Lessons
For The Way of Being

Home

Author

Anil Mitra
Copyright © March 22, 2019
Updated
April 1, 2019 @ 9:48 AM

Contents

Abbreviations

PFM—the perfect metaphysics.

FP—the fundamental principle of metaphysics. Also just the fundamental principle.

SSV—standard secular worldview.

FOE—field of experience.

ESSV—extended standard secular worldview.

Purpose

Human beings appear to have purpose. The aim of the Way and the essay is to investigate the nature and reality of human and universal purpose, their relations, and to realize what is feasible and true.

Of human and universal purpose

What is needed in order to address the questions of purpose

To understand purpose requires knowledge.

Possibilities and limits in common worldviews

Why Being?

To readers

The purposes or aims of this work

A first aim is to develop the necessary understanding as stated above.

The second aim is to use this understanding toward realization of revealed purpose.

“To know and realize the ultimate in the immediate and beyond.”

Preview

The universe is the greatest possible.

The greatest possibility entails that the universe has Identity and is far greater than our cosmos in variety (kind of being) and extension (e.g., time and space).

Individual identity realizes universal identity.

The way is ever fresh.

Knowledge of the way consists of the perfect metaphysics—PFM—to be developed woven together with a system of knowledge, reason, and action.

There are open templates for the way.

Metaphysics

What is metaphysics?

Metaphysics is knowledge of the real.

Criticisms and preliminary responses

Knowledge of the real is impossible

The most potent criticism is that that under this conception metaphysics is impossible.

Knowledge of the real is but one sense of ‘metaphysics’ in traditional and modern philosophy

Response to criticism I

Summary of the response

In this work possibility of metaphysics is shown by developing a system of metaphysics.

Knowledge of the real will shown to be a sound and potent conception for metaphysics.

The possibility of metaphysics

Knowledge of the real as a valid and potent conception of metaphysics

Being

Being is that which is.

The conceptual force of Being is its neutrality.

Being is existence.

There is Being.

A being is that which has Being.

There are beings.

Power—interaction—is the measure of Being.

Experience

Experience is subjective awareness.

There is experience.

Without experientiality there is effectively no Being.

Response to criticism of metaphysics II—an elementary metaphysics

In this section we conclude that an elementary metaphysics has already been established. We then ask whether this can be developed into a potent metaphysics. The question is answered affirmatively in subsequent sections.

All, part, and null being

The concepts of all Being (the universe), part of all Being (a being), and null part (the void) are developed in this section. They extend the potency of the concept of Being.

The universe is all Being.

The void is the null Being.

The void exists.

There is a demonstration of this existence—existence and nonexistence are equivalent.

There are alternative attitudes to the existence of the void, selected so as to enhance expected outcome of value—(i) as universal law or hypothesis, and (ii) as an existential principle or attitude.

The universe, its parts, and the void are beings.

The fundamental principle of metaphysics

The principle

The universe is the greatest possible.

Patterns

The universe is the logically possible—demonstration

The universe is the logically possible—consistency

An intensional definition of truth-functional logic

The fundamental principle of metaphysics—completion of demonstration

Criticism

Some criticism has been earlier—a summation is in the section Criticism of the perfect metaphysic and response.

Cause and determinism

The manifest Being of the universe is necessary.

The cause of the universe is necessity.

The universe is neither determinist nor indeterminist in the classical sense of temporal determinism. The universe is absolutely indeterminist in that no state is excluded; and absolutely determinist in that all states are included.

What is knowledge?

Concepts

Objects

Ontology of concepts and objects

Though in fact the individual never gets outside experience, faithfulness to the as-if object-in-itself object may occur (i) perfectly via sufficient abstraction and (ii) pragmatically as indicated by enabling sufficiently successful negotiation of the world. Later we see how the abstract and the pragmatic combine in The perfect metaphysics.

The existent is essentially the concept-object.

Not all concepts that intend objects have objects. Some concepts, e.g. expressive concepts, have no intended object.

Knowledge

Knowledge is a concept that refers faithfully to an (its) object (and systems thereof).

Facts are simple or compound.

An assertion—proposition—is the assertion of the truth of a fact (factual claim).

Knowledge claims—e.g. hypotheses—are in the form of assertions.

Meaning

This account of knowledge is also an account of meaning.

Criticism of this conception of knowledge and response

The perfect metaphysics

Some elements of the greatest universe; identity; death

From FP, the universe has identity; the universe and its identity are limitless in variety, extension (over sameness, difference, and their absence—e.g. spacetime), peaks, and dissolutions of Being; e.g. there are arrays of cosmoses without end to number and variety of natural law in transient communication with one another and a void background; and individual identities merge with and assume universal identity.

The perfect metaphysics

The perfect metaphysics is a join of the perfect knowledge that flows from the fundamental principle and pragmatic knowledge from the human traditions. The pragmatic is perfect in its deployment toward the perfect knowledge while adequate in more local uses.

Criticism of the perfect metaphysics and response

This section addresses criticism of the perfect metaphysics.

The value and utility of the metaphysics has also been addressed but a summation is appropriate. The contrast would be to secular and nonsecular or transsecular worldviews. The secular worldview has widespread acceptance among the educated and economically sufficient in the west—where the need for ‘uplift’ is eliminated and further de-motivated by religious fundamentalism. The perfect metaphysics shows that regardless of need there is an ultimate opportunity that is neglected (because unrecognized) and that its neglect relegates our ultimate nature to a limited state of Being (but the secular account of the world and the world is pragmatically significant and useful). On the other hand the perfect metaphysics provides a real enhancement of non fundamentalist religion in that (i) it is true and not just allegory or metaphor, and (ii) the view is far greater than that of religion in general (but the stories of religion may provide inspiration).

Experience in light of the perfect metaphysics

This continued discussion of experience is most effectively placed here—after the perfect metaphysics

The ontology of concepts and objects is made definite as follows. We never get outside experience—concepts and objects both lie within experience; e.g. the concept may be the visual experience combined with the idea of a mountain while the object is the confirmation of the concept via further perceptual, e.g. tactile, active, and theoretical experience. From this an effective ontology of the real arises (i) for sufficiently abstract concepts there is perfect faithfulness to the objects and (ii) for the concepts with insufficient abstraction for faithfulness, there is pragmatic perfection as described above.

Experience—conclusions based on the perfect metaphysics

This section further clarifies the nature of experience.

Experience, power, and Being are one.

An essence of Being is experientiality.

Experience is the place of Being, of concept and linguistic meaning, and of significant meaning.

Kinds of Being

The primitive kind is not inert Being but experiential Being.

Animal Being is aware of and capable of successfully negotiating a local environment.

Human beings are animal beings. Their enhancements over ‘mere’ animal being are an ability to explicitly conceive their place in SSV (and later ESSV and FOE). That includes self, identity, place, and time. With that comes an ability to modify environment and deploy its material aspects as technology. With knowledge and technology, human being can conceive or a world beyond the immediate and reach beyond it, at least to a concept of the ultimate, intrinsically via experientiality and instrumentality via science and technology.

The perfect metaphysics, PFM, translates the concept of the ultimate to the real ultimate—at least in principle. ‘Tradition’, part of PFM, has experiential tools (e.g. yoga, meditation, symbol) and instrumental tools (e.g. science and technology).

The necessity of the perfect metaphysics, the self or intrinsic adaptation paradigm of variation and selection (‘intrinsic’ has the connotation that external guidance is not required), and the paradigms of physical law are kinds of Being.

The extension of intrinsic adaptation to the following systems is tentative as universal, necessary in some cases, and likely in relation to population of the universe—the origin and evolution of the empirical cosmos (and other large scale structures yet unseen from our world), the origin of life (perhaps), the evolution of life and other systems of our world, e.g. social and socio-cultural systems, and creative thought and freedom of the will (provided conceived properly). In so far as there is novelty in these processes they must all involve indeterminism. In the efficient case under the incremental self adaptation paradigm, there will be both determinism of the formed structure and indeterminism—the variations or trials that are selected for effective adaptive form.

While PFM requires ‘gods’ (and though we may not directly know any Gods), material, animal, and human being partake of the ultimate and constitute progression toward it.

We are part of and will be the ultimate.

As will all beings.

Thee dilemmas

Block universe and identity

Logic and the abstract and concrete sciences

Knowledge is about the world.

Knowledge claims may fail (i) to be faithful to the world and (ii) fail intrinsically to be capable of faithfulness. The former defines science (including fact), the latter defines logic.

In the development of science, certain abstract disciplines arise, e.g. mathematics, linguistics, and computer science.

