I can't expect agreement, you're coming from a radically opposed starting point. The burden of proof is on you not me, however. You are using consciousness as the main premise leading to the conclusion that we have contact with the 'forms'. There are two problems:
1. This simply assumes that consciousness is not reducable to physical processes. The burden of proof is more on your side rather than the physicalist's. For example, why does your conscious experience change when your brain is manipulated, electrically or via chemicals? Why is there overall changes in the firing of neurons when you wake up (become conscious), and why do you pass out (become unconscious) if someone hits you with a blunt object over the head!!! If the anwer is that consciousness is somehow dependent on a physical brain to 'manifest', while still being non-physical, this seems ad hoc.
The burden of proof is on the new, "upstart" paradigm, not on the old, established paradigm. Modern science still cannot disprove the traditional theories of mind: if it could, it would trumpet this victory around the world.
Why do brain states change when conscious experience is changed, willfully? How can Buddhist Monks slow their brain function to almost nothing, while still being totally aware? It makes complete sense, from a "consciousness first" perspective, that alterations in consciousness would affect the brain, and alterations in the brain would affect consciousness. The brain is hardware for the software of consciousness; it is the physical mechanism by which the metaphysical process is manifested in physicality (as said before). If you break a TV, you won't be able to watch the channels any more; the channels are still there, though, being watched by many others. (Similarly, if you change the channel on the TV, the old channel doesn't suddenly disappear, the TV is just displaying a different channel.)
. Even if consciousness IS 'non-physical', and thus if we have to add something 'experiential' to our ontology, this in no way give me any reason to think this entails contact with any 'forms'. I don't know how you get from the fact that consciousness might be non-physical to contact with 'forms'. Also, I have no reason to believe in the existence of forms in the first place, but this leads into:
You should probably read up on what the thinkers on the other side of this argument have said, seriously - it would do you a lot of favours, and possibly point out to you some of the inconsistencies in modern "Scientism". To answer this question, at least: physical objects have extension in space and time, thus there is differentiation; in mentality, there is no such extension, and no such differentiation. All is One: of course we have access to the Forms ("we" "are" the Forms!). I know that a whole load of other questions arise from this, but I seriously don't have the time, nor the desire, to bore a load of people with what would be a book-length explanation of how you can have one thing be many things while still being one thing. Some people get it really easily, other people seem to struggle with it for years: I have known instances of both, though everyone seems to understand in the end.
Again, the burden of proof is on 'traditional ontologies'! Why would we assume that a 'metaphysical' (non-physical) explanation is still necessary if objective physical processes can explain the items in question?! It is completely ad hoc to posit a general principal like "the physical [is] nothing more than an extrapolation of the metaphysical into spacetime". To me this just seems like trickery and basically means: "what ever physical explanation you come up with, I have sneaked in a general rule which means that, in every case, your explanation just explains the physical manifestation of something non-physical". Why postulate a whole other realm of existence if physical processes can account for the problems?? This seems to fly in the face of intellectual economy and cleanliness.
I'll repeat, once more: the burden of proof is on the new paradigm to unseat the old, not on the old paradigm to stand up to questioning. Science calls this kind of behaviour "pseudoscience" when it is directed towards established scientific norms; we might just as well call it "pseudometaphysics" in this instance, as most of the people taking your stance or similar seem not to have all that firm a grasp of the subject, obstinately rooting themselves in a restricted range of experience.
You assume trickery: let me put your mind at ease, then, by stating that I am being totally honest, and writing only what I know and understand to be true, with no fabrification overlaying it. Occam's razor is all well and good, in many cases, and is certainly not broken here: like in a hologram, the physical is a projection of the metaphysical; the only one to truly exist is the metaphysical; the image it creates is called the physical. In this case, we're positing substantially fewer entities than a physicalist paradigm might: many traditional ontologies ultimately posit only a single entity (God), rather than a plurality of entities.
