The Way of Being
Template 2018 – 2019 Versions
Anil Mitra © May 2018—November 2018
Updated Monday November 19, 2018 @ 08:07:09
The Way of Being
The Way of Being
This conclusion based in a demonstrated worldview—the universe and inhabitants realize possibility in its greatest sense.
The metaphysics is developed via (a) critical analysis of our culture and common worldviews; here it was useful to understand culture and texts by immersion rather than rejection (b) imaginative and critical approach to fundamental description of the world centered on the concept of Being. In the beginning, the real was revealed in layered stages.
Reason and intuition are both essential. Reason includes critical and imaginative analysis. The meaning of intuition is analyzed and developed.
In this life an appreciation of death is critical to clear vision and action toward the ultimate.
The modes and phases of growth are summarized in the acronym PNSU: internal modes—of psyche; and external modes—of nature, society and civilization, the universal and unknown.
The introduction continues with (i) information about the portable edition, (ii) more about the way of being, and (iii) a summary of the introduction. The summary repeats the introductory items above as they are and with greater detail and comments.
This version is the original portable version which was significantly lengthened. The version requires modification to be a template. However, the current form suffices as a template.
This section prefaces the portable edition of The Way.
In line with this aim, the introduction in The Way of Being and Part I. World View are brief. Proof, heuristics, and elaboration are minimal. In particular the only proof given is that of the fundamental principle of metaphysics that the universe is the realization of all logical possibility.
Consistently with the aim of this version, Part II. The Way is relatively detailed.
In Part I there are two kinds of elaboration—academic and informal. In a reading that emphasizes realization and practice these are optional reading.
The ‘is’ that follows the definition is read ‘is defined as’ (occasionally this ‘is’ is implicit). Italics indicate emphasis, e.g. important terms and phrases and repetitions of defined terms.
Discursive definitions are also called intensional definitions.
An extensional definition lists the objects to which the term refers. Some thinkers hold that there are only extensional definitions but such is not held to be the case here.
If discursive definition is grounded in undefined terms a problem arises of to what the system of terms refer.
With sufficient abstraction, ostensive definition may perfectly identify the object. Examples will be ‘Being’, ‘experience’, and ‘universe’.
Single quotes are usually references to a concept or term. Speaking more carefully, single quotes are usually references to a sign-concept-object. Thus ‘Being’ is the name of the concept (concept-object) of Being.
The object may be null or empty but there is at most one empty or null concept and it has no use except perhaps to refer to an empty state of mind. The sign may be null in a state of mind but—obviously—not in linguistic expression.
Double quotes are used to quote other texts and authors.
ASM, the abstract metaphysics.
EH, existential hypothesis.
FP, the fundamental principle of metaphysics.
FQM, the fundamental question or problem of metaphysics.
PFM or TM, the perfect metaphysics (‘the metaphysics’).
PRM, the pragmatic metaphysics.
PSR, a principle of sufficient reason.
The phrase a principle acknowledges that it is not clear that there is a principle of sufficient reason and that whether there is may be clarified by considering candidates for what counts as reason—examples are cause and necessity.
The following abbreviations for the section From experience to the world
ESSV, SSV with the enhancement that the environment has at least low level and non-focal experientiality
FOE, field of experience and experiential relations
LPW, logically possible world
MS, metaphysical solipsism
MSK, methodological skepticism
NM, neutral monism
SMS, simple mind solipsism
SSV, standard secular view
Comment. This section will be used if I introduce numbering. Use the way-outline.doc.
Definition 1. Alt + F.
Numbered axioms or givens:
Axiom 1. Ctrl + Shift + X.
Numbered demonstrated assertions—i.e. theorems, consequences or results:
Assertion 1. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + A,
Assertion 1*. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + P.
Assertions marked with an asterisk assume the fundamental principle which is proved later.
This is an informal introduction to The Way of Being. Formal development begins with Part I. World View. The previous section contains some material pertinent to this section.
Comment. So as to not have them in the table of contents, the sub headings for ‘About…’ are Level 4.
The ground has no clear direction. Yet, we may discern a line within tradition from the immediate to the ultimate. The aim of The Way of Being is to cultivate that line while immersed in both realms. The criteria of cultivation emphasize value and magnitude.
To understand and execute the aim well requires an understanding of the universe seen as all Being and value, especially the nature of our Being.
Aim and development of the essay
The essay develops such understanding and its use toward realization of the aim.
Part I. World View is on the understanding. Part II. The Way develops an approach—an experimental path—to realization; it presents two customizable path templates for individuals and civilization: an everyday and a universal template. The Resources have further information and print and Internet sources for The Way and customization. Further resources are a Glossary, A Dictionary of Ultimate Metaphysics, and an Index.
Sources for the essay are my experience of and reflection on tradition and the world. Emphasis on understanding and integration of tradition led to understanding its limits and then to departure from tradition.
Tradition is what is inherited from culture over all time and place. It includes knowledge, reason (with value, logic, and science), religion and the religions, action, and exploration. It is oriented to conservation and change. ‘Tradition’ will also to refer to valid tradition—i.e., to what is assessed as true and useful in the traditions.
It will be useful to reflect on validity vs limits of tradition relative to the aim of The Way for this marks the points of departure and the way forward.
Relation to tradition
The essay presents the result of ongoing discovery and exploration. An essential discovery and demonstration or proof is that of a metaphysics, named the perfect metaphysics (PFM), which is ultimate via demonstration in (i) its grasp of the real and (ii) revealing the universe as ultimate. The nature of these ultimates and their mesh with the immediate is shown and elaborated.
The fact and possibility of metaphysics as knowledge of the real is implicit in the foregoing developments.
To appreciate and understand the developments it is critical that the reader be aware that the metaphysics is ultimate; that it goes beyond tradition; and that the essay is a intended as a presentation of new thought rather than a synthesis of existing thought.
Limits and overcoming
To appreciate the metaphysics it is useful to reflect on two pillars of tradition—science and religion. The purpose is neither endorsement nor refutation. It is to analyze science and religion to understand possibilities and limits of knowledge and the world—as a way into the metaphysics.
Doubt and certainty
It is worth recognizing that the thought I am about to undertake here—and especially in the main parts of the essay—emphasizes doubt, especially radical ‘Cartesian’ doubt. If the aim of knowledge were absolute security, doubt would be king. But the aim of knowledge here is not only for its own sake or as an object of perfection but also for its use. Therefore doubt and constructive imagination are interwoven. They must be interwoven if we are to build. The point is not that doubt should be compromised. Rather neither doubt nor imagination should be compromised. This is the way to truth and realization.
Science begins with the empirical—with observed facts. It then patterns that reduce the information needed to specify the facts. The patterns are usually expressed abstractly in terms of laws and theories. As long as science does not go beyond observation, the theories are compound facts. It is when it goes beyond the facts that it (i) becomes especially useful for explanation and prediction but (ii) also becomes open to correction because new facts may not fit the theories. Why then are theories so useful? It is probably because our corner of the universe—our empirical cosmos—is structured. Although theories are subject to revision, they are useful because they have captured a significant part of the local structure.
Further, we have had much success in improving theories when disconfirming evidence (facts) is found. Theories may be improved by complementing existing patterns with the new (as is currently common in evolutionary biology) or by improving on the patterns and so enlarging scope (as is common in the history of physics).
This shows that theories of physics, though powerful, are not known to be final. The cosmos as we know it, e.g. via theoretical physics and current cosmology, may be embedded in a larger structure—underlying the very fabric of the cosmos or at its spatiotemporal edges (underlying the fabric is a kind of edge).
Why then do we so often regard our physics and cosmology as final? Well, we do not always do so but there is a tendency among scientists, philosophers, and lay persons to do so—especially tacitly and as default.
Some reasons: (i) it is normal psychology to take our view of the world as the world for not only does this have pragmatic value but since it is our view there is no easily accessible common outer or higher vantage point, (ii) as long as there is no data that does not fit existing theory, there is little to guide and select new theories (even if we know that new theories are indicated, e.g. because gravitation and the other forces do not mesh; this raises the question of the future of physics given possible limits to observation—and possible approaches are, first, to use current science for novel and testable predictions, second, to search for rational alternatives to current theories, and third, to investigate the boundaries between the sciences—e.g. to investigate constraints on physics from givens of psychology and the philosophy of consciousness), (iii) as an institution, science is necessarily conservative even though individual scientists are not (necessarily conservative), (iv) as an institution, science is protective of its domain, and perhaps (v) fear among some individuals of being labeled merely speculative.
There is another reason. As a movement, religion often has beginnings in revolt against authority and the investment of authority in dogmatic conservatism in paradigmatic of understandings of the world, of human being and society, and of cosmology; and in so doing it attracts adherents opposed to existing institutions. Thus it gains power. But to gain a more permanent hold it becomes institutionalized; it demands adherence; it builds legends around its insight and history and proclaims this as the truth—as dogma. We often fail to see beyond science or even try to do so because the most visible alternative is the dogma of religion.
These thoughts however do not establish that there is a world beyond the empirical world of the everyday and of science. Is there such a world? To answer, it is necessary to explore the question in terms of ideas and then to criticize the explorations for truth. It is not sufficient to be a reactionary conservative (“there I cannot tread”) or a starry eyed liberal (“I will follow my imagination to the end of the world”).
Let us think about the idea of the next theory in fundamental physics—one that resolves the divide between gravity and the other known fundamental forces. The two main candidates today are string theory and loop quantum gravity. We have difficulty selecting because we do not have data to select and discriminate (as I write, November 2018, there has been recent data driven enthusiasm for loop quantum gravity but the case is far from closed).
If the next theory is not yet determined, what can we say about the one after it? And moving forward the next, say, five fundamental theories? Or a possible endless progression? Not even rank speculation helps.
However, imagine the boundary of those theories. Can we speak of that? Yes, in fact we can. We can say that the boundary is that which is allowed by logic—since by the conception of logic what is allowed by it can exist in a possible world and what is not allowed cannot exist in any real or possible world.
One is tempted to think that though true, logic as boundary to science is obvious and trivial information.
What we find in the account that it is far from trivial in meaning and consequence.
There is a further constraint on any subsequent science or metaphysics—the constraint of fact. In order to talk of that constraint imagine the universe as all that exists over all time and space (or spacetime or pre-space and time as all sameness and difference and their absence). That universe as just specified may be called the block universe. In its terms everything is given. However, any world occupies only a region in the block. Such world’s may be more or less deterministically isolated from the rest of the block. Even though a being that is the block sees the universe as given, a being in the world does not: its facts are local facts. This holds regardless whether the local universe is deterministic or not.
Define Logic as what is allowed under the local facts. Then the limits of possibility for a world are given by Logic.
The perfect metaphysics
The fundamental principle of metaphysics of the essay (FP) is the demonstrated assertion that universe is the realization of Logic. The metaphysics that follows from FP is, as noted earlier, called the perfect metaphysics (PFM or the metaphysics—TM). This principle is not new—the idea that the universe is the realization of possibility has been called the ‘principle of plenitude’ but the proof and use of the principle is new and revelatory.
It would be natural to wonder what PFM might even mean. First, ‘realization of Logic’ entails that the universe is limitlessly greater than the secular and religious views of it. Second, it does not alter the immediate material side of living in this world. However, it does show that this world and human being participate in the greater universe and that there is a path from the immediate to the ultimate. The details of the essay provide further elaboration of the meaning of PFM.
PFM may seem to contradict science, logic—and reason, and the valid in everyday experience but by the concept of Logic it does not (and this eliminates contradictions inherent in naïve uses of the phrase ‘realization of all possibility’). Indeed ‘realization of Logic’ entails this empirical world. It may seem trivial but we will find its meaning and consequences to be the opposite of trivial in depth and breadth. If the universe is the realization of Logic, the individual too must be this realization; and this too cannot contradict science, logic, and the valid in everyday experience. If the way to such realization may seem utterly infeasible then note that it is an aim of The Way to translate the possible to the feasible.
We have suggested that there is something beyond the empirical. But how can that be? Surely positivists are right in saying there is nothing beyond the empirical (even though they are not right in concluding that all knowledge can be reduced to the empirical)?
The apparent paradox is resolved as follows. If I say I have empirical knowledge of the universe as all Being I am claiming no more, to begin, than the fact that ‘my’ experience is a given—that there is something and that the universe is all that there is: what I know and what I do not know. That there is something is essentially Descartes’ argument. It seems threadbare—it does not say anything about the richness of the world. But it does say that the real lies in the ‘merger of the empirical and the ideal’. But ‘merger’ is metaphorical for what is revealed is that the empirical and the ideal are already one and the merger is that of our incomplete understandings of it—the empirical and the ideal sides. Further, in the development we recover the world from the merged understandings—not only richer and more grounded but ultimately rich and grounded.
Development of the metaphysics
Let us briefly explore some consequences developed in the essay. The universe has identity. The universe and its identity, occur in limitless cosmoses with limitlessly varied forms including physical law and life and sapience; such relatively stable cosmoses occur via near symmetry in transient interaction with the void; individuals partake of and realize the universe and its identity. There is a way to enjoy this eternal process and to render it feasible and efficient. It is not sufficient to understand this in terms of secular tradition which sees the individual as materially limited or dogmatic religion which is not exploratory. ‘Limitlessness’ implies migration of identity into the universe at large. However, it is likely that there should also be a material or formed side to the migration—the use of local cosmologies in migrating. For human civilization this would be made efficient by exploring all avenues: material, transcendent, and primal.
The metaphysics as universal law
If, as I do, readers find residual doubt—despite demonstration and consistency with logic and science—I suggest that the fundamental principle and the perfect metaphysics be regarded as reasonable universal laws much in the way that relativity is founded on fundamental principles rather than constructed from observation and reflection.
The metaphysics as existential hypothesis
A related attitude, encouraged by the fundamental value of the metaphysics is to regard it as an existential hypothesis and a principle of human action.
How is FP translated into a system for feasible realization? The text has a long answer to this question. A principle behind this answer, developed in the text, is to combine FP with tradition. FP reveals an abstract metaphysics, ASM: the logically possible is realized. Tradition as pragmatic knowledge or pragmatic metaphysics, PRM, provides a means. ASM is perfect knowledge in that the concepts capture the universe as an abstract. On the other hand PRM is local knowledge (of the empirical cosmos). ASM shows that the edge of PRM is not edge of the universe but it does provide information on the edge of the cosmos and some ideas on how to approach it. In outline the approach includes the intrinsic or inner transformations of Being (in action and meditation)—and the instrumental (science, technology). Despite doubt ASM informs us that the aim is realizable. Of course, ASM implies the ultimate will be achieved. However, trying is more efficient and enjoyed. Thus ASM and PRM combine to constitute PFM and a perfect epistemology with dual criteria—perfect capture of object by idea in ASM and pragmatic capture in PRM (which is perfect in that it is all that is needed and so far the best available). Nothing here, by the way, negates traditional epistemology and metaphysics but light is shed on their local truth and significance.
Let speak on the foundation of the metaphysics of the essay. Is metaphysics possible? The metaphysics of the essay shows that it is possible in the strong sense of metaphysics as knowledge of the real—even in Immanuel Kant’s terms of universal and necessary knowledge. But how may we approach foundation of metaphysics as knowledge of the real?
Let us again refer to science as a means of insight into the limits of ordinary knowledge and so, perhaps, as a way to proceed beyond. What is the foundation of science? It posits fundamental entities and laws or patterns of behavior. We know that a theory of science is always tentative (unless it is final theory but clearly current science is not final). However, imagine a true and final science—any limits thereof will also apply to current science. Even if true and final, the entities and laws are a posit without further foundation. There may then be a foundation in the next theories. Which may be founded in theories to follow. Thus we end possibly in infinite regress—with neither realist hope nor vision of final foundation. How then may we find foundation for metaphysics—for real knowledge?
Given that foundation a further and perhaps deeper level may be unattainable, perhaps we ought to seek foundation of the world in the world. The idea is not new—it occurs in Plato, Aristotle, Heidegger and others. Perhaps, though, to found the world in itself would be trivial. It would seem trivial for it would seem to say ‘the world is the world’. In a way it is trivial; however, as for tautology in logic and mathematics, the trivial may be powerful. The trivial may be powerful precisely because it affords transparency everywhere. Instrumentally—i.e., in terms of power of explanation and discovery, we will find that it is instead ultimately empowering (in a way to be seen). Conceptually it will be satisfying (i) as final bedrock to the search for foundation (this depends on it being successful in explanation and understanding) and (ii) perhaps as informing us that our own Being is of paramount significance over and above the material level understanding of physics.
