• universeness
    6.3k

    Thanks for your useful response. I appreciate you passing your academic philosophy expertise, over the issue.
  • FrancisRay
    400


    Aha. We have had a misunderstanding. An 'extreme' or 'positive' metaphysical position is a technical idea, not an opinion.

    Metaphysical questions always take the form of a pair of contradictory positive thesis. They ask us to decide between two 'this or that' kind of answers. Materialism vs Idealism would be an example. As they are usually treated in philosophy these take the form A and not-A. The key point is that extreme positions make positive statement about fundamental reality.

    Thus positive positions include materialism, (subjective) idealism, freewill, determinism, solipsism, realism,etc., and the idea that the universe begins with or something or nothing, that space-time is grainy or continuous, that time is real or unreal and so forth.

    Here the word 'extreme' is not a judgement of how strong it is, but simply of how it functions within the dialectical logic employed by metaphysicians.

    What metaphysicians discover is that all such positions are logically indefensible, and as a consequence all metaphysical questions are undecidable. Kant prefers the term 'selective' and states that all selective conclusions about the world as a whole are undecidable. Nagarjuna states that all positive positions are logically indefensible, and Bradley that metaphysics does not produce a positive result. They are all saying the same thing. There in no debate among philosophers on this matter. It is the entire motivation for logical positivism, scientism,and dialethism.

    Does this begin to clear up the issue? , .

    I , , , , ,

    .
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Naturalism and materialism are very similar imo. I note the difference, as proposed by such as:

    'Naturalism and materialism are two philosophical concepts that differ in their approach to explaining the world. Naturalism states that the world can be explained entirely by physical, natural phenomena or laws, while materialism argues that all that exists is matter, only matter is real and so the world is just physical. The difference between the two is that materialism makes an argument about the ontology of the universe, while naturalism takes a premise (effectively that of materialism) to make an argument on how science/philosophy should function'
    universeness

    I see what is being said here but it is muddled. I believe that materialism is nonsense but that every phenomenon is natural, which is not allowable under the description above. Scientists tend to conflate materialism and naturalism but this is an ideological stance and a bold metaphysical claim. At this time scientists have no idea whether materialism is true or false and have no method for testing which it is, so they have no idea whether it is naturalistic or not. Materialism is methodology that falls apart when it is treated as a theory/ . .

    According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, materialism and naturalism are metaphysical positions. But, for me, that seems to clash with what science is. Science is the study of the natural, material universe, is it not? Physics used to be called natural philosophy, yes? But Physics is not metaphysics. Where Is my thinking wrong here?

    Yes, It does clash. Physical scientists rarely bother with metaphysics, albeit they usually agree that it's nearly impossible do do physics without straying into it. I would highly recommend 'The Mind of God' ; by the physicist Paul Davies if you want to pursue this. It's the best introduction to the subject I've ever read,(and I've read many) because it doesn't waffle on about history but gets down to the issues. It is rightly a bestseller. I often feel that scientists make the best philosophers when they make an effort and would cite Schrodinger as another example. He endorsed the Perennial or 'mystical' philosophy, so was happy with naturalism but not with materialism. . .

    In fact scientists usually endorse three metaphysical conjectures. First, that materialism is true. Second,, that naturalism is true,. Third, that materialism is naturalistic.It's a very muddled set of views that requires entirely ignoring metaphysics for the sake of not rocking the boat.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    It might be interesting to discuss in some fashion, but as stated it's not coherent.

    Consciousness is part of body, like lungs are or feet.

    Do you not know that this an open debate? If you could prove this you'd be forever famous as the person who falsified the Perennial philosophy and its entire literature. You would never have to work again. Best to start by saying 'in my opinion'. .
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    I think it's factual, and there's an interesting history behind this. Granted everything I say is my opinion, unless I'm quoting someone else.

    The debate about "mind" and "body", these days are mostly terminological. It was substantive in Descartes time, and prior to that, but not so after Newton.

