Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.

Lawrence Lampert on Leo Strauss... on Nietzsche!

http://www.amazon.com/Leo-Strauss-Nietzsche-Laurence-Lampert/dp/0226468267/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1348039712&sr=8-5&keywords=lawrence+lampert

Lampert's book makes clear Leo Strauss's interpretation of Nietzsche that the latter wrote down in the late 50's. Strauss was a very complicated writer and that's where Lampert comes in. Strauss was very cryptic and hid things in his writing, and had theories that most of the great philosophers did the same (that they had both an 'easily read' part of their philosophy, and a 'hard to read' part that was the essence of their though, hidden so that only those people committed enough to thinking it out on their own would come to grasp it).

Anyway, according to Lampert, Strauss wants to compared Nietzsche with Plato. This is on the face of it ridiculous as Nietzsche would appear to first glances to be someone who despised Plato's whole approach, which he did in a sense. But there are two elements to Plato that are important here. One of which Nietzsche rejected, the other which he (according to Strauss) mirrored. The first is Plato's 'otherworldlyness': his theory of the forms, the 'good in itself', the 'beautiful in itself', the immortality of souls, etc, which gave rise to Platonism as a philosophical movement in ancient Greece and influenced Christianity. The other element is Plato's tendency to ground human values in a philosophical vision of 'how the world really is'. In other words to use philosophy and the intellect to penetrate into the world as it is in-itself, beyond appearances, and to have this give rise to values. In different words again, to have philosophy give rise to and rule religion (and not the other way round).

This second element in Plato is the one Strauss argues Nietzsche mirrors (in its general form and not in the specifics of each philosopher). Plato used philosophy to penetrate into the world to come up with the theory of the forms which gave rise to certain values and political theories (outlined in the republic) such as disdain for poetry and art (because these focus elusively on appearances when the intellect should be focused on the forms, which exist almost in another realm to the sensible world). Nietzsche, on the other hand (but following the same general form), used philosophy to penetrate into the essential nature of the world to come up with the theory that 'life is will to power and nothing else': there is no other world, only the sensible world of flux, chance, and turmoil and shifting relations of force and matter that we experience (a view vindicated by modern science). There are no fixed morals, because values are just strategies used by one manifestation of the nautral world of becoming (i.e. human organisms) to gain advantage over each other. There are no fixed standards of bueaty because different organisms with different needs will view different things as beautiful depending on their position in the shifing matrix of force/matter. There are no immortal souls because we arise frmo the world of becoming and in a short time are subsumed back into it (actually we never leave it). Nietzsche was the only one prepared to throw off moral injuctions to ignore this 'nihilism' (not to do so is in bad taste to most people who just want to go about their business thinking there is such things as objective 'good', objective 'beauty', that our souls are immortal and that life has a nice cozy meaninig). So he was the only thinker to take Nihilism to it's full depths. But in doing so (and only in taking it its logical conclusiOn... only because he had the courage to follow the intellect into the nature of the world to it's full extend), he found that nihilism actually eventually gives rise to a tremendous, life affirming, 'yes' to the existence. His idea of the 'eternal return' is this 'yes' to life that flows from a philosphical penetration into the nature of the world, as it really is initself. Nietzsche is deriving a system of values (eternal return, affirmation of all that has been and will be, over and over again) from philosophy. He is not rejecting religion, as his liberal commentators naively believe, but simply redirecting it according to an altered (more accurate) philosophical view of the world.

Nietzsche is a thinker who is acutely aware of the human need for religion. He just didn't like the form it took under christianity, which was a form of religion based on a philosophical understanding of another world (the world of the forms) and not this world. Science's 'intellectual "good taste"', dictates that this view of reality is wrong, so we can't go back to it. Most people who are aware of the human need for religion and transcendence think there is only two optinos: ignore what we know of this world and stay wedded to a view of reality which is outdated and otherworldly, or forsake religion. (i.e. 'How can you believe in both God *and* science...science gives us a nihilistic picture of the world which no one can worship'). Nietzsche wades in and shows that a third way is not just possible, but philosophically sound (i.e. reasonable and rational). Base a religion on a view of this world. For Nietzsche there IS something prior to man, unlike for Satre who says 'existence preceeds essence' and holds that it is a matter of free choice what to beleive in. The something prior, to Nietzsche, is the world as will to power. The world as will to power exists before and prior to us, as we are mere temporal manifestations of the force of nature. Niezsche is revealed as a modernist conservative. Modernist because he rejects traditional ontology and 'traditiona'l religious views of the world, conservative because he holds that certain things exist prior to man, and that values are rooted in something fundamental.

