• Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    If you cannot see the assumption-riddled arrogance in that rather emotive and almost evanhellical, irrational claim, then you will begin to see why folks like 180 Proof and I suspect many others, will slam doors in your face. Don't ossify so strongly FrancisRay. If you don't bend sufficiently then you are much easier to break.[/quot

    I feel the same about people who think the earth is flat. It's an inabiliiy to think the issues through.

    I understand why you think I'm, being dogmatic, but this is my view and I;m sticking to it. Materialism is for people who are incapable of understanding metaphysics, just as a flat earth is for people who are incapable of understanding astronomy. . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    If we're speaking about Middle Way Buddhism then I'd say 100% sure. I'd bet my life on it. — FrancisRay

    Do you have no concerns that this could be labeled an almost fundamentalist or evanhellical position to take?

    None whatsoever. I place complete reliance on logic and experience. I'd happily bet my life. . .

    My 0.0001% credence level that a god exists, is my very important defense against an accusation that I am a fanatical atheist ( folks like Jamal have accused me of being a fanatic on certain issues in the past.)

    I don't go in for idle speculation.or playing the odds. Either I know or I don't,

    In one of his sermons Meister Eckhart, a Christian Bishop, pledges his soul on it. — FrancisRay

    I give a similar 0.0001% credence to the proposal that humans have a soul. There is currently zero evidence to support such a claim.

    You hold this view because you don't understand mysticism. Eckhart had all the evidence he needed or wanted.

    This indicated that his confidence was grounded in knowledge and not speculation. — FrancisRay

    For me, this is another example of the 'jumps' you seem to make. Perhaps 'leaps of faith,

    Why? I simply state a fact here. Faith is for theists. The mystic is concerned only with knowledge. . .

    might be a more appropriate and less offensive phrase. I think such 'leaps of faith' are based on pure speculation and certainly not any 'knowledge'

    Yes, I get this, But you don;t know anything much about mysticism, so your opinion is not informed.

    If you, me and Mr Eckhart, were in the same room with each other (just a fun thought experiment), what do you think he could have said or done to convince me that your 'middle way Buddhism,' was the most important 'truth' about the universe?

    Nothing. The only way to be convinced is to discover the truth yourself. A person would be a damn fool to believe someone else. I might be able to persuade you that according to reason one theory can be true and Eckhart and I endorse it, but you still wouldn't know it;s;true. . . , . .

    As a Catholic from the 13th-14th century, I reckon he would want us both burned at the stake. Me for my apostacy and you for your heathen Buddhism

    Eckhart endorsed the nondual doctrine, as do I. He's famous for it, me not so much.

    I don't believe any phenomenon is supernatural and nor do any mystics. — FrancisRay

    I think all mystics are theosophists, and must accept such characters as Rasputin and Aliester Crowley as members.
    Why do you leap to conclusions about a topic you don't study and think is not worth studying. By the time theosophy was invented mysticism had been around for thousands of years.

    They believe in 'magic,' but I accept that many mystics see the transcendental or the esoteric as hidden (occultist) knowledge about the physics/workings of the universe that scientists have yet to discover.

    I'm sorry, but this is utter nonsense.
    Okay/. Here goes. First - would you agree that all metaphysical questions are undecidable, and that this is because all their extreme answers are logically indefensible? This can be verified from a survey of philosophers, or by working through a number of such questions. If so, then I'll move on the to the next step of a proof. . . . — FrancisRay

    'The next step of a proof! Wow! I can only be excited by such a claim! Do you realise that if you have such a proof that 'middle way Buddhism,' IS the facts about the nature and workings of the universe, then you could be up for a Nobel prize in the future?
    I look forward to your 'next step,' I genuinely do, I am not attempting to ridicule by stealth here.

    I'm was going to make the same logical proof that Nagarjuna famously makes in the second century, It;s quite an easy one as far as his results go. But like 180 Proof you do not answer my question but start arguing about other things. This leaves me unable to move on.

    [quote[The 'all metaphysical questions are undecidable,' prerequisite is problematic for me /quote]

    What;s the problem? Is the history of philosophy not proof enough?

    I feel it would be best if we ended the . since for me it's like wading through treacle and I suspect it's a waste of time.

    I hope you won't be offended but I'm going to retire from the thread once I've finished this post.. .
    also require some preliminary philosophical chat regarding the imo, very overburdened term 'metaphysical.' My example would be, would you say that when Copernicus challenged the geocentric model with his heliocentric model, he was making a metaphysical claim,

    What's metaphysical about it? If you think this then yes. your idea of metaphysics is non-ordinary. .

    due to comparison with the accepted/orthodox physics of his time? The heliocentric model then became the accepted/orthodox physics, due to the subsequent overwhelming evidence to support it. So, that which may well be labeled metaphysical, as it is sooooo contrary to the accepted physics of the time, can become accepted physics, once sufficient evidence is demonstrated in support.
    In this sense, string theory, CCC, many worlds theory, and even Sheldrakes morphic resonance etc, could all be labeled metaphysical, in the sense that they are projections of physics 'above' or 'beyond' currently accepted experimentally demonstrable, predictive, falsifiable physics.
    If this is an acceptable use of the term 'metaphysics' then this would suggest that some questions that might be categorised under the overburdened term of metaphysics are not 'undecidable.'
    BUT, please don't let that mean that you will not offer the second step of your proof!