    One can assert that "consciousness is not part of body". That's fine.

    Now I ask the question, why? Because consciousness is "non-physical"? That doesn't make sense. Or maybe consciousness is unlike the rest of the world? Yeah, so is gravity.

    Maybe you have something else in mind.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    You should start a separate thread on the subject.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    Plenty have philosophers seem to have become quite invested in the idea that materialism is what allows them to look the void in the eye and scream their power into it. How can we be Nietzschean overcomers without a void to overcome? How else can we congratulate ourselves over being good when there is no Good? What is the point of the Marxist struggle if we get a greater reward in the afterlife?Count Timothy von Icarus

    I think it's reasonable to consider motives like this, but doesn't this folk-psychology cut both ways? The religious person is 'just terrified to die' and the atheist is 'just doing a gloomysexy elitist pose.' If I simply argue that the other's reasoning is motivated rather than making a direct case for my point, why should I not suspect myself of the same motivated reasoning ? In short, there's something self-subverting about too much psychologism.
  • universeness
    6.3k
    Does this begin to clear up the issue? , .FrancisRay

    In fact scientists usually endorse three metaphysical conjectures. First, that materialism is true. Second,, that naturalism is true,. Third, that materialism is naturalistic.It's a very muddled set of views that requires entirely ignoring metaphysics for the sake of not rocking the boat.FrancisRay

    Thank you for the detail you provided and your book recommendation. It seems to me that philosophy, like most other fields, including my own of Computing Science, contains a great deal of overburdened nomenclature and we will just have to all live with layperson and expert, interpretation or/and novel interpretation. No chosen definition of such terms seem to be 100% fit for purpose. Especially a term like metaphysics.

    I think @Fooloso4's advice is wise:
    I think it more helpful to determine what someone making the argument for or against materialism or naturalism or metaphysics means. Rather than the meaning of terms, what assumptions about the world, our inquiries, and our understanding are at issue.Fooloso4
  • FrancisRay
    400
    I think Sam is right about this. Better on another thread. I'd just add that it will always cause havoc in philosophy when opinions are stated as facts. The opinion may be correct but that's not the point. .
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    Hey Sam, a recent long interview with Pim Von Lommel https://youtu.be/NVsBFOB7H44
  • FrancisRay
    400
    I don't find metaphysics hard to define but would agree with you about most of the terms it employs. It's rather like algebra, where one has to work out the values of the terms by reference to other terms. The idea is to give all the words a meaning which allows them to be combined into a systematic theory, and only when it's complete can one know the terms are fit for purpose.
  • universeness
    6.3k

    'Meta' for me is far too broad, to be of much use, when added to a word like physics.
    To me, 'physics' and 'not physics' is far better.

    Meta is a prefix from the Greek μετά, which can signify “more comprehensive”, “transcending”, “change”, “alteration”, or “beyond”. It can also mean self-referential, as in a field of study or endeavor that examines its own principles or methods
  • FrancisRay
    400
    What do you feel is wrong with the the definition of 'meta' as 'transcending' or 'beyond'? It seems spot on to me.
  • universeness
    6.3k

    Terms like 'transcending' and 'beyond,' must imo, ultimately regress towards / and land at, the notion of 'transcending' spacetime or the cosmos. Same with 'beyond.' For me, such notions are irrational and absurd.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    I feel you're missing something. Metaphysics, by which I mean the logical analysis of fundamental questions, proves that space-time is not fundamental. To explain space-time it is necessary to examine what is prior, and this means going beyond the methods of physics. It's physics that metaphysics must explain. A metaphysical theory must encompass physics and form its theoretical meta-system.

    Metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy, so an incomprehension of metaphysics entails an incomprehension of most of philosophy. (just look around and you'll see this is the case). To dismiss the subject as irrational and absurd would mean never being able to explain the origin and emergence of the space-time universe or its phenomenal contents. It surely cannot be irrational to ask whether we have freewill, whether space-time is fundamental, whether there is a God, whether there is an afterlife, whether consciousness is emergent or fundamental and so on and so forth. It would also leave ten thousand metaphysicians with egg on their faces. ,

    I would say metaphysics encompasses physics in much the same way that physics encompasses chemistry, so that physics is 'meta-chemistry'.