According to Strauss, the greatest philosophers throughout history have been those for whom 'The highest ideal, the highest value, flows from insight into the fundamental fact'. In other words, the ultimate task of philosophy, is to derive values from how the world actually is (whether platonic or nietzchean). Strauss thus includes Nietzsche among the greatest philosophers to have existed.

(post script: fuck all those people who say Nietzsche was merely a 'cultural critic', with no positive theory, someone who provides the toolkit merely to knock down and criticise other positive theories (foucualt)).

»Strauss was a very complicated writer and that's where Lampert comes in. Strauss was very cryptic and hid things in his writing, and had theories that most of the great philosophers did the same (that they had both an 'easily read' part of their philosophy, and a 'hard to read' part that was the essence of their though, hidden so that only those people committed enough to thinking it out on their own would come to grasp it).«

This is the style of writing Schopenhauer thunders against in The Art of Litterature and other writings. He just hates those sofists and charlatans who chose not to put ideas into the plainest words possible.

That's exactly the reason I never read 'philosophy', along with the conviction that the only philosophy that really counts for anything, is the one arrived at by considered experience.
Any idea or concept worth considering, is communicable in simple, easily-understood terms.
It's the best you can do.
Since people don't understand shit, anyway.

Life, and all its wonders, is the simplest thing there is. It only involves living-it.
Which is why so very few understand what's going on.
Too intellectual.
Squawk!

»Strauss was a very complicated writer and that's where Lampert comes in. Strauss was very cryptic and hid things in his writing, and had theories that most of the great philosophers did the same (that they had both an 'easily read' part of their philosophy, and a 'hard to read' part that was the essence of their though, hidden so that only those people committed enough to thinking it out on their own would come to grasp it).«

This is the style of writing Schopenhauer thunders against in The Art of Litterature and other writings. He just hates those sofists and charlatans who chose not to put ideas into the plainest words possible.

Whatever.

The interesting thing here is that someone grasps Nietzsche (strauss). Don't worry about Strauss's style, as Lampert has presented his interpretation clearly. That is the point of his book.

Anyway, I see nothing wrong in only wanting to be heard by a select audience. This what made black metal good in the early days, philosophy good in the early (pre Zizeck) days.....culture good in the early days!

That's exactly the reason I never read 'philosophy', along with the conviction that the only philosophy that really counts for anything, is the one arrived at by considered experience.
Any idea or concept worth considering, is communicable in simple, easily-understood terms.
It's the best you can do.
Since people don't understand shit, anyway.

Life, and all its wonders, is the simplest thing there is. It only involves living-it.
Which is why so very few understand what's going on.
Too intellectual.
When reading the thoughts of others it has to speak to you at a level you are already at before you understand and are inspired fully.

People who read without getting some direct inspiration therefrom are pretentious to themselves like hipsters.

So the main difficulty of reading is to sort out what is crap and what does not speak to you. I could probably mention a few books, you would enjoy.

Modern career academics have infested learning like parasites to such a degree, that it is impossible for an outsider to come and point out the banal truths about their faults -- which they like squids cover in a dark cloud of ink. Ink whichs speaks in a grammmatical correct and bloated language about abstract things, but which lacks real substance anchored in profound knowledge and insigth.

The best thing to do is to troll them into indignation like Socrates did. Though their ivory tower cannot be scaled by mere non initiates.

You can't really deny Platonism without having a severe misunderstanding of either Plato or the World.  The Theory of Forms, much hated by the physicalists of this dying age, is the best thing a Western philosopher has ever done.  To focus on eternal qualities, rather than transient appearences, is wise; Plato seems the culmination of this (reawakened) aspect of Indo-European thought, especially in his postulation that the Absolute is the source both of what we call "goodness" and of our ability to recognise that "goodness" (and all things implied by it [Forms]).

