Reply Regarding Epistomolgy and Consciousness on RWER Blog

IK:   I am of a philosophical mindset but not religious in the conventional sense. I am a priority monist. In my view, the whole (the cosmos) comes before the parts. Novel parts emerge and evolve while remaining linked in one cosmos system. Ontologically, this means I make no distinction between material and immaterial as Cartesian dualists and most Christians do. There are only, strictly speaking, “existents” interacting interacting via complex system processes and seemingly bound by emergent and usually strong laws, so far as we can tell. Epistemologically, I go no further than empirical observation will take me, except to develop what I call a near-empirical metaphysics. This means I reject dogmatic religion. I’m an agnostic existentialist and scientific humanist but I also reject doctrinaire scientific positivism. My position and ethics would be closest to those of a non-theistic strand of Buddhism.

I reject the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Reasons and assignments of causes are inventions of human logic and inference, though these do sometimes allow us to usefully model real processes and facilitate predictions and manipulations. But we should never make the mistake of Platonic essentialism and assume that a useful model or deduced law of reality actually contains any essence of reality itself.

I even reject the Law of non-contradiction outside of classical logic itself. In other words, I am of the view that existence as such can contain contradictions. The clearest one (following discoveries in physics) is that it appears that existence can arise out of non-existence and collapse back into it. These intimations don’t surprise Buddhist philosophy at all, which has long held such a position.

Me:  That’s an excellent point of view. It is however stuck in unknowingness which IS very high on a scale of consciousness in fact the only state higher than it….is knowingness.

The willingness and ability to integrate both knowingness and unknowingness is what enables us to be/become fully conscious instead of only partially so. It also enables us to have a real, personal experience of time as both a moment and as a flow of moments because if you remain in a radical state of unknowingness or only allow yourself to know at lower epistemological levels like data or abstraction…..you arbitrarily limit yourself to an abstract knowledge OF time. The personal experience of present time and each flowing moment of it is one of the goals of virtually every strand of buddhist thought.

To me the integration of our partial consciousness/knowingness with and via direct and thus somewhat heightened awareness of the electro-magnetic flux that is continually around us in present time….is what is known as higher/full consciousness…itself. It’s all natural….and glorious

IK:  Craig,

You seem to me to be propounding a form of gnosticism: a state where humans can have perfect or true knowledge and know with certainty that they are right. That’s not a position I could develop out of my philosophy. It’s not consistent with issues of transmission of information and loss of information in complex system information theory. Nor is it consistent with issues of modelling (the brain models the world) where the model is always perforce less complex than reality. Plus there are the further issues of errors in modelling.

But each to his own in metaphysics. 🙂

Me:  Integrative natural gnosticism perhaps. I’ll take the observations and experiences described in the world’s wisdom traditions (and my own naturalistic experiences as well) over the limited mereness of the current-modern paradigm for inquiry of Science Only.

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