    You don't half make things complicated. Metaphysics is the study of fundamental questions. .
    I cannot move on unless you agree that metaphysical questions (questions about the fundamental nature of reality) are undecidable. There would be no point. It's such a simple point. Why do think logical positivism exists? It;s because all fundamental questions are undecidable.

    Anyway, enough said. I apologise for being unable to find a way through all this muddle and complexity, and wish you all the best, but will now retire defeated. I may just respond quickly to your next post before I go. . . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    It predicts that all metaphysical questions are undecidable and gives answers for all such questions. — FrancisRay

    Is the answer that there is no answer? If so then 180 and FrancisRay are in agreement. If not then perhaps FrancisRay can tell us what these answers are.

    Sure thing. As Lao Tu says ;True words seem paradoxical. The answer for every metaphysical question is to reject both their extreme answers.This then leads to seemingly paradoxical answers. Thus it is easy to know the answers, albeit difficult to understand them. .

    Does the world begin with something or nothing? The answer would be no. Does it begin or not-begin? The answer would be no. Is time real or unreal? The answer would be no, . .

    The trick of non-dualism is to see beyond the extreme positions adopted by the questioner, all of which do not survive analysis. As Kant notes, for a fundamental theory we have to see beyond the categories of thought. .

    I feel that the burden of explanation being placed on me here is unreasonable. Why not read about these issues? I cannot explain them from scratch on a forum. There has to be some prior knowledge on which I can build. It's all there in the literature. . .
    . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    In my opinion, when someone makes an appeal to a particular doctrine they should provide an explanation of what it is being said and how they understand it. Looking back I see 180 Proof makes this point. — Fooloso4

    I fully agree.

    So do I.
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    There is no empirical method for proving that consciousness exists. — FrancisRay

    {quote]You are claiming to know a fact that you cannot possibly know. The recent work by folks like Stuart Hameroff in conjunction with Roger Penrose. An attempt to find common ground between quantum mechanics and human consciousness, demonstrates to me, that we will always tug against your statement above. I think it's unwise to think that the scientific method will never crack at least the 'how' of human consciousness.

    I stated a fact. There is no empirical method for proving consciousness exists. It's called the 'other minds' problem and is very well known.The unfalsifiability of solipsism is further proof. What I said is scientifically uncontentious. If you're uncertain then try to design an experiment to prove the presence of consciousness. It cannot be done. .

    In what way is behaviorism or its past popularity proof that there is no empirical method that can prove consciousness exists?

    By reducing conscious states to behaviour one can then claim behaviour is not evidence of consciousness. This is Daniel Dennett's strategy in 'Consciousness Explained'. He can adopt this approach because there is no empirical test for consciousness,but just behaviour that may or may not signify its presence. . ,

    Are you suggesting that a newborn human, maintained physically (perhaps by non-communicative machines,) but not interacted with by any other sentient, would not be conscious?
    Of course not.

    A science of consciousness would require a study of the actual phenomenon, and not just a lot of speculation. — FrancisRay

    I don't understand this sentence. You are surely not suggesting that neuroscience is 'just a lot of speculation.' That would be a bit irrational IMO. In what way does neuroscience, not study 'the actual phenomenon?'

    Neuroscience studies brains. It is unable to prove that consciousness exists. It has to rely on first-person reports, To paraphrase one neuroscientist (Kaufman) 'Looking for consciousness in the brain is like digging into the Earth in search of gravity'.' .

    The study of the actual phenomenon is called mysticism. — FrancisRay

    typed in two search engine questions:
    'What name is given to the study of the phenomenon of consciousness?' and I got sentences such as:
    Consciousness is currently a thriving area of research in psychology and neuroscience.
    In philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness is to explain why and how humans and other organisms have qualia, phenomenal consciousness, or subjective experiences.
    “Consciousness” is the name that scientists give to a phenomenon of brain function.{/quote]

    There is no empirical way to study consciousness. It's a thriving area of people who cannot even solve the hard problem.and believe consciousness is a brain function. So far this hands-off approach has explained exactly nothing. . . . . .
    Next, I tried 'Is the study of the actual phenomenon of consciousness called mysticism?'
    I read this extract from here, as an attempt by someone called
    Bryce Haymond, in Sept 2019, to link the study of consciousness with mysticism.
    I have underlined the sentences that I think the author is trying to propose are important 'concepts.'

    The Mysticism of the Hard Problem of Consciousness
    The hard problem of consciousness may lead us to an irreducible mysticism in the nature of the mind and body, namely that they are two sides of the very same one thing....

    This is not what I mean by 'mysticism'. Haymond is using the word to mean 'unknowable'. I'm talking about the a method and practice that gives rise to what Huxley calls the Perennial philosophy.

