• Truth Seeker
    124
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I do mean that they are untestable by sensory empiricism. Please tell me what empirical evidence there is that lends these ideas credibility. Mystics may believe their claims, but they could be mistaken about their claims. Being mistaken makes them wrong without making them a liar.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I do mean that they are untestable by sensory empiricism. Please tell me what empirical evidence there is that lends these ideas credibility. Mystics may believe their claims, but they could be mistaken about their claims. Being mistaken makes them wrong without making them a liar.Truth Seeker

    Mystics claim to know the truth, and for the most advanced to actually BE the truth, so you're claiming they are liars. No mystic who ever lived claimed that they rely on beliefs rather than knowledge. To do so would make them a laughing stock. In one of his German sermons Meister Eckhart openly and explicitly pledges his soul on the truth of his teachings, and nobody would do this on the basis of beliefs that might be mistaken. , .

    As for empirical evidence - off hand I would cite the falsification of local realism, the 'hard' problem of consciousness, entanglement and non-locality. Then there is the failure of scientists and philosophers to construct a fundamental theory to compete with the nondual global theory endorsed by the mystics. There is no other global theory that works, and this could be called an empirical fact since it may be established by a literature review. .

    For conclusive evidence I would cite the demonstrable logical absurdity of all other global theories, although I''m not quite sure a logical argument counts as empirical evidence.

    Then there is the empirical fact that nobody is able to falsify or refute the nondual doctrine which, after two millennia of trying, might be counted as suggestive.empirical evidence.

    Then there is the global phenomenon of mysticism itself, which is inexplicable unless it is grounded in truth.

    Just some of what comes to mind, But you've given men an idea for an essay bringing the empirical evidence together. Or perhaps it could be a new topic for the forum. .

    . .

    . . ,
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Then there is the empirical fact that nobody is able to falsify or refute the nondual doctrine which, after two millennia of trying, might be counted as suggestive.empirical evidence.FrancisRay

    If you are referring to unfalsifiable propositions then we can include all manner of claims: ghosts, alien abduction stories, and most variations of conspiracy theories. None of which are falsifiable. The fact that a claim is unfalsifiable is problematic, not a strength. If we can't test a proposition then I don't see how we can assume that it must be true. How would we determine nondualism is an accurate account?

    No mystic who ever lived claimed that they rely on beliefs rather than knowledge. To do so would make them a laughing stock. In one of his German sermons Meister Eckhart openly and explicitly pledges his soul on the truth of his teachings, and nobody would do this on the basis of beliefs that might be mistaken. , .FrancisRay

    Not sure what you are thinking of here. The fact that a person believes something deeply and sincerely does not make it any more true. How do we know when a mystic holds a true belief?
  • FrancisRay
    400
    If you are referring to unfalsifiable propositions then we can include all manner of claims: ghosts, alien abduction stories, and most variations of conspiracy theories. None of which are falsifiable. The fact that a claim is unfalsifiable is problematic, not a strength. If we can't test a proposition then I don't see how we can assume that it must be true. How would we determine nondualism is an accurate account?Tom Storm

    This is true for untestable and unfalsifiable claims, but I did not say the nondual doctrine is untestable or unfalsifiable. It is testable and falsifiable but as yet unfalsified because it passes the tests. It is really quite easy to test a neutral or nondual metaphysical theory. . . . . .

    Not sure what you are thinking of here. The fact that a person believes something deeply and sincerely does not make it any more true. How do we know when a mystic holds a true belief?

    In mysticism nobody talks about true beliefs. Either one knows or one does not. The Western idea that truth or knowledge is 'justified true belief' is rejected. For the mystic truth and knowledge depend on knowledge-by-identity or what Merrell Wolff calls 'introception'.

    This is a vital point and much misunderstood. To believe that the mystics rely on beliefs that might be wrong is to entirely misunderstand what mysticism is about. It is about the acquisition of certain knowledge, and the only certain knowledge is identical with its object. This is possible where the knower and the known are one.

    Thus the great Sufi sage Al-Hallaj was executed for stating 'I am truth, and not 'I know truth'. Or as Sri Aurobindo writes: 'Knowledge can only come by conscious identity, for that is the only true knowledge, - existence aware of itself'.

    The basic point is that mysticism is not about believing but about knowing. Hence no knowledge claim made by mysticism has ever been refuted or falsified. These claims are made with 100% certainty. .


    .
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    The basic point is that mysticism is not about believing but about knowing. Hence no knowledge claim made by mysticism has ever been refuted or falsified. These claims are made with 100% certainty. .FrancisRay

    Lots of people make claims with 100% certainty - like many ordinary Christians or Muslims - they may also be 100% wrong. How would we know? There are many fundamentalists out there who also say things like, "I know that I know that I know that Jesus is Lord.' They 'feel' this as truth and certain knowledge. I wonder if mysticism isn't just a more sophisticated version of this very human desire to encounter certainty. I have no doubt that many mystics are certain about their experiences, what I do doubt is any need to accept their subjective experience of certainty.

