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Johnboy musings part1b

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  • 1. The good order of the soul with which we are concerned here is not simply an ethical or moral perfection. St. John of the Cross is not considering merelythe level of perfection on which men refrain from cheating each other in business, go to Mass on Sundays, give alms now and then to the poor, and lendtheir lawnmower to the people next door without even cursing under their breath. pg. 163But the very fact that all conversions do not have this experiential element and that, indeed, many conversions are hardheaded and "cold," lends weight to the thomisticargument which distinguishes bare faith from faith illumined by the Gifts. And I may add, parenthetically, that the convert whose faith is emotionally "cold" and is notinflamed with an element of quasi-mystical experience is not therefore less virtuous or less pleasing in the sight of God. It may, in fact, require great charity to allowoneself to be led, in spite of temperamental or hereditary disinclination, by force of rational demonstration alone, to an unemotional acceptance of thefaith. pg. 21213) If we do not try to be perfect in what we write, perhaps it is because we are not writing for God after all. In any case it is depressing that those who serve God andlove him sometimes write so badly, when those who do not believe in Him take pains to write so well. I am not talking about grammar and syntax, but about havingsomething to say and saying it in sentences that are not half dead. St. Paul and St. Ignatius Martyr did not bother about grammar but they certainly knew how to write.Imperfection is the penalty of rushing into print. And people who rush into print do so not because they really have anything to say, but because they think it is importantfor something by them to be in print. The fact that your subject may be very important in itself does not necessarily mean that what you have written about it isimportant. A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book ... [another statement re: johnboy? ouch!]Thomas Merton, __The Sign of Jonas__, pg. 5914) In the last book to come to us from the hand of Raissa Maritain, her commentary on the Lords Prayer, we read the following passage, concerning those whobarely obtain their daily bread, and are deprived of most of the advantages of a decent life on earth by the injustice and thoughtlessness of the privileged: "If there werefewer wars, less thirst to dominate and exploit others, less national egoism, less egoism of class and caste, if man were more concerned for his brother, and reallywanted to collect together, for the good of the human race, all the resources which science places at his disposal especially today, there would be on earth fewerpopulations deprived of their necessary sustenance, there would be fewer children who die or are incurably weakened by undernourishment." ... ... She goes on to askwhat obstacles man has placed in the way of the Gospel that this should be so. It is unfortunately true that those who have complacently imagined themselves blessedby God have in fact done more than others to frustrate his will.Thomas Merton, __Contemplative Prayer, pg. 113 Humans journey through life in pursuit of truth, beauty, goodness and unity. We realize these values through ongoing conversions, respectively, intellectual, affective, moral and social (Cf. Lonergans thought). Our churches institutionalize these values, respectively, through, creed, cult, code and community. As Catholics, we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies in the light of scripture, tradition, magisterium-sensus fidelium, reason (e.g. philosophy) and experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). In the old days, both our social justice and sexual morality teachings relied on approaches based in classicism, natural law and legalism. Nowadays, our social justice theory employs three new methodologies, respectively, historical consciousness, personalism and relationality-responsibility (Cf. Currans thought). Modern Catholic social justice teachings enjoy widespread credibility due to these updated methodologies, which are eminently transparent to human reason. There is, however, no such thing as modern Catholic teaching in sexual morality. Neither are there any such things as credibility and transparency regarding same, neither among the faithful nor in secular society. On the surface, there are value-realization strategies available under the old methodologies that could impart hope to all on many diverse issues pertaining both to gender and to sexual behaviors. For starters, we could more broadly conceive the definitions of such values as procreativity and complementarity, such that they are not so physicalistic, realizing that there are manifold other ways to celebrate being created co-creators and to realize unitive values. We could draw a distinction between generative functions and life issues (Cf. Harings thought) and then establish a parvity of value for sexual moral objects, such that masturbation would not be as serious as murder, for example. We could draw a distinction between our essentialistic idealizations and their very problematical existential realizations and thus cut homosexuals some "pastoral sensitivity slack" as was done with married couples vis a vis the rhythm method. The problem is, however, that there needs to be a wholesale paradigm shift from the old methodologies to the new, wherein some old terms and definitions and logics will receive new vitality while others will be revealed as meaningless, incommensurable and incoherent. (It is beyond my present scope to suggest which terms and logics will suffer or enjoy which fate, but I have my sneaking suspicions regarding “intrinsic disorder.”) Accordingly, as we look for guidance in our value-realization strategies pertaining to gender and sexual behavior, employing a much more robust historical consciousness, personalism and relationality-responsibility model, I want to know why anyone should turn solely (or even first and foremost) to scripture, tradition and the magisterium? Especially regarding moral realities, then, which are transparent to human reason, we must also turn to that aspect of the teaching office known as the sensus fidelium, and also must turn to reason (e.g. philosophy) and to experience (e.g. biological & behavioral sciences, individual testimonies). If we fail to make these moves and take these turns, we are failing to be either catholic or Catholic. Also, our arguments will lack normative impetus in the Public Square, where we need more than “the Bible tells me so” or the Koran, as the case may be, to urge legislative remedies on the body politic.
  • 2. Ormond Rush writes, in Determining Catholic Orthodoxy: Monologue or Dialogue (PACIFICA 12 (JUNE 1999): "The patristic scholar Rowan Williams speaks of orthodoxy as always lying in the future". (see http://tinyurl.com/2p5q7w for the article) Rush continues: Mathematicians talk of an asymptotic line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at a finite distance. Somewhat like those two lines, ressourcement and aggiornamento never meet; the meeting point always lies ahead of the church as it moves forward in history. Orthodoxy, in that sense, lies always in the future. Christian truth is eschatological truth. The church must continually wait on the Holy Spirit to lead it to the fullness of truth. Ressourcement and aggiornamento will only finally meet at that point when history ends at the fullness of time. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12) To unpack this meaning further, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressourcement In that Pacifica article, Rush draws distinctions between: 1) revelation as propositional, where faith is primarily assent and revelation as personalist, where faith is the response of the whole person in loving self-surrender to God; 2) verbal orthodoxy and lived orthopraxy; 3) the Christological and pneumatological; 4) hierarchical ecclesiology and communio ecclesiology; and 5) monologic notion of authority evoking passive obedience and dialogic notion of authority evoking active obedience. Rush then describes the extremes of on one hand, 1) dogmatic maximalism, where all beliefs are given equal weight; 2) magisterial maximalism, where the ecclesial magisterium, alone, has access to the Holy Spirit; 3) dogmatic ahistoricism, where Gods meaning and will are fixed and clear to be seen; and, on the other hand, 1) dogmatic minimalism, where all dogmatic statements are equally unimportant; 2) magisterial minimalism, where communal guidance in interpretation is superfluous; 3) dogmatic historicism, with an unmitigated relativist position regarding human knowledge. Rush finally describes and commends a VIA MEDIA between the positions. He notes that the church does not call the faithful that we may believe in dogma, doctrine and disciplines but, rather, to belief in God. He describes how statements vary in relationship to the foundation of faith vis a vis a Hierarchy of Truth and thus have different weight: to be believed as divinely revealed; to be held as definitively proposed; or as nondefinitively taught and requiring obsequium religiosum (see discussion below re: obsequium). The faithful reception of revelation requires interplay between the different "witnesses" of revelation: scripture, tradition, magisterium, sensus fidelium, theological scholarship, including reason (philosophy) and experience (biological & behavioral sciences, personal testimonies, etc). Rush thus asks: "How does the Holy Spirit guarantee orthodox traditioning of the Gospel? According to Dei Verbum, the help of the Holy Spirit is manifested in the activity of three distinguishable yet overlapping groups of witnesses to the Gospel: the magisterium, the whole people of God, and theologians. The Holy Spirit guides each group of witnesses in different ways and to different degrees; but no one alone has possession of the Spirit of Truth." Rush further asks: "The determination of orthodoxy needs to address questions concerning the issue of consensus in each of these three authorities. What constitutes a consensus among theologians and how is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a consensus among the one billion Catholics throughout the world and how is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a collegial consensus among the bishops of the world with the pope, and how is that consensus to be ascertained?" As for obsequium religiosum, from http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/orsy3_2.asp where it is written: "Accordingly, the duty to offer obsequium may bind to respect, or to submission—or to any other attitude between the two." "When the council spoke of religious obsequium it meant an attitude toward the church which is rooted in the virtue of religion, the love of God and the love of his church. This attitude in every concrete case will be in need of further specification, which could be respect, or could be submission, depending on the progress the church has made in clarifying its own beliefs. ... [W]e can speak of obsequium fidei (one with the believing church holding firm to a doctrine) ... [or] an obsequium religiosum (one with the searching church, working for clarification)." Thus, on matters of dogma, I give obsequium fidei, and unqualified assent (or submission); this includes the creeds, the sacraments, the approach to scripture. On matters of moral doctrine and church discipline, I give my deference (or respect), even as I dissent, out of loyalty, on many issues: married priests, womens ordination, eucharistic sharing, obligatory confession, various moral teachings re: so-called gravely, intrinsic disorders of human sexuality; artificial contraception, etc. Discipline, Doctrine & DogmaI once strongly considered converting from Roman to Anglican Catholic, likely agonizing as much as Newman, who converted in the opposite direction. Howmany times have progressive Roman Catholics been sarcastically urged to go ahead and convert by various fundamentalistic traditionalists since our
  • 3. beliefs were "not in keeping with the faith?"After all, while there has never been an infallible papal pronouncement to which I could not give my wholehearted assent, I otherwise do adamantly disagreewith many hierarchical positions such as regarding a married priesthood, women priests, obligatory confession, eucharistic sharing, divorce andremarriage, artificial contraception, various so-called grave & intrinsic moral disorders of human sexuality or any indubitable and a priori definitionsemployed vis a vis human personhood and theological anthropology.At times, I truly have wondered if I belonged to Rome or Canterbury, and I suspect many of you have, too, and, perhaps, still do? My short answer is: Yourealready home; take a look around ...In other words, for example, take a look, below, at some excerpts from the September 2007 report of the International Anglican - Roman CatholicCommission for Unity and Mission: Growing Together in Unity and Mission: Building on 40 years of Anglican - Roman Catholic Dialogue.Does anyone see any differences in essential dogma? Are some of you not rather surprised at the extent of agreement, especially given the nature ofsame?Are our differences not rather located in such accidentals as matters of church discipline or in such moral teachings where Catholics can exerciselegitimate choices in their moral decision-making? (To be sure, therehas been a creeping infallibility in such differences but there have never been infallible pronouncements regarding same.)"As we shall see, reputable theologians defend positions on moral issues contrary to the official teaching of the Roman magisterium. If Catholics have theright to follow such options, they must have the right to know that the options exist. It is wrong to attempt to conceal such knowledge from Catholics. It iswrong to present the official teachings, in Rahners words, as though there were no doubt whatever about their definitive correctnessand as though further discussion about the matter by Catholic theologians would be inappropriate....To deprive Catholics of the knowledge of legitimatechoices in their moral decision-making, to insist that moral issues are closed when actually they are still open, is itself immoral." See: “Probabilism: TheRight to Know of Moral Options”, which is the third chapter of __Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic__ and available online athttp://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/kaufman/chapter3.htmlFor those who have neither the time nor inclination for a long post, you can safely consider the above as an executive summary. My conclusion is that webelong neither to Rome nor Canterbury, but to the Perfector and Finisher of our faith. And Im going to submit toever-ongoing finishing by blooming where I was planted among my family, friends and co-religionists, enjoying the very special communion between ourAnglican, Roman and Orthodox traditions, the special fellowship of all my Christian sisters and brothers, and the general fellowship of all persons ofgoodwill.Respectfully,JBI gathered these excerpts together to highlight and summarize the report but recognize these affirmations should not be taken out of context. So, I made thisurl where the entire document can be accessed: http://tinyurl.com/35p69hto foster the wide study of these agreed statements.Below is my heavily redacted summary.In reflecting on our faith together it is vital that all bishops ensure that the Agreed Statements of ARCIC are widely studied in both Communions.The constitutive elements of ecclesial communion include: one faith, one baptism, the one Eucharist, acceptance of basic moral values, a ministry ofoversight entrusted to the episcopate with collegial and primatial dimensions, and the episcopal ministry of a universal primate as the visible focus of unity.God desires the visible unity of all Christian people and that such unity is itself part of our witness.Through this theological dialogue over forty years Anglicans and Roman Catholics have grown closer together and have come to see that what they hold incommon is far greater than those things in which they differ.In liturgical celebrations, we regularly make the same trinitarian profession of faith in the form of the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene-ConstantinopolitanCreed.In approaching Scripture, the Christian faithful draw upon the rich diversity of methods of reading and interpretation used throughout the Church’s history(e.g. historical-critical, exegetical, typological, spiritual, sociological, canonical). These methods, which all havevalue, have been developed in many different contexts of the Church’s life, which need to be recalled and respected.The Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church recognise the baptism each confers.Anglicans and Catholics agree that the full participation in the Eucharist, together with Baptism and Confirmation, completes the sacramental process ofChristian initiation.We agree that the Eucharist is the memorial (anamnesis) of the crucified and risen Christ, of the entire work of reconciliation God has accomplished in him.Anglicans and Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.While Christ is present and active in a variety of ways in the entire eucharistic celebration, so that his presence is not limited to the consecrated elements,the bread and wine are not empty signs: Christ’s body and blood become really present and are really given in theseelements.We agree that the Eucharist is the “meal of the Kingdom”, in which the Church gives thanks for all the signs of the coming Kingdom.We agree that those who are ordained have responsibility for the ministry of Word and Sacrament.Roman Catholics and Anglicans share this agreement concerning the ministry of the whole people of God, the distinctive ministry of the ordained, thethreefold ordering of the ministry, its apostolic origins, character and succession, and the ministry of oversight.Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that councils can be recognised as authoritative when they express the common faith and mind of the Church,consonant with Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition.
  • 4. Primacy and collegiality are complementary dimensions of episcope, exercised within the life of the whole Church. (Anglicans recognise the ministry of theArchbishop of Canterbury in precisely this way.)The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate is in accordance with Christ’s will for the Church and anessential element for maintaining it in unity and truth. Anglicans rejected the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate in the sixteenth century.Today, however, some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy, which would be exercised by the Bishop ofRome, as a sign and focus of unity within a re-united Church.Anglicans and Roman Catholics both believe in the indefectibility of the Church, that the Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth.Both Anglicans and Catholics acknowledge that private confession before a priest is a means of grace and an effective declaration of the forgiveness ofChrist in response to repentance.Throughout its history the Church has sought to be faithful in following Christ’s command to heal, and this has inspired countless acts of ministry in medicaland hospital care. Alongside this physical ministry, both traditions have continued to exercise the sacramental ministry of anointing.Anglicans and Roman Catholics share similar ways of moral reasoning.Both Communions speak of marriage as a covenant and a vocation to holiness and see it in the order of creation as both sign and reality of God’s faithfullove.All generations of Anglicans and Roman Catholics have called the Virgin Mary ‘blessed’.Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that it is impossible to be faithful to Scripture without giving due attention to the person of Mary.Genuine faith is more than assent: it is expressed in action.Given our mutual recognition of one another’s baptism, a number of practical initiatives are possible. Local churches may consider developing jointprogrammes for the formation of families when they present children for baptism, as well as preparing common catechetical resources for use in baptismaland confirmation preparation and in Sunday Schools.Given the significant extent of our common understanding of the Eucharist, and the central importance of the Eucharist to our faith, we encourageattendance at each other’s Eucharists, respecting the different disciplines of our churches.We also encourage more frequent joint non-eucharistic worship, including celebrations of faith, pilgrimages, processions of witness (e.g. on Good Friday),and shared public liturgies on significant occasions. We encourage those who pray the daily office to explore how celebrating daily prayer together canreinforce their common mission.We welcome the growing Anglican custom of including in the prayers of the faithful a prayer for the Pope, and we invite Roman Catholics to pray regularly inpublic for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leaders of the Anglican Communion.We note the close similarities of Anglican and Roman Catholic lectionaries which make it possible to foster joint bible study groups based upon the Sundaylectionary.There are numerous theological resources that can be shared, including professional staff, libraries, and formation and study programmes for clergy andlaity.Wherever possible, ordained and lay observers can be invited to attend each other’s synodical and collegial gatherings and conferences.Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a rich heritage regarding the place of religious orders in ecclesial life. There are religious communities in both of ourCommunions that trace their origins to the same founders (e.g. Benedictines and Franciscans). We encourage thecontinuation and strengthening of relations between Anglican and Catholic religious orders, and acknowledge the particular witness of monasticcommunities with an ecumenical vocation.There are many areas where pastoral and spiritual care can be shared. We acknowledge the benefit derived from many instances of spiritual directiongiven and received by Anglicans to Catholics and Catholics to Anglicans.We recommend joint training where possible for lay ministries (e.g. catechists, lectors, readers, teachers, evangelists). We commend the sharing of thetalents and resources of lay ministers, particularly between local Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes. We note thepotential for music ministries to enrich our relations and to strengthen the Church’s outreach to the wider society, especially young people.We encourage joint participation in evangelism, developing specific strategies to engage with those who have yet to hear and respond to the Gospel.We invite our churches to consider the development of joint Anglican/Roman Catholic church schools, shared teacher training programmes andcontemporary religious education curricula for use in our schools.END OF EXCERPTS regarding stated agreementsBelow are excerpts recognizing DIVERGENCES regarding: 1) papal and teaching authority 2) the recognition and validity of Anglican Orders and ministries3) ordination of women 4) eucharistic sharing 5) obligatory confession 6) divorce and remarriage 7) the precise moment a human person is formed 8)methods of birth control 9) homosexual activity and 10) human sexuality.Thanks,JBBEGIN EXCERPTS regarding stated disagreements:While already we can affirm together that universal primacy, as a visible focus of unity, is “a gift to be shared”, able to be “offered and received even beforeour Churches are in full communion”, nevertheless serious questions remain for Anglicans regarding the nature andjurisdictional consequences of universal primacy.
  • 5. There are further divergences in the way in which teaching authority in the life of the Church is exercised and the authentic tradition is discerned.In his Apostolic Letter on Anglican Orders, Apostolicae Curae (1896), Pope Leo XIII ruled against the validity of Anglican Orders. The question of validityremains a fundamental obstacle to the recognition of Anglican ministries by the Catholic Church. In the light of theagreements on the Eucharist and ministry set out both in the ARCIC statements and in the official responses of both Communions, there is evidence thatwe have a common intention in ordination and in the celebration of the Eucharist. This awareness would have to be part of any fresh evaluation of AnglicanOrders.Anglicans and Roman Catholics hold that there is an inextricable link between Eucharist and Ministry. Without recognition and reconciliation of ministries,therefore, it is not possible to realise the full impact of our common understanding of the Eucharist.The twentieth century saw much discussion across the whole Christian family on the question of the ordination of women. The Roman Catholic Churchpoints to the unbroken tradition of the Church in not ordaining women. Indeed, Pope John Paul II expressed the conviction that “the Church has no authoritywhatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women”. After careful reflection and debate, a growing number of Anglican Churches haveproceeded to ordain women to the presbyterate and some also to the episcopate.Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church therefore have different disciplines for eucharistic sharing. The Catholic Churchdoes not permit the Catholic faithful to receive the Eucharist from, nor Catholic clergy to concelebrate with, those whoseministry has not been officially recognised by the Catholic Church. Anglican provinces regularly admit to communion baptised believers who arecommunicant members from other Christian communities.Despite our common moral foundations, serious disagreements on specific issues exist, some of which have emerged in the long period of our separation.Anglicans and Catholics have a different practice in respect of private confession. “The Reformers’ emphasis on the direct access of the sinner to theforgiving and sustaining Word of God led Anglicans to reject the view that private confession before a priest was obligatory, although they continued tomaintain that it was a wholesome means of grace, and made provision for it in the Book of Common Prayer for those with an unquiet and sorely troubledconscience.” Anglicans express this discipline in the short formula ‘all may, none must, some should’.Whilst both Communions recognise that marriage is for life, both have also had to recognise the failure of many marriages in reality. For Roman Catholics,it is not possible however to dissolve the marriage bond once sacramentally constituted because of its indissolublecharacter, as it signifies the covenantal relationship of Christ with the Church. On certain grounds, however, the Catholic Church recognises that a truemarriage was never contracted and a declaration of nullity may be granted by the proper authorities. Anglicans have been willing to recognise divorcefollowing the breakdown of a marriage, and in recent years, some Anglican Churches have set forth circumstances in which they are prepared to allowpartners from an earlier marriage to enter into another marriage.Anglicans and Roman Catholics share the same fundamental teaching concerning the mystery of human life and the sanctity of the human person, but theydiffer in the way in which they develop and apply this fundamental moral teaching. Anglicans have no agreed teaching concerning the precise moment fromwhich the new human life developing in the womb is to be given the full protection due to a human person. Roman Catholic teaching is that the humanembryo must be treated as a human person from the moment of conception and rejects all direct abortion.Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that there are situations when a couple would be morally justified in avoiding bringing children into being. They arenot agreed on the method by which the responsibility of parents is exercised.Catholic teaching holds that homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered and always objectively wrong. Strong tensions have surfaced within the AnglicanCommunion because of serious challenges from within some Provinces to the traditional teaching on humansexuality which was expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.In the discussions on human sexuality within the Anglican Communion, and between it and the Catholic Church, stand anthropological and biblicalhermeneutical questions which need to be addressed.END OF EXCERPTS regarding stated disagreements, some of which seem rather incoherent once considering certain of the agreements (for example,not recognizing Anglican Orders and ministries! Gimme a break!!!). So, with the above caveats in mind, practically speaking, below are some criteria I have gathered for a fallibilistic attempt at a Theory of Everything: 1) Looking for an explanation in common sensical terms of causation is not unreasonable. 2) Looking around at the whole of reality and wondering who, what, when, where, how and why re: any given part of it or re: reality as a whole is ameaningful pursuit. 3) Almost everyone comes up with an abduction of God (or per CSP, an argument, by which he simply means a god hypothesis) or some other-named primalcause of it all. 4) Some use a substance approach, describing all of reality in those thomistic-aristotelian terms like form, substance, esse, essence and with nuances likeanalogy of being. It doesnt have explanatory adequacy in terms of leading to a universally compelling proof through formal argument in tandem withempirical experience because, by the time we have suitably predicated a god-concept, the dissimilarities and discontinuities between God and creature so faroutnumber the similarities that a causal disjunction paradox is introduced. How can a Cause so unrelated to other causes and not at all explicable inintelligible terms vis a vis other causes really, effectively, efficaciously truly effect anything. Also, substance approaches are too essentialistic, as they wereclassically conceived, iow, too static. This has been addressed with substance-process approaches but these still suffer the causal disjunct. 5) Some describe reality dynamically interms of process and fall into nominalism, violating our common sense experience of reality as truly representative ofreal meaning. They account for process and dynamics but do not account for content that is communicated. These explanations, especially if materialist oridealist monisms also tend to fall into an infinte regress of causes. The only way to stop them is with some type of ontological discontinuity, which introducesthe old causal disjunct. 6) Some, seeing this conundrum, with the causal disjuncts and essentialisms of substance approaches and the infinite regressions and nominalism of processapproaches, and with the a prioristic context in which they are grounded, prescind from such metaphysics or ontologies to a semiotic approach which thenavoids nominalism by providing both a dynamic process and content (meaning) and which avoids essentialism by being dynamic. It also avoids a causaldisjunction since all of reality is not framed up in terms of substance and being but rather in semiotic and modal terms, such as sign, interpreter, syntax, symbol, such as possible, actual, necessary and probable. To prescind from these other metaphysical perspectives does solve a host of problems and doeseliminate many mutual occlusivities and unintelligibilities and paradoxes, but it still levaes the question begging as to the origin of things like chance, 
  • 6. probability, necessity. IOW, one inescapably must get ontological again to satisfy the human curiosity, not wrongheaded, imo, with respect to causalinferences that naturally arise and which, in fact, ground our scientific method and epistemologies. Why? Well, because causes must be proportionate andwhatever or whomever or however the Cause of causes, of chances, of probabilities is --- is then like the semiotic process and modal realities we candescribe in many ways but necessarily unlike them in many more ways. 7) Still, Peirce may be right insofar as he suggests that going beyond this simple abduction to a more exhuastive description of the putative deity is a fetish(we cant help ourselves), there is a great deal of useful info (pragmatic maxim or cash-value) to be gathered from the analogies we might then draw from thesemiotic and modal similarities that do exist. God is thus intelligible, not to be confused with comprehensible. 8) So, my thoughts are that we cannot get away from a) some type of substance approach, from ontology, from being, from esse ... if we are to address theparadox of infinite regress b) some type of process approach, if we are to avoid essentialism and causal disjunctions and c) some type of semiotic approach, ifwe are to avoid nominalism and account for meaning and communicative content and d) some type of theistic approach, if we are to avoid leaving thequestions of origin begging and if we are going to preserve our common sensical notions of classical causality, upon which much of our community of inquirydepends, such as re: scientific method. 9) This does not mean we can syncretistically and facilely combine these above approaches into some master paradigm of semitoic-substance-processpanentheism. There is a problem of renormalization, which is to say that they often employ mutually incompatible and contradictory terms and approaches,analogously speaking, sometimes using noneuclidean geometry, sometimes base 2, sometimes spatialized time, sometimes temporalized space, sometimesimaginary numbers. It is analogous to the same project that would try to combine quantum mechanics with general and special relativity to describe quantumgravity. It is not just analogous to this renormalization in physics required before a TOE is contrived, the normalization of physical theories would itself be part of the TOE we are working on! 10) What happens then is that by the time we finish renormalizing all of our theories, predicating and defining and nuancing and disambiguating all of our concepts, we will have effectively generated a novel language with its own grammar, its own terms ... and it will be so arcane and esoteric andinaccessible ... it would be like reading something that fellow johnboy wrote, when he was relating his latest interpretation of Thomas Merton as seenthrough a kurt-vonnegutian hermeneutic. 11) All of the above notwithstanding, this TOE project is fun and we can glimpse enough insight from it to inform our theological anthropologies and formativespiritualities.  All I have done thus far hereinabove is to get us to some metaphysical deity. What might be Her attributes? See http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2352 pax,jb   1)         To describe Reality, devise an Architectonic/Organon of Human Knowledge of Environing Realities, which would include ourselves. 2)         To describe ourselves, devise such an account as would include the Human Knowledge Manifold as an Environed Reality, which would include both evaluative and rational continuua. 3)         When devising a model of epistemic virtue (values), avoid the usual (and many) overworked distinctions and employ the very real but often under- appreciated dichotomies. 4)         In our modal arguments for this or that reality, we must rigorously define and disambiguate our terms. Employ such criteria that, if met, will guarantee the conceptual compatibility of any attributes we employ in our conceptualizations of this or that reality. In order to be conceptually compatible, while, at the same time, avoiding any absurdities of parodied logic, attributes must not be logically impossible to coinstantiate in our arguments and they must also be described in terms that define a realitys negative properties. For an example, see: http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47897 and use your edit/find browser facility to scroll down quickly to the first occurrence of the word “negativity” and then also for the name of philosopher “Richard Gale” 5)         In defining such attributes as will describe the various aspects of this or that reality, we must draw the proper distinctions between those aspects that are predicated a) univocally b) equivocally or c) relationally vis a vis other realities. Univocal is defined as having one meaning only. Equivocal means subject to two or more interpretations. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even in physics, and they all eventually collapse.  6)         In our attempts to increase our descriptive accuracy of this or that reality, we must be clear whether we are proceeding through a) affirmation [kataphatically, the via positiva] b) negation [apophatically, the via negativa] or c) eminence [unitively, neither kataphatically nor apophatically but, rather, equivocally]. We must be clear whether we are proceeding a) metaphorically b) literally or c) analogically [affirming the metaphorical while invoking further dissimilarities].The best examples can be found in the book described at this url = http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-01937-9.html , Reality and Mystical Experience by F. Samuel Brainard. 7)         We must be clear regarding our use of First Principles: a) noncontradiction b) excluded middle c) identity d) realitys intelligibility e) human intelligence f) the existence of other minds and such. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm 8)         We must be mindful of godelian (and godelian-like) constraints on our argumentation: a) complete accounts in formal systems are necessarily inconsistent b) consistent accounts in formal systems are necessarily incomplete and c) we can model the rules but cannot explain them within their own formal symbol system [must re-axiomatize, which is to say prove them in yet another system, at the same time, suggesting we can, indeed, see the truth of certain propositions that we cannot otherwise prove]. We thus distinguish between local and global explanatory attempts, models of partial vs total reality.See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödels_incompleteness_theorem 9)         We must employ semantical [epistemological] vagueness, such that for attributes a) univocally predicated, excluded middle holds and noncontradiction folds b) equivocally predicated, both excluded middle and noncontradiction hold and c) relationally predicated, noncontradiction holds and excluded middle folds. Ergo, re: First Principles, you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm 10)        We must understand and appreciate the integral nature of the humanknowledge manifold (with evaluative and rational continuua) and Lonergans sensation, abstraction & judgment: sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, intuition & cognition, non- & pre-inferential, abductive inference, inductive inference, deductive inference and deliberation.
