JOURNEY IN BEING

ANIL MITRA
COPYRIGHT © 2007
 September 2008 VERSION

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CONTENTS

 

First things. 2

Journey in being. 2

Journey. 2…     Being. 3

The narrative. 8

Sketch. 8…     On publication. 8…     Reading the narrative. 8…     The audience. 9

Foundation. 9

First things. 9

Theory of being. 10

Being. 11…     Metaphysics. 33…     Objects. 54…     Logic and meaning. 60…     Mind. 65…     Cosmology. 68

Human world. 79

Introduction. 79…     Human being. 83…     Social world. 87…     War and peace. 93…     Civilization and history. 94…     The highest ideal 94…     Faith. 94

Journey. 101

The idea of a journey. 102

An individual journey. 102…     Ambition. 102…     Journey in being. 102…     Narrative. 102

Ideas. 102

Introduction. 102…     Principles of thought and action. 102…     Philosophy and metaphysics. 103…     Problems in metaphysics. 106…     A system of human knowledge. 109

Transformation. 109

Introduction. 109…     History of transformation. 111…     Theory of transformation. 113…     Experiments. 115…     Transformations and designs. 116

Map. 117

The future. 117

Program of research. 117…     Design. 122…     The way ahead. 127

Reference. 127

Index. 127

The author 127

Journey. 127…     Life. 128

 

Journey in being

Since the present edition is in transition, a few thoughts regarding change in the style of the present paragraph are in included in the text

First things

This section is in-process and therefore at present some sections are stems

Journey in being

The journey is an adventure whose aims include experience and knowledge (understanding) of the world. The approach includes ideas or concepts and transformation of individual identity

In the process of discovery and experiment, the idea or concept of being was found to be pivotal to the adventures in ideas and in transformation

This introduction describes origins, nature and scope of the journey. It then introduces the concept of being and its fundamental character

Journey

The interest includes whatever is most fundamental—in the world and in the possible approaches to understanding and transformation

Emphasizes ideas and action

An individual journey and its origins

Transformations in ideas

Transformations in being and identity

The journey

Being

The aim of this preliminary discussion of being is to introduce the idea of being and its significance to thought and action and, so, to the journey. The discussion does not mention numerous concerns regarding being that are introduced and addressed Foundation

The idea of being and its significance

One of the connotations of being in the tradition of thought is that which is most fundamental to understanding the world or some aspect of the world

It is natural, then, that being should also be fundamental to transformation and action

This is the connotation of interest in selecting Being as the central concept in a system of thought that is fundamental to the journey and to thought and action

An introduction to the concept of being

The idea that being is most fundamental… is an implicit and perhaps partial specification of the concept of being

The semantic or linguistic origin of the word being is the verb to be. Of course, this observation does not exhaust the concept of being. Additionally, there are subtleties to the use of the verb to be—not all uses of the verb connote be-ing. These concerns are taken up later

A connotation of ‘to be’ is ‘to exist.’ Can being be equated to existence? There is a line of thought in which existence is ‘the mode of being which consists in interaction with other things’ while being includes the connotation of independent or pure being or being-in-itself. Thus it is conceivable that existence and being are not identical. However, not every connotation corresponds to something actual. Therefore, distinctions in connotation do not necessarily correspond to actual distinctions. That the—apparently—distinct thoughts ‘being-in-interaction’ and ‘being-in-itself’ can be had does not imply that there is a corresponding actual or real distinction. Therefore, without further analysis, it cannot be concluded that being and existence are distinct

It will emerge later that being and existence are identical

Existence will found to be ‘objective’ but objectivity requires some kind of grounding

The grounding of existence, of being-in-itself and of being-in-interaction, of existing and knowing, will be in—the concept of—experience

These assertions require demonstration. The meanings of the terms being, to be, existence, experience require clarification. There are a number of problems and paradoxes, some well known, that are associated with the terms. These concerns deferred to Foundation where it will be seen that demonstration, meaning, resolution of problem and paradox are intimately related

The trivial character of the concept of being

It may be said that everything in the universe exists or has being. Thus existing or being does not distinguish one thing from another. In using being as fundamental the character of things is not referred to something more fundamental or simpler. In contrast, in substance theory which will be considered in detail later, the character of things is explained in terms of something simpler. For example in materialism there are explanations in terms of matter. For these reasons, it might appear that an explanation in terms of being might be trivially true but also unenlightening

However, in substance theory, things are explained in terms of something else, something that stands behind or under. This ‘something else’ cannot be truly outside the world but is something else in that it is not on the surface andor in that it is a part of the variety of things. Thus while substance theory may be powerful, it is also open to error—it is not given that the world will be explainable in terms of what is below the surface of phenomena or that the whole will be explainable in terms of a part of it. The nature of substance theory, its potential, and its ultimate untenability as the basis as an understanding of the world will be taken up later

On account of its trivial character, explanation in terms of being cannot be in error. Explanation in terms of being is, in effect, an explanation of the world in terms of itself. The idea to explain the world in its own terms may be seen as including the position that at the outset of study, of investigation, the nature of the world is regarded as unknown. Thus the approach from being is similar to the use and naming of the unknown in algebra and the approach from being has powers that are similar to those of the algebraic approach

It will emerge that, despite this trivial character, explanation via being is ultimately profound. First, such explanation cannot be in error. More importantly, however, the use of being encourages and permits the formulation of a system of understanding of the world in terms of its most general and universal of characteristics such as being, all being and absence of being which will be found to be capable being the basis of a powerful system of understanding (metaphysics, theory of being.) This system does not say anything about the particular and detailed aspects of our world. However, when used in interaction with detailed understanding, the general enhances and corrects understanding of the particular and the particular provides details and examples of the general. While the result is indeed profound and unexpected, what has been said so far is but a glimmer of the actual developments

The section Introduction to a new picture of the world below provides some account of these developments

Being in the history of thought

The idea of a theory of being is explicitly mentioned in Aristotle’s work. In the particular sciences, things are studied in some aspect or other—material aspects in physics, the living aspect in biology. Aristotle’s idea, in metaphysics, was to study ‘things as such,’ i.e., that things as they are

In the history of thought, being has numerous connotations. Some of these will be excluded from the meaning of being developed in this narrative. This might lead to confusion that, however, may be avoided by attending to the meaning as developed here. The gain in suggestive power from the tradition is worth the care that is required. It is probably true that the every significant concept has a rich multiplicity connotations. Therefore careful attention to meaning is not necessary only to avoid confusion but also to productive and creative thought

Introduction to a new picture of the world

The present section is excessively long. It will be shortened in two ways. The first is by simple excision of excess material: the objective is a brief and simple introduction to the picture and its significance. The second way is essential and depends on a new insight of April 2008 regarding the fundamental logic and the nature of logic. There are a number of new insights regarding logic since this version was written. In this version logic was conceived as follows and contains traditional logic. The first conception was to see Logic as the one law of the universe; a second was to see Logic as the theory of the entire system of consistent descriptions. ‘The entire system of consistent descriptions’ is conceptually awkward and the first insight of the 2008 edition is to regard the idea of the entire system as immanent in Logic; consequently it is not required to think of or generate any such system—even in principle. A second insight of 2008 is to show the equivalence of the following universes: the join of the empirical universes of all sentient or experiential beings, the Universe of all being, the universe of the possible, and the Universe of Logic. The insight of April 2008 is to see that Logic is encompassed in perception and conception; that Logic is the one law; that traditional (formal, symbolic) logic, the theory of descriptions—no relation to the idea of Russell—is not Logic but may be named para-logic as lying on the boundary of Logic and as needed only by a finite and limited being whose locutions may contain ‘logic’ errors because of limited powers of pre-conception, i.e. conception independently of the object, which includes pre-perception, i.e. imagery

It is unlikely that any picture or metaphysics will be entirely new—aspects of the view have been in a variety of traditions. However, the picture has, apparently, not been seen before as a dynamic whole, with a rational-empirical foundation, as a foundation that has no infinite regress and yet no substance, and with a breadth of scope such that all being is implicit in it, and with the breadth of application covered in the narrative

Though glimpsed before, the picture is essentially new and remote from the common view

The narrative, especially Foundation, paints and grounds or justifies a picture of being—of the universe. This picture has been glimpsed in the history of ideas but has not previously given a foundation or developed and elaborated systematically. A reader who is not aware that a new picture is being developed—whose elements appear in Being and whose main development is in Metaphysics, may feel disoriented by the distance between the sense of being in this narrative and the common picture of being in the modern world. While the picture is grounded in Metaphysics, reference is made to it throughout the narrative and the following orientation to its context will be useful in understanding the picture and the narrative:

Although the metaphysics is powerful, the primary goal of the journey is transformation
The goal of transformation will be seen to be necessary to both significance and completeness
The idea—experience—is the place of appreciation of transformation (becoming)

…The ‘picture’ is a formal metaphysics and its elaboration. However, it is pertinent that it has not been the primary goal of the journey to develop a picture—formal or otherwise. The remaining comments of this paragraph are intended to assist readers in negotiating the dual objectives that result from having more than one goal and therefore more than one set of criteria for Foundation. The first goal is transformation of being—of realization of ultimates or, at least, to have a vision of ultimates and to travel in that direction. Understanding and knowing are part of transformation and, therefore, development of the Foundation has been part of the journey. However, actual—physical and other—transformation is the overarching goal. In pursuit of this goal, the question, not new in the history of thought, has come to the forefront whether understanding can andor should be independent of transformation or action

Even though the ideas will be shown to have an ultimate character relative to ideas, they are, as ideas, necessarily an incomplete part of being. Yet, the idea—experience—is the place of appreciation of being and becoming

The first basis of the metaphysics is in reason

It is not been a goal to base the Foundation in some medium between the needs of understanding and knowledge on one hand and transformation on the other. Instead, there have been two rather parallel tracks of development. In one, it has been sought to keep the topics of Foundation as independent of its uses as possible

What of experience—of the empirical? In the development it will be seen that knowledge—knowing—the world and knowledge of knowing itself emerge as a unified subject and not as separate divisions of knowledge. In this process it will be seen that reason and analysis on the one hand are not distinct at root from perception and empirical process on the other hand. The analysis will require recognition of the root case of perception and its necessities

A second base lies in transformation

In the second, the needs of transformation and action have informed the developments within Foundation and attitudes toward it in particular and knowledge and understanding in general. This track is not a pragmatic system for it is not asserted that use is the final measure of validity of knowledge but that knowledge and use remain in interaction and are so interwoven that the notion of validity may have no universal application…

The conceptual foundation is not a system unto itself

Platonism includes the view that a perfect system of understanding may be achieved—that knowledge need not ever be in a process of development, that it may be independent of action and context. This view, which is often tacitly assumed and tacitly encouraged by the concept of authority in education, has been held in critical light in the modern period of philosophy—especially, since Wittgenstein’s influence in analytic philosophy. However, it is difficult to overcome tacit habits of thought and modern and recent philosophy—especially analytic philosophy—remain, significantly, worlds unto themselves. One aspect of the ‘system’ of this narrative is that it should not remain a system unto itself

And yet, the picture has an ultimate character—and contains the received pictures

The picture of the universe developed and grounded is, if valid, one of an infinitely deeper truth and greater variety than is normally assigned to the universe, e.g., in religious, modern physical, or even metaphysical cosmologies. However, it is not the intent here to invalidate or, particularly, to validate those cosmologies. Instead, the new picture or cosmology locates the valid parts of the received cosmologies in within its boundaries. If the intent of a religious cosmology is to be metaphorical and the content of a physical cosmology is regarded as real, then, although those cosmologies have validity within certain imprecisely defined boundaries, the depth of their truth is an infinitesimal fraction of depth of Metaphysics and their domains of validity infinitesimal in relation to the ultimate domain revealed in Cosmology

The grounding of the picture is logical

The grounding of the picture of the universe developed here is a necessary or logical grounding. This grounding does not invalidate the received pictures or cosmologies but places them in a larger, ultimate context and helps to show the origins and limits of the systems they describe. The reader is invited to follow the arguments, to challenge them, to verify or disverify them to his or her satisfaction. The narrative itself raises challenges to its own arguments and the status of these challenges is taken up in the narrative

The grounding in logic is not a grounding in a foundation outside the system

…for it requires a re-conception of logic that lies within the system of ideas (and being)

The development uses old words but new meaning: attention to meaning is crucial

While the development required reconceptualization of ideas from the history of thought, the words used to refer to the reconceived ideas and even new ideas are usually older words. Therefore, careful attention to the meanings introduced in the narrative is essential to its understanding

A suggestion of the power of the system

The primitive concepts of the logical part of the metaphysics are being—whatever exists, universe or all being, the void or absence of being, and form. Being and Metaphysics develop the metaphysics around these ideas. Here, a suggestion of the power of the ideas may be illuminating; demonstration, elaboration and application, and development of meaning and significance is taken up in the body of the narrative

It is common, especially in scientific cosmology, for the word ‘universe’ to refer to the known universe and, perhaps, extrapolations from it. As all being, the present concept of the universe is rather different. The question of how it is possible to talk of and know the universe in its present conception is discussed in Being, Metaphysics and Objects

In the present conception of universe, there is nothing outside it. This implies, first, that everything—including all form, pattern and law—and not just every thing is in the universe and, second, that any foundation for secure knowledge of the universe must lie in it. Being has and can have no further foundation and, therefore, requires no further foundation; the universe has and can have no external creator

As corollary to the inclusion of all form, pattern and law in the universe, the void—whose existence is shown later—contains no form, pattern or law. Therefore, since the exclusion of a logical possibility would be a law of the void, the variety of being in the universe must contain every logical possibility and this fact is constitutive of the ultimate breadth of the metaphysics. Every form must have being and is immanent in being but there is and can be no Platonic world of forms outside the one universe. It also follows that the void may be regarded as the source of all being and, though this is a rough and incomplete statement of the truth and provides no more than a hint of its power, it is here that the ultimate depth of the metaphysics lies

…The metaphysics that grounds these developments is one of ultimate depth and breadth

Power in meaning—the empirical side of meaning

The discussion above suggests that there is power in meaning. If meaning is convention, how is this possible? It must be that though meaning involves convention, meaning is not mere convention. Words and grammar have conventional aspects. However, they refer to the world. Although, to some extent, we receive the empirical content of meaning that does not make it any less empirical. To suggest that meaning is not empirical is to confuse the analytic with the explicit. Meaning has, at least, implicit empirical content. This of course does not meaning is above analysis or that it cannot benefit from analysis

The source of the power in meaning

The axiomatic approach suggests that at the root of any system of thought lies unproven propositions. This is deceiving. It is clear that not just any system of axioms should prove fruitful in understanding. What is it that makes the successful systems successful? The development of the system must mesh (logically) with other systems and empirically in, at least, providing a ground—as in mathematics—for realism if not realism itself—as in science

In Being and Metaphysics, it will be seen that the fundamental terms of the system will be based in (1) necessary aspects of experience—e.g. that there is experience and (2) logical consequences of the necessary aspects, e.g., that there is all experience and part of experience

Demonstration and power

This shows that absolute demonstration is possible—that some general propositions may be shown. It shows that not all proof is relative to axioms that have no foundation

The system to be developed will have ultimate power. Though fortuitous in its occasion, the development is necessary in its character. Of necessity, a necessary development of this kind has no external foundation. It is ‘its own’ foundation. The system shows the development of such foundation; and that it is not circular

Relation of the metaphysics to the contingent nature of the local cosmology: the normal. Identity of the actual and the possible. Experience binds the individual to the world

Where does the local cosmology fit into the general metaphysics? (1) The infinite variety of the entire universe—all being—revealed in the metaphysics does not appear to be characteristic of this—local—world. I.e., the variety of being and behavior under the known / putative laws of this cosmos, is a—very small, even infinitesimal—subset of the total variety of being and behavior. According to the metaphysics, the behavior of the universe is not limited to that of this—local—cosmos and, further, there is, against the background of the entire universe, no distinction between the meaning or fact of ‘is not limited to’ and that of ‘is necessarily not limited to.’ The observed behavior of this cosmos is an example of normal behavior—within its context, deviant behavior, which would be impossible if the observed laws of the cosmos were the laws of the universe, are merely but highly improbable; and, within that context, it is merely but highly probable that the observed laws will describe all behavior. (2) Within the one universe, an event occurs or it does not; if it does it is possible; if it does not, there is no other comparison world where it could occur and, therefore, it is impossible. Therefore, the possible and the actual—over all time and space—are identical; from the previous paragraph, possibility is logical possibility—comparison with other meanings of possibility is taken up later. (3) The individual is immediately tied into the world via his or her experience; it may seem tenuous to suggest that experience is all that ties… however, experience is and will be shown to be a much more robust thing than is the flimsy notion that lies behind the idea of mere experience. These points and others will be discussed in demonstrative detail the body of the narrative. For now, they may be summarized by acknowledging that the concepts of the normal, of the identity of the actual and the possible, and of experience are among the concepts that reveal the place of the local cosmos in the universe

The metaphysics enables elevation of its core and related ideas to an ultimate level

As a result of the development of the metaphysics, it has been possible to raise the understanding of substance and form, objects—particular or concrete and abstract—and identity, logic, meaning, mind, cosmology, human world, morals and ethics, faith, real possibilities in the transformations of being and identity, as well as a number topics of lesser significance or breadth to new levels relative to the history of thought. These levels are often ultimate in nature

The developments derive some inspiration from and have momentous implications for human knowledge. These relations to human knowledge provide one context for the metaphysics

These developments have derived inspiration from and employed analogy with many disciplines from the history of human knowledge—and, in turn, have implications for these disciplines which include not only the philosophical such as metaphysics and logic. The sources include the entire range of knowledge—the sciences including the sciences of physics, biology, and mind; the symbolic systems—language, logic, and mathematics; and art, history, faith and religion; the extent of study has not been uniform over these disciplines. It is relevant to understanding the development here that the exposure described constitutes a resource that has provided an intuitive background for the development that has made it possible to proceed without reference to or use of specific examples. While this does not at all constitute a formal deficiency of the developments, the reader who lacks the exposure may experience an absence of context and orientation in reading the narrative

The greater inspiration, however, is, directly from experience, and then from being

It should not be thought that the entire inspiration is from the history of thought. To think that thought as necessary would be to elevate our thought to a level of primacy over being. It is in the nature of novel, powerful and realist thought that transcends its roots

The levels of understanding, though ultimate, are not thought to be final

Regarding the metaphysics and the other topics, elaboration of its application and refinement of the levels continues

The status of the secular and religious views of being relative to the metaphysics

The beliefs of the present time may be regarded as roughly defined by science, religion, and secular humanism—the latter is a way of thinking based in human values that accepts scientific cosmology and is a modern replacement for religion. These beliefs do not form a coherent system and, where they intersect, may stand in conflict with regard to fact, significance and value. Assertions of the preceding kind are subject to lack in the definiteness of the meanings of the terms—science and so on. The present metaphysics allows a clarification of the ultimate possibilities of meaning of the terms. The ‘literal’ truth of present science need not be contested provided that it is seen as an infinitesimal faction of the truth. The apparent absurdity that may mark the religions is placed in context; except when the absurdity is actual, use of literal form to point to higher truth results in absurdity. Of course, there is no suggestion here that absurdity standing alone is any mark of truth or value. The figurative or evocative value of the forms of expression of spirituality, myth, and religion stand beyond their actual literal or factual form but, from the metaphysics, may be given literal interpretation

Relation to fact and metaphor of any age. Art has a side of pointing to truth; in this side perception is greater than art

The metaphysics may be seen as standing above and giving context and significance to the factual and figurative expression of this and of any age, of any context. In so doing, the metaphysics may be seen as complementing such expression; contradiction should arise only in cases of literal interpretation of actual absurdity. In the direction of fact, there can be no greater complement. The figurative aspects of the expressions of the ages may be seen as intuition, perhaps only groping, of the metaphysics. If art points to truth, seeing truth eliminates—one—need for art, i.e., in this way, perception is greater than art (and religion and thought)

Metaphysics and epistemology. Metaphysics must always be ontologically prior to epistemology. The ontological primacy of epistemology is a mistake. The present metaphysics returns logical primacy to metaphysics

While careful definition is taken up later, cosmology and metaphysics may be seen as the study of the universe and its nature—and whether there are natures or essences. Epistemology may be seen as the study of the origin, justification, nature, and limits of human knowledge. There is a clear sense in which concern with knowledge cannot be more important than concern with the universe. However, in a world in which knowledge is regarded as problematic, epistemology may assume a greater importance than metaphysics and this has been the case in western philosophy—even the possibility of metaphysics has been in question—roughly since the time of Kant. Metaphysics provides logical construction of an ultimate metaphysics from firm empirical ground and, so, shows far more than the possibility of metaphysics

Although the developments may appear strange, they are essentially transparent and simple—even shallow. In their ultimate shallowness lies ultimate depth—and breadth. The source of depth in shallowness requires adjustment of modes of perception and thought

It is characteristic of these developments that, even though they may appear strange on account of their unfamiliarity and even though a reading of the narrative may be difficult because of the breadth of vision and knowledge encompassed, the core developments are essentially transparent and simple. The present development of the concept of being—and of existence—shows it to be shallow, superficial and trivial… and that it is precisely these characteristics that, along with diligent care in their consistent application and in the eradication of erroneous habits of earlier thought, enable the ultimate character of the metaphysics

Although epistemology is secondary, it remains important—especially in its interpretation as grounding in the world. In the developments, epistemology is not at all ignored and is taken up in a way that acknowledges the nature of being-in-the-world. Relation to Angst

Thus the developments show that epistemology may—and, as will be argued in the narrative, in the goal of realization of what is desirable and possible, should—once again take second place to metaphysics. However, the concerns of epistemology remain important. Such concerns are raised in Metaphysics and are addressed there and in subsequent topics, especially Objects and Faith. The concept of faith includes religious faith only as a special case and under the special circumstance that it has basis in reason or intuition but makes no incredulous or merely dogmatic appeal. If concern is with having secure knowledge then, since even in the heart of science and reason and logic there is no final certainty, and since—human—rationality has bounds, the application of knowledge must invariably involve faith even though that faith may be implicit. From another point of view, one that is perhaps revealed in animal behavior, faith-in-less-than-perfectly-secure-knowledge is an approximation to a mode-of-being-in-the-world that requires and can have no absolute certainty in the absolute presence of degrees of uncertainty. Parenthetically this may be set against Heidegger’s concept of Angst; which may be seen as being founded in a false concept of being-in-the-world that Heidegger’s thought retains even as it rejects substance ontology… of course, where Heidegger’s thought is and must be a groping—since, in allowing determinism, it cannot have completely eradicated substance thought—the present metaphysics is in a sense its own author rising above the ego and aspirations of its human author

Ultimate character of the foundation. Residual doubt (over Angst.) Place and essential nature of faith as lying at the core of being and not being required to be overcome. Delusions regarding the role of reason and relation to hidden slavery. Freedom lies in knowing the fluidity of being, of living in fluidity of knowing

In the analysis of the nature of being, of meaning, of what may be doubted and what may not—of empirical knowledge, and of logic, there is no other context to which Foundation may or need refer for justification. Still, various kinds of doubt—e.g. doubt regarding the logic of the metaphysics and doubt about how it may apply and its consequences in this world—are raised and addressed and what doubt remains may be seen as residing, not in limits, but in the nature of being. An at element of faith—even if only implicit—is and must be present in application Theory of Being, e.g. in undertaking transformation and, more immediately, in locating the ultimate objects of the metaphysics in the world of experience—that these objects can be located in experience of normal individuals may be seen to be a rather Wittgensteinian doubt. This is just as there is at least implicit faith in the application of or trust in any knowledge and which faith in explicit form is often suppressed perhaps to allow security and to promote function. The thought that in the contingent realm this is required or desirable to be or can be overcome is delusional and the cultivation of this view is a form of slavery, i.e., that there is some implicit authority or institution that owns the overcoming

Rock solid understanding is possible only in fluidity

Variety is primal in relation to foundation

Even though the variety revealed in the metaphysics is ultimate, the variety is implicit in the metaphysics. This leaves open infinite vistas and possibilities of discovery and transformation and suggests that variety is more interesting and basic than depth

Identity; identity and Identity; Identity and death—death is a certain gate to the infinite

A consequence of the metaphysics that is developed is a theory of identity that shows that an individual must experience all identities. Limits and law-like behavior—regarding but not limited to identity— within this cosmos are an example of what is termed ‘normal.’ The concept of the normal is developed in a way that shows that what is often thought to be contingently impossible is merely—extremely—improbable within a normal system and, similarly, what is thought to be contingently necessary is merely probable. The contingent necessities and impossibilities correspond to the laws of the normal system but are not logically necessary or logically impossible. It is shown that there must be infinitely many normal systems against a background of absolute indeterminism, that the variety is limited only by logical necessity, and that under absolute indeterminism, all logical possibilities including the normal systems must be realized. The experience of singular identity of the individual is normal behavior that is and must be transcended when the boundaries—e.g., in space and time—of this normal cosmos are not the limits of the domain of consideration. The possible and necessary experience of variety of identity is infinite and these identities are experienced in singular and integral form. It is unlikely and difficult though not impossible for an individual starting from normal circumstances to design and undertake the experience of universal identity. Death is a certain gate to the infinite

The metaphysics and its significance

This section has overlap with the previous. However the intent here is to discuss significance. The two sections may be joined

Identities among being, becoming, idea, and journey

…and action, process and relationship

The narrative

Sketch

The earlier sections present the nature but not a map of the journey. The present section is, tentatively, a sketch of the journey and an outline of the narrative. Presently, a sketch is found in the section Journey

On publication

The occasion

On publication

Reading the narrative

An orientation for the reader

On possible difficulties

The purpose of this section is to lessen the difficulty of understanding that readers may face by alerting them to the possible difficulties. The next section has suggestions on negotiating the difficulties

The narrative contains a deepening—in significant ways ultimate—of foundations of knowledge and being and may therefore present difficulties of understanding. Although some difficulties may be technical, a significant difficulty may lie in recognizing that a new picture of the world—a metaphysics—is painted and in grasping the logical foundation and quality of that picture and of the immense variety of being portrayed within and shown necessary by it. This difficulty may be especially acute for those immersed in the traditional pictures, e.g., from Western philosophy, metaphysics and science—i.e., for academics and experts

When a narrative is expected to present difficulties of understanding, it is helpful to the reader to have some acquaintance with the presence of the difficulties and their nature

Suggestions toward understanding

The main suggestions are as follows. (1) Recognize that standard terms from the history of thought may be used with variant—new and often significantly deepened—meaning and therefore it is crucial to pay attention to meaning as specified here. (2) Since the narrative is not a compilation of ideas from the history of thought but is essentially new in the sense of an advance, even readers experienced with the territories under investigation may find themselves in unfamiliar terrain and. Therefore assimilation of the ideas and the relationships among them is unlikely to be a linear process. The ideas are not only new but may be experienced as strange in a number of ways of which one is that the view of the world or universe goes far beyond the standard views from the history of thought including modern day secular scientific humanism and modern day religion whether fundamentalist or liberal. Further, the ideas are not a speculative system but developed in cold logic. The modern reader conditioned to the notion of progress in all endeavors may be shocked to find that the view of the world is ultimate in a number of ways; that this is demonstrated; that logic and demonstration are not foreign to the system—are not as in standard developments studied and developed in separate and to some extent ad hoc endeavor—but are integral parts of it. Given that all this—and more—is new, the reader may even flounder in a first reading. Therefore, the narrative may be approached as an open journey rather than a trip with a preset itinerary. The reader may wish to stop, reflect, absorb, reread, integrate… If the narrative is worth this effort, and this is of course submitted to be the case, the reader will be rewarded with a new vision of the world. This vision will include at least many of the valid elements of all other visions including that of science and religion. In the end the reader will, it is hoped, be rewarded with a simplicity and unity of ultimate vision

The reader who is prepared to tentatively accept the foregoing claims may wonder if there is any adventure left in the world. The answer is that even though the vision is ultimate there is indeed adventure. The vision is ultimate in two ways. First, it is ultimate in depth; this means a foundation for the understanding of all being has been provided that has no primitive undefined terms, e.g. no substance, but despite this is not dependent on an infinite regress of definition or demonstration. For proof of this claim the reader must read at least complete the chapter Metaphysics. In the next writing the present and next section will outline a simpler and still more powerful (in the sense of grounding and clarity) demonstration. The ultimate in depth implies an ultimate in breadth. The ultimate in breadth is equivalent to the claim that every being in the universe—over all extension and duration—is implicit in the metaphysics. It is implicit in the sense that no sequence of descriptions or conceptions, finite or infinite, can contain a specification of all beings or entities in the universe. That is, for a finite being at least, there is an endless vista of discovery and adventure and, as will be seen, an endless world of becoming and transformation of individual form and identity

Style and convention

This section has overlap with Map

Style

Instead of ‘I,’ which may suggest mere self-promotion and intrusion of ego, ‘they’ or, perhaps, fictional names may be used to encourage powers of self

Organization of the essay

The main units of the essay are ‘parts’ whose headings are bold and capitalized. Parts are divided into divisions (bold and Title Case) and then chapters (underlined, First letter capitalized.) Chapters may be divided into sections that are indicated by an italicized heading or by italicizing the first sentence of the section

Italics

Italics are used to refer to a unit from within the text; for example, the main parts are Foundation, Journey, and Map. Italics are also used to indicate emphasis

Capitalization

Words have variant and potential meaning. It is crucial to the logic and understanding of the essay that the meanings of fundamental words such as Being, Universe and Void should be defined explicitly and used and read consistently. Capitalization of the first letters of words indicates that a concept is being used as defined in the essay. However, it is not necessary to be compulsive about this convention

Competent language use is comfortable with conflating concepts with the objects to which they refer. However, the distinction is often crucial to clarity; capitalization is a reminder that the distinction may be significant

Quotes

In a common convention, quotes are used to refer to a word or phrase. Thus, ‘tree’ refers to the word while tree refers to the object. This convention may be a reminder that word and object are being distinguished

Journey in being

The audience

Intrinsic

There is an interest in the journey itself, its nature, its ways and means, its ambitions and goals

General

One or more topics or parts of the narrative are experienced as having personal and or general human interest. Some examples are the discussions of initial versus later commitment, of mind, of faith, of the concerns and ‘needs’ of our civilization, and of transformation

Special

Interest is typically in the treatment of a specific topic or discipline from the point of view of the Journey—the Foundation or the ways of Transformation. The interest in the topic may be technical and for further study and research. Typical topics may be found in Program of research and experiment in the modes and means of transformation

Foundation

Foundation focuses on ideas, Journey on transformation

In Foundation, the focus is on ideas which are thought to have achieved some maturity. Transformation, which is in process, is taken up in the second part, Journey

Why ideas are taken up first

Ideas are taken up first since they are fundamental to understanding the nature of the journey and to determining possibilities of—and approaches to—transformation

Ideas are part of the journey, provide a critical and ultimate vision that is a foundation-in-interaction with the journey

Although Foundation is not in the form of a journey, development of its ideas has been and remains a journey—a part of a larger journey in transformation of being. The ideas seek to be a contribution to thought. The first purpose of the ideas is to provide a vision of the world that will be critical and, as far as possible, ultimate. The vision will be a foundation for transformation and further developments in ideas and thought

First things

This brief division talks of the nature of the journey. It makes a suggestion for reading the narrative. In the next version it is expanded

Journey in Being—nature, origins, evolution. Diligent use of ‘Being’

‘Journey in Being’ is an exploration in possibility. Its means and ends are in ideas or knowledge and in transformation—in transformation of individual and identity, of society, and, later, of the world—of being

Early goals were diffuse—to be adventurous, to experience mystery and retain wonder, and to make a fundamental contribution. Along the way, being emerged as a basic to a system of concepts that enabled ultimates in ideas and the possibility of ultimates in transformation—as well as approaches to transformation. A diligent use of the idea of Being over other concepts such as matter, mind and process enabled not only foundation and proof but also analysis of what foundation there may be

An individual exploration and the journey of being

‘Journey’ refers, first, to an individual exploration that began in adventure and sense of mystery and, through study and reflection, grew into a journey of being

Doubt. Foundation as ‘what foundation has been found along the way’

While the journey has a personal aspect, there is, also, along the way, exploration and discovery in ideas and foundations, of what foundation is possible, and in being and identity

Since doubt served the exploration well, since there remain questions about the foundation, and since the approaches to transformation remain experimental, the regard for the foundation is that it may be best thought of as what foundation has been found along the way

Estimate of the contribution

The narrative seeks to be a contribution to ideas in the topics—chapters—and their foundation, and to transformation

Although acceptance is determined in the course of a contribution in the stream of ideas and action, it is thought that the contribution includes an estimate of what directions in ideas are capable of ultimate foundation, that such ultimates have been sketched and proved, that knowledge has been pushed to a number of its boundaries, and that the envelope of transformation is traced and shown

Importance of attention to the new ideas and meanings

In developing a new system of thought, new meaning is introduced. In the narrative, most new and altered concepts are designated by existing words that may already have a variety—sometimes a profusion—of general and specialized uses

In order to understand the narrative it is crucial to be aware of new meaning as it is introduced

Theory of being

This is the first of two divisions on ‘ideas’

The nature of and requirements for a theory of being. No special categories

It is the intent of any theory of being to be a framework to understand all things without reference to any special discipline such as physics or psychology or particular category such as mind or matter. The substance theorist may interject ‘but it is obvious beyond question that all things are this or that category,’ e.g., mind or matter or, for the dualist, mind and matter. The response is that the substance theorist’s contention is not at all obvious and certainly not necessary and, indeed, the contrary will be shown—there are and can be no universal substances. Further, even if substance theory is true the framework that begins without categories can only strengthen its argument

A theory of being is not about particular beings—even though it will illuminate beings

A theory of being is about being and not about particular beings, not even the collection of beings. A theory of being may abstract what is common to all beings; if this turns out to be the case it will fall out of investigation. The theory will, of course, illuminate the nature of particular beings

Sources for a theory of being—element and abstraction

A valid theory of being may begin with some, perhaps elemental perhaps immediate, aspects of being as we know and experience it—material, animal, and or human and so on… However the theory, especially if complete, will not entirely flow from such considerations. But what lies outside individual experience? To get ‘outside’ individual experience it will be necessary to abstract from it and see if what is abstracted has universality. The chapter Being has a foundation in experience—it does not transcend experience or locate individual experience in (all) being. Metaphysics abstracts and finds what is universal. That is where Metaphysics begins; in the metaphysics, named metaphysics of immanence, an approach is developed from which it is able to demonstrate necessary and universal conclusions which are used to ground individual being in being, and to develop and elaborate a cosmology

An ultimate theory of being transcends its beginnings—and will stand as whole

The metaphysics of immanence thus transcends its beginnings in a preliminary analysis of being and experience. The metaphysics of immanence shows and gives meaning to the integral wholeness of the universe—of all being

A valid and complete theory of being must contain any other theory of being in its domain of validity; and it must be ultimate in depth of understanding and variety of being encompassed. Theory of Being develops and elaborates such a framework. It is hoped that Theory of Being is a contribution to thought

With Human World, Theory of Being denotes what foundation in ideas has arisen along the way—a framework for transformation. The topics for Theory of Being are Being, Metaphysics, Objects, Logic and meaning, Mind, and Cosmology; the topics for Human World are Human being, Social world, War and peace, Civilization and history, The highest ideal, and Faith

Metaphysics of immanence is a framework for all being and experience

These topics constitute a complete cosmological—and logical—framework for all being, all aspiring, all process and becoming, and all experience

Being

Primary objectives. Frame and motivate ideas for the journey. Explain why Being is fundamental. Understanding in relation to being-in-the-world

The primary objectives of this section are to lay out and motivate some basic ideas for a foundation / framework for an ultimate journey into understanding and transformation and to explain why, from among these, the idea of being is fundamental to the development. Here, understanding includes knowledge but is more than knowledge of the world—the universe—or even the nature of knowledge itself. Understanding includes a sense of the nature of being-in-the-world and what is important to it—or, at least, a recognition that this sense is significant together with an intent to develop the sense and a habit of being concerned with it

Concepts for a foundation. Development of the foundational framework

This chapter introduces ideas or concepts for a foundational framework for an ultimate journey into knowledge, understanding and transformation

The core of the framework is developed in Metaphysics and its elaboration continues in the remaining chapters of the division Theory of Being

The framework did not arise at once but is the result of an iteration of insight and criticism

Reasons and motives for adoption of some ideas and rejection are given. However, a fuller understanding of the concepts and reasons for retention or rejection of the concepts is developed subsequently in Theory of Being and especially in Metaphysics

Some basic concepts

Some basic concepts of the narrative are essence, substance, mind and matter, existence, concept and object, experience and forms of experience, being, meaning, sense and reference

Experience and being are primary—why. Experience and proximate being; its relation to being-as-being. The Heideggerian reduction

The primary and foundational concepts are, perhaps, experience and being. Experience is fundamental in that it is immediate—that experience is immediate is, perhaps, an understatement for while the experience of an external object is different from the object—it is an experience, the experience of experience is an experience

In Heideggerian terms, experience refers to the essential skeleton—abstraction—of Da-sein that reveals the skeletal and so universal aspect of being… and as explained earlier, permits ultimate richness of the proximate being that is Heidegger’s Da-sein

Why substance and essence are important in the tradition but not in the ultimate metaphysics to be developed

Substance is not a central concept of the narrative but is important because it has been so significant in the tradition. Here, substance as foundational is rejected—it is found that substance must be rejected as a foundation for any ultimate understanding of the world and what is learned in seeing the necessity of this rejection is immense. Essence, mind, and matter have a similar ‘negative’ importance to the development

A preliminary analysis of substance and essence

What now follows is an early stage of the systematic and precise development of the meaning and significance of the concepts. A more complete development occurs in the subsequent chapters of Theory of Being in which the concepts are developed and elaborated as the basis of a coherent system of understanding. The development follows in the subsequent divisions of the narrative, in which the system is further elaborated and is applied to topics of interest the goals of the journey

Essences. In attempting to provide a foundation the question of the essence of things—of the world—may arise. What is essence—or, since concepts do not arise in final form at once and for all time, what may it be? Is the essence of a thing distinct from the thing? Are there essences?

Substance. The history of the idea of substance—primarily in western thought—may be seen as an extended and varied investigation into essences

Two uses of ‘substance’—essence of being versus essences of particular beings

There are two broad uses of the word ‘substance’ in philosophy. The first is a general use in which substance is the ground, being, or essence of things. Thales of Miletus suggested that the fundamental substance was water and the idea of ‘stuff,’ of which water is a kind, is a primary instance of substance as the essence of all things. Thales, of course, did not anticipate that water would be found to be ‘made’ of even more basic entities. The second use of substance arises in asking, for example, what the essence of a particular thing may be, e.g., what is the essence of being a mountain. The two meanings of substance are, of course, connected and an adequate development of the first kind may, if it is possible to do so, found a development of the second kind. In developing the metaphysics of immanence it is it is primarily the first meaning of substance that is of interest—but as counterpoint for, as ground of all being, substance will, of necessity, be rejected altogether

Ad hoc aspects of traditional approaches to substance

There have been a variety of reasons for an interest in substance theory and, accordingly, substance has been held to have a variety of characteristics. Reasoned lists of such characteristics have occasionally been regarded as marking the criteria that any conception of substance should satisfy. This approach is rather ad hoc and is against the spirit of the idea of substance. It is, perhaps, only by accident that such an approach would result in a coherent concept of substance and a proper substance theory. Since substance is rejected, ‘proper substance theory’ is not a constituent concept of the present approach

What might constitute a coherent approach? The nature and role of substance will fall out of study

If the idea of substance is to be significant in revealing the nature of the world, it will be a constituent concept of a coherent metaphysics that would stand or fall not only on the criteria of coherence but also on applicability. That is, the metaphysics would say something about the world, what it would say would be true and nothing that it said would be untrue; of course, as metaphysics, it would be required to speak of the entire world—the universe, all being. Would it say everything that can be said about the world? The extent of what can be said would be integral to the theory and not something outside it—just as Logic, although it has some origin in proof, is, as will be seen, not something separate from or pasted on to talk of what is real. As will be seen ‘world’ is also a concept whose meaning will be specified even if the specification is simple. The notion of substance and its nature will fall out of study and therefore the characteristics that mark substance must be variables—perhaps only implicitly—of the theory

Substance will be simple

A primary motivation to metaphysics—substance or otherwise—is to understand the world. If the terms of the metaphysics, explanatory or predictive, are more complex than the world itself, the metaphysics can hardly be regarded as understanding. Therefore, substance should be simple

Substance will be intelligible

From simplicity, it does not follow that substance will be known or even knowable. However, if substance were not even intelligible, e.g. through intuition andor conception, the resulting metaphysics would hardly count as understanding. So it was or may have been that Plato suggested that actual things are rough copies of forms that resided in a world whose ideal character made the forms intelligible or knowable even if not available to sense perception

It is desirable that substance will be of the world and that there will be at most a small number of kinds; in the ideal case there will be one kind

The thought that sense perception constitutes evidence but not knowledge may be one motive to explaining knowledge in terms of an ideal world. However, though Plato’s theory is elegant, it introduces two kinds—the form and the thing even if it does not go so far as to introduce a separate world of ideal forms. Understanding would be better served if there were but one kind, one world, in terms of which the problem of knowability or intelligibility could be resolved. Therefore, another desirable characteristic of substance—of the terms of any satisfactory metaphysics—is that there should at most one kind which, since there are actual things, must be the actual kind. Another way of saying this is that substance should be of the one world

Summary of the desirable characteristics of substance

The desirable characteristics of substance, then, are simplicity, intelligibility and worldliness

The characteristics are not necessarily independent—worldliness may enhance, though not guarantee, intelligibility and simplicity. Their formal interdependence will vary according to metaphysics and, therefore, the true interdependence will depend on—what emerges as—true metaphysics

Can any substance metaphysics have all three characteristics?

It is not clear that any metaphysics can satisfy all three characteristics—especially since a metaphysics that were not comprehensive over all things would hardly be a metaphysics. In the extreme of simplicity, it seems that there would be but one substance that would be uniform and unchanging. The world and its variety would come from that substance. However, the becoming itself should be simple or intelligible and, it is perhaps deterministic rather than indeterministic becoming that satisfies both simplicity and intelligibility

It appears that even if some characteristics are relinquished, there can be no substance

However, that variety and change should be the deterministic result of uniformity and stasis is incoherent

Even though Heidegger rejected substance, he did not take the further step of rejecting determinism

Although Heidegger’s insight into the untenable character of substance theory is intense, in neglecting to note that determinism is the implicit twin of substance, the rejection of substance as foundational remained incomplete. Despite the explicit rejection of substance, the habit of substance thinking was retained—although Da-sein may be at the beginning of metaphysics, not all metaphysics flows from the Heideggerian Da-sein. On account of the implicit determinism, a complete metaphysics cannot flow from Da-sein. Despite the fundamental character of Heidegger’s Da-sein, some of its most cherished characteristics have to be given up for it to be the full source of metaphysics. This is not a loss, for as has been seen in other—logical—terms, the skeletal version of Da-sein—the bare account of experience—permits all that is cherished in the full-bodied Da-sein and more, perhaps infinitely more

There is a metaphysics—the metaphysics of immanence—that is even simpler than the ideal of one simple substance that, in simplicity, generates the world. This metaphysics has no substance, is simultaneously empirical and rational, requires no infinite regress of explanation, and is ultimate in depth and breadth

Is there a metaphysics that can replace substance thinking and still be counted as foundational—and simple, intelligible, and fully within the one world? The metaphysics of immanence developed in Metaphysics satisfies these criteria. It rejects substance in any strict sense but is foundational—it will be seen that while foundations and rejection of substance have been traditionally regarded as incompatible, the alleged incompatibility is the result of an assumption of a deterministic universe and that a non-substance is possible and is developed as metaphysics of immanence in Metaphysics. The rejection of substance is not a hypothesis but the consequence of an empirically founded metaphysics which is therefore of the world. Although demonstration waits until Metaphysics, the idea of the universe as all being is empirical and this idea among other demonstrated empirical ideas results in a metaphysics that is ultimately simple, yet ultimate in depth. Further, the depth is a result of the simplicity

That no infinite regress of explanation is required is a consequence of the simultaneous and absolute empirical and rational foundation

In metaphysics of immanence, form is not other than but is immanent in being

The metaphysics of immanence retains the idea of form but not of form of being as a kind that is other than being or residing in another world; it is a metaphysics of immanent form—of form as being of what is formed. The metaphysics eliminates need for and—logical—possibility of substance of substratum and sortal kind, which are the two kinds noted earlier

In metaphysics of immanence the foundation of the world is—may be seen to be—the world itself

In the metaphysics of immanence, the foundation of the world is the world itself. Thus it is not an idealism or materialism or any kind of restricted-ism. How such a metaphysics may—and does—count as metaphysics and how it is simple awaits Metaphysics

The demonstration that the metaphysics of immanence yields intelligibility while referring to—and only to—the one universe begins in Metaphysics and is completed in Objects

In Metaphysics it is shown that the idea of the—one—universe as all being is more than a definition in that there can be no part of all that there is that cannot interact with any other part

Other treatments of substance

For further treatment of substance, see Substance, Journey in Being-New World, and the discussion of substance in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Alternatives to substance as stuff—considered and shown unnecessary

In the foregoing, the notions of property, impression or sense data, and event as alternatives to substance or, in a loose interpretation, other kinds of substance, have not been taken up. However, as in the case of substance, it is preferable, as far as possible, to develop the metaphysics and see what falls out of it as fundamental rather than to set up a system of ad hoc even if reasonable explanation—including criteria for explanations—in advance. In the present time, philosophy is often taken to have the characteristic—perhaps among others—that its content is conceptual rather than merely empirical and the concepts and their subject have not yet become definite as, for example, in science. Therefore, there may not be the luxury of criteria that are more than ad hoc and reasonable, i.e., it is not given that a philosophy or a metaphysics may be systematic and realistic. It is remarkable, therefore, that the metaphysics of immanence is systematic and realistic and that its formulation and concepts permit its own evaluation as well as an evaluation of the concepts of substance—whether abstract or in the mode of ‘stuff,’ property, trope, impression, fact and event

In metaphysics of immanence these alternative interpretations of substance are shown to be unnecessary

Mind and matter

The foregoing discussion suggests that mind and matter cannot be substances. In Metaphysics it is seen that in their common meanings mind and matter are too restricted and definite to serve as universal substances even though they may be substantial to this cosmological system. However, it will also be seen that if the common meanings of mind and matter are sufficiently loosened then either mind or matter may be foundational but to regard them as universal substances would also require a loosening of the concept of substance. Further, although these possibilities illuminate the character of the metaphysics, they do not particularly illuminate understanding of the world and might be confusing on account of the possibility of conflation of common and extended meanings

The treatment of the problem of substance is left to Metaphysics where, as noted, it is found that there are and can be no fundamental substances in the stricter meanings of substance. If there are no substances there remains the—potential—problem that there are no simple explanations. Of course, if this is the way things are then it is not a true problem. What, however, could function as a basis of explanation yet not be a simple substance?

Metaphysics will be shown, in appropriate domains, to be capable of the definiteness of science

Reflections on the nature of philosophy and metaphysics in the later chapters, Philosophy and metaphysics and Problems in metaphysics, show that while it is natural that metaphysics encompasses philosophy and that while there should be domains within it that are not characterized by the nature or definiteness of science, the thought that all metaphysics and all areas within philosophy should lack such definiteness cannot obtain

The aesthetic problem of substance

The discussion so far has considered substance, the idea that, despite or because of the desirable characteristics of simplicity, intelligibility and worldliness, the world is something other than what it is. In the best of substance scenarios, the world is a part of itself—perhaps an unchanging part. Putting aside the logical difficulty of determinism, while this has the attraction of simplicity, it has also the character that the world is rather less than its richness and variety. In a substance scenario of somewhat lower grade, the world is other than what it is even if that other has the purity of uniformity and changelessness

The idea of substance has logical impossibility and an aspect of a lesser aesthetic

Let us therefore look at the world as the world

Perhaps, then, we might look at the idea of the world as just the world—neither more nor less than that which it is. This is immediately obvious, even tautologous and trivial. The charge is granted for it is precisely these aspects of triviality that, as will be seen, lead to ultimate depth and breadth. That the assertion is valid, how it may be shown, and the character of the resulting depth and breadth are not at all obvious; they are the result of a journey in ideas

Existence

Perhaps the most immediate and basic character of things is that they are—that they exist, i.e., that they are or have being. It is not at all clear, however, that existence—being—can form the basis of a simple system of explanation. The possibility is shown and realized in Metaphysics. Here, it will be appropriate to discuss existence and to consider some problems that have been associated with the concept of existence and its possibility as the basis of an explanatory system

What it means to say something exists. The verb ‘to be’

To say something exists is to say that it is there. To say that something ‘is there’ appears to suggest that it exists in space. However the use of ‘there’ in ‘there is a mountain called Everest’ is not spatial but is used to avoid the awkward construction ‘is a mountain called Everest.’ Allowing some awkwardness of construction, to say ‘Mt. Everest exists’ is to say ‘Mt. Everest is’

The meaning of existence allows but does not require existence in space. A priori, existence and spatiality are independent concepts

In the previous paragraph it is not of course being said that Mt. Everest is not in space but, instead, that the idea of existence does not a priori entail existence in space

The possibility of non-spatial existence. Number

Although it may seem that everything that exists must exist in space—and time—this is not necessarily the case. For example one apple exists in space but where does the number one exist? Does it exist? The machinery with which to answer these questions is developed in Metaphysics and Objects and therefore question of whether there are non-spatial objects is deferred to those chapters. However, it may be important to keep the possibility of non-spatial existence open at this point in the narrative because objects that exist in a non-spatial framework and objects that exist but in no framework at all have not been ruled out. Therefore, the grammatical form ‘X is’ is important to indicate, first, existence and, second, to indicate the possibility of existence in non-spatial frameworks

The primitive character of existence

Therefore, existence is a very simple and immediate concept. It is associated with one of the most primitive of language constructs, the verb to be one of whose forms is ‘is’

Local and global modes of description

Before proceeding further with the analysis of existence it is useful to mention the local and global modes of description. The freedom to talk in both local and global terms introduces a great efficiency into the discussion

The history of the universe may be viewed as having a trajectory through time or as being a trajectory over time. In the first view, the history is seen as a ‘motion;’ in the second view it is seen as an object. Spatial description is implicit in the term trajectory—the trajectory is that of a spatial distribution. It is convenient to switch among the coordinate or spatio-temporal description and the non-coordinate description in which the history of the universe is seen as an object. An immediate concern with this thought is that it is not clear that spatio-temporal description is possible for every part of the universe or that space and time are the only possible coordinates of description. From the coordinate point of view, the universe could be seen as different patches. From the non-coordinate view, the universe would be the collection of patches. In view of the indeterminacy and possible incompleteness of description in terms of space and time, the terms coordinate and non- or supra-coordinate may be replaced by the terms local and global, respectively. The global mode allows for objects or domains that are not and, perhaps, cannot be coordinated in terms of—other—objects

The primitive character of the verb to be. Less primitive uses

In the above most primitive use, ‘is’ indicates nothing other than existence. Other uses are less primitive. In saying, the mountain is its atoms, it is meant that the mountain is ‘made’ of its atoms—that the atoms constitute the mountain. In saying that the mountain is tall, ‘is’ functions to connect the mountain to its property of tallness. The less primitive uses may be regarded as asserting existence and something else, e.g., constitution or having a property. The uses are related—they may seen as having a common stem-use, that of being. In ‘X is itself’ the constitutive use reduces to the stem. Bundle theory is the view, attributed to the philosopher David Hume but not adopted here, that an object is precisely its collection of properties; on this view, ‘X is its properties,’ e.g., the mountain is its mass and its shape and its color… It is clear that there is a difference between the kinds of property—mass is thought to inhere in the object but an object has color only in interaction and, if it were the intent to discuss or argue bundle theory, it would be necessary to make this distinction

The most primitive use of the verb to be indicates existence

As noted, the use of ‘is’ that indicates being or existence is—perhaps—its most primitive use. That existence has the meaning of the most primitive use of a most primitive linguistic construct points to the primitive character of existence, i.e., of being. The depth of the concept of existence or being lies, not in remoteness or esotericism, but in this primitive and immediate character

The phrase ‘X is’ expresses the meaning of existence

It is not being said that the grammatical form, ‘X is,’ implies existence but that it expresses the linguistic meaning of the concept of existence

The impulse to explain every concept is unnatural. Existence is not to be explained in terms of something more fundamental. It may of course be elaborated but not reduced. The false expectation of something more fundamental leads to the equally false expectation of infinite regress and so to the idea that the understanding of existence—being—cannot have an absolute foundation

That existence is simple and immediate does not imply that it will be easy to explain its meaning. What does it mean that something should exist? It is the very immediacy of existence that makes it hard to explain. There are—perhaps—no simpler and more immediate concepts in terms of which it can be explained. Many fundamental ideas are like that. They can be known—it seems—but not explained and therefore knowledge of them is doubted. Often, however, the reason for the difficulty with explanation or definition is that there is nothing more fundamental in terms of which to explain or define the idea. This upturns the order of things. What is less immediate is thought to be known or understood because it can be defined. What is most immediately known is thought to be difficult to know because it is hard to define. Existence is like that. It ought to be sufficient to say that ‘Mt. Everest exists’ means ‘Mt. Everest is’

Issues regarding existence

That is not to say that there are no issues or concerns regarding the concept of existence

Existence is not a concept

Since ‘everything exists’ it has been argued that existence is not a concept—it says nothing. This concern is addressed below under the topic concepts and objects

Existence is trivial even if it is a concept

Another concern is that though existence may be a concept it is trivial. In a sense it is trivial—everything exists—existence makes no distinctions as, for example does redness: some things are red, others are not. Existence is profoundly trivial and profoundly shallow and it is seen in Metaphysics that this triviality is the source of its depth—that makes it suitable as foundational for a metaphysics of ultimate breadth and depth

A sense in which existence is an immanent essence

In a sense, existence is essence but this essence is one that is immanent, that is not separate from things

The problem of Objects—of appearance and reality

In saying that something is rather than seems to be, it is suggested that it exists independently of being perceived or known. This is implicit in the idea of existence but the discussion of concept and object below will clarify the idea and make it more explicit. Immediately the question arises, does anything that is seen exist as it is seen? This is the problem of appearance and reality which is taken up in the topic concept and object below but whose treatment continues through Objects

Does anything exist?

This question is distinct from the issue of whether anything exists as it is known. To doubt all existence as an intrinsic dimension of the psyche may be a neurotic condition

Of course there is existence—or else, for example, these words would be neither written nor read. Even if it is thought that the perception of the world is an illusion, the illusion exists. The fact of existence is empirical. It is not required to further check existence—it is in the meaning of existence that the existence of perception, whether ‘real’ or ‘illusion,’ is given

The value of contemplation of certain issues that are trivial from a practical point of view

However, the philosophical contemplation of the question whether anything exists—and related questions, especially—will be seen to contribute to, first, clarification of the nature of knowledge and of existence and, second, to the development of powerful tools of analysis

What things exist?