    This is true for untestable and unfalsifiable claims, but I did not say the nondual doctrine is untestable or unfalsifiable. It is testable and falsifiable but as yet unfalsified because it passes the tests. It is really quite easy to test a neutral or nondual metaphysical theory. . . . . .FrancisRay

    I think there may be a Noble Prize waiting for the person who can demonstrate nondulaism. Can you tell us how this can be done? You can't just say it is 'easy' and breezily move on. While it might be child's play to point to omissions and flaws in scientific knowledge, this doesn't give us license to fill the gaps with what some might call 'woo'.
  • Truth Seeker
    124
    I didn't call mystics liars. I am an agnostic regarding not just the existence and nature of Gods but also about the nature of reality. Is solipsism true? Is idealism true? Is materialism true? Is monism true? Is dualism true? Is determinism true? Do souls exist? I don't know yet. I may never know and that's ok.
  • Truth Seeker
    124
    I agree with you again.
  • Truth Seeker
    124
    If you can prove your claims, please do.
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    These ideas are very definitely testable. To state otherwise would be to say that every mystic who has ever claimed to know the truth is or was a liar.FrancisRay

    Not a liar, just naive, and in too many cases grandiose.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Lots of people make claims with 100% certainty - like many ordinary Christians or Muslims - they may also be 100% wrong. How would we know? There are many fundamentalists out there who also say things like, "I know that I know that I know that Jesus is Lord.' They 'feel' this as truth and certain knowledge.Tom Storm

    Yes, people often confuse beliefs with knowledge, but avoiding doing this must be the very basis of any search for truth. The entire point of the mystic's practice is to replace belief and faith with knowledge. The idea that the Perennial philosophy is an expression of faith will not survive a little investigation. . .

    I wonder if mysticism isn't just a more sophisticated version of this very human desire to encounter certainty. I have no doubt that many mystics are certain about their experiences, what I do doubt is any need to accept their subjective experience of certainty.

    The practices of mysticism take us beyond subjective experience. If it did not it would have to be nonsense.

    I think there may be a Noble Prize waiting for the person who can demonstrate nondulaism. Can you tell us how this can be done? You can't just say it is 'easy' and breezily move on. While it might be child's play to point to omissions and flaws in scientific knowledge, this doesn't give us license to fill the gaps with what some might call 'woo'.

    Nah. I''m not even the first person to demonstrate this. The most famous logical proof appeared in the second century CE and has yet to be refuted. Here is my briefest proof I can manage. .

    1. It is demonstrable that all positive metaphysical theories are logically indefensible/ .
    2. It is demonstrable that a neutral theory is logically defensible
    3. The nondual doctrine of the Perennial philosophy translates into metaphysics as a neutral metaphysical theory.
    4. Ergo. the Perennial philosophy is the only fundamental theory that survives analysis.

    As a philosopher It is within your powers to verify the truth of these statements - with no need to take up a meditation practice. We could go through them in order if you wish. .

    This argument explains why Western metaphysics never makes any progress. It sees the truth of the first proposition but rejects nondualism, as you do in your comments above, and so has no way forward and has been rooted to the spot for twenty centuries. Even today It still thinks mysticism is all about speculative faith and belief despite having easy access a vast explanatory literature.

    Happy to expand if you wish.
    .
  • Truth Seeker
    124
    I don't understand your reply. I am sorry about that. Please explain what you mean. Which books are you recommending that we read? Thank you.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    I didn't call mystics liars. I am an agnostic regarding not just the existence and nature of Gods but also about the nature of reality. Is solipsism true? Is idealism true? Is materialism true? Is monism true? Is dualism true? I don't know yet. I may never know and that's ok.Truth Seeker

    You said that they may be wrong, in which case they are lying when they say they know the truth.

    The answers they would give to all your questions here is no. None of these ideas would be true. This would be why none of them survive analysis. . ,
  • FrancisRay
    400
    If you can prove your claims, please do.Truth Seeker

    See post above.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    These ideas are very definitely testable. To state otherwise would be to say that every mystic who has ever claimed to know the truth is or was a liar. — FrancisRay

    Not a liar, just naive, and in too many cases grandiose.
    wonderer1

    Oh boy,.. You're calling the Buddha and Lao Tu naive and grandiose? But not yourself?
  • Truth Seeker
    124
    No, someone could be convinced that they know the truth about reality yet be mistaken about reality. I have met people who believe that the Earth is flat. They are 100% sure that they are right. I am 100% sure that they are wrong. Why are the answers to my questions "no"? What incontrovertible evidence do you have to prove your claims?
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    These ideas are very definitely testable. To state otherwise would be to say that every mystic who has ever claimed to know the truth is or was a liar. — FrancisRay

    Not a liar, just naive, and in too many cases grandiose.
    — wonderer1

    Oh boy,.. You're calling the Buddha and Lao Tu naive and grandiose? But not yourself?
    FrancisRay

    Apparently, knowing "the truth" doesn't involve having very good reading comprehension. I didn't say anything about the Buddha or Lao Tzu.