However, the abstract disciplines must be at root and may also be regarded as sciences. Thus the sciences are the concrete and the abstract.

Truth functional logic may also be seen to be a science that partakes of both the abstract and the concrete.

Logic and the sciences (abstract and concrete0 may be seen as either logic or science.

Paths to the ultimate

PFM implies there are feasible paths to the ultimate.

A system of human knowledge, reason, and action—in its version that incorporates and derives from and supplements PFM is the means.

The perfect metaphysics, PFM, translates the concept of the ultimate to the real ultimate—at least in principle. ‘Tradition’, part of PFM, has experiential tools (e.g. yoga, meditation, symbol) and instrumental tools (e.g. science and technology).

 

The Lessons

Abbreviations

PFM—the perfect metaphysics.

Join of (i) a universal metaphysics that is perfectly faithful by abstraction and (ii) pragmatic and ordinary knowledge for which the idea of faithfulness does not apply but which is in effect ‘faithful enough’ for pragmatic purposes. The abstract illuminates the pragmatic and the pragmatic illustrates the abstract. Though the pragmatic is faithful enough for its own purpose, it is the best instrument toward realization of an ultimate revealed by the abstract. The abstract and pragmatics sides therefore weave together as one—as a perfect metaphysics where the concept of perfection has been modified to suit values revealed by the abstract side and occasionally intuited from the pragmatic side.

FP—the fundamental principle of metaphysics. Also just the fundamental principle.

The principle that the universe is the greatest possible. The meanings of ‘greatest’ and ‘possibility’ are developed in the main text where the principle is shown to be (i) consistent with logic, science, and reflective common experience and (ii) the founding principle of the perfect metaphysics.

SSV—standard secular worldview.

The view that the world is constituted of experiential selves (the self ‘I’, and others or other minds ‘you’ and ‘they’) and environment, all of which are material in nature. Shown to be untenable (a) as a general view of the universe and (b) on strict materialism.

FOE—field of experience.

The view that the world is a field of experience with experiential selves as bright and focal centers and the environment and bodies are categorially experiential but of too low a value—or zero value—to count as conscious for ordinary purposes. The most general view that arises on relaxation of substance metaphysics and that is consistent with the fact that there is conscious experience in the world.

ESSV—extended standard secular worldview.

The special case of FOE that is experienced as SSV but is ontologically sound.

Purpose

Human beings appear to have purpose. The aim of the Way and the essay is to investigate the nature and reality of human and universal purpose, their relations, and to realize what is feasible and true.

Dilemma.           There is no purpose (materialism etc) vs we appear to and feel we have purpose. Is there human purpose—and choice and free will? If there is human purpose, is it created by human beings or is it derived from a universal purpose—or is it a combination of creation and derivation? And can there be universal purpose at all?

Resolution of this dilemma must be deferred till we have the understanding of the universe developed in the essay.

Comment.         Dilemmas go to template outline.

Of human and universal purpose

Some human beings have a sense of purpose. It seems to derive from the capacity for choice which requires knowledge and value (which are not necessarily distinct).

We seem to have free will which requires a capacity for foresight and is constituted of conception of alternative outcomes and choice of action toward selected outcomes.

Dilemma.           Under a common interpretation of physicalism, the universe is deterministic. Under determinism there are no possible alternative outcomes and therefore the sense of free will as conceived above is illusory. However, there is a definite sense of having free will.

Resolution of this dilemma is deferred. However, it should be noted that the conception of free will is crucial to resolution. One root of the dilemma is an incompletely acknowledged lack of agreement on what free will is. Some proponents of free will have written as though the important tasks in life are just a cognitive matter—conceiving, choosing, and acting on alternatives. They neglect the term ‘will’ in ‘free will’—i.e. they neglect that some choices may be difficult and others impossible. On the other hand some opponents have written as though the term ‘free’ implies precisely that execution is automatic, routine, and unimpeded. In fact the exercise of free will may simple in some perhaps trivial cases but extraordinarily difficult in others. The word free in free will may be misleading.

Comment.         Compatibilism is the view that free will is consistent with determinism; it would require a modified conception of free will.

Comment.         A significant motive to the free will issue—from David Hume to today—is ideological and political. Thus some religious ideology holds that we have free will (in relation, e.g., to the capacity for sin and redemption); while some scientific ideology holds fast to determinism (even though physics is far from known to be complete). The intellectual source of this scientific ideology is to think that an explanatory system that is sufficient for today’s knowledge of physical phenomena will necessarily explain all physical phenomena, known and unknown. This is a narrow reduction for it can be argued that if reduction holds then the existence of free will implies that a final system of physical explanation must be indeterministic. But on the other hand it is true that some thinkers have exaggerated the capacity for free will.

Comment.         A political motive to deny free will is for those seeking autocratic power or those intellectuals who would support such power (so as to partake at least symbolically), to encourage conformity to autocracy and discourage independence of thought and action.

But what is human purpose? Is it an illusion—just as free will is sometimes regarded as illusory? What should human purposes be? Are they invented? Do they derive from functional adaptation? Is human purpose real? If so is purpose a property of the universe? Does the universe itself have and generate purpose?

What is needed in order to address the questions of purpose

To understand purpose requires knowledge.

It further requires to develop and follow purpose and purposes; it also takes intent, will, and reason as continuous with action.

We now develop an adequate system of knowledge for the question of purpose.

It is critical for fundamental purposes to critique not only the claims of knowledge in our culture and others, but to also critiques the question of the nature of knowledge. This dual project ought to be immensely difficult for its parts are thought difficult but perhaps the join will prove simpler just as the solution of a system of equations may be made simpler by viewing them as an object.

The project necessitates that all employed concepts be critiqued.

The meanings of the concepts employed derive from the received but are reconceived.

Possibilities and limits in common worldviews

As a way into development of knowledge, let us consider secular and transsecular worldviews for they present both limit and possibility.

The secular centers on common experience, especially science. The modern scientific picture is that of the material big bang cosmos. In secular thought it is frequently taken as defining and therefore ‘this life’ is seen as what the individual is given; and all value and worth stems form humanistic values. That is often seen as defining. However, science is empirical but its models are projections and so even if they are excellent local approximations, they are not given to project from the empirical cosmos to the universe. The view from science that is true to its own empirical base is that except for the empirical cosmos, the universe is open (e.g., below Planck parameters, below and beyond currently measurable phenomena).

The transsecular is limiting where it provides a limit picture of the open trans-empirical region which is taken literally. However, the view from religion that is trans-empirically true is not dogmatic but open. Its myths may be taken as primitive suggestive metaphor and allegory.

Our sum worldview ought to be open a far greater universe than the empirical cosmos. Even so, the view from an open science and religion is infinitesimal in relation to what we will find.

Why Being?

Why does the main formal development in Metaphysics begin with Being? And why is Being then referred to Experience (understood as awareness)?

It is because (i) our secular and transsecular worldviews do not provide the necessary neutrality to frame knowledge of the entire universe but (ii) in this work Being is conceived so as to provide that neutrality.

What is that neutrality? It is that the only distinction marked by Being is between that which exists and that which does not (over the entire extent and duration of the universe).

Now, the founding objects of science are the elementary objects of physics and those of religion are realms beyond common experience and their contents. Those are remote and therefore that they are founding—or even capable of being founding—is ever in question, as is the issue of their existence (as conceived). However, experience is more than immediate—it is the medium of our existence. We will find that while that while experience may be unreliable as a source of knowledge in general, there is a core of experience that is given knowledge and which may serve as foundation for ultimate. Being and experience as essentially interwoven as one. Further and crucially, we will find that experience is the place of all meaning as in ‘the meaning of life’—as well as in concept and linguistic meaning.

To readers

In the motive and content of this work, I have benefited from the history of ideas. However, I hold that the work has gone beyond the thought of others (the work itself is the argument). The reader will have to be their own judge of the merit of the work in that regard—but I do not mention the point to claim priority. Rather the point serves to inform readers that they should not expect a compilation or synthesis of received thought. They should expect to have their paradigmatic views and intuitions challenged and, if the work has validity, in need of revision.

The challenge to received paradigm will be one source of difficulty in reading the work. But knowing this in advance may help readers overcome the difficulty.

A second difficulty is that definitions of terms may deviate from received on two counts. First, while the received may constitute a ‘family’ it is necessary for coherence of a work to be definite. Second, in going beyond the received, there must be enhancements of the concepts (some enhancements will be found significant and obvious; others are minor or subtle). Knowing this in advance may help readers adjust to the definitions in the narrative which, in turn, may help overcome the formal and intuitive challenge of the content.

