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Metal => Interzone => Topic started by: BillHopkins on September 19, 2012, 12:31:46 AM

Title: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 19, 2012, 12:31:46 AM
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)).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: username on September 19, 2012, 12:48:57 PM
»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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: crow on September 19, 2012, 01:11:36 PM
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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 19, 2012, 09:37:58 PM
»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!
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: username on September 20, 2012, 02:05:37 AM
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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 20, 2012, 01:01:21 PM
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.)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: WAAAAAAGH! on September 21, 2012, 08:43:00 AM
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?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 21, 2012, 08:54:01 PM
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)?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 22, 2012, 01:44:07 AM
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?

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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.

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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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 22, 2012, 04:16:19 AM
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!
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 23, 2012, 01:56:12 PM
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.

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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.

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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).

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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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 23, 2012, 07:37:29 PM
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:

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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?

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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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 24, 2012, 02:36:47 AM
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.)

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. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: WAAAAAAGH! on September 24, 2012, 08:27:21 AM
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:

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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?

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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.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 24, 2012, 09:01:58 PM
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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.

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 24, 2012, 09:53:57 PM
Part two:

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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.

I may be incorrect, but I suspect you're not giving 'scientists' enough credit. 'They' (or the ones you have in mind - there are plenty of heretical scientists) don't just assume the physical world is all that exists, as if they had evidence that secures this hypothesis 100 per cent. They weigh up the POSITIVE EVIDENCE on either side (not 'god of the gaps' evidence) and then look at which way the scales end up.

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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!

Yes, you have to 'know theself' to be better able to sort projections from perceptions of reality.

Any traditional understandings of the self that are disregarded are not disregarded simply because they are traditional and simply because of new technology. They are disregarded if the balance of evidence in their favour is not as strong as other understandings.

Ok: What 'metaphysical' truths did ancients unearth that are 'timeless'?

(Not to bias the issue prematurely, but why would we expect any knowlegde to be 'timeless'?! We are organisms that evolved from single cell organisms, and we only become anatomically 'modern human' (somo sapien) about 150,000 years ago. Why the hell would any knowledge accrued in this early stage of our evolution as self-aware beings be 'timeless')

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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?

We experience this reality through consciousness, you're right. But experience can be placed in different classes. There is experience the reference of which would exist independetly of the experiencer and the reference of which would not. Qualitative experince (colour, smell - and also, I would argue, 'form') is an example of the latter and mass is an example of the former.

Use a different word than 'real', if you like. It is claimed that the referents of some experience have a different ontology depending on whether those referents exist independetly of the experience or not. A perfect triangle is a concept that the evolved human mind brings to bear to organise the flux of experience. It is an evolved 'heuristic' that enables the mind to make quick and mostly accurate judgements about sense data coming in. A perception of colours and shades taken from the external world is subsumed under a mental concept in order to produce a meaning that allows us to get on in the world successfully (breading and surviving). There are no perfect triangles in nature (but there are structures of lines and surfaces in nature that come close), but it is quicker for the brain to use a concept of a perfect triangle to make sense of these imperfect 'imitations'.

Notice how in the picture below, the triangle doesn't exist independently of the observer! Your brain analyses the sense data and makes a guess (based on past success and failure - natural selection) about what is in the world and fills in the meaninig - literally makes it appear as though the sides of the shape extend the whole way around (which they don't). It applies sense data to a pre existing cognitive template, or 'form'.


(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jynWLgeZItY/TaIZIRNkBsI/AAAAAAAAHas/yi5vJZ9Kv0I/s1600/triangle-illusion.gif)


Darwinism, via psychology and cognitive science, can account for forms by analysing how the mind works and how we experience the world. If you admire the Vedics, the Egyptians, and the Babylonians for being concerned with "the medium through which all phenomena are passed", then you should, if you are being consistent, be concerned with modern disciplines doing the same thing even if they happen to suggest that other things you hold dear are improbable as a result of a more powerful penetration into the nature of expierence. This is nihilism. Death to projections.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 25, 2012, 03:09:19 AM
Cutting the crap, here.

Despite all you say, you present yourself as someone who does not have a full and accurate understanding of Tradition.  This is why I say "go away and read before we have this discussion", so that we might be on the same page, talking about the same things, instead of talking past each other as we are currently doing.  Fear not that I might be similarly ignorant of modern science: I was utterly focused on scientific understanding until only the past few years, and have retained my interest, if not the irrational faith which you and others display.

This is not a capitulation, but a request that you arm yourself with knowledge, that we might be better able to discuss these issues.  I'll gladly recommend authors and lecturers to you, and request that you let me know what you've read so far from the perspective of Tradition.  Many of the people I have in mind will answer such questions as you've posed far better than I could; I'm a student, not a master.

Let's continue this via PM, so that we don't derail this thread any more.

Also, here's an eternal truth for you: "all is one".
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 25, 2012, 08:55:41 PM
Cutting the crap, here.

Despite all you say, you present yourself as someone who does not have a full and accurate understanding of Tradition.  This is why I say "go away and read before we have this discussion", so that we might be on the same page, talking about the same things, instead of talking past each other as we are currently doing.  Fear not that I might be similarly ignorant of modern science: I was utterly focused on scientific understanding until only the past few years, and have retained my interest, if not the irrational faith which you and others display.

This is not a capitulation, but a request that you arm yourself with knowledge, that we might be better able to discuss these issues.  I'll gladly recommend authors and lecturers to you, and request that you let me know what you've read so far from the perspective of Tradition.  Many of the people I have in mind will answer such questions as you've posed far better than I could; I'm a student, not a master.

Let's continue this via PM, so that we don't derail this thread any more.

Also, here's an eternal truth for you: "all is one".

Look, I have never talked past you. I have gone to great lengths to engage with each issue you brought up, and I even summarised the points of disagreement at the end of one post. I am saddened you have spent no time engaging with my thoughts, after about the first post, regarding:

1. The most rational way of deciding between dualism vs physicalism is via a probabilistic route where the overall pool of evidence supporting each prospective hypothesis is weighed up. It is NOT via finding a few isolated holes in side 'x' and holding this up as a victory for side 'y', in the complete absense of any positive evidence for side 'y'.
2. Psychological (reductive) explanations of 'forms', and thus the lack of any need for metaphysical explanations of forms. 3. This leads into your idea that even if you have a physical explanation of something 'it is only a manifestation of metaphysical processes': There are deep problems with this idea, and the problem relates to the mechanisms by which non physical entities might somehow interact with physical entities.

Even if i read some of your authors, I don't think they are going to address these points (I may be wrong, however). I don't want to be assaulted with huge slabs of traditonal writing, if i'm wrong I would like to be shown where. If you don't know where i'm wrong, then how the hell do you know that the authors you have in mind will have adequate responses to the epistemological and metaphysical issues i'm raising against traditional metaphysics? Your approach is just dogmatic then.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Emperor_of_Algol on September 25, 2012, 11:35:15 PM
Even if i read some of your authors, I don't think they are going to address these points (I may be wrong, however). I don't want to be assaulted with huge slabs of traditonal writing, if i'm wrong I would like to be shown where. If you don't know where i'm wrong, then how the hell do you know that the authors you have in mind will have adequate responses to the epistemological and metaphysical issues i'm raising against traditional metaphysics? Your approach is just dogmatic then.

Not to "pick sides" here (haha, I trust we're not in grade school), but I couldn't resist picking up on this point. This view is problematic. "Unless you tell me exactly which things I need to read, to the frigging page number, I'm not going to read a damn thing". There is no consideration for the fact that reading entire books, series of books, authors, acquainting oneself with the surrounding traditions, etc. will enable a fuller understanding of what is being communicated. This betrays an unwillingness to put ass on seat and just read, read, read. And possibly even get out and speak to people who have knowledge on these matters (very few today, unfortunately).

Cargest is correct - after the initial exchange of ideas, you two began talking past each other, because of the lack of common language (I'm not talking about English), and the differing assumptions of the debate. Etiquette of disagreement is important. I don't mean the superficial "don't swear at those you disagree with"; it's more important to have a basic assumption which you can agree on, than to have long arguments which will never be resolved, and in which both parties learn nothing, because the fundamental assumption(s) of the debate are not laid down and agreed upon.

Ironically, this is something the 'wise' of 'the past' used to insist upon when engaging in debates ("Tradition" Hah! ;)) . This is too often ignored on the internet. I think the lack of face-to-face interaction has a lot to do with this. Not to mention the ease of firing off a quick salvo with the deadly keyboard-broadsword.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 25, 2012, 11:41:32 PM
Ok, let's persue this.

I think i'm being quite transparent in my own assumptions. But nevertheless:

What fundamental assumptions am I making in thinking the following are issues problematic for Cargest? After they have been identified, are they assumptions that have been assumed unjustly?

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1. The most rational way of deciding between dualism vs physicalism is via a probabilistic route where the overall pool of evidence supporting each prospective hypothesis is weighed up. It is NOT via finding a few isolated holes in side 'x' and holding this up as a victory for side 'y', in the complete absense of any positive evidence for side 'y'.
2. Psychological (reductive) explanations of 'forms', and thus the lack of any need for metaphysical explanations of forms.
3. This leads into your idea that even if you have a physical explanation of something 'it is only a manifestation of metaphysical processes': There are deep problems with this idea, and the problem relates to the mechanisms by which non physical entities might somehow interact with physical entities.

Assumptions (that I, at least, can detect):

1. That sweeping ontological views (either physicalism or non-physicalism) are not going to be 100 per cent 'proven', and thus picking one over the other depends upon the wieghing up of evidence on either side and picking the view that has them most evidence in its favour. I am placing importance upon 'evidence', perhaps this is problematic for traditional metaphysics which is based on a priori reasoning
2. That if you have a credible physicalist explantion of something it is superflous to hold on to a non-physicalist explanation. There is nothing left to explain.
3. That if you post a non-physicalist explanation for something that interacts with the physical world (forms, consciousness) you are going to need to have a story about how the non-physical interacts with the physical.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Emperor_of_Algol on September 26, 2012, 12:12:56 AM
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1. The most rational way of deciding between dualism vs physicalism is via a probabilistic route where the overall pool of evidence supporting each prospective hypothesis is weighed up. It is NOT via finding a few isolated holes in side 'x' and holding this up as a victory for side 'y', in the complete absense of any positive evidence for side 'y'.
2. Psychological (reductive) explanations of 'forms', and thus the lack of any need for metaphysical explanations of forms.
3. This leads into your idea that even if you have a physical explanation of something 'it is only a manifestation of metaphysical processes': There are deep problems with this idea, and the problem relates to the mechanisms by which non physical entities might somehow interact with physical entities.

I think number 1. here may be problematic. Why do we need to decide between "dualism vs physicalism"? I know it's so overused in this kind of debate, that it's almost a cliche, but I'm going to call "false dichotomy" here. Unless you mean by "dualism" - "the two aspecst of 'physical' and 'metaphysical'. If so, this assumption seems fair. I may have missed the post which defined dualism thus.

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2. That if you have a credible physicalist explantion of something it is superflous to hold on to a non-physicalist explanation. There is nothing left to explain.

This may also be shaky. It's akin to saying "we've found one explanation for this. It seems consistent with other discoveries we've recently made. They haven't stood the test of time, but, for now, they make sense. Let's not bother with any other explanations, as they won't add to our knowledge." This type of thinking is dangerous in that it represents a regression, and too eager a willingness to throw away historical knowledge in the face of a framework of knowledge which not only hasn't survived through millennia, but which has been shown to be mistaken about basic "facts" within its own framework (relativity, flat earth theory, Ptolemaic/geocentricism, etc).  This is not to say that the 'ancients' were not mistaken or inaccurate about a great many things - they were, but to "throw  out the baby with the bathwater" - something you seem too willing to do, is folly. Surely you must see this.

EDIT - Forget what I said above about 'dualism'. It's completely obvious what you mean with it, given the context of the debate.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 26, 2012, 12:35:50 AM
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2. That if you have a credible physicalist explantion of something it is superflous to hold on to a non-physicalist explanation. There is nothing left to explain.

This may also be shaky. It's akin to saying "we've found one explanation for this. It seems consistent with other discoveries we've recently made. They haven't stood the test of time, but, for now, they make sense. Let's not bother with any other explanations, as they won't add to our knowledge." This type of thinking is dangerous in that it represents a regression, and too eager a willingness to throw away historical knowledge in the face of a framework of knowledge which not only hasn't survived through millennia, but which has been shown to be mistaken about basic "facts" within its own framework (relativity, flat earth theory, Ptolemaic/geocentricism, etc).  This is not to say that the 'ancients' were not mistaken or inaccurate about a great many things - they were, but to "throw  out the baby with the bathwater" - something you seem too willing to do, is folly. Surely you must see this.

This kind of thinking represents a regression, you say.

But would you say that, after water was explained to be a chemical substance comprised of the molecules hydrogen and oxygen, we should have maintained the more traditional hypothesis that Water is a basic 'element' - simply because the latter understanding "survived through millennia"?

If not, then why hold on the to the hypothesis that forms are entities in-themselves, existing in an entire realm of existence seperate from the physical world, if we can explain (using empirical science) forms by appealing to 'psychological archetypes' (evolved cogitive templates, in modern terms)? The latter explanation is consisent with science, and science has clearly provided a more powerful way of penetrating into the structure of the world than a prior philosophy (i've enver seen anyone philosophise anyone to the moon, for instance, or to philosophise germs away). If we are disposing with the older hypothesis in the case of the nature of water, why would we not dispose with the older hypothesis in the case of 'forms'?

Also, "survival through millennia" is not a good determinant of ontological truth. It might be if the relevant ontological beliefs (forms) were visible to natural selection, but they weren't. Whether you were a non-physicalist about forms had no implication to you getting away from a lion.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Emperor_of_Algol on September 26, 2012, 01:36:44 AM
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But would you say that, after water was explained to be a chemical substance comprised of the molecules hydrogen and oxygen, we should have maintained the more traditional hypothesis that Water is a basic 'element' - simply because the latter understanding "survived through millennia"?

Discovering that water is made up of hyrdogen and oxygen, and "knowing" the exact nature of their interaction to produce the various states/phases of water, does not refute traditional knowledge of what water is. Forget the basic classical elements thing - what people have always known of water is that it is life-sustaining, and an integral part of nature, as well as our experience with it (imagine a natural landscape devoid of water, and think on how this affects living things even if they were carrying liters of bottled water). This knowledge does not change just because we know a bit about the molecular structure of water (to allay any suspicions that we now "know" what water is - this is just a description of how water fits into our atomic theory).

You mention that
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science has clearly provided a more powerful way of penetrating into the structure of the world than a prior philosophy
. This is then backed up by examples of what modern science has achieved. The examples you have chosen are not exactly the zenith of science, but even if we chose others (say, the combustion engine, or generation, transmission and distribution of electiricty), they are not independent of what we may say falls outside the "bounds" of the modern scientific discipline. We can only go to the moon (meh), create a combustion engine, and use electricity if we know why these things are important, and what kind of impact they have on us. Their use is varied, and scientific knowledge has only "penetrated" the physical principles involved, and thus enabled us to achieve them.

What it has not done is give us any clue to why we should care at all, or to what particular uses to put our scientific knowledge. The further we go into the "why", the more we drift away from science, because it is inadequate. In fact, I'm pretty sure you'd agree here. But I think this hasn't been emphasized enough.

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If not, then why hold on the to the hypothesis that forms are entities in-themselves, existing in an entire realm of existence seperate from the physical world

I'm not sure that this is the most accurately-worded description of the debate (or part of the debate). The term 'separate' is what is misleading here. As far as I understand it, the physical can be seen as a 'manifestation' of the metaphysical, and that which is most easily experienced by us due to our basic physical nature. I know that many people have interpreted Plato as asserting the "separateness" or "independence" of the Forms; whether he meant this literally, or was trying to emphasize the higher and "closer to reality" nature of these descriptions, is debatable. Aristotle's criticism sheds some light. Regardless, and since I am not well-schooled enough on Plato or Aristotle, I would still assert this is a minor matter.

For us, the assumption that we are trying to iron out is whether anything non-physical exists which cannot be sufficiently, accurately, and completely explained by reducing to the physical. I do not think this type of reduction can achieve the latter. It comes down to "getting lost in the details" essentially.

Lastly:
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Also, "survival through millennia" is not a good determinant of ontological truth. It might be if the relevant ontological beliefs (forms) were visible to natural selection, but they weren't. Whether you were a non-physicalist about forms had no implication to you getting away from a lion.

We cannot at once say that "given our past scientific knowledge, and how useful a descriptor of reality it has been, x y and z make sense" and "knowledge's surviving through years of added and possibly contrary knowledge, plus years of criticism, has no bearing on its truth". We are using the same idea in the latter (that time is the arbiter) to justify the essence of the former (historical knowledge of what science has achieved).

I do not understand the relation between truths and the darwinistic concept of natural selection. It is possible to survive natural selection as a savage brute without any knowledge of the matters we are talking about here. This does not make those matters any less or more true.

I would like to reiterate - there is applicability for both "scientific" and "traditional" (or "philosophical", to use the terms of the debate) explanations in understanding our universe, and indeed, it is difficult to imagine anything near a 'complete' explanation without both. I have an inkling this is part of the debate, although I don't see why it should be, as it is obvious. This definitely falls under the category of axiom.

So, back to the original topic - erm, what? People should read more Plato and Nietzsche? Does that sum it up? ;)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 27, 2012, 03:49:40 AM
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Discovering that water is made up of hyrdogen and oxygen, and "knowing" the exact nature of their interaction to produce the various states/phases of water, does not refute traditional knowledge of what water is. Forget the basic classical elements thing - what people have always known of water is that it is life-sustaining, and an integral part of nature, as well as our experience with it (imagine a natural landscape devoid of water, and think on how this affects living things even if they were carrying liters of bottled water). This knowledge does not change just because we know a bit about the molecular structure of water (to allay any suspicions that we now "know" what water is - this is just a description of how water fits into our atomic theory).

Sir, you're talking about symbolic, or cultural views of water, which is a very different matter from views on the ontological nature of water! Of course a modern understanding of the ontology of water doesn't overturn 'traditional knowledge' of water's value

Cargest is talking ontology/metaphysics. The nature of reality (and the human subject) as it is in-itself.

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This is then backed up by examples of what modern science has achieved. The examples you have chosen are not exactly the zenith of science, but even if we chose others (say, the combustion engine, or generation, transmission and distribution of electiricty), they are not independent of what we may say falls outside the "bounds" of the modern scientific discipline. We can only go to the moon (meh), create a combustion engine, and use electricity if we know why these things are important, and what kind of impact they have on us. Their use is varied, and scientific knowledge has only "penetrated" the physical principles involved, and thus enabled us to achieve them.

What it has not done is give us any clue to why we should care at all, or to what particular uses to put our scientific knowledge. The further we go into the "why", the more we drift away from science, because it is inadequate. In fact, I'm pretty sure you'd agree here. But I think this hasn't been emphasized enough.

