No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Belinda
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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by Belinda » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:41 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Pete, could you explain what you mean by a, "metaphysical scheme that works,"
If Pete won't I will, gladly, although I fear you won't or couldn't understand.

PeteJ
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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by PeteJ » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:01 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:15 am
PeteJ wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:12 pm
It is odd, then, that it has the only metaphysical scheme that works. It is implausible that the mystics hit on this scheme by accident ...

... the knowledge claims and metaphysical explanations offered by philosophers dismissed as 'mystical' ... work in logic and solve philosophical problems.
Pete, could you explain what you mean by a, "metaphysical scheme that works," which you think mystics hit on, and exactly what the, "metaphysical explanations offered by philosophers dismissed as 'mystical' ...[that] work in logic and solve philosophical problems," are?

What I'm interested in is what, the "metaphysical explanations" and the "metaphysical scheme," you allude to actually are.

Thanks, Randy
Hi Randy (and Belinda) - I'll do my best.

I'm referring to the metaphysical scheme most clearly described and justified by Nagarjuna in his Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way and elsewhere. This is a neutral metaphysical theory.

Philosophers have established that all positive theories fail in logic, rendering metaphysical problem undecidable. This is THE problem of philosophy. The Perennial philosophy claims these theories fail because they're false. Thus the Perennialists endorse the only metaphysical theory that is not known to fail. Rather, it is demonstrably irrefutable.

The theory or doctrine that is so often 'dismissed as mystical' (Russell is a famous offender but his entire Platonic tradition does the same) is a neutral theory, which is the theoretical foundation for non-dualism and a doctrine of Unity. Non-dualism explains why metaphysical problems are undecidable, thus explaining philosophy. Roughly put, the proposal is that the solution for the 'problems of philosophy' is a form of global Compatabilism. This view is endorsed by Middle Way Buddhism, Philosophical Taoism, advaita Vedanta, Plotinus, Sufism, the Christian mystics and so forth.

Thus the mystics predict the muddle we get into when we assume a neutral theory is false. As all other theories fail the result is bound to be incomprehension and confusion. This prediction was recorded historically just as soon as human beings invented writing and it has proved to be a correct prediction. It explains the inability of most philosophers to make sense of metaphysics and thus the reasons for pessimistic ideas such as logical positivism, scientism, dialethism and mysterianism.

This is the reason why you don't see anyone in the mystical tradition claiming that philosophy is incomprehensible. Almost all philosophers agree that positive theories fail as proved by Nagarjuna, including Kant, Hegel, Russell, Carnap and the entire university reading list, but they fall into two camps when it comes to interpretation. The tradition Russell calls 'Western' sees no other kind of theory and declare metaphysics to be hopeless. The mystical tradition rejects all the theories that don't work in logic and declare metaphysics to be a way to work out the Unity of Reality. It really is this simple.

I believe all this should be known by any first-year student. As it is few post-grads and professors know it. But the internet is a game-changer and the news is spreading.

Is this okay? I could expand but it may be best to refer you to some other writings if you want more. It's a big topic.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:45 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:01 pm
Philosophers have established that all positive theories fail in logic, rendering metaphysical problem undecidable. This is THE problem of philosophy.
Thanks, Pete, for the explanation. I'm afraid I still do not understand what you are talking about. Exactly what, "metaphysical problem," is "undecideable?" If you could just identify that I think I would understand the rest of your explanation, otherwise I don't know what you are explaining.

The reason I'm asking is because I have a very thorough-going metaphysics and ontology which leaves no question I have encountered unanswered or unexplained. But I may have missed something, so your, "metaphysical problem," is very intriguing.

Thanks, Randy

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:49 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:41 am
If Pete won't I will, gladly, although I fear you won't or couldn't understand.
If I, "couldn't understand," there is really nothing I can do about that. But you could try me.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by PeteJ » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:00 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:45 pm
Thanks, Pete, for the explanation. I'm afraid I still do not understand what you are talking about. Exactly what, "metaphysical problem," is "undecideable?" If you could just identify that I think I would understand the rest of your explanation, otherwise I don't know what you are explaining.

The reason I'm asking is because I have a very thorough-going metaphysics and ontology which leaves no question I have encountered unanswered or unexplained. But I may have missed something, so your, "metaphysical problem," is very intriguing.