The purposes or aims of this work

A first aim is to develop the necessary understanding as stated above.

The second aim is to use this understanding toward realization of revealed purpose.

“To know and realize the ultimate in the immediate and beyond.”

Preview

The universe is the greatest possible.

—Where the sense of ‘possible’ is the most permissible that avoids paradox.

This assertion will be called the fundamental principle of metaphysics (PFM); it will be demonstrated; it will be shown to have logical consistency and consistency with science.

The greatest possibility entails that the universe has Identity and is far greater than our cosmos in variety (kind of being) and extension (e.g., time and space).

As examples—the universe and its identity manifest in arrays of cosmoses of limitless number and variety (e.g. physical law), all in transient communication with a void (‘nothingness’) background; and there are peaks of being, also limitless in magnitude and variety, followed by dissolution.

Individual identity realizes universal identity.

There are ecstasy and pain, ennui and ever freshness along the way; the most enjoyable way is to weave ecstasy and pain-ennui into the way—while pain is unavoidable, this is the most effective way to manage it; we should seek to manage pain but as part of realization, not prior to engaging.

The way is ever fresh.

—This is a result of the universe being the greatest possible.

Knowledge of the way consists of the perfect metaphysics—PFM—to be developed woven together with a system of knowledge, reason, and action.

There are open templates for the way.

—But concrete templates are always tentative and ought to be open to development; we ought to be always open to revision, going back to the beginning, re-entering the world afresh without the expectations built up over a lifetime; where modern practice understands the human condition better than in the traditions, these practices ought to be incorporated into the way.

Metaphysics

What is metaphysics?

Metaphysics is knowledge of the real.

Criticisms and preliminary responses

Knowledge of the real is impossible

The most potent criticism is that that under this conception metaphysics is impossible.

It has been criticize as impossible because (1) the real is not the knowledge itself but only some of its effects impact ‘mind’ (the knower) which also contributes to the form of knowledge and (2) metaphysical systems of the past have gone beyond experience and trans-experiential entities cannot be know to exist—that such ‘knowledge’ is at best hypothetical.

Knowledge of the real is but one sense of ‘metaphysics’ in traditional and modern philosophy

In modern philosophy, especially analytic philosophy, there is (a) no consensus view of what metaphysics is but (b) ‘knowledge of the real’ is at best suspect. Knowledge of the real (‘being-as-being’) is one of the traditional conceptions of metaphysics and its deep criticism in modern philosophy is one reason for the lack of a consensus view of metaphysics—and that modern metaphysics is a family of activities.

Response to criticism I

Summary of the response

In this work possibility of metaphysics is shown by developing a system of metaphysics.

This will not entail entire rejection of the criticism that metaphysics is impossible—rather, it is found that the criticism is unsound for ultimate purposes but sound for imported but limited local purposes.

Knowledge of the real will shown to be a sound and potent conception for metaphysics.

This does not entail rejection of other older and modern conceptions of ‘metaphysics’. However, (i) it does restore an older conception that has been seen as invalid in the modern era and (ii) since terms may have multiple shades of meaning, ‘overloading’ of meaning is not invalid but it is important to not conflate or confuse the different uses of terms.

The possibility of metaphysics

In this work this criticism will be resolved by developing a metaphysical system in such a way that the development accounts for and addresses the criticisms (and this will also be explicitly pointed out in parallel to the development).

However, two anticipatory thoughts are pertinent here (1) if knowledge of the real is impossible—not just difficult—perhaps the real and knowledge and its criteria are not adequately conceived and (2) the system to be developed will not go beyond present experience (the empirical) but reveal a deep sense in which this is not limiting (even though regions of the real are beyond present experience).

Knowledge of the real as a valid and potent conception of metaphysics

In the previous paragraph ‘knowledge of the real’ was shown to be a valid enterprise. Given that, there is no conflict with or rejection of other activities that may fall or have fallen under the term ‘metaphysics’ (there is of course rejection of the notion that knowledge of the real is impossible). Further the development in this work shows that knowledge of the real is perhaps the most potent conception of metaphysics and that many traditional conceptions and modern activities of metaphysics fall under it.

Being

Being is that which is.

—i.e., in the most neutral senses of ‘that’ and ‘is’. Neutrality with respect to ‘that’ is neutrality with regard to thing vs process vs relation of interaction and so on. Neutrality with regard to ‘is’ is neutrality with regard to location in space and time—even to spacetime itself and thus ‘is’ may be rendered as “is somewhere in sameness, difference, and their absence”.

More precisely, Being is the characteristic or property of that which is. The term ‘a being’ will refer to anything that is.

To be as neutral as possible we might render ‘is’ as ‘is, anywhere in spacetime’; however that would presume space/time but that would violate neutrality because spacetime is not known to be a given. Therefore we would render ‘is’ as ‘is, anywhere in sameness, difference, and their absence’.

The conceptual force of Being is its neutrality.

Knowledge and understanding of the real are limited and distorted by preconceptions such as materialism, idealism, and process metaphysics . Being is not a ‘kind’ or ‘substance’ and therefore does not limit understanding. It allows truth to emerge; it encourages emergence of truth.

We start with Being because its neutrality—its triviality, its non-categorial nature—avoids the incompleteness and distortions of kinds of Being (categories such as substance, mind, spirit, God, process, interaction…). The substances and their powers may be then reconceived and reintroduced where effective. We start with Being because its triviality is the source of its conceptual force—which will be found ultimate in a sense to be found.

Being is existence.

Dilemma.           How does one know anything exists? This is a matter of meaning—existence is the name of (the quality of) what is; if there were no existence the universe would not be there even to entertain the question of existence or the illusion of the question.

How does one know some particular thing exists? Again, this is a matter of meaning—but in this case it is only partly so. For example—one perceives a ball and concludes “that ball is (there)”. However, is what is there as perceived? And is there a ‘there’ and a ‘perceiving’? One way of looking at this is via Descartes’ cogito argument—although perception as conscious experience may be mistaken the fact of experiencing is given or, rather, ‘conscious experience’ is the name of the given that conscious experience is. An alternate approach is to observe is that if nothing existed there would not even be an illusion of the world.

Beyond that argument the question of the ball remains. What does it mean to say that the ball exists? It means that I have a concept ‘the ball’ and existence asserts there is a corresponding object (‘existent’). If the concept perfectly captured the object there would then be no problem (there is nothing essential in the use of ‘to exist’ that means ‘existence as some kind or substance’). If not—then the claim is pragmatic.

There is Being.

Comment.         The value of dilemmas. Is not the question of existence peripheral to our lives? And is not the resolution of the dilemma, once understood, rather trivial? We answer as follows. In contemplating the real, we find that our received views may be in error because there are alternatives (the view and the alternative constitute a dilemma0. The practical merit of the individual dilemmas range from negligible to significant and the latter is a first value. However, much more significant is the fact that resolution of the system of dilemmas undertaken carefully may (a) give us a conceptually and instrumentally better—perhaps even ultimate—grasp of the real and (b) give us tools of analysis and synthesis of concepts and conceptual systems of understanding, knowledge, and prediction.

A being is that which has Being.

With sufficient abstraction, the distinction between Being and beings is null.

There are beings.

The hypothetical being that interacts with—neither affects nor is affected—no being does not exist.

Power—interaction—is the measure of Being.

Experience

Experience is subjective awareness.

There are many senses of the word ‘experience’. It sometimes means experience of something and that is included in the present meaning; however the present meaning includes ‘pure experience’. It has been used to mean change in consciousness but even apparently static consciousness is dynamic.

Though experience is known, it is known via experience itself—it is also the medium of knowing and therefore a primary given if not the primary given.

There is experience.

Dilemma.           There is no such thing as experience—it is an illusion—for there cannot be ‘experience’ in a material world. On the other hand we have the definite feeling that there is experience (and that definite feeling is an example of it).

Response—we do not know it is a material world. The ‘argument’ below shows that there is experience. Then if a formulation of materialism implies that there is no (such thing as) experience, it is the materialism that is in error.

Experience is consciousness but the word ‘experience’ is chosen to emphasize that experience is consciousness in its pure, attitudinal, and active forms. ‘Purity’ is relative for what is pure to a being is relational within the being.

The hypothetical being that neither affects nor is affected by is (effectively) nonexistent.

Without experientiality there is effectively no Being.

Response to criticism of metaphysics II—an elementary metaphysics

In this section we conclude that an elementary metaphysics has already been established. We then ask whether this can be developed into a potent metaphysics. The question is answered affirmatively in subsequent sections.