See above!

This isn't a problem, as science doesn't purport to pass judgement matters of human meaning. It's target is the nature of reality.

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I'm not sure that this is the most accurately-worded description of the debate (or part of the debate). The term 'separate' is what is misleading here. As far as I understand it, the physical can be seen as a 'manifestation' of the metaphysical, and that which is most easily experienced by us due to our basic physical nature.

And Plato's main argument for this position, of an independently-existing status to forms (for an ontology of forms), was that he could think of no other way to explain how the idea of a perfect triangle, square... etc can exist when the triangles and squares we witness in the world of experience are not perfect!

I have offered an alternative explanation that people with an understanding of the brain will give you (although it will be better than mine)!!


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For us, the assumption that we are trying to iron out is whether anything non-physical exists which cannot be sufficiently, accurately, and completely explained by reducing to the physical. I do not think this type of reduction can achieve the latter. It comes down to "getting lost in the details" essentially.

Even if a full physical explanation can't be give of two or three matters, does this providie POSITIVE EVIDENCE for non-physical explanations?!!! Why the (irrational) lack of faith in science, considering it has progressively overturned non-physicalist explanations and continues to penetrate into the scructure of reality due to it's superior methodology for such matters (empiricism).

---

It seems that your lack of enthusiasm is in the all-too human implications of science: it's silence about matters of meaning, and, worse, it's debunking potential for matters of meaning that depends on outdated metaphysical assumptions.

This is were Nietzsche come in, damn it! The philosopher who bit the bullet and constructed philosophical insight (matters of meaning) from an ontology resulting from the 'death of God' (and Nietzsche called Christianity 'Platonism for the people').
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 27, 2012, 04:56:37 AM
Mr. Hopkins, you're making the fallacy of assuming that physical evidence is required for metaphysical phenomena; in truth, it is non-physical invidence that is required, and there has been plenty of that.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 27, 2012, 06:19:12 AM
Mr. Hopkins, you're making the fallacy of assuming that physical evidence is required for metaphysical phenomena; in truth, it is non-physical invidence that is required, and there has been plenty of that.

What I'm assuming is that physical evidence is required for ontological claims about the structure of reality. If that's a fallacy, then clap me in irons! It's only enabled us to grasp the logos exponentially better than before!

I'm also assuming that if we have a good physical explanation for some phenomena (forms - not yet consciousness), then we definetely don't need a metaphysical one. Like i wrote above (2 and 3). You might be able to get around 1, but 2 and 3 are deeply problematic:

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1. That sweeping ontological views (either physicalism or non-physicalism) are not going to be 100 per cent 'proven', and thus picking one over the other depends upon the wieghing up of evidence on either side and picking the view that has them most evidence in its favour. I am placing importance upon 'evidence', perhaps this is problematic for traditional metaphysics which is based on a priori reasoning
2. That if you have a credible physicalist explantion of something it is superflous to hold on to a non-physicalist explanation. There is nothing left to explain.
3. That if you post a non-physicalist explanation for something that interacts with the physical world (forms, consciousness) you are going to need to have a story about how the non-physical interacts with the physical.

A priori argument and logic is great, but it relatively impotent. You can't investigate the structure of reality from sitting in an armchair. Anyway I haven't come across any a priori arguments that require me to believe in a metpahysical world of forms. Chalmers and Nagel's work in philosophy of mind on the 'hard problem on consciousness' is, on the other hand, very interesting for the physicalist and raises deep questions. I just think consciousness willl be explained by neuroscience one day.... despite the fact that unlike other mental functions like emotion, language, spacial awareness etc consciousness seems to involve something fundamentally different from 3rd person, 'objective' raality.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 28, 2012, 05:43:00 AM
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What I'm assuming is that physical evidence is required for ontological claims about the structure of reality

Here's your problem, then: you are assuming a purely physical reality, with no non-physical aspects, even despite your own accessing that physical reality through non-physical means (the mind).  (You can attempt to map the mind to brain functions, but various philosophical objections to this proposal still obtain [again, see refutations of behaviouralist, functionalist, and computationalist theories of mind, all of which point to the same].)

Perhaps you should start again, from what you can know, instead of what you'd like to know.  We can't know that we are given accurate information about the world around us at all times (see Descartes), therefore we can discount the exterior as something which we can definitely know; what else is there in our experience but the "interior", the self, the experiencer?  This, then, is what we can know, and what we should start from.  Seek to know the knower before you seek to know the known; you will find that there is no difference between the two upon the completion of the former practice.

I drink water because my body requires it for survival.  However, I also drink water because I find it enjoyable.  Here we have a physical and a not-so-physical explanation for why I drink water.  Both are true.  Would you discount the latter for being a human imposition, rather than a physical necessity?  We're dealing with the world of human conception and interaction, here, so surely the affairs and thoughts of humans are worth something beyond the mere physical constituents of the processes and "objects" under question?  Or are you a behaviourist, (wrongly) claiming that the entirety of cognition can be reduced to "behaviours"?

To reiterate, for the nth time: you are not able to discuss these things with us for two reasons, namely that you are locked within a wold in which only the physical exists, and you seem not even aware of the contrary literature of which we have at least some understanding.  Read the Upanishads, Schuon, and Nasr (Guénon if you have the time), take some psychedelics (which inspire objective visions, not idiosyncratic "hallucinations" - see McKenna [or Hancock] on this).  How are you going to discuss something when you're not even acquainted with it?

It always astounds me that the physicalists can be so sure of themselves, locked inside that miniscule world, claiming that, because there is nothing beneath them to show the true structure of reality, there can be nothing to explain that structure but the physicality around them; clearly these people have never ventured outside of the comforting realm in which they find themselves.  It's like the fish trying to find water, and looking all around their environment to no avail.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 28, 2012, 06:37:26 AM
Your sighing and dismaying about my disagreement with you is getting tiring. Let's stick to the concrete points, please, or there is no use conversing.

You're not meeting any of the specific challenges i'm raising against the rationality of your views. I have been nothing but honest in my assumptions, yet when I call you out on yours you don't reply. You just spout general rhetoric about what I can't possibly understanding because bla bla bla. It's hard to keep communicating in a good spirit If you keep this up.

And the tragedy is you seem to believe you be are being rational and I'm the one who is lacking. The walls people put up around them are astonishing. I will, again, respond to points you are making and quesitons you raise. You are not displaying me the similar courtesy.

---

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Here's your problem, then: you are assuming a purely physical reality, with no non-physical aspects, even despite your own accessing that physical reality through non-physical means (the mind).  (You can attempt to map the mind to brain functions, but various philosophical objections to this proposal still obtain [again, see refutations of behaviouralist, functionalist, and computationalist theories of mind, all of which point to the same].)

Why the correlations between states of the brain and experience, like I have mentioned in previous posts, if consciousness doesn't have a physical basis? Why does your consciousness retreat if you are:

- hit on the head
- parts of your brain are removed
- you take chemicals that effect neurons in the brain?
-Why does the difference in experiential state between being awake and sleep correlate with entirely different patterns of large-scale neuronal activity in the brain?

If you're going to give me more 'the metaphysical always operates in tandem with the physical', then I would like some shred of argument of evidence for this massive assertion. Please stop, and attend to this first issue before moving on.

Secondly, and this is directly related, I'd like you to answer the following and stop worming around:

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3. That if you post a non-physicalist explanation for something that interacts with the physical world (forms, consciousness) you are going to need to have a story about how the non-physical interacts with the physical.

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Perhaps you should start again, from what you can know, instead of what you'd like to know.  We can't know that we are given accurate information about the world around us at all times (see Descartes), therefore we can discount the exterior as something which we can definitely know; what else is there in our experience but the "interior", the self, the experiencer?  This, then, is what we can know, and what we should start from.  Seek to know the knower before you seek to know the known; you will find that there is no difference between the two upon the completion of the former practice.

Again, i've already responded to this. Science does seek to know the knower (and in one particular instance of knowing the knower cognitive science debunks your theory of forms, which you have said nothing about).

Also, go to your traditional knowledge of the 'knower' when you have a stroke and your experiences are warped. See how much good it does you.

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I drink water because my body requires it for survival.  However, I also drink water because I find it enjoyable.  Here we have a physical and a not-so-physical explanation for why I drink water.  Both are true.  Would you discount the latter for being a human imposition, rather than a physical necessity?  We're dealing with the world of human conception and interaction, here, so surely the affairs and thoughts of humans are worth something beyond the mere physical constituents of the processes and "objects" under question?  Or are you a behaviourist, (wrongly) claiming that the entirety of cognition can be reduced to "behaviours"?

I can't believe my comments in my last post didn't settle this.

Of course human conceptions are important. Write poems that describe your qualitative expierence of water until you're blue in the face, if you like. Write sociological essays on the meanings different cultures have attributed to 'water. However if you're concered with finding out about the ontological nature of parts of the world, seperate from your experience of them, then you're simply not concerned with  "the affairs and thoughts of humans". These are worth something beyond the physical constituents of process and objections under question. But we've been talking about such processes and objects, not about human sentiments towards them!!

Science replaces traditional ontological understandings of water, not traditional human experiences with water.... Doesn't it? If so... why not? Please, address this third issue before moving on. Do you think a molecular understanding of water is not a better ontological picture of water, i.e. as it is in-itself, seperate from our experience of water , than ontological pictures of water that did not involve molecular chemistry?

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To reiterate, for the nth time: you are not able to discuss these things with us for two reasons, namely that you are locked within a wold in which only the physical exists, and you seem not even aware of the contrary literature of which we have at least some understanding.  Read the Upanishads, Schuon, and Nasr (Guénon if you have the time), take some psychedelics (which inspire objective visions, not idiosyncratic "hallucinations" - see McKenna [or Hancock] on this).  How are you going to discuss something when you're not even acquainted with it?

I will not start quoting what drugs i've taken or books i've read as though these give me authority. I will adress the issues we are talking about. Grow some balls and do the same. I'm after good reasons or evidence for hypotheses. If you can't provide me with either for your theory of forms, or for consciousness being non-physical, don't revert back to sweeping statements. It's not like this is a pissing contest.

---

Forms have been ignored, i'm guessing because I offered a credible reductive explanation. That is what we started talking about.

Consciousness is problematic, due to the obvious correlations between experience and brain states I keep referring to that you have not really addressed. Your one positive argument for a non-physical basis to consciousness is that it is experiential in nature and it is hard to conceptualise how something experiential can be somthing physical. I agree, and this is mysterious. But it leaves the aforementioned correlations hanging out like a sore dick, and raises deeply problematic quesitons about how something non-physical can interact with the physical (if indeed consciousness IS entirely non-physical). This means, then, the matter is not settled on either side. I then envoked the rationality of putting faith in physicalism as opposed to non-physicalism (if there are problems on either side), as physicalist ontological explanations have time and time again replaced 'traditional' ontological explanations (such as explanations about what water is, in-itself). You have ignored this. This is a fourth issue.

(Anyway, even if consciouens IS entirely non-physical, I still don't see how this vidicates traditional approaches to understanding ontology. It simply means science will have to include new properties (experiential) into its ontology, right?)

---

So, there are three or four issues for you to respoind to, highlighted in bold. This is childish, but its become a matter of intellectual honesty. I might be wrong, but unless you show me I'm not satisfied.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: username on September 28, 2012, 06:50:40 AM
»I drink water because my body requires it for survival.  However, I also drink water because I find it enjoyable.  Here we have a physical and a not-so-physical explanation for why I drink water. Both are true.«

You understand something about human nature.

We cannot describe livings things will as rational other than in an indirect way.

In fact it is altogether misguided to base ones understanding of the existence on a patchwork of scientific findings.

If one does not understand the fundamental importance of conciousness and will, then one is not able to discuss religion or philosofy. If we want to discuss existence, then we must first try to understand these things in ourselves.

Lets face the fact, that we must go away from the blind path of rationalism and understand, that the coolness of intellectualism is altogether a misguided notion.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 28, 2012, 07:03:01 AM
»I drink water because my body requires it for survival.  However, I also drink water because I find it enjoyable.  Here we have a physical and a not-so-physical explanation for why I drink water. Both are true.«

You understand something about human nature.

We cannot describe livings things will as rational other than in an indirect way.

In fact it is altogether misguided to base ones understanding of the existence on a patchwork of scientific findings.

If one does not understand the fundamental importance of conciousness and will, then one is not able to discuss religion or philosofy. If we want to discuss existence, then we must first try to understand these things in ourselves.

Lets face the fact, that we must go away from the blind path of rationalism and understand, that the coolness of intellectualism is altogether a misguided notion.

Would you like to respond to my problems with this issue that I raised in my original response to Emperor of Algol on this issue? Or are you going to repeat empty evangelical sentiments about what happens 'if one doesn't understand' this and that, similar to Cargest's apporach, increasingly. It's hard to know what to make of this strategy.

Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 28, 2012, 07:43:04 AM
Your sighing and dismaying about my disagreement with you is getting tiring. Let's stick to the concrete points, please, or there is no use conversing.

You're not meeting any of the specific challenges i'm raising against the rationality of your views. I have been nothing but honest in my assumptions, yet when I call you out on yours you don't reply. You just spout general rhetoric about what I can't possibly understanding because bla bla bla. It's hard to keep communicating in a good spirit If you keep this up.

As has been stated before, we have already passed the point of talking past each other - there's no point in pursuing a discussion if we're talking on different terms, from different positions, at different positions.  I knew your assumptions before you spoke them, and I have made mine abundantly clear, if you want to read back over the discussion (I'm hardly going to repeat myself in every post, am I?  That would be consumately pointless, more so than the preceding part of this discussion was).

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Why the correlations between states of the brain and experience, like I have mentioned in previous posts, if consciousness doesn't have a physical basis? Why does your consciousness retreat if you are:

- hit on the head
- parts of your brain are removed
- you take chemicals that effect neurons in the brain?
-Why does the difference in experiential state between being awake and sleep correlate with entirely different patterns of large-scale neuronal activity in the brain?

If you're going to give me more 'the metaphysical always operates in tandem with the physical', then I would like some shred of argument of evidence for this massive assertion. Please stop, and attend to this first issue before moving on.

The metaphysical doesn't operate solely "in tandem" with the physical, it informs the physical.  You seemingly cannot understand what this means, which is why we urge you to read up on the subject first.

If you damage the receiver, how can you expect the transmission to hold?

If you unblock the receiver, does it not make sense that more transmissions might come through?

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Secondly, and this is directly related, I'd like you to answer the following and stop worming around:

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3. That if you post a non-physicalist explanation for something that interacts with the physical world (forms, consciousness) you are going to need to have a story about how the non-physical interacts with the physical.

This has already been answered: the physical is a manifestation of the metaphysical, it is informed by the metaphysical, ergo, there is no "separation" between the two, there are no two entities between which there can be "interaction".  Or what, do you think we've been running around trying to prove that Heaven is a place in the sky which you can get to if you fly hard enough?

By the way, have you ever read Plato's cave allegory?

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Again, i've already responded to this. Science does seek to know the knower (and in one particular instance of knowing the knower cognitive science debunks your theory of forms, which you have said nothing about).

What debunks the theory of forms?  The fact that we can find physical evidence for them within the brain?  Hardly sounds like "debunking" unless you make the base assumption that a physical explanation removes the possibility of any other explanation being true.

How does science seek to know the knower without the introspection characteristic of meditative practices?  If you want to tinker with the brain, you can get a great understanding of the brain, and I'm sure even one of how thoughts map themselves onto the brain's structure; however, we are not simply the amalgamation of thoughts and feelings we constantly experience, but, rather, the experiencer of those thoughts and feelings - "we" cannot be found within the brain (again, please read the refutations of the physicalist theories of mind, especially re "qualia" in this case).  In order to know the self, one must journey into the self, rather than approaching the subject cursorily.

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Of course human conceptions are important. Write poems that describe your qualitative expierence of water until you're blue in the face, if you like. Write sociological essays on the meanings different cultures have attributed to 'water. However if you're concered with finding out about the ontological nature of parts of the world, seperate from your experience of them, then you're simply not concerned with  "the affairs and thoughts of humans". These are worth something beyond the physical constituents of process and objections under question. But we've been talking about such processes and objects, not about human sentiments towards them!!

You're missing another fundamental point of Tradition, which is that the Self and Reality are One, just as all things are One.  There can be no enquiry into the structure of the universe without enquiry into the structure of the self (I actually found it funny that you should think otherwise!).

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Science replaces traditional ontological understandings of water, not traditional human experiences with water.... Doesn't it? If so... why not? Please, address this third issue before moving on. Do you think a molecular understanding of water is not a better ontological picture of water, i.e. as it is in-itself, seperate from our experience of water , than ontological pictures of water that did not involve molecular chemistry?

The chemical structure of water is very interesting when compared with traditional notions of it, actually.  For example: hydrogen is the fuel used by the Sun's fusion reactions; combustion is a process of oxidisation; thus, within water are two sources of fire, which tallies with the Vedic notion that Agni, the Fire God, was a "fire" (energy) which suffused water.

We hold that meaning can be derived from outside of physical experience, thus we hold that water might have ontological significance above and beyond its chemical composition, which is nevertheless important.  Certainly, the chemical composition "H20" is only what we call "water" in this world; in another world, water might have been made of the chemicals "XYZ", but it would have had exactly the same properties and uses as the water we have on this world.  What is more important: the essence, or the form?

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I will not start quoting what drugs i've taken or books i've read as though these give me authority. I will adress the issues we are talking about. Grow some balls and do the same. I'm after good reasons or evidence for hypotheses. If you can't provide me with either for your theory of forms, or for consciousness being non-physical, don't revert back to sweeping statements. It's not like this is a pissing contest.

There are three issues for you to respoind to, highlighted in bold. This is childish, but its become a matter of intellectual honesty.

Those were honest suggestions as to how you should progress, not ill-conceived attempts at proving my own importance (I don't need to do that: I craft worlds).  Crow very often hits the nail on the head around this place, but even so I'm surprised to see such a bawling response in the middle of what's appeared to be a rather reasonable discussion.

Anyway, stop being weak and actually make an effort to understand the opposition, rather than hiding behind imposed ignorance (which is, itself, insanity manifest).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 28, 2012, 09:48:35 AM
Thank you for responding in detail, I think it's only fitting for a conversation that's getting so in depth.

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The metaphysical doesn't operate solely "in tandem" with the physical, it informs the physical.  You seemingly cannot understand what this means, which is why we urge you to read up on the subject first.

Quote
This has already been answered: the physical is a manifestation of the metaphysical, it is informed by the metaphysical, ergo, there is no "separation" between the two, there are no two entities between which there can be "interaction".