  • 7. 11)        We must appreciate and understand the true efficacy of: abduction, fast & frugal decision-making, ecological rationality, evolutionary rationality,pragmatic rationality, bounded rationality, common sense; also of both propositional and doxastic justification, and affective judgment: both aesthetic andprudential, the latter including both pragmatic and moral affective judgment. See http://www.free-definition.com/Abduction-(logic).html12)        We must draw the distinction between peircean argument (abduction, hypothesis generation) and argumentation (inductive & deductiveinference).See http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Reli/ReliKess.htm13)        We must draw a distinction between partial apprehension of a reality and total comprehension of a reality.14)        We must employ dialectical analysis, properly discerning where our different accounts of this or that reality a) agree b) converge c) complement or d)dialectically reverse. We must distinguish between this dialectic and hegelian synthesis and resist false irenicism, facile syncretism and insidiousindifferentism, while exercising due care in our attempts to map conceptualizations from one account onto another. Also, we should employ our scholasticdistinctions: im/possible, im/plausible, im/probable and un/certain.15)        We must distinguish between the different types of paradox encountered in our various attempts to describe this or that reality a) veridical b)falsidical c) conditional and d) antinomial. We must recognize that all metaphysics are fatally flawed and that their root metaphors will eventually collapse intrue antinomial paradox of a) infinite regress b) causal disjunction or c) circular referentiality [ipse dixit - stipulated beginning or petitio - questionbegging]. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox16)        As part and parcel of the isomorphicity implied in our epistemological vagueness, we must employ ontological vagueness, which is to say that wemust prescind from the necessary to the probable in our modal logic. This applies to the dance between chance & necessity, pattern & paradox, random &systematic, order & chaos.See http://uhavax.hartford.edu/moen/PeirceRev2.html and the distinctions between necessary and non-necessary reasonings andalso probable deductions.17)        We must properly integrate our classical causal distinctions such that the axiological/teleological [instrumental & formal] mediates between theepistemological [formal] and cosmological/ontological [efficient/material]. These comprise a process and not rather discrete events.This follows the grammarthat the normative sciences mediate between our phenomenology and our metaphysics. Seehttp://hosting.uaa.alaska.edu/afjjl/LinkedDocuments/LiszkaSynopsisPeirce.htm18)        We must recognize the idea of emergence is mostly a heuristic device inasmuch as it has some descriptive accuracy but only limited predictive,hence, explanatory adequacy. It predicts novelty but cannot specify its nature. Supervenience is even more problematical, trivial when described as weak(and usually associated with strong emergence), question begging re: reducibility when described as strong (and usually associated with weakemergence).Seehttp://www.molbio.ku.dk/MolBioPages/abk/PersonalPages/Jesper/SemioEmergence.htmlSeehttp://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers/Commentary%20on%20Don%20Ross.htmSee http://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers.html19)        We must avoid all manner of dualisms, essentialism, nominalism and a priorism as they give rise to mutual occlusivities and mutual unintelligibilitiesin our arguments and argumentations. The analogia relata (of process-experience approaches, such as the peircean and neoplatonic triadic relational) that isimplicit in the triadic grammar of all of the above-described distinctions and rubrics can mediate between the analogia antis (of linguistic approaches, such asthe scotistic univocity of being) and the analogia entis (of substance approaches, such as the thomistic analogy of being). This includes such triads asproodos (proceeding), mone (resting) and epistrophe (return) of neoplatonic dionysian mysticism. It anticipates such distinctions as a) the peircean distinctionbetween objective reality and physical reality b) the scotistic formal distinction c) the thomistic distinction between material and immaterial substance, all ofwhich imply nonphysical causation without violating physical causal closure, all proleptical, in a sense, to such concepts as memes, Baldwinian evolution,biosemiotics, etc See http://consc.net/biblio/3.html20)        We must avoid the genetic and memetic fallacies of Dawkins and Dennett and the computational fallacies of other cognitive scientists, all asdescribed by Deacon.See http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/srb/10-3edit.html21)        We must denominate the "cash value" of getting our metaphysics correct in terms of the accuracy of our anthropologies and psychologies becausegetting our descriptive and normative accounts correct is preliminary to properly conducting our evaluative attempts, which will then inform the prescriptionswe devise for an ailing humanity and cosmos, rendering such prescriptions efficacious, inefficacious, and even harmful. This signals the importance of thedialogues between science, religion, philosophy and the arts. Further regarding “cash value” and the “pragmatic maxim” and all it might entail, asking whatdifference this or that metaphysical, epistemological or scientific supposition might make, if it were true or not, can clarify our thinking, such as betterenabling us to discern the circular referentiality of a tautology, e.g. taking existence as a predicate of being (rather than employing a concept such as“bounded” existence).22)        We must carefully nuance the parsimony we seek from Occams Razor moreso in terms of the facility and resiliency of abduction and notnecessarily in terms of complexity, honoring what we know from evolutionary psychology about human abductive and preinferential process.Seehttp://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/p-scifor.htm See http://kybele.psych.cornell.edu/~edelman/Psych-214-Fall-2000/w7-3-outline.text23)        At wits end, confronted with ineluctable paradox, in choosing the most compelling metaphysic, there is always the reductio ad absurdum. Andremember, whatever is going on in analytical philosophy, semeiotics and linguistics, you can know thus much is true: A single, even small, thermonuclearexplosion can ruin your whole day.24)        Regarding multiverse accounts, Polkinghorne rejects any notion that science can say anything about same if science is careful and scrupulousabout what science can actually say, and this may be true, but it does seem that such an explanatory attempt can be indirectly determined at leastconsonant with what we are able to directly observe and/or indirectly measure (thinking of Max Tegmarks ideas). It is plausible, for example, insofar as it isan attempt to explain the apparent anthropic fine-tuning.25)        Importantly, not all human knowledge is formal, which is what so much of the above has been about!26)        The major philosophical traditions can be described and distinguished by their postures toward idealism & realism, rationalism & empiricism, whichare related to their various essentialisms and nominalisms, which can all be more particularly described in terms of what they do with the PEM (excludedmiddle) and PNC (noncontradiction) as they consider peircean 1ns, 2ns and 3ns, variously holding or folding these First Principles as they move from univocalto equivocal and relational predications.27)        With the peircean perspective taken as normative, PEM holds for 1ns and 2ns and PNC holds for 2ns and 3ns (hence, PNC folds for 1ns and PEMfolds for 3ns).28)        In a nominalistic perspective, PNC folds for 3ns and classical notions of causality and continuity are incoherent.29)        In an essentialistic perspective, PNC properly holds for 3ns but PEM is erroneously held for 3ns, suggesting that modal logic drives algorithmicallytoward the necessary and not, rather, the probable.30)        The nominalist’s objection to essentialism’s modal logic of the necessary in 3ns is warranted but folding PNC in 3ns is the wrong response,
  • 8. rendering all notions of causality incoherent.. The essentialist’s objection to nominalism’s denial of any modal logic in 3ns is warranted but holding PEM in3ns is the wrong response, investing reality with an unwarranted determinacy. The peircean affirmation of PNC in 3ns and denial of PEM in 3ns resolves suchincoherency with a modal logic of probability and draws the proper distinctions between the univocal, equivocal and relational predications, the univocal foldingPNC in 1ns, the equivocal folding PEM in 3ns and the relational holding PNC and PEM in 2ns.31)        The platonic rationalist-realist perspective is impaired by essentialism. The kantian rationalist-idealist perspective is impaired by both essentialismand nominalism. The humean empiricist idealist perspective is impaired by nominalism. The aristotelian empiricist realist perspective, with a nuancedhylomorphism, is not impaired by essentialism or nominalism but suffers from substantialism due to its atomicity, which impairs relationality. Finally, even aprocess-relational-substantial approach must make the scotistic/peircean formal distinction between objective reality and physical reality. Radicallydeconstructive, analytical, and even pragmatist, approaches seize upon the folding of PNC in 1ns and then run amok in denying PNC in 3ns and sometimeseven 2ns. Phenomenologists bracket these metaphysical considerations. Existentialists argue over what precedes what, existence vs essence, losing sightof their necessary coinstantiation in 2ns in physical reality and failing to draw the proper distinction between the objective reality of an attribute (its abstraction& objectification) and the physical reality where it is integrally instantiated. Neither essence nor existence precedes the other in physical reality; they alwaysarrive at the scene together and inextricably intertwined.32)        The peircean grammar draws necessary distinctions between univocal, equivocal and relational predications of different aspects of reality but, in sodoing, is a heuristic that does not otherwise predict the precise nature or degree of univocity, equivocity or relationality between those aspects. In that sense,it is like emergentism, which predicts novelty but does not describe its nature or degree. To that extent, it no more resolves philosophy of mind questions, inparticular, than it does metaphysical questions, in general. What it does is help us to think more clearly about such issues placing different perspectives indialogue, revealing where it is they agree, converge, complement and disagree. Further, it helps us better discern the nature of the paradoxes that ourdifferent systems encounter: veridical, falsidical, conditional and antinomial, and why it is our various root metaphors variously extend or collapse indescribing different aspects of reality. It doesn’t predict or describe the precise nature of reality’s givens in terms of primitives, forces and axioms but doeshelp us locate how and where univocal, equivocal and relational predications are to be applied to such givens by acting as a philosophical lingua francabetween different perspectives and accounts. Where are reality’s continuities and discontinuities in terms of givens? The peircean grammar speaks to howthey are related in terms of 1ns, 2ns and 3ns but not with respect to nature or origin or to what extent or degree (if for no other reason that not all phenomenaare equally probable, in terms of 3ns). Is consciousness a primitive along with space, time, mass and charge? Is it emergent? epiphenomenal? explained byDennett? described by Penrose? a hard problem as per Chalmers or Searle? an eliminated problem as per the Churchlands? an intractable problem as perWilliam James? Each of these positions can be described in peircean terms and they can be compared and contrasted in a dialogue that reveals where theyagree, disagree, converge and complement. They cannot be a priori arbitrated by the peircean perspective; rather, they can only be consistently articulatedand framed up hypothetically on the same terms, which is to say, in such a manner that hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive methods can beapplied to them and such that a posteriori experience can reveal their internal coherence/incoherence, logical consistency/inconsistency, externalcongruence/incongruence, hypothetical consonance/dissonance and interdisciplinary consilience/inconsilience.33)        Do our various metaphysics collapse because of an encounter with paradox that is generated by a) the nature of the environing realities, which arebeing explained? b) the exigencies of the environed reality, which is explaining? or c) some combination of these? Is the paradox encountered veridical,falsidical, conditional or antinomial? Did we introduce the paradox ourselves or did an environing reality reveal its intrinsic paradoxical nature? We candescribe reality’s categories (such as w/ CSP’s phaneroscopy), a logic for those categories (such as CSP’s semeiotic logic) and an organon that relatesthese categories and logic (such as CSP’s metaphysical architectonic) and then employ such a heuristic in any given metaphysic using any given rootmetaphor. When we do, at some point, we will encounter an infinite regress, a causal disjunction or circular referentiality (petitio principii, ipse dixit, etc), andwe might, therefore, at some level, have reason to suspect that those are the species of ineluctable paradox that even the most accurate metaphysics willinevitably encounter. If circular referentiality is avoidable, still, infinite regress and causal disjunction are not and our metaphysics will succumb to one or theother, possibly because these alternate accounts present complementary perspectives of reality and the nature of its apparent continuities anddiscontinuities (as measured in degrees of probability or as reflected in the dissimilarities between various givens and their natures and origins, somebelonging to this singularity, some to another, this or another realm of reality variously pluralistic or not).34)        What it all seems to boil down to is this: Different schools of philosophy and metaphysics are mostly disagreeing regarding the nature and degree,the origin and extent, of continuities and discontinuities in reality, some even claiming to transcend this debate by using a continuum of probability. Themanifold and multiform assertions and/or denials of continuity and discontinuity in reality play out in the different conclusions of modal logic with respect towhat is possible versus actual versus necessary regarding the nature of reality (usually in terms of givens, i.e. primitives, forces and axioms), some evenclaiming to transcend this modal logic by substituting probable for necessary. Even then, one is not so much transcending the fray as avoiding the fray if onedoes not venture to guess at the nature and degree, origin and extent, of reality’s probabilities, necessities, continuities and discontinuities. Sure, theessentialists and substantialists overemphasize discontinuities and the nominalists overemphasize continuities and the dualists introduce some falsedichotomies, but anyone who claims to be above this metaphysical fray has not so much transcended these issues with a new and improved metaphysics asthey have desisted from even doing metaphysics, opting instead for a meta-metaphysical heuristic device, at the same time, sacrificing explanatoryadequacy. This is what happens with the emergentistic something more from nothing but and also what happens in semeiotic logic (for infinite regress is justas fatal, metaphysically, as causal disjunction and circular referentiality).35)        Evaluating Hypotheses:Does it beg questions?Does it traffic in trivialities? Does it overwork analogies?Does it overwork distinctions? Does itunderwork dichotomies?Does it eliminate infinite regress?36)        Not to worry, this is to be expected at this stage of humankind’s journey of knowledge. However, if the answer to any of these questions isaffirmative, then one’s hypothesis probably doesn’t belong in a science textbook for now. At any rate, given our inescapable fallibility, we best proceed in acommunity of inquiry as we pursue our practical and heuristic (both normative and speculative) sciences.37)        Couching this or that debate in the philosophy of science in terms of dis/honesty may very well address one aspect of any given controversy. I haveoften wondered whether or not some disagreements are rooted in disparate approaches to epistemic values, epistemic goods, epistemic virtues, epistemicgoals, epistemic success, epistemic competence or whatever is truly at issue. I dont know who is being dishonest or not, aware or unawares, but I think onecan perhaps discern in/authenticity in a variety of ways.38)        In trying to sort through and inventory such matters, through time, I have come to more broadly conceive the terms of such controversies, not onlybeyond the notions of epistemic disvalue, epistemic non-virtue and epistemic incompetence, but, beyond the epistemic, itself. Taking a cue from Lonergansinventory of conversions, which include the cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious, one might identify manifold other ways to frustrate the diverse (butunitively-oriented) goals of human authenticity, whether through disvalue, non-virtue or incompetence.39)        Our approach to and grasp of reality, through both the heuristic sciences (normative and theoretical) and practical sciences, in my view, is quite oftenfrustrated by the overworking of certain distinctions and the underworking of certain dichotomies, by our projection of discontinuities onto continuities and viceversa. And this goes beyond the issue of the One and the Many, the universal and the particular, the local and the global, beyond the disambiguation andpredication of our terms, beyond the setting forth of our primitives, forces and axioms, beyond the truth of our premises and the validity of our logic, beyondnoetical, aesthetical and ethical norms, beyond our normative/prescriptive, speculative/descriptive and pragmatic/practical enterprises, beyond all this to livinglife, itself, and to our celebration of the arts.40)        In this vein, one failure in human authenticity that seems to too often afflict humankind is the overworking of the otherwise valid distinctions betweenour truly novel biosemiotic capacities and those of our phylogenetic ancestry and kin, invoking such a human exceptionalism (x-factor) as divorces us fromnature of which were undeniably a part. Another (and related) failure, in my view, is the overworking of distinctions between the different capacities thatcomprise the human evaluative continuum, denying the integral roles played by its nonrational, prerational and rational aspects, by its ecological, pragmatic,inferential and deliberative rationalities, by its abductive, inductive and deductive inferential aspects, by its noetical, aesthetical and ethical aspects. Theseotherwise distinct aspects of human knowledge that derive from our interfacing as an environed reality with our total environing reality (environed vs environingrealities not lending themselves to sharp distinctions either?) are of a piece, form a holistic fabric of knowledge, mirrored by reality, which is also of a piece,
  • 9. not lending itself fully to any privileged aspect of the human evaluative continuum, not lending itself to arbitrary dices and slices based upon any human-contrived architectonic or organon of knowledge, for instance, as might be reflected in our academic disciplines or curricula.41)        So, perhaps it is too facile to say religion asks certain questions and employs certain aspects of the human evaluative continuum, while philosophyasks others, science yet others? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind has discovered, aposteriori, that such attempts invariably involve trafficking in question begging (ipse dixit, petitio principii, tautologies, etc) or trivialities or overworkedanalogies, often employ overworked distinctions or underworked dichotomies, often lack explanatory adequacy, pragmatic cash value and/or theauthentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind nowmaintains, a priori, with Godel, that complete accounts are inconsistent, consistent accounts, incomplete? Maybe it is enough to maintain that sciencetraffics in formalizable proofs and measurable results from hypotheses that are testable within realistic time constraints (iow, not eschatological)?42)        Or, maybe we neednt maintain even these distinctions but can say an hypothesis is an hypothesis is an hypothesis, whether theological orgeological, whether eliminating or tolerating the paradox of infinity, and that the human evaluative continuum, if optimally (integrally and holistically) deployed,can aspire to test these hypotheses, however directly or indirectly, letting reality reveal or conceal itself at its pleasure --- but --- those hypotheses that areintractably question begging or tautological, that overwork analogies and distinctions and underwork dichotomies, that lack explanatory adequacy andpragmatic cash value --- are, at least for now, bad science, bad philosophy, bad theology, bad hypotheses? They are not authentic questions? Pursue them ifyou must. Back-burner them by all means, ready to come to the fore at a more opportune time. But dont publish them in textbooks or foist them on thegeneral public or body politic; rather, keep them in the esoteric journals with a suitable fog index to match their explanatory opacity.43)        In the above consideration, it was not my aim to resolve any controversies in the philosophy of science, in particular, or to arbitrate between the greatschools of philosophy, in general. I did want to offer some criteria for more rigorously framing up the debates that we might avoid talking past one another. Itdoes seem that certain extreme positions can be contrasted in sharper relief in terms of alternating assertions of radical dis/continuities, wherein somedistinctions are overworked into false dichotomies and some real dichotomies are ignored or denied.44)        Thus it is that the different “turns” have been made in the history of philosophy (to experience, to the subject, linguistic, hermeneutical, pragmatic,etc). Thus it is that nominalism, essentialism and substantialism critique each other. Thus it is that fact-value, is-ought, given-normative, descriptive-prescriptive distinctions warrant dichotomizing or not. Thus it is that the One and the Many, the universal and particular, the global and local, the whole andthe part invite differing perspectives or not. Thus it is that different aspects of the human evaluative continuum get singularly privileged without warrant such asin fideism and rationalism or that different aspects of the human architectonic of knowledge get over- or under-emphasized such as in radical fundamentalismand scientism.45)        Thus it is that certain of our heuristic devices get overworked beyond their minimalist explanatory attempts such as when emergence is described asweakly supervenient, which is rather question-begging, or as strongly supervenient, which is rather trivial. And yet one might be able to affirm some utility inmaking such distinctions as a weak deontology or weak teleology, or between the strongly and weakly anthropic?46)        Thus it is that idealism and realism, rationalism and empiricism, fight a hermeneutical tug of war between kantian, humean, aristotelian and platonicperspectives, transcended, in part, even complemented by, the analytical, phenomenological and pragmatic approaches. Thus it is that various metaphysicsmust remain modest in their heuristic claims of explanatory power as we witness the ongoing blending and nuancing of substance, process, participative andsemiotic approaches. Thus it is that our glorious -ologies get transmuted into insidious –isms.47)        Thus it is that all of these approaches, whether broadly conceived as theoretical, practical and normative sciences (including natural sciences,applied sciences, theological sciences and the sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics), or more narrowly conceived as the more strictly empirical sciences,offer their hypotheses for critique by an authentic community of inquiry --- neither falling prey to the soporific consensus gentium (bandwagon fallacy) andirrelevant argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority) nor arrogating to one’s own hermeneutic some type of archimedean buoyancy for all sureknowledge, as if inescapable leaps of faith weren’t required to get past unmitigated nihilism and solipsism, as if excluded middle, noncontradiction and otherfirst principles could be apodictically maintained or logically demonstrated, as if knowledge and proof were indistinct, as if all human knowledge wasalgorithmic and could be formalized.48)        Miscellany: In the peircean cohort of the American pragmatist tradition, one would say that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenologyand metaphysics, which could reasonably be translated into philosophy mediates between our scientific methodologies and our cosmologies/ontologies.So,there is a proper distinction to be made between our normative and theoretical sciences, both which can be considered heuristic sciences, and yet anotherdistinction to be made between them and what we would call our practical sciences.49)        I think it would be fair to say that we can bracket our [metaphysics] and our [cosmologies & ontologies] when doing empirical science but, at thesame time, we do not bracket those aspects of philosophy that comprise our normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics, which contribute integrallyand holistically to all scientific endeavors and human knowledge pursuits. At least for my God-concept, properly conceived, suitably employed, sufficientlynuanced, carefully disambiguated, precisely defined, rigorously predicated --- to talk of empirical measurement would be nonsensical.50)        I more broadly conceive knowledge & "knowing" and my conceptualization turns on the distinction between knowing and proving, the latter consistingof formal proofs. Since a God-concept would comprise a Theory of Everything and we know, a priori, from Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, that we cannotprove such employing any closed formal symbol system, a "proof" of God is out of the question.51)        Charles Sanders Peirce offers another useful distinction, which turns on his observations regarding inferential knowledge, which includes abduction,induction and deduction. Abductive inference is, in a nutshell, the generation of an hypothesis. The peircean distinction is that between an argument andargumentation. Peirce offers, then, what he calls the "Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," which amounts to an abduction of God, distinguishingsame from the myriad other attempts to prove Gods existence, whether inductively or deductively through argumentation. Even the scholastic and thomistic"proofs" realize their efficacy by demonstrating only the reasonableness of certain beliefs, not otherwise aspiring to apodictic claims or logically conclusivedemonstrations. Peirce made another crucial distinction between the "reality" of God and the "existence" of God, considering all talk of Gods existence toderive from pure fetishism, affirming in his own way, I suppose, an analogy of being rather than a univocity.52)        Given all this, one may find it somewhat of a curiosity that Godel, himself, attempted his own modal ontological argument. Anselms argument, likelyconsidered the weakest of all the classical "proofs" of God, was first called the "ontological" argument by Kant and was more recently given impetus byHartshornes modal formulation. I think these arguments by Godel and Hartshorne would be more compelling if the modal category of necessary was changedto probable and if the conceptual compatibility of putative divine attributes was guaranteed by employing only negative properties for such terms. At any rate,that Godel distinguished "formal proof" from "knowing" is instructive, I think, and his attempt at a modal ontological argument is also revealing, suggesting,perhaps, that one neednt make their way through half of Whitehead and Russell’s Principia in order to "know" that 2 + 2 = 4, but, rather, that would benecessary only to "prove" same.53)        I would agree that the statement, God cannot be measured, is true for science as narrowly conceived as natural science. More broadly conceived,science includes theology as a discipline and many typologies of the science-religion interface would, for instance, affirm the notion of hypotheticalconsonance between the disciplines. Much of Hans Kungs work entailed an elaborate formulation of the God hypothesis, not empirically testable by anymeans, but, which uses nihilism as a foil to proceed reductio ad absurdum toward what Kung calls a fundamental trust in uncertain reality that, given asuitable and "working" God-hypothesis, is not otherwise nowhere anchored and paradoxical. Another focus of theology as a scientific discipline is that ofpractical theology where orthopraxis might be considered to authenticate orthodoxy.54)        Strong cases have been made by historians of science that sustainable scientific progress was birthed in the womb of a belief in creatio ex nihilo, inother words, a belief in the contingent nature of reality, which, when combined with the Greek belief in realitys rationality, provided the cultural matrix forsciences explosive growth in the Christian West.