The question has at least two aspects—may be seen to contain two questions

Particular objects and the meaning of the question of their existence

In asking whether Mt Everest exists, it is being questioned whether there is a concrete—particular—thing named ‘Mt. Everest.’ An important aspect of this question is the sub-question ‘What does it mean to say or know that Mt. Everest exists.’ Earlier, it was suggested that existence may not be analyzable. However, an analysis is taken up in the discussion below of concepts and objects. The discussion will show that the question whether something exists, at least for particular or concrete things, is primarily a question of the meaning of ‘existence.’ That Mt. Everest is ‘made’ of various elementary particles is a clarification of the nature of material things but does not typically confirm existence

Abstract objects

The second question concerns the existence of such non-particular, non-concrete or non-material ‘things’ such as number and morals. Where is the number ‘one?’ Where is the value ‘justice’ or the color ‘red?’ It might appear that these abstract things do not exist in space—but if they do not exist in space, do they exist at all or are they merely ideas? The meaning of the question is not yet clear—what could it mean that something does not exist in space but may exist as an idea? There is a vagueness behind these issues. The machinery of concept and object whose discussion begins shortly is instrumental in the analysis of abstract objects but real clarification awaits Objects

It is perhaps useful to note that in pondering the existence of abstract objects it is possible to begin a chain of reasoning that covers ‘worlds of ideas,’ ‘mental space,’ whether something that exists must be material… It will turn out that such reflections might take the thinker into much vagueness without satisfactory resolution. Such speculation will not be indulged here because it is unnecessary. In Objects, the nature of abstract objects—and whether they reside in space, whether they have material nature—will be resolved. ‘Worlds of ideas’ and ‘mental space,’ could be given meaning but this will not be done as the ideas are not particularly significant or useful. What is significant is that while some elucidation of the nature of particular—concrete—objects is relatively simple, the treatment of abstract objects must await the development, in Metaphysics, of the metaphysics of immanence. The outcome, however, may be stated simply enough—the distinction between particular and abstract objects is not one of kind but is according to whether the object is—most conveniently—studied empirically or conceptually

Footnote on occasional and systematic reference to scientific theories

Note: reference to ‘elementary particles’ simply acknowledges modern physics but generally makes no further use of it. Occasionally, reference may be made to the indeterminism of quantum theory. Elsewhere, deeper references to modern science are made. It should be noted, however, that the metaphysics has no logical dependence on science even though science has provided a number of points of inspiration

Existence versus essence

In the history of thought the following distinctions have been made. Existence is the mode of being in interaction, e.g., in being known. Essence or ens is the mode of being of a thing in itself—of being without qualification. To be clear about these meanings and their distinctions it would be necessary to clarify ‘being’ without reference to either existence or essence. The line of thought leads to what may be experienced as freely morphing meanings that have no final stability. In the absence of a picture of the world, a metaphysics, nothing more can be expected; and for any ‘something more’ to be certainly grounded—valid—the metaphysics would have to be necessary. In the metaphysics of immanence, which, with its necessary and ultimate character, are developed in Metaphysics, the distinction of existence and essence is seen to vanish

Existence and being

‘Being’ is derived from the verb to be, i.e., being is, roughly, that which is or which exists. The word ‘roughly’ was used because the source of a word does not necessarily indicate the range of uses that a word may come to have. Since being is a core term of the metaphysics that will be developed in the next chapter, what it shall signify in this narrative is at least as much a result of the development as it may be of what is received from the history of use. Roughly, however, it may be said that the ideas of existence and being have near identity. This identity implies that what has been said about existence carries over to being. However, it will be convenient to discuss concepts, objects and experience before introduction of being

The philosophical contemplation of the questions ‘Does anything exist?’ ‘What has being?’ is be taken up in the discussions, below, of concepts and objects, and of experience and continued throughout the narrative. The ideas of the concept and of experience are related and the term ‘experience’ will be used informally in discussing concepts before its more formal consideration

Concepts and objects

Two meanings of concept

Among meanings of concept are the following two. (1) Something conceived in the mind, i.e., mental content. (2) An idea that may be more or less abstract and that may either refer to a genera in being generalized from particular instances andor specialized by differences among entities of a group or class or, (2a) a single significant entity

While these families of meaning are well established, the traditional versions above have significant augmentations

Concept as mental content

In the first meaning ‘mental content’ is a term often used in modern cognitive science and its inclusion here emphasizes that concepts include what is very basic—the most primitive experience is conceptual; this is important in that if talk of concepts is to be a basis of experience and meaning, the concept should, at root, be primitive and inclusive

Concepts as generic andor significant ideas

In the second meaning the phrase ‘significant single entity’ has been added to the traditional generic idea because, e.g., the idea of ‘universe,’ which is crucial to the present narrative, is not generalized from instances (it may be seen as abstracted from the sense-feeling of all things or, specifically, all-things-as-one.) It is the second meaning that includes the significant ideas from the history of thought—including the idea of concept of the concept itself

Relation between the notions of concept. The generic or significant idea is a particular case of mental content. Significance of the inclusion

The primary connotation of (1) may be iconic conception and that of (2) may be symbolic. However, these connotations are not necessary. Therefore, (2) is a case of (1)

The significance of the inclusion is that the significant and the esoteric are not seen as essentially distinct from the primitive and the immediate. Significant concepts may be seen as articulated systems of primitive concepts

Intentionality. The intentional concept. Whether intentionality can be explained on a material account is not clear on today’s physics

‘Concept’ has the occasional connotation of intentional concept. Intentionality is an important modern term that characterizes the way in which a mental state has reference to—an object in—the external world. A concept is intentional when it is about something. In the immediately following discussion it is taken for granted that there are things regarding which there can be a mental aboutness, i.e., it is taken as given that there is an external world. The existence of the external world is taken up later—as is usual for such concerns the doubt is not a serious practical doubt but, rather, one that has or may have important conceptual andor methodological conclusions and clarifications that may in turn have practical consequences of great moment—but, here, it is taken as given. Also, for the present, perfect faithfulness of the intentional concept is not a concern; it is enough that there is some degree and kind of faithfulness which must, of course, follow from the fact that concepts have some efficacy in negotiation of the world

Are intentional states essentially mental? I.e., is it paradoxical that intentionality should occur in purely material systems? The thought that intentionality should not occur in a purely material system rests on an erroneous notion of ‘material system,’ i.e., a notion that matter is as described in our materialist prejudice

In recent philosophy there have been a number of areas of disagreement about intentionality. One issue is whether intentionality is especially mental—whether it can or cannot be recognized in matter or, perhaps more precisely, in material descriptions. Although these concerns are not of primary interest to this narrative, subsequent reflections, especially in Mind, may provide some resolution. There appears to be a natural if sometimes unreflective tendency to assign various kinds of special status to mind that is a consequence of characteristics such as having subjectivity and making intentional reference that, it appears, mental states have but material ones do not. The argument that material states cannot have aboutness appears to stem from the thought that the primitive material elements, the elementary particles of today’s physics, do not have aboutness in their relations with one another. It is, however, not at all clear that the interaction between two electrons is not an aboutness for is it not possible that their relation is a result of mutual creation, intrinsic, rather than abstract and imposed. All that can be said is that, obviously, any such elementary aboutness is much simpler than aboutness at the level of animal-human thought

Why the common thought that material systems cannot have intentionality is in error

From the natural tendency as well as from the explanatory efficacy of such assignments—‘material states do not have an aboutness about them,’ it does not follow that there are no alternative, valid, descriptions that do not invoke any special status to mind, e.g., that are neutral with regard to any mind / matter distinction. Particularly, whether intentionality can be understood in material terms depends on what conception of matter is used and what powers of analysis are available. If there is some future final conception of matter, i.e. one that at least implicitly contains a description of the universe, it would have to contain account, perhaps implicit, of intentionality. It is not clear, though, whether today’s—quantum—physics is anywhere close to a final physical theory or, at least, one that contains intentionality or whether the ‘matter’ of such physical theories would be recognizable as matter in today’s terms. Related concerns will be further discussed in Mind

Cognitive science proposals that the mind is a computer program. Argument against that case. What the argument reveals about the deep embedding of mentality and intentionality

Since there have been proposals that mind is, effectively, a computer program or algorithm running in the brain, a question discussed in the recent literature is whether a—running—computer program is capable of intentionality or even consciousness. Since the set of states of a computer that are implicated in the implementation of a program are a minute fraction of the physical states of the machine, the thesis that mind is a computer program appears to imply that mental states are a very superficial function of material states—the ‘mental’ states of a computer would be a superficial function its material states and the mental states of an animal would be a superficial of its brain—body—states. It seems, however, that the mental states in the brain / body of an animal are far deeper in terms of layering, far more varied with regard to mode, and far closer to detailed physical structure than are the differences in physical state of a computer that define a running algorithm

Precise conclusion that a computer program is mental but that its mentality is minimal and minimally integrated with the environment of the ‘organism’

This argues that machine implementation of algorithms are at most minimally mental in nature and that, it seems likely, the ‘actual’ mental content is far from identical to the assigned mental content. In other words, while the positions taken in the literature appear to be that mind is / is not a computer program, the proper ascription of mental states to material states may, in addition to complexity, depend on the factors of layering, depth, variation and there may also be thresholds below which it might be said ‘there is no recognizable mind here.’ Simply, if computer programs are minds—mental—they are massively primitive minds-as-minds, disconnected from environment and one or minimally dimensional

Significant mentality and intentionality require deep embedding in the organism that is organically acquired, i.e. arises in evolution and is not built in by an external agent

A corollary to this conclusion is that real minds—those that are instrumental in negotiating and being creative in a complex environment—have deep embedding in or are high level manifestations of a complex material organization, e.g., a brain. Additionally, real or intrinsic intentionality grows out of the organism in evolution and in growth and is not imposed or built in by an external agent. These thoughts regarding embedding, here illustrative and without proof, has resonances and proofs in Mind where it will be seen that the apparent polar opposites—mind is / is not a computer programs and computer programs do / do not have deep embedding—are points on a continuum

Preconception. Conception and preconception. That preconception is not intentional though it has the potential to be(come) intentional

In relation to concepts, the present concern with intentionality is that some but not all concepts have intentionality, i.e. intrinsic reference to objects. Pre-conception is conception evoked in mind or marked on some medium from past experience, i.e., from memory and that is be intended or hoped to have future reference to an object—is thought to have potential reference (and therefore potential efficacy as an instrument of understanding and negotiation of the world.) Preconception is also conception but is not intentional. What may be called free conception, e.g. pure expression without a present or future intentional object, is also conception. Intentional conception, preconception, and pure expression all fall under conception and their distinctions are, in fact, neither precise nor eternal, e.g. what is conceived freely may become a pre-concept and a pre-concept may become intentional

These becomings may be experienced as andor thought to be intrinsic when they have arisen in evolution or primordial thought; they may be thought of as constructed when the transition from free to preconception or the transition from preconception to conception is not hidden from view

Nature, necessity and fundamental character of intuition

The instruments of knowledge have been regarded as perception and reason (thought) and these have an interpretation in the modes of concept and their interplay. It has sometimes been thought that knowledge may be constructed from primitive perception and thought. Here primitive perception is regarded as perception of parts rather than wholes; a building is made of walls, floors and so on; a wall has an inside and an outside surface and a body; a surface has a color, a texture and a shape; and if the shape is anything other than flat it may have very many parts. On the primitive account, even flatness is made up of may parts that stand in a certain relation. On this account, knowledge, if at all possible, would be immensely primitive; for human—animal—knowledge they require placement within a biological framework of that enables perception of and reason about the forms of the world. This framework has been called intuition

Although intuition can be built upon with profit in understanding it is not clear that understanding can or should replace all intuition

A percept is a concept. While not all concepts are percepts, the recollection of past experience is, perhaps, part of all conception; and perhaps, all conception, is an elaboration of immediate perception, recollection and perceptual reconstruction. When past experience—concepts including perceptions—are laid down in memory, they are not laid down invariably as wholes or parts but in gradations of such. There are wholes but not all wholes are indivisible, and therefore constructed concepts may contain combinations of parts of a number of ‘experiences.’ Although perception is instigated by present experience including internal experience or free conception, past experience—memory—may be and probably usually is involved in the production of the percept as exemplified by the forms of perception which are acquired in growth and by the perception of wholes from data that is partial (most data is partial)

Is the representation or depiction the concept?

In both meanings—items 1 and 2 above—concepts shall here refer primarily to mental content and secondarily to marks, iconic or symbolic, on other ‘media’ such as paper, canvas, dirt, and computer memory or screen. While the first meaning evokes the fact of mental content or of marks on recording media, the second meaning evokes the structure of the mental content or marks

It may be said, initially, that mental content is the true concept while the marks on other media are aids of various kinds—memory aids, evocative aids, aids to communication, aids to ‘computation.’ Here, though, aid to computation simply means that the marks may be moved around the non-mental media to envisage new possibilities in the world or new conceptual possibilities; the mathematical text is a special case of such computation. Perhaps, however, the true concept may be seen as the entire system of body (mind) and artifact

The importance of mental content

The first meaning, that of mental content is the meaning emphasized here but, because of the inclusion, the discussion also applies to the second meaning. However, the present discussion is not especially about significant concepts

The importance of clarification of concept and meaning to clarification of existence and, more generally, to the narrative

The discussion of concepts and what they refer to—objects—is important to the analysis of meaning which is significant to understanding the present narrative because of the empirical foundation of meaning, the fluidity of meaning and the interrelatedness of individual meanings and, as a result of the wholeness of the world, a certain wholeness of meaning as a system that is not entirely constructed out of individual meanings. While there are a few novel terms, many terms of the present narrative are words taken from common use—everyday and philosophical—that take on enhanced andor altered meaning. Much of the power of the narrative lies in the recognition of the empirical character of meaning and in the enhancement and alteration, in the recombination, and in the interrelatedness of meaning. The discussion is also important because it contributes to the idea of meaning which has a formal place in Metaphysics. However, the discussion is introduced at the present point because it is pivotal in clarifying the concept of existence and in clarifying the meaning of and, then, addressing the questions ‘Does anything exist?’ and ‘What things exist?’

The concept of existence

Concepts, objects and existence

What does it mean to say ‘Mt. Everest exists?’

If a person is looking at the mountain and has an image of it then ‘Mt. Everest exists’ means that there is something real that corresponds to and has some kind and some degree of likeness to the image or concept

The individual may have seen Mt. Everest or read about it and seen pictures of it. Then the idea or concept of Mt. Everest is a recall of its image or picture. When the mountain is not in view, saying ‘Mt. Everest exists’ means that there is something real that corresponds to and has some kind and some degree of likeness to the idea or concept

To say that an object ‘X’ exists is to say that there is a concept ‘x’ and there is an object ‘X’ that corresponds to and has some kind and degree of likeness to ‘x’

In day to day affairs it is typically unnecessary to distinguish concept and object—and instead of using X and x, it is typical to use one sign, ‘X’ to refer to both concept and object or, even one sign to refer to a symbol whose constituents are word or name and concept and object. In fact, the conflation of word, concept and object is common and usually results in economy of thought and communication. Occasionally, the same word may refer to distinct concepts and, therefore, distinct objects and, while this may be confusing, it is an aspect of language competency to normally straddle such potential confusions. However, there are confusions and paradoxes that arise when the distinction of word and object or concept and object is not made

Three paradoxes of the concept of existence

Paradox of the concept of non-existence

Paradox of faithfulness

Paradox of the logical possibility of non-existence of an external world, i.e., solipsism

The paradox of non-existence

The unicorn is a mythological animal referred to in the myths of many cultures. Since there are some people who believe in unicorns it should be noted that for the purpose of this discussion unicorns are taken to be non-existent. Now consider the statement ‘unicorns do not exist.’ An obvious response is ‘precisely what is it that is asserted to not exist?’ In other words, since there are no unicorns, ‘unicorn’ appears to have no meaning and therefore ‘unicorns do not exist’ also appears to have no meaning. This is the paradox of non-existence that is frequently raised in discussions of the concept of existence. It should be noted that, regarding any hypothetical creature, X, the assertions ‘X does not exist’ and ‘X exists’ are equally paradoxical—equal in meaning or lack of meaning status. Even if a creature X is actual, ‘X exists,’ on these terms, though not paradoxical, appears to be meaningless because ‘X exists’ seems to be saying some equivalent of ‘an object, X, that exists, exists.’ The paradox, which for non-existence is one of absurdity and for existence is one of triviality of meaning, is resolved quite easily in terms of the concepts of concept and object. The meaning of ‘X exists’ is that there is an object ‘X’ that corresponds to the concept ‘X’—the same symbol is used for concept and object in a convenient but occasionally misleading conflation. Similarly, the meaning of ‘X does not exist’ is that there is no object ‘X’ that corresponds to the concept ‘X’

The paradox of faithfulness

Except on the view that there is no external world the concept is not the object. A problem that then arises is whether concepts are faithful to objects. Since the concept is not the object, i.e., since there is no identity of concept and object, every attempt to verify faithfulness is and must be in terms of some further concept which is or includes some enhanced concept of the object but whose faithfulness must also be in question. It therefore appears that—even if there is faithfulness—faithfulness of concepts to objects cannot be established or known

There is a question of the meaning of faithfulness over and above the question of accuracy

It may be unnecessary to observe that concept and external object are or may be different in kind. Therefore the question of the meaning of faithfulness of concept to object arises. This is the reason for the phrase ‘some kind and some degree of likeness’ of external object to concept used a few paragraphs earlier. However our recollection of ‘the object’ is in fact the concept. The concept stands for the object. This is the subjective reason that, even without drawing and photographs, we think we know the likeness of the object (we will see better reasons)

A resolution of Meinong that has attractive features but whose contrived character makes it unsuitable as a robust approach to the relation of concept and object

One resolution to this question was given by Alexius Meinong who argued from the absence of faithfulness that there is no object in the world of sense experience even though objects have properties. Thus the concept was identified by Meinong as the object and labeled the concept-object. This is also suggested by the fact that we permit the concept to stand for the object. What was thought to be the object is in fact the noumenon of Kant which does not exist in sense experience

Meinong’s explanation is appealing. In making a conflation of concept and object, the problem of faithfulness is eliminated. However, unless it is necessary to resort to this explanation to confront the problem of faithfulness, it cannot be the most satisfactory resolution

Kant’s approach

Kant’s earlier resolution to the problem—discussed in greater detail in Objects—suggests the line of approach adopted here. Kant’s solution may have been suggested by the thought that, in attempting to verify faithfulness, it is impossible to get ‘outside’ concepts. Yet, the individual is able to negotiate and be creative in the world via concepts and, therefore, there must be some intrinsic adaptation of cognition—and, perhaps, of emotion and of any other function of psyche—to the world. From the vast and precise success of the mechanics and the geometry of his day, Kant assumed that Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics had encapsulated the forms of space, time and motion or causation. Further, since the individual perceives the world in these terms, Kant thought that the intrinsic adaptation of perception is a precise intuition of the forms of space, time and motion or causation. Then, the sciences of geometry and mechanics were developed in logical terms, which are also a capability, from the intuition

Limitations of Kant’s approach

It is known, today, that the mechanics and geometry of the world are only approximated by the science of Kant’s time and, therefore, the intuition is only approximate. However, the interpretation of this approximate character as a limit can be turned around. First, it may be recognized, from the non-identity of concept and object, that no absolute faithfulness can be guaranteed. However, even though an absolute faithfulness of knowledge has been an ideal of human knowledge perhaps since a time before history, it is neither to be expected nor in any way necessary. Therefore, especially on account of the gap between concept and object, faithfulness seems to be a near impossible ideal and what is impossible cannot be an ideal

Why Kant’s approach may be the basis of a satisfactory resolution

Although the ideal appears to be impossible, it makes for the possibility that knowledge may have advance and, depending on perspective, this reflect a nicer world than one in which knowledge is already ideal

Thus while Kant overstated the abilities of cognition, the actual lesser ability may be seen as positive—it is an embedding in the world rather than an absolute capability from a vantage point that is experienced as external to the world

Use of terms ‘lesser’ and ‘greater ability’ have a value driven component that has irrelevance to the individual / society-in-the-world

Although there is no absolute faithfulness, sufficient faithfulness is sufficient—and, in terms of the animal or human place in the world—even better

Although there may be no absolute faithfulness to the object, there is a practical and sufficient faithfulness. In saying this, it may be noted that, even in practical terms, there is an arbitrariness to the question ‘what is the object?’ It is typical to think of two mountains as two objects. However, cannot two mountains not be thought of as a single object? This freedom exists and depending on circumstances, many ‘objects’ can be regarded, even seen, as one or one as many; this freedom is itself a form of practical and useful faithfulness that may, according to perspective, be seen as lack of faithfulness or a kind of adaptable faithfulness. Perhaps one half of one mountain and one half of the other can be seen as a single object. The possibility exists but appears to lack utility. There is in fact a theoretical arbitrariness to the identity of the object that, however, is resolved by adaptability in the actual situation. If flying between two close near vertical walls, it may be useful to see them as one canyon. In entering a very unfamiliar situation it may be required to negotiate the new environment, to experiment with it, before the arbitrary combinations resolve into definiteness of objects—the process of resolution is adaptation of cognition in process and the theoretical arbitrariness of objects may be seen as a feature of the world which has no intrinsic value but which is deployed to cognitive advantage

The embedding of the organism in the world addresses the questions of the meaning of faithfulness and accuracy

The embedding of the organism in the world addresses the questions of the meaning of faithfulness and accuracy

Is faithfulness ever absolute? Some examples

It remains true, though, that there is, in general, a necessary and absolute gap between concept and object. Are there any objects that exist as conceived? It will be shown below that there are necessary—and significant—objects whose being conforms to their conception. The practical faithfulness of concepts—of experience—and the necessary faithfulness of concepts of the necessary objects provide reasons for not adopting Meinong’s concept-object to the problem of faithfulness and for not limiting metaphysics, as did Kant and Wittgenstein, to a metaphysic of experience

Another example: the noumenon

Kant’s noumenon can be conceived but not, according to Kant, experienced and is therefore, as far as is known, lacking in differentiation—some thinkers have taken this to imply that the noumenon itself is lacking in differentiation. In Metaphysics, it will be possible to go beyond this degree of knowledge of the noumenon. The essential point to this possibility is that in experiencing there is experience of the noumenon. This claim appears to be paradoxical for what has been said above amounts to experience being phenomenal and not noumenal. The error in the paradox is that while it holds for detail, it does not hold for what is general, i.e., what is necessary in experience, i.e., in experiencing a world, the phenomenon and noumenon are identical

I.e., in this way, experience transcends the concept

The solipsist’s paradox

Solipsism is the position that the entire world is the mental space of the individual—that this position is logically possible. That is, if the reader were a solipsist he or she would think, ‘there are no things as such, there are no other minds, there is just my experience.’ (If the solipsist’s position were true, it is not clear how or ‘where’ he or she would arrive at the concept ‘mind,’ ‘other mind,’ ‘my mind,’ ‘me’…) To be consistent, that reader would not think ‘I have a body’ but ‘there is an experience of a body that is an experience labeled ‘this body’;’ he or she would not think ‘there are others who have bodies and minds’ but ‘other and others' minds and bodies are but points in experience’—it would be invalid to think ‘points in my experience’ as factual the phrase would refer, merely, to certain regions of experience. In fact the solipsist would think ‘what is labeled the world is the set of points in experience’ and ‘what is labeled the external world is a subset of points in experience.’ I.e. the solipsist is committed to the non-existence of an external world. To be solipsist in fact, would be a psychopathological condition; however, to entertain solipsism is useful as a challenge to realism as belief in a world independent of mind and, in addressing this challenge, to be an occasion to sharpen the concept of realism and commitment to it as well as occasion to develop powers and tools of analysis. Solipsism is taken up in Metaphysics where it is seen that solipsism may be consistent with the properties of very simple worlds, immensely improbable in this world—but logically impossible only if certain properties of this world are taken as given

On meaning

The comments on meaning in this chapter are preliminary. However, a primary concern here is that an understanding of meaning is important to understanding of the way in which words and concepts are used in the narrative. As an example, the importance of paying attention to meaning was evident above in discussing existence

Another objective of the discussion is to set up the later formal treatment of meaning in Logic and meaning—and, therefore, the discussion is more complete than it would need to be in order to guide a reader through the narrative. In the later treatment, meaning is given a place in the metaphysics

Here, meaning is linguistic meaning

‘Meaning’ itself has a number of meanings as in ‘I have been meaning to tell you how much I value your friendship,’ ‘The meaning of a human life is a function of human freedoms, especially the freedoms of choice, action, and symbolic thought,’ and ‘Specifying the meaning of the word existence is difficult even though we feel we know intuitively what it is for something to exist.’ The meaning of ‘meaning’ is its use in the last of these examples, i.e., word or, more generally, linguistic meaning. In this discussion meaning centers around linguistic meaning but, as will be seen later, in order to specify linguistic meaning it will be necessary but not sufficient to focus on language

Interdependence of system meaning and of and among element meaning

A problem encountered in setting up a system of thought is that elements of the system are interdependent and it may be necessary to raise the level of understanding of each element iteratively. This particular concern would not be resolved by a formal axiomatic development for as long as development is ongoing, an axiomatic expression might require iterative modification

It may be natural to place some preliminary observations on meaning immediately after discussing concepts and objects for the relations between concepts and objects is one of meaning. However, what is said immediately below on meaning learns from the development of the system of ideas of the narrative and the reader will find confirmation of the comments on meaning in the subsequent developments. However, although these comments may depend, in part, on the subsequent developments for their inspiration, the validity of the comments stands independently

The placement of the discussion of concepts and objects is necessary in order to avoid conflict that may otherwise arise in the use of the important terms, especially ‘experience,’ ‘existence,’ ‘being,’ ‘universe’ and so on. One significance of this point is that it is essential to be aware of the meanings of terms as used here in order to understand the development and appreciate its power and significance

Sense and reference in meaning

When may it be said that a concept is understood? Even though a concept refers to an object—a class of objects may be regarded as a complex object and so the singular term ‘object’ is appropriate—it has sense. Roughly, sense is what the concept connotes to the conceiver. Although the sense may seem to be different from the object, perhaps sense is nothing other than the intuition that is built up in using the concept in formal and informal contexts. E.g., in reflecting what sense the sense of a particular concept may be the individual may have a variety of mental pictures that contribute to the sense. In Logic and meaning, sense will come to mean potential or possible reference; however, at present the idea of sense is left with the foregoing intuitive specification. The meaning of a concept is often regarded as sense as just described. However, in the present specification, sense is open ended and clearly not definite. The meaning of the meaning of a concept would become definite if the class of objects to which it refers were specified. Thus it was Frege’s thought that meaning should be as a combination of sense and reference

This specification of meaning may appear to be an awkward combination of different kinds. However, as noted, the kinds are not different if sense means potential or possible reference and, so, sense and reference need not be understood as different kinds

Observations on meaning

Some observations on meaning now follow

Word and system meaning. Grammar. Reference to the world

In any context meaning resides in the system of concepts and in their possibilities of combination, i.e., grammar

…For example, since a context in which there are only actions or processes is imaginable, the grammar of ‘verbs’ must surely depend on the language in which it occurs

…In a language in which there are things and processes, the possibilities of meaning must depend on the kinds of relation that thing and process are allowed

…Although it is a mistake to think that system meaning implies all rules of grammar—since the same content has different forms in different languages—there must, for stability and faithfulness, be some invariants of grammatical form

…The residence of meaning in a system of concepts is perhaps most evident in axiomatic systems in logic and mathematics and in scientific theories

…Is the meaning of the term ‘Mt. Everest’ dependent on the environment? Ask, ‘is the peak of Mt. Everest white?’ If the peak appears pink at sunset, is it a fact or a convention that the peak should be regarded as white—if it is so regarded. And, is its color part of the concept of ‘Mt. Everest?’ Although the example is trivial, cosmology suggests that the properties of local objects may depend on the structure and extent of the cosmological system but, as long the effect is relatively constant, the local objects will appear to be constant in their fundamental physical properties

…Therefore, individual concepts are not completely understood in isolation

…However, metaphorically, meaning may be focused in the concepts while it also resides in the system

…That meaning is focused in the concepts is effective and may be a result of selection of perceivers and perception within a selected environment. There may also be selection or experimentation in the formation of free concepts

…There is no implication that in having a system of meaning, ‘perfection’ has been achieved or has significance

Meaning and context

There are different contexts of meaning. The same word in different contexts has a different meaning. It might be more accurate to say that the different contextual meanings of the ‘same’ word have no basis of comparison

…If the contexts overlap, it may be possible to formulate a basis of comparison of meanings in the different contexts

Change in context and in meaning

As a context changes or moves, meaning shifts. The change in context may be a ‘lateral drift,’ or, perhaps, a broadening of context

…As contexts change, old terms take on new though perhaps ‘similar’ meaning. New terms with previously unrecognized meaning may be introduced as a result of introduction of new objects of reference andor experiment with sense

Kinds of change. Shift or lateral change. Kinds of use

…There is a variety of ways in which contexts ‘change.’ A community that is subject to new circumstances beyond or in their control may face conditions that require new concepts or the shift of old ones. As Wittgenstein pointed out, language has a multiplicity of contextual uses that he referred to as ‘language games.’ Wittgenstein was especially interested in non-propositional uses of language. This emphasis may have mislead some recent thinkers into believing that the propositional use is altogether unstable; this contrasts with the present discussion in which this use is seen as having stabilities-within-a-context-of-flux. Wittgenstein’s interest in non-propositional use may also have lead some thinkers into marginalizing the proposition and the fact; however, this marginalization is not entailed by an emphasis on the other uses—it is, of course, not being asserted that there are no issues with the idea of the proposition or its ‘standard’ forms and this concern receives some attention in later discussions of language in this narrative

…In acquiring new domains of knowledge, context is significantly extended. Contexts ‘change’ from individual to individual and from one occasion or time in the life of an individual to another. Naturally, these differing contexts, except in the case of fracture or extreme shift, must have an effective similarity that permits stable communication and stable identity. However, the variability, which may be at least partially driven by the individual, may be a source of adaptation to new contexts whether imposed or created

Actual, possible and potential meaning

…It may be thought in the extension it is only the range of known reference of the concept that changes. However, potential reference also changes—in Objects and in Logic and meaning it is seen that sense may be identified with potential reference. It could be argued that, once a concept is established, its potential reference, especially against the background of any ultimate metaphysics, is fixed. However, a distinction may be made between potential reference that is merely possible and having a grasp of the possibilities and range of possibilities of reference

…Net meaning, i.e., system meaning shifts

…Thus meaning has a fluid aspect but must also have stability in order to be usable

…It appears that there are times of stability in meaning and times of rapid change whether the context is limited or ‘general.’ A study of the occasions and factors of change may be interesting but—except for suggestions that may be implicit in the discussion—will not be taken up here

…Generally, etymology, provides no more than clues to meaning. This is true, perhaps, even of ‘dictionaries.’ Though dictionaries are useful and etymology may be enlightening, they may be misleading if employed as definitive

Progress

The word ‘progress’ may refer to cases in which a new context includes an old one

…In progress, the context of reference grows

Even in its valid context, the old system is not the same as the new. However, in that context, the two systems may have equivalence. By taking into account the characteristics of the old context, the new may ‘reduce’ to the old in the old context

…Scientific theories are a prime example of such progress. The domain of application of relativistic mechanics is broader than that of classical mechanics and the classical theory is the low velocity limit of the relativistic theory. Although the meaning of the basic terms (concepts) of the mechanics are not identical in the classical and relativistic theories, the reduction provides some basis of comparison. This stands against Thomas Kuhn’s thought that successive theories of science are incommensurable—what may be the case is that the new theories have a sense of incomprehensibility to some scientists who were educated under the older paradigm

…From the reduction of a new scientific theory to an older one, it does not follow that such reduction is possible for all expansions of context and even if possible, the reduction in one case may not show how the reduction is to be accomplished in another

The significance on the emphasis on use is that meaning is immanent rather than defined explicitly or externally e.g. by the lexicographer

If one context includes another, the meaning of the contained system may be derived from the containing system. However, if there is no containing system, there is no other system in terms of which meaning may be derived. That is, without a containing system, meaning cannot be specified lexically

…In absence of a containing system, meaning is implicit in use which must mean application or deployment

…Application anchors meaning and is its source of stability

…However, even though there is no containing system for the given context, the context may be capable of growth and therefore, stability of meaning does not imply finality of meaning

…Since a metaphysics intends to be a system that has no present containing system, these thoughts definitely apply to metaphysics

…Even in the common arena of meaning, there is change. This may be seen most clearly in small communities that must continually adapt to changing contexts and in the origin of pidgin dialects

…Given an isolated community, there is no, larger, containing or inclusive community. The agents of linguistic change are the members of the community and their experience

…In the modern world, all individuals have the potential to participate in change, even though change may be concentrated in a few individuals and in institutions

The immanence of rules

…Explicit rules of language—e.g. grammar—must have come after language even though they may be implicitly present at the ‘beginning’ of language in—non-uniquely—expressing necessities of meaning. Formal rules may be necessary to stabilize meaning in large societies where context is isolated from necessity and in order to standardize communication. However, the value of standardization may be an illusion. Further, standardization may be an impediment to growth and change, and may encourage stagnation and degeneration and a mechanical view of meaning

The stability of meaning-as-reference is confused by meaning-as-power, i.e., by appropriation of meaning to political ends that include influence by one individual or group over another

Experience

The power of an ontology based in existence. That existence does not quite go to the root

It was earlier seen that the concept of substance cannot be the basis of a foundation of a framework for an ultimate understanding of things and the idea of existence was suggested as an alternative. Existence is recommended, not only by its inclusion of what is immediate but also by its lack of distinction of the immediate and the remote, the esoteric and the mundane—i.e., by its shallow or trivial character. An appeal to existence is, in effect, an explanation of things in terms of the things themselves—i.e., of the universe in terms of itself. It is trivially clear that this explanation will be successful—every thing is itself. It seems equally clear that this explanation should be uninformative; however, it has been noted that existence can form the basis of a metaphysics of ultimate depth and breadth. While there are some thoughts toward the development of the metaphysics in this chapter, especially in what follows, the systematic development is deferred to Metaphysics

Some unanswered questions regarding existence

The questions ‘Does anything exist?’ and ‘What things exist?’ were pointed out as significant but have not yet been fully addressed. It was suggested that perception of things is a form of existence even if the ‘thing’ perceived is a hallucination or there is an illusion involved in the perception for the percept itself exists regardless whether it is real or illusory or hallucinatory

The role of experience

The concept of experience will be used to strengthen and elaborate the earlier argument. In their primitive meanings, experience and concept are near identical. However, the idea of ‘concept’ is used to suggest that there may be an object that corresponds to the concept but experience focuses on the concept itself, on what is sometimes called the subjective side of knowing

The first focus of the discussion will be on the nature of experience

The discussion will first focus on experience itself—on what it is. Then, even though there appears to be no doubt that there is experience, that doubt will be raised—for two reasons. The primary reason is that expressing and resolving doubt takes the argument further from the level of the ad hoc and into reason and so improves confidence in the argument itself and reinforces demonstrative tools—the analysis of meaning and what is given and the use of proof. The analysis of meaning and of what is given is especially important for, while it is often neglected or assumed without question, focus on it will, in the present discussion, show clearly what may be regarded as given and will resolve ‘foundation’ in showing it is not limited to the alternatives of substance that is not capable of further analysis and infinite regress, i.e., in going toward showing a foundation without substance but that terminates without regress. The second reason to raise the doubt regarding the existence of experience—of consciousness—is that the doubt has been raised in the recent literature on the philosophy of mind and that resolution of the doubt will need to analyze the reasons for the doubt and, in this discussion, resolve those reasons and show the doubt regarding experience to based in confusion of the nature of matter—i.e. that what is not seen or not explicit in theory must be absent

The discussion will then show that there is experience

The discussion will show that there is experience, i.e., that something does indeed exist. Then, experience will be used to address the question ‘What things exist?’ At this point, the existence of experience itself will have been established but, except for experience itself, the existence of the seeming objects of experience will not have been established. The idea of the forms of experience will be used to investigate ‘what exists.’ It will be seen to be possible to properly class the forms as two kinds—the necessary forms of experience and the contingent forms. It will be shown in the discussion that the necessary forms do and must correspond faithfully to objects that may be labeled ‘necessary’ objects. One of these forms is experience itself; some others are the universe—all that exists—and the void or absence of existence. The study of the necessary forms and their consequences is developed at length in Metaphysics. The contingent forms concern the external world—the world that exists independently of its being experienced but that exists, roughly, as experienced—and its variety of things or objects. In Metaphysics it is shown that although the contingent forms of experience do not invariably have corresponding intentional objects, there must, provided that no inconsistency is entailed, be ‘corresponding’ objects somewhere in the universe. The existence of objects that correspond to the contingent forms is taken up in Objects where it is argued that it is normal—i.e., roughly speaking, immensely probable—for the contingent forms to be practically faithful to objects

Experience and the external world

The external world is not experience but includes it, e.g. in regarding one’s own mind as an object or in other minds—the question of ‘other minds’ and their existence as instrumental in removing doubt and in sharpening demonstrative tools is introduced above and discussed further in Metaphysics and Objects. It was just said that the external world is not experience. However, in metaphysical idealism, perhaps the significant alternative to materialism in the history of thought, mind is thought to be a more fundamental feature of the universe than is matter—e.g. everything is mind and that ‘matter’ is one of its forms. Idealism and its denial, e.g. that the world is not experience, are not meaningful unless the nature of matter and mind are carefully specified. There is a common concept of matter as in modern physical science and a common concept of mind as in the seat of mental content or experience. In the common concepts, it is frequently thought that it is difficult to see how mind could be a form of matter because mind is so seemingly immaterial. However, it is not unreasonable to think that if sufficient powers of calculation were available that mind could fit into a quantum mechanical framework and that the subjective or apparently immaterial aspect of mind is an implicit aspect that framework—subjectivity is not excluded in the material description but its absence is often taken as exclusion. If mind cannot fit into the present quantum theoretical framework, there must be some extended framework—it does not follow that normal human powers are sufficient to its discovery—that does; this follows from the necessity of the existence of experience / mind that is addressed in this chapter. In Mind it will be seen that, although in its common concept, experience is only a part of being, there is and must be an extended concept of experience or mind that extends to the root of being, that includes all being including matter and its forms. In the dual extension to the root of both mind and matter the two concepts are—will be—seen as identical, the extension of meanings results in neither true idealism—or pan-psychism—nor true materialism. Instead, what is revealed is that there is no more fundamental character of things than the things themselves which, as noted earlier, will be seen, perhaps against expectation and common sense, to be the basis of an ultimate metaphysics

What is experience?

In Mind, experience is seen to be fundamental to the nature of mind. Independently, it will be seen below to be fundamental to clarifying the nature of existence and therefore of being. Since it is in mind that things and therefore existence is perceived, the connection to experience is not unexpected

The connotation of the word ‘experience’ in this narrative is introduced immediately below. Here, experience is a simple function of mind. However, in the present connotation, experience is an aspect of—at least—every conscious function of mind. It is therefore easy to mistake one or more of these other, more complex functions, for experience. There is a use of experience in which it connotes familiarity with a field that is the result of repeated exposure and practice. This connotation is marginally related to the present one

Experience is fundamental to the development and it is therefore essential to understand the present meaning of experience and to differentiate it from the more complex functions of mind. Therefore, after introducing the present meaning of experience it will be further clarified

It is often the case that it is difficult to explain the meaning of a fundamental concept. This is because there no other concepts in terms of which it is to be explained. This leads to the erroneous conclusions that the derived concepts are more precisely known than the fundamental ones. The partial resolution of the point is that, at least in the case of experience, its meaning is given by use or in intuition which are somewhat beyond words especially as a result of its fundamental nature. The clarification of this point in what follows should assist the reader in realizing that despite difficulties of verbal precision, the understanding of experience is not imprecise provided the effort has been put in to see precisely the mental function to which reference is being made (similar remarks may apply to the understanding of other fundamental concepts)

The approach through use or intuition to the clarification of the meaning of fundamental terms was labeled partial. This is because the clarification of meaning in general by pointing to the objects of the world including intuition (this has been called ostensive definition) or by reduction to other terms is itself partial. In axiomatic systems the various terms stand in relation to one another and these relationships are constitutive of the meaning. However the verification of such meaning occurs, in a sense, in the success of the axiomatic system. The case of common meaning is not different. The various words of our common vocabulary stand in relation to one another. The success, perhaps a partial and ongoing endeavor, of language as a system is verified by the success of language as an instrument. The preceding statement requires modification. In day to day use we do not think of the ‘success’ of language; that is the function of the classroom and the student of language. In the world, language and its use or application evolve together and this occurs (perhaps) without conscious thought of correctness or success; it is perhaps the case that the student of language—the linguist and the teacher—come after language rather than before it. That too may have only a degree of truth for it has been suggested that in the small community the origin and use of language is marked simultaneously by use and by reflection on use even though, perhaps, the reflection is primarily done by individuals who are gifted in language

In Mind, the meaning of experience will be extended and further clarified

Experience, feeling and the mental functions

A prototype of experience is the experience of an object. In seeing a rose one has experience of its shape, its color, its fragrance—and these constitute the experience of the rose. Experience is the qualitative, or subjective or feeling side of things. It should be noted, though, that, here, ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’ or ‘quality’ and ‘definite form’ or ‘mathematical form’ are not in the least exclusive—exclusion arises from the use of a distinct if related meaning of ‘quality.’ Experience is equally present in emotion, e.g. the feeling of happiness, in the perception of things both small—a rose—and grand, e.g. a sunset over the ocean, and in the sense of a presence, e.g., awe or wonder at the mystery and power of the universe. In the previous sentence ‘feeling’ is used in a common meaning; later, feeling will be used in a more inclusive sense in which perception also involves feeling, i.e., feeling will be used as nearly identical in sense to the present use of experience—the distinction will be that feeling will connote elementary experience; therefore, experience will—may—be thought of as integrated feeling. Experience is immediate but, perhaps, that is an understatement for experience is not what is most immediately known, it is the form and mode of knowing

Experience and concept

As noted earlier, experience and concept have near identity except that the concept is typically associated intentionally with an object but, in its meaning or sense, experience has no intended association with an object. Experience is not something that is other than the concept—it is part / mode of concept. However, just as a concept may have intentional correspondence to an object, may lack actual correspondence but may have potential correspondence to an object, may have no intentional correspondence actual or potential, may be a perception, a recall, a reconstruction from recall—iconic as in imagery or symbolic as in thought or compound as in symbolic-imagistic thought—experience may also be all these things

It is possible to talk of concepts from an objective point of view as, e.g. a structure in the body—brain—of an organism and, experience seems to not lend itself to this kind of description and there is thus an apparent gulf between experience and this way of seeing concepts; however, this apparent distinction will be dissolved in the subsequent narrative, especially in Mind

The problem of defining fundamental concepts

In attempting to explain what experience is the terms employed are terms of experience—experience itself, perception, feeling, the subjective side… This is because experience is so fundamental that there is no more fundamental thing in terms of which to define it; and, experience does not seem to be like the objects of the external world and, so, it seemingly cannot be defined in terms of external objects. Some things can be defined in terms of experience—given experience, it may be possible to define kinds of experience such as the experience of sadness, of warmth, of color and so on. As a result, in the paradigm of definition in linguistic terms, sadness, warmth, color and so on may seem to be clearer in their nature than experience itself. Although we know what experience is it is difficult to define

The difficulty in defining fundamental concepts does not imply that understanding is less precise than it is for other concepts… or that it must be essentially imprecise

The case is similar for many fundamental concepts—the fundamental concept is difficult to define because there is nothing other or more fundamental in terms of which to define it and so, while the more ‘advanced’ concepts may be defined the fundamental concepts are difficult to define. When thinking analytically, then, there may be vagueness attached to what is fundamental. In fact, however, to think this way is to be deceived by the clarity of analytic thought: whatever is vague about the fundamental concept is also vague about the derived concepts but, because they may be defined analytically, it may be thought that they are clearly understood. The habit of analytic thought upturns the order of clarity and makes the perception of the particular seem clearer than the form of perception which is so immediate that it escapes notice

This is perhaps most extreme for experience for which there are alternative terms, feeling and so on, but no terms that are more fundamental and therefore it is not merely difficult to define experience analytically, it is perhaps, as a result of its most immediate character, impossible to define it analytically—and while this may result, under the analytic paradigm, in a feeling of vagueness about its character and questions about its existence, this feeling is misplaced: among all ‘things’ experience is most immediate, most clear, most real

Experience will be used to clarify and demonstrate existence. However, it is not at all being said that existence depends on being perceived

It may be thought that existence of things is being made to depend on being experienced. That, however, is not the case. Experience is identified as a fundamental mode of existence, though not the only mode. For a sentient being, experience is the way of knowing existence but not as the condition of existence of objects; and experience will be the basis of demonstration of the existence of necessary and contingent objects—below in discussing the forms of experience—but not the condition of their existence. The argument has concerned, not the dependence of existence on being experienced, but the reality of experience itself

Experience is not the whole of existence—although this may be obviously obvious it needs to be said for (sometimes) in questioning and clarifying the obvious there is deep clarification and penetration of insight into the world

In saying that experience is not the whole of existence, i.e., that there is also the object of experience—the external world, it is not being said that the external world is devoid of experience for, other individuals have experience and, when the individual experiences his or her own experience of the external world, the experience itself becomes or is part of the external world. It is also not being said that there is no extended concept of experience and, perhaps, no extended understanding of the world as object, in which experience and object become identical, or, at least, different modes of description of the universe

The reality of experience

The reality of experience is emphasized by the fact that while the experience or concept of an object is in a different category than the object, experience and experience of experience are in the same category. Or, since experience of experience is experience but is also experience of an object, when experience is the object, experience and object are not in different categories

It is in the meaning of experience and existence that experience exists

Thus it is in the meaning of experience and existence that experience exists—the meanings of experience and existence are intertwined though, of course, they are not identical for it is not being suggested that experience is the only thing that exists. (If experience were all, the meanings of experience and existence would be intertwined; which shows that while there is some similarity to their senses, the reference of ‘experience’ lies within the range of reference of ‘existence.’). In a sense, the fact of experience demonstrates its existence—i.e., that something exists. The demonstration is, of course, not a proof from premise to conclusion but in the analysis of what is most immediate—given—and of meaning, i.e., there is an analytic component to the demonstration that, however, lies in the analysis of a linguistic meaning and not in the construction of one

Generally, an object and the perception of an object are distinct kinds. In the case of experience the object and the perception are of the same kind

The content of the previous paragraph may be stated formally. It was seen that the meaning of ‘X exists’ where X is a concept is that there is an object X to which the concept is faithful. So far only the practical faithfulness of concepts to objects has been established and this faithfulness obtains when the concepts have a certain usefulness. However, experience is conceptual and thus the concept of experience is of the same kind as experience and thus in conceiving experience there is no absolute gap between concept and object as there is between concept and external object

Doubts regarding the existence of experience revealed as unreasonable (after investigation)

Thus, although, on account of its apparently immaterial nature, and on account of a natural tendency to doubt the subjective, it may be natural to doubt that there is experience, this doubt is now revealed as unreasonable. Experience is the fundamental case of definite existence and this fact is not capable of further analysis although, of course, it is capable of illumination

Experience is the first necessary concept and the first necessary object

That is, experience is itself, the first necessary concept and the first necessary object

Still there may be doubt regarding experience

Still, for the reasons stated earlier, the existence of experience will be subject to doubt

How to address doubt: identify and address the doubts

Demonstration of the existence of experience has been given. Therefore, to address doubt all that is necessary is to allay it—this will be accomplished by identifying doubts and refuting them

First doubt regarding experience: its apparently immaterial nature. Response

A first reason for doubt is, as stated above, the apparently immaterial nature of experience, of feeling. The question may arise ‘Where does experience exist?’ This question may be elaborated ‘The brain occupies certain states and undergoes certain processes in having a concept but where is the experience itself?’ Materialism itself has not been established and, as will be shown, it cannot be established—except erroneously—and, therefore, the immaterial nature of experience, whether apparent or real, is not an argument against the existence of experience; this point is elaborated in Mind. The resolution of any paradox regarding objects that do not have location or clear location is left to Objects, and the question of the location of experience itself is left to Mind

There is, therefore, no principled objection to the existence of experience from the apparently immaterial character of experience

A second set of doubts regarding the existence of experience comes from scientific materialism. Response

A second set of reasons to doubt the existence of experience comes from scientific materialism. (In talking of scientific materialism, it is not asserted that a commitment to science is a commitment to materialism even though the majority of scientists are, perhaps, materialists. In fact, the commitment of persons is not a logical factor at all but the point is mentioned here because it is often treated as though it is)

From the fact that certain features of mind have no demonstrated explanation in terms of modern theoretical physics it is often assumed that they cannot fit into a materialist framework and therefore they do not exist or, perhaps, even if they exist, have little significance in the working of the world. Such features include intentionality, the causal efficacy of mind, and experience—mind itself. This objection has been addressed above and is treated and defused in greater depth and detail in Mind. I.e., the objection from scientific materialism do not hold. A part of the argument will be that experience is not other than brain / body process and there is therefore no logical argument from materialism to non-existence or insignificance of the features of mind

Doubts regarding the reality of experience that arise in certain personality types such as extraverted sensing types. No logical response necessary

It appears to be the case that human beings vary significantly in the richness and variety of their inner lives. Perhaps it is not that some persons have a necessary poverty of experience but that they attach less significance to it. It is not clear how the truth of the claim might be demonstrated but it has been suggested as an explanation of the quickness with which some thinkers are persuaded by the materialist argument to deny experience. There is an argument from power to the denial of experience and it is not clear how the power motive might be distinguished from poverty of experience. Perhaps power is a substitute for poverty of experience—an aspect of the introvert / extravert continuum. Perhaps the power motive may overcome richness of experience. The point being made in the present paragraph is not a logical one but is an attempt to explain the puzzling aspects of the denials by some of something that seems to others to be central to human being—and, it may be noted, those who deny experience and consciousness have explanations as to why others might entertain such beliefs. The logical point to this paragraph, then, is that psychological analysis of belief does not—generally—prove or disprove the belief and has no place in logical argument even though it may be used as an instrument of persuasion

A non-empirical proof of the existence of experience

Having dealt with objections to the existence of experience, it no longer remains to demonstrate existence for demonstration has already been given. However, there may be ways to further secure and illuminate the demonstration. The fundamental principle of metaphysics from Metaphysics, shows the necessity of experience since it is possible and the concept of the normal from the same chapter shows that it is immensely likely that human and other animals have experience. As proof, this approach is empirically less secure but rationally more so than the demonstration given above; however, it clearly and definitely defuses any disproof of experience on materialist / scientific grounds; further, it may be useful as a source for further reflection / demonstration

The forms of experience

Concepts include percepts whether real of illusory, and recollected images whether whole or part or reconstructed, whether iconic or symbolic, i.e. imagery and thought, and whether real, potential or delusional. Concepts may be simple as in a sensation in a single sensory mode, complex as in percepts and thought, and compound as in hypotheses and theories and, even, entire narratives, even the entire tradition of thought. Thus it is typical—illusions and delusions being exceptional—that concepts correspond intentionally to an object whether actual or potential. Experience and concept are identical except, first, that experience emphasizes the concept without particular reference to an object and, second, that in talking of experience the subjective aspect is emphasized where as in talking of the concept there is no preference for the subjective or first person aspect or the objective or third person point of view. The forms of experience are the contents of experience or concepts regarded in their experiential aspect. That is, in talking of the forms of experience reference is being made to mental content, to concepts, but without regard to whether the concepts in question have any kind of reference to something else—to an object. That is, the forms of experience are regarded in themselves and as of interest in themselves

The significance of the forms of experience. Play. Fundamental source for variety of being

The forms of experience may therefore be regarded as a form of play, a theatre, in which the constraint of ‘reality,’ if present at all, is not in the foreground. The variety of the forms of experience is at least as rich as the sum of human knowledge and imagination. The first significance of the forms of experience is that they are, as play, a source of creation. I.e., the forms of experience are pre-critical. However, if all forms of mental content are to be included, criticism itself is included but, primarily, as play. Figuratively, criticism is permitted among the forms of experience but it does not typically wear a stern face—to yield to a temptation to say that criticism is never stern when regarded as a form of experience would, perhaps, be rather stern. This process of equivocation could be unending but judgment intervenes at some point and finds that other avenues of play with the forms of experience may be more productive. Thus, criticism is never altogether absent and this raises an interesting question whether it is possible to be altogether uncritical

The present idea of the forms of experience is similar to Husserl’s insight that the study of foundations must or should begin with an analysis of experience. At present, the forms of experience are not, however, sufficiently developed to be regarded as a ground for metaphysics but may, instead, be regarded as a source. It is interesting that the idea of the forms of experience occurred independently of any recollection of Husserl’s thought and this suggests that there is convergence in realistic thought that stems from the real itself, from intuition of the real and from immersion in traditional thought

The present narrative has many points of contact with the tradition—some of whose representatives are Kant, Schopenhauer, Husserl, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger—that attempts to straddle the empiricism / rationalism dichotomy. A number of these points of contact may be found in the concept and variety of the forms of experience

A classification. Necessary and contingent forms. Foundation for variety

The forms of experience may be classed, at outset, as necessary versus contingent versus impossible. The following contains a preliminary discussion of necessary and contingent forms of experience; the impossible forms are discussed in Metaphysics and in Objects which continue the discussion of necessary and contingent forms. Cosmology emphasizes necessary forms—general cosmology—as well as contingent forms—local or physical cosmology and Human World emphasizes the interaction of the necessary / universal forms with the contingent forms of the human world

The necessary forms of experience

The necessary forms of experience are those whose intentional correspondence to an object follows from the form itself. I.e. the correspondence to an object is determined by logic where logic is understood to include necessary analysis of meaning. The objects to which the necessary forms of experience correspond necessarily exist and are therefore called necessary objects. Since the necessary form of experience—necessarily—corresponds to a necessary object, it suffices to use the word ‘necessary’ to refer to both form and object. As has been seen it is in the meanings of experience and existence that there is experience and experience is necessary; similarly, existence is necessary. It is not being said that there must be existence (being—see the discussion of being below) but the necessity of existence (being)—i.e., there cannot be eternities of nothing—will be demonstrated in Metaphysics. The other primary necessary forms include the following. From existence (being) it follows that there is the universe, i.e., all existence (all being;) from the experience of difference and change it follows that there are difference and change which must be necessary; the necessity of extension / duration follows from the necessity of difference / change; from difference, it follows that domains are necessary and from domains, it follows that domains necessarily have complements, i.e. all that is not in the domain

The necessity of the void or absence of existence (being) may now be demonstrated. (i) Since the universe is all being it must contain all objects—all Form, Pattern and Law which, from the concept of the universe, cannot lie outside it. (ii) Define the void as the complement of the universe. (iii) If the void exists it contains no Object—no Form, Pattern or Law. (iv) The universe is a domain and therefore it has a complement which must exist. Since, from item ii, the complement of the universe is the void, the void exists. Combining this with item iii, it follows that The Void Exists and Contains no Object—no Form, Pattern or Law

It will be seen in Metaphysics that there is a necessary character to the contingent forms in that even though they may not reside in any particular world—domain of the universe—they must, of logical necessity, reside somewhere and when in the universe

The contingent forms of experience
The ‘I’ and identity

(A) There is experience of ‘I’ or ‘this’ center of experience. However, it does not follow from the experience of ‘I’ that there is an ‘I.’ More generally, it does not follow from the existence of an external world that there is an external world. Doubting the existence of an—the—external world or an ‘I’ is not a practical doubt but serves to clarify the concept of the external world, the nature of domains in which there must (practically) / need not be an external world, and to develop tools of demonstration and analysis. In Objects, identity—personal and general—will be developed as an object in a way that reveals the merging of individual identity in higher / universal identity without relinquishing individual identity

Particular entities and identity of entities

(B) Concepts of particular entities whether particular—concrete—entities or things such as rocks or abstract such as number and other mathematical objects. The nature of the particular object has been introduced above and it is further clarified in Metaphysics and in Objects. Particular or concrete objects include not only ‘things’ but also relative intangibles such as air, parts and collections-as-entities. Events, processes and facts are also particular. While there are some preliminary considerations of the particular / abstract distinction in this chapter and in Metaphysics, the distinction is taken up and a number of issues regarding the abstract object resolved in Objects. It will be seen that the distinction is more one of convenience of study rather than, as is usually thought, one of kind. As will be seen the approaches to study of facts, Forms, Patterns and Laws straddle the particular / abstract distinction

The developments will also take up the identity of entities

Sense and feeling precept and concept, intuition and explicit knowledge, acquaintance and description, iconic and symbolic knowledge

The form of experience include (C) sense and feeling, percept and concept, intuition (in the sense of Kant) and explicit knowledge, acquaintance and description (due to Russell,) iconic and symbolic (including verbal) knowledge. These forms are pertinent to questions of epistemology. In Human being, the forms of intuition are extended to include symbol, reason and humor. As the capacity to respond to what is unknown and what may be unexpected, humor is especially significant for it is a form of transcendence of the limits of reason and encompasses all being in potential / principle though not in fact / detail. Humor includes the idea that if encompassing all being in fact and in detail is logically inaccessible to a mode of being then encompassing all being in fact and in detail cannot be desirable to that mode of being. Death ‘makes sense’ in a variety of ways; in humor death is accepted without its making sense; alternatively, in humor, death makes sense without there being explicit sense

Cosmological systems

Also recognized among the forms of experience are those that are significant in science and that arise in consideration of (D) ‘this’ cosmological system. As will be subsequently seen, this cosmos is a highly localized and specific form of being relative to the universe (all being.) Therefore the objects of science—as well as those of common knowledge from which science stems by experiment and criticism, and by discovery and concept and law formation—are contingent objects and the questions of their being and nature are both theoretical and practical

The ‘human condition’

Another local form of experience, (E) may be called ‘the human condition.’ In addition to the detailed particulars, the phrase sometimes connotes the affective rather than the cognitive side, the limits rather than the possibilities, frailty rather than strength, context over time and history… Such connotations are included but their contrary forms are not excluded. The representation of D and like forms and E is found not only in the sciences but also in the humanities—in philosophy, in history, in art, in literature, in drama and music. Exploration, adventure and transformation are expressions of the form E. Aesthetics and ethics, in human being, as well as in the human comprehension of any ultimate form to aesthetics and ethics, are contained in the form E. In Objects, it will be seen how value may be understood to be an object

The animal condition

Included for completeness. Includes the human condition

Archetypes

If the archetypes were to be used directly to make inferences regarding being, it would appear that only those archetypal elements that appear in consciousness should be used. However, since consciousness is the place of all discussion, this limitation is not severe

For other purposes, e.g. as an instrument of experiment, the limit to consciousness would be unnecessary—would be contrary to the nature and uses of the archetype. However, as will be seen in the discussion of consciousness in Mind, the limit to consciousness is not a significant limit

The archetypes are also known as collective forms… these are the universal ‘Jungian’ archetypes or motifs and since they are universal they cannot, according to the Jungian argument, arise from individual experience. Jung was concerned with symbols, especially mythic symbols for these are symbols at least common to a community and if trans-communal or trans-cultural and even found across hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists—including modern civilization—they are collective over the human race. There may also be symbols common to various collections from the species to the class of animals

In the Transformation phase of the journey, use may be made of the idea of the archetype and may therefore be useful to discuss the idea

Are there archetypes? And since they reside in the unconscious, do they or may they count as forms of experience?

From the arguments in Mind and in Human being, below, the conscious-unconscious dimension is best seen as a continuum of acuity, intensity and other factors rather than a polarity of opposites. Therefore, if there are archetypes, they are forms of experience. What is more, by the arguments cited, these forms go down, not only to the animal kingdom, but also to plants and lower ‘substrates’

The categories discussed in Human being, count as archetypal. For example, the animal capacity for spatio-temporal perception is not the product of individual experience alone

Therefore, the issue that remains to be addressed is whether there are Jungian archetypes. At present, this narrative has no contribution to this issue over and above Jung’s powerful arguments in, for example, The Structure of the Psyche~1927, Instinct and the Unconscious~1919, and The Concept of the Collective Unconscious~1936

Since the concept of the archetype and the collective unconscious may be regarded in a mystical light, it is important to pay attention to Jung’s definition of the archetype and the collective unconscious and to his arguments for their existence—and significance to human being and society

Inference and category

Two further ‘kinds’ may be mentioned—their explicit definition and elaboration as forms or experience… and related conclusions will be taken up later. These kinds are (F) inference and (G) category as in, e.g., Kant, Schopenhauer and the present narrative; while these topics have been taken up in themselves it is their elaboration as forms of experience and any related conclusions that are left for further reflection. Regarding G, since there are facts beyond assumption—as will be seen, existence cannot be eternally non-manifest—it will be interesting to see whether there are rules of inference beyond assumption

Judgment

(H) Judgment is a form of experience that may be instrumental in a transition between experience as play and experience that would have an intentional object

Being

Being is that which exists—in its entirety, or has existence—in its entirety

The phrase ‘in its entirety’ is important on account of the fact that objects are known via concepts

The phrase ‘in its entirety’ is used so that a compound concept will not be granted existential status under the definition when only some of its parts exist. The need to not have any ‘dangling non-reference’ will be further explained in Logic

Given that existence is entire, there is no distinction between existing and having existence—between being and having being

Although there is an identity between existence and being as used here, it was desirable, before revealing the identity: to discuss and resolve some problems of existence; to introduce the symbol triad of word, concept and object; to introduce experience; and to introduce the necessary forms of experience

The following topics, discussed earlier, are pertinent to discussion of being and could be placed here: the verb to be including ‘is’ and its uses—existential, constitutive, and connective; that the character of existence—being—may be regarded as primitive to meaning and that the form ‘X is’ or ‘X is / has being’ do not imply existence but express the linguistic meaning of existence / being which, on account of their necessity, require no further semantic regress; the possibility of spatio-temporal and non-spatio-temporal existence, of particular or concrete and abstract objects—later, in Objects, the question of ‘where’ abstract objects reside and whether they are indeed non-spatial andor non-temporal will be taken up and resolved; local and global modes of description; the immediacy of existence; that the deep character of existence / being lies in its immediate / trivial character and not in any esoteric sense—being / existence is not esoteric but must contain whatever may be esoteric, i.e., being makes no distinction between the esoteric and the mundane; introductions to the questions ‘Does anything exist?’ and ‘What things exist?’ and their significance; existence versus essence; concepts and objects—and symbols; meaning, sense and reference; the paradoxes regarding the concept of existence; experience, the forms of experience and the necessary forms of experience

What has being?

The preliminary discussions enable a first answer but a full—more complete—answer continues through Metaphysics, Objects, Logic and Meaning, Mind, and Cosmology

Proofs of the existence of experience, of—some—being, and of the Universe…

While experience (concept) and object are generally different kinds, in the case of experience of experience the kind is the same. Affirmation of experience and denial of experience are both experiences. Experience is the condition of argument, of discussion, of being-in. It is, therefore, indubitable that there is Experience which is a form of being—therefore:

There is Being—therefore:

There is All Being… the Universe that contains all Form, Pattern, and Law

Proof of the existence and properties of the void

There is Experience of difference. Without difference, there cannot be experience of difference. Therefore:

There is Difference. Therefore:

There are Domains. I.e. domains exist

Define the complement of a domain A, relative to a domain B, as what is in B but not in A. The unqualified complement or, simply, the complement of A is the complement of A relative to the universe

I.e., the complement of a domain is the part of the universe that is not part of the domain. Therefore:

Every domain has a complement that exists. I.e. if a domain exists, its Complement exists. Now:

(1) Define the void as the complement of the universe

(2) Since the universe contains all Form, Pattern and Law, if the void exists, it contains no Form pattern or Law

The universe is a domain and therefore it has a complement that exists. Since, from item (1), the complement of the universe is the void, the Void exists. Combining this with item (2), it follows that:

The void exists and contains no Form, Pattern or Law

Or, in terms of the idea— introduced later—i.e., of the Object
the void contains no Object

Note than the proof existence and properties of the void could be done in terms of arbitrary domains A and B and this approach might be less transparent but more instructive

A first collection of necessary objects

Observe that experience, being, universe, experience of difference, difference, domain, complement, and void necessarily exist. In the sense of ‘object’, to be introduced later, they are Necessary Objects. Form, pattern and law will also be shown to be necessary objects

Also observe that the existence of these necessary objects is empirical. First note that their conceptual character is not at all a mark of existence—this issue has been resolved earlier in discussing concept and object and the paradoxes of the concept of existence. Second, whereas the empirical character of objects in general may be in question, the empirical character of the necessary objects follows from experience—and experience itself is empirical even though its intentional objects need not be. Prior to the analysis it might, as is often the case, be thought that the source of the—alleged—empirical character of the objects of the world must be uniform; however, the analysis shows that the empirical character of the necessary objects lies in their meaning

Are the objects listed in this first collection the only necessary objects?

