Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
This is related to some questions we're currently having in the OOO thread on correlationism but I decided to start a new thread focusing on this author. Tom Murray has some new articles at this page, one of which is “Embodied realisms and integral ontologies.” Therein he quotes Wilber from IS, p. 252.
“…all objects are first and foremost perspectives. NOT 'are seen from perspectives,' but ARE perspectives…there is no 'apart from' how a thing appears…'things' do not exist in a pregiven world.”
Murray then asks:
“There are several assumptions or implications here. The idea that our perception of the nature of objects, and even their appearance as objects, is constructed by our mental apparatus is generally accepted. But this quote leaves open the question of whether perspectives exist in a pregiven world (and whether they might reasonably be considered 'things'—which would lead to a contradiction).... Are perspectives then things that humans have/use, or are they fundamental components of the world? Wilber's claim that 'there is no apart from how a thing appears' seems to be taking the non-realist (or radical socialconstructivist) position that a world 'out there' does not exist.... Wilber's claim also appears to fall prey to what Roy Bhaskar calls the epistemic fallacy.... Yet in the larger context of his body of his work Wilber does not take a radically anti-realist or social constructivist position (nor fall prey to the epistemic fallacy)" (3).
As Mike Meyers' character from SNL's Coffee Talk used to say, “discuss amongst yourselves.”
I'll also move over some of the last posts from the OOO thread on this topic to discuss here:
Speaking of OOO and AQAL, Morton addresses AQAL in this post. I will return to this -- for now, I just want to observe that I think he misreads the meaning of 'object' in AQAL. His list of objects (the Pope, flapjacks, etc) could also be classified as objects in AQAL-speak.
A couple of quick points. Yes, AQAL could classify such as holons. But If I'm not mistaken (and I might be, not keeping up with the kenndashians) kennilingus still adheres to the distinction between sentient and insentient holons. Not only does OOO challenge this form of correlationism but Edwards does so as well, with similar sounding arguments from his AQAL perspective. Morton gets at this bias in his comments. Also I'm reminded of Edwards' critique of how kennilingus reduces the objective quadrant to exterior material stuff without the same developmental complexity as interior 'objects.' Granted there are places in kennilingus that say the material is just as complex, with the higher categories of subtle and causal 'exterior' objects, but this contention is neither consistent or coherent as we've examined before in this forum (probably the old one at Gaia). Also granted with the 'zones' there is an inside and outside to both interior and exterior quadrants but again Edwards breaks down the inconsistency in that AQAL concept and offers a way forward within the AQAL system.
Yes, I appreciate Edwards' critiques. I consider his contributions to be part of "Integral thought" -- not confining it to Wilber. What I was responding to was this remark by Morton:
Now we could do the same thing to every other set in the quadrant and sphere model. For instance, the difference between my use of interobjectivity and E/Z's use of the term is that for them, “object” just means “something that isn't social, human, sentient or noetic” or something like that. An AQAL object just is an ordinary object as it appears to non-examined, everyday human prejudice. Whereas for me, “object” can mean the Pope, wallabies, the Oort Cloud and flapjacks.
I have spoken with Sean about his ideas and know that he does not mean by object, "something that isn't social, human, sentient, or noetic" (as if the UR refers just to a particular class of interiorless things).
In excerpt D it notes that it will deal with zone 2, the outside of interiors. Excerpt C dealt with zone 1 (inside interiors) and that forthcoming excerpts (presumably E and F) will deal with zones 3 and 4 (inside and outside of exteriors). The latter excerpts have not appeared to date but from figure 2 in D this would deal with the topics of autopoeisis, empiricism and systems theory, the stuff of Bryant's oeuvre. Perhaps these excerpts are awaiting the study and integration of OOO before release?
Also see Integral Ecology, where Sean maintains the distinction between quadrant-perspective and quadrivium-object (p. 176). Granted Sean has changed some views since then but does he still retain this correlationist view of kosmic address? It would seem so if we look at his more recent article referenced in this post on p. 11 of this thread (e.g, fn 23). Later in that page I question the kosmic addressing system with reference to past posts on the topic. He also says on p. 168, quoting Wilber:
"This is why I use the word sub-sist. There is a reality or a What that subsists and has intrinsic features but it doesn’t ex-ist without a Who and a How."