  • 10. 55)        I suppose there is an element of the aesthetic that guides one toward such an interpretation as Bohms rather than Bohrs, Chalmers, Searle orPenrose rather than Dennett, the Churchlands or Crick, Pascal rather than Nietzsche --- but something else is going on, and it is not time-honored, whenanyone chooses info to fit an interpretation, which is a different enterprise from the formulation of alternative interpretations that are hypothetically consonantwith whatever info is available at the time.56)        To say more succinctly what I elaborate below: Approaching facts is one matter, rules another, and facts about rules, yet another. Theres noexplaining or justifying rules within their own systems and one hops onto an epistemological pogo stick, incessantly jumping to yet another system with suchexplanatory/justificatory attempts (cf. Godel). Thankfully, Popperian falsification short circuits rule justification in our pursuit of facts and the reductio adabsurdum (with some caveats) short circuits formal philosophy in our pursuit of rule justification, which is otherwise, inescapably, going to be questionbegging, rendering our metasystems, in principle, tautological. An example of a caveat there is that one overworks the humean dictum re: existence as apredicate of being when asserting that existence cannot be taken as a predicate of being -- because it certainly can. One underappreciates the humeanperspective when one forgets that taking existence as a predicate of being is a tautology. But so are all metaphysics, which are all fatally flawed. None of thisis about escaping all antinomial paradox but, rather, finding the metasystem least susceptible to multiple births of paradox, least pregnant with paradox --- or,finding that metasystem which, however fatally flawed, is least morbid.57)        In dealing with metasystem formulations, inevitably, we must confront the time-honored question: random or systematic? chance or necessity? orderor chaos? pattern or paradox? At least, for me, this seems to capture the conundrum at issue.This conundrum is ubiquitous and presents itself not only inmetaphysics but in physics, not only in speculative cosmology and the quantum realm but also in speculative cognitive science and the realm ofconsciousness. This is reminiscent of the dynamic in the TV gameshow, Jeopardy, for these dyads --- of random, chance, chaos, paradox vis a vissystematic, necessity, order, pattern --- offer themselves as answers to a larger question posed in a bigger framework. That question might be framed as:What is it that mediates between the possible and the actual?58)        My brain loves that question and pondering the implications of those dyads seems to help keep my neurotransmitters in balance, quite often firing offenough extra endorphins to help me pedal my bike an extra mile or two, any given day. That question presents when we consider reality both locally andglobally, particularly or universally, in part or as a whole. I have pondered such extensively as set forth here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/epistemic.htm and elsewhere http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/merton.htm [links at the top of this page] and one day I may take on thetask of making such musings more accessible. For now, it seems that I have practiced the Franciscan virtue of seeking to understand rather than to beunderstood and turned it into a vice, practicing it to a fault.59)        I will say this: Science is a human convention, an agreement entered into by an earnest community of inquiry. It seems to operate on a consensusregarding 1) primitives (space, time, mass and energy/charge) 2) forces (strong and weak, electromagnetic and gravity) and 3) axioms (laws ofthermodynamics and so forth) and the relationships they reveal as this community proceeds via 4) popperian falsification, which, as Popper properlyunderstood and many others do not, is not, itself, falsifiable. There are no strict lines between physics and metaphysics inasmuch as any tweaking of thesecategories by theoretical scientists is meta-physical, for instance, such as by those whod add consciousness as a primitive, quantum gravity as a force andstatistical quantum law as an axiom. The crossing-over from philosophy to science and from metaphysics to physics by this or that notion is not so muchdetermined a priori as based on any given attributes of a particular idea regarding primitives, forces and axioms but, rather, takes place when such can beframed up in such a manner as it can be empirically falsified.  We know this from the history of philosophy, science and metaphysics -- although the pace ofcross-over has slowed a tad.60)        Framing up reality in falsifiable bits and pieces is no simple matter to one who agrees with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imaginebut stranger than we can imagine. Still, as is born into our very nature as epistemological optimists, we might temper this view by taking Chestertonscounsel that we do not know enough about reality, yet, to say that it is unknowable. We just do not know, a priori, either where we will hit an explanatory wallor where we will break through same, this notwithstanding such as G. E. Pughs remark to the effect that if the brain were simple enough for us to understandit, we would be so simple that we couldnt.61)        What we do know, a priori, are our own rules and conventions and we can predict whether or not an explanatory wall will either be hit or penetrated ---but only if we narrowly conceive of that wall as being built with the bricks of empirical evidence and the mortar of formal proofs. An explanatory wall thus conceived is indeed subject to godelian constraints, which allow us to model rules that we are otherwise precluded from explaining. In reality, though, onewould commit the equivalent of an epistemological Maginot Line blunder if one built her explanatory wall exclusively of such materials, for, as we know, alarge portion of human knowledge lies outside of any such a narrowly conceived epistemic structure. Indeed, we know far more than we can ever prove (orfalsify)62)        Now, to be sure, we must remain well aware that we are freely choosing our axioms and first principles and that, consistent with godelian andpopperian constraints, they can neither be logically demonstrated, a priori, nor scientifically falsified, a posteriori. We should keep an eye open, too, to thecritiques of Descartes, Hume and Kant, insofar as they seem to have anticipated, in many ways, these godelian and popperian formalizations, as well assome of the dynamics explored by the analytical cohort. What I personally cannot countenance, however, is any epistemological caving in to suchconstraints and critiques (cartesian, kantian and humean); the proper response, if the normative sciences are to retain any sway whatsoever, would seem,rather, to be a trading in of any naive realism for a critical realism (staying mostly aristotelian cum neoplatonic?). So, too, the humean fact-value distinction,worth considering, should not be overworked into a false dichotomy?63)        If, in our inescapable fallibility, we have been dispossessed of any apodictic claims to necessity and logical demonstrations of our first principles, still, we do have at our disposal the judicious use of the reductio ad absurdum as our backdoor philosophy. True enough, the counterintuitive is not, in and ofitself, an infallible beacon of truth, for science has demonstrated many counterintuitive notions to be true, given certain axioms. Nonetheless, absent anydemonstration to the contrary and guided by an earnest community of inquiry, would we not do best to reject such as solipsism and radical nihilism, and toembrace noncontradiction and excluded middle (within the norms suggested by both epistemological and ontological vagueness, which is another exhuastiveconsideration)?64)        So, yes, in freely choosing such axioms as we might employ in our attempt to answer the question --- What mediates between the possible and theactual? --- we are free to opt for chance or necessity, for order or chaos, for pattern or paradox, for the random or systematic, and we are free to apply suchan option locally and/or globally, particularly or universally, to the whole of reality or to any part, and no one can dispossess us, through formal proof or withempirical evidence, of our chosen axioms. And, yes, once we have chosen such axioms, such meta-systems, we must recognize that, fundamentally, theyare clearly tautological by design and in principle, and that any apologetic for same will be rather question begging. [Every time we open an ontologicalwindow, reality closes an epistemological door, I like to say.] The only recourse we have that seems to be at all compelling is the old reductio ad absurdum,taking this or that set of axioms, applying them to reality as best we have come to grasp same, and, after extrapolating it all to some putative logicalconclusion, then testing it all for congruence with reality (and with whatever else happens to be in that suite of epistemological criteria as might comprise thisor that community of inquirys epistemic desiderata).65)        As a relevant aside, I have found that we best modify our modal ontological logic of possible, actual and necessary to possible, actual and probable,which allows one to prescind from the dyads of chance/necessity, order/chaos, pattern/paradox, random/systematic --- as these more and more seem todescribe distinctions that should not be overworked into dichotomies, not that I am an inveterate peircean triadimaniac -- for I am, rather, a pan-entheistictetradimaniac (seems to me to be the least pregnant, anyway).66)        What mediates between the possible and the actual? Probably, the probable. [And that may be the window Reality opened for Hefners co-creatorsas God shrunk from the necessary? And that may be the future-oriented rupture between our essential possibilities and their existential realizations inHaughts teleological account of original sin?]67)        When the Beatles were with the Maharishi in India, at the end of one session, he offered anyone who was interested a ride back to the compound 
  • 11. with him on his helicopter. John volunteered. When later queried about why he decided to go, John quipped: "Because I thought hed slip me the answer." jb is going to slip you the answer.Ever heard of the pragmatic maxim?In my words, jbs maxim, it translates into What would you do differently if you had theanswer? [And it doesnt matter what the question is or that it necessarily be THE question, whatever that is.] Now, if Lonergans conversions --- cognitive,moral, affective, sociopolitical and religious --- were all fully effected in a human being and that person were truly authentic in lonerganian terms, mostlytransformed in terms of classical theosis, then how would an authentic/transformed human answer the question: What would you do differently if you had theanswer?S/he would answer thusly: Nothing.68)        Thats what I really like most about lovers. Ive seen them struggle with all these questions and have even seen them afflicted by these questions toan extent, but lovers are clearly among those for whom I know the answer to the above-question is: Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.Thats the epitome of unconditionallove and thats the essence of the Imago Dei.And that is a small comfort ... so, its a good thing that comfort is not what its all about, Alfie. Carry on. Do carryon69)        In another vein, all of philosophy seems to turn on those three big questions of Kant: What can I know? What can I hope for? What must I do?Theastute observer might recognize that these questions correspond to truth, beauty and goodness and have been answered by philosophers in terms of logic,aesthetics and ethics and by religions in terms of creed, cult and code. They also correspond to the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love and to ourpsychological faculties of the cognitive, affective and moral (again, think Lonergan). At some point on my journey, I rested and answered these questionsthusly: I dont know and I dont need to know. I dont feel and I dont need to feel. I love and I need to forgive.All of a sudden --- I kid ya not --- all manner oftruth, beauty and goodness started chasing me rather than vice versa! If we frame the issue in terms of foci of concern, then the scientific focus will be morenarrowly defined than the theological. The first is positivistic, the latter, philosophic.70)        The scientific focus looks at facts through the lens of popperian falsification. It structures its arguments formally and thus employs mathematics and other closed, formal symbol systems through which it can establish correspondence between those parts of reality we agree to call givens: primitives (space, time, mass/charge, energy), forces (weak, strong, electromagnetic, gravity) and axioms (conservation, thermodynamics). It seeks to provide descriptiveaccounts of these parts of reality and deals in proofs. 71)        The philosophic focus is a wider perspective, which is to say it embraces additional concerns by looking through the lenses of the normativesciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics. It looks at rules. Its arguments are not formally constructed but it does try to establish coherence in its accounts ofreality. It seeks to provide evaluative accounts of reality as a whole and deals in justifications.72)        Lonergan scholar, Daniel Helminiak, defines two additional foci of concern, which are progressively wider perspectives, the theistic and theotic, thelatter having to do with human transformation in relation to God (and which might represent one of many perspectives presented at Star).73)        Broader perspectives, wider foci of concern, do not invalidate the narrower foci, if for no other reason, then, because they are focusing on differentaspects of reality, in fact, additional aspects.74)        In Jeffs frontier town, out on the working edge of science, any novel concepts being introduced must indeed be precisely specified in the language ofscience, which is to say one must introduce a novel primitive, force or axiom, or a novel interaction between existing givens, into a closed, formal symbol system like mathematics. This novelty can then be tested for correspondence with reality, in other words, factuality, through popperian falisfication (which isnot itself falsifiable).75)        As for unfortunate trends among scientists, philosophers and theologians, descriptively, in terms of blurred focus, these are manifold and varied withno monopolies on same? I am time-constrained, wrote this hurriedly and must run. My next consideration was going to be Theories of Everything and howthey should be categorized and why? Any ideas?76)        Obviously, I could not elaborate a comprehensive organon/architectonic of human knowledge categories in only four paragraphs and thus did notdraw out such distinctions as, for instance, the very living of life, itself, from the arts, the practical sciences, the heuristic sciences, the theoretical sciences, the normative sciences and so on. The particular point I was making, however, more particularly turned on the distinction between those matters in life whichwe prove versus those which we otherwise justify. As a retired bank chairman/president, I must say that it would have pleased me very much, too, to haveseen the justice system derive more of its rules from logic. Note, also, the operative word, derive, and youll have some sense of how my elaboration willunfold77)        Because one of the manifold criteria for good hypotheses vis a vis the scientific method is the making of measurable predictions in the context ofhypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning, we might properly talk about proof as being more broadly conceived, our descriptive accounts lending themselves to measurements (and hypothetical fecundity). Of course, induction, itself, is not formal logic, anyway78)        Those trends that frighten me the most are the different fundamentalisms (including both the religious fundamentalisms and enlightenmentfundamentalism or scientism).79)        By Theory of Everything (TOE).  I mean such as M-theory, superstrings, quantum gravity, unified field theory, etc in the realm of theoretical physics.I  believe there are metamathematical problems that inhere in such a TOE as set forth in Godels incompleteness theorems. This is not to suggest a TOE could not be mathematically formulated but only to say it could not, in principle, be proven. Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldnt be formallydemonstrated, we wouldnt otherwise know wed discovered same.80)        A long time ago, my graduate research was in neuroendocrinology Also, the emergentist heuristic of something more from nothing but may haveimplications for some of the difficulties that remain in our understanding of consciousness? As far as philosophic accounts of same, my overall theologicalperspective doesnt turn on whether or not Dennett, Searle, Chalmers, Penrose, Ayn Rand or the Churchlands are correct (vis a vis the positivistic elements of their accounts), although, presently, Im leaning toward Deacons rather peircean biosemiotic perspective.81)        For me to have written this: "Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldnt be formally demonstrated, we wouldnt otherwise know weddiscovered same," maybe I was talking about both? I purposefully left the categorization of any TOE open to tease out different perspectives. My take, toavoid being too coy, is that a TOE requires more than a positivistic focus. It necessarily involves a broadening of our scientific focus to embrace the additionalconcerns of the philosophic. Some folks go further.82)        Its my guess that Baldwinian evolution captures many imaginations because it employs the notion of downward causation. Furthermore, if one frames up the problem of consciousness biosemiotically, in some sense one recovers the classic aristotelian notions of material, formal and final causality.Exciting? Yes. But ...83)        However, one doesnt need to a priori dismiss cartesian dualism and neither does one need to a priori embrace a fully reductionistic philosophy ofmind (including the physical causal closure of the universe) to, at the same time, recognize that such biosemiotic accounts do not, necessarily, violate known physical laws or the idea of physical causal closure. In other words, there can be strong and weak versions of downward causation, both being bothnonphysical and nonreductive, and the emergentistic, biosemiotic account of evolving complexity utilizes the weak version. This does involve a work-around offrameworks that employ strictly efficient causation.84)        What might some of us do with our imaginations? Well, we might invoke various analogies from different physical and/or semiotic accounts to ourphilosophic, metaphysical and even theological accounts. And, sometimes, we might lose sight of how progressively weak these analogies can become.85)        I suppose I could at least be pleased that Dawkins did not consider mystics and obscurantists to be a redundancy? My charitable interpretation 
  • 12. would be that he recognized that the conscious and deliberate invocation of analogies by authentic mystics, who have their eyes open to this analogicaldynamic (apophatically inclined as they are!), is valid (even if he might impute little pragmatic cash value to same), while, for their part, the obscurantistsmight even altogether deny the metaphorical and analogical nature of their extrapolations (not necessarily in bad faith). [The evidence in favor of a charitable interpretation is not being weighed here.]  At any rate, the medieval scotistic notion of the formal distinction, the peircean distinction between objective and physical reality, and the semiotic notion of form realism dont invite ghosts into machines or gods into gaps. Metaphorically and analogically,  and metaphysically, however, different notions of causation are ... let me say ... interesting. 86)        All that said, consciousness remains way overdetermined, scientifically speaking, as well as, philosophically speaking, both epistemologically andontologically open (as far as strongly emergent, weakly supervenient systems are concerned, not to say that supervenience might not be a rather trivialnotion). Pugh may be on to something: If our brains were so simple we could understand them, we would be so simple that we couldnt (or something likethat). I submit we have no a priori justification for selecting a philosophy of mind and precious little a posteriori warrant either. Gun to my head, however, I likeDeacon (and his important nuances of the accounts of Dennett and Dawkins re: memetic, genetic and computational fallacies).87)        Godels relevance to a TOE is controversial. Id be willing to argue both sides. But let me agree with you by suggesting physics is formal andphysicists (and Nature and God) are not, by drawing a distinction between proving and knowing, by recognizing that even if a TOE was mathematicallyformulated in a positivistic/descriptive framework, wed have to fall back on our philosophic/evaluative framework to justify our faith in it.88)        In reading Hawkings take on Godels relevance to a TOE he does seem to draw an obvious direct metamathematical connection? But I cannot saythat he did so unequivocally because almost everything else he said after that clearly invoked Godel analogously. So, at the very least, per Hawking, a physical theory is going to be Godel-like (M-theory per his discussion).  Hawkings lecture can be heard here: http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/strtst/dirac/hawking/audio.ram 89)        I can better wrap my positivistic mind around a weak anthropic principle in the same way I can accept weak versions of downward causation andweak deontological ethics even as I do not a priori rule out the strong versions. Heideggers question has been rephrased, lately, as Why is there somethingand not rather something else? and this makes the strong anthropic principle more compelling in some philosophic frameworks (but understandably trivial in others). Wittgensteins Its not how things are but that things are which is the mystical doesnt sway those whod not take existence as a predicate of being,but what about a bounded existence, a universe in a multiverse, in a pluralistic reality? Maybe there is some univocity of being (Duns Scotist) and someanalogy of being (thomism), too? [For instance, a pan-entheism is monistic, dualistic and pluralistic.] 90)        Chesterton said that we do not know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable and Haldane says that reality is not only stranger than weimagine but stranger than we can imagine. They can both be correct. If humankind does formulate a TOE, it could well be something we have stumbled over and not rather worked out through hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning/imagination. It not only takes faith and the evaluative aspect of the humanknowledge manifold to believe a TOE might be found. Those epistemic faculties would also necessarily be involved in the recognition that it had indeed been found.91)        To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invokingvarious (and sometimes substantial)degrees of epistemological parity between the worlds great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) to argue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with the philosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered these withfideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm ofepistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility.92)        Perhaps we can say that for me to make such points on the IRASnet or MetaNexus would be a preaching to the choir, for the most part, and that nodiscipline has adopted that usage in a long time. In that case, I agree that I might have drawn an unnecessary distinction. Perhaps we can also suggest,however, that not everyone, perhaps even most (the un-disciplined), have been successfully evangelized and that our task is not done, our work is otherwiseunfinished, and the distinction for that audience thus remains pertinent?93)        Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians weretaught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5)uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended tothe probable, by some.94)        The distinction Id offer here is something like Hume makes re: skepticism and induction. It is the distinction between the theoretical and thepractical. Even if a TOE is beyond our grasp strictly theoretically speaking, all TOEs being fatally flawed in principle, still, from a practical perspective, I thinkit is fair to say that we may be able to justify our belief in a TOE, someday, in a universally compelling manner. Does this undermine my assertions re: Godel? I would say that I meant that it is possible my assertions could be undermined. How plausible or probable?95)        Since I am working on another project re: Criteria for Articulating a TOE, I used Michaels evocative query as a springboard in constructing myepistemological preamble to that project. Below is my original response, which I then edited and sent along just now as a much shorter version. I think TOEdiscussions are central to the dialogue between science and religion. However, they are notoriously difficult to air out on listserv forums because too muchrenormalization is required to translate all hermeneutics into a single lingua franca with logically compatible concepts and axioms. With that caveat, here it isfor the few who may be interested.96)        To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invokingvarious (and sometimes substantial) degrees of epistemological parity between the worlds great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) to argue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with the philosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered these withfideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm ofepistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility. 97)        Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians weretaught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5)uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended tothe probable. In semiotic logic, the application of first principles has been nuanced such that excluded middle and noncontradiction hold or fold based onmodal categories under consideration (for the possible, NC folds but EM holds; for the actual, NC & EM hold; for the probable, NC holds but EM folds). Suchmodal logic reflects ontological vagueness. Such semiotic logic reflects semantical or epistemological vagueness. Alas, these are oversimplifications, butthey fit your thesis (and mine).98)        Of course, a TOE would be, at best, consistent but incomplete. That it would thus not be absolute follows from any Godel-like implications (arguablyeven directly from Godel). It then follows that, having no recourse to apodictic proof, we are thrown back on the resources of our evaluative continuum as itworks in conjunction with the other aspects of the human knowledge manifold (sensation, perception, cognition, rational continuum, etc), normatively guidingand regulating and largely capacitating them. It thus qualifies my godelian assertions only in the sense that such constraints are not overcome by JOTS(jumping outside the system, as some cavalierly suggest) to the extent that we are forever chasing the axioms for our axioms but are overcome by JOTS tothe extent that we accept all attempts to justify a TOE as fatally flawed from a theoretical perspective but not necessarily from a practical perspective. Thegodelian-like implications, though not couched in this manner, are well-inventoried by Suber in his The Problem with Beginning.99)        So, what constitutes very persuasive? Is it not an issue of justification? And you have properly gathered my whole thrust regarding theepistemological parity of many of our extant alternate worldviews: they all fallback on justification attempts. And this brings us to the issue of epistemic virtue
  • 13. and vice and how humankind might best define same as a community of inquiry, whose foci of concern variously overlap or not and do so with greatexistential import and tremendous implications for the therapies we devise for what ails us. Finally, we can arbitrate between the worldviews once we haveestablished a consensus on epistemic norms, but, if we had those in place, even now, we dont have enough info to apply them to everyones complete satisfaction. (However, lets not forget that many are ALREADY and not, rather, Almost Persuaded, as it is re: their worldviews). 100)      Alas, this brings us back, full circle, to the question of whether or not it is just too early to tell how a universally compelling TOE might unfold orwhether or not we will ever truly unweave the rainbow and all of its antecedent causes, theoretically or practically. The following constitutes a longer response to an above-question.101)      The art of epistemological nuance, as I imbibed it from Mothers knee, albeit as an unconscious competent, was handed down to me, not fromthe long traditions of thomism and scotism (which well articulated same), but, from the longer tradition of patristic theology (including dionysian mysticism and other neoplatonic influences, which would inform our aristotelian perspectives). My present intuition, which I cannot substantiate but will investigatefurther (some day), is that my epistemological heritage goes back past the early church fathers, even, to the mytho-poetic-practical mindset of the semiticimagination circa Hebrew Testament days. Let me elaborate. 102)      As one looks at the human knowledge manifold, from sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition,inference & deliberation, from instinctive to affective to cognitive, from nonrational to prerational to rational to suprarational, from noninferential to preinferentialto inferential to postinferential, or any way one prefers to dice it and slice it, I suppose it is not entirely clear, anthropologically, how and when differentpeoples integrally deployed these different aspects. For example, suppose we assume that some of these aspects constitute what we might call the evaluative continuum of the human knowledge manifold, while others moreso represent the rational continuum (all of which is tightly integrated).103)      Another correspondent has argued with me over whether or not the early semitic imagination employed any type of inference (more commonly knownas abduction, induction, deduction & transduction). My guess was that surely it did and that the proper distinction between the semitic and hellenisticmindsets, lets say ca. when the Christian tradition was in formation, would not be the latters employment of inference but, rather, the hellenistic employment of formal/abstract inference in addition to any informal/concrete inference. Inference, not otherwise distinguished, is simply abduction, induction and deduction. To say that the mytho-poetic-practical mindset did not use humanitys full cognitive capacities, which I do think is possible, maybe even plausible,is not to say that it did not engage the inferential aspects of the human knowledge manifold. Rather, one is suggesting that, perhaps, it did not develop formaloperational abilities. It undoubtedly would have developed transductive, inductive and deductive reasoning and would even have thought abductively about suchthings as coordinated action. Still, such reasoning, if concretely operational and not formally operational, would not employ the hypothetico-deductive orscientific-inductive reasoning that requires both a more robust abductive facility as well as abstract conceptual abilities.104)      Now, one might also say that many of the hellenistic mindset did not use humanitys full human knowledge manifold either insofar as manyoveremphasized, to a fault, the employment of the rational continuum without acknowledging the role of the evaluative continuum. (I have a friend who mournsthe day Athens met Jerusalem). All that said, there was apparently a gravitation toward inductive inference in the semitic and deductive in the hellenistic.105)      We discussed previously that not all logic is binary, that some is fuzzy and contextual-relational, that we seek symmetry and patterns. The Hebrewliterature is replete with concrete inductive and deductive inference. It gifts us with a heightened awareness of patterns in creation, for instance. The genius ofthe mytho-poetic-practical mind renders such inference wisdom and not merely reason. That genius embodies everything that gives the peircean perspectivesome of its advantage (while it also has its disadvantages) over the classical philosophical traditions insofar as it is concrete, dynamic, wholistic and relational over against abstract, static, dualistic and ontological (iow, escapes essentialism, nominalism, substantialism, dualism).106)      It is Our Story (hence the impetus behind Everybodys Story) that unifies and gives value to our experience, so we do not want to ignore thisindispensable unifying element of the evaluative continuum and concrete inferences (and faith, iow) even as we do (and must) transcend the mythical-literalaspect. We must proactively engage affective judgment and imaginative-intuitive thinking integrally, holistically, in conjunction with inferential thinking (whetherconcretely or abstractly) for optimal inferential performance is my view. (Scientists with keen aesthetic sensibilities have an advantage?) Abstract, formalinferential thinking, including the hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive, of the formal operational stage of cognitive development, is a morally neutralactivity, which can assist virtue or vice, which can become a fetish, but so can any other aspect of the human knowledge manifold (evaluative andrational continuua) that asserts its autonomy and denies any relationality with the other aspects. 107)      Theres a lot going on in philosophy that is analogous to whats going on in math (and metamathematics). There is a lot going on in metaphysics thatis analogous to whats going on in theoretical physics. In a nutshell, there are a lot of different systems with different axioms and it requires so much careful predication, high nuancing and disambiguation of concepts before everyone is reading from the same sheet of music that most popular philosophicaldiscussion consists of people talking past one another. Consider the renormalization required in physics as attempts are made at a grand unified theorybecause the natures of the alternate decriptions (quantum vs field vs gravity and such) are logically and mutually exclusive. Well, something like that isrequired in metaphysics as we jump back and forth between substance accounts, process accounts, substance-process accounts, participative accounts,semiotic accounts and so on. Each account attempts to eliminate the ambiguity (paradox) in the next account and creates new ambiguities of its own.Everytime a philosopher or metaphysician opens a new hermeneutical window, the axiomatic backdraft shuts another epistemological door. Any attempt tohalt an infinite regress seems to introduce some type of causal disjunction. Any attempt at self-consistency introduces circular-referentiality. Attempts tobanish such tautologies introduce stipulated beginning (ipse dixit) and question begging (petitio) fallacies. Our justification attempts can also fallback on theresources of faith and noncognitive strategies. Paradox is inescapable. There is no consistent account that is complete. There is no complete account that isconsistent. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical. Theanalogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two differentpairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportinality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, ametaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even if physics, and they all eventually collapse.108)      These accounts are not Nature, so the godelian constraints and godelian-like constraints and attendant justification problems dont apply to Natureper se but only to our attempts to describe nature, which are abstractions. Maybe the clarification we seek is located in the distinction between a TOE as itmight exist in some platonic heaven and one as might be abstracted by an earthly abstractor. I cannot conceive of how the latter would even be possibleusing human inferential capacities to the extent a TOE is predicated as a metaphysic and with all metaphysics being pregnant with some form of paradox(some multiple birthing and more fecund than others), all meta-accounts being fatally flawed (some more morbid than others). If you distinguish this earthly-abstracted TOE from one existing in a platonic heaven and perceivable from a putative-Gods eye view by some being univocally predicated as a ConsistentComprehendor, then Godel would certainly not be lurking and neither would anyone else for who could afford to pay that kind of epistemological rent? 109)      But for reasons we both stated before, not even much depending on how one predicates a TOE, I dont see it as either a theoretical or practicalconcern except as might belong to One predicated, in part, as Primal Ground. [Consistent Comprehendor has been one of my univocal predications of ahypothetical deity, in fact.110)      Ive been giving this much thought of late, especially while reading Merton but also while contemplating "contemplation" and epistemology and suchrelated issues, in general. Increasingly, I feel the need to make the following distinction. Whether in ascetical or mystical theology, formative spirituality ordevelopmental psychology, all as integrally considered, when one employs the term "simple" or related notions like "simplicity," one must be clear as towhether one really means "simple versus complex" or, rather, "simple versus difficult".Very often, spiritual writers have spoken of simplicity both with respectto prayer and with respect to certain asceticisms, disciplines and practices that help to dispose one to prayer, cultivating solitude and nurturing acontemplative outlook. Increasingly, it seems to me that such simplicity is moreso of the "simple versus difficult" variety, which is to say that we are talking interms of ease and facility [Websters 9th definition, below] and not so much of any lack of complexity [Websters 5th definition].111)      If contemplation is simple, then I would say that it is simple in the sense that, for the contemplative, prayer is facile, easy, readily performed. It is notdifficult for the proficient. So it is with most any art, whether pertaining to dance or music or athleticism. So it is with many of lifes tasks, whether riding abike or driving a standard automobile, or performing ones trade as an accomplished technician.