The complete set of necessary objects

Note that while the notion of object has not been clearly specified yet, the existence of the first set of necessary objects—above—is necessary. These objects are so abstracted—though not abstract—from immediate experience that it is not necessary to be careful about the concept of objecthood in order to know their objecthood

Any object derived logically, i.e. in terms of consistent definition, from the first list of necessary objects will also be necessary. It may be useful, in contemplating this thought, to recall that the ‘first list’ is not at all an ad hoc list but starts with fundamental aspects of experience—experience itself whose fundamental character as a mode of being has been shown, then all being, difference and so on…

A far greater variety of necessarily existing objects will be shown in Metaphysics. One characterization of this variety is that the one universe of all being cannot have greater variety than the actual variety. This could be construed to mean that the universe of all being is limited to the empirically known variety, perhaps with extensions that are roughly ‘more of the same.’ The actual significance, as will turn out, is that Logic is the only limit to actual being. The reader may wonder at something as sparse as Logic in the qualitative-human dimension should define the limit of being—does not that make for poverty of being… as if the limit of being was defined by a stern and austere God?

The response is Logic defines ‘what does not have being’ and it is what is excluded that is sparse—implying that what is included is rich in variety. Secondly, the ideas involved define rather than derive from Logic and the notion of Logic employed here is not the logic of Aristotle or of mathematical or symbolic logic or of the textbooks and therefore Logic is indeed rich. Instead of constantly seeking new words to escape the negative burden of prior thought it may be of greater advantage to educate our thinking rather than our vocabulary

At once a host of concerns arises. Are the common (not logical) necessities of our world, its regularities, not necessary after all? Hume argued that case and his argument has of course become commonplace. The developments in Metaphysics will leave Hume’s argument intact but will up end the conclusions that are typically drawn from it. Instead of concluding a poverty of laws, the conclusion will be an infinite richness of Law, of which the apparently contingent physical law of this cosmos will be but one example out of an infinity. Various logical and scientific objections may be entertained. If Logic is the only limit, what is the status of science? What is the real characterization, then, of the variety of being? What are the relations among being, metaphysics, logic, objects, and cosmology?

The appreciation and address of these and other concerns is many-faceted and must await the various discussions of this division, Theory of being

The necessary existence of an infinite variety of objects—including objects such as those that appear to exist in this cosmological system—will be shown in Metaphysics. Of course, not all appearances will correspond to immediate realities. Knowledge of objects and the question of appearance and reality is further taken up in Objects. Objects and Cosmology will complete the discussion of the variety of objects

Why Being? I.e., why is Being central to metaphysics?

That is, why does the metaphysics to be developed take being as its core concept? A number of ‘reasons’ may be given. Some justification of the choice of being has been given. Being is the most intimate, most grounded of concepts; additionally, Being connects to the tradition—of course, in drawing from the strength of traditions, care is required to avoid pitfalls

But, in the end, while pre-justification is important, post-justification is perhaps more important

The choice of being is justified by the power of the resulting metaphysics; and as much by what is put into the development as is received from prior thought

However, it is important to note that, at least at a theoretical level that deploys explicit concepts, it is the development of the metaphysics—the possibility of the metaphysics, its ultimate yet empirical character—that, over and above extra-metaphysical reasons, that justifies adoption of being and gives final elucidation to its character. While the idea of being is fundamental since it is at the core of our presence in the world, what is put into its elaboration and clarification, e.g. the elimination of substance and determinism and clear thinking about its nature and the ideas of all and absence of being, is as important as the received fundamental character of being

In the previous paragraph, reference was made to ‘a theoretical level that deploys explicit concepts’ because there is a pre-theoretical level at which the organism that is immersed in being has an experience of being and, necessarily of all-being, without recourse to symbolic concepts. If that organism does not possess the symbolic capability, it has no need for the symbolic-conceptual level. If it does possess symbolic capability, it should have no compulsory need for the symbolic-conceptual level to have and experience being-in-the-world-of-all-being

It is significant that while there is a certain pre-theoretical power to the idea of being, that power alone is not the source of the metaphysics. Rather, it is a variety of areas of diligence in imagination and criticism that are especially instrumental in the development of the metaphysics. These include imagination and criticism, in seeing the various aspects of the metaphysics—suggested, perhaps, by the history of thought and by paradigms from science; in bringing various divisions of knowledge into the fold of the metaphysics; in seeing that the metaphysics reveals limits of other and not only prior divisions of thought and knowledge but also agrees with those domains within their limits; and in eradicating pre-judicial and limiting habits of thought such as substance thinking and determinism and other kinds of essentialism with regard to common categories of thought such as the nature of the object versus the property and the subject-predicate form and its implied distinctions

Thus, in Metaphysics, the metaphysics of immanence, follows, first from experience and its forms, to the existence of certain necessary objects—especially being, the universe, the void and the domain—and their characteristics, and from these, by logic, to the develop of the ‘pure’ aspects of the metaphysics. The pure metaphysics that reveals a universe with far greater variety than might otherwise be even reasonably imagined or hypothesized—which in turn has implications for the nature of actuality, possibility and necessity and for the causal versus non-causal and deterministic versus indeterministic character of the universe. In parallel with development of the pure side there has been a study of the pure metaphysics in interaction with specific domains of knowledge such as physical cosmology, the theory of evolution, and the nature of human being. In the interactive study or ‘applied’ metaphysics, the specific domains of study suggest but are not instrumental in demonstration of the pure metaphysics while the pure metaphysics has implications for foundation and content of the specific domains

The ultimate character of the present development is evident in its dual empirical and logical character that, together, permit an ultimate foundation without regress

The ultimate character of the present development is evident, then, in its having an empirical and a logical side that are marked by certain characteristics. In beginning with experience, the empirical side does not require the existence of an external object for its foundation and, therefore, there is no room for empirical error. The characteristic of the logical side is not merely that the development is derived logically from the empirical foundation but that it founds a new concept of Logic as the one law of the universe—of which the traditional concept of logic is an interpretation and the different logics chapters. A question that may arise and that is addressed in the narrative is the apparent circularity that it must be some kind of logic that lies at the root of the metaphysics that the metaphysics founds Logic

The recognition that the fundamental concepts are dually empirical and logical lies at the core of the success of the metaphysics

The discussion, here, talks around the ultimate character of the metaphysics. This ultimate character of the metaphysics is manifest in Metaphysics and Objects

Prior glimpses of the present metaphysics

The metaphysics has been brought to an ultimate level—one that has been glimpsed in the history of thought e.g. by Leibniz, Hume and Wittgenstein who saw some aspect of it but provided neither demonstration nor systematic development of a whole system nor development of a system of implications. Some aspects of the system have been imagined in Indian Philosophy, especially in Vedanta, but, here too, what has been seen is similarly though not identically deficient

In achieving ultimate character, the study of Objects is similarly enabled. Key results of the study of Objects are (1) the great extent of the variety and kinds of objects, and (2) despite practical and proximate distinctions, the lack of ultimate distinction among the kinds—specifically that there is no ultimate distinction between the particular and the abstract objects

It turns out that although the metaphysics implies the existence of an immense variety of objects, the pure side is empty with regard to the intentional location of the objects with respect to an individual perceiver. This intentional location is one of the topics of Objects. The metaphysics demonstrates the necessity of such location but not with regard to every individual—thus the metaphysics is partially instrumental in addressing topics on which it is initially silent. Another topic addressed by Objects is the question of the nature and differences between particular and abstract objects. Here, the metaphysics is instrumental in a definitive and rather surprising resolution to the nature of the particular versus the abstract and the ultimate character of the metaphysics is essential to this development, i.e., while the result may be imagined or conceived independently, it cannot be demonstrated without the metaphysics or an equivalent

Thus in bringing the metaphysics to an ultimate level, the theory of objects, has, in consequence, been brought to a level that exceeds its status in the history of thought

The topics of Metaphysics, Objects, Logic and meaning, Mind, Cosmology, Human World, Method and a variety of special topics have simultaneously exceeded their prior status in fundamental directions, often in ultimate degree

If these claims are true, and it is the intent of the narrative that the truth of the claims should be manifest in it, then not only is the metaphysics ultimate but, since they have been raised to the same level, there must also be an ultimate character to the present study of Objects, of Logic and Meaning, of Mind, and of Cosmology—and other lesser but significant topics

The topics of Logic and meaning, Mind, Cosmology, Human World, and Method, have, in fundamental directions, also been brought to levels that exceed their prior status. The level achieved is ultimate in certain directions and these developments include conceptualizations or re-conceptualizations of Logic, Mind, Cosmos, Human being—especially the nature of freedom, and Method that have an ultimate character and incorporate and validate the valid aspects of older conceptions

Diligence in development of being and related concepts has been instrumental in these developments

Thus, while being—being-in-the-world as well as the received concept—have power, being, as developed in this narrative, is also a receptacle for diligent and critical imagination regarding the universe and its variety

The origins of the metaphysics and related developments

It is interesting to inquire about the sources of the ideas adopted in the narrative

The tradition

A fundamental source—perhaps the original one—is, of course, the common traditions—those of everyday use and the history of ideas and thought. However, the meanings to be established here are not—and, as will be seen, cannot be—precisely those of the traditions. The question about the origin of the present forms of the ideas can be sharpened to a question about the entire selection of ideas—what is included, what is excluded, what is new—and about the arrangement, the meshing and the unfolding of the ideas

Experiments with ideas and systems

The simple answer is that what has been arrived at is the result of experiment and tinkering with ideas, reading and reflection, putting ideas together as interactive systems, attempting to understand and resolve both peripheral and central issues of philosophy and other disciplines, attempting to come up with a comprehensive system of understanding. Ideas and systems have come, some gone, some remained. The character of the ‘system’ has morphed through several incarnations or perspectives or world views. There have been experiments with materialism, evolutionism, idealism, and a vague absolutism, each worked out systematically. There has been tinkering with lesser ‘isms’ from the tradition. Each development has been rejected, not so much as wrong but as slanted andor inadequate. The present view which may be seen, in some ways, as amounting to the idea that foundations are not hidden or remote required the establishment of an conceptual apparatus that allowed the world as its own foundation to be ultimately simple—while allowing complexity. It is not impossible, of course, that the present development should suffer the fate of the previous ones; however, its necessity is—or appears to be—manifest in the development itself and not referred to something else or to some unfounded foundation

The outcome of experimentation with perspective has been the transcendence of perspective

This present perspective may therefore be described as an anti-perspective—the world, not something else, is foundation—and has gone through roughly seven versions in which, along with new insights and applications, the entire system of ideas has gone through incremental and interactive revision that entailed bringing the level of precision and depth of each of the major topics up to the level of the fundamental metaphysical core

The question of the power in the received concept of being is now addressed

What are the manifest characteristics of being that make it the basic concept of a metaphysics?

It may be noted that there is no precise distinction between what is received and what has been developed; the following characteristics are contained in the idea of being but, typically, become manifest only after dedicated reflection

Being is, at least at outset, analogous in its role to that of the unknown in algebra

Because of the lack of intrinsic distinction, being plays the role of unknown in the metaphysics. That is, the role of being in metaphysics is analogous to the role of the unknown in algebra, i.e. being permits talk of the unknown without having to trace the perimeter of the unknown. The power in the idea of being includes that it enables an analytic or symbolic treatment of metaphysics over a merely iconic treatment

Whereas in algebra the kind of the unknown is generally known; in metaphysics, even the kind is not known. This concern is resolved in transcending kinds

Being transcends categorial distinctions

Being does not distinguish between immediate and ultimate or between appearance and reality, or between categories such as process and state or the particular and the abstract

Because being makes no distinction of mode or category, it encourages and makes possible transcendence of mere perspective at the core of the metaphysics

Therefore, being is not a dedicated concept in the way that—the common conceptions of—mind and matter are categorially dedicated

The triviality of Being is an essential source of its poser

While the idea of being has been criticized as being flat, shallow or trivial, it is the very triviality that is a source of its depth and its inclusive character

In the deployment of Being, the world is not referred to a part or to something else

The depth lies, at least in part, in that the world is not referred, for its understanding, to a part of the world or to something other than the world. That reference to itself—which is not self-referentiality of a concept—should permit the development of the metaphysics of ultimate simplicity that emerges in Metaphysics may be surprising

Why these surprising developments may, at least in retrospect, be unsurprising

However, it is not surprising in that reference to something else already necessitates infinite regress of explanation for explanation without dissatisfaction. It may also be surprising that, as will be seen in Metaphysics, that reference to all being is instrumental in the development of the power of the metaphysics. However, as has already been seen, this reference is empirical. Even though the empirical character is innate, its recognition required diligent reflection on the meaning of being and of all being

Similarity and dissimilarity with analytic thought

In its superficiality, the metaphysics of immanence is similar to the thought in analytic philosophy that it is desirable to seek explanations in superficial terms—and not necessarily, as in some parts of science, in terms of ‘depth.’ However, in developing metaphysics of immanence it will be seen that what is superficial is not necessarily obvious. That what is not obvious may be superficial has already been seen to be implicit in the idea of being

The dissimilarity with analytic thought is that the latter remains—largely—exclusively analytical and therefore has not seen the join of analysis with experience and the ultimate lack of distinction among proximate categories. These issues may be described as the remoteness of language from fact and, in analysis’ own terms, the often-time preoccupation with piecemeal analysis

The upturning of depth and superficiality

In the present deployment, it is superficiality that is deep while extreme depth—in the sense of distance—of explanation, even when it confers power and provides understanding of an aspect of being, is remote from being-as-being and from the core of human-being

Being is not esoteric

Although it is sometimes regarded as esoteric, being is in fact both conceptual and empirical. I.e., being is a low level concept and the empirical / low level character together with its lack of distinction that make for its power

Being is simultaneously symbolic and embedding

The idea is simultaneously symbolic and embedding. That is, being is instrumental in seeing human being as in and of the world rather than alien to or remote from the world in its mundane and esoteric aspects. Use of the idea of being, rather than the ideas of mind or matter, is a return to robust being-in-the-world—a return to a robust view of the real that contrasts what has been called the hypothetico-deductive character of science without rejecting what is powerful in science

The word ‘Being’ encourages use of the strengths of the traditions—west and east

Finally, use of the word ‘being’ encourages adoption or adaptation of what may be seen as valuable from the tradition of thought on the real nature of things that falls under the idea of being

In the developments, connection with Western and Eastern traditions will be made and pointed out

Metaphysics

Introduction

Role of Metaphysics in Journey in Being

Metaphysics is core to the system of ideas and partial foundation for the other significant concepts from Theory of Being and Human World. These concepts also provide partial foundation for and suggest approaches to transformation

Presentation as a contribution to the history of ideas

The metaphysics that is here developed is thought—and argued—to be significantly deeper and broader, in certain senses, than prior thought on the subject as revealed in the published literature. In fact the present metaphysics is argued to have ultimate depth and breadth. Although it learns from prior thought it is not at all a mere recapitulation; although there is some commentary on the thought of others, such commentary is not intended to be comprehensive. The present metaphysics is shown to be an actual metaphysics and not just a metaphysic of experience; and it is shown to be both systematic and empirical. Therefore, in addition to its pivotal role in the ideas and the journey, the metaphysics also seeks to be a contribution to thought

What is metaphysics?

A common conception is that metaphysics is the study of the real nature of things. What separates the nature of a thing from the thing itself? Is the nature of one entity completely separable from that of other entities—of the universe? Answers to these questions may depend on the study of the nature of things and of the universe. It is therefore probably mistaken to attempt a precise characterization of metaphysics at the outset of study. At outset a tentative characterization such as study of the real nature of things may be adequate. It may later be possible, as a result of study, to characterize metaphysics with precision

In order to connect to the tradition it will be useful to mention some prior conceptions of metaphysics

Conceptions of metaphysics from the history of ideas

Various conceptions of metaphysics have been suggested in the history of ideas—it is an inquiry into what exists, it is the study of what exists insofar as it exists, it is the study of what is real rather than what is merely apparent, it is the study of the world or universe as a whole, it is the study of first principles or ultimate and irrefutable truths. That these ideas are likely to be related is clear—it is also reasonably clear that the ideas are not exclusive—however, the actual relations may become clear only after study; and, if this is true, it may also be true that an actual evaluation will be possible only after metaphysics is complete

It is also clear that the related ideas may define impossible projects—it is not given that it is possible to ‘know’ the real nature of things. There is, however, a common mistake regarding—knowledge of—the real nature of things: it is to suppose that such knowledge is—roughly—uniformly possible or uniformly impossible for most if not all things and kinds of thing. It has already been seen that the universe as a whole—i.e. all being as all-being without regard to detail—may be known; the void as void may be conceived and this conception will turn out to count as knowing the void; the fact of experience may be known—is known even when it is not recognized that it is known; domain and complement may be known… Whatever other things may be known shall or may fall out of study and this study which begins in this chapter is formally completed in Objects with details taken up in later chapters. The various conceptions of metaphysics from history may be suggestive and may—or may not—be eclectically incorporated into any final notion of metaphysics

Metaphysics may begin as the study of being-as-being

Whatever metaphysics may turn out to be, it is perhaps clear, however, that it should not be the study of what is remote or esoteric for what is most real should, at least in some way, not distinguish immediate from remote. The most basic aspects of things will not—at outset—make distinctions such as near or remote, physical or spiritual, hidden or immediate. This suggests that metaphysics begin as a study of what is insofar as it is—what exists insofar as it exists or being-as-being

Pure metaphysics

Perhaps being as being may be too broad a category to be the subject of productive study. Here, however, it will be seen that that is not at all the case. Recall the necessary objects or aspects of being—experience and its forms or concepts, being, universe, change, difference and domain, complement and void. Logical development from the necessary objects and their properties will be seen to result in a metaphysics that is explicitly ultimate in depth and implicitly ultimate in breadth or variety—the meanings of italicized the terms in this sentence will be clarified in what follows. Since, as seen in Being, the universe contains all form, pattern and law as immanent in being, the metaphysics is called metaphysics of immanence. This metaphysical development, together with whatever further concepts are faithful to objects, may be labeled ‘pure metaphysics.’ Pure metaphysics, then, is the part of the theory of being that is the result of demonstration, i.e., showing by recognition, by analysis of meaning and by proof (while proof is relative to premises, demonstration is absolute and this is possible, as seen in Being, for those premises that are capable of necessary empirical confirmation)

Situating this world in the world revealed by the pure metaphysics

Further information is needed to situate this world in the world revealed in the pure metaphysics. That the concepts or forms of experience are necessary objects does not imply that there are objects that correspond even roughly to the concepts even though it may be reasonable to suppose that in an adapted world there should be some objects that roughly conform to some concepts. Note that in the previous sentence, (rough) correspondence does not mean that somewhere there is object that has some match with the concept but has the stronger sense that there is a lock between concept and object, e.g. a causal link between an actual mountain and the perception of the mountain. Taking the various forms of experience—the variety of concepts—as corresponding, perhaps only approximately, to objects results in a picture of this world whose foundation is not as purely logical as the pure metaphysics. However, the pure metaphysics is instrumental in situating this world—and perhaps other kinds of sub-domain—in the universe via the concept of the normal introduced later. It may of course be necessary to be selective with regard to what forms are ‘realistic’ and here, the most basic forms such as self and other and the objects of science may be suggested but not accepted without further scrutiny

There is no absolute distinction of pure metaphysics from other studies

There is or shall be, perhaps, no absolute distinction of pure metaphysics from other studies. As the study of the variety of being, cosmology intersects not only normal behavior and domains but also the entities encountered in pure metaphysics. Whatever is true in science, religion, myth, literature, drama, art, history and imagination must fall under metaphysics even though the study may be specialized. In the present meaning, metaphysics includes what is most immediate

In its use here, metaphysics is distinct from metaphysics as study of the occult

There is another meaning of ‘metaphysics,’ that emphasizes an interest in the ‘occult arts.’ This other—perhaps derivative—meaning is foreign to the present one. However, if the occult arts contain truth, they may intersect metaphysics in its present meaning. The present metaphysics is neutral with respect to the idea of metaphysics-as-occult-art

The approach to study starts with the logic of the empirical and the necessary

Plato suggested power—having an effect—as central to the concept of being. Plato’s suggestion is eminently reasonable—it is via effect that there is awareness of things and things without any direct or indirect effect may be conceived but their being has no effect on or in this world. A discovery of the present metaphysics is that its study may be approached via logic—as is seen in the present chapter and in Logic, it may be expected that this results from and implies a new conception of logic. It will be seen that there is no separate part of the universe without an effect on this part—or any other part. The present approach, then, is to start from logic and to then connect to the concept of power

Aims of this chapter

1. To develop the metaphysics of immanence

2. As part of and in light of this development, to provide foundation for and to refine the ideas from Being though Faith; to set up subsequent developments through Faith; and to provide partial foundation for transformation

3. To review and clarify the conceptions of philosophy and metaphysics and their relation to the history of ideas; and to catalog, clarify and set forth resolutions to the classic and modern problems of metaphysics. The review, deferred to the sections Philosophy and metaphysics and Problems in metaphysics is made possible by the metaphysics of immanence which enables an ultimate conception of philosophy and metaphysics and clarification / resolution of a number of central problems of metaphysics

Metaphysics of immanence

The main concepts of the metaphysics

The essential concepts of the metaphysics shall be seen to be, first, the pre-metaphysical concepts—experience and concept or forms of experience which include experience itself and the fact of experience and, second, the metaphysical concepts—being, universe, void, logos or logic or form or object, and post-metaphysical concept of the normal. The terms ‘pre-’ and ‘post-metaphysical’ do not have the connotation ‘have no implicit or explicit location within the metaphysics.’ The pre-metaphysical concepts are those that provide foundation for the metaphysics in this world / experience. The normal is post-metaphysical in that it is instrumental in locating this world in the universe as revealed in the metaphysics

There are restrictive and expansive senses of metaphysics and cosmology. All metaphysical concepts fall under the expansive meaning of cosmology. However, since it distinguishes varieties of behavior, unlike the other metaphysical concepts above, the normal may be seen falling under cosmology in its restrictive sense. The remarks of this paragraph will be clarified later in the narrative

To follow the narrative, it is essential to be aware of the present meanings as defined in the development and to avoid distraction by other meanings—either common or specialized. This injunction should not be taken to imply that other meanings and shades of meaning should not be considered for their suggestive power or for improvement of the developments

Outline of the chapter

The metaphysics is developed as ten topics arranged in three sets of reflections

The core of the pure metaphysics—the first set of reflections

The first set of reflections is the core of the pure metaphysics that concerns necessary conclusions about and deriving from the necessary objects. The conclusions are organized, roughly according to the object on which they are based, as the following topics. (1) Demonstration—by recognition and naming, analysis of meaning and use, and proof—of the existence of the generic necessary objects: experience, being, universe, void, domain and so on. (2) Conclusions regarding and from the existence and properties of the universe. (3) Conclusions from the existence and properties of the void. (4) Conclusions from the existence of domains and their complements. (5) Development of the concept of the normal and its relation to the probable

It is often thought that metaphysics as theory of being is not and cannot be empirical. However, empirical content is built into the forms of experience—i.e. that forms of experience have being is undeniable. This does not mean that all the forms—concepts—have corresponding objects. However, as has been seen, the very general concepts such as experience itself, being, the universe—all being—and so on have objects and this may be seen in a way that is empirical e.g. the experience of all being. That such assertions are empirical lies in their meaning, e.g. given experience there is a world—at least of experience. The existence of experience and the general forms as objects is given but not necessarily as external objects. I.e., the existence of an external world does not follow from experience and its forms. While infinitesimal doubt exists regarding the existence of an external world, there is doubt. The point to such doubt in this narrative is a sharpening of tools of analysis and improved understanding of the world. I.e., such doubt is not laid out as a system of positive knowledge. This doubt is addressed by what will be subsequently labeled the fundamental principle of—the theory of—being or of the metaphysics of immanence. The claim regarding absence of empirical content may of course—at least in common sense terms—be true regarding a statement such as ‘there is distant a world that is beyond the present limit of measurement even when extended by scientific theory that is similar to this world.’ This claim—and other similar claims—cannot, of course, be empirical since the phrasing of the claim rules out the possibility of its being empirical. One of the aims of the metaphysics of immanence is to examine whether the existence of such worlds—and other ‘non-empirical’ objects—can be established by non-empirical means. The fundamental principle shows the possibility and necessity of the existence an immensely broad range of non-empirical objects. Further, the demonstration of the fundamental principle has both empirical and rational—logical—elements and is, therefore, partially empirical in character

Normal or probable conclusions—the second set of reflections

The necessary conclusions are followed by normal or, roughly, probable conclusions about the nature of particular domains—especially this cosmological system and its sentient forms. Here concern is with those forms of experience—concepts—the existence of whose objects is in doubt for a variety of reasons and the proof of existence is not as directly forthcoming as in the case of the necessary objects. The first doubt is that if the concept is not the object, whether the object exists. Again, the doubt is infinitesimal but there is learning to be derived from entertaining the doubt; the doubt is not—typically—put forward as a system of positive knowledge. The second doubt is that of faithfulness. These conclusions are, roughly, probable—often to a degree such that exceptions are extremely unlikely over times of interest. The exceptions to normal behavior, significant over longer periods, are essential in universal perspectives. The topics are as follows. (6) Conclusions from and about specific empirical forms. (a) The fact and form of experience or sentience. (b) The form and existence of particular domains, especially this cosmological system

Reflections on the metaphysics itself—the third set

Whereas the first two sets of reflections are reflections on the world—the universe in its general features—the third set is a collection of reflections on the metaphysics itself—and on its development. These reflections include doubts and counterarguments regarding the metaphysics, and skepticism and faith which concerns attitudes toward doubt (since neither skepticism nor faith need be absolute, one term—either skepticism or faith—may suffice,) considerations on method or approach, and, finally an assessment of the status of the metaphysics so far. The topics follow immediately

(7) Objections and counterarguments that arise in reflecting on the development of the metaphysics. (8) Faith and affirmation—versus unlimited rationality. (9) Method or approach. ‘Method’ concerns the approach to development of the metaphysics. Two preliminary observations are pertinent. First, method does not—a priori—stand over study of objects but arises in study. Second, while study of necessary objects has a necessary character, the study of normal objects has necessary and contingent aspects. The necessary character of normal objects occurs in that they exemplify necessary objects and the contingent character arises from the particular details overlaid on the necessary. (10) The status of the metaphysics so far

The development of the metaphysics of immanence, having begun in Being, now continues in three sets of reflections labeled The core of the pure metaphysics, The metaphysics of normal objects, and Reflections on the metaphysics and its development. Developments from Being may be repeated in full or abbreviated form and with or without proofs

The first reflections—the core of the pure metaphysics

Demonstration—by recognition and naming, analysis of meaning and use, and proof—of the existence of the generic necessary objects

1.      Demonstration—by recognition and naming, analysis of meaning and use, and proof—of the existence of the generic necessary objects

The demonstration is in the chapter, Being

The demonstration is in Being which has clarification of the nature of ‘demonstration’ and further details

Demonstration of the existence of necessary objects

The existence of the following necessary objects was demonstrated in Being: experience and its forms; being; the universe or all being and which contains all objects, especially all form, pattern and law; difference, domain and complement which exists when the domain exists; change and before and now and after; and the void or absence of being which contains no object—especially no form, no pattern and no law

The objection that there is no such thing as experience

It is possible to raise an objection that what was identified in Being as experience is not, in fact, experience or, even, that it does not exist. It is hard to know precisely what to say to someone who asserts that, in fact, experience does not exist. The first counter may be ‘What is it that does not exist?’ The objection appeared to agree that experience has meaning but to then assert that experience does not exist. Perhaps the objection is that experience is immaterial or insignificant—the response to this would be that the material character of experience is not relevant to the development here even though the development has implications for its material or immaterial character… and that significance cannot be addressed without some framework such as the present framework. I.e., a free-floating objection ‘experience is insignificant’ lacks meaning. What of the objection that experience-as-in-this-narrative is not experience? One meaning of this objection may be that experience-as-in-this-narrative does not exist: in this meaning the objection has already been addressed. Another meaning is that what is here called experience should not be so called or is a trivial meaning. Again, this objection may be addressed in human terms or in relation to a framework. If the objection is that experience is irrelevant to human being, the first answer is that it is certainly relevant and important to this human being—and to many others. A second answer is that experience is important in terms of what can be done with the concept—and this will also be the answer in terms of a framework or system of ideas. This answer, of course, lies in the development of the metaphysics and it is for this reason that it has been relevant to raise the issue at this point

Conclusions from the existence and properties of the universe

2.      Conclusions from the existence and properties of the universe

A Metaphysics of Immanence

Recall that the universe is all being and contains all objects: all things or entities and processes, all Form, Pattern and Law—this is the first source of the name ‘metaphysics of immanence.’ The thought to use that name includes the idea that that things of the ‘mind,’ which are often assigned a secondary existential status or perhaps even a non-existential status, are, after all, real. The forms of experience or sentience and all of its constituent and related ideas such as percept, concept, feeling, awareness, idea, thought, image, are in the universe. Thus far, the existence of Form, Pattern and Law outside has not been shown—this demonstration will be given in ‘conclusions from the properties of the void.’ What is clear, here, is that if there are Forms outside experience, then those Forms along with forms of experience are equally real and are—immanent—in the universe

Clearly, on the existence of an external world—an existence that does not depend on experience for its existence—experience need not go to the root of being. Whether there is an external world and, then, whether a valid extension of the concept of experience is co-extensive with being will be taken up in discussing conclusions from the existence of the void

It is important to be clear about the meaning of immanence. That Forms are immanent in being does not mean that there is some external object or idea that is attached to or enmeshed with being. It means that Form is of being: since there is nothing and not just no-thing outside the universe—outside being—it cannot be otherwise

Actuality, possibility and necessity

If an event (thing) is described but never occurs (exists,) it cannot be possible. If it occurs or exists, it is possible

I.e. actuality and possibility are identical in their reference even though apparently distinct with regard to sense

Since actuality and possibility are identical, they must both be identical to necessity. That is, what is cannot not be otherwise—it might be if the universe was otherwise but the universe is not and cannot be otherwise. The meaning of necessity so introduced—and its relation to other meanings of necessity that have arisen without benefit of the metaphysics under development—is analyzed in Logic

Absolute possibility

In fact a definite concept of possibility has been introduced. This concept of possibility, which refers to possibility of occurrence in the universe, is absolute possibility

It may be thought that some other notion of possibility may be retained, but since there is nothing outside the universe, the sense of absolute or universal possibility must be identical to the sense of actuality—even though there may be an expectation of a different sense. I.e. a different sense could be deployed before reflection but it would have to be modified to the new sense—else it would be sense-less

Relative possibility

Relative or contextual possibility refers to occurrence in a similar context. Relative to the universe, there is no ‘other’ context. When the context is the universe, relative possibility is absolute possibility

Remarks on absolute and relative possibility

Absolute possibility will be seen to be logical possibility

Physical possibility is a form of relative possibility. The prototype of physical possibility is consistency with the laws of physics

The common or naïve concept of possibility is a kind of relative possibility

Absolute possibility should not be confused with the common concept—it is easy to fall into this confusion

The identity of the possible and the necessary and the varieties of ‘necessity’ are taken up in discussion of ‘conclusions from the existence and properties of the void’

Conclusions regarding and from the existence and properties of the void

3.      Conclusions regarding and from the existence and properties of the void

Conclusions regarding the existence and properties of the void

Existence and fundamental properties of the void

That the void contains no Object, no Form, no Pattern or Law and that it exists has been shown earlier in Being. Because the existence of the void is essential to development of the metaphysics, (a) some alternate proofs are given in the next paragraph, and (b) it is important entertain doubts about the validity of the demonstrations. General objections and counterarguments are taken up later in this chapter

Doubts about the existence of the void

First, repeat the proof of existence of the void given so far. As the complement of the universe relative to itself or the complement of any element of being relative to itself, the void exists. A variant proof. The complement of a part exists. As the part approaches the whole, the complement exists at every stage of the approach and its limit is the void

An objection to the proof of existence of the void

The idea of ‘part’ is conceptual and the content of a concept should not imply anything about the world. Counterargument—if existence is merely recognition of variety, part is not merely conceptual (if part is defined by a conceptual property, the particular part may be merely conceptual)

An objection to the proof that the void contains no Object—no Form, Pattern or Law

The discussion in this paragraph may anticipate some later developments and the phrase ‘as noted’ may refer to later developments. The universe was defined as all being and it was therefore concluded that, since there can be nothing outside the universe, it must contain all Objects etc. However, that the universe contains all actual objects does not imply that it contains all logically possible objects. Therefore, the proof that the void contains no objects is a proof that it contains no actual objects and it may contain other logically possible objects. Counterargument—the premise of the object is valid but the conclusion is simply incorrect: the void contains no objects whatsoever… and this property of the void is seen, below, to imply that the universe must contain all logically possible objects. Observation—the objection may, however, appear to show that the identification of the possible and the actual is incorrect. This, however, is also incorrect since, regarding all being, there can be nothing that is possible but not actual—the idea of possibility encompassing more than actuality is valid only for a context that is not all being, i.e., as noted, there are different senses of possibility: unqualified possibility, which as noted is logical possibility, and contextual possibility which includes unqualified possibility—when the context has no limits—and physical possibility, i.e., ‘universes’ or cosmologies that may be different from this one but that obey the physical laws of this one. It is interesting that since, as noted, the universe is seamless, the concept of physical possibility may be a rough one or, at least, require further clarification or investigation

Alternate proofs of the existence of the void

As a result of doubt, alternate proofs of the existence of the void may be useful. The alternate proofs now follow

1. That the void exists is not intrinsically paradoxical. The existence of the void should be equivalent to its non-existence; therefore the void may be taken to exist

2. Attaching the void to an entity makes no difference to the constitution of the entity; therefore the void may be taken to exist

3. In physics the zero force may be said to exist; it is the force that does not change uniform motion; this of course is not a proof of the existence of the void but shows that existence may be assigned to a quantity of zero magnitude

A clarification

If the universe has a non-manifest phase, that phase will be the void; of course this final item does not at all prove existence of the void but provides one way to see how it may be real rather than merely a conceptual fiction

An inductive ‘proof’ of the existence of the void

In science the ‘proof’ of a law or theory from data is a generalization. Of course, the generalization is not a mere generalization for there is some attempt to discern a pattern or symmetry—perhaps of the object, perhaps of the laws or theory developed so far—and the generalization or modification—expresses the discerned patterns. However since alternative patterns may be possible, the scientific laws and theories retain an hypothetical nature. This kind of inference has been called induction and is considered further in Logic. The study of inductive inference has included attempts to make induction more secure. An empiricist program sometimes called positivism attempted—primarily in the first half of the twentieth century—to show how theoretical inference necessarily follows from the data but the flaw of the approach is already visible in the nature of induction; positivism is no longer thought to be viable. Alternative approaches stressed simplicity and beauty—and probabilistic inference. After the failure of positivism, some approaches of the twentieth century stressed the hypothetical character of science but emphasized the idea that theories become accepted as more and more confirming data and successful applications build up. Thus even though being open to disconfirmation, scientific theories become accepted on account of their success—and such features as simplicity, beauty, symmetry, the existence of conservation laws, and probabilistic inference when possible add to the confidence in the theories. It is key, then, in this line of twentieth century thought that while there is confidence and realism in scientific theories, there is openness to revision, the realism is a limited realism and there is an inevitable hypothetical character to scientific theories. One way of looking at this situation is that at any given time, the received theories have validity in a limited domain. As theory and improved measurement makes new realms of phenomena possible, data from new domains—the microscopic realm, remote regions in space and time, objects of higher energy, spectra of higher or lower frequency—becomes visible and may put the current theories in doubt; and new theory may arise that subsumes both new and old data and reveals the older theory to be a special case. This view of the progression of science may be called hypothetical-progressive or revolutionary. In Logic, an alternative though not contradictory view of the nature of theory will be argued but here the revolutionary view will be used to argue for proof of the existence of the void—the absence of being—and, more generally, to argue the metaphysics of immanence

Regard the existence of the void and the metaphysics of immanence as being introduced hypothetically as an attempt to bring coherence into the split between empirical observation that even when enhanced by scientific theory can only see so far and the fact that there is no reason in either science or reason to assume that the boundary of the empirical world is the boundary of the actual world. First, note that the metaphysics does not contradict science or valid common sense in their domains—of course both science and the metaphysics do necessary violence to a variety of aspects of common sense. In fact, as will become evident, the metaphysics provides immense illumination of the nature and the theories of science. Second, the metaphysics recognizes and reveals the empirical character of a number of concepts that might seem metaphysical in the esoteric sense but are not so. An example is the universe as all being; the concept is esoteric if by ‘universe’ reference is made to remote detail; however, if reference is made only to the fact that there is both immediate and remote detail that both lie within the universe but reference is not made to the distinctions implied by the concept of detail then ‘universe’ is empirical. Whereas empirical science—which includes its theories—does not manifestly recognize the universe—as all being—the metaphysics does and does so empirically and without inconsistency. Third, the metaphysics has a host of predictions, developed throughout the narrative, and that are open to being disconfirmed. The parallel of the void to the quantum vacuum is a qualitative confirmation—even though the void and the quantum vacuum are not identical; this lack of identity might be a disconfirmation of either metaphysics of immanence or quantum theory if the other were given. Note that although the claim has been made that the proof of the metaphysics is a logical proof, since the objective here is to give an inductive argument the logical proof is set aside. Finally, the metaphysics introduces vast symmetry from the identities of metaphysics and logic, to logic as the law of being, to the equivalence of all states of the universe, to details of logic as developed in Logic

Conclusions from the existence of the void

The fundamental principle of metaphysics

The fundamental principle of the metaphysics of immanence also called the fundamental principle of the theory of being, the fundamental principle of metaphysics, or, simply, the fundamental principle—if a concept, picture or description has no internal or external contradiction, it must be realized from the void. This has the obvious and immediate generalization—if a concept, picture or description has no internal or external contradiction, it must be realized from any state. And—every non-contradictory state is realized. Demonstration of the principle: the non-realization of a non-contradictory concept would be a Law of the void; however the void contains no Law; therefore every non-contradictory concept must be and is realized. The principle is the cornerstone of the metaphysics and, therefore, it is crucial to take up Objections and counterarguments and this is done below

In the statement of the fundamental principle, ‘having no internal or external contradiction’ is roughly equivalent to ‘being logical.’ To replace the first phrase in quotes by the second would seem to be circular for the question then arises as to what it means to be logical. That it is not circular may be seen that while the substitution suggests a notion of—an aspect of—logic, the discovery of the principles of logic is empirical in that the discovery involves trial and error. Further, of the fundamental principles of logic—identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle—the principle of identity is near tautology, the principle of the excluded middle is questionable, and, therefore, the principle of non-contradiction is, perhaps, the essential principle of logic

The non-circular character of the idea of ‘being logical’ may be explained by appeal to adaptation of description, grammar and so on. Such explanations which are not proofs but may be reasons for belief have been labeled ‘transcendental’

The fundamental principle has the following trivial consequences

A restatement of the principle

Any consistent class of concepts, pictures or descriptions is and must be realized—this is a restatement of the principle

Care is needed in considering what is consistent and therefore actual. Consider ‘There is an individual who knows everything!’ Although the claim may seem absurd, there is no explicit logical impossibility. However, depending on what ‘know everything’ is taken to mean, there may be a logical impossibility relative to that meaning. Additionally assuming a fine grained structure such as that of this cosmological system it may be contingently impossible—impossible relative to the assumed structure—for organisms to know all facts of the universe or even of the cosmos

Properties of the void

Any void generates every void. It is irrelevant whether the number of voids is taken to be infinite, finite but greater than one, or just one. The number of voids may be taken to be one

From every state, including the void state, every other state is accessible i.e. no state is inaccessible—an exception to accessibility might be the contradictory ‘states’ which need not be mentioned since they need not be regarded as states

The universe is equivalent to the void

The universe enters—and leaves—a state of being the void

The fundamental problem of metaphysics

When in the void state, the universe must leave it for a manifest state—this resolves the classic problem ‘why there is anything at all’ or ‘why there is something rather than nothing’ that Heidegger—and others—regarded as the fundamental problem of metaphysics

There is an improvement to this resolution to the fundamental problem as follows. Either there is something or not. In the latter case, the void exists—and it follows from the fundamental principle that something did and will exist. Temporally, it is not necessary that there is an eternal state of manifest being—as seen above, the universe must phase in and out of the manifest state

Fact is stranger than fiction

The fundamental principle, just shown to be true, is the assertion that the entire system of consistent descriptions is—must be—realized; that is, the only universal fictions are the logical contradictions—fact is stranger than fiction

From science, religion, myth, literature, drama, art, history and imagination, whatever system of concepts, descriptions and pictures hold without contradiction is and must be realized—the universe contains all mystery

On Logic

Since the possible and the actual are identical, all possible states are realized. It will be seen that Logic may be taken to be theory of possibility or, equivalently, the theory of descriptions of—all—actual states and, further, that Logic is the—one—law of the Universe—of all being without exception

A metaphysics that is ultimate in breadth

If a metaphysics is thought to be an attempt to encompass all that exists, the metaphysics revealed by the fundamental principle is a successful metaphysics. Other successful metaphysical systems can be no broader—and, as will be seen, no deeper

The metaphysics is ultimate in breadth in that it encompasses the variety of being

The breadth is the highest consistent order of infinity

What is conceivable is of the highest consistent order of infinity. What is explicitly describable—in linear language—is of a lower order of infinity. Therefore, the variety of being cannot be encompassed by a linear sequence of descriptions

While the metaphysics does not provide a scheme to describe all states, it encompasses them and, so, the breadth is implicit

Discovery without end

In other words, the discovery of the variety of being is without end. This may be seen as good

Resolution of the apparent violation of common sense—and science

The fundamental principle and its consequences clearly seem to violate common sense and science. The resolution of any apparent contradiction or paradox is taken up below in discussing the concept of the normal. Apparent violations of common sense and science are also addressed below in the discussion of Objections and counterarguments

Discussion consequences of the fundamental principle continues immediately and in the chapters Objects through Cosmology and the divisions Human World through Transformation

Further properties of the void

The void exists and contains no thing, Form, Pattern or Law; i.e., since, as will be seen in Objects thing and form fall under object, the void contains no object—this has merely repeated the definition and properties of the void already established

The void is simple. The simplicity of the void is ultimate—this thought is taken up below in the discussion of substance and determinism. Since all states may be seen as coming from—equivalent to—the void, the simplicity of the void may be seen as conceptual rather than factual

The void may be regarded as containing all non-existent and only non-existent objects. This thought, logically nice but perhaps without practical significance, becomes transparent in Objects

The number of voids may be taken to be one—or, when convenient, finitely or infinitely many

Every element of being, including the void and the universe, may be regarded as being associated with ‘its own’ void. Every element of being—including the universe in a manifest state—may experience annihilation at any time. Although stated in terms of the void so as to bring out its properties, annihilation and creation—next paragraph—may be established directly from the fundamental principle of the metaphysics

A void need not be regarded as being attached to any manifest element—this implies spontaneous creation anywhere and anytime. These thoughts on creation and annihilation have a cosmological nature

Sources of focus on the void

In Being, it was noted that selection of the idea of being as fundamental was experimental. The experimentation with ideas involved not one but a number of concepts including those of void, universe, substance and determinism

Initially there were a variety of intuitions that suggested the significance of the void. In the heart of a forest there was an experience of identity with all being and—perhaps therefore—absence of being. Focus on being suggests focus on absence of being. From theoretical physics, the creation of a—manifest phase of the—universe from a non-manifest phase need not violate conservation of energy. Therefore, it seemed that the transformations and possibilities of being might be understood by seeing all being as equivalent to the void. This might show how to see changelessness behind change (Parmenides)

The final inspiration in the shadow of mountains—an inspiration to focus on the void rather than on this cosmological system. This thought permitted transition from suggestion and intuition to logic

There are varieties of voidism in Indian and Judaic thought. Sartre and Heidegger felt nothingness to be important. Wittgenstein, Hume and Leibniz implicitly skirt the idea of the void in their suggestions that the only impossibilities are logical. Leibniz says this explicitly; Hume and Wittgenstein say something equivalent—i.e., ‘from the truth of one atomic proposition the truth of another does not follow.’ Hume’s form omitted the word ‘atomic’

On substance, determinism and absolute indeterminism

The concept of absolute indeterminism is that no state shall be inaccessible—that from any state, no state shall be unaccessed. From the fundamental principle, the universe and the void are absolutely indeterministic

It might seem that, under absolute indeterminism, structure would be impossible and, in particular, this cosmological system would be impossible. However, since no state is inaccessible, structure is necessary—and the existence of this cosmological system is necessary. These logical conclusions provide no explanation: explanations will be given later in discussing. However, there is also the following logical point

If the universe is absolutely indeterministic in that no state shall be unaccessed, it must also be absolutely deterministic in that all states shall be accessed—this shows the logical necessity of structure and of this cosmos

The kind of determinism of the previous paragraph is atemporal and is distinct from temporal determinism in which the state of the universe at any time determines its state at all times

Under temporal determinism, the future of the universe is determined by the present. However, since every point in time is or was or will be a present point in time, under determinism, the history of the universe is determined by its present. Since the present cannot be otherwise, the history of the universe is determined. This odd conclusion under determinism is contradicted by the metaphysics of immanence

A classical substance is a uniform and unchanging thing or object from which all variety and change manifest. The idea of classical substance arises, perhaps, from a desire to explain the complex from the simple—e.g., to explain the origin of a formed cosmological system

Relation to Heidegger’s thought

In repudiating substance, Heidegger went, roughly, one third of the way to an ultimate metaphysics. The remaining steps are the overcoming of determinism—as well as common causation—and related habits of thought; and replacing intuition by logic or, perhaps, seeing identity of intuition and logic. Thus, though Heidegger saw the importance of eliminating substance, he did not succeed in eliminating it

Monism

Monism is the theory that there is one substance. However, a concern immediately arises. How would monism explain variety and change? Where in the realm of the uniform is the varied, where in the realm of the unchanging is the changing? The problems of monism are one source of dualism

Dualism

Dualism is the theory that there are two or more categorially distinct substances. However, dualism runs into the same problem of explanation because the variety in the world is infinite. A theory with infinitely many substances is no longer simple and explanation of change may require reference to shifting combinations and illusion. How do shifting combinations occur if the substances are unchanging? How do they combine if they are without structure and categorially distinct? Illusion may explain change and variety but this explanation is illicit for the perceiver, too, must be of substance

The problem of substance theory is the problem of determinism

Why is substance theory unable to explain the complex in terms of the simple? It is because there is a—perhaps implicit—requirement that the explanation be deterministic i.e. that the properties of the complex explicitly fall out of—even if not seen in—the simple. The apparent simplicity of determinism is consistent with the original desire for simplicity in substance

Metaphysics of substance and metaphysics of determinism are duals

It is the tacit assumption of determinism that makes substance theory untenable, that requires the proliferation of substances that still provides no relief. The establishment of formation from the void and the recognition of the absolutely indeterministic character of the universe shows that substance theory is untenable and unnecessary

Determinism is the forgotten twin of substance theory

There is a connection between determinism and determinate form

The Void and the elimination of substance

The void may assume some aspects of the role of substance but is not a true substance—as has been seen, the void may be taken to be the basis of explanation that was sought in substance

However, since the void is not deterministic, it would be improper to refer to the void as a substance. The void is not a true substance. There is another reason for not regarding the void as a substance. This reason, already noted, is that although the void may be thought of a ‘base’ state relative to which formation and origins occur, under absolute indeterminism the role of base state may be played by any state of the universe. It is equally valid to regard any state of the universe—including that of the void—as the sub-stance of all being

Yet another reason for not regarding the void as substance is that though ‘voidism’ may have been regarded as a substance theory in certain developments of the past, here voidism is not the foundation—the metaphysics does not start with the void and there is nowhere any assumption of the fundamental character of a category or entity of being as in materialism, idealism and so on. Instead, the ‘foundation’ is that there is being—which is neither assumed nor proved but may be seen as a restatement or certain recognition of the given character of experience and which requires no further clarification but may be seen as empirical fact. The existence and characteristics of the void—and the universe and other necessary objects—and the metaphysical consequences are all derived from this foundation

Simplicity of the void. The void is ultimate in simplicity

The void and its absolute indeterminism are simpler than substance and its determinism

The void is ultimately simple. The void and absolute indeterminism are absolutely simple because they place no explanatory requirements on the elements of being. The simplicity of substance is a defined simplicity—i.e., via a stated uniform, unchanging and deterministic character a simplicity is built into the concept of substance. The simplicity of the void is different in nature—it is not defined or built in. The universe is all being and the void is the absence of being and it follows from the definitions that the void contains no objects—i.e., no form, pattern or law. The simplicity of the void is a conceptual simplicity—less is said about the character of the void than must be said about the character of substance. This gives the void what may be called a creative freedom that substance cannot have

Another motive to substance theory, perhaps related to the motive to explaining the complex from the simple, is that under determinism and without substances, there is no explanation of being that terminates at some definite place, that explanation is either incomplete or (andor) non-terminating i.e. without end

From the void there may be both finite and infinite chains of explanation. The generic explanation of being is finite

Metaphysics of immanence is non-relativist philosophy without substance

A relativist philosophy or metaphysics is one that has no foundation at which its system of explanation terminates and, therefore, does need to employ substances in its explanatory scheme—if there is one. The relativist systems of explanation must either terminate at a point that is not foundational and therefore not regarded as secure or have infinite regress; such systems may be unsatisfying but the discomfort may be endured on the grounds of intellectual honesty. A non-relativist philosophy or metaphysics is one whose system of explanation does terminate in some foundation that is regarded as secure. It is commonly thought that a non-relativist system must acknowledge substance or substances—at least in the most generic sense of the term in which a substance need not be modeled after physical or mental substance and so on, i.e., ‘enduring particulars’ but could be events, processes, or facts. It is further commonly held that in order to make sense of the world, there must be a substance in the narrower sense of individual substance such as mind or matter. However, it has here been shown that the only explanation required to make sense of the world is that there is a world; i.e., that there is being. In fact, it is beginning and continues in this narrative to emerge that the measure of being is being—and not something else or more particular—and that this makes infinitely more sense than either substance or abandonment of the comfort for the insecurity of relativist thought

Explanation from the void terminates at the void. The resulting metaphysics is not a substance theory of any kind (whether material or mental like or in the form of facts or propositions…) but is not a relativist philosophy. It is non-relativist, i.e. it provides a foundation although not a determinist one; the error in thinking that non-relativist explanation requires substance is the thought world must come deterministically from some substance

If a determinist foundation is not possible it cannot be truly desirable. Conversely, if an—absolutely—indeterministic foundation is necessary it cannot be other than desirable

The metaphysics of immanence is ultimate in depth

As the entire manifest universe in all its phases comes from and goes to the void state, explanation of the universe has foundation in the void—i.e. in being itself—without need for further regress or foundation. It has been seen that the metaphysics is also ultimate in breadth: the variety of being is harbored in its system—as cannot be the case for mind and matter in their dedicated senses. If the metaphysics were not ultimate in either depth or breadth, it could not be ultimate with regard to the other

While the metaphysics of immanence is ultimate in depth in that it provides a non-relativist foundation in the void, the equivalence any two states of being, noted above, shows that the metaphysics is also ultimately apparent—shallow, trivial and transparent—in that any state of being including the present state provide a non-relativist foundation

As noted earlier, the power of the metaphysics may be seen as lying in its immediacy, shallowness and triviality

Substance continued—mind and matter

Yet another appeal to substance in the form of dualism had been the absolute separation of mind and matter. Regardless of the philosophical, theological and scientific motivations for this separation, it should be clear by now that as distinct substances mind and matter could never interact and as absolute but dedicated, e.g. within this cosmos, even if indeterministic, are failed explanatory experiments

Later, it will be seen that if mind and matter are released from their local and historical moorings, they may be realized as nothing but other words for being

On account of the pre-judicial character of the ideas of mind and matter it would be confusing to substitute them for being

This opens up the resolution, in Mind and in Human being, by what is essentially the theory of formation from the void, i.e. from absolute indeterminism, of the mind-matter paradox and to an understanding of the nature of mind and its grounding and many aspects thereof

Given concepts of mind and of matter that are not other terms for being, if it is specified that mind and matter are distinct substances, there can be no causation from one to the other, no origin of one in the other

On the condition that they are substantially distinct, at least one of mind and matter cannot be a substance

Regarding matter as the fundamental element of this cosmos (i.e. as generalized to include energy and the other elements of theoretical physics,) matter can be a local and effective substance but not a true substance

Mind and matter are not substances. I.e. if they are regarded in their common senses and as substantial in nature, neither can function as a metaphysical or universal substance

Anthropomorphism and ‘cosmomorphism’

An anthropomorphic view sees being as having human nature. In an anthropocentric view, human being is—at the—the center of the universe. A modern sentiment fostered by four centuries of science and by liberalism is to de-anthropomorphize thought about non-human being e.g. other entities and the universe as a whole

However, anthropomorphism is difficult to escape. Even when explicitly shed, it may remain in the weak form of cosmomorphism—modeling the universe on the local cosmological system e.g. taking the laws of physics to be the laws or at least a blueprint for the laws of the entire universe

Cosmomorphism is the building into a metaphysics or world picture the contingent characteristics of this cosmos or, perhaps, these cosmological systems. Cosmomorphism is shed when only the most fundamental or necessary characteristics are retained—e.g., that there is being, that there is one universe

Cosmomorphism is difficult to escape. There can be no issue with a liberal cosmomorphism, i.e. one which takes the contingent empirical characteristics of modern physical cosmology, perhaps as extended by theoretical physical cosmology, not as absolute but, rather, as having some practical application in this world. A conservative cosmomorphism would be one in which the contingent characteristics are regarded as applying without exception to all being—to the entire universe, i.e., even to those parts of the universe that may lie beyond the empirical and theoretical limits of modern cosmology. Retention of a conservative cosmomorphism—mythic, religious, scientific, or philosophical-metaphysical—is infinitely restrictive of vision. Since physical cosmology defines its own limits, it cannot know what lies beyond those limits and it therefore allows that conservative cosmomorphism may be infinitely restrictive regarding the variety and extent of the universe. It will be seen in developing the metaphysics, that the word ‘may’ of the previous sentence may be replaced by ‘is’

Upon positively shedding all shreds of cosmomorphism, a vast ‘universe’ of possibility immediately appears

The result is a metaphysics of infinite and ultimate depth and breadth

A guiding principle for the metaphysician

A guiding principle for the metaphysician is to obtain conceptual distance from the immediate world without relinquishing relations to it, without relinquishing intent to return to the immediate. The immediate is essential as is home; and is useful for its suggestive power, inspiration and as test. The principle is to develop a ‘perspective’ in which the immediate and the remote, the frank and the occult are not distinguished. It is an anti-perspective

This guiding principle opens up a path to an adequate and proper conceptual relation to (understanding, knowledge of) the entire universe

As will be seen in Mind, Cosmology and Human World, the principle is also available to the study of particular aspects of the immediate world. It is helpful, for example, in the study of—human—mind. First, in recognizing the conceptual nature of mental categories and therefore seeing that neuroanatomy and neurophysiology… are at most half of the picture that is sought. Second, in the recognition that perception, thought, emotion, intuition and so on are conceptual and therefore not given as immediately experienced or conceived a play is allowed that permits movement toward a proper understanding and foundation of these categories and their relations

Some reflections on and consequences from the ‘guiding principle’

For an inhabitant of this cosmological system, knowledge of the entire universe must be of a general or abstract character. However, such knowledge is intensely and perhaps surprisingly illuminating of human knowledge and, particularly, knowledge of the immediate world

If the metaphysics of immanence is seen as remote, its implications are immediate—and momentous

It is clearly seen in the metaphysics and later in Objects and Cosmology, especially in the theory of identity—which could be developed here but whose development is perhaps more natural in Cosmology—human being—every human individual—stands at the center of being. This, however, is not the exclusive case—all entities and creatures stand at center. It is then perhaps more than a value judgment to think that human being stands neither above nor below the other forms of life. What may be lost in thinking of human being as special—which may be seen as based in insecurity fostered by a false view of being—is gained in identity: in being centered among the elements of being

Home is not a fixed place. This stands in addition to and not in opposition to the idea of a familiar and loved home. It suggests the possibility of feeling accepted everywhere

The idea that human—animal—being is a lonely accident at the edge of an vast and alien cosmos in which human—animal—being has no significance is not a fact. It is a feeling or emotion that may become attached to some contingent information

It may be undoubtedly true that any individual may be normally subject to suffering and alienation. It is a mistake—even if difficult to avoid—to elevate the normal to the universal and the necessary… just as it is a mistake to think that the normal is without meaning or significance

To suppress what is normal and to think that the universal will inevitably and routinely alleviate the normal condition are, of course, also mistaken ideas. However, it is most normal, even if rare and difficult, to seek, and to occasionally achieve a medium between these extremes; and it is also normal, even if rarer, to occasionally transcend the normal in its immediate sense

Form and the nature of Form

Since all manifest being may be regarded as coming from the void, the Forms of being are—may be regarded as—immanent in being

Form may be regarded as coming out of the void

All structure may be regarded as that of Form

Form is immanent in being i.e. it is of being rather than imposed on being

Some Forms are more durable than others

The distinction between the Forms of lesser and greater durability is not one of kind

Practically, the Forms of lesser durability may be called transients and those of greater durability may be called, simply, Forms

Actual Forms are dynamic

A Form of infinite duration—a static Form—is not a realized Form and is not capable of decay or annihilation or of interaction. I.e. static Forms have no origins—cannot come into being—and if one were to have being it would have no un-becoming or end. A static Form has no significance. The existence and non-existence of static Forms are without distinction

The existence of a static Form capable of interaction—dynamics—would be characterized by inherent contradiction and would also constitute a Law of the void. The being of a static form is logically impossible. The existence of such static Form would be a violation of any Logic immanent in being—this statement anticipates but is not used at all to found the concept of Logic of the present narrative

All Forms are dynamic

There are, as has been seen, no static forms. Forms have origins and ends

Mechanism

Mechanisms are discussed below, in this chapter, and are considered further in Cosmology

Sentient form

Also see the later discussions of sentience and sentient form and of logos and logic

Symmetry. Platonic aspects of the character of Form

The condition of durability may also be called stability and the characteristic of stable forms—the one that ‘makes’ them stable—may be called Symmetry. From modern theoretical physics, it would appear that Symmetric includes but is not limited to geometric symmetry and from now on, the single term, symmetry, will be used. Because there are no eternally durable forms, there are no absolutely stable and perfectly symmetric forms. The durable forms are relatively stable and near symmetric

An absolutely stable or perfectly symmetric form would be static—and have neither beginning nor—were it to be—end

Since all structure is Form and since there are no absolute substances, the view of being that emerges has Platonic characteristics

It has been noted that Form is immanent in being. Form is not imposed. Nor is the immanence that of a foreign kind. Form is of being, of entities as much as is being-hood

The idea of Form as foreign or imposed has probable origin in that Form is experienced as form, i.e. as perceived and therefore ascribed the vague status of an object residing in ‘mental space’ or ‘conceptual space’ but not in actual space

(There may be a conceptual space but such a space would be a domain resident in actual space)

Perfection—symmetry—of form is never attained, is logically impossible and is therefore not desirable

It cannot be desirable

A metaphysics of form

The metaphysics of immanence is a metaphysics in which the structure in the world has characteristics of Form rather than substance

There is no separate Platonic world

However, there is no separate Platonic world or universe. All actual worlds are in the one universe. Forms reside in this world—in the one universe

On power

At the outset of the discussion of being, a promise was made to connect to the concept of power—the ability to have an effect. The fundamental principle shows that being must have power, i.e., effect. Knowability is a form of power. Must being be knowable? In the common meaning of knowledge, the answer is ‘no.’ However there is a necessary and consistent extension of knowledge to the root, just as and because mind and experience extend to the root, which (1) shows that being must be knowable and (2) stands as a reminder that the special status—an immateriality, a not of this worldliness—that is often assigned to mental content is mistaken

Conclusions from the existence of domains and their complements

4.      Conclusions from the existence of domains and their complements

The idea of domains has been used occasionally above but it is useful to gather some specific conclusions from the existence of domains and complements together in order to benefit from systematic use

The idea of creation and of a creator

If a creator is external to what is created, the universe can have no creator. One part of the universe may create another part. That is logically possible. However, origins in terms of a normal incremental mechanism of random variation and selection of relatively stable states—elaborated below and in Cosmology—may be far more likely

In-formation

The form of one cosmological system may be ‘informed’ by that of another or of the background universe. It is perhaps typical that complexity and intelligence are self-formed while formation from the outside occurs for at most initial conditions. This is because, with exceptions, a formative system must require a much greater complexity that a formed one—causal formation is far more complex than spontaneous origin in terms of a normal mechanism