The ultimate goal of philosophy is in the name: "love of wisdom".  Wisdom is the ability to link known facts in a holistic manner (that is, acquiring understanding of the Whole, including all parts).  Ultimately, though, philosophy must concern itself with "non-factual knowledge", that is, knowledge of things unmade (non factus).  The metaphysical is the "unmade", whence all made things originate: thus, metaphysics is the calling of the philosopher.  A system of ethics will, by necessity, be derived from that pursuit, as it is insane to recognise eternal truths without abiding by them (cognitive dissonance).

If you're concerned with "fact", you're concerned with transience - the impermanent aspects of reality - rather than the eternal, fundamental aspects of reality.  This is synonymous with being concerned with the production over the music.

(Edit: I'm taking a very harsh and literal meaning of the word "fact", as you can tell.)

To focus on eternal qualities, rather than transient aappearences

Well this about rightly sums up where empiricism hits a wall and "proofs" are later "unproven"

We blame it on bad science, which is justifiable because we can also claim that science is self correcting.

Who am "I" anyway?
There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us

You can't really deny Platonism without having a severe misunderstanding of either Plato or the World. 

I would think nearly every brilliant physicist of this age denies Platonism. At least ideas of the 'good' initself, a 'square' initself, 'beaty' intiself, etc.

The Theory of Forms, much hated by the physicalists of this dying age, is the best thing a Western philosopher has ever done.  To focus on eternal qualities, rather than transient appearences, is wise; Plato seems the culmination of this (reawakened) aspect of Indo-European thought, especially in his postulation that the Absolute is the source both of what we call "goodness" and of our ability to recognise that "goodness" (and all things implied by it [Forms]).

This depends on what you think the goal of 'western philosophy' is. If it is to posit particular entity 'x', because x gives rise to a certian ethical/ideological/aesthetic orientation that you like, then I can understand your position. Plato would be pursusing the highest goal of western philosophy by positing the forms, because the forms give rise to an orientation towards 'eternal qualities', which you deem worthy for ideoloogical reasons.

However if you think the goal of philosophy is to enquire into the world, as it is *in-itself*, and to derive your ethical/ideological/etc orientation from - reality, then you're not going to think that pursuining a Platonic line in this day and age when the most intellectually responsible (in terms of discovering truth) ontology is simply NOT Platonic, is admirable. In other words if you think philosophy has integruity when "The highest ideal, the highest value, flows from insight into the fundamental fact", then your not going to dig Plato. Our modern ontology of the world, due in part to physics, sidelines any concrete postulation of 'forms' as rediculous because lacking in evidential/theoretical support.

If anyone cares to the first post on Strauss's commentary on Nietzsche, this is exactly why it is such an interesting portrayal of Nietzsche (and one i've always felt inclined towards, though not clearly). Nietzsche derives his ethical tenants (rank of human types, eternal return) from a rational penetration into the world as it is in-itself (will to power, flux, becoming). And EVEN MORE interesting to anyone with conservative/right leaninigs, these ethical tenants are more traditionalist than liberal and left-wing - despite the fact that they are rationally derived from a world that can no longer be regarded according to traditionalist ontology.

Nietzsche is a radical traditionalist. A traditionalist operating within modernity.

The ultimate goal of philosophy is in the name: "love of wisdom".  Wisdom is the ability to link known facts in a holistic manner (that is, acquiring understanding of the Whole, including all parts).  Ultimately, though, philosophy must concern itself with "non-factual knowledge", that is, knowledge of things unmade (non factus).  The metaphysical is the "unmade", whence all made things originate: thus, metaphysics is the calling of the philosopher.  A system of ethics will, by necessity, be derived from that pursuit, as it is insane to recognise eternal truths without abiding by them (cognitive dissonance).

I would agree with you if 'unmade' = existing in reality, independently of people's perception. But I think you mean something much more sketchy. Can you tell me about 'unmade' things that you have in mind? What constitutes knowledge of 'unmade' things (as opposed to artistic creation, fabrication)?

I would think nearly every brilliant physicist of this age denies Platonism. At least ideas of the 'good' initself, a 'square' initself, 'beaty' intiself, etc.

Nearly every brilliant physicist of this age has a severe misunderstanding of either Plato or the World (most likely the latter).