  • 14. 112)      The underlying deployment of the various aspects of the human evaluative continuum --- from awareness, sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation --- wholistically & integrally employing our instinctive, affective and cognitive faculties, is clearly complex and not at all "simple" in the sense of being "uncomplicated" or "artless" or such. 113)      Developmentally speaking, there are no shortcuts to such simplicity, to such artform, to such technical competence, to such proficiency. Preparation through catechesis, ongoing cultivation through liturgy and lectio divina, fidelity to law and code both obligationally and aspirationally, and commitment to community, all contribute, integrally, toward properly disposing one for higher gifts. 114)      Now, it is true enough that the Holy Spirit gifts us with charisms that exceed our natural talents and with infused prayer that can be received only as gift and that there is a simplicity in such grace that transcends our human categories of simple vs difficult, simple vs complex. What I speak of, here, are all of the natural and normal preparations we make, no less cooperating with grace, such preparations and practices being quite complex when you think about them, psychologically and epistemologically, even as they are progressively done with great facility and simplicity, iow, proficiency, through time and dutiful practice. 115)      In this sense, contemplation might best be equated with the total offering [perhaps, Websters 8th definition] of our entire selves, the total oblation of our entire lives, the total disposal of our human evaluative continuum, to God. And this offering is wholly, holy whole. 116)      And this offering is progressively easier, more facile, more simple --- even as it is one of the most complex maneuvers, complicated dance steps, a human will ever perform. It starts off simple but gets increasingly complex. It starts off difficult but gets progressively simple (facile). 117)      Main Entry: 1sim·ple  Pronunciation: sim-p&l Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, plain, uncomplicated, artless, from Latin simplus, simplex, literally, single 5 a : SHEER, UNMIXED <simple honesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamin deficiency> c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses <a simple sentence> (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : FUNDAMENTAL e : not made up of many like units <a simple eye>`8 : not limited or restricted : UNCONDITIONAL <a simple obligation>9 : readily understood or performed <simple directions> <the adjustment was simple to make>synonym see in addition EASY 118)      Another angle. Recall the distinctions Washburn made vis a vis Wilber and the pre-trans fallacies.I built upon these such that, ontologically, we distinguish between 1) (meta)physical structures, 2) developmental stages and 3) phenomenal states, while, epistemologically, we distinguish between 1) our environing reality (including ultimate reality), 2) the environed reality (of the human evaluative continuum) and 3) our foci of concern (recall Helminiak). 119)      In terms of simplicity, then, for the proficient on the spiritual journey, what is going on in ones physical structure (psychologically & spiritually, integrally & holistically), where one is re: developmental stages, how the environed reality interacts with the environing reality with ever expanded foci of concern --- all of this is increasingly complex. There is FAR more going on, epistemologically and ontologically, with the proficient than there is going on for the novice. If the phenomenal state seems to be rather quiet, this is only because of the smooth, proficiency and well-practiced facility of these advanced parts of the journey. A proficient shifting gears and working the clutch IS going to be QUIETER than a beginner, who is learning to drive the spiritual motorcar. This is due to a simplicity born of facility and not from a lack of complexity. 120)      I think it has been a failure to make this distinction that has led folks down the paths of error such as quietism, fideism and such, denigrating various faculties of human knowledge, wrongly deemphasizing various aspects of the human knowledge manifold, whether the evaluative and/or rational continuum. 121)      The trick is not to confuse the distinctions we draw between the instinctive and the affective and the cognitive for dichotomies, which is to say that, in order to be authentically human, we employ all of these faculties, in some meausre, all of the time. There is an inauthenticity, a denial of our own humanity, in being rationalistic (only the head) or fideistic/pietistic (only the heart). The point is that there is no superiority in the sense that anyone can be an authentic  human, even as we note that it takes some doing. Theresa, the Little Flower, is a Doctor of the Church, so certainly underwent an intellectual conversion in addition to any affective, moral, social and religious conversions.  She may not have led with her intellect, lets say, the way her fellow Carmelite John of the  Cross did, but she did not interfere with its being transvalued by her other conversion experiences. Wisdom results. Authenticity is an "accomplishment" of wholeness and intellectual conversion is not to be mistaken for academic learning, alone. If we first follow Lonergans imperatives to be attent, intelligent, reasonable and so forth, very much matters of the will, too, itll take care of itself in the "simplest" of souls. 122)      This is not unrelated to Occams Razor and the Law of Parsimony, eh? And Charles Sanders Peirce suggests that it is the facility with which we come up with an hypothesis and not the lack of complexity in same that parsimony should measure. As far as priesthoods and power-hoarding, or clericalism, although that happens we do not want to commit the fallacy of misuse, which argues against something that is otherwise good and which should only be used properly. Arrogance can be a two way street -- one side arrogating and asserting it has the answers and is here to help and the other side arrogating and saying it has the answers and needs no help. Alas, good storytelling (homiletics) seems to be the best way to reach all audiences. 123)      .I would agree and qualify that one can, as a proficient, afford to just look because the look-ers entire evaluative continuum has been so very well prepared (cultivated, disposed, trained or what have you). Every apophatic moment contains, for the proficient, all kataphasis, and every kataphatic moment contains all apophasis, too, as one encounters reality with ones entire evaluative continuum integrally and holistically deployed. The simplicity is real insofar as an organic whole is in operation and is not otherwise fractured. If the phenomenal state of the contemplative soul resembles that of one who has merely paused between sensation and abstraction, that is a superficial resemblance because the developmental stages and underlying structures could be quite different (formed, for instance, by catechesis, liturgy, lectio divina, moral development, etc a la lonerganian conversions). Of course, it does occur to me that Maritain has already done this work of drawing such distinctions between philosophical contemplation, connaturality, intuition of being, natural mysticism and mystical contemplation, etc And, of course, there are all of the problems about the use of the term contemplation in the first place, such as acquired vs infused, etc But I am just toying with what we mean and do not mean by simple. The non-reflective aspect is important --- whether driving a car, playing a guitar, dancing a ballet or praying. All proficiency seems to move toward simplicty a la facility and ease. I do not think Ill be playing Classical Gas tonight, though, on my guitar, no matter how simple it is for Mason Williams!  see http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/architectonic.htm A note re: unitive consciousness We do not equate mere unitive consciousness (simple awareness, simple seeing) with Christian contemplation, although I believe this form of contemplation can indeedenhance and enrich same if we allow it to dwell within us, influencing and interpenetrating our other contemplative approaches to God. If by "unitive consciousness" one refers to a nondual state of awareness or an experience of absolute unitary being, then I would say, yes, there, one is simply aware, simplyseeing. This would be a natural mysticism (Maritains mysticism of the self, even Zen) engendered by a metaphilosophical contemplation, which is distinct from the intuitionof being engendered by a philosophical, metaphysical contemplation. The latter is a mystical experience of the supernatural order for it knows God (through creation, throughconcepts and through the intuition of being). The former is not. There is another mystical experience of the supernatural order, Maritains mystical contemplation, which comes from an affective connaturality, which also knows God. Hewrites: "Christian contemplation is the fruit of the gift of Wisdom; and this gift although a habitus of the intelligence... depends essentially on charity, and consequently onsanctifying grace, and causes us to know God by a sort of connaturality - in an affective, experimental and obscure manner, because superior to every concept and image." Contrastingly, natural mysticism proceeds from an intellectual connaturality, albeit it is supra- or para-conceptual. Arraj writes: "This is a metaphilosophical contemplation thatreverses rather than continues the normal direction of philosophical contemplation by achieving its knowledge at the price of the elimination of all concepts."
  • 15.  Hence, this natural mysticism of unitive consciousness is existential and not theological; it has encountered an absoluteness of esse but not as distinguishable from IpsumEsse Subsistens. As Maritain writes: "And how could this experience, being purely negative, distinguish one absolute from the other? Inasmuch as it is a purely negative experience, it neitherconfuses nor distinguishes them. And since therein is attained no content in the ‘essential’ order, no quid, it is comprehensible that philosophic thought, reflecting upon suchan experience, fatally runs the danger of identifying in some measure one absolute with the other, that absolute which is the mirror and that which is perceived in the mirror.The same word ‘atman’ designates the human Self and the supreme Self." Arraj amplifies: "In short, the very powerful yet obscure experience of our own existence can become the doorway through which we can pursue, not the path of essence, butthat of existence to the very bedrock of the human spirit which is our very existence as it comes forth from the source of existence. But this existence is known through themedium of emptiness so that there is no way to distinguish the existence of the soul, the existence of all created things and the existence which is God." There is all the difference between journeying without concepts and journeying, for a moment, beyond concepts with an affective connaturality. Of course, although distinct, both philosophical and mystical contemplation as well as natural mysticism can be united in many different ways in all of us sojourners. Thiswould all be consistent with Merton’s distinctions between the existential and theological, natural and supernatural, apophatic and kataphatic, impersonal and personal inEastern vs Christian mysticism. Finally, I look forward to exploring some of the correspondence between Merton and Maritain, especially re: the notion of maskedcontemplation in more active people. Notes on Alejandro Garcia-Rivera’s: A Wounded Innocence ---- mixed with my own and others words What would happen if we took the visual seriously in theology? the measure of the woundedness of language if language and the brain co-evolved in our species, the symbolic species per Terry Deacon, andif nonalgorithmic information processing is the je ne sais quois of human rationality, andif we share with the rest of creation a radical finitude,then, whatever it has been in humanitys history, whether in terms of our finitude or in our willful failure to cooperate in community,that wounded our nascent, innocent language, a new humanism can bring the theological and historical, the spiritual and artistic, the textbook and the living, together (cf WI pg. 122) This is reminiscent of what is distinctive in Augustines epistemology: to know God certainly entails mastery of information, but it also entails personal contact. (cf A.N.Williams, "Contemplation," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 122)? It also seems to echo F.J. van Beeck: "Even though theology, as instanced by Aquinas and Rahner, has traditionally opened the systematic exposition of the Christian faithby an analysis of natural religious knowledge, this has never served to deny that the Christian faith is epistemologically prior. (cf. __God Encountered__ pp 139)" And this seems to be true in any scientia? that the supra-rational, nonrational and pre-rational are necesarily epistemologically prior to the rational, being, as they are, integralto the human knowledge manifold ensemble. This is a nonfoundational epistemic suite, an ensemble vouching of each rationality for all the others, so to speak, trans-rationally. It is elevated by the grace of transmutedexperience and realized in Lonergans conversions. As such, this "[c]ontemplation [of wounded innocence] is neither the statement of a set of postulates discovered by the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort ofdoctrinally denuded reverie (Williams pg. 144)" and the "contemplative character of [this] theology [of living aesthetics] points to not only a disciplinary, but an existentialunity. Just as the contemplation that is theology cannot be separated from the contemplation that is prayer, so an authentically Christian existence consists in a unity, invirtue of which this life is inseparably wedded to the next. (Williams pg. 147) If the history of philosophy is bound up with the story of human language, then the history of theology will, in part, necessarily mirror the impaling of our authentic humanity bythe twin-edged swords of various age-old distinctions turned dichotomies: physics and metaphysics, being and nonbeing, real and ideal, rational and empirical, icon andindex. It is not that there were not epistemological shouts along the way, plaintive warnings to "step back" and avoid these sundering blades by Plotinus, pseudo-Dionysius,John Duns Scotus, John of St. Thomas and others? And if the history of philosophy follows the history of languages, both pre-modern and modern, from the Greek to the Latin to the Continental, then it may be less of a surprisethat the post-modern would find a robust expression in America, which, with its language-transcendent global perspective, as gifted by its cultural-linguistic melting pot, wouldproduce pragmatism (as therapy). To wit: "And because the intellectualism that James deplored has done at least as much damage in theology and in philosophy, we canwholeheartedly welcome his insistence that reality is richer than reflection; that it is not by pure reason alone that we can take our bearings and find our way (quite apart fromthe fact that reason is never as pure, as devoid of passion and particular interest, as its advocates suppose it to be); that quality of feeling is no less important to our well-being than quality of argument ... (Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__, pg 86)." If a Jamesian pragmatism was indeed therapeutic, the cure may have been worse than the disease: "It is these disjunctive contrasts and, with their aid, the confining of theterritory of the personal to the realm of the individual, private feeling and emotion, which renders the Jamesian account at once so seductive and so dangerous. The situation isnot lacking in tragic irony. By calling us back from the death-dealing rigidity of institutional order, and from the divisiveness of intellectual debate, to some primordial realm ofpure experience in which the individual may "apprehend" himself to "stand in relation" to that "continuum of consciousness" of which we each form part, James sought tosecure firm foundations for religious truth, prospects for progress, and a basis for social harmony. And yet, the foundations turn out to be nothing firmer than the fragileoptimism of an excited ego entertaining dubious hypotheses concerning the paranormal. (Lash pg. 88)" From the outside of academia looking in, the more I looked at academic philosophy, the less it seemed worthy of my time. Not usually given to succinctness, I was ready towrite it all off, taking away only these lessons: that not every distinction is a dichotomy, that different human rationalities often enjoy primacy but seldom autonomy, and, verygenerally, that when one chooses to go beyond (for instance, the head or heart), it is best not to also go without (again, the heart or head). What everyone seemed to be searching for was "a common ground in which there were no fences," a "familiar field" that "transcended all fences, methodological issues, andall claims." (WI pg. 122). And this search was urgent, for it was nothing less than a stepping back off of the piercing swords of false dichotomies, a stepping back from the essentialistic-existentialchasm, a mending of every rupture, whether epistemological, ontological, cosmological, teleological, or axiological. And if pragmatism and semiology turned away insomewhat halting, incohate false-starts, pragmaticism and semiotics would soon more fully and effectively prescind. Its lesson has been that, if any vestige of innocenceremains, some saving remnant of continuity amongst the manifold and multiform seeming-discontinuities, it has not been located in our philosophies of nature, being, ideas orlinguistics, nor has it been found in our various turns, whether historical, subjective, hermeneutical (interpretive), linguistic, critical (praxis) or even to experience, though thelatter came the closest. Truest to our radically social human nature, it has been the turn to experience and community which has gifted us, now here, now there, with "paradise regained," evanescentthough it may seem, ephemeral thought it may be. For Maritain, our fallen-redeemed humanity realizes the fruits of this continuity of experience via community in "the
  • 16. simultaneous peace and delight of the mind and the senses" enjoyed as beauty (and through these very senses and intuition). Beauty, then, is the door through which we pass into the vestibule of original innocence. Beauty is the reality experienced as an indubitable continuity between innocent humanity, fallen humanity, fallen-redeemed humanity, and, anagogically, humanity eschatologically returning to Primal Beauty. The Holy Breath bids the Bride,"Come!" for you are betrothed, this life of yours wedded, inseparably, to the next. Is this credible, especially once considering our brutal inhumanity? "The mark of our humanity lies in works of beauty. That humans are rational may be questioned and violence mainly points out our inhumanity byt theres no doubt that worksof art mark that human presence. Indeed, what we find at the origins of humanity are not books of philosophy or murderous bands of savages but artists capable of incredibleworks of beauty. A gaze at the lines that reveal the bison forms shows something more than intelligence or violence at work. Such lines reveal a disciplined freedom, agracefulness that is more than the work of a self-conscious mind. They are an epiphany ofthe human soul.  Indeed, these graced curves of the bison reveal a mysterious and marvelous union of sensibility and creativity that guided a human soul to shape a set of lines that still evoke, even 30,000 years later, a sense of childlike wonder, and yes,beauty. We have labeled these first artists "primitive," suggesting their minds were not as developed as ours. Yet if intelligence is to be measured by its beauty, then thesefirst artists may have been more intelligent than we who live today with little to show by way of the intelligence of beauty." (WI pg. 12)   Musings Regarding Metaphysics I think one of the things that drew me to metaphysics was my curiosity abouthow everything is connected and what makes it all tick. You ever get in aconversation with a very curious child wherein one question led to the next,then to another and yet another, almost interminably? And they finally tookyou to the point where youd say: "Go ask your Mom (or Dad, or teacher)!"or, perhaps: "Go look it up in the encylopedia (or at the library or,nowadays, on the Internet)!"One thing such curiosity led to, in my case, was a passion for pigeonholing,for bookmarking, for categorizing, for organizing ... ... bits of knowledge.How is this related to that? And thus it is the human noosphere has beendiced and sliced, whether by internet domains, the Dewey Decimal System orthe list of academic disciplines at the local university. If you, in theleast, have a fetish for such --- every idea having its place and every ideain its place ---, then youll really enjoy metaphysics. In other words, ifyou are an Enneagram 5, doing metaphysics could be as great a weakness as itis a strengthAll that said, and after so many years, I have made up my own grand schemaof things. It doesnt correspond perfectly with others categories but itworks for me --- as far as pigeonholing goes. Why it differs from otherschemes is part of metaphysics, itself. (More later, maybe).I group things in a set of pigeonholes that, if they were a spreadsheet ormatrix, would have four categories going across the top (the x-axis orhorizontally) and four categories going down the side (the y-axis orvertically). This makes for sixteen little mailboxes in which to placevarious parcels of reality each day (to be read when others are countingsheep or if Letterman is otherwise unappealing that particular night).Across the top, I place: A) Truth B) Beauty C) Goodness D) Love.Down the side, I place: 1) Facts about different parts of reality 2) Rulesabout different parts of reality 3) Facts & Rules about the whole of reality4) Human Responses to all of these facts and rules.Of course, I have names for each of my sixteen mailboxes. One might have funguessing what they are. Ill address them later. For that matter, one mighthave even more fun constructing their own mailboxes. I hope you have fun andIll do my best to keep it fun (because, after all, who wants to play PostOffice alone?).Best, paxjbhttp://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.htmlre: the mailboxesOther names for the categories regarding1) Facts - the descriptive sciences; the positivistic realm; the practicaland theoretical and heuristic sciences2) Rules - the normative sciences; the philosophic realm3) Facts and Rules about the reality as a whole - metaphysics, ideologies,worldviews, theories of everything; the theistic realm4) Human Responses - different conversions; the theotic realmSo, those categories might roughly correspond to Daniel Helminiaks realmsof concern. The other categories in the matrix correspond to the divineattributes: a) truth, b) beauty and c) goodness ... ... and d) love.None of this is hard and fast, but the pigeonholes would thus be:
  • 17. 1) factsa) scienceb) arts & humanitiesc) lawd) relationshipsand all of the above, so to speak, broadly conceived2) rulesa) logicb) aestheticsc) ethicsd) politics3) facts & rules - theories of everythinga) epistemologicalb) cosmological & ontologicalc) axiologicald) teleological4) human responses (Lonergan)a) intellectual conversionb) affective conversionc) moral conversiond) social-political conversionWhen religion informs our perspective:3) facts & rules - theistic theories of everythinga) creed (doctrine, dogma)b) cult (ritual)c) code (law)d) communityA quote from Thomas Mertons Sign of Jonas:quote:I wish I had gone into my study of theology with something more of the mindof St. Dominic. The thing I lack most is the outstanding Dominicancharacteristic of sharpness, definiteness, precision in theology. I admitthat sometimes their precision is the fruit of oversimplification: but it isgood anyway. The sharp contrast between the Dominican colors -- black andwhite -- is a good symbol of the Dominican mind which likes clear cutdivisuions and distinctions.A day later, in his journal, he wrote:quote:Sana doctrina! What an ideal! Clean and precise thinking --- sweeping theworld clean of the dust of heresy and bad theology. I need that sanadoctrina and it will not hurt me at all to realize that everyone who lovesTruth is, in this world, called upon in some measure to defend it.So, there are my oversimplifications ... and my measure of defense.pax,jbhttp://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.htmlAnother quote from Thomas Merton:quote:In the short Prologue of St. Thomas Aquinas to his Summa Theologiae is avery beautiful paragraph containing a whole discipline of study: his threepoints are that students -- beginners, but it applies to all -- are impededfrom arriving at truth by 1) the great number of useless questions,arguments and articles 2) the lack of order in the way doctrine is presented3) repetition which produces confusion and boredom.The Dominicans and Cistercians had at least this in common --- that theywanted to get rid of all non-essentials.I can best relate to the need for order. I can even relate to thedistinction between useless and useful questions and arguments. My biggestmea culpa in sharing my interests in metaphysics has been doing so withoutbeing both confusing and boring! I made some snide remark, just today, aboutEnneagram 2s not setting boundaries and my dear wife, self-described as aflaming 2, promptly pointed out that others of us have our own faults, too!And I readily admitted that one of my chief characteristics was being ... um... ... uninterestingThus, aside from my pigeonholing fetish, well be leaning heavily on Philsteaching charism
  • 18. pax,jbhttp://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.htmlStill in a preliminary remark mode, there are some general observations onecan make regarding the difference(s) the Gospel makes in our vision ofreality.First, we might consider what the Good News does NOT address in those realmsof the positivistic-descriptive sciences (facts) and philosophic-normativesciences (rules), or even rearding our various metaphysics and theories ofeverything. It doesnt tell scientists when to use Euclidean geometry orimaginary numbers, or Einsteinian or Newtonian physics, or how to best marryquantum mechanics and special relativity. It doesnt tell philosopherswhether to be pragmatists or phenomenologists, platonists or aristoteleans,humean* (see note below) or kantian. It doesnt tell thomists whether to beanalytical or transcendentalists, existentialists or personalists. Itdoesnt recommend thomism over scotism, for that matter. It doesnt tellmetaphysicians what to use as a root metaphor, whether substance or processor experience or something else. It doesnt even tell us exactly how to doaesthetics or ethics or politics, how to write literature or practice law.It doesnt recommend socialism over communism over tribalism, democracy overa monarchy, or napoleonic code over common law.The Good News DOES cloak all of reality with purpose, crowning creation inglory and humankind with dignity, affirming that we are precious and honoredin Gods sight and that His banner over us is love. The Good News doesprovide the lens of realism in these affirmations of reality. It affirms thecosmos as rational: humankind is intelligent and, furthermore, reality isintelligible. In our epistemologies, whatever they are, we must at the leastbe realists, which is only to say that we affirm that we really can knowreality, however fallibly and partially. In our metaphysics, whatever theyare, we must at least be realists, which is to suggest that our cosmologiesand ontologies really do describe, however fallibly and partially, ourever-tightening grasp of reality. In our ethics and moralities, we must atthe least be realists, which means we affirm that there really are objectivelaws and norms of behavior, however dynamic, that we can come to understandbetter and better. Whatever ones scientific or philosophical ormetaphysical outlook, the Gospel affirms a critical realism, a metaphysicalrealism and a moral realism.There is another type of realism, which is more related to the notion ofbeing realistic, that can best be illustrated by the idea of politicalrealism, which is also part of our Gospel tradition. Political realism isrealistic in the sense that it recognizes both humankinds finitude andsinfulness. This is to say that, whatever our ideals and values may be, itis to be expected that, notwithstanding our origin and destiny in Love, wewill fall short. Our immersion in finitude and sin, both our own and that ofothers, calls for a certain pastoral sensitivity, in other words,compassion. At the same time, our immersion in grace and mercy calls for aresponse, too, and a reasonable set of expectations regarding our journey oftransformation through ongoing conversion, our responsibility to the GoodNews.In conclusion, one doesnt really need to know a whole lot about the detailsof science or philosophy or metaphysics. One neednt be conversant with anyof the terms I used to describe the manifold and varied approaches ofscience and philosophy in the above-paragraph that spoke to the issue ofwhat the Good News does not address (sigh of relief). As a Christian, evenwithout knowing all of the nuances and details of scientific advances andphilosophic musing, one can expect that any scientist, philosopher,metaphysician or ethicist, claiming to be rooted in the Gospel of JesusChrist, will be a realist: epistemologically, metaphysically, morally andpolitically, because, whatever your stance toward Coca Cola, Jesus is THEREAL THING, what the world needs today!pax, amor et bonum,jbNote: The Gospel does make each of our 16 little hermeneutical mailboxes aholon of sorts, all containing and reflecting the whole of reality in aninteraction of truth and beauty and goodness and love. We do, therefore,reject the naturalistic fallacy, the notion that one cannot get from is toought, from the given to the normative, from the descriptive to theprescriptive, or what have you. So, as for the *humean approach ... well,its very problematical to me (to put it mildly).http://www.geocities.com/campmerci/index.htmlArguments or apologetics for a Theory of Everything, whether by Hawking orDawkins, Moses or Reverend Moon, tend to have several, sometimes all, of thefollowing characteristics, which are both descriptive and prescriptive inconnotation:deal with reality taken as a wholenot formally constructed - not completely formal or formulaic or