The abstract idea of God

As an explanation of origin form, omnipotence—God—is seriously deficient. The idea of explanation requires explanation of to be of the complex in terms of the simple and the evident. However, omnipotence is infinitely more complex and far less apparent than the manifest world. Which is not to say that there is no external effect in the formation of, e.g., a cosmological system but that the likelihood of an external cause being the entire cause—that origins should be entirely causal—is extremely unlikely. Arguments regarding external formation and its extent should take place on a case by case basis

The void is not a causal creator of manifest being

In the sense of cause as determining, the void is not and cannot be a causal creator of manifest being. Although the manifest universe may be seen as coming out of the void, it is a stretch of meaning to say that the void created the manifest universe

However, the following are true. Given the universe in a void state, the universe will enter a manifest state; and, a manifest state is followed by the void. From some visitations to the void state, myriad cosmological systems will emerge before the next void state

Whether the void may be regarded as a causal agent depends on the meaning of causation. There is a project to investigate the meanings of cause according to which the void may be said to cause manifestation and according to which one domain may be said to cause or create another

Prospect. The metaphysics so far is a beginning

Although the depth and power of the metaphysics of immanence has become clear, what is presented so far is a beginning. This beginning is taken forward, elaborated and applied in the remainder of the narrative, especially in the part Foundation and Journey in being. The developments so far have clear metaphysical content and significance. The concern that certain ‘objects’ have been shown to exist but the question of knowledge of the objects—beyond existence—has not been addressed is taken up in Objects. Further developments continue below. The concept of the normal addresses the apparent violence done to ‘common sense’ and science by the metaphysics. Here and in subsequent chapters—especially Mind, Logic and Meaning, Cosmology and the chapters of Human World—there that elaborates the interaction of the metaphysics and various topics from the particular to a level of generality or abstraction that is close to that of the metaphysics itself. The use of the developments of Theory of Being and Human World in the transformation of being is the subject of the—second—part of the narrative labeled Journey

Development of the concept of the normal and its relation to the probable

5.      Development of the concept of the normal and its relation to the probable

It has been seen that the metaphysics of immanence does apparent violence to common sense and to science and philosophy as usually understood to reveal the nature of the universe. Whereas common sense suggests that the given forms, stabilities and facts of this world define broad features of the universe, the metaphysics shows an infinitely greater variety of fact and form and an underlying universe of stabilities amid transience. Where science reveals broad features of this cosmological system and its laws and the broad features of the story of life on this earth, the metaphysics reveals these as but an infinitesimal element of being. Where it is almost invariably thought that a non-relativist metaphysics must be based in a substance at some finite depth, the metaphysic of immanence is non-relativist but requires and can have no substance

Since the metaphysics of immanence can be seen as a foundation in absolute indeterminism, the question of the possibility of structure arises

There is a trivial response to the violence of common sense and the possibility of structure. It is that what is actual is not only possible but must be necessary. A less trivial response is to appeal to the fundamental principle—every consistent state must be realized and further, every actual state must be consistent

The forms of cosmological systems—such as this one—that are very special in relation to the necessary infinity of form in the universe are labeled normal

What is normal is necessary—no explanation of the normal is necessary

Regarding formation from the void as origin, the fundamental principle shows that formation may occur in a single step, a few steps, or gradually and incrementally in a process in which every step—most steps—are incremental variations from one relatively stable state to another. It is reasonable to expect that incremental origins are far more likely than large step origins. Incremental origins by indeterministic variation from relatively stable to relatively stable state may be labeled a normal mechanism and the corresponding explanation a normal explanation

While normal mechanisms usually prevail, it is necessary that there shall be situations in which the likely mechanism does not fit the normal mold as described above

What constitutes normal behavior is not of one mold

The standard concepts of the typical objects of this cosmos may be labeled normal concepts

A second set of reflections—the metaphysics of normal objects

It is proper to talk about normal objects since the conclusions, even for normal objects, here, are necessary. While the metaphysics of immanence determines that there shall be—normal—correspondences between normal concepts and normal objects, it does not follow from the metaphysics that the normal concepts of this world correspond to normal and external objects

The generic explanation of the relation between normal concepts and objects is that a lock between a normal concept and a normal external object is far more likely than a free floating concept that lock does not occur in every instance of the normal concept

Details of the explanation are deferred to Objects

Conclusions from and about specific empirical forms

6.      Conclusions from and about specific empirical forms. (a) Conclusions from and about the fact and form of experience or sentience which includes experience of the fact of experience, experience of the external object, experience of self and other—including the idea of ‘you’ as explicitly similar to ‘I.’ (b) Conclusions from and about the form and existence of particular domains, especially this cosmological system

Conclusions from the fact and form of experience

General conclusions and observations

That the empirical forms are highly specific, detailed and—apparently—immediate should not result in the deception that the necessary forms are not empirical and immediate. As an example, in talking of the—entire—universe the term universe could have a number of senses of which two are all being with reference to all its details and all being as a single entity without any reference to distinction or detail. While the former sense has non-empirical content, the latter is empirical and only empirical for all that is necessary to know that there is all being in the latter sense is that there is being which follows from the fact of experience

The specific domains of empirical knowledge as being of this cosmological system are of intrinsic interest. The domains include large domains of human knowledge—the sciences including psychology, history, significant portions of mathematics, philosophy, and, even, religion

Conclusions of and about the metaphysics from the empirical domains

Even if what is known empirically is regarded as hypothetical, it provides raw material for possible content and suggests methods and mechanisms. As an example of content, that the cosmos is conveniently described in terms of space and time—space-time—provokes a fruitful analysis of space and time in terms of the metaphysics. As an example of mechanism, the idea of variation and selection from evolutionary biology is ever suggestive. It is important to recognize, however, that the existence of content and mechanism is not taken as proof; questions of proof—as they arise—are taken up independently of sources of ideas

Conclusions from the metaphysics regarding empirical knowledge

It has been seen that certain empirical objects such as experience, being-itself, and all-being require are necessary consequences of the fact of our being. In fact, ‘necessary consequence’ and ‘fact of being’ are understatements. Those objects are the fabric of our being; our being is no mere fact but the place or ground of fact. Facts may be questioned but only because there is a place of questioning… The empirical objects in question are coeval with metaphysics

Does the metaphysics found post-metaphysical empirical knowledge by showing the existence of what seem to be external objects as actual external objects? Not quite. If the system of empirical knowledge is consistent, there must be corresponding external objects somewhere in the universe. That does not imply that a given concept is locked in to an actual external object; rather the locking is, perhaps, made more likely—talk of probability may require hypotheses about fine-grained structure. Philosophers have no agreement on what proofs show the existence of external objects, e.g. in the case of the problem of other minds, or whether those proofs are conclusive. The metaphysics makes the existence of external objects more probable via arguments just mentioned. One fine grained argument goes as follows. Any one can observe, ‘It is hardly likely that I am the author of the universe as a figment of my mind. If I were the author of the universe as figment I would face all kinds of paradox. There would be figments called Germans who appear to know far more of the German language than I even though I created them.’ A more conclusive proof might require the assumption of physical theory—atomism, the quantum theory and so on. Perhaps in the final analysis we would end up admitting that even physical hypotheses have no certain purchase. It might then follow that a purely rational proof—a metaphysical or philosophical proof—of the existence of the non-necessary external objects is impossible; this in fact appears to be the case since the existence of the solipsist appears to be logically possible. This is—would be—good to know. If the metaphysics is unable to provide proof of lock-in external merely empirical—not necessary—objects, it assists in analysis of the status of the metaphysical problem. One way it does that is to provide a framework for assessing the possible options regarding the existence of objects and to suggest probabilities to associate with the options

The metaphysics shows that human empirical knowledge of the world is an infinitesimal fraction of the actual variety. While the empirical knowledge has obvious significance, one significance, then, that it does not have is the definition of the universe in extent, duration and variety. Empirical knowledge is as deficient as corrupt religions in providing insight into the existence or non-existence of a spiritual world. The metaphysics shows, first, that the term ‘spiritual’ is rather vague and that the proper distinction is that of the actual / possible and the normal: what might be termed spiritual lies, roughly, in the domain of the actual outside the normal. A more practical example is the insight provided by the metaphysics into space-time-matter of this cosmological system by locating it in a larger context of space-time-matter possibilities in the context of a universe that must go through phases of being the void. This analysis is taken up in Cosmology

The interaction of metaphysics of immanence and standard domains of empirical knowledge is immensely fruitful

Conclusions from the fact and form of experience about the nature of experiencing

That there is experience of an external world does not imply the existence of an external world. From the fundamental principle there may be domains or phases of the universe that are characterized by a single center of experience without an external object. What may be concluded from the experience of an external world is that the existence of the external world is immensely likely. It is conceivable that there are fine structures that allow a single center of experience to create the rich experiential variety of a human individual. However, in terms of most fine structures, including those that conform to human experience, it appears to be immensely unlikely that a single human mind could reconstruct the immense variety of experience

Some thoughts on the form of sentience follow

Sentience may be seen as a relation among forms. This sets up the possibility of error, paradox, and correction

Alternately, sentience may be seen as a form that includes the related forms and their relation. These forms are Forms as Forms and though they may be forms of experience, they may be revealed only imprecisely in experience

Excepting paradox, all forms have the possibility of sentience—this has been seen in an earlier discussion of mind

However, significant forms of experience may require sufficient durability for the appropriate elaboration of form

Some details of a logic of the nature of the field of experience now follow

Sentience may be regarded as a field of sentience or as a field of bodies with experience

There is no logical difference between these depictions

The sentient-field and body-experience field descriptions of organisms in the world are merely different terminologies

In some phases of the universe, a single sentient form is possible, therefore actual

Therefore, any argument against solipsism must be practical or contingent, i.e. in such and such a kind of system of beings e.g. durable evolved, solipsism would be impoverished or impossible

In this phase, a single sentient form is logically possible but, from complexity, practically so improbable that there should not be reasonable doubt that this cosmos (world) is populated as in the multiple centers of experience form of experience and intuition, i.e., by individuals. There may be fine structures—e.g. some forms of atomism—under which it is impossible that a cosmos should be a solipsist

Except for the eternal solipsist, solipsism, i.e. occasional solipsism of the universe or a domain of the universe, is possible and necessary on account of the Theory of being

Logically, universe may be seen as a solipsist. However, since it enters a phase of being the void it would not be an eternal solipsist even though the universe is eternal—it is the manifest universe that is not eternal

Given the structure of this world, the world of human experience is far richer than it could be if the individual were a solipsist

The discussions in Mind, Cosmology and Human World will elaborate conclusions from the form of experience including the experience of Identity regarding which it will be seen that the experience of an isolated identity is an approximation to a fuller experience of Identity

Conclusions from the form and existence of this cosmological system

The behavior of this cosmological system is subject to the fundamental principle and therefore from any state of the system any state of the universe is accessible

The normal behavior of this cosmological system, however, includes deterministic-like and causal behavior. It also includes and non-causal behavior as in the quantum description at microscopic levels that often but not invariably averages out as causal or near causal behavior at macroscopic levels and which permits a number of otherwise inexplicable macroscopic behaviors. The—variation and selection—mechanism of evolution is a normal mechanism for—explanation of—evolution and, more generally, of becoming; this mechanism may be framework for other, more specific, mechanisms. The experience of space and time in this cosmological system, including its expression in the theory of gravitation—Einstein’s general relativity—are among the normal behaviors of this cosmos

The metaphysics of immanence must permit the observed behavior of this cosmos

Together with—the pure—metaphysics of immanence, the forms of this cosmological system will suggest and permit numerous conclusions of General Cosmology and possibilities for local, physical or normal cosmologies

The earlier discussions of Form, General Cosmology and Mind and Matter are relevant to the Local or Physical Cosmology and other local cosmologies

The treatment of the issues of empirical domains of knowledge is taken up in subsequent chapters, especially Mind and Cosmology. The question of the foundation of such knowledge is further addressed in Objects. Objects further contributes to the discussion via a careful analysis of the variety of objects and, especially, kinds of objects such as particular or concrete objects and abstract objects such as number, morals, and logic as an object. The metaphysics of immanence is instrumental in the definitive treatment of abstract objects which shows them to not be as different from particular or ‘concrete’ objects as has traditionally been thought

A third, final, set of reflections—the metaphysics and its development

Objections and counterarguments. These arise in reflecting on the development of the metaphysics

7.      Objections and counterarguments. These arise in reflecting on the development of the metaphysics

Some objections to proof of the existence of the void have been considered earlier

It may be objected that the void is an event and not a state. It remains the case that in the void, the universe passes through a state in which there is no Form, Pattern or Law

Some foci for general objections

1. What may appear to be the use of mere concepts—e.g. void, universe and domain—to demonstrate actual or real consequences. This objection arises regarding the proof of the fundamental principle of the metaphysics of immanence. The objection is, of course, serious, first, in its nature and second and most importantly in that, if valid, it puts the foundation of the metaphysics of immanence—it’s fundamental principle—in question. I.e. the objection is not a disproof of the fundamental principle but is a proof that the given proof lacks validity

2. Quantum theory implies that the absence of things—the ground state of the local cosmos—is be the quantum vacuum which is far from the absence of being but is a seat of enormous of energy, a place of continuous creation and destruction of particle pairs

3. The violation of common sense in the ideas of ‘something from nothing’ and the realization of all consistent systems of description and, in physics, possible violations of the principle of conservation of energy

Responses to the objections follow

1. The basis in mere concepts is only apparent. The actual basis has been seen to be empirical

The intensely empirical character of the—concepts of—universe, void and so on has been discussed at length. It is the fact that these necessary objects are so close to ‘seeing’ that, in their immediacy, their empirical character may escape notice. These objects are not mere concepts. There are further objections regarding the idea of ‘all being.’ One is that, as a concept, the idea may entail self-reference. There may be self-reference in that an individual referring to ‘all being’ refers also to him or herself. However, in viewing all being as an entity but not with regard to—all—its details there is no necessary self-reference. In Logic it will be seen that it is not self-reference per se that results in paradox. Another problem may be thought to arise in that all being also includes concepts. In the discussion of abstract objects, it will be seen that concepts are objects and that the concept of the concept is not a new category. A further objection to or problem with the idea of all being is the possibility of infinitely many decompositions of it into possible objects. However, although this possibility exists, it is no more explicit in reference to all being than is the same possibility for any object. The arbitrariness of decomposition is an interesting idea that is discussed elsewhere in the narrative

2. The void lies below the quantum vacuum

The quantum vacuum is the seat of patterns of behavior that are laws. The void contains no law and is therefore ‘below’ the quantum vacuum in simplicity and fundamental character. The void ‘generates’ the quantum laws of this—our—cosmological system as well as the laws and entities of all cosmological systems

3. Common sense may be violated. However, the developments are dually empirical and rational. Therefore, common sense may require reeducation

Common sense and intuition—at least for some persons—is indeed violated; there is nothing, it may appear, in common day-to-day life that suggests the origin of a cosmos out of a void. However, common sense, experience, and intuition are situated in the everyday world. It may be said of such intuition that its extrapolation to the universe is an extrapolation of a mere or contingent empirical fact—or absence of fact—to the form of intuition and, more, to the form of the necessary. Self-aware empirical common sense is silent on such issues and—should it desire to know—will seek to follow the analysis. It appears to be a fact of human variety that some individuals are bound to their experience more than others. However, as will be seen in Human being, both binding and freedom are important to being human—and to think that freedom is essentially and only destructive or essentially and only creative are essentialist over-reactions to the imperfections and possibilities of freedom. It is interesting that the integration of intuition and analysis is to algebraic thought where the partial replacement of intuition by analytic expression allows the analysis of forms not amenable to intuition… Attention now turns to the issue of violation of the principle of conservation of energy. It is an immediate consequence of the fundamental principle that, regarding the entire universe, conservation of energy does not—cannot—obtain and that—near—conservation laws are perhaps features of relatively stable worlds. However, since, in terms of physical theory, energies can be positive as well as—e.g. gravitational field energy—negative, spontaneous creation of ‘a universe’ from nothing need not violate the physical principle of conservation of energy

An objection regarding meaning

The discussion in this section has semantic and ‘political’ dimensions. The semantic aspect results in further clarification of meaning itself and of existence and experience. The political dimension includes the naïve one that there is a tendency to want to ‘own’ words. However, what is important is the concept and since a word may designate more than one concept, this political dimension is based upon a mistake

Another more overtly political aspect of meaning is the desire or intent to employ power charged words to a special purpose. There must always be some tension between the relatively neutral and overtly political use of a word and some of this tension is defused by pointing out that ‘political’ has more than one connotation. Here, the thought is that politics has to do with personal and interpersonal power in general rather than in any special context. In this meaning, politics is very much in the sphere of use. Therefore, it may be asked whether there is a point to distinguishing the semantic and the political. The point is this. In the present narrative, politics is one dimension of language use—even if the vague phrase ‘everything is political’ is true. There are other dimensions. There is the how-we-stand-in-relation-to-the-world dimension which is not apolitical but whose use stands open rather than committed (to any special present purpose.) There will of course be disagreement. Perhaps there is no more that can be done than to take each context, each word case by case. Perhaps, real arguments can be given; even so it would be naïve to expect to ‘win.’ Perhaps fate is the master of language, meaning, use and truth; perhaps there is no master

The general problem identified. Resolution: one word, two symbols (concepts)

‘It is in the meaning of existence that in having this discussion or even in having an illusion of a discussion, there is existence’—something like that is said above. However, it might be replied, ‘No, existence does not necessarily have that kind of meaning at all. Existence has many meanings of which your meaning is but one. To assert that your meaning is the only meaning is to assert a privilege that you do not have and may not claim.’ The concern is a general one regarding meaning. The objection has semantic and—perhaps implicit—political dimensions. The semantic dimension includes that a word such as ‘existence’ may well have a variety of meanings or shades of meaning. Although they employ the same sign, ‘existence,’ they correspond to distinct concepts or shades of concept. Matters could be kept in order by using different signs but that might be confusing in certain ways

A serious version of the problem. The charge that the selected meaning of existence is untenable. Response—given the present analyses of experience and existence, the first burden of argument lies with the critic

A more serious charge might be that the selected meaning of existence is not tenable. However, as has been seen some aspect of meaning is and must be beyond analysis and for this it suffices in the beginning to identify what aspects of meaning are most immediate and the subsequent process is experimental rather than primarily analytic. The political dimension of meaning is that, in the case of a significant idea, there may be conflict regarding appropriation of the sign used to designate the concept. It is especially appealing to users of a tradition to deploy a received meaning (that it is received is not a measure of validity or invalidity.) And it is especially appealing to others—the critic, the iconoclast, the deconstructionist, the thinker who would be democratic with regard to ideas—to make negative assertions about received meaning. Naturally, the semantic and the political are not altogether independent for an aspect of appropriation may be to make the implicit claim that other meanings have no semantic validity. However, it is necessary to show that such meanings have no such validity and not merely to make the claim or to suggest that the meanings in question have been used to negative ends. If one is not a pragmatist, the ends argument may suggest that the negative ends meaning not be used but not that it is invalid and, regarding the pragmatic argument, there is a valid question of what kinds of end are to be chosen and when

If the critic does not respond to the first burden of proof but continues to insist that their meaning is the meaning they have not heard or understood the ‘one word, two symbols’ argument (assuming of course that no further argument has been produced by the critic)

The position in this narrative has been the one asserted above—that a term or word may have a variety of meanings, that in principle the variety of meanings correspond to a variety of symbols, that each meaning could be assigned a distinct word e.g. existence1, existence2 and so on but, provided the distinctions are kept in mind, this is not necessary. The thrust of the narrative has included that the chosen meanings have evolved or been selected to enable development of the ultimate metaphysics and its consequences. The task of the critic must be to show that the meaning selected here has no reference by way of emptiness or contradiction or that the present meaning is used illicitly. If a critic argues that his or her meaning is the valid one they have not understood what has just been said about ‘one word many symbols.’ If they insist on using their, different, meaning, that would not be ‘invalid,’ but the ensuing discussion would not be about the content of this narrative; rather it would be to engage in another discourse that is perhaps at most tangential to the present one

Absurdity of the one word, one symbol argument of some ‘critics’

If the critic insists on some other meaning and insists that the meanings in this narrative are but one of many then it would be necessary to employ the seeming artifice of using distinct words for the distinct symbols. It is amusing that if distinct words had not been employed there might be no argument but when the same word is accidentally used for distinct meanings there may follow what appears to be a debate about meaning but is of the form the use of z to mean Z is invalid because x actually means X. It seems reasonable, therefore, to assert that the valid criticisms of the arguments of the narrative would deploy the meanings of the narrative and show that either the meanings or the arguments are lacking in substance. In doing so the critic would face the following concern. In a critique of the meaning of one of the terms, the meanings of other terms would come into question

Proper criticism should address the entire system of meaning rather than just individual word meaning. Possibility of open ended versus closed discussion

Therefore, the criticism would employ the entire system of meaning of the narrative. In the process of criticism or discussion, certain terms might arise that are external to the system of the narrative and these terms might be either of the same kind or level as those of system or otherwise e.g. from a common but diffuse vocabulary or, perhaps, from the vocabulary of criticism. Discussion of the meanings of these extra-system terms might also arise. How might this discussion be approached? One possibility is that meaning is open ended and that there is no final settling of such matters even though there may be occasions of general agreement. Another possibility is that the meanings of the extra-system terms may be given definite meaning in terms of some system—perhaps the metaphysical system of the narrative. Would that be valid? If only the pure elements of the metaphysics were used, it would appear that this approach to the meaning of the extra-system terms is based in Logic

Reasons for confidence in the present narrative and reasons for openness to discussion

Even though it has been shown that the metaphysics is ultimate in depth and breadth, it is not reasonable to anticipate that all critical vocabulary could be brought within the system or shown to lack validity even if this should have been done for all critical vocabulary so far. Therefore, there may be a confidence in the system of the narrative. Therefore, also, there is openness to discussion. Although reason is a source of confidence, openness is and should be another. If the metaphysics is to ‘survive’ it must be open for, even if ultimate, its strength cannot be in isolation or dogmatic insistence. The power of the concept of ‘being’ is that it allows both known and unknown and it allows reference to both known and unknown to be simply empirical or, in the admission of details of what is beyond the empirical, to be non-empirical in that there are concepts that await objects on which to lock but not in that those concepts have no objects. In its origin, a basic purpose of the system lay in the service of ‘life’ and this, as well, is a fundamental aspect of openness

It is hoped that discussion should not reduce to quibbles about sign-association. An example: the ultimate versus the immediate

The metaphysical developments show quibbles about sign-association—e.g. of ‘existence’—to be trivial in relation to the illumination and deployment of a core idea in relation to ‘existence.’ If it is argued that the metaphysics implicitly values the ultimate over the immediate, the reply is that the ultimate / immediate distinction is not intrinsic to the metaphysics—what is ultimate in depth is also ultimate in immediacy, triviality and shallowness and the ultimate character derives from the trivial character. There is a practical ultimate / immediate distinction that is distinct from the conceptual and regarding the practical distinction the metaphysics makes no a priori distinction of value and allows it to emerge as a result of experience and analysis

Some general comments on criticism and objection

That the development—search—for objections and their refutation—or otherwise—must be an aspect of any method or approach. Criticism is enhanced by alternative formulation. The development of the conclusions of the theory of being is a source of objections

The following generic approaches to refutation or criticism of objections occur. Analysis of the meaning and motive of the objection—motive is significant at least in so far as it reveals implicit meaning. Repeated analysis and improvement of theory of being and its concepts e.g. the fundamental principle defines rather than merely employs logic… as the result of reflection on the ideas, as a result of learning from the tradition of knowledge, and as a response to real or apparent paradoxes. Interpretation, especially via the concept of the normal and building a coherent picture as a response to absurdity. The particular and the idiosyncratic refutation are not ruled out. Analysis of the world-view, if any, implicit in the objections and observation that the shedding of invalid or merely local ‘world-views’ is and must be liberating

Faith and affirmation

8.      Faith and affirmation

Religious and animal faith

‘Faith’ has a variety of meanings and uses. One family of use is the one in ‘religious faith.’ The use introduced here is more akin to the one in ‘animal faith’ which is the state of living in an immediate environment as part of the environment and without doubt or need for doubt and without certainty or need for certainty. Flow of environment and organism are not at odds; they are the same flow—which is not to say that the organism does not feel pain or pleasure, fear or confidence but, perhaps, that there is no labeling of such feelings or need to label them. In the present meaning, however, the organism envisaged has the ability to label and to doubt and to want and, perhaps, to attain security or, at least, a feeling of security. The organism has gone through these activities. In a search for security, the organism is part of a tradition that has valued doubt and reason but, from reason itself, has come up against limits to reason. Since the organism and the tradition came to value doubt, the limits to reason may have left the organism with doubt but not confidence. This however, was not the original state of animal grace. The organism wishes to return to such a state but without rejecting either doubt or reason or the places for doubt and reason. These thoughts motivate the meaning of faith that is about to be suggested

Although the meaning of faith that is now suggested has distinctions from the meaning in ‘religious faith’ it is not suggested that all religious faith is of the dogmatic kind that would set it apart from animal faith or the present meaning that is an integration of animal faith and the human freedom of reason and meaning—which freedom is introduced and discussed in some detail in Human being

A concept of faith

Faith is that attitude, routine or inspired, which is most productive of action in the face of doubt—of quality of being in the face of fear, of ends in the face of destruction. And when in a happy circumstance, faith enjoys the moments and is not preoccupied with the gloom of another time

The character of faith

This faith is productive of equanimity of being without foundation in something else

Faith is not refutation of analysis and reason—it is affirmation in the face of uncertainty. But this affirmation is immanent and not recited as a mantra, as a formula to ward off evil, evil spirits or the demons of an excitable imagination

In faith there is affirmation of being—over mere system, over knowledge, over means and instruments

In faith there is life in relation to the world—life of the world—rather than life apart, rather than life through knowledge, means, and instruments

The attitude of faith is not fixed but is adaptable and adapts to circumstance

Faith does not reject doubt but does not dwell in doubt

Faith does not reject reason but does not ever dwell in reason

Faith is not identical to but is not other than reason

Reason is an occasional element in faith but is not definitive of faith

However, rejection of reason would also be a rejection of faith

At least on account of limits to reason, reason cannot be all of faith

Faith is an intrinsic condition of—sentient—form

There is an enhanced meaning that includes intuition and feeling in which reason approaches faith

Faith is not belief

Adherence to what is merely absurd or merely given on authority is not what is here meant by faith

The word merely is significant. What rings of the absurd may not in fact be absurd. Authority may, on occasion, be respected for its seen or experienced authentic power in the world rather accepted as an act of submission in the face of force over the world or punishment

The significance of this meaning of faith is further developed immediately below and subsequently in Faith

The method or approach

9.      The method or approach

Method is any approach, systematic or ad hoc, based in the nature of being and patterns of thought and transformation that are conducive to realistic thought and effective transformation. Method may be revisable in practice

Origins of the method

The method starts the description of forms of experience that require, for their existence, corresponding general or universal forms of being—being itself, all being and so on. This aspect of the method has an affinity with what Kant labeled the transcendental analytic. In its second aspect, the method is that of formal deduction of the results of general metaphysics which includes the theory of substance and determinism, logic, and general cosmology

Empirical character of the method

The necessary objects have an entirely empirical character. To say that something is entirely empirical is not to say that it is not without conceptual content. Things known must have conceptual content whether empirical or not. An object is known but not empirical when the existence is demonstrated by some means, e.g. logical necessity, but the object has not—yet—been located in perception

The existence of the necessary objects follows from the corresponding forms of experience which would not exist without the existence of the corresponding necessary objects. The one exception to this schema of demonstration is the void whose existence is a logical inference from the necessary empirical concept of domain. Although it has not been argued so before and it is not argued now, it could, perhaps, be argued that the void is empirical in the notion of that which cannot enter perception—of any organism in any phase or domain of the universe

Reason—Logical character of the method

The ‘theory of the void’ lies on the boundary between the universal forms and formal deductions and it is regarding the existence of the void that, in the discussion above, doubt has been entertained, refuted and reconsidered. There is temptation to suppress this doubt but it is not ‘honesty’ that requires it to be recorded. Rather the power of the theory and the range of vision that result would be poorly served by suppressing doubt. Whatever doubt remains stands as an invitation to grapple with it

Mutual origin of empirical and logical character

This has already been noted

Doubt

There is doubt even about the nature of the doubt. Is it necessary or is it perhaps some neurosis that forces the doubt on account of the magnitude of the vision that results from the existence of the void?

Method and faith

Although it is not perfectly clear that faith is necessary to allay doubt, this is the point at which faith may enter. Although animal being may not experience faith since, in the absence of reason, there is no need to doubt, there is experience of warmth and fear. In the absence of reason there is no doubting fear. Thus life is characterized by faith. It may be said that faith in the void is removed and is thus not animal faith. Recall, though, that among the objects that may be contemplated in reason, metaphysics is most immediate

Even in the absence of insight, any eminence of epistemology may be seen as a loss of nerve in deference to an absolute reign of reason—that necessarily even dethroned itself

Perhaps, however, it is not taking reason far enough that is its downfall. Perhaps in the limit, reason, faith and intuition are—occasionally—one

The foregoing aspects of method have been experienced as necessary and may be labeled the method of the metaphysics of immanence or, simply, the method

Parallels and divergences among the meanings of faith

The parallels and divergences of the present idea and place of faith with religious faith are remarkable. ‘Worldly knowledge’ is a source of power but is impoverished in relation to the whole person and knowledge of being. Faith is not known to be certain but is rich where worldly knowledge is poor. Therefore, faith is not more—it is the world

Here, however, parallels end. Religious faith is often regarded as dogma; here there is no dogma. Religion is often presented as against science; metaphysics of immanence subsumes science. In the world view of dogmatic religion, whoever lacks faith in dogma may find meaning in the barren landscape of science where may be found solace in the lonely stance of truth—this thought resonates with the beliefs of so many persons of a scientistic—science as truth, whole truth and nothing but truth—persuasion. The faithful are asked to believe, e.g. in Christ, in what would with any other person seem absurd. Here there is no either / or—either metaphysics of immanence or science. Science is often but only presented as the truth. The absent either / or is not only with regard to truth but also action. The person can live ‘under’ science and metaphysics… can know fullness of being and worldly power—and while the limits of the metaphysics—the doubt—are accepted are the limits of science and reason in a world once full of hope for reason but perhaps unable to find a way out—except of hope—in reason

Integration of the method of the metaphysics of immanence with disciplinary studies

After developing the metaphysics, focus turns, in Objects, to the questions of what objects correspond to concepts and then, in Cosmology, to study of the variety of being. Objects is largely an analysis of concepts in the light of the metaphysics. In CosmologyHuman World may be considered to be a chapter in cosmology—the approach is to study particular topics in light of the metaphysics. Here there is doubt concerning not only about precision but also about the validity of the concepts. Sustained reflection from the metaphysics as well as the particular topics may be seen to remove much of the doubts regarding validity of the concepts. For example in discussion the ‘functions’ of mind, the reflections on substance and determinism give clarification and foundation where there would otherwise be isolated fragments that, even when they have some explanatory power, lack coherence and any sense that they refer to something that is of the organism

Thus the net method integrates the method of the metaphysics of immanence with ‘disciplinary studies’ and, in this aspect, goes beyond the disciplines and is dependent on science and at most partially founded by it

It is important to note that such lines of thought also clarify science as seen briefly above and taken up further in Logic

The present method subsumes what is true in science but is not founded by it. As being of more general application than what is usually meant by science, the method cannot be equated to it

Method, content and necessity

Two observations are important—and should be integrated with their further discussion below. First, method does not stand a priori over study—object—but is what method or approach that may have arisen along the way; therefore, approach is as good a term as method. Second, whereas, in the study of necessary objects, method has a necessary character, in the study of normal objects its character has a necessary side since the normal resides within the necessary and a contingent side since there are details to the normal that are not necessary in the given context

Necessary proof

Necessary proof includes the following aspects: demonstration by proof, demonstration by recognition and naming of what is given, and demonstration by analysis of use or meaning. It has been seen incremental analysis of systems of concepts is not invariably an open loop. It may be seen that development e.g. analysis of method is not a priori given or separable from development e.g. analysis of objects and that method does not stand a priori over study—object—but is what method or approach may have arisen along the way; therefore approach is as good a term as method. As an example, Logic will be seen to be an object and this shows the essential braiding of Logic and object and that, where method is revealed as necessary so is object

Contingent proof

Contingent proof arises in contexts where knowledge is contingent, e.g. this cosmos and Human World where contingency from what is locally interesting but not universal in nature

Distinction between method and principles of thought

There is a distinction between method, discussed here, and principles of thought, discussed in Ideas. Whereas method refers to methods of demonstration, principles of thought are practices that are conducive to discovery—of both content and method. The method may be seen as included in the principles

Some details—necessary and contextual ‘proof’

Necessary proof begins from incontrovertible premises—especially those implicit in the conditions or meaning of presence—e.g. the premise of being e.g. the premise of this discussion or of experience. Perhaps ‘incontrovertible’ is actually weak in relation to ‘experience’ for being is in the meaning of experience and existence which are limit points of analysis. Necessary proof proceeds by simple instruments that can be seen inherent in conditions of existence / stable meaning but which also have analytic representation e.g. the propositional calculus which has analytic consistency proof. Examples of necessary proof are found in the demonstrations regarding the necessary objects—experience, being, universe, void, form and the normal objects. In Logic, it will be seen that method of proof does not altogether rise above the contingent. In contextual proof, reference is made to some special context so that premises or proof are generally though not invariably contingent

Proof is supplemented—given flesh—by interpretation—which may be necessary andor contextual. Interpretation is often essential in that what is proved is that some state must obtain somewhere in the universe but it is interpretation that shows that it obtains in some specific situation—and such interpretation may appeal to the established scientific disciplines. Demonstration has occasional use in interpretation—subject to consistency requirements, an interpretation must obtain in some situations. Examples of contextual proof are abound in Human World and are also found in demonstrations at the intersection of local or normal cosmology and pure metaphysics

The status of the metaphysics so far

10.  The status of the metaphysics so far

Metaphysics

Metaphysics is the theory of being as being and harbors within it all specialized studies as instances.

Pure metaphysics

Pure metaphysics is that part of metaphysics that is absolutely demonstrable, i.e., by recognition, by analysis of meaning and proof

General metaphysics

General metaphysics outside its pure part may be labeled cosmology. However the distinction between cosmology and pure metaphysics is arbitrary and in their broad meanings, cosmology and metaphysics are identical

The principles of pure metaphysics are those that establish it, i.e., they are the components of demonstration as defined above

Pure metaphysics includes its principles

As has been seen here and in Being, this is necessarily the case. The topic is revisited in Logic

As study of being, metaphysics must, in principle, include a study of its own principles and this follows since the principles have being

It may be objected that principles lack material substance, are too starkly mental to have being. This objection is countered in Mind and in Human being

The following are some results of the pure metaphysics pertinent to an assessment of the status of the metaphysics so far

A metaphysics of immanence

The existence and properties of the universe and the void suggest the name metaphysics of immanence

The metaphysics is systematic and empirical

The metaphysics of this narrative has been shown to be simultaneously systematic and empirical. The development of the metaphysics shows the possibility of a metaphysics that is systematic and empirical

There is, in principle, one metaphysics

In talking of ‘a metaphysics’ it is not implied that there are other systems of metaphysics. There may be other forms of metaphysics but, except perhaps for level of detail, would be identical to the present one. Therefore, there is, in principle, but one metaphysics

Existence of the necessary objects

The existence of the necessary objects: experience and its forms; being itself, the universe which is all being and form and law and pattern—all objects; difference, domain and complement; change and before, now and after; the void which is the absence of being and contains no object—especially no form, no pattern and no law

Identity of the actual, the possible and the necessary

The actual, the possible, and the necessary are identical—as noted above, the meaning of ‘the necessary’ will be elaborated in Logic

The fundamental principle of metaphysics

The fundamental principle of the metaphysics of immanence: every consistent concept—including pictures and descriptions—is realized as a state from every other state. Or, every state is realized. Stated in this form, this implies that since the description of the void state is consistent, it, too, is realized. The apparent violence that the fundamental principle does to ‘common sense’ and science as it is known is resolved below

Every concept has an object

Although every—consistent—concept has an object, it does not follow that every concept is locked in to an object, i.e., has what, in the literature, starting with Franz Brentano, has been called an intentional relationship to an object. In some cases, of course, the concept is what may be labeled a free concept—the product of an organism with imagination and in some cases the concept is a dream or hallucination. The question of the object is whether there is anything ever that is an object that corresponds to a given concept. This is the question of the existence of the external world of which a special case is the philosophical dilemma of solipsism. Such questions are worthy of reflection, not because there is healthy doubt about the existence of an / the external world but because the reflections sharpen understanding of the nature of the world—of the nature of the relations between concepts and objects, and because the reflections may be the occasion to develop powerful tools of analysis. The answer given earlier and to be elaborated upon in Objects is that, in some phases of the universe and, possibly in some domains of the present phase which is not necessarily this cosmological system, the existence of the solipsist is not logically consistent—without assumptions or conditions regarding the structure or makeup of the phase or domain. The general conclusion is, however, that the solipsist case is immensely unlikely and, more particularly, given the fine grained structure, e.g. cellular, structure of a brain, the richness of individual experience is extremely unlikely to be the product of a solipsist imagination. Perhaps, though, Brahman, in which normal, i.e. non-solipsist, individuals participate, has the character of a single mind without an external world

Resolution of the fundamental problem of metaphysics

A resolution of what has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics—why there is being in a strong form in which it is seen that there must be—occasions of manifest—being

The fundamental problem was regarded by Heidegger as the most important open problem of metaphysics

There are no fictions

Excepting logical contradictions, there are no fictions—the universe contains all mystery

The logical contradiction may be used, as in the work of M. C. Escher, to amuse; or it may have oblique or metaphorical reference to some point. However, otherwise, the logical contradiction is so patently impossible that it cannot be regarded even as fiction

The void is ultimately simple

The void is ultimately simple. The simplicity of the void is conceptual rather than factual. No particular importance is attached to the number of voids—which may be taken to be one or finitely or infinitely many

Every element of being has its own void

Every element of being—including the universe in a manifest state—may be regarded as being attached to ‘its own’ void. This attachment makes the necessity of spontaneous annihilation and creation most obvious

The universe is absolutely indeterministic

The universe is absolutely indeterministic and this is not only consistent with form and structure but makes them necessary

Necessary existence of normal cosmologies

The metaphysics itself requires the necessary existence of normal cosmologies in the universe of absolute indeterminism

This cosmos and its structure are logically necessary—this also follows from the identity of the actual, the possible and the necessary

Substance and determinism are twins

The problem of substance is also the problem of determinism. Each is empty without the other. I.e., since substances are introduced to explain the complex in terms of the simple, substance explanation must be deterministic or else it would not be simple. Therefore, there are and can be no substance or substances as the ground of being

The void may be regarded as the ground of being

From the fundamental principle it is a short step to see that the void—or any state—may be regarded as the ground of being. The corresponding explanation is not deterministic and is therefore not a substance theory. However, the fundamental principle does found a non-relativist philosophy without substance. This is extremely remarkable and surprising in view of the common view that a non-relativist metaphysics without substance is impossible

A metaphysics of ultimate breadth

The metaphysics of immanence is ultimate in breadth in that it encompasses the variety of being

A metaphysics that is ultimate in depth

The metaphysics of immanence is ultimate in depth in grounding—explanation of—all being without substance or infinite regress, i.e., in providing a non-relativist metaphysics without substance

Mind, matter and substance

In their common meanings—e.g. in physics and the philosophy of mind—mind and matter cannot be regarded as having a substance nature. Yet, as will be seen in Mind, there are extended meaning in which mind or matter could, if indeterministic explanation were allowed to be part of substance explanation, be taken as substance; this, however, would be likely to result in confusion on account of the common meanings of mind and matter. Matter, in its meaning from modern theoretical physics, could be taken to be an effective local substance but not a true substance

The methods sheds anthropomorphism and cosmomorphism

The metaphysics of immanence sheds not only—unnecessary—anthropomorphism and anthrocentrism but also cosmomorphism and cosmocentrism. However, in showing that any particular kind of being is not universal in its form, its potentiality for all form is revealed—according to the fundamental principle and as will be elaborated and explained in the theory of identity. And, that a particular being is not the center of the universe is only a statement that all particular beings are equally at center or, equivalently, there is no place or being that deserves—or should require—the title of center of the universe. Whether this leads to feelings of inconsequentiality or of significance is a function of ego-perspective

A metaphysics of form

The metaphysics of immanence is a metaphysics of form. Form is immanent in being. All forms are dynamic and have origins and ends. A static form would never manifest; however, if manifest, it would be eternal. What are typically seen as forms are the more durable, more stable and more symmetric forms. Although the metaphysics of immanence has Platonic characteristics, there is no separate Platonic world. In a purely Platonic view, actual entities would be seen as—impure—copies of perfect forms. Here, the origin of the structure of manifest being is in the dynamic aspect of form and the symmetry of actual forms is a near symmetry or one that is near to the perfect symmetry of the so-called static forms that do not and cannot exist. ‘Imperfection’ is a condition of—manifest—being

Equivalent characterizations of the metaphysics of immanence

1. The universe which is all being contains all Form, Pattern and Law

2. The void that is the absence of being exists and contains no Form, Pattern or Law, i.e., no Objects

3. The universe is absolutely indeterministic; this means that there are no not-accessed states except the impossible or contradictory states—i.e., those ‘states’ whose description involve contradiction

4. The metaphysics achieves absolute non-cosmorphism, i.e., in their foundation, the metaphysics and cosmology eliminate all reference to the particular form of this or any cosmos

5. Logic, properly conceived as the theory of the possible or equivalently as the theory of the actual, or as the theory of descriptions, is the one law of the universe—of all being

Note that the characterization of the metaphysics is not yet complete and will be taken up again in Philosophy and metaphysics

The metaphysics sets up subsequent developments

Objects

Objects considers the connection between concepts and objects; the metaphysics sets this up by demonstrating the existence of the objects, by demonstrating the necessary connection between concepts and their corresponding objects in some cases, and by suggesting the probable connection in many cases. That every—consistent—concept must have some object is further instrumental in understanding abstract objects and in showing that, in contrast to received understanding, abstract and particular objects are distinguished by—their currently most productive—mode of study but are not distinct in kind—‘all objects lie in the one universe’

Logic

Logic is set up in the ideas of the identity of the actual, the possible and the necessary and in the fact that every consistent concept has an object

Meaning

Meaning is clarified through the same considerations and further in that since there can be no consistent sense whose object lies outside the universe, sense must be latent reference that may have intentional reference

Mind

The clarification of substance, form, meaning and its extension, and the notion of depth are instrumental in developing the concept of Mind and, incidentally, that of matter

Cosmology

The concept of variety, the demonstration that the metaphysics implicitly contains all variety and all kinds and the fundamental principle of the metaphysics set up Cosmology

Human World

The foregoing topics are a foundation for Human World

Necessary and contingent aspects of the setting up

In some of the topics, e.g. Logic, the development is an elaboration of what is already implicit in the metaphysics. In others, e.g., Local or physical cosmology and Human World, the development is the result of interaction between the metaphysics and the specific topic; these developments are not only applications of the metaphysics to a topic but may also involve clarification and deepening—in some cases ultimate—of the topic and illumination of the metaphysics

Objects

The word ‘object’ was used somewhat loosely in the previous chapters. The object is an important concept in modern thought, especially since the time of Kant. There is a variety of problems associated with the meaning and working out of a proper conception of the object. Such a working out will be very useful from for thought and for this narrative. It is time to take up a study of objects

There is much to be learned from prior thought. However, proper thought cannot ever be restricted by the bounds of what came before. In this chapter the understanding and the development of the object goes beyond the traditions so far

The idea of the object and its nature

The idea of an object is patterned after the ideas of entity and thing. The rough idea of an object is something in the external world—out there—whose existence and nature do not depend on perception or, more generally, on conception. However, regardless of actual existence and nature, all objects that are known to animal being are known in the concept. The first goal of this chapter is a dual one: to ask about the nature of the object-as-known and to investigate the meaning and degree of faithfulness of the object-as-known—the concept—to the object. The question of the meaning of faithfulness arises since we never get outside the object-as-known which is, possibly, of a different kind than ‘the object.’ It shall be necessary, in what follows, to investigate whether faithfulness has meaning and, if so, to investigate degrees of faithfulness. It is of special interest whether there are objects of which knowledge is perfectly faithful

Introduction. Goals. Place of the chapter in the narrative

In Metaphysics, it was established that ‘all objects exist.’ More precisely, for any concept there is a corresponding object provided that the concept entails no contradiction. If one conceives a unicorn, the Metaphysics shows that unless a contradiction is entailed, there must be a unicorn in some actual world. When one sees a horse in this world, one generally knows—except for illusion or philosophical or radical doubt—that the horse exists. The same is true for the objects of scientific theories even though the connection is not as direct as in the case of perception. A central goal of Objects is to locate objects corresponding to our concepts; some will be in our world or cosmological system, others in ones that are remote in space and time. This is the problem of the object. We know at once that there are certain objects whose being is entailed by the concept. These are the absolute objects of which universe, domain and void and their logical dependents are examples

The first goal—to address the problem of the object

In this chapter, the first goal, then, is to address the problem of the object. This problem has been the subject of intense interest in modern philosophy and the most satisfactory approach appears to derive from the thought of Kant that incorporates both empirical and ideal elements

Kind of object treated in the problem of the object—the particular object

The kind of objects addressed in the problem of the object is the particular or concrete objects—the word concrete is of course used metaphorically. While one apple is a particular object, the number one, if it is or points to an object, is not particular. ‘The number one’ has abstract character to it in that it can be associated with an object but is not—does not appear to be—an object. Similarly, a moral would appear to be abstract. The existence of abstract objects is sometimes regarded as given even though it is not clear in what sense they are objects. The abstract objects could, perhaps, be objects in Meinong’s sense in which concept and object are conflated; however since there is a far better one, it is neither necessary nor advisable to adopt Meinong’s approach here

The problem of the nature and existence of abstract objects and their relations to the particular objects is taken up below

Solution approach to the problem of the object

The present approach will combine the ideas of Kant and the metaphysics of immanence developed in Metaphysics. It is found that the problem has a satisfactory resolution for a much wider class of objects than would be thought on the Kantian approach alone

Objects whose being is necessary but are not located in immediate experience

However, there is still the immense variety of objects that are neither the absolute objects nor those of our world whose existence is necessary but are not located in our immediate experience

Location in experience of such objects from the theory of identity

The establishment of the location is completed in the treatment of Identity in Cosmology. As noted earlier, the treatment of identity could have been placed in Metaphysics and therefore all objects have been placed in experience although not necessarily in the experience of this life (which depends on whether the interpretation of ‘this life’ is normal or absolute)

Second goal—address the nature of the abstract object and to compare and contrast abstract and particular objects

The second goal is to address the nature of the abstract object and to compare and contrast abstract and particular objects. Abstract objects are sometimes thought to not exist in space—where, if anywhere, is the number one… and where is justice? The development provides a definitive and surprising resolution to the problem of the abstract object. It is that the difference between abstract and particular object is more one of whether the convenient mode of study is empirical or conceptual. This conclusion is deep, immensely simplifying, cuts out immense amounts of unnecessarily ethereal speculation and is surprising. However, once the solution is laid out, it shall appear to be natural and obvious

The resolution of the problem of the abstract object and the nature of the abstract-particular divide constitutes a significant advance on the question of the nature of the object in general and the nature of the abstract in particular

There are differences between the abstract and particular that must be articulated but it will be found that abstract objects may be spatial (some are not)

After establishing the nature of the abstract / particular divide, other, some lesser distinctions among objects are laid out

Third goal—catalog, i.e., develop a variety of being

The establishment of distinctions of kinds leads into a discussion of the variety of being. This is a third goal of the chapter. The discussion draws from the variety already shown in Metaphysics and, so as to be complete, anticipates the discussion of categories of intuition from Human being

An immense and unsuspected variety of being is revealed. The explicit variety is immense—a greater variety cannot be imagined explicitly because, subject to the requirement of non-contradiction, once imagined any object belongs to the variety; the implicit variety is, logically, the greatest possible variety—there is no greater variety and therefore a greater variety can be neither thought nor written.

Achievement of goals

Not only are the goals achieved, the extent of the achievement is ultimate in character and necessarily constitutes an advance on all other systems that do not at least implicitly recognize the metaphysics of immanence

Contribution

The present development of the theory of objects is, therefore, thought to be a contribution to the history of ideas

Place of the chapter in the narrative

In establishing the nature of being, the variety of being and in locating objects in ‘our world’ the chapters Metaphysics and Objects set up the chapters Logic and meaning, Mind, and Cosmology and the division Human world. The part Journey in being, derives significantly from these developments

A confusion regarding concept and object

In use of the same name for idea and entity and in lack of complete distinction between them, there is a confusion to the study of the idea of the object that has resolution in distinguishing concept and object. A potential confusion remains in that the same word may be used to refer to both concept and object. However, with care this confusion is eliminated. An object X exists—is said to exist—if and only if, to the concept X, there corresponds an (the) object

The problem of the object

The problem of the object concerns the faithfulness of the correspondence between concept and object

Faithfulness appears to be a false ideal

The problem—in addition to empirical concerns, the concept and the object appear to be categorially distinct and, further, every measure of faithfulness of the concept seems to be a refinement only of the concept—therefore, faithfulness appears to be a false ideal. Before proceeding, note that two aspects of faithfulness have been established: kind and accuracy. In the absence of an understanding of kind of faithfulness, it is not clear what meaning accuracy might have in general although in instrumental cases, e.g. measurement of distance, the meaning is clear enough since the comparison is of two objects and not of a concept and an object

Three exceptions to falseness of the ideal arise immediately
1. The absolute objects

From the metaphysics, faithfulness is given for certain objects such as the universe, domain and complement, the void and others derived from such by necessity. Such objects—concepts—are absolute in faithfulness and the question arises whether there are others. Generally, from the fundamental principle of metaphysics, every concept that neither harbors nor entails contradiction is—and must be—realized; the concern that remains is that though the object exists, its identification is not given

2. Sufficient faithfulness

Also from the metaphysics as well as adaptation, some objects (concepts) are practical or sufficiently faithful. Included here are scientific theories which will be shown in Logic to be practical with regard to the world or precise with regard to some limited but imprecisely defined domain. From the concept of form, even in the case of practical concepts, the concept of absolute object has meaning—it is not implied that the form or object itself is definite or that the concept of it may be faithful. There is no simple logical limit to improvement of faithfulness but where it has no meaning it cannot be desirable—and, regarding the variety of being this is seen as positive. Given facts—regarding objects of perception / science, logical operation on such facts is possible and the universality and precision of such operations is taken up in Logic

When there is concept and object—this corresponds to the Kantian case. In Kant’s thought, intuition conforms to reality. In this thinking, Kant was inspired by Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics whose immense success resulted in their being seen as absolutely true—Euclid’s geometry, with but occasional doubt, had reigned for about 2000 years and though the mechanics of Newton had been formulated only a hundred years earlier, had brought to mechanics an order previously unknown in that field and comparable only to geometry

Given the intuition of time, space and mechanics, the expression of the intuition in symbolic terms and logical operations on the symbolic systems permitted formulation of a science of space, time and mechanics. Although it is not clear that Kant did this, it is possible to regard the symbolic capability—which includes logical operations on symbols—as elements of intuition and then, the entire development of geometry and mechanics can be seen as being part of intuition

Kant, of course, did not know that, as physical theories, the geometry and mechanics of his era were to be overturned in the next one hundred and fifty years and to be replaced by ‘better’ theories which, however, were not seen as final descriptions of reality but only as better approximations

It remains, however, that as approximation, human intuition conforms to a domain of the real

Thus Kantian intuition includes the item ‘sufficient faithfulness’ and, via its analyticity, includes the first item as well. In Human being, a system of categories will be presented. Of these, ‘humor’ is seen to be an adaptation to the unexpected, to ignorance, to ‘chaos.’ Humor includes the idea of, where impossible or otherwise undesirable, giving up any ideal of strict objectivity—and, in the extreme, Dionysian embrace of the world

Thus, the intuition may be seen to cover all of being—the case of other worlds is deferred as noted above—even though it does so in a way that is far removed from Kant’s intent to describe an intuition that was precisely tailored to the world

The amazing-though-not-perfect precision of certain branches of theoretical physics may be explained in terms of Kant’s solution provided that ‘intuition’ is understood to include perception, thought and instrument. In effect, Kant had this same understanding

Faithfulness and accuracy. Reflection on the concept-object system. Pre-con-formation

It is interesting to reflect on how the concept-object system might work. It appears that memory is among the crucial elements. The organism—the body, especially the neural and endocrine systems—is pre-con-formed to its environment to the extent that it has the ability to form concepts that have a degree of con-formation to objects—one of which is the world as a whole—that is adequate to function. Even though it may be conventionally thought that the process of concept formation begins at birth, the pre-natal infant is in interaction with the—uterine—environment before birth and this is at least a tactile, kinesthetic and gravitational environment and some concept formation begins before birth

Programmed development versus learning

The divide between purely ‘programmed’ development and development-in-contact-with-environment is surely not at all sharp or all occurring at some particular phase of development. However, in the latter phase of development-in-contact, the forms of the environment result in con-formal forms being laid down in ‘memory.’

Memory of form and memory of facts

Thus seen, memory is more than e.g. the memory of facts, it is ‘memory’ of form that is laid down in neural pathways and connections and so on—memory of facts is probably not distinct in kind though it is likely at a shallower level

This is possible and natural because of the pre-con-formation that arose in genesis—i.e. in evolution (replacing evolution by biblical or any other genesis need not change the present argument.) What is laid down then is a system of concepts or concept-templates. Once this has occurred, perception is likely a combination of object data recall and comparison of memory-concepts. The impression of the object is need not be the result of an entire system of concept-data being received but may be partially received and partially recalled (which, in an organism that remains at least somewhat adaptable i.e. con-formable to new contexts, may continually result in the laying down and modification of memory-concepts even if the bulk of laying down may have occurred in the developmental phase)

Reduction of the infinity of conceivable objects

Recall the thought from an earlier chapter that half of one mountain and half of another could be regarded as an object. It is possible to retrain the intuition to see such ‘objects’ as objects. Given a countable infinity of elementary—indivisible—objects, a non-countable infinity of objects may be conceived. However the normal training of perception is to not perceive most of those conceptions as objects. Function is paramount in the training of day-to-day conception

Note that it is not intended to argue any atomism; the atomistic case was deployed to illustrate the concept of the reduction of the infinity of conceivable objects

Reconstruction in construction of images (and thought)

Sharing of reception and recall in ‘reconstruction’ is easily seen to be efficient in comparison to reconstruction entirely from received data and realistic in comparison in comparison to reconstruction entirely from memory (the latter is at least dominant in imagination, dreaming and form of thought)

The memory-concept

It is important to note that the memory-concept is likely in no sense a geometric or other recognizable image in the sense that if the neural pattern-process that corresponds to a concept were mapped in a dynamic three-dimensional image it would not likely have any discrete form or—rough—recognizable congruence to the object. Undoubtedly, though, there must be some kind and degree of con-formation…

Iconic perception. Thought and reason

The process just described may be labeled ‘iconic perception’ which is intended to convey the perception of physical form (even though such form derives from both entity and perception.) Given the symbolic capability which must also include memory-association of memory-symbols and memory-percepts, symbolic recall and adequate freedoms of symbolic form, result in symbolic expression and operation (thought and reason)

Inadequacy of the empiricist and rationalist programs

While the description of cognition just given shows that some degree of con-formation to objects is necessary and reasonable, it does not ground any precise or faithful con-formation. To ground faithfulness by showing that the con-formation of iconic perception may be regarded—roughly—as the empiricist program. It is clear from the present discussion that such a program will found rough and ready faithfulness but generally no more. This conclusion has often been regarded as undermining objectivity but it can now be seen that it undermines only one approach to foundation of objectivity and not the other approaches described above

Transcendental approach

An argument from con-formation supports some concept and realization of ‘sufficient faithfulness.’ The argument and the concept may both be labeled ‘transcendental’

3. When the concept-object distinction has no significance

The formulation of the idea of knowledge in terms of concept and object is one in which concept and object are distinct but though this has domains of validity there are others when it has no significance. The preceding statement is an approximation in the following way

The intuition of humor is applicable on the boundary between objects of type 2 and 3

Abstract objects

Particular and Abstract Objects—a brief Natural History. Concrete or Particular objects are originally thought of as objects or real entities of the world of which we have or aspire to have knowledge. The present sense of ‘particular’ is close but not identical to a common sense in which it stands in contrast to universal. That is, while particular objects can usually be interpreted as single entities—e.g. a chain of mountains may be thought of as one geological feature, universals are typically characteristics of classes of objects. Although abstract objects such as number and universal—e.g. redness—are often thought to exist, the nature of their existence is questioned—they can be conceived but do not appear to be sensible, and where do they exist?. Typically, they are not thought to exist in this world—perhaps they exist in an ideal world or perhaps, as abstractions from—classes of—particular objects, they are ‘partial’ objects that may be regarded as existing in this world but may, as a result of abstraction, lack some of the characteristics of particular objects such as having causal efficacy and location in space and time. Another—similar—approach to the nature of abstract objects is to regard them as collections. From metaphysics, many particular objects repeat infinitely and the collection of objects that so results from a particular object has an abstract character. Therefore, the abstract-particular distinction is seen to be blurred

Definitive treatment of particular and abstract objects

From the metaphysics, all objects—and concepts—must reside in the universe; there is no ideal world of abstract objects, ideas or forms. Further, from the fundamental principle of metaphysics, every concept that neither harbors nor entails contradiction is—and must be—realized. Therefore, as far as realization is concerned there is no distinction between particular and abstract objects. That an abstract object may have no location in space may be a result of location having no place in the concept… A review of standard lists of objects shows that the distinction is not an actual one but regards the way in which objects are studied. Whereas both kinds have concept and object sides, a particular object is studied from the object side—empirically—while an abstract object is studied conceptually or symbolically. This distinction is not absolute for the dominant mode of study may switch. The positron was predicted theoretically and discovered later. The study of number must have originally been empirical but its later development was symbolic and still later it became possible to study number theory computationally which is at least partially empirical in nature. Number continues, mostly, to be considered abstract because it is via symbolic definition that it achieves clarity and, since, concepts are—trivially—the place of clarity / non-clarity it may be thought that this will remain the case into the extended future; this, however, is neither altogether clear nor given. It is important that while an object may be studied symbolically, such study guarantees existence only if the development is consistent—and that if consistency cannot be determined it may be useful to attempt to study the object side directly or semi-directly in terms of a model. Purely conceptual study can hone consistency but is not universally guaranteed to eliminate inconsistency. From the metaphysics, the consistency of this approach to the abstract versus the particular is built into it. It was not to have been expected that from a list of objects regarded as abstract only in that they did not seem to be particular (concrete,) that there should be any explicit criterion of abstractness such as not having causal efficacy, not having extension or duration, being defined as equivalence in which objects are distinct if and only if certain functions—e.g. properties—are distinct. It remains of interest, naturally, to characterize objects—especially abstract objects—according to kind; such a characterization will, of course, be both empirical and conceptual

Further distinctions among objects

The distinction full versus partial is typically a distinction of particular versus abstract. Distinctions that determine existence include actual versus fictional and logical versus contradictory; from the metaphysics, these distinctions are identical but while the former is based in the object, the latter is based in the concept. Another distinction of this kind is the existent versus the non-existent object. A non-existent object is either one that does not exist in a given context e.g. there are no golden mountains in this cosmological system or one that harbors a contradiction e.g. a square circle; this distinction is conceptually amusing and perhaps interesting and emphasizes the significance of concept and object in understanding knowledge and objects but no essential significance of the non-existent object has come to light in this study—however, it may be interesting to regard the void as the universe of non-existent objects from which actual objects come into being by shedding properties (so that the contradiction collapses.) A distinction according to definiteness of being suggests the following classes: manifest versus potential and determinate versus indeterminate. Sense may be seen as latent or potential reference; without latent reference, there can be no sense. That values and morals may be seen as indeterminate or partially determinate shows that the distinction of fact and value is not categorial. Distinction according to quality of knowledge is also possible—these are, of course, not true distinctions of kinds of object; the following arise: absolute versus practical, definite versus vague, and entire versus filtered

The variety of being

Objects, particular and abstract, may be enumerated first by example, and second by category of intuition—if category intuition is regarded with sufficient generality as in Human being, there can be no broader system of categories. The categories include the practical distinction nature-society-universal-mind (in which universal pertains to the meaning of universe as in Metaphysics but not to the—scholastic—contrast to particular.) Actual varieties are taken up in the narrative, especially in Metaphysics, Objects—the present section, Logic, Cosmology, and Human World

The objects of science

The science of physics may be regarded as the study of the simplest attributes of the objects of the ‘external’ world. In Logic it will be seen that physics is an interactive study from both concept and object sides. The study from the concept side includes mathematics whose origin may have been in an object side but whose systematic study is most conveniently conceptual. That many different kinds of systems may be studied in terms of the same mathematics is a result of similarity of the physical form—and behavior—of the different systems. That the social sciences are not as universally mathematical as the physical may be due to the unique / complex character of social systems. Some future, perhaps qualitative, mathematics may reduce the social sciences to symbolic study. However, given that the object—society—is as complex as the instrument—psyche—and, especially in that whatever is unique in human being is, in the nature of the case, of constitutive interest, a future mathematical sociology may, in general, be restricted to situations of merely utilitarian interest

The categories of intuition

The categories of intuition also contain the distinctions according to existenceactual versus fictional, according to definiteness of being—manifest versus potential and determinate versus indeterminate, and according to quality of knowledgeabsolute versus practical, definite versus vague, and entire versus filtered. Some distinctions have instances in the following. Applications. The variety may be extended in application e.g. Theory of identity—taken up in Cosmology. The form of ‘ethics;morals as objects; ethics and objectivity—taken up in Social world—ethics, i.e., moral content and moral characteristics, is seen as defining a kind of potential object. All objects influence their future in some sense, e.g., a stone has a physical stability that gives its identity a certain endurance. Objects with autonomy develop corrective tendencies to self-preservation and stabilize against destruction. Preservation, self-destruction and social disruption. When the object or agent evolves to the point of, e.g., humanity where it is capable of some degree of understanding, specifying, its freedom, especially symbolically, and initiating acts of freedom, it may develop values of self-preservation, against self-destruction, in physical, human, aesthetic, epistemic, and universal realms

Action

Action, concept and object: there is a realm of understanding that stands above concept and object in which concept, object and action are in interaction; this realm is closer to the root than is the discrete concept and object or knowledge as independent of its application

The fundamental concepts

The number of fundamental concepts—in Metaphysics, a number of fundamental concepts was identified—being, universe, void, form, the normal… However, since, experience, which may form foundation of the metaphysics, is capable of analysis, there are, perhaps, no fundamental concepts—being-in-the-world is or may be more fundamental than foundation

Truth

Truth—from the theory of objects, coherence is reference (correspondence) of a system of ideas or concepts, i.e. meaning, and therefore truth, lie only partially in single propositions

The real and universals

The Real and Universals—the nature of the real and of the universals is resolved in the previous edition, Journey in Being-New World. Resolution in terms of the present treatment of abstract objects is trivial

Pure metaphysics

A rough distinction between metaphysics and cosmology has been made—in a restricted sense, metaphysics studies being as such; in an inclusive sense, metaphysics includes cosmology (and perhaps science and much else.) It is now possible to (re) define pure metaphysics as the study of absolute objects (the thought arises that further restriction may be made to those absolute objects such as universe, domain and void and their logical dependents whose being is as given as being itself but, even though the distinction is interesting, the restriction would make the concept of pure metaphysics a theoretical exercise that even though real and useful and less than its potential as both conceptual and empirical)

Object constancy and object holism

These features occur in intuition as does ‘object filtering.’ The features may be ‘understood’ without explanation as features of intuition. Recalling that the intuition is adaptation, constancy and holism of object requires no further explanation except, perhaps, to note that, since objects are laid down in memory as wholes rather than—or, since there is arbitrariness to the decomposition of the field of experience into objects, as much—as bundles of properties, there is no true problem of ‘how’ the elements are integrated into a whole (detailed explanation in terms of microscopic and integrated neural structure will of course be of interest)

Ego, transcendence, immersion

Incomplete objectivity is necessary and, therefore, necessarily good

Ethics and faith

Ethics—morals—can be seen as a form within a part of the world. Familiar examples of ‘part’ are the individual and society. If from a given state of the world (Universe) a number of outcomes is possible and each outcome has a certain ‘weight’ or probability of occurrence, ethics is the form of the part that reassigns the weights. The phrase ‘according to certain, perhaps intrinsic, criteria’ might be appended to the previous sentence but any such criteria are already part of form. Since the ethics are a form they are also an object

In Faith, faith will be conceived as follows. Faith, which includes animal faith, is that combination of intuition, feeling, and cognition that is conducive to the greatest life. It is an easy exercise to see that faith is an object

The chapters Ethics and Faith, take up some aspects of the responses of human being—beings with freedom and choice—to object / world indeterminacy. These discussions further elaborate the nature of objects

In those chapters it will be implicit that the object character of ethics and faith is of little practical assistance in determining actions and ends or in achieving a state of being in the ‘light of animal faith.’ However, the object character of morals and faith may give the individual and society a confidence in morals, a certain quietude and pose in being-in-the-world. That there is that object character may affect attitude; however, that the object character has yet said nothing about the detailed working out of action and being should result in restraint in imposing uncertain morals or thinking that pose is escape from disequilibrium or crisis or immanent and immediate action. Morals are lived-in; pose is pose in crisis and action. In the later discussions, e.g. Ethics and, especially, War and peace—which emphasizes morals in action—it will be seen that choices of actions / ends are very much case by case, case relating to case, in the moment, in a hierarchy of contexts, but also in the light of and in interaction with principle: principle never ultimately stands above action and immersion. Principle is principle as—and only as—immanent in the world

Ethics in the void?