    I would agree, however, that some approaches to the subject are irrational and absurd.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    Thanks for the link. I've listened to Dr. Pim van Lommel before, but haven't seen this video.
  • universeness
    6.3k
    I would say metaphysics encompasses physics in much the same way that physics encompasses chemistry, so that physics is 'meta-chemistry'.FrancisRay

    Again, it makes more sense to me, to simply state that Chemistry is not Physics and metaphysics is just an unnecessary label for that which is not physics.

    I feel you're missing something. Metaphysics, by which I mean the logical analysis of fundamental questions,proves that space-time is not fundamental. To explain space-time it is necessary to examine what is prior, and this means going beyond the methods of physics. It's physics that metaphysics must explain. A metaphysical theory must encompass physics and form its theoretical meta-system.FrancisRay
    All questions and answers need to be challenged and regularly revisited, to see if any new findings can update what we think we know, I fully agree with that.

    Suggesting that spacetime has been proven to be not fundamental, is not true. I would however fully accept a more generalised statement such as:
    According to a growing number of physicists, space and time may not be fundamental properties of the universe. Instead, they could arise from the structure and behavior of more basic components of nature. The notion of particles and fields living in spacetime is an emergent property from other underlying microscopic theory dynamics. Space-time arises as an emergent phenomenon of the quantum degrees of freedom entangled and live in the boundary of space-time. The speed of light is more fundamental than space and time.

    I also like this, from a theoretical physicist on Quora:
    They are both one and the same. Understand this, before information exists altogether, it would have to be stated as no-information, such a state of no information is termed the singularity (zero point). The first step up from no information to information occurs as a plancks legnth worth of spacetime. In the bigbang for example, you have a singularity (no-information) and then you have spacetime (information).

    So spacetime is the most fundamental because it is the first piece of information created and secondly without space-time allowing for the “room” for mass or energy to partake in.

    Here is another thing that one should understand, spacetime and matter and energy are also one and the same thing! So basically it is space-time that eventually gives birth to energy and it is energy that eventually condenses into matter but regardless they are all one in the same thing exhibiting them self in different states.


    For this universe, there is no 'before' or prior to, spacetime, that can have any meaning for us, as there is no existent information before there is spacetime to contain it.

    You can propose some eternal oscillating system that cycles between chaos and order, heat death, singularity and renewed expansion, such as Penrose's CCC and his proposal of the existence of 'hawking points' in this universe. You might prefer a cosmos containing many universes or Mtheory with clashing branes and vibrating strings etc, or if you are really desperate, you can build a faith in the supernatural metaphysics of woo woo.

    IMHO, we cannot go beyond the method of physics or more specifically, science without engaging in anything other that pure speculation. It can be great fun to do so, but any application of the concept of metaphysics or metascience, should never be considered as valuable or as fruitful as 'shut up and keep calculating.'
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    You don't seem to understand the point of this thread. I've constructed an inductive argument based on the testimonial evidence. It's not about me presenting an opinion (if that's your point), it's about presenting a well reasoned argument. There are opinions given in the thread, but usually I try to point out where I'm speculating and where I think there is strong evidence.

    What follows from the argument is an epistemological point, viz., that based on the strength of the testimonial evidence I can reasonably claim there is an afterlife. In other words, I can know there is an afterlife.

    If anyone wants to argue against the argument, which I've given at various places in the thread, then you need to attack the premises of the argument. So I would suggest you familiarize yourself with the argument before you start saying things like I'm just expressing an opinion.
  • FrancisRay
    400

    Okay. Let's agree to differ. You're ploughing a very lonely furrow and I wonder if you realise this. You're suggesting that you know better that almost every philosopher who ever lived and clearly like to live dangerously.
  • FrancisRay
    400


    My apologies.