So these are your responses to the first two of my questions, and they don't tell me much at all.  Please don't berate me for not understanding what this means when you don't expand on what you assert. Telling me 'I cannot understand" is just dodging the issue. (Notice you keep diverting to authority figures when we happen to chance upon the fundamental issues regarding your position? This doesn't mean you're wrong it just means its hard for me to know what you mean because it's 'assumed reading'). However I'm glad you presented these two comments as they cut to the heart of our disagreement, and all this circle work might not have been for nothing. We can pursue these points and nothing else, if you like (and no, I don't want this to go on forever, in case you were worrying):

Firstly, what on earth do YOU mean by "the physical is a manifestation of the metaphysical"? Flesh it out, so that it's not just words that leave a place for the 'metaphysical'. Do you mean something like idealism?

Secondly, Why on earth posit the 'metaphysical' when you can account for all phenomena with physical explanations (except consciousness, admittedly but see point four)? This was sort of the end of my fourth point, and goes to the heart of my whole position, I think.

-----

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If you damage the receiver, how can you expect the transmission to hold?

If you unblock the receiver, does it not make sense that more transmissions might come through?

*Sigh*....

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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 [as 'metaphysical] analogue breaks down is the very fact that the TV signal is physical! It is electro magnetic waves for god's sake.

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We hold that meaning can be derived from outside of physical experience, thus we hold that water might have ontological significance above and beyond its chemical composition, which is nevertheless important.  Certainly, the chemical composition "H20" is only what we call "water" in this world; in another world, water might have been made of the chemicals "XYZ", but it would have had exactly the same properties and uses as the water we have on this world.  What is more important: the essence, or the form?

What? If water was not made of H20 it wouldn't hydrate us. If it was made of some other molecules, it might kill us.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 28, 2012, 10:29:23 AM
XYZ is hydrating.  Don't you know that? ; )

Consciousness is not specific, consciousness is singular - this is at the heart of our argument, certainly, along with many other things.  Consciousness is a singular thing, boundless, extensionless, indefinite, aware.  Any separation is between individual "minds", not individual "consciousnesses".

The metaphysical includes all of the laws and potentials, the objects of which we encounter, differentiated by space and time, in physicality.

Have you found any good books by those authors I mentioned yet?  If you really want, I can paraphrase some of the stuff that I've got, but it is advised that you read whole texts so that context is maintained.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 28, 2012, 10:38:07 AM
I edited since you replied. If you can have another read and edit if needed. I'll reply next time it's getting late.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Somnambulist on September 28, 2012, 10:48:50 AM
Water hydrates because it hydrates, not because it is this or that.

Accurate:  Because water is H2O it hydrates.
More accurate:  Because H2O is water it hydrates.

Water does not hydrate because it is "this."  "This" hydrates because it is water.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on September 28, 2012, 10:58:34 AM
Water hydrates because it hydrates, not because it is this or that.

That's like saying a guitar produces 'sound', not because it produces movements of air that interact with our ears and brains, but because it produces sound. It's logically correct but it gives us zero new information about the world. It's logically correct but empirically empty. If we thought like that we'd still be playing with clubs and painting on cave walls instead of chapel ceilings.

It's like saying 'this man is a bachelor because he's a bachelor'. Its useless to someone who doesn't already know the meaninig of 'bachelor'. Contrast this to 'this man is a bachelor because he's unmarried'. Bingo. New knowledge.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Somnambulist on September 28, 2012, 12:41:28 PM
Your parallel is not apt.  Hydration is exclusive to water.  Sound is not exclusive to a guitar.  In fact, a guitar does not produce sound.  A guitar produces a sound.  One would not say that water "produces" or causes a hydration.  In fact you don't even need to throw in the "produces or causes."  You can just say "water hydrates."  It would make no sense to say "guitar(s) sound."  The air that interacts with our ears and brains is an instance of sound, just like this H20 or that H20 is an instance of water. There are many sounds, but no sound-of-all-sounds or sounds-all-at-once (that we can apprehend, anyway).  On the other hand, there are many chemical compounds but only one water.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Time Curator 23 on September 29, 2012, 09:40:42 AM
Plato is always worth discussing. :)

Some key readings...

Contemporary Distortions of Plato's Dialectic
http://www.hermes-press.com/dialectic_distortions.htm

The Dialectic in Plato's Republic
http://openingmind.com/pdfs/010_The_Dialectic_in_Plato.pdf

The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/993329.html
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on September 30, 2012, 04:26:17 AM
As ever, this appears to be a problem of language.  When Somnambulist says "water", he is referring to the Form, the essence of the substance wen English "water", which, here on earth, is manifested as H2O.  It is essential to water that it hydrates, otherwise it is not water; it is not essential that it be H2O, regardless of the fact that, here, it is.  It might as well be XYZ, and, as long as it fulfills all criteria of waterness, it's water.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: WAAAAAAGH! on September 30, 2012, 11:01:27 PM
Cargest,

Ever noticed the similarities between "Nothing is Not" and Platonism?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 01, 2012, 03:20:49 AM
Your parallel is not apt.  Hydration is exclusive to water.  Sound is not exclusive to a guitar.  In fact, a guitar does not produce sound.  A guitar produces a sound.  One would not say that water "produces" or causes a hydration.  In fact you don't even need to throw in the "produces or causes."  You can just say "water hydrates."  It would make no sense to say "guitar(s) sound."  The air that interacts with our ears and brains is an instance of sound, just like this H20 or that H20 is an instance of water. There are many sounds, but no sound-of-all-sounds or sounds-all-at-once (that we can apprehend, anyway).  On the other hand, there are many chemical compounds but only one water.

Fine. You have highlighted a different between sound and hydration. Sound is not exclusive to a guitar, but hydration is exclusive for water. This doesn't change the fact that the sentence 'water hydrates because it hydrates' is fucking useless.

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It is essential to water that it hydrates, otherwise it is not water

Ok?

But is not finding out that water hydrates because it is H20 a usefull discovery??! For example, we might be able to make synthetic water or something like that if we run out of natural water, I don't know.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 01, 2012, 03:47:03 AM
....the Form, the essence of the substance wen English "water", which, here on earth, is manifested as H2O.  It is essential to water that it hydrates, otherwise it is not water; it is not essential that it be H2O, regardless of the fact that, here, it is.  It might as well be XYZ, and, as long as it fulfills all criteria of waterness, it's water.

To me, this outlook is the perfection of solipsism and anthropomorphism.

Take the all-too-human human perspective of something (namely, H20 - when you drink water you're not interacting with a 'Form', you're interacting with H20), and elevate it to a diabolical level ('essence') to have the so-called 'essence' (hydration) replace the thing in-itself (H20).

It's a bit like standing in front of a mirror masturbating over what you see.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 01, 2012, 03:54:10 AM
Consciousness is not specific, consciousness is singular - this is at the heart of our argument, certainly, along with many other things.  Consciousness is a singular thing, boundless, extensionless, indefinite, aware.  Any separation is between individual "minds", not individual "consciousnesses".

The metaphysical includes all of the laws and potentials, the objects of which we encounter, differentiated by space and time, in physicality.

More mere statements. The basis, or justification, for your claims continues to be virtually non-existent (that's not saying you're wrong, it's simply saying that it's impossible for someone who doesn't already hold your views to be rationally persuaded. So i'm going to conclude that I am not persuaded (and justifiably, any rational interlocutor would have to grant! - you have provided me with no reasons to take up your claims).

I could just re hash your statements above (and in multiple posts), in the opposite, and then what? Would that mean i have presented 'truths'? If not, then why the hell is it the case that you have just presented truths? You have to give me reasons why, rationally (empirically or logically) I should agree with these statements.

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Have you found any good books by those authors I mentioned yet?  If you really want, I can paraphrase some of the stuff that I've got, but it is advised that you read whole texts so that context is maintained.

Stop it! I'm not telling you to read aristotle, Darwin, Pinker, Etc.

It's telling that you are consistently interested in handballing me off to authority figures and that you never acknowledge when I have raised something problematic. All this tells me, in addition to never giving arguments or evidence, that you're a dogmatist (regarding metaphysics).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 02, 2012, 04:33:52 AM
Consciousness is not specific, consciousness is singular - this is at the heart of our argument, certainly, along with many other things.  Consciousness is a singular thing, boundless, extensionless, indefinite, aware.  Any separation is between individual "minds", not individual "consciousnesses".

The metaphysical includes all of the laws and potentials, the objects of which we encounter, differentiated by space and time, in physicality.

More mere statements. The basis, or justification, for your claims continues to be virtually non-existent (that's not saying you're wrong, it's simply saying that it's impossible for someone who doesn't already hold your views to be rationally persuaded. So i'm going to conclude that I am not persuaded (and justifiably, any rational interlocutor would have to grant! - you have provided me with no reasons to take up your claims).

I could just re hash your statements above (and in multiple posts), in the opposite, and then what? Would that mean i have presented 'truths'? If not, then why the hell is it the case that you have just presented truths? You have to give me reasons why, rationally (empirically or logically) I should agree with these statements.

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Have you found any good books by those authors I mentioned yet?  If you really want, I can paraphrase some of the stuff that I've got, but it is advised that you read whole texts so that context is maintained.

Stop it! I'm not telling you to read aristotle, Darwin, Pinker, Etc.

It's telling that you are consistently interested in handballing me off to authority figures and that you never acknowledge when I have raised something problematic. All this tells me, in addition to never giving arguments or evidence, that you're a dogmatist (regarding metaphysics).

No, people can't always be convinced by the logic underpinning our position.  I was, and that certainly helped in attaining the experiential evidence required for true belief (i.e. knowledge).  There might be no reasons I can give you (given that you seem to require that reason have its basis in the physical reality), but I can certainly explain that experience is the main constituent of any real understanding of these truths.

I've already read Aristotle, Darwin, Pinker, and a rather large selection of similarly oriented authors (probably more than I've read on the side of Tradition, because it's all very interesting, even if wrong in some ways).  In reading the works of the authors I've suggested, you might realise the necessity for the personal experience, and then attempt to attain that experience yourself (in an honest pursuit - not with the aim to disprove).

The fact is that individual, subjective experience collides in both of those realms to which we seem to have access (that is, the physical and the mental).  If the various traditions of the world, as disconnected in time and space as many are, are consistently able to come to the same notions about the nature of our reality (albeit filtered through a temporal-cultural lense), there must be some fundamental aspect of human experience - common to all - which allows for these kinds of experiences.  Is this not worthy of investigation?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 02, 2012, 06:01:28 AM
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There might be no reasons I can give you (given that you seem to require that reason have its basis in the physical reality)

I find reasons that have their basis in logic pursuasive as well, as i've said (if I can understand them - not that this is the criterion as to whether they are good reasons or not - some logical arguments are complicated because they are abstract).

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but I can certainly explain that experience is the main constituent of any real understanding of these truths.

'Experience' is being used here in a specific way to connote a specific methodology. We would both agree it's not the 'experience' of empiricism. I would argue it's not a good methodology, which flows into the following:

The fact is that individual, subjective experience collides in both of those realms to which we seem to have access (that is, the physical and the mental).  If the various traditions of the world, as disconnected in time and space as many are, are consistently able to come to the same notions about the nature of our reality (albeit filtered through a temporal-cultural lense), there must be some fundamental aspect of human experience - common to all - which allows for these kinds of experiences.  Is this not worthy of investigation?

I see what you mean. And Definetely.

But, (and this will be no surprise by now), for me this investigation is ultimately a psychological one, not a metaphysical one. To quote the conclusion from a journal article on 'epidemiological' approaches to culture that use the paradigm of evolutionary psychology to preset a theory about how psychological adaptations lead to cultural similarities, and more interestingly how these adaptations can lead to human behaviours that were not 'intended' by the adapted psychological mechanisms:

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Think metaphorically of humankind’s evolutionary history as
a landscape formed by different mountain ridges. This landscape
functions everywhere to canalize, but not determine,
individual and cultural development. It greatly reduces the
possible sources of religious expression into structures that
constantly reappear across history and societies.
This landscape is shaped by natural selection. It is ancestrally
defined by specific sets of affective, social, and
cognitive features – different mountain ridges. Each ridge
has a distinct contour, with various peaks whose heights reflect
evolutionary time.Human experience lies along this evolutionary landscape,
usually converging on more or less the same life
paths – much as rain that falls anywhere in a mountain-valley
landscape, drains into a limited set of lakes or rivers
(Kauffman 1993; Sperber 1996). As humans randomly interact
and “walk” through this landscape, they naturally
tend towards certain forms of cultural life, including religious
paths. Cultures and religions don’t exist apart from
the individual minds that constitute them and the environments
that constrain them, any more than a physical path
exists apart from the organisms that tread and groove it and
the surrounding ecology that restricts its location and
course. Individual minds mutually interact within this converging
landscape in an open-ended time horizon, exploiting
its features in distinctive ways. The result is socially
transmitted amalgamations that distinctively link landscape
features with cognitive, affective, and interactional propensities.
This produces the religious and cultural diversity we
see in the world and throughout human history.
Nevertheless, all religions follow the same structural contours...
http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/Manuscripts/AtranNorenzayanBBS.pdf

Whether you agree with the general methodology (empiricism), the specific paradigm used (evolutionary psychology), or not, it gets terribly 'reductive'. We need to find meaning in all of this or we're done for.

It is part of 'human nature' to strive towards the truth, and I think we need poets, philosophers and artists to replace God after he has been killed by the progress of honst, objective human inquiry. The current ideals and art are not satisfactory. This is is because they are either

1. Deconstructive, nihilistic, decadent or
2. Secular expressions of christian ideals that are more christian than the ideals expressed under chrisendom. They are compassionate and caring but focus exclusively on human desires, as if human preferences and human life were precious for their own sake (as if there were immortal souls). It manifests in a desperate and slightly depressing obsession or clinging to life, obsession with removing suffering and discomfort as though death and suffering were not inevitable in the first place. It's focus is not on acceptance of this life, nor a beautification of this life, as it characterised by hardship, temporality and ultimately tragedy. I have no idea what 'humanists' think happens after they die. It's as though they think human life continues on somewhere and that if we're all just nice to each other suddenly life will be worthwhile, seemingly relegating the whole ('unjust') history of mankind to the 'not worthy' basket along with the entire animal world, the cold universe and anything that is not 'humane'. And it's not as though reducing suffering is a bad deal in some cases, it's just that when this is elevated to a god like status, and when we suffer and die in the end no matter what, it feels like damn joke if you're alienated from humanistic ideals looking back in on them. Just because 'god is dead' doesn't mean we don't need transcendence and a connection with something bigger (and bigger than humanism, which provides an incling of transcendence for humanists). It just has to be transcendence based on this world and not some illusory one.

I like Homer, the Bhaghavad Gita, and Norse epics because they beautify a more 'pagan' (naturalistic: tragedy, stuggle, overcoming) view of the world, to my understanding. I don't think paganism and traditionalism/perennialism are the same things. Platonism replaced paganism, and traditionalism seems to be based on Platonism. I guess i'm simply a Neitzschean, inspired by the philosopher who ultimately sought value in the tragic will to power and becoming of the world (I have no choice: I am a follower of honest, objective inquiry but at the same time sensitive to quesitons of ultimate meaning, value and human striving).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 02, 2012, 09:11:18 AM
Given that you have not read such works on Tradition as I would recommend, I can certainly understand how you wouldn't see the fundamentals of Tradition encoded in those pagan mythologies - nevertheless, they are there, sometimes directly inherited from the scriptures whence the particular tradition arose.

A brilliant example of this: in Vedic literature, one metaphorical account for the creation of the universe is that of Purusha, the "Cosmic Man", who is principally existent in the void and is separated by the "Gods" ("devas", which here means "senses") into the sensory world we experience (the notion here being that the seemingly exterior reality is nothing more than an expansion into physicality of the true, singular, universal self).  This myth was faithfully carried into the Norse tradition of the construction of the world from the body of the giant Ymir, who is also born out of the primordial duality (Musspelheim and Niflheim have their correspondants in Vedic scripture as well).  Notice that it is still the original, primitive "Gods" who do the act of separating.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Norse tradition was as intricately mystical and consistent with Tradition as the Greek, Persian, or Vedic traditions.

If you have believed that Tradition stems from Plato, then you must now be honest in the face of greater knowledge: Tradition has existed since before Man was civilised, being Truth as humans might know it; thence, every civilisation has encoded that same Tradition in its culture and religions.  Egyptian civilisation is perhaps one of the greatest examples of the success and prosperity earned by people building their society upon the foundations of Tradition - are you going to tell me that Plato inspired the Egyptians?  Is it not consistent with our history that it was indeed Plato who was inspired by his predecessors, who, in their turn, were inspired by the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Persians (who were inspired by the Vedics)?

By the way, there is nothing in this physical world that is transcendent; transcendence is always that of this world, that is, a return from here to the origin!  Surely you've read Wittgenstein?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: scourge on October 02, 2012, 02:55:43 PM
The Pagan Bible

Quote
An alleged fair use ASCII version is available at http://www.nyx.net/~wboas/pagan.txt (http://www.nyx.net/~wboas/pagan.txt)

The audio version of the book, hosted at this controversial (nationalist) website is narrated by a digital female voice. Play time is over nine hours. At least 2 hours on, the text is still giving an overview of all world religions, including science among them. Science is predicted to end up assimilated by one or more prevailing world religions that endure into the coming centuries. It is already subjugated to some degree by what the text calls democratic Christianity right now. The introduction states the purpose isn't for a comprehensive overview but to set perspective in order to deliver contrast for the pagan portion of the work. If interested:

http://www.majorityrights.com/audio/ThePaganBible.mp3 (http://www.majorityrights.com/audio/ThePaganBible.mp3)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Eleison on October 07, 2012, 09:29:49 AM
Some thoughts on the subjects discussed in this thread.  Firstly, from the point of view of pure metaphysics, it is clear that the physical world can be nothing more than a medium upon which certain possibilities converge under particular conditions.  The fact that our sensory inputs open directly onto the physical realm does not for that reason imply that it has any privileged status in the hierarchy of existence, or that our own existence is limited to this domain, in fact it clearly is not.  The extent to which modern man exalts physical existence above all else is simply a reflection of the fact that his ability to perceive anything other than it has diminished.  Modern science, however far it continues its expansion, can never overcome the inherent limitation in attempting to unlock knowledge of the physical world for its own sake and never placing its discoveries within a metaphysical context which could integrate them and make them spiritually functional. 

For the metaphysician, all knowledge proceeds from 'within', from the truths that are inscribed in the essence of our being - our access to which is possible because of our fundamental identity with a reality which transcends us - and it is only in light of these that observations we make of the external world can be of any value.  Now this is impossible to understand for someone absorbed by the modern way of thinking, which places man, not at the center of existence but at its periphery, and therefore substitutes an endless accumulation of physical facts for true knowledge.  This way of thinking engages the mind in such a way that it makes the Intellect, the faculty of man's consciousness which allows for pure and not discursive knowledge, completely inoperative.  Only persistent contemplation on the nature of Being combined with an appropriate framework of symbols can begin to wash away some of the illusions caused by the defects in our perceptive faculties and the erroneous intellectual constructs they have given rise to.