Thanks, Randy
I feel that for those who don't know the metaphysical proof of Nagarjuna the next best thing might be Kant's discussion of antinomies. The entire problem for metaphysics is that extreme or positive theories, pairs of which form metaphysical antinomies and dilemmas, can be reduced to absurdity in the dialectic. This is why we have logical positivism, scientism etc. We all know how frustrating it is trying to decide these problems. It cannot be done because we are trying to decide between two answers neither of which survive analysis. All half-decent philosophers discover the same thing because this is just 'what is the case'.

The failure of positive theories is well-established and in my view it is the first and most important fact to be learned about metaphysics. If we see their failure, and it is not easy to miss it, then it is only a short step to the idea that these theories are not just logically indefensible but incorrect. If we conclude they are incorrect then the next step is to look for a different kind of theory. Then we are led immediately to a 'non-dual' or neutral theory and the Perennial philosophy.

If you have a theory that explains why metaphysical problems are undecidable then it must be non-dual since otherwise you will be endorsing a theory that does not survive analysis. Not just my analysis but that of almost all philosophers who ever published.

The undecidability of metaphysical problems is quite easy to establish. Nagarjuna famously proves it and most metaphysicians insist on it. The differences of opinion between Russell's 'Western' philosophy and mysticism is only over how to interpret this result. Really the situation is very simple. It is just that the philosophy department generally ignores large parts of philosophy and very few if any of their students are taught the facts.

Can you describe your theory briefly?

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:02 am

PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:00 pm
I feel that for those who don't know the metaphysical proof of Nagarjuna the next best thing might be Kant's discussion of antinomies. The entire problem for metaphysics is that extreme or positive theories, pairs of which form metaphysical antinomies and dilemmas, can be reduced to absurdity in the dialectic. This is why we have logical positivism, scientism etc. We all know how frustrating it is trying to decide these problems.
No wonder you think there is a problem if you have swallowed that idea of antimonies. This all smacks of Hegelian dialectics. (I'm not so evil as to accuse of that, it's just what it sounds like).
PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:00 pm
The failure of positive theories is well-established and in my view it is the first and most important fact to be learned about metaphysics. ... these theories are not just logically indefensible but incorrect.
I certainly agree with that.
PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:00 pm
The undecidability of metaphysical problems is quite easy to establish. Nagarjuna famously proves it and most metaphysicians insist on it.
If most people in any group believe something, it is usually untrue, especially if they call themselves metaphysicians. If metaphysical problems are undecidable I presume Nagarjuna has not decided them. Is that right?

[It doesn't matter, but I did a years research paper on the differences between Mahayana, Hinayana, and Chan Buddhism in 1963. They have changed little except culturally. I'll not express my opinion of any of them here. I am quite familiar with what they teach in most variations, including the Chinese varieties.]
PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:00 pm
Can you describe your theory briefly?
You said: "Philosophers have established that all positive theories fail in logic, rendering metaphysical problem undecidable. This is THE problem of philosophy."

I don't think metaphysical problems are undecidable. I do agree that the failure of philosophers to answer basic questions of metaphysics and ontology are perhaps their second greatest failure. Their first is their total muddle of epistemology.

I cannot provide a brief explanation of my metaphysics in which there are none of the problems you have identified. I can describe the most important aspect of my metaphysics which is its premise, however.

This is the premise on which my metaphysics and ontology are based:

There is an objective existence which is whatever it is and has the nature (characteristics, properties, etc.) it has whether or not anyone knows what that existence is or what its nature is. That reality is immutable and absolute.

By, "objective," I mean unaffected by, and, independent of, any human knowledge, belief, wish, feeling, or action (or that of any other imagined being).

By, "immutable," I mean its nature cannot be changed or ever be other than what it is. (Reality includes all things that do change but the nature of reality itself cannot change because it is the nature of reality that makes all real things possible, including change.)

By, "absolute," I mean reality is complete and unconditional; it is all there is and is not contingent on anything else.

Any other premise would mean the nature of reality could never be known and any supposed metaphysics based on any other premise is wrong. If reality were not objective it would be impossible to know it because there would be no certain thing to know about it, since its nature would be subject to other things. If reality were not immutable whatever it is today could be different tomorrow or the next second and could not be known. If reality were not absolute, it would not be reality but dependent on something else, leading to the dreaded endless regress.