Can the title of this brief section have meaning? What could ethics in the void be? Perhaps nothing… yet the following thoughts arise

If anything, the ‘morality’ of the void might be that becoming is ‘good.’ That is so because the transformations of the void give rise to the great and the good even though, simultaneously, the shameful and evil arise... without one side there is not the other. Evil and good are a dynamic of the world; without one there cannot be the other (which is not at all to promote acquiescence in evil but perhaps instead to promote that understanding that my give natural—rather than overly forced—fortitude in the face of pervasive evil and immanent destruction)

These thoughts reinforce the object character of morals, good, and evil

What may be learnt from the ‘ethics in the void?’ Perhaps most importantly it may be learnt that my ethics—our ethics—is not universal ethics (since we may appear to ourselves to be the only animal that has named ethics it is perhaps natural to occasionally be misled into the thought that human ethics is universal.) The universe and the void have another ethic; it is a waste to curse the universe if it should seem to not care for our joy and our pain. We should not care that god may be cruel even though we may care for god-as-a-part-of-being; saying this is not saying that there is / is not god. We learn, then, that we are—somewhat—alone in the universe even as we are connected; this frees us to be good rather than to follow the good, to allow good to be immanent more than something always sought, to not avoid the good in unduly fearing evil, to act without—undue—fear (or attachment to ends) and therefore to act effectively… This reinforces the thought about fortitude in the presence of evil…

A cosmology of objects

Cosmology takes up questions of origins, history, and variety. What is meant by ‘cosmology of objects’

The various kinds of objects, particular object of which ‘thing’ is a case, the abstract objects ‘number,’ ‘value,’ ‘truth,’ ‘morals…’ have been mentioned and some considered

Is there a complete and fundamental group of such objects? How may completeness and fundamental character be ascertained? Is there any hierarchy to such a group? How do these objects stand in relation? Is there a dynamic? How does any cosmology of objects fit mesh with Cosmology? How to think about these and similar questions and is the list of questions ‘complete?’

These and similar concerns and reflections on those issues constitute a cosmology of objects (and, since there were questions about questions, a meta-cosmology)

The cosmology of objects is currently a topic for reflection and development—a research topic or program

Logic and meaning

The idea of Logic arose naturally in Metaphysics where Logic was seen to be capable of a variant, more inclusive, metaphysical meaning. This chapter takes up that thread. The primary objective is to formalize, evaluate and apply this new notion of Logic

Introduction—a variant and ultimate notion of Logic

In Metaphysics a new or variant notion of Logic was suggested; the notion was connected to variant meanings of actuality, possibility and necessity; to a theory of consistent descriptions; and to ‘the one law of the universe.’ The concept was not a finished one and, in some of its expressions, it had a certain awkwardness—what is ‘the entire set of consistent conceptions or descriptions?’ Despite the awkwardness, the variant notion appeared to be related to the traditional notions of logic, to include them and go beyond them. The one law of the universe—that has an ultimate ring to it

Goals of the chapter

1. To formalize this new notion of Logic; and to see its relations to similar reflections on the nature of logic. To further analyze relations and identities among Logic and Metaphysics. Note the commonplace that the elucidation of a concept is not the giving of a definition; definition, application, elaboration, forging or seeing relations to other significant concepts is an ongoing process—and the achievement of closure and perhaps even completion or an ultimate character may be ascertained in the process and not at outset. Therefore, the new conception of Logic will not be altogether complete—as far as this narrative is concerned—until completion of the Cosmology. Even subsequent discussion may add to the conception of Logic

2. To evaluate the relation between the new and traditional conceptions of logic and to show that Logic includes logic

3. To establish relations among Logic, grammar, and meaning. Of course the work of Wittgenstein is an inspiration for these developments. To include emotion and will in the framework of grammar and meaning. The importance of the incorporation of emotion and will in the framework is of such fundamental importance that it cannot be relegated to a ‘special topic’

4. To discuss some special problems of concern—Logic, reference, the problem of the infinite, relations to the semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes and to Zermelo-Fraenkel-Skolem and von Neumann-Bernays-Gödel systems… To apply the considerations of Logic and Metaphysics to—valuation or revaluation of the nature of—science and mathematics

A traditional notion of logic

A traditional notion of logic—the science or art of inference and, more generally, of argument—sees inference as arguing from premises to conclusions. An aspect of this view is that inference is always questionable because, ultimately, there must be unfounded premises; however, it has been seen that experience and existence are facts that require no further foundation. Thus these facts and a host of necessary inferences from them may serve as absolute premises for further inference. In the traditional notion, inference is classed as deductive in which the conclusions necessarily follow from the premises and inductive inference in which the conclusions are likely but not necessary. A model for deductive inference is inference regarding compound propositions. If A is the compound proposition B&C then the truth of A implies the truth of B and C. Based on such examples it is possible to arrive at a set of rules of inference and a calculus of propositions—the propositional calculus—that may be regarded as an abstract system and that can be shown to be consistent and complete. Other logical systems such as the predicate calculus in which the structure of the propositions figure in inference are harder to found and regarding these open questions remain… Inductive inference generally involves generalization or inferring a rule from a finite set of data and, except in the relatively uninteresting case of domains that are a collection of points that is known to be finite in number, cannot be certain. The Aristotelian development—primarily of the syllogism—was, for the most part, regarded as the definitive treatment of deduction for about 2000 years; and, though not altogether devoid of interest, western logic may have been regarded as a dead subject studied only in the schools. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, spurred by the revolution in the foundations of mathematics and its needs, logic came to life and a variety of deductive ‘logics’ emerged and the focus in logic concentrated on deduction—‘logic’ became synonymous with deduction. Induction came to refer primarily to the ‘method’ of the sciences

Experiments with compound propositions suggest that unless a compound proposition has complete reference, i.e. unless every one of its component propositions has reference, paradox or contradiction results—and that complete reference guarantees absence of paradox. Since the world itself is not paradoxical, these conclusions may be expected. (Although the world contains paradox that fact is not paradoxical.) The consideration that paradox arises on account of incomplete or erroneous reference may be used to resolve a number of logical paradoxes. This suggests that proper reference—either to an object or a transparent model—may be the basis of logical systems and their consistency. It further suggests that, contrary to a common view, systems of logic have meaning

Some experiments with compound propositions may be found in earlier versions of Journey in Being

Preliminaries from Metaphysics and from Objects

From Metaphysics, all entities are in the universe, form is immanent in being, and every consistent concept is realized. The actual and the possible are identical; therefore what is possible is also necessary. This suggests a concept of Logic as the analysis—theory—of the actual or, equivalently, of the possible and appears to define a kind of extensional necessity that contrasts with the common concept of necessity that may be labeled intentional and in which necessary propositions are true regardless of reference. It has been seen, however, that the distinction between intensional and extensional necessity is not an essential distinction. From Objects, every—consistent—concept has an object; the distinction between abstract and particular objects is one of (convenience of) approach, i.e. symbolic versus empirical, and not one of kind. Sense is latent or potential reference; without latent reference, there can be no sense

That the notion of Logic as the theory of the actual / possible / necessary should not be circular follows from the empirical discovery of laws of logic and may also be explained though not—without further consideration—proved by appeal to adaptation or transcendental arguments

Conceptions of Logic

Logic as the one law of the universe

From Logic as theory of the possible and the actual, it follows that Logic is the one law of the entire universe

Whatever is allowed by logic is absolutely possible

A concept of Logic as analysis of the actual, the possible or the necessary

The concept of Logic as analysis of the actual / possible appears to define a kind of extensional necessity that contrasts with the common concept of necessity that may be labeled intensional and in which necessary propositions are true regardless of reference. However, since every consistent concept has an object and therefore there is no essential distinction between intentional and extensional necessities. This is further emphasized in Objects where it was seen that both particular and abstract objects exist in the one universe and that the distinction is one of the mode of study than mode of being, i.e. both particular and abstract concepts have reference to real objects. Again, every—consistent—concept has an object; the distinction between abstract and particular objects is one of—convenience of—approach, i.e. symbolic versus empirical, and not one of kind. Sense is latent or potential reference; without latent reference, there can be no sense

Logic as the theory of descriptions

The foregoing suggest an equivalent concept of Logic as the analysis—theory—of descriptions

In the preceding statement, provided that it is understood with sufficient generality, ‘science’ may replace ‘theory’

The notion of Logic as the analysis, theory or science of descriptions has the following virtues

Deduction concerns truth of one proposition relative to the truth of another. Therefore, the standard concept of logic—logics—deduction, falls within—or out of—Logic as defined here

Wittgenstein’s thought that from the truth of one atomic proposition, the truth of another does not follow concerns independent propositions

It coincides with the idea of Logic as the analysis of the possible (and therefore, also, of the necessary)

Logic as an abstract object

It shows that Logic is an—abstract—object. More precisely, Logic is the concept and the universe is the object. It is therefore reasonable to identify Logos as the universe i.e., Logic and Logos as concept and object

Similarly, the Logics are abstract objects, i.e. concepts that must have objects; Logics have reference—a Logic (logic) may be regarded as a premise that, in deductive proof, is necessary

These thoughts suggest development of logics, e.g. modal logic, from the present concept of Logic as a project

It shows the crucial importance of reference to Logic and Logics

Logic, grammar and meaning

It also points to Wittgenstein’s thought that Logic and Grammar are identical…

This idea could be developed here but it is convenient to defer it to the discussion of meaning in the context of Logic below

Logic, reference and the problem of the infinite

An immensely important concern regarding Logic as theory of description and the requirement of reference is the infinite case—for what is an infinite object… what is the object whose concept refers to an infinite extension or an infinite collection? There are preliminary thoughts on the object side of ‘infinity’ in Objects and in Logic

Is the requirement of proper reference necessary to validity in Logic and Grammar? Since various semantic paradoxes (Russell…) and set-theoretic paradoxes (Zermelo-Fraenkel-Skolem and von Neumann-Bernays-Gödel) have been resolved by non-referential artifacts, the requirement of proper reference may be unnecessary

These thoughts define a research project

That the paradoxes have been resolved by non-referential artifacts is not clear. The valid aspects of the various analyses—of Russell and others—should be studied to see if reference is the root justification—Kripke employs the term grounding

Secondly, a general study of the nature of ‘logical objects’ and infinite objects may be undertaken to analyze necessary and sufficient conditions of validity including the important case of the necessity and sufficiency of proper reference. The abstract and Logical objects may be studied directly—where—possible or semi-directly in terms of models

In any case, however, it appears reasonable that requiring proper reference may be rich in consequences

Logic and metaphysics

In this conception, Logic is—equivalent to—metaphysics; Logic is the constitutive form of being. It may be noted that although Logic and metaphysics are identical, metaphysics initially emphasizes facts or states of being and Logic initially emphasizes structure or relationships among facts, and that any apparent distinction lies only in the initial appearance. Whereas metaphysics emphasizes the study of being from the object side while Logic may be regarded as study that emphasizes the concept side

There is a project to develop this concept of Logic and its consequences

Logos

In this conception, Logic is the one law of the universe. The immanent form of Logic may be called Logos. More accurately, perhaps, Logos contains the immanent form of any actual Logic. Then, Logos is simply the universe. This also follows from the idea of Logic as theory of descriptions

Thus while Logic is the analysis of the actual, the possible and the necessary; the one law of the universe; and theory of—consistent—descriptions; its immanent form Logos is simply the Universe. As long as nothing is said or nothing is desired to be said about Logos-Universe, nothing needs to be said in order to exclude that that cannot be. When something is said, then the various analytical specifications of Logic may be necessary

In the narrative, Logic and Logos are occasionally conflated

The immanent character of Logic—and of Language and Grammar—makes it clear that reference is crucial in Logic and Grammar

It may be shown by examples, that improper reference may result in paradox and that a number of the classical paradoxes may be resolved by paying proper attention to reference

It certainly appears that proper reference is sufficient to valid Logic or Grammar

Mathematics, science, and Logic

Therefore, it also follows that the results of inductive inference—science—are contained in—or fall out of—Logic as is mathematics—and all proper forms of knowledge and argument whether inductive or deductive

Below, reflect on Mathematics as the study of form in terms of symbolic representation—modeling

…and Scientific theory—theory in general—as fact versus best hypothesis

What is mathematics?

Mathematics as the study of form in terms of symbolic representation—modeling

What is science?

It is not a primary objective of the narrative to answer this question and it is not assumed that there is a simple answer. The term ‘science’ has different families of meaning according to whether science refers to a body or bodies of information or theories, to an activity, to an institution, to an approach or method or to some combination of these possibilities. It is not the intent, either, to evaluate the logic or the value of science. However, since the metaphysics of immanence and science so clearly intersect within the domain of science, since there may appear to be conflict between the metaphysics and science, since it is argued that the metaphysics illuminates science and that science illustrates and elaborates the metaphysics, it will be useful to make some comments on science

There is no conflict between metaphysics and science. Science, as it is usually understood, is conceptual but remains close to its empirical ground—in this cosmos. Within that contingent realm, science reigns—at least with regard to material reality—and provides elaboration, illustration and grindstone for the metaphysics. Outside this cosmological system, where science is suggestive, the metaphysics and science may be mutually illuminating. In phases or domains of the universe that are extremely remote from this cosmos, science may have occasional application but has no necessary general application and the metaphysics reigns

As a result of its empirical ground that is centered in the immediate world and moves outward with discovery, the ideas and theories of science are often thought to have a hypothetical character. This thought emerged in the twentieth century—the result of a number of scientific revolutions from about 1850 to 1960. Each revolution had such an impact on the view of the world, that doubt emerged that any such world view could be regarded as final. Therefore, the corresponding theories—of evolution; of the molecular basis of chemistry; of space, time, and fields; of the quantum; and of the molecular basis of life—were, at least initially, regarded as hypothetical. Those theories whose domain is relatively restricted—the outlines of a chemistry within the solar system, of a theory of life on this earth—are no longer generally regarded as hypothetical—at least within the scientific community. The theories of space, time and fields and of the quantum, however, are regarded as tentative

In each case of scientific theory there is a concept, the theory, and an object to which the theory refers. In saying that a theory is a concept it should be noted that such a concept is compound and its ‘constituents’ are the individual concepts, laws, and explanatory systems of the theory. If the object of the theory is regarded as the entire universe then the corresponding concept either has no application—little is known about life in the universe at large—or is wrong for there is little doubt that theoretical physics is still incomplete; and, further, the metaphysics of immanence shows that, relative to the entire universe, the theoretical physics of this cosmos must be incomplete. However, the object of the theory may be regarded as limited by its domain of validity. Given the excellent explanatory and predictive power of the theories, each concept or theory may be said to have excellent reference to a limited object—the object defined by the theory and limited by its domain of validity

In summary, science is characterized by concepts that remain in close and ideally precise empirical contact with their objects. The domain of empirical science starts with this—material and mental but not spiritual—world and, in extending the known—macroscopic and microscopic—reaches of the cosmos, it emanates both outward and inward

The status of scientific theories

There is a popular idea that equates theory and hypothesis and that is one use of the word theory. In science, however, theory has a range of connotations. Some theories may begin, perhaps in the mind of the scientist, as hypotheses or systems of hypotheses, but after publication and extensive criticism they may come to be accepted as factual. In the case of physical theories, as our empirical knowledge of the universe expands, those theories may be replaced. However, even the replaced theories may be factual—and extremely useful—over their domain of validity. In the case of life on earth, that life evolved along certain lines is factual beyond reasonable doubt; even the theories of evolution whose function includes explanation of the processes of evolution have a factual though not complete character

In this sense, induction may be seen to have a kind of certainty that is rather different in nature than logical certainty

Do the theories of biology project to the universe? I.e., does life on every world proceed on lines laid out in modern evolutionary theory? It has been seen in Metaphysics that, in contrast to thinking based on the evidence from this cosmological system, there must be infinitely many cosmological systems with life. Further reflection showed that the normal case may well be one in which evolution conforms to evolutionary theory and that it is reasonable to think that the vast preponderance of evolutionary scenarios are normal. However, it must also be true that there are infinitely many non-normal cases

Fact and pattern

The metaphysics of immanence implies that facts may be infinitely divisible. Here it has been seen that patterns—theories—have factual interpretation. The distinction between fact and pattern or theory breaks down; both fact and theory designate objects

Is mathematics a science? Can mathematics have an empirical side?

It has sometimes been regarded as one but, since its methods are—it appears—deductive and not inductive or experimental, it is also clearly distinct from natural and social sciences. The similarities and differences between mathematics and the sciences may be clarified in terms of the theory of objects. Mathematics may be seen as a study of actual objects from the concept side. It is known from the theory of being that a mathematical system must, if it is consistent, have an actual object but it is not always known what that object is and therefore study of concept side may be the only way of study—in addition, as is in the character of mathematical objects, to being a most productive way of study; further, because the actual object side may remain implicit, there is the possibility that a mathematical or logical system may lack reference—and may therefore be inconsistent and it may be required to patch up such inconsistency from the concept side as in the discussion of Logic and the problem of the infinite, above, or to live with the possibility of inconsistency

However, as was seen in Objects, mathematical systems often begin from a study of an object side (e.g. geometry as the measurement of the earth and number in counting) and only later move into a focus on the concept side but as in some kinds of computational proof may have return to the object side. The example of geometry also shows that by changing or relaxing certain assumptions or axioms a broader class of systems (e.g. geometries) is obtained—the domain of reference expands. It is in fact the focus on the concept side without reference, which should have difficulty for non-finite systems, to an object side that makes mathematical and logical systems susceptible to paradox at which, in the absence of known reference, attempts at resolution are made from the concept side (or reference to a transparent model.) The science of physics is studied from the concept side—in theoretical development—and the object side—in experimental study—and seeks consistency between the object and concept side as well as internal consistency in the concept side; and in so doing, the domain of reference expands. Perhaps the decision to distinguish mathematics and science is a function of attitude rather than object—i.e., when mathematics and science are themselves seen as objects. At minimum, it may be admitted that, while mathematics and science may have sharp distinction in some phases of their activity, no sharp distinction can be maintained eternally or even over historical time

Is the inclusion of Mathematics in Logic the Frege-Russell logicist thesis that mathematics is a chapter of logic? The validity of that thesis shall depend on where logic is thought to stop and where mathematics thought to begin. It is not the case that what is traditionally taken to be logic (as in the Frege-Russell logicism) is shown here to found or contain mathematics

Science and logic

As describing a limited phase of being—this cosmos, life, human mind—the laws and theories of science falls under Logic: although the laws and theories may be seen as having a hypothetical character, they may also be seen as factual over some domain. Since Logical and Mathematical objects have concept and object sides, there is, similarly, the possibility of incompleteness of Logical and Mathematical theories. The ‘method’ of science is induction or generalization from particular cases. This method does not fall under—deductive—Logic. There appears to be no analog in scientific discovery to deduction in logic and mathematics, i.e., while the results of inference in science fall under Logic, scientific inference itself does not—there is a literature on discovery in science that need not be repeated here that refers to simplicity, beauty, following intuition and guesses. However, logic and mathematics are not so different. While the method of deduction in mathematics or logic is characterized by certainty, the approach to arriving at a mathematical or logical system is characterized by trial and error guided by simplicity, beauty, following intuition and guesses. Briefly, then, scientific and mathematical theories have similarities in content, argument within the bounds of the theory, approaches to developing theory, and incompleteness of reference

Logic, grammar and meaning

As noted above, Logic as theory of descriptions points to Wittgenstein’s thought that Logic and Grammar are identical…

Specifically, that conception of Logic shows Logic and Grammar are identical and, further, that Syntax and Meaning are inseparable e.g. Syntax is not devoid of meaning

Meaning, appropriately interpreted, is identical to Logic and Grammar but may be regarded as focus on the experiential side—sense which is latent reference—and experimental side of Logic and Grammar

It shows that full reference is fundamental to the robustness of logic or logics, especially in illuminating and eliminating the classical paradoxes of logic and in formulating logics or Logics as the study of certain kinds of object (it may be practical, however, to study logics and attempt to build consistency in from the abstract or conceptual side—starting with intuition and models.) There is good reason to think that the requirement of full and proper reference is necessary and sufficient to robustness of Logics. Here, again, lies the connection of Logic to the world—Logic may be founded in the requirement full and proper reference

It may be allowed that conception generally, including sensing, depicting, imaging are forms of ‘description’ and therefore there is a grammar or logic of conception—of symbolic expression, of sensing, depicting and or imaging

It is not the possibility of a connection of logic and being with grammar that is surprising—that there may be a connection is obvious once it is pointed out

The clarity and necessity of the identity of Logic and grammar

What is surprising is the clarity and necessity of the connection, that the connection is one of identity rather than mere relatedness. It may also surprising that the connection should have emerged when it was not sought

Rethinking Wittgenstein’s Tractacus Logico-Philosophicus

In reviewing the developments of this narrative, especially those regarding the fact of being as implicit in the fact and content of its meaning, the metaphysics, the discussion of Form, and the present discussion of Logic, it seems that the ideas veer in the direction of Wittgenstein’s Tractacus—whose thought followed a similar patter and has influence and significance here—and go beyond it in some aspects. The ideas that the universe is—in the global mode of description—all its states and that all its states are all states is close to Wittgenstein’s thought that the universe is the sum of its atomic facts. A distinction between the present thinking and that of Wittgenstein is that, here, the kind and enumerability and denotability—reference—of all states is not given at outset or assumed to be possible—even in principle. Additionally, there are parts of the Tractacus e.g. the discussion of Ethics that suffer from an implicit substance thinking regarding the nature of the object

The backward foundation, elimination of substance thought, and elaboration of the ideas of the Tractacus is a project that awaits keen analysis

Meaning

Introduction

The foregoing considerations on Metaphysics, Objects, and Logic allow a clarification of meaning and grammar and their relation to Logic

Note that the substantive aspects of meaning that are important to the present development and that flesh out the following comments have been treated in Being. The concern here is with the formal side of meaning brought out by the considerations on Logic

Preliminaries from Metaphysics and from Objects

It is convenient to repeat the preliminaries to the discussion of Logic:

From Metaphysics, all entities are in the universe, form is immanent in being, and every consistent concept is realized. The actual and the possible are identical; therefore what is possible is also necessary. This suggests a concept of Logic as the analysis—theory—of the actual or, equivalently, of the possible and appears to define a kind of extensional necessity that contrasts with the common concept of necessity that may be labeled intentional and in which necessary propositions are true regardless of reference. It has been seen, however, that the distinction between intensional and extensional necessity is not an essential distinction. From Objects, every—consistent—concept has an object; the distinction between abstract and particular objects is one of (convenience of) approach, i.e. symbolic versus empirical, and not one of kind. Sense is latent or potential reference; without latent reference, there can be no sense

Formal discussion of meaning

In its concern with the experiential and experimental side of Logic—the study of the world—meaning comes, with Wittgenstein, to emphasize context (use) over the lexicon, to emphasize that sense or latent reference is always in process. The ideas of the fixed lexicon and fixed syntax are an arrest. Further, from the connection with Logic, complete meaning can reside only in systems of concepts which may be—the experimental side—in process or evolution; meaning of individual terms is fragmented and may be distributed in more than one way (it is crucial to pay attention to the meanings of terms in this narrative.) From the practical side, an identical situation obtains regarding axiomatic systems; the meaning of the system resides in it taken as a whole; the evolution of such systems occurs in the first place in their genesis and, then, in a sequence of such systems in which each step is a modification in response to the needs—explicit or not—of reference. It is thus that the study of abstract objects and axiomatic systems is both symbolic or abstract and experimental

Sense and reference

It has been seen that the two sides of knowing an entity are concept and object. That distinction corresponds to the sides of meaning as suggested by Frege: sense and reference (here, it has been seen that sense must be latent reference.) The following distinctions are similar, connotation versus denotation and intension versus extension

Grammatical forms; emotion and will

Is there a fixed set of grammatical forms? Wittgenstein argued, for example, that the ideas covered by ‘noun’ are so varied that conflation (mind and brick are nouns) leads to misleading con-fusion. Whitehead questioned the universality of the standard subject-predicate form—taught in schools—for expression. Does emotion have an object? One view is that emotion is simply expression and has no object; however, it is conceivable that emotion has a diffuse and variable, perhaps even latent, object located somewhere in the organism-environment. What is the significance of emotion and will and motivation in relation to the distinctions expression vs. assertion vs. declaration vs. commission vs. direction? These questions have relationship because ‘sentences’ that express emotion or feeling of the affective type are one mode of—apparently—non subject-predicate form as in a cry that expresses delight or determination. Reflect on the metaphysics of immanence—all objects are in the universe, every consistent concept is realized and the theory of objects developed above—the distinction between abstract and particular objects is not one of kind as is commonly thought but is one of which mode of study (conceptual or symbolic and so on versus empirical,) sense is latent reference… These observations reinforce the idea that emotion and may and typically does have an object, that grammar which is cognitive in form and emotion expressed in language may have unification and that there may be a universal mode of expression even if it is not the subject-predicate form. These thoughts, of course, suggest a program of research whose outcome may be glimpsed but is not known (experience suggests that even glimpses may be well off mark with some outcomes being negative and others quite beyond expectation in extent and quality)

Logical proofs of the fundamental principle of metaphysics

The fundamental principle states that every consistent concept has a realization—recall that a consistent concept is one that neither contains nor entails contradiction. The earlier proof depended on the existence and properties of the void. Here follows a proof that does not depend on the void

A concept is necessary—absolute—if it must be realized. A concept may be regarded as contingent—possible—if it could be realized. What, however, does ‘could be realized’ mean? Consider the entire universe. A concept A is not realized but it is said that it could be realized. What does that mean? There are two classes of concept—those that are realized and those that are not. There is nothing outside the universe; therefore if a concept is realized, it must be realized—it is necessary; if it is not it could not be realized. The implicit meaning of ‘is not but could be realized’ is that there is another world in which things are sufficiently different that the concept is realized. However there is no other world

Therefore, every contingent—possible—concept is realized, is actual; the obvious and only exceptions the contradictory propositions. Obviously, every actual concept is realized. Therefore, the possible and the actual are identical

The concept of the void is implicit in the proof; it is the other world

Relation to atomic propositions

Consider Wittgenstein’s ‘from the truth of one—atomic—proposition, the truth of another does not follow.’ Here, atomic means logically independent. Since the contentless proposition is atomic, the thought becomes ‘atomic propositions are true in some worlds and untrue in others.’ Here, world means sub-domain of the Universe. Therefore, every atomic proposition is realized

‘Proof’ from Ockham’s razor

It is interesting that there is an extreme and rather unconventional—some might prefer to say perverse—use of Ockham’s razor to supply a proof idea of the fundamental principle. In science, Ockham’s principle amounts to making no unnecessary hypotheses; Ockham’s is a minimalist principle—only those ‘hypotheses’ are made that reflect the structure or form of the domain; no additional hypotheses are to be added to the minimalist regimen just to make a theory work. Here, the extreme use is to make no hypotheses whatsoever and shall take the form no contingent proposition is universally true. I.e. every contingent proposition must be true in some sub-domains of the universe and untrue in others and it is this that is the foundation of the second approach to proof of the fundamental principle

Mind

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss mind in a very general way in light of the metaphysics of immanence. The discussion also derives systematic reflection on mind that has roots in personal experience as well as the philosophic traditions

The combination of metaphysics of immanence, context, and careful reflection permits an ultimate picture of mind and resolution of a number of fundamental problems in the philosophy of mind

In light of the fact that there are no tenable ultimate substances, it will be seen that while mind cannot be regarded as pervasive, mind can reach down to the root of being

Further reflection on and analysis of the nature of mind and its elements, structures and processes—such as they may be—is taken up in Human being which emphasizes but is not limited to reflection on the human animal

The sustained reflection contributes to the building of a picture of human being against a context of universal being. In addition to being tendered as a contribution to the history of ideas, the picture is pivotal—it is one pivot point—in founding a journey in being that is not shy of the ultimate

The fundamental character of experience

In Being, experience was seen to be a form of being. It was also pointed out that proof is not invariably relative to unproven premises. Experience is part of the fact of ‘my’ being but is so fundamental that no further definition of its nature is possible—of course examples of experience and synonyms for experience may be given but these elaborations are not definitions, rather they add to the meaning of experience by elaborating its reference. I.e. the sense of ‘experience’ remains primitive in intuition—for some primitive must remain and it is not to be founded in something else. Even if there is no external world, there is experience. The aspect of method employed here is the identification of a necessary object—experience is a necessary object that is primarily not external in the sense that it is not experienced but may be experienced and when experienced is also external—recall that the meaning of external is not ‘spatially outside’

The form of experience includes that of the object. An argument that objects lie in ‘the’ external world was given but this argument was probable and not necessary. From the Metaphysics, however, it follows that in some manifestations of being e.g. cosmological systems there must be a system of sentient beings and objects. There is of course no practical reason to doubt the argument’s applicability to this cosmological system but doubting it in general may lead to clarification and illumination of the nature of experience and world. Regarding objects as of the external world (external does not mean outside here but object of experience) and given the fundamental character of experience, that it is in experience that I am ‘appraised’ of being, experience must be the fundamental character of mind. Thus mind does not appear to be an object except that in a sufficiently reflexive mind, there may be awareness or experience of experience and, so, experience may be treated as an object (which may be further confirmed from the treatment of Objects. In the manifest world, experience and things—abstract and particular (concrete)—may be regarded as dual forms of object

Attitude and action

In the recent philosophical literature, experience, attitude and action have been regarded as the attributes or dimensions of mind. The approach to this result is rather empirical in nature and lacks necessity because in responding to a question ‘what is mind’ the connection is associative and neither semantic nor necessary. Other dimensions might be investigated but it may be noted that attitude and action are fundamental in that they represent the modalities of map and navigation or, perhaps, representation and change. However, attitude and action are not so much separate attributes or dimensions of mind but correlates of experience over and above ‘pure’ experience. Therefore, attitude and action are not regarded as constitutive of mind. Therefore, even though they are important parts of a ‘map of mind,’ attitude and action will not be regarded as fundamental characteristics of mind

When the concept of experience was introduced in Being, it was seen that it is fundamental to the life of the individual. The discussion suggested that experience was objectively fundamental to mind. This will be shown in below in discussing mind and matter. Experience is the fundamental character of mind (the question of awareness without consciousness is addressed below.) It will also be shown that the concept of mind may be extended to the root of being and that even in the limited concept, mind may reach the root

A reflection on mind in a material universe

It has been seen that the universe cannot be characterized by substance. Where, in this free-floating situation, may discussion of mind be anchored? In order to provide an anchor, matter is taken to be the substance of being. In the subsequent section, the condition of matter as substance is relinquished and this is found to permit real conclusions regarding mind (and the process of abstraction suggests how to think without an anchor… and the value of such ‘algebraic’ thought)

It is not possible for both mind and matter to be substances for substances cannot interact

Consider the case where matter is the substance. This case is perhaps for some purposes a rough approximation to state of this cosmos. Here, focus is not limited to this cosmos. However, so as to understand the consequences of a strict materialism, consider the idealized case of matter as—the—substance. In this case, mind must be a manifestation of matter. It is useful to ask how this world would be under that materialistic ontology. Organism and environment would be material. In the materialist ontology, experience and knowledge are material. However, experience and knowledge are reference even if latent. The kind of the relation must be a material relation which is constituted of forces of interaction among elements of matter

However, in a materialist ontology, ‘force’ must be a mode of matter (which, though inessential to the present argument, is the case in modern physics.) Therefore, in the materialist ontology, experience and knowledge are material relations. If all forces are sums of elementary forces—as seems to be the case in this cosmos—then experience is some aggregate andor average over elementary interactions

Thus mind goes to the root—i.e. mind-as-manifest is already contained in the elementary interactions. Mind and matter are not distinct and are coeval

This would not be a pan-psychism if by that term it is meant that all human or animal like aspects of mind are found at the elementary level e.g. that a little human mind may be found in a proton. Although the concept is generally not its object, a concept is an object: there is no special space of ‘mental objects’

Experience or ‘feeling’—understood with sufficient generality and abstraction—is the character of mind which goes to the root

Higher—animal—mind is structure, elaboration, focusing and summing or intensifying of the elementary ‘function.’ Structure is revealed in the form of objects and elaboration in the sensory modalities for which environment is object as well as the—higher—feeling modalities for which the organism is the object. Focusing is seen in attention and intensifying, as elaborated later, in bright versus dim consciousness versus feeling without experience of consciousness

Mind

The topic is mind in the actual universe

How is the above account to be modified to account for the metaphysics of immanence in which there is and can be no true substance but the void in its absolute indeterminism may be seen as generating the world? Now, mind may not necessarily originate at the root (but neither does ‘matter’ nor any substance.) Mind may be infused from one part of the universe to another. However, even though mind may not originate at the root it may and must sometimes reach ‘down’ to it

Consciousness

It is now seen that animal and human consciousness includes elements of structure, elaboration, focusing and intensifying of elementary feeling. What is meant by elementary feeling?

It is the root of mind in the organism where e.g. the physical modalities of light, sound, contact, chemistry—not ultimately distinct—manifest as sensory modalities of sight, hearing, touch and taste and smell. How deep does this go? As deep as is necessary to reach the substance-root of this cosmological system

What that means is as follows. Even though there is no substance root for the entire universe, as seen in metaphysics of immanence, a stable cosmos may have, for normal phenomena, a substance-root which, in this cosmos, may be taken, currently, to be the elementary particles. I.e. in this cosmological system, feeling must go down to this root (on assumption that it is the root)

Much is explained: the conscious-unconscious dimension is not a polarity of presence and absence but a continuum of more and less; consciousness is not so much on-off as is awareness of consciousness; how it is possible to have awareness without—bright—consciousness; the dual presence of bright or focal consciousness and scanning and peripheral consciousness field; that while consciousness has sometimes been identified with awareness of awareness or linguistic awareness of awareness but these appear to be mechanisms of focus and cultivation rather than consciousness itself

An illicit ‘kind’ of consciousness

Here, consciousness is the same mode as feeling. There may be a higher consciousness that may have special properties such as intensity, focus, elaboration and integration of sensory modality, form… At root, though, consciousness is feeling; and feeling elaborates as higher consciousness. Consciousness and feeling are identical even though their usual connotations express different regions of a spectrum or continuum

Against this, some late twentieth century analytic philosophers introduce a new ‘kind’ of consciousness, a-consciousness or access-consciousness to account for the ‘awareness without consciousness’ phenomena of access to information without phenomenal consciousness that appear to arise in certain experiments and certain kinds of introspection. These philosophers label the meaning of consciousness of this narrative ‘p-consciousness’ for phenomenal consciousness. The position of this narrative is not that what is labeled a-consciousness is not a phenomenon—it is a highly interesting phenomenon; rather it is that while there is a high level appearance of a distinction, there is no root distinction and that the high level distinction results from the appearance-at-high-level of a lack-of-appearance-at-high-level that is confused as appearance of lack-of-appearance. The discussion in the narrative makes this clear. It is as if a wildlife biologist decides that there are two kinds of tigers, p-tigers—tigers that appear to be tigers and e-tigers—tigers that appear to be elephants

As noted, contrary to some claims in the recent literature of consciousness there are not two kinds of consciousness—the phenomenal consciousness that has been the topic of discussion so far and a-consciousness or access-consciousness which is awareness without phenomenal consciousness; as consciousness a-consciousness is incoherent—to assert that it is a form of consciousness is to conflate distinct categories; it is not being said at all that there is no a-consciousness but that it is a category error to use the word ‘consciousness’ for both ‘kinds’ and, that since phenomenal consciousness is the prototype, a-consciousness should perhaps be given some other name

Possible origin of the illicit distinction

The thoughts in the literature about a-consciousness could be mistaken in the following way. Perhaps there are two kinds of person—and one kind truly does not have experience but only a-consciousness. They would be like zombies amid the rest of us but would not be like those theoretical zombies who are like the rest in every material way but did not have experience. They would be fundamentally distinct even materially as the previous discussion shows they must be to lack experience. In the literature such zombies that are materially identical to us non-zombies but lack feeling-consciousness are sometimes claimed to be possible; the present discussion shows the material identity but mental non-identity to be incoherent

Now consider the case in which the distinction is not absolute but is a tendency. There is a difference of degree rather than kind. If there is a distinction this is the realistic case. One kind, the non zombie-kind, tends to phenomenal consciousness as the mode of knowledge—as relation to the world—and the other kind, zombie-kind, tends to knowledge without phenomenal consciousness. The kinds would be sufficiently similar and their behavior sufficiently alike that the distinction would not be at all apparent on cursory observation. However, the kinds would talk at cross purposes. One kind would sing the praises of the experience of a sunset; the other kind would deny mind, feeling, and experience and consciousness altogether

A third kind would be the first kind but confused by the deliberations of the second. The suspicion is that there are in fact only two kinds—the first and the third and that the second kind does not exist. The appearance of the second kind arises in those persons who are persuaded by theoretical confusion to talk a certain kind of (a-consciousness) language and for whom the persuasion is not especially difficult on account of an innate biological attenuation of intensity of experience—the combination of suggestibility and attenuation is key. Are the kinds of biological origin or do they depend on childhood development—toilet training as metaphor—or both? It might seem that the Anglo-American upbringing might dispose the individual to kind two; that a Continental upbringing might dispose to kind one

(Expanding upon the consequences of kind, one might imagine that kind two might dispose the individual to analysis over synthesis, to seeing the world in the color of scientific materialism…)

There may of course be pathological cases of an extreme second kind

A fourth kind may be contemplated—a kind that enjoys the simulation of kind regardless of innate kind and that may simulate him or her self in addition to being him or herself

Method. Explanation versus proof

Given the magnitude of the topic of discussion, explanation is perhaps the most that may be achieved. Certainly, explanation is most conducive to understanding, clarification, and to painting a picture of mind. There is proof as well but, as noted in the earlier discussion of method, proof is generally easy and what is desired is interpretation (whose character may vary according to case)

Let us be a little clearer about what is achieved in ‘explanation’ and ‘interpretation.’ One initial point is some essential features of mind revealed by the metaphysics starting from the core—experience. Another is some actual and possible features of mind and consciousness for an organism in this cosmological system. Reasoning about this dual system yields an interpretation of the actual features of organism-mind and a resolution of the possible features into an actual form

Freedoms

Since organism and environment have essentially new features relative to origins, there must be freedoms; note that the consistency of freedom—indeterminism—and form has already been established. Especially in artifacts of concept, language and technology, the source of freedom—creation—must be in the organism. However, binding—stable form—must also be present. The concepts of and varieties of freedom and binding and their identities and interrelations will be elaborated in Human World where implications of ‘freedom’ will be taken up

Freedom and method

If a human individual were guided by an external agent, freedom of the human individual would not be necessary, e.g., to adaptation. However, at root, some guiding agent would require to be free. The freedom of the human individual is therefore a normal—immensely probable—but not a necessary inference from novelty. I.e. when human freedom is doubted, the function of doubt is clarification of the nature and source of freedom in an organism with significant binding—determinism—to clarify the significance of political freedom over conceptual and moral freedom and so on but there is no further practical reason to doubt freedom

Logical versus reasonable doubt

Thus human freedom is not beyond all logical doubt. However, freedom itself is beyond such doubt (origin from the void, metaphysics of immanence.) Given the complexity of the animal—human—organism it would be extremely improbable to suppose that animal—human—being is not an author of freedom

The foregoing paragraph applies to this world. It is necessary that there are infinitely many worlds where there are ‘intelligent’ organisms that are significant authors of their own freedom

Attributes

From an idea of mind and matter as substances, Spinoza suggested the possibility of an infinite number of attributes. However, it has been seen that there are no substances and that the mental and material correspond to ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ aspects of an organism or particle—to experience and experienced, to concept and object. This suggests that there is no continuation to the series that begins with mind and matter. This of course does not imply that there are no elaborations of experience and of object e.g. the manifestation as matter, life, society, universe and their forms. However, it suggests that while there may be elaborations, degrees, intensities, depths of consciousness (yet) unknown to human being, there is no mode of being beyond conscious being—where the notion of consciousness is appropriately extended to the root; and it suggests that the variety of external object may be labeled matter even if the variety of form should be of infinitely greater variety than the corresponding variety for this cosmological system. Since the sensory modalities correspond roughly to the modes of physical interaction it is easy to imagine the existence of e.g. cosmological systems where creatures have sensory modalities that are not possessed by any living form on earth. That the list mind, matter… may have no continuation does not imply that there is no other basis for a system of attributes

Cosmology

What is cosmology?

Cosmology is the study of the variety of being

Cosmology is the study of the variety of being. Since concepts are naturally employed, cosmology may be said to be the theory of variety. Of course, theory, as noted in Logic and meaning, is not essentially distinct from fact and does not exclude empirical elements

Cosmology includes the study of the variety of process

Since process is an aspect of being cosmology includes the study or theory of processes. In the global perspective, process is implicit in variety

Process includes behavior or dynamics as well as longer term change including origins, evolutions, and ends. In science, dynamics and origins may be distinguished; however, there is arbitrariness to the distinction. Still, since a unitary science has not been achieved the distinction is practically important

The meaning of the term Universe in this narrative—a reminder

In this narrative ‘universe’ refers to all being. To emphasize the distinction from other uses, the symbol ‘Universe’ may be used instead of ‘universe’

To further emphasize the distinction, the domain validly described by modern physical science may be designated the or this cosmological system or, simply, the cosmos

The spatiotemporal extent of domain for which modern physical science is known to be valid according to its own criteria is a minute fraction of the extent of the Universe

Is everything that can be said about cosmology said in science? Modern physical cosmology defines its own limits and is silent about the domain outside these limits. The theory of being, specifically the metaphysics of immanence, shows that there is an infinitely larger universe outside these limits and that that universe is larger with respect to extension, duration and variety. Modern physical cosmology uses the term ‘universe’ to describe its universe. According to that use the size, age and variety of ‘the universe’ has changed drastically over human history; in fact, over that period it is knowledge that has changed: the changes in the net structure of the cosmological system are insignificant over the same period

Local and physical cosmology

Physical cosmology is the study of our cosmological system in terms of astronomical observation and modern theoretical physics. Local cosmology is the study of normal cosmological systems for which our cosmos may be one paradigm case

Physical cosmology provides example and illustration of the concepts of form and entity, space, time, matter, force and so on; this point is elaborated under Method, below

General or philosophical cosmology is cosmology—the study of the variety and behavior of being

General cosmology is cosmology—the study of the variety and behavior of being without restriction to kind. Simply, cosmology is the study of variety

Note again that from the global perspective, behavior is implicit in variety

Behavior is understood to include description, dynamics, origins, ends and evolution. There is no implication that these distinctions are essential

Life and mind

If science has limits are there limits to the theory of evolution? Ernst Mayr, Toward a New Philosophy of Biology, 1988, argued that Darwin’s ‘theory of evolution’ was in fact five distinct theories (non-constancy of species, common descent of all extant life, gradualness, multiplication of species, and natural selection,) and that though there remain unsolved problems, the theory of evolution (1) is a fact, (2) is the only explanation consistent with and predictive of the phenomena, (3) is the only explanation that is not contradicted by any of the phenomena. Mayr emphasizes that a transition from essentialism to population thinking—in which each individual is unique—was essential for the acceptance and understanding of evolutionary theory (Darwin understood this.) While this may contradict the Platonic theory of forms and the classical notions of essence and substance, there is no conflict between population thinking and the theory of form laid out in Metaphysics—forms are dynamic (phenotype) and while individual forms have degrees of similarity they are not identical. The view in this narrative is that there is no reason to disagree with Mayr’s assessments regarding life on earth or in the likelihood of its application to any populations in other worlds

The metaphysics of immanence, however, shows that there must be an infinity of ‘planets’ with life; that an infinity of such cases follow a non-Darwinian paradigm but that this infinity is infinitesimal in comparison to the infinity of occurrences of life bearing planets. In the vastness of the Universe there is an infinity of forms; and yet each form recurs infinitely—as shown below

The scientific and philosophical study of mind and identity may, likewise, provide a paradigm case but, as shown below, is infinitely far from projecting to the universe

Method

The general ‘method’ has already been elucidated—it is the method of proof and interpretation laid out in the discussion of Method. It may be re-emphasized that this method is regarded as a framework of thought—not the algorithm for thought

Metaphysical principles in the study of general cosmology. Relation between metaphysics and cosmology

Experience and its varieties are forms of being. The notions of ‘all,’ ‘difference,’ ‘domain,’ ‘present moment,’ and ‘immediate past and present’ define objects. All objects—including Forms, Patterns and Laws—are in the universe. There are no fictions except contradictions. Every consistent concept is realized. The void which contains no object or form—or pattern or law—exists. Void. The actual, the possible, and the necessary are identical. These thoughts provide an ‘envelope’ for completeness of variety

It becomes clear that beginnings of cosmology are implicit in the metaphysics—in the analysis of the necessary objects such as ‘all’ and ‘void’ and in the study of Form… or perhaps earlier in recognition of the fact of experience and in enumerating its forms. As noted earlier, there are narrow interpretations of metaphysics and cosmology. In their narrow meanings, metaphysics is the study of depth and foundation e.g. what is the simplest form of being from which all being comes or be seen as coming; and cosmology is the theory of variety and origins. However, the distinction between metaphysics and cosmology is not perfectly sharp and in broader interpretations they are identical

Identity of Metaphysics, Logic and Cosmology

Earlier, the identity of Logic and Metaphysics was shown. Therefore, in a broad interpretation, Logic, Metaphysics and Cosmology are identical

Sources of formulation of general cosmology

In addition to method subject matter is required to formulate cosmology:

Ad hoc description and—ways or methods of—systematic enumeration of the variety of being i.e. of the variety of objects and kinds of object. Includes cosmologies from literature—myth, scripture… and micro-cosmologies—story, novel and so on. Imagination. Necessary ‘mechanism’

These sources are considered in greater detail below

Metaphysics and science

Here, metaphysics refers to metaphysics of immanence: the subject matter of the chapters, Being, Metaphysics, Logic and meaning, and Mind

In this chapter, science is used with the following restricted meaning. It is approximated by the subject matter and methods of the modern sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, mind, and society. There may perhaps be other realms but it is generally accepted that the scientific realms of being are those of the physical, the living, the mind, and the social. This science need not say that there is no realm of the spiritual or the sacred but that these realms have being andor interpretation within the standard realms. Although science is conceptual and does contain elements of speculation or hypothesis, in this meaning established science remains close to its detailed empirical roots by way of principles such as Ockham’s razor

There is and can be no contradiction between metaphysics and science. Even though it is often taken to be the case that the Universe is what is described by science in its domain of validity, that is not known by scientific method to be the case. Although there are positivist scientists—those who hold that the boundaries of science define the boundaries of the real—the rational scientist says that science describes no more than a region of the real. The domain of metaphysics is the domain of Logic. The domain of science is the intersection of the domain of Logic and a collection of conceptual systems that remain close to their—human—detailed empirical roots (specifying precisely what is meant by ‘close’ is a topic in method / philosophy of science)

Thus metaphysics includes the subject matter of science; physical cosmology is a phase of general or philosophical cosmology

As noted in the introduction to this chapter and as has been already seen in Metaphysics and will be further brought out below, the domain of the real—as revealed by metaphysics of immanence—is of infinitely greater spatiotemporal extent and variety of being than the domain revealed in science. How is that possible? Does not that upturn science and the great works of science of the last five hundred years since the time of Copernicus?