  • 19. mathematicalallegorical - use of metanarrative, myth, analogy and/or metaphor to evokean otherwise appropriate response to ultimate realityanagogical - express elements of hope or desired outcomesmoral - make appeals to virtue, whether epistemological, anagogical, moral,socio-political or religiousliteral - include some literal-historical factssuper-reasonable or supra-rational - consistent with logic and reason whilegoing beyond themnonrational and transrational - include aesthetic elements, affectiveappeals, pragmatic criteria and supra-rational axiomsemploy unproven axiomsappeal to self-evident truthincomplete - lack comprehensive explanatory adequacy; remain somewhatquestion begginginconsistent - have embedded paradox or terms that are incompatible,incommensurable, mutually occlusive or mutually unintelligibleunverifiable - not falsifiabletautological - conclusions are imbedded in premises of argument; employcircular referentialitysuffer infinite regresssuffer causal disjunctionbegin in media resimplicitly or explicity suggest spiritual imperatives to our existentialorientationsother miscellaneous characteristics:dualistic - various dualismsmonisticpluralistictriadic relationala prioristicessentialisticnominalisticsubstantialisticmaterialisticrelationalisticabsolutisticencratistic - overemphasize speculative and apophaticpietistic - overemphaisize affective and kataphaticquietistic - overemphasize affective and apophaticrationalistic - overemphasize speculative and kataphaticFurther Comments: Especially since the human transformative process is precisely a growth trajectory thingy, we recognize a developmental aspect to our own and others lives. One could arguethat certain so-called delusions are, in fact, developmentally-appropriate for this or that person, or even this or that group of people, similarly situated. Further, not all delusionsare created equal and some are more or less benign, others more or less malignant, via a vis being life-enhancing/relationship-enhancing versus life-destroying/relationship-destroying. It is with much discernment, therefore, that one must choose when to attempt to dispossess another of their delusions and when to simply leave them alone.Reality, itself, takes people on the journey toward truth and away from delusion, sometimes patiently, sometimes cruelly. It is with great circumspection, then, that one mightchoose to accelerate this (super)natural process. And, indeed, sometimes we are thus called, particularly if we have been gifted the position of being a formative influence onothers --- as pastors, parents, teachers, police ... ... friends. Iconoclasm is a morally neutral activity. The way it is engaged is not.  And yet I wonder if we are modern-day alchemists, but of a more sophisticated variety. We turn reality into meaning and purpose…or try to. Spoken like a quintessential modern day existentialist. Well done! Of course, not all existentialists are created equal, some being nihilists, others Christians, others whatever. But you, Major Nelson, impress me as more of the Jacques Maritain flavor, which emphasizes distinctions, while being ever-vigilant about not elevating them all to dichotomies (although some are). For instance, do we give reality itsmeaning and purpose? Or, do we discover the meaning and purpose that is already there? Why should that be an either-or question? As co-creators and pro-creators, Isuspect we do both a LOT of the latter and a little of the former? Whatever ones worldview, some type of faith is an integral aspect of any knowing that we do, this because of our finitude (and sin). We dont approach this part of reality withreason and that part through faith. We grasp all of reality through the lens of faith-grounded reason and experience-grounded faith, the latter having primacy but not enjoyingautonomy. The word doubt is not from the realm of positivistic science, which uses the mathematical grammar of true and false, greater and less than and equals. It is from the realm of relationships, which use the grammar of trust. That is one of the characteristics of TOEs I forgot to list. They include a grammar of trust in addition to those employed bypositivistic (mathematical) and philosophic (formal logic) realms. As Kung would say, one has a justified fundamental trust in uncertain reality or a nowhere-anchored,paradoxical trust in uncertain reality. I would maintain 1) that none of our attempts at justification can elude some form of paradox, 2) with Whitehead, that all metaphysics arefatally flawed. I simply further maintain that it is worthwhile, urgently necessary even, to pursue that TOE least pregnant with paradox, that least-morbid metaphysic. This
  • 20. must be done out of compassion for humankind, for differences in worldviews translates into differences in prescriptions (hence efficacies) for what ails us. And this must be done toward the end of AMDG, which speaks both to our origin and our destiny, inseparable as they are from our experience of the eternal now. Whether or not one makes sense, I suppose, sometimes, depends on their using proper grammar. In that regard, it is less paradoxical, in my view, to approach ultimate reality as if it were a personal relationship requiring the grammar of trust, which includes faith and doubt. Others can reliably and profitably practice their positivistic (re:facts) and philosophic (re: rules) lifes activities without further attempting to justify their fundamental trust in the grounding of those aspects of uncertain reality, but most of humanity, down through millenia, finds such an approach neither satisfying nor compelling, not cognitively, not affectively, not morally, not socially and not religiously, which is to say that they find such a "spirituality" impoverished. That observation does not constitue a proof and is not meant to invoke the consensus gentium fallacy, but it does, inmy view, provide an important clue, one worth pursuing as if ones very existence depended on it. There you have the essentially pragmatic justification for our supra- andtrans- rational endeavors. Love, then, is our philosophers stone. pax, amor et bonumjb 5X5X5 5 Aspects of Reality 1) being2) truth3) beauty4) goodness5) love 5 Areas of Concern with Reality 1) positivistic2) philosophic3) metaphysical4) theistic5) theotic 5 Approaches to Reality 1) non-rational2) pre-rational3) supra-rational4) rational5) trans-rational 5 Aspects X  5 Areas = 25 Engagements of Reality  Positivistic - facts a) science b) arts & humanities c) law d) relationships e) mysticism Philosophic - rules a) logic b) aesthetics c) ethics d) politics e) existentialism Metaphysical - theories of everything a) epistemological b) cosmological l c) axiological d) teleological e) ontological   Theistic - theories of everything a) creed (doctrine, dogma) b) cult (ritual) c) code (law) d) community e) natural theology   Theotic - human responses a) intellectual conversion b) affective conversion c) moral conversion d) social-political conversion e) religious conversion 25 Engagements X  5 Approaches =   125 Experiences of Reality (partly tongue-in-cheek, inasmuch as the thrust has been that our approach to reality is holistic, integrated, one.) The categories of a) aspects, b) areas of concern, c) approaches, d) engagements and e) experiences provide a heuristic device, a set of disciplinary pigeonholes. In thosepigeonholes, one can place much of what has already been fleshed out by philosophers and theologians. Well, if someone accused you of substantialism or essentialism,
  • 21.  you might respond by saying you do not mean to imply that the soul is a separate and static reality with some type of platonistic or dualistic existence, but that your thomistic approach isinfluenced by an aristotelian perspective, which is more holistic. In other words, the body, soul and spirit not being separate entities but just different aspects of the same thing. Further, ifyour perspective was, for example, largely informed by Jim Arraj, you could point out that your take on form and formal causation is like CHAPTER 13: NONLOCALITY, MORPHICRESONANCE, SYNCHRONICITY AND FORMAL CAUSALITY] which is to say: quote: Both science and a Thomist philosophy of nature are converging to give us another view of the universe. The old mechanistic view of a world in which innumerable separate objects occasionally interact is giving way to an ever deepening sense of the unity of the universe that has often been hidden from our view. The ultimate mystery of matter is the mystery of that unity. Whether it is Bohm talking about the quantum potential, or Sheldrake speaking of morphic fields and their resonance, or Jung pondering meaningful coincidences and acausal orderedness, or Thomas Aquinas on matter and form, we are faced with a much more cohesive and dynamic view of matter. The objects that fall under our senses are but the visible presences of much wider and deeper formal fields. Jim ArrajThe use of the term fields has the markings of some sympathy for the more dynamic, process approaches. Some actually combine their approaches and call them substance-process. Someargue that retaining the aristotelian concepts is unnecessary metaphysical baggage and move to pure process, employing metaphors of experience, for example, see Whitehead.However, going in the process direction too far exposes one to nominalism, which is quote: the doctrine that there is no objective meaning to the words we use — words and concepts dont pick out any actual objects or universal aspects of reality, they are simply conventional symbols or names that we happen to use for our own convenience.This flies too much in the face of our common sensical experience of reality, for instance, such an experience as communicating with one another as distinct, however social, entities. Realitybecomes one unitary organism and our autonomous existence gets lost. The reality of the process of experience is overemphasized while the actual content is ignored. Nominalism creeps inespecially in those process approaches that employ the dipolar concepts of reality we mentioned earlier. Without very high nuance, what some folks intend as panentheism becomesindistinguishable, for all practical purposes, from pantheism.So, the fact that any unnuanced essentialism or nominalism, the former often accompanying dualistic metaphysics, the latter, materialist monism, is going to run into various conundrums,introducing concepts that are mutually occlusive or incompatible or contradictory, has steered some folks away from both substance and process metaphysics. This is where the semioticgrammar I mentioned before comes in: quote: Following Charles S. Peirce, Gelpi proposes as a much more adequate model a triadic notion of experience. In this construct there are three "irreducible variables": evaluations, which correspond to possibilities (Peirces "firstness"); actions, which correspond to facts, to concreteness (Peirces "secondness"); and tendencies, which correspond to habits or generalities, but not to universal essences (Peirces "thirdness). In his book, Gelpi critiques several key theological movements on the basis of their faulty concepts of experience and the flaws these induce, and demonstrates how this triadic account provides the remedy.In Review of The Gracing of Human Experience: Rethinking the Relationship Between Nature and Grace, except for the typos calling Gelpi --- Delpi, Patricia ODONNELL SSJ goes into moredepth re: Gelpis approach. She has a distinctly johnboysianesque paragraph therein: quote: The book is divided into three major parts. The first part focuses on the fallacies that Gelpi is concerned to avoid: essentialism, dualism, nominalism, rationalism, and the extremes of optimism and pessimism. He finds these fallacies in the work of theologically influential thinkers of the past, including Plato, the Stoics, Aristotle, the Gnostics, the Jewish apocalyptics, Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformation theologians, Kant, Whitehead, and Schillebeeckx. At the root of all these fallacies is a priorism, which is unable to distinguish the formulation of an hypothesis from its verification. Gelpi proposes the relational, triadic, and social metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce as a way to escape this a priorism.On one hand, these "charges" of "fallacies" would constitute a sweeping generalization if applied to all substance and process approaches because, as I pointed out earlier, theseapproaches are much more highly nuanced nowadays, for example, such as when Jim speaks of deep and dynamic formal "fields." OTOH, because when any substance, or process, orsubstance-process metaphor is extrapolated out, it will collapse, employing increasingly mutually unintelligble and thoroughly ambiguous terms for reality. For example, a lot of theodicyissues, in my view, come about from a lack of rigor in predicating the terms we use regarding the realities of God and creatures. Thomism approaches the problem this way: quote: Univocity of God language: it is possible to say the same thing in the same way about both God and the world Equivocity Equivocity of God language: there is no relation between the sense in which something is said of God and the same thing is said of the world Analogy of God language: what is said of God is analogous to what may be said of the worldThat is all well and good but to the extent that our apophatic descriptions of what God is not begin to so distance the reality of God from creaturely reality, invoking the weakest ofanalogies in metaphorical language, there is a question left begging as to how a reality so dislike another reality in both form and substance (per the aristotelian-thomistic framework) can becausally linked or have any efficacious effect on same. The chain of causation is effectively broken; physical causal closure is violated or becomes unintelligible; our stipulations of Godbeing some primal cause that really can have an effect even if we cannot say how based on classical notions of causality become mere tautologies; the conclusions that flow from them arenecessary only by virtue of an a priori definition, which has a logical form but no empirical basis.So, there is much appeal for the semiotic approach insofar as it prescinds from the substance and process approaches and thus eludes their inescapable fallacies, such as causal disjunction,which I just discussed re: the former, such as the nominalism, which I discussed re: the latter. This approach avoids those fallacies by avoiding the conceptualizations employed in thosemetaphors. It resonates somewhat with what we might call nonenergetic causation of formal realities (the causal disjunction, violation of physical causal closure conundrum) by investingefficient causality of a sort in the objective reality of our concepts, thus avoiding nominalism. Ideas, neither physical nor nonphysical, are efficacious and clearly exhibit causation, aspossibilities mediated by probabilities become actualities in terms of signs, symbols, syntax, semantics --- all which captures both meaning (content) and process. This is just a heuristicdevice, a grammar, to describe reality without claiming any a priori knowledge or exhaustive explanatory adequacy. In this way, it is sort of phenomenological, which is to say it sets forthpatterns of what appears to be going on without necessarily grounding how those patterns come about or where all of these habits and probabilities we see reality exhibiting originate. Thisapproach has great utility in quantum physics.The following is kind of dense, but in Benedict M. Ashley, O. Ps review of Deelys 4 Ages of Understanding, perhaps one can sense this mutually occlusive, unintelligible dichotomy thatsubstance and process metaphysics encounter in one another. Either we get the kantian, nominalist perspective that what we call causes are mental projections and the humean notion thatcauses are not empirically knowable or we get the inescapable dead-ends of thomism as all metaphysics is reduced to esse (being) and gets tangled in tautological obfuscation with theapplication of analogy to causation. In semiotics, some signs are mind-dependent and others mind-independent, indisputably so, and so we enjoy a distinction between what we might callthe physical reality of actualities and the objective reality of ideas without worrying about the realism-idealism debate of the essentialists and nominalists. quote: What Peirce saw clearly, and Poinsot had in Scholastic terms anticipated, was the triadic relational nature of the sign. A sign is not simply something by mediation of which something else is known, a dyadic relation of sign and signified, but a triadic relation between first an object known A (the sign), another object known through the
  • 22. first object (the terminating object) C, and what Peirce called the "interpretant," that is, a third object of knowledge that is precisely the relation of signification between the first two objects, B. For example, a scientist observes that heavy objects fall (A) and infers that they have the property of gravity (C), because he understands this in terms of what in his scientific perspective he knows to be the logical relation of cause to effect (B). This critical or scientific understanding is possible only if the scientist does not confuse the logical relation of inference from effect to cause (which is purely mind-dependent) with the real dependence of effect on cause. If he does not make this distinction he falls either into Humes empiricist notion that we do not know causal relations or Kants idealist notion that this relation is a merely mental projection. One has only to look at current quantum theory to see into what puzzles such confusions have plunged modern science. As the Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman is often quoted as saying, "I think that I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."It can be argued that by prescinding from substance and process approaches, Pierce is withdrawing from metaphysics altogether, engaging strictly in philosophical phenomenology. See IsPeirce a Phenomenologist?: quote: there is something prima facie questionable in the idea of incorporating the Peircean philosophy in the phenomenological tradition, and should make it clear that a sceptical view of the appropriateness of doing this would not be unreasonable. Yet, in spite of this, I am inclined to believe that there is a real and sufficient basis for doing this nonetheless. Why? Because of the extraordinary importance which seems to me to attach to the proposition that the philosopher as such properly considers phenomena first of all without commitment to or concern with whatever existential or reality status they (or the objects to which they refer or otherwise signify or represent) may actually have, which means to consider phenomena as phenomenal only ...So, I do not see the semiotic approach as a replacement for ontological approaches (substance and process) but only as a way to back up and review waht it is we are doing when we claimto be doing physics or metaphysics. quote: Metaphysics has usually followed a very primitive kind of quest. You know how men have always hankered after unlawful magic, and you know what a great part in magic words have always played. If you have his name, or the formula of incantation that binds him, you can control the spirit, genie, afrite, or whatever the power may be. Solomon knew the names of all the spirits, and having their names, he held them subject to his will. So the universe has always appeared to the natural mind as a kind of enigma, of which the key must be sought in the shape of some illuminating or power-bringing word or name. [The traditional rationalistic temperament is for fixed foundations:] That word names the universes principle, and to possess it is after a fashion to possess the universe itself. God, Matter, Reason, the Absolute, Energy , are so many solving names. You can rest when you have them. You are at the end of your metaphysical quest. But if you follow the pragmatic method, you cannot look on any such word as closing your quest. You must bring out of each word its practical cash-value, set it at work within the stream of your experience. It appears less as a solution, then, than as a program for more work, and more particularly as an indication of the ways in which existing realities may be changed. What Pragmatism MeansThis is a type of pragmatism that does not suggest that, if something is useful, then it is true. It does suggest, however, that if something is true, one of its characteristics will be that it isalso useful. So, we can employ usefulness as a criterion in our search for truth, which marches on inexorably, however fallibly. It is merely to ask: What difference will it make if this is trueversus that? If there is no difference, pragmatism judges the argument as idle. This is also to say that, just because something is a tautology, it does not mean that it is not the case; it onlymeans we have not added any new information by making our claim.Bottomline is that I have no problem with substance or process approaches, as long as they answer one anothers legitimate critiques, as long as they both step back, which is to say,prescind from their metaphysical engagements to a critical phenomenological perspective, like the peircean semiotic grammar.Coming full circle back to original sin, we can prescind then from any notion of a felix culpa or of a wounded form to the root metaphor of a triadic, social relational experience to say thatwhat it is --- is the effect of our finitude plus everyone elses (through all of time) personal sins on us and the effect of our personal sins and finitude on everyone/thing else. Now, whether itturns out that this effect is mediated by a wounded form, an ontological rupture located in the past, or by an unfinished creative process, a teleological chasm oriented toward closure in thefuture, the former a substance approach, the latter a process approach, or by both, phenomenologically speaking, we no this finitude and our personal sins make a difference and changereality, whatever our root metaphor may be.The doctrine of original sin is rooted in an issue of theodicy: why do we have all of these idealistic notions but never realize them? Where could they have come from in the first place? Whywould God create us and then torture us for a nanosecond if SH/e is truth, beauty, goodness, love? Why do we not seem to be injured in knowing what is good to do but are profoundlyinjured in liking what it is that is good to do (to paraphrase someone re: original sin, like Pascal, but I forget really)?I locate the most significant aspect of any answer, not in locating the rupture between our essentialistic idealizations and their existential realizations but rather in our failure to carefullydefine, rigorously predicate and highly nuance the terms and definitions we use in our God-concepts. In other words, which concepts are employed with univocity, equivocity oranalogically, kataphatically or apophatically? And does this or that element of our metanarrative communicate an historical vs allegorical (creedal) vs moral vs anagogical (orienting ourhope) truth, metaphorically or literally?When we say God is good, we really mean: "You know what I mean when I say something is good or someone is good? Well, God is good, but not good in exactly the same way or byexactly the same means, but think of something like that and that is what He is. He is something like that but in many more other ways, at the same time, She is totally and thoroughly andunambiguously UNLIKE that or anything else you have ever or will ever experience."And substitute truth, beauty and love for the word "good" above --- or even "being" or even "cause" and that is what a suitable defintion, rigorous predication and highly nuancedconceptualization of God entails. Our analogies make God intelligible and metaphysics a worthwhile endeavor, although many dispute the truth of natural theology. Nothing we will everdevise in the way of a metaphysic will make God, or even the whole of created reality, fully comprehensible. They are, rather, merely apprehensible.Disambiguate the terms employed in our metaphysics and -- voila --- our theodicy issues get framed up as an unfathomable mystery, part of the incomprehensible Mystery of God. We find itworthwhile to pursue their intelligibility, however. Thus we come up with such ideas as original sin. And these ideas compete with one another for intelligibility, congruence with our lifeexperience and external reality, rationality, internal coherence, logical consistency, hypothetical consonance with the rest of our worldview, etc A lot of people have big problems with anyidea of The Fall and I can understand why. Im not even sure Id bother too much, myself, with theories of original sin, because once we properly disambiguate the terms we employ for Godvs creatures, perhaps we can rest a little and know that all may be well, all can be well, all will be well and we will know that all manner of things shall be well --- not because we have alreadyeaten the whole banana (ahem, apple) but, rather, we have received first fruits, an earnest, a down payment -- and were willing to leverage it, unconditionally, in support of the notion thatGod cares (not like we care but different and way better) and the universe is ultimately friendly, even if no one can say how this could possibly be, given so many appearances to thecontrary. It is good that the theologians bother with all of this though because what Charles Pierce called the cash-value of our ideas; for our theological anthropology does make adifference in how we respond to reality and one another. Still, that anthropology is only as good as our theology and God-talk is incredibly messy, ambiguous, unnuanced in mostdiscussions. For general info: A footnote regarding terminology like coherent, congruent, etcWhen we use these terms, they typically refer to:1) logical consistency - is an argument fallacy free with terms that are not self-contradictory2) internal coherence - does everything hold together as we move from one aspect of a position to another3) interdisciplnary consilience - as we move from one discipline of science, incl theology, to another, do the ideas expressed in a position comfortably dovetail and are we using as manydisciplines as possible4) hypothetical consonance - how does this hypothesis comport with other prevailing hypotheses about similar subject matter
  • 23. 5) external congruence - specifically asks whether or not the positivistic facts incorporated into our metaphysical and theological hypotheses are congruent with whatwe know from scienceThese are just a few of the criteria one uses before applying what used to be known as the scholastic notations. In the margin of a seminarians notes, one was encouraged to engage somecritical thinking and note whether or not a proposition was:1) possible2) plausible3) probable4) certain5) uncertain6) implausible7) improbable8) impossibleSince the positivistic-scientific realm cannot yield data, in principle, that would be contrary to revelation, over the centuries, as science advanced, many doctrines have been forced to divestthemselves of positivistic elements and to jettison philosophic-metaphysical baggage that was not part of essential revelation.The thornier the scientific problem, of course, the more latitude for wide-ranging speculation of how physical and physiological facts might impact one doctrine or another. Nothing is moreintegrally related to discussions of human nature than the emergence of consciousness. Since this science is still very new, many philosophies of mind exist, none of which could impacttheological speculation, in and of themselves.We do see a lot of folks drawing philosophic and metaphysical and theological conclusions from scientific data and hypotheses, but they are not being scientists when they do this. Theyare being philosophers, metaphysicians and theologians -- and, too often, not very good ones.What Phil and I have both been decrying is the wily-nily crossing over of these human realms of concern by many scientists, philosophers and theologians without these folks explicitlyacknowledging what they are doing, betraying, nonetheless, to anyone paying attention, their own prejuidices and a priori commitments.This is not to suggest that one might not otherwise appear (or in fact) be consistent and coherent and consilient and consonant in their hypothesizing without, at the same time, beingadequately externally congruent. Happens all the time. Neither is it to suggest that all external congruence is of the same quality. We have an audience out there of people of very largeintelligence and profound goodwill, with no a priori bias toward one metaphysic or another, and they are looking at the facts we use about human consciousness (which however young thescience, we do know something about from neuroscience and evolution, fossil records, genome mapping, etc) and they are deliberating over competing accounts looking not just for thepossible, but for the plausible, and, one day, as knowledge grows in any given area, the probable and even the certain. In other words, we are closing in, always, just not always as fast aswed like or as some might think, who have already rushed to closure. When we do, the science will not change anything essentially theological or vice versa. If it appears to, it is onlybecause someone was calling something revelation that was not. All in all, it is better to keep God/de out of physical and metaphysical gaps from the get-go, in principle. I develop 14 points below. I begin with #14 and substantiate it in #1 thru #13. pax,johnboy 14) Finally, all of this is to support the proposition that the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities are substantively in communion. Many of theroots of our divisions are philosophical and metaphysical. Thats where many of our divisions lie intra-denominationally, too. How can that be? Theology is what we canonize and sanction, not metaphysics and philosophy. This makes the scandal all the more poignantly sad. I mean to flesh out these individual divisions through time and to more precisely locate each impasse but the most obvious and tragic culpritsseem to be rooted ontologically. For instance, once in accord over the Real Presence in the Eucharist, how can discord regardingtransubstantiation be a legitimate stumbling block? Isnt that an accidental vestige of a substance ontology? When was this metaphysiccanonized? What about process and semiotic and other approaches? And whats the apologetic against womens ordination but another physicalistic ontological analysis, just like other narrowly conceived natural law formulations regarding birth control, homosexuality and such? As forpriestly celibacy, the over against position is so riddled with practical inconsistencies that metaphysical jesuitry is obviated. Even the issues ofprimacy and authority are rooted in a neoplatonic commitment to hierarchical schemes, not that our episcopal nature is an issue, only to suggestthat we neednt be married to only one positivistic model of governance; this is true at least insofar as the behavioral and political sciences have much to recommend in the way of democracies and republics, at least where tribalism has given way to cultural melting pots and pluralisticsocieties. As for any brand of infallibility, what would be the metaphysical grounds for that in a peircean semiotic realism whose leitmotif is fallibilism? And what happens to the doctrine of the fall as the source of original sin if one drops ones aristotelian formulations for a processmetaphysic, such that an ontological rupture located in the past becomes a teleological chasm oriented toward the future?  1) It is important to distinguish between the different horizons of human knowledge:    a) positivistic    b) philosophic    c) metaphysical    d) theistic    e) theotic 2) It is important to distinguish which elements of tradition are rooted in which of these horizons. 3) It is important to discern which elements in which horizons are essential and indispensable, which might be to ask, which belong to Revelationand are closest to the communitys experience of Gospel realities, and which are accidental, which might be to suggest, which are re-form-able.  4) This discernment process does not reduce the experience of the community to the essentialistic; it will always be existentially and concretelyexpressed through humanitys metaphysical, philosophic and positivistic forms. This process, rather, aspires to bring these forms into ourcommunitys awareness so we can consciously select forms, models and paradigms that, when employed, will best facilitate the existential realizations of our essentialistic idealizations. The provenance of these forms is not always easy to determine, because these horizons both overlap as well as enjoy their own diversity of forms within each horizon. 5) The communitys historical and eschatological dimensions require these forms to change. The communitys cultural diversity requires apluralistic approach to form-selection. In principle, then, forms must be dynamic. 6) Each horizon of human knowledge has its own questions to ask of reality, which is to say its own distinct methods and principles of inquiry. As
