A future for religion

Anil Mitra, © February 2010, reformatted April 20, 2010


Table of contents. 1

An Essay on the Future of Religion. 2

Introduction. 2

Science. 2

Religion. 4

Agnosticism.. 4

Introduction to a metaphysics. 5

Development of the Universal metaphysics. 6

The Universal metaphysics. 8

A future for religion. 10


Table of contents

Introduction. 2

Summary. 2

Science. 2

Science: real or hypothetical 3

Logic. 3

Summary. 3

Religion. 4

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.. 4

Hinduism.. 4

Buddhism.. 4

Summary. 4

Agnosticism.. 4

Summary. 5

Introduction to a metaphysics. 5

The fundamental principle of metaphysics. 6

Development of the Universal metaphysics. 6

Development of the fundamental principle of metaphysics. 6

Tentative second and alternate statement of the fundamental principle. 6

Consequences—the variety of being. 6

The problem with logic. 7

The concept of Logic. 8

Final second version of the fundamental principle. 8

The Universal metaphysics. 8

Preliminary. 8

The Universal metaphysics. Identity of Logic and metaphysics. 8

Empirical content of metaphysics and Logic. 8

Third version of the fundamental principle. 8

Alternate. 8

Principle of reference. 8

Logos. 9

General cosmology. 9

Depth and breadth of the Universal metaphysics. 9

Intuition and Applied metaphysics. 9

Doubt—and confidence. 9

Theory of identity. 10

A future for religion. 10

Vast incompleteness of secular humanism.. 10

Nature of faith. 10

Source of the idea of a future for religion. 11

Future for religion. 11


An Essay on the Future of Religion


Two competing views of the world and our place in it are secular humanism and religious fundamentalism. Humanism is generally empirical, avoids appeal to the supernatural, and places human being at the center of a moral system that focuses on living lives that are moral, economically productive, and personally rewarding. For its moral values humanism may appeal to religion; however, secular humanism rejects the supernatural as a basis for moralism and because of its appeal to science for a view of the nature of the world and of morals, it has been called scientific humanism. Secular humanists are often atheists. Some atheists approach militancy in their belief. They stand at one extreme of a continuum. Religious fundamentalists stand at the another extreme of the same continuum. Fundamentalists insist on the literal truth and rigid authority of scripture and interpretation of scripture by authority for world view, morals, and conduct. Some fundamentalists are literally militant in their beliefs and actions

While militant atheists and fundamentalists define extremes there is a middle ground where individuals do not subscribe to explicit positions but implicitly hold some default position such as a mild or partial version of secular humanism or traditional religion. A third and explicit middle ground is agnosticism. Agnostics hold that they do not know the nature of the ultimate reality claimed by religion and scientific humanism. Some agnostics argue that we cannot know ultimate reality including the question of whether there is a reality beyond mundane appearance. These agnostics are not agnostic with regard to the possibility of knowledge

In the first two sections I write briefly on science and religion. The purpose of these two sections and the next section on Agnosticism is to encourage a mindset that may be open to receive the demonstration of a metaphysics that transcends the empirical restrictions of science but does not require scripture or any other mere inspiration. Of course, there must be inspiration but the final metaphysics must also pass through the sieve of reason and it must avoid violating what is known empirically—i.e. it must transcend science as the science of today without violating it. The depth and breadth of the metaphysics are ultimate in a sense that will be described; it is emphasized that the metaphysics and the ultimate character of its depth and breadth are demonstrated. I note what doubts I have regarding this system and possibilities for resolution

The sections on science and religion are followed by the development of the metaphysics. The final section takes up some possibilities of religion that in light of the Universal metaphysics


Especially when default positions are included, secular humanism and religion provide two widespread accounts of the real and the place of humankind in it. These are complemented by agnosticism. It is not clear how widespread true agnosticism is but it does provide a third position

Later, a Universal metaphysics will be demonstrated and developed. It will imply that all these positions are in error. It shows that knowledge of the real is possible and develops this knowledge. It shows that the Universe is infinitely larger and infinitely more varied than the pictures from science and religion. It is remarkable that it says to the agnostic, you can know but not just that; it also says you do know—but do not recognize that you know. The metaphysics corrects these errors of false knowledge and false ignorance


A current scientific theory is a hypothetical system that explains the available data via concepts andor laws, makes correct predictions, and has not yet made any incorrect predictions. Because new experiments push forward the boundary of the empirically known universe, there is always the possibility that new data will show a theory to be inadequate. This is the explanation of the scientific revolutions in physics of the twentieth century

The scientific method as described above shows that the theories of physics are not logical consequences from the data. Rather, they are good explanations of the available data for the known world

It is in the nature of scientific theory that while the theories of physics hold reasonably well in the known empirical universe, it cannot be concluded that they do—or do not—continue to hold beyond the boundaries of the empirical universe. The following are entirely consistent with theoretical and empirical science so far

1.      At some point far from our solar system, our cosmos warps into a larger universe that has infinitely more variety than we have seen so far—variety in kinds of being and organism, variety in physical law, variety in kind of cosmological system. The other cosmological systems have remote interventions on ours

2.      Such ‘warps’ are not limited to the remote in space and time but occur amidst us, e.g. at very small dimensions. Other cosmological systems that have immanent interactions with ours are passing through ours—sustaining its physical laws. In the past another cosmos, larger and more developed, has had creation-like interventions in our cosmos