The positivist scientists will of course feel that there is an upturning. However the rationalists and reasonable scientists and other individuals will not. An aspect of the psychology of positivism is as follows. An original positivist—in contrast to a mere follower—is an individual, often extremely gifted, who has had a powerful geometric andor analytic vision of his or her world and takes that vision to be the world. This positivist is dogmatic and unreasonable and, in some aspects, inflexible. He or she is judgmental in the sense of not being open to further vision or not being reflexive, i.e., self-critical or self-analytic

There is no rational or reasonable upturning as pointed out above but most persons who have received a modern education will feel that there is an upturning of the modern secular world view. It is almost as though we moderns—and post-moderns—breath an atmosphere that is densely informed by the world view elaborated in modern physical and biological science. Certainly, the feeling of upturning of a natural order has been felt in thinking through and writing down the system of ideas of the present narrative

The concept of the normal revisited

Order is restored by the concept of the normal introduced earlier. The behavior of this cosmos is an example of normal behavior. It is likely a property of this cosmos that escape from it is extremely infeasible or, at least, normally so. The ‘normal’ is a concept that explains capture within a normal system that lies within an infinitely larger, less structured and various system

However, that scenario is require by metaphysics of immanence. The actual is necessary. The being of this cosmos is in no way in contradiction with the metaphysics

Method and science: dual study of general and local / physical cosmology

The metaphysics cannot contradict science in its valid domain. However, that domain is not precisely known with respect to frontiers in macroscopic and microscopic space-time as well as other, e.g. energy, scales. There may well be incursions into this cosmos outside its ‘normal’ realm; these incursions may normally be so improbable as to have no normal practical effect on science

Not only are actual science and metaphysics consistent but the metaphysics deploys science in the following ways:

1. In suggesting approaches in developing Metaphysics and Cosmology. Science has been a source of ideas in many ways that are no longer explicitly expressed (but remain explicit in earlier writing.) In this deployment, the metaphysical developments are not logically dependent on science; however without extensive study and reflection has probably been essential to the development and enrichment of the metaphysics and, certainly, of the cosmology

2. In giving substance to the metaphysics, e.g., as in development of Cosmology below. The developments of general cosmology are enriched by science. Science is humankind’s current-ultimate development of local / material / physical cosmology. Physical cosmology provides and is an occasion to study example and illustration of the concepts of form and entity, space, time, matter, force, causation, determinism versus indeterminism, origins, life, mind and so on. The particular case may be used to sharpen the concepts extended to the general—cosmological—case. The special instances of the concept may have interpretation in the general case via coherence as generative of normal cosmological systems. Any ‘generalization’ is not automatically valid but must be consistent with and allowed by local principles and required by general—metaphysical—principles. To what extent this general study may be definitive shall fall out of analysis. The local cosmology suggests concepts that may have general significance. The general study may result in an enumeration of ways the concepts may generalize and consequences for the local case. As an example of an application of this line of thought, it will be seen that what space and time there may be in the entire universe appears to be relative space and time, the relation between the universe and this cosmos may determine whether space and time in this cosmos will have absolute characteristics. Metaphysics of immanence disallows any universal coherence of entities and processes but requires the occasional and local occurrence of coherence. Coherence may be seen to be a / the source of form, as-if-universal space-time, quasi-mechanism evolution by variation and selection, quasi-causation, quasi-determinism

Other disciplines, literature…

Is there a relationship between the subjects of metaphysics and cosmology as developed in this narrative and the other ‘standard’ disciplines of modern scholarship? Recalling the observations that ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ and that emotion and will as well as——action contain content over above mere suggestive power and it follows that, subject to the constraint of Logic, all disciplines and practices, modern or earlier, provide material for the cosmology. Even if not determined by Logic, mathematics lies within its domain. History is of course included. Technology is very suggestive of possibility. Literature, art, drama, and—dramatic—action are included as are religion and myth if only as literature (religion will receive special treatment in Human world)

Development of the cosmology

The following topics will be discussed: mind, identity, God, manifold or space-time, variety, behavior

The treatment is not uniform. Discussion of mind is brief since it has been treated in Mind. ‘God’ is a specialized topic but it is interesting because it illustrates the metaphysics of immanence and the brevity of demonstrations from it. The bulk of the discussion is on identity—a topic that permits immense clarification of the place of human being and individuals in the universe and on space-time, variety and behavior of being

Each topic will be discussed as an aspect of general cosmology which may be followed by implications and other considerations for local / normal / physical cosmologies

As noted above from the global perspective, behavior may be seen to be implicit in variety

Behavior includes description, dynamics, origins, evolution, ends; these ‘modes’ of behavior may be convenient to study separately but which are not essentially distinct

Mind

Mind has been considered in Mind, and is further taken up in Human world

An implication of the earlier consideration on mind is that even if this cosmos is material for normal purposes, the infusion of mind from elsewhere is not logically impossible. Such infusion may occur at any time and is practically—physically—possible even if immensely unlikely in the normal case

Identity and the theory of identity

The identity of an object or of an Individual begins with the sense of continuity or sameness in change—stated this way, the identity of an object in time and personal identity can be given a uniform treatment: personal identity is the sense of sameness of self. However, identity does not stop at the sense of sameness but must be based in actual sameness

The problem of identity, i.e. the fundamental question of identity, concerns the constitution of identity—including sense of identity—over change and difference

The fundamental principle shows that there is and must be higher or more inclusive identity and that the identity of human and other organisms must participate in higher identities even though not normally aware of this participation. Identity is sameness despite variety. This gives meaning to recurrence of sequential lives of an individual as delimited by birth and death and the condition of thinking of the self as finite which is a conception in which other animals may not participate… Similarly, the fundamental principle implies that finite beings including human beings participate in the depth and variety of being. In the limit the individual participates in Brahman. Normal limits concern this life. Death is a gate to infinity

Aspects of identity

From metaphysics of immanence the following thoughts regarding identity are necessary

From the developments, the following thoughts are not unreasonable—a higher identity may be experienced as if awakening from a dream; this might be the normal experience of higher identity from this life; experience of higher identity by design may be exceptional. From a higher form than this form, a normal experience of higher identity may be by design; from a lower form, normal experience of higher identity may be as if awakening from deep sleep

Through identity, every organism will have infinite knowledge—knowledge greater than the variety of this cosmos. However, such knowledge may be irrelevant to the quality of being. At root, knower and known remain in near identity; from this ‘ground,’ in which knower, known and action are bound together, the knower separates from the known

Without the metaphysics these thoughts would be mere speculations

God

As was seen in Metaphysics, God as creator of the universe can have no meaning. The universe is eternal. The universe has no ‘outside’ and therefore an external creator violates its necessary nature

However, one part of the universe may create an as-if-artifact domain. That this should be realized as a traditional God is necessary for some domains. The likelihood in the ‘normal’ case is so small as to give practically no support to the traditional cosmologies. However, the elimination of their absolute absurdity may enhance their mythic value and metaphorical interpretation

Space, time and being (matter)

In the void there is neither extension nor duration. In the void there is no extension or duration and, therefore, no space or time for space and time are measures of extension and duration, respectively

In the becoming of a manifest phase of the universe, there is the becoming of duration and extension—of space and time

Duration and extension are elements in the becoming—in the process—rather than original measures of becoming that become comparable or measurable and that fully separate out as space and time rather than space-time only in special cases. Therefore the full measurability and separation of space and time is a very special case. Degrees of separation are dependent on special conditions of a phase or domain of the universe

In attempting to conceive whether space and time are the only coordinations of ‘physical’ being, appeal is made to imagination. It seems to be the case that there is nothing beyond extension and duration, i.e., it seems that space and time are the only coordinate measures of physical being. However, this case of what seems to be resides in imagination and since it is not clear that imagination is equal to being, it does not follow that what is not seen in imagination is not contained in being. Where imagination of a geometric mold fails, symbolic expression and analysis are often possible, e.g., in the formulation of geometries of dimension higher than three and spaces that are neither homogeneous nor isotropic as is the space of Euclidean geometry

The analytic investigation of the extension of being, e.g. spatial and temporal extension, and coordinate possibilities is a research project. It has often been thought that ‘mental space’ is one possibility; however, the theory of objects developed in Objects has cast eliminated this possibility except as metaphorical or as a less than adequate substitute for the understanding developed in Objects

Space and time must be relative and not absolute. I.e., space and time or space-time are not grids whose existence and character is independent of being

Space and time are immanent in being, i.e., in the ‘matter’ of the universe

Therefore, a better title to this discussion would be ‘spatial, temporal, and material aspects of being’

A research project on the foundation of quantum theory: the becoming of space, time, matter from the void cannot be deterministic… or remain deterministic. Since the becoming may be particulate, unlimited local divisibility of space, time and matter is not the universal case

A research project on the foundation of space-time-matter or relativistic physics in the classical and quantum cases. The becoming of duration and extension is the dual becoming of the duration and extension of being; therefore, any apparent universal separability of space-time or of space-time-matter is an artifact of special circumstance

On continuity of identity in general cosmology. Implications for normal or local systems

In omitting all regularity of space and time, it does not follow that there is no memory across non-manifest phases of the universe and therefore in contemplating identity, the object of contemplation is the object of general cosmology

In some systems, identity may be experienced as discrete. Any lack of escape from discreteness of identity is contingent and localized. Escape is always possible even if immensely unlikely in the normal case. Escape is necessary but its normal prerequisite may be the normal but not absolute phenomenon of death

Space, time and matter in a local cosmological system

In this cosmological system, individual particles appear to have the same intrinsic time. I.e., although particles have different ‘clock rates’ under different circumstances e.g. in gravitational fields of different strength, an intrinsic time and ‘universal’ time can be defined

There is no inconsistency involved in the intrinsic time of this cosmos not universalizing to the entire universe

A coherent domain of a manifest phase of the universe may have, as a result of the conditions of formation, and perhaps only to a high degree of uniformity, an intrinsic time

Different domains of a manifest phase need not have the same intrinsic time. The intrinsic time of a given cosmos may be seen to be the result of coherence which may be interpreted as interaction that has relatively high strength. Different domains or cosmological systems necessarily interact but the interaction may be weak—the coherence low—and therefore their intrinsic times distinct. It is by the weaker interactions that comparison of distinct times can have significance or be measurable

Since ‘space’ and ‘time’ are measured not by some absolute or imposed standard but by objects there cannot be any universal absolute space and time grids

Since a given cosmological system may have interaction with the rest of the universe, that interaction may determine whether the space-time of the cosmological system behaves as if absolute

Regard regularity of space and time in some ideal sense to have the following characteristics. (1) Space and time are independent grids and each forms a continuum. (2) Time ‘flows’ uniformly and is unaffected by the distribution of matter. This implies that particles do not so much have intrinsic times as much as that they reside in time. (3) Space is three dimensional and Euclidean

Then, whatever, the irregularities of normal space-time may be for this cosmological system—as revealed, e.g., in the latest theories of physics—the irregularity for the entire universe must be greater. Further, the reasons for the irregularities of the space-time for the entire universe may include the reasons for the irregularities for this cosmos

Independently of the foregoing conclusion, from the formation of manifest phases of being from the void, degrees of regularity of space and time are not at all given but must be the product of special circumstances

Variety of being

Some conclusions from the fundamental principle

The number and variety of states of the universe is infinite. There are infinite collections. The concept of ‘the class’ of consistent concepts presents a problem. What is that class? How is it formed? This question defines a research project, first, in the concept and approaches to construction—realization—of the class and, second, in its implications for variety

I.e., there is a project to study the idea of the class or system or classes of consistent conceptions, pictures, and descriptions. A source of the idea to this project is the intuition that while the fact of infinite variety—and some aspects of variety—are revealed, that variety may have deep and intricate limitations

The issue of the class of consistent conceptions has been resolved implicitly by naming it Logic

The issue may have resolution in terms of the concept of patch, mentioned in the context of global and local descriptions

There are no fictions except contradictions

The universe is infinitely more varied than the description in any myth, any fictional account, any scripture, and any science. The universe is infinitely more varied than this cosmological system

The ‘regular’ behavior of this cosmological system in which there is structure and there appear to be inaccessible states, in which there is causal like behavior is termed normal. The meaning of ‘normal’ is open because this cosmos is not—may or may not be—a prototype for all cosmological or other formed systems

An entire panorama of possibility and actuality opens up. Two examples—subject, of course, to consistency. (1) Any piece of fiction is realized. (2) Any known state of any cosmological system is infinitely repeated

It is possible to talk of a map of the universe. The physical map of a scientifically informed person might have the universe originating with a ‘big bang’ about 13 billion years ago and extending about 13 billion light years across. That ‘physical universe,’ here called the local cosmological system is a finite dot in the infinity of the universe as revealed here. The infinitesimal character of the local system regards not only extent and duration but also kind and variety of being

The variety of being… a systematic approach

Begin with an approach…

An approach to a comprehensive list of objects and categories

An approach to a comprehensive list of objects and categories—fundamental or otherwise—may be stated. (1) Start from the established position that the manifest universe and the void are equivalent—and that they as well as related entities are objects. Construction. (2) From thought and tradition develop a list of approaches to the variety of ways to classify and so to list objects (below.) (3) Develop lists of objects and kinds of object. Criticism. (4) From Metaphysics, Objects, and Logic. (5) It may subsequently be possible to evaluate in what ways the development is complete

Practical study of objects

The following is suggested by Objects and by common sense. Empirical study—recollection of experience, imagination; discovery, exploration and experiment—empirical science. Conceptual study—fiction and literature, abstraction from particular or concrete objects, concept formation, study of patterns of actual and abstract objects, axiomatic systems, mathematics, theoretical science

From the study of Logic

Since Logic and Grammar have meaning which includes reference they define an object—the Logos or Universe. The Universe and Law of the universe define the same object. In having meaning, Syntax defines an abstract object. In that there is a variety of syntactical forms, the abstract object of Syntax is seen as compound. The—valid—logics are objects. A sentence, an inference, an argument—these are objects

The variety

The variety of being, repeated from Objects, emphasizes intuition as a source of kinds of object, describes a variety of kinds. Objects, particular and abstract, may be enumerated first by example, and second by category of intuition—if category intuition is regarded with sufficient generality as in Human being, there can be no broader system of categories. The categories include the practical distinction nature-society-universal-mind (in which universal pertains to the meaning of universe as in Metaphysics but not to the—scholastic—contrast to particular.) Actual varieties are taken up in the narrative, especially in Metaphysics, Objects—the present section, Logic, Cosmology, and Human World

Physical science

The science of physics may be regarded as the study of the simplest attributes of the objects of the ‘external’ world. In Logic it will be seen that physics is an interactive study from both concept and object sides. The study from the concept side includes mathematics whose origin may have been in an object side but whose systematic study is most conveniently conceptual. That many different kinds of systems may be studied in terms of the same mathematics is a result of similarity of the physical form—and behavior—of the different systems; such similarities may, of course, be abstract or symbolic rather than merely geometric or merely dynamic. That the social sciences are not as universally mathematical as the physical may be due to the unique / complex character of social systems. Some future, perhaps qualitative, mathematics may reduce the social sciences to symbolic study. However, given that the object—society—is as complex as the instrument—psyche—and, especially in that whatever is unique in human being is, in the nature of the case, of constitutive interest, a future mathematical sociology may, in general, be restricted to situations of merely utilitarian interest

The categories of intuition

The categories of intuition also contain the distinctions according to existenceactual versus fictional, according to definiteness of being—manifest versus potential and determinate versus indeterminate, and according to quality of knowledgeabsolute versus practical, definite versus vague, and entire versus filtered. Some distinctions have instances in the following

Applications

The following topics may be treated from metaphysics of immanence

The variety may be extended in application e.g. Theory of identity

The form of ‘ethics.’ Morals as objects; ethics and objectivity

Action, concept and object

The number of fundamental concepts—it has been seen that there are perhaps no fundamental concepts. Variety is perhaps fundamental

 Truth—from the theory of objects, coherence is reference (correspondence) of a system of ideas or concepts

The Real and Universals

Develop the ideas of truth, real, universal using earlier versions of Journey in Being and external sources

A variety in general cosmology

The existence of the following objects is a consequence of the fundamental principle. Annihilation. Recurrence and Karma. Identity that spans the identities of normal individuals in this world and other identities—see the theory of identity developed in Cosmology. Miracles in the sense of exception to laws of this cosmological system. A Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Recurrence and Identity. Significance in being. Fact, fiction and the unending Variety of being. Scripture and truth. The nature of death. Creation. God. The idea of self-creation. Interaction of the elements of being. Ghosts and ghost cosmological systems. Spirit as the possible transformations of the normal. Soul as the identity of a normal individual—see the theory of identity. There are no distinct universes. The Limit of imagination

That ‘Jesus Christ rising from the dead’ is an object somewhere in the universe gives little support to its being an object some 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. Necessity somewhere, gives little support to necessity at a specified location in space-time: Jerusalem-2000 years ago. However, the absolute absurdity is removed and this strengthens mythic and metaphorical meaning even as literal meaning is given no support. Further discussion of faith is taken up in Faith

The variety of objects is further taken up in Human World and Problems in metaphysics

Behavior

The universe enters a stage of being the void

From a manifest state, the universe does and must enter the void state. This may be viewed as annihilation of the—manifest state of the—universe

From the void, the universe must enter a manifest state of being

The universe may be in the void or in a manifest state. Both are actual, neither eternal. There are and must be occasions of both manifest and ‘void being’

The previous assertions properly resolve the question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ that has been called the fundamental problem of metaphysics. The resolution is that occasions of manifest being are necessary. However it is not necessary that manifest being is eternal, i.e., that there is ‘always’ manifest being—there must be occasions of ‘void being’

In the void or non-manifest state there is no experience, e.g., experience of a universe. If there is experience, e.g., when there is deliberation of the fundamental problem of metaphysics, the universe must be in a manifest state

The developments in Mind show that in any manifest state there is experience but not necessarily of the focused, acute kind that is experienced by the living beings of earth; the truth of this assertion required a—consistent—extension of the concept of experience to the root or ground of being

Absolute indeterminism, form, and absolute determinism

The universe is absolutely indeterministic—this means that the only inaccessible and unaccessed states are the logically inaccessible states

It is often thought that indeterminism cannot explain form and structure

Since there are no inaccessible and unaccessed states in absolute indeterminism, states of form and structure must too be accessed. The probability or population of the universe by formed states or cosmological systems is addressed below

The absolute indeterminism of the universe is that no—consistent—states are unaccessed. This contains the absolute determinism that all—consistent—states are accessed

The absolute determinism regards which states are accessed i.e. all states are accessed. This absolute determinism is distinct from the classical concept of temporal determinism. The absolute indeterminism regards the manner including sequence of access

It is not only true that indeterminism and form are not inconsistent; they are necessarily consistent. Absolute indeterminism and absolute determinism are necessarily consistent

The states of the universe. Karma. Annihilation. Equivalence among states. Indeterminacy of ‘origins’

There universe has infinitely many states—it is especially true that there are infinitely many normal cosmological systems. Excepting contradiction, every actual state of being within the universe and every—possible or valid—description of a domain of the universe will recur infinitely. This assertion of ‘eternal return’ rings of ‘karma’

A truly karmic interpretation requires superposition of eternal return with identity as discussed earlier

In entering the void state, a manifest phase of the universe may be said to be annihilated

Since the void is absolutely indeterministic, and a void may be regarded as attached to every state and every domain the annihilation may be regarded as being brought about by the void

There is no special significance to ‘annihilation by the void;’ the annihilation may be regarded as self annihilation

In the sense that every state flows from it, every state is equivalent to the void

Every state is equivalent to every other state

In the global perspective it might be said that the universe ‘is’ in a state of the void; however, it may be also said that it ‘is’ not; this form of the assertion encourages the twin habit of using both local and global perspectives

All is change and flux and all is unchanging (Parmenides, Plato) may be read equally from the metaphysics of immanence but are, of course, dependent on perspective

The origin of a formed or even transient cosmos from the void is necessarily indeterministic—the void does not in any sense contain or map deterministically or in a one-to-one manner to a formed state of the universe

Although the void may be thought of a ‘base’ state of the universe relative to which formation and origins occur, the role of base state may be played by any state

Mechanism: the normal

It is useful to review this concept that was introduced earlier. The ‘regular’ behavior of this cosmological system in which there is structure and there appear to be inaccessible states, in which there is causal or causal-like behavior, is termed ‘normal.’ The meaning of the normal, however, must, at least initially, be an open concept because, although, this cosmos is the necessary inspiration, it may or may not be a prototype for what is sought, i.e., what is sought may fall out of study

Mechanism and explanation

Mechanism is an aspect of cosmology

Mechanisms or explanations show only probability, relative stability, near symmetry

While it may be thought that formed states are relatively improbable relative to transient states, near symmetry and relative stability imply greater durability

Perception is likely selective in the sense that there is greater focal perceptivity of complex forms in cosmological systems of certain types of greater complexity

It appears reasonable that combination of greater durability and perceptivity should result a greater population of perceived states that are formed than those that are unformed

If it is true that a high degree of form necessarily entails high perceptivity, then the population of perceived states will not depend on kind of form

This kind of reflection may have implications for whether a formed cosmological system must have life andor sentience. There are reflections of a different nature on this topic in Mind

The normal is a generic term for the being of a formed cosmos in an absolutely indeterministic background

Mechanism is typically associated with the normal. Normal process includes mechanism

Whereas formation by a single step is logically possible and therefore necessary, it seems that incremental variation and selection (of relatively stable states) is far more probable

While variation and selection is necessary to form, the number of ‘steps’ is contingent

Causation and determinism

The concept of causation may be seen as a topic in cosmology

Cause can be seen as interaction among dynamic forms that have similar characteristics but can also be interpreted as a Form that includes the interacting forms

There can be no causal relation among static forms and there is little causal relation among highly transient forms

In general, causation is little like the causation of classical physics or even the probabilistic causation of quantum physics

In a highly generalized sense of causation, there may be said to be universal causation but such causation is little like classical or quantum causation and is not at all deterministic. In the generalized, indeterministic, non one-to-one sense, the void may be thought of as causing manifest being. However, to say so might be misleading

The—classical—idea of causation suggests determinism or near determinism; it suggests, in the case of creation, that what is created is contained—in some sense—in the creating agent

It is good to say that while manifest being may come from the void, it is not contained in or determined by the void

No universal causation

There is no universal causation of the classical or quantum kinds. Perhaps the label quasi-causation or normal causation is more applicable than causation. Such quasi or normal causation must have exception in a normal cosmological system. It was earlier noted that the meaning of ‘normal’ must remain open. It is normal—and necessary—that there should be exceptions to normal behavior

There are and must be phases that are normally causal and normally deterministic

As a result universal absolute indeterminism—no unaccessed states—such phases must exist but cannot be absolutely causal—in the classical sense—or absolutely deterministic

All causation is at most quasi-causation; all (temporal) determinism is at most quasi-determinism

In the global mode of description, absolute indeterminism and absolute determinism are identical. There identity lies in the fact that every state is realized which is indeterministic in that no state is ruled out and global-deterministic (not temporal) in that every state is included

As a result of universal interaction—which follows from the fundamental principle, there must be some weak—kind of—universal causation

It is seen again how much truth is affected by meaning

Determinism

Just as there are phases of quasi-causation, there may also be phases of near or quasi-determinism. It is classic that the quantum theory predicts cases of deterministic behavior in bound and in aggregate states

Cosmology: an explicit formulation

From the development so far, this section describes a coherent picture of the general cosmology. Since it is impossible to describe all detail no picture can be fully explicit. The objective of the section is to provide an overview that is sufficiently articulated that it permits the formation of ‘a picture’ but also at such a level of abstraction that it may be regarded as complete at that level. It is also the objective that no principle of reason or logic should be sacrificed and that the cosmology, science and common sense should be brought into harmony—which may entail that science and common sense be required to adjust at the edges of their domains of validity

The title of this section could be The standard cosmology but that would be misleading since the phrase is used for a particular physical cosmology whose centerpiece is an initial singularity or big bang with initial extremely rapid expansion or inflation

The cosmology

Mode of description—global versus local—employed will vary according to what is most economical. In the global mode, ‘state’ includes process

The possible and actual states and their identity

Every concept or description of a state of being that does not harbor or contain paradox is realized. The actual, the possible and the necessary are identical—the precise meaning of this statement has been discussed earlier. It is not clear whether there is an explicit concept of all states of the universe even if the universe itself or any of its domains is the subject or conceiver. However, there can be no explicit list of all states

Except contradiction there is no fiction

The contradictory states are the non-existent states

In the sense that contradictory states have no realization and are therefore not even fictional, there are no fictions

Existence and properties of the void

The void which contains no object exists and is a state of being. Here ‘object’ includes Entity, Form, Pattern and Law—capitalization is a reminder that the concepts refer to their immanent forms

Universal access of states

The universe enters a state of being the void. From the void, every state of the universe is accessible and therefore accessed. From every state, the void is accessible and accessed

From every state every state is accessible and accessed

The state transitions may be described as absolutely indeterministic (obviously) and absolutely deterministic in that no state is excluded from be-coming

Being, extension and duration. Signal speed

Extension and duration are immanent in being. Even though it may appear that extension and duration exhaust the idea of magnitude, this is not entirely clear. The concept of being (global) may therefore be regarded as the concept of being (local)-magnitude. It is not clear for reasons just stated whether the concept of magnitude has complete realization in terms of space and time. Additionally, the separations being (local) and space and time may (do) not have universal character. The most that can be hoped for even without the separation, i.e. in a being (local)-space-time, is patchwork

It is clear that there can be no universal speed of propagation of signals (the point has not been mentioned earlier)

Substance

There is no universal substance. The void could be regarded as a substance. However, that would violate the kind of simplicity of substance that has motivated substance ontology over millennia in Western and Indian philosophies. The simplicity in question for monistic and dualistic substance ontologies is that of a uniform eternal unchanging ‘substrate’ that deterministically manifests as all variety and change. The void has none of these properties of simplicity. Instead, its supreme simplicity is the one of being a posteriori rather than a priori to investigation and reason. It is the result rather than the precondition of investigation. More precisely, the concept of the void is determined or made explicit (reference) neither at the outset nor at the end of analysis—in maximizing the reality of the void, its utility is also maximized

Therefore, mind and matter, at least in any of their usual specification in terms of sense and reference, are and cannot be universal substances. However, mind is capable of reaching down to the root of being. In earlier versions of this narrative it was written that though mind and matter in their present scientific and philosophical formulations are not identical and even though substance character is not clear, it is now seen that there may be a limit in which they have identity and that identity occurs in relinquishing particular characters. In their identity they are or reach down to the root of being

Depth

Although the root of being may be experienced as deep, in that the system of explanation is simultaneously trivial and profound metaphysics of immanence reveals the depth to be on the surface

Identity

Over the ‘history’ of the universe identity forms, individuates, and merges. There is a state of universal identity in which the non-eternal, separate and limited scope and awareness of the individual or individuated identities merge with the eternal and shed the limit

Objects

The limit of the idea of entity to particular object is an illusion even if a useful or practical one. There is no essential distinction between the particular and the abstract objects

Variety

Every piece of fiction that entails no contradiction is realized as a state of being

Every actual state is infinitely repeated

There is a potpourri of variety from the traditional stories, legends, mythologies and religions—that may of course be supplemented by imagination. See A variety in general cosmology. There is no limit to the series begun in the traditions. Although the significance of these pictures may lie in the non-literal dimension of meaning-as-significance the pictures are necessarily realized. The realization, perhaps in another cosmological system, adds to their significant-meaning but give little support to their actual realization in this cosmos or on this earth

Local and normal cosmology

The cosmology appears to contradict our common secular and mythological-religious-literary world views

However, our cosmological system is not only allowed but is required by metaphysics of immanence

Therefore, there is no conflict between the present metaphysics-cosmology-logic and the scientific description of the local cosmological system

According to the present metaphysics-cosmology, this cosmos repeats infinitely: it is not this cosmos precisely but a system of replicas. What is more there is an infinite variety and hierarchy of kinds of ‘cosmological’ systems

The thought that the universe is like this cosmos was labeled cosmomorphism above. The idea that this cosmos is or is at the center of the universe is cosmocentrism

We are ever in a state of overcoming the limited viewpoints. We want to overcome them but not entirely. We need to overcome them for some purposes but not for all purposes. We may simultaneously shed and harbor the limited view. Multivalent attitude is good and necessary depending on the way in which the attitudes are assumed. And the moral character of the attitudes also depends on the way in which the attitude is held. I may love humankind with a special sentiment without relegating the animal world to insignificance, to a place also in sentiment and love

The concept of the normal and of mechanism

The reader who accepts the logic of the development so far may continue to experience unease with an apparent violence done by the ‘new’ picture to the traditional (modern, secular) picture

How is this cosmological system, this world with its stability consistent with the infinite flux of the general cosmology? If all is flux and all is absolute determinism what is the source of stability of this world?

The answer lies in the concepts of the normal and of mechanism. The idea is that this world is ‘normal’ in its relative though not absolute stability and its relative but not absolute isolation from the rest of the infinitely greater universe. The question ‘how does a normal world arise from the background of a universe that did not contain that world or its nature’ immediately arises. The concept that addresses this question is the concept of mechanism. As will be seen mechanism is rather like normal process and therefore it will not be typical to employ the phrase ‘normal mechanism’

The working of mechanism

The working of mechanism derives by analogy with the process of variation and selection from biological evolution. However mechanism and its nature is derived independently and is not derived from or depend on evolutionary arguments

Recall that the universe enters a state of being the void. Therefore this cosmological system ‘emerged,’ perhaps indirectly, from the void. Since any element of being is equivalent to the element and the void, it is not necessary to begin the argument with the void—it is just simpler to do so

This cosmos may have emerged in a single step. That is not logically impossible and, because of recurrence, there must be infinitely many cosmological systems identical to this one and of those infinitely many emerged in a single step. Although it is not unreasonable that number that emerged in a single step is a lower order of infinity, this does not follow on the general cosmology

That may seem improbable. However, the void has no ‘time limit.’ There may be many random emergences that lack symmetry and therefore stability and therefore die back into non-existence. The picture is a little more complex because stability is not a requirement of being in general. However, for form and variety, symmetry is a requirement. Therefore the universe may at times be a ‘soup’ of ‘failed experiments.’ Since the void and the soup have forever, there will be a ‘time’ when sufficient symmetry emerges that has form and stability sufficient to the emergence of further variety—even of life and intelligence as we know it or beyond. This ‘mechanism’ is a normal mechanism and it has elements in common with those of evolution. However, since the void is not deterministic and since determinism cannot yield stability, such mechanism is necessary

In arriving at this stage of this cosmological system, then, the mechanism is twofold. We may say that there are two mechanisms

The first mechanism is the activity from the void which may be sparse or frenetic but over the absolute infinity of ‘time’ infinitely many cosmological systems like—and perhaps unlike—this one are generated. Infinitely many are identical to this one at any stage which can includes the ‘original’ state, i.e. the singularity (if that is what it was.) The actual origin from the void could be single or multiple step as further discussed below; the distinction is important to the discussion at its present level of detail. In biological evolution—factually and in theory—history is crucial to outcome. In this first mechanism or stage history is not crucial (at the pertinent level of detail)

In reviewing the argument it should be noted that the term ‘single step’ is ambiguous for what may be a single step from one perspective may be many steps from another. The point is that mechanism is required by metaphysics of immanence to get phases of being to a point where secondary and familiar or familiar-like mechanisms emerge: the large scale evolution of a cosmos and within that mold the evolution of life. It may be said that mechanism necessarily includes the emergence of the secondary mechanisms

From symmetry arguments given earlier, the cosmos is given a structure and laws that govern the dynamical evolution of the cosmos. Even though the—quantum—laws are not altogether deterministic, there is a discernible though not necessarily altogether deterministic trajectory. At some point sufficient complexity arose such that the origin and evolution of life became possible. The working of this evolution is the second mechanism

From the perspective of this cosmological system, some physicists have given persuasive arguments that sentient life forms similar to ours elsewhere in the cosmos is very improbable. Similarly, in looking at the evolution of life on earth the number of critical steps requiring very special conditions from origins via the various life forms to the present, some biologists have argued the improbability of the evolution of life even given similar initial conditions

From the perspective of the present general cosmology-metaphysics, the above improbabilities give way to necessity. The present cosmos is infinitely repeated; the number of recurrences of similar cosmological systems is greater; and the variety and number of systems that could be labeled cosmological is even greater. What is the significance to all that variety? How does it affect our lives? Under normal circumstances there is no effect. That is perhaps not entirely true but the probability of an effect may be infinitesimal. Still, the knowledge of all those actualities is significant. Crucially, however, in going beyond the normal the theory of identity has revealed the necessity and levels of communication among all individuals in the universe

Some conclusions regarding mechanism and explanation

1. Unless a greater organization or organizing ability is manifest—the watchmaker for every watch—explanation in terms of factors or mechanism intrinsic to the system is not only most effective, it is the only explanation of the emergence of structure for a non-intrinsic explanation still requires an explanation of the non-intrinsic or interventionist factors

2. Generally, ultimate causes in the emergence of complex novel structure are best broken down into steps that count as gradual and that involve chance and cause. Regardless of gradualism, the presence of chance is necessary for the emergence of novelty

Cause and determinism

Although there is no universal causation in the classic sense there may, as has been seen, pockets of as-if causation and as-if determinism

Relations to the inflationary multiverse model

The inflationary multiverse theory, one of whose authors is Andrei Linde, combines, first, a rapid initial inflation with the singularity or big-bang theory or model of the origin of this cosmological system. The combination of inflation and singularity explains the observed homogeneity of the cosmos that is unexplained on singularity theory alone. It is then pertinent to explain how, if this cosmological system is regarded as the universe as it usually had been in science, the cosmos came to have the remarkable combination of properties that made possible, as an important example, the evolution of intelligent life on earth. This issue is addressed by the multiverse cosmological theory of Andrei Linde according to which the universe is made of many ‘universes’ with different properties and this ‘universe’ or cosmological just happens to one that has the requisite properties necessary for its particular character

Note that in the previous paragraph the terms multiverse and universe (without quotes) correspond to the term universe or Universe of this narrative; they refer to all that exists (global description.) The term ‘universe’ (with quotes) is this or any bubble-universe or cosmological system

There is a clear analogy between the multiverse model or theory and the cosmology of the present narrative. However the cosmology of this narrative is based in the metaphysics of immanence whose fundamental principle is logical. The multiverse theory starts with modern theoretical physics, i.e. the relativistic theory of gravitation and quantum theory. Therefore the cosmology of this narrative, for which definitive proof has been given, is more inclusive than multiverse theory whose status remains perhaps probable and uncertain

Linde’s multiverse theory has been criticized as being not testable, of violating Ockham’s principle, of referring to what is not observed and perhaps not observable and therefore being non-scientific. A more specific criticism is that on account of the age of this cosmological system and the limiting speed of light, communication among the ‘universes’ is impossible, so making the idea of a multiverse no better than a fiction

Regarding the cosmology of this narrative, its essential basis is in Logic and therefore the objection of being non-scientific does not touch it. In fact, as discussed earlier, there is an interpretation in which the present metaphysics has a derivation from Ockham’s principle. Also, as discussed earlier, there is no universal signal (‘light’) speed and therefore the objection from the speed of light does not apply. That there is no prohibition of interaction between any part of the universe and any other part has been demonstrated. The prohibition in this cosmos is one that follows because the propagation speed of all fundamental forces is the speed of light and is built into the laws of theoretical which, however, are normal laws; therefore there must be exceptions even if in the normal case such exceptions are not observed due to their improbability

God, mechanism and evolution

Since the universe is all being any god is part of it. There is no external creator of the universe

One part of the universe may have an effect on another part; the effecting part may have god-like features; that is logically possible

The arguments of the previous section show that a non-interventionist explanation of the origin and dynamical evolution of this cosmological system is far more satisfactory than one based on divine intervention. The arguments show that God is not necessary and that the non-interventionist case is far more frequent. The ‘God argument’ suffers from a further deficiency. Whereas the argument from the void starts from the simplest of all things—the void that requires no explanation, the God arguments starts from a God that is apparently more complex than his or her creation and remains unexplained; the argument above is not based in external factors, the God argument is based on a God that stands outside the cosmological system and even the universe

Overview

Human beings experience this cosmological system as vast and often as magnificent and beautiful. The forces of nature acting in and on our earth are often an occasion for awe. Although human nature is often inadvertently and intentionally destructive it is also experienced as exquisite. Wonder lies within experience; it is a relation between perceiver and perceived

The universe that is all being is of infinitely greater magnitude than this cosmos in terms of extent, duration and variety of entity, structure and law

Human world

A study of the human world is important in this narrative in completing the cosmology and as context for a shared, cooperative journey

Introduction

What is ‘Human World?’

Human World develops an account of the human world from the perspective of Theory of Being, especially Metaphysics and Mind

There is no thought to regard human being as apart from or above or below animal being or animal nature. In an expansive framework, Human World can be seen as Cosmology with a focus on the human world

A psychological and social anthropology!

Since the focus is on the psyche and the group—mind and society—the title of this chapter could be psychological and social anthropology

Note on psychology as a discipline

Academic psychology often regards itself as the objective study of the—human—psyche and therefore does not admit experience—consciousness and related subjective aspects of psyche into its domain of study. In response, it is often claimed that the existence of a subjective side is objectively known—which has been shown in this narrative to be a—perhaps the—fundamental fact of the meaning of experience. Further, that knowledge has a subjective side does not constitutively imply that it is not objective; objectivity must be a contingent or case by case concern. In this narrative, psychology has no a priori restrictions of subject matter except, of course, in its focus on—human—mind. While the contours of the discussion concern mind as such, the treatment is, however, selective with regard to detail—the general interest lies in the place and evolution of mind in general, the necessity and nature of animal / human freedoms, the given versus development in human being, the use of the metaphysics of immanence to shed light on these basic questions, and those aspects of the human world that enhance realization of the goals of the journey

It would seem that the exclusion of the subjective side of human-being-in-the-world at the beginning of study is a prejudice that, even from the conservative viewpoint, could well be replaced by an intent to make no unfounded objective statements about that side

Role of Human World in Journey in Being

Place of the division in the journey. (1) Understanding—knowledge—of human being and society will be instrumental in undertaking the journey, especially in the initial phases of ideas and transformation. The human world is the context in which the journey begins. (2) Illustration of the Theory of Being especially rounding out the Cosmology and provision of a—potential alternate—approach to the Metaphysics

Presentation as a contribution to the history of ideas

Human World is presented as a contribution to thought, especially in the study of human mind; and to the study of society and its institutions, values, morals—ethics—and faith

Method

Method has been outlined in Metaphysics. Metaphysics (theory of being) provides a framework of necessary—though occasionally contingent—assertions and proof. Here, the human world is a special context and most ‘data’ e.g. psychology will be contextual or contingent—but some elements of data e.g. the fact of bound and free elements in—human—mind will be shown necessary. Conclusions are necessary when all premises including proofs—form of proof may be regarded as a premise and necessary proof is deductive proof. When any premise is contingent, conclusions may be contingent

Freedom and necessity

Significance of the topic and of this discussion. Pertinence to the narrative. Placement

The questions of human freedom—its existence and nature—have intrinsic and ongoing interest. A discussion of freedom serves the following purposes. (1) The subsequent topics are frequently concerned with the issue of freedom and it seems effective to discuss it at some length before approaching specific topics. This first item also explains the placement of the discussion. (2) The treatment of freedom in prior thought is found to not satisfy the needs or standards of the present discussion. (3) The reflections are sufficiently novel in their approach that they may be a contribution to thought. As is typical for such issues, their clarification may require and be the occasion for, not only clarification of the concepts of immediate interest, but also for other fundamental concepts and questions of method

Origin of the idea of freedom

The degree of variation among human individuals and cultures—and within cultures—suggests that human beings have certain kinds of freedoms and this is apparently confirmed by individual reflection on the ability to conceive of alternate possibilities of action especially toward some chosen end, to choose from among the alternatives and to act constructively toward that choice

Debate regarding existence of freedom

There is, however, a tradition of debate about freedom—especially in modern philosophy—stemming from scholastic (theological) and modern scientific arguments for determinism in nature and the question of compatibility of freedom and determinism. The significance of ‘freedom’ is such that debate is natural

Substance of the debate

The most famous and glamorous question is Are we free?

There are other concerns of which some have roughly equal importance:

What is the true nature of freedom and what are the human and philosophical consequences of its presence or absence? Is nature deterministic—and what is determinism? Is freedom compatible with determinism? Is indeterminism necessary? Is indeterminism sufficient for freedom or must it be a kind of indeterminism? Is there such a thing as human liberty? Why should individuals be accountable for their actions? Can there be true action in the absence of freedom? In absence of freedom can there be creativity, independence, choice, or dignity—do these concepts even have meaning, could they even arise in absence of freedom?

Some background in religion and science

In scholastic philosophy, especially in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, discussion of freedom and determinism includes a desire to reconcile the absolute nature of God with human liberty. The science of Newton is deterministic in form—this does not guarantee determinism because singular states can be described mathematically whose outcome is not unique. It is not clear, however, whether such states are actual states of the world. Recently, chaos theory has shown that the behavior of ‘chaotic systems’ is so sensitive to initial conditions as to make prediction of the trajectory of such a system impossible unless initial conditions are known to a precision that is not attainable and, on the assumption that the brain may be ‘chaotic,’ this is sometimes thought to make human freedom compatible with determinism in nature. However, it seems that what may legitimately concluded is that it may be impossible, as a result of chaos, to distinguish true from apparent freedom. While Einstein’s theory of gravitation—general relativity—is deterministic in form, the presence of singularities that make global partitioning into spaces at a time and space-times that have closed causal loops further complicate what may be inferred regarding the determinism of the world from formally deterministic physical theories

Modern physical science

Since Newtonian physics may be seen as a deterministic approximation to quantum theory, the latter theory may be expected to provide a more robust foundation for the discussion of freedom. Quantum theory is indeterministic and yet it allows for stable structure and in this is entirely consistent with the idea of human being as having form and behavioral patterns that are often determinate but are not invariably so

Recent cognitive science

Against this there are cognitive scientists who argue from experiments that in many common actions, while there is a conscious sense of choice, action is actually already executed before the consciousness occurs. This argument has a simple deficiency in that it does not allow for unconscious choice (it will be seen below that the unconscious is not invariably and entirely in a realm of unawareness but is, rather, inclusive of a realm of dim and non-reflexive awareness.) Further, the argument does not allow for interaction of consciousness and the unconscious over time in complex actions such as planning, design and execution of diffuse projects especially the ‘project’ of a life or of a civilization. The comparison may be unfair and is not particularly relevant to the question of freedom but Aquinas seems to have been fair minded in comparison to those science minded thinkers who rush to make defining conclusions from simple laboratory experiments on a complex creature

Freedom and determinism

Is freedom compatible with determinism? Although the question has intellectual interest and has been the occasion for ingenious argument, it is no longer as significant as it was in times when theological and scientific determinism were predominant. Some responses have argued that a sense of freedom is consistent with determinism. Some have argued that the freedom to do what one wills is compatible with determinism. However, the ability to have and make a choice is inconsistent with determinism and without choice there could not be freedom to do anything. Therefore, indeterminism necessary for freedom. Is indeterminism sufficient for freedom? It is not but this is so near to being transparent that the question is not interesting. It is more interesting to ask what kind of indeterminism may be sufficient or necessary for freedom. It is reasonable to think that an indeterminism that is consistent with freedom is one that permits a degree of indeterminism (choice) within a framework of form or structure. Thus, freedom may well be possible within a framework of quantum theory but this is far from having been shown. As will be seen, the absolute indeterminism of metaphysics of immanence is—probably far more than—sufficient for freedom

Quickness to conclusions in the recent literature. Interpretation of recent experiments on freedoms. Possible reasons for quickness and pre-interpretation

In reading arguments for and against freedom an impression may arise that there is an occasional quickness to make conclusions from ideas or data that are suggestive but not conclusive even though reigning paradigms of thought may dispose thinkers to hold that what is merely suggestive is actually conclusive. The experiments that ‘show’ that human freedom is an illusion—the result of a desire to believe in such freedom—show only that, in some simple instances, the source of action is not in the ‘bright’ region of consciousness. The quickness of the conclusion could be explained by the desire of the scientists desire to believe in a strict empiricist program of science—or, perhaps, by the satisfaction that is derived from a vision of science and scientist as informing society (of course this description pertains only to some kinds of ‘science’ and ‘scientist’)

Questionable status of quantum theory

Even though the arguments from quantum theory appear to have robustness it is pertinent that a careful reading of the theory appears to makes its status as a non-deterministic theory less than certain. Further, among those physicists who reflect on that theory and its potential as a final theory, there is a growing belief that it is probably an incomplete approximation to a very different theory—the phrase in italics is from Lee Smolin, The Other Einstein, New York Review of Books, June 14, 2007

Proper direction of thought on freedom

Therefore, it seems that, in order to think carefully on human freedom at all, the one available contextual direction is one that may have seemed obvious and natural in the first place—reflection on the subject of thought that, in this instance, is human being. Thought on the topic is not limited to the contextual because the context lies within the larger domain of being and the contextual questions can be framed within the theory of being

The essential questions on freedom

With preliminaries addressed, discussion begins anew

The essential questions are as follows. (1) What is freedom? (2) What kinds of freedom are there and what are their interrelations? Note that one possible answer to this question is that there are no kinds—i.e. there is no freedom. (3) How are the arguments to be made?

The answer to the third question is addressed—though not answered—immediately. In outline, the arguments shall use the metaphysical principles established and the empirical evidence of, first, everyday human experience and, second, the course of human history. The detailed development-recapitulation of method is interwoven with the discussion of the particular and ‘substantive’ questions

What is freedom?

Freedom is the ability to conceive different outcomes, to choose from among them, and to effect the choice. The word ‘outcome’ covers both act and end. If there are 10,000 possible outcomes in one description of some context, 5000 of them may be regarded as ‘one’ and therefore freedom does not require the effectuation of a precise outcome. However, freedom does require that there should be more than one outcome; i.e. freedom and determinism are incompatible. If indeterminism is necessary for mind—an at least reasonable argument for that conclusion can be given—then determinism is incompatible with even an illusion of freedom. This concept of freedom requires novel concept formation in the ability to make and execute choice; it will be seen in Human being that these are not distinct freedoms and have basis in the ‘free symbol.’ As suggested above, freedom is without meaning unless it occurs against a background of—at least partially—determined form. That determined form includes knowledge and it is against and from that background—itself in part the creation of freedom—that novel choice emerges…

Freedom without conception of alternatives?

A lesser form of freedom might be the ability to choose from given alternative outcomes without an ability to create alternatives; however, to be aware of the alternatives the individual would have to have another—likely human—person conceive them. The thought that that other person could be God may be discounted from the kinds of argument in Metaphysics and Cosmology. However, the question arises as to when the choice from among given alternatives is freedom. If an animal has hunger and a sense of smell the connection between direction of travel and scent may not occur at any conscious or articulate level. However, if the animal is able to bring into consciousness several scents, their directions, their kinds, their magnitudes and estimate consciously which direction of travel would bring about the greatest amount of food, would that not count as creation of choice? The case is interesting but is not analyzed further because the interest is in the case of higher choice, i.e., the case in which choice is in fact created

Freedom is not the ability to do ‘anything one pleases’

Freedom is not the ability to do anything one pleases—even if it does not appear to be absurd

In liberal-analytic, existential, and common thought there is an occasional and thoughtless assumption that the exercise of freedom is simple and luminous—that except for absurdities, one can do whatever one chooses. This assumption has drawn the natural reactions that include ‘human being is determined, not free,’ ‘the exercise of freedom is an illusion,’ ‘human freedom is trivial and uninteresting.’ Action and reaction submit to the position that freedom is absolutely polar: human being is absolutely free or not free at all

It is important to recognize that the process of creating choice, selecting from among alternatives, and acting on selections is not at all easy, linear, or altogether luminous

Awareness and exercise of freedom may be slow and laborious (that may be punctuated by points of light)

It should be emphasized the ‘freedom’ is not the ability to do ‘anything one chooses,’ that presence of freedom does not mean that acts are fully determined by intent or ends fully determined by intent or acts, or that the exercise significant freedom is free of immense challenge. As noted, freedom is without meaning unless it occurs against a background of—at least partially—determined form. Misconceptions regarding the nature of freedom and its place in human life are a source of tension in discussions of human freedom. Some liberal analytic philosophers have written as though self-definition is straight forward and entirely conscious. Here, however, in saying that persons have freedom this view is rejected. Even becoming aware of the fact of freedom and in seeing or creating options is likely to be hesitant and, partly due to a necessary interplay between conscious and unconscious factors, to not follow any foreseeable progression

If freedom is a defining human characteristic, it is so only in certain perspectives

Existentialists have written as though exercise of freedom—in the face of nihilism or adversity—is the defining human characteristic. The thought here is that freedom is, as seen below, an essential characteristic. However, no single characteristic is put forward as the defining characteristic and it is not suggested that any struggle for freedom or any noble stand against nihilism is necessary to be ‘authentically’ human

Yet, freedom is essential

Yet, freedom has been seen as sufficiently important that, even though its expression may be halting and occasional (and luminous), its role in human life is essential

Are we free?

Discussion so far has provided some answer to the question of the nature of freedom. It also shows that if there is freedom, what its kinds shall be. It remains to discuss whether there is human freedom

How shall the question of freedom be addressed?

But this also requires addressing the question how the issue may be discussed

Contingent / empirical aspect of the argument

This is provided by the discussion so far

Necessary aspect

In saying earlier that the only possible direction of thought on the issue of freedom is to reflect on human being, the possibility of using the Metaphysics was temporarily suppressed. Since science and religion and even the history of ideas have little to say on the issue that can be regarded as final and since it is not at all clear that these traditional sources of argument can resolve the issue, argument now turns to Theory of being i.e. the Metaphysics in whose ultimate character the traditional sources have been seen to be limited

Human being has freedom. The argument

In saying ‘Human being has freedom’, ‘freedom’ is, of course, as laid out earlier

The argument

The argument in six steps is supremely simple

1. The universe enters a state of being the void

2. The present—state—has emerged from the void

3. Since the void is absolute absence, it is essential to the present that it contains novelty and, since, sufficiently far in the past there was no human culture or even human being, human culture must contain essential novelty

4. The novelty in human culture must stem human being—freedom—and the environment in interaction

5. Although it is logically possible (from the skeleton form of argument) for all cultural novelty to have environmental origin, given the complexity of human being—brain—in relation to that of the environment the actual probability of entirely environmental origin is infinitesimal

In mathematics an infinitesimal is a number, given rigorous meaning by Abrahamson Robinson in ‘non-standard analysis,’ not zero but whose magnitude is less than that of any finite number such as 0.01 or 0.002 and so on. Here, however, ‘infinitesimal’ is used metaphorically to mean extremely small. Also note that the probability in question has not been shown here to be quantifiable since it occurs against the background of the universe of all being; perhaps, therefore, ‘probability’ is here also best seen as metaphorical

6. Therefore, human being is a—partial—determinant and instrument of self, and of human culture and destiny

Comment on environment

The other determinant is, of course, ‘environment’ for human being and environment constitute the universe. However, it is—obviously—not being said that the human being and environment together are fully determining for that would be determinism

Review: robustness of the argument

The argument follows a pattern already seen in which an extremely likely and robust contingent conclusion is made within a framework of necessity. Those who want a logical proof of human freedom should note that such proof is impossible except on detailed assumptions regarding the structure of the cosmos and may also note that Theory of being has shown that there must be beings who—will—share Identity with human being who have freedom. Anyone who still desires unconditional logical proof may be encouraged to act upon this desire but may also reflect that it is perhaps a loss based in a misunderstanding of being and human being to be allow this concern to prevent all forward motion into further realms of ideas

If, however, it is assumed that the locus of novelty in the human world is not entirely in the environment, then the argument for human freedom becomes necessary (since human being must then be one of the loci of freedom)

Neurosis of insistence on the counter-argument

The argument against freedom is instructive in demanding an argument for freedom. Further insistence on an argument against freedom, except that illumination continues to be a good thing, is then seen as massively neurotic. As source of novelty, freedom must lie in the universe, i.e., in environment andor organism. The source of the thought against human freedom lies, in the light of absolute indeterminism, in the thought that we are separate from the baser environment. In any demand that we are so different, whose origin is in neurosis, we entail the conclusion that we are less than we are. We allow the lessening of the organism to promote its ego. The thinker who thinks he or she is above the other lessens his or her own image. Stop it

Human being

The introduction to the division Human world, discussed its role in the narrative

Human being is the ‘unit’ of the human world. Human being sets up the chapters Social world through Faith

Psyche is the most significant aspect of Human being to ‘Journey’ and so this chapter emphasizes the mental side

Mind is not separate from body and even though there are differences, human being is not distinct from the animal; therefore the chapter begins with organism

Organism

When two systems are—exist—in interaction their forms may be mutually influenced. They may co-form and be co-formed or adapted; they may have con-formation—but it is not implied that such conformation is intrinsic or goes to the root of the being of the systems. Common origins and extensive interaction are two sources of adaptation that goes to or approaches that root. The occurrence of adaptation is necessary; that it should be of a particular kind or degree is, in the particular case, a priori contingent. When a kind of degree of adaptation is consistently conceived or observed, that it should occur—and occur with infinite repetition—is necessary. While the occurrence of consistent or observed adaptation is necessary, a mechanism of occurrence such as incremental variation and selection is, in any instance, a priori at most probable. That—consistent—incremental variation and selection should occur in some instance is necessary. That incremental variation and selection should always be a priori probable is impossible even if it is most often so; it is perhaps more accurate to say that there are probabilities only relative to an ‘initial’ state that already has form. There must be cases of deep co-adaptation—including adaptation of organism to environment—whose genesis was not one of incremental variation and selection. It is not necessary that such cases have occurred on this earth

When the process of adaptation becomes ‘coded’ into the organism, ‘evolution’ may be said to be internalized. Examples of internalization are the genetic code and—creative—intelligence. The relation between the size of the code and the size of its elements e.g. the primitive molecules that is required for complexity of even the simplest organisms poses an interesting question. The relation between the size of the simplest organisms and the size required for complexity of form and function—and creative intelligence—also poses an interesting question (note that function is dynamic form)

Feeling

That psyche is experience—in its forms and varieties—has been shown in Mind. That experience should, in the case of animal being, be coeval with the material root of the organism was also shown and the potential charge that this is an ‘absurd pan-psychism’ was considered and critically rejected

The elementary ‘unit’ of experience or psyche may be labeled feeling. In this use, feeling contains but is not limited to the common use of feeling as emotion or affect

Elements of psyche—the dimensions and variables of feeling

Introduction

The example of ‘sense’ that includes sensation of environment—sight, hearing and so on, and of body—muscle tension, motion and position sense and so on shows that the dimensions may be or are experienced as both continuous and discrete. Although any listing of the dimensions may be incomplete there is no ineffable sense even though there may be subtle or low intensity sensing. It is not being said that, when matter is defined as in current physical science, all is matter or there is no spiritual element but that any spiritual element is in the universe and sensory knowledge of it does not lie in a different category from the recognized senses. It is certainly possible that, if there is such sensation, some individuals may possess it to a greater degree than others…

Feeling has the following variables or dimensions

Quality

Quality refers to sensory mode. Modes defined by environmental variables—sight; hearing; touch which includes pressure, friction, hot and cold; taste and smell. Modes that correspond to body variables. Afferent—sense associated with reception—muscle tension; variables associated with other organs including stress; motion and position sense. Efferent—sense associated with action and production—motion; semi-autonomous variables such as breathing; speech; dramatization

Intensity

Intensity—which includes the positive-negative dimension e.g. pleasure-pain. Below some threshold, sensory variables may not be associated with the positive-negative dimension which disposes to seeking or avoiding action and, at such levels are primary informational in character

Bound-free dimension

A bound feeling is one whose intensity and quality are functions of the state of the object of perception (the object is not always identical to the conventional object e.g. when a brick is the conventional object, lighting may be included in ‘the’ object.) A free feeling is one that is at most partially bound. Free feeling and memory are likely interwoven. The free feeling appears to be the source or occasion of novelty or creativity of mental process; higher creativity occurs in the discipline and cultivation of the higher modes in interaction with the basal. The bound quality of mental content appears to be associated with attitude (intentionality) and action

Function and integration

The elementary unit of psyche was labeled feeling. Does this occur at the level of the most elementary of physical particles, at an atomic or molecular level or at the level of cells or some higher level? It was shown in Mind, that the most elementary particles have feeling but it may not be necessary to specify which level is fundamental. For most processes of psyche the relevant elementary level may be cellular but there may be aspects of psyche, e.g. indeterminism, for which it is necessary to refer to sub-cellular even elementary particle levels. When talking of a sensation, integration has already occurred but, for much of the discussion of functions of psyche, this level may be taken as elementary

What is integration?

Integration covers the integration or binding of different sensations—sensory feelings—in the perception of an object. The sense of object constancy under rotation and motion is a form of integration. Integration is not entirely bound—a tree can be seen as a tree or as ‘10,000 leaves…’

Adaptability of integration. Emotion and motivation

Integration is adaptable—cultural objects are especially adapted. The ‘unity of consciousness’ is a form of integration. Complex emotions are integrated. The non-separation and perhaps inseparability of quality and form translates as binding of emotion and perception at primitive levels. Motivation is found in the binding of emotive-feeling and perceptive-feeling; since primitive emotion is sense or perception of body, lower motivation is binding of body to environment (higher motivation is potential binding of psyche to world.) These thoughts concern binding of modes of feeling at primitive levels and show the essential binding of primitive emotion and perception where emotion may be below the threshold of distinctive pleasure-pain but provides perception and thought with a motivational-quality whose lack is pathological. This level of binding of emotive to cognitive ‘feeling’ is primitive in relation to binding of thought and emotion which has necessary degrees of freedom—of integrability and disintegrability. Emotion is—provides—binding to others and to commitments (possible explanation of non-productive lives of antisocial persons)

Cognition. Integration with emotion

Perception may be seen as integrated bound external sensation (hallucination is image memory whose intensity matches that of normal perception.) Thought is integrated free sensation. There appear to be thresholds of intensity below which perception and thought lack valence. Higher emotion is (hypothetically) a mutually conditioned mix of elementary emotion and thought. Primitive or elementary emotion is bound, internal, valent sensation

Emotional responses are not fixed

Since binding is a function of memory and since memory associations change, it is not correct to think of emotional responses as fixed even though it is the nature of binding that emotion should have strong binding. This is also observed. Emotion may be cultivated—at least in some measure; although joy is not a matter of will, it may be cultivated; and misery may be cultivated for secondary gain. The categories of intuition below are integral forms

Incompleteness of integration—its adaptive character

The incompleteness of integration was noted. This incompleteness is essential for it allows integrability and growth, and it allows the presence of multiple channels of mental process and, especially, focus and periphery (background)

Personality and identity

Personality is an integral form as is Identity. Personality will not be analyzed further here except to observe that it is a function whose arguments include the integration of the functions of cognition, emotion and perhaps motivation which includes drive or energy and inherited and learnt aspects of these factors. The theory of identity has been considered in Cosmology

Mechanism of integration

The actual integration of objects is clearly a function of ability to integrate—which is a function of kind of organism and exposure (growth.) This would appear to be most efficient; the alternative that integration is entirely built in or innate would place a burden on heredity and would mean that all adaptations would be pre-adaptations. The individual is regarded as having the ability to integrate. The integral forms are laid down in memory (neural) which is modified (grows) in exposure

Concept-percept

These terms have a number of meanings and in their most general meanings have significant overlap. In an elementary meaning, perception is bound to the object while conception has a degree of freedom. In another meaning, the concept is any mental content and, in this use, includes perception. Occasionally perception is used to include conception for, even while conception has freedom, it invariably has potential binding

The unconscious

Memory (relative strength of association) and focus-background are implicated in the unconscious. Two types of ‘unconscious’ may be identified. (1) What is present in mind but is peripheral to the focal consciousness. This may come to foreground. In some cases the individual becomes aware of the periphery even without its coming to fore e.g. in becoming aware that there had been an awareness a few seconds ago. (2) What is not present but may come into awareness through association that is focal or otherwise. Additionally, lack of integration or splitting is also implicated (this concern is significant in ‘neuroses’ and disintegration or disorder of personality.) The unconscious enters also as the Form of intuition which conditions perception and conception but is not itself normally seen

Intuition

The intuition is an integral function—or set of integral functions. Its importance is sufficient to place it in a separate section

Categories of intuition

The ability to perceive the world in terms of objects, space, time, causation and so on must depend on biological structures and so be innate or partially innate. Such abilities examples of what Kant called intuition—the built-in conformation of percept and concept to forms of the world. The following categories deviate from those of Kant and others. Space, time and cause—suggested by Schopenhauer as the forms of intuition—are forms of regularity. It is innate to have adaptation to irregularities and unexpected features of the world. Humor is the category of intuition that adapts to the irregular and the unexpected. In this meaning, humor is related but not identical to its common meaning. Originality and humor overlap. The source of this idea is the pronouncement of a friend ‘Humor is the highest form of wisdom.’ The classes of intuition are the existential, the physical and the biological, and the psychosocial

A system of categories
Existential

Being (Becoming, Being-in, …), Experience and Content—precursor to self and concept, Object, Humor (the intuition of indeterminism and chaos)

Physical

Space, Time, Physical Object, Causation, Indeterminism

Biological

Life Form and Ecosystem, Species, Heredity

Psychosocial

Image-Concept, Icon-Symbol (and Artifactuality and Language,) all of which are strongly Cognitive, Emotion, Humor, Value, Identity… Self, Other-as-self e.g. ‘you’ or ‘thou,’ Communication, Other-as-object e.g. ‘they.’ Is such a list necessary or illuminating? It has been presented in such detail because the, for the individual, all the items listed are intuitive—have an intuitive element—which is not to say that they entirely innate / do not have a developmental aspect. And, of course, in allowing symbol, everything would have an innate aspect in some sense but now, in humor, innateness includes the unpredicted and the unpredictable and so allows reaching out into what not at all innate—the world beyond this world—the world of what is unknown, what is not contained in person or society

A reduced system

A reduced system might be Object and Humor—which are the abilities to know and appreciate the known and the unknown

Growth, personality, commitments

Classic approaches to personality (these perhaps straddle a number of cultures) include factors and dynamics. A preliminary organization of factors is according to freedom and constraint (in which biology is significant.) These include affective-cognitive style. Dynamics pertains to the interactions among these factors and to action and choice. Here, dynamics further pertains to fixity, flexibility of dynamics, recognition of the factors (including the unconscious,) cultivation, and reflexivity applied to change. Dimensions. What factors mark personality and what are its dimensions? Personality is a function of overall integration of psyche (the suggestion a near tautology.) It is also reasonable to think that the overall integration is a result of the interaction of experience and the functional system (including the categories of intuition.) Therefore, an effective approach to classification (to be synthesized with observation and experience) may include consideration of the varieties of integration—the differential development of the various functions and their interactions (e.g. and roughly, prominence of emotion would mark a different kind than would prominence of cognition. The ratios of binding and freedom and their intensities are also significant.) It may be observed that, roughly, growth follows an (overlapping) sequence of development: natural, social, psychological, universal. These issues remain an ongoing concern

The place of a study of personality in the journey is as follows. There are impediments to realization. These include normal impediments e.g. constraints of intelligence, time, affection, resources… There was an initial lack of definition of goals—this, it was recognized, is essential to the endeavor. However, they also recognized characteristic styles of self-perception, relations to life—including others and environment and ambition, how they accommodated criticism and success and failure—how they conceived success and failure… These overlap ‘personality.’ Cultivation of self is important; compensation (in addition to change) but not overcompensation (which requires recognition) is also significant. Charisma may, perhaps, be cultivated

The role of method in understanding freedom in the expression of personality

Is personality a form of binding to determined patterns of behavior? The repetitive occurrence of characteristic patterns even when not desired suggests that there is a determined component or tendency. However, there is no empirical foundation to complete determinism in personality for a general proposition is not proved by instances and, further, it is perhaps true that most observations of determined behavior come from routine behavior where repetition is desired or neurotic behavior where the mechanism of choice has not developed or has been suppressed due to painful associations. There can be no theoretical foundation for determinism in personality even though thinking in earlier eras of determinism in the fundamental sciences may have so predisposed thought. Freedom has been seen to be logically necessary (on minimalist and realistic conditions.) However, there is no logical proof that the individual has freedom for there could be an invisible agent that guides ‘as if free’ behavior. In development, parents guide the behavior of children. However, to think that all human behavior is so guided is to substitute an extremely improbable explanation for a normal explanation; there is no practical reason to doubt freedom in personality. What is in question is what kinds and extents of freedom there may be. It is suggested that in healthy individual, awareness and expression of choice require time and may develop over time and, when at the boundaries of normal possibility, may require great diligence and focus and may require, for example, an acceptance of anxiety which may be seen as a form of binding

Language

Language has the following typical characteristics. Its syntactical forms correspond to states of affairs and modes of communication regarding such states. The standard form of language that corresponds to a state of affairs is the subject-predicate form. The modes of communication are assertion, direction, commission, expression, declaration (assertion includes the sub-forms of fact, exclamation, and question…) In spoken form there is a vocabulary; the spoken form follows syntax; the spoken form is associated with para-verbal communication. The written form includes letters that are not signs in themselves but from which signs—words—are built; there are punctuation marks and of which some indicate para-verbal communication. However the written form tends to have degrees of dissociation from context that is both strength and weakness. Language is generally a linear form. Language production and comprehension is a form of intuition but this does not mean that it is entirely innate

This picture of language has a number of deficiencies. Is the subject-predicate form the universal mode of expression? Are there not utterances that are not predicative? Is a groan a linguistic form? Are the parts of speech ‘kinds.’ Is the suggestion that syntax and semantics are separate fully valid? As communication and expression, how complete is language—even though there may be special language centers in the brain does this force us to regard language as an entity unto itself—or is it continuous with iconic and dramatic production and recognition? Does not the central place of linear language in culture dispose human beings to see language as larger than it is—especially, perhaps, because language becomes a selective factor for kinds of intelligence and activity

Exceptional achievement

Factors of achievement are of interest in the journey and in the general case. Achievement results from the cultivation of ability as well as from circumstantial factors. The existence of the savant syndrome suggests that exceptional ability is, at least in part, the result of release and this thought has partial confirmation in experiments designed to release ability. Therefore, cultivation of ability is important and in its absence exceptional ability is not at all under individual influence. The dimensions of ability—and of dysfunction—correspond at least approximately to the dimensions of intuition (which include personality.) Binding of cognition and emotion is significant. Achievement is occasionally but not invariably the result of a ‘healthy’ psyche and may be a result of release, compensation or occasion that results from deviation from health and, of course, this calls into question the nature of ‘health’ in relation to psyche and whether health is uniform or multivalent and to what extent health is individual versus cumulative over individuals

In small (hunter-gatherer) societies, ‘shamans’ have been (it is said) the diviners of ‘truth’ and protectors of psychic and social integrity. The (‘true’) shaman appears to be a psychically sensitive and charismatic but perhaps physically robust individual who is initiated e.g. by crisis into and completes a journey of discovery into ‘other’ worlds (which may be interpreted as a journey into the self.) Completion of the shamanic journey is important—cognitively as disintegration as preliminary to integration, breakdown is preliminary to reconstruction in light of the Real; and emotively as confidence that results from living through an experience of complete lack of foundation

It is pertinent to ask whether the future ‘inspiration’ of the modern world lies only in institution, patriarchalism and normalcy or whether it may lie also in charisma (whose roots may lie in sensitivity and ability)

Atman. The end of growth

Is there an end of growth? In the normal theories of growth, death is an ultimate limit. The Theory of Being shows that death cannot be such a limit and, in discussing Identity it was shown that Individual Identity merges (must merge) in a higher (more comprehensive) identity

Such issues may be discussed without end. Their meaning (sense and reference) is realized in action rather than discussion alone. The following is an aspect of the experiments to be undertaken

Apprehension of the infinite

Brahman is the real; Atman is the limit in individual Identity. Then, Atman is the Experience of Brahman in the Individual

Social world

The social world provides—one—context for individual meaning and commitment. Commitment is commitment to the production of values deemed worthwhile. It is not the case that meaning is absolute meaning or that commitment guarantees outcome. However, commitment is instrumental in outcome and meaning is the place that outcome and effort may be appreciated. In addition to the provision of context, institutions make possible works that are beyond the power of an isolated individual

Outline

In Social world, the ideas of society, culture and institution are developed from enumeration of the possible kinds of group interaction in light of the Metaphysics and the nature of Human being. The significance for the journey is that the group, the Social world is, in the elaboration of its nature, one object of interest—an object that undertakes a journey, and for the individual it is both ground and support

Culture

In sociology, culture is often used to refer to the sum of learned and transmitted human knowledge, belief and behavior

Freedom

A central idea is that human freedom is a contributing factor in the makeup of the human social world. It is not suggested that there is any set of determining factors for it is unlikely that such a set could be found; and it is not thought that individual freedom is necessary for all societies—human and non-human. However, it is part of the central idea that human freedom is essential for some aspects of human society—and the thought is that that freedom is essential to the self-determining aspects of human society (again, it is not suggested that there is complete determination by any set of factors.) Human freedoms of thought—linguistic and other—and action contribute to human culture and it is human culture that defines and binds the various aspects of human society that acquire their structure in the form of institutions

Institutional form

A dynamic scene may be described in terms of state, process and genesis. Therefore:

The institutional forms are defined by action—and choice—and organization or structure; and the founding or genetic institution—culture that includes, reflexively, the institution of the institution

Institutions of culture

Cultural

Language, religion and morals and ritual and play, and drama and art, and science and the humanities…

Creative

Discovery or creation and origination.