    Many people today seem to believe that the brain causes conscious experience, as a friend recently expressed it to me: "I don’t understand any literal concept of mind that isn’t physical."
    His friend is not alone. I don't see the relevance of his friend's lack of imagination. . .
    In other words, it is thought that neurons in the brain fire (have an electro-chemically triggered action potential), which cause us to experience something. The neurons firing is the cause of what we experience. It’s thought that the mind is basically physical, and that physicality is the source of all conscious experience. This might be called materialism or physicalism, that everything reduces to the physical cosmos, including consciousness.

    Yes. This is the view I'm suggesting is nonsense. There is no evidence that it's not nonsense. Fortunately materialism is revealed to be nonsense by metaphysics. My uncompromising view is that a person who cannot work out that materialism is logically absurd does not have the skills to be a serious philosopher. . . .
    But neither has ever actually been shown to be the case. Science currently knows of no causal mechanism or connection whatsoever that explains how firing neurons cause conscious experiences, or vice versa.
    Exactly. There is no empirical method to decide this question.

    For example, how does a network of firing neurons cause our experience of the color red, or the taste of chocolate? No one knows. Or, conversely, how does the smell of coffee cause a storm of neural activity in the brain? No one knows.

    This dilemma has been called the “hard problem of consciousness.” We simply do not know how or why firing neurons and conscious qualia (experience) are related, or if one even causes the other.

    Yes. No idea at all. The physical sciences do not have the methods required to settle such issues.

    ...This may be what is known in philosophy as dual-aspect monism (or double-aspect theory), which may be closely related to dialectical monism (or dualistic monism).

    Neither of which is mysticism. .

    This is a radical possibility, because it also means that mind and matter/energy are at some level one and the same entity, and not two separate things as we often think. In the spiritual traditions they might express this same reality by saying that spirit and body are one.

    Descartes thought they were one. Mysticism says they don't really exists. The whole idea is to transcend body and mind for the truth about consciousness.

    So to return to my friend’s statement, “I don’t understand any literal concept of mind that isn’t physical,” I replied,I don’t understand any concept of mind that is physical. Mind is non-physical (or spiritual). Brain is physical.

    He can hold this view because there is no empirical test for consciousness. It might as well be immaterial. . .

    However, and this is perhaps a paradox that can never be fully understood, I think the spiritual and physical, mind and body, consciousness and matter/energy, are One.

    This is not a paradox and it's well understood. Does he not read the literature?.

    The cosmos and consciousness are perhaps One, the Holy (Wholly) One, as attested by so many spiritual and mystical traditions throughout history. The physical and spiritual sides to this One may be irreducible manifestations of its singular Self. And we are That Divine Self.

    Yes. As far as anybody knows something like this is the case.

    The words I have emboldened above are part of the problem of using a word like mysticism. The Christians will often use the door to sneak their irrational god of the gap jumps into a discussion about neuroscience and not mysticism. I see no compelling reason at all to connect the study of human consciousness to the word mysticism, especially when even places like Wikipedia define the word as:

    If he sees no compelling reason then clearly he's not read a book on the topic. For the Perennial philosophy consciousness is fundamental and this is what we discover by studying it scientifically, as opposed to speculating about it or poking around in brains. . .

    Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of ecstasy or altered state of consciousness which is given a religious or spiritual meaning.

    It may also refer to the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, and to human transformation supported by various practices and experiences.

    I assume you prefer the second description. I don't see much value in either of them and I see a lot of problems with the crossover between the two.

    No - mean both of them, with some tweaks. Yoga in its true form is the art of union with reality. and consciousness and reality would be the same phenomenon. . .

    I'm sorry you see no value in them, and find it astonishing. I wonder why you're talking to me about these things when you already know enough to know there's no value in them.

    You asked me for a logical argument and I started to provide one, But you've ignored it in order to make a very lengthy series of objections to other ideas to which I've had to respond. This is damn hard work.and I don't see the point. It;s perfectly obvious that science and philosophy have not yet managed to falsify the teachings of three Buddha and Lao Tu, so it's hardly likely you're going to succeed. I find it an odd approach. ,
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    For me, this is a brave claim/conviction indeed. May I ask you for a percentage credence level that you would currently assign to all the 'truths' put forward by Buddhism and/or Buddhists, as a kind of 'general' or 'ad hoc' metric? For example, I consider myself more in line with hard or strong atheism, in that I am 99.999% personally convinced that the supernatural has no demonstrable existent.
    Would you be willing to state that you are 100% sure that the main tenets of Buddhism are sound?

    If we're speaking about Middle Way Buddhism then I'd say 100% sure. I'd bet my life on it. In one of his sermons Meister Eckhart, a Christian Bishop, pledges his soul on it. This indicated that his confidence was grounded in knowledge and not speculation.

    I don't believe any phenomenon is supernatural and nor do any mystics. This would be a law governed universe. As for God, in mysticism He is explained as misinterpreted meditative experience. Hence many Christians see mysticism as the work of the Devil and interpret their scriptures accordingly.

    I am happy for you if you have found a doctrine of life (Buddhism), that you find so compelling and that has acted as a strong bulwark for you, as you face life's inevitable personal adversaries, but, as perhaps an annoying skeptic. I have to ask, what are these sums you are talking about?
    How can you be so sure you are adding them up correctly?