It has not been claimed that the scenarios are true. What has been shown is that (A) These scenarios are consistent with science, and therefore (B) It is not absurd to think that the scenarios could be true

Why consider something that could be true but that we do not know is true and may have no bearing on what is true? It is part of a strategy that culminates in the later sections on metaphysics and that emphasizes that it is consistent with science that beyond its theoretical-empirical boundaries, the Universe is quite unlike the picture from science. I.e., (C) The claim that it is necessarily true that the entire universe is similar to our cosmos and has the same kinds of laws and local beings is an absurd claim. When, in the later sections, we develop a more complete picture of the Universe, a counterargument to that picture that it is not a consequence of science will be tempting to use but will not be available because it has been ruled out

But is it absurd to claim that the entire Universe is probably like our cosmos? We would have to know what the Universe is like beyond the edge of the boundaries of present theoretical-empirical science—i.e., we would have to know where we do not know (from science.) It may be reasonable to think that in the immediate region beyond what we know from science, the Universe is similar in its kinds of being and its laws to what we know from our cosmos. However, regarding whether there are remote regions and what they are like is beyond the scope of our scientific knowledge

Therefore (D) The claim that it is probably true that the entire universe is similar to our cosmos and has the same kinds of laws and local beings is a baseless claim. Many of us who have a modern education or have been exposed to science tend to think that the rest of the Universe is more of the same. But that is because there is no alternative well known modern paradigm of the nature of the Universe—for most of us, the picture from science is the only modern picture. If we do not tacitly hold that the Universe stops at the boundaries of empirical science we tacitly think that it must be more of the same. But the ‘logic’ is: it is more of the same if it is more of the same. As far as the logic of scientific thinking is concerned we just do not know what the Universe is like beyond the boundaries of science

However it is clearly possible to generalize the earlier scenarios to assert that the following. Provided that a picture of the Universe does not disagree with science in its domain of validity and provided that the picture violates no principle of logic, the picture is consistent with science

It is tacit in this assertion that logic is a part of all science

Science: real or hypothetical

The view of a theory of science as needing replacement as soon as disconfirming data is found suggests a rather unreal view of the nature of the theories

There are perhaps two ways to view the scope of a scientific theory such as Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. In one view, a theory is a hypothetical attempt to explain all the relevant phenomena in the Universe. For Relativity the relevant phenomena are the behavior of space, time, matter, and gravitation. Relativity has met with much success but (1) t is doubtful that it will extend to the entire Universe, and (2) the theory does not extend to other phenomena such as electromagnetism. In another view, a theory is successful in a limited domain. Although Relativity has limits, it explains the phenomena over a large domain (especially considering that Newtonian Mechanics may be presumed to fall out of Relativity.) We may say: the theory captures some essence of a domain of phenomena. In this second sense in which theories do not presume to cover the entire Universe, they may be seen as factual over limited domains. This alternative way of looking at scientific theories does not contradict the discussion regarding what is consistent with science


The thinkers Leibniz, Hume, and Wittgenstein suggested a metaphysics that is close to the Universal metaphysics. Leibniz asserted that the only impossibilities are logical impossibilities. However, these thinkers did not adequately specify the meaning of possibility; they did not prove or develop their assertions

It would have been impossible for them to develop the assertions because the tools of development arise in the novel tools of proof of the Universal metaphysics


Science is silent on what lies beyond its borders. Provided that a picture of the Universe does not disagree with science in its domain of validity and provided that the picture violates no principle of logic, the picture is consistent with science

This is not a proof of any picture that is consistent with science. Instead it is asserted—in preparation for a demonstration of the metaphysics—to undercut any assertion that such a proof violates science


Religions tend to include the following elements (the list is not intended to be complete.) (1) A metaphysics or metaphysical cosmology including genesis and perhaps last things—a picture of the way the universe is. In Christianity for example there is the world and then there is heaven and hell, the earth was made by God in seven days and so on. (2) An ethics. Christianity has a rather love based ethics. And then there are the commandments which are not too bad. Nietzsche ridiculed Christianity and its focus on love—he wrote that Christianity is the religion of the weak. (Here’s a joke: in the first writing a typing error had the statement run ‘…Christianity is the religion of the week.’) In truth, he was ridiculing the New but not the Old Testament—even its greatest critic did not think that the ethics of the Bible was all bad. (3) Ritual. Ritual acts at the level of the subconscious and it also bonds people together in common faith

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

These are the religions with the absurd metaphysics—the one that is the point of so much contention

If you can bind the minds of men and women you can make slaves of them—that makes some sense

Within modern liberal Christianity, however, there are deep non-literal / metaphorical interpretations of the Biblical stories. Is there anything in science or the secular literature to replace this yet?