How may we found the world in itself? We do not look beyond (that we shall not look beyond just here is not a prohibition against also looking beyond). We seek a concept that indicates presence in or being of the world and no more. A candidate concept is existence—or Being—it says of something that it is in the world. Being has been criticized as empty; however we will find it to be powerful. One source of power is that it needs no foundation in substance but rather requires only of existence that existentials be knowable or capable of being experienced. Further concepts round out the idea of the world; a set that I found experimentally to found metaphysics is—universe as all that has Being, power as measure of Being, the void as absence of Being, experience (consciousness) as our measure of Being and as anchor in the world, and possibility and feasibility.
In the essay that follows, these are among the ideas that found an ultimate view of the universe and a path from our world to the ultimate.
Is there a role for religion? One should first ask what religion is.
Religion is multifaceted. Its obvious function is cosmological—it relates human beings to the universe. It also has moral and social functions. As an institution there are political and economic functions which have positive and negative aspects. The interest in this section is in the cosmological.
Ask how we may talk or think about the region between current science and the outer boundary of Logic (it is a boundary and not a limit for Logic is a constraint on thought for realism and not a limit on the real itself). Even the dogma of religion has allegorical significance in pointing beyond the immediate given. We may appeal to the entire range or which includes art, especially literature, and traditional approaches to apprehending the ultimate; and traditional religion has its own literary, musical, iconic, dramatic, and ritual art. Perhaps, because of dogma and misuse of power, we ought not to use the term religion; however, terms such as spirituality seem inadequate. I think of religion as the use by Being of all dimensions and powers of Being in search for and realization of the ultimate.
It is worthwhile to reflect briefly on a view of primal religion or spiritism. The account in this paragraph is based reading of some anthropological accounts. Explanations in primal societies are valued because they enhance survival and quality of life. But there is much in the world that is above transparent explanation. So—the world is imbued with spirit, but the transparent and the unseen are interwoven in primalism. Taboo—prohibition—arises as part of this but also as part of small scale politics (e.g. of the sexes). There is reasoning behind this, for spirit force and taboo are strengthened or weakened according to experience. This is culture in which the world is not split into the secular and religious and secular dogma and religious dogma. While our science confers power and our religion may be of insight and beauty (together with its negatives), it is not clear where our culture will lead. We may be able to learn from primalism. As it is immersed in the world—in nature—primalism connects to the ultimate.
On understanding the essay
Understanding will be enhanced by awareness that the development is ultimate in depth of foundation and breadth of Being revealed: it goes beyond standard paradigms. The work is not a synthesis of what is received. Synthesis is necessary but its role is to flesh out the abstract metaphysics.
The metaphysics is consistent with and as seen entails what is valid in the standard paradigms. However, there will be apparent conflict between what is feasible in our world and what will be realized in the ultimate. This will create a conflict in intuition. The intuition will require re-education; the goal will be wider vision rather than mere shift. It will help to walk in the immediate while thinking in and aiming at the ultimate. That will make for comfort with conflict in intuition. But the source of the conflict is incomplete understanding and will be resolved by working methodically through the text.
To understand the contents of the essay it is essential to follow the definitions in the formal treatment beginning Part I. This will also help re-educate intuition.
This section repeats Preview of The Way of Being—and adds some details.
The Way of Being shows
Human beings and civilization
realize the ultimate.
2. A perfect metaphysics—the consequences of the worldview and its integration with pragmatic knowledge—which reveals realization of the ultimate from the immediate to be robust.
3. A path to the ultimate based in the metaphysics.
In greater detail:
The Way of Being presents
1. A demonstrated, new, and ultimate worldview based in the universe as the realization of all possibility.
On the demonstration. The demonstration in the main text appeals only to the characteristics of Being or existence and related secondary concepts. The main characteristics are (i) that Being is neutral except with regard to knowability and existence, (ii) the absence of Being named the void whose existence is inferred is absence of all constraints, and (iii) therefore the void and the universe are constrained only by logical possibility. Unlike other the use of Being by many other writers, the concept of Being employed here is transparent (there is of course depth to be plumbed but here that depth is deferred to the kinds of Being). An advantage to this is that the fundamental notions are transparent. Consequently the demonstration is transparent and trivial, yet the consequences are supremely non trivial though still possessed of transparency.
The demonstration is therefore an ontological proof—i.e., one that appeals only to the nature of Being or existence (there are other definitions of an ontological proof and some consider only proofs from necessary – a priori – and analytic premises of God’s existence to be ontological proofs). Unlike the famous ontological proof of St. Anselm for the existence of God, this proof does not appeal to concepts that do not clearly have objects (St. Anselm’s proof refers to “something greater than which nothing can be conceived”). However, doubt is natural. Consequently the text provides heuristic arguments to aid understanding and alternate demonstration to reinforce confidence.
The possibility of demonstration. As noted the demonstration makes appeal only to neutral concepts that are sufficiently abstract as to be perfectly known—e.g., while we may doubt that specific beings exist as specified, there is no doubt that there is Being (existence). That is, the possibility of metaphysics is shown by construction.
On doubt. Yet doubt remains. The doubt is suggested by the magnitude of the conclusion (and by consistency concerns that are addressed below).
On attitude. Consequently I suggest two alternate attitudes to the new view (i) as an existential attitude or hypothesis worthy of basing action upon and (ii) as a universal law to ground rather than to construct—for knowledge of the universe.
2. General implications of the view for knowledge, realization, and destiny.
On the consistency of the view and implications. Since the idea of ‘all possibility’ may harbor contradictions a consistent yet maximal concept of possibility is developed and employed. This knowledge is perfect in its precise ‘capture’ of the universe via the abstract character of the basic concepts. The consistent concept of possibility is Logical possibility. Why is ‘Logical’ capitalized? It is because Logical possibility is based on a developed concept of ‘Logic’ that entails self-consistency (logic) and consistency of the view with science—empirical knowledge of the universe and valid tradition.
On Logical consistency of the view and implications. Since the view is grounded in Logic, it cannot be internally or logically inconsistent. Is this Logic fully known? Only in intension but knowledge of its extension is necessarily incomplete. Therefore, the full Logic is given, is open to discovery, and that our logics are only parts of Logic. Effectively, what has been given is a conception of Logic. It is an enveloping view—one that contains all logics in principle and will be found to mesh with Science as one (reasons for capitalization—‘Science’—will be given).
On consistency with science and implications. If we accept the universe as given in the standard singularity (big bang) cosmology or variants, how can there be consistency with science? It must be recognized that the standard cosmology is empirical and applies to the empirical part of the universe; there is nothing in the cosmology that entails that it applies to all Being. It is consistent with science that the standard cosmology be embedded in a greater universe—a universe that is limitlessly greater subject only to logic. This of course does not prove that the universe is that limitlessly greater universe but it is not tendered as proof. As noted above, a distinct demonstration is given.
On the newness of the view and implications. Universe as realization of all possibility is not a new idea. However, the view, the demonstration, the perfection via abstraction, a consistent concept of possibility as ‘Logic’, and the consequences constitute an outline an essentially new worldview.
On metaphysics and implications. As noted, metaphysics is shown possible by construction. What is the meaning of metaphysics in this regard? It is knowledge of the real. Knowledge of the real is shown possible by construction. In this essay the primary meaning of metaphysics is as knowledge of the real. That the view is precise capture of the universe entails that it is a metaphysics—and therefore, by construction, metaphysics is possible. On account of the abstraction it is called the abstract metaphysics (ASM).
A doubt about abstract metaphysics. The abstract metaphysics is ultimate but how do we who live in the concrete world connect with it? In the first place the metaphysics illuminates the ultimate nature of the universe. Over and above that, however, we are concerned how we may use this knowledge. We now show how the text addresses this concern.
3. Use of concepts abstracted from the real to demonstrate the ultimate aspects of the view—i.e. an ideal abstract metaphysics (ASM). Enhancement to encompass the concrete, especially tradition, which results in applicability. The result is the perfect metaphysics (PFM) or the metaphysics (TM).
Here tradition refers to what is at least pragmatically and concretely valid in tradition including its reason, science, and religion.
The enhanced view encompasses the universal abstract and the local concrete. The abstract illuminates and encompasses the concrete and the concrete fleshes out the abstract. The dual of the abstract and the concrete constitute a perfect metaphysics. In a sense that the pragmatic side is perfect for realization for it balances the values of certainty and utility, it is perfect even while pragmatic. The abstract is perfect in its perfect capture of the universe. Thus the perfect metaphysics has a perfect dual epistemology.
4. Implications that (i) the universe and its identity cycle through peaks and dissolutions without limit on magnitude and value and (ii) all beings approach and assume the identity of the universe.
The universe is eternal—it is limitless in extension, duration, and variety of Being.
Human being is capable of understanding, appreciating, and furthering this approach to ultimate identity. This enhances the value and knowledge of the value of the immediate world.
5. A path of realization based on the perfect metaphysics.
The abstract side shows and illuminates the ultimate. The pragmatic side is the—pragmatically—perfect instrument for realization. Our world is a local world—one of limitlessly many in the universe. The pragmatic side, illuminated and guided by the abstract, is instrumental in moving beyond the local. The path may be direct to the ultimate or incremental through the form and formation of intermediate cosmoses in which identity is preserved (as described later, e.g. in the sections The universe and identity and Universal and individual identity).
The five items above are argued—and elaborated—in the essay.
The conceptual side, items 1 through 4, argued in Part I. The argument is set up in the first two sections Being and Universe. The main argument and elaboration is in the remaining sections Metaphysics, Kinds of Being, and Cosmology. The conceptual side grounds realization.
A path of realization is presented Part II.
Comment. Section introduced so as to match a tailored dictionary of ultimate metaphysics.
We will find that Being and experience are interwoven and so the title of this section might be Being and experience. However, what we find is that they are essentially interwoven and so the title Being and experience would be misleading for it suggests that the interwovenness is no more than contingent.
Being as existence and experience as subjective awareness-consciousness are fundamental to knowledge of the real and its foundation (metaphysics, epistemology); and to grounding human existential status in the real—i.e., the universe.
Since Being invokes no substance but appeals only to the given it is fundamental to metaphysics as knowledge of the real.
How do we know what is given? We being by appeal to and analysis of what is most immediate—to experience in the sense of subjective awareness. Experience is not immediate in the sense of proximity to the real but in the sense of experience-as-medium-of-the-real.
Being and existence have been thought rather different but via analysis of experience they are found to be identical.
Thus Being, existence, and experience are (found to be) essentially interwoven as one.
Since experience is the most immediate given, it would be proper to begin with it. However, it is convenient to begin with Being so as to set up an abstract framework within which to analyze experience.
That is, ‘exist’ is used in a tense free sense. This is non-standard English—and an example of a common deficiency in languages that the range of specificity provided is arbitrary and rigid.
(And yet the prescriptive language taught in schools serves for the rest of the lives of most individuals as the one correct language. In some ways efficient, this is otherwise an exercise and example in the paradigm of the socially received and accepted as final knowledge of all things. Simultaneously, another message, the one of incompleteness and limits, is a set up for yearnings that seem impossible to fulfill—and of contradictions impossible to resolve.)
Common forms of the verb ‘to be’ in English are ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’, ‘were’, and ‘will be’.
Thus for the sun exists we could write, in uncommon usage, the sun is.
To exist is to be validly predicated or predicable (knowable in terms of) by some standard (English) or generalized form of the verb to be.
That is, existence is neutral to further predication especially location or locations in sameness and difference (e.g. spacetime) and their absence, entity vs relation or interaction vs process, number, quantity, quality, gender and other special kinds of predicate.
In being specific with regard to kinds of predicate, language often neglects the neutral predicate.
This is not circular for beings and existence both refer ostensively to the elementary verb to be.
A collection of beings is a being—i.e. beings may be ‘compound’.
Being is existence. It is a neutral predicate in that it distinguishes only existence. This neutrality is a first step toward the power of the metaphysics developed later.
From discussion of ‘to exist’, to have Being is to be some ‘where’ in sameness, difference, and their absence (where implies a region but not necessarily a connected one).
Being is sometimes associated with the divine or other special meanings. In the present meaning there are no special associations of the term ‘Being’ except of course that if the divine or other special associations should exist they would have Being.
Being is sometimes contrasted to becoming. It sometimes refers to special kinds. Here, becoming and the special kinds lie within—are cases of—Being.
From its abstract conception, the question arises as to how Being is or may be recognized. The following is suggested by Plato in The Sophist.
The measure of Being is not a kind or substance but Being itself. The measure of Being is not something other than Being. This avoids both prejudice and foundational regress.
If we were careful we would end the previous sentence ‘effectively does not exist’ for it seems there could be eternally isolated beings. Though such beings could not affect us we could write stories about them and the stories could affect us. However the stories are beings in our universe and very real—and not at all isolated. The beings themselves have no affect on us and so the alternate ending to the sentence is not needed even if we are being careful. Later we find that eternally isolated beings can not exist.
A nonexistent being is defined by concept whose object is contingently or necessarily null.
The term nonbeing or potential being may be applied to a being in a phase of nonexistence. Nonbeing and potential being have Being.
A necessarily nonexistent being is one that cannot exist, e.g. due to a contradiction in its conception. An example is a square circle. Such a being could not exist in any world.
A contingently nonexistent being is one that could exist—could have a non null object—but that does not exist, e.g. a fictional being. A fictional being that did not follow our physics could exist in a world with another physics provided it is not necessarily nonexistent.
How does sapient Being mesh with Being? It is via what we will call experience. We now turn to the concept of experience which will be shown to be the place of our Being and medium of relation to all Being. This concept of experience, defined just below, is related to but distinct from informal use of ‘experience’ as ‘life experience’ or ‘experience of’ or ‘everyday or common experience or putative learning from the same’.
Experience and psychology thread through this essay in this and other sections—From experience to world, Agency and free will, Meaning, Identity, space, time, and cause (see this section for a related thread), Psychology and agency, Experience and the experienced, and Blocks, resources and growth.
The significance of the term ‘experience’ relative to ‘consciousness’ is that the former especially includes the idea of ‘experience of’ as well as neutral meanings of consciousness.
This section provides further motive to consider experience.
Without experience we would be robotic. Our ‘being’ could not have intrinsic significance.
Experience is the place of significant meaning.
Epistemic and metaphysical
That experience has Being is an—i.e. one—end result of Descartes’ cogito ergo sum reflection that begins with radical doubt.
There is a sense in which we never get outside of experience for the conception of the ‘outside’ also occurs in experience.
As for the case of hypothetical beings without power, a hypothetical being without effect on some experience will be later seen to be nonexistent—i.e. not just effectively non-existent.
The point is not—will not be—that experience creates Being but that experience and Being are one and inclusive of all Being.
Kinds of experience include cognition (perception-conception), emotion, agency (with choice and will that amount to free will), and action. The kinds are developed further in Psychology and agency.
Neutrality and conceptual power
The extreme—ontological—neutrality of Being renders it trivial yet powerful. The power lies in its absence of definition in terms of something else such as substance (e.g. matter and mind) or process. It avoids pre-judicial pre-commitment and permits the nature of beings to emerge. Special kinds are not forced and may therefore emerge without pre-judice.
Perhaps it is better to say that ‘Being’ is an ordinary concept whose power lies in avoiding the limitations of disguised limitations of purportedly practical metaphysics such as materialism.
The ultimate nature of subsequent developments begins with Being which is inherited and further enhanced by a careful and experimental selection of concepts of which the main are existence, beings, experience, referential meaning, power, universe, sameness and difference, possibility, logic, and the void. In the development it is found that the power is ultimate in its capture of all Being.
‘All that has Being’ would be more precise than ‘all Being’.
That Being does not especially denote any particular kind or essence, e.g. material, experiential, human, or divine
Let us continue to explore the relation between experience and the real.
A standard secular view (SSV) of the world is that of many persons (I, you, they) with similar minds in an environment or medium that, except other organisms, is experientially inert or mind free. (I avoid formal use of the term ‘material’ but will employ it informally later).
Yet, while SSV is reasonable, at least for some local purposes it is not obviously the full truth or untruth. We may doubt it so as to arrive, not at a different truth but to allow more complete truth that will serve an aim of apprehending the ultimate. Such greater truth, if found, may show boundaries to SSV; if not found, we may still find modifications or refinements to SSV.
Therefore we continue with radical doubt, not from nihilism but so as to establish a better and more complete truth—the best and complete truth if that should be possible.