I'd be very interested in knowing if you would agree with this premise, and if not, why not. If you ask I can explain why this must be the premise of metaphysics.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by -1- » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:26 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:02 am

This is the premise on which my metaphysics and ontology are based:

There is an objective existence which is whatever it is and has the nature (characteristics, properties, etc.) it has whether or not anyone knows what that existence is or what its nature is. That reality is immutable and absolute.

By, "objective," I mean unaffected by, and, independent of, any human knowledge, belief, wish, feeling, or action (or that of any other imagined being).

By, "immutable," I mean its nature cannot be changed or ever be other than what it is. (Reality includes all things that do change but the nature of reality itself cannot change because it is the nature of reality that makes all real things possible, including change.)

By, "absolute," I mean reality is complete and unconditional; it is all there is and is not contingent on anything else.

Any other premise would mean the nature of reality could never be known and any supposed metaphysics based on any other premise is wrong. If reality were not objective it would be impossible to know it because there would be no certain thing to know about it, since its nature would be subject to other things. If reality were not immutable whatever it is today could be different tomorrow or the next second and could not be known. If reality were not absolute, it would not be reality but dependent on something else, leading to the dreaded endless regress.
A premise needs no agreement; a premise by its own nature is a "given", or "assumed to be true".

However, if a premise is proven to be false, then the argument that used it as a premise will be false or inconclusive.

To accept your premise or to refuse it as an opinion is not the reader's job. The reader's job is to refute it or support it.

The most important element in your premise is that (a) reality has the characteristics which it does .

This part of your statement of description of reality is a truism, a proposition that states nothing beyond what is implied by any of its terms. So it can't be refused. It also can't be extrapolated from, so your extrapolation that reality is immutable, objective and absolute are opinions added that refer to some qualities which nevertheless can't be observed; therefore these three are matters of faith, not matters of study or enquiry, or matters of an a priori knowledge.

So, if you asked me the question (which you did not), "Do you accept this premise?" I'd answer, "yes, as YOUR premise, to your argument, but I have reservations as to its truth value."

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by PeteJ » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:31 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:02 am
If most people in any group believe something, it is usually untrue, especially if they call themselves metaphysicians. If metaphysical problems are undecidable I presume Nagarjuna has not decided them. Is that right?
Undecidable problems cannot be decided. Nagarjuna proves they are undecidable. As you don't believe they are undecidable our views are very different.

If your premise states that Reality is a Unity, having a non-contingent foundation that is changeless, free of distinctions, undivided and undifferentiated then I can share your view. But what you say seems to propose a different idea.
By, "absolute," I mean reality is complete and unconditional; it is all there is and is not contingent on anything else.
This seems uncontroversial to me. As long as you don't mean 'objective' as opposed to 'subjective'.
I'd be very interested in knowing if you would agree with this premise, and if not, why not.
I find your premise reasonable and plausible but a little undeveloped. A doctrine of Unity proposes a similar premise but it comes with a well-developed explanation of Reality and a metaphysical proof. So I wouldn't reject your premise but just feel it is undeveloped.

How would you go about justifying your premise in metaphysics? What problems would it solve?

If you develop your premise into a theory that explains metaphysics and solves Russell's 'problems of philosophy' then I'll happily endorse it, but as presented I can't see how to draw any logical ramifications from it. I wonder why you reject the Perennial philosophy to invent a theory that has such a similar axiom. Nagarjuna logically proves that your premise must be true, not quite as you define it but his axiom would meet your conditions. I see no need to invent anything new in metaphysics and it seems unlikely anyone could do it.

I prefer your premise in its generic form as the basis for a doctrine of Unity. This would mean tweaking it in various ways but not rejecting it. There would be an unchangeable, unconditioned. independent Ultimate, but defined as Nagarjuna, Lao Tsu and the Upanishads propose.

My only question would be why you feel the need to create a different premise and theory when you've studied Nagarjuna and Buddhist philosophy and chosen a first axiom so similar to his. Are you not trying to re-invent the wheel? Is it not necessary to begin by showing what is wrong with his philosophy, in case there isn't anything?