The Vedantic picture—Atman is our essence and it connects with Brahman which is the essence of all being

(I omit details of the immense variety of local gods of Hinduism)

The Vedantic picture and positivistic science are at odds (positivistic science is the picture that the entire universe is like the empirical-theoretical picture of today’s science)

However, there is no clash between the Vedantic picture and the necessary or probable implications of science

The picture from Vedanta is close in some of its aspects the Universal metaphysics that will be developed


In its original form, the one taught by Gautama Buddha, Buddhism eschewed most metaphysics. Buddha did say things about webs of causation but that was probably to link our practice to the quality of our lives. He did not say that there is no metaphysics, no cosmology; rather, he said that thinking about such things detracts us from (his view of) our purpose in life


1.      The religious pictures of the Universe range from the absurd, to the plausible and grand, to the agnostic

The picture from Vedanta does not violate science. It comes closest of all mythic and religious pictures to some aspects—these will be the theory of Identity—of the Universal metaphysics. However, the Vedantic picture is far from complete and it suffers from an absence of demonstration. The Universal metaphysics and the theory of Identity remedy these deficits

2.      The entire framework of myth and religion suffers from a debilitating defect today. Let us first talk of a strength of this framework. In providing pictures of the Universe they offer to humankind their earliest metaphysics. These pictures may have been empowering and perhaps the best of their time; and occasionally they may represent a stand against abusive political systems. It is out of these early metaphysics or perhaps in reaction to them that the earliest more or less neutral philosophical metaphysics may have emerged. People derived inspiration and empowerment from the systems. Insofar as science and reason are developments that succeed the mythic, it is without meaning to criticize the mythic in its own context—or even today in an allegorical context—as unscientific or violation reason

The debilitating defect of myth and religion is that even when rejected their framework sets the terms of discussion. Thus in Europe and America, fundamentalists, secular humanists, agnostics and atheists tend to use a certain and immensely limited notion of god when they believe or disbelieve, when they entertain or suspend knowing


Based on what has been said so far, agnosticism is perhaps the most honest viewpoint

It would be a selective agnosticism. We would be agnostic about some kind of god but rule out with near certainty the Gods—plural so as to avoid equating Yahweh with Allah and so on—of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We would not be agnostic about the mythic aspects of religion in which there is no literal interpretation but we might be agnostic about interpretation. We might accept the Buddha’s universal web of causation

We would accept the truth of science in our cosmos for practical purposes. We think that the net effect of science has been to improve the quality of human life but we must strive to eliminate the unintended harms and harmful uses of science and technology. We would also accept that scientific theories express some real pattern over some domain even if we hold them to be provisional for the entire universe. We think that the present scientific theories are almost certainly not final. And we might be agnostic regarding the provision of final truth by science. Those of us who are not religious fundamentalists are most likely to be secular humanists by default; we may not subscribe to secular humanism but our tacit belief system is likely to be at least vaguely that of secular humanism—especially if we live in industrialized nations or urban centers and have a modern university education. Secular humanism has a metaphysics which is a least roughly a scientific metaphysics. Since this metaphysics is typically held tacitly and since there is no serious competition to it apart from fundamentalism, the default (and widely spread) version of this metaphysics is the view that is circumscribed by a universe that is now about 13 billion years old and perhaps 80 billion miles across and in which the main processes are described by theoretical physics and evolutionary biology. However, as we have seen this scientific metaphysics is essentially silent on whether there is anything beyond its borders and what that beyond might have in it—it may contain nothing (this is unlikely) or it may contain an infinite variety. Therefore, while the tacit metaphysics of secular humanism has practical merit, the most truthful attitude toward that metaphysics-as-ultimate for someone versed in the major world-view paradigms of the modern world is an agnostic one

I do hold that the forcing of religious fundamentalist belief is not a good thing. If we allow belief in what we do not know to be true in one area of life how can it not spill over into all areas?

[Scientific positivism is the view that the sole source of objective knowledge is science via the scientific method. Because of the gap between concept and Object, there is always the question of the faithfulness of the concept and an assertion of faithfulness cannot be made until shown. The first basis of scientific positivism is in those facts that are universal in that all observers give an identical account of them. However, the correct conclusion is that these facts are universal merely in that the gap is mediated in the same way by all observers (good enough for practice but not for truth.) The second basis is that scientific theory necessarily follows from the facts. In addition to the fact that this assertion was given withering criticism by Hume before the advent of positivism, scientific revolutions show that what has been thought of as necessary has often turned out to be false. In other words scientific positivism is tantamount to the assertion that the latest science provides the only picture of the universe. A further extreme is scientism according to which only what is recognized in (current natural) science can be a proper topic of inquiry in any field and many practicing scientists (and others) implicitly take this to mean that the universe is as defined in today’s science. This is a close cousin of religious fundamentalism and is equally absurd]

Then there is the damage that is done by the fundamentalists—the Jihads, the outlawing of abortion even in cases of rape and incest. It may be true that the official line does not encourage the damage but surely there is some connection between absurd fundamentalism and absurd behavior. The mythic and moral aspects of the great religions possess beauty and inspiration. Literal interpretations are often absurd. I tend to agnosticism with regard to the net effect of religion. I think that there should be some counter to the spread of absurdity—there is some counter in the sphere of public debate but it is not clear that it is enough; however, we should not curtail freedom to counter the absurd. Should there be limits to the freedom to spread ignorance? Some influential writers think that parents should not be allowed to teach their children false systems of belief—I think that this might be more destructive than positive and that some more constructive approach would result in a better outcome. There should be some action—I am not sure what but it may be political though hopefully peaceful—to prevent actual abusive uses of religion and there should be debate regarding what constitutes abuse

Since answers are not given, experiment and openness will be needed


In consideration of the various widespread pictures of being and their claims to foundation, agnosticism is perhaps the most reasonable of them

Tolerance is important; their should be limits to tolerance but a good determination of the limits and their flexibility versus rigidity is not easy. Openness to experiment is essential

Introduction to a metaphysics

We now come to the question What is true?