I think the point that underliess all of the above is this: we know so much about the physical world. What we know about the physical world (science) clearly and unctroversially explains most phenomena we come into contact with (computer screens, light, human bodies, mobile phones, cars, combustion engines, etc etc). When science has a fairly comprehensive account of some phonemena like 'forms', then I think we have a clear intellectual responsibility to go with the scientific (physical) explanation. If science has merely a partial explanation for some phenomena, like 'consciousness', but not a complete one, (i.e. if the balance of reasons for vs against a physicalist explanation is more even), I still think we have an intellectual responsbility to go with the science, because physicalist explanations have again and again replaced non-physical explanations.
For one, science does not yet have an account explaining our ability to generalise from specifics; furthermore, the Forms are an accurate but still metaphorical
representation of what's going on, as you should be aware: it has always been accepted that Truth cannot be communicated through any means other than the metaphorical (at best), being an object of experience, not of rationality. This explains the importance of Art; from a physicalist perspective, there can be no meaning in artistic representation other than "we like it" (which is clearly not the whole story).
If we only ever looked at the surface of the water, we could create about as accurate an account of water as physicalism can of the experiential world. It is certainly important to understand the physical processes, but this must be done without losing sight of the non-physical, through which we acquire knowledge of that physical. I'll come back to that last point at the end.
If we have some good reasons suggestive that consciousness has a physical basis, then what's going to be the outcome as nuroscience advaces (give it time, the brain is by far the most complex material entity we've come accross in the universe!)? That some non-physical realm is accessed by the material mass that is the brain, or that this massively complex interconnection of nuerons gives rise to a seemingly distinct sort of property (conscious experience)?
We don't have good reasons suggestive that consciousness has a physical basis: my University tried incredibly hard to tell us that everything was rooted in physicality, and we found all of the holes in all of the physicalist theories (20 year old undergraduates, that is). The only theories that seemed so self-contained as to be impenetrable were the immaterialist accounts of mind. I know you'd rather that I explain everything myself, but this would be a waste of my time and yours: read up on criticisms of your worldview, and develop responses yourself, if you can. This'll be the fastest way for you to acquire knowledge in this debate, rather than through merely talking to me (I'm certainly not best qualified to be explaining these things to people).
Maybe i do have some idea of what tradition is, and/or maybe tradition's ontology is just wrong! Why wouldn't it be, having it's basis thousands of years in the past for god's sake! I think traditional ontology is outdated, because lacking in intellectual credibility in the face of science. Not necessarily that some traditional values or attitudes are outdated.
Tradition is devoted to the understanding of the timeless
. The truths unearthed over the millenia are timeless
. They are as applicable and as apt today as they were when they were first revealed to us. This is what you seem not to have understood. Scrap the cultural clothing within which the truths are maintained, but don't throw away what is known out of some predictable (and predicted) arrogance. As I have said, there is no refutation in the world of the fundamentals of Tradition: what attempts have been made have been answered satisfactorily.
Now, it is time for me to ask you questions: through what do we experience this reality, other than consciousness? Given that there is nothing we encounter which is not consciousness (we never directly experience any physical thing, but only semblances built from the data collected by our senses), how can it be claimed that the physical is somehow more "real" than its experience? Before there can be an awareness of anything, there must be consciousness: is this consciousness, then, not more fundamental to our experience than the physical objects which make up part of that experience? As such, should it not be the focus of any enquiry, rather than those lesser constituents of experience?
The first thing we shoud know, in any endeavour, is the ground upon which we stand: the first thing we must understand in the pursuit of knowledge (scientific or otherwise) is the self, the experiencer, the medium through which all phenomena are passed. This knowledge was held by the Vedics, the Egyptians, likely the Babylonians and many others amongst the wondrous civilisations of the past. What folly it is, to disregard their understanding of the self on the basis of recent technological advance - as if the metaphysical truths they had unearthed were made any less real by the expansion of knowledge of the physical!
We're dealing with different planes, here, which need not be in conflict, yet the "scientist" (such as he might be called) flat out refuses to lend any credence to anything which he cannot measure with his apparatus. However, he does not include within his apparatus his own mind, his own consciousness: how does he expect to be able to measure the immaterial with material tools? The failure of many scientists is to make a single assumption at some point in time ("only the physical exists" - this is an unprovable assumption), thus disabling themselves in all but one world/field.
Sorry if some of this is rambling, it was a very long night.