This section is a continuation of Response to criticism I. One criticism was that knowledge of the real is impossible.

However, we saw that there is Being and that there is experience. Let us review those arguments from a somewhat different perspective.

There is experience—for experience is the medium of our connection with self and universe (even illusion is experience). Therefore there is Being (as Being, if not as any further category). Thus elementary metaphysics is possible, for it has just been developed. All this is known perfectly in any good sense of ‘known’ because of the abstraction inherent in the concepts of Being-as-Being and experience-as-experience.

In seeing earlier that there are Being and experience an elementary metaphysics is already established.

It is—perhaps—implicit in the idea of metaphysics that the knowledge in question should be perfect. But what should ‘perfect knowledge’ be or mean? That our inherited and ongoing epistemologies are complex and works in process, would seem to make both ‘knowledge’ and ‘perfection’ essentially problematic. However, we just saw that some perfectly faithful knowledge was made possible in terms of and by abstraction. This knowledge is of course limited—it is but a root or stem, not of the universe or a whole; and it is abstract. Can it be developed as a system that encompasses the universe? Can it incorporate concrete knowledge? What then will the status of our inherited metaphysics and epistemologies be?

We turn to address these questions. In doing so it is critical that the dual problem of the conception of knowledge and its development be acknowledged. This idea may be generalized. In developing understanding of the world a number of key conceptions arise. Since the entire enterprise of ideas, especially philosophy, is ongoing, at the boundary of the known, the concepts will require revision. In piece analysis the development of one concept may be held back by interactive or systemic dependence on other concepts needing revision but not revised under piecemeal analysis. This is why system is crucial. Of course system is difficult—the problem is one of simultaneous revision of concepts and perhaps the only general ‘method’ is to proceed iteratively and intuitively until coherence and adequacy is attained. Of course entire system may never be attained but there is no prohibition against parallel systematic and piece analysis. A criticism that we ought to be beyond the speculative systematic metaphysics of the past is void because there is no suggestion here of a return to the special speculative metaphysics of the past.

All, part, and null being

The concepts of all Being (the universe), part of all Being (a being), and null part (the void) are developed in this section. They extend the potency of the concept of Being.

A part of a whole is some of the whole where ‘some’ is interpreted to allow the whole and its complement to be parts. Thus the null part (the complement of the whole) is a part.

The universe is all Being.

(It is in the meaning of all Being that it is not just at a particular time but over all extension implied by the most neutral sense of ‘to be’ or ‘is’.)

The universe is not created. It ‘is’ (though it may be non-manifest).

The cause of the universe cannot be another being for the other being would be part of the universe. I.e., the universe has no cause in the classical (‘contiguous’) sense of cause. The universe as universe does not enter into cause and effect (it is in their meaning that cause and effect are interactions of parts).

The void is the null Being.

The void exists.

There is a demonstration of this existence—existence and nonexistence are equivalent.

Existence of the void is crucial to the development. Just from the magnitude of the conclusion there ought to be doubt. In other works—the column ‘Versions’ in essays.html—other proofs and heuristics are given. However, existence of the void is consistent with logic, science, and reflective cumulative experience. Therefore—

There are alternative attitudes to the existence of the void, selected so as to enhance expected outcome of value—(i) as universal law or hypothesis, and (ii) as an existential principle or attitude.

‘Universal law’ is an approach also used in science where the hypothesis has no known exceptions but no absolute proof but is founding of fundamental theory. An example is Einstein’s elevating of constancy and invariance of light speed to a principle.

The universe, its parts, and the void are beings.

—Typically ‘a being’ is used for a part that is neither the universe nor the void.

The fundamental principle of metaphysics

The principle

The fundamental principle (FP) is that—

The universe is the greatest possible.

This is the fundamental principle of metaphysics (FP).

Patterns

For a being that is defined by information, a pattern is an arrangement specified by less information.

Patterns have Being.

There are no patterns in the void.

(Had the concept of law as in natural law been developed so far it may have been substituted for pattern. However, the idea of natural law is developed later in the work).

The universe is the logically possible—demonstration

If from or in the void, some conceivable being does not emerge, that is a pattern of or in the void.

But there are no patterns in the void and therefore—

All conceivable beings emerge from the void.

Therefore, all beings may be seen as emerging from any given being.

If the concept is illogical, the being is null and therefore ‘its’ emergence obtains trivially and may be discounted (or counted).

All beings whose concept satisfies logic emerge the void.

The universe is the logically possible.

The universe is the logically possible—consistency

Let us address the obvious questions of consistency with logic and science.

Obviously this does not violate logic. It does not violate fact (since a fact can be seen as premise and conclusion). Since the status of theories and paradigms of science and cumulative experience empirical is either (a) compound fact or (b) projection or models, neither science nor cumulative experience are violated.

An intensional definition of truth-functional logic

This constitutes a general intensional conception of truth-functional logic.

And as there may be forms of assertion beyond the bare and predicate forms, so there may be truth-functional logics beyond he propositional and predicate.

The fundamental principle of metaphysics—completion of demonstration

Finally, FP—The universe is the greatest possible. The following proof of this assertion also defines the sense of the term ‘greatest’. (1) If the constitution of a hypothetical being satisfies logic, it exists (since the universe is the logically possible); but (2) if the constitution violates logic, it cannot exist.

Criticism

Some criticism has been earlier—a summation is in the section Criticism of the perfect metaphysic and response.

Cause and determinism

The manifest Being of the universe is necessary.

It was seen that the cause of the universe—if there is one—cannot be classical cause. But a more, ultimately inclusive, sense of cause arises as in the following—

The cause of the universe is necessity.

Since all beings—all states—emerge from the void, the universe is indeterminist. In fact since no state is excluded the universe is absolutely indeterminist in that sense. On the other hand since all states are included, the universe is also absolutely determinist in that sense.

Thus indeterminism is not to be equated with ‘chaos’ or ‘randomness’; rather PFM requires phases of classical process indeterminism, phases of determinism, and phases of determinism mixed with indeterminism (e.g. biological evolution and perhaps quantum theory but necessarily any final physics of the entire universe).

The universe is neither determinist nor indeterminist in the classical sense of temporal determinism. The universe is absolutely indeterminist in that no state is excluded; and absolutely determinist in that all states are included.

What is knowledge?

A naïve conception of knowledge is perfect faithfulness to the world. Let us analyze and attempt to improve upon this conception.

Concepts

The general meaning of ‘concept’ in this work is (any) mental concept.

A percept an experience of an existent; a percept is a kind of concept that we write as p-concept.

A mental content that refers to what kind of thing a p-concept designates, i.e. to kinds and collections is a higher or h-concept where ‘height’ refers to inclusivity. The h-concept may but does not necessarily refer to freedom or refinement of conception.

Further elaboration is possible to include emotion and feeling and proprioception

Objects

An object is an existent.

A naïve conception of ‘object’ would be that of something existing independently of other existents or experience of it.

However, we have seen that relation and experience of (conception) is essential to existence. It is important that this does not say that existence depends on interaction or being known; it says, rather, that interaction and having an effect in some experience are part of existence. While having an effect in some experience makes the concept vague, there are more definite forms of experience and therefore of concepts.

Ontology of concepts and objects

Though in fact the individual never gets outside experience, faithfulness to the as-if object-in-itself object may occur (i) perfectly via sufficient abstraction and (ii) pragmatically as indicated by enabling sufficiently successful negotiation of the world. Later we see how the abstract and the pragmatic combine in The perfect metaphysics.

See Experience in light of the perfect metaphysics for details.

The existent is essentially the concept-object.

The object without the concept does not exist just because it takes a concept to define an object but because the object without the concept has no meaning.

Consider the word ‘tiger’. In the jungle one person cries ‘tiger!’ Others immediately feel fear. The fear is not due to the word. It is due to the association of the word with an image—the concept; without the concept the word empty. If the individual had cried ‘sher’ to non Hindi speakers there would be no fear response even though ‘sher’ is the Hindi word for a tiger.

Not all concepts that intend objects have objects. Some concepts, e.g. expressive concepts, have no intended object.

Knowledge

Knowledge is a concept that refers faithfully to an (its) object (and systems thereof).

Consider the word ‘tree’. It evokes an image—the image of a tree. That image associated with the tree constitutes knowledge. But is that knowledge a functional unit—i.e., is it instrumental toward efficient action? No! However, it is a constituent of such functional units.

While not all facts are functional, we identify facts as the minimal functional units. Facts are potential bearers of measurable truth (so is the ‘tree’-tree association but here the truth is not quite measurable). A fact is a statement of a state of affairs. Its standard form is the sentence (and associated concept).