    You don't seem to understand the point of this thread. I've constructed an inductive argument based on the testimonial evidence. It's not about me presenting an opinion (if that's your point), it's about presenting a well reasoned argument. There are opinions given in the thread, but usually I try to point out where I'm speculating and where I think there is strong evidence.

    I understand this and have given the reasons why I believe it will always be an ineffective argument, It certainly affects the balance of probabilities, but as this thread shows it leaves people free to believe what they like. Perhaps I should have stopped there.but I was trying explain that there is better argument that is overwhelming.

    What follows from the argument is an epistemological point, viz., that based on the strength of the testimonial evidence I can reasonably claim there is an afterlife. In other words, I can know there is an afterlife.

    I'm astonished by your low epistemological standards. By these standards it would be easy to know that God exists. Your argument establishes that it would not be unreasonable to believe that there is an afterlife, just as long as you have a plausible theory of what you mean by 'afterlife'. It's your proof and you know you're not quite sure whether there is an afterlife or what it is like, let alone know it. Surely you can see this. If you can doubt it, even in principle. then you don't know it.

    If anyone wants to argue against the argument, which I've given at various places in the thread, then you need to attack the premises of the argument. So I would suggest you familiarize yourself with the argument before you start saying things like I'm just expressing an opinion.

    I'm happy to grant to your argument as much as I've stated here and let you decide whether you want to argue about anything. Thanks for starting an interesting discussion/
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k


    Yeah, that's essentially the point I was making. It is common to represent the non-religious view as falling into a shallow sort of dogmatism "less often," but it seems to me like the most common forms of both tend to be quite dogmatic. So, I don't know if it's a difference in kind across the two categories. Rather, the relevant distinction would lie in how the beliefs themselves have been justified/arrived at.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    I understand this and have given the reasons why I believe it will always be an ineffective argument, It certainly affects the balance of probabilities, but as this thread shows it leaves people free to believe what they like. Perhaps I should have stopped there.but I was trying explain that there is better argument that is overwhelming.FrancisRay

    First, you never attack any of the premises of the argument. You just make very general statements, for the most part. Second, my comment that people are free to believe what they want doesn't mean that I think the argument is weak. It just means that people are free to believe what they want regardless of how strong an argument is. That just the way it is. People are free to believe the Earth is flat, but that doesn't mean that the counter-arguments are weak.

    I'm astonished by your low epistemological standards. By these standards it would be easy to know that God exists. Your argument establishes that it would not be unreasonable to believe that there is an afterlife, just as long as you have a plausible theory of what you mean by 'afterlife'. It's your proof and you know you're not quite sure whether there is an afterlife or what it is like, let alone know it. Surely you can see this. If you can doubt it, even in principle. then you don't know it.FrancisRay

    Again, your statements about how you feel about the argument, or how you feel about my epistemology are worthless. And it doesn't follow that based on the argument I'm using that it would be easy to argue that God exists. You're good at throwing out statements, but not so good when it comes to making good arguments.

    Most people know what is meant by afterlife, viz., that one's consciousness survives death, or that your identity as a person survives death.

    If my argument is as strong as I believe it is, then I do know that there is an afterlife. Logic is one of the ways we use to justify a belief. Inductive reasoning leads me to believe, and thus know, that the conclusion follows with a high degree of certainty.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Okay Sam. I'll leave you to it.
  • Truth Seeker
    634
    Have you considered the results of the AWARE-II study? Please see: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0300957223002162
  • ENOAH
    480
    What other criteria would help to strengthen testimonial evidence?Sam26

    Criteria: credibility of witnesses in that, are there inherent biases, or incentives to lie. I note you have addressed this in your reply to other posts, but the fear of death presents an opportunity for fantasy in the form of wishful thinking.