Transmission

Transmission includes education and archive. In the modern world these institutions items are often but not at all entirely or solely concentrated in the university (and library)

Institutions of organization

Social groups

Family, community…

Immanent forms

The immanent structures of society and social groups—Economic, Political and Legal

Completeness

From the components of a dynamic scene, culture, organization, and action constitute a complete system at a high level of generality. As a generic term, ‘Social group’ is generically but not explicitly complete for organization. Social groups may be seen as groups that are social entities—microcosms of society—such as community and family and special purpose such as organizations whose functions are economic, political and legal. Action is social and (roughly) physical. Political and legal institutions are institutions of group choice and action including. Economics as analysis of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services has concern with the interface of social groups and the physical level. The intent of this discussion of completeness has been to show a rough and non-exclusive rather than a neat and necessary completeness

Definitions

There is clear interaction among morals, politics and economics. The following definitions are repeated or suggested

Politics

Politics is the process of group decision—and action; government is a political institution

Economics

The immanent forms of feasibility, especially in human affairs, are labeled Economics; economics is the study of Economics. In this sense economics includes the ‘common’ economics of the previous paragraph that is suggested by the possibility of generalized application of economic theory

Interactions

It is clear that Economics and Politics should (and do) intersect for feasibility is a determining factor of political process. Similarly, Ethics and Economics must intersect. Even purely ethical concerns have an economic aspect when the ethical concerns are in conflict. Additionally, equal or equitable distribution of values (education, goods…) is subject to economic constraints such as conservation—resources are finite—and human motivation in the access of provided values. Legal questions of deterrent have an Economic flavor—in the extended sense of economics

Experimental character of the concepts

Political theory, political philosophy and the study of economics arise from the interest to understand and perhaps to improve social institutions. In this process a certain study is labeled ‘politics’ and another ‘economics.’ Later, the notions may be refined andor expanded. The notions are found to be interactive and may have overlap. The very concept of what is economics may change in response to the needs of and learning from study and application—and from the needs of completeness. Thus, neither sense nor reference of terms such as economics and politics is given. In this sense, the fundamental concepts within social theory are experimental. It may be thought that the natural sciences e.g. physics and biology are not themselves empirical objects; that however is at least partially contingent and a breakthrough in analytical or computational methods could blur the boundary between physics and biology and although it is commonly thought that biological structures—e.g. human minds—cannot change such things as structure of elementary particles and laws of physics and this is indeed the normal situation, the metaphysics of immanence shows it to be both possible and necessary if infinitesimally probable

Institutional purity?

Economics and politics

Economic power confers strength and therefore political power—large corporations wield immense political power. Is such institutional crossover unavoidable? Is it good / bad for economics, for politics, for society? Is it morally right / wrong? These questions are difficult to answer even in very specific situations. Applied to ‘crossover’ among any set of institutions the difficulty may be multiplicatively—perhaps exponentially—higher. It is not clear, of course, that crossover has meaning in every institutional context. Answers are further complicated by the fact that there is a tendency to make an assumption about one institution when discussing others. It might be thought that it is morally wrong for a corporation to use political power but is it intrinsically wrong or does the wrong stem from an assumption about the most effective social organization? Does a wealthy individual have the right to greater buying power and the greater political power that that might entail? Perhaps, it may be argued, since the existence of corporations depends on a law that confers advantages so that—at least idealistically—all can benefit from economic productivity, the corporation has a greater responsibility in the use of its power. The same, or something similar, however, may be argued of the wealthy individual. What, however, if the corporation or the wealthy person use their power for good? What if the corporation or person uses their power to become economically more powerful? It appears that what is economically, politically, socially good / bad may need case by case evaluation and that the most corporate law can actually do is set up rough guidelines (even while it thinks it is doing something else.) The example also suggests that it is—at least practically—impossible for a corporation to not use economic power to political ends (purchase of raw materials has a political component.) The example further suggests that while the political / economic distinction is real to suggest that politics and economics define distinct categories is in error

Religion and state

As a second example consider a society in which there is a general belief that religion and secular affairs should be separate—while ‘church’ and ‘state’ may be separated by law, it is hard to see how law could separate religion and secular affairs and it is not possible for human fiat to separate the sacred and the profane even though it might separate the ideas of the sacred and of the profane. In this society there are various kinds of abuse. The people are disempowered, they are abused by the police when they speak out politically, their economic product is taken by the government without fair return, and the power of government is abusive at home and abroad. The people are religious and revere their clergy who therefore also have political and economic power (donation.) What are the moral uses of clerical power?

There are examples of such questions in War and Peace and Faith

The general issue of separation / purity

The following thoughts arise: Although there are practical reasons for institutional separation—division of function, expertise, administration, abuse—the concept of institutional purity is more myth than fact. The problem of institutional definition and separation is immense in its magnitude and any actual resolution should, perhaps, be case by case and even so should perhaps be experimental in addition to deriving from expertise, morals, law and administrative needs

Institutional definition—conceptual and factual—is an immense conceptual and experimental project

Dynamics

The triad genesis-organization-action contains implicit dynamics at two levels. Theoretical economics contains a number of dynamic theories and models—descriptive and quantitative. In the definitions a number of interactive dynamics within and among institutions are implicit. War and peace includes some qualitative dynamics. Further study and development of dynamics of or in society—social systems—is a research project

Ethics

An ethics or set of morals addresses questions of ‘what one ought to do,’ ‘how one ought to live.’ This formulation suggests that morals concern individual behavior and individual life; however, perhaps as a result of global interaction / communication / comparison, ethics has grown to also emphasize individual behavior and group / social action in group / social / world contexts. The basic questions, then may be extended to ‘What ought I / to we do?’ and ‘How ought I / we to live?’

An ethical or moral system is an ethics that covers a comprehensive range of situations in which the ‘ought’ question arises and a comprehensive range of satisfactory life-styles, perhaps arranged in a value hierarchy. The term ‘ethics’ may be used in place of ‘ethical system.’ An ethics may take the form of a set of prescriptions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors—you shall not kill—andor a set of principles—do to others as you would have them do to you—andor an ethical theory. An ethical theory may be seen as a generic principle or collection of generic principles

As a disposition to certain—kinds of—behaviors or acts and to seeking certain—kinds of—ends, morals, prescriptions and principles are states of being and therefore objects. An ethical system is a collection of objects that may be seen as a compound object

In philosophy, the generic term Ethics refers to the study and evaluation of ethical systems which include ancient and traditional systems as well as ethical theories. As a collection of dispositions, Ethics is an object

Ethics and freedom

The occasion for ethics is freedom. It may have been appropriate to include consideration of ethics / morals in Human being but, since moral systems have cultural expression—but are not mere artifacts of culture and may therefore have universal elements—it is effective to consider ethics here in Social world. Undoubtedly, individuals in non-human societies have built in behavioral tendencies—some with basis in emotion—against mutual harm; individuals of other species do occasional but not merely accidental harm one another and so what is built in is, in general, at most a tendency that averts ‘excessive’ harm—which situation may be the result of a balance among ‘competing’ tendencies. Human beings also have such built in tendencies, e.g. a near universal feeling of warmth at seeing an infant. As human freedom developed so did the ability and occasions to override innate tendencies

Human freedom, it was earlier noted, is the ability to conceive different outcomes, to choose from among them, and to effect that choice and has basis—among other things—in novel concept formation. It was also noted that exercise of freedom was difficult and one source of difficulty is in overriding innate tendencies. This is one source of a need for morals. If it were the only source, morality might be a conceptual substitute for—perhaps even nothing other than—innate tendencies e.g. primary emotions. However, a significant result of human freedom is the creation of novel cultural—including technology and social arrangement—contexts. Here, the innate tendencies are inadequate; therefore human moral systems cannot depend on conceptual and symbolic formulation of innate tendencies and primary emotions alone. Precisely here, incidentally, lies the crux of argument against an entirely emotive explanation of human morality—as well as an argument in favor of a partially emotive explanation. The assertion that human freedom is the occasion for human morals and ethical systems to arise and to have application may make it seem that it is being said that freedom preceded morals; it seems more reasonable, however, that freedom and morals grew together as mutually necessary elements of emerging and developing culture

Ethics as an object

Ethics in particular and value in general has a universal character as a potential object, i.e., a concept that is the universal potential object

The occasion for ethical system or theory

Anthropological study—Ethics in small-scale societies, George Silberbauer, in A Companion to Ethics, Peter Singer, ed., 1991—suggest that in small groups morals are more negotiable and less ends in themselves; their function appears to be the enhancement of personal relationships. In modern society, morals tend to be ends and are less are less negotiable; personal relationships are less important—stability derives from institutionalization of various functions and moral creativity is concentrated in specific persons, institutions and times. This is perhaps a function of difficulties in the coordination of shared morals in large societies by interpersonal relations alone. Here, then, lies a possible explanation of the origin of the moral component of ‘world religions.’ The transition from the traditional codes to ethical theory may be explained by increasing communication and interaction among societies with different traditions and emergence of rationalism in the modern period that dates from the ‘enlightenment;’ clarification and order among ethical theory may be enhanced by the professionalization of thought in academic institutions

Emotion and cognition in morals

Emotion which may be regarded as a form of binding—including binding to others by empathy—is clearly essential to morals. Emotion is perhaps the foundation of moral intuition and it is not obvious that moral intuition is more than the cognitive expression of the emotive component of morals. The occasion for development of ethical systems over and above ethical intuition is human freedom that may override intuition in old contexts and is instrumental in creation of new contexts that are not in the ‘domain of reference’ of intuition. The cognitive formulation of ethical system has been criticized on account of its alienation from moral intuition and emotion. This criticism does not take into account the significance and effect of human freedom. The cognitive component of ethics is not free floating and has binding through reason, through experience in the use of ethical system—at least potentially, and through maintaining continuities with tradition and moral intuition which remain important

Some persons are persuaded by emotion and others more by reason. Therefore, even an individual who has no intrinsic care for reasons, will be interested in reasons if they would persuade. Everyone who has an interest in morals has some interest in reason—even if the interest is derivative

The process and context of choice—and freedom

Since freedom is pivotal in morals, it may be useful to examine its process. Situations arise in which there are options—there is occasion for alternative outcomes over which there is some control. The options may be presented to andor created by the actor—individual or group. The intended outcome may be act andor an end or outcome of an act. The process may be roughly written, options ® choice ® intent ® action ® end… The ellipsis indicate that the ethical context is not necessarily terminating and the generic process is continuing over either similar options (especially when the end or outcome is similar to the original situation) or different ones. The intent is an intended action andor which, since control is typically less than total, may be distinct from the actual action andor end. A number of such processes may occur simultaneously

Any element of a process that has elements of—expression of—freedom may have moral value. Each element—or even combination of elements—of the process may be constituted of sub-processes. This is especially the case for action which may be compound and extended. What is the limit of resolution into sub-processes? It is perhaps when the elements are so fine grained that they do not possess—clear—moral value

Assigning moral value

If the options are simply presented to an actor or actors without his or her or their choice, moral value may not be not assigned to the options for that actor(s.) If the actor is active in creating options, e.g. conceiving, designing, building and accumulating instruments of war, the options—their creation and ongoing existence—may have moral value (positive or negative.) Choice and intent are not invariably distinct but they may be so when there is a time prior to actual intent in which the options are weighed without commitment. Even when choice and intent are distinct, the process of choice may have moral value when options that have moral value are allowed to remain—or removed from—among those from which choice will be made. This moral value may, however, be assigned to the options rather than choice. Intent has clear moral value

The right and the good

The distinction between ‘action’ and ‘ends’ may be sharp but is not invariably so. Action and ends may both have clear moral value to the degree that they are under control. The ‘right’ is a common label for the moral value of an act—which can be right or wrong; the ‘good’ is, similarly, a label for the moral value of an end or state of being—which may be good or bad. The ‘assignment’ of moral value is complicated by the fact that elements of the process have physical and psychic dimensions—at least practically though not ultimately. Options may be physical and psychic; choosing and intending are psychic; without a psychic dimension, e.g. choice andor intent, apparent action is not true action; the character of ends is complex for some ends are states of psyche, e.g. happiness or loyalty, while those that are physical, e.g. more food may be doubted to count as having moral value unless there is some impact in human experience. If freedom is the occasion for morals, experience is perhaps—perhaps with emphasis on ‘perhaps’—the place of moral value

Brief reference to ‘evil’

‘Evil’ may be the label for an act, an actor predisposed to or with a history of wrong actions or bad intentions; however, on account of the problematicity of the concept of evil, the narrative will not focus on it

The right and the good: clarification

Does lack of clear distinction between acts and ends imply lack of clear distinction between the good and the right? Not necessarily for when the outcome of an act is another act or state of action, the second act or state may also be regarded as an end. In an ethical system, what is regarded as good or intrinsically desirable, may be explicit or implicit. The right, then, refers purely to action, i.e. to what an individual or institutional agent should do in responding to or cultivating the good. Thus ethical systems or theories contain systems of theories of the good and systems or theories of the right

Consequentialism

Consequentialism is the view that what is right is the promotion of the good. An ethical system is consequentialist—an older term is teleological—if its theory of right is the promotion of the good. An objection to consequentialism is that it appears to permit deviation from the good in promoting the—larger—good, i.e. that it appears to assert that ‘the good end justifies the means.’ This, however, is not a consequence of consequentialism for if the means is neutral with regard to the good the statement is irrelevant and if not then there is no a priori justification of means; rather there is or may be an issue of conflicting goods to be resolved—whose resolution may be already implicit in the theory of the good or, alternatively, may be lacking in which case the system is incomplete or impossible in which case the system may be conflicted or paradoxical. The objection, therefore, is not an objection of principle against consequentialism but may require some consequentialist theories to be completed and others to be made consistent

Non-consequentialist ethics

The alternative to consequentialist ethical systems are the non-consequentialist in which action has moral supremacy in that moral value is determined more by action than by—other kinds of—ends. One kind of non-consequentialist ethics is the—strictly—deontological in which the good lies entirely in the right; here the good must be honored and not merely promoted. There are variations and may be alternatives in approach to the conceptions of consequentialism / non-consequentialism; the present approach attempts to eliminate a priori confusion in the distinction

Metaethics

The discussion so far clearly provides no explicit moral system—and is not intended to do so. How is the good or right to be set up and how is the consequentialist / non-consequentialist choice to be made—when it is indeed a choice? Are there deep or deeper principles that generate practical ethics? Such questions raise the issue of the nature of ethics and ethical reasoning—over and above logic—and may be labeled metaethical: metaethics is the study of the nature of ethics—the nature of moral concepts, judgment, principle and theory. Whereas in ethics moral judgment is the object, in metaethics, ethics itself is the object

Normative ethics

In contrast to metaethics which is the study of ethics and ethical systems and concepts, ethical systems that specify systems of right and good have been labeled ‘normative ethics’

Ethics remains in a process of development

Although developments in—philosophical—ethics have made improved understanding possible, there appears to remain a gap between ethical ideas and application—and applicability. When ethics is seen as an object, it may be studied / deployed from the concept side i.e. abstractly or from the object—particular, concrete—side as in ‘applied ethics.’ The gap between object and concept sides suggests that philosophical ethics and perhaps even practical human ethics have not—completely—matured. In the history of philosophy, the separation of areas of study as sciences is perhaps characterized by contact being made by the concept and the object side of study

Practical ethics

Most theoreticians appear to have a preferred orientation—consequentialist or non-consequentialist. However, the distinction is not always clear in practice and the arguments for or against consequentialism are not entirely persuasive (else everyone would be one or everyone would be the other.) Perhaps the best approach is to take every situation as it arises but not, however, to ignore its relations to other situations or its place in the hierarchy of contexts. Nor should ethical concepts and principles be ignored but they should perhaps, at least on account of their incompleteness, not be taken to stand entirely above—or below—situation and context. The considerations in War and peace give support to this approach

Intrinsic and derived value. Absolute Ethics

Feeling—experience—appears to be the place of value. The value of non-feeling states—the inanimate beauty of the Himalaya or a crate of penicillin—may be regarded as derived. However, if feeling is the place of value all animal being has such a place but rocks and crystals do not. This is the normal view. From metaphysics of immanence, however, every element of being has at least primitive and remote experience. In an ‘innate’ human morality, there must be some natural tendency to place human being at the center of value and it is probably unlikely for any practical ethics to make no distinction between human and other mammals, between mammals and other vertebrates and so on down to inanimate objects. However, if realization and transformation with any ultimate component is a goal, i.e. if normal limits are not regarded as absolute, the practical—normal—hierarchy of value must be seen as limited. In systems that seek to universalize value, animal being has intrinsic value. Is there certainty about what states—except those characterized by the most neutral of descriptions—have value and in what degree? No—and this must have something to do with incomplete knowledge of what states are possible and what value may inhere according to what measure in yet unrealized states. In thinking that a satisfactory ethical system has been arrived at, a metaphysics—at least practically and implicitly—is regarded as given. Plato developed an ethics in the context of form

A common ‘belief’ today, c.2008, is that the universe is roughly as described in the ‘big-bang’ cosmology, and that our world is essentially the secular world of material things and secular or non-spiritual value. What has value and in what ranking according to what system is not regarded as precisely known because, in part, of incompletely known possibilities of the secular world. The metaphysics of immanence suggests that that there is an absolute ethics. To explicitly know that ethics and its significance for human being, it is necessary to know at least the possible and feasible transformations of human form and feeling and though it is known from metaphysics of immanence that the possibilities are immense, only the rudiments of a detailed pictures and paths are known. Still, it is reasonable to think that even if the sense of ‘ethics’ in absolute ethics is not alien, its reference is immensely remote from the normal view of human being as living in a secular world and that even a Platonic ethics is only a metaphor for the possibilities of reference

Values in general

Is the ‘beautiful’ a value? Many, perhaps most, persons consider the beautiful and its cultivation to be of value. However, does the beautiful have moral value? Axiology or—general—value theory seeks to identify, clarify and compare ‘values’ such as moral, economic, aesthetic, epistemic and even logical value. Aesthetic value—the value of the beautiful—may be considered to be a special case of ethical value. If so, it is necessary to ask, on the assumption that a strict distinction exists, how a choice might be made between the purely aesthetic and the strictly moral. The question might arise in deliberating the allocation of finite resources to aesthetic projects versus elimination of hunger. One resolution might be in ‘assigning’ the strictly moral projects a higher value. However, there should be some limit to such an assignment because at least some people might not consider a life in which only material needs are satisfied to be worth living. In any case, the connection between ethical and aesthetic value is sufficiently tenuous that any tension between them typically surfaces only when imbalance in priorities is excessive. Is there a connection between knowledge and ethics i.e. not only obviously as in the choice of what areas of knowledge are worth developing but in the question whether ethical concerns have any role in clarifying the nature of knowledge—in determining what counts as knowledge? Ethics appears to have some role in determining the role of certainty in knowledge. A value of security emphasizes certainty; the value of realization may lessen the value of certainty in favor knowledge that, though less certain, may have greater realization or other utility

Competing values

Values may compete logically in that the cultivation of one value necessarily eliminates the other—as in moral dilemmas which may be eliminated in a theoretical system but which continue to be real problems due, not to ignorance, but to conflicted andor different values. A particularly case of logical competition arises in political realism which is the position that national interest—at least sometimes—comes before individual interest. While this position is maintained by the political realist, it is difficult to maintain strictly by those whose ethical strain is less ‘pure.’ What is the status of political realism in contrast to individualism in morals which is the position that all values derive from the individual and group interest is nothing more than joint individual interest. That individualism is an extreme that may appear to be reasonable but political realism has the following kinds of counter-claim. In the first place, as may be seen from Theory of being, a nation—group—may be regarded to be an organism. Even if the individual is the locus of right, the individual may assign his or her right to the group; this raises the question of the status of a few individuals who do not so assign their rights even when the majority does. A calculus of individual rights may contingently if not necessarily work out—in particular contexts—to a national right… national right may be a mechanism to guarantee individual right. And, what is considered to be an individual right or good may not be feasible in the group. If political realism encourages or permits abuse, individualism may do so as well

Another kind of competition among values arises when a value appears to be reasonable but its application to all—universalization is often held to be a requirement of values in moral systems—individuals would be infeasible. What, for example, is the proper attitude to opportunities such as higher education that promote the general interest including individual well being but cannot, perhaps, be available to all? Should economics effect what is of value and not just the degree to which a value is realized in a given society? The thought may be rejected as base but is not such rejection itself a moral value? What is the real value of a freedom such as reproductive freedom when the outcome is a population problem that limits resource availability, may be implicated in war and global warming, and whose long term consequences may be disastrous?

Ethics and substance

Although both conservative and, especially, liberal may enjoy moral purity, is not such purity an instance of the habit of substance thinking whose result is narrowness of vision and inability to resolve paradox and conflict

Another instance of the habit of substance thinking in ethics is found in ethical principles such as killing is always wrong. It is of course not the purpose of the following discussion to argue against the principle or to question its practical value. The purpose is to analyze the nature of the principle. The principle obviously does not apply to an accidental cause of death. It applies to a choice, an intent to kill and a consequent act of killing. Some religions prohibit all killing including killing non-humans. Is it wrong to shoot a lion that is about to kill a human infant? Is it wrong to kill another person in self-defense when there is no other option except to allow oneself to be killed? Would it be wrong for a member of a community to kill a person who was about to kill everyone in the community including himself? If killing is said to be universally wrong, not everyone will agree. An argument from ethical principle may be made against all acts of killing even in the face of killing but, again, such arguments run against counter argument. It might be said that it is not certain that a killer was about to kill and that killing the killer was necessary to prevent killing everyone in the community; however, waiting for certain knowledge results in universal inaction. The idea of intending to kill is close to the idea of murder. Is murder invariably wrong? The intent behind definitions of murder—which differ according to legal system—is that murder should be invariably wrong. In Anglo-American law, murder is a homicide committed intentionally, while manslaughter is homicide that is the result of recklessness or a violent outburst e.g. when provoked by the victim. Taking, intentional homicide as specifying the sense of murder, is the killing of a sleeping member of an enemy army murder? Numerous examples could be given that show, not that the idea that murder is heinous should be retracted, but that given any fixed definition of murder, there are likely to be acts that satisfy the definition of murder but not the intuition that the act, even if reprehensible, should not be regarded as murder—other examples are mercy killing that is not regarded as murder in European law but is so in Anglo-American law and ‘assisted suicide’ that is not regarded as murder in all jurisdictions. In conclusion, general proclamations such as ‘all X is wrong’ have at least two functions—to function as prohibitive and to provide a community with a sense of security; however, to regard the proclamation itself as universal, as substance, is a categorial error in that it equates, e.g., the category of morality and a specific category ‘X’ that is defined ‘objectively’ and so does not contain the category of morality even if there is intent to capture moral sense

Values as objects

In a previous version, ethics was treated as the most comprehensive object. The motivating idea was that except for freedom and choice, there is but deterministic behavior and deterministic objects are not very interesting in their poverty of potential and variety. Although there is no reason to reject the ideas behind that treatment, it was based in the idea of an object as actual. If objects are understood to include potential, then it is not necessary to think, rather unclearly, of ethics as a more general kind of object

To regard values as objects, think of their function. As choice emerges in behavior, it may have both creative and destabilizing potential and value may emerge as stabilizing. Thus values and the ability for values to emerge may be seen as self-stabilizing characteristics of systems. This does not mean that values will not promote freedom, creativity and so on for excess stability in one area or level of activity may result in stagnation and destabilizing in others. Perhaps, however, stability is not the appropriate concept. A system is in the process of realizing potential; values have emerged as conducive to that process—and include morals and other stabilizing features but are not limited to these. Because context—environment—may change in unpredicted and perhaps unpredictable ways, values that are too determined may be destructive. Adaptability and creativity in value emerge. Even though precisely what value is an adaptation to and whether adaptation reigns absolute are not given, there is some rough ‘objective’ that value emerges from and conduces to. That rough objective contains indeterminate features and therefore, value has indeterminate aspects including openness to the indeterminate which includes humor—discussed earlier as an element of intuition. As a property, though not a determinate one, value may be seen as an indeterminate object or, rather, an object with determinate and indeterminate features

War and peace

In this chapter, turn from Metaphysics, the Object, and Ethical theory to more immediate affairs. First consider a modern problem and the issues that it may entail and then consider what has been learned

In considering ‘war and peace’ it will be seen that ethical problems are not problems in isolation. It is also seen that the isolated treatment of examples are inadequate guides to action. Action is never ‘ethically pure,’ i.e. there is interaction among ethical issues and between moral and other institutions

An important modern ‘ethical concern’ is that of war and peace. The concern is broader than the stated one for war and peace are related to questions of aggression and of terrorism. Additionally, an adequate treatment of war and peace requires examination of the ‘causes’ of war and the probable prerequisites of peace which include the human psyche (aggression) and social behavior (especially politics,) population, and resources (especially, c. 2000, energy.) Thus, in considering war and peace a variety of ethical and other concerns are entailed and will be taken up. The discussion will attempt to illustrate ‘ethical principle,’ relations among the different aspects of Ethics and relations among individual and group Morals (in the question of translation of individual attitudes into action) and among realism (in the question of definition below) and circumstance

Aggression and resources

Access to resources is one (not always stated) root of war and increase of populations results in a greater need for resources. In the long term, avoiding war may be promoted by conservation and by addressing the population concern. Appropriate energy (and other resources, especially food) is also important. Energy research is probably vital—current expenditures on energy development and research, however, are a fraction of the cost of access to oil (‘access’ includes war and occupation)

The problem of resources: the example of energy

There is a variety of lines that energy research may take. Renewable energy (solar, wind, small scale hydropower) is generally cleaner energy. A number of parts of the world have large coal reserves; research into making the use of coal clean is important (at least) because as oil becomes scarce, nations will face economic pressure to use coal. Research in using energy reserves (oil, coal, nuclear…) to produce clean fuels is important (free hydrogen is not naturally occurring and requires energy to produce it and the currently practical ways that might be used to produce hydrogen for large scale production release carbon dioxide which is the ‘greenhouse’ gas implicated in global warming.) Research in controlled nuclear fusion should receive greater emphasis. Research into use of the energy of the ‘quantum vacuum’ remains in a primitive and conceptual stage and lacks any definite estimate of the practicality of the potential; it is clear, however, that the magnitude of this possible source dwarfs all conventional, renewable and nuclear sources and it is this magnitude that is a source of the potential which includes the possibility of cataclysmic destruction e.g. of the known universe…

Resource use, population and environment

Energy access indirectly affects population. While a large amount of attention is paid to oil rich nations, other nations that face a variety of severe problems including internal war (and genocide) are ignored and even apart from the obvious ethical issue, ongoing poverty may be destabilizing to politics and population. Resource and energy consumption have a variety of probable effects—desertification and deforestation, change in atmospheric composition and, consequently, probable and possibly catastrophic climatic change. As of 2008 many persons may object to reference to climatic change as probable. There may be two reasons to prefer reference to probability; the first is that even quantitative correlation does not imply a causal connection (and to think that the connection is necessary may ignore non-included factors that may make the situation ‘worse’ than is implied by necessity i.e. a causal connection.) A second reason is that an exclusive emphasis on necessity implies that action need not be undertaken when connections are merely probable… It is not clear that an adequate solution to any single issue or to each issue separately may provide an adequate response to the constellation of issues. If there is a single approach to the multi-dimensional concerns, it may lie in human awareness and will and their application; perhaps these should be regarded as equal or prior to the economic (conservation) and technological approaches

The utility of definition

What is war? What is terrorism? What is genocide? These all come under the heading of wide spread aggression and it is not clear that definitions are necessary (and, in any case, definitions can be used to put ethical concerns aside e.g. torture has been justified by claiming that prisoners taken are not prisoners of war.) Regarding war, there is a point of view called ‘political realism’ according to which morals that apply to individuals do not apply to nations and that the responsibility of a government is to further national self-interest at all costs. What justifies a war of aggression—for whatever reason? Is there a valid point of view according to which even self-defense is unethical? Is a war to eliminate an abusive regime or a terrorist base in another nation justified? What is the moral authority of the ‘nation?’ (Why should the people of New York, in the northeast US be less responsible and responsive to the people in neighboring Ontario, Canada than to the people in distant California? What has been established constitutionally naturally carries weight but should this weight be absolute?) Does international sanction make war morally right—or merely more diplomatic? If a nation is suspected of harboring ‘terrorist groups’ or stockpiling instruments of war and destruction, must certainty of evidence be necessary for invasion? When does evidence justify invasion? It must be asked that since moral concerns seem to be routinely ignored, what the Value of moral considerations may be. A proper response includes that the presence of morals cannot be expected to be altogether effective but have some direct effect (on decisions) and indirect effect (on the intent to do Good;) in addition to enquiring of the efficacy of morals already in place, it is also significant to reflect on the possible outcomes of an absence of morals. In the absence of a moral sense (or in its exclusion by apathy, by disregarding the humanity of certain populations, or by routine denial of human rights concerns in government) formal considerations of morals are likely to have little effect

Morals are important but purity is an illusion

They would like to suggest that war is invariably wrong (not right.) There are, however, two hesitations. The first concerns self-defense—is self-defense wrong? Is self-defense war? The questions have practical and symbolic aspects in addition to the obviously moral aspect and it is perhaps more important to remain aware of the concerns than to give answers—perhaps such awareness will be more instrumental toward good than the provision of answers. The second concerns their awareness of the limits of their thought and their emotional being and their values; this admission, they hope, may encourage into negotiation those who feel that their positions are irrevocable

Morals in practice

The following, then, are morally important. First, cultivating and sustaining moral intuition; and addressing institutions that may suppress or avoid it including education, philosophy, and rational or systematic ethics. Moral intuition should be cultivated so as to include questions of feasibility. Second, translating individual attitudes into (large scale) group attitudes and action. A necessary preliminary to action is the careful and open acquisition and examination of situation-specific information. Action itself should (generally) begin with diplomacy and the least harmful means. ‘Sanctions’ are not intrinsically clean and result in enormous but often invisible hardship and suffering. These are causally prior (to the specific moral concerns) and their cultivation is likely to encourage ethical Understanding and attention to the specific concerns

Related thoughts appear in the later section ‘Faith’

Summary

What has been learned? This chapter considered a range of—modern—moral concerns regarding quality of life and has shown interaction or non-independence of the issues; it suggested the virtues of holism and rejecting substance thinking. Expectation that solutions are guaranteed—substance—generates nihilism and inaction. There was consideration of principles of solution, issues of inertia, culture, respect, communication, dependence on technology, adequate vs. advanced technology… and solutions and solution patchworks

Also considered—the separation of ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ ethics—the idea that ethical principles can stand altogether in the abstract e.g. that there is an absolute distinction to be made between deontological and teleological ethics. It is not clear that there should be a separation of ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ ethics

War and peace emphasized the incomplete separability of ethical concerns from economic, political and other institutional issues—in both conceptual and practical terms

Civilization and history

The present chapter Civilization and history is abbreviated from a previous version. The brief version below may stand alone and have sense on account of foregoing developments that are refined since previous versions

Civilization is the universal matrix of beings with cognitive and affective forms of sentience (it has been seen that an absence of free and bound forms of cognition-emotion is severely limiting on possibility—potential—and empathy)

History’ is a reconstructed narrative of civilization. The form of ‘narrative’ may be literary, artistic, dramatic… History is a form of connection among the matrix

The realism of the preceding ideal thoughts is made possible and their realization shown necessary by Theory of being

The highest ideal

The present chapter The highest ideal is abbreviated from a previous version. The brief version below may stand alone and have sense on account of foregoing developments that are refined since previous versions

A first source of possible ideals is tradition; every ideal may be questioned; ideals may be in conflict

A highest ideal includes discovery of ideals—of what the highest ideal may be; this idea makes a return to idealism possible and consistent with death and conflict of ideals; and in, in giving a process character to ideals, makes idealism consistent with practical realism

A search for the real-ideal may be conceived as a journey; this journey is—includes and has motive in—search for that ideal

Theory of Being gives sense and Human Being gives initial realism, grounding and flesh to this search

Faith

The focus in this chapter is Faith, religion and related topics

Faith, religion, spirituality

Spirituality and meaning

A distinction is often made today—spirituality is an individual’s way to a higher truth. What higher truth? That depends on the individual’s view of the world. On the secular view, the higher truth centers around those objects and activities that give life meaning. On a more ‘religious’ view there may be a mundane world—this world of matter and flesh—and a sacred world; for a person with this view, the meaning of spirituality is not changed—it is the search for meaning—but the place or locus of search is thought to be different

Meaning in the domains of the mundane and the sacred

It seems that over the ages there are some individuals who have greater penetration or insight into ‘meaning.’ Maintaining a sense of meaning is not a one time act but may require renewal. Truth is not always easy. The burdens and joys of the mundane beckon. We humans are social; there is a place for shared spirituality. These thoughts are occasions for organized religion

Religion and spirituality. The place of religion

There are criticisms of organized religion: their systems of belief are outmoded, there is decay, there are abuses. These kinds of criticism apply to most institutions. Science and democracy are subject to misuse. The logic of metaphysics of immanence shows that there is an occasion for religion. Perhaps because of its associations, the word ‘religion’ is outmoded; the idea is not. What form might ‘religion’ take? The abuses of institutions show, first, that any institution tends to be self-perpetuating and, second, that self-perpetuation is a door to decay and abuse. A balance between institution and renewal is good. But it is not paradoxical that the mix of institution and renewal is difficult. There are no guarantees. For meaning individual needs to be self-engaged. The name and form of any new or transformed religion remains open

Spirituality, religion and the one world

It has become characteristic of Western thought that there are two truths: the truth of the mundane world, e.g. the truth of science, and the truth of religion—of the world of the sacred

It is not that there are no distinctions but a insight of some ‘visionaries’ is that the distinction between the mundane and the sacred is more one of knowledge than of fact

Religion is practiced in the church, science in the university

However, if religion has truth, and if we are navigators in one corner of the universe, we cannot know that the two truths are distinct

Metaphysics of immanence shows: there is one truth, one world

Faith and religion

A connotation of faith is religious faith. It seems to be typical of religious faith that one is called upon to believe something that even to a child might seem absurd. Metaphysics of immanence shows that while, with the exception of logical contradiction, the articles of faith, e.g. the miraculous, are not absolutely absurd. However, at the same time, no support is given by metaphysics of immanence to belief in past miracles or to the expectation of or dependence on the occurrence of miracles

Hume on miracles

A simple but often misunderstood argument was given by the Scottish philosopher, David Hume. Hume first argued against the necessity of science; included in his target was the necessity of causation. His argument was that scientific law is the conclusion of patterns of behavior from a finite number of observations—which allows for the possibility of exceptions; and, now, some two hundred plus years since Hume’s time, the replacement of old laws required by new observations has itself become a law. Some commentators have interpreted Hume’s insistence that the fact that scientific law allows for exception justifies belief in the expectation of miracles. Hume himself argued that there is no such justification. His argument amounts to an admission of the possibility of miracles but that since any miracle would be an unlikely exception to regular behavior to expect miracles or to base behavior on such expectation is unreasonable

A problem with Hume’s critique of intuition

There is a problem with the approach of Hume and his critics. The world was not constructed of a sequence of observations. When we perceive in terms of space and time, we are perceiving in terms of the ‘woof and warp’ of the world that is built by over geologic time into intuition (even though the categories of space and time may be approximate it remains true that they are deep.) The foregoing thought occupies a central place in the philosophy of Kant… and it becomes clear that although Hume perceived himself as criticizing the necessity of scientific thought he was in fact undermining intuition. Science adds to but never entirely outgrows intuition (the same is true of metaphysics of immanence which has some basis in the necessary objects of experience which are objects of intuition that have a necessary character and in which they are unlike space, time and causation which are objects of intuition but not necessary-as-in-intuition)

The implication is that we are centered in the world because we are of the world; the place of science is that it starts with our intuition and moves outward from there. Wonder is a part of the intuition. Science itself reveals what from a previous perspective would be seen as miraculous: the bending of space and time, the transmutation of the elements in nuclear reactions… Whether there are miracles depends on what counts as a miracle; we may expect the miraculous, that is part of wonder, but, obviously, we cannot depend on them. Even that statement has exceptions: consider some extreme crisis where belief may help action…

Another meaning of faith

Metaphysics of immanence shows that the variety of the world is immense in comparison with known variety; that the variety is essentially unending; that we are part of the variety; and, through, identity and its transformations, the ‘individual’ experiences all variety (the final thought is best understood from the global perspective)

Faith, which includes animal faith, is the combination of intuition, feeling, and cognition that is conducive to the greatest life

Significance of faith

One characteristic of ‘journey’ as conceived here is that aims or goals may arise and change in response to events, intuition and discovery and that aims are not invariably followed—times of aimlessness, times of enjoyment in aimlessness, and times of intuition may occur in relation to a journey and any of its aims

A journey overlaps life—is not thought of as an activity that is distinct from life

Knowledge—certain or otherwise—may be an aim but is not the aim. Knowledge is one means but not the only means

Uncertainty

Given a situation, a place in a journey where or when action should require basis in uncertain knowledge a question arises—what is the appropriate attitude to uncertain knowledge when it is an instrument? One appropriate attitude is, of course, doubt. There may, however, be times when belief, assumption or faith are appropriate. In saying this it is not implied that if faith is adopted, faith must remain evermore. Sequential or superimposed faith and doubt may be appropriate. Reliance on intuition may be appropriate at times and the ‘criteria’ for attitude to be adopted may also be formal and certain or based in faith and intuition and be uncertain

Occasion for faith is immanent in the mundane

It may be thought that, except in religion, occasions for faith are uncommon. It is a fact, however, that, from strict standards of certainty, so much of common knowledge is uncertain that a common attitude to such knowledge of taking it to be the case must be described as an attitude of faith. It is quite the norm for the members of a society to take its culture as given—even though from the perspective of another society that culture contains obvious error or from the perspective of the same society over time its culture is changing. And, while some apparent ‘error’ and change may be due to factors of cultural relativism, others are clearly objective. How can that be said? A clear example concerns scientific revolutions. While some thinkers such as Thomas Kuhn might not have described quantum mechanics as showing error in the classical theory that attitude may be seen as mistaken or, to allow some equivocation, having a mistaken quality. That there is some objective knowledge would admitted by anyone who claims that there is no objective knowledge in science. To dispute anything—even objectivity—is to assert (some kind of) objectivity. The claim here, is not that there is no error in quantum theory but that it eliminates an entire domain of error but contains no error not contained in the classical theory—further this is known by direct and not merely by pragmatic means (of course, experiment and reasons do not lie outside the domain of what is pragmatic and, of course, the statement made suppresses a variety of subtleties that may give it some doubt)

Science, mathematics and faith

While mathematics is often thought to be the most certain of the sciences—see Objects and Logic and Meaning on the question of whether mathematics is a science—the heart of mathematics, especially for non-finite systems, contains the possibility of paradox. To eliminate all mathematics that may harbor paradox is to eliminate rich and fertile areas of thought. Some mathematicians and some traditional views on the nature avoid such areas of mathematics while, perhaps more commonly, other mathematicians prefer to allow work in areas of potential paradox. Precisely what is the attitude of the mathematicians to in the conduct of mathematical thought? It is clear that on some occasions that include fertile development and in some sense, faith is present—even if its presence is only implicit

Reflection on the role of faith in a life, in a journey

Although the reflection includes reflection on the deployment of faith it also underscores that faith is immanent. We construct a view of the world in which we are the implicit author of its depth and dimension; in this view, the denial of faith is consequent upon the denial of ignorance. Openness to ignorance, is the therapeutic openness to faith-as-real. When we experience being in the world as being without guarantee we are most alive. (To forego all guarantee would likely also be a not-alive-ness in the fracture of a psyche. Even this case is not so clear for the process of growth is enhanced by allowing fracture and then reintegration)

Doubt-faith

A journey in or into being cannot invariably have certainty. It must therefore have the characteristics of doubt and of faith—superposed and in sequence that may be called doubt-faith. The core ideas of the Metaphysics of this narrative went through a long period of intuitive development regarding even the fundamental principle was characterized by doubt-faith in its application to the local world before emergence of its certain and universal form. The period of doubt-faith appears to have been essential even though, perhaps, a sufficiently great intellect may have proceeded directly with pure rationality—even such an intellect, however, should, it would seem, have required binding of intellect and feeling as shown in Human being. It also appears that a continuation of the present journey into phases of transformation and further discovery shall require or profit from doubt-faith—at least as a phase

Goal-aimlessness and doubt-faith in action. The example of the theory of objects

To have a goal or ambition, especially a driving one, and yet to ‘allow’ life and times of enjoyment in—at least partial—aimlessness is a kind of faith. It is a very simple faith—being-in-the world is ‘enough.’ An example of—not intended at all—productivity of this simple faith occurs in the development of the theory of objects recounted in Objects. The subject of Objects is important in the history of thought but was not felt to be especially significant to the journey. Still, reflection on objects was interesting—especially the distinction of the particular—concrete—and the abstract. What is an abstract object?

Living with doubt-faith. The example of the theory of objects—continued

Is this the appropriate place for this discussion. Should the discussion be merged with and replaced here by a reference to Objects?

Surely, if there are abstract objects, the cosmology could not be considered complete without their inclusion. Yet, if the status of abstract objects is not transparent, the cosmology could not be considered complete with inclusion. There followed experiments with many conceptions of the abstract object till, finally, inspired by the deepening understanding of Metaphysics, especially that any consistent concept has an object, it was realized that there is no metaphysical—real—distinction between the abstract and the particular or concrete. ‘Things’ studied from the object side are regarded as particular or concrete; those things, whole or partial, studied from the concept side are abstract; studies such as ‘theoretical’ physics straddle the particular and the abstract. That the distinction is absolute is based in a conflation of approach to study with metaphysical kind

Of course, there may be practical distinctions: a rock is the object of the idea of ‘a rock’ and the rock may be touched and seen; what and where is the object of the number ‘1’ and can that object be touched or seen? There are of course many ways that ‘1’ can correspond to an object and one is that ‘1’ refers to all unary collections—the collection of unary collections. In this sense ‘1’ the concept is either an idea or a symbol that is part of a symbolic system and ‘1’ the object is the collection just mentioned. From this vantage point the theory of numbers could be studied empirically; however, a much more powerful mathematical system emerges if the empirical study—from the object side—is jettisoned soon after its establishment and the study is continued from the concept side—in symbolic terms. Where is the object ‘1’? The question is not particularly relevant or interesting but, if you wish, talking from the object side some answer such as ‘everywhere’ or ‘no-particular-where’ may be given. It is crucial, however, that a source—if not the source—of paradox is lack of reference. It does not follow, though, that paradox is best eliminated by reintroducing reference although it may be so eliminated by reference or by surrogate reference i.e. reference to a transparent model

From this outcome of a rather serendipitous and even artificial engagement with the theory of objects, there emerged at once a definite and final understanding of the abstract and the particular or concrete—‘final’ because of the basis in the ultimate metaphysics. At once there was—further and essential—illumination of the object itself, of mathematics and science, of logic and paradox, of knowledge—an illumination that remains, still, on the periphery of a journey

Aims of this chapter

The discussion leading up to the aims has been a little circuitous

1. To examine a concept of faith appropriate to the journey

2. To study faith and religion in general—though briefly. The approach in this study shall follow the fertile template already established: interactive study of necessary truth—especially from Theory of being—and a restricted context—traditional religion and faith and their possibilities

3. To reflect on the place of religion in the modern world and on the possibilities of religion

Further discussion of meanings of faith

Faith as an attitude toward the world

The discussion above reveals a core concept of faith: faith is that attitude toward being-in-the-world that is most productive of being. A variety of terms may be substituted for the final occurrence of ‘being’ in the previous sentence—being-in-the-moment, action, knowledge, ends… These provide application of the concept of faith. Knowledge emphasizes faithfulness to the object; trustworthiness requires faithfulness to persons; commitment requires faithfulness to ends (given the first meaning of ‘faith’ these applications are of course metaphorical)

Religious faith. Not all religions demand ‘faith’

A second connotation of ‘faith’ is that of religious faith. It is not true that all religions require faith; Buddhism, in its original form, focuses on a theme of what is important in life, on a way to achieve that end and, to that end, rejects any importance of metaphysics or religious faith. In Christianity, faith and reason have distinct and conflicted roles—and the theological and psychological roles of faith appear to be distinct; in terms of its own system or metaphysics faith has a distinctive role. Its theological role or aim stems from the conflict that arises when a metaphysical system is upheld that in day-to-day life would—at least—stretch credulity. The psychological role includes the theological intent to resolve conflict but this may be seen as preliminary to the main psychological role—that of regarding the metaphysical system surrounding the biblical Jesus as transcendent truth

Although the two connotations of ‘faith’ have clear connection—else they would be distinct denotations i.e. distinct words with the same sign—the religious connotation is an extreme version of the core meaning of this discussion

The significance of religions faith in hunter-gatherer societies

The significance of religious faith receives illumination from comparison of the beliefs of hunter-gatherer with those of agricultural societies. The hunter-gatherers have been thought of as nomadic because they may have a pattern—typically annual—of following migrating animals, other resources, kinder climatic environments during the harsher seasons and so on. Agriculture made it possible to live in one place. However, as pointed out e.g. in The Other Side of Eden published by Hugh Brody, 2000, agriculture makes it possible and indeed necessary for many members of agriculture based societies to go where ‘work’ is available. In such societies, a fraction of the population is occupied in production of food, food is obtained in exchange for money, and money is obtained through work. In the modern world the fraction of the population involved in production of food is small and even this fraction has to move in response to changing science, technology and economics

Loss of significance of religious faith in the modern world

Thus it is, as Brody narrates, that the nomadic hunter-gatherers have a true sense of place while we, in what we call advanced societies are uprooted and encourage uprooting in unpredicted patterns. These distinctions are reflected in systems of belief. The belief systems of the ‘nomads’ relate to their place, their practices, their physical needs—and it is natural that the same system of belief should address the physical and the spiritual and, perhaps, to not distinguish natural and spiritual. In our world, there is no fixed place, there are no established economic practices in the sense that economic progress is relentless, and work has become disconnected from need. Physical and natural ‘belief,’ i.e. science, is belief that is necessary for practice. It is of course not being said that science is mere belief. It seems that since the natural system of belief has become disconnected from place and psyche, it may be inadequate to address any need of spirit

Science, religion and faith in the modern world. Fracture of the modern psyche

Thus religion and science, faith and secular affairs become distinct—not just because science shows up religion but also because science is detached from psychological need (science may of course substitute for formal religion but it is to be expected that it will be unsatisfying for many—because of its conceptual remoteness and because it may be found barren of spirit or psyche.) This is of course not regarded as truth of religion just as the role of science in economic activity does not establish its truth—unless a pragmatic measure of truth is employed and that could arguably establish some truth for even an absurd faith. Since faith becomes detached from place it becomes an occasion for speculation to lose its empirical side, to flower as an instrument of the spirit—and to be subject to varieties of abuse primary among which is the abandonment of grounding—truth of connection to environment if not truth of spirit or psyche—that may permit and promote other kinds of abuse. The modern philosopher and theologian does not even use the term religion for the faith systems of the hunter-gatherer yet those faiths are closer to the fundamental and core meaning of faith of this narrative

Post-critical faith

Before doubt there is innocence which may be called ‘naïve’ faith. To describe such faith as naïve is not altogether accurate. While doubt has functions it is not invariably productive. Human being has the ‘faculty’ of doubt but this is not true of all animal being or of human being in all stages of development or, constitutively of all persons. For many, especially the critically inclined, doubt destroys naïve faith—or questions it which may be a destruction of naïveté. What is a post-critical faith that has the same quality of trust that marks naïve faith? Is there such a trusting post-critical faith? Perhaps one of the functions of religion may be to support post-critical faith—even though religion is often pre-critical. If, however, the world view of a religion is not one that strains credulity and is at least reasonable, such a religion may support a post-critical faith with trust-in-the-world. Perhaps Buddhism is such a faith since—in its original form—it rejects an elaborate world view or metaphysics. Perhaps, also, the Theory of Being founded in the metaphysics of immanence may provide the framework for such a faith. Still, it may also appear that ‘post-critical faith’ is a not altogether well founded concept and it may be that such faith is a function of personality rather than any post-critical ‘integration.’ This appears to be the case in their attitude to the world during the developments of this narrative. More accurately, perhaps, such faith may be a function of both personality and attitude toward criticism—e.g. that despite the significance of criticism its ‘true’ function is not destruction, nihilism or deconstruction which are intermediate but the service of a creative function whether in knowledge or, especially when knowledge does not appear to be possible, transformation

Concepts of religion

Motives to the study of religion

At the outset, it is important to distinguish two motives to clarifying the concept of religion

A first motive—understanding

One motive is to define and understand religion as it has occurred and as it exists. In light of this motive the study of religion would be empirical but of course not merely empirical because the merely empirical would not provide a concept of religion—and a concept is essential to understanding and this is inherent in the very meaning of concept. It is necessary to note of course that even if the study of religion were to be merely empirical, it would be impossible to avoid an at least intuitive concept of religion without which there would be no distinguishing what is religion and what is not and the merely empirical student of religion would have no reason to not study a cobbler making shoes or to not study the peeling of potatoes in his or pursuit of the study of religion and a study that took no account of what happens in churches, what is written in the Bible and other religious texts, of what is being done in prayer or even what is prayer, should count to the humble empiricist as a study of religion. The merely empirical—altogether non-conceptual—student of religion would do a random walk—think—in concept-space. It is therefore essential that any study of actual religion and what is characteristic of actual religions must have a conceptual side as well as an empirical side. Along these lines definitions of religion may be found such as ‘human beings' relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine’ (Encyclopedia Britannica) or ‘A religion is a set of beliefs and practices generally held by a community, involving adherence to codified beliefs and rituals and study of ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience’ and ‘All patriarchal religions present a common quality… the division of the world in two comprehensive domains, one sacred, the other profane’ (Wikipedia.) There is no need to think of such definitions as definitive—they are presented as specimens of definition. They do, however, point to beliefs and practices, and they do emphasize the division of the sacred and the profane—which absolute division is missing in the faith systems of the hunter-gatherers

A second motive—the potential and possibilities of religion

The two motives are, of course, related

A second motive to the study of religion is to consider its potential and possibilities. Because of the naturally intense politicizing of actual religion, its characterization—especially modern characterizations, whether from within or otherwise, should be suspect in relation to the possibilities of religion. If modern science were the only true knowledge, then surely one possibility for religion would be ‘religion is science’ and then the concept of religion might be, also, ‘religion is science.’ However, modern science, even from its own point of view, cannot be regarded as the only true knowledge. Additionally, knowledge is not the only function of religion; expression is an important function of the human psyche and the scriptures would have—a—function, if not as knowledge, then as expression of spirit (psyche.) Even in the secular tradition and even excepting art, literature, drama, poetry, myth and so on as knowledge, science is not generally regarded as the only true knowledge. Therefore, even in the best secular and modern tradition, there is a place for some concept of religion. The individual who has no—explicit—religion in the modern world is an entirely understandable phenomenon but if she or he further declares a poverty of spirit and simultaneously declares that, from science and reason, no religion except science is possible, he or she has misunderstood the nature of science and of religion. The most important consideration is left for last—in Theory of Being it has been shown that this cosmos is a speck in terms of duration, extension and variety and that the science of this cosmos is likewise but a speck in relation to the possibilities of knowledge of being

Implications of the second motive for a concept of religion. That, despite its clear appeal, secular humanism is silent on issues of immense and real significance

What does this second motivation imply for a concept of religion? Such a concept of religion may be divorced from the empirical side—from the external form of religious practice—but could hardly have meaning if disconnected from the related concept. From the first concept it may be noted that religion is not merely about knowledge but it is also about ritual, about morals, about binding community through shared belief and enterprise, about distinguishing distinct communities through distinct belief and practice and so on. And, in so far as it is about knowledge it is not only about our common knowledge but it is also about doubting that secular knowledge encompasses all of being

An example: the nature and meaning of death

On common secular belief, there is nothing beyond death, therefore no one has survived death therefore there can be no empirical knowledge of ‘beyond death.’ Therefore, the thought that the individual does not survive death is not an empirical statement even on secularism one of whose cornerstones is that knowledge has an empirical side. Common sense makes it clear that a dead body is dead but neither common sense nor science nor reason require that the person should not live again in some form on some other distant ‘planet.’ (Do they explain how the individual came to be on this planet? They cannot for relative to science today and secular common sense, individual existence on this planet, even the entire universe, are mere facts.) Of course of ‘another life’ is not proved by the foregoing argument which does not even give another life’ meaning—it does not, for example, at all explain how that life might be connected to this. Religious texts (‘rising from the dead’ ‘identity of Atman and Brahman’) may, even when empirical content is discounted, be seen as questioning the nature—of the concept—of death. Theory of Being has, in Metaphysics, and Cosmology, shown the necessity of a reality infinitely larger, deeper and more varied than that of this cosmological system and, in the clarification of the nature of Identity, shown the meaning, significance and ‘reality’ of the larger universe to the individual

The concept of religion

The discussion suggests the following concept—religion is knowledge and negotiation of the entire universe by the entire individual in all its faculties and modes of being. Here, though, ‘individual’ could be person, or society, or even, e.g., life on earth. There is a definite distinction from other practices such as empirically oriented science which is restricted in its domain of study and its ‘method.’ Why continue to use the word ‘religion?’ It is not necessary to do so and it may be problematic on account of the negative connotations of the word. Use of the word may, however, provide continuity and derive power from any positive connotation and from the influence of religion

An ideal religion

The Theory of Being and Human World provide a framework and some elaboration for religion in this conception. Religions apparently may incorporate a world view, a metaphysics, and a cosmology and a genesis—‘In the beginning…;’ a context or history—including myth; a moral code. Although these aspects may not be essential, the narrative has provided a foundation and framework for these aspects of religion. The framework is not necessarily complete—some version of history might have a place; some aspects of religion such as worship have not been mentioned. If such elements were to be incorporated, their form might be quite different from their traditional forms. Questions such as ‘are we constructing religion as religion’ or ‘are we forging something organic and rooted and perhaps vaguely related to the idea of religion’ and perhaps ‘what is the value of the enterprise as enterprise?’ may be considered. The present narrative arose from a life and not from a plan to live or write about a journey. The question here being asked is whether religion—any aspect of culture—should arise organically or by design. But is that a question to be asked—culture arises the way it arises whether that way be real or artificial, organic—from the soil, so to speak—or designed… or some combination of these ways in sequence or superposed upon one another… and is there not inevitably something artificial about culture—the artifice of culture. Consider for example a ‘dead’ language such—Latin—someone wishes to revive it. What kind of sense does that make—is not the emergence of language an organic affair or at least partially organic? Even when a conqueror imposes his or her language it is, at least, organically interwoven into the fabric of the source culture. Religion, however is not dead, some will say—and for them, is not their religion already organic? Perhaps not; perhaps it has degenerated and is held as a social or political instrument but not as an instrument of spirit (psyche.) For others, religion is dead—but for some of them there may be a desire for some kind of religion. And, still, for those who have no such desire, it is not necessarily true that there is no spark that may light fire. Perhaps the organic / non-organic question is not organic… Finally there is the question of form—what literary, artistic, dramatic as well as political and economic form might an ideal religion take?

These are thoughts that the next author of faith may have already transcended!