In modern science, modern philosophy and what has been said so far we have no handle on this. More precisely, we have a handle on our corner of the Universe—our cosmos—but no handle at all on the remote Universe and that includes the question of whether there is a remote region and what its magnitude may be. To claim that we do have a handle on it from science we must appeal to scientific positivism which has no basis. And mainstream schools of philosophy today start with the secular assumption which in turn is tacitly based in positivistic science

Note as a side issue—the point is used in the argument—that a careful analysis of the nature of perception and empirical and therefore scientific knowledge reveals its practical truth but also shows that even locally these forms of knowledge are not known to be truth as such. That is because what is known in perception and empirically is not the ‘thing’ and so while perception might be perfectly faithful we do not know that it is. We do know from the fact that perception works—when I use my sight I successfully avoid bumping into trees and walls and other people—that it is ‘sufficiently’ good. Similarly, we know from experiment that some theories of physics have astounding accuracy (in our cosmos)

However, success in avoiding objects and astounding accuracy are not at all the same thing as perfect faithfulness are not at all the same thing and the gap between the two nullifies any thought of Universal truth from science even in our immediate world

The claim that we do not know that perception is perfectly faithful allows that there may be cases in which it is. This is discussed in essays at http://www.horizons-2000.org where it is shown via a form of abstraction that there are ‘necessary Objects’ that are so simple that they can be known with perfect faithfulness. The objects of science are not among the necessary Objects and this is because science demands precision

Suppose, however, that we consider the Universe defined as all being. If we say no more about the Universe, e.g. we make no claim about the kinds of being in it or their dimensions or their space and time configurations or relations—i.e. we omit all description that might suffer distortion—then we can and do know the Universe in this sense without distortion (we may even admit that there are patches of space and time but not specify any metric or even that a metric can be imposed)


Define The Universe as All Being—i.e. all that there is (and was and will be)

Since there is nothing outside the Universe, it can have no external creator

Consider a law, e.g. of physics. A law is our reading of a pattern. But the pattern itself is immanent in a part of the Universe—we label the pattern a ‘Law.’ A law is our reading of a Law which is immanent in a part of the Universe. We have glossed over the philosophical problem of the gap between appearance (law) and reality (pattern) but to treat this concern would take us too far into details that may be found at http://www.horizons-2000.org which is a source of these considerations but in much greater detail and depth and addresses many objections that may be brought against the present arguments)

Therefore the Universe contains all Law

In summary the Universe is all being and contains all Law (a Law is a being)


Define a domain as part of the Universe. Define the complement of a domain as that other domain that together with the original domain constitute the Universe. Here we are using ‘part’ in the sense that a thing is a part of itself. Thus, the Universe is a domain

All existing domains have existing complements

The complement of the Universe always exists

Since the Universe is all being and contains all being including all Law, the complement of the Universe contains no being, no Law

From the two previous paragraphs, the complement of the Universe always exists and contains no being, no Law


Define the Void to be the absence of being—i.e., the Void is the complement of the Universe

Therefore, from the assertion regarding the complement of the Universe, the Void which is the absence of being always exists and contains no Law

These demonstrated assertions are the basis of a metaphysics that we shall call the Universal metaphysics. The final statement is fundamental. It is a version of

The fundamental principle of metaphysics

The Void which is the absence of being (always) exists and contains no Law

Development of the Universal metaphysics

Development of the fundamental principle of metaphysics

If from the Void there is a state that never emerges that non-emergence would constitute a Law in the Void. Therefore every state must emerge from the Void

Here a little careful analysis is necessary. What is meant by Every state must emerge from the Void? It means—for one thing—that if I have a concept of a state, that state must emerge from the Void. This poses a problem. I can conceive, at least in words, of an apple that is simultaneously entirely green and entirely not green. Then the ‘every state must emerge’ conclusion seems to imply that an apple that is both green and not-green must exist. That is absurd. There is a principle of logic called the principle of non-contradiction that says that an assertion and its contradiction cannot both be true. Thus the simultaneous truth of the two assertions ‘the apple is green’ and, talking of the same apple, ‘the apple is not green’ violates logic

Tentative second and alternate statement of the fundamental principle

We therefore restate the conclusion above—Subject to logic, every state must emerge from the Void

Consequences—the variety of being

It then follows that—the variety in the Universe is without limit except of course the limits of logic. In other words, the following are true

(a)    Something like statements 1 and 2 in the section ‘Science.’ Although we cannot state the nature of the continuation beyond the boundaries of the empirically known universe there must be some continuation / interaction

(b)   Every cosmos has an annihilator cosmos (which must emerge from the Void.) Therefore every cosmos is subject to dissolution at every moment. (This does not imply that the dissolution will happen to this cosmos soon)

(c)    Every cosmos is repeated infinitely in time and space; and there are repetitions that are similar but not precise. The variety of kinds of cosmological system is without limit

(d)   There is a cosmos in which a man called ‘Jesus Christ’ arose from the dead on a planet called ‘Earth.’ There is an infinity of such cosmoses. There is a greater infinity of planets / cosmological systems in which some man arose from the dead on some planet. (This gives no support to the assertion that the historical Jesus Christ who did indeed rise from the dead. However, it does suggest that even if the event did occur it is not as remarkable as we might think.) In consequence of the foregoing infinities, it is clear that the extension and duration of the Universe is and must be infinite

