Re: MD Mysticism and the appearance/reality distinction

From: Matt the Enraged Endorphin (
Date: Tue Apr 08 2003 - 03:18:18 BST

  • Next message: Scott R: "Re: MD Mysticism and the appearance/reality distinction"


    Scott said:
    Returning to the subject of the thread, I have some objections to the
    notion that mysticism is a case of an appearance/reality dinstinction like
    the sort made by traditional metaphysicians. The first, which I think DMB
    put forth, is that a mystic's Reality is empirical, not hypothetical. But,
    of course, one can accept this only if one believes the mystic, so there is
    no point in pursuing it.

    True enough, if one follows in enough beliefs of a mystic or a philosopher
    or a priest or a politician, then one will see certain distinctions, like
    between "Reality as empirical" and "Reality as hypothetical," as being
    important. For the purposes of the appearance/reality rubric, I don't see
    the aforementioned distinction as being important. The key word in both is
    "Reality," whether or not you see Reality as something like Kant thought of
    it or something like Pirsig thinks of it.

    Scott said:
    The second objection is one I mentioned earlier, that if the mystics are
    correct, then we are insane in the narrow sense of being out of touch with
    reality (aka God or Quality). The point here is that, whether or not one
    accepts what mystics say, the philosophy based on what they say has a
    different sort of a/r distinction than in other philosophy. That difference
    is that while a traditional metaphysics simply states that Reality is other
    than appearance, mystical philosophy says that, through the appropriate
    discipline (or God's grace or what have you) one moves into that Reality.

    Actually, I read this objection as more or less the same as the first
    one. If I'm correct, the difference between the mystic's a/r distinction
    and the metaphysician's a/r distinction more or less rests on the
    difference between the mystic's "empirical Reality" and the metaphysician's
    "hypothetical Reality." It's why I think you say, "a traditional
    metaphysics simply states that Reality is other than appearance," like
    Kant's noumena, which resembles the "hypothetical Reality" position, and
    "mystical philosophy says that, through the appropriate discipline ... one
    moves into that Reality," which resembles the "empirical Reality"
    position. I mention this only because, again, under the appearance/reality
    rubric (by my lights) there is no difference between "permanently
    separated" and "moves into." As a quirk of intellectual history, there's a
    difference. But for the purposes of Rorty's representationalist rubric, I
    don't see how, as DMB might say, the magical words "empirical Reality"
    allow the mystic to escape some of the consequences Rorty draws from using
    that kind of vocabulary. True, the mystic is not trying to "represent"
    Reality, she is trying to move into it. But I see that difference as
    trivial compared to the retainment of an appearance/reality distinction,
    whether its hypothetical or empirical.


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