Quote
This depends on what you think the goal of 'western philosophy' is. If it is to posit particular entity 'x', because x gives rise to a certian ethical/ideological/aesthetic orientation that you like, then I can understand your position. Plato would be pursusing the highest goal of western philosophy by positing the forms, because the forms give rise to an orientation towards 'eternal qualities', which you deem worthy for ideoloogical reasons.

However if you think the goal of philosophy is to enquire into the world, as it is *in-itself*, and to derive your ethical/ideological/etc orientation from - reality, then you're not going to think that pursuining a Platonic line in this day and age when the most intellectually responsible (in terms of discovering truth) ontology is simply NOT Platonic, is admirable. In other words if you think philosophy has integruity when "The highest ideal, the highest value, flows from insight into the fundamental fact", then your not going to dig Plato. Our modern ontology of the world, due in part to physics, sidelines any concrete postulation of 'forms' as rediculous because lacking in evidential/theoretical support.

The Theory of Forms penetrates this temporal "reality" of appearences in focusing on the things which necessarily inform that temporal reality, rather than those secondary things which change, shift, die, are reborn, etc.  Surely even you can't deny that there is some quality of certain objects which we might call "chairness"?  All chairs have it, but no single chair captures it by itself; that essence is far too vast to be contained within a single physical object.  A man once made a router out of chewing gum, a rubber band, and a toothpick (or some similarly mundane items): the object he created was a functioning router, and yet it was entirely unlike any router that had ever been encountered before.  However, it could be known to be a router by its function, not by its physical form.

I would say that you have been horribly misled, if you have a belief that the world of appearences is the "world as it is".  I seem to remember that you have an interest in Buddhism; what, then, do you make of the Buddhist emphasis on the illusory nature of this physical world of anicca?

Quote
If anyone cares to the first post on Strauss's commentary on Nietzsche, this is exactly why it is such an interesting portrayal of Nietzsche (and one i've always felt inclined towards, though not clearly). Nietzsche derives his ethical tenants (rank of human types, eternal return) from a rational penetration into the world as it is in-itself (will to power, flux, becoming). And EVEN MORE interesting to anyone with conservative/right leaninigs, these ethical tenants are more traditionalist than liberal and left-wing - despite the fact that they are rationally derived from a world that can no longer be regarded according to traditionalist ontology.

Nietzsche is, as you've shown, very similar to Plato, though perhaps using different methods towards different ends; nevertheless, he comes to essentially the same conclusion: that human society ought be ordered hierarchically, with people placed in position according to function (Form!) and merit.  All this does is suggest that the traditionalist ontology is so fundamental that, even in looking to nothing more than the world of appearences (which Nietzsche didn't do, by the way), the same truths can be understood by people separated by time, distance, and culture.

Quote
I would agree with you if 'unmade' = existing in reality, independently of people's perception. But I think you mean something much more sketchy. Can you tell me about 'unmade' things that you have in mind? What constitutes knowledge of 'unmade' things (as opposed to artistic creation, fabrication)?

An "unmade" thing would be a thing like "chairness", as I've explained above: it has the capacity to take or be put into physical form (by a chairmaker, no less), but is, itself, nowhere to be found in the physical world.  The fact is that this "chairness" exists, we can recognise it, but it is not physical in nature - to deny any of these three things is to fly in the face of human experience.  I can accept that you might have selected your paradigm already, and that you might be as unwilling to shift from it as I am from mine, so I hope I'm not seeming overly judgmental, here.

Edit: to make a point, another example of an entire kind of "unmade" things is the group known as "mathematical concepts".  These things are abstract in nature, most certainly real, but very much "hidden" in the "real", sensory world (if they exist there as themselves at all).  Geometry, too, falls into this category: the "square in itself", "perfect square", or "Form of the square" is what we understand by the geometric notion of "square", not by any single physical instance of what we might inaccurately dub a "square".  What is the science of physics built upon but mathematical foundations?  The study of physical reality is rooted in non-physical concepts.

Do you take "existence" to mean "having extension in time and space"?  This denies the "existence" of thought, feeling, consciousness itself, which things cannot be denied by the entity they comprise without some degree of insanity on the part of that whole.