    Okay/. Here goes. First - would you agree that all metaphysical questions are undecidable, and that this is because all their extreme answers are logically indefensible? This can be verified from a survey of philosophers, or by working through a number of such questions. If so, then I'll move on the to the next step of a proof. . . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    Well, I for one will try my best to respond to what you state, and not jump to any conclusions about your sanity.universeness

    Wonderful. Mind you, you must keep in mind that I might be insane. Cartesian doubt and all that. .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    I wanted to post about this sentence separately.
    No physicist I have read about can demonstrate the concept of 'nothing.' There is no experiment in physics, that can currently demonstrate any example of 'nothing.'

    Quite so. the idea is ridiculous. What is not ridiculous is the idea that the Ultimate lies beyond sensory empiricism and so looks exactly like nothing, which is the view I endorse.

    Folks like Carlo Rovelli certainly posit that time is a very localised experience, in that, even when I am talking to a person standing right next to me, there is a notion of me, sensing that person, from their past, rather than their present. This is because there is a tiny duration, before I see each frame of their movement or hear their words of register their touch etc. So in this sense I cannot experience YOUR present, I can only experience my own. So time is, in a sense, a unique experience for all humans.

    In his book The Continuum Hermann Weyl points out that nobody experiences time. It is created from memories and anticipations, a story we tell ourselves. He draws a careful distinction between the extended 'arithmetical' continuum, which is a theory, and the 'intuitive' continuum, which is extensionless. This double-aspect approach is consistent with Buddhism;s Middle Way doctrine. It would be a terrible mistake to image we experience time rather than create it, and it would lead to a deep misunderstanding of mysticism. All that would be truly real is the 'Eternal Now' and the 'Forever Here', which is Weyl's 'intuitive' continuum. This is what is discovered in meditation. Thus Meister Eckhart warns us not to become entangled in time. .

    [/quote]That's not mystical and it may also not be of much importance, especially in the macroscopic life of a human. Exactly how important it is to the existence of a quark or any quantum field excitation or the information held inside a black hole or in the case of quantum fluctuations or the 'information state' that exists between two entangles quanta, remains unknown. I still don't see where the word 'mystical' is of use here, other than as a placeholder for 'it's still a mystery to us.'[/quote]

    It's not a mystery, but it's a mystery in physics. You seem to forget (as does David Chalmers) that an information theory requires an information space. As Schrodinger observes, as well as the multiplicity of space-time phenomena there is the 'canvas on which they are painted'. The Perennial philosophy is an information theory, but the information would be dream-like and only the information space would be real. .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    But what do you specifically mean by the words I underlined above?
    They seem to me, on an initial reading, to be stating the obvious, in that experiment and the scientific application of empiricism, is currently, our best method of discovering new truths, or arriving at new 'realisations' about the nature of consciousness (human consciousness in particular).

    There is no empirical method for proving that consciousness exists. This is proved by the past popularity of Behaviorism. A science of consciousness would require a study of the actual phenomenon, and not just a lot of speculation. The study of the actual phenomenon is called mysticism. I know of no truths discovered by modern consciousness studies and see no hope of there ever being any. All the discoveries were made long ago by people who adopt a scientific approach and do the research. . . .

    Perhaps I am missing your point. But in what way does this suggest that physics is coming ever closer to the mystics?

    For instance, it is today fairly uncontentious in the sciences to claim that God does not exist, that space and time do not exist, that consciousness is fundamental and that the source of existence is empirically invisible. As these ideas and others are developed and integrated we come ever closer to the world as described by the Upanishads. The quantum pioneers were well aware of this, albeit that mainstream physics seems to have regressed since then into an entrenched ideological position. . ,..

    The Rupert Sheldrake proposals regarding his 'morphic resonance,' come to my mind.
    Can rats, who have never taken part in the maze experiments that Sheldrake goes on about, really learn how to best traverse these mazes via 'morphic resonance?' All rats, everywhere on the planet?
    That seems quite 'mystical' to me.

    I steer well clear of these sorts of speculations. I stick to metaphysics, where logic and reason are the only deciding factors.

    Do you think that Sheldrake's work, does contain some real physics-based truth behind it, at a quantum or 'fundamental' level?

    Quite possibly but I haven't examined the evidence. It wouldn't surprise me if it did or did not.
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    It is part of my current convictions to initially respond with, :roll: , when anyone proposes anything related to 'mysticism,' depending on how that word is being employed.universeness

    Thanks for an interesting post. I think there are two problems here. The first is the issue of how the word 'mysticism' is employed. Clearly you and I employ it in different ways, and others employ it in all sorts of ways. The second is that those who employ it as I do may often speak about in ways that are meaningless to a discursive philosopher, appealing to experience, enlightenment, authority and using ideas that will be meaningless to a non-practitioner. I do not do this, yet am often subjected to the criticism that this is what I'm doing.

    My feeling is that sceptics such as yourself underestimate the powers of reason and logic to reveal the facts about mysticism and the doctrine that arises from it. This is understandable, since much is made in mysticism of the inability of the intellect to reveal the truth, but it is a misunderstanding. I won't address it right now, but I can tell you that I became convinced of the truth of Buddhist doctrine on purely intellectual grounds well before I read a book about it or tried meditation. It's just a matter of doing the sums.