How should we engage in doubt regarding the standard view? Perhaps by considering an alternative that is as far removed from it with regard to its putative realism. We do this in the next section where we consider alternatives systematically. Some alternatives may be different only in terms of description while some may involve substantial difference. In particular we look at metaphysical solipsism—the view that there is only experience and no experienced world. We consider it even if absurd because it seems diametrically opposite to SSV. What we find is that while the expression seems absurd the meaning of metaphysical solipsism is equivalent to the following.
Doubt about SSV and search for rational alternatives may arrive at the following view which is justified in the next section.
The world is a field of experience (FOE) with heightened centers (persons including many—‘other’—minds and so on) as a matrix in an environment of non heightened experience (relatively neutral). In this field there are, in addition to experience, experiencers and the experienced which includes experience itself. This justifies calling the world ‘real’. There is a body and an environment or world—at least in that experience has form. The special case of this neutral metaphysics in which the body and environment have at least parts with null or zero experience is the standard case above. This will be empowering in the sequel.
The problem of other minds is subtle and is taken up in the next section. It is found that in a robust world such as ours may seem to be, there are many minds which may be interpreted as one mind with many focal centers which for a given center constitute the other minds. A range of other cases, robust to degenerate, is considered.
We now turn to a systematic consideration of SSV and world as FOE.
In experience we find as-if objects as part of an as-if real world. What is the nature of the as-if object, e.g. an as-if mountain. There is a visual experience that we label the visual image. The mountain can also be touched and walked around. Other minds report experiences and for convenience the concept may also include or be associated with a sign. Effectively there are concepts and something that is unchanging relative to the conceptions. That is the pragmatic object. Generally sign, concept, and object may be compound.
Sign, concept, and object constitute referential meaning or, more specifically, linguistic referential meaning (without the sign it would be concept meaning or conceptual referential meaning).
For this development it will be sufficient to consider only referential meaning.
With adequate abstraction, e.g. as for Being as Being and experience as just experience, sign and concept perfectly capture the object and we may think in terms of perfect correspondence; otherwise the ‘capture’ is pragmatic and we may think pragmatically, per the paradigm discussion of the mountain above, in terms of sufficiently good capture in terms of rough correspondence and coherence.
Sufficiency and necessity of the concept
This notion of meaning is necessary—without the concept there is no object; and sufficient for analysis of meaning for it requires no external account of meaning. However, it leaves open the question of how meaning is fixed. It is fixed by conventions that arise in use. As arising in use the circle of how meaning is fixed is closed; that it is conventional does not imply that it is arbitrary for the signs themselves have no pertinence (except for considerations external to meaning—e.g. simplicity, convenience, and elegance).
This notion is powerful—analysis of meaning is not mere analysis of meaning but of the world (i.e. the world-as-known); and further synthesis of meaning is creation of knowledge.
The notion is a source of resolution of paradox—e.g. the problem of negative existentials is resolved as follows. Consider the concepts of tiger and unicorn. Tigers exist means there are objects corresponding to the concept of tiger. Unicorns do not exist means that there are no objects corresponding to the concept of unicorn. The notion may be used to defuse the possibility of paradox stemming from the assumption that sentences that are syntactically well formed objects for the notion insists that such objects be given as part of meaning.
Effective oneness of experience and Being
Meaning—summary of the discussion. Our need and therefore main interest is in referential meaning. A sign-concept-object conception of meaning is given (the sign may be absent or part of the concept). The concept-object is necessary and sufficient to meaning. This is empowering to the use of meaning and to defusing various paradoxes that stem from inadequate conceptions of meaning—particularly the idea that any grammatically proper sentence has possible objects.
A standard secular view (SSV) of the world is that of many persons (I, you, they) with similar minds in an environment that, excepting other organisms, is experientially inert or mind free.
SSV is perhaps the position most of us take when being unreflective. Some of us regard it as certainly true. Others may think of it as having some truth. Regardless, in doubting it we may arrive firmer and more insightful understanding of what really obtains—SSV or otherwise.
An SSV world is a logically possible world (LPW). However, SSV may be untrue or incompletely true of our world or of the entire universe. To evaluate the truth of the nature of this world and of the entire universe we shall systematically consider a (reasonably) complete system of logically possible worlds including SSV or some refinement of it and use contingent facts to see what logically possible worlds obtain.
Metaphysical solipsism (MS) is the position that the world is this one mind—the mind of the experiencer—or just the experience itself and hence there is no external world and there are no other minds. MS is logically possible—it obtains in some logically possible if not actual worlds. Can we validly assert that it does not obtain? It seems possible that there is in fact just this one mind and that SSV is illusory. On that ground MS is sometimes presented as a paradox that MS and SSV are indistinguishable. However, that is not true on a general meaning of distinguishability. Rather MS and SSV are logically indistinguishable in the sense that SSV is a special case of MS. Under methodological skepticism (MSK), MS it is not so much a challenge to SSV as opportunity to set our worldview right—i.e., to clarify our view of the nature of the world.
As stated an aim is to see what it is about our world that may establish SSV or some refinement of it. Further, we will discover some significant aspects of the nature of other logically and reasonably possible kinds of worlds. If the universe should be discovered to be greater the standard view of our world (SSV), to have other logically or reasonably possible worlds in hand will be useful. Later, in Metaphysics, we will see that the world is the logically possible and so the present analysis will help in understanding the nature of the universe.
In fact MS is logically indistinguishable from a position that we will call simple mind solipsism (SMS). SMS is the position that the power of the one mind is roughly that of the power of a person’s mind under SSV and that that mind generates a SSV-like image which it takes as SSV (the image is not an illusion, it is just experience, but to take the image as SSV is an illusion). Since it is logically possible, SMS obtains in some LPW’s. Those worlds would be bizarrely simple relative to SSV; however ‘bizarrely simple’ is intuitive and does not rule out that our world is an SMS world. What would rule it out? If we take it as given that our world is roughly as complex as held under SSV, that would rule out SMS. Thus, though possible, SMS is not interesting. We may rule out that it obtains in our world on the practical or metaphysical ground of a sufficiently complex world.
What else can we consider to allow or to rule out? We must hypothesize possibilities for the nature of the world and analyze them for realism. Consider the following possibilities:
a. The world as a field of experience and experiential relations (FOE) with focal centers—persons, other animals—but dimly experiential elsewhere (the environment). It was seen earlier that MS is logically indistinguishable from SSV as a special case of MS. We now observe that MS is also logically indistinguishable from world as FOE but the latter is not a special case of MS; the equivalence is full. In fact, FOE can be seen as a restatement of MS.
b. SSV which is a special case of FOE in which the level of experientiality in the environment is not just dim but absent or zero.
c. World as substance. A substance is a foundational entity for the world (this is one of two main philosophical uses of the term ‘substance’; the other more specialized use is not explicitly employed here). Examples are mind, concept, matter, atom, process, change, relation, interaction, property, word, fact, and so on—or a neutral kind. The appeal of substance is that it provides a simple foundation. Ideally, substances are supremely simple and eternal. Problems include the foundation of substance itself, how simplicity generates complexity, and how—if there is more than one—substances interact. We will use the concept of substance to make clarifications but we will not found the development on it for it is not given that there are substances or that substance can found the world. For the present purpose the important property of substances is that they do not interact for if they did it would be contrary to the concept of substance.
d. Monism is the view that the world is constituted of a single substance which is often taken to be either mind or matter. Neutral monism (NM) is the view that the world has one substance but there is no commitment to what that substance is. The substance could be mind or matter or a neutral substance.
e. Dualism is the view that the world is constituted of two substances which are usually taken to be mind and matter (pluralism envisages multiple substances). On account of the problem of interaction of substances, we may rule out that dualism or pluralism obtain (if the world is a substance world). Therefore if the world is a substance world, monism must obtain.
Let us consider the case of substance in this section until, later in the section, we relax the condition of substance altogether (it will be pointed out when this is done). At that time, in making no substance hypothesis, we also address the foregoing problems of substance.
We saw above that if the world is a substance world then monism must obtain.
Real or external world
On monism the world is a substance world. Then, substance must have two sides—the experiential (‘mind’, consciousness, first person) and the experienced (‘matter’, third person, and experience-itself-as-experienced). This must obtain under monism for the alternative is that either mind or matter or both emerge as substances which would contradict monism. Therefore, if the world is a substance world it is an FOE-monism. FOE-monism may seem like an idealism but on account of the two sides of experience it is not an idealism. If we start with the assumption of NM, we find that the substance must be experience.
Under SSV mind would have to emerge and so SSV is not an FOE-monism (this is not a contradiction of what was said earlier for the distinction made here is between SSV and any FOE-monism but not between SSV and any FOE world). However consider ESSV: SSV with the enhancement that the environment has at least low level or in principle and non-focal experientiality (‘in principle’ experientiality means that the ‘value’ of experientiality may be zero but experientiality itself is never ‘null’). ESSV is a special case of FOE-monism. However, FOE-monism allows worlds with not just many minds as in ESSV; it also allows many minds and many ESSV-type worlds as part of one mind-world. This is revealing. It says that even if ESSV obtains in the world we experience, that world may be a part of that ‘higher’ world. Later, when we find in Metaphysics that the universe is the logically possible (the resultant metaphysics will be called the perfect metaphysics or PFM), this possibility under neutral monism will also obtain.
What further restriction do we need for this world to be an ESSV world? It would have to be that a certain picture of materialism obtains. The world could be as in current physics or whatever future physics it takes to ground the mental. However, mind as such would not emerge. Mind as a kind would already be present in the physical but at a low level; this is what might require future physics. Thus what would emerge would not be mind as such but a high level of organization and processing whose mental side includes consciousness as we experience it. What we see is that true materialism and idealism cannot be distinct.
It is still possible that other minds could really be zombie minds under ESSV. What would guarantee ‘real’ other minds? If the structure of another organism is identical to mine it must have mind. But similarity alone is not enough to guarantee mind. For in a world lacking in sufficient stability, similarity of external and material form does not guarantee similarity of behavior or internal form. In some ESSV-worlds other minds may in fact not obtain; but these would be unstable and insignificant to the population of the universe (as we will see later). With sufficient stability under FOE, then, other minds obtain under ESSV.
Let us now relax the earlier assumption that the world is substance.
The later establishment of PFM will entail that in the entire universe monism will not obtain. There will be phases of pluralism, of dualism, of monism, and of no substance at all. At that time the resolution of the problems of substance will be manifest. The main problem is the foundation of substance and its resolution entails resolution of the other problems noted earlier. In particular the foundation of the world is found to be the ultimately simple void which necessarily generates complexity which shows that there are no substances and there is no explanatory need for substance (but there are approximate substances which must necessarily interact).
At large, the universe will not be founded in substance (we will find it to be equivalently self-founded, founded in Being, founded in any being, or founded in the void). Both ESSV and SSV worlds may obtain (our world could be a SSV world after all).
The universe will be constituted of many great mind-worlds. These will have various sub-minds. More generally there will be a hierarchy of minds and FOE’s with their two sides of experiencer and experienced; there will be ESSV-worlds and SSV-worlds and SMS-worlds. In phases of general cosmology the hierarchy of minds and neutral monisms may interact resulting in numerous as-if dualisms and pluralisms. The hierarchy will all come together occasionally as one—peaks that may be named the Brahman of Advaita Vedanta or the Aeternitas of Thomas Aquinas. Peaks and dissolutions will cycle without end or other contingent limit.
(Note, by the way, that with experiencing and experienced as the two sides or attributes of experience there may be limitless variety of beings and kinds of Being but it is logically impossible for there to be further Spinozan attributes.)
Our world as ESSV, the enhanced SSV or standard secular view, does obtain; for some purposes it may be regarded as in the ordinary SSV. However, it obtains as an infinitesimal part of the limitless picture entailed by the perfect metaphysics. This implies that our world is ESSV for limited purposes only (e.g. billions of years and light years vs the limitless); and that its isolation from the rest of the universe is temporary; and that it merges with the universe in eternity.
Summary so far
From experience to the world—summary of the discussion. This section provides an argument for world as FOE and its varieties. It first looks at case that the universe or knowledge thereof is founded in substance. It finds that our common materialist view, SSV, is an acceptable local view but with slight modifications. It allows but does not require a greater possibility of a world mind which has peaks and dissolutions and in which we participate. The substance view is then relaxed and in this case there is a greater variety of possibilities. The significance of these possible alternatives to SSV is that if the universe is such that all (or many) possibilities are fact, then the world is far richer than in SSV. Later, we find that the world is the realization of all and ultimate possibility and work out details of consequences for the universe, for individuals, and their realizations of the ultimate.
Agency as the exercise of free will, too, may be doubted. Do we have free will? The crucial question is, really, about the concept or meaning of free will. First, free will is about having, knowing, and creating options; and then about choosing from among options. The doubt about free will cannot be that we do not have it but that we cannot distinguish between having free will and having an illusion of free will. Ask whether we create or discover physics. The patterns are there; we discover them. But how? We do that by creating concepts—laws—that describe the patterns. Obviously, we are creating too. That is not an illusion. That is an example of free will at work. We use the same ‘faculty’ in seeing-creating and choosing from among options.
Observation. Experimental arguments against free will are based on interpretation of experiment, which are not at all definite or the only interpretations. Arguments from determinism are mistaken in that the world is not known to be deterministic even in tradition. It is a fallacy to think that an incomplete physics should determine the nature of mind: rather physics and true psychology should be mutually informing. Other ideological arguments against free will—or for it—are moot.
The role of radical doubt
It has become clear that doubt—questioning received views—is critical in seeing what is true.
It should also be clear that radical imagination is as important as radical doubt—for it is the hypothesis, especially the radical hypothesis, that makes doubt potent rather than stillborn.
While doubt invariably arises in ad hoc ways, the promotion of the ad hoc and the piece meal to an absolute is absurd and unnecessary. For a systematic and programmatic approach is powerful as is apparent from the history of thought. Further, to encourage system is not to eschew the unexpected and the occasionally arising. System and the irregularities of the world can coexist.
Though it is not emphasized systematically in this text version of The Way, a program of radical doubt and imagination is powerful in building a post-scientific metaphysics and is at work behind the scenes in the essay. Note of course, that we are using the term ‘science’ in a rather conventional rather rigidly non-abstract and empirical sense.
In beginning and continuing with doubt as an element of understanding, doubt is built into the process of understanding rather than merely applied to understanding.
On radical doubt—summary of the discussion so far. While doubt is critical, what is essential is a program of radical doubt and imagination. These constitute a rational and existential approach to a world with elements of certainty and uncertainty.
Duality of doubt and certainty
Pragmatic and absolute certainty
At times we must move ahead with pragmatic certainty, e.g. that simple empirical observation supports no immediate God; that Russell’s Teapot does not exist (for if it did why would there not be a an infinity of them).
Conditions for pragmatic certainty to obtain
In From experience to world, we saw conditions under which pragmatic certainty will be absolute.
Doubt and imagination
Doubt and critical thought are sometimes thought to sideline imagination.
Without imagination there is no knowledge; and while criticism refines knowledge the view of imagination as generating and criticism as refining is naïve.
For imagination improves criticism and criticism improves imagination. Each improves both.
Reason, logic, argument (Logic), and science thread through this essay in this and other sections—Science—its power and tentative nature, A final truth?, A world beyond the empirical?, A boundary of all science: logic and fact, The concepts of Logic and logic, The perfect metaphysics, Founding concepts, Concepts for the foundation, A role for religion, Summary of the Introduction, Possibility, A principle of sufficient reason, Metaphysics and reason, and Abstract objects.
Discussion of knowledge and reason has already begun—e.g. in Meaning, Discussion of reason must in fact always begin in the ‘middle’ and then work its way downward to foundation and upward to use or application. It may seem as though the axiomatic method is a refinement of this but it is not—rather it is a helpful formalization for even under the axiomatic method, foundations are potentially subject to revision.
It might be more effective to treat this important topic after developing the metaphysics. That would result in a more potent account of knowledge and reason.
The account of knowledge and reason would be more compact if placed after developing the metaphysics. However, treatment here results in a more potent approach for it informs us what we can know without the metaphysics. Further, we continue the discussion as a later topic under Metaphysics and thus any potency resulting from the metaphysics is not lost.
Knowledge and reason
Knowledge is understood to include reason.
In talking of compound sign, concept, and object we have ventured into the realm of knowledge, e.g. science wherein the compounds include patterns.
Knowledge is reliable capture by a concept of its intended object. This suggests that the criteria of this conception of knowledge is pragmatic and coherentist. However, it is allowed from the discussion of meaning that reliability may approach correspondence.
