwin
Raised in a religious environment, Charles Darwin studied to be an Anglican clergyman. While eventually doubting parts of his faith, Darwin continued to help in church affairs, even while avoiding church attendance. Darwin stated that it would be "absurd to doubt that a man might be an ardent theist and an evolutionist". Although reticent about his religious views, in 1879 he wrote that "I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. – I think that generally ... an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind."