ANIL MITRA PHD, COPYRIGHT © 2001, REFORMATTED June 2003
Document status: June 9, 2003
Maintained out of interest
Essential content absorbed to and no further action needed for Journey in Being
In The View From Nowhere , Thomas Nagel criticizes evolutionary epistemology as follows. The concern of philosophy is with the ultimate, the eternal, the timeless… and therefore an epistemology based on the history of knowledge is an unsatisfactory epistemology
This seems to be a misreading of how evolution and history might inform or be part of the “timeless discourse”
It is not precisely clear what the evolutionary epistemologists claim… but I do not want to be responsible for their claims
There is a difference between deriving a philosophy from a specific discipline or set of disciplines and receiving information from that discipline. It is interesting to see how the discipline projects to the ultimate… and to ask how such projections may be universalized; and it is interesting to see what agreement there may be when “timeless” discourse is applied to the specific discipline – what can be learned from the agreement and disagreement
When I think of evolution I think of the entire chain: physical universe ® earth ® continents and ocean ® life ® human life / society ® mind ® spirit. I am not claiming that there is a universal mechanism that operates at all levels corresponding to any degree of refinement. That would be more likely for coarser refinements
Compare “timeless discourse” to the “absolute space and time” of Newton. Then the space-time of Einstein is analogous to the timeless discourse as informed by special disciplines: art, religion, science, evolution… and of course philosophy’s own self-criticism and progress. By embedding discourse in the real it becomes timeless
Inquire what it will take to know and be all. Assume that it is known that we have not achieved this state. Presumably when this negative judgment is absent despite a critical attitude that state will have been achieved. Thus there is a criterion
Distinguish “knowledge by description.” To know all, this will require:
Expansion of experience
Broadening of the system of signs and symbols
Knowledge by acquaintance [A]
Broadened, heightened perception
Inner perception – self-universe identity
Knowledge by participation [B]
Broadened organismic states
Are [A] and [B]
Possible in an individual’s life – what mode of consciousness?
Open in our society?
Open to our species, to life on earth, to other forms?
Is rediscovery always necessary?
Our atoms were forged in primal origins, in stars… food becomes us, becomes the soil, becomes food… but yet we are separate. We are not only separate, only a unity with “all” – we are both separate and a unity. In perception and in time. What mode of consciousness recognizes the unity that includes the discreteness?
The analytic philosopher Wittgenstein found, in the deepest recesses of analysis, in struggling with the “false prison” of the incommunicability of “private” experience, that the separation is an illusion – is false
Of course – Wittgenstein was a paradoxical figure and also, more famously, held a certain incommunicability of experience
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