A law or theory is our hypothetical concept or reading of a pattern. Given a context over which the law is seen to hold, it is factual over the context or hypothetical relative to universalization. In either case, it is the freedom of concept formation that permits both agreement with the ‘real’ and disagreement or error.
Such error can be (i) due to incompatibility within the concept and (ii) incompatibility with the real. The method of eliminating #i is logic, and of eliminating #ii is science.
A fundamental observation:
Laws and patterns of nature have Being. This follows from—is empowered by—the neutrality of the conception of Being and is an example of its power. The conclusion and therefore ‘Being’ are fundamentally empowering in what follows. It will empower conclusion of the fundamental principle of metaphysics that the universe is the realization of logical possibility.
If we were to eliminate incompatibility within the concept as well as agreement with simple premises (ones that are not recognized as patterns) the method is argument and could be also called Logic which, over and above the requirement of logic, incorporates consistency with facts—i.e. Logic requires conceptual-conceptual and conceptual-factual or conceptual-perceptual consistency. Both Logic and science are constituted of the discovery of the method and its application and thus they can be seen as falling under a compound which we could call Science or Logic which includes science and logic. This Science can be seen as a compound of fact and pattern but since patterns are compounds, Science is at root a collection of facts.
On the abstract side, perfection may occur via (a) abstract ostensive definition or (b) axiomatic formulation, together with Logic. But how do or can we trust Logic? In the standard cases we do so from transparency, soundness, and when possible, completeness. In the abstract case, knowledge may be perfect in a correspondence or at least as-if correspondence sense.
(The method of this) Science has been seen to include imagination (hypothesis) and criticism in a range of modes (experiment, the requirement of consistency). Experiment may be extended to include action and exploration. These elements are used reflexively (as defined in the next paragraph) together with judicious allocation of resources (personal, institutional, through global). These are elements of reason (and metareason, e.g. allocation of resources—but note that metareason is an element of reason).
Reflex use of the elements of reason here means that each element may be applied selectively or mechanically to or with other elements where such application is within or perhaps even strains the scope of the elements. Thus criticism is to be criticized; as is imagination; but imagination is to be applied also to find new ways of both imagination and criticism.
While Science is open to revision, we will discover an abstract side that is perfect. We will label this abstract metaphysics (ASM). Valid tradition will be what is valid in received knowledge and culture (as noted earlier ‘tradition’ may refer to ‘valid tradition’). To render ASM instrumental we append valid tradition to result in a perfect metaphysics (PFM or the metaphysics—TM). It will be found perfect (i) on the abstract side, from abstraction and (ii) the pragmatic side, not in the sense of precise definition of an object, but in that it is adequate as well as the best available, in combination with the abstract, relative to ultimate goals revealed on the abstract side.
A common meaning of intuition is that of understanding and knowing the world in terms of images—often but not necessarily altogether visual—rather than in formal and strictly rational terms. The meaning of intuition here is related to the common meaning—it is the capacity or faculty of the mind such that concepts (concepts and percepts) conform to the world—i.e., such that the structure of the one conforms to the structure of the other.
The images may be combinations of the sensory modalities. Linguistic imaging is included. Language depicts the world via word-concept-object associations and the structure of world combinations, e.g. sentences, whose structure mirrors the structures of the world. So far as language arises and is learned ‘naturally’ it is intuitive rather than formal.
In the formal use of language, words are abstract terms; sentences and proofs are schemas that may depict the world (sentences) and infer further depictions by proof (logic and science).
The formal is limited by precision (are the depictions faithful) and adequacy (are the depictions and inferences adequate to the richness of the world).
Given precision, the conclusions of formal use are true. However, (i) even where we accede to precision on the formal side, it does not necessarily obtain on the object or world side (and we are sometimes misled by the precision on the formal side to concluding precision on the object side—but note that precision on the formal side is important in eliminating some errors and further in avoiding errors of imagination and intuition) (ii) by the way—there is and should not be competition between the formal and the intuitive because they can interact and each correct and enhance the other, (iii) the issues of adequacy and richness of the formal side remain; in this regard intuition is especially important.
When one promotes intuition, the immediate criticism is that it may commit errors that the formal approaches avoid. This criticism ought not to be valid as (a) where the formal is applicable, intuition and the formal may be deployed in synergic interaction (and the objection ought to be to the naïve use of intuition alone) and (ii) there may be realms inaccessible to the formal (and the objection ought to be to the use of intuition without any thought as to risk).
Where is the formal inadequate?
1. In the abstract sciences, e.g. of logic and mathematics. Formal systems deploy a finite collection of symbols and the sentences of such systems are of finite length. Consequently, the theorems of such systems are a countable infinity which may limit formal mathematics in relation to a more complete mathematics, especially a mathematics capable of capturing the entire real—and especially the richest mathematics that may be had. Thus it is that mathematicians today are questioning the relative roles of ‘proof’ vs ‘intuition’ where intuition is not merely an adjunct to proof.
2. In the concrete sciences. It is clearly a valid question whether the concrete sciences—physics, biology and so on—are adequate to the world. That they do yeoman service is not questioned. The perfect metaphysics of the essay shows that the universe may well be beyond formal grasp (with the meaning ‘formal’ as above).
Development of the concept, understanding, and use of intuition is important.
1. To a full system of concrete and abstract sciences.
2. In terms of methods of intuition such that the function and use of intuition go beyond the naïve.
3. In parallel with the formal. It ought to be understood that the formal and intuition are not in opposition but are both functions of reason which include (a) strictly finite systems (b) systems in which every individual ‘object’ (collection of symbols, sentences or well formed formulas, axioms, proofs, theorems) is finite, but the collection of objects is not but does not exceed the countably infinite, (c) systems without such limits, (d) consideration of whether #c is structured as to degrees of infinity, (e) questions of limits set by the formal and real physics of our cosmos and the universe.
Since the concept of a being has already been defined, the definition is a recapitulation.
Some particular Beings
All, part, null
A being is a part; we now take up ‘all’ and ‘none’.
There are other uses of the term ‘universe’. The various uses do not negate one another. However, (i) in any development it is essential to be clear which concept is being used, (ii) debate about the ‘correct’ use is meaningless, (iii) a range of uses may be empowering in different contexts, (iv) the present use along with Being and related concepts is maximally empowering in the present context, and (iv) the present context is ultimate in ways already pointed out and under development.
Here are two examples of empowerment.
First, some secular thinkers insist on the universe as all physical reality and others as the empirical universe. The motives are not entirely clear but presumably a central motive is to not admit the non-physical and the non-empirical. However, both the physical as known and the empirical are incomplete. Therefore these secular definitions are limiting at outset—a limitation set by either explicit or implicit pre-commitment.
Second, some religious thinkers insist on a definition that is similar to the secular definition above but the motive now is not to exclude the supra-physical but to distinguish it from and place it above the physical. Defining the universe as the physical, there is a first cause argument that goes roughly (i) all physical things have a beginning, (ii) all things that have a beginning must have a cause, (iii) the universe must have a cause, (iv) that cause must be non-physical, and (v) that cause is the fist cause or God. Note that every item in the ‘deduction’ is mistaken. However, the whole argument is made irrelevant by observing that the universe-as-all-Being (the conception in this text) is identical to the universe-as-the-physical together with all-that-is-non-physical (as in some theologies). But not only is the latter made irrelevant, the former leads to momentous consequences as seen in the present text.
Particularly, focus on the universe-as-all-Being. What is its cause? It cannot have a cause in the sense of cause as cause-and-effect (this corresponds to the first cause as the causeless cause). Therefore the cause of the universe must be cause in another sense of which two kinds may be recognized (i) accident and (ii) necessity. We will find the universe to be necessary—and more: particularly we will find an identity between possibility and necessity. This will be demonstrated. Let us briefly preview part of the heuristic argument of the section Alternate proof and heuristics. The heuristic is, simply, that if there is a satisfactory explanation of the Being of the universe it must be that the existence of the universe is necessary. Though this is not a proof (as noted a proof is given) it shows that if there is a proof a support or cause of the universe is logical or of necessity and that this cause is not cause of local-temporal-contiguous kind. The latter is never original cause for it always refers to something else (unless of course the something else is nothingness which too will be seen to obtain).
In anticipation of the developments to come—the existence of the universe is necessary and the truth of this follows from the conceptions of Being, universe and related concepts.
A more complete definition—The universe is all Being over all sameness, difference, their absence.
This definition is of universe as the block universe concept that will be developed later. An early statement of the idea was by Johannes Scotus Eriugena—The universe is all that exists over all time and space and all that does not. The definition here used the phrase ‘all sameness, difference, and their absence’ because spacetime will be derived rather than presumed. What is the significance of Eriugena’s ‘all that does not exist’? To understand it, let us go back to the concept-object notion of meaning. If the concept is illogical, there is no object—the object is null. Asserting that the null object exists changes nothing. On the other hand the illogical concept itself exists (perhaps that is what Eriugena may have thought). Now if the concept is not illogical, existence of the object would seem to be contingent. That is our standard view—not everything that we conceive, even if logical, exists. When there is no object, the concept-object is not counted as existing, according to Eriugena. In other words, Eriugena’s concept of ‘universe’ is as inclusive as possible on the standard view. Later, we will find that the real concept of universe is greater and that there are no contingently non existent objects (this of course goes against all intuition and empirical sense and will require proof, interpretation, and re-intuition).
The following have Being and are therefore in the universe: beings, power or interaction, entities, processes, qualities, experience (consciousness—whether experienced as pure or of attitude or action—and all its kinds, e.g. cognitions, emotions, dreams, illusions, hallucinations, and will and choice).
Abstract objects exist as concepts; whether they exist as real vs potential vs null objects will be determined later (the idea that they exist as mental or symbolic objects does not say much for that is already part of existing as a concept; however, on any reasonable metaphysics existence as obtaining in a possible world is given for consistently conceived abstract objects; and it will later be seen on the perfect metaphysics to be demonstrated that the necessary and sufficient condition of existence is logical consistency of the concept).
Thus existence and Being may be said to have Being.
The neutrality of the concept of Being was seen to be empowering of experience as a measure Being and indicator of its variety. The inclusivity of the concept of universe as all Being extends that power. It is not that other concepts of ‘universe’ are invalid but rather that they are individually and systemically not as empowering and may lead to confusions. Similarly, the definition of the void below as excluding all manifest Being continues the empowerment that has already begun. The following exemplify the empowerment.
For a region of the universe a nonbeing is a being that does not obtain but that exists in another.
What are called abstract objects in the literature are simply the objects of sufficiently abstracted concepts that some physical attributes such as cause, sameness and difference (e.g. spacetime) are abstracted out. There is no essential difference between the abstract and the concrete objects. Just as a concrete conception does not necessarily have an object if the universe is conceptually limited, so an abstract conception does not necessarily have an object.
However, all concepts—concrete or abstracts; everyday; linguistic, logical, mathematical or scientific—and any objects that they may have are in the universe.
Later, when it is seen that the universe is the realization of all Logical possibility, it will follow that all Logical concepts, regardless of degree of concretion vs abstraction, and their objects are in the universe; consistent mathematical systems are realized; Logic is the universe. In our cosmos, however, not all Logical concepts are realized as objects; some mathematical systems are partially and approximately realized; Logic may be best seen as a conceptual system. In such cases, the concept or some symbolic representation thereof may be considered to be the object; this thought is more useful in the abstract—literal or metaphorical—cases rather than the concrete.
However, it is not a contradiction to think that nothing (ness) is outside of the universe. A contingently null (e.g., a golden mountain) or necessarily null (e.g. a square circle) may be thought of as outside of the universe.
From its definition, the number of voids is indeterminate—i.e., it is from zero to an infinite number.
The void—or voids—may be regarded as part of or outside the universe.
If the void exists, it is eternal.
If the void exists, the universe is eternal.
It is not a contradiction of logic or science to assert that the void exists.
It is later shown that there is effectively one void—the void.
The location of the void has no significance (though no thing is outside the universe, the void may be regarded as being outside).
Tradition and valid tradition have been defined earlier. For the remain topics of this section see Tradition.
The foregoing may be an ultimate definition of logic which may perhaps be one in which science and logic merge even though not identical.
That is, Logical possibility is the requirement of logical possibility and factual possibility.
What are the Logical possibilities? Are they not just the actual? Consider a block universe perspective (i.e. over all sameness, difference, and their absence—e.g. over all space and time and not just over past and present). Then:
1. In the block perspective determinism holds and the actual and possible are identical.
2. In a local perspective—part of the block—regardless of temporal determinism, where there is a degree of interactive isolation, there is always indeterminism relative to the whole and the possible exceeds the actual.
Logical impossibility is what is not allowed by Logic.
The Logically impossible object—i.e. one whose concept violates Logic—does not exist.
The Logical impossibility may be regarded as being or existing outside the universe. It may be regarded as existing in the universe as a (the) null object.
An algebraic rendering of the notion of the concept-reference (object) will minimize what it takes to encapsulate the variety of possibilities in expressions of the foregoing type.
Although it is in experience and so we naturally think that possibility for a being must be less than the Logical, that is contingent upon the conceived constitution being ultimate.
It is in the nature of the real that Logical possibility is at least implicit in constitution of all beings.
It is useful in thought experiment to conceive beings that violate Logical possibility or aspects of constitution (or both). ‘Logical possibility’ has been used to refer to violation of constitution but that is not the use here.
This results in a definition of Logic or Science: the constraints on concepts that they may have objects in some world. This is an in principle definition which contrasts to discovered logics and sciences.
The hypothetical object that does not satisfy logic is null—and may be considered non-existent.
Therefore logical possibility is maximal possibility.
We will see in Metaphysics that maximal possibility is logical possibility.
The concept of logic is most general; it defines objects that can occur in some world; the contra-logical object is null.
On the other hand Logic is logic together with facts given in some perspective. From the perspective of the universe as a block, there are only facts; i.e. there is logic and Logic but they are superficial.
Possibility may exceed the actual where there is indeterminism—i.e., where knowledge or context do not determine the whole (universe over all sameness, difference, and their absence).
Physical possibility is an example of the natural and may be conceived in terms of the known laws of physics (even though the laws may be imprecise, they are at least a rough guide).
In a world, feasibility is what is pragmatically possible; knowledge of the feasible is almost invariably incomplete—except in dogmatic attitude. The ethical is what is feasible and desirable in terms of our understandings of the good and/or the right.
The term metaphysical possibility will have a number of senses—(1) as real possibility (different from natural possibility insofar as science of nature is incomplete), (2) possibility in terms of some specific metaphysical system or supposed metaphysical constraint (useful in thought experiment), and (3) possibility in terms of the abstract and perfect metaphysics developed in the next section (the outer boundary of which is defined by the abstract metaphysics and is identical to logical possibility).
The concept of metaphysics
Is metaphysics possible?
Because ‘the concept is not the object’ the possibility knowledge itself has been doubted. Naturally, therefore, metaphysics has been doubted.
Yes—development of the perfect metaphysics has already begun!
However, from abstraction, metaphysics has already begun even in the sense of ‘perfection’ as perfect capture of an object by the concept—see Being.
Further, in the spirit of criticism we ought to criticize perfection as perfect capture. Though that notion of perfection has been central to confidence in knowledge, it does not follow that it is the best possible in terms of ultimate uses or aims. We will resolve this ‘tension’ by accepting perfection of capture where it is possible and by adjoining to it pragmatic or ‘good enough’ knowledge such that the combination is a dual metaphysics and epistemology that is perfect in relation to the ultimate as revealed by the knowledge—metaphysics itself.
Why is there Being at all rather than the void or nothingness? This has been called the ‘fundamental question of metaphysics’ by Martin Heidegger. The answer is now clear—from FP, there must be Being.
The fundamental question of metaphysics
This suggests a new fundamental question of metaphysics (FQM)—What has Being? This question of course is addressed in just about every section of Part I of the essay. See, particularly, Kinds of Being and Cosmology.
‘Everything’ from nothing
A naïve probability argument
A heuristic accidental vs necessity argument
If we assume there is an explanation it must that Being is accidental or necessary. But that it is accidental is not satisfactory for it does not prove that there must be Being.
A heuristic—therefore assume that there is fully satisfactory explanation of our existence. To be satisfactory, it must be necessary and not just possible or probable. Further, to be satisfactory, it could not take as prior or foundation any specific state of the universe. Therefore prior or foundation must be the universe in any state whatsoever, including the void. However, from symmetry, no particular consequent or founded state could be the only consequent or emergent. That is, all logically possible states must obtain, which is what we will name the fundamental principle of metaphysics (FP).