Facts are simple or compound.

Examples—a simple fact is what we sometimes call a fact as in “The tree is tall”; a scientific theory can be seen as a compound fact.

An assertion—proposition—is the assertion of the truth of a fact (factual claim).

Knowledge claims—e.g. hypotheses—are in the form of assertions.

Meaning

This account of knowledge is also an account of meaning.

In greater detail—

This account of knowledge also provides an account of concept meaning and, when concepts are associated with signs and sign systems, also of linguistic referential meaning.

In language elementary signs have no meaning except their association with elementary concepts. However, one function of grammatical form is that the arrangement of elementary signs of different kinds (e.g. noun) correspond to patterns of arrangement in the world. Thus a corresponding function of language is efficiency in representation (e.g. in thought) and communication.

On reflection all experience lies within knowledge and therefore it is also a framework for significant meaning (e.g., ‘the meaning of life’).

It may seem that this account of concept meaning omits expressive or non-referential meaning; however it does not, for the object may be null.

Criticism of this conception of knowledge and response

The essential criticism is earlier criticism of possibility of knowledge of the real.

However, we’ve seen that there is some elementary metaphysics or perfectly faithful knowledge.

And we have now seen that every logical concept has an object. That is, the elementary metaphysics has been developed into a potent metaphysics that is ultimate (i) showing the universe to be ultimate—the greatest possible—and (ii) in an abstract capture of the universe.

However, the demonstration does not show how we may connect to all the objects of the greatest universe.

Let us see how we can connect. This will involve extension from the abstract to the concrete and weaving the abstract and concrete together.

The perfect metaphysics

But let us first see to what it is we might connect.

Some elements of the greatest universe; identity; death

From FP, the universe has identity; the universe and its identity are limitless in variety, extension (over sameness, difference, and their absence—e.g. spacetime), peaks, and dissolutions of Being; e.g. there are arrays of cosmoses without end to number and variety of natural law in transient communication with one another and a void background; and individual identities merge with and assume universal identity.

That is, death is ‘real’ but not absolute and the individual is (connected beyond death to) the ultimate. It implies there is a path to the ultimate (some paths of religions may suggest aspects of paths). It implies that there are ecstasy and pain which effective paths attempt to weave in (rather than stop at, which may of course be difficult—and from which death is a turn to another opportunity).

The perfect metaphysics

Here we will develop and define that perfect metaphysics (PFM) is perfect and ultimate knowledge of the ultimate (greatest) universe. This will require development and definition of the concept of ‘perfection’.

Dilemma.           The natural idea or criterion that knowledge ought to be certain leads to a dilemma—if we accept it we might have no knowledge at all but if we reject we must give up on certainty.

An existential resolution that accepts uncertaintyAn existential approach is to accept uncertainty not just as part of life but as giving meaning to life. While it has value, the existential approach can be improved.

A cognitive improvement that critiques the concept of perfection in knowledgeWe begin by recognizing that certainty is part of a conception of perfection. We can modify that concept of perfection to certainty where it is possible or feasible but pragmatism where certainty is impossible or infeasible (the impossible cannot be a requirement of perfection). A classic response to criticism is that we must retreat from perfection. The present approach is an advance. It should of course not be thought that perfection means ‘all plain sailing’ but rather acceptance of the alternative is truthful and empowering. A question arises—how should we respond to where certainty is not known to be possible or impossible? It ought to remain an open question perhaps to be temporarily assigned to pragmatic knowledge.

FP implies fully faithful but abstract knowledge of the universe as ultimate; and the place of beings in it. However, it does not show how to negotiate the universe or even ‘this world’.

Our system of human knowledge, reason, and action-supplement.html (i.e. the part of it that is ‘tradition’) may be seen as about negotiating this world. Even if it should never achieve perfection, that some negotiation is possible makes it a pragmatic instrument. It is of course a system in process (progress if you wish). As such it is the ‘best’ pragmatic instrument.

However, FP shows that our pragmatic instruments, even if not ‘faithful’ concrete knowledge are perfect as the only and therefore best local instruments in realization; i.e., though not perfect in the sense of faithfulness, they are perfect in their role in realization of the ultimate. Thus it is implied that local faithfulness is not only unnecessary but a hindrance. It is also implied that the significance of the tradition is altered, placed in context, of local rather than fully universal significance.

On the other hand, the perfectly faithful abstract knowledge from FP joins with the pragmatic to form a perfect metaphysics (PFM). The perfect illuminates the pragmatic and shows what is real; the pragmatic illustrates the perfect and is instrumental in achieving the real (and its peaks). Thus the perfect metaphysics is associated with a perfect dual epistemology—perfect faithfulness adjoined to pragmatic adequacy relative to the perfectly faithful.

The perfect metaphysics is a join of the perfect knowledge that flows from the fundamental principle and pragmatic knowledge from the human traditions. The pragmatic is perfect in its deployment toward the perfect knowledge while adequate in more local uses.

Given an infinity of cosmoses and more and given trans-death, the ‘individual’ processes—in some form—from one cosmos to the next (and more)—in each case employing a perfect metaphysics (using local pragmatic knowledge illuminate by the faithful abstract) on the path to the ultimate.

How, in terms of explanation (‘mechanism’) do the individuals connect to one another and the ultimate? At this time I will not address this question here (but refer the reader to the way of being - essential version.html and my journey.html).

Criticism of the perfect metaphysics and response

This section addresses criticism of the perfect metaphysics.

Criticism of metaphysics as metaphysics has been addressed in Criticisms and preliminary responses, Response to criticism I, Response to criticism of metaphysics II—an elementary metaphysics.

Criticism of the foundation of the perfect metaphysics has preliminary address just above; specific criticism of the foundation is addressed in All, part, and null being.

The value and utility of the metaphysics has also been addressed but a summation is appropriate. The contrast would be to secular and nonsecular or transsecular worldviews. The secular worldview has widespread acceptance among the educated and economically sufficient in the west—where the need for ‘uplift’ is eliminated and further de-motivated by religious fundamentalism. The perfect metaphysics shows that regardless of need there is an ultimate opportunity that is neglected (because unrecognized) and that its neglect relegates our ultimate nature to a limited state of Being (but the secular account of the world and the world is pragmatically significant and useful). On the other hand the perfect metaphysics provides a real enhancement of non fundamentalist religion in that (i) it is true and not just allegory or metaphor, and (ii) the view is far greater than that of religion in general (but the stories of religion may provide inspiration).

Experience in light of the perfect metaphysics

This continued discussion of experience is most effectively placed here—after the perfect metaphysics

—Part of the discussion in this section could have been placed in Experience. If that had been done (i) the conclusions would be tentative and (ii) would have to be reviewed, modified here. Though it was essential to introduce experience earlier as it is interwoven with Being, it is more effective and efficient—if less instructive—to defer material that would have been tentative to this point where it can be definitive.

Dilemma.           Perhaps there is nothing but experience. On the other hand within experience there seems to be an experiential I, a world or environment with others—this is roughly the common and standard view—but perhaps it is all just the experience. The dilemma—it is asserted the alternatives cannot be distinguished and therefore we cannot know that the standard view is true.

A practical resolution is to say that the individual does not have the capacity to create the standard world in their own experience with their limited powers; but to say that is to assume the I of the common sense view. This resolution may be accepted for some pragmatic purposes but the dilemma needs full resolution if it is to be a foundation for knowledge of the world that is secure for all purposes—even all ‘practical’ ones.

A conceptually sound resolution is to first deny neither solipsism nor the standard view but find a most general interpretation of experience and then to analyze the alternatives. This is essentially what is done below. There are two aspects to the analysis considered here.

First, even if experience is all there is, some knowledge, e.g. that that of the Being, universe, the void is at least as if perfectly faithful. Then there is pragmatic knowledge that is sufficiently as if faithful for pragmatic purposes. And then as we have seen the mesh of the perfectly faithful and the pragmatic is a unity that is perfect relative to ultimate objectives. This resolution does not argue that one gets outside experience but that not getting outside is not a limitation on knowledge.