(e)    My identity merges with Universal Identity (the full meaning and demonstration of this assertion is at http://www.horizons-2000.org)

(f)     The Universe must enter a non-manifest state—i.e. the Void state. Given the Universe in a non-manifest state, a manifest state must emerge (resolution of the famous ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ problem that philosophers have called the fundamental problem of metaphysics—the phrase appears to be due to Heidegger.) The fundamental principle of metaphysics implies that neither mechanism nor explanation is required of emergence from the Void state. Emergence must occur. Perhaps, however, emergence via mechanism is more robust and more probable. Find details at http://www.horizons-2000.org

(g)    Although there will emerge an infinity of chaotic sub-universes or cosmological systems, there will also emerge an infinity of structured ones. The emergence of life and intelligence is necessary. The emergence of worlds like ours is necessary (no the apparent background chaos, the existence of annihilator systems does not stop our being so far.) We may call our structured world Normal in contrast to the chaotic ‘background.’

(h)    There is no significance to the number of ‘Voids’ that there are except that there must be at least one. The question ‘How many Voids are there?’ is not particularly interesting. However, the question is entertained by modern practitioners of metaphysics—see Nothingness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)—who puzzle intelligently over it. The answer from the emerging metaphysics is at once—the number of Voids has no relevance except that there is and must be at least one

Reading the Stanford Encyclopedia article on nothingness shows how (immensely) far the Universal metaphysics (below) goes beyond modern analytic / secular thought. It also reveals the usefulness of the analytic literature in the present development (continental as well as Indian thought have also been useful)

(i)      Every element of being may be regarded as having its own personal Void with which, subject to logic, the element can do anything. That should apply to human beings as well. Does that not sound absurd?

The resolution of the absurdity lies with the concept of the Normal—introduced to mark the gap between a structured world against a background of relative chaos—according to which the probability of ‘doing anything’ is Normally too low to be practical. This concept of the Normal is more of a marker than explanatory (no explanation is necessary.) More, simply what obtains is necessary—our world is and must be a world of practical necessities

There are however, two consequences of significance. We normally think of ‘doing anything’ as impossible. We must now re-evaluate all impossibility except logical impossibility as Normally (immensely) improbable; similarly all necessity except logical necessity is revaluated as Normally (immensely) probable

The second consequence concerns two loopholes regarding (immense) improbability that do not obtain in the case of impossibility. The first loophole is that what is improbable over a finite domain (e.g. of time) must be very probable over a sufficiently large domain and certain over an infinite domain

The second loophole derives inspiration from science—e.g. the thought of vast amounts of energy from atomic nuclei would have been fantasy before the year 1905. This suggests that the ‘Normal’ is not entirely objective but depends also on what we know. Perhaps the improbable can be brought into the realm of the feasible by discovery—essays at http://www.horizons-2000.org suggest a program to this end; the program is one of ‘research’ in ideas as well as experiment and action (experiment with the being of the individual)

(j)     The idea of manifest being emerging from the Void suggests parallels between the quantum vacuum and particle creation. Clearly the metaphysics that is emerging is not a determinist metaphysics. Subject to logic, there is no state that does not emerge means that on different occasions for similar or identical cosmological systems different states will emerge. The metaphysics is absolutely indeterministic—no state is ruled out (subject to logic)

Such indeterminism is often argued to be inconsistent with structure. However, it is not—every state, including, structured states must emerge. Here again, in the emergence of structure from indeterminism, there is a parallel with quantum theory. In fact it is determinism that is incapable of structure—if determinism held, there would be no emergence from the Void; under determinism there might be eternally existing structures (that would lack all explanation) but no emergence of new structure (since determinism is the determination of the later by the earlier while was is essentially new cannot be determined by the older or it would not be new)

And there is here a parallel with our ideas on evolution: if emergence is not deterministic, it must have elements of indeterminism—one step emergence necessarily occurs but is Normally far less likely than gradual variation and selection. Note that there is an unusual sense of determinism in which absolute indeterminism—no state never emerges from the Void—is identical to absolute determinism—all states sometimes emerge from the Void

These thoughts show how the Universal metaphysics and modern science may interact. The metaphysics provides a framework for science and science helps fill in the framework. This interaction is developed in some detail in the essays at http://www.horizons-2000.org. The development is not mechanical—the analogy is not that of pouring concrete into a mold. The metaphysics and its general cosmology derive rich content from science and all of literature; the metaphysics assists in clarification and extension of the concepts of science—so far the extension of concepts is in the study of mind

(k)   If every state is subject to annihilation to the Void and every state will sometime emerge from a / the Void then every state is equivalent to every other state (the usual caveats apply:  subject to logic, prima facie absurdity that is resolved by introducing the idea of the Normal and impossibility except logical impossibility being replaced by improbability)

The problem with logic

The assertion—Subject to logic, every state must emerge from the Void presents a problem that may appear to be more subtle than the concern regarding logically contradictory conceptions. It is this—What is the basis of logic? I.e., how do we know that the axioms of logic are true? Is it not apparent that the principle of non-contradiction is entirely sensible? Yes it is sensible but the concern here is with necessity and not what is merely sensible. We want to be sensible but, in metaphysics which is clearly not science, we also want to be certain—because it is not science we need to be certain. (At minimum, where we cannot be certain we would like to be able to estimate the degree of certainty)