A heuristic argument from the idea of a final physics
A second heuristic—consider the possibility post quantum / relativistic physics. What may it be like? Our best answer today, early twentyfirst century, will speculate. But then what will come after that, then next, and so on. We may get to a point so removed from experience as to constitute ‘wild speculation’. However, we can be sure that no future science will reveal that the universe exceeds the logically possible. That is, the fundamental principle is the limit or envelope of all possible future science.
Alternate proof and Heuristics for ‘something from nothing’ and the fundamental principle—this and the previous section have provided two heuristic arguments designed to address conflict of ‘something from nothing’ and the fundamental principle and therefore the later perfect metaphysics (PFM) with expectation and intuition.
The demonstration is in two steps—(1) existence of the void and (2) use of #1 to conclude FP. We begin with a demonstration of #1.
This section proves existence of the void.
If the universe enters a void state, the state exists.
This same state or being exists together with or alongside every being.
Therefore the void exists.
This implies FP as follows.
The void has no laws. Therefore there are no limits (boundaries) to realizations of—emergent from—the void.
The void realizes the maximally possible.
The maximally possible is the logically possible.
The void realizes all logical possibility.
The universe realizes all logical possibility, which is the fundamental principle and concludes its proof.
Proof of the fundamental principle of metaphysics—summary of the discussion. Since laws have Being, the void has no laws. Therefore every Logically possible state emerges from the void for the contrary would be a law of the void.
What follows now are consequences. Where proof it trivial it is not given.
The fundamental principle results in a definition of Logic or Science: the constraints on concepts that they may have objects. This is an in principle definition which contrasts to discovered logics and sciences.
The conceived or hypothetical being that has no power does not exist.
All beings have some effect on experience (they leave some at least transient impression in the experience of some being).
The hypothetical being that has no effect on experience does not exist.
It is conceivable that the universe has two or more never-interacting parts and such parts would be relatively nonexistent. However, such non-interacting parts are disallowed by FP. The oneness of the universe is ‘dynamic’.
Again, we see the utter triviality of the concepts—Being, beings, experience, the void, and possibility, and careful definition—and their simultaneous depth and power of consequence. We continue to see and develop that depth and power.
The perfect metaphysics (PFM or the metaphysics—TM), is a join of the above abstract metaphysics and valid tradition as pragmatic (a pragmatic metaphysics—PRM) The abstract shows what is realizable in the ultimate and illuminates the pragmatic, and the pragmatic relates us to the immediate and is means of realization.
As noted in the Abbreviations the following terms are used: ASM—the abstract and perfect capture side, which will capture the universe as a whole and reveal it as ultimate realization of (Logical) possibility; PRM—the pragmatic side constituted of valid tradition as defined earlier; PFM or TM—the perfect metaphysics or, simply, the metaphysics, the perfect dual according to dual criteria as described in the previous paragraph. The perfect and pragmatic sides of the dual, it will be shown, is interactive—the abstract cradles and illuminates the pragmatic and shows what may be achieved while the pragmatic is the means; the abstract relates us (Being) to the ultimate; the pragmatic relates us to the immediate; the perfect dual relates the immediate to the ultimate.
It is natural to doubt the principle from the ontological nature of the proof and the magnitude of its content and consequences that follow.
Therefore it is critical to see that since the principle asserts Logical possibility, there is and can be neither internal inconsistency nor violation of valid fact, experience, or valid tradition including science.
However, consistency is not proof, and therefore state alternate proofs, heuristics, and attitudes to the principle.
Doubt and consistency—summary of the discussion. Doubt is critical. However, PFM is demonstrated and consistent with science and tradition. Yet, we continue to address doubt.
Alternate proof—existence of the void is equivalent to its nonexistence.
The essence of doubt. It is useful to repeat the summary of the earlier section On radical doubt: “While doubt is critical, what is essential is a program of radical doubt and imagination. These constitute a rational and existential approach to a world with elements of certainty and uncertainty.”
The explicit meaning of the metaphysics is in its statement, the meaning of the terms in the statement (particularly Logic, Being, universe, and possibility all explained earlier); and the demonstration, heuristics, and attitudes. Particularly, Logic is the kernel of the consequences; the demonstration empowers use and means of use; and the attitudes are sources of reasons or motives and ethical attitudes toward the metaphysics.
The implicit meaning lies in metaphysical and cosmological consequences, and consequences for a path of realization revealed in outline by the metaphysics. We now turn to focus on the implicit.
The meaning of the metaphysics—summary of the discussion. The explicit meaning of the meaning of the metaphysics is in what it says. The implicit meaning is in its consequences. We now turn to focus on the implicit meaning.
A second attitude—rather than to prove the fundamental principle let us follow the breakthrough path that has lead to some of our most fundamental science. As an example, consider special relativity. The breakthrough was, instead of constructing it from classical physics, constant light speed, length contraction and so on, to propose the constancy of light speed (along with the principle of relativity) as fundamental principles. Therefore, along those lines, let us propose the fundamental principle of metaphysics (along with Logic as constraint or law of concepts for realization at all) as a universal law.
The fundamental principle as universal law—summary of the discussion. The doubt in this section concerns whether FP and PFM are or can be constructions. Instead, from consistency and heuristics it is effective to propose FP as a universal law.
The fundamental principle as existential hypothesis
An attitude—if it is true, FP shows that the universe and all beings realize the ultimate (logical possibility). Given consistency and this ultimate what attitude should or may we take? And how may we decide? Our principle shall be to maximize the value of the outcome. That is, we ought to allocate resources between the immediate and the search for and realization of the ultimate. In terms of this value principle we ought to allocate resources to that search and realization. To this end our attitude to the fundamental principle, if we do not accept its proof, shall and ought to be to regard it as an existential hypothesis. But even if the principle is true, we, similarly, to regard it as an existential truth.
The perfect metaphysics (PFM or TM) as described early in this section on Metaphysics is established.
Given FP, many consequences are trivial and therefore ‘demonstration’ is omitted. What is important is the intuition or imagination and, of course that the imagination be subject to critique and rendered practical.
Consequences suggested earlier
The universe is Brahman.
The individual, Atman, realizes Brahman.
Atman is Brahman is Atman.
The Logos as the consistent Word, universe, and Logic are one.
The discussion anticipates some parts of cosmology but as noted later the distinction between metaphysics and general cosmology is not definite.
This is of course not true from the limited perspective of our cosmos. Thus Leibniz’ principle of sufficient reason holds in this necessary or Logical sense but not in Leibniz’ original sense in which ‘reason’ meant ‘cause’ as it is found in the cosmos.
As foundation or ground of all Being—the universe—there is neither possibility nor need of substance as some special and unique but universally grounding kind. The void or any state of Being may be seen as universally grounding—in that from any state all states emerge.
As anticipated in From experience to the world, the neutral monism that is potent in a substance cosmos must be relaxed.
In that all states emerge from or are ‘determined’ by any state, the universe, seen over all sameness-difference-their absence, i.e. as a ‘block’ is absolutely deterministic. On the other hand, in that no particular stage is an immediate consequent of any state, the universe is absolutely indeterministic.
It was seen that the void generates the universe as all logical possibility. Thus the void could be seen as substance. But it is hardly a substance, being empty and limitlessly dynamic in its ‘effects’. Further, as the void is present with any being, every being could be seen as substance of the universe. But all beings are similarly dynamic in eternity and therefore should not count as substances.
The universe is not grounded in substance—summary of the discussion. The universe is not grounded in substance or elementary form other than the universe as it is; knowledge of the universe neither has nor needs substance foundation.
The concept of identity threads through this essay in this and other sections— Development of the metaphysics, The universe and identity, Universal and individual identity, Important conclusions regarding identity, and Kinds of Being.
This is a good place to employ definition of the universe as all Being over all sameness, difference and their absence.
Let us first consider identity, space, and time. The field of experience revealed experiencers and the experienced; experience and experiencer are among the experienced. The experiencer is the self; experience the place of mind, and the experienced is the world. Self, mind, and world may be regarded as labels; we should now establish these ideas from identity to self and more from primitives.
Identity is may be defined as sense of sameness of self (personal identity) or object (object identity).
Difference with sameness constitutes change marked by time or (temporal) duration; and difference without sameness space or (spatial) extension. When spatial relation mediates change in identity over time, the relation is interactive or causal; logical objection to cause is not to its nonexistence but that causal interaction is not logically necessary).
Though space, time, and identity can be made objective—sometimes and to some extent—in the sense of being measurable, space and time are interwoven in identity as spacetime (note that spacetime may be seen as a marker and what is real is change and extension).
From PFM, the entire universe is and cannot be marked by spacetime or cause in their common or scientific or even most philosophical senses. However these must obtain in phases of the universe and must be immanent to the universe rather than externally imposed or given. However, they may be locally imposed or given. For example, if one cosmos generates another the space, time, and cause of the former may be imposed on the latter.
If we view the universe as all Being (which implies all Being over all sameness, difference, and their absence) we get a static view of the universe as a ‘block’—the block universe. It is the view or description that is ‘all-at-once’ or static (it is the description that is as-if static—not the universe that is static); it is a view that suppresses time or change as moving on a continuum or discretum, but it does not make time or change unreal as is sometimes claimed (but may make time or even change less fundamental or different than otherwise thought). The block universe is here not intended to explain the flow of time.
Does time flow? That it is at least a rough measure of change is the meaning of the phrase time flows. Why does time flow in a particular direction? If what to flow in a particular direction means is that on the whole it flows from order to less order the claim is not true. From FP, there must be phases of both directions of emergence of order. We live in a particular phase. It is a phase that requires us to be agents of construction rather than to ride with given construction.
This block universe view is distinct from the growing block view in which the future is not seen as real (according to some adherents).
In a temporally determinist space and time ‘universe’ the block would be a block of distinct world lines or tubes (except for anomalies); it need not have a boundary and might close on itself. In the temporally indeterminist case the world lines of the universe would at least occasionally diverge / converge. Generally, from PFM, the divergence / convergence would be overwhelming but there would be regions of simpler behavior. Though complex certainly beyond visualization and probably also beyond analytic-axiomatic formulation in discrete finitary language, it is a block. Thus it is given and so from the block point of view it is a determinate universe.
However, consider a region of the universe; or a part thereof. If the part is a relatively causally isolated, e.g. a slice of time in a restricted part, and the part is deterministic / not deterministic then the ‘future’ is determined / not determined. However, now look at more or less causally isolated any part. The part (let alone knowledge of the part) does not determine the whole even though the whole is determinate. That is, the whole is indeterministic relative to the part. For a local being in an epoch or (nearly) causally isolated cosmos, the degree of determinism for the cosmos is an empirical or constitutional issue; the rest of the universe is undetermined subject to Logic.
A block universe perspective—summary of the discussion. The block universe is a description in principle of the universe over all sameness and difference. It is not an alternate reality. It empowers a definition of determinism in which determinism depends on locale and perspective. Individuals temporarily in a relatively isolated locale will find Being to have an effective degree of indeterminism. The block itself is deterministic even if there are local or temporal elements of indeterminism.
Psychology threads through this essay in this and other sections—see Experience for details.
An in process source is psychology as science-experience through agency.html.
Longer versions of the text develop the following into an explicit dynamics.
In Experience it was observed without further basis that kinds of experience include cognition (perception-conception), emotion, agency (with choice and will that amount to free will), and action.
It is worth mentioning words from Buddhist and Indian thought—citta, manas, and Gnâna—as they suggest further combinations of the primitives to form ‘kinds’.
Aspects of experience may be seen as attitude (active and receptive cognition), experience as such, and (will-choice) action. Attitude, experience, and action are often considered distinct.
What kind of basis can be given to the kinds over and above positing them from experience? Perception—seeing the environment with reasonable accuracy in some sense is adaptive; it is a bound experience in the sense that normally we do not have the (hallucinatory) freedom to perceive as we wish. Similarly, some feelings are bound to the world—i.e., to body, self, others, and environment; we may be able to affect these but it is adaptive to not have full choice. In conception or thought we have a good degree to create images from memory, recombination, and perhaps an original creation or recombination—a result of organic indeterminacy perhaps at a low level of organization. This creative free concept formation is adaptive as well. Emotion as the combination of feeling, perception, and cognition (e.g. interpretation) is a mix of binding and freeing and as such also adaptive. We can now generalize these principles of adaptation and summarize:
Kinds of experience are free vs bound, degree of intensity—imperative to neutral, inner vs outer (body and experience of experience vs world), iconic vs symbolic, receptive vs active.
The kinds include
Bound experience—perception-feeling, as if of an object and or the body felt real;
Free experience—conception-emotion (note that conception has two senses in this essay—here it is free conception but it is also general mental content), creative play of experience that includes recall or memory, imagination, language, and reason and which show abstract-pragmatic reality to the felt-real; and
Active experience with volition—which identifies action and the active individual in contrast to the rest of the world.
Dynamics in our cosmos
About this section. This section begins with repetition of some elements of the earlier section on Experience. It is an elaboration of psychology from adaptive and experiential observation. It is not currently central to the thread of discovery and realization of this version of the essay.
The following is a rough description of dynamics in our cosmos. Change in spatial relation among identities is relative motion. A natural motion is one that occurs without cause as defined above. Deviation from natural occurs under and is a function of the magnitude of cause. That is, cause—given by identity and relation—is the source of deviation from natural motion (e.g., rate of deviation from natural motion is a function of cause). Some causes (‘forces’) can be identified with distribution of identity the notion of natural motion expressed in such a way as to eliminate explicit cause. Similar formulations of change in personal identity and trajectories can be written but a useful quantitative theory is not available (for a qualitative approach to identity dynamics see the way of being-Aug2015-pocket manual.html). However, a qualitative theory is not beyond all grasp. Here we take a pragmatic approach that begins with reason and is further developed in Part II. The Way).
The universe has Identity. The variety of realizations of Identity, their extent over sameness-difference-absence, their peaks of Being-as-identity and Being-as-extent (form and any ‘matter) and dissolutions and remanifestations are without limit. Individuals inherit this Identity (this is Atman-Brahman as told in Advaita Vedanta). That the extents of form are without limit implies, not only limitless cosmoses with minimal interaction (epochs) to significant interaction and limitless physical law, but also that with any given cosmos, e.g. ours, there are limitlessly many passing through with barely a whisper.
The universe and identity—summary of the discussion. From PFM, the universe has identity which has ultimate peaks and dissolutions.
From FP individual and universal identity are identical. How can this be explained or understood?
ASM, the abstract metaphysics, shows the realization. It can be understood in the following way. Ask about the relation between an individual human being and its identical replicate. Are they the same mind; are they one mind; do they share one mind? Materially, in this world, we think that that oneness ought to obtain no more than the oneness of two different human beings. Therefore, if the replicates are to share identity, it is necessary, also, that different human beings—and all identity bearing beings—should share of identity. From FP we must. Yet we do not seem to. I do not have inner access to your thoughts. However, I do not have inner access to all of ‘my body’, either.
Now, ASM requires that all this ‘knowledge’ (the identities and knowledge of body) obtain; therefore they must not occur at the level of explicit bright consciousness. But they must obtain. How? The how is not all important to the fact that they obtain but it is of interest and likely important in realization. One way but not the only way is as follows. Think back to multiple cosmoses present with this one. Think of identical cosmoses to this one and near identical cosmoses. They may have different histories. At any region of the universe there is a set of overlapping cosmoses. These are the bearers, universally, of the ‘identity’ of this cosmos. Similarly, the myriad copies of a human being, are the bearers of a universal identity of that being and its merging with the universal. According to this possible explanation I am my copy in a distant cosmos; I am in Brahman, and I am Brahman. But I am you; and therefore the particular I is not more or less special than the particular you. This explanation is logically possible. Therefore per ASM it necessarily occurs but is not necessarily unique.
The foregoing shows what occurs. It does not show how. The how is given by the pragmatic side. ASM shows that as ‘Being’ moves from cosmos to cosmos in the path to the ultimate, our beings, as sentient-sapient-agentive, discover and deploy the ways of the cosmoses. Here the pragmatic side, PRM, is paramount.
In longer versions of the essay I develop a tentative dynamics of psyche a general instrument. Here, reason, defined earlier, will suffice as the general instrument.
Universal and individual identity—summary of the discussion. From PFM, the universe has identity which has ultimate peaks and dissolutions. The individual partakes of this identity and is thus eternal. The pragmatic side of PFM, which includes initiative, is a means of realization.
Observation. The adaptation of individuals to local survival needs is an attunement to the temporal and so removes their cognition from the obviousness of this identity. It does not follow that the identity is beyond the pale of cognition and feeling.