A second aspect of analysis concerns what it means to say that that there is nothing but experience. To begin I might agree by saying “I never get out of my experience”. However, that would be questionable on two counts—(1) it assumes that standard view and (2) even if the standard view is pragmatically true it is not clear that I never get our of my experience for if I am having experiential empathy—i.e., the ordinary empathy that is part of everyday ‘intuition’ of others and their mental states manifest in their affective presentation—then perhaps it is not true only that I am having my experience but perhaps we are having our experience. The common ‘material’ interpretation would be that there are two synchronized very similar experiences. The interpretation suggested but not claimed at this point in the development is that though we have private spheres of influence, there is also a common sphere that is neither mine nor yours but ours. Perhaps even my and your experience are part of a larger whole. One thought that gives this some support is that ‘my experience’ may in fact be the experience of many experiential centers with one integrating center that is partially integrating with some ‘outlying’ experience (sub- or seemingly un- conscious). This would be a framework for the merging of identity implied by the perfect metaphysics. But at this point these are just suggestions and the attitude is to be neutral to yet contemplate these various interpretations.

In any case a definite conclusion is that experience is never gotten out of regardless ‘whose’ experience it is.

This provides a significant example of the value considering ‘philosophical’ dilemmas—although they may seem to be no more than intellectual issues, they may be profound in their implications for the real. We found that there though experience is all in a certain sense, that is not inconsistent with ‘objectivity’ and, further, we found how such objectivity obtains and what its nature is. We then found that by examining the meaning of “everything is experience” that it can form a framework for the realizations implied by the perfect metaphysics.

The ontology of concepts and objects is made definite as follows. We never get outside experience—concepts and objects both lie within experience; e.g. the concept may be the visual experience combined with the idea of a mountain while the object is the confirmation of the concept via further perceptual, e.g. tactile, active, and theoretical experience. From this an effective ontology of the real arises (i) for sufficiently abstract concepts there is perfect faithfulness to the objects and (ii) for the concepts with insufficient abstraction for faithfulness, there is pragmatic perfection as described above.

Within experience there is as-if a standard world of experience itself, selves—the ‘I’ (loci of awareness and control), the environment or world or universe populated with things and others (‘you’, ‘them’). However, there is an at least pragmatic reality to this view—for while ‘experience-as-world’ seems ungrounded, the pragmatic view is pragmatic because it seems (‘is’) grounded. On a standard secular view, SSV, the pragmatic reality is taken as real and is (usually) supplemented by materialism (at root the parts of the world are of matter). SSV is thus a pragmatic view of our world for (on secularism and common if naïve experience) it seems to be a material world. However, for metaphysical truth one seeks strict foundation—for otherwise the ‘truth’ would not be metaphysical. But SSV is untenable on strict materialism for under strict materialism matter is a substance, mind is no part of matter, and therefore mind (experientiality) is impossible. Further the materialist metaphysics cannot be rescued by other substance theories, monist or dualist, or emergentism. We therefore abandon substance and revert to Being.

Two alternatives to SSV are (i) FOE—the world is a field of experience with individuals as bright places in the field while the environment is experiential but there the degree of experientiality may be zero or near zero; FOE does not entail the conclusions of Some elements of the greatest universe; identity; death but does permit them; FOE also permits as a special case (ii) ESSV—an extended standard secular view in which the degree of experientiality is zero or near zero (ESSV is a special case in that for FOE the phrasing was ‘may be zero or near zero). Thus FOE presents a picture of the universe under the perfect metaphysics while ESSV is view of our world that is consistent with FOE but approximates SSV. Since experience is a given it is not a substance regardless whether it is seen as foundational.

Dilemma.           SSV is a standard secular view. An alternative is that there is nothing but ‘this’ experience and the rest is illusion or creation of the experience. This view is solipsism and the (at least seeming) fact that we cannot tell whether solipsism or SSV is true is the dilemma. We have already provided a resolution. Let us revisit the dilemma with another purpose. Some aspects of the earlier analysis are repeated but to a different end.

Rather than sweep solipsism aside let us consider what ensues if solipsism is true. Most people have SSV as their default view and in it the world and other minds are sources so much greater than their own in capacity that solipsism seems impossible. However, all that may be part of the experience. It is logically possible. However, it is very improbable; it would seem that ‘this’ experience by itself would be unstable. A resolution comes from the limitless arrays of worlds under PFM. All logically possible worlds exist; but not all of them are stable or persisting or of a numerically preponderant kind. Our world is so likely to be of the stable kind that it is hardly worth considering solipsism except for its instructive value; yet there are solipsist world. This is true of many such dilemmas, e.g. Russell’s dilemma that the world may have been created five minutes ago complete with geological record, memories and so on as if the world were the big bang cosmos world. Again, in the limitless array of worlds there are ‘Russell worlds’ but it is hardly worth tarrying to think our world is like that except for its instructive value (which includes the really possible but most unlikely destruction of our world in five minutes). In the present example, a further value of the consideration of solipsism is that it leads to—suggests—consideration of world as FOE and ESSV.

Experience—conclusions based on the perfect metaphysics

This section further clarifies the nature of experience.

It is expedient to repeat the few assertions of Experience with a supplement made secure by the foregoing.

First the repetition

Experience is subjective awareness.

Though experience is known, it is known via experience itself—it is also the medium of knowing and therefore a primary given if not the primary given.

Experience is consciousness but the word ‘experience’ is chosen to emphasize that experience is consciousness in its pure, attitudinal, and active forms.

The hypothetical being that neither affects nor is affected by is (effectively) nonexistent.

Without experientiality there is effectively no Being.

Now the supplement

If an experiential being is built of primitive beings (elements), the elements must have primitive experientiality (they are not conscious at any recognizable level).

Even pure experience is interaction (relational).

Experience, power, and Being are one.

An essence of Being is experientiality.

Why is this not a substance view?

First, as seen, experience is a primitive given (substances are not givens but posits or hypotheses); and second, that FOE follows from PFM and even where there is an non experiential world (being) it may be regarded as experiential with zero or near zero experientiality. A final point that is not part of the argument but gives it sense is that from PFM a non experiential being is always open to originating or being infused with experientiality.

Finally

Experience is the place of Being, of concept and linguistic meaning, and of significant meaning.

Kinds of Being

The primitive kind is not inert Being but experiential Being.

‘Matter’ is an aspect of primitive (and other) experiential Being. Perhaps an experiential Being is not material in our sense of matter apart from experience. However, experience has form and that form is effectively body and matter.

Animal Being is aware of and capable of successfully negotiating a local environment.

Animal Being is acutely aware in the sense of consciousness. Animal Being is self aware at least in that it distinguishes itself from other if not in that it recognizes a self.

Human beings are animal beings. Their enhancements over ‘mere’ animal being are an ability to explicitly conceive their place in SSV (and later ESSV and FOE). That includes self, identity, place, and time. With that comes an ability to modify environment and deploy its material aspects as technology. With knowledge and technology, human being can conceive or a world beyond the immediate and reach beyond it, at least to a concept of the ultimate, intrinsically via experientiality and instrumentality via science and technology.

The perfect metaphysics, PFM, translates the concept of the ultimate to the real ultimate—at least in principle. ‘Tradition’, part of PFM, has experiential tools (e.g. yoga, meditation, symbol) and instrumental tools (e.g. science and technology).

Human beings (initially) find themselves thrown (Heidegger’s term) into a world (apparently) not of their making or under their complete control. However, they come into partial knowledge; which becomes in principle complete with PFM.

PFM requires the emergence of intelligent, e.g. animal-human, life (and much more). However, the Darwinian paradigm shows a mechanism of emergence that, though it is not necessary on PFM, seems to be an efficient mechanism. While not necessary in all instances, from PFM it is necessary for some instances. Let us examine the hypothesis that it is generally the most likely mechanism of origins and evolution.

The paradigm may be seen as adaptation of a part to the whole—e.g., species to the environment which includes the species. Alternatively it is self adaptation of the world—environment—which contains various elements including the species. It may be referred to as the adaptive paradigm.

The paradigm itself is a two step process—variations that are neutral to adaptation (‘random’) and selection for stability (‘adaptation’); there are details but, so as to consider possible generalization, we are interested in the paradigm at a level that the details may be omitted.

A special case of the paradigm would appear to be one step discrete origins rather than many step incremental origins. This is not a real distinction for there is a range of size of step increments—from the smallest possible to a single step. For an atomistic world, the smallest steps are indeed very small but not zero. What is the most efficient size of step? There is no single optimum; it is likely a range of ‘atomic’ combinations; however saltation is probably so unlikely as to be practically impossible.

As a smooth alternative compare the paradigm to the clockwork process of the solar system under Newtonian mechanics. Could origins be described by a similar dynamic? No, for there is no smooth dynamic in general under PFM. Perhaps quantum mechanics with its probabilities of state transitions comes closer; perhaps quantum theory is implicated in the origin and evolution of life. Here, however, the extension of the Darwinian paradigm that we seek is to the universe itself—not just our cosmos. As seen earlier the universe does not originate or emerge and is not created. However, the manifest universe may originate from the non-manifest (only to go back to the non-manifest again); in such origins there is no smooth dynamic—in the void there is no law.