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:04 pm

-1- wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:26 am
... It also can't be extrapolated from, so your extrapolation that reality is immutable, objective and absolute are opinions added that refer to some qualities which nevertheless can't be observed; therefore these three are matters of faith, not matters of study or enquiry, or matters of an a priori knowledge.
The terms, immutable, objective, and absolute, are only added as refinements of definition, not additional qualities, arguments, or extrapolations. The premise can be restated simply:

"Existence is all there is with the nature it has whether or not anyone knows what that existence is or what its nature is."

In the past, when I have stated it that way, there are always questions. I only add the other things to eliminate ambiguity.
-1- wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:26 am
So, if you asked me the question (which you did not), "Do you accept this premise?" I'd answer, "yes, as YOUR premise, to your argument, but I have reservations as to its truth value."
Of course you do not have to agree the premise is correct. Any other premise, however, would be self-contradictory and mean knowledge is impossible.

You don't have to agree with that either.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by -1- » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:43 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:04 pm
Of course you do not have to agree the premise is correct. Any other premise, however, would be self-contradictory and mean knowledge is impossible.

You don't have to agree with that either.
Does it matter if I agree or not? It's just one more opinion. Agreement is immaterial. Truth is impossible to find to any degree of certainty. Why is it important to define something in the form of a premise that we have no knowledge about, and likely never will?

The best approximation of a premise is one which is true. And since we don't know anything about it, only truisms can be true.

Such as:

"Reality is what it is."

"The real world is real, whether we perceive it truly or not."

"Only the real world is real world."

"There is an objective existence which is whatever it is and has the nature (characteristics, properties, etc.) it has whether or not anyone knows what that existence is or what its nature is."

-------------------------

Other definitions or premises to start to describe the real world do not have to be self-contradictory. "The real world is blue." "The real world is big." "The real world is motherly." These are not self-contradictory. They may not cover the truth, and that is impossible for us to find out whether they do or not, but they are not self-contradictory.

--------------------------

What's a "mean knowledge"?

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:47 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:31 pm
If your premise states that Reality is a Unity, having a non-contingent foundation that is changeless, free of distinctions, undivided and undifferentiated then I can share your view. But what you say seems to propose a different idea.
It is a different idea. What would it mean to say reality is a, "unity." There is only one reality which is all there is, but, reality is not the name of a thing or an entity, it is the concept for, "all that is the way it is." There is nothing, "underneath," reality, it has no, "foundation," because there is nothing else. It is changeless only in its ultimate nature, but it certainly has attributes and characteristics which it is the job of metaphysics to identify. That which has no distinctions whatsoever, no attributes or characteristics, does not exist. Reality, however, is a special case, epistemologically. Reality does not exist, it is existence.
PeteJ wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:31 pm
By, "absolute," I mean reality is complete and unconditional; it is all there is and is not contingent on anything else.
This seems uncontroversial to me.
But, you believe reality has some kind of foundation which would make it contingent and would also mean that reality is not all there is.
PeteJ wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:31 pm
I'd be very interested in knowing if you would agree with this premise, and if not, why not.
I find your premise reasonable and plausible but a little undeveloped.
Of course. It is only a premise. Behind it, or better, following it is my entire metaphysics.
PeteJ wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:31 pm
How would you go about justifying your premise in metaphysics? What problems would it solve?

If you develop your premise into a theory that explains metaphysics and solves Russell's 'problems of philosophy' then I'll happily endorse it, but as presented I can't see how to draw any logical ramifications from it.
I've read everything Russell has ever written and admit I quite enjoy his writing. It is very clear and entertaining. (His history of Western philosophy is quite good.) But I have never taken Russell seriously. Most of his so-called problems are actually very bad mistakes in epistemology, for example, his absurd notion of, "knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description." If you regard what Russell wrote as actual problems of metaphysics, I'm afraid they are unsolvable, because they are not true problems at all.

What my metaphysics explains is exactly what the concept, "reality," identifies, what the nature of existence is that makes it knowable, and what the nature of life, consciousness, and the human mind are that make it possible for human beings to know that reality. My metaphysics is the foundation of a sound epistemology.
PeteJ wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:31 pm
I wonder why you reject the Perennial philosophy to invent a theory that has such a similar axiom. Nagarjuna logically proves that your premise must be true, not quite as you define it but his axiom would meet your conditions. I see no need to invent anything new in metaphysics and it seems unlikely anyone could do it.