Recall the Liar Paradox regarding the sentence This sentence is false. The sentence is false if it is true and true if it is false. Another principle of logic is the principle of bivalence—every proposition is either true or false (the term ‘either’ serves to indicate that the ‘or’ is the exclusive rather than the inclusive ‘or’ which is really ‘andor’.) The Liar Paradox appears to be a proposition but if the principle of bivalence holds it is true and false (in other words the principle of bivalence appears to be true and false.) Perhaps there is some intricate analysis of the Liar Sentence that shows that it is not a sentence…

But consider the relatively innocent This sentence is true. This sentence leads to no paradox and it does not lead to the principle of bivalence’s truth and falsity. But is This sentence is true true or is it false? It is clearly true if it is true and false if it is false but what is the case is not determined. The innocent sentence clearly casts suspicion on the principle of bivalence. Can we rescue the principle of bivalence from this attack? Perhaps

We can rewrite the innocent sentence to bring out a tacit assumption. Rewrite it as This sentence has a truth value and that value is true’—this sentence is clearly false. And we can rewrite the Liar Sentence This sentence has a unique truth value and that truth value is false’—this sentence is false. Bivalence survives

But we can still doubt bivalence—Why must every sentence be either true or false? Perhaps because only some formally propositional sentences are in fact propositions; but then what is the mark of a proposition and does it not become an empirical rather that a ‘logical’ concern?

What of non-contradiction? That appears to be more robust. However, there are logical systems that discard it even though it is well known that from a single contradiction, classical logic allows the proof all of all propositions including every proposition A and not-A. Some logics, called paraconsistent logics, avoid the ‘explosion’ of true propositions by modifying the implication relation. A motivation for these logics is that some immensely powerful mathematical systems may contain contradictions and paraconsistent logics allows such systems while preventing explosion. So—the purpose to the paraconsistent logics is to rescue tracts of mathematics while sacrificing non-contradiction. In most logics, however, non-contradiction is preserved

The point is, however, that enough doubt has been cast regarding the ‘principles’ of logic that, even though infinite variety has been determined, we hesitate to use logic as the full basis of metaphysics

The concept of Logic

Note that the capitalization ‘Logic’ implies a concept, defined below, that is related to but not at all limited or identical to logic

This is what we shall do. We have seen that logic allows a variety without limit. What is that variety? Of course, because it is infinite we cannot write it down and because every variety that is specific enough also repeats infinitely with and without subtle and unsubtle variations we probably cannot write it down as a formula except ‘whatever is allowed by logic.’ However, we can define Logic the ideal principle of the actual variety of being. We may never fully know Logic but we know that the logics are approximations to it

We may return to the section, Consequences—the variety of being, and replace ‘logic’ by ‘Logic’ where appropriate

Therefore, Logic has an inescapable empirical component and we have pinned down to some extent where that component enters

Final second version of the fundamental principle

Subject to Logic, every state must emerge from the Void

The numbering of the versions of the fundamental principle may be different in the essays at the site http://www.horizons-2000.org

The Universal metaphysics


Now—the being of the Universe is what is allowed by Logic

But—the being of the Universe is the subject of metaphysics (and of course general cosmology which is a part of metaphysics)

The Universal metaphysics. Identity of Logic and metaphysics

Therefore the true metaphysics determines the variety of being as determined by Logic

This is the Universal metaphysics

The true metaphysics, the Universal metaphysics and Logic are identical

Empirical content of metaphysics and Logic

The Universal metaphysics and Logic have an empirical component. After we have written down our best thoughts on variety, there may be corrections to determine and there is further variety to discover by adventure rather than mere thought and perhaps even by becoming that variety

Third version of the fundamental principle

The single law of the Universe is Logic (there are no universal contingent laws)


The Universe has no Laws

Principle of reference

If I have a concept of something that I think exists in my immediate world, the ‘something’ may not in fact exist (I may be mistaken) and if it exists, my concept may suffer distortion

However, we have seen that subject to Logic, every state exists. In other words

The principle of referenceSubject to Logic, every concept has an Object (somewhere and somewhen in the Universe)

The principle of reference is another form of the fundamental principle of metaphysics

The suggested resolution of the Liar Paradox above was to rewrite the Liar Sentence in such a way that it became clear that it referred to something that did not exist—i.e. its own truth value. This suggests the principle of reference as one approach to the logical paradoxes


Therefore Logic itself has an Object which may be called Logos

Logos is the Universe in all its detail

General cosmology

General cosmology is the study of the variety of being. There is a beginning in the section Consequences—the variety of being. There are details at http://www.horizons-2000.org

The principle of reference is instrumental in developing the cosmology and may be called the cosmological version of the fundamental principle of metaphysics

The suggestion of a research program regarding Logic arises. Although it appears to show infinite variety are there any restrictions from Logic that are not present in the logics. Can we get a general handle on Logic / variety?

