Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The two truths, still?

It seems this old, old argument is still around, just taking new forms. Here’s more from the OOO thread that starts to touch upon Buddhist themes. This led to some past references to Buddhist material as well as embodied realist material:

Recall Morton said this:

"Bohr argued that quantum phenomena don't simply concatenate themselves with their measuring devices. They're identical to it: the equipment and the phenomena form an indivisible whole (QT 139–40, 177). This 'quantum coherence' applies close to absolute zero, where particles become the 'same' thing."
I think here he is in agreement with the conflation of observer and observed, reality and consciousness, that I mentioned in the PA thread. He is also Buddhist and sees this same conflation in his interpretation of it, one that is not uncommon and which we've explored and debated many times before. (Most recently here, with other references therein.)

And yes, the monism school (of the One Same (non)Thing) accuses the "relativist" school of the performative contradiction, as we've seen recently in a quantum guise. Here's how Varela answered it (my comments in following post), and Nagarjuna before him. (You might have to download the latter from Google docs.)

The issues are laid out much more clearly than I could by Newland and Thackchoe (linked above). Their type of complimentarity does not have an acausal without mutual entailment with the causal. The former is not totally beyond conceptuality and the latter is not totally beyond nonconceptuality. It really is an ages old debate.

It seems this talk of wholeness is as if it can exist separate from partness. As if there are no parts in wholeness. As if wholness is a level of development beyond partness. I see this as a metaphysical postulate, i.e., a distinct dichotomy between two things with fundamentally different natures. The same goes for the intuition-reason dichotomy, as if intuition only sees in wholes whereas reason only analysizes into parts. The embodied realists like L&J, much like the mutual entailment faction of Tibetan Buddhists, see them in relation. Recall this from L&J (Metaphors We Live By) on imagination and reason:

“What we are offering in the experientialist account of understanding and truth is an alternative which denies that subjectivity and objectivity are our only choices. We reject the objectivist view that there is absolute and unconditional truth without adopting the subjectivist alternative of truth as obtainable only through the imagination, unconstrained by external circumstances. The reason we have focused so much on metaphor is that it unites reason and imagination. Reason, at the very least, involves categorization, entail-ment, and inference. Imagination, in one of its many aspects, involves seeing one kind of thing in terms of another kind of thing—what we have called metaphorical thought. Metaphor is thus imaginative rationality. Since the categories of our everyday thought are largely metaphorical and our everyday reasoning involves metaphorical entailments and inferences, ordinary rationality is therefore imaginative by its very nature. Given our understanding of poetic metaphor in terms of metaphorical entailments and inferences, we can see that the products of the poetic imagination are, for the same reason, partially rational in nature” (138-9).

We see a variation on this in the Newland thread concerning conceptualization and its relationship with the nonconceptual.

It also help to ground or situate where our ideas (which include feelings like intuition) come from concerning wholes and parts. See “image schemas and nonduality” as one example. Granted the feeling or intuition of wholness in a particular state of consciousness seems to not entail parts. But that intuition or feeling could not exist without a body in which to feel it. It's not as if this wholeness exists in itself in an objective universe regardless of people to impute wholeness upon it. I know that is exactly what the SRs and OOOs claim, like Morton above, but I'm not buying this part of the picture.

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