Friday, December 21, 2012

Bhaskar's epistemic fallacy

In response to my previous post I commented in the IPS Bhaskar-Meta-Reality thread:

"Ironic that Bhaskar is now committing the epistemic fallacy from the other end." Balder agree, after which I provided some references to this topic from the OOO thread:

Recall this post and the 2 following from the OOO thread.

Reply by theurj on May 10, 2012 at 9:17am
At the end of Brant's post on materialism I asked him about Bhaskar's turn to meta-reality, and how this might or not relate to his onticology. He merely responded with a short clip from a more recent post on hominid ecology, basically implying (I guess?) that Bhaskar's new stuff sees nature and culture operating as two completely different paradigms, and that the former is "governed entirely by brute matter (a now outmoded conception of matter) and mechanical causality (an outmoded notion of causality)."

Reply by theurj on May 10, 2012 at 9:58am

In this chapter of  Reflections on Meta-Reality I haven't yet seen the above treatment of matter as brute, but I'm only skimming at this point. However I find this interesting:

"The retreat from content into pure form results in a mode of consciousness that can only be characterized by formulae as sat-chit-anand--blissful consciousness of existence (or being or truth). This is that transcendental consciousness of the ground-state, at a level of supra-mental consciousness, awareness without thought or mental (or emotional) content, which underpins all other levels of consciousness" (212).

Apparently it is this causal state only that is non-dual. Just like we've explored in the Batchelor thread, this sets up a duality with the conceptual and/or relative state. The relative state is criticized for its duality, while not seeing that setting up a pure nondual state in opposition to the dual/relative is itself a duality. The causal and relative are not mutually entailing: the causal is origin of the relative.

Reply by theurj on May 10, 2012 at 4:49pm

This is interesting, Bhaskar speaking from The Formation of Critical Realism (Taylor & Francis, 2009):

"All matter has consciousness enfolded in it. But the converse does not apply.... We have a view of matter evolving through time-space into a point where it becomes conscious and we have paradigms of consciousness without matter enfolded in it. But having evolved from matter, consciousness does not need to go back to matter. It is not the case that all consciousness has matter enfolded within it: some consciousness might have, but most of what we call high consciousness does not.... You can make sense of this by thinking of an evolution where matter becomes more and more self-aware and when it gets to a certain point of self-awareness you do not actually need to go back to the level of brute, inanimate matter.... At a certain threshold of evolution, you have consciousness without matter: consciousness that is no longer tied to matter" (186).

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