    I then try my best to give the proposer the benefit of the doubt and listen more to what sense/level of logic versus skepticism, they are using in what they are proposing. I suppose you could even label such, their epistemology.

    This seems a sensible approach.

    I would certainly push back, if you are suggesting that 180 Proof, is an example of the persona you are trying to describe in the sentence I have underlined from the quote above.

    Fair enough. I'll reserve judgement.

    He has been a member of TPF for 8 years. Think about how exasperated he must be at times, with the woo woo mob that he has had to deal with in that time. I have only been here for a year or so, and I have also become a bit more unforgiving towards the more extreme peddlers of woo woo.

    Yes, I see the problem. Perhaps I should take more note of this, since there certainly is a lot of nonsense in the air these days. I feel this problem largely goes away when we deal only with the actual statements people make. I find that very often when I speak about mysticism my statements go unquestioned, even when they are very bold, but my sanity is brought into question. This sort of response is almost impossible to deal with. I sometimes deliberately make bold statements in order to fire up a discussion and demonstrate that such statements can be made, but very often they are not challenged but simply dismissed.

    I'm aware of the widespread scepticism surrounding the Perennial philosophy and how little it is studied in academia, but I'm a big fan of the Principle of Charity and think it should be more widely employed by sceptics. . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    Perhaps it is relevant that physics is coming ever closer to the same conception of reality as the mystics, for this suggests that empiricism does at least support the discoveries and realisations of those who explore consciousness. Newton's universe was hopelessly out of step, but with QM and relativity, entanglement and non-locality physics comes into line, as Schrodinger was keen to point out, and nowadays it is not unusual for physicists to speak about creation from nothing, the unreality of time, the notion that space is conceptual and so forth.

    My belief is that physicists will see the plausibility of the advaita doctrine before philosophers, since they often seem more brave in their thinking and have less invested in metaphysical conjectures. . , , . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    I agree with what you say about meditation. But I don;t understand why the inability of philosophers to decide metaphysical questions is not an empirical fact. It is information acquired through the physical senses and easily verifiable. .

    Likewise, it is an empirical fact that the non-dual philosophy is globally endorsed,by meditators and that it makes no claims that contradict any scientific facts. To me this seems to be an empirical fact in need of an explanation. How come the writers of the Upanishads could claim that nothing really exists and 21st century physicists still cannot gainsay them?

    We seem to be demonstrating that judging the extent to which the advaita doctrine is empirically testable is not a straightforward problem. .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    Not factual in the sense of being about objective things or states-of-affairs. I don't mean it in the sense of not being true - far from it! - but not being about empirical facts. As Edward Conze says, 'the wise men of old have found a wisdom which is true, although it has no empirical basis in observations which can be made by everyone and everybody." Why? because it depends on insight.Wayfarer

    Hmm. I see what you mean but see things differently. It is an empirical fact that philosophers cannot decide metaphysical questions due the the logical absurdity of all their positive answers. Advaita explains this empirical fact. Would you not count this as being about empirical facts?

    . .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    I'm very much influenced by my reading of Advaita and (also Buddhist) non-dualism, although that mostly amounts to reading about it, with some regular meditation over periods of years. But I don't think it is an easy thing to explain.Wayfarer

    I believe,that it is the hardest thing in the world to explain. But explaining how it explains philosophy at the level of principles is easy. The crucial issue to grasp is that all metaphysical questions are undecidable. If we are aware of this then we will be able to grasp that a 'non-dual' or neutral theory explains why they are undecidable and thus explains all Russell's 'problems of philosophy'.

    Happy to delve deeper if you wish to go down this rabbit-hole. . .

    Recently I've discovered an excellent Advaita teacher, Swami Sarvapriyananda, of the Vedanta Society of New York, who has many online videos and discussions with other philosophers (some can be found here. I particularly liked his conversation with idealist philosopher Bernardo Kastrup.) He is articulate, educated, and philosophically literate. Indeed the Vedanta Society of New York was originally founded by Swami Vivekandanda in the late 1800's and has had a profound influence in America and beyond.

    I'll look out for this swami. I've been speaking with Bernardo for many years now and we agree on nearly everything. My metaphysics is stronger that his but his physics bests mine hands down. His mate Rupert Spira is a wonderful teacher.

    Nevertheless I don't believe that the teachings of Advaita are easy to convey, as they demand a deep kind of perspective shift or insight. They are not trying convey factual information, but a fact about existence, which is said to be obscured by avidya, ignorance. And 'piercing the veil of ignorance' is the fundamental teaching of Advaita. It's simple in the sense of not being complicated, but it's not necessarily easy to grasp.

    It's fantastically difficult to grasp, but making sense of it in philosophy as a theory is not so difficult. It's a neutral metaphysical theory, and this can be explained in standard philosophical language. I would strongly disagree that the advaita teachings do not teach factual information, however, and wonder what you mean by this comment. After all, it teaches that reality is not-two, and what more important fact could there be?
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    ust in case you think I had not read this response you gave. I have, but it did not answer the questions 180proof asked imo.universeness

    Okay. I was providing a starting point for further discussion but did not make this clear. I cannot answer the second part of 180 Proof's question without some preliminary philosophical chat.

