I'm not sure about the term 'post-metaphysical' - does it mean trying to find a ground for 'spirit' without appeal to unknowable special qualities. Or does it mean finding a place holder for that mystery other than 'God'. Or what? I'd appreciate a straightforward explanation of what is meant by the term. Or, a link to such a discussion. 


I should say I come with the bias that I believe the height and the core of being alive is to surrender to mystery, that, indeed, the world is unknowable in any final sense. That said, I'm prepared to entertain other views. Or, it may even be that my views and 'post metaphysical' are compatible? 



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Infimitas: Also, bear in mind that we on this forum tend to use the word "metaphysics" in two ways (at least).  First, in the strict sense, where metaphysics means ideas about the true nature of reality.  In this case, e does indeed have metaphysical views -- we all do.


In the more lenient sense, however, "metaphysics" refers to old-fashioned ideas about the true nature of reality, e.g. of having, in some sense, privileged access to truth.  In this sense, e can indeed claim to reject metaphysics without contradicting himself.


Tom: No he can't inf.  There's that problem of contradiction and language and all that.  e is presuming to say Truth, in fact, TRUTH.  But he won't commit to any statement.  I see that.  Absolute negation = absolute and eternal regress.




Let’s see if we can get closer to what I am saying with a simple example.


A theist is walking down the street and a bird shits on his or her  head > God’s will 

E is walking down the street and a bird shits on his head > a bird shit on my head

Notice that this does not happen.

E is walking down the street and a bird shits on his head > there is no God’s will

God or no God never ever enters the radar screen. Comprende? No metaphysical belief enters into my thought. I don’t need to look outside for unseen forces to explain what happened. And if I don't know what happened, I leave it at that. I am OK with not knowing. I don't posit...only God knows. 



Lakoff and Johnson claim there are 2 folk theories of the Pre-Socratics that were the foundational basis of their metaphysics and which we have inherited and still use today. From Philosophy in the Flesh.


1)      The Folk Theory of General Kinds- every particular thing is a kind of thing.

2)      The Folk Theory of Essences – Every entity has an “essence” or “nature”, that is, a collection of properties that makes it the kind of thing it is and that is the causal source of its natural behavior.


Later they say…


The Foundational Assumption of Metaphysics – Kinds exist and are defined by essences.


It is important to see how a natural desire to know leads so easily to metaphysical speculation…


So what happens to metaphysics when no one has ever seen an essence and is incapable of producing an essence and you therefore don’t believe in essences? First ontology disappears and then one becomes skeptical about all relative perspective bound knowledge claims masquerading in any form as absolutism i.e. Truth becomes “Truth”. Metaphysics has been a 2000+ year old intellectual cul de sac. Enter post-metaphysics…the time for the belief in metaphysics is over. 

Tom:  We're talking finer points here, points more powerfully determinate for one's understanding.


What do you mean, "determinate for one's understanding"? 


Tom: You mean why are you you?  Or why is a carpet not a peach? 

The real question is why is anything different?  All doesn't eliminate difference.  (Sometimes I feel I'm talking in the air.  I just ran a search on the machine thread.  I personally used the term difference/differentiation over a hundred times.  Same holds for the quantum thread.


Yes, I recall you talking about differentiation; I hadn't forgotten that.  I am just trying to understand why you find "from whence" to be an illegitimate phrase, necessarily implying linear causation, and yet simultaneously speak of a process of origination and differentiation.


Here's something you said on the Machine thread: 


Each human individual traces its origin to a single cell.  Evolution hypothesizes that we share a common ancestor in a single originating cell.  This might be called external origination: I originate from a cell through developments of others before me.  I am therefore externally other-referenced in my form.  I am also internally other-referenced...


How can you talk about "originating from" a cell and being other-referenced and simultaneously reject "from whence" language?  Can't it be used (legitimately, in your preferred frame) to describe other-referencing origination, a particular highlighted relationship (such as "you-to-the-single-cell")? 


And to return to my question:  What is your answer for why you and I don't mean the same things by "all"?

Bruce:  And to return to my question:  What is your answer for why you and I don't mean the same things by "all"?

Tom:  Give me your definition of all and I'll tell you.  I'm still waiting.

Well, I asked you that question first! 

Conventional:  "All" is the entirety of an identified quantity.

Metaphysical:  "All" is infinity, unbounded wholeness. 

Postmetaphysical:  Which "all"?  Spirit is the All and Only.  Eat all of your peas.  All right.  Who all wants to go out for burgers?  He was all, like, "OMG"!   All is a perspective (including the perspective of no-perspective, such as when you are pointing with the word to the tacit). 

"All" of the above definitions are valid, in my book.