The perfect metaphysics with tradition
It is important to say a few words about the relation of PFM to tradition. Begin with an example. Today’s physics reveals a ‘big bang’ cosmos with behavior down near to the initial singularity well described by quantum theory and general relativity. Two tacit dogmas would be that that is essentially all physics (no one says this but many behave as though it is true) and that we should not speculate further (with similar remarks regarding what people say). The first dogma is simply untrue; it is not always a dogmatic attitude but simply practical—let us get along with the real business of physics. The second may be a consequence of the first but it is too dogmatic. What we should not do is to speculate and call it something else; and we should not speculate beyond physics and say that the speculation is physics or is in any way derived from it. Here, however, we are not speculating. What we have said is necessary. In that it is not clear how ultimate are to be achieved we could certainly label the means rational speculation but the end is given. It still need to be said that PFM notwithstanding, the tradition is important in its own realm; its ‘method’ and criteria remain important; however they are revealed as very local and non universal in many aspects that are often assumed universal; and they are illuminated and placed in context by PFM.
The perfect metaphysics with tradition—summary of the discussion. PFM and tradition are at most in apparent conflict. In truth, PFM cradles and illuminates tradition and shows its necessity while tradition illustrates some concrete particulars within the ultimate.
This is given; in itself it is not a choice and therefore cannot be ethical. The ethical may be to accept or resist. In fact the immediate is valuable in itself, as contained in the ultimate, and as on the way to the ultimate; this is one source of the ethical. But another source is, given ultimate realization, how this may be made efficient for all Being, how enjoyable, what choices to consider along the way, and how to balance the immediate and the ultimate.
The concept of the Aim of Being is realization of the ultimate in magnitude and value. The object Aim of Being is realization of the ultimate from the immediate; it begins with living ethically (well, enjoyably) in the immediate which it continues into the ultimate. The object continues to be elaborated in what follows.
Abstract objects and the abstract (which are not identical) thread through this essay in this and other sections—Definitions, Summary of the Introduction, The metaphysics: abstract and pragmatic, Meaning, Knowledge and reason, and The universe.
Subject to logic, all concepts have objects that are in the one universe. Thus what are called abstract objects in the literature are in the universe; they are not essentially without extension (sameness and difference, e.g. space and time but extension is more or less abstracted out in forming the concept).
2. Experience. Analysis shows the interwoven character of experience with the real and Being. Being is not another thing outside experience—i.e. Being-experience is one; there is no suggestion that one creates or is primal to the other.
3. The universe. Universe as all Being is dually empowering, (a) as above and (b) in the whole oneness of the universe which eliminates questions of creation, of whether this or that existent is in or not in the universe. For example spacetime does not have universal purchase but where it obtains it is as a whole immanent rather than absolute, imposed, or external.
The enhancement by PFM is:
4. The void through the perfect metaphysics—the union of the fundamental principle (ASM) and the valid in tradition. Whereas the previous items are powerful in elucidating and giving context, the perfect metaphysics is empowering of the real. The universe is ultimate. But more—for example, since the universe is the realization of Logic, all concepts (and so concept-objects)—abstracted or concreted, provided Logical—are in the universe. The section Metaphysics through Part II. The Way is testament to the power of the metaphysics.
The (ultimate) nature of the real is not as something else.
We have seen that the real—Being—is effectively given in experience. Experience is intertwined with Being at the highest level.
To say that experience is of something—an object—was given meaning.
From elementary to complex
This further divides conceptually as a set of four pragmatic kinds of the real world or kinds of Being. The first is psyche. The remaining are of the external—the natural, the social, and the ultimate (and unknown). These are also appropriate as dimensions of Being and our phases of growth.
Let us repeat the definition of these four pragmatic kinds of Being in greater detail. The first kind is the world of self, agent or psyche. The remaining are constituted of the external—the natural (the elementary natural or physical and its emergent complexity as life as well as associated agency or psyche), the social or interactive groups of persons or selves, and the ultimate and unknown. These are also appropriate as dimensions of Being and our phases of growth.
This suggests the acronym, PNSU—psyche, nature, society, and universal-unknown—for the kinds or dimensions of Being and phases of growth.
‘Civilization’ is used in the sense of being-together, not being-over. Being together does not exclude constructive competition. Human civilization is the web of human communities over time and continents.
In the present sense to be uncivilized is not to be primitive or lacking the economy, culture, and technology of what we think of as large scale civilization. To be uncivilized requires that the individual or group understand the value of being together yet explicitly work against it.
To civilize the universe is to make it explicitly aware and agentive, and to make it cohesively social. The achievement of the ideals of course may be occasional—but is then eternally occasional. Significant meaning is eternal if not always manifest in the agent.
Introduction to cosmology
Cosmology is study of kinds, varieties, and extension of Being—where extension is (experience of) sameness and difference and their absence (‘extension’ will do double duty—it may also refer to spatial extension).
Cosmology is not essentially distinct from PFM but emphasizes its elaboration. It is a basis for exploration and realization. As noted in General consequences of the metaphysics, consideration of cosmology has already begun.
There is a trend in science and philosophy (2018) to identify to identify cosmology with the ‘big bang’. Though successful, it is at root based in the empirical and so there is no basis to project it to the universe. Further, PFM shows cosmology to be far greater than revealed in physics.
General cosmology is cosmology without restriction as to kind of Being. The section on General consequences of the metaphysics and following sections have significant results of general cosmology.
Its method is PFM with reason, emphasizing both criticism and imagination.
In order to say something it presumes some general notions such as identity, cosmos or epoch as a realm whose state is relatively undetermined by the rest of the universe for some purposes (e.g. for a period of time).
Many results in the sections Being, Universe, and Metaphysics may be labeled ‘General Cosmology’. In Metaphysics see, especially, the sections on Particular and General consequences of the metaphysics.
Cosmology of form and formation
General cosmology implies the existence of cosmoses with form but provides no understanding of form.
This takes us into the pragmatic side of PFM.
Two approaches to form are via (a) near symmetry and relative stability and (b) formation which seeks to explain symmetry and stability.
Biological evolution provides a general paradigm of incremental evolution, with each indeterminist step resulting in new form—but only relatively stable forms persisting due to near symmetry. Because transient forms are short lived, the formed universe is effectively populated by relatively stable epochal cosmoses. When sapient, (beings in) the cosmoses becoming self designing and creative. For any possible realization there is a greater sapient realization.
The paradigm of incremental or self adapting evolution is one in which two non creative processes—indeterminist increment and capture of stable form ex nihilo at first and then also by existing form—join as creative. The paradigm from biological evolution has application also in abiogenesis, cosmos formation and evolution, and creativity in sapient beings.
We expect that the preponderance of stable cosmoses, see Identity, space, time, and cause, are the result of self adaptation. However, though less likely, one-off formation necessarily occurs.
Of special interest in cosmology of form and formation are levels, modes, or kinds of Being (see the section Kinds of Being for further detail). Particularly, there is interest in object and personal identity—see Identity, space, time, and cause.
Cosmology of form and formation—summary of the discussion. Cosmology of formation focuses on the how or numerically efficient origins of form. Form is symmetry or near symmetry. A mechanism of formation is that of self-adaptation and adaptive systems, suggested by biology. It would provide numerical efficiency. It is a mechanism that necessarily occurs but is necessarily not universal. There are and must be one-step originations without external creation (and creation by already existing beings).
Our cosmos is an example of physical cosmology with sentience, sapience, and agency. FP implies that it is but one of limitlessly many with limitless variety of physical law. Perhaps our laws are model laws but this is not clear to me. The methods would be those of the previous levels of cosmology, our physical law, Logic, mathematics, analogy, and imaginative hypotheses—the abstract-concrete sciences. Any claim to completeness would likely be speculative.
An artificial cosmology is a cosmos constructed of or augmented by artificial intelligence and robotics. The previous methods would be augmented by artificial intelligence, robotics, computer science, and space technology. There would be special interest in mutual augmentation of man-machine intelligence and other performance (cybernetics).
The ideas are preliminary and abstract. The ultimate is the ideal; The Way must also emphasize the concrete.
There is a related optimality issue. The ultimate has some value—perhaps infinite; but it seems remote. The immediate has some value—perhaps finite; yet it is not remote. What is the optimum way to devote efforts to the immediate vs the ultimate—insofar as the two are distinct? Perhaps there is no urgency to be analytical about the concern. We often regard the immediate world with urgency? Certainly the immediate has importance but perhaps that importance requires that we take a calm view toward it. Further, individuals have different inclinations. There will be those who insist on the immediate and those who insist on the ultimate. What is important is that we pay attention to both for they complement one another.
The plan of approach at present is to be generic rather than detailed. This is neither the secular nor the religious approach to life. It has in common with the secular that a balance between cognition and emotion ought to be in balance but not that we should think that our common secular worldviews define the universe and our aims in life. It has in common with religion that it takes a larger view than the secular but not that it is limited by dogma and not that it is prescriptive; rather it is principled, analytical and necessarily experimental—experiment with Being is essential because PFM provides at most a skeleton view of a path in the universe. A religion may give the individual a sense of the real by being prescriptive, but prescriptivism is invariably misleading with regard to the real even though it may function as symbol and allegory.
The preliminary sections of this part are a template of ideas that may serve as a guide to principle. It emphasizes the intrinsic-immersive (Being, psyche) and extrinsic-instrumental (‘material’: natural and social science and technology); the individual and civilization; the immediate and the ultimate (and universal-unknown); which are ‘PNSU’—the pragmatic realms of Being noted earlier.
There is, in a final section, some detail: two generic templates for path and action that are designed to be adjustable and customizable to particular situations, both individual and for civilization—an everyday template (with elements of personal planning) and a universal template (with elements of universal planning), which are suggested from my experience rather than prescriptive.
Of Being—experiential vs experienced.
1. Of psyche-mind and culture—characteristics: identity-inner, mode of being-intrinsic, process-transforming, necessity-essential, and ultimacy-ultimate.
2. Of nature and society-civilization—characteristics: identity-outer, mode of being-instrumental and technological, process-sustaining, necessity-contingent, and ultimacy-immediate.
3. Of the universal-unknown—join of the characterizations and beyond—the realm of the concrete to abstract metaphysics.
The portable version does not develop an explicit dynamics for psychology and agency. See Psychology and agency for elements of ‘dynamics’ of psyche.
The ways are the ways of sustaining and transformation from the religions, spiritual practices, and therapeutic techniques, viewed rationally—i.e. critically and imaginatively and in terms of metaphysics (with cosmology and value).
Our adaptation is (i) non-dogmatic, (ii) experiential, learning, and eclectic according to reason, and (iii) not exclusively transsecular; includes material transformation where efficient.
An example—Buddhism: the four truths and the eightfold path. I mention Buddhism, not as a prescription but because it has at its core a psychology and a healthy but incomplete detachment from dogma.
Examples of impediments or blocks are resentment, attachment and desire, anger and aversion, and ignorance.
Examples—Meditation: (1) emptying, (2) exploration of inner realms, (3) contemplation of the ultimate and understanding death as catalyst, (4) in action. Also see the templates for further examples such as Beyul.
Place, community, and leadership. Is leadership essential? Yes as inspiration, channel, and focus; but authority is institution for its own sake rather than realization.
Dedication (W Wilson). I dedicate my life to The Way of Being—to shared discovery (ideas) and realization (action and choice); to shedding the bonds of limited self and culture and so to see The Way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force (opening to the real in individuals and the world); to realizing the ultimate in this world and beyond (inner and intrinsic ways in the dimensions and elements of the real).
Shared affirmation (A Gupta). That pure unlimited consciousness that is all Being alone is supreme reality. That is the universe—its life and breath—that am I. So I am and embody the self-transcending universe that is all Being and has no other.
2. Review and meditate on realization, priorities, and means.
4. Tasks. Daily, long term.
5. Experimental yoga, in nature; posture. Experimental meditation—part of yoga: analytic / contemplative, for daily action, and the ultimate. Meditation as Being and vision (see dreams in item 7).
6. Exercise (aerobic: in nature; and photography)–explore.
7. Evening. Rest, renewal, realization, and community. Tasks, preparation and dedication of the next day and the future. Sleep early. Dreams as Being, vision, and inspiration.
Template format: ACTION – dimension – detail (hyperlinks are italicized).
Template (in printed versions see the resources section for links):
4. BECOMING – civilization and society – shared immersion (shared immersion). Instrumental transformation—politics and cultural economics (politics and cultural economics), populating the universe.
About this edition in the document
Origins of The Way—my explorations, human culture.
Motive in the commonly acknowledged and unacknowledged limits of science and religion in themselves and as revealing the universe; and the possibilities for overcoming the limits.
Concepts fundamental to such overcoming. Informal description of a consequent ultimate metaphysics and its consistency with science and necessity from reason. Informal description of consequences of the metaphysics.
Suggestions to readers on understanding the text.
The fundamental principle of metaphysics—has a proof of the fundamental principle.
The perfect metaphysics—derivation from the fundamental principle and description.
Many concepts are treated in more than one place—they ‘thread’ through the document. Some important threads and the places they are documented follow.
Reason, logic, argument (Logic), and science—Knowledge and reason.
Identity—Identity, space, time, and cause.
The block universe—A block universe perspective. This is the universe as a ‘block’ over all sameness, difference and their absence (generalization from spacetime).
Abstract objects—Abstract objects.
See essays.html. There are no longer completed current versions. In process versions are under the heading ‘Essays on The Way’. A detailed and relatively recent version is conceptual outline-essential.html.
The in process source for all versions, the way-template.html, has a section on the way: fundamental issues resolved. The issues include the aim of the human endeavor, knowledge (metaphysics; reason, philosophy, and epistemology; logic; and the concrete and abstract sciences; and miscellaneous issues such as the nature of the real, experience, being, universe, the void; and human nature).
Older completed versions are under the under the heading ‘Resource’.
A system of knowledge founded in the metaphysics of the essay and the human traditions of knowledge—system of human knowledge and action.html. Has plans and suggestions for study.
Some dilemmas that are instrumental in the development of philosophical understanding of the world—canonical dilemmas.html.
For details on many topics, especially the templates, see the conceptual outline-essential.
For other documents and resources including bibliographies—general, older, informal—see essays.html.
I suggest readings because I find them useful to understanding and not as endorsement. I state specific the reasons for the suggestions below.
Science and its limits—Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934. Popper emphasizes that if a theory has claims to universality it must be revisable. I read this to imply that physics has seen what may be a minute fraction of the universe in extension, duration, and the kinds of entities and laws in it.
Religion, its limits, and significance— My thought is opposed to the dogma of religion but not to religion as inspiration. In this regard I recommend John Hick, The Fifth Dimension, 1999. This is a popular but not a simplistic account by a writer who has been called one of the most significant philosophers of religion of the twentieth century. The arguments I find useful are as follows. Hick does not argue the literal truth of dogma. He does not deny science or the limits of the cosmos as described in its standard cosmology (I am in agreement with the non-denial but not with the standard cosmology as showing the extent, duration, and variety of the universe). Rather he finds a spiritual dimension to the world to be consistent with science and suggested by experience and reason. He uses the word ‘spiritual’ to refer to potentials and dispositions of or in the world and not to mean ‘non material’ or ‘supernatural’ (the title of the book may be misleading as to intent and content of the book; Hick does not seem to think of the spiritual as beyond space and time). Note two differences between Hick’s thought and the metaphysics of this essay—Hick accepts the material limits of the standard cosmology and he accepts a material account of the universe (the account in this essay is neither material nor trans-material but depends primarily on a concept more neutral than matter, mind, or spirit and finds those concepts at best secondary). What is further useful in Hick’s thought for the purpose of this essay includes (1) the importance of extra-secular or trans-secular but not trans-rational exploration, (2) evaluation of religion in terms of its ‘dark’ and light sides, and, specifically, (3) the value of traditional religion to oppressed peoples in terms of quality of life. Regarding the latter he finds, in agreement with common analyses, access to education and adequate income diminishes the psychological need for religion but to condemn the exploration (as distinct from the institutions of religion) is to limit human potential and the psychological needs of those in poverty.
The religions. I do not present a system of religious practice for my approach is more open that that; I prefer direct encounter with the world with sources, even in science and philosophy, primarily as useful rather than definitive. However, readers may wish to synthesize my ideas with religious practice. The religions or religious philosophies most aligned with my thought are Mahayana Buddhism and the Advaita Vedanta of Indian Philosophy. One may find practitioners, especially of Buddhism in major cities of the west, and students of Indian Philosophy in major universities of the west.
