Re: MD Where does quality reside?

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Thu Nov 04 2004 - 17:09:25 GMT

  • Next message: Mark Steven Heyman: "Re: MD Where does quality reside?"

    Hi Scott,

    On 3 Nov 2004 at 8:56, Scott Roberts wrote:
    msh said:
    > For me, SOM is fine for dealing with scientific questions, but is
    > silent on moral issues. The rational empiricism of the MOQ absorbs
    > the excellence of som-science and expands upon it to include a
    > hierarchy for making moral decisions. I like this very much.

    Me too, though I think that one needs to go beyond empiricism even to
    deal with scientific questions. Mathematics is necessary for physics,
    but mathematics itself is not empirical.

    msh says:
    That's where the "rational" part of rational empiricism comes in. We
    accept the foundational premises of mathematics because math is
    essential in the empirical evaluation of reality.

    And, as Platt would point out, the choice to be empirical is not

    msh says:
    Agreed. The choice to be empirical is a rational response to the
    immediate and undeniable value of experience.

    If one argues that empiricism's value is evident (through the value
    that science has brought),

    msh says:
    I would argue that empiricism's value is self-evident, as is the
    reality of Quality. See my last comment...

    I would respond that science only works on the inorganic, but there
    are three other levels to deal with.

    msh says:
    I think there's a sense in which science works fine at the organic
    level , as well. That's what Biology is all about. But I know what
    you mean...

    Just how empirical we are being when we say things about the other
    levels (other than their inorganic substrate) is, in my view, an open

    msh says:
    Agree. Though perhaps an argument could be made that since the
    inorganic level is the foundation of all the others, there might well
    be a scientific ripple effect upward. For example, at the social
    level, we use science to demonstrate global warming, hoping to affect
    legislative action.

    > msh before:
    > The Metaphysics of Consciousness assumes that consciousness is the
    > ground of being and has always existed, so the question of whence
    > consciousness arises becomes moot. Cool. But the MOC involves the
    > notion of non-material consciousness, what you call a verb without
    > a noun, an idea which, for me, is completely undecipherable.

    I only mentioned using verbs instead of nouns as a way to avoid
    bringing in presuppositions of the nature of whatever ground is being
    considered. So one can speak of perceiving, valuing, or knowing,
    without presupposing a self-existent perceiver, valuer, or knower,
    thus avoiding presupposing SOM. Another way is to posit a completely
    undefinable ground which makes perceiving, perceiver, and perceived
    possible. In both cases, though, we are only emphasizing our
    ignorance -- learned ignorance, as Nicholas of Cusa called it.

    msh says:
    Maybe. But for me, for now, belief in disembodied consciousness
    would be emphasizing ignorance as well as defying experience..

    > Furthermore, I think the non-materialist underpinnings of the MOC
    > might well result in a fundamental schism between the MOC and the
    > undeniable value of scientific data. have no experience of non-
    > material consciousness, but I experience sense data and Quality
    > every day of my life.

    The MOC would not undercut scientific findings any more than the MOQ
    or SOM. The only difference is that the MOC understands that what
    science is studying is what consciousness produces, namely, our sense

    msh says:
    See above. Non-material consciousness may be self-contradictory.
    The question is far, far, from resolved.

    In any case, you have a great deal of experience of the
    non-material. When you are thinking or dreaming you are experiencing
    non-material consciousness. When you are reading, you are not
    experiencing ink on paper, but non-material thoughts.

    msh says:
    This line of reasoning might have been persuasive, indeed WAS
    persuasive for some, prior to the last, what, 50 years of scientific
    studies of the brain? There is all sorts of measurable and distinct
    brain activity occurring when we think, dream, or read. So the
    precise nature of what it is we are experiencing is till open to

    However, f I can ever get my material brain wrapped around the idea
    of non-material consciousness, I just might subscribe to your MOC.

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

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