Would this be the opposite view of Meillassoux, whom Ed was just recently referencing?  Meillassoux holds that the only absolute is contingency -- that there are no necessary beings.  Your view suggests the opposite to me: that there are only necessary beings.  What you're articulating here and elsewhere also is reminiscent to me of Platonism.  For instance, when you say, above, that any reference to "all" speaks The All, one question that arises for me is whether you hold this to be true for other words as well: that particular references, in some sense, speak The (____), where the blank is an archetypal or ideal form (Self, Love, Cause, Mind, Time, Number, Beauty, Truth, etc)...?


Tom, The point of indeterminacy is to go beyond necessity isn’t it ? The statement that the only absolute is contingency transcends and includes necessity, given a rider, that everything that is said is contextualized in contradiction as is context itself.  An interesting fall out – what is apparently not contradictory or contextually not contradictory – the statement - The absolute is the absolute impossibility of a necessary being - is a construct aware statement. But, its simply that, apparent and not essential – a statement and not the thing itself.

Construct aware literally should mean that the construct or structure itself is aware , and awareness here is more than just awareness but a movement integrated with structure/form plurally * and independently without a reference to all as in infinite content which is an eliminatable limitation since its a contradiction which is a fall out and not the constituent kind. You deal with a constituent and self similarity takes care of the rest. Randomly or indeterminately, since purpose or necessity is a violation of the movement.

I liked cherry picking meillasoux btw. Perfect. My refrain about an approach for constructs and counter contexts are not dismissed 

* Plurally – interesting parallel. more than one but less than many, a multiple object . mm mol once more

Bruce:  And to return to my question:  What is your answer for why you and I don't mean the same things by "all"?

Tom:  Give me your definition of all and I'll tell you.  I'm still waiting.

As a reminder:  I've answered your question and now I'm awaiting your promised response to mine.

Tom:  In my view of process, I terminate possibility creatively, I de-termine.  That which is determined is a new patterning that carries the root fractal of wholeness.  This view is essentially what Bohr says about quantum physics: possibility (the Schrödinger waveform) terminates (collapses) into something particularly new where all relations move together, or in Bohr's words jump states.  The new (the experimental result) bootstraps itself discontinuously with the old and appears whole, both in the sense that the new state appears whole, but also whole in its relations where this internally-related jumping reflects the whole in each part (in each part's relatedness).

Can you tie this more directly to your comment regarding "finer points, points powerfully determinate for one's understanding"?  What are the finer points, and how do you see them playing a role in the determination of one's understanding? 

On another note, I have some general questions about your view of process -- in part because your description is familiar to me, being similar to inquiries into time in the TSK tradition.  To start:  Is there a particular scale at which you see instantaneous, timeless change and discontinuous leaps being operative, or does your description apply across all scales and for any process one might wish to describe? 

Tom:  And I don't think no-perspective is a perspective.

That's a paradoxical phrase usually found in Middle Way and Zen literature.  In any event, I wasn't using the phrase in its traditional sense.  What I meant was, to the extent that "all" is an English word, playing a role in the "relativity play" (your term) of language, "all" is a perspective in that it functions as a linguistic pointer or signifier, whether conventionally (the entirety of a designated quantity) or metaphysically (infinity, unbounded wholeness).  The All is a 3rd-person way to describe or designate the ultimate, for instance, whereas "God" or "My Beloved" would be a 2nd-person way, and "I AM" would be a 1st-person way.

Tom:  How could the All include the future?  Here's one view.  Everything that could be must be possible, and possibility is actual.  Water could possibly be anything else---anything.  One such possibility can be seen watching ice melt: that the ice could have melted must be a real possibility contained, somehow, in what solid-form water is.  Extrapolate from this: any future possibility must be real and actual, now: fractals within fractals within fractals.


This seems to 'gut' creativity, doesn't it?  This is something more like actualization of the always-already: nothing new.

Tom:  The difference probably reduces to willingness at some level.  Most people go to business school to shelter themselves from actually doing business, which is learned in-risk and on the fly.  Check the realm of job concerns, courage to go with what's presented, integration of some content, willingness to jump into some unknown, willingness to publicly course-correct.  You might find the source of the difference there.  Or not.

