Just thought I'd ask what exactly everyone defines as post-metaphysical. I'm a bit skeptical about the idea so I'd like to hear more about it. Thanks!


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I'm not sure. IMO The way I have learned about "integral" or "origin" is that it is not about interpreting raw data to begin with. This kind of "satori" may be clouded to some degree by our pretensions and disposition, but "it" is not some "thing" that comes and goes, and is up for interpretation. This goes way beyond the normal sensory input. I think Sri Aurobindo would disagree with Wilber here as well... Opening oneself up to "higher mind," is not merely about our sensory input anymore. There is a higher access, and something which goes beyond the mind. IE... metaphysical realities... This has been rejected outright by modernism, postmodernism throws it up for interpretation, but mystical illumination transcends both. As Gebser describes, this is a "being in truth." It's not easy and I doubt anyone is purely "of that" but there are glimpses and there is at least something to enlightenment/mystical experiences which hint that it is not merely an "object of attention anymore." It goes beyond that.

At any rate, just some more fuel to the fire of this good discussion!


theurj said:
...the raw sensory data of zazen is filtered through the metaphysical software...

The above is the crux of the issue as to what is "post" metaphysical (PM). That there is even something we call "raw data,' given as such and only later translated into "metaphysical templates" is itself part of what is considered metaphysics by PM. PM of course makes a conscious metaphysical claim if by metaphysics we mean a claim as to the nature of reality. But the PM claim is not that it is sans metaphysics in that sense but rather that there is no raw data as such (the given) sans our relationship (enaction) with it. Which of course doesn't mean that the objective world doesn't exist without humans to interpret it, only that as far as human understanding and experience goes, the objective world doesn't exist in some pure state that we can apprehend as it is, free of "metaphysical templates." (Even in the highest meditation or contemplation.) For the purposes of this forum then, the issue is which so-called metaphysical templates are PM in these terms, since the consensus is that PM is better than metaphysics.
S Marty Pants said:
Nirvana doesn't work in the long run? What does that even mean? Nothing works in the long run and PM hasn't even proven itself effective in the short run, as far as I can tell.

I am not interested in defending PMS. There is nothing to defend. If there were something, an essence or whatever, then it would be just another hidden metaphysics.

That would'nt even be a problem, as long as the metaphysical assuptions would dissolve after successful usage. Environment-friendly dispatch, so to speak. But far too often it doesn't disappear, even after thousands of years. In that sense, PMS can be understood as a noetic waste disposal.


I'm returning to this thread since it is a good question, one that defines a part of name of the forum. I'm quoting from Bryant's Democracy of Objects below, as it is clarifying in this regard:

"Bhaskar's defense of ontological realism begins with a very simple transcendental question: '...what must the world be like for science to be possible?' In asking what the world must be like for science to be possible, Bhaskar is asking a transcendental question and deploying a transcendental mode of argumentation. The question here is not, 'how do we have access to the world?' or, 'how do we know the world?' but rather what must be presupposed about the nature of the world in order for our scientific practices to be possible. As Deleuze reminds us, the transcendental is not to be confused with the transcendent. The transcendent refers to that which is above or beyond something else. For example, God, if it exists, is perhaps transcendent to the world. The transcendental, by contrast, refers to that which is a condition for some other practice, form of cognition, or activity.

"Additionally it should be noted that transcendental questions are not foundationalist in character. Transcendental questions do not seek an absolutely secure and unassailable foundation for knowledge or practice. [...] As such, transcendental inquiry sidesteps the epistemological project inaugurated by Descartes and so compellingly critiqued by Hume, by disavowing the project of seeking for an absolute foundation for knowledge"  (42-3).

Let's also consult Habermas, since he wrote Postmetaphysical Thinking. From the SEP entry on him:

"Habermas adopts a more naturalistic, 'postmetaphysical' approach (1992a), characterized by the fallible hermeneutic explication or 'reconstruction' of shared competences and normative presuppositions that allow actors to engage in familiar practices of communication, discourse, and inquiry. In articulating presuppositions of practice, reconstructive analysis remains weakly transcendental. But it also qualifies as a 'weak naturalism' inasmuch as the practices it aims to articulate are consistent with the natural evolution of the species and located in the empirical world (2003a, 10-30, 83ff); consequently, postmetaphysical reconstruction links up with specific forms of social-scientific knowledge in analyzing general conditions of rationality manifested in various human capacities and powers.