Here the aim is to extend the Darwinian paradigm as far as is rational and where rational to the origin and evolution of the empirical cosmos (and other large scale structures yet unseen from our world), the origin of life (perhaps), the evolution of life and other systems of our world, e.g. social and socio-cultural systems, and creative thought and freedom of the will (provided conceived properly).

What is the source or mechanism of the Darwinian paradigm? For life it must be indeterminist variation at the atomic-molecular level. It cannot be fully determinist for there is no true novelty under determinism even though there may be apparent novelty. On the other hand it would seem that indeterminism cannot give rise to structure. This is not true. Consider absolute indeterminism in which emergent states cannot be predicted because they are not given but no state can be ruled out. Every possible state will occur—the formed and the formless; but the former will be more numerous because they are stable (and are the states in which the likelihood of observability not to small to be discounted). While this has no intrinsic mechanism, the adaptive paradigm is possible and likely the source of the population of the universe of discourse—the ‘universes’ of the previous paragraph—with stable (enough) forms.

The necessity of the perfect metaphysics, the self or intrinsic adaptation paradigm of variation and selection (‘intrinsic’ has the connotation that external guidance is not required), and the paradigms of physical law are kinds of Being.

What is the implication of PFM for determinism? Since all states emerge from the void

The extension of intrinsic adaptation to the following systems is tentative as universal, necessary in some cases, and likely in relation to population of the universe—the origin and evolution of the empirical cosmos (and other large scale structures yet unseen from our world), the origin of life (perhaps), the evolution of life and other systems of our world, e.g. social and socio-cultural systems, and creative thought and freedom of the will (provided conceived properly). In so far as there is novelty in these processes they must all involve indeterminism. In the efficient case under the incremental self adaptation paradigm, there will be both determinism of the formed structure and indeterminism—the variations or trials that are selected for effective adaptive form.

I was looking out over the marshes of Humboldt County one recent spring day. It was brilliantly teeming with life. I wondered—what is all that? Perhaps we are an uprising from an elementary background. That is quite consistent with science. But then where is it headed? Are we a pinnacle in one direction (the human direction as characterized above)? Are other creatures pinnacles in other directions? Is there an effective reaching for higher form? For even if there is no teleology, there is a seeming teleology (design) in pure mechanism (as we learn in evolutionary theory). And what is the significance of the fact that (seeming) purpose arises out of (seeming) mechanism? And above all what is the destination if not destiny?

PFM implies that even if our origins are not destined, destiny may and will arise. To continue on the way to destiny, may we design for it (yes per PFM)? But should we have to go back to beginnings (yes for peaks are followed by dissolutions)? But even if so it would be a temporary ‘retreat’ for the ultimate is given by PFM.

We are gods, I thought at the marsh. I know a fundamentalist might find that blasphemous and secular thinker (informed of course by the fundamentalist conception of gods and ignorant of PFM) might think it absurd.

That is, we are gods in relation to the creatures of the marsh. But they, the creatures, too are gods but in different directions. All together, we partake of the ultimate.

But I am thinking more of the Greek ‘gods’ that were just a little higher than us but otherwise much like us—capable of positive and negative human like behavior. I am thinking perhaps of the God of the old testament—powerful, ruling, thought to be kind but also—capricious and cruel. If organic why should a God not be like that except that we are deceived by a perfectionist scripture?

In any case PFM implies that even if we will not arrive at the ultimate in our present forms or there continued material evolution, we will arrive at there.

While PFM requires ‘gods’ (and though we may not directly know any Gods), material, animal, and human being partake of the ultimate and constitute progression toward it.

It is implied that human being is a pinnacle toward the ultimate in its own way but not the only pinnacle in our world.

If not gods—

We are part of and will be the ultimate.

As will all beings.

Thee dilemmas

Dilemma.           Determinism vs indeterminism.

Resolution—In Cause and determinism the universe was found to be a mix of determinism and indeterminism. Of course it cannot be simultaneously deterministic and indeterministic in the usual temporal sense. However, it was seen to be absolutely determinist and indeterminist in senses stated in the linked section. We just saw in the previous section that the universe can be determinist and determinist in the temporal sense with the following interpretation—a phase of the universe arrives at a formed structure whose behavior is largely determined; but there is some superposed, perhaps residual, indeterminism that is the source of variations while selection (population, stability) is the source which variations survive. This shows how our cosmos may have come to be (near) determinist in many of its features via formation while retaining a residual indeterminism (some future physical theory if not quantum theory).

Dilemma.           Russell’s dilemma that the world may have been created five minutes ago, complete with cosmological data, geological record, and memories that make it seem as though the history of the universe, life, and individuals actually obtain. The dilemma is that the creation five minutes ago is indistinguishable from what we ‘know’ is true.

The resolution is that five minute ago creation (and similar destruction) must be true for some cosmoses; that the stable cosmoses are far more numerous; therefore our cosmos likely has its inferred origin; but this is not necessarily true; therefore one ought not to worry too much about such creation-destruction except to note its definite possibility.

This dilemma is similar to the dilemma of solipsism in that both provide a view of the world that seems like an absurd alternative to but is indistinguishable from the ‘normal’ view. However while in both cases we find the normal view to be pragmatic, and in both cases there is a larger reality, the dilemma of solipsism suggests a more profound view of the larger reality.

Dilemma.           Russell’s hypothesized that there may be a teapot circling the sun but that it is beyond our ability to detect. The point of the argument was to discredit the believer’s argument that because we do not see God with our senses and eyes, does not imply God’s non existence since God may be (currently) beyond empirical detection.

The essence of Russell’s argument is—Yes, like the hypothetical teapot, there may be a Christian God hidden in the cosmos, but that is very unlikely and there is no reason to believe (especially given that science has now made inroads to all niches of nature). There is the further pragmatic point concerning why the Christian God should choose to be hidden.

A better resolution in light of PFM is—Yes, the Christian God is necessary in some cosmoses; such would likely be unstable and infrequent—almost certainly not present in our cosmos; and if there is anything in the universe deserving of the name ‘God’ it is likely one of the following options—God as universal necessity rather than a material being, and God as the immanent process of which all being and life is a part.

Block universe and identity

The block universe envisaged here is all Being over all sameness and difference and their (possible) absence (i.e. spacetime is not assumed to characterize the entire universe). This is different from the currently (2019) extant unfolding and quantum models of a block universe.

Sources.        For more on the block universe and the argument below, see the way - template outline.html and my journey.html.

Under absolute indeterminism-determinism there are multiple histories merging and diverging at each being. At root it is this merging and diverging that is a source—perhaps the main or only source—of coalescing, peaking, fracturing, and re-forming of identity.

Logic and the abstract and concrete sciences

Alternate.           An earlier title was Logic, science, and mathematics.

Comment.         Assess, summarize, and combine the main content with the content of the Versions of the essays. The main content will be placed in the way - template outline.html and the summary will be placed in this document.

The discussion in this section requires familiarity with Knowledge.

Knowledge, logic, and science

Knowledge claims—hypotheses—may be in error because assertions (concepts) (i) do not correspond faithfully to the world or (ii) the assertions are compound and cannot all be simultaneously true (e.g., because of contradiction) regardless of reference.

The former defines science (the recognized ‘concrete sciences’—physical, biological-psychological, and social); the latter defines logic (science presumes logic but logic does not intrinsically presume science).

The claims are formally linguistic but also conceptual.

They include and define patterns, laws, and theories.

The expression of the theories is linguistic.

Are there abstract sciences?

Among the linguistic forms are some patterns that are found to occur in many contexts—e.g. as in counting and quantity and in shapes and sizes of geographic and geological and other forms. While initially empirical, these are found (i) to have structure that is independent of the application, (ii) which structure is abstraction from particular concrete and empirical situations, (iii) capable of abstract formulation via primitive terms and axioms and thence to defined terms (concepts) and results (e.g. theorems), and (iv) so to constitute abstract systems of which examples are mathematics, linguistics, and computer science. Systems of rules for language and logic may be considered to be among such abstract systems.

Are these abstract systems sciences? One requirement for a science is that it be empirical—about the world. The systems may be considered to be about the world (i) in that they are about an abstract of the world, (ii) as formal structures defined by signs and rules, they are about a model world, and (iii) tentatively, in the Platonic view that they are about an ideal world (rather than this world) and therefore we set this possibility aside for now and return to it later. Another requirement, a consequence of the first, is that since we cannot expect the formulation of a conceptual system to succeed at first in capturing the world or aspect of the world, the systems must be regarded as hypothetical and subject to trial application (testing) and correction. Is this the case?