  • 24. one expands ones knowledge horizons, new and different questions are being asked and novel methods and principles of inquiry apply. Ourcommunity of believers does not sanction the employment of one approach versus another insofar as the communities of inquiry within eachhorizon, in principle, proceed autonomously in their approach to reality. 7) Proceeding through the horizons, from the positivistic to the theotic, the scope of our inquiries expands. Successive expanded horizons do not, however, inform the previous and more limited-scope horizons vis a vis their methods, principles or previously-acquired knowledge. It is not somuch that they neither contradict nor affirm them as much as they ignore them, in a manner of speaking, dealing with broader concerns. These successive expanded horizons are in fact constrained by the more limited-scope horizons such that when they do employ their findings they are notat liberty to addend, amend or delete them during the process of incorporating them into this or that meta-paradigm. 8) How, then, can we reconcile theological inquiry, both theistic and theotic, to positivistic, philosophic and metaphysical inquiry, which is to ask how can faith enjoy epistemological primacy while making no demands of the other horizons of human knowledge? It cannot. At the very least,different types of realism must be presupposed, but that is true for science, too. 9) How far can a rational discursive exploration take us prior to the fruits of special revelation? Well, by analogy, there is a faith we necessarilyhave in certain first principles, in realitys intelligibility and humankinds intelligence, which is epistemologically prior to what we more narrowlydefine as rational inquiry. These principles do not formally prove or disprove rationality and no rational argumentation can prove or disprove them.Theology, metaphysics, philosophy and science enjoy the same autonomy and rely on similar pre-philosophical suppositions. 10) The novelty that theology does bring to the table is not essentially descriptive or even prescriptive, however integrally related to those sciences.Theology contributes an evaluative perspective that colors all of cosmic and human history with ultimate purpose and meaning. This is not tosuggest that the theological horizon expands the other horizons of human knowledge by introducing purpose and meaning for the first time. It is not even to suggest, practically speaking, that we could ever exhaust the realizable purpose and meaning that we might have previously encountered in the pre-theological horizons. It is to affirm, theoretically speaking and in principle, that such realizable meaning and purpose ishorizonless, transcends all horizons and is forever inexhaustible. 11) Catholic theology, then, will introduce an evaluative perspective that is robustly Incarnational, affirming a) a divinity kenotically beingsecularized, b) a creation pro-actively being divinized and c) a theological anthropology that situates all noetical, aesthetical and ethical pursuits inthe creed, cult and code of a community of unconditional faith, hope and love. There is no formal demonstration or rational argumentation that can provide such suppositions but, however otherwise apparently polynomial, the human approach to Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love is nowintegrally and holistically one journey. 12) There is no question of whether or not one can go from the given to the normative, the descriptive to the prescriptive, or, as they say, from isto ought. Truth guides our pursuits of beauty and goodness. Beauty guides our quests for truth and goodness. Goodness is a beacon for truth andbeauty. Noetically, then, we can turn to virtue epistemology, nonfoundational and foundational approaches in modeling truth. Aesthetically, we canexperience both man-made and natural art cognitively, affectively and morally, as it depicts truth and beauty and goodness. Ethically, we can turn tovirtue ethics, deontology and teleology, to the natural law and the positivistic, as they all properly inform our thoughts, words and deeds as weanalyze the acts, intentions and circumstances of moral objects. 13) And we can look to the history of our community of believers and our community of inquiry with some confidence as we affrim this evaluativeheremeneutic. With these epistemological pre-suppositions, we commence our positivistic, philosophic, metaphysical and theological journeys.Implicit to an incarnational outlook, there is a group of premises that must be granted, but they are not so cumbersome as to impede our journeystoward the various horizons of human knowledge. If anything, the history of science attests to their manifold and multiform efficacies in advancingthe inexorable advance of human knowledge (cf. Stanley Jaki). Among these premises are the essential dogmas, an analogical imagination,present and eschatological dimensions, principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, the common good, unconditional human dignity, an incarnationalperspective, catholicity and pluralism, kenosis, theosis and various realisms: metaphysical, moral and political, pastoral sensitivity andcompassion for human finitude & sin, justification and sanctification and such. This doesnt exhaust our pre-positivistic, pre-philosophic, pre-metaphysical, pre-theological core suppositional commitments but it wouldnt take anything near the length of the typical catechism to set forth thisinventory of essentials sans accidentals. 14) Finally, all of this is to support the proposition that the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities are substantively in communion. Many of theroots of our divisions are philosophical and metaphysical. Thats where many of our divisions lie intra-denominationally, too. How can that be?Theology is what we canonize and sanction, not metaphysics and philosophy. This makes the scandal all the more poignantly sad. I mean to fleshout these individual divisions through time and to more precisely locate each impasse but the most obvious and tragic culprits seem to be rootedontologically. For instance, once in accord over the Real Presence in the Eucharist, how can discord regarding transubstantiation be a legitimatestumbling block? Isnt that an accidental vestige of a substance ontology? When was this metaphysic canonized? What about process andsemiotic and other approaches? And whats the apologetic against womens ordination but another physicalistic ontological analysis, just like other narrowly conceived natural law formulations regarding birth control, homosexuality and such? As for priestly celibacy, the over against position isso riddled with practical inconsistencies that metaphysical jesuitry is obviated. Even the issues of primacy and authority are rooted in a neoplatoniccommitment to hierarchical schemes, not that our episcopal nature is an issue, only to suggest that we neednt be married to only one positivisticmodel of governance; at least insofar as the behavioral and political sciences have much to recommend in the way of democracies and republics, at least where tribalism has given way to cultural melting pots and pluralistic societies. As for any brand of infallibility, what would be the metaphysical grounds for that in a peircean semiotic realism whose leitmotif is fallibilism? And what happens to the doctrine of the fall as thesource of original sin if one drops ones aristotelian formulations for a process metaphysic, such that an ontological rupture located in the pastbecomes a teleological chasm oriented toward the future? Still refining: I would like to distinguish between the various aspects of human engagement with reality and the different foci of human concern with reality.The aspects of human engagement are:    1) cognitive approach to truth    2) affective approach to beauty    3) moral approach to goodness    4) social approach to love    5) religious approach to the sacredThe foci of concern or horizons of engagement are:    1) positivistic - our concern with facts    2) philosophic - our concern with rules    3) meta-theoretical - our concern with facts and rules taken together as a Theory of Everything
  • 25.     4) transcendental - our concern with discontinuities    5) human responsivity - our ongoing cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious growth processesI describe these foci as horizons because they represent progressively expansive realms of concern, each with its own distinct questions of reality, each with its own distinctprinciples and methods of inquiry. As one expands ones horizons of engagement, new and different questions are being asked of reality such that novel principles andmethods of inquiry apply. Each successive expanded horizon is constrained by the more limited-scope horizons, which is to suggest that, when they do employ the findingsof any and all of the preceding horizons, they are not at liberty to addend, amend or delete such findings when incorporating them into such expanded horizons or broadenedfoci of concern. I should qualify that they cannot take such liberties and still maintain such widely accepted knowledge criteria as external congruence, hypotheticalconsonance, interdisciplinary consilience, logical consistency and internal coherence, to name a few.The application of the different aspects of human engagement to our various foci of concern then yield an architectonic or organon of 25 different fields of engagement ofreality:Positivistica) scienceb) arts & humanitiesc) lawd) relationshipse) religiosityPhilosophica) noetics - logicb) aestheticsc) ethicsd) politicse) existentialismMeta-theoreticala) epistemologicalb) cosmologicalc) axiologicald) teleologicale) ontological Transcendentala) truthb) beautyc) goodnessd) lovee) sacred Human Responsivitya) intellectual conversionb) affective conversionc) moral conversiond) socio-political conversione) religious conversion  And I see this not simply as a prescription but also as a description of how our species holistically engages reality. re: emergentism, in general, and semiotics, in particular. I view them as heuristic devices and situate them in the positivistic focus, somewhat straddling the philosophic horizon with a phenomenological-type approach, abstracted,so to speak, from our more reductive explanatory endeavors. As with any of the more reductive positivistic hypothesis, the nonreductive emergentist and semiotic perspectives provide forms, structures, models, paradigms and such, that can be used to concretely express any of humankinds worldviews, including any and all of our transcendental,meta-theoretical and philosophic horizons of engagement with reality. Now, it is precisely because of the novelty that arises on the borders of chaos in the form of dissipative structures that all meta-theorists are confronted with the issue ofrenormalization. The manifold discontinuities birthed from emergence at play in the cosmos make for some radically distinctive levels of complexity, each with its own logicand conceptual frame, none fully reducible to or translatable from adjacent levels of complexity. Still, I am all for zealously pursuing Theories of Everything, recognizing thatintertranslatability between our different theories will remain a formidable challenge for quite some time; take quantum gravity, for example. It does seem, to me, that the greatest promise for resolving such emergence-engendered translatability problems for our meta-theoretical endeavors lies in the grammar ofsemiotics. If emergence invites us to continue our reductive explanatory attempts while stepping back, now and again, from what Terry has well-identified as genetic, memeticand computational fallacies, for example, in the philosophy of mind, semiotic realism invites us to continue our pluralistic philosophic and meta-theoretical explanatoryattempts while stepping back, now and again, from their ever-cascading paradoxes and always-collapsing metaphors. And all are on equal footing, or lack thereof, insofar asour philosophical schools are yet to escape the implosions of tautology, circular-referentiality, causal disjunction and/or infinite regress in their formalizations. We all choosethe poison that will slay our meta-systems, for theyre all pregnant with paradox and fatally flawed. Our search is for the system least likely to multiple birth and least morbid.Our choice, then, largely guided by aesthetic sensibilities and pragmatic rationalities. The emergentist paradigm and semiotic grammar, though, as mere heuristic devices,largely avoid the fray, but sacrifice explanatory adequacy in favor of discerning patterns phenomenologically. Staying above the philosophical fray is their gift though becausenot much, quite frankly, is being sacrificed at this very early stage in humankinds formal meta-theorizing. The more pressing and urgent need is to articulate EverybodysStory, so we can begin to sing off the same sheet of music and quit shooting at each other with WMDs, real or imagined. There is a leit motif running through the semiotic perspective that can best be described simply as fallibilism. In some sense, the semiotic dynamic verymuch seems to be about right signals, wrong signals, missed signals and such and this applies to all semiotic realities. However, I do not like the ambiguity generated by thinking in terms of right and wrong signification because, well, such is relative, perspectival, from an emergentist perspective. After reading another, yet unpublished, semiotic account, which addressed what I would call a bridge-building from the physico- to the bio-semiotic, it hasnow dawned on me that the fallibilistic dynamic might best be described in terms of integrity. What we have, then, is a triadic semiotic dynamic of ongoing semiotic integration, dis-integration and re-integration. These integrative structures obey the laws of entropy with their thermo- and morpho-dynamic integrative processes. And, as you noted, thesecomplementary dynamics have an amplifying effect on successive biases. Such amplification will even accelerate in environments that are far fromequilibirum. One thing that ends up getting accelerated, despite superficial appearances to the contrary, is entropy itself. Once the teleo-dynamic process emerges, the triadic semiotic dynamic generates dissipative semiotic structures at an ever-accelerating pace, creativeadvance taking place, per the whiteheadian trope, only along the borders of chaos.
  • 26.  Now, I cannot not digress here to insert the aesthetic "teleodynamic" that I gathered long ago from such writers as Prigogine. The greater the number ofbifurcations in an emergent and dissipative semiotic structure, which is to say, the greater the number of integrative permutations, the greater, then, will bethe number of disintegrative points available to threaten the system. But "threaten" has that "right" and "wrong" connotation, which I am trying to avoid, so Id like to say the greater will be the number of disintegrative pointsavailable to drive the triadic dynamic of alternating integration, disintegration and reintegration. What we are describing here, of course, is an attribute of oursystem known as fragility. And what I am driving at is the aesthetic notion of the more fragile, the more beautiful.  Not a novel approach except to suggestthat this is pervasively true in a semiotic system. Our aesthetic sensibilities seem wired for this affective predisposition, no doubt because we sit atop the emergent semiotic heirarchy with both a lot of precious encoding and a lot of biosemiotic existence hanging in an increasingly precarious balance with less and less room for ecomoralistic error. True to form vis a vis nonquilibrium thermodynamics, this rapid multiplication of dissipative semiotic structures, now agents, not only amplifies precedingbiases and serves entropic processes, but serves to accelerate entropy itself. Locally, we might note that we are clearly hastening and not ratherforestalling the heat death of our universe, primarily through our avarice for energy consumption. Forget, then, the facile accounts of selfish genes and memes and their attendant fallacies. It is entropy itself, through complementary thermo- , morpho-and teleo-dynamic processes, that is being encoded, in a spiraling dance of integrative, disintegrative and reintegrative semiotic structures, all amplifyingthe ineradicable, it seems, entropic bias and fueled by nonequilibrium conditions. Back to fallibilism. Its the engine of semiotic integrative dynamics. How can it not be a part of any compelling epistemology? At this point, I am not prescriptively urging any moves but only trying to come to grips with a descriptive account of what seems to be taking place howeverincohate or nuanced, however implicit or explicit, however articulated or not. Although each expansion of horizon represents new questions being asked ofreality, clearly, not all people devote the same amount of energy engaging this vs that focus of concern, however conscious or unawares. We cannot gain explanatory adequacy by prescinding from our more reductive explanatory foci only to remain in a purely phenomenological perspective.  But we must continue to take this step back, as a friend once put it, looking over our shoulders at our leaps. And it is a discipline we need to engagealways. The real impetus, for some, in going pansemiotic is the drive to articulate a more compelling ecomorality, driving out the spectre of an unnuancedanthropocentrism. It is a challenge to achieve balance here, however.   I view religion as a cultural entity, grounded in metanarratives celebrating that-things-are and which-things-matter, while sketchily indicating how which-things-matter emerge. The dynamic described below can thus be further qualified in terms of the descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative:The foci of concern or horizons of engagement are:    1) positivistic - our concern with facts  descriptive    2) philosophic - our concern with rules prescriptive    3) meta-theoretical - our concern with facts and rules taken together as a Theory of Everything descriptive & prescriptive    4) transcendental - our concern with discontinuities evaluative    5) human responsivity - our ongoing cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious growth processes interactive The interpretive sphere and its questions are located in the transcendental-evaluative foucs of human concern beyond the horizons of the positivistic,philosophic and meta-theoretical, beyond the descriptive and prescriptive. This transcendental-evaluative-interpretive sphere influences our narrower foci ofconcern via human pragmatic rationality (sometimes called evolutionary, ecological or bounded rationality) and basically answers the organismic question:"Whats it to ya?".  This pragmatic rationality is distinct from the inferential and deliberative rationalities that operate in our narrower foci, within more limited horizons. [Note: This is not to wholesale endorse Tillichs view re: religion as merely evaluative. I actually disagree with that. In whatever realm of concern,the human knowledge manifold or evaluative continuum (Gelpi) is wholly and holistically employed - nonrational, pre-rational, supra-rational, rational andtrans-rational, descriptively, prescriptively and evaluatively. Sometimes the nature of the reality under consideration calls forth one rationality or another for a"moment" and such rationality may even enjoy a primacy of sorts. Any such primacy notwithstanding, these respective rationalities do not enjoy autonomyone from the other. Rather, they are all brought to bear in all human engagements of reality, however inchoately or robustly. So, to be precise, we do notlocate what is religious vs what is scientific in this vs that mode of human knowledge but rather in this versus that realm of human concern.]The provenance of moral and ethical deliberations is philosophic and the operative mode is prescriptive. Religions turn our positivistic and philosophic focito which-things-matter and urge a prioritization of our moral and ethical deliberations, in terms of ordinacy, evaluating which-things-matter-most. Thisprioritization gifts humankind with what we might call general moral precepts. In large measure, we enjoy interreligious and interideological consensus re:general moral precepts.  The practical upshot or peircean cash-value of all this? Religions, with their evaluative focus, do not ask specific moral and ethical questions and do not have principles and methods of inquiry  to answer these philosophical questions. Neither do they ask nor are they equipped to answer positivistic questions, including the meta-theoretical.  This is not to suggest that the evaluative moment, which enjoys a sort of epistemological primacy over our descriptive and prescriptive moments, makes no demands on these other horizons of human inquiry. Religions and ideologies do provide (or admit) some very basic premises, some core suppositional commitments, some essential pre-positivistic and pre-philosophic essentials, that must be granted in order to enjoy some integrity but these are not socumbersome that they could impede the inexorable advance of knowledge of our larger community of inquiry.  For example, as with science, there must be a commitment to certain types of realism.  Also, there is a certain type of faith that we have in first principles(e.g. noncontradiction), realitys intelligibility, human intelligence, the existence of other minds, common sense notions of causality and such, and that faithis epistemologically prior to what we more narrowly describe as rational inquiry. Pragmatically, faith that impedes rather than enhances rational inquiry
  • 27. might be considered to have over-reached descriptively and prescriptively. It is not so much that if it is useful it is probably true; rather, it is that if it is true it is probably useful.  Bottomline: Insofar as they are essentially evaluative, religions cannot credibly invoke a  superior moral authority because they do not possess a privilegedpositivistic or philosophic perspective, the horizons where moral deliberations emerge. This is not to suggest a religion cannot affirm, along with its other realisms, a moral realism. Those that subscribe to moral realism must simply recognizethe problematic nature of moral deliberation (beyond the most general of precepts) and recognize the fallibilistic nature of all human inquiry. Moral deliberation is something all communities of believers can contribute to within the context of our wider community of inquiry. And our cultural diversityrequires a pluralistic approach, analogous to the way all complexity invites a pluralistic approach due to intractably nontranslatable paradigms.For me, there are several distinctions between the first (positivistic) and second (philosophic) categories, between the facts about reality and the rules. Keeping it simple, lets deal only with the "aspect" Ive labeled "truth." I. The first category includes our understandings of realitys givens in terms of a) primitives - like space, time, mass and energy; b) forces - like gravity,electromagnetism, weak and strong; and c) laws - like thermodynamics. We proceed through popperian falsification. We employ our inferential anddeliberative rationalities, inferences including deduction, induction and abduction. We look for patterns and search for symmetries and asymmetries. Weproceed empirically and record our experiences. We test hypotheses and use the scientific method. II. The second category represents our rules, abstractions really. It is the realm of mathematics and of formal logic. It is where we agree upon generalconventions regarding our definitions, our premises and how to proceed, fallacy-free, toward a compelling conclusion. This is the sphere where weformalize our inferences, both inductive and deductive, and propose our hypotheses (the abductive). Here we muse about using the axioms of non-Euclidean geometry to improve our descriptions and predictions about space and time. Or, we may employ imaginary number systems to facilitate ourconceptualizations regarding the putative spatialization of time and/or temporalization of space, conditions which may describe the earliest moments nearthe Big Bang. We might develop Bohm and Copenhagen interpretations of quantum mechanics and even use a semiotic grammar to predict missingquarks. III. The third category is another category, level even, of abstraction. It involves meta-theorizing. Because we now employ Euclidean geometry and then non-Euclidean, or now employ calculus and then fuzzy logic, or now employ a Copenhagen interpretation and then M-theory or String theory or semioticgrammar, now look at wave descriptions and then particle descriptions --- all of these theories must be translated and renormalized and their termsdisambiguated such that their logics and formal rules are not incompatible, mutually occlusive, mutually unintelligible, and so on. Staying with the third category -- we look at the formidable task ahead and wipe our brows. Nevertheless, epistemological optimists that we are, we roll upour sleeves, go to our mainframe computers and begin to work on a gigantic spreadsheet. We finally renormalize our manifold theories and they are nolonger multiform! We describe our givens: our primitives, forces and laws and we choose our formal axioms. We call our new meta-framework the TheNon-Euclidean Fuzzy Semiotic of Copenhagen and it includes our definitions of terms, our premises and formal logico-mathematical axioms. We sit downat the keyboard and begin to input this formula into a single spreadsheet cell. What happens? Well, its happened to most of us more than a few times already, so we wouldnt be on totally unfamiliar cyberground. One types in the cell contents and hits"enter" and the spreadsheet insults us: Error - you have entered a circular reference.  There are a lot of ways to do this -- either straight out orderivatively, but the simple error usually occurs when one has included a reference, not only to other cells in ones formula, but also to the cell into which theformula is being typed. No problem. We change the algorithm to separate our chosen axioms from the rest of our calculation and set up a separate "proof"or math formula or logical argument for those axioms. Darn! Get the same circular reference error. Wont happen again. We place a sticky note on ourmonitor to remind ourselves to always keep the proofs of our axioms separate from their employment and we write a program to abstract thesealgorithmically so we dont have to type them all in but can simply hit "Enter" and let the machine generate the other cell contents. A few hours, days, week,months or even years later, the computer is still executing the algorithm: Infinite Loop Error. Cripes! One cannot, in principle, formally construct a closed meta-theory. Consistent accounts always end up incomplete. Complete accounts,inconsistent. Should have consulted Godels Theorems. Could have saved some time. We muse. One cannot go the formal, algorithmic route to prove ones meta-theory because one cannot formally prove the axioms of ones system withinthe system itself.  Proof may elude us but, for all practical purposes, we know a LOT of stuff we do not bother to formally prove -- indeed, most of what weclaim to "know". Ill just proceed informally,  and, at least in part, nonalgorithmically. Ill devise a narrative account and describe my system and tell its story in a way that one can grasp its significance and its truth value. That way I can transcend the discontinuities encountered at the meta-theoretical level. IV. Enter the transcendental focus and the meta-narrative, our attempts to tell Everythings Story. V. And we respond to all of this, variously. Our analyses will generally attempt some formalization, discerning the implicit presuppositions, suppositions and assumptions of competing meta-narratives (and no one has a description of reality that aspires to explanatory adequacy without encountering the above-dynamics). Paradox infects them allin the form of formal fallacies, even if only by analogy. Some accounts are question begging. Some embed their conclusions in their premises anddefinitions and suffer circular referentiality. Some suffer an infinite regress. Some stop an infinite regress and inject, instead, a causal disjunction. Many offer an ipse dixit, a stipulated beginning. The deal is this: Just because an argument is tautological does not mean that it is not in fact true. It does mean, though, that no new information has beenadded to what we already know. This is my account of Everybodys Stories. What we need, then, is a consensus on what constitutes virtue -- in this case, epistemic virtue, once agreeingon the constraints, if that is possible. 