    For example. Does the question of whether space-time is grainy or continuous belong in philosophy or physics? I'd say philosophy, but there is an overlap. The Perennial philosophy states it is both since there are two ways of looking at it, as is argued by the mathematician Hermann Weyl. It predicts that it would be impossible in logic or empiricism to decide this question and this is the case. but is this relevant to 180Proof's question? I'm not sure.

    Likewise, it predicts that physics will never prove anything really exists. Is this a testable prediction/? I feel it depends how one looks at it. There are many more similar issues that fall between philosophy and physics,

    And again, is the 'hard' problem of consciousness, as defined by Chalmers, a problem for physics? Or is it strictly philosophical? Mysticism disposes of this problem at a stroke, but is this relevant to physics? It might depend who we ask. ,, ,

    Thus a straight answer is difficult to give, and impossible in the face of a dismissive attitude to mysticism. .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    I think that's a loss to all members here, as you seem to have a lot of knowledge of Eastern philosophy.
    Perhaps you get exasperated too easily, we all get frustrated when we are challenged but it is very important to stand your ground, if you give a damn about who else might read these exchanges on TPF.

    Excellent point. I accept that I become exasperated too easily. It's a fair cop. .

    ]Perhaps 180proof is still waiting for you to answer his two questions:

    i. What 'facts of the matter' do "the nondual doctrine of the Perennial Philosophy" explain?
    ii. What 'predictions' can be derived from this "Perennial" explanation which can be experimentally falsified? — 180 Proof

    I provided an initial answer and expected a follow up question or some discussion. Instead my answer was dismissed for being new age nonsense. This is a pity, since I find the relationship between the Perennial philosophy and physics fascinating but tricky.

    I'm always happy to debate issues, but I become agitated when people who don't study these issues and seem to have no interest in them waive their arms around and dismiss mysticism as nonsense. Never do they exhibit an understand of what they are dismissing. .

    The general issue here is how best to study and understand philosophy. It's standard practice in our universities to study only a restricted part of philosophy and ignore much of it, but only when one studies the whole field does it become comprehensible.

    The question of what the nondual doctrine explains is easy to answer, but the question was what it claims that is testable in physics and this is trickier,since it requires some chat about exactly what counts as testable. There are some subtleties. It's a topic that interests me and I'm up for discussing it, but only when it's taken seriously.

    Thanks for your peacekeeping effort. .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    I expected to be speaking to 180 proof about his question, but he took his bat home. What am I to do?

    I find this about the best philosophy forum on the internet, but it seems to be ruined by less than a handful of posters. Wherever I go they turn up to lay waste to the discussion. I gave up the first time I joined, a few years ago, because of this and having come back I find them still here. So I've given up again. No need to defend anyone, I'll be off and stop causing trouble. .
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    and we can all judge for ourselves who the idiot between you and 180 Proof is based on your exchange on this thread. I for oneuniverseness

    All I see see is some people who don't want to think outside their comfort zone.

    As for my pseudonym;I'll stick with it, thanks. My point was only that not all editors and dissertation advisors are as shirty and closed-minded as some on this forum. Thanks goodness.

    If these are the standards applied here I'm very happy to seem to be an idiot.
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    This is what thinkers, particularly philosophers, do, Francis: we disturb the peace (i.e. smug givens, unexamined assumptions, etc). You're right, though, I am "not interested" in unwarranted, or dogmaric, beliefs; I prefer to dialectically discuss speculative ideas. Go vegitate in an ashram if philosophizing disturbs you.180 Proof

    Oh boy. I've come across some idiots before but you take the biscuit. Do you actually have an interest in philosophy? If I weren't here under a pseudonym I'd give a link to my publishes articles,or send you you my new book. As it is I'll leave you to your inevitable fate of never understanding philosophy.
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    Why bother wasting my time in this way? I get it that you're not interested.- so why disturb my peace?
  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    You say "Perennial Philosophy" explains but you do not give (or summarize) the explanation. You also say it "predicts"; but in the absence of any intelligible explanation, your "predictions" are just unwarranted claims (i.e. just-so stories). I'd hoped you would have answered both of my questions; apparently, however, New Age talking points is all I'm going to get. :yawn:
    180 Proof

    What a strange reaction. Why bot ask some follow up questions? It's an interesting topic and we could explore it together.

    But if you cannot see that a solution for philosophical problems cannot be dismissed as /New Age' talking points', then maybe there would be no purpose, I would have expected some objections or questions, not just a blanket dismissal. I wonder why you asked the question.

    Do you not want to investigate further?

  • Is Philosophy still Relevant?
    i. What 'facts of the matter' do "the nondual doctrine of the Perennial Philosophy" explain?

    ii. What 'predictions' can be derived from this "Perennial" explanation which can be experimentally falsified?
    180 Proof

    Hi 180 Proof

    I'm not here really, having taken a break, but I'll give an answer.

    The nondual doctrine translates into metaphysics as a neutral theory. In principle it explains all metaphysical problems and questions. For instance, it explains why metaphysical questions are undecidable. It explains ontology, epistemology, ethics, religion, consciousness, life. death, the universe and everything.