The Internet. In addition to the printed literature, readers will find the Internet useful in supplementing their reading and explorations. Many publications are available at no cost on the Internet. Readers may find my website the way of being and my History of Western Philosophy.html useful. There are useful Internet Encyclopedias—Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy, and The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (https://www.iep.utm.edu/). My web page useful links.html has further links (I do attempt to keep the links up-to-date).
A suggestion. The modern literature is useful—but modern philosophy, especially modern analytic philosophy, has what I consider to be a severe limitation relative to the present essay. The metaphysics of this essay reveals by proof that Logic is the boundary of the universe. It is that the worldview of the modern literature is dominated to a significant degree by the modern worldview from physics, especially the standard cosmology of the ‘big bang’. Now, while if questioned many modern thinkers might deny having that view but it is in fact the common view, especially in publication. As I have explained in the essay, even on the logic of science, this is not known to be anything like a complete account of the universe.
My reading. An informal and older resource—the bibliographies.html.
Do and eliminate the following.
Integrate the main narrative (A brief overview of the way of being through Part II. The Way with the structures of A tailored dictionary of ultimate metaphysics and A dictionary of the way. Pay particular attention to the contents of The Way. Then eliminate the structures.
discursive definition, ostensive definition, name
discursive definition a definition in terms of other concepts or objects
ostensive definition a definition by pointing out the objects associated with a term
name a term associated with a concept or object
the Way of Being living in the immediate and ultimate as one; so far is the ultimate is not realized in the real or identity the way is a process
human endeavor the history of human endeavor, particularly in the Way of Being
ontological proof a proof whose only premises are the nature of Being as Being; may be analytic, necessary, or a priori
existence, sameness, difference, a being (plural: beings), Being, abstraction (needs to be added), neutrality (of Being), power, cause, nonexistent being, experience (subjective awareness, consciousness), given, radical doubt, logically possible world, metaphysical solipsism, methodological skepticism, worldview, field of experience and experiential relations, substance, neutral monism, Brahman, Aeternitas, agency, free will, linguistic referential meaning, law, theory, pattern, argument, Logic, Science, exploration, reflex, allocation of resources, reason, metareason, valid tradition, culture, the metaphysics
existence the property of things to which some form of the verb to be applies, e.g. of which it may be said ‘it is somewhere in space and time’ or, more precisely since spacetime is not assumed, somewhere in sameness and difference; neutrality with regard to all other properties or predicates
sameness absence of difference
difference primitive concept; enables perception
a being whatever has the property of existence or Being (see next definition); plural of a being is beings
Being existence; fundamental in being perfectly known via abstraction and in not referring the real to something else and thus eliminating problems of infinite regress or substance in the issue of foundation of the real; together with related concepts—e.g., power, experience, universe, the void, and possibility—Being is foundational to an abstract metaphysics which in combination with pragmatic cultural knowledge results in a perfect metaphysics
abstraction eliminating features of a concept so that the object is better or perfectly known—e.g. Being as Being is abstract and perfectly known; basis of a new conception of abstract objects such that they are not distinct from the concrete—e.g. the abstract objects are not fundamentally non-spatiotemporal, rather spatiotemporality is abstracted in forming the concept
neutrality of Being property of Being noted above that gives it its conceptual power
power ability to affect and be affected
cause to affect—e.g. classical cause as in theories of physics; more generally not understood as temporal or continuous—e.g. if a being must necessarily exist its cause may be said to be logic or logical
nonexistent being a concept of a being that could be but is not manifest in a context, e.g. the present; this formulation gives meaning to the term and eliminates the problem of negative existentials
experience subjective awareness or consciousness, inclusive of pure consciousness but also emphasizing attitudinal and active consciousness—i.e. consciousness of objects and action; because experience never transcends itself the real is effectively a field of experience and generally there are no objects in themselves but, instead, there are concept-objects (concept-beings where being is not restricted to entity); so it is not true that there is no knowledge of objects but rather that knowledge of object as object is generally meaningless; that is Being ought to be labeled Being-experience; which it is effectively; and effectively the being that affects no experience does not exist; later under the perfect metaphysics it is seen that the term ‘effectively’ may be dropped; note, further, that though there is no object, from abstraction there may be effective pure objects
given from experience some things are perfect consequences, e.g. the fact of experience itself, therefore the facts of Being, beings, power, universe—at least as elements of experience; the real nature of these entities is later analyzed and affirmed
radical doubt to doubt every aspect of our common and philosophical views of the real; the fundamental aim to such doubt is to establish not only certainty but the proper criteria of knowledge itself (is certainty certainly of absolute importance), and thus to establish the real and its nature
logically possible world a world described or defined by a concept does not violate logic—e.g. has no internal contradictions
metaphysical solipsism the view that the mind of the subject is the only mind or that the experience that is as-if of the subject is the only existent; usually not posited as real but as a challenge to the view that there is a real world and so as a means to establish the truth—full, partial, or absent—of the real world
methodological skepticism use of doubt, especially about standard and philosophical positions, to help establish the truth
worldview a picture of the world and its nature
field of experience and experiential relations a worldview of the world as the same
substance a simple existent or kind of existence that is posited or shown to underlie all reality—i.e. all kinds, all beings, and all change; the problem of substance is that it is a foundation without a foundation; and that its alternative is (usually thought to be) infinite regress in foundation
neutral monism the view that there is one substance that is of necessity none of the common philosophical substances (e.g. mind, matter, form); a refinement of monism which is the view that there is one substance (e.g. matter or mind) and which is opposed to dualism or pluralism, the views that there are two or more substances
Brahman the ultimate being that is the peak of being of the universe; possessed of ultimate consciousness or ultimate consciousness itself as the universe; the peak of Atman or self (defined below)
Aeternitas a concept of Thomas Aquinas, divine personification of eternity
agency possession of free will in thought and action
free will ability to choose from among given, conceived, or created options; not, in its meaning, the ability to ‘do anything’
linguistic referential meaning a concept and its intended objects where the concept includes or is associated with a simple or compound and structured sign; the bare concept is necessary for otherwise no object can be identified; the sign enhances efficiency of thought and communication but without the bare concept signs can have no meaning; sufficient to the perfect metaphysics; source of resolution of paradoxes that arise from assumption that grammatical but otherwise arbitrary signs have meaning
law a law of nature is our reading of a pattern in nature; to the extent that we think a law universal, it has a hypothetical character; on the other hand a law can be seen as a fact—perhaps approximate—over its empirical domain; the object to which the law refers, i.e. the pattern, has Being
theory a theory is some combination of laws that constitute a predictive and explanatory basis for some domain of phenomena
logic today the term ‘logic’ is often reserved for deductive logic; it refers to a system of inference such that if the premises are true then the consequences are true; if the deduction is a correct application of the system of deduction the inference is called valid; logic can also be thought of the requirement on a system of propositions to have the possibility of realization (in some world)
argument an argument is the combination of a set of premises and deductive inference; if the inference is correct the argument is valid; if, in addition, the premises are true, the conclusions are also true and the argument is called sound
Logic argument for a local being
Science the science of a being that has full knowledge of the universe; humans do not have such knowledge in detail but can (a) conceive of it and (b) possess it at some abstract level of detail; Science is identical to universal Logic and metaphysics
exploration refers to exploration of the universe
reflex reflexivity in argument is cultivation of the inter-action of the elements of reason, particularly the critical and imaginative elements
allocation of resources refers to allocating finite systems of resources to different priorities with some degree of optimization in terms of a system of values; in this essay, it refers particularly to balance between immediate and ultimate interests
reason systematic approach to optimal outcomes in any kind of endeavor including knowledge and action; criticism, imagination, and values are elements of reason; as is value analysis
metareason reasoning about reason
valid tradition simply, what is valid in tradition
culture entire system of knowledge claims, including practice
the metaphysics refers to the pure metaphysics which is constituted of a side that is perfect and potent via abstraction and a pragmatic side drawn largely from experience and tradition
universe all Being over all sameness and difference and their absence
creation any origin of manifest being brought about by some being; the concept excludes the possibility of an ultimate real creator but we may think of logic an original cause
the void the absence of beings; the void is a being
block universe a depiction of the universe over all sameness and difference and their absence (e.g. spacetime); the intention here is not to suggest that the static picture is more real than a kinetic or kinematical picture; rather, the point is to gain insight from the picture and not to suggest that it is ‘more real’ than other pictures
real possibility states a being may access without violation the constitution of the being
metaphysics, fundamental principle of metaphysics, abstract metaphysics, perfect metaphysics, pragmatic metaphysics, existential hypothesis, universal law, identity, spacetime, cause, Aim of Being, abstract object
metaphysics knowledge of the real; shown possible
fundamental principle of metaphysics the universe is the realization of maximal possibility
abstract metaphysics metaphysical system arising from consideration of a system of abstracted concepts, especially experience, Being, beings, power, the universe, the void, fact, and possibility
perfect metaphysics join of the abstract and pragmatic metaphysics
pragmatic metaphysics traditional knowledge and experience in light of the abstract metaphysics—in which it is recognized that pragmatic criteria have their own perfection as revealed by the abstract side
existential hypothesis a hypothesis that has no element of un-reason; and that is elected for its at least heuristic reasonableness and the value of the outcomes it reveals
universal law a universal law; it is shown that there are no universal laws unless we should consider Logic to be a law
identity sense of sameness of self or existent (‘object’ in a generalized sense—not restricted to entity but may be interaction, process, and quality or property)
spacetime defined in terms of identity; time marks difference with identity (change), space marks different identities; analysis of sense of sameness and difference reveals space and time as non-universal and a unity where they obtain
cause understood in a sense more general than immediate temporal and spatially contiguous cause; logic may be seen as the cause of the universe
Aim of Being realization of ultimates—in terms of variety, extent, and value; for finite beings necessarily involves discovery; living in the immediate and ultimate as one
abstract object an object described with sufficient abstraction that knowledge of it is perfect (in some regard)
Atman ultimate self; equivalent to Brahman
psyche the experiential side of beings
natural the elementary side of beings; material and the emergently complex living
social having to do with groups of beings in communication and degrees of concerted action
ultimate the ultimate aspect of beings
human civilization humankind as an entity or system of entities; refers particularly to inner state of being; technology and technological superiority are adjuncts
universal civilization civilizations realizing the ultimate, populating the universe
cosmology study of variety, extension, and peaks of being
extension refers to extension in sameness and difference
general cosmology refers to cosmology without restriction to mechanism or permanence; transience from the void is part of general cosmological process
formation refers to dominant ‘mechanism’ in the emergence of cosmological form
paradigm of incremental evolution analogy with evolution of life applied to cosmological formation; hypothesized as a dominant mechanism
determinism obtains if a part determines a whole; temporal determinism a special case
stable form greater than transient
symmetry near symmetry is the basis of stability
physical cosmology the cosmology of a physical cosmos with elements and laws; our cosmology is incomplete because it does not explain its own beginnings; for that one has to refer to general cosmology
abstract-concrete science system of concrete and abstract sciences, the latter including logic, mathematics, linguistics, and information science
our world the world as known in our best tradition including modern knowledge and culture
Aim of Being
Aim of Being see earlier entry
variables of Being
variables of Being parameters describing the range of Being
way, impediment, resolution, resource, catalyst, physical exploration
way a way of approach to the ultimate—from tradition or exploration and reason
impediment block to the way
resolution the resolution of an impediment; the ideal is to balance resources between resolution and realization
resource an aid to realization
catalyst similar to a way but abrupt rather than incremental
physical exploration the exploration of the physical world as part of realization; example—Beyul—the experience of nature as transformative or revelatory
individual, place, home, world at large, sangha, teacher, leader, exemplar, original exemplar, inspiration, channel, focus, open world
individual object of realization
place a place that is conducive to living well and realization
home main place
world at large panorama of realization
sangha community of realization
teacher person with experience capable of leading others
leader person with special abilities as teacher
exemplar person that personifies realization
original exemplar creative exemplar
inspiration transformative source
channel conduit for transformation
focus focusing objects and persons
open world the world at large, to which one ought to remain open
path, template, everyday template, dedication, affirmation, yoga, meditation, universal template, pure Being, vision retreat, art, Beyul, shared immersion, instrumental transformation, politics and cultural economics, populating the universe, artifactual being
path specific way, adjustable in response to experience-learning-reflection
template generic approach, not intended as strictly prescriptive, adjustable to particular situations
everyday template a template for everyday activity at home or in the world
dedication a statement of dedication to the aim
affirmation an affirmation of importance, particularly of identity of the individual and the universe
yoga means and practices of realization, physical and psychic
meditation psychic and active practices, practice itself and in daily life
universal template a template of general goals and activities
pure Being state of living in Being that emphasizes be-ing over exclusive doing
vision retreat meditative retreat for focus and transformation
art cultivation of art as a means to see and transform
Beyul exploration of nature for its physical and psychic transformations
shared immersion sharing immersive process as a way to transform self and world; the contrast is to instrumental process
instrumental transformation changes and transformations that support and induce immersive or intrinsic change
politics and cultural economics practice of decision and organization of resources
populating the universe as a means of transforming the universe
artifactual being creation of artificial being as a means of realization or support in realization
what is given the path so far, seen by finite being
what remains the path ahead, seen by finite being ‘on the way’
a being (plural: beings), abstract metaphysics, abstract object, abstract-concrete science, Aeternitas, affirmation, agency, Aim of Being, allocation of resources, argument, art, artifactual being, Atman, Being, Beyul, block universe, Brahman, catalyst, cause, cause, channel, consciousness), cosmology, creation, culture, dedication, determinism, difference, discursive definition, everyday template, exemplar, existence, existential hypothesis, experience (subjective awareness, exploration, extension, field of experience and experiential relations, focus, formation, free will, fundamental principle of metaphysics, general cosmology, given, home, human civilization (uncivilized), human endeavor, identity, impediment, individual, inspiration, instrumental transformation, law, leader, linguistic referential meaning, Logic, logically possible world, meditation, metaphysical solipsism, metaphysics, metareason, methodological skepticism, name, natural, neutral monism, neutrality (of Being), nonexistent being, ontological proof, open world, original exemplar, ostensive definition, our world, paradigm of incremental evolution, path, pattern, perfect metaphysics, physical cosmology, physical exploration, place, politics and cultural economics, populating the universe, power, pragmatic metaphysics, psyche, pure Being, radical doubt, real possibility, reason, reflex, resolution, resource, sameness, sangha, Science, shared immersion, social, spacetime, stable form, substance, symmetry, teacher, template, the metaphysics, the void, the Way of Being, theory, ultimate, universal civilization, universal law, universal template, universe, valid tradition, variables of Being, vision retreat, way, what is given, what remains, world at large, worldview, yoga
This is dictionary is tailored to a powerful metaphysics named the perfect metaphysics or just the metaphysics. It is not a general purpose dictionary of metaphysical terms.
I think of it as idiosyncratic—because I am unable to tailor it to perfection. I glimpse perfection yet in the writing, perfection is mirage-like.
The Way of Being—what it is; the human endeavor, the limit of possibility; logic as limit of possibility and the actual (for the universe the possible and the actual are identical)’
Here are some objections and responses:
1. Proof is impossible—response: a proof will be given;
2. The idea of logic as limit is bare and austere and omits the richness of life and the world—response: what logic requires is indeed minimal and austere; however the limit is what logic allows which, precisely because logic is austere, is the richest ‘possible’;
3. The idea of logic as a limit of the actual is metaphysics and metaphysics is widely regarded as impossible—response: the demonstration (proof) will involve abstract concepts of Being as Being, universe as universe, the void as the void, logic as constraints on concepts necessary to realization; as abstract these are shown perfectly known; therefore the conclusion of limit of logic as actual is valid. Further, as discussed below, this abstract metaphysics meshes with our knowledge of the world to form a metaphysics with an abstract and a pragmatic side that are both perfect in terms of appropriate criteria (precision and accuracy for the abstract, instrumental adequacy for the pragmatic). This perfect metaphysics (PFM) will also be called the metaphysics (TM).
4. The universe as the logically possible violates experience, fact, common sense, science—response: these only extend to the empirical region of the universe which may be embedded in a much larger universe and therefore the stated violation does not hold; in fact the logically possible must be consistent with what is empirical;
5. But the facts of our empirical cosmos determine the entire universe—response: they determine only what is empirical and its forms (e.g. theoretical physics of our cosmos); in fact the universe may be the block universe (it is the block universe if the metaphysics holds); the block is the representation of all possibility and though it must contain indeterminism it—as block—is determined; however any given cosmos and its history do not determine the entire universe (even if the cosmos should be deterministic which as seen in the developments cannot be the case).