I would think nearly every brilliant physicist of this age denies Platonism. At least ideas of the 'good' initself, a 'square' initself, 'beaty' intiself, etc.

Nearly every brilliant physicist of this age has a severe misunderstanding of either Plato or the World (most likely the latter).

It strikes me as though the cleaner at a wonderful beethoven recital may as well tell the conductor he has a severe misunderstanding of music. If this is your level of respect for scholars, just because they are 'modern', I think you are being childish and the worst sort of philistine (in this matter at least).

An "unmade" thing would be a thing like "chairness", as I've explained above: it has the capacity to take or be put into physical form (by a chairmaker, no less), but is, itself, nowhere to be found in the physical world.  The fact is that this "chairness" exists, we can recognise it, but it is not physical in nature - to deny any of these three things is to fly in the face of human experience.

Questions, one epistemological, the other 'metaphysical':

1. If something is 'nowhere to be found in the physical world', then how do we, as physical beings, come to have knowledge of it? Example: 'chairness'. Positing the existence of souls that originated in the pure realm and thus came into contact with the form of 'chairness' will not be helpful. That would only beg the question.

2. Aristotle (to pick a non-modern) has a different theory of universals which doesn't posit the ontological existence of forms. More probably, cognitive science and neuroscience will account for forms (perhaps excepts mathematical concepts, like numbers, which I agree is fascinating). Forms are concepts, and will be reducable to patterns of nuerons. If this is true, then they are in the physical world (in brains).

----

I don't mind discussing Platonism, but the point of this thread was to engage with people (is there anybody out there?) who have a contemporary ontology or who are interested in Nietzsche's ontology, which is characteristically modern (and also the interepretation of him as a philosophy who intended to posit an ontology rather than merely engage in deconstruction). My interests are modern science and radical traditionalism, and I do not think traditionalism is limited to what I would call clearly outdated ways of viewing the world. Nietzsche is the Philosopher who paved the way for this, and he definetely influenced my own literary efforts ;)

Platonism is another topic!

It strikes me as though the cleaner at a wonderful beethoven recital may as well tell the conductor he has a severe misunderstanding of music. If this is your level of respect for scholars, just because they are 'modern', I think you are being childish and the worst sort of philistine (in this matter at least).

I do not judge, I merely state fact.  Indeed, in this way, I am permitting on the grounds of ignorance the faults of the physicists (and other scientists) of this world, whose work I often admire, and most certainly believe in.  However, I join with the elders of the world's traditions in chastising many of them for neglecting any worldview but the materialistic: having done so, they have castrated their own brilliance.

I will emphasise that I have a very great love for modern science (especially physics and biology), but see its hegemony to be disastrous, categorically the cause of the absolute crises we find our world(s) in today.  The profanation of Nature, the disjuncture of Man from God, the separation of the individual from the World, are all byproducts of the misconception that rational understanding of the mechanics of the universe is Man's end.  Accounts of existence which acknowledge the experiencer as much as the experienced lead to healthier, more natural societies and cultures, which have longevity and purpose, if not technological splendour and rampant consumption.  Man is inherently good; in turning his back on God and Nature, he sees himself as inherently bad, thus pardoning him of his failures and excesses.  It is weakness of the greatest kind, and predicted by all traditions.

Quote
1. If something is 'nowhere to be found in the physical world', then how do we, as physical beings, come to have knowledge of it? Example: 'chairness'. Positing the existence of souls that originated in the pure realm and thus came into contact with the form of 'chairness' will not be helpful. That would only beg the question.

This question assumes that we are (merely) physical beings, living in a physical world.  The uncontested (uncontestable?) postulation that consciousness is the origin and sole constituent of all experience (including all phenomena, that is, physical/mental phenomena) disproves that assumption, in many ways.  Most obviously: by being primarily of consciousness, and not matter, there is no real divide between our myriad individual "worlds" (perspectives, egos) and the "worlds" in which the Forms might reside.  We are not in the physical, with a metaphysical periphery; we are in the metaphysical, looking "into" the physical.  Disproof of this is required before one can assume a purely physical nature for any instance of being.