Depth and breadth of the Universal metaphysics

The depth of the metaphysics is ultimate in that foundation terminates in the Void which is a necessary Object and there is therefore no foundation in an unfounded Object that is merely posited

The breadth of the metaphysics is ultimate in that via the fundamental principle of metaphysics / Logos, it is seen to implicitly contain all variety. Although immense varieties can be written down, the actual variety is the highest order of infinity that does not escape the realm of Logic. I doubt that explicit specification of the variety is possible—even though it can be named

Intuition and Applied metaphysics

The consequences are vast but what actual contact with them do we have? Most of them are in remote realms of the Universe

The essays at http://www.horizons-2000.org, provide a number of points of contact

1.      The fundamentals of the metaphysics—the concepts of Universe, Domain, Void, Logos (Logic,) and others are founded in intuition via abstraction. The foundational concepts are shown to be perfectly faithful to their Objects

2.      The Universal metaphysics is developed as a framework for the studies of the immediate world—i.e., as a framework for natural sciences, the study of mind, and to some extent to the social sciences. The framework enables an approach to (a) revaluation of the ad hoc elements of these sciences and (b) the inherent limits of the sciences. I.e., the lack of perfect faithfulness is not overcome but the limits of faithfulness may be approached. One interpretation of the idea of a limit to faithfulness is that the Objects in question do not have precise definition

3.      The essays describe a Journey that starts at the present point. A beacon for the journey is the picture painted by the Universal metaphysics. Our knowledge and experience of the immediate world provide guides. The journey develops these further. It is not merely intellectual but it aims at transformation of being

4.      The essays develop numerous other topics. A major topic is the theory of Objects which has two parts. The first is the nature of the Object and the possibility of necessary Objects that has been mentioned above. The second concerns the nature of what have been called abstract objects in modern metaphysics. Examples of abstract Objects are the number One, a property such as redness. These kinds of Objects are regarded as different from the particular or concrete Objects such as bricks. The concrete Objects exist in space, are tangible, and have causal effects on other Objects. The abstract Objects seem to lack these features. There is no general agreement regarding the nature of abstract Objects—are they mental, are they ideal, are they constructs? And where are they if they are not in space? Perhaps they are fictions or perhaps they lie in an ideal or Platonic universe. The Universal metaphysics enables a resolution of the nature of abstract Objects. The principle of reference is pivotal—Subject to Logic, every concept has an Object (which must and does lie in this Universe.) Therefore if the notions (concepts) of the abstract Objects, e.g. the concept of the number One, are not marked by inconsistency they must depict Objects that lie in the one and only Universe. Details may be found at http://www.horizons-2000.org. Where do the abstract Objects lie? It turns out that they are not non-spatial but that their spatiality is more or less (depending on the specific kind of abstract Object) abstracted out. The abstract Objects are not essentially distinct from the particular Objects; they do not lie in ‘another’ world or universe; the distinction is that we experience particular Objects through the senses, the abstract Objects are known via concepts

Doubtand confidence

There have been glimpses in the History of Eastern and Western Thought of the metaphysics developed here—e.g., in Leibniz the suggestion that the only impossibilities are logical, in Wittgenstein the assertion of equivalence of logic and metaphysics, and in Vedanta the identity of Atman and Brahman. However, as far as I know from extensive reading, it has not been given prior proof. Further, it has not been developed as an articulated system that incorporates a theory of Objects, logic, and is the basis of a theory of variety—general cosmology—that has universal but remote and immediate application (while the immediate practical application is Applied metaphysics, the Universal metaphysics has clear significance for matters beyond the mundane.) It is natural that the articulation should not have developed earlier—we hesitate to build a castle on quicksand but now, the Rock of the fundamental principle of metaphysics fairly invites the building of the Castle

Still, there are doubts. Numerous doubts, objections and responses are given at http://www.horizons-2000.org. The major doubts are as follows

1.      Proof of existence of the Void. The doubt concerns the existence of the complement of the Universe. Although the complement of anything less than the Universe exists, it is not clear what it means to say that the complement of the Universe which is ‘empty’ exists

2.      The magnitude of the conclusions or ‘so much from so little’

Although I have provided responses at http://www.horizons-2000.org, doubt remains

Regarding doubt, we may treat the Universal metaphysics as an experiment in ideas and as an experiment in being (via action upon it)

It has been argued that the Universal metaphysics is not testable. One response is that it is not a scientific theory (in the usual sense) and we should not ask of it that it be testable. What makes a scientific theory testable is that it is not an explicit representation of all being or even of all the phenomena under its domain; therefore a scientific theory has the logical possibility of being tested. The Universal metaphysics cannot be tested in this sense; but because it has a derivation it should not need to be testable any more than we need to test Pythagoras’ Theorem (what is testable is its applicability.) What is the source of the necessity of the derivation? It is abstraction, the adoption of a level of description at which distortion does not occur so that the concepts are faithful to the Objects (Universe and so on)

Still, the metaphysics is not given to be beyond human experience. Objection. Human experience is clearly limited relative to the Universe revealed in the metaphysics. Response. We do not know the limits of human experience. The Universal metaphysics reveals severe limits to the traditional limits. Of course it is the Universal metaphysics that is in question. Confidence in the Universal metaphysics shall be paired with agnosticism

What is my source of confidence in the Universal metaphysics? Is it that though there is inspiration from the thought of others it is primarily my creation? Is it that I want to believe it? It was in the intuitive phase of development that confidence was needed. Once formal development became possible—starting with the insight to develop the concept of the Void—the metaphysics began to develop under its own force. It is as if the clarity and power of its truth have been powering thought—which appears to happen to be my thought. Still, doubt is not eradicated and even if it were eradicated it would still remain instrumental—the still and ever implicit variety of being is greater than its depth