...

My only question would be why you feel the need to create a different premise and theory when you've studied Nagarjuna and Buddhist philosophy and chosen a first axiom so similar to his. Are you not trying to re-invent the wheel? Is it not necessary to begin by showing what is wrong with his philosophy, in case there isn't anything?
Earlier I said I would not say what my opinion of Buddhist philosophy was, but you have asked so I will say I think all of it is worthless as philosophy. You may think my premise and Nagarjuna's axiom are similar, but they actually contradictory.

All of Buddhism holds as a premise (usually assumed without being stated explicitly) that there is something behind or underneath the reality of the world we directly perceive, (see, feel, smell, taste, and hear) that is more real than the directly perceived world. That view, in all its forms, I reject.

Randy

Belinda
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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by Belinda » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:11 pm

All of Buddhism holds as a premise (usually assumed without being stated explicitly) that there is something behind or underneath the reality of the world we directly perceive, (see, feel, smell, taste, and hear) that is more real than the directly perceived world. That view, in all its forms, I reject.
The temporal ontology we know, and our occasional intimations of eternity, possibly are only two of all the infinite ontologies that must remain unknown to us. There's no reason to suppose that nature finished her inventiveness with those two facets of nature which we can apprehend.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by RCSaunders » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:24 am

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:11 pm
All of Buddhism holds as a premise (usually assumed without being stated explicitly) that there is something behind or underneath the reality of the world we directly perceive, (see, feel, smell, taste, and hear) that is more real than the directly perceived world. That view, in all its forms, I reject.
... the infinite ontologies that must remain unknown to us.
Of course they must remain unknown to us. What does not exist cannot be known because there is nothing to know.

The converse is also true. What cannot be known does not exist.
Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:11 pm
There's no reason to suppose that nature finished her inventiveness with those two facets of nature which we can apprehend.
I would say, "the reality we directly perceive and our perception of it," instead of, "nature which we can apprehend," but assuming we intend the same thing, there is no reason to suppose there is anything more than that."

I know most people believe there is something more, as you do, but there is no reason or evidence for that belief. It is pure superstition.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by AllyPike » Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:32 am

I agree! I’ve been thinking so much about relativity in terms of life experiences but it seems to me that now or before or after only exist for the human linear experience. Right? Life is. Death seems to be but it is just a function of linear experience. It all just becomes life again, just on different forms. Not metaphysical, like direct reincarnation but recycled. Since information is stored organically, it is reasonable to assume that child conks would get recycled into humans as pieces of information that could make believe they have experienced shit. Regardless, it’s just relative. My now is not different from your beginning if time only exists as experience and if life is universal and infinite. The universe could exist, as it seems to, because life exists. Individual choices still matter somehow. We feel an imperative to exist positively and empathetically, so I think the polar and the 1/3 somehow matter to the way the universe is balanced yet infinite.

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Re: No Birth - No Death - No Death - No Birth.

Post by Belinda » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:15 am

RCSaunders wrote:
I would say, "the reality we directly perceive and our perception of it," instead of, "nature which we can apprehend," but assuming we intend the same thing, there is no reason to suppose there is anything more than that."

I know most people believe there is something more, as you do, but there is no reason or evidence for that belief. It is pure superstition.
You say 'reality' I say 'nature' . Okay.

I'd not say I believe as believing is too certain an attitude for approaching metaphysics with. No belief: no superstitious belief. The best we can do with regard to ascertaining the truth of a metaphysical proposition is to be pragmatically relativistic about the proposition in question.

Pragmatic relativism is an attitude towards metaphysical propositions, an attitude which accepts uncertainty. In the presence of uncertainty we know pretty well which ontology has gone global and pervades the more powerful hegemonies. We can try to predict what ontology ( or theory of existence) will prevail in ten years time, and my money is on neutral monism.

True, there isn't any evidence for any aspects of nature/reality besides the temporal and the eternal aspects. There may be aspects of reality/nature that are unknowable and there is nothing more that can be said about those.

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