Ideal religion and political-economic form? Does that not seem rather contradictory? Is it not debasing to the idea of religion? But—why should it be debasing? Are we so sensitive that realism is debasing? Is not the idea of debasement an illicit appeal to privilege—‘because my faith is so sacred, you dare not corrupt its purity?’ It is understandable that a person should so object, but, in fact, is the sacred distinct from the profane and would not the sacred-profane give meaning to the profane and grounding to the sacred? What is more, recall from Social World, the inseparability of culture, morals, politics and economics—why, in this light, should there be a separation of the ideal and the—social and cultural—real

Functions and significance of religion

Any analysis or evaluation of an institution may be confused by two factors

Factors that confuse the analysis of religion, its meaning and place
Actual institutions do not have the purity of role that they may be assigned in concept. Such implicit multi-dimensionality of role may include the positive and the negative. It is often thought to be negative by ‘purists’ but is not at all essentially negative

The first factor is that although in concept, function and institution may have perfect correspondence, in the world there tends to be—and to some extent there must be—multiplicity of function in what may be thought or defined—e.g. in a constitution—to be an institution with a single function

Corruption, abuse and decay

The second factor, not fully distinct from the first, concerns corruption, abuse and decay. The pure minded may object to any encroachment of function, any corruption abuse or decay. The problem is especially significant for religion since it is ‘supposed’ to be pure. It may at once be said that a religious institution must have an economic base and cannot invariably continue to exist without some political action. The pure minded may then insist—no more than is necessary; and the economics and the politics must be ‘pure.’ Perhaps, given human nature, some corruption is to be tolerated but it should not be widespread and it should not negate the primary function. Should a religious institution engage in economic activity for profit; should it engage in political activity toward general political ends? When does it become an institution of religion only in name? These questions are difficult and are confused by issues of ‘purity’ (no cross function) and the existence of answers written in law and practice

The functions of religion may be described as meaning and non-meaning

The functions of religion may be described as meaning and non-meaning

Non-meaning functions of religion. The thought that some non-meaning functions are ‘impure’ stems from an artificial division of the world into mundane and sacred, of knowledge into spirit and matter

The non-meaning functions include social identity and difference—bonding and exclusion. Weston La Barre, The Origins Of Religion: The Ghost Dance, 1970, suggests that, via study of the transformations in Native American religion of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, all religion is a response to a crisis of the cultural system. A religious institution may have any cultural function—political, economic, artistic—but does that make such function religious? Commonly we think not but why? Here, it is clear that sense and reference are altogether stabilized only if one is fixed; it is not, however, suggested that complete stabilization is ‘functional.’ Practically, there appear to be two realms—sacred and profane and the former is the domain of religion. Perhaps, though it is the sometimes apparently bizarre—the straining of credulity—metaphysics of some religions that defines separate domains. If the sacred and the profane are both true can a concept make them separate—that is obviously not given. At this point in history, in the western world, in part from the history to avoid persecution and in part because religion has become irrelevant, the ‘sacred’ is separate from the profane. This is not the universal case even today and it does not make it universally true. If the ‘faithful’ would seek truth over adherence, the sacred might be found to intersect the profane—might, as is sometimes thought necessary—be found identical…

The meaning functions of religion

The meaning functions of religion are tied to psychology on the side of the sacred and spirit (psyche.) The spirit is sometimes thought to be a supersensible and ‘transcendent’ realm. Even though such things are found in scripture and belief, they may be regarded as metaphorical for ‘there is more in heaven and earth than in your philosophy.’ Theory of Being shows the actuality of remote realms on which science and common sense cast doubt—all actual realms are in the universe; however there is no support from the theory for the exclusive character of belief. Why then do religions continue on? Reasons are complex no doubt. First, perhaps, is the non-literal function of meaning. ‘Rising from the dead’ questions the common concept of death; and so on; religion is an expression of awe, of mystery, of the sense of the miraculous. In such functions the meaning is not the literal one even though the literal may be instrumental. Second, the crossover of meaning and non-meaning function; that a belief strains belief makes it especially binding—how binding, for example, is the ‘belief’ that bananas are yellow? Imagine yellow-banana-ism versus spotted-banana-ism as basis of a cultural schism. Third, the political dimension of ‘faith’ stabilizes the institution; this is seen in fundamentalist Christianity and Islam and perhaps also in Hinduism in India. Fourth—institutions are self-perpetuating

Secular humanism tends to make the meaning of traditional religion appear absurd. Such absurdity is, appropriately understood, not absurd. This follows from the metaphysics of immanence

In any interpretation of an institution, the reigning world view—not necessarily univalent—is likely to have significant influence. In the modern world, one widespread view, the one in which the world is much as described in science, that the world views as described in the major religions are, mostly, myth and legend that have function but not literal function, and the sacred and the spirit have psychological impact but are devoid of literal significance and the most profound human values are mundane i.e. of the profane world. Against such a view, the metaphysical content of the major religions is, in general, bound to appear, not merely wrong, but absurd. I.e. such metaphysics are not only non-literal but are necessarily non-literal. This view must be widespread among those who do not have ‘fundamentalist’ faith and since this view is especially common among the educated, the literate and the academic, an influential modern default view is that the meaning and functions of religion—whether valuable or not—lie in the domain of psyche and that science and the senses are the primary source of literal knowledge i.e. knowledge of the mundane or profane

Theory of being has shown (1) that that the domain of the universe—‘this world’—revealed by the modern practice of science, the senses, and secular humanism is an infinitesimal speck in the entire universe, (2) that while the myth-like metaphysics of so many religions may and almost certainly do not hold in ‘this world,’ they are not absurd when seen against the background of the infinite variety of the universe. Therefore, there is a place for religion and religious meaning that satisfies both literal and universal function that is not restricted to science and the senses. Whether such a development will occur in our world, what form it might take and what value it may have are open questions and opportunities. It appears that an original function of religion was an opposition to intolerant and often abusive conservatism. Today, however, the strength of religious belief has a reactionary element. For religion to have the greatest available meaning—literal and otherwise—it shall neither react nor bow to science but shall shed its own limits as well as those of modern empirical and theoretical science

However, even though the absurd myth or legend may be instructive, there is an archaic character to much traditional religion that, even though it is correlated with numeric strength, calls for renewal

The assertion is obvious

Religion in the modern world: the traditional religions

The purpose of this discussion is to attempt a study of the role that religion currently plays in societies and in global politics. Since the discussion is not, here, an end in itself and since ‘religion in the modern world’ has received attention in previous paragraphs, in this version of the narrative it will be extremely brief

Attitudes to archaic religions

What attitude may be taken by individuals and governments who see religions—particular religions or religion in general—as archaic andor destructive?

War is not an option?

One attitude is to declare anger and war! At one time in history this was politically acceptable; it is no longer dead. The standard secular western view is that this approach is unacceptable. There is a real possibility that the twenty first century may move in the direction of conflict; consider the declarations of Pope Benedict XVI. However, neither ‘standard’ views nor fact determine truth. Two differences between present and past are political and military. Democracy reduces the distance between decision makers and the affected and thus decision makers are closer—if only for the need for popularity—to suffering the consequences of decisions (this trend may be in reversal.) Second, the military machine makes the consequences of war terrible. These facts confuse any truth

The inevitability of violence cannot justify violence as a method. Perhaps there are no final arguments. If one has a sentiment for / against violence there may be no argument that will sway the conviction

The strength of the tolerant attitude

It is that fact that gives the tolerant attitude its strength. The intolerant attitude, even in the support of morality, destroys the values of morality

It is now assumed that force is unacceptable as a solution to ideological difference. Why is it an assumption? Although physical conflict entails death and suffering, the final outcome has often been good. There is a principle that is against force and this principle is taken as faith rather than absolute fact. Why is the assumption made—perhaps because it is desired to make it, perhaps because of the pressure of peers, perhaps out of self-interest… And—perhaps—an assumption that is not—cannot be—questioned lacks strength

For tolerance and dialogue

Another attitude is to question assumptions. The present narrative has given strong reason to question many modern secular assumptions. As a result of such questioning, even if there is not acceptance there may be a softening of stance in relation to institutionalized religion. Further, it is real that, regardless of ideology, religion is apparently and into the immediately ‘foreseeable’ future here to stay

It may appear eminently reasonable, especially from what has been learned 2003—present, that a political attitude for the future should include tolerance and dialogue (among many other elements)

The possibilities for religion and faith: renewal

A discussion of ‘the possibilities for religion and faith’ may be taken as a sign of arrogance. Reflect, however, on meaning. ‘The possibilities for religion and faith’ is a concept that has an object—one might argue an immense range of objects but that range would also be one object. In a section titled ‘the possibilities for religion and faith’ the title is the concept and the content is a brief reflection on object side

Possibility

Is there any ‘valid’ possibility for the future? This question has been addressed in previous paragraphs—especially those under An ideal religion, above. It appears, they think, that what is often taken for ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ regarding an ideal is based on conditions in the past and present that may or may not hold in the future. Looking at past and present, and the foregoing arguments, cases may be made for the desirability and undesirability of some religion. The argument made here, both in logic and intent, is to dispose viewpoints toward ‘desirability’ but admits both unknowns and an irreversible aspect in history. However, irreversibility, even when it obtains, can be overemphasized for it would—perhaps—not be irreversibility regarding religion as religion but form of religion

Here, again, Theory of being has strong significance. Why is religion here emphasized? First, in the interest of truth—there is a realm of the ‘sacred’ intuited in art, literature and faith, in nature… and shown in Theory of being which also shows its fine weave with the realm of the profane or the secular. Second, perhaps as balance to a secular view that is empty in the direction of the actual and which therefore does not address truth and a need for truth

Opportunity

What will happen? No speculation or commitment is made, no guarantee would have sense, no name, no clear sense—‘religion’—or object—institution—given to an outcome. There is, however, for a civilization that has an immense economic form but has lost direction and for the creative power of some perhaps yet unrecognized persons a clear occasion for great endeavor

Journey

The focus of this part—Journey—is transformation. It remains in process and includes provisional concepts, practice and progress

Function of this part—‘Journey’

In this version of the narrative, this part serves as rough guide and working blueprint and is therefore confined to description of essentials

The ideas—Foundation—achieve a completeness and definiteness that has not yet been achieved in Journey

The concern in Journey is to achieve some representative fraction of the variety of being revealed in the Ideas. Completeness of such achievement is expected to be at most fractional, for the actual variety shown possible in metaphysics of immanence and necessary for some identity in theory of identity may be elusive in the particular case of the journey reported in this narrative. Yet, as being, the ideas are essentially incomplete; they are still essential, however, as the place that the experience of being is appreciated

On account of the essential incompleteness of the ideas, the Journey is the more important part. In the mind of the author, the journey stands out as the greatest of ambitions. It occupies this place on account of its being both life and meaning; and perhaps on account of the fact that the adventure is at it beginning

Details that would detract from the blueprint function may be found in the 2006 version

The idea of a journey

An individual journey

The ideas and transformations described in this narrative are part of an individual journey. The word ‘journey’ is applicable in the following ways. In the beginning there was a sense of adventure—of experience and discovery amid the wonder and magnitude of being—but no definite or fixed or single way or goal. Early ambitions were neither specific nor articulated. There were many paths, some accidental, some imposed by society, some selected for enjoyment rather than some specific outcome, others selected for some practical need or occasion rather than an ideal. Some central interests were in ideas, in education, in travel and in nature, in people and in knowing and understanding people. Some paths faded as interest waned or another opportunity emerged. Over time, a picture of the universe was developed—was revealed as much as it was built up. A journey in ideas was supplemented by transformation—transformation of being, form and identity. As awareness of being grew to match initial idealism, the vague ambitions of earlier years were transformed into definite form—and this was made possible by the understanding of the universe of being that had emerged

Ambition

Early ambition was diffuse and affective. The ideas outlined in Foundation were instrumental in the emergence of an articulated ambition—to know and realize all being. The Theories of being and of identity show the possibility of ‘achieving’ this ambition. Still, a better statement might be that the ambition is to be in a process of knowing and realizing all being in the expression, at least initially, of individual interest and while acknowledge concerns of feasibility and desirability or morals

It is very pertinent to recall that though there is some concept of feasibility and of desirability, the concepts may be quite rough. It is even more significant that the present apprehension of what that final feasibility and final ethics may be is seen only as a dim apparition

Journey in being

The process of being—being-in-time—has been called ‘becoming.’ Becoming suggests some vague uniform process from formlessness to form and perhaps from being formed into formlessness. But every individual journey in all its ways and details and whether finite or without contingent limit—as revealed in the discussion of identity—lies within being (becoming.) ‘Journey’ is a more colorful and more revealing term to describe ‘formation’ and ‘un-formation.’ The Journey of being may be seen as the interacting sum of individual journeys—in their finite aspect—which, again, as seen in theory of identity, merge into one stream, one journey, one form. Journey in being applies equally to the story of an individual growing into and out of universal being as it does to the story of the universe in its transformations through void and manifestation and its myriad constituent and interwoven streams and individuals

Narrative

The narrative has a number of functions. In being written down, the story serves as a blueprint for a journey. More accurately, there is an ongoing interaction between narrative and journey with narrative giving definite form to ‘outer’ journey and ‘inner’ narrative. In being written down, the definite form of the narrative provides something substantial—something that, in its successive versions, shows definite movement and something that in its definiteness provides a form that may be subject to doubt and criticism. A second function of the narrative is to share the ideas one of whose outcomes is useful criticism. Sharing is more than publication, appreciation and criticism. It is a form of invitation, one way to weave together the individual streams…

Ideas

Introduction

Aims

1. Journey in ideas

2. Foundation—whatever foundation in ideas, for transformation in being and identity may arise or has arisen along the way

3. Illustration and elaboration of ideas from Foundation

4. Contribution to thought

Principles of thought and action

The generalized principle or system of principles is not a method but a practice that is conducive to discovery—to originality, comprehensiveness and validity of thought

Reflexivity

A common idea of reflexivity is that a critical theory or system should satisfy its own criteria. Not all theories fall under their own criteria but it is a reasonable claim that a critical theory should. As it stands it is not a particularly strong claim. Here, a generalized idea is that of cross-interaction among all elements and levels of discovery-action and knowledge-being—and at any point or occasion that is opportune. Specifically, principles arise in practice and remain or ‘should’ remain open to revaluation in practice—principles are not in another category than practice. The interaction of principles and practice is not merely a suggestive principle and is seen most clearly in Logic

Self-reference is a source of paradox and therefore a related doubt or objection may arise regarding the ‘principle of reflexivity.’ However, not all self-reference leads to self-contradiction and therefore the doubt should be applied case by case and is not a doubt regarding reflexivity per se

Reflexivity as a source of originality

When it is asked what differentiates the—human—mind from an algorithm, reflexivity and reference arise as strong differentiating candidates. The organism is embedded and this is a strong source of creativity; additionally self-reference, especially the ability to reflect on what one is doing—one’s arguments, one’s method or approach to argument—presents as particularly strong

Reflexivity is simultaneously a source of paradox and an essential source of creativity

Elaboration and examples

Interaction and interaction of criticism and imagination or construction in thought, action and transformation—e.g. criticism of criticism, criticism and construction rather than an either-or attitude, construction or imagination applied to critical approaches and philosophies, thought and action (experiment.) Interaction of knowledge—e.g. the disciplines—and thought, of principles and applications, of sense and reference or concept and object, of psyche and its elements, of life and ideas, commitment to goals and projects and spontaneity of direction—even dissipation, of seriousness and light, of institution and occasion

Sources of ideas. Construction
Listing possibilities

Literature and conversation, imagination, reflex

Concept formation (similarity and difference)

Logic applied to construction

Construction and criticism

Logic (literature and conversation, imagination, reflex,) and construction applied to Criticism. Construction and criticism may both involve experiment in thought and action

Method

In contrast to ‘principles,’ method establishes validity and has the following components. Method, too, is not in another category than practice. The given character of being and experience. Necessary objects—experience and its forms; existence and nature of all, distinction, part, complement and void: universe or all being, temporal and spatial distinction, part or domain of the universe, complement of a domain relative to the universe and void—the complement of the universe relative to itself. Logical consequences of from the nature of the necessary objects. Normal objects—this cosmological system, forms of experience as objects, the disciplines. Logical consequences from necessary and normal objects, their normal or probable character in this or any given cosmology, their necessary character in some cosmology. For examples see Theory of Being and Human World

Philosophy and metaphysics

The objective of this chapter is to elucidate the nature of philosophy and metaphysics in view of the developments of Foundation. In pursuit of this goal some preliminary reflections on the nature of philosophy will be useful. In view of earlier discussions on elucidating the meaning of some area of human activity such as metaphysics or logic as well as the discussions of meaning itself, it may be anticipated that it will be useful to initially enhance the question ‘What is philosophy?’ by a second question “What is the meaning of the question ‘What is philosophy?’?” This question may take the following form

Approaches to answering the question ‘What is philosophy?’

Philosophy is one of the main actors in the history of thought. In an earlier sense in which all thought lay under the umbrella of philosophy, it is the only actor…

It follows that the question ‘What is philosophy?’ is close in its meaning to the question ‘What is valid thought?’ There is an extended meaning in which the questions ‘What is valid perception?’ and ‘What is significant action?’ may be included

Therefore the question ‘What is philosophy?’ is significant to the human enterprise

Since thought—and action and perception—are the tools of the present endeavor, ‘What is philosophy?’ is important here as well. That is true because the present work contains thought that may be labeled philosophical even if it is philosophy only in the more extended sense of including perception and action

The Greek thinkers saw philosophy in broad terms. Plato was open to the nature of the world. Since the advent of science, various disciplines broke off from philosophy. Philosophy became concerned with thought itself and with those disciplines whose subject matter was itself not as well defined as that of science (appears to be.) In the present time we see the world in what may appear to be more restricted and more precise terms. As a result philosophy has become specialized in its subject and its methods. That is true, at least, of academic philosophy

The foregoing thought begs the question of the true nature of philosophy. Has academic philosophy truly seen into the nature of the disciplines. Thinkers from Hegel to Wittgenstein to Richard Rorty, each in their own rather different ways—there were phases of Wittgenstein’s thought—have seen philosophy as a stylized discipline. Even if the ideas of these thinkers have validity, the ‘true’ validity might be a perspective—a valid area of activity—rather than a prescription or a proscription. What is philosophy?

The question ‘What is philosophy?’ is and has a tradition as a problem in philosophy—just as the question of the nature in science is or may be seen as a question in philosophy. ‘What is science?’ is a question in philosophy because the nature of science is not altogether clear and it is not a question in science because science is not (usually thought to be) its own subject. However, the nature of any discipline may be a topic in philosophy on account of its general nature. The nature of philosophy may be a philosophical issue for the additional reason that the nature of the discipline is not altogether clear (on consensual and conceptual grounds)

What does it mean to ask ‘What is philosophy?’ Any valid discussion of the original question must also take up the meta-question

Asking ‘What is philosophy?’ is important to thought, significant to the content of this narrative, and is also an exercise in meaning

The history of the concerns of philosophy: a first approach to the nature of philosophy

A first approach is to ask what has been done under the label ‘philosophy’ from its beginnings to the present time. This would not be a simple matter of reading through the great works or through histories of philosophy for the available literature is influenced by selection and interpretation. Metaphysics is considered to be a discipline within philosophy. However not all philosophical concerns have the breadth and ultimate interest that has characterized metaphysics. One aspect of a characterization of philosophy is that, at least in its beginnings, it encompassed all academic disciplines; later, in the modern era, the sciences broke away from philosophy. The reasons for these breaks included that the subject matter of the disciplines became definite as the disciplines acquired an empirical base and as the concepts acquired definite character. Thus what is left to philosophy after the separation of the sciences is those disciplines whose empirical foundation is not clearly established and whose concepts remain points of analysis—their character is not seen as definite. The original statement that philosophy once encompassed all academic disciplines is not entirely accurate for mathematics was never considered to be a part of philosophy—western or eastern; and this is evidently because mathematical concepts were already quite definite when philosophical thought emerged while, at least in its axiomatic formulations, the empirical sources of mathematics had become minimally relevant to it. However, in the nineteenth century, when the basis of mathematics drew attention as a result of questions about the nature of fundamental concepts such as number and infinitesimal, the resulting study of the foundations of mathematics, which secured—at least some of—the concepts in question as well defined, had a definite philosophical character. This intersection of philosophy and mathematics occurred because some mathematical concepts were seen as ill defined. Similarly, the remoteness and indefiniteness of the concepts of modern physics have also been the occasion for reflection, for analysis of concepts, that may be seen as philosophical. It is natural though not necessary for an individual, a discipline or a culture to turn to philosophy and philosophical reflection in moments of transition or crisis

The turn from authority to reason—a turn from external ‘reasons’ to intrinsic reasons

Another aspect of philosophy is its turn away from authority and dogma, especially religion, to reflection and then, through sharpening of reflection, to reason. Although Thales 600 B.C. suggestion that the fundamental element of being is water is reflective rather than reasoned, it is a turn away from religion and the hidden world of the spirit for water is very much of this world. The metaphysics of Thales’ may be seen as containing precursors of reason and realism or empiricism—this thought is of course the result of interpretation. Still, the second aspect or characteristic of philosophy is its focus on ideas and concepts and, in relation to method, in its focus on reflection and reason

The modern and recent periods: a brief comment

In the recent period, philosophy continues to work within the course set by the foregoing characters—since there is neither intent nor need to review its history, vast movements from Hellenism, from scholasticism, from the modern and recent eras are passed over. These characters are the focus on general issues of interest, focus in terms of ideas and concepts—especially in those areas of thought where there is no secure empirical base and where concepts and conceptual systems have not acquired definite and systematic character and the use of methods—approaches may be a better term—that emphasize reflection and reason

Analytic philosophy and its perspective. The turn away from systematic philosophy to immediate and concrete concerns. The methods of analysis of meaning and piece-meal focus

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries most philosophy in the west has been either analytic or continental. Analytic philosophy emerged in Germany and Britain, perhaps as a reaction to the grand metaphysical speculations of absolute idealism, and was made possible by emerging analytic tools in formal and mathematical logic and in the works of thinkers such as Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein’s influence is especially significant today. Wittgenstein’s early work included a systematic construction of a logical analysis of the world and it is inherent to that work that such an analysis should be possible. The terms of Wittgenstein’s early system were linguistic. Later, Wittgenstein rejected his earlier program and came to focus on different ways in which language is used and to work on a variety of issues, many in philosophy of mind, employing as a primary tool the ways in which language is used in commonly talking of the subject of concern—he is thus regarded to have turned away from systematic philosophy. Although analytic philosophy had roots in the continent—in the work in logic, especially that of Frege—it flourished in the English speaking (and Scandinavian) countries, perhaps because of the rejection of idealism and the practical bent that philosophy had taken in the thought of Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill. These thoughts are of course somewhat speculative. An outcome is that analytic philosophy tends to focus away from grand and systematic concerns and on immediate and concrete problems by methods that emphasize analysis of terms and may be described as piece-meal

The narrowing of perspective in analytic philosophy. Broad sketch of the reasons for the narrowing. Argument from the principles developed in this narrative against the analytic perspective and its reasons

Analysis is a narrowing of philosophical perspective. Wittgenstein’s views—philosophy as analysis of use, lateral analysis, language games or piece-meal work—have had a further profoundly narrowing effect. Though the narrowing is not universal it is sufficiently wide spread that may be seen as universal in its effect on education and writing in analytic philosophy. The source of the narrowing is the view that certain activities—systematic metaphysics, metaphysics as the study of being and not merely of experience—is not possible. Even if such study were theoretically impossible there might be a place for experiment and imagination—imagine the discoverers of the New World holding back because there is by definition no hard evidence of unknown lands. However, this argument is not necessary although, depending on one’s values it may be seen as a supplement to the main argument which is that in this narrative an ultimate and systematic study of being has been developed in ‘cold logic’

Continental philosophy of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continued to be concerned with problems of human and universal interest. Its thought remained clear and crisp in the hands of Nietzsche and powerful—if perhaps necessarily less clear—with Heidegger. On account of its scope it is natural that such thought could not attain the apparent precision of analytic thought

In contrast to analytic philosophy, continental philosophy continued, with thinkers such as Husserl and Heidegger, to focus on problems considered important if, perhaps, too difficult for reason to contemplate. Heidegger saw himself as standing in the tradition of Western Philosophy but as a critic of the prevalent habit of substance thinking. In its focus on Being, the present narrative derives some inspiration from Heidegger’s thought—the aspect of focus and the methods are of course significantly different and, as noted earlier, Heidegger retained an aspect of the habit of substance thinking in not explicitly rejecting determinism which has been seen here as the twin of substance metaphysics. Heidegger’s philosophy retained a focus on the human condition—which was, significantly, Heidegger’s route to metaphysics

The thought of Nietzsche, prior to that of Husserl and Heidegger, is a sublime example of focus on human and universal concerns combined with razor sharp wit, criticism, analysis and insight

The focus on the human condition and the use of the human condition as inspiration and as a source of insight characterizes much of recent, i.e. late nineteenth to twenty-first century, continental philosophy—especially existentialism

The mid-nineteenth to present turn of Continental and Post-modern thought away from real concerns and real criticism

Recent turns in continental philosophy may be seen as responses to a variety of nihilisms. One nihilism is the perceived failure of European ideals in the catastrophic wars of the twentieth century and, perhaps, in the loss of empire and the ascent of the New World. Another nihilism is the loss of faith in systematic thought since the breakdown of communism which was supposedly rooted in Marxism. A third nihilism, perhaps shared with analytic thought, is a loss of philosophical nerve under the rise of the institution of science and under the harsh glare of a certain conception of scientific method—the false one in which the programmatic-empirical and therefore materialist-conceptual-experimental-it-must-be-immediately-falsiable approach of science is raised to the status of Method and thought to exclude all else. Finally there is the rise of populist philosophies which, though not intrinsically nihilistic, have negative evaluations of the tradition of philosophy as the philosophy of an oppressor. Although the characterization is not universal and not complete even its applicable range, the philosophy of the continent and related thought elsewhere—especially among its all-too-gleeful-in-their-flee-from-reason-into-unrestrained-flight-of-emtpy-politico-rhetoric sympathizers across the Atlantic, has, as a general characteristic, a move away from both system and reason

The philosophical tradition and Journey in Being

Although it has been suggested that recent western philosophy may be seen as a loss of nerve in the face of a number of influences, both analytic and continental philosophy might respond that their course is a response to the grandiose pretensions of earlier thought. There is truth to that thought. However, failure of systems and failure of political experiment is not failure of system. The inference from systems to system violates the principles of analytic philosophy; it is the failure of nerve in the continent. The truth to the rejection of grandiose pretensions is a caution rather than a prescription. A motive of the Journey has been to experience and know the magnitude of being, to use the power of the imagination of Europe, the precision of analytic thought, to heed but not be governed by the contingent errors—the confusions of systems with system—of the past

Indian philosophy

It would take this story to far away from its path to attempt a proper characterization of Indian philosophy and its various strands. It is also true that I should become more familiar with that philosophy before I attempt to define it

Perhaps one characteristic, general though not universal, of the philosophy of India is its attempt to synthesize magnitude of vision with precision, clarity and grounding of thought

This narrative has gained from an exposure to Indian philosophy

Summary of discussion

In summary, there is no characterization of the practice of philosophy that is universal to all times and places—at least in the thought of the practitioners of those times and places. There has been no discussion of non-western thought but such discussion is not necessary to this negative conclusion. However, the self-evaluation of philosophy has clearly varied from that of, e.g., universal science to a local narrative that has no pretension to reason or universality

The discussion sets the stage for elucidation of the nature of philosophy and metaphysics

Discussion now turns to reflection on the nature of metaphysics and philosophy in light of the present narrative and the foregoing preliminary discussion

The discussion first turns to a new characterization of the metaphysics of immanence that recognizes its ultimate breadth. This permits a characterization of philosophy that has the same breadth but allows specialized studies as well. The firmness of the foundation of metaphysics is carried over to philosophy.

The ultimate nature of the metaphysics of immanence suggests the thought that the question of the nature of philosophy may have some ultimate resolution if perhaps in a broad sketch. Since the metaphysics is critical, it is taken up first. Although the metaphysics has been seen to be ultimate the characterization below is explicitly new even though it is implicit in the development so far. The following characterization of metaphysics sets the stage for setting down a conception of philosophy that is based in the firm foundation of the metaphysics, that has faithfulness to the original tradition, and that has the same breadth and depth as the metaphysics while allowing a vast range of more and less specialized concerns. While the specialist focus of analytic philosophy is rejected its specialist studies are not—these studies and there methods have been influential and very useful in the development of this narrative

Metaphysics

When metaphysics is seen as the study of being-as-such rather than as a metaphysics of experience, it has been challenged with the question of its possibility. The source of this challenge is that there is no possible knowledge of being-in-itself. Various responses to this challenge are possible and these include Kant’s analysis of the world in terms of what structure it must have in order to make experience and its forms possible. In this narrative it has been seen that although there may be no faithful experience of being in all its details, there is experience of certain general contours of being, e.g. the facts of being and of all being and others, and this experience was used as the basis of an ultimate metaphysics of great power and simplicity. The problem of the details—of contextual or contingent affairs—remained and was addressed in Theory of Being. It was found that practical faithfulness obtains in context, that intuition can be extended through humor to cover all being, and less than full faithfulness may be seen equally as limit and opportunity. These words are, of course, a distant view of the powerful and universal perspective of Foundation

In its broad contours, metaphysics may, therefore, be rationally seen as the discipline whose concern is with the outer limits of being; whose method shows how to study those limits—and, of course, that the study is possible; and is revealed as a study of being of ultimate breadth and variety

Philosophy

In consequence, philosophy has no rational requirement to limit itself as laid out in modern academic thought. While metaphysics has concern with the outer limits, philosophy may, in consequence, be recognized as the discipline whose limits are the outer limits of knowing—understanding—and being. In the extension to being, philosophy has the interpretation of action—whether systematic or ad hoc at outset. While it is natural that there will be special foci within philosophy—disciplines whose empirical foundation remains tenuous and whose concepts have not acquired definite character—this restriction should concern the practice but not the concept of philosophy which should continue to encompass method and content of other disciplines and practices

One aspect of recent philosophy is the thought that ‘philosophy cannot inform other disciplines.’ In the present view, no narrow discipline is seen as informing another; rather, there is sharing of information and reasons across boundaries and levels of knowing and being that are intrinsically transactional—and somewhat arbitrary—rather than impermeable boundaries and levels

When every discipline is defined by its practitioners, the sum of all disciplines is likely to contain ‘gaps’ that include (1) spaces in between disciplines, (2) the system of disciplines and its overview defined conceptually instead of by academic division, (3) space for emerging studies. The reality of these gaps may be questioned but the effect is a definite omission from academics and education. One source of such concerns is that it results from forces in the selection of the practitioners. In Britain for example, academic philosophers are largely those who studied classics in the schools and have little exposure to science or even philosophy itself. It is natural, then, for such individuals to have an inward looking specialist view of philosophy. It is now asked, ‘who is the keeper of all knowledge.’ There is bound to be contention regarding the appointment specific group of individuals to the position of ‘keeper.’ Yet, there is a need for the activity. In one view it does not matter what that activity is labeled. However, having it labeled may be conducive to its development

Regardless of whether the activity is done by a scientist, a poet or a philosopher, the Western discipline whose legacy makes it the best ‘container’ for universal thought is (perhaps) philosophy. Even though that suggestion is bound to draw reaction, some of it likely hostile, no reason is seen to retract it

Problems in metaphysics

The original intent of reflection on metaphysics was to provide one framework for the journey. However, the outcome was an original metaphysics. Along the way it became possible to develop powerful approaches in metaphysics. One outcome was the neat, astonishingly brief and succinct, and definitive resolution of a number of classic and new problems in metaphysics

Aims of the chapter on problems in metaphysics

The goals of this chapter are, first, to show that the developments of the narrative contain, simultaneously, the introduction of some new problems of metaphysics and their resolution and, second, to show that essentially all of the main problems from the history of metaphysics have been addressed and given resolution

Some new problems of metaphysics and their resolution

The possibility and construction of a metaphysics of ultimate depth and breadth

The first problem is that of the possibility and construction of a—perhaps the—metaphysics that is ultimate in breadth and depth. The possibility of metaphysics is not a new problem but its enhancement to include its construction and ultimate character are essentially new for, as already noted, while there have been intimations of the metaphysics of immanence in the history of thought, ‘The metaphysics has been brought to an ultimate level—one that has been glimpsed in the history of thought e.g. by Leibniz, Hume and Wittgenstein who saw some aspect of it but provided neither demonstration nor systematic development of a whole system nor development of a system of implications. Some aspects of the system have been imagined in Indian Philosophy, especially in Vedanta, but, here too, what has been seen is similarly though not identically deficient.’ In its development, i.e. in the first versions of the narrative, the metaphysics was thought of as transcending experience, and in recent versions there was a sense of its empirical character

The metaphysics—of immanence—is a real metaphysics that is also of and based in experience

The second problem is that of showing that the metaphysics of immanence is a metaphysics of experience. There is extensive discussion of this issue in the narrative and it is therefore necessary here to make only a brief explanation of the empirical character of the metaphysics. Consider the ‘universe’ which has been conceived in the narrative as all being. Recall the discussion of the meaning of the phrase ‘Mt. Everest exists.’ It means that there is a concept of ‘Mt. Everest’ that corresponds—intentionally—to an actual object ‘Mt. Everest.’ It was observed, however, that the correspondence of some particular version of the concept—e.g. the shape of the mountain or its constitution in terms of rocks and ice or in terms of atoms—may be practically adequate for some purpose but cannot be, or is at least not normally known to be, perfectly faithful. However, perfect faithfulness is what is required for the concept ‘Mt. Everest’ to be part of a metaphysics. The same problem arises in the case of elementary objects such as an electron. An objection now arises to the metaphysics of immanence as a metaphysics of experience—that it is a valid metaphysics is otherwise demonstrated and is not in question in the immediate discussion. The objection is that if the concepts of elementary things are not given to be faithful to their objects, then, since the universe is compounded of all objects, how, since in the compounding the lacks of faithfulness are compounded, can the concept of the universe be faithful to the object universe? Putting the question in that way suggests its immediate answer—if ‘universe’ refers to universe-in-all-its-details then there is indeed a compounding of lack of faithfulness of the elements; however, if universe refers to universe-in-its-oneness there is no compounding of the lacks of faithfulness of the concepts of the elementary objects. There is an empirical sense of the universe-in-its-oneness that is suppressed by the exquisite but, relative to the object in question, distracting detail. I.e., in the concept of the universe as the universe-in-its-oneness, the lacks of faithfulness of the concepts of the elementary objects—may be said to—cancel one another

The thought that there is a universal divide between noumenon and phenomenon, between metaphysics of being and metaphysics of experience, is based in a mistaken characterization of experience

The mistaken thought that there cannot be experience of all being has just been seen as an impediment to seeing the empirical character of the metaphysics of immanence. A related impediment is the mistaken thought that knowing must invariably be incremental, that it should radiate out from a center in this world

It is emphasized that there is no claim that all experience of phenomena is faithful to noumena but that (1) there are absolute objects, the void, the universe and so on for which the faithfulness of the phenomenon is given and (2) there is a detailed analysis of the case for other objects given in Objects that need not be repeated here except to say that Objectivity is possible for a far wider class of objects than hitherto regarded as possible

Development of a method adequate to metaphysics of immanence and its application

A third problem is that of the development of a method adequate to development of the metaphysics of immanence and its application to, first, elaboration of the metaphysics as in Logic and meaning, Mind, and Cosmology; second, to the theory of objects, i.e. to elucidating the duality of concepts and objects, i.e., to bringing a metaphysic of practical experience into the fold of the metaphysics of immanence; and, third, to the immediate or Human World. The method has been discussed extensively in the divisions Theory of Being and Human World, and in the chapter Principles of thought and action

Some problems and resolutions on the boundary between classical metaphysics and metaphysics of immanence

Another problem conceived and resolved is the twin problem of substance and determinism. This problem, fully conceived only in the present version of the narrative, recognizes, with Heidegger, that western metaphysics has suffered for 2000 years under the shadow of substance thinking, but that substance and determinism are duals and to fully eradicate—the habit of—substance thought, determinism must also be abandoned. The resolution of the problem and related problems such as the possibility of structure from—indeterminism is accomplished in the narrative and is not repeated here. From this problem and its resolution flow the problems and resolutions of the fundamental problems of metaphysics—the fundamental problem of metaphysics—why there is something rather than nothing, the meaning and nature of the real and of mind—and matter—and consciousness, the mind-body problem and the problem of mental causation, the questions of the nature of philosophy and the nature of metaphysics (recall that at the outer boundaries of philosophy and metaphysics are identical,) the problem of foundations—whether there is a non-relativist foundation without substance (such a foundation has here been shown,) the problem of variety and its resolution in the idea of Logic as the one law of the universe, the problem of the relative natures of particulars and universals such as properties and of particular versus abstract objects such as universals and values (there is a practical distinction but a real and uniform framework may and has been developed in which any distinction is artificial,) the problems of the distinctions between the contingent and the necessary and of the empirical and the analytic (whose resolutions are tentatively similar to the resolution for particulars and universals,) the problem of the nature of human being and society—whether we are isolated and marginal and limited accidents (we are not at all so but in the Theory of being, this derives from there continuity with the variety of being—especially beings on earth—and not from any uniqueness or superiority although the human mode of appreciation that may have positive and neurotic expression and is manifest e.g. in art and literature appears to be distinct though without any meaning to any suggestion of superiority,) the problems of the status of traditional religious and mythic cosmologies, the problems of identity and of the relation of Atman and Brahman (here shown logically to be identical in the global perspective)…

Problems in metaphysics from antiquity to the present time. Resolutions

Included are classical, scholastic, modern and recent issues in metaphysics and Indian metaphysics. The purpose to the following catalog of problems is to show that the problems from the history of metaphysics have received either trivialization or solution in this narrative—the reader may wish to review the relevant portions of the narrative; and some of the more specialized concerns may require, for completeness, in the present version of the narrative, that the reader work out the details. Mention of types of metaphysical theory is included to display—so that the reader who has become acquainted with Theory of Being can see—the ‘placement’ or ‘context’ of the types within the Theory of Being. Mention of argument in metaphysics brings out the contributions of ‘method’ from the present narrative

Classical metaphysics

Since the problems are resolved in the narrative, there is no need to repeat the resolutions

Being, substance, space, time, nature of metaphysics, forms, categories, atomism, change and constancy

Scholastic metaphysics

Universals and particulars, free will, existence and nature of God, soul and body

Modern metaphysics

Nature of the Real; mind and matter; identity, substance, ontology; identity over time, personal identity; causation and laws; probabilistic causation; laws of nature; Matter, space and time; objects as substances vs. mere bundles of properties; conception of spirit; nature and existence of the external world, what is Real—reality of material things, organizing principles of nature

Recent metaphysics

Modality and counterfactuals; causation, regularity and counterfactuals; identity and necessity, Kripke—identity statements are necessary but knowable only a posteriori. Being as journey or becoming; becoming as being

Indian metaphysics

There are points of contact between Indian thought and the Theory of Being. As a whole, Indian Philosophy recognizes the greatness of being (Brahman, the Real) and identity of the self (Atman, soul) with it; it stresses the immediate in karma (work) and moksa (salvation;) these ideas focus on what may be important to the Individual and to transformation; in ‘A History of Transformation’ below there is consideration of some schools of Indian thought that focus on these concerns

Types of metaphysical theory

The present section has the intent to show the relations of metaphysics of immanence to some classical types of metaphysics

Platonism

Relationship between the ideal and the immediate

Aristotelianism

Metaphysics is immanent

Thomism

Reflection on everyday things and the everyday world reveals it as pointing beyond itself to God as its sustaining cause

Cartesianism

The main problem of Descartes was the divide between the determinate world of matter then being revealed by science and the world of mind that was free of material constraint… that were brought together by Design as the sign of God

Idealism and materialism

Idealism and materialism are two modern responses to the problem of Cartesianism

Argument in Metaphysics

Metaphysics as an a priori science… and as an empirical science; metaphysical arguments—logical Form of metaphysical arguments; transcendental arguments—typical form and an example: q = knowledge is possible only if p = the world is according to the forms of intuition and q therefore p

Further issues and problems of metaphysics addressed and resolved in this narrative

The following list makes explicit the contribution of the present narrative to resolution of the problems

Metaphysics

The (seamless and integral) nature of Being and knowledge (objects.) The ‘fundamental problem’ of metaphysics, i.e. why absence of being must result in being (‘Why there is something rather than nothing!’)

Identity

The nature and destiny of the Individual (in the Theory of Identity;) and the identity of the individual and all being

Mind, and matter and the problem of substance

The Mind-Matter problem i.e. that there is (after fundamentals have been addressed) no mind-matter problem; and, more generally, the problem of substance i.e. that there are no ultimate substances. The problem of substance (detail)—there are no ultimate (deterministic) uniform and unchanging substances; there is, at root, only the (indeterministic) Void (absence of being) whose uniformity and constancy or otherwise are not defined into but derived from its constitution (concept)

The void may be seen as the source of All Being; the concept of the void founds explanation of all being that terminates without regress, eliminates substance, and permits non relativist philosophy without substance

Philosophy of mind

Some problems of intentionality and mental causation—discussed under Mind

Attitude and action

Identification and resolution of the conceptually illicit but practically useful distinction between experience on the one hand and attitude and action on the other

The nature of consciousness and experience

The meaning and nature of the Real

See Objects

Ethics, metaphysics and knowledge

The nature of Ethics and its relation to Metaphysics. The necessity of Metaphysics on Ethical grounds (rejection of Metaphysics on Ethical grounds is also conceivable; however, the argument here is for necessity. Further, a rejection of metaphysics on purely ethical grounds would miss the essence of the argument as an inclusive rather than an exclusive one.) The Real nature of Ethical concerns i.e. that issues of freedom are not peripheral but central to being (whose constitution may be seen as freedom in interaction with necessity.) That the concepts of Knowledge and Ethics (Morals) are not distinct—that knowledge is other than usually conceived or that it is of lesser value than usually thought (though not devoid of value altogether—its value would retain its practical but not its fundamental aspect)

The nature of human being and society

See Human world

A system of human knowledge

The discoveries in metaphysics of this essay make possible the following system that corresponds approximately to the system of modern academic disciplines. The system is an adaptation, in light of Theory of being, of the outline of the fifteenth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica

The intent is to reveal how the Theory of being and related topics make the enhancements possible and to allow the reader to see how the system may fit rationally and systematically within the framework of the present narrative

A. Symbols, Knowledge, and Understanding

0a. Symbols and signs; semiotics—the study of signs and sign behavior. Symbolic Systems including language, logic, and mathematics. 0b. The Humanities and Philosophy; Study of Science, History, and other Disciplines

According to Kant, understanding (German: Verstand) is the faculty or source of concepts, judgments and principles. Since the time of Kant, it has come about that the idea of distinct faculties has lost favor; therefore, ‘source’ is preferred

Understanding is not absent from the conceptual side of disciplines but the formal study of concepts is the domain of philosophy. This kind of statement is bound to be taken as a territorial assertion. It is not intended that way; here ‘philosophy’ functions as a label and when scientists or philosophers reflect on scientific concepts their thought may lie in science and in philosophy

Philosophical understanding is enhanced by study of history and the disciplines

Understanding may be contrasted to fact. In knowing the concepts of science there is access to a greater domain of facts; but the understanding stands over mere facts. Understanding includes knowledge of patterns, when to use and when not to use a concept, the significance of facts

B. The Universe

1a. Metaphysics and general cosmology, nature and varieties of Being, which includes Logic, Value or ethics and aesthetics, epistemology; nature and varieties of Knowledge, where, note, Belief is fundamental and the varieties of belief include Faith as (primarily) Belief-Action, Knowledge as Belief-Justification; 1b. Physical science, nature, behavior of energy and varieties of force and material object including physics, physical cosmology, and chemistry; 2. Geology; 3. Biology, life—its nature and variety and origins of life and variety; Medicine; 4. Mind as the study of psyche in its integration and its ‘functions;’ nature of mind; 5. Society, nature, institutions (groups) and change… and aspects including culture (institution of knowledge,) economics, political science and philosophy (and Law;) and 6. History

C. Artifact

7. Art, nature and varieties of (literature, music, painting…;) 8. Technology (elements: energy, tools and machines… and fields: agriculture, transportation, information, earth and space exploration…; Engineering; and 9. Faith, literal and nature and varieties of non literal meaning and non meaning functions; religion, its nature and varieties: the religions of the world throughout history

Transformation

Living in the present without a sense of time beyond the moment and the seasons has been experienced as a timeless ultimate—by hunter-gatherers. The philosopher Wittgenstein wrote of this experience. The redefinition of the concept of the empirical and related aspects of metaphysics in the division Theory of being, affirms that the two senses of ‘ultimate’ suggested by the sense of timelessness and an actual ultimate are not essentially distinct

Introduction

Why transformation?

The occasion to take up transformation is this—transformation is intrinsic to being. Additionally, transformation is necessary to the completion of the Ideas. I.e., Idea as a mode of being is essentially incomplete

Kinds of transformation

Virtual transformations: ideas

It has been seen that ideas are a kind of transformation. This is especially true in materialism where the acquisition of an idea, even when not by creation, requires some change in the state of the organism e.g. the brain. Ideas may be an adventure—an exciting kind of transformation. Certainly, the Theory of being—its discovery, development, elaboration and application—has been experienced as an adventure

Actual transformations: transformation of the organism and of identity

In themselves, however, even though they may reveal an ultimate, ideas remain incomplete. Actual transformation of being—of organism and identity—remain unfulfilled. Ideas may be regarded as virtual transformations while transformations of organism and identity are actual

The distinction between virtual and actual transformation is of degree rather than kind

The claim is obvious and is easy to illustrate

The idea is the place that all transformations are appreciated

The idea in itself may be seen as a limited form of transformation. However, it is in ideas that all transformations, virtual and actual, are appreciated. Additionally, while the traditional concept of the idea as involving at most limited physical transformation, this concept is a limited concept of the idea. In the ultimate potential of even a limited being, the distinction between virtual and actual transformations evaporates. Further, the idea is the essential place of participation of the individual in the world, in the ultimate, in even the most violent and most physical or material of actions

In order to make a point, the occasional and traditional concept or intuition of the idea as disembodied is occasionally allowed in the following paragraphs

Transformation without ideas?

Since ideas are the place that actual transformations are experienced, transformation without idea is empty. If an actual transformation involves change of identity it may be questioned whether it is in fact a change of an organism with a continuous sense of identity. It is shown in Theory of identity, that there is some more inclusive organism whose identity is comprised of a range of identities that include the identity of the original organism so that there is in fact a recognition of continuity even through radical change. This idea is not strange for it is further shown that what is experienced as one identity is simultaneously an interactive accumulation—a community—of identities: even in continuity there is variety and the experience of distinct identity may be an extreme of variety in a continuum

The requirement for full transformation

Just as Theory of being flows from Metaphysics and originally from the idea of being, Transformation flows from the Individual (i.e. from being.) Although Ideas provide suggestion, are the place of meaning and make search effective, they are not sufficient to full transformation of being. Full transformation requires experiment and action. Still, the notions of pure experiment and pure action are, according to the theory of identity developed earlier, approximations to the edge of a continuum

Mere technological change is secondary

There is also an interest in ‘material’ transformation, for example technological or agricultural change. This, however is not the primary interest in Transformation

However, technology may merge with organism and identity

Artificial intelligence and artificial life make the case. It should be remembered that the ‘artificial modes’ are not restricted to computer programming but to design, evolution, experiment, and tinkering with software-hardware combinations. These may occur simultaneously and at a variety of levels of reflex / interaction

History of transformation as a source: kinds and approaches to transformation

Transformation seeks support in History of transformation—prior experience in being and becoming—and in ideas and action but is ultimately without complete foundation outside itself. This is good—and necessary... for foundation is something that is other and regarding ultimate being in itself, there is and can be no other

History of transformation is taken up in the next chapter

Aims of transformation

Summary of aims

1. Engagement in realization—of the ultimate… working out of the highest ideal

2. Illustration of the Theory of Being

3. From Theory of being and History of transformation to develop and synthesize approaches to transformation. To work out a minimal and covering sequence or system of actions or experiments toward the goal of realization (a covering sequence shall be one that covers or attempts to cover all modes of transformation)

4. A final aim is to contribute to the history of transformation

The aims of transformation

The following aims shall be approached in interaction

Engage in a path to realization of the ultimate

The aim of transformation as part of the journey is to engage in a path to realization of the ultimate. The possibility that an individual will realize this is shown in Metaphysics which further shows that some ‘occurrence’ of that individual will necessarily make the realization. The Theory of identity shows that the realization has meaning in the sense of significance. In Vedanta, this realization is known as the identity of Atman and Brahman

Since, in the normal sense of ‘individual,’ realization of the ultimate is possible but not given, the logical aim of transformation for the individual cannot exceed engaging in paths to realization… The essential idea may be stated, An Individual is ultimate but an individual may realize the ultimate

A related aim is to work out possible forms of the realization as The highest ideal or, at least, a significant ideal. This includes working out intermediate forms that start at the immediate, i.e. the here-and-now

A theme of the chapter, The highest ideal is that that ideal is not given to the individual and that to think that it may be is a kind of substance or essentialist thought. The tension between the ultimate as a state and as a process suggests the possibility of paradox that may require working out

Illustrate the Theory of being

A second aim is to illustrate the Theory of being. A related aim is to attempt experimental demonstration of the fundamentals of the theory. This will be of value even if the proof of the fundamental principle is accepted. The doubt that remains regarding the proof is not of its validity when it is under review. Rather, doubt occurs when that proof is in the background and the doubt occurs because of the novel yet exquisitely economic nature of the proof whose central idea was to look away from this cosmological system and to look, instead, at all being and absence of being. The doubt is aggravated by the recognition that ‘so much is obtained from so little.’ Perhaps, after all, it is not true that ‘so much’ has been obtained because it is knowledge of possibility and necessity of realization and not realization itself—that ideas alone may be experienced as empty relative to actual transformation

From Theory of being and History of transformation to develop and synthesize approaches to transformation. To work out a minimal and covering sequence or system of actions or experiments toward the goal of realization

A third aim is to develop some approaches to transformation from the Theory of being, especially Metaphysics, Theory of identity, Cosmology, and Human world in interaction with approaches from the History of transformation and actual deployment (the first goal) as experiment. This aim has two aspects—first, a working out of details of the path of realization and, second, it is hoped, contribution to the history of transformation

A related aim is to review topics from Human world and from a History of transformation for sources of transformation and to synthesize a system of ‘experiments in transformation’ from these sources. Topics from Human world include the nature of organisms including genesis, interaction and ecology; questions about the nature of human being; questions about the nature of mind and psyche and the basic meaning and role of ‘feeling;’ the mental functions and the intuition; growth, personality and commitment; the meaning and nature of imagery and language with depiction as a special but significant case; and exceptional achievement—its nature and dependence on ability, nurture, habit, drive, and other factors including circumstance. Here are some ideas from History of transformation (1) Western ideas including the Greek ideal, Freudian and other conceptualizations of growth; mystics and saints. Shamanism; other systems that date back to prehistory; (2) The shamanic or journey-quest: its original and later variations as approaches to states of insight including hallucination and to transformation of personality; (3) Indian systems—Samkhya, Yoga, Bhagavad-Gita and its four yogic systems (Raja, Gñana, Karma, Bhakti,) Vedanta; the voice of the Vedas and the Upanishads; Buddha… States of psychic sensitivity, sometimes called altered states, shall be reviewed with respect to nature and types of state, sources, methods and cultivation, kinds of method or approach, enhancing or inducing, uses of such states in transformation, sensitivity and personality of individuals, savant modes and theories

An aspect of the immediately foregoing, again in interaction with actual deployment, is to work out a minimal and covering sequence or system of actions or experiments toward the goal of realization

A final aim is to contribute to the history of transformation

From Theory of being and the history of transformation, to complement, modify, add to and complete the historical approaches to transformation

History of transformation

This chapter is a brief review of some classic modes that share in the goal of transformation

Aims of a study of history of transformation

1. To review traditional ideas for use in transformation

2. To provide foundation for a synthesis of the variety of approaches. This goal is further taken up in Basis and theory of transformation

Traditional systems

Western systems

Greek ideal; mystics and saints; the spiritual traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Freudian and other conceptualizations of growth—deterministic and indeterministic

Shamanism and other systems that date back to prehistory

The shamanic or journey-quest: its original and later variations as approaches to states of insight including hallucination and to transformation of personality. Black Elk, Mircae Eliade, Weston La Barre, Richard K. Nelson—Make Prayers to the Raven—1983, Hugh Brody—The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers, and the Shaping of the World—2000, Joseph Campbell—Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God—1959, Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hoffman—Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers—1992, …

Indian systems

Veda and Upanishad; Bhagavad-Gita and its four yogic systems—Raja, Gñana, Karma, Bhakti yoga; Samkhya, Yoga; Vedanta; Buddhism—reflection on the noble truths and experiments with the eight fold way

States of psychic sensitivity

Recently named ‘altered states’ and regarded with mystery

‘States of psychic sensitivity’ may suggest something localized to perception. Therefore, it should be kept in mind, first, that there is no restriction of to any ‘compartment’ of mind and all of cognition and emotion is included and, second, that it is implicit that—as the discussion below will show—‘body’ and ‘mind’ are equally engaged

Similar considerations are relevant for the Traditional systems. As examples the transformations of the mystic, the yogi, and the shaman involve the body—the part of the individual that is often regarded as ‘not mind’—in degrees that may be extreme

Nature and types of state

Nature and types of state and characteristics including dreams and hypnotic states, visions and other forms of psychic awareness whether arising directly from the psyche—including of course the unconscious—or indirectly from the world

Sources, methods and cultivation

Sources, methods and cultivation e.g. focusing dreams and their integration in awareness; cultivation of other states in the present and over time; cultivation, idiosyncrasy and opportunity

Kinds of method or approach

Kinds of method or approach including meditation and isolation of the psyche, suspension of judgment, exposure to archetypes through dream-eliciting the unconscious-symbol-Art-myth-Faith—and consequent cognitive-emotive integration, contemplation and focusing of psyche, induction of states in groups and or by, variously, shaman, priest or pontifex and…

Enhancing or inducing factors

Enhancing or inducing factors such as physical isolations and deprivations, physiological alterations of state from exposure, shock or trauma, pain, fear, crisis, anxiety—imposed or volitional and purposive, exertion and exhaustion, march, rhythm and dance, inaction, fasting and diet (Ayurvedic medicine does not distinguish food, drink, medicine, drug,) alteration of or extremes in environment

Uses of altered states in transformation

Uses of such states in awareness and discovery, transformation of self, personality and in e.g. healing of the person i.e. of psyche-soma (kinds and examples currently omitted) and, methodologically and opportunistically, through concepts of growth enhanced by the Theory of being in transformation of being; cultivation of perception

The sensitive individual

Sensitive individuals, relation to disturbance—that relations are contingent rather than necessary; personality or disposition and state. Individual and group approaches to transformation of personality; splitting; social action and transformation (of self and society)

The savant

Savant, modes and theories, relation to developmental deficiency—that any such relations are not necessary; relation to states and dispositions to states of psychic sensitivity; experimental inductions of the savant syndrome in normal individuals; possibility of cultivation

There may be wishful thinking involved in the thought that all persons have un-liberated and savant-like abilities that are locked in by ‘normal, balanced development.’ However, there is growing evidence that ‘normal’ abilities are capable of savant-like development. Much of this evidence concerns accidents such as stroke which debilitates a part of the brain and may so free another part. There are reports of experiments with magnetic fields that confer temporary savant-like behavior. Yet, it is important and fair to remember the alternate explanations to savant-ability: compensation and randomness. Perhaps the savant cases represent all modes of explanation, possibly in combination

Meditation

The following requires to be improved

Theory

Yoga is union with the ultimate, with Brahman. There are various ‘Yogas’ of which only a few are mentioned here (for details on meditation, Yoga… see http://www.horizons-2000.org.) Meditation is an aspect of Yoga—Raja Yoga one of the four Yogas of the Bhagavad-Gita, the way through introspection and inner ‘journey’ through quieting the ‘ruffles on the surface of mind.’ The Vedanta is the source of the idea of the identity of Atman and Brahman. Samkhya describes the ‘dynamics’ of bondage and release

Preparation, Minimizing Distraction

Preparation: stretching, relaxation, Hatha-yoga… Fixed time: 20—60 min; regular… Nature / altar… Letting go: suspend judgment, accept, let go, unmask (true nature), surrender

Meditation Techniques

Goal—Quieting, Cleaning, Emptying of Mind… of chaos, voices and static

In the following, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh, 1975 and other sources have been useful

Sitting… Sit upright: think ‘sitting here is like sitting on the Bodhi spot…

Practice mindfulness on your work… or Presence… Mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves

Breathing… Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness… unites body to thoughts. Practice consciousness and control of all aspects and rhythms of the body-breathing

Also… Sound: mantra, prayer, music, drum and rhythm. Vision: focusing on a visual image. Touch: rosary. Body: breath, sitting, accepting discomfort. Intermediate goals: achieving a single point of pure focus, pre-conceptual mind; expansion of awareness, stay with awareness-in-the-present, exploration of mind exploration, mindlessness… and mindfulness, dimensions for expansion—body, mind, world

While sitting, meditate with awareness on breathing… After 10-20 minutes, your thoughts will have quieted down like a pond on which not even a ripple stirs …or substitute counting and following breath

Why Meditate

Rest

Mindfulness of the mind

Presence… Meditation reveals and heals. The water clearer, the grass greener

I am awake… Buddha

Practice leads to no-mind and meditation-in-action, the ‘Zen of…’ extraordinary and mundane activities… Auras, vision, being… Mindfulness: ‘We are the result of all that we have thought,’ and ‘Work out your salvation with diligence.’ Separation / immersion and creative process

Shared meditation
Walking Meditation

Walking: immersion, being-in-the-world … Cultivated and in balance with sitting meditation, reminders for each day, a day or event…

Includes: Staying in the present despite discomfort, anxiety, fear but avoiding—by allowing them without resistance, even to the image of the other’s image of the self, i.e. object relations—a cascade of negative associations and cycle of self-judgment, waiting for and knowing there will be ‘no-mind’ and positive acceptance, feeling, thought and action. Being one’s full self in the presence of others and in all situations: work and difficult relationships, avoiding entry into negative cycles of self-judgment, meeting people, automating this response

Vision-Quest

See http://www.horizons-2000.org for details

Hero’s story

In one Native American tradition, under the guidance of the initiated (‘elders,’) with preparation: four days spent in a self-selected ‘good medicine’ area, a ten-foot sacred circle without outside stimulation, food or friends… ‘Finally the mind makes way for confrontation with the true self’

Basis and theory of transformation

Outline of basis and theory of transformation

Discipline; crises and catalysts

Right ideas, action, ways and ends

Projects—cumulative change and transformation in identity

Virtual and actual transformations

At outset it is significant to note that not all transformations, virtual or actual, appear to have foundation in knowledge. There is, however, no significance in being to changes that are not—ever, even by indirect effect—registered in experience. Therefore, the apparently baseless transformations must have bases in intuition or the unconscious. These forms exist, may be recognized and cultivated

A first source of transformations is the History of Transformation, above

Growth

Understanding of function and growth (biological—of the organism; of Mind—psychology and personality, of the unconscious, of human Possibility, and of language, morals, faith, society, civilization and history) provide grounding in the immediate world

These considerations may channel initial direction. The following may provide goals or destinations

Theory

The theories of being, object, identity, logic, cosmology, feasibility, morals, and Faith provide possibility, ambition, goals, and means (dynamics) for transformation

Dynamics of Being

‘Dynamics of being’ is an approach to transformation in which, with bases in the foregoing, the following steps are repeated or iterated (1) experiments are undertaken, (2) outcomes are interpreted and modified (enhanced) experiments are conceived. The intent of the dynamics includes but is not limited to an incremental negotiation of normal limits

Detailed development of the dynamic

The structure of the dynamic may be inferred from the indeterministic-selective character of the process. However, the common elements of the structure emerge from the examples. The elements are as follows. (A) There is awareness that change is desired. Alternatively, an awareness arises that there is already an immersion in a process of desire and change. (B) Prior knowledge, study may provide an initial direction or, perhaps, an initial goal. (C) The individual undertakes informed experiment. (D) Actual outcomes are compared against expected ones. (E) Repeated experiment and, if needed, independent ‘research’ provide data on relations between action and outcome. In other words, patterns are seen and used. (F) The individual becomes aware of the process and may cultivate it. (G) Meanwhile further goals now appear feasible. Alternatively, new opportunities enter into awareness and may be adopted as goals. (H) The process and the context are now experienced as dynamic; the process may continue and the context grow… (I) The dynamics becomes dynamic, enters the unconscious, is integrated into the intuition, becomes part of the individual (a latency becomes actual,) is applied to being itself… in which process the individual undergoes (simple) transformation. Note that there is no particular significant to the number of steps; rather, the ‘steps’ lay out a process of learning. Also note that the here rather drawn out ‘method’ is similar in its outlines to numerous others that have been outlined in the history of thought and action and may be taken as including or typifying the many. How is that possible? Any ‘method’ that accounts for the indeterministic-selective character of change and includes that element applied to ‘method’ itself including emergence of awareness of a context and reflexive application, may be taken as archetypal of method

The examples are arranged into four overlapping topics, I. Identity, personality, and charisma. II. The mental functions. III. Awareness, self-awareness. IV. Body, healing, medicine

Twenty-one examples of the dynamics

The Dynamic is an approach to transformation. The examples are real and are provided, first, to illustrate the approach, second, to show that significant outcomes are possible from ordinary beginnings, and, finally, as possible beginnings—as an anchor in the present—to a Journey in transformation

Identity and personality. Charisma

1... Dynamics of identity. The normal dynamics of identity requires step-wise similarity and continuity; over time, however, identity may be maintained even though there is no material identity. The general dynamics is the normal dynamics enhanced by integration of identity. This thought suggests a variety of experiment

2... The phases and issues of a life. Experience, learning and substance at various levels

3... Interpersonal dynamics and its reflexive evolution. Self–observation and consciousness; evolution of reflexivity and agency… Cultivating awareness of consciousness, its contents, its varieties, its dynamics including relations to events in the ‘external world’ and to other mental phenomena including the unconscious

4... Dynamics of relationships. Love, society, influence… Dynamics and evolution of shared projects

5... The elements of an individual life and relation to the universal—and their integration. The modes of being: nature, society, mind and the universal; the modes of process: action, dynamics, evolution; the modes of relationship: caring, meaning,