I believe so, but I will need to review this paper to see how this might have changed. (I'm heading out the door now, so I'll do this later). Can you tell me why you think the quadrivium-object and quadrant-perspective distinction is correlationist? As I said above, I do not feel Integral thought is correlationist in the sense frequently criticized (as anthropocentric). It might still be organism-centric, but not anthropocentric.
Concerning distinguishing between sentient and insentient objects, I do think Edwards makes a good point. But there does appear to be a qualitative difference between types of objects that we should account for somehow. We can cut up, throw, burn, puree, squish, or otherwise roughly treat a flapjack, but it feels like quite a different act to do this to a live chicken, an elephant, or the Pope. How would you approach this from an OOO perspective?
Thanks, Theurj. This looks like an interesting article, which I'll read soon. (I just arrived on campus, where I'll be in class all day, so I'll return to this this evening). Driving over here, I thought about a few additional questions or points I'd like to add on to my last post above. If an OOO philosopher sees all objects as ontologically equal, with no essential ontological differences between a human being and pancake, how would this play out in social and moral theory? We could say that it might encourage us to treat all objects with respect, but if there are no fundamental ontological distinctions we can make between objects (and if it is correlationist to say that some objects are sentient and others are not), then it seems cultures could just as easily treat human beings like machines or food products as the other way around. Does OOO provide resources for judging or making evaluative moral distinctions regarding how we relate to or treat various types of objects (say, a flapjack, a sponge, a pencil, a kitten, a human?)
Murray: "Bhaskar's approach is compatible with IMP, but he seems to distance himself a bit from the implications of 'enacted' objects—perhaps because of the slight implication that the deeper structures we perceive in reality would not be there if we did not perceive or enact them.... in their [Wilber, Bhaskar] attempts to counterbalance the postmodern trends they may have swung too far from postmodern insights, eschewing a deep consideration of the fallibility of knowledge and the indeterminacy of core concepts" (14-15).
I'm not sure where Murray is going exactly but he is bringing in L&J's work in PF. I've seen signs already of his using the real/false reason paradigm. And it is here, for me anyway, where 'complexity' gets mixed with a kind of reasoning that more complex is necessarily 'higher' or better. I think I even used Murray in the real and false reason thread noting that 'wisdom' doesn't necessarily come from ever higher levels of complexity but actually getting more simple. And it is where I also made the argument that with a base in false reason more complexity only means more complex dysfunction. Perhaps a more 'evolved' perspective comes from a certain level of complexity which then turns back on itself and more fully integrates its roots in less complex levels. Perhaps there's a place where evolution no longer gets more complex but more integrated?
I know, a kennilinguist might counter: "But integration is just one fulcrum in the fusion-differentiation-integration cycle of every level, ad infinitum." But again, this is using a kind of false reasoning that just unconsciously supports its own inherent bias. I''m suggesting a different sort of '2nd-tier' where the rules change radically.
“Reconstructive sciences and reconstructive modes of inquiry make arguments about the preconditions that must hold in order for something observed to exist” (16).
Here we see Bryant's (and Bhaskar's) transcendental deduction. Murray then shows how this approach avoids metaphysical duality in positing ethics, since it doesn't assume an essence or false logically or essentially real category or form to which we must align. He uses Habermas' communicative action as the transcendental deduction instead of some metaphysical moral code, again 'embodied' in social agreement. (A point just made in the OOO thread.) Another aspect of this shared lifeworld is its 'pre-theoretical' nature (a point made about Bryant in OOO), again going back to embodiment where real reason arises.
In the section of metaphorical pluralism and prototype theory (starting on p. 18) we see a mereology more like Bryant's (and mine before that in various threads), where a phenomena (object) doesn't neatly fall into any one category but may exist in more than one, or even outside of them. Which again goes back to my excellent work in real/false reason about the type of false reason that builds complexity on nested hierarchies and ideal categories that subsume smaller or lower objects into larger or higher ones.
He starts a discussion of kennilingual ontological pluralism on p. 19 (including Hargens), specifically bringing in the kosmic address. He says:
"[It] does not address indeterminacy as deeply as Embodied Realism.... It does not directly address the question of how individuals operating from the same Kosmic Address might differ in their conceptualizations. Also it is not yet apparent whether the concept of Kosmic Address itself is
sufficiently determinate" (20).