Quote
2. Aristotle (to pick a non-modern) has a different theory of universals which doesn't posit the ontological existence of forms. More probably, cognitive science and neuroscience will account for forms (perhaps excepts mathematical concepts, like numbers, which I agree is fascinating). Forms are concepts, and will be reducable to patterns of nuerons. If this is true, then they are in the physical world (in brains).

If one can point to it in the metaphysical, one can surely point to it in the physical, the physical being nothing more than an extrapolation of the metaphysical into spacetime.  I still think a disproof of the traditional ontologies is necessary, not merely a display that the physical manifests the metaphysical (which we already know).

Quote
I don't mind discussing Platonism, but the point of this thread was to engage with people (is there anybody out there?) who have a contemporary ontology or who are interested in Nietzsche's ontology, which is characteristically modern (and also the interepretation of him as a philosophy who intended to posit an ontology rather than merely engage in deconstruction). My interests are modern science and radical traditionalism, and I do not think traditionalism is limited to what I would call clearly outdated ways of viewing the world. Nietzsche is the Philosopher who paved the way for this, and he definetely influenced my own literary efforts ;)

Platonism is another topic!

This is fair enough, so feel free to reply to this via PM, if you want to continue the discussion.

If you can call any aspect of Tradition "outdated", you have failed to understand what Tradition is.  I suggest you listen to the lectures of Seyyed Hossein Nasr available on youtube (especially "In the Beginning was Consciousness"), as he can probably explain these things far better than I can.  Try not to judge him immediately - I did, and it set me back a couple of months, in terms of personal progression.

This question assumes that we are (merely) physical beings, living in a physical world.  The uncontested (uncontestable?) postulation that consciousness is the origin and sole constituent of all experience (including all phenomena, that is, physical/mental phenomena) disproves that assumption, in many ways.  Most obviously: by being primarily of consciousness, and not matter, there is no real divide between our myriad individual "worlds" (perspectives, egos) and the "worlds" in which the Forms might reside.  We are not in the physical, with a metaphysical periphery; we are in the metaphysical, looking "into" the physical.  Disproof of this is required before one can assume a purely physical nature for any instance of being.

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.

2. 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:

Quote
If one can point to it in the metaphysical, one can surely point to it in the physical, the physical being nothing more than an extrapolation of the metaphysical into spacetime.  I still think a disproof of the traditional ontologies is necessary, not merely a display that the physical manifests the metaphysical (which we already know).

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 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.

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)?

Where is it more intellectually credible to put your faith?

Quote
If you can call any aspect of Tradition "outdated", you have failed to understand what Tradition is.  I suggest you listen to the lectures of Seyyed Hossein Nasr available on youtube (especially "In the Beginning was Consciousness"), as he can probably explain these things far better than I can.  Try not to judge him immediately - I did, and it set me back a couple of months, in terms of personal progression.

I prefer we nut out the issues ourselves rather than referring back to authority figures. It's enjoyable after all, no matter if there are disagreements, and better than discussing gay marriage or justin beiber. 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.

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.)

Quote
. 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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).

Quote
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.

This question assumes that we are (merely) physical beings, living in a physical world.  The uncontested (uncontestable?) postulation that consciousness is the origin and sole constituent of all experience (including all phenomena, that is, physical/mental phenomena) disproves that assumption, in many ways.  Most obviously: by being primarily of consciousness, and not matter, there is no real divide between our myriad individual "worlds" (perspectives, egos) and the "worlds" in which the Forms might reside.  We are not in the physical, with a metaphysical periphery; we are in the metaphysical, looking "into" the physical.  Disproof of this is required before one can assume a purely physical nature for any instance of being.

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.

2. 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:

Quote
If one can point to it in the metaphysical, one can surely point to it in the physical, the physical being nothing more than an extrapolation of the metaphysical into spacetime.  I still think a disproof of the traditional ontologies is necessary, not merely a display that the physical manifests the metaphysical (which we already know).

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 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.

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)?

Where is it more intellectually credible to put your faith?

Quote
If you can call any aspect of Tradition "outdated", you have failed to understand what Tradition is.  I suggest you listen to the lectures of Seyyed Hossein Nasr available on youtube (especially "In the Beginning was Consciousness"), as he can probably explain these things far better than I can.  Try not to judge him immediately - I did, and it set me back a couple of months, in terms of personal progression.