    Criteria: are there alternative explanations. I have not yet scrutinized this post to see if this has been addressed. Sorry. But there are other explanations. Given our shared history and shared experiences, these NDE's could be akin to dreams and the appearance of shared symbols or archetypes. Sure, tge testimonials are cross cultural. But if one wished to research it, they might find striking similarities in the ways we dream of witches or falling. Yet we accept that our common dreams about witches do not translate into witches are real.
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    Given our shared history and shared experiences, these NDE's could be akin to dreams and the appearance of shared symbols or archetypes. Sure, tge testimonials are cross cultural. But if one wished to research it, they might find striking similarities in the ways we dream of witches or falling. Yet we accept that our common dreams about witches do not translate into witches are real.ENOAH

    I agree, and I actually vaguely recall that this is what the research shows regarding some recurrent elements of dreaming, qua human dream, rather htan individual dreams. I think the most likely scenario is something akin to dreaming, which includes an 'extra' psychological component (perhaps, a type of neural networking that only occurs when S is expecting death).

    That said, I think the peculiar shared context of NDEs allows us a bit more leeway in terms of moving away from parsimony. The ideas above might explain this phenomenon. But, equally, another explanation would be as likely, given it's a disparate experience from standard dreaming. It doesn't have to include the survival consciousness, per se, but just something which is not a match for the mechanics of dreaming.

    Having been interested in this exact topic for more than 20 years, and having done plenty of 'research' into plenty of theories and ideas around it, it seems to me probably untrue that consciousness dies with the individual mind. But that it survives the body is just as perplexing.
  • ENOAH
    480
    , I think the peculiar shared context of NDEs allows us a bit more leeway in terms of moving away from parsimony.AmadeusD

    100% Agreed. Especially, the topic of afterlife, if nothing else, cannot but be approached liberally. Yet that's a field in which we find some of the most of both dogma, and its close relative (if not, progenitor), wishful thinking. Mass shared experience can easily arise from both.
  • ENOAH
    480
    seems to me probably untrue that consciousness dies with the individual mind.AmadeusD

    I used to entertain that. I still wish profoundly that it were true.
    ButAmadeusD

    But that it survives the body is just as perplexing.AmadeusD

    And there's the rub. How then? And I am asking sincerely, not argumentative. Although, I genuinely believe, alas, that any afterlife for mind necessarily implies dualism, and that we cannot support dualism of Mind and body, beyond the life of the Body. If we can, then I reiterate, how?
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    And there's the rub. How then? And I am asking sincerely, not argumentative.ENOAH

    FWIW, I read this as a great question, not any kind of dig or gotcha.

    Yeah, that is the question (in this context - i also am making this same claim about the lack of necessity for phenomenal consciousness in another thread). I really am unsure. I have many theories around what consciousness might be, or how it might come about which, if any were seriously plausible on the facts (unsure that's a coherent claim in this lane of enquiry) they would give an account that could extend to this question.
    So, disappointingly, I don't know!

    Conceptually, though, I see absolutely no issue with Consciousness being some more general concept, and 'a mind' being 'bodily bound consciousness' or some such. This-wise, you could imagine bodily death causing the end of that one mind, but not the consciousness. The image that came to mind was a water balloon. That balloon of water is gone. Done and dusted (once burst) but hte water persists. Idk lol
  • ENOAH
    480
    I read this as a great question, not any kind of dig or gotcha.AmadeusD

    Yes. Definitely not a dig. :up:

    I see absolutely no issue with Consciousness being some more general concept, and 'a mind' being 'bodily bound consciousness' or some such.AmadeusD

    I do too. But for me that "afterlife" does not include my ego--the Subject,"I"--nor any of its Narrative. So, admittedly this is that ego taliking: thanks but no thanks.

    Now, more seriously. Yah. Whatever that consciousness is that is not mind, intuition tells me it might even pervade the universe. But if we’re being honest, that's not what we're after when we (myself included) get sucked in by fantasy: milk and honey, streets paved with gold, and the stuff of NDEs.

    Idk lolAmadeusD

    I feel you brother (sister, or what not)!
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