Also a quick word on Platonic forms.  One can understand this doctrine more easily once one does away with the assumption that physical existence has anything concrete about it.  All diversity is simply an illusion in light of the perfect non-duality of Reality as such.  Since this is so it is also clear that diverse objects and elements inevitably tend towards unity, converging upon their metaphysical archetypes which converge upon the innate qualities of Reality which are, in the final analysis, all simply aspects of the One.  One perceives in the physical world, traces of the archetypes in their manifestations (To take the example from this thread, water is the physical manifestation of the passive pole of cosmic existence, it is from this that it derives its reality, and not from its chemical composition, which is peripheral and incidental), and this is necessary since these manifestations are not other than their archetypes but are in fact the realisations of these archetypes within their own particular existential limitations.  In Plato, this is expressed under the guise of rationalism, but it is in fact based on inward knowledge, and this is why, in the modern era, rationalists have inevitably turned against Plato, or completely misinterpreted him.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 16, 2012, 11:05:17 PM
Jesus, Not again.

Some thoughts on the subjects discussed in this thread.  Firstly, from the point of view of pure metaphysics, it is clear that the physical world can be nothing more than a medium upon which certain possibilities converge under particular conditions.

The last 4 pages of this thread have been discussing the viridicalty of 'the point of view of pure metaphysics', at least related to questions of ontology or 'what there is'. Please don't simply ignore this, assume the point of view that has been called into disripute and make unjustified, sweeping statements. This is all you traditionalists seem to do. You don't enagege with the issues someone else presents, that are possibly serious musings on the human experience, just straight to the ideas that fit your concepts. Blind to everything else.

Why is the following "clear"?: the physical world can be nothing more than a medium upon which certain possibilities converge under particular conditions.

You can't just say it's clear because according to 'pure' metaphysics it's clear. You have to give objective reasons why it is clear.

Quote
The fact that our sensory inputs open directly onto the physical realm does not for that reason imply that it has any privileged status in the hierarchy of existence, or that our own existence is limited to this domain, in fact it clearly is not.  The extent to which modern man exalts physical existence above all else is simply a reflection of the fact that his ability to perceive anything other than it has diminished.

Again and again and again. This is absolutely groundless unless you give some hint of information about what 'other domains' of reality of have access to that scientists and philosopher's don't, and an account of how it is that you have acess to it. Please read the discussion.

 
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 16, 2012, 11:13:29 PM
Given that you have not read such works on Tradition as I would recommend, I can certainly understand how you wouldn't see the fundamentals of Tradition encoded in those pagan mythologies - nevertheless, they are there, sometimes directly inherited from the scriptures whence the particular tradition arose.

I'm not interested in ancient ontologies for more than cultural/artistic/comparitive reasons. Why the hell consult myths to determine complicated ontological questions? It's some sort of joke, some kind of adolsecent obsession with being 'other'.

To use an example that a New Atheist used to bash biblical knowledge (new atheism is a stance i do not take, but the example is apt here): These 'traditions' couldn't even tell a most basic and utterly fundamental ontological piece of advice. This advice relates to the nature of reality and what there is. And it is a no-brainer: 'Wash your hands, there are these things called germs that will stop your daughter dying a painful death'!

Conclusion: If were talking ontology, we consult modern methodologies. Not books that had a very primitive understanding of the nature of reality due to the early stage of cultural evolution the societies that wrote them were in. Culture has changed since then, and we have better methodologies for inquiry into the structure of reality. Get off internet forums and engage with people with your 'superior' methodologies: see how far you will get, and how dissconnected you are with reality and other human beings.

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If you have believed that Tradition stems from Plato, then you must now be honest in the face of greater knowledge: Tradition has existed since before Man was civilised, being Truth as humans might know it; thence, every civilisation has encoded that same Tradition in its culture and religions.  Egyptian civilisation is perhaps one of the greatest examples of the success and prosperity earned by people building their society upon the foundations of Tradition - are you going to tell me that Plato inspired the Egyptians?  Is it not consistent with our history that it was indeed Plato who was inspired by his predecessors, who, in their turn, were inspired by the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Persians (who were inspired by the Vedics)?

I will be honest in the fact of greater knowledge. I don't know a great deal about traditionalism, as a cultural phenomena, and I am always interested in learning more. I think I am pretty justified in holding the belief that it is grossly outdated if it is used to determine ontological questions (as we have been arguing about). However, it's not necessarily useless when it comes to examinations of human nature, morality etc.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 17, 2012, 02:59:45 AM
What does washing one's hands have to do with Ontology?

Here's some ancient advice which we could certainly use in the modern West: uphold Balance (Ma'at).  If that means not washing your hands so that you contract a disease and die, then so be it!

I find that the majority of people I interact with face to face (which is a great many, I don't spend much time on the internet anymore) are not only receptive of these traditional ideas, but actively champion them over modern ones.  People around the ages of 18 to 25 seem to be fed up with the physicalist paradigm (probably because it doesn't work).

You cannot think yourself to be justified in anything until you have actually looked at the source material, so I ask, for the last time: please read a book.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 17, 2012, 08:49:07 PM
What does washing one's hands have to do with Ontology?

"Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences" (WIKIPEDIA).

Germs would be classed as 'microorganisms'. They studied by microbiology. They are single or multicelled. Cells can be reduced to elements, which can be reduced to atoms etc.

You don't see the point i'm trying to make? If ancient ontology knows so much, why didn't it break down the structure of things in the actual world we live in?

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Here's some ancient advice which we could certainly use in the modern West: uphold Balance (Ma'at).  If that means not washing your hands so that you contract a disease and die, then so be it!

Like a horoscope reading. It's so broad it applies to nothing and everything. This is not a great ontological revelation. We're talking ontology, ontology ontology.

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that the majority of people I interact with face to face (which is a great many, I don't spend much time on the internet anymore) are not only receptive of these traditional ideas, but actively champion them over modern ones.  People around the ages of 18 to 25 seem to be fed up with the physicalist paradigm (probably because it doesn't work).

Fair enough.

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You cannot think yourself to be justified in anything until you have actually looked at the source material, so I ask, for the last time: please read a book.

we're not talking about me, we're talking about you and traditional views. As someone who has been trying to defend traditional vewis on ontology for 4 pages, the interesting point is that you are not justified in holding your views - because you never provide the ground or justification.

I've got little interest in reading about ancient views on ontology. This isn't supposed to be some philistine dismissal. I say this because I don't know why I would consult books when attempts by proponents like you to defend these views are never inspiring at all. And it isn't like i've never come into contact with tradition writings. I've read Evola, the Ghita, Norse epics, greek philosophy, huxley (on perennialism), some guenon (on the meaninig of the cross or whatever that book is called - this was one of the most intellectually offensive books i've tried to read, filled to the brim with sweet-nothings).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 18, 2012, 03:46:08 AM
It seems you've never read about Atomism, then, if you think that the ancients didn't "break things down".  Parmenides is a good enough place to stop, though; the Atomists kind of get the wrong idea.

What does microbiology have to do with ontology?

You seem to think that ontology is the practice of exploring each layer of reality.  It isn't; it's simply recognising the layers of reality and ordering them.  There are many which cannot be explored (there must be substance to be explored if exploration is to occur, surely?).

Yes, the concept of Ma'at is very broad, but if you were to research it, you would realise that every single aspect of Egyptian life (including cleanliness, I might add) was contained within that concept (which is why it's very broad!).

If you've only read one book by Guénon, it's no wonder you don't get it yet.  Listen to Nasr for a while, consider the things that he says, start meditating, and then read Guénon again (and some Schuon).  Furthermore, do all of this with that "open mind" I talked about - you're not going to get anywhere if you go into an endeavour with a dismissive attitude.  I can't believe they don't teach that kind of wisdom in school.

Edit: my views are quite clearly defended, from the point of view of a perennialist.  They might seem undefended to a physicalist, but that is because he cannot see the defenses.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 18, 2012, 10:41:50 AM
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You don't see the point i'm trying to make? If ancient ontology knows so much, why didn't it break down the structure of things in the actual world we live in?

I understand your criticism of blind faith etc., and your questioning of pure metaphysics. But even I, with little I know on the subject, can see that you are ignorant of what it truly was and is just by reading the above quote.

If you had any idea of the depth that those studies went, you would think differently. Again, I aplaud your courage to deny superstition and fight blind faith and stagnation.

Also think about this: Yes ancient people were far more superstitious, but the majority of people today still are. Not to mention that blind faith in science, specially studies published on news media, is a kind of superstition because the people who swallow this without questioning are also doing a kind of magical thinking. But there are still superstitions of the same kind as the ancients, the same ones in a lot of cases. What I want to get to is this: The geniuses that made metaphysics were not superstitious, but the people who did not get this stuff were superstitious. So you should use the superstitions of the common folk to attack metaphysics.

Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 18, 2012, 10:45:28 PM
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You don't see the point i'm trying to make? If ancient ontology knows so much, why didn't it break down the structure of things in the actual world we live in?

I understand your criticism of blind faith etc., and your questioning of pure metaphysics. But even I, with little I know on the subject, can see that you are ignorant of what it truly was and is just by reading the above quote.

I want to genuinely attempt to 'clense the doors of perception' and leave my ego behind. Where, exactly, am I going amiss in my above criticism. I'm just assuming the following:

1. Ontology is the study of what is.
2. 'What is' involves sutdying the layers of realty.
3. When you engage in such a 'reductive' enterprise - you find out about things like germs.
4. Knowledge of germs isn't profound, but that's sort of the point. It's just a basic bit of knowledge about 'what is' that you would think any wise people would have worked out if they had discovered greater or more profound truths.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 18, 2012, 11:02:53 PM
You seem to think that ontology is the practice of exploring each layer of reality.  It isn't; it's simply recognising the layers of reality and ordering them.  There are many which cannot be explored (there must be substance to be explored if exploration is to occur, surely?).

This is a valid criticism. Ontology probably isn't about exploring each layer rather than identifying them ordering them. I think you're right. My line about germs is probably not on the money. However, the argument can be shifted to the following: Why then, didn't the ancients discover (rather than speculate about) the layers of the physical substrate of reality: the physical, chemical, biological, psychological. I know some embarked upon this route, and so they were proto-scientists.

I am deeply skeptical about the enterprise of metaphysics for the reasons we have been arguing about. I think due to the nature of being a physical organism we only have contact with one broad layer of reality - the physical. As this layer has been explored in more and more fine-grained detail by science, it has been enlarged beyond the wildest dreams of the ancients. This new-found depth in the physical substrate of reality has provided the means and mechanisms to explain so much of the world we used to have to revert to non-physicalist substrates to explain.

I just don't see how we can have contact with other substrates of reality. (1) I have never encountered a discriptive account of how this works. (2) I have never encountered an account of these other substrates themselves that has any meaningful, concrete content that can be accepted by someone who is not already 'won over' by the language of metaphysics and 'against' empirical science.

As an empiricist, i'm not categorically closed to other substrates by any means. I'm an empiricist because time and again this seems to be the only objective method of learning about the wonderful world that doesn't sow unneccessary division and dogmatism between intelligent human beings.

if you like, suggest to me two or three works that you think might go some way towards these issues. I will hopefully get around to them at some stage.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 19, 2012, 03:32:47 AM
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You don't see the point i'm trying to make? If ancient ontology knows so much, why didn't it break down the structure of things in the actual world we live in?

I understand your criticism of blind faith etc., and your questioning of pure metaphysics. But even I, with little I know on the subject, can see that you are ignorant of what it truly was and is just by reading the above quote.

I want to genuinely attempt to 'clense the doors of perception' and leave my ego behind. Where, exactly, am I going amiss in my above criticism. I'm just assuming the following:

1. Ontology is the study of what is.
2. 'What is' involves sutdying the layers of realty.
3. When you engage in such a 'reductive' enterprise - you find out about things like germs.
4. Knowledge of germs isn't profound, but that's sort of the point. It's just a basic bit of knowledge about 'what is' that you would think any wise people would have worked out if they had discovered greater or more profound truths.

You are right, and they did know about germs. That is, I can say with certainty they speculated and that most believed in the existence of microorganisms. The specific knowledge about certain germs I don't know, but I don't deny it either. As far as I know a lot of the knowledge was restricted to very few people, many of whom probably intentionally deluded the people with false notions to get them to do what they wanted.

Thousands of years in the past people were making structural analysis of reality, breaking it down on very reasonable ways. I know little about indian thought and forms of buddhism, but those people really liked to break stuff down. And they did it with practice, considering reality.

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To me, this outlook is the perfection of solipsism and anthropomorphism.

Take the all-too-human human perspective of something (namely, H20 - when you drink water you're not interacting with a 'Form', you're interacting with H20), and elevate it to a diabolical level ('essence') to have the so-called 'essence' (hydration) replace the thing in-itself (H20).

It's a bit like standing in front of a mirror masturbating over what you see.

But you can use this to compare things in reality. Woman is woman, but there are a lot of them. A tree is a thing, but there are different kinds of tree. What is this? Is there an essential tree? Then how come we perceive things like this? Is a human equal to an alligator? Or not, because it is an animal? Then is an alligator equal to dog because they're both animals? Or is an alligator equal to a chameleon? You see, maybe there is no Essential Chameleon, Essential Alligator, Essential Human, like a big, giant blueprint, transparent and glowy design in superspace or something. But simple observation of all those categories, differences and unquestionable similarities in physical appearance, organs, behavior, etc. suggest SOME kind pure essence, maybe not of every thing itself but of everything in unity. Not to mention that interior states, being a major driver of human intent, cannot rationally be thought to be totally unrelated to reality, I mean, or else they would not be the way they are. GO TO LOCATION X AND CONSUME FOOD is much better message to send than the feeling of hunger, eh? What about SYSTEM BEING DAMAGED - TAKE RADICAL ACTION NOW instead of pain? What about DO NOT STOP COITUS: INSEMINATION ALMOST DONE NOW in the place of orgasm? Orgasm, pain, hunger, those things would still exist, but they would not feel so specific, so directed. BTW the subjective experience of feeling and perception  can never be "explained" objectively by science, no matter what anyone says.

 We are, really, made of star dust, or something like that, no? Star is our sun, right, this is where we get energy and he is impregnating the moon everyday: If he was not directed in a way that lighted the moon we would never see it, it would be a black, lifeless ball. In fact, it is lifeless, its life being only an illusion of the Sun. As are we, but I speak on metaphorical terms, of course. Can it be that the Sun is self-conscious? Can it be that, like microorganisms seeing their reality in a whole different ways than us, not really aware of our full figure even while they're exploiting us, compares to our perception of the Sun and of his on us? I took those ideas from a book.

Other people say this a lot better than I do, anyway, so I'm going to post some quotes soon.

I'm gonna start by the blog aryan buddhism:

"There are no such things as waves. What does this mean? A wave, be it light, or as per metaphysics, empirical consciousness, is an adjective, an action, a topographical activity and coordinate ACTION. A wave is not a noun, not a thing, not a principle. A wave is the ACTION of what? (X) A wave is the amplitude (~agnosis/tolma-quanta) and frequency (manifestation) of what? (X)


This is just an analogy for your capacity towards metaphysics and genuine philosophy.

"
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 19, 2012, 05:59:29 AM
Bill, the reason you have problems with this is because you consider yourself to be your body.  Consider yourself to be that which is conscious of the body, and, suddenly, all doors are opened.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 19, 2012, 09:15:06 AM
Just keep in mind that doing what Cargest said is difficult and is best done relaxing in your bed or practicing sports, because when you practice exercise with dedication you become the life force that moves your body. I can only get to the state cargest described while relaxing lying down.

The thing is, in order to achieve this state you must be more conscious of the body than ever in order to relax it. You may commit the error to try and fous more on the head, so you will concentrate your consciousness there and end up generating more confusion. Feel your heart and other areas too. What you want to do is spread your energy around your body in continual movement, like a rapid fire. You MUST extend the consciousness that is usually more on the head to the whole body specially the middle line of forehead, tongue, neck, chest, belly, phallus, butt etc.. Direct in this straight line the energy into the "hells below" and stay there, that way you will harmonize your whole body and then you will be able to know what cargést described. This thing is so simple and obvious that sometimes we don't realize, but we DO concentrate a lot of energy on the head when we fall pray to obssessive thoughts and you CAN redirect that and spread the energy around your body and actually see your head become lighter.

 Just trying to make you avoid the common error of thinking those kinds of things should be idealistic and angelical: When I discovered those studies I thought it was, and now I see how this can lead to wishful thinking. So you don't go around reading anything on spirituality.

I in fact think you should keep your skeptical/atheist posture for as long as it seems right. Your changes should be in consciousness instead, but consciousness is adaptive and incorporeal, so all it will do is make you more aware of things you missed before.

I'm saying this because when the atheist/materialist discovers that there is something more, this can lead to wishful thinking, delusion, obssession with ideals/abstractions, etc... because religion/god/spirit is associated with christianity and its fairy tales. The only way to dissociate this in your brain is to seek impartial spiritual texts, like the ones on aryan buddhist and others I will show here, but even more, agressive ones, so the notion of spirit will be increasingly away from the sweet white dove of Jesus.

And another thing: Metaphysical knowledge is different, you have got to change your life and practice it (not necessairly meditation, but apply what you learned) or it goes wrong and you can obssess over ideals.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 19, 2012, 07:43:49 PM
Bill, the reason you have problems with this is because you consider yourself to be your body.

Precisely! And I see no reason to reevaluate this consideration after having read widely, meditated for months, practiced zen buddhism under a sensei (not for a great period of time, but nevertheless), having broken down experience with lsd and other agents, excercising consistently, recovering in emergency rooms, etc.

You may as well tell lightening that it is having problems because it considers itself to be electrical discharge. This might disallow the acceptance of some propositions relating to 'metaphysics', but that doesn't mean it isn't true.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 19, 2012, 07:45:21 PM
Just keep in mind that doing what Cargest said... is best done relaxing in your bed

I think you are right, more than you know.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 20, 2012, 07:49:24 AM
Bill, the reason you have problems with this is because you consider yourself to be your body.

Precisely! And I see no reason to reevaluate this consideration after having read widely, meditated for months, practiced zen buddhism under a sensei (not for a great period of time, but nevertheless), having broken down experience with lsd and other agents, excercising consistently, recovering in emergency rooms, etc.

You may as well tell lightening that it is having problems because it considers itself to be electrical discharge. This might disallow the acceptance of some propositions relating to 'metaphysics', but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

Lightning is electrical discharge.  Consciousness is not an organism.  I don't see how your analogy works...

It's amusing to see so many people trapped in this fantasy.  It's like a massive game of World of Warcraft, and almost everyone is that total nerd who spends more time playing the game than living in reality.

Bill, PM me with a summary of your explorations of consciousness, and I'll reciprocate - let's see where the similarities are, now that we've gone over the differences five times.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 20, 2012, 07:08:43 PM
Bill, the reason you have problems with this is because you consider yourself to be your body.