    Let's talk about your grandiosity instead. Why would anyone take seriously your claim to know "the truth". Lots of people know all sorts of truths that you don't know. So other than as a naive grandiose claim, how is your claim to know "the truth" to be interpreted?

    To make things more concrete... There is an object sitting on the computer case on the right side of my desk. What is "the truth" about the nature of that object. Give as much detail as you can.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    No, someone could be convinced that they know the truth about reality yet be mistaken about reality. I have met people who believe that the Earth is flat. They are 100% sure that they are right. I am 100% sure that they are wrong.Truth Seeker
    This has nothing to do with the knowledge claims of the mystics. I appreciate that you believe these claims are speculative, but I have the impression you've never studied them. For the mystic a ;justified true belief is not knowledge. Knowledge would be what we know. This is perhaps the most basic issue in the practice, which requires that we abandon our faiths, beliefs and speculations for the sake of knowledge. . . .

    It seems an odd thing that someone called 'truth-seeker' would deny the possibility of knowing the truth. What exactly are you seeki0ng? .

    Why are the answers to my questions "no"?

    Because they all imply dualism. All such ideas are rejected by nondualism. Western philosophy rejects all these ideas for their absurdity, where mysticism rejects them all for their falsity. .

    What incontrovertible evidence do you have to prove your claims?
    Which claims do you mean specifically?
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Apparently, knowing "the truth" doesn't involve having very good reading comprehension. I didn't say anything about the Buddha or Lao Tzuwonderer1

    Pardon me but yes you did. You claimed that the mystics are naive, grandiose and by implication untrustworthy. I can't imagine how you arrived at this idea.

    Let's talk about your grandiosity instead. Why would anyone take seriously your claim to know "the truth". Lots of people know all sorts of truths that you don't know. So other than as a naive grandiose claim, how is your claim to know "the truth" to be interpreted?

    I did not claim to know the truth, What I would claim is that the nondual doctrine, for which it is possible to know the truth, is the only theory that makes sense in metaphysics. I can know this because it's just a matter of doing the sums. . . .

    To make things more concrete... There is an object sitting on the computer case on the right side of my desk. What is "the truth" about the nature of that object. Give as much detail as you can.

    All object are empty of substance or true reality and may be reduced to nothing, as was shown by Kant. Meister Eckhart puts this clearly when he states that extended objects are 'literally nothing'. This would go for your body as well, and those who dig deep say it also goes for your mind. . . .

    Both metaphysics and mysticism study the nature of all extended objects, so it makes no difference whether it is this or that object. As the Upanishads state:

    “The understanding of one single thing means the understanding of all;
    the voidness of one thing is the voidness of all.”

    Aryaveda
    Catuhsataka
    v. 191
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Here is my briefest proof I can manage. .

    1. It is demonstrable that all positive metaphysical theories are logically indefensible/ .
    2. It is demonstrable that a neutral theory is logically defensible
    3. The nondual doctrine of the Perennial philosophy translates into metaphysics as a neutral metaphysical theory.
    4. Ergo. the Perennial philosophy is the only fundamental theory that survives analysis.
    FrancisRay

    I don't see how these premises stack up and besides I would need more than an eccentric syllogism to establish non-dualism as a fact. I suspect we're not going to get anywhere but I appreciate you taking the time. Thanks.
  • Banno
    22.9k
    Mystics claim to know the truthFrancisRay

    Trouble is, from a claim that you know such-and-such, we cannot conclude that such-and-such is true.

    After all, we do sometimes say "I thought I knew..."

    13. For it is not as though the proposition "It is so" could be inferred from someone else's utterance: "I know it is so". Nor from the utterance together with its not being a lie. - But can't I infer "It is so" from my own utterance "I know etc."? Yes; and also "There is a hand there" follows from the proposition "He knows that there's a hand there". But from his utterance "I know..." it does not follow that he does know it.
    Wittgenstein, On Certainty.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    What do you make of the syllogistic proof above?
  • Banno
    22.9k
    Not much. The terms in each premise do not match. On a generous reading the last three might form a syllogism, but that leaves the first out. For it to be included he's need an additional premise.

    Like Dogberry, this learned constable is too cunning to be understood.