I prefer we nut out the issues ourselves rather than referring back to authority figures. It's enjoyable after all, no matter if there are disagreements, and better than discussing gay marriage or justin beiber. 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.

I have a defective FM transmitter which picks up a signal yet outputs a distorted sound that is often incomprehensible. The essence of the signal or rather the information contained is not altered by the defective device. Likewise, the vessel of consciousness becomes damaged thus limiting the ability of the consciousness to interact with the physical realm in all its aspects as well as perceive itself. Without the vessel, the consciousness knows no individuality.
There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us There's too many of us

Quote
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.)

Ok, I this analogy just doesn't work. If concsciousness were like a TV channel, then specific consciousnesses would not be tied in a one-to-one relation with specific brains. You break your TV, and your neighoburs TV can pick up Big Brother. If I fall down the stars and smash my skull and die, my neighbour can't 'tune in' and pick up my consciousness where I left off! (If you bring in telepathy - i'm out!)

Another way in which the TV signal/consciousness analogue breaks down is the very fact that the TV signal is physical! It is electro magnetic waves for god's sake.

Quote
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.

The last thing I wanted here was to get into personal matter, but please don't assume that everyone who places stock in modern science is ignorant of 'the other side' and some card-carying modern, indocrinated with liberal science. You might think your 'metaphysical' camp is somehow privalged and anyone else is 'other' but this is just trite bullshit. I do not think it is rational to stick to the 'other side', hence I criticise it. Thus it's not very becoming to simply tell me I should read the 'other side'.

Quote
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.

You might be stating what you think you know to be true, and you might genuinely be sincere in believing it to be true, but there is difference between belief, however sincere, and justified belief. Your arguments, so far, have not been compelling but more troubling is the fact that you keep telling me to 'read the other side' or something to that effect, when I have and I find it clearly laking.

Quote
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.

Why isn't it broken?! If the physical is a projection of the metaphysical, then we have both metaphysical entities (whatever these might be) and their physical counterparts (how these interact is of course NEVER explained). If the physical is differing levels of organisational complexity of matter, then we just have physical entities.

By the way, there is an important difference between 'the physical paradigm' (there are many) not being able to explain something in full at some point in it's progress (consciousness at the moment), and there being good reasons that actually suggest a particular metaphysical cause. FOr example, just because neuroscience can't fully explain consciousness at the moment, the hypothesis that consciousness is non-physical doesn't suddenly enjoy more evidence in its favour.

Your whole position is based on 'god of the gaps' arguments, that people like Dawkins invoke in their criticisms of christians. Just because there is a gap in the physical explanation (less and less of course), does not mean the other side has particularly compelling reasons.

When the physical sciences (why do I feel like I am donoting a heretical discipline in the present company) are progressively explaining more and more about 'how the mind works', I see it as cowardly to believe in a non-physical hypothesis for no stronger reason than this is a waning isolated region on inquiry that a physical hypothesis can not yet explain in full.

Quote
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).

I gave you three in the last post, and expanded in my first comment block in this post! Consciousness seems directly causally linked with physical brains, on a one-to one basis.

I would only rather you explain everything yourself because you seem to want to defend your worldview (yet you keep handballing issues off, which is confusing). Either be a gentleman and concede some points or argue for them. I am not going to apologise wanting a vigorous intellectual discussion if you use language which seems to indicate you want to engage in one in places.

Quote
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.

Traditionalists say that their ideas are devoted to 'understanding the timeless'. They say that their 'truths' are as applicable and apt to day as they where then they were first 'revealed' to us. But the preist at my local church says that god is a person in the sky who loves us and when we die we goto heaven.

---------

To my mind, there are two important issues here:

1. (epistemological/metaphysical): If we are physical beings, how do we come into contact with something no-physical (forms). If we have a non-physical 'aspect', how does this interact with our physical 'aspects'. Moreover, how does this non-physical aspect of our being come into contact with 'forms'??

2. (theoretical): There are no Good Reasons for non-physical explanations of consciousness. There are only 'god of the gaps' considerations in their favour. 'God of the gaps' considerations are different from positive evidence or argument. They hve some evidential force, but pretty much feck all.

I will answer your questions you asked me at the end in my next post.

Bill