    It predicts that all metaphysical questions are undecidable and gives answers for all such questions. It predicts that no scientific data or philosophical argument will ever falsify or refute it, a prediction that is tested every day, albeit only in a negative way.

    As it denies the true existence of space-time and that reality has dimensions it seems to be relevant to non=locality, entanglement and other things, as Ulrich Mohrhoff explains in his book 'The World According to Quantum Mechanics'. It predicts the 'hard' problem of consciousness, which arises because it is impossible to disprove the 'advaita' explanation of consciousness. mind and matter. It predicts that science will never discover any substance or essence at the heart of matter/ It also explains (of course) the phenomenon known as 'mysticism'.

    I would say that if one understands a neutral theory one understands philosophy, and we don't then we don't. . .


    . . . . . .

  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    We seem to agree. But by 'knowing' I mean a state of consciousness, so maybe not entirely. It is said that knowing is fundamental, and this knowing would not be 'propositional talk'. . But at this depth most of us can only speculate. My concern is with what can be proved in metaphysics, which is that such knowledge is possible.

    I'll be off now. Thanks for the chat. . . . . . , .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    Is this a response to my having said that distinctions begin with consciousness? You have expressed it here in reverse; that mind (not consciousness) begins with distinctions, and I think that works too since we can say they are co-arising. So, I take it that for you mind is intentional consciousness, and by 'consciousness" you mean satchitananda?Janus

    Yes, this would be how I think of it. I don't speculate beyond a certain point since there would be little value in doing so, but for the sake of relating consciousness and mind this would be my interpretation of what is those who know. Plotinus states that we should not think of 'The One' as God or mind, and so this seems to be the arrangement. Would you agree? Or is there another way of looking at it? . . . .
  • Why is the Hard Problem of Consciousness so hard?
    I am not getting your drift here—I see the question as decidable two plus two does not equal either three or five. If the question is whether reality is foundationally matter or mind, or something else, we cannot answer; and that is what I mean by undecidable.Janus

    The first question is undecidable because the correct answer is not included in the question. I'm saying that the same problem arises for the mind-matter question. The correct answer in both cases is no.

    The closest we might get to a decision there would be to say the question is inapt, that no answer we give can state the actuality.

    Yes, the question is inapt. It asks us to decide between two wrong answers. This is my point. There's no need to decide these undecidable questions and they really are undecidable. But they are answerable. . . . .

    I think the same goes for this answer. We don't know, discursively, what "being. consciousness, bliss" is, so discursively speaking it is a non-answer.

    It's a non-answer when stated blankly with no argument or explanation. When justified it's an answer that works. .

    One might enjoy an altered state of consciousness wherein one feels and thinks intuitively "Oh, this must be the satchitananda the sages speak of", but this remains an experience, open to different interpretations. Another person might say "I saw God". These kinds of experiences are ineffable and discursive interpretation necessarily distorts them because thought and language are inherently dualistic, and such experiences, in fact I would say all experiences, are inherently non-dual.

    This is why a different argument is required, one that makes no appeal to experience..Such an argument is possible in metaphysics, as is shown by Nagarjuna. ,

    Experiences require an experience and an experiencer so are inherently dualistic. . .

    ... though I'm not convinced we should expect any discursive or analytic investigation to be able to see beyond intentional consciousness.

    There is such an argument and it's not difficult to make. But few people investigate these issues.or seem interested in doing so.

    One might have an experience that convinces one that one sees beyond intentional consciousness, but the belief that one sees beyond intentional consciousness is itself a dualistic interpretation of a non-dual experience.

    I'm not sure why you would think this. You seem to be saying that Buddhism and more generally the Perennial philosophy is nonsense. . .

    Yes, I think this is analogous to what Hadot says about some ancient philosophies: that they were systems of ideas designed to be aids to spiritual transformations and realization, not discursive propositions to be debated.

    This is simply wrong. This is not just an ancient philosophy but also bang up to date. Do you not know the role of debating in Buddhist practice? Do you not read the proofs of Shankara, Nagarjuna, Bradley, Spencer Brown et al? Do you suppose non-dualism is woolly nonsense with no philosophical basis? Why would you take any notice of the historian Hadot, who appears to have known nothing of this topic? His low view is common but does not withstand a bit of study.

    I don't know how to make progress in these discussions. I'm going to withdraw from the forum at least for now. as Its too time-consuming and generally opinions seem to trump analysis. I'll happily respond here if you want to continue this current chat, but once we're done I'll depart.

  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    I see I made the right decision. You have not understood my approach at all and I doubt I can change this. I see no evidence that you want to understand philosophy as opposed to fight for your opinions on the basis of your current inability to do so, but it;is a common approach. It's more fun to have opinions than do the sums.

    Never mind. See you around.
  • Why is the Hard Problem of Consciousness so hard?

    I've enjoyed our chat but feel we're at loggerheads. No problem, but if it's okay I'll drop out here. We'll cross paths again no doubt. Cheers.
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    I realise I made a careless mistake earlier. It is not consciousness that begins with distinctions but mind. For the advaita view neither mind not distinctions would be fundamental. .
  • Why is the Hard Problem of Consciousness so hard?
    Phenomenology is the business of describing how things appear to be, not explaining anything in terms of metaphysical theses.