  • 28.  A radically deconstructive postmodernism over-reached in its over against claims regarding modernism, positioning itself as a system, for all practical purposes, when, in fact, it was but a pseudosystem, its gainsaying constituting only a critique. Aware of this, Rorty attempted a crypto-system strategy with his narrowly constricted metanarratives. Nevilles polemic against the nominalist approach is devastating. Like Gelpi, he doesnt stop there, but, appropriately, sets forth a Peircean-informed system. And I can saylittle about either Gelpi or Peirces systems because they require such an inhabitation of same as Ive been unable to accomplish (or maybe unwilling, because I prefer toinhabit the basic rubrics of Peirces approach as a metatechnica, prescinding to a meta-metaphysica, without the impetus to then return to metaphysics per se. I say this,except that I am beginning my exploration of String Theory and prefer to inhabit the edges of metaphysics from the perspective of highly speculative cosmology and theoreticalphysics, searching there for the efficacies of employing emergentistic and semiotic approaches (even if “just” heuristic devices albeit otherwise calculated and strategicretreats into vagueness, Tao-informed even) in such as the renormalization of gravity and quantum mechanics --- hey, cash values where its at?). In the introduction of the idea of the pragmatic maxim, or "cash value" of a truth, we got our workaround for the nominalism-essentialism incommensurability. In my view, thislies at the heart of a triadic semiotic realism.  This semiotic realism (or semeiotic, to stay closer to Peirce), in many ways, seems to comprise a response to the postmodern critique. Ironically, if modernism had banished formal and final causation and co-opted ontology (material causation), leaving us only efficient and instrumental causations inthe "givens" of science (the primitives of space, time, mass, energy, forces and laws), semiotic realism has re-introduced them, at least, in a minimalist and naturalisticsense. I wont flesh out that contention, here, but the pragmatic maxim, itself, constitutes a minimalist telos that is consistent with modern concepts like "ecologicalrationality" and ontology has been legitimized modally with modern ideas like "bounded existence." Similarly, theres the Polanyian notion of "tacit dimensionality" that isconsonant with still other ideas of "nonenergetic causation."  There are distinctions between such as physical reality and objective reality that echo the age-old formaldistinction of even Duns Scotus. These distinctions, some novel, some medieval, do not violate physical causal closure, by the way. From a semiotic perspective, all of these cosmological, ontological, axiological, epistemological and teleological categories have been rehabilitated, but only with weakenedfoundations, which is to say fallibilistic undergirdings. Gone are naive realisms and a prioristic syllogisms. On the scene, a few daring souls are emerging from the shamblesof the postmodern blitzkrieg to reconstruct more modest, but fully inhabitable, philosophical structures on these weakened foundations. And these folks are coming from theAmerican pragmatist tradition as influenced by the American transcendentalist movement and speaking in an idiom that is amenable to an inculturated theology, which is, atleast inchoately, cognizant of the need to engage the worlds manifold and multiform normative cultures. This intercultural engagement finds promise for fruitful exchange in the philosophical lingua franca of humankinds ubiquitous value-laden thinking. Value-driven thinking presupposes, at its most basic level, an aesthetic realism (hence, cosmology). A semiotic realism, looking for cash "value" (hence,teleology) presupposes, respectively,  moral realism (in that there are unavoidable choices to be made, hence, axiology), metaphysical realism (in that those choices requiresome authentic synoptic vision, hence, ontology), critical realism (in that a synoptic vision presupposes an inherently normative epistemology) and aesthetic realism (in thataesthetics is the controlling discipline for both logic and morals, ethical judgment subservient to moral judgment vis a vis harmony actualization/avoidance per Neville, forexample). Such naturalistic categories can support minimalist cosmologies, ontologies, deontologies, axiologies, and teleologies, bolstered, as they are, by various fallibilistic epistemologies. These minimalist -ologies thus avoid becoming the often-pejorative -isms and even evoke what can be described as a minimalist transcendence, a boundarythat elicits many different responses, most religious even if not all theistic. How might we norm (or re-norm) these responses to this minimalist transcendence? Where might this reality of a minimalist transcendence point to --- univocally orequivocally speaking, analogically and metaphorically, kataphatically and apophatically? However we approach these questions, epistemologically and metaphysically, let usat least be mindful to dance with those who brought us to the normative ball, and that does NOT include ... ... [perhaps to be continued, starting with Dawkins, Dennett andother Enlightenment Fundamentalists.] Thus we would evaluate various Abductions of the Reality of God. Most saliently, the virtue most associated with Responsibility on the way to Authenticity seems to be Courage, especially since our human lot, given our radical finitude, is moreso having (enjoying and suffering) than doing (Neville per Dewey is it?). Accordingly, the most credible prescription for what ails humanity will require a robust dose ofEncouragement, which one might argue directs us to nurture a distinctly Pneumatological Imagination as we seek fully substantive and ever-ready sources of courage,comfort and consolation. Regarding Wilber, to be considered integral, it is indeed necessary that all sciences and all modes of knowledge be affirmed. In that regard,Wilbers work is integral, to be sure. However,  Wilbers position, taken to its logical conclusion, ends up being 1) gnostic 2) arational and 3) radically apophatic. Notwithstanding this, his architectonic is breathtaking in both breadth and depth. In my view, the application of one rathersimple distinction can purge his system of its gnostic arationality.  He needs to distinguish between an architectonic of autonomous disciplines and an organon of interdependent knowledge modes. He improperly conflates these, considering all autonomous. This is to suggest that my distinction is that of properly relating, on one hand, the sciences, on the other hand, the modes of knowledge. I supposeone could say that an attempt to answer the question of how the sciences are to be properly related can be called an architectonic. And, onemight also say that an attempt to answer the question of how the human modes of knowledge are to be properly related can be called anorganon. In my architectonic of knowledge,  the sciences are autonomous, self-governed. In my organon of knowledge, the modes are not autonomous, not self-governed. Each mode has its moment in every act of knowing. Certainmodes may come into sharper relief, even have shorter or longer moments, as one engages the different sciences, but all modes are necessary,none sufficient, in each probe of reality by any human being. I do not apply this rubric a priori. I apply it, a posteriori, from the experience of my radical finitude, hence, fallibility. Further, to relate the sciences hierarchically, seems to be proving too much. To relate our modes of knowing hierarchically also seems to beproving too much. It seems to me to be both necessary and sufficient that we affirm the autonomy of the sciences and deny the autonomy of thehuman modes of knowledge. Whether we call this organon the human evaluative continuum, or the human knowledge manifold, or the humanpsychological faculties, or consider same functionally or structurally, or as sensation-abstraction-judgment , these different aspects comprise anintegral whole. I would describe Wilbers strategy as trying to be empirical and logical and practical and transrational and thereby avoiding all of the charges ofthis or that -ism. Ironically, what happens is that, in the objective realm, he ends up being empiricistic. In the logical realm, rationalistic. In thepractical realm, pragmatistic and moralistic. And, instead of being transrational, he ends up arational, gnostic. By trying to be all things to allpeople, he stands for nothing and falls for anything. His architectonic is great. His organon can be fixed, easily. There is nothing special aboutbeing transrational. Human knowledge is also transempirical. And it is trans-pragmatic. And it is trans-moral. We go beyond each of these modesbut not without them every time we probe reality, whether objectively, subjectively, interobjectively or intersubjectively.    Bernadette Roberts on enlightenment: quote:
  • 29. "There is no multiplicity of existences; only what Is has existence, an existence that can expand itself into an infinite variety of forms that constitute the movement and manifested aspect of itself. Though what Is, is the act, movement, and changing of all forms - and is form itself it is, at the same time, the unchanging, unknowable aspect of all form [and thus referred to as Nothingness, void]. Thus, that which Is, continually observes the coming and going - the changing and movement - of its own form or acts, without participating in any essential change itself. Since the nature or essence of Itself is act, there can be no separation between its knowing, acting, existing, or between any aspect of itself, because that which acts, that which it acts upon, and the act itself are one without division. It never goes outside itself to know itself because the unmanifested, the manifesting, and the manifested are One." Roberts, B. 1984. The Experience of No-self. Boston: Shambala, p. 144.In this excerpt above, there are some important distinctions drawn and lessons taught. We can learn from Bernadettes distinctions even if, in myview, her interpretations of this experience teach the wrong lesson.Her metaphysical language seems to be very much cast in classical Thomistic concepts like existence, forms, acts, essential, change and movement.In saying there is no multiplicity of existences, she departs from the Thomistic account at the very outset of her consideration, explicitly denying,then, a distinction between Self-subsisting Existence and contingent existence.My interpretations use analogical and equivocal predications in some places where she speaks univocally of, what are to me, otherwise distinctrealities. This is not what I want to talk about though.Whether one stipulates to the Thomistic account or that of Bernadette, I want to discuss the wisdom in this: quote: That which acts, that which it acts upon, and the act itself are one without division.This speaks directly to my contention that, Wilbers integrality, improperly conceived, 1) is unitive in a way that distinctions get lost and2) reduces too many true dichotomies to mere distinctions.One thing that is tell-tale in accounts like those of both Roberts and Wilber, is that, for all their unitive striving, they cannot describe theirnondualistic thrust on its own terms and thus remained trapped in the same unintelligible dualisms they are trying to escape. In the same way thatnonfoundationalism, for example, deconstructive postmodernism, is not a philosophical system in its own right but a critique of foundationalism, anapophatic approach does not stand over against the kataphatic but, rather, draws attention to the analogical nature of our metaphorical statements,helping us to properly nuance all language (whether scientific, philosophical, metaphysical or theological) with equivocal and univocal predications asneeded to more accurately describe reality. This would describe, for example, reconstructive postmodernism.Translation:Our common aim is descriptive accuracy. Kataphatic descriptions increase same through affirmation; apophatic descriptions increase same throughnegation. They necessarily complement all analogical statements and, especially, those metaphorical statements, which invoke rather weak analogies,for example, God-talk.The notion that "that which acts, that which it acts upon, and the act itself are one without division" is, itself, not dualistic. Not at all dyadic, itdescribes all knowledge as irreducibly triadic.Returning to my original list of interrogatories, 1) factual? 2) logical? 3) practical? 4) relational? - let us restate Bernadettes Zen koan:The interrogator, the interrogatories and the interrogation are one without division.Our act of judgment, our abstractions and our senses are one without division.Probabilities mediate between what we conceive as possibilities and perceive as actualities.The practical mediates between the logical and the factual.What we learn from both Zen and the American pragmatist tradition is that the way to transcend duality is through mediation, which is to say,through an interloper, which opens the dyadic to a new level, the triadic. Such a triadic account seems to better describe reality and can be stated inits own terms, unlike the mutual unintelligibilities of those terms employed bythe dualistic accounts: dualism and nondualism.Nondualism ends up being nothing but the obverse side of the same coin of the dualistic realm, the apophatic stated over against the kataphatic, as ifeither of these were philosophical systems and not simple language predications.The practical upshot of this thinking, in correcting Wilbers architectonic, placing it on a better foundation, is that one can then apply the rules ofsemantical vagueness to his categories and come out with a truly coherent scheme. The rubrics of semantical vagueness suggest that, whenconsidering possibilities, excluded middle holds and noncontradiction folds;actualities, both excluded middle and noncontradiction hold; probabilities, excluded middle folds and noncontradiction holds.Translation:When considering Wilbers objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective quadrants as categories of interrogatories (orpossibilities, or abstractions), these categories are indeed autonomous. The questions they pose are distinct and the answers they yieldnarrowly pertain to each discrete category. We move beyond one human horizon of concern to the next without regard for questions andanswers pertaining to other horizons.When considering Wilbers objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective quadrants as categories of interrogations (oractualities, or sensations), we bracket these categories and their attendant abstractions and judgments, methodologically, in order tobetter attend, with beginners mind, to unfiltered reality.When considering Wilbers objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective quadrants as categories of interrogators (orprobabilities, or judgments), these categories "are one without division" as the interrogator, the interrogatories and the interrogationcomprise an irreducible triad of dynamical human realities. We move beyond one human horizon of concern to the next, inescapablyinfluenced by (which is to say, not without regard for) questions and answers pertaining to other horizons. This is authentictransrationality.
  • 30. The trick is knowing when to go beyond but not without and when to go beyond and without, between distinctions and dichotomies, porridge andsuccotash.Where the nondualistic Wilber and Roberts go wrong, on one hand, and their dualistic counterparts go wrong, on the other, is in approaching realitydyadically. The Wilberian schema honors the rubric Ive put forth for handling human sensation and abstraction quite well. In their view, with theproper asceticisms, sensations and abstractions yield truth. Bring forth your interrogatories, commence the interrogations and get the interrogatorsout of the way. Enjoy the show as realitys fractals and holons collide kaliedescopically before ... ..., well, no one. This is faux transrationality.In a way, this may seem to place the 1) factual 2) logical 3) practical and 4) relational in the same hierarchical scheme as Helminiaks positivistic,philosophic, theistic and theotic, as different horizons of human concern open themselves to ever expanding vistas. I have previously consideredHelminiaks strategy as a remedy to Wilbers but have struggled with its hierarchical nature of progressively widening foci, the narrower constrainingthe wider. It seems to be enough to say that per one rubric human foci of concern are autonomous and per another they are integrally related, as Iset forth above. It seems to be proving too much to say more than that.To situate the positivistic inside the philosophic might get misinterpreted by some as being, well, too positivistic. Falsification, as a scientificmethodology, and the tool par excellence of the positivistic horizon, is already inherently normative, which is to say, philosophic.To nestle these horizons of concern one inside the next seems to smuggle in certain implicit presuppositions about epistemological issues, such asnotions of truth, knowledge, justification, justified true belief, and such. In plainer speak, epistemology is inherently normative and any notion that apositivistic "is" can be arrived at either independent of, or prior to, a philosophic "ought," doesnt square with human experience.Furthermore, often times, prior to either our philosophic or positivistic concerns, humans necessarily are involved with prephilosophical concerns andrelational issues that play out in terms of fundamental trust and mistrust of uncertain reality itself. Such ultimate concerns are expressed in that realmknown as faith. One who engages on a positivistic adventure has already placed ones trust in realitys intelligibility (over against nihilism), in humanintelligence (over against skepticism), in first principles (like noncontradiction and excluded middle), in belief in other minds (over against solipsism)and a wide array of faith-like maneuvers in prephilosophical presuppositions that cannot be emprically demonstrated (positivistically) or rationallyproved (philosophically). Whos then to say that maybe even a theistic intuition, however incohate, might not justify ones trust in uncertain reality,only later to be articulated philosophically?All of this is just to suggest that I have grappled with how to "fix Wilber" for some time even while preserving Helminiaks basic insight of one focusconstraining another. I looked for my answer in Fides et Ratio, which describes these processes of human intellection as circular. And, I kept in mindMaritains distinctions that are made to unite. And I want to honor Lonergans developmental insights vis a vis conversion. And, indeed, when onecombines a circular process with a developmental vector, one gets a spiral dynamic. And I can thus find much to recommend in Clare Graves spiraldynamics (prior to its marriage to meme theory).And this has been one of the thornier issues Ive struggled with. I thought I could see what was wrong with Wilbers edifice, and I saw some truth inHelminiaks strategy to fix it, but I couldnt articulate my inchoate notions.Intelligent Design as a concept requires disambiguation, parsing.The time-honored questions humankind has put to reality can be categorized. They include:1) Is that factual?2) Is that logical? and, if so, is ones inference:a) abductive - hypotheticalb) inductive - from the specific to the generalc) deductive - from the general to the specific3) Is that practical? and, if so, is it:a) useful (pragmatic)b) moral (good)4) Is that beautiful?5) To whom can we go?6) What return shall we make?The factual realm is positivistic and is concerned with the empirical and heuristic sciences, with speculative and descriptive enterprises, and employsfalsification.The next three realms - logical, ethical & aesthetical - are philosophic and are concerned with the normative sciences, with prescriptive enterprisesand with both prudential and nonprudential evaluative enterprises. It employs both formal argumentation and nonformalizable inclinations. They canalso be thought to articulate the questions: What can I know? What must I do? What can I hope for?The fifth and sixth realms are relational and are concerned with interrelationship dynamics and they trade in the grammar of relationships such as thatof assent, trust, love, fidelity and loyalty. They also ask the questions: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there something and notrather something else?When it comes to ultimate explanations, Godels incompletness theorems suggest that we have a choice. We can have a consistent but incompleteexplanation. Or, we can have a complete but inconsistent explanation.The practical upshot of this is that ALL of our explanations are going to be tainted by paradox, one or another. The biggest challenge to one whoaccepts common sense notions of causality is how to stop an infinite regress of causes. Every attempt to stop such a regress opens anotherparadoxical door with every closing of an explanatory window. Every explanation is either tautological, question begging or introduces a causaldisjunction (a cause that no one understands in terms of modern physics).Human knowledge then does not rest on fully formalizable argumentation or proof. Even then, even though we cannot prove the truth of our variousaxioms, it does not mean that we cannot see their truths. We do not have to proceed half-way through the Principia with Russell and Whitehead, likethey would, in order to know that 2 + 2 = 4.Human knowledge is, inevitably, at bottom, conveyed through storytelling or metanarrative. It must go beyond the factual but never without it. Itmust go beyond the logical but never without it. It must go beyond the practical but never without it. It must become relational even if thatultimately results in a nowhere anchored, unjustified paradoxical trust in uncertain reality (cf. Kung on nihilism).Now, it has been said that reality is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we CAN imagine (Haldane). And Chesterton said: We do notknow enough about reality to say that it is unknowable. So, I qualify Haldanes position with a "for now."
  • 31. G.H. Pugh said that, if our brains were so simple that we could understand them, then, we would be so simple that we couldnt. (Or something likethat.) Put Pughs statement in your irreducible complexity pipe and smoke it! (Inside joke to ID proponents.)Maybe reality is too complex by design to prove it empirically and rationally and practically? All Thomism ever aspired to was to demonstrate thereasonableness of the great arguments for Gods existence, not to empirically demonstrate same.I suspect those who one day see the face of God with more clarity than me wont be effabling about the Ineffable when it happens. Theyll tell me astory though in the manner they live and move and have their being. Its called hagiography, the study of the saints.How does this digression apply to Intelligent Design?Well, ID has an empirical component. It can and does deal with facts.It also is subject to mediation by the normative sciences. Logically, it is a valid hypothesis. Its abduction can be formalized into an if-then statementand it is logically consistent, internally coherent and externally congruent.In all of these ways, it enjoys an epistemic parity with evolution.At the same time, when it comes to both empirical facts and logical inferences, the volume of available facts and fact patterns that generate avirtuous cycle of multiplying inferences - abductive, inductive and deductive - is SO disproportionate for evolution over against ID, which is to say SOoverwhelming, that evolution has made its way into textbooks as a theory via peer reviewed journal literature backed by over a century of researchand attempts at falsification.At this point, the ID abduction, which is the weakest of the three forms of inference, cannot be formalized into a hypothetical argument that isfalsifiable before the eschaton. Because of its other strengths, it might deserve the play it gets in highly speculative scientific and philosophicaljournals but, otherwise lacking epistemic parity with evolution, it doesnt deserve equal time in general science textbooks. It would make for a goodtopic in a graduate seminar in metaphysics, but only for an object lesson in epistemological virtue (and nonvirtue).Because its factual and logical foundations are so weak, ID theory has no real practical application, which is to say that it cannot yet answeraffirmatively to the question: Is it useful? The Theory of Evolution, on the other hand, has gifted us with modern medicine. More epistemic disparity.In the relational realm, for instance, in answering the question: Why is there something and not rather nothing? - - - the ID Abduction is purelytautological. As Hume and other philosophers would say, no new information is added by taking existence as a predicate of being. Thats a high-fallooting way of saying: Why say "being exists"? However, just because something is tautological does not mean it is not true. It remains logicallyvalid even as the soundness of the argument eludes us. Here, it enjoys epistemic parity with those who would maintain that the reality we encounterwith all of its primitives, givens and axioms are here as a brute fact. That, too, is tautological, question begging. It seeks to eliminate the paradox byinvalidating the question.Now, dont get me wrong, science per se does not venture past the empirical and logical and pragmatic-practical realms into even the moral-practicalrealm, much less the relational realms. It simply is not asking those questions, in principle, by virtue of definition. Those who do think science venturesinto these realms practice what is known in philosophy circles as scientism. It enjoys epistemic parity with creationism as a metanarrative.Now, as far as adjudicating claims of otherwise disparate metanarratives, lets say, creationism and scientism, using nihilism as a foil, Kung wouldsuggest that scientism represents a nowhere anchored and paradoxical trust in uncertain reality. Id soften that a bit and suggest that it offers anaccount that aspires to completeness and thus suffers inconsistency. By stopping its infinite regress with brute facts, it has to dismiss with ourcommon sense notions of causality. It basically avers that we are asking the wrong questions.Creationism, on the other hand, preserves causality but introduces a causal disjunction paradox into its tautological account, which is to say that itinvokes an analogy of being that has far more dissimilarities than similarities in its description of such causes that are like those we know but unlikethem in so very many more ways. Hence, logical consistency is there but explanatory adequacy is woefully lacking. We thus confront the Mysteriumtremendum et fascinans. This account, then, is incomplete but consistent.Now, we do not confuse Mystery with unintelligibility. While maintaining that reality is utterly incomprehensible, we do not mean to suggest that it isnot at least apprehensble in part. To be sure, we have discovered it is intelligible and supremely so.Our Catholic approach is Goldilocks-like, not too much epistemological hubris (like Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins), not too muchhumility (like the nihilists and radically deconstructive postmodernists), but just right (Fides et Ratio). Dennett even wrote a book called:Consciousness Explained. I can explain what he said but not why he bothered.Thats your Sophies Choice, epistemologically. You can opt for godelian completeness with inconsistency, like scientism and id-style creationism. Or,you can opt for incompleteness with consistency, like Aquinas, Scotus, McInerny, Jaki, Jack Haught, Joe Bracken, Chris Corbally, the VaticanObservatory et al.I look at parts of Wilbers approach as a great heuristic skyscraper, a towering frame with giant steel girders, built on the sand of his misconception ofwhat integrality entails.Sometimes, I imagine this very same heuristic, built on the bedrock of a truly catholic foundation, and what I picture is an architectonic that would bea marvel to behold by Aquinas, himself!Integrality, properly considered, is not always a mixed porridge made of the meals of several grains, sometimes it is succotash.Sometimes realities interact dialectically like an Hegelian system of thesis-antithesis and then synthesis. Sometimes they present as a truly catholiccreative tension, a both-and, not blending but still gifting us with novel realities.Sometimes syncretism seems right. At other times it doesnt make sense.Maritain said we distinguish in order to unite. Peirce saw fields of human thought and discipline living distinctly, breathing different airs, if you will.Putnam reminds us that not all distinctions are dichotomies.Ive said much of Wilbers faux-transrationality before using my mantra of beyond but not without. So, just to say it all again, in a different style - - -To Wilber, integrality1) is too often porridge, too seldom succotash2) is too often hegelian, too seldom catholic3) is too often syncretistic, too seldom not4) is unitive in a way that distinctions get lost5) reduces too many true dichotomies to mere distinctionsTake the objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective. Wilber is right to see them as autonomous disciplines of human inquiry, askingdistinctly different questions of reality. I even see some overlay in what I set forth above in terms of the factual, logical, practical and relational.