"Habermas's encounter with speech act theory proved to be particularly decisive for this project. In speech act theory, he finds the basis for a conception of communicative competence (on the model of Chomsky's linguistic competence). Given this emphasis on language, Habermas is often said to have taken a kind of 'linguistic turn' in this period. He framed his first essays on formal pragmatics (1976ab) as an alternative to Niklas Luhmann's systems theory. Habermas understands formal pragmatics as one of the 'reconstructive sciences,' which aim to render theoretically explicit the intuitive, pretheoretical know-how underlying such basic human competences as speaking and understanding, judging and acting. Unlike Kant's transcendental analysis of the conditions of rationality, reconstructive sciences yield knowledge that is not necessary but hypothetical, not a priori but empirical, not certain but fallible. They are nevertheless directed to invariant structures and conditions and raise universal, but defeasible claims to an account of practical reason."

This is still a good question very pertinent to the soul of this forum. 

There is no absolute post-metaphysics. How could there be? The concept is so oxymoronic that anyone who ponders is forced to admit that our term is simply an attractive "short-hand" phrase to describe certain kinds of metaphysics. These are what I call the various forms of the Metaphysics of Adjacency.


Mr. Deleuze places the "Transcendent" and the "transcendental" next to (adjacent) each other. The difference among them is both slight & crucial. To make such distinctions draws close to Zen. I have elucidated this elsewhere and in my current project: Vulture's Peak.

The Transcendent? The "?" is necessary.

There may (or may not) BE a Transcendent "something".


But we all require an apparently transcendental gesture in order to retroactively, and pragmatically, give coherence to each and every structure in a dynamically changing reality.

If we want to announce, for example, that everything is information... we must make at least minimal usage of the idea "Information about what???"

This act of referring to a beyond-thing is needed. It is needed in order to describe the functional shape of what appears.

However, this does not secure the factual existence of the beyond-thing. Nor does it eliminate the beyond-thing.

It may be & we must act 'as if' in some regards...

To understand, in deed or thought, that this position is not tepid, not mixed, not a reduction from certainty but rather an improvement, clarification, strengthening... that makes use of ontological adjacency. 

So we may call it post-metaphysical for convenience.

Habermas also has a chapter on Mead in PT. I put a placemarker thread on Mead in this forum linking to its predecessor Gaia IPS thread. A few quotes from the prior thread are in the link relevant to this topic.

Mmm, good stuff, guys.

I would like to "reboot" this forum with a good, juicy reflection on all three terms that comprise the name of this forum:  integral, postmetaphysical, and spiritual(ity).

Also see Appendix II of Integral Spirituality (p. 271) which starts with a section called "What is postmetaphysics?" E.g.:

"Kant’s critical philosophy replaced ontological objects with structures of the subject. In essence, this means that we do not perceive empirical objects in a completely realistic, pregiven fashion; but rather, structures of the knowing subject impart various characteristics to the known object that then appear to belong to the object—but really don’t; they are, rather, co-creations of the knowing subject. Various a priori categories of the knowing subject help to fashion or construct reality aswe know it. Reality is not a perception, but a conception; at least in part. Ontology per se justdoes not exist. Metaphysics is then a broad name for the type of thinking that can’t figure this out. Or, metaphysics is thinking that falls prey to the myth of the given."

Layman Pascal said:

But we all require an apparently transcendental gesture in order to retroactively, and pragmatically, give coherence to each and every structure in a dynamically changing reality.


The view from Vulture's Peak: Sans ontology, uncaused via autopoesis the universe is Indra's net...consciousness is its content.

Hi B - did this get done in a discrete thread that can be linked?


Balder said:

Mmm, good stuff, guys.

I would like to "reboot" this forum with a good, juicy reflection on all three terms that comprise the name of this forum:  integral, postmetaphysical, and spiritual(ity).

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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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