As further context I'll copy-and-paste excerpts from the following post in the OOO thread:
Hargens in footnote 24:
“Mark Edwards pointed out to me—and I completely agree—that it is important to keep in mind that an approach to Kosmic addresses is enacting those addresses in a particular way. Integral Theory needs to spend more time developing and justifying how it has arrived at its own Kosmic address mailing system and how this system establishes its own system of addresses.”
That is, kennilingus kosmic addresses are themselves not givens but enacted from a particular perspective, one which has much more to do with metaphysics* than with a given altitude. The concept of altitude itself is taken as a given, 'proven' by a certain mathematics of complexity inherent to nested sets, which again provides a perspective (address) inconsistent with the likes of Latour or Bryant above. It serves no purpose to 'address' or pigeonhole the latter as merely green or pluralist because they do not accept the 'unifying' kennillingus addressing system. That is, other than to curtail their invaluable insights. We see Sean at least trying to do so but to date he has not explored the inherent biases of nested 'holism' in the kennilingus kosmos.
* For example see the IPN thread in general and this post in particular, which sums up the metaphysical foundation of kosmic addressing.
So the kosmic address, and the MHC, are based in metaphysical assumptions, i.e., false reasoning. Said reasoning with its 'involutionary' (or Platonic) forms are not based on embodiment but rather the other way around. The base then, which might be heavenly or spiritual, i.e. trans-human, nonetheless requires the mental realm as an intermediary step on the way toward embodiment or material manifestation (aka anthropomorphism). Whereas the embodied approach starts from the ground up, from the material, which then of course evolves and the human emerges.
Granted kennilingus has this aspect in its transcend and include paradigm and in that sense it is not anthropomorphic. But 2 things. Getting rid of metaphysical involution, the amorphous morphogenetic gradient, is one step. But the other, more subtle anthorpocentric bias is in the false reasoning of transcend and include via hierarchical complexity, which assumes a Platonic math that begins at a formal reasoning level (strictly human) that is then retro-read both up and down the levels from there. Whereas the likes of L&J start with the basic embodied level which seems available to any body. Or in OOO terms, available to any object which by definition has an endo-structure.
Granted such speculation also requires a certain cognitive level to posit such an ontology. But it is grounded in a transcendental deduction, itself grounded in a bodily basis. Whereas the metaphysically grounded hierarchical complexity is grounded in a strictly disembodied (Platonic or involutionary) false human reasoning.
Granted that a kosmic address, if rid of its metaphysicality, could theoretically be a useful postmetaphysical construct. Bryant accepts that all objects of whatever level of complexity translate other objects and their environment through they own structural limitations. Hence they would have an interpretation based on their structural 'level,' but said level could not be as well-defined as a kennilingual one. One reason being that each object is never fully present to itself, let alone so in its interaction with another object, so pinpointing its exact 'address' becomes a bit more uncertain. But again, that's another point in Murray's paper, this indeterminacy inherent in each phenomena and in each interpretation, somewhat similar with the withdrawn nature of OOO objects. Hence the likes of Derrida's khora does not have an address, yet it does take a certain cognitive capacity to understand it. Khora itself though, as hyperobject, is at least theoretically boundless and without specific location.
Aha! you say, it's just like kennilingus consciousness per se, the foundation of altitude. Remember this thread for the differance.
I argued in this thread against notions such as Emptiness, Spirit, etc, not having a kosmic address (because Wilber seemed to habitually leave off the altitude in his descriptions), but it seems for khora you would agree that that would be appropriate?
I said that it would require a certain cognitive development to apprehend the concept of khora, so in that sense it has at least one aspect of a kosmic address. But if we grant it hyperobject status it doesn't have a location of its own, no quadrivium in AQAL. It is like the withdrawn nature of Bryant's objects, never entering into presence so hence no location or coordinates. I noted it was indeed like Spirit or consciousness per se in that regard, but it seems khora as non-concept is not metaphysical like CPS per my referenced thread. Recall I asked before if khora exists (subsists) without a human to apperceive it and I said I think so. That it requires a certain degree of cognitive development to transcendentally deduce its existence doesn't mean said altitude 'creates' it or even enacts it, or that it doesn't exist without it. Yes, the human recognition of it is an enactment, but not required. Which is a bit different from the usual kosmic address typically enacted by human beings?
I'm just speculating above, not sure of this aspect, trying on some coordinations.