Precisely! And I see no reason to reevaluate this consideration after having read widely, meditated for months, practiced zen buddhism under a sensei (not for a great period of time, but nevertheless), having broken down experience with lsd and other agents, excercising consistently, recovering in emergency rooms, etc.

You may as well tell lightening that it is having problems because it considers itself to be electrical discharge. This might disallow the acceptance of some propositions relating to 'metaphysics', but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

Lightning is electrical discharge.  Consciousness is not an organism.

This is where physicalism and dualism differ, of course. (Replace organism with organ.)

There is still room for some sort of traditional outlook here. I can still identify myself with an entity that is one step removed from my environment, which has the ability to transcend it's environment to a significant degree. It's called the the frontal cortex.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 21, 2012, 06:03:08 AM
The cortex is the seat of thought.  The pineal gland is the seat of consciousness.  Even so, neither thought nor consciousness can be reduced to an organ (or a part of one).  Clearly you've never heard of the explanatory gap.  I must say, your lack of knowledge of modern philosophy is pretty interesting considering your praise of it!

Many people have suffered serious damage to their frontal cortexes while being able to retain their ability to cognise.  The most obvious case of this is Phineas Gage, who had a metal pole puncture his pre-frontal cortex.  He could function perfectly normally, except for the fact that he became a cunt (i.e. lost his moral inhibitions, which is very interesting).

An old analogy of mine: consciousness is software, the brain the hardware.  The software doesn't change - it's at version 1.0, and came out of development perfect.  The hardware, though, needs some tweaking every so often, so that it can maximise the potential of the software.  As organisms evolve, the brain evolves; thus, the manifestation of consciousness in physicality becomes more complete.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: fallot on October 21, 2012, 06:52:29 AM
A small interjection, the pineal gland being the "seat of consciousness" is a pop-science/pseudomystical (take your pick) myth.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 21, 2012, 09:12:18 AM
It's hardly "pseudomystical".  Everyone from the ancient Egyptians to Descartes knows that it's the pineal gland.  It makes sense, given its position in the body,
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: fallot on October 21, 2012, 10:48:59 AM
So then what would you expect to happen to someone who lost their pineal gland?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 21, 2012, 12:45:00 PM
I'm not particularly sure of what it does, so I couldn't say : )  My main point was that it's certainly not "pseudomystical", which would suggest that the assertion of its metaphysical importance was one made only by quacks - the majority of pre-moderns have held it to have spiritual significance, either in being the seat of consciousness, or in being the focal point of divine visions etc. (there's not much of a difference...).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: fallot on October 21, 2012, 04:54:11 PM
Alright, I can accept that, I take back the pseudomystical comment. Still, Descartes weighing in on it doesn't lend it any credence from my point of view. In these matters I tend to veer towards physicalism in the sense that I prefer using the biology to attempt opinions like this rather than using reference in previous traditions as a guide. Anyway, this is a bit of derail from your conversations so I will exit.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 21, 2012, 08:16:03 PM
The cortex is the seat of thought.  The pineal gland is the seat of consciousness.  Even so, neither thought nor consciousness can be reduced to an organ (or a part of one).  Clearly you've never heard of the explanatory gap.  I must say, your lack of knowledge of modern philosophy is pretty interesting considering your praise of it!

Many people have suffered serious damage to their frontal cortexes while being able to retain their ability to cognise.  The most obvious case of this is Phineas Gage, who had a metal pole puncture his pre-frontal cortex.  He could function perfectly normally, except for the fact that he became a cunt (i.e. lost his moral inhibitions, which is very interesting).

An old analogy of mine: consciousness is software, the brain the hardware.  The software doesn't change - it's at version 1.0, and came out of development perfect.  The hardware, though, needs some tweaking every so often, so that it can maximise the potential of the software.  As organisms evolve, the brain evolves; thus, the manifestation of consciousness in physicality becomes more complete.

I've had enough of talking to you about this. You're a charlatan. You've started up the same issues again. Poke me about 'explanatory gaps' will you. I was talking in generalisations and in good humour, as I thought we were done. There are evolutionarily newer parts of the brain that give the organism some ability to control itself and not simply respond to base simuli. I would have thought these parts of the brain involve the frontal cortex area (i'm not a brain scientist). To say that 'thought can't be reduced to an organ or part of an organ' simply makes you sound like a halfwit. Sure it can't be 'reduced' yet, but there is a pool of evidence which suggests it can't NOT be reducable to the brain. Where else does thought come from? Just because someone looses a part of their brain formally associated with some 'type of thought', and re learns this type of thought, this doesn't suddenly disprove physicalism. Plasticity, rewiring, etc. When you start acknowledging the huge gaps in the dualist theory I have been rasising for weeks rather than focusing in on just gaps in the physicalist theory, maybe you will no longer be a charlatan. I know there are gaps in the physicalist theory. Consider the gaps in the theory you covet with dogmatic prejudice:

1. The direct correlation between physical brains and consciousnes (why can't thought and concsiousness exist without physical brains (or processes that mimick the connections between neurons), why does it vanish with sufficient damage to physical brains, why can't you 'tune in' and pick up my consciousness if you think consciousness is just like a signal or software). You have never given me the courtnesy of acknowleding any of this in any sort of mature fashion. You just tell me 'they are correlated'. But then you don't even attempt to answer this:
2. the mechanisms by which non physical entities might somehow interact with physical entities.

You have never attempted to respond to this:

3. The most rational way of deciding between dualism vs physicalism is via a probabilistic route where the overall pool of evidence supporting each prospective hypothesis is weighed up. It is NOT via finding a few isolated holes in side 'x' and holding this up as a victory for side 'y', in the complete absense of any positive evidence for side 'y'.

When the sciences have revealed that nearly everything we once wanted to explain has a 'mechanistic' cause, you hold fast to the other side. Sure, there are new mysteries that have popped up since (thanks to physical science revealing new questions). But you are a 'god of the gaps' person, akin to that brid of subterrenean spirit, the Ostrich, which proceeds to stick its head into the sand when it senses danger.  I submit to you that this is not justified. When a methodology has been laying waste to questions left right and centre for 200 years, I argue that it is not intellectually credible to hold fast to the gaps it cannot explain, as if one missed note invalidated the whole symphony.

'And this':

"Despite this celebrity the body of established fact about Gage and what he was like (whether before or after his accident) is remarkably small, which has allowed "the fitting of almost any theory to the small number of facts we have"[4]—Gage having been cited, over the years, by proponents of various theories of the brain wholly contradictory to one another. A survey of published accounts of Gage, including scientific ones, has found that they are almost always severely distorted—exaggerating the known facts when not directly contradicting them." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Phoenix on October 21, 2012, 09:13:36 PM
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?

I can't attach four fucking legs onto a flat surface so I have something to sit on without be inspired by some eternal divine form? Can I think for myself?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 21, 2012, 11:14:56 PM
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?

I can't attach four fucking legs onto a flat surface so I have something to sit on without be inspired by some eternal divine form? Can I think for myself?

That's not allowed. Before your soul decided to attach itself to your quivering featus, when it was drifting around like a pig on a wing in some 'pure' level of existence, it came into contact with something called the form of a chair, naturally.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 22, 2012, 06:41:30 AM
I've had enough of talking to you about this. You're a charlatan. You've started up the same issues again. Poke me about 'explanatory gaps' will you.

Yes, I will, because you clearly don't understand the concept.  How is the nature of an experience ever *reducible to a physical phenomenon?  This must be explained first before any aspect of experience can be reduced in this way, and yet it is fundamentally impossible to explain it.  Let me rephrase: due to the nature of the problem, there is no way to explain how experience can be mapped to brain activity.  The reason for this should be obvious: there is a difference in kind between an experience and a physical object; the very nature of consciousness is other than that of physical stuff.  It's all well and good to say "oh, we'll be able to work it out in the future", but that's even worse than my position, that we already worked it out in the past!  How is this so obscure to you?  Also, why are you suddenly taking things personally again?

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To say that 'thought can't be reduced to an organ or part of an organ' simply makes you sound like a halfwit.

Well then, the majority of contemporary philosophers of mind are halfwits.  I'd better tell them that they're wrong!

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When you start acknowledging the huge gaps in the dualist theory I have been rasising for weeks rather than focusing in on just gaps in the physicalist theory, maybe you will no longer be a charlatan.

I'm not a dualist.  As I have explained, I am a monist, of the most rigorous sort: in reality, there is one thing, and one thing only, that is infinite and constant.  This is clearly yet another point in which we've been talking past each other.

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1. The direct correlation between physical brains and consciousnes (why can't thought and concsiousness exist without physical brains (or processes that mimick the connections between neurons), why does it vanish with sufficient damage to physical brains, why can't you 'tune in' and pick up my consciousness if you think consciousness is just like a signal or software). You have never given me the courtnesy of acknowleding any of this in any sort of mature fashion. You just tell me 'they are correlated'

Thought and consciousness certainly exist before brains; brains of the human sort are advanced enough to manifest such non-physical phenomena in physicality.  Even "brain" exists before any one instance of brain has appeared.  If you remove the brain, you remove the mechanism of manifestation; consciousness, though, is eternal (and non-specific/non-specified).

Do you hold "exist" to mean "is corporeal", or "has reality"?  The former is restrictive to anything other than the physicalist paradigm, as you can surely tell.  Nobody could comprehend the metaphysical if they truly believed that only the physical is real.

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2. the mechanisms by which non physical entities might somehow interact with physical entities.

"The physical is informed by the metaphysical".  If you cannot understand what this means, simply accept that your knowledge is not apt to the task at hand, and wait until you have accumulated enough to make sense of this simple statement.  I'm not trying to be rude, here, but you seem to be glossing over huge amounts of what I've said, perhaps because you don't yet have the conceptual tools to understand it.

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3. The most rational way of deciding between dualism vs physicalism is via a probabilistic route where the overall pool of evidence supporting each prospective hypothesis is weighed up. It is NOT via finding a few isolated holes in side 'x' and holding this up as a victory for side 'y', in the complete absense of any positive evidence for side 'y'.

As I have mentioned above, you're mistaken in considering me to be a dualist - surely this shows, yet again, your ignorance of Tradition, for no follower of Tradition can be a dualist of any sort.  Only Monism is Real.

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When the sciences have revealed that nearly everything we once wanted to explain has a 'mechanistic' cause, you hold fast to the other side. Sure, there are new mysteries that have popped up since (thanks to physical science revealing new questions). But you are a 'god of the gaps' person, akin to that brid of subterrenean spirit, the Ostrich, which proceeds to stick its head into the sand when it senses danger.  I submit to you that this is not justified. When a methodology has been laying waste to questions left right and centre for 200 years, I argue that it is not intellectually credible to hold fast to the gaps it cannot explain, as if one missed note invalidated the whole symphony.

You can continue to levy accusations against my character, but the fact remains that, as (again) I have said before, my beliefs are based upon experience and reason, just as yours are.  I'm certain that potentially all physical phenomena have a physical cause, and yet I am also certain that there are non-physical phenomena (such as experience itself).  I am certain of this because I encounter such things daily - as does any conscious entity - and I can recognise them as such, where others seemingly attempt to fool themselves into thinking that they (both the phenomena and themselves!) don't exist.

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'And this':

"Despite this celebrity the body of established fact about Gage and what he was like (whether before or after his accident) is remarkably small, which has allowed "the fitting of almost any theory to the small number of facts we have"[4]—Gage having been cited, over the years, by proponents of various theories of the brain wholly contradictory to one another. A survey of published accounts of Gage, including scientific ones, has found that they are almost always severely distorted—exaggerating the known facts when not directly contradicting them." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage)

And?

@Transcix: "thinking for yourself", and attaching those legs to that flat surface, you have created what is known in English as a "chair".  I suppose that you've reasoned that your own form is comfortable when bent at the knees, and you've surmised that a good way of achieving this is to provide some base upon which to rest your backside, that your upper body might be supported while your knees are bent.  Subsequently, you have combined a number of objects in such a way as to provide that raised base, thus imbuing those collected objects with "chairness".  This is how we call it in English; it is called by any number of other names, but its essence remains the same, across time, across cultures.  The wheel has been "invented" many times.

Bill's partially correct in suggesting that, being indistinguishable from any other form (as all forms are part of the One), we have a fundamental connection to all forms; as such, it could be said that we never "invent" things, but "remember" them.  The chair already exists, before we "create" it (I could bring Parmenides in here to provide logical proof of this and similar statements, if necessary).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: scourge on October 22, 2012, 04:48:43 PM
A lot of this is just essence and instance. Philosophy and physics each have provisions for both.

Generally, philosophy will ground itself in the essences then sometimes prove itself by providing derived instances to show consistency.

Physics will record the instances which is all we can immediately measure, but this data may later serve to construct the essences or if we prefer, physical laws from which the measured instances are derived. We need to bear in mind the physical laws themselves cannot be measured without having several instantiated samples to measure to show consistency.

I don't understand why a multiverse consisting of essences and instances are considered dualism. On the other hand, none of this convinces me that some kindly anthromorphic deity had to have planned everything out for us prior to spacetime.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Eleison on October 23, 2012, 02:26:07 AM
Jesus, Not again.

Some thoughts on the subjects discussed in this thread.  Firstly, from the point of view of pure metaphysics, it is clear that the physical world can be nothing more than a medium upon which certain possibilities converge under particular conditions.

The last 4 pages of this thread have been discussing the viridicalty of 'the point of view of pure metaphysics', at least related to questions of ontology or 'what there is'. Please don't simply ignore this, assume the point of view that has been called into disripute and make unjustified, sweeping statements. This is all you traditionalists seem to do. You don't enagege with the issues someone else presents, that are possibly serious musings on the human experience, just straight to the ideas that fit your concepts. Blind to everything else.

My intent was not to ignore the preceding discussion, but to clarify the traditionalist position.  Obviously I was not entirely successful.  I must admit, that what you have described is a typical reaction to traditionalist doctrine and this is because most people who are unfamiliar with traditionalist knowledge are also ignorant of the source and the possibility of this knowledge.  The fundamental claim of traditional metaphysics is this...

Quote from: Frithjof Schuon's Transcendent Unity of Religions (Preface)
...in the case of intellectual intuition, knowledge is not possessed by the individual insofar as he is an individual, but insofar as in his innermost essence he is not distinct from his Principle.  Thus metaphysical certitude is absolute because of the identity of the knower and the known in the Intellect'

Thus metaphysical knowledge proceeds, not from empirical evidence as such, but from direct identity with its object, that is to say that in pure metaphysics the duality subject-object is dissolved.  This may shed some light on the following...

Why is the following "clear"?: the physical world can be nothing more than a medium upon which certain possibilities converge under particular conditions.

You can't just say it's clear because according to 'pure' metaphysics it's clear. You have to give objective reasons why it is clear.

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The fact that our sensory inputs open directly onto the physical realm does not for that reason imply that it has any privileged status in the hierarchy of existence, or that our own existence is limited to this domain, in fact it clearly is not.  The extent to which modern man exalts physical existence above all else is simply a reflection of the fact that his ability to perceive anything other than it has diminished.

To some extent, I understand your objection, although in reality I have not actually said anything that can be objected to.  You have probably already built up a bias from your previous discussions.  Is there any reason to assume that the physical world constitutes the limit of reality?  That is simply a kind of cosmological solipsism.  The Frithjof Schuon quote tells you everything you need to know in order to understand every claim made by the traditionalists on this forum, it is up to you as to whether or not you choose to understand it, since without recourse to the Intellect or openness to the traditional wisdom found in the world's religions, there is no possibility of attaining any knowledge of spiritual realities.

A lot of this is just essence and instance. Philosophy and physics each have provisions for both.

Generally, philosophy will ground itself in the essences then sometimes prove itself by providing derived instances to show consistency.

Physics will record the instances which is all we can immediately measure, but this data may later serve to construct the essences or if we prefer, physical laws from which the measured instances are derived. We need to bear in mind the physical laws themselves cannot be measured without having several instantiated samples to measure to show consistency.

I don't understand why a multiverse consisting of essences and instances are considered dualism. On the other hand, none of this convinces me that some kindly anthromorphic deity had to have planned everything out for us prior to spacetime.

This is more or less the limit of what can be understood of metaphysics from a purely philosophical point of view.  As far as 'anthropomorphic deities' are concerned, I think it is likely that there are transcendent centers of consciousness similar to human minds, although I do not have any direct experience of such a thing.  To use the language of the Vedanta, the Supreme Brahman (Reality as such) is supra-personal, however the 'Veil of Maya' causes the Supreme Brahman to appear as Ishvara (The Divine Lord).  In other words God is the Supreme Principle insofar as it is the 'creator' of the manifested world, however God himself is only relative with regards to this Principle since the world is never actually 'outside' of it except in an illusory way.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: scourge on October 23, 2012, 05:54:28 PM
From what I can gather, the instances are what is immediately tangible and apparent from our perspective. They're an outer layer. We have tease out the next layer, the essences causing these instances, through whatever studies or disciplines have come about.

Sheer logical function could be the next layer as a metaessence from which all the more apparent causes branch out.

As for revealing an even deeper layer, we would be moving toward the One or Godward, but perhaps not 'seeing' God for many layers still. The opposite direction moves us toward dissolution and fantasy, ignorance/insanity and finally terminating at pure nothingness farthest from the ultimate cause.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 25, 2012, 06:25:56 PM
1. The direct correlation between physical brains and consciousnes (why can't thought and concsiousness exist without physical brains (or processes that mimick the connections between neurons), why does it vanish with sufficient damage to physical brains, why can't you 'tune in' and pick up my consciousness if you think consciousness is just like a signal or software). You have never given me the courtnesy of acknowleding any of this in any sort of mature fashion. You just tell me 'they are correlated'

Thought and consciousness certainly exist before brains; brains of the human sort are advanced enough to manifest such non-physical phenomena in physicality.  Even "brain" exists before any one instance of brain has appeared.  If you remove the brain, you remove the mechanism of manifestation; consciousness, though, is eternal (and non-specific/non-specified).

Here is where you are a charlatan! What shred of proof or reasoning leads you to assert the following as though it's obvious?

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Consciousness certainly exists before brains

 >:(

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2. the mechanisms by which non physical entities might somehow interact with physical entities.

"The physical is informed by the metaphysical".  If you cannot understand what this means, simply accept that your knowledge is not apt to the task at hand, and wait until you have accumulated enough to make sense of this simple statement.  I'm not trying to be rude, here, but you seem to be glossing over huge amounts of what I've said, perhaps because you don't yet have the conceptual tools to understand it.

You are a charlatan, mate. You've never once addressed this!! I'm glossing over huge amount of what you've said because you never allow yourself to be pinned down to the point. How do non-physical entities interact with physical entites? Don't point me to a pile of books, don't tell me my knowledge of 'tradition' is lacking, either concede a hole in your 'theory' or give reasons why this is the wrong question to ask.