    But for a mystic, that's probably the point.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    I wonder if mysticism isn't just a more sophisticated version of this very human desire to encounter certainty. I have no doubt that many mystics are certain about their experiences, what I do doubt is any need to accept their subjective experience of certainty.Tom Storm

    Nowadays mysticism is often proffered as a method to adjudicate knowledge claims, particularly in relation to religions. Yet I think it is becoming widely recognized that the error in this sort of thinking overlooks the fact that mystical experiences are highly conditioned by antecedent beliefs. Thus such a view grossly oversimplifies the relation between the experience and the belief(s). They claim that the experience explains and justifies the belief, whereas it is plausible that the exact opposite is occurring, and in any event the belief conditions the experience (even if it does not explain it).

    To take an example, a Buddhist may have an experience where their identity dissolves into nothing, and a Christian may have a very similar experience where they feel united with God (and some dissolving or dissociation is also involved here). An older theory would say that the two experiences are identical, different inferences are drawn based on the belief system, and some inferences are more rational than others. Yet a more recent, more nuanced theory shows that very often the experiences themselves are notably different, and that they tend to cohere with the antecedent beliefs of the practitioner. Further, it is not at all clear where the experience ends and the so-called "inference" or interpretation begins.

    It seems to me that mysticism is valuable, but as far as public adjudication goes it is a dead end. Its value lies elsewhere.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Sounds right. I was involved with various groups affiliated with the Theosophical Society for about ten years. Pretty much what I saw. Interesting too how the farmer in Sicily never has a vision of Krishna, nor does the shepherd in the Punjab ever see the Virgin Mary...
  • Truth Seeker
    124
    You have claimed that mystics know the truth and that nondualism is true. You have not proven these two statements.

    There were and are many mystics and they all don't have identical worldviews. Which specific mystic or mystics are correct? How do we know that they are correct?

    I asked in an earlier post: "Is solipsism true? Is idealism true? Is materialism true? Is monism true? Is dualism true? Is determinism true? Do souls exist?"

    You said that the answer to all of these questions is "no". How can that be? Monism is nondualism. You claimed elsewhere that nondualism is true. If nondualism is true then monism is true. How do you know the answer to any of these questions?

    I did not say that nothing can be known.

    So far, I am completely certain of the following:
    1. I am conscious.
    2. I am typing in English.
    3. I am not all-knowing.
    4. I am not all-powerful.
    5. I change.
    6. I can't do lots of things I really want to do e.g. go back in time and prevent all suffering, inequality, injustice, and deaths and make all living things forever happy.
    7. I do some things even though I don't want to do them. Here are some things I have done, currently do or will do even though I don't want to do them:

    1. Breathe
    2. Eat
    3. Drink
    4. Sleep
    5. Dream
    7. Pee
    8. Poo
    9. Fart
    10. Burp
    11. Sneeze
    12. Cough
    13. Age
    14. Get ill
    15. Get injured
    16. Sweat
    17. Cry
    18. Suffer
    19. Snore
    20. Think
    21. Feel
    22. Choose
    23. Be conceived
    24. Be born
    25. Remember some events that I don't want to remember
    26. Forget information that I want to remember
    27. Die

    I am almost certain of the following:
    1. I and all the other organisms currently alive will die. Every second brings all organisms closer to death.
    2. My body, other organisms, the Earth and the Universe really exist.
    3. Other organisms e.g. humans, cows, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, lions, elephants, butterflies, whales, dolphins, etc. are conscious.
    4. Being a vegan is more ethical than being a vegetarian and being a vegetarian is more ethical than being an omnivore.
    5. Gods do not exist.
    6. Souls do not exist.
    7. Reincarnation does not happen.
    8. Resurrection does not happen.
    10. Organisms evolved and were not created by God or Gods.
    11. 99.9% of all the species to evolve so far on Earth became extinct in 5 mass extinctions long before humans evolved.
    12. Humans and other organisms do not have free will. Our wills are determined and constrained by our genes, environments, nutrients, and experiences.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Okay Tom. Regrettably I cant make them any simpler.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Trouble is, from a claim that you know such-and-such, we cannot conclude that such-and-such is true.

    After all, we do sometimes say "I thought I knew..."

    13. For it is not as though the proposition "It is so" could be inferred from someone else's utterance: "I know it is so". Nor from the utterance together with its not being a lie. - But can't I infer "It is so" from my own utterance "I know etc."? Yes; and also "There is a hand there" follows from the proposition "He knows that there's a hand there". But from his utterance "I know..." it does not follow that he does know it.

    Wittgenstein, On Certainty.
    Banno

    I'm not sure how these comments are relevant here. It hardly needs saying that you cannot know whether someone else knows the truth. To know something we have to know it ourselves. . .
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