6. This says nothing but ‘everything is possible’—response: it says far more than that (1) because it defines what is possible and (2) it says that the possible will occur.
7. It still does not make sense for we experience real limits—response: we will give heuristics and alternate proof to show the claim as reasonable; and we will show how the universe as the realization of logic meshes with our empirical universe and its abstract and concrete sciences (the abstract are our logics and systems of language – mathematics – statistics – information; the concrete are the sciences of matter and the cosmos and geology – biology – mind – society and its institutions). That is, our limits are real but their reality is temporally and otherwise limited—they are not absolute but at most seemingly so.
8. But there is no way to utilize this information—response: there are two ways it is useful and useable (1) it illuminates the nature of our Being (not only the limit of our Being but also the mesh of our Being with the universe; it gives meaning not only to the ultimate but also the immediate) (2) the mesh of the abstract and the pragmatic above are instruments of living well in this world and bridge or path to the ultimate.
9. But realization of the ultimate is absurd for over and above its unreasonable nature, we are strictly finite beings and the abstract information above is no guide—response: the metaphysics is a mesh of the ideal and the pragmatic and is used to develop a rich picture of the universe that transcends both standard secular and dogmatic as well as imaginative religious views that show human and ultimate being as identical and, in combination with practical psychology—scientific and religious—and technology show intrinsic paths based in our Being meshed with the material and instrumental forms.
10. As metaphysics the foregoing is already known and unsystematic—response: the idea of universe as limited only by logical necessity is a rendering of the well known principle of plenitude; however that it is known is no criticism of its value; but (a) the form of the statement is new (the principle of plenitude has not been stated in quite this form thus far) and (b) the proof and development of the metaphysics is new (it bears a superficial relationship to David Lewis’ modal ontology); finally, the metaphysics developed is systematic and capable of comprehensive development as (i) a system of metaphysics, (b) a philosophical cosmology that far exceeds our physical cosmology (and which modern philosophers have been intimidated into regarding as the one cosmology), further cosmology of form and formation and our physical cosmology are small parts of this general cosmology, (c) new conceptions and interpretations of logic, mathematics, and the nature of abstract objects (as fundamentally indistinct from the concrete), and science, and (d) theory of value. Further there is application to definition of and across the range of human knowledge action as illustrated in system of human knowledge and action.html.
The Way is augmented by understanding culture and cultures: primal – secular – and transsecular and their worldviews and apparent limits of the human endeavor’
An aim of Being is identified as living—how to live—in ‘this world’ as path to the ultimate.
The Way of Being explores, further, the real and the possible, and ways of exploration—the formal – the intuitive – the existential – and the active.
The Way of Being is based on a (the) perfect worldview.
existence, verb to be, forms of verb to be, deficiencies of language, use – authority – and open study of language
there is Being (for even if our experience of a world—a universe—is all illusion there is at least illusion and even if it is nothing but illusion there is within that illusion an as if world that has my mind, an environment, others… in which we as-if participate… all of which is as-if real)
whether the as-if world is real depends on what is meant by the real and on how the as-if is interpreted
power, interaction, metaphysical cause, the measure of Being is Being
subjective awareness, consciousness (but does not connote consciousness as consciousness alone but rather as pure, attitudinal, and active modes)
Epistemic and metaphysical
not just immediately known, the medium of the known, given (reflex—experience of experience), the objective is not attained outside experience but by refining (abstraction, necessity, a priori, the analytic), augmentation (instrument), corroboration (others)
existence, there is experience
the essential place of our Being – knowing – relating, where Being and knowing are one, without experience there is no essential distinction between our having and not having Being
abstraction, experience is known in abstraction
why, non prejudicial with regard to kind, things as their own foundation, triviality, not special (e.g. neither divine nor not divine, human or not human), (therefore) epistemically and metaphysically potent
it is Being over substance (or process or pragmatic realism) that reveals the world as precisely real
experience is concept (mental content) and object (experienced)
for experience concept (experience) and object (the Being of experience) coincide
we never get outside experience—example: ‘I’ am a locus of experience and of volition; second example: the percept—e.g., visual experience—of a mountain is (called) its image, but the actual mountain refers to further experience (the other senses, the higher concepts), the external object nature of the mountain has further to do with the fact that it is a locus of experience but not of volition
thus experience and Being are effectively one; which is not to say that either ‘creates’ the other; rather it says that they are the object (even though we experience the mountain as the object and pragmatically it is the object even though it is not he object-in-principle)
but yet, even though concept and object are one, there is (some) perfect knowledge as if of the correspondence type via abstraction (‘there is experience’, ‘there is Being’, and as we will see ‘the universe exists’), and there is pragmatic knowledge even without abstraction (which we will see to have its own aspect of perfection)
a concept (icons and linguistic signs) and its intended and potential objects constitute meaning; the concept must be depictive—either as pure icon or as joint icon and grammar
for absent all depiction there can be no reference
meaning, clarity, paradox, paradox resolution, identity of (a) analysis of meaning and analysis of knowledge and (b) synthesis of meaning and synthesis of knowledge
the as-if world has more than one as-if real description; the concern is whether there is a description that may be called real
a standard secular view (SSV), world as field of experience (FOE), dualism, inconsistency of dualism and pluralism, monism, neutral monism, extended standard secular view (ESSV), relaxation of substance, possibilism, the ultimate character of possibilism, a range of worlds under possibilism, the place of primal – secular – FOE – and transsecular views under possibilism
reason, its process, beginning in every present moment, search for foundation and application, elements, reflexivity, science, pattern, law, theory, logic, Science or Logic
patterns, laws, and theories of science have Being
all, part, none
a being (plural: beings)
laws, patterns, and theories of science are beings
concepts have Being
if a concept has an object, the concept-object exists (is said to exist); otherwise it does not exist (alternatively it may be said to exist but the value of its existence is zero—which may be ‘algebraically’ useful in condensing different cases under a single category; and, again, it may be said to exist as a null object—which does not seem to be particularly useful)
the concepts of mathematics exist, they have rough existence if they have rough application in a cosmos, alternately they exist as abstracts and alternatively as syntactically coherent systems of signs and semantically coherent models (semantics includes syntax); under possibilism all concepts that do not violate objects have existence—which obtains for concrete and abstract objects; apart from possibilism the existence and kind of existence of abstract objects is not denied (as above) but is in question; under possibilism all logical concepts are real concept-objects and the distinction between the concrete and the abstract is about how they are conceived (i.e. what kind of mental content is entailed in their identification)
All, part, null
A being is a part; we now take up ‘all’ and ‘none’.
all Being, or all beings
oneness, (no) creation
one being may design, create another
the universe has no proximate, temporal, contiguous, or material cause
but the universe may be caused in another sense—either accidental (contingent) or necessary (i.e. logically required without premise)
under possibilism the existence of the universe as manifest is necessary; under accidentalism, existence of the universe is not necessary except trivially from a premise such as ‘there is experience’ or ‘there is something’
absence of Being
existence questionable (?), but existence and nonexistence are equivalent (which is a candidate proof of existence of the void—but the question of proof of existence of the void is deferred till later)
under possibilism, the void exists and the void and therefore every being may be seen to ‘generate’ all beings
regardless whether the void has Being it contains no being
on a limitation of the common conception of the empirical, in the abstract we do have knowledge of the universe (regardless whether it has the above tacit limits or whether the universe is the possibilist universe)
the empirical universe, science speaks of the empirical universe, science is silent beyond the empirical, psychological and cultural reasons for the tacit secular view that where science is silent there is no existence
science and Science, logic and Logic
Logical possibility, real possibility cannot exceed Logical possibility, no upper bound to Logical possibility, Logical possibility is maximal, our logics are elements (and perhaps approximants) of the Logical
possibilism is the realization of the Logical
block universe, block universe under possibilism
kinds of real possibility—universal, cosmological and natural (including physical), sentient – sapient – and active possibility
The concept of metaphysics
Metaphysics is study and knowledge of the real (the latter includes knowledge and method).
That ‘metaphysics’ has other distinct uses, some overlapping this use, in no way invalidates this use. Consider the present use to be part of an axiomatic system.
Is metaphysics possible?
In general the object is not distinguished from the object in any perfect sense.
Therefore not only is there a question of the possibility of metaphysics, there is also a question of its meaning.
From abstraction, while Being and related concepts are still within experience, knowledge of them is and may be said perfect.
Other concepts have pragmatic purchase and they too are found perfect since pragmatic knowledge has its demonstrated perfection.
Yes—development of the perfect metaphysics has already begun!
Yes, and development of ‘the metaphysics’ has already begun—via abstraction, knowledge of experience, Being, beings (i.e. that there are beings), power, knowledge, reason, Logic, Science, and possibility is perfect. The metaphysic so far is somewhat but not entirely pedestrian (relative to what may be desired and what will be developed).
Development of the perfect metaphysics has begun and now continues.
Something from nothing—why is there Being at all?
If the universe in a void state there are no beings—no laws. Therefore something must emerge.
The universe must have manifest states—i.e. states of something-ness.
The fundamental question of metaphysics
‘Everything’ from nothing
From symmetry, if the universe is in a void state, there is no preferential state that must emerge. All maximally—Logically— possible states must emerge.
Even another void state must emerge. All possible states emerge, and from an atemporal view they do not emerge in succession—yet the emergence will have phases of description that are at least as-if temporal.
Count the number of possible states. There is a single void state (it might occur more than once but the different occurrences are of the one void). The other possible states are a limitless infinity (‘logic’ is not a limit on the real but on descriptions for them to be realizable).
Naïvely, then, the probability of the universe being in the void state is zero.
Also naïvely, since zero probability is not impossibility, the universe must almost ‘always’ (quotes because it is not a simply temporal always) be in some manifest state.
Less naïvely, the universe must spend most of ‘its time’ in some manifest state.
That the probability arguments in this section are naïve, of course does not preclude other arguments.
The idea for this probability argument comes from Robert Nozick, Philosophical Explanations, 1981.
A heuristic accidental vs necessity argument
The manifest universe is either accidental in cause or necessary.
But the accidental is no true argument.
(The accidental includes all arguments that end with something that is not necessary posited, e.g. substance; and all arguments with nothing necessary posited, e.g. infinite regress.)
A true argument must be necessary.
(A necessary argument cannot have a posit. It must presume nothing. That is, a necessity argument is one of pure and premise free Logic. One should object to that. The response is that there are given facts that are not assumptions—e.g. there is Being, there are beings, there is experience. There can of course be factually premise free conclusions, e.g. theorems of logic derived from the axioms of a logical system but these are not the kind to which I here refer.)
The argument. If there is an argument or explanation of Being, it must be necessary. Then, given the argument, by symmetry Being must cover all maximal or Logical possibility.
Note of course that this is not a true argument for it assumes that there is an argument but it then shows what properties such an argument must possess.
That is why I call it a heuristic and not an argument per se.
A heuristic argument from the idea of a final physics
This is given in the first main part of the text.
If the universe ever enters a void state, all Logically possible states must emerge.
But the void state exists alongside Being as the complement of every being—including the universe—relative to itself.
Another proof of existence of the void. Its existence and non-existence are equivalent.
(Though the void contains no manifest being, it has Being—it is a being.)
The fundamental principle of metaphysics or, simply, the fundamental principle (FP) states that the universe is the realization of all logical possibility.
Demonstration. See the section on existence of the void.
The perfect metaphysics (PFM) is the metaphysics that follows from the fundamental principle.
As noted, the metaphysics has begun before the present section on metaphysics. It began with discussion of experience and Being. It has been continued in this section on metaphysics. It now continues further.
The meaning is in two parts—explicit meaning which is what it says and implicit meaning or what it implies or entails.
The distinction between the explicit and implicit meaning is not sharp.
1. What it says.
2. It lies in the meanings of experience, Being, power, abstraction, meaning, knowledge, reason, world, beings, universe, the void, tradition and limits, possibility, kinds of possibility, maximal possibility, Logic.
3. The hypothetical being that has no effect (on experience or on Being) does not exist.
4. The universe has form with two sides: experience (‘mind’) and the experienced (‘material’). The material is not defined and then experienced; rather the experienced is basis of an ostensive definition of the material.
5. Illumination of the concrete by the abstract, by possibility—what is realized and realizable by Being and beings—particularly human being and civilization. And illumination of the means or path by the end or the ultimate.
6. Illustration of the abstract by the concrete, the experience of the spiritual by the experienced as the real, of ultimate ends by the means.
Combination of: the abstract (ASM) and the concrete | the perfect (as-if
correspondence) knowledge and the pragmatic (PRM) | the ideal and the real | the end and
the means. The join of the end and the means is the path of realization.
The join of ASM
and PRM to
form PFM is
perfect under a dual epistemology—perfect capture for the abstract and
pragmatic ‘capture’ for the pragmatic; and the pragmatic is perfect in its
role as path to the ultimate (though not perfect for common purposes in this
world which remain valid but of limited value relative to the ultimate).
8. Meaning of universal cause as logical necessity. This cause is not temporal or material but logical. Thus, under the laws of our cosmos the potential of potential being may be a being itself; however, in the universe at large potential is not being except when the void is admitted as having Being.
9. Identities among of metaphysics (‘Logos’) and cosmology, science, epistemology, logic, and Logic.
On determinism. The most common view of determinism and
indeterminism is temporal and, frequently, the view is that of causal
determinism which is sometimes identified as causation. While a significant
view, it is inadequate because the entire universe need not be temporal (and
is not temporal under FP).
In any case, there is a broader notion of determinism that includes temporal
determinism as a special case and is adequate to description of determinism
vs indeterminism in the universe as a whole and as implied by FP.
The universe as block interpretation.
Despite proof, the metaphysics should be doubted, particularly because
the ontological nature of the proof is one in which so much follows from so
little. However, it is critical to note that the metaphysics is consistent
with science (concrete, abstract, and essential—i.e. logic) and common sense.
13. The role of formalism and intuition in understanding, knowledge, proof, and action.
14. Existence and identity of Atman (personal identity or self) and Brahman (universal identity or self).
(Since) all logical concepts are realized, the existential status
and essential nature of all abstract objects and concrete objects is not
distinct and is given; the contingent distinction of the abstract from
the concrete is the extent of abstraction in formation of the concept; but
the distinctions lie on a continuum—are not entirely sharp and are not poles
(the concrete have abstraction and the abstract have concreteness). The
distinction is not on the object side but on the subject—the manner in which
the object is known; via the senses (‘perception’) or by thought
16. The magnitudes of the essential ESSV or essential SSV of our cosmos, and the common religious cosmologies are infinitesimal if measured by the magnitude or the real.
17. Symbolic meaning for the ideals of religion. Also from PRM, there is concrete realization that has minimal numerical occurrence and minimal significant truth.
In addition to doubt about the truth of the metaphysics as explained
above there is another mark against the metaphysics as proven. The doubt is
that the proof is constructed out of special concepts and therefore not
19. If we consider the expected outcome of following FP as true then given the ultimate value of its implication for Being, its consistency with all knowledge, its heuristics and proofs then we have some justification in proposing the fundamental principle as an existential hypothesis or action principle.
cosmology, extension, general cosmology, formation, paradigm of incremental evolution, determinism, stable form, symmetry, physical cosmology, abstract-concrete science
From Cosmology: summary of methods (the numbered items continue the meaning of the metaphysics, which now focus on implicit meaning)
The methods of general cosmology are
21. Meaning of universal cause as logical necessity. This cause is not temporal but logical.
22. Identities among of metaphysics (‘Logos’) and cosmology, science, epistemology, logic, and Logic.
The universe as block interpretation—except the following identity,
all details omitted here
24. On determinism—all details omitted here.
That ends the repeated points.
The essential kind is given as follows. Being in general is
not Being-in-isolation but Being-experience as one.
The variety and extension of Being and Identity, peaking, and
dissolution, which is the history of all beings is without limit. Here there
are cosmoses and cosmologies with their patterns and laws of nature without
limit on number, magnitude, and quality. And every, to repeat, cosmos is an
atom or particle (and every atom a cosmos).
Cosmology from general to particular.
variables of Being
way, impediment, resolution, resource, catalyst, physical exploration
individual, place, home, world at large, sangha, teacher, leader, exemplar, original exemplar, inspiration, channel, focus, open world
path, template, everyday template, dedication, affirmation, yoga, meditation, universal template, pure Being, vision retreat, art, Beyul, shared immersion, instrumental transformation, politics and cultural economics, populating the universe, artifactual being
what is given, what remains
To begin, use The glossary listed alphabetically.