As I have mentioned above, you're mistaken in considering me to be a dualist - surely this shows, yet again, your ignorance of Tradition, for no follower of Tradition can be a dualist of any sort.  Only Monism is Real.

I don't give a shit about traditionalism here! Whether these wild claims about consciousness 'obviously' existing independently of brains are traditionalist or not is not the point. So what if they are? It doesn't mean they suddenly enjoy justification. I give a shit about views you're asserting as fact that are metaphysical sweet-nothings. The intellectual equivalent to junk food: sweet but with zero substance.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 26, 2012, 06:26:57 AM
What is it that recognises the physical existence of the chair?  Consciousness.  What is it that recognises the physical existence of the brain?  Consciousness.  What is it that recognises the non-physical existence of itself?  Consciousness.  What is it without which no recognition could occur?  Consciousness.

What is, if nothing else?

Consciousness.

I really can't believe you want me to explain all of this again, but I have little else to be doing for the moment : )  A linguistic argument cannot be given in support, though the truth might be inferred from language: still, language is removed from what is, being a finite method of expressing the infinity of thoughts.

The infinity within each is required to experience that infinity; experience is required before you will understand these truths.  There may be a priori arguments to support them (there could be no evidence - as previously explained, to ask for such is to misunderstand what we're talking about), but what certifies such things as true is the universality of the experience of them, that is, anyone could come to know them to be true, simply through introspection.

There is no "interaction" between the non-physical and the physical: as has been repeatedly explained, the two are One.  How can there be interaction between itself?  Even the statement is grammatically inconsistent!  I ask you to reappraise your understanding of the verb "to inform", especially in this metaphysical context.  This information is not going to happen, it has never happened; it is always happening.  I shall repeat the point, one last time: there is no separation between physical and non-physical (but that we wish that it were so!), thus no interaction; the one expresses the other.

In referring constantly to Tradition, I'm hoping that you might stop asking questions that have already been answered.  Funnily enough, it's not my job to pull you out of the mire; it has been the job of many to pull many out of the mire, and theirs are the works which you should read if you want to read anything about this subject.  However, I will eternally stress that you'll understand nothing through reading, though you may learn a lot; only experience can assure you of what is.  (Edit: experience can't tell you what isn't, by the way!)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 26, 2012, 09:37:02 PM
What is it that recognises the physical existence of the chair?  Consciousness.  What is it that recognises the physical existence of the brain?  Consciousness.  What is it that recognises the non-physical existence of itself?  Consciousness.  What is it without which no recognition could occur?  Consciousness.

What is, if nothing else?

Consciousness.

What is it that 'recognises' village spirits that live in the woods and that punish you for stealing your neighbour's pig? Consciousness. What is it that 'recognises' the statement 'murder is wrong' to be an absolute truth? Consciousness. What is it that 'recognises' the visions experienced by people having psychotic dellusions? Their consciousness. What 'recognises' ghosts in your when you are a child? Consciousness.

Bloody profound reasoning for why consciousness 'must' exist before physical brains. Bloody profound!

It's no suprise you revert to downgrading the importance of argument and clear thinking when you are pursued:

I really can't believe you want me to explain all of this again, but I have little else to be doing for the moment : )  A linguistic argument cannot be given in support, though the truth might be inferred from language: still, language is removed from what is, being a finite method of expressing the infinity of thoughts.

It's all 'beyond words', man! (takes a toke).

People that look 'inward' for the Truth are intellectural solipsists and narcissists, 'discovering' what their brains put there in the first place.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 28, 2012, 03:49:31 PM
Never one to stray from your own tradition, you've failed to understand the importance (or perhaps even the meaning) of the first paragraph.  There can be no enquiry without consciousness - consciousness must be the first thing into which we enquire.  How can we enquire into consciousness?  It is not a measurable, but an experiential phenomenon; empirical science cannot account for it, being the measurer of things, not the qualifier of them.  Experience of consciousness is what is required, but what exactly does this mean?

Such and such questions have been asked for thousands of years.  Deeper and more probing than any consideration of what the physical world might hold, the Ancients considered what they themselves could possibly be, surely the sole capability of humanity which separates us from animals.  These enquiries are where Tradition comes from - it's not derived from mumbo jumbo religidiocity, though it has often been encoded in wondrous layers of metaphor which people have subsequently misinterpreted as being meant literally.  Tradition has retained answers to the most fundamental questions about our own nature - not the nature of physical Man, but the nature of the experiencer, the one who watches the show (and, thus, the show itself).

Another consideration: it is the timeless nature of consciousness which shows it to be other than matter, which is essentially in time.  While all matter shifts and changes, aging, growing, coming into being and dying, consciousness itself remains unchanged throughout - there is absolutely no difference between the consciousness of a person at one moment to the next, nor between that of one entity and that of another, though the experiences may differ greatly.  You won't understand this if you haven't gone past the point of thinking "I am a sum of objects, experiences, emotions, and thoughts".

Edit: if you want to turn this discussion into a farce, feel free to continue, but I will definitely drop out before we've reached the point of total vapidity.

Edit 2: yes, it's beyond words.  Do you honestly believe that any single concept in your mind can be fully and accurately communicated to another human being in such a way that the concept enters their mind exactly as it is in your mind (and stays that way) using words?  If so, I've actually been dealing with a moron.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 08:56:28 PM
Never one to stray from your own tradition, you've failed to understand the importance (or perhaps even the meaning) of the first paragraph.

Perhaps (only perhaps) that's because it wasn't presented very well at all. I can't be blamed for not liking what i took to be a bad argument. I can't get inside your head, I can only gauge your thoughts from what you write. You wrote that consciousness necessarily exists before physical brains - because it recognises itself as existing before physical brains, which is a bad argument, for whatever consciousness 'recognises' is not true. Anyway, that is how i perceived it, let's move on as these issues cover what you were getting at I think:

There can be no enquiry without consciousness - consciousness must be the first thing into which we enquire.  How can we enquire into consciousness?  It is not a measurable, but an experiential phenomenon; empirical science cannot account for it, being the measurer of things, not the qualifier of them.  Experience of consciousness is what is required, but what exactly does this mean?

I agree with this. But then isn't the problem revealed in its true light as an epistemological problem and not a 'metaphysical' one? Do you think you get a metaphysical conclusion like 'consciousness must exist before physical brains' from the above considerations?

I agree that there are significant issues related to scientifically investigating consciousness, for the reasons you give here. it seems to be that this gives no support to the conclusion that consciousness does not emerge from physical brains, however (other considerations might). This supports the conclusion that it is troubling how something first person can be fully explained in terms of propositions relating to third person entities (which is an epistemological issue).

IF experience ACTUALLY DID emerge from third person entities (neurons), I can imagine that we would still not be satisfied with complete third person explanations for some qualitative experience. We would feel something has been left out. I think this is epistemological. A sophisticated computer cognitive system, IF it were conscious, would think the same thing.

...there is absolutely no difference between the consciousness of a person at one moment to the next, nor between that of one entity and that of another, though the experiences may differ greatly...

What about the glaring fact that 'my' consciousness is, in some very important and no doubt significant sense, correlated with my brain, and that your consciousness is connected with your brain?! Why not vice versa, if consciousness is undifferentiated?

Also, there is a big difference between (a) the consciousness of a person who has a normal functioning brain and (b) the consciousness of a person who has been shot in the head?

There is very glaring set of relations that non-physicalists need to deal with. The relation between consciousness and physical brains. You are not a physicalist but you say you are a monist. I don't understand this. So do you think we need to add consciousness to the fundamental constituents of reality along with quarks, strings, or whatever? If so, we need detailed laws on why the 'fundamental consciousness-stuff' DEPENDS on physical brains in a way which seems to mirror how water DEPENDS on its constituent parts.

Water DEPENDS on a certain organisation of molecules (let us please not get into the universals debate again - grant me 'depends' in whatever weak sense you want). Consciousness, everyone would admit, seems to DEPEND on physical brains in a similar way. Consciousness depends on physical brains (1) existing and (2) being in a certain (healthy, normal) state. Why?

I am very interested in these two points. I am not closed minded, obviously I have much invested in my outlook as you, but I genuinely feel nothing has addressed these points (however we are slowly moving forward, as I can increasingly get a picture on what important points we differ, which is useful for knowledge in general).

Please forgive my pre-empting here, just in case you take this line. I'm not much for accounts of telepathy, after death experiences and the like as examples of consciousness not depending on physical brains (call me dogmatic).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Tralfamadorian on October 28, 2012, 09:25:50 PM
Why is it that my toaster, which functions by means of an electrical current, not conscious; but when there is an electrical current that interacts with neurons, that translates to consciousness experience? Why are brains the only type of matter that can produce consciousness? What kind of interface exists that translates an electrical impulse or surge of serotonin in our neurons into a conscious thought or feeling? How does one will a thought into being? I really doubt neuroscience will ever be able to fully solve the mind body problem.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 09:52:26 PM
Why is it that my toaster, which functions by means of an electrical current, not conscious; but when there is an electrical current that interacts with neurons, that translates to consciousness experience? Why are brains the only type of matter that can produce consciousness? What kind of interface exists that translates an electrical impulse or surge of serotonin in our neurons into a conscious thought or feeling? How does one will a thought into being? I really doubt neuroscience will ever be able to fully solve the mind body problem.

Sure. I am sympathetic to this general concern. I share it to some degree. However I bear in mind two points.

1. People probably thought the same about many biological phenomena. Even if they didn't the point is that things that were once inaccessible to 'mechanistic' knowledge become accessible. Imagine someone 'mechanistically' inclined, who didn't accept explanations in terms of the sun's agency, wondering how the sun worked 4000 years ago? Consider the gap between people wondering about the features of animals 2000 years ago and modern molecuar genetics. They would think molecular biology unfathomable, mystical, and downright impossible.
2. The incapability of science to explain experience in a way we find satisfactory might be a purely epistemological issue, not a metaphysical one, as described in my last post.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Tralfamadorian on October 28, 2012, 10:18:50 PM
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1. People probably thought the same about many biological phenomena. Even if they didn't the point is that things that were once inaccessible to 'mechanistic' knowledge become accessible. Imagine someone 'mechanistically' inclined, who didn't accept explanations in terms of the sun's agency, wondering how the sun worked 4000 years ago? Consider the gap between people wondering about the features of animals 2000 years ago and modern molecuar genetics. They would think molecular biology unfathomable, mystical, and downright impossible.
The problem is that the fusion in the sun and the replication of cells exist in the 'external' world, ie we can observe them. Consciousness, by its very nature, is unobservable in and of itself. (unless, of course, you believe in telepathy ;) )


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2. The incapability of science to explain experience in a way we find satisfactory might be a purely epistemological issue, not a metaphysical one, as described in my last post.
I don't think I understand. How could the examination of being itself not be metaphysical?

EDIT: Ok, I get what you're saying. There's no reason to ascribe "magical" properties to something just because it cannot be explained. I agree. My reason for believing in the possibility of the 'immateriality' of consciousness is really just an intuition or feeling; it is ingrained into the way I look at the world. Cargest did a commendable job of arguing this viewpoint but it's clear he did not change your mind, as such I doubt any combination of words I could come up with will change your mind either.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 11:08:30 PM
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1. People probably thought the same about many biological phenomena. Even if they didn't the point is that things that were once inaccessible to 'mechanistic' knowledge become accessible. Imagine someone 'mechanistically' inclined, who didn't accept explanations in terms of the sun's agency, wondering how the sun worked 4000 years ago? Consider the gap between people wondering about the features of animals 2000 years ago and modern molecuar genetics. They would think molecular biology unfathomable, mystical, and downright impossible.
The problem is that the fusion in the sun and the replication of cells exist in the 'external' world, ie we can observe them. Consciousness, by its very nature, is unobservable in and of itself. (unless, of course, you believe in telepathy ;) )


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2. The incapability of science to explain experience in a way we find satisfactory might be a purely epistemological issue, not a metaphysical one, as described in my last post.
I don't think I understand. How could the examination of being itself not be metaphysical?

EDIT: Ok, I get what you're saying. There's no reason to ascribe "magical" properties to something just because it cannot be explained. I agree. My reason for believing in the possibility of the 'immateriality' of consciousness is really just an intuition or feeling; it is ingrained into the way I look at the world. Cargest did a commendable job of arguing this viewpoint but it's clear he did not change your mind, as such I doubt any combination of words I could come up with will change your mind either.

If these combinations of words constituted good reasons they would change my mind :). Cargest has encouraged me to consider consciousness as non-physical due to its 1st person ontology, while physical entities have a third person ontology. This is fitting.

I have speculated that there is evidence to indicate that consciousness emerges from 3rd person entities, the way something new (water) emerges from 3rd person entities. This evidence relates to the two points I raised at the end of my last post to him: I have encouraged him to consider consciousness as physical due its close correlation to particular structures of physical entities.

I am trying to be as impersonal and objective as possible. I find it unreasonable/unjustified to take consciousness as non-physical until it can be explained why consciousness behaves as if it emerges from something physical. Why does it depend so heavily upon the (1) existence of a physical structure (the brain) and (2) it's particular state?  I have, somewhat, been asking these two questions from the start, but our dialectic (which is occasionally narky) is helping us narrow the questions down.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 28, 2012, 11:10:19 PM
for whatever consciousness 'recognises' is not true.

This is idiocy.  There can be no truth if it is not recognised by consciousness.  There can be nothing without consciousness.  Try to imagine something without there being consciousness!  Consciousness is a prerequisite for all existence, not just material existence; consciousness is the essence of existence.

You will not fully grapple with these words; you will be incapable of internalising their meaning, because you lack the experience(s) necessary to identify with what is being said.  This is what I meant by my second edition.

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I agree with this. But then isn't the problem revealed in its true light as an epistemological problem and not a 'metaphysical' one?

"I don't believe in the metaphysical, so let's scratch out an entire realm of human enquiry".  Do you even understand what my paragraph means?  What can be known has nothing to do with the experience of consciousness.  To bring epistemology in at this point is premature - we don't even know what it is that knows, yet!  To consider this to be a problem of knowledge and not experience is to ignore the identity of the knower and proceed straight to the identities of the known, which categorically misses the point.

Perhaps your disregard for metaphysics can be explained by your ineptitude in understanding its purpose.

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Do you think you get a metaphysical conclusion like 'consciousness must exist before physical brains' from the above considerations?

Ultimately, yes.

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I agree that there are significant issues related to scientifically investigating consciousness, for the reasons you give here. it seems to be that this gives no support to the conclusion that consciousness does not emerge from physical brains, however (other considerations might). This supports the conclusion that it is troubling how something first person can be fully explained in terms of propositions relating to third person entities (which is an epistemological issue).

IF experience ACTUALLY DID emerge from third person entities (neurons), I can imagine that we would still not be satisfied with complete third person explanations for some qualitative experience.

It's highly likely that experience does "emerge" from neurons, if you want to look at it from that direction - this says nothing about consciousness.  Consciousness exists before any experience - consciousness can exist before any neurons.

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What about the glaring fact that 'my' consciousness is, in some very important and no doubt significant sense, correlated with my brain, and that your consciousness is connected with your brain?! Why not vice versa, if consciousness is undifferentiated?

Consciousness is aware of our individual experiences - this doesn't require that it be divisible.

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Also, there is a big difference between (a) the consciousness of a person who has a normal functioning brain and (b) the consciousness of a person who has been shot in the head?

As above, no difference.  There is a difference in the form of the experience, but its essence remains the same.

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There is very glaring set of relations that non-physicalists need to deal with. The relation between consciousness and physical brains. You are not a physicalist but you say you are a monist. I don't understand this. So do you think we need to add consciousness to the fundamental constituents of reality along with quarks, strings, or whatever?

Consciousness is the monad - infinite, indefinite, indivisible, unitary, perfect, all-inclusive.

I believe the rest of your post has already been answered by the above.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 28, 2012, 11:31:40 PM
Ah! Firstly, and foremost, notice that you did not address my points about the seeminly close correlation between consciousness and physical brains! I am saddened, as I was really interested in this.

This:

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Consciousness is aware of our individual experiences - this doesn't require that it be divisible.

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Please provide one shred of evidence and/or reasoning for this massive, and foundational claim.

(I can easily imagine a universe without animals, and hence (for me) without consciousness!?!)

What is it that is aware of that imagination?  What is aware of that universe?

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Please provide evidence and/or reasoning for the claim that "Consciousness exists before any experience - consciousness can exist before any neurons". You still haven't  :)

It's a necessity - before there can be any experience, there must be consciousness.  If experience is translated to neuronal activity, then there is consciousness before neurons.

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I'm glad we're agreed on the idea that experience 'emerges' from neurons.

At another level, experience informs the patterns of neurons firing.  These are equally viable ways of looking at the world, though to favour one over the other is to (again) miss the point.  I said that you could look at it in the way that experience "emerges" from neurons, but you could look at it in the way that the patterns neurons will express are "informed" by experience.

Edit: do you now understand the difference between experience and consciousness?  The former overlays the latter; the latter underlies the former.  The former is ephemeral, the latter constant; the former is finite, the latter infinite.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 11:37:41 PM
OK. This is good and we have perhaps narrowed down the fundamental difference between our positions.

It seems to me that your justification for claiming that consciousness comes before anything material is something like the following:

We can't be aware of anything physical without consciousness. Consciousness is therefore prior to anything physical.

This argument is not one that has deductive force and that requires any rational person to accept it. It only appeals to people already in your paradigm who already believe consciousness comes before the physical. So in other words it begs the question. It is not a good argument. You might be happy with this but i'm not.

If your a physicalist, you think experience only arrived on the scene after animals with a certain complexity evolved, so of course you're not going to think consciousness is a precondition for material existence! You're going to think your argument is purely epistemological and not metaphysical in the slightest, and you would be rationally justified in holding this.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 28, 2012, 11:39:34 PM
Please read the above re: differences between consciousness and experience.  This is entry level stuff.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 11:43:27 PM
Please read the above re: differences between consciousness and experience.  This is entry level stuff.

I don't know what you mean, sorry. Can you expand?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Tralfamadorian on October 28, 2012, 11:45:11 PM
If your a physicalist, you think experience only arrived on the scene after animals with a certain complexity evolved, so of course you're not going to think consciousness is a precondition for material existence! You're going to think your argument is purely epistemological and not metaphysical in the slightest, and you would be rationally justified in holding this.
Sorry to butt in guys.

Bill, it seems that Cargest is referring to consciousness as in the Godhead (in a prior post he mentions he refers to it as the monad), so you're kind of barking up the wrong tree here.

Carry on.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 28, 2012, 11:47:45 PM
Consciousness is like the canvas onto which experience is projected: the canvas is infinite, and an infinite number of infinitely variable experiences are projected upon it.  This is the universe, in a metaphor.

I'm not referring to Godhead any more than I'm referring to that thing which is present within every single one of us - consciousness itself is both God and Man, as explained in so derisory a source as the Bible.