  • 32.  Notes on Neville: On my autodidactic philosophical journey, I have gone from one thinker to the next to the next, constructing, deconstructing andreconstructing my own views, mostly focused on epistemology, and, in so doing, I have continually revised my epistemology as I have beeninfluenced by one critique after another and then another.Regarding that distinctly human activity known as thinking, with respect to its dimensions and their norms, my journey brought me to atype of resting place, a place where I employ and enjoy a certain vantage point or vision of how it is that we know what we know. And Ihave described that vision in these pages, albeit not very succinctly and without sufficient clarity, brevity and philosophical rigor.My initial impression is this: My autodidactic journey gifted me with a take on epistemology that resonates through and through withNevilles axiology of thinking. His articulation is rigorous and systematic. Mine is crude and poetic. His is the result of a philosophicalvision. My own is mostly the result of contemplation. Still, we see this aspect of life the same way.Insofar as I have come to a fairly comfortable place regarding my own epistemology and am not as highly motivated to investigate it withthe same zeal and earnestness as in the past, there is a certain irony in the fact that Nevilles epistemology is the last one in a very longline of philosophical systems that Ive investigated in my life. To me, the irony is indeed extreme. How could it be that thatepistemological vision, with which I have most resonated in life, is at the end of my list of investigations? What would my journey looklike if I had encountered Neville earlier?At the same time, my appreciation of Neville is not wholly unqualified. Fairly recently, I struggled with Helminiaks appropriation ofLonergan in that he presented the positivistic as more basic than the philosophic. I felt like this position was too strong to defend and Iamended my own epistemology accordingly. I very much like a quadratic approach: empirical, logical, practical (prudential evaluative - moral & pragmatic) and hermeneutical(nonprudential evaluative - aesthetical & personal/relational). Considering these to be horizons of human concern, one might situate themhierarchically, with one more basic, more narrowly focused, and the others progressively broadening in a linear, sequential fashion.Helminiak presented a hierarchy of broadening foci from the positivistic to the philosophic then the theistic and theotic. I applied that,analogously, to my own quadratic, which dealt only with the positivistic and philosophic realms, the latter, in my schema, for the most part,representing the normative sciences - logic, ethics and aesthetics. The most salient contribution of the American pragmatist tradition, in general, and Neville, in particular, is their recognition of the roleof the evaluative dimension of human thinking. Is it, however, foundational? Notwithstanding ones take on issues of foundations, primacy and/or basicality ---vis a vis human realms or foci or concern, minimally,one can defend the notion that they are not autonomous but are, rather, integrally related. However one conceives of these a) realms ofconcern, b) dimensions of thinking, c) the human evaluative continuum or d) moments in the act of knowing, the study of epistemologyadvanced greatly when the evaluative was added to the subjective and objective, to the qualitative and quantitative, when they were allintegrally related. However, insofar as I have just eschewed the view that the positivistic is foundational (an aristotelian, thomisticartifact, perhaps), I am not quite ready to quickly concede that status to the evaluative. If I were forced to choose a foundation, it is,however, the one Id opt for. If the evaluative does enjoy primacy, I would say that this is because of our radical finitude and theextremely contingent nature of our reality. Threatened with nonbeing, we do not probe reality disinterestedly. Before asking where,when, what and how of the space-time, mass-energy plenum, and before asking why, philosophically, humans must consider: "Whats it tome?" or we would not even perdure so as to contemplate the infinite, solve realitys riddles or experience its paradoxes. So, existentially,this well describes our intellectual milieu. There is a gap, however, between our existential realizations and our essentialisticpossibilities. Some call it Original Sin. Some call it an ontological rupture. Some call it a teleological striving. These perspectives are notmutually exclusive. What, then, are our essentialistic possibilities, epistemically? Put another way, how might we transcend our morenarrow concerns to ask questions of reality that might be very meaningful but which are, presently, "uninteresting"? The answer to thisquestion, I believe, is addressed, in part, by various developmental theorists, in part, by Lonergans conversions. So, could it be that classical aristotelian, platonic, kantian and humean approaches represented attempts to describe the foundations ofour essentialistic, epistemic possibilities, while the existential, analytic, phenomenological and pragmatic critiques represented muchneeded corrections in recognition of our more humble existential, epistemic realizations? Wittgenstein said that it is not HOW things arebut THAT things are, which is the mystical. Perhaps it is not HOW human knowledge is grounded but THAT human knowledge is grounded,which is defensible from a foundational approach. The nonfoundational critique is gainsaying and not, itself, a system. As McInerny hasdescribed us as "Characters in Search of their Author," we are foundationalists in search of our foundations. We neednt be overlyanxious to establish them as positivistic or evaluative, empirical or rational, idealist or realist or semiotic. Our foundations are obscurebut certain. Our epistemological hypotheses are clear but tentative. This parallels the contemplative journey of the mystic and theretreat into vagueness of the philosopher. I am confident that I will discover enough nuance in Neville in support of my epistemological suspicions. What do I suspect? I suspectthat, in addition to our considerations of the dimensions of human thinking and their associated norms (the transcendental values, no less),mirroring the dynamical and developmental nature of reality, itself, the act of human knowing best realizes, existentially, itsessentialistic epistemic possibilities, in different ways that are necessarily, context-dependent, developmentally-appropriate, culturallybound and historically shaped. There is no one size fits all epistemological garment with which to cloak human thinking and evaluating. The
  • 33. empirical cobblers, pragmatic tailors, rational hatters, aesthetic accessorizers and semiotic jewelers best keep their shops open and theirskills honed, not because realitys values go in and out of fashion but because its underlying unity is marked by such an inexorable andinfinite creative urge toward diversity and plurality. Nevilles hypothesis (the part Ive been exposed to) of an evaluative foundation is consistent, coherent, even fecund. As somewhat of aminimalist, I am content, however, to glory in the facts that 1) the evaluative has been given its due and 2) neither the evaluative nor anyother foci of human concern are autonomous. The issue of primacy or basicality or foundations, in my view, must be resolved in a context-dependent approach. For the most part, the human context has been marked, historically, by evaluative concerns, but they do not have anindependent existence apart from other human foci anyway. At the risk of getting way out in front of my own thinking, I like Haughtswhiteheadian conception of reality with its interpenetrating fields, perhaps fully consonant with Brackens divine matrix. Analogously, Isee the human foci of concern as interpenetrating fields, one influencing the next, and not necessarily as hierarchically related. In anemergentistic conception of reality, one can conceive of a hierarchy of seemingly ontologically discontinuous realms, which I suppose isthe whole point of invoking the concept of emergence. Analogously, the empirical, logical, practical and hermeneutical realms are notlogically related such that they could be presented sequentially via formal argumentation, but, our somewhat untellable story suggeststhat they are very much intellectually related and all play a role in how we happen to know what we know. Thus we discover theirrelationships, necessarily a posteriori and not a priori. Thus we describe them in a narrative and not in a syllogism.  I considered, very briefly, Nevilles strategy for resolving the paradox of the One and the Many re: the act of creating. I like thestrategy and the categories. I have a problem, however, with using creatio ex nihilo as a response to Why is there not rather nothing? From my own attempts atinterreligious and interideological dialogue, I slowly came to realize that that question is not interesting to many people. It is especiallyuninteresting to the humean cohort, which does not like to take existence to be a predicate of being. To these folks, the concept ofnothing is sheer reification, which is to say that they do not believe that there is such a -thing. To these folks, the conclusion that there isa creator is embedded in the premise that there is such a -thing as no-thing. To say that this or that being exists is thus tautological. Itmay well be true but we havent really added any new information to the system. I would keep the strategy but change the question to Why is there something and not rather something else? And the response Id invokeon behalf of the worlds religions is the vague concept of creatio continua, a concept then specified by all of the worlds religions. Notonly would this still comport with the American pragmatist tradition by being an a posteriori inquiry, it would also resonate with CSPsNeglected Argument for the Reality of God. I would think that the more fundamental and universal human abduction of the Reality ofGod is that which proposes to answer the question of Why this reality and not rather some other? This is a more generic, more vaguequestion, and Why is there not rather nothing? is just one species, one specification, of the more general question, which is to suggest thatnothing is just one of many possibilities for how reality might otherwise present. The abduction of the Reality of God, then, might have more to do with our experience and incohate grasp of peircean thirdness in ourlives. It is more distinctly triadic, adding to the traditional possibility-actuality dyad, the reality of probability. The concept ofprobability, itself, marks a retreat into ontological vagueness, and is another movement away from the metaphysical a priori, specifically,a movement away from necessity. I have had some interest in the ontological arguments of Godel and Hartshorne. My initial interest had more to do with my curiosity aboutwhy they even bothered. I came to appreciate that by changing Anselms argument to a modal argument, by disambiguating existence asbounded existence (and still keeping the categories, for instance, of limited and unlimited), we were moreso responding to the question ofWhy is there something and not rather something else? than Why is there not rather nothing? The chief problem with the modalontological arguments as formulated by Godel, Hartshorne and others, in my view, lies in the inconsistency and contradictions of theirterms and definitions. The solution is simple, however. Those terms can be successfully disambiguated by properly employing apophaticpredication. The resulting God-concept thus moreso resembles that described by psuedo-Dionysius or Meister Eckhart, but, hey, we aredoing metaphysics and not revealed theology. Interestingly, my hidden agenda is to harness the good work of the speculative cosmologists and theoretical physicists in the service ofnatural theology. When they start abducting, at the quantum level, many world theories, at the cosmic level, multiverses, they are, perhapsunwittingly, adding predicates to the Reality of God. At the least, they are formulating their own tautologies and must then humbly admita certain epistemological parity between their metaphysical project and our own, at which point humankind can only resort to reductio adabsurdum analyses and aesthetic sensibilities to adjudicate these philosophical-theological meta-claims. More interestingly, and I may have mentioned this before, Terry Deacon derived ten sign classes from the nine sign types and thisallowed Sungchul Ji, Ph.D. to formulate a quark model of signs. I gathered this from an obscure listserv re: complexity theory, which, inmy own emergentistic take, has everything to do with an aesthetic teleology (cf. Jack Haught on Whitehead and Hartshorne). I only bringthis up to suggest that semiotic realism may offer great promise in our project of unifying such as gravity and quantum mechanics, or evensuch as our Christology of Symbolic Engagement and our abduction of the Reality of God. Well, I digress. I wanted to mention how I am tempted to tweak Nevilles comparative theology project even as I wait to discover ifanything in his axiology will inspire me to tweak my own epistemology. 
  • 34. I do feel that creatio continua would facilitate a more robust pneumatological account. It would allow for sneaking in a little morekataphatic theology and would not be so radically apophatic (almost deistic). At least, we could invoke more analogies and metaphors,perhaps. It would be, through and through, a peircean project. It could be more panentheistic, divine matrix-ish. :-) November 2006 update:What Neville is doing in my view, upon reading Normative Cultures for the 1st time: He advances philosophical arguments both in their own terms, systematically, and as critiques, polemically. This is important inasmuch asgainsaying, alone, does not a system make. (Neither does a narrowly constricted Rortyesque metanarrative). He argues, in my view (and using my words) that human beings are value-realizers. Thus, 1) epistemology is inherently normative; (reconstruction of thinking and imagination/beauty)2) such critical realism necessarily presupposes metaphysical realism (recovery of the measure and interpretation/truth);3) normative synoptic visions necessarily presuppose controlling values (normative cultures and theory/unity);4) normativity presupposes practical responsibility/goodness:    a) pragmatical    b) moral    c) aesthetical    d) relational5) such responsibilities, respectively, aspire to realize ideal norms:    a) identity thru moral, aesthetical and relational choices over time    b) order thru the moral    c) deference thru the aesthetical    d) engagement thru the relational (interpersonal)6) The above-sequential ordering reflects a hierarchy of increasing complexity where the levels are intellectually, not logically, related.Also, I am saying that these levels are integrally related, all presupposing the others, a twist, but not an over against, on Nevillescontention that these levels presuppose one another - all presupposing imagination; theory and responsibility presupposing interpretation;responsibility presupposing theory. I suggest, above and implicitly, that they presuppose one another in reverse fashion, too.7) This all squares fairly well with my value-driven "spheres of concern" quadratic.8) Early on, now, in Normative Cultures, I am grappling with reinstating my previous insistence on a hierarchical relationship between thespheres of human concern following Nevilles rationale re: complexity. Also, I am very gratified to find Neville defending my ownintuition that the empirical and logical and theoretical are ordered to the practical. Further, I see his distinction between norms of orderand deference (respectively relating them to moral and aesthetical ideals) as roughly corresponding to my distinction between theprudential and nonprudential evaluative spheres. Finally, engagement of reality and other persons (my penultimate concern, the relational,as we are radically social creatures) per Neville seems to be very much affected by levels of attainment of human authenticity, where Isuspect theres a great deal of consonance between Nevilles observations and the ideas of Lonergan as they pertain to the differentconversions, various transcendental imperatives and so on.9) I find it interesting that we use the word "renormalization" in our attempts to reconcile disparate theories in highly speculativetheoretical physics (with that disciplines own overlay of metaphors) and that this is playing out in a directly analogous way, re-normatively, between cultures in their own realization of truth, beauty, goodness and unity.10) I remain most focused on epistemology and meta-metaphysics, not too inclined to this vs that metaphysic except to cursorily observethat it is being constructed from an epistemological approach that meets my minimal requirements. So far, then, the practical upshot of my engagement of Neville is that 1) Im keeping my quadratic categories, as related, respectively, to beauty, truth, goodness and love    a) empirical    b) logical    c) practical    d) hermeneutical 2) Im changing their order and accepting his hierarchical rationale    a) empirical    b) logical    c) hermeneutical    d) practical 3) In the practical sphere I will collapse the prudential (pragmatic & moral) and nonprudential evaluative (aesthetical & relational)spheres, the latter which I was calling hermeneutical (after Ingrid Shafers Zygon article of yesteryear - The Hermeneutics of Love). 4) So I am not abandoning my 4 spheres but adding a new one, which represents theory and can be aptly named hermeneutical (I likealliteration because it makes for a good mnemonic device), and conflating two others (see item #3).
  • 35.  5) All of my other observations about each sphere pretty much remain intact, substantively, as I set forth, previously, regardingdifferent philosophical schools and their various emphases and approaches re: logic, ethics, aesthetics, re: creed, cult, code andcommunity, and so on and so forth.  Philosophy, phenomenology, science, metaphysics and theology are institutionalized creativity I describe three axes below that, taken together, form a three-dimensional matrix, 4 X 4 X 4 approaches to value realization. I label in blue the 16 approaches described by theintersection of the x and y axes. The z-axis represents distinct aspects of human knowing but insofar as they comprise a singular, integral act are treated as a unity, a one.Whats the rubric for navigating this matrix in the pursuit of value realization? We all start in media res and, other than that, we need to learn and practice the many different"grammars" (explicated below), best we can, through ongoing conversion, imaginative witness (scripture, liturgy, core expressions), interpretive doctrine and, in a phrase, thecultivation of creativity.  It takes commitment and ordinacy --- first things first, ultimate concerns and a commitment to authenticity. (Merton describes our crises in termsof continuity and creativity. He is spot on.) I am interested in how Lonergans conversions interrelate to Nevilles 1) imaginative witness 2) interpretive doctrines 3) systematizing theories and 4) dialectical practice. I also wonder how I might better interrelate 1) interrogatories 2) interrogations and 3) interrogators and it seems that 1ns, 2ns and 3ns would work whereby we aredealing, respectively, with 1) possibilities and conceptualizations 2) actualities and actualizations and 3) probabilities and objectifications. More specifically, with a) objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective aspects of reality comprising a y-axis of types of interrogatories or conceptualizations(architectonic) and b) truth, beauty, goodness and love representing specific types of value actualizations on an x-axis of interrogations, then these conceptualizations(what things could be) and actualizations (what things indeed are) are mediated by c) empirical, logical, practical and aesthetical-relational approaches on a z-axis ofobjectifications (what things are probable) by interrogators (organon). [An aside: These objectifications comprise objective reality, which is broadly conceived here to includedboth minimalist and robust versions of "nonenergetic" or "formal" causation, which is to say, a most efficacious downward causation that neednt, necessarily, violate physicalcausal closure. This has implications for semiotic accounts of pneumatological activity vis a vis human creativity.] As interrogators, humans probe reality employing the normative approaches that then mediate between our phenomenological interrogatories and their resulting metaphysical actualizations of values. Philosophy is the cultivation, by interrogators, of our imaginative, interpretive and practical skills regarding such images, metaphors and symbols that are prescriptive (where excluded middle folds but noncontradiction holds, e.g. vagueness).  Phenomenology and science are the cultivation of our imaginative, interpretive and practical skillsregarding such images, metaphors and symbols that are descriptive and employed in interrogatories (where excluded middle holds but noncontradiction folds). Metaphysicsand theology are the cultivation of our imaginative, interpretive and practical skills regarding such images, metaphors and symbols that are evaluative and employed in interrogation (where excluded middle and noncontradiction hold). What have we here? Philosophy, phenomenology, science, metaphysics and theology are institutionalized creativity and, if our religions and great traditions touch onNevilles four bases of 1) imaginative witness 2) interpretive doctrines 3) systematizing theories and 4) dialectical practice, theyll more likely hit a home run vis a visLonergans conversions - intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious. When it comes to actualizing values, which approaches are to be taken most seriously, and which actual and potential approaches ought to be avoided, modified, or set in other contexts is problematical and requires a robust discernment process. Said another way, when it comes to optimally actualizing values, which conceptualizations are tobe taken most seriously, and which conceptualizations ought to be objectified, avoided, modified, or set in other contexts is problematical and requires a robust discernment process. [Some applications of Neville on morality in general vis a vis harmony.)The Spheres of Human ConcernI like to distinguish between 1) the act of human knowing and 2) the spheres or foci of human concern, or horizons of speculation.These spheres represent different foci or horizons and interrogate reality with distinctively new questions. These spheres are not logically related but their viewpoints arecertainly related intellectually. Each viewpoint depends on new and major presuppositions. We move from one viewpoint to another to deepen our understanding of reality.Because each viewpoint is asking different questions, they are irreducibly distinct from one another. Another name for these viewpoints, per my schema, is interrogatories.Our Commitments to Our Values Require Risk ManagementAs we seek a deeper understanding of reality, moving from one vantage point to another, changing our horizons, our novel and major presuppositions cansometimes represent various levels of risk tolerance and risk aversion, all such levels requiring proper risk management in relationship to what it is we value. For example, if I am looking to augment my realization of truth, beauty, goodness and love, then I will variously amplify or diminish the risks I am willing totake toward this end. This risk amplification or diminution will entail changing ones focus of concern, or changing ones horizon of speculation, as follows.Proper Management of Epistemic Risk Augments the Realization of Human ValuesOne viewpoint is the objective. It is that focus of human concern that employs the empirical perspective. It is concerned with the evidential, descriptive and positivistic (andrelational value?). The empirical perspective manages different risks in its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by sometimes changing its focus to the subjective viewpoint, which employs the rational perspective, which is concerned with the experiential, logically prescriptive and epistemic (and perspectival value?). The subjectiveviewpoint, with its rational perspective, might then manage the risk in its value commitments by changing its focus to the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, which is concerned with the prudential normative and prudential evaluative (the pragmatic and moral, and extrinsic value?). The practical perspective might then manage its risk in its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by changing its focus to the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective. The hermeneutical is concerned with the interpretive or nonprudential evaluative (the aesthetical and relational, and intrinsic value?).Our Viewpoints Employ Distinct GrammarsEach perspective contributes to each singular and integral act of human knowing and employs a distinct grammar that corresponds to its particular focus of concern. Theobjective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, employs a grammar of falsification and peircean inductive inference. The subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective,formally constructed logic and peircean deductive inference.  The interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, employs a minimalist formalism, which includesreductio arguments (which are otherwise flawed due to ad ignorantium premises), peircean abductive inference and the pragmatic maxim. It also employs some quasi-inferential capacities such as Polanyis tacit dimension, Newmans illative sense, Fries nonintuitive immediate knowledge, which are arguably formal in a minimalist sense.The intersubjetive viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, employs a grammar that is not formally constructed; aesthetically, it employs aesthetical expression, while relationally, it employs a grammar of trust and assent.    Each viewpoint, with its new perspective, seeks a different understanding of reality and variously raises or lowers the whole enterprise of understanding reality to different levels of generality, which are higher or lower viewpoints and perspectives. Each viewpoint is valid in its own right, and this realization is precisely the point of distinguishing different viewpoints and employing new grammars. Because human knowing is a singular and integral act that gatherstogether all of the distinguishable moments of risk-tolerance and risk-aversion in the human pursuit of augmented value-realization, as that epistemic riskventure interestedly interacts with and probes reality, the system of viewpoints necessarily holds together as a whole, which is to say that the validity of thesedifferent viewpoints necessarily constrains the findings of one another.
  • 36. There may or may not be a hierarchical relationship between various viewpoints, with their various perspectives, but any such hierarchy would not impute more worth to higher levels, which is a whole other consideration, but would serve merely to properly interrelate them such that, just for example, the intersubjective and hermeneutical could not invalidate the interobjective and practical, which in turn could not invalidate the subjective and rational, which could not invalidate the objective and empirical.The Augmentation of Our Realization of Truth and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for truth, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit 1) correspondence theory that gets articulated, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit 2) virtue epistemology. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might operate from such as 3) coherence theory. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might turn to a 4) community of inquiry. One who is seeking anaugmentation of ones realization of truth by proper risk management might change from mere correspondence to a virtue approach as the descriptive changes its focus to the prescriptive. Ones realization of truth might be further augmented by changing these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with a coherence approach, which is a more practical focus. Another epistemic venture in ones attempt to augment ones realization of truth is the turn of ones focus to acommunity of inquiry with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective.The Augmentation of Our Realization of Beauty and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for beauty, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we experience art as mere 5) mimesis and imitation, which gets expressed, from thesubjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as 6) formalism and essentialism.  From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might view art as 7) instrumental and  as moral agent. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might engage art as 8) expressionism and emotionalism. One who is seeking an augmentation of ones realization of beauty by proper risk management might change from a mere mimetic and imitational focus on the aesthetical objectto a formalism or essentialism as the descriptive changes its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to a more intentional aspect of an aesthetical object. Ones realization of beauty can be further augmented by changing these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible instrumentalism and moral agency approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account a putative normative aspect of an aesthetical object. Another epistemic venture in ones attempt to augment ones realizationof beauty is the turn of ones focus to expressionism and emotionalism with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective, which marks a surrender to art for the sake of art, which is to say, to a putative transcendental perspective that views beauty as its own reward.The Augmentation of Our Realization of Goodness and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for goodness, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit 9) deontological theory that gets articulated, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit 10) virtue ethics. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might operate from suchas 11) contractarian ethics. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might turn to 12) teleological ethics. One who is seeking anaugmentation of ones realization of goodness by proper risk management might change from a mere deontological focus on the act of a moral object to a virtue oraretaic approach as the descriptive changes its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to the intentional aspect of a moral object. Ones realization of goodness can be further augmented by changing these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with a contractarian approach, which is a more practical focus,which takes into account the circumstantial aspect of a moral object. Another epistemic venture in ones attempt to augment ones realization of goodness is the turn of onesfocus to an intersubjective viewpoint with its teleological perspective, which marks a surrender to a putative transcendental value. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Love and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for love, in the bernardian sense, we exhibit 13) love of self for sake of self (or eros) and that gets amplified, in the rational and practical realms, as 14) love of other for sake of self, or reciprocal altruism (perhaps philia). This grows into the 15) agapic love of other for sake of other, beyond all practical considerations. And finally, unitively,our hermeneutic comes full circle to 16) love of self for sake of other. Once again, there is an augmentation of ones realization of love by such risk management as changesfrom a mere eros, and focus on oneself,  to an other-interested philia, which is an enlightened self-interest as one broadens ones focus to others. Additional risk managementis involved in, and ones commitment to love can be further augmented by, the changing of ones focus from eros and philia to a more robustly-oriented agape, the love of otherfor sake of other. The last venture in ones attempt to augment ones commitment to love is the realization of solidarity and the unitive, in a subliminated storge and authentic I-Thou relationship.The Journey as an Aesthetic TeleologyThis is the journey of authenticity for all who sojourn through this apparently emergentistic reality we call our universe. And our journey, step by step, is perilous and risk-laden, and any ongoing augmentation of our realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love requires a discerning management of risk that plays out in our existentialorientations toward these apparently inescapable imperatives by our ongoing intellectual, moral, affective and sociopolitical conversions (cf. Lonergan). And these conversionsnecessarily entail risks. And these risks have rewards. And we have been told, by the aesthetic teleologists, that the greater the number of bifurcations and permutations thatcomprise a system, the greater the number of risks involved,  the greater the number of individual threats to that systems stability and the greater its fragility. But the fragile is here equated with beautiful. The more fragile, the more beautiful. And so it is with truth, goodness and love.Ontological PresuppositionsThis journey takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective, variously criss-crossing between these realms. This accountof these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit ontological presuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective. It does commit to ametaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason, because it affirms an inherent normativity in theintegral act of human knowing.  It also entails an aesthetic realism and ecclesial realism.The Peircean ConnectionThese relationships are anticipated by the peircean aphorism that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.  There is another peircean adage that orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy and there it is, in this above schema, as the practical mediates between the empirico-rational and the hermeneutical.Other Philosophical Schools in ContextAs far as the major schools of thought and theories for epistemology, aesthetics and ethics, that one will recognize in my schema above, I am not suggesting that these arefacilely reconcilable systems. Rather, it seems that, in each sphere of concern, there seems to be a proper emphasis on the objective, subjective, interobjective orintersubjective aspect of  noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational objects (truth, beauty, goodness and love) and that the major theories tend to, improperly, variouslyoveremphasize and underemphasize these aspects and tend to dwell more or less exclusively in one or another of these spheres of concern with respect to those objects. Infact, I am suggesting that the entire human evaluative continuum is properly engaged in each sphere of concern and on all aspects of these noetical, aesthetical, moral andrelational objects, even if certain distinguishable moments in the integral act of knowing, or certain distinguishable aspects of the evaluative continuum, do seem to more fullyengage this or that aspect of this or that noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational object when the evaluative continuum is engaged in this or that sphere of concern.Notes: I applaud system builders who construct novel approaches with new hypotheses and who employ new definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors.Alternate systems are going to be incommensurate, in principle, with definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors that are mutually unintelligible, one system vs another.However, alternate systems are not going to be, in principle, over against one another. Before we make such a determination, we might attempt to make them commensurate through "renormalization" efforts, translating and reconciling their definitions, axioms,logic and metaphors such that, for example, wed be able to unify gravity and quantum mechanics.Renormalization, however, remains a daunting task. So, even if such