These thoughts direct us to a Journey in being—i.e. a journey in ideas and transformation

Theory of identity

“My identity merges with Universal Identity”—a consequence of the fundamental principle seen earlier

The natural sciences and reason set limits to the possibilities of being. The inner limit is that the empirical aspect of science cannot be violated. The outer limit is that (1) contrary to common belief, the inner limit allows an immense freedom and variety to being and (2) the only further limit on this freedom is that of Logic. Since the requirement of Logic is the least of all requirements, this freedom is immensely rich and could not be richer

The imaginative arts including religion may be seen as attempts to depict the Universe of the psyche. The arts are views into its variety; psychologies such as that of Freud show normal constraints and freedoms

According to the Universal metaphysics and the Theory of identity: the infinite freedom of the actual Universe and that of the Universe of psyche or spirit are identical (the constraints that we experience are very probable but not at all necessary)

This sets a stage for discussion of A future for religion

A future for religion

Vast incompleteness of secular humanism

If science and secular humanism are taken as the basis or constraint of our pursuit of the ‘extramundane’ there is clearly something immense left over

Even if we doubt the Universal metaphysics—and there are doubts; doubts and responses and the question of doubt are treated in http://www.horizons-2000.org and significantly but not entirely eliminated—what has been shown is that there is immense room for thought and experiment (again see http://www.horizons-2000.org) regarding what there is and its significance to us

Here are concerns with the words extramundane and spiritual. Perhaps the most significant concern is that there are two realms, e.g. matter and spirit. Of course there are common phenomena and there are phenomena that we have not seen, but that does not imply that the unseen is ‘spirit.’ The Universal metaphysics as developed above suggests that there is one realm—the Universe that is all being and the dissolution of the distinction between the concrete and the abstract; the issue is treated at http://www.horizons-2000.org. A second concern is the use of the word spirituality to connote a semi-private realm that so frequently has little substance

Nature of faith

There is a role for faith. It is not faith in absurd propositions but is rather like animal faith in the stability of the world—i.e., the unspoken not-always-conscious faith that our being is ongoing (we do not know that it will so continue.) Even if true, the Universal metaphysics does not show how to get to what it reveals. How shall we proceed? We may take risks and faith will be an attitude that sustains us through risk. There is a neat optimal analysis—even if the probability of outcome is small the outcome is immense and this justifies some expenditure of resources to maximize expectation of value (this does not take into account the further value of what is added to our lives by living in truth and wonder or at least experimenting with them)

Source of the idea of a future for religion

That something left over, call it what you will, is Religion as the entire being engaged in the adventure in all being—this is a definition of religion; it is the notion that I prefer

Notes. Entire being—not merely cognition or emotion; not merely mind; but all aspects of being and identity. Adventure in all being—an adventure without contingent limits; shown via the universal metaphysics to be necessary and whose cultivation has a worth that is on par with the necessary engagement in the local

Consistent with this, it is permissible to entertain the traditional religions (except abuse.) There is an intellectual abuse to fundamentalism. However, faith as experiment is not abuse. Given what was shown in the section on science, even faith in the apparently absurd is not abuse if deployed as an action principle (but belief—especially passive belief, belief for its own sake, belief because we were told—may be self-abuse)

Perhaps, however, on reading the Universal metaphysics traditional fundamentalism becomes self-abuse

Scientism is no less self-abuse. And it is quite amazing that such positivists do not see the limits science or the absurdity of their steadfast positivism—it would be different to entertain positivism

Future for religion

However, the Universal metaphysics requires that true religion will be experimentation in thought and action with being—with our being. Traditional religions may provide suggestive content. What do we know about the end of experiment? Is it unending? We do not know that it is unending! Will it have an end? The Universal metaphysics suggests relative but not final endings—culminations followed by dissolutions followed by new (as well as old and even tired) adventure. However, it also suggests that we do not know when these endings will occur or what they will be like but that part of culmination will be its recognition when it occurs

A problem with the demonstrated assertion—‘The true metaphysics, the Universal metaphysics and Logic are identical’ is the idea that the barrenness of Logic should be at the center of the ‘quest for being.’ It should not be a problem. Barrenness of logic does not imply the same for Logic. And even if there should be a concern regarding logic, its use here is the rich what is allowed by it and not the empty what is required by it

What of traditional religion? I have difficulty coming up with a final evaluation (if my purpose were merely discursive, evaluation would not be necessary.) Some others seem to have no such difficulty—the opium of the masses, the source of persecution and so on. Intolerance is strange—it is found in the most brutal of men and in the most creative (though not in all creation.) Grace and integrity are found in unusual places—as are cruelty and extreme intolerance; and they may be found together; it is perhaps only in the idea that we are pure; I know this for and of myself. I do think that a tolerant attitude within limits is the best answer to abuse; countering it with intolerance probably strengthens it. And for the rest, the tradition—together with elements of secular art and literature—offers us an imaginative view of the world and man that is hard to equal. Therefore, except abuse, the tradition finds a place in my thoughts even though it is a place of ambivalence; and it shall be an element—together with imagination and secular science and art—in a Journey in being