I might add, that any man might not be conscious; at least, he might not be aware of it yet.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 11:49:43 PM
Consciousness is like the canvas onto which experience is projected: the canvas is infinite, and an infinite number of infinitely variable experiences are projected upon it.  This is the universe, in a metaphor.

How does this justify the wierd conclusion that consciousness is non-physical because we depend on consciousness to experience physical things?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 28, 2012, 11:55:16 PM
Perhaps we should simply accept that you have absolutely no interest in what it is to be human, and are destined never to have the drive to consider your own confines.

Edit: by that I do not mean capitulation, but that we have, yet again, reached the point where we are talking past each other.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 28, 2012, 11:58:11 PM
Perhaps we should simply accept that you have absolutely no interest in what it is to be human, and are destined never to have the drive to consider your own confines.

Edit: by that I do not mean capitulation, but that we have, yet again, reached the point where we are talking past each other.

 :o

No, sir, we have reached the point where we have isolated a small argument that is responsible for our different philosophical positions. This is an achievement after so much guffing around.

EDIT: so we are not talking past each other.

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consciousness is non-physical because we depend on consciousness to experience physical things

Our positions live or die on this argument. Please do not get grumpy with me if you are finding clarity embarassing. "Capitulation" is only a problem if your ego was driving this all along.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 12:06:05 AM
The nature of our debate is this: just as modernism is a negation of Tradition, your position (though accepted by Western society) is a negation of mine.  In this language game, in which we pit concepts against each other while never having them directly face each other (this is impossible, as above), my pieces are set up in a perfect offense, and yours in a perfect defense: this is stalemate.  My attempts for much of the duration of the game have, however, been to get you to stop playing.  Maybe then you'll see what there is to see - I can only hope.  As stated innumerable times: experience is what is required, not more words.

Edit: consciousness may be non-physical for a variety of reasons, but what makes it categorically so is that it can be experienced as being such.  We can be aware that we are conscious - that we are consciousness - and that any phenomena which pass through our awareness are nothing more than phenomena, and certainly not so much as to be "ourselves", though the majority love to hate the illusion.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 12:07:28 AM
The nature of our debate is this: just as modernism is a negation of Tradition, your position (though accepted by Western society) is a negation of mine.  In this language game, in which we pit concepts against each other while never having them directly face each other (this is impossible, as above), my pieces are set up in a perfect offense, and yours in a perfect defense: this is stalemate.  My attempts for much of the duration of the game have, however, been to get you to stop playing.  Maybe then you'll see what there is to see - I can only hope.  As stated innumerable times: experience is what is required, not more words.

Be noble, be a man. Did we or did we not reach an awareness just now of our fundamental disagreement - were we NOT talking past each other at the exact instant you said we WERE?

Is this, or is this not your essentially your argument for why consciousness is prior to anything physical? It seemed to be:

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consciousness is non-physical because we depend on consciousness to experience physical things
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 12:09:19 AM
Never have I stated that that's my "argument": I have, indeed, stated that an argument is likely insufficient, and that you need to experience the truth for yourself rather than acquire it second hand.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 12:14:01 AM
Never have I stated that that's my "argument": I have, indeed, stated that an argument is likely insufficient, and that you need to experience the truth for yourself rather than acquire it second hand.

Well then we can no longer converse. Congratulations! You have isolated yourself from rationality and other thinking human beings. Rather than concede the point you slander the method (rational debate). Grow up.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 12:15:35 AM
A man once told me that he didn't believe in France.  I told him that I've been to France, many a time - in fact, I plan to live there, eventually.  He gawked at my statement, and called me bold and ill-mannered for making such an assertion: surely I was aware that there was no such thing as France, and could never be!  Testimony would not suffice, and nobody could provide sufficient evidence for the existence of so imaginary a thing as France!  I showed him a map, and he called it a forgery; I spoke in the language, he called it nonsense.  I gave him directions, a guide, as to how to reach that fabled land, but he categorically would not take them - why journey to a land that doesn't exist?

I could not possibly persuade this man that France was real.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 12:21:32 AM
If your a physicalist, you think experience only arrived on the scene after animals with a certain complexity evolved, so of course you're not going to think consciousness is a precondition for material existence! You're going to think your argument is purely epistemological and not metaphysical in the slightest, and you would be rationally justified in holding this.
Sorry to butt in guys.

Bill, it seems that Cargest is referring to consciousness as in the Godhead (in a prior post he mentions he refers to it as the monad), so you're kind of barking up the wrong tree here.

Carry on.

Thanks Tralfamadorian. I can confirm I have just established this! Call me 'old fashioned', but I simply cannot stomach people who lapse into relativism when their position is finally found to be lacking on rational grounds. Christ, I think it's dishonest as well, as they obviously felt it was, at first, rational as they decided to embark upon the debate in the first place.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 12:22:52 AM
Define "relativism".  I honestly can't understand what you mean in this context, and fear that you may have another misunderstanding about a simple word.

Edit: might I also add that your logic broke down a good few posts back?  Consciousness as being non-physical is a primitive; it can't be expressed in a causal proposition, as this nature is a pre-requisite of causality.  Again, we're at the same point: do you or do you not agree with me yet?  And so it goes on, endlessly, until you decide to make your own enquiry.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 12:24:44 AM
Define "relativism".  I honestly can't understand what you mean in this context, and fear that you may have another misunderstanding about a simple word.

Excuse me if I refuse further debate with you, Cargest. What is the use of debating if we cannot even count on the judicial power of words put together in a logical sequence.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 12:29:42 AM
What are the use of finite sounds and symbols to express infinite concepts?  Why not learn to use the tools apt to the task at hand, instead of bandying about like a distressed toddler, incapable of shepharding himself towards Truth?  For all your talk of my needing to "grow up", your own maturity is the only one questionable, here; the day that you realise it will be a sombre one, if it comes to you (and you'll be immensely glad if it does, as I was).

Edit: to clarify, I don't mean that, as you do, in a pejorative way; I mean it as a simple statement.  You are not yet ready, as a constructed "person", to understand any of this; one day you may be.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 12:41:35 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vd_C5KX_lk&feature=related
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 12:43:24 AM
Maturity : )
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 12:46:41 AM
Actually:

http://youtu.be/f5mAJCQukU4?t=52s

Seeing as you're all about 'experience' and 'feeling' and not the written word/logos ;)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 29, 2012, 04:44:52 AM
You utter fool.  The logos is experienced; it cannot be written.  Language is finite; the logos is infinite, and so incommunicable through such means.  Do you understand this?

I'm beginning to wonder whether or not you're an exceptional troll - you've suddenly latched upon a bastion of Tradition in an attempt to support modernism, while clearly demonstrating a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept!
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 29, 2012, 05:52:54 AM
If you think about it, denying consciousness seems more un-scientific.

Consciousness never ends, we're conscious all the time. When we are sleeping and unconscious of the world, we are dreaming.

Aha, you say, but what about people who suffer blows to the head, or are in a coma? Well, people just assume, without proof or evidence, that they are not conscious. But how can they know? Of course, they're not conscious of the world around them, but how do we know they are not in a state similar to dream? How do you know that a guy who gets shot in the head does not become conscious of some kind of afterlife? You don't, you simply believe this without proof. To believe this you must believe consciousness is the brain, and from that you say that a person who dies is not conscious anymore. But there is no proof consciousness is the brain: One must simply consider the existence of other types of consciousness, the normal brain-bound one being simply our natural mode here on earth, that is extinguished when the head blows, but consciousness continuing on another form. No one here has died to know how it is, and worst of all, that famous "nothing", total blackness, void, or whatever that people who believe we are our brains talk about has absolutely no proof, it is a total fabrication without one shred of evidence. From consciousness, the person creates an imaginary state, never before experienced, supposedly of total nothingness, without any good reason to do so.  Why the hell should this nothingness, that no-one can really define or really know what or how it is, being just a convenient fiction that we made up so we don't really have to wonder what happens, be what appears after death?. It's just as speculative as an afterlife.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Eleison on October 29, 2012, 07:03:12 AM
It seems that, according to the rule of every discussion on an internet forum, the dialogue has degenerated into repetition and frustration.  I regret that I was not able to participate more actively, but I will try to offer some further points for discussion now.

Firstly, this discussion has largely become about consciousness, what is more it has become fixated on individualized consciousness, that is to say consciousness as it is within an individual being, not as it is in principle.  This has already obscured the original point, which was an appeal to consciousness as a proof of the non-physical.  Now this argument can only be understood if one understands the truly profound nature of consciousness, not as it is in a particular individual, but as it is in principle. 

It is well known that materialists have 'profaned' the mystery of consciousness by asserting that it is nothing more than an emergent property of matter.  Now this is an astonishing example of creating a theory simply to fit the current materialist dogma.  This reasoning proceeds from external facts to internal realities by a profound leap of faith in the absence of sufficient evidence.  The traditionalist position, on the other hand, begins from the realities that are immediately accessible to our innermost selves.  Consciousness is therefore considered to be a primal substance equivalent to Being, and in fact an inward revelation (notwithstanding an exposition of this in Hindu metaphysics) reveals that these two principles are in fact two faces of the same reality.  Total Being is equivalent to total Consciousness, since true knowledge implies identity with its object.  Thus the polarization of subject and object in the manifest world are in fact the outward projection of these ontological realities, with created man being the summit of the pole 'Consciousness' in the created world, it is for this reason that it is the human mode of existence which is central to the world and opens directly onto the Absolute.

This leads us back to the original point, which is the opposition between the modern materialist perspective, and that of the traditionalist school.  The traditionalists start from the Supreme Reality and see the world as an expression of possibilities contained within its Infinitude also supported by the symbolic framework of whatever authentic tradition they belong to.  The materialists on the other hand posit the physical world as a false absolute and attempt to force all conflicting existential, metaphysical and historical evidence to submit to this understanding of things. 

This may shed some light on another central topic of this discussion, the relationship between the physical brain and individualized consciousness.  As we have already said, the principle of consciousness, lies far beyond its manifestation within particular existential limitations such as that of an individual being.  Thus for the traditionalist, the answer to this dilemma is quite simple, man exists on more than one plane, each of which is simply a determination or expression of another.  Here one cannot imagine that there is a strict boundary between these planes, but that they are all aspects of one reality, of one being.  The brain is, quite simply, the physical expression of the that element of the individual that can be described as 'thought', thus it corresponds exactly to the inner reality of 'thought' and damaging the brain will result in the retreat of this element of the individual into a more internal sphere.  It is not, as many imagine, the seat of consciousness as such, which corresponds to the physical heart but which is not tied to the physical body in a significant way.  As for the fate of the individualized consciousness after death, this is an eschatological question which I am not qualified to answer, and there are perhaps many possible answers, suffice it to say that practically all traditional accounts seem to suggest that the individual state does not come to a total end with physical death, even if it may come to an end at some point in the existence of the individual.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 29, 2012, 09:00:56 AM
I scanned this relevant text for the discussion.

I thought I had corrected page 4, sorry.

(http://s7.postimage.org/nkva8lrlz/image.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/nkva8lrlz/)
(http://s7.postimage.org/mxwdj2upz/image.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/mxwdj2upz/)

(http://s7.postimage.org/dc2t2s3k7/image.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/dc2t2s3k7/)

(http://s7.postimage.org/t0409kj5z/image.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/t0409kj5z/)

(http://s7.postimage.org/phs0d6i9z/image.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/phs0d6i9z/)

(http://s7.postimage.org/azzeixgcn/image.jpg) (http://postimage.org/image/azzeixgcn/)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 29, 2012, 05:44:27 PM
It seems that, according to the rule of every discussion on an internet forum, the dialogue has degenerated into repetition and frustration.  I regret that I was not able to participate more actively, but I will try to offer some further points for discussion now.

We were going quite well. We isolated a few statements that we disagreed about and then I attacked his understanding of this statement. I don't see how this represents degeneration. Cargest didn't like this and commenced to get angry. He brought into quesiton language and the processes of dialectic itself in order to save his position. I find that extremely immature and slavish, so I posted a few youtube vidoes that I thought expressed his behaviour well. I'm sorry if this reflects badly, but I thought it was fitting, and funny. In other places I have been accused to being a troll and all sorts of things because of this thread. In this thread I am simply wanting to pin traditionalists down to what exactly they are arguing at a fundamental level and to pursue these few arguments. If this is 'troll' behaviour then you're a moron, I submit. Furthermore, I've been heavily involved around here in the past, so the 'troll' label is not fitting. Now:

This reasoning proceeds from external facts to internal realities by a profound leap of faith in the absence of sufficient evidence. The traditionalist position, on the other hand, begins from the realities that are immediately accessible to our innermost selves.  Consciousness is therefore considered to be a primal substance equivalent to Being, and in fact an inward revelation (notwithstanding an exposition of this in Hindu metaphysics) reveals that these two principles are in fact two faces of the same reality.

You might think this. If you do you must surely submit that traditionalism makes a huge leap of faith too in the absense of sufficient evidence, (and arguiably, evidence to the contrary related to the close correlation between (1) the existence of human brains and (2) the state of human brains). This leap is the same one, but in the other direction. The traditionalist position proceeds from internal facts to external realities, as i Have been arguing with Cargest. Hence the charge of confusion of an epistemological issue with a metaphysical one.

What justifies this move from internal facts (consciousness) to external realities? I think the following argument may explain this? But I don't yet understand it:

Consciousness is therefore considered to be a primal substance equivalent to Being, and in fact an inward revelation (notwithstanding an exposition of this in Hindu metaphysics) reveals that these two principles are in fact two faces of the same reality.  Total Being is equivalent to total Consciousness, since true knowledge implies identity with its object.  Thus the polarization of subject and object in the manifest world are in fact the outward projection of these ontological realities, with created man being the summit of the pole 'Consciousness' in the created world, it is for this reason that it is the human mode of existence which is central to the world and opens directly onto the Absolute.

You're going to have to slow down and unpack this for me please. This is doing a barking great amount of work extremely quickly.

The brain is, quite simply, the physical expression of the that element of the individual that can be described as 'thought', thus it corresponds exactly to the inner reality of 'thought' and damaging the brain will result in the retreat of this element of the individual into a more internal sphere.  It is not, as many imagine, the seat of consciousness as such, which corresponds to the physical heart but which is not tied to the physical body in a significant way.
 

Why is the brain the physical expression of that element of the individual that can be described as thought and not our hair or our knee caps?
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 30, 2012, 04:34:34 AM
Haha, the only thing you've said which has even slightly annoyed me is your part about the Logos, which I may have actually misinterpreted, reading it over again.  Other than that, the only problems in this debate have been your constantly assuming that I am making assertions that I am not, or that I hold positions that I do not, and your occasional ad hominems and other instances of vulgarity.  I suppose we might also add your insistence against following the main "argument" which is being suggested: experience it.  That you won't even make the enquiry yourself shows apathy, weakness, or even cowardice on your part; none of these is an admirable quality.

Our position is this: you cannot understand the world through deductive reasoning (alone).  Sitting in an armchair cannot explain to you how a fish tastes, or how a break-up feels, or what it's like to know God.  While the mechanism can often be deduced without interaction with the object, its meaning, the way in which we naturally interpret the thing, can be known through nothing else than direct experience.  Of course, your position is that there is nothing to interpret - do you not see how moronically circular this is?  If you deny existence, you will never find it.  Read Parmenides on how nothing cannot be, thus everything (the One) is.

Let's see what you've forgotten in your post:

You've forgotten that evidence is not what we're looking for; as previously stated, invidence is required.
You've forgotten that consciousness is not equal to the experiences observed by consciousness.
You've forgotten that you can't understand these things through reasoning alone, that experience is required.

I'm sure you've forgotten a lot else, since your whole aim in this "debate" is to prove why you're right, not to find Truth.  Such sophistry is reprehensible, though it seems to be the common way of doing things nowadays.

The last I will say on the matter is this: to anyone else reading this ridiculous back-and-forth, take note of the stubbornness of the one position, and the fluidity of the other; the view which is commonly held to be dogmatic and groundless is more grounded and more open to possibilities than the supposedly "empirical" position!

Edit: also, Bill, please respond to my PM: I'd like you to explain the apple to me, in words, so that I might understand it exactly as you do - if you can't do this, you must accept that words are truly not apt for the discussion of the realities of experience (an issue you have consistently failed to argue against).  In fact, I'd like you to tackle the vast array of points that I've made against your position which you have summarily ignored in your responses, presumably because you have no answer; however, having too much to do at the moment, I'm not going to be the one to trawl through my posts to point out the huge amount of stuff that you've tried to brush under the carpet.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 30, 2012, 05:27:19 AM
Haha, the only thing you've said which has even slightly annoyed me is your part about the Logos, which I may have actually misinterpreted, reading it over again.  Other than that, the only problems in this debate have been your constantly assuming that I am making assertions that I am not, or that I hold positions that I do not, and your occasional ad hominems and other instances of vulgarity.  I suppose we might also add your insistence against following the main "argument" which is being suggested: experience it.  That you won't even make the enquiry yourself shows apathy, weakness, or even cowardice on your part; none of these is an admirable quality.

Our position is this: you cannot understand the world through deductive reasoning (alone).  Sitting in an armchair cannot explain to you how a fish tastes, or how a break-up feels, or what it's like to know God.  While the mechanism can often be deduced without interaction with the object, its meaning, the way in which we naturally interpret the thing, can be known through nothing else than direct experience.  Of course, your position is that there is nothing to interpret - do you not see how moronically circular this is?  If you deny existence, you will never find it.  Read Parmenides on how nothing cannot be, thus everything (the One) is.

Let's see what you've forgotten in your post:

You've forgotten that evidence is not what we're looking for; as previously stated, invidence is required.
You've forgotten that consciousness is not equal to the experiences observed by consciousness.
You've forgotten that you can't understand these things through reasoning alone, that experience is required.

I'm sure you've forgotten a lot else, since your whole aim in this "debate" is to prove why you're right, not to find Truth.  Such sophistry is reprehensible, though it seems to be the common way of doing things nowadays.

The last I will say on the matter is this: to anyone else reading this ridiculous back-and-forth, take note of the stubbornness of the one position, and the fluidity of the other; the view which is commonly held to be dogmatic and groundless is more grounded and more open to possibilities than the supposedly "empirical" position!

Edit: also, Bill, please respond to my PM: I'd like you to explain the apple to me, in words, so that I might understand it exactly as you do - if you can't do this, you must accept that words are truly not apt for the discussion of the realities of experience (an issue you have consistently failed to argue against).  In fact, I'd like you to tackle the vast array of points that I've made against your position which you have summarily ignored in your responses, presumably because you have no answer; however, having too much to do at the moment, I'm not going to be the one to trawl through my posts to point out the huge amount of stuff that you've tried to brush under the carpet.

"Sitting in an armchair cannot explain to you how a fish tastes, or how a break-up feels, or what it's like to know God."