In mathematics at least we have come to expect a higher degree of certainty than in the concrete sciences. This has come about by focusing on item (ii) of the previous paragraph rather than item (i). However, in so doing, the resulting feeling of certainty and the intuition behind it are so strong that there is a feeling that mathematical systems are not just formal systems but also about the real. Certainty, such as it is, comes about because (a) the formal systems can be examined to a degree that the world cannot—the formal systems are linear (rather than multi-dimensional) and discrete and (b) by referring the formal systems to—by formulating them in terms of—basic systems held certain.

Let us consider two examples of reference (i) a particular one—that of metric geometry and (ii) a generic one—the basis of mathematics in set theory.

Is Euclidean Geometry consistent? If an axiomatic system has a model that can be exhaustively searched it may be examined for consistency; such a model would have to be not just finite but not too large to be examined, given available resources—i.e. it would have to be effectively finite (not effectively infinite). But Euclidean Geometry does not have a finite model. Still we think Euclidean Geometry is consistent because (a) it seems transparent and no contradictions have been discovered in over two thousand years and (b) it can be written as a formal sub theory of real numbers and is therefore at least as consistent as the axioms for real numbers. Thus we do not expect absolute consistency for Euclidean Geometry; but we do have a relative consistency proof which is buttressed by the intuition from (i) above. What of Non Euclidean Geometry? These geometries are as consistent as Euclid’s because the fifth axiom is—has been shown to be—independent of the first four axioms.

Most of mathematics can be founded on a consistent set theory. After Bertrand Russell found his famous paradox showing naïve set theory inconsistent, a number of axiom systems for set theory were formulated in an attempt to develop a sufficiently powerful but consistent theory. The system that is in most common use is the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory (ZF) (usually with the axiom of choice—ZFC—but sometimes without it and sometimes with its negation). The consistency of ZFC cannot be proved within ZFC (unless it is inconsistent), However, (a) ZFC is thought consistent, (b) it is believed that if it were inconsistent, it would have been discovered by now, (c) it is immune to the classic paradoxes of naïve set theory, and (d) there are sub-theories of ZFC that can be proven consistent.

It must be concluded that while mathematics is ‘practically’ certain there is no absolute proof of certainty.

Further we can conclude that mathematics is empirical in two ways (i) in the origin mathematics was empirical but modern formal mathematics as a collection of axiomatic systems has abandoned this approach in favor of power—the wide class of structures and knowledge of the same—and at least relative certainty (ii) in the issue of relative certainty contact is maintained with the world at least in abstraction.

Additionally there is a parallel between the development of mathematics and the concrete sciences formulation of systems is inductive, development of systems is deductive, and the outcome of deduction is tested against the world—the concrete world in one case and an abstract of the world in another.

But not all systems in mathematics are directly about the world; many are formed by abstraction and generalization and synthesis. How can mathematics be said to be universally about the world? That is, is the strong Platonic intuition of some mathematics valid?

The answer is simple—from FP all consistent systems must have real objects (even if inaccessibility means that mathematics cannot be directly empirical and formalization and the gain in certainty means that it is at most indirectly).

FP considerably simplifies the foregoing considerations—(i) logic is the requirement that a concept be capable of being about the world or that a compound assertion be capable of being true and (ii) if logical, then the assertion is a true assertion which if appropriately compound is a science—either concrete or abstract.

We conclude tentatively, that there are abstract and concrete sciences. As stated the abstract include mathematics, linguistics, and computer science; the concrete are the physical, biological, psychological, and social.

However—

The sciences lie on an abstract-concrete continuum

But the notion of concrete is relative to the human cognitive system. All assertions are just assertions with some degree of abstraction lying on what might be called a concrete – abstract continuum.

The pragmatic case

Regarding pragmatic truth (i) such truths are perfectly faithful in some world and (ii) they may be brought under the above umbrella for this world.

A limitation of the axiomatic approach. Intuition and experiment in the ‘abstract’ sciences

A limitation of the axiomatic approach is that given an axiomatic system with an effectively finite number of primitives and axioms, the number of assertions and therefore theorems must be at most countable. That is, if the axioms model an object whose compound structure is more than countable in complexity, the axiom system may be incomplete. Thus there is a role for intuition—and experiment—not just in driving proof but as a partner to axiomatic proof. The putative abstract-concrete divide is not absolute and, just as in history, common development and interaction ought to remain an important source of both ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ sciences (the quotes are now justified).

Truth functional logic(s) fall under science

Is logic a science? We have seen that logic is about relations among concepts that are necessary for the system of concepts to be possibly about the world—or about some possible world. That is, logic is not about the world as an object. However, truth functional logic is about the relationship between concepts and the world—between concepts and objects, which are, of course, in the world—in that it is a requirement on concepts for them to have objects in some world. In other words, logic is about the world for the world remains within experience as concept-object; but the same is true for science since all knowledge is relationship within the experiential field that we may identify as concept-object. Thus, in so far as logic is discovered, what is discovered is about the world even if it seems remotely so. Logic is a science; and its methods must be both abstract and empirical (just as we have seen that while mathematics benefits from emphasizing abstract roots it loses if it completely shuts off empirical rooting). But it is also true of the abstract and concrete sciences that they are about concept-object relations within experience. Logic and the sciences are about relations within experience and while their whole is about faithful relations, the distinctions among them are distinctions among kinds of faithful relations,

On possibility

Logical possibility is what is allowed by logic.

If possibility is defined naïvely, it may lead to contradiction. An example is ‘it is possible that the possible is impossible’. That of course is very naïve for it would be disallowed by any reasonable definition of possibility. But how can we know that there is no lurking contradiction in the concept of logical possibility?

Dilemma.           Set theoretic, logical, and other paradoxes. There is a history of paradox which has led to clarification of a range of concepts. Especially important are the paradoxes that led to the revolutionary clarification in the foundations of logic and mathematics around the transition from nineteenth century to the twentieth.

ResolutionThe source of the set theoretic and logical—and many other—paradoxes is naïve assumption that arbitrary syntactically correct concept formulations and assertions may harbor hidden paradox. The resolution of the set theoretic and logical paradoxes was to find formulations that avoided hidden self-contradiction and led to the improvement in the foundations and renewed and improved trust. Some aspects of this revolution of foundations are discussed in Are there abstract sciences?

But can we be sure there are still no lurking paradoxes even if there is a consensus view that there are not? No, we cannot be sure but we can be close. Also keep in mind that we define logic is an ideal that must be free of paradox. If there are paradoxes in our existing systems they too may be excised.

In addition to logical possibility there are other kinds that are not particularly emphasized in this essay (version). Examples are physical, biological, and economic. These are implicit in the related sciences. These other kinds of possibility presume logical possibility.

Summary

Knowledge is about the world.

While knowledge is about the world and the question of truth, in practice because the world is effectively infinite, one view of the best we can do is (i) eliminate as much error as we can and (ii) supplement this with intuition of the world.

Knowledge claims may fail (i) to be faithful to the world and (ii) fail intrinsically to be capable of faithfulness. The former defines science (including fact), the latter defines logic.

The standard divisions of science are the physical, the biological-psychological, and the social.

In the development of science, certain abstract disciplines arise, e.g. mathematics, linguistics, and computer science.

—For these abstract disciplines the prima facie approach today is the abstract axiomatic which gives power and greater but not absolute certainty than the standard sciences.

However, the abstract disciplines must be at root and may also be regarded as sciences. Thus the sciences are the concrete and the abstract.

Truth functional logic may also be seen to be a science that partakes of both the abstract and the concrete.

More precisely, the truth functional logics, present and future, are sciences or divisions of the science of (truth functional) logic.

Thus, allowing the terms ‘logic’ and ‘science’ a most general meaning—

Logic and the sciences (abstract and concrete0 may be seen as either logic or science.

Paths to the ultimate

PFM implies there are feasible paths to the ultimate.

A system of human knowledge, reason, and action—in its version that incorporates and derives from and supplements PFM is the means.

This means may be seen as reason, interpreted to include action (for knowledge is not just applicable but its separation from action is not and cannot be entirely complete).

As noted above—

The perfect metaphysics, PFM, translates the concept of the ultimate to the real ultimate—at least in principle. ‘Tradition’, part of PFM, has experiential tools (e.g. yoga, meditation, symbol) and instrumental tools (e.g. science and technology).