Saturday, May 4, 2013

Subsistence and existence

Continuing in the CR/IT IPS discussion, Balder is doing a fine job of articulating and coordinating some of our earlier musings on subsistence and existence. Following are a few links to those discussions, where one can also read a few posts on either side of it: 1, 2, and 3 is the Murray thread, where we came at this from a kosmic address. Balder's musings from the thread follow:

"I agree that the 'no single dog,' or 'multiple-object,' aspect of Integral Theory could contribute to an Integral homeomorphic equivalent to 'withdrawal.'  But it's a subtle question, because the 'no single dog' aspect could also be read as an expression of correlationism and/or the epistemic fallacy.  I'm not sure I can do justice to this question in a brief response, but here's a start.  In saying the dog is different for different observers (something CR and OOO also accept and explicitly express), are we saying that the dog wholly is what it is for other observers, or perhaps that the dog is the sum total of what it is  for multiple observers?  In other words, is the being of the dog found in its appearance-for (or multiple-appearances-for) other beings?  The epistemic fallacy, according to CR and OOO, involves identifying the being of objects with the epistemic mode(s) in which they are accessed, i.e., in their epistemic appearance-for other beings.  Is the argument that there is no single dog an argument that the dog's being is found entirely in its multiple appearances-for?

"Regarding Wilber's remarks on subsistence, I think there is a subtle distinction between this argument and Bhaskar's argument about withdrawal that needs to be made.  Wilber is arguing that atoms might be posited as subsistent elements of reality, but only for the level of consciousness which enacts reality in atomic terms, which then retro-reads that atomic reality back into the past and extro-reads it out into the world for all other beings.  Higher beings will enact, and then posit the subsistence of, other elements.  Thus, what is 'subsistent' changes according to the level and mode of consciousness doing the enactment.   Bhaskar is not talking so much about any specific kind of thing or object that subsists "out-of-phase" with present enactments, but rather is (like Wilber) trying to speak at a level of great (metaphysical) generality -- specifically, trying to transcendentally deduce 'what ontologically must be the case' for scientific practice and other injunctive modes of knowledge acquisition to make sense and to be possible.  I might be wrong about this, but I think Bhaskar (or an OOO philosopher) would ask Wilber, 'Minimally, what must you metaphysically presuppose for your theory of enactment and subsistence to make sense?'

"I think there is some misrepresentation going on -- on both sides.  Regarding misrepresentation of Wilber, you may recall that, in one of my papers, I defended Wilber against the charge of 'epistemic fallacy' by noting the very thing you did here: Wilber doesn't only talk about perspectives, he talks about holons.  Now, there are some places in his writings where he seems to suggest that perspectives are the real base, before anything else, so I can understand where that impression comes from, but I think a fairer and fuller representation of Wilber's overall theory must include the holonic component.  So, I agree with this. (I don't get your argument about CR falling prey to naive empiricism, though; it is quite a bit more sophisticated than that).

"Regarding CR being more anthropocentric than IT because it entertains only one human worldspace, what about Wilber's model of tetra-enactment and subsistence?  Isn't that also one worldspace's way of making broad generalizations about reality?  Yes, it is a way of generalizing about reality that admits that phenomena show up differently for different beings, but CR does that too (it calls those different phenomenal worldspaces 'the actual,' which it differentiates from 'the real.')  CR does not claim it has an infallible or absolute 'access' to the real; rather, it just thinks it is worthwhile to make relatively bold metaphysical speculations about what 'the real' must be like, in order to support what we actually observe in the actual.  It is up front about this (non-naive, non-myth-of-the-given) metaphysical aspect of what it is doing."

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