    Quite so. Although even phenomenologists seem to sometimes forget this.
  • Why is the Hard Problem of Consciousness so hard?
    Such a theory is so obviously false that it only make sense if understood as ironic or metaphorical.plaque flag

    I can;t fight against this sort approach. Okay, so you think you know know the Perennial false. Lots of people think the same. I feel you'd be better off trying to understand it before dismissing it, but it's your choice.
  • Why is the Hard Problem of Consciousness so hard?
    To say that consciousness is fundamental is to propose an answer to a metaphysical question. I had thought you agreed with me that metaphysical questions are undecidable, which I take to mean they cannot be definitively answered.Janus

    You make a good point. I spoke sloppily. They are undecidable if one assumes that their extreme answers are an instance of A/not-A. For a neutral theory they are not. Both the extreme answers would be be incorrect and there is a third answer. So they are undecidable but answerable. It's like asking whether two plus two equals three or five. This question is undecidable as asked, but not an intractable problem. , .

    'Consciousness' is just a word. What do we mean when we say consciousness is fundamental?
    Our notion of consciousness finds its genesis in understanding consciousness as intentional consciousness wherein there is always something that consciousness is of.

    Oh yes, another good point. Intentional consciousness is clearly not fundamental. The words are difficult. I'm speaking of the 'Being, Consciousness, Bliss' of the Upanishads. .

    If this is right, the idea of consciousness is necessarily dualistic, and thus would have no place in non-dualism.

    Another good point. An inability to see beyond intentional consciousness might be the most ubiquitous problem in modern consciousness studies. . . .

    It is also worth noting that in the context of Buddhism the Yogācāra or "mind-only" school is only one among many schools. And the salient question is whether it was meant to be an ontological position rather than a phenomenological explanation of experience and a conceptual aid to practice.

    I'm endorsing Middle Wat Buddhism, which is an ontology and epistemology.(since 'knowing' would be fundamental) as described by Nagarjuna, who attempted to normalize the sangha on a specific metaphysical position.
    We could equally say that being is fundamental, but 'being' is also just a word, and also misses the non-dual mark.

    All the words are hopeless. Words are inherently dualistic. Really we should say 'Being/non-Being' Hence Lao Tzu states 'True words seem paradoxical'. Sri Aurobindo explains this point clearly in his 'Life Divine'. But we have to use words, and the usual words are 'Being, Consciousness, Bliss'. . . . .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    I agree in the sense that it can clearly be seen that metaphysical questions are undecidable, and in that sense, it is a realization rather than a view. On the other hand, like any proposition, it is open to being negated, so someone can always hold the (erroneous or myopic) view that metaphysical questions are decidable.Janus

    Clearly seen by you and me perhaps, and Kant and most philosophers, but apparently it's not obvious to everyone.

    I suppose someone can believe that two plus two equals five if they want to do so, but they cannot expect to understand mathematics. .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    Just so you know, that's not an innovation on his part. It's standard axiomatic set theory.plaque flag

    Yes, but the approach is different. .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    This source [ Theodore Kiesel ] places Heidegger's primary breakthrough at the lecture KNS 1919: THE IDEA OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE PROBLEM OF WORLDVIEWS.plaque flag

    I'm not sure what this post is for.

    I think we should bring our discussion to a close,. but I'll reply to your other posts first.
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    All is הֶבֶלl .plaque flag

    You clearly don't believe this, given your views on experience. . .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    I agree that we don't have to be a great thinker in the sense of obtaining a great breakthrough that'll get us in the canon.

    If you don't understand metaphysics then you don;t know whether one would have to be a great thinker to do so.
    plaque flag
    I agree that facts are important, but we also have to think (reason carefully from or on the facts.)

    This is the issue on which I've been trying and failing to convince you. You seem to prefer to chat about opinions and conjectures. . .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    That's just it. I simply take experience as experience, as 'real.' It's you (in my view) who are simply deciding to ignore this or that aspect of experience.plaque flag

    Okay. Your a realist. I seem unable to persuade you to examine the facts of philosophy so there's no way I;m going to be able to change your mind. . .
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    It tries to give meaning to a metaphor --- or to a tendency to treat some experience as somehow 'unreal.'plaque flag

    What metaphor? That the space-time world is unreal (in a specific sense) is a result of analysis, not a metaphor.or anything to so with your attitude.
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    As I see it, we all see the same world, but we do see from different positions. You see the world and understand metaphysical questions are undecidable so that the claim fits or articulates the world.

    You give offer your testimony. But (as I've stressed elsewhere), saying that P is true is just saying that you believe P. Is just claiming P. Your testimony is your testimony. And that's it.
    plaque flag

    If you cannot conceded that metaphysical questions are undecidable and feel it;s just my opinion then there will be no purpose in our talking about metaphysics, We can shoot the breeze about this and that,but we won;t get anywhere.
  • Neutral Monism / Perspectivism / Phenomenalism
    Before long you;ve got people who are content merely believing that someone is Enlightened but not really concerned to get there themselves. The belief in the distant possibility suffices (hence the envelope being the letterplaque flag

    Yes, this is an issue. But the work is not for everyone.