• prothero
    189
    In both cases, the monistic idea can only be precipitated out of a non-monistic stew. The intent of the monist is always to correct an error, to show how everything is actually one. But that intent can only arise from a situation in which there is, at minimum, a duality. The monist is always required to have some kind of 'fall' story. There was oneness, then there was duality.csalisbury
    “W. T. Stace nicely summarizes the matter :Neutral monism appears to be inspired by two main motives. The first is to get rid of the psycho-physical dualism which has troubled philosophy since the time of Descartes. The second motive is empiricism. The “stuff” of the neutral monists is never any kind of hidden unperceivable “substance” or Ding-an-sich. It is never something which lies behind the phenomenal world, out of sight. It always, in every version of it, consists in some sort of directly perceivable entities – for instance, sensations, sense-data, colours, smells, sounds. […]” From Wittgensteins Metaphysics, Chapter Two John Cook

    “In the philosophy of mind, neutral monism is the view that the mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the same elements, which are themselves "neutral", that is, neither physical nor mental.[1] This view denies that the mental and the physical are two fundamentally different things. Rather, neutral monism claims the universe consists of only one kind of stuff, in the form of neutral elements that are in themselves neither mental nor physical” Wikipedia Neutral Monism

    I am familiar with the classical monisms, especially materialism or physicalism and idealism. The more interesting form of monism for me is neutral monism. A philosophical notion entertained or adopted by a number of famous philosophers including James, Russell, Wittgenstein and Whitehead.

    I have perused most of the preceding discussion in the thread and frankly, I can’t make sense of the majority of it. I feel I do understand the above quotes on neutral monism.

    I am drawn to the notion of neutral monism, because I am drawn to the notion of the universe as One, as Unity. In some ways I suppose that is a religious notion and in other ways a unified explanation seems more intellectually and scientifically satisfying than pluralisms. I find both idealism and physicalism as monisms to be inadequate to the realm of experience.

    My current view is aligned with the type of monism that arises out of process philosophy. The fundamental units of nature are events which take place in the medium of spacetime. Events have both physical and experiential aspects, attributes or poles. In its basic conception I have yet to find a superior formulation of neutral monism and for me the process approach is superior to physicalism or idealism as a conceptual framework to explain all of our experience of the world. That is the goal of speculative metaphysics, conceptions to explain or help us try to understand our experience of the world.
  • csalisbury
    1.5k

    I don't know all that much about neutral monism, I'll admit. But, from what I do know - and based on the quotes you've provided - it certainly strikes me as a step beyond either material or idealist monisms.

    My stumbling block, here, is the difficulty I have understanding what it means for everything to be 'one' or 'unified.' I have difficulty understanding this concept except through visual metaphors (such as an all-encompassing sphere.)
  • prothero
    189
    My stumbling block, here, is the difficulty I have understanding what it means for everything to be 'one' or 'unified.' I have difficulty understanding this concept except through visual metaphors (such as an all-encompassing sphere.)csalisbury

    There is a conception in classical philosophy of "independent objects" with "inherent properties".
    In truth no "object" exists independently of the world in which it arises and on which it depends. Properties are always relations and not independent or inherent. So the world is already much more unifed, interactive, and interdependent than our typical language and operational conceptions suggest.
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    That makes sense. It's the leap from universal 'dependence ' (and I agree with you there) to all-encompassing oneness that throws me. I can't quite get a grip on what 'oneness' means. It feels to me like an extrapolation of our mental capacity to take synoptic views of local situations - to apply that synopticizing to everything. But I can't figure ou how that would work.
  • frank
    2k
    Consciousness is unified. For that reason Schopenhauer said it is the One. The picture I got from reading Schopenhauer was like a diamond with many facets. Each facet is the whole diamond. The whole is in each of the parts.
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    I've never quite understood Schopenhauer on the One either though! Individual consciousnesses are unified (to some extent, I'd question that too) but all consciousnesses everywhere, unified in one? I don't really understand that.
  • frank
    2k
    Are you a determinist?
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    Not on most days.
  • frank
    2k
    Schopenhauer was. Check him out sometime. Especially the last part of WW&R.
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    I've read WWR, but its been a long time, 5 years maybe?
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    Well, one could say that duality is an illusion; one sufficient to create the impression of two-ness but actually there's only one. Similar to double vision when the eye muscles aren't synchronized, like when you're intoxicated. There's only one object (monism) but you see two images (dualism).
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    Is the illusion part of the one?
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    Is the illusion part of the one?csalisbury

    What do you mean?
  • csalisbury
    1.5k
    There's the 'one', which includes everything. And then there's an illusion which makes it seem as if there's a duality. Is the illusion part of the one?
  • prothero
    189
    Consciousness is unified. For that reason Schopenhauer said it is the One. The picture I got from reading Schopenhauer was like a diamond with many facets. Each facet is the whole diamond. The whole is in each of the parts.frank

    Ever read about Indra's net? Schopenhauer liked some Eastern religious conceptions.
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    There's the 'one', which includes everything. And then there's an illusion which makes it seem as if there's a duality. Is the illusion part of the one?csalisbury

    Since monism is the claim, then yes, duality is part of the one.
  • Galuchat
    492
    The fundamental units of nature are events which take place in the medium of spacetime. Events have both physical and experiential aspects, attributes or poles.prothero

    I like neutral monism because it is consistent with Aristotle's notion of substance (hylomorphism), which I find useful to retain for other reasons. For example, human substance is a unity of organic mass-energy and cognitive symbols, arranged according to the Laws of Nature and Intentionality, respectively; consisting of objects and events (constituting systems) which may be abstracted as "physical" and/or "mental".
  • frank
    2k
    Ever read about Indra's net? Schopenhauer liked some Eastern religious conceptions.prothero

    What is Indras net?
  • prothero
    189
    What is Indras net?frank

    Often it is just easier to look things up, google or wiki, than to request someone write them out. In any event the conception is similar (more developed) I would say than your description of Schopenhauer's notion.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.4k
    Since monism is the claim, then yes, duality is part of the one.TheMadFool
    @csalisbury

    Why would there not just be a strict dualism then? This might be the way we are using language but if there is the One and there is illusion, then there is no longer one, as the illusion still "exists" in some fashion (even if just as an illusion). Thus, the illusion has to be accounted for itself. Wherever/whatever the illusion "is"- call it mental space, mentality, experience, this is what is to explained.
  • prothero
    189
    That makes sense. It's the leap from universal 'dependence ' (and I agree with you there) to all-encompassing oneness that throws me. I can't quite get a grip on what 'oneness' means. It feels to me like an extrapolation of our mental capacity to take synoptic views of local situations - to apply that synopticizing to everything. But I can't figure ou how that would work.csalisbury

    Well, there are a couple of approaches. One is to think of the body, you have fingers, toes, ears, organs, they are all talked about separately, functions described separately but we know they are all part of a unified, integrated, system or process. The other example would be concepts like Gaia or the earth as an integrated, interdependent system. The scale is just larger but the principle is the same. Oneness does not mean uniformity, it means relations, interdependence, interaction.
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