Ignoring the condescension for now, yes, I agree will is important -- and I would say I am willing to see the world differently, if that way of seeing rings home with me.  But I'm not sure "will" alone is sufficient to account for the difference between people's understandings of particular terms or their views of the world.
Tom:  I mean, homeomorphic equivalence = equivalent equivalence = (hedged) sameness, no?  Why not just say sameness?
Because sometimes simple sameness is a blunt hammer when a finer tool is needed.  Panikkar uses the term in the context of interfaith dialogue because neither the exclusivist tactic of assuming blunt incommensurability and non-relatedness between religious terms, nor the inclusivist tactic of assuming they are all expressing the same essential ideas (usually understood in the inclusivist's terms), have proven adequate in the encounter between people with different religious convictions.  I thought you'd like the term, by the way.  The 'fractal replay' you describe is a type of homeomorphic equivalence, a term which is intended to communicate both sameness (say, in form or function) and difference (in various particulars) across developmental and interpretive frames.
Tom:  (Btw, am I a student with all these questions, Bruce?)

Of course not.   We've both been asking each other questions.  Not long ago, you chided me for dodging questions (writing to me, "I'm still waiting"), but then have followed that by ignoring or only vaguely or indirectly answering my own questions.  I just was reminding you that I also have some unanswered pending questions.

As for why I'm questioning you, I recognize that we no longer appear to have as much in common as we used to, and so you potentially represent for me either a growing edge or a wrong turn.  I'm hoping further discussion will help clarify that.

Tom: Nope.  It guts causality.  You're viewing time linearly (future linearly forward), so my view looks to you to gut creativity.

You've been talking in linear temporal terms.  I imagine you mean by creativity, acting freely, without compulsion, without cause.   But creation is also commonly understood as bringing something (newly) into being.  In the vision of always-already, where nothing changes, what constitutes the new?

As to whether or not you've ever really changed -- from my perspective, yes, you've changed.  Not completely -- there's a recognizable "Tom-ness" still in your communications -- but you ain't just the "same."  You're same same but different.

Sure, all is a signifier assuming language talks-about.  I don't make that assumption.  That's a thing-perspective imho.

I don't think thing-thinking is necessarily implied in what I am saying, but at present I do contend that interpretation is.  Meaning doesn't inhere in the word, "all," itself but depends on context.  Say "all" out loud in a room full of woodworkers and someone might hand you this.  Say it in a room full of Japanese speakers and it won't mean anything, or at least not what you intend.  All as "whole," is also "part" -- a whole-dependent part, empty of meaning apart from the whole, which (in the right context) both voices "wholeness," and in its emptiness of meaning apart from context, evinces wholeness and partness together.

Tom: Question: if meaning depends on context, does the meaning of meaning-depending-on-context depend on context?  Everything-is-interpretation = deconstructionist performative contradiction.


I have already told you that everything-is-interpretation is not my position.  But, yes, the meaning of meaning-depending-on-context depends on context.  Say "meaning depends on context" to your dog and see if there is any comprehension.  If there is "only relatedness down there," then meaning is relational, no?


Tom:  Bruce, I'm not knocking your profession.  I was merely making the general comment that I don't separate concepts from the rest of my life.  This is a Bohmian move.  I read concepts as indicators of patterns not only in my thinking life, but of patterns in the rest of my life, as these cannot be separated.  Because tacit cannot be conceptualized, incorporating a tacit understanding is a leap into trust (what I above called willingness).  Women call this getting out of one's head in a real-life leap that affects more than thinking.

:-), some men call it that, too.  I didn't take you to be criticizing my profession -- though now I have reason to wonder --, but to be telling me that the reason we might have a different understanding of the word, "all," is because I'm cowardly, afraid of risk, and not exhibiting sufficient faith, etc.  That, at least, seemed to be the implied message, and it came across to me as condescending.

Tom:  That finer tool has shades of hiding, for me, but I'll leave that.

Okay.  I don't see it that way.

Can you say what you mean when you describe speaking from a noncontextual view?  It sounds like you are formulating this argument from a place of "pure reason" which doesn't acknowledge the context that makes reasoning, or making certain claims, possible.  For instance, could (or would) I say meaning depends on context if I had no body?  Could (or would) I even say the terms "meaning," "depends," "context," etc, if I were not an English speaker at a sufficient stage of development capable of comprehending these terms?

Each word implies (is defined by) its opposite, such that to say "context" one must have a non-contextual view---one otherwise couldn't say context without any meaning whatever.  Does that make sense to you?


Yes, except I would say that not all words are 'defined' by a clear opposite.  Light and dark are clear opposites, but what is the opposite of tree?  Tree is defined by not-tree, as light is defined by non-light (dark), but the non- of tree is not a clear 'opposite' in the sense that dark is to light.  Do you accept that? 


However, both find 'definition' in relation to -- to use Joel's term -- an other-engendering context.  (Joel argues that the relative and absolute scopes are 'other-engendering contexts' for each other)  And the non-contextual (the Absolute) would be, in the realm of knowledge, meaining, language, the other-engendering context for contextuality (and meaning).

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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