I agree. But I didn't think that we were talking about something that is in the same class as 'how a fish tastes', 'how a break-up feels' or what 'it's like' to know God. I thought we were talking about is something objective: ontology or what exists. Sure, we've been talking about consciousness much of the time, which is subjective, but you (and Eleison) are deriving metaphysical (ontological) conclusions from 'how a fish tastes', or 'how a break-up feels', so to speak. You are deriving the conslusion that the world is fundamentally subjective in some basic and important sense just because we are sorts of organisms that happen to experience. This is rediculous, or at least I can't yet see how it deductively flows from the fact that we as homo sapiens 'experience' that reality as a whole is experiential in nature or that being and consciousness are the same thing, or whatever you guys seems to be arguing. Your position is undertermined by the evidence, I think. It is just as compatible that consciousness has emerged from physical processes, that we find ourselves 'subjects' due to the unique structure of our nervous systems, and that objective reality (reality aside from the extensionless 'stuff' that is experience) is completely third person. Indeed I think this position is more compatible, and i'm trying to get you to explain why consciousness seems so dependent on (1) physical brains existing and (2) the particular state of these physical brains, if consciousness is not epiphenomenal in some sense.

Regarding my conduct. You are showing so much distaste with my it, when I feel I have been going slow, steady and attempting to get to the same issues persistently and (when evaded) have occasionally used forcefull language. Regarding my distaste with the idea that deductive logic can't grasp the truth, look at it from my perspective. If Truth comes back to mere 'experience', then whatever I assert (and if you don't agree with it), you will just tell me I haven't 'experienced' it 'properly'. Eleison isn't yet taking this 'realtivist' line (this is what i mean by 'realtivism', to answer your PM). Do you really think i'm such an asshole, or don't you see my point at all in demanding objectivity and clarity of argument?

I've come to expect more from reality (from matters of ontology) than appearances furnishes by an evolved nervous system. Sure we cannot transcend experience categorically, but we can have a methodology which ensures as much objectivity as possible (peer review, empiricism, openness, etc) known as science. You might admit science has produced great works, but that these works are stuck in the 'profane' realm, while you invent another realm for your solipsistic pleasure, yet you can't demonstrate this other realm to me, your interlocutor, with normal language and argument or empirical evidence. I am required to be converted, pretty much. I am required to alter my experience. Are you going to tell me to take drugs next to find the 'Truth'. In all freindliness, I may revert back to responding with pentacostal youtube videos  :)
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 30, 2012, 06:06:04 AM
The cave is the physical world, the shadows the objects that appear in it, and the ascent to the "outside" the realisation of the self.  Let me repeat: the objects you experience, including your body and brain, are the shadows.  As a physicalist, you are still in the cave.

Read back through your posts, honestly.  You are cackhandedly dismissive, volatile in your responses to things, and you attack characters and assume positions of others which neither obtain nor are held to obtain by those others.  In this entire debate, you have consistently failed to do the one thing which has been consistently shown to be the only method of understanding these things from your position, and that is to experience them.  I am not saying this so as to shrug you off, or somehow place an impossibility before progress in this discussion: I am saying this because it is what I had to do, what I am still going through, and what many who firmly believed in the physicalist paradigm have had to go through over the past century and more.  It is everything from disheartening to horrifying to realise that your entire basis of understanding reality has been wrong, and that you have clouded the vast majority of what is from your eyes, and yet that is what we must go through, having been raised to watch shadows.

I understand the physicalist doctrine as well as you do, and I understand Tradition infinitely better; we can accept that our cognitive ability is roughly similar, and that our reason and logic are the same as is shared by all humans.  Given two different understandings of a set of things, one complete, one incomplete, is it not logical to side with the complete understanding?  If this cannot be done without obtaining that understanding for oneself, go forth and obtain it!

You are not asked to have a specific experience; you are not asked to change the way in which you experience (especially not through drugs, though they can definitely help for some people); you are asked to recognise that which underlies experience.  Rather than focusing on how each subjective experience is different, focus on how the nature of any one experience is identical to that of any other, though the content may differ vastly; what is this nature of experience?  What is it to experience?  There is something shared between all sentient beings, that is an awareness of what is occurring in perception (including feelings, thoughts, etc.) - what is the nature of this thing?  It cannot be ascertained by letting it observe bodies using bodies to measure bodies - if you believe that consciousness can be understood by neuroscience, you are displaying, yet again, your ignorance of the meaning and significance of the explanatory gap.

Consciousness is neither subjective nor objective; if anything, it is both, and can be known to be such when you reach the point that we're asking you to reach.  I mean, seriously: when consciousness regards itself, which is the object, which is the subject?  Which of the one is which?

The world is certianly not subjective; the world is certainly objective, seemingly experienced subjectively by innumerable entities.  However, each and every subjective experience is a part of the world, as much as any object of experience is.

Edit: might I explain that it has been, and still is, incredibly difficult for me to come to terms with these things as they are being revealed to me?  I am consistently shown the immutable horrors of reality, the sheer infinities and endless depths of what truly is.  I am a skeptic: I take nothing to be true that is not incontrovertibly so.  Even then, I am presented with such sublime, awesome, and terrifying realities, and I am forced to accept them as real, as much as what I was tought, the culture I grew up in, and the views of many I respect go against those realities.  At least there is some amount of logical consistency, but the irrational aspect of all of this has been incredibly hard to accept.  It's taken me three years to get from physicalism to where I am now, and it has not been a pleasant journey; furthermore, I've only just started down the road!
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 30, 2012, 06:24:22 AM
Eleison, if you're reading any of this, please correct me if you see that I miss the mark - I still have a long way to go when it comes to being able to communicate such things verbally (and, indeed, when it comes to experiencing such things in the first place, though I know of their reality).
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Eleison on October 30, 2012, 08:11:14 AM
You guys are tiring me out! :)

It seems that, according to the rule of every discussion on an internet forum, the dialogue has degenerated into repetition and frustration.  I regret that I was not able to participate more actively, but I will try to offer some further points for discussion now.

In this thread I am simply wanting to pin traditionalists down to what exactly they are arguing at a fundamental level and to pursue these few arguments.

We have nothing to hide. :)  Most of the traditionalists on these forums, including myself, are only just beginning to grasp the nature and profundity of the truths expressed in the writings of authors such as Rene Guenon and Frithjof Schuon.  For this reason it is not always easy for us to verbalise what we already know to be true through an innate revelation known as Intellection, which is what I have already alluded to as the dissolution of the duality of subject and object, that is to say a perfect identity of knower and known.  This is not a deliberate obscurantism but is simply a reflection of the difficulties of translating metaphysical truths into logical thought structures such as human language, since for us Truth is something which precedes logic, not something which is defined by it.

This reasoning proceeds from external facts to internal realities by a profound leap of faith in the absence of sufficient evidence. The traditionalist position, on the other hand, begins from the realities that are immediately accessible to our innermost selves.  Consciousness is therefore considered to be a primal substance equivalent to Being, and in fact an inward revelation (notwithstanding an exposition of this in Hindu metaphysics) reveals that these two principles are in fact two faces of the same reality.

You might think this. If you do you must surely submit that traditionalism makes a huge leap of faith too in the absense of sufficient evidence, (and arguiably, evidence to the contrary related to the close correlation between (1) the existence of human brains and (2) the state of human brains). This leap is the same one, but in the other direction. The traditionalist position proceeds from internal facts to external realities, as i Have been arguing with Cargest. Hence the charge of confusion of an epistemological issue with a metaphysical one.

What justifies this move from internal facts (consciousness) to external realities?

The leap is not as similar as you might imagine.  For the materialist, or any modern thinker, the objective, material world has given rise to subjectivity which is more or less a cosmic accident.  This subjectivity is subsequently able to become aware of its origin in the objective world, however it is only possible to reach this conclusion by assuming that the objective world is something concrete and that our subjectivity apprehends it as it is.  In other words, it is a perfect example of a circular argument, a conclusion that can only be reached by assuming its veracity from the outset.

On the other hand, metaphysics begins from the idea that true knowledge cannot be attained by the accumulation of facts pertaining to a relative world, since there will always be an irreducible chasm between the knowing subject and the object that is known, but from identity with its object.  In other words, one can only know what one is.  We can extrapolate from this, that since pure Being is the principle of all existing things it must also possess a knowledge, or consciousness, that far exceeds the nature of purely human consciousness.  Thus human consciousness might be considered to be a mode of Being, but beyond this consciousness can actually be considered an equal and complementary reality equivalent to Being.  This is of course expressed in the well known Hindu formula Sat (Being), Chit (Consciousness), Ananda (Bliss).  Thus Being and Consciousness are two metaphysical principles underlying all of the manifest world.  There is no essential dualism between subject and object, they simply manifest one pole or another in different degrees, so that man is primarily Consciousness and secondarily Being and vice versa for a mineral.  This of course requires an understanding of both Being and Consciousness which goes beyond the profane and abstract notions of moderns.  These preceding statements may appear to take the form of a rational argument which they are not.  They are primarily the expression of a knowledge which is only possible because man, in his innermost essence, is identified with his principle and is therefore capable of knowledge in which he transcends himself, for precisely the reasons I have outlined in this paragraph.  In other words...

Quote from: Frithjof Schuon
...in the case of intellectual intuition, knowledge is not possessed by the individual insofar as he is an individual, but insofar as in his innermost essence he is not distinct from his Principle.  Thus metaphysical certitude is absolute because of the identity of the knower and the known in the Intellect'

This is the key to everything!

The brain is, quite simply, the physical expression of the that element of the individual that can be described as 'thought', thus it corresponds exactly to the inner reality of 'thought' and damaging the brain will result in the retreat of this element of the individual into a more internal sphere.  It is not, as many imagine, the seat of consciousness as such, which corresponds to the physical heart but which is not tied to the physical body in a significant way.
 

Why is the brain the physical expression of that element of the individual that can be described as thought and not our hair or our knee caps?

Here I can only refer to the eternal wisdom of Lao Tsu,

Quote
How do I know the world is like this?  By looking!
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 30, 2012, 05:31:30 PM
Quote
In other words, one can only know what one is.  We can extrapolate from this, that since pure Being is the principle of all existing things it must also possess a knowledge, or consciousness, that far exceeds the nature of purely human consciousness.

I don't see how it follows from the idea that we are conscious that Being in general possesses knowledge or consciousness!

You might really like this, if you haven't read it. Seems to be a similar apporach to traditionalism in taking Descartes deadly, morbidly seriously. http://www.amazon.com/Crisis-European-Sciences-Transcendental-Phenomenology/dp/081010458X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351645091&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Crisis+of+European+Sciences+and+Transcendental+Philosophy

Quote
"Phenomenology is different from scientific study in that it does not pretend toward a universal truth or experience unmediated through our subjectivity"

I understand now that, like phenomonologists like Husserl, you take Descartes very seriously. That's fine I just think you can't construct a system of knowledge any more than 'physicalists' who, yes, take that leap of faith that they are not being fooled by an evil demon or something!
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 30, 2012, 05:56:48 PM
I understand now that, like phenomonologists like Husserl, you take Descartes very seriously. That's fine I just think you can't construct a system of knowledge any more than 'physicalists' who, yes, take that leap of faith that they are not being fooled by an evil demon or something!

This is not an argument; this is an ad-hominem attack.

This is you being a cunt.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 30, 2012, 06:36:24 PM
I understand now that, like phenomonologists like Husserl, you take Descartes very seriously. That's fine I just think you can't construct a system of knowledge any more than 'physicalists' who, yes, take that leap of faith that they are not being fooled by an evil demon or something!

This is not an argument; this is an ad-hominem attack.

This is you being a cunt.

Go away, child. You're going nuts. I am just submitting my doubts about an enterprise that is so radically informed by skepticism. Damn, there was nothing back handed in my comment  :(.

I would really like to continue this with Eleison as you're going off the rails in emo-ness in the last couple of days.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 30, 2012, 07:11:54 PM
I am pointing out to you your own character.  You seem to be incapable of distinguishing between a valid argument and some random thought that was funny to you, or empty proclamations of the lunacy of your opponent's assertions.  These are not arguments; they are wastes of space, and they can only serve so as to aggravate the opponent, which is entirely against decorum, especially on a forum such as this.

My point is this: you have the sudden thought that he might be informed by skepticism; you latch onto it, and state it as if it were fact, never realising that it is simply an assumption.  In fact, I can tell you that Descartes diverges quite disastrously from Tradition, and that, Tradition predating Descartes, Eleison is not informed by skeptical arguments, but by - shock horror! - Tradition.  A very short and simple act of reasoning has established that your fantasy was incorrect, and that you wasted your own time and ours in deciding that it was meritorious enough to be posted in the middle of a discussion about the nature of reality.

I might go on to say, I have rarely interjected when you have made such assumptions about my own beliefs or character, except when those assumptions have stood in the way of our discussion.  Regardless, you have committed this folly repeatedly, and I think it only right that you should be hauled up on it before you get yourself knocked out in an argument over a pint.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 31, 2012, 05:36:24 AM
Bill Hopkins, you saying cargest is decartes-crazy only highlights your inability to grasp the non-dual transcendence of subject/object he and eleison have been talking about. They are talking about being and knowing what is, because what knows itself is in the thing, otherwise it wouldn't exist. You seem to keep thinking they're talking about cartoons.

Quote
I don't see how it follows from the idea that we are conscious that Being in general possesses knowledge or consciousness!

We are being. Or, being is us.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 31, 2012, 06:57:52 AM
Bill Hopkins, you saying cargest is decartes-crazy only highlights your inability to grasp the non-dual transcendence of subject/object he and eleison have been talking about. They are talking about being and knowing what is, because what knows itself is in the thing, otherwise it wouldn't exist. You seem to keep thinking they're talking about cartoons.

Quote
I don't see how it follows from the idea that we are conscious that Being in general possesses knowledge or consciousness!

We are being. Or, being is us.

I don't really understand what you mean with "because what knows itself is in the thing, otherwise it wouldn't exist".

It doesn't matter much, but I was talking to Eleison with my descarte comment. What matters is that I was noting what I thought to be a feature of his view he was outlining: the requirement to be philosophically justified at all times, and not to 'jump' from experience to an outside world? Is this wrong?

I will be the first to admit physicalists make this 'unfounded' jump. But if you grant this, 'objective' regularities and causal relationships in the world seem to come think and fast to our store of knowledge (how did we send man to the moon, if we haven't guaged how reality works via maths and physics in this case?).

I'm also thinking Eleison makes some kind of a jump, from experience to some kind of world or intersubjectivity (Being). I may be wrong, or conceiving the matter incorrectly.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on October 31, 2012, 07:04:49 AM
I was thinking of the concept of decartes of the mind as a separate entity, like a ghost or something, I was really under the impression you thought cargest was like trippin on religiosity. Anyway, I admit to that being unfair, because I have never read this author, I just got this description of his idea about the mind. I actually don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to philosophy.

I agree with most of what you say: Religion is a tricky issue. From all that I said here, the only thing I keep is this: I agree with your views, the only difference is that, through reading, practice and real accounts I have come to believe there is such thing as phenomena which are not explained by science, like telepathy, premonition and others.

I know personally in my family accounts of people who dreamt or woke up nervous who later found out bad stuff had happened. Just recently in my house a mother started getting sick on the same time her son was in a car/bike accident. There are other things that happened too. Telepathy is most definetly real.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: BillHopkins on October 31, 2012, 07:06:52 AM
I was thinking of the concept of decartes of the mind as a separate entity, like a ghost or something, I was really under the impression you thought cargest was like trippin on religiosity. Anyway, I admit to that being unfair, because I have never read this author, I just got this description of his idea about the mind. I actually don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to philosophy.

I'm no expert on Descartes, either. I took an undergraduate unit years ego.

I do think Cargest is trippin on religiosity, a bit! Have you read the thread on evolution? That's not necessarily a bad thing. People can be great people and, imo, have strange metaphysical beliefs. I'm not a new atheist. However when we're actually talking metaphysics/science etc I like to pursue people who I think have unfounded beliefs. Also, as I started this thread hoping to kindle some conversation with like minded people (Nietzscheans), and it got immediately hi-jacked by traditionalists, I went a bit harder.

I agree with most of what you say: Religion is a tricky issue. From all that I said here, the only thing I keep is this: I agree with your views, the only difference is that, through reading, practice and real accounts I have come to believe there is such thing as phenomena which are not explained by science, like telepathy, premonition and others.

I know personally in my family accounts of people who dreamt or woke up nervous who later found out bad stuff had happened. Just recently in my house a mother started getting sick on the same time her son was in a car/bike accident. There are other things that happened too. Telepathy is most definetly real.

I can't argue with your experiences. I can say i've never experienced anything like this.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: Cargést on October 31, 2012, 10:31:41 AM
(how did we send man to the moon, if we haven't guaged how reality works via maths and physics in this case?)

We've worked out how relativity works via mathematics and physics.  Relativity is not reality - nothing in relativity is absolute, nothing in relativity is permanent; relativity is the illusion of the cave, which seems to have taken you hook, line, and sinker, as with all other physicalists.  This is what happens when you use one intellective tool at the expense of all others and claim the unreality of absolutes - suddenly, there is no frame of reference for anything, the entire universe becomes internally relative and internally reliant (which is impossible, as the relative cannot support itself).  This is why I was confused by your charge of relativism - relativism is the folly of scientists, not of metaphysicians!  It never ceases to amuse me how misused or misunderstood a relatively (ha!) simple term can be.

I do think Cargest is trippin on religiosity, a bit! Have you read the thread on evolution? That's not necessarily a bad thing. People can be great people and, imo, have strange metaphysical beliefs. I'm not a new atheist. However when we're actually talking metaphysics/science etc I like to pursue people who I think have unfounded beliefs.

I'm tripping on my severely limited knowledge of Metaphysics, which can be certified, as opposed to Science, which can only be continually tested until falsified.  This is why the metaphysician focuses on eternals: things which do not change must be our starting point when we enquire into things that do change.  Otherwise, the nature of our enquiry might change while we're making it!

Our senses may or may not be reliable, but the most damning indictment against empiricism is that the physical is in a constant state of change!  We cannot know, axiomatically, that any physical law is constant; we can only assume from the evidence that this is so, in the area which has been measured, at the time when it was measured, for the objects which were measured.  In contrast, we can categorically know ourselves to be identical to that which is known; this is eternal.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: indjaseemun on November 03, 2012, 08:10:58 AM
I've planned to read this book http://books.google.com.br/books?id=RYHtBPiZVgsC&printsec=frontcover&hl=pt-BR for a long time but I haven't owned it yet.

I have however browsed as it is available on googlebooks and if you do, you can find some interesting stuff related to the discussion.
Title: Re: The best book on Nietszche i've come across. Nietzsche elevated alongside Plato.
Post by: scourge on November 03, 2012, 03:47:51 PM
Bridge the gap http://www.psychology.sbc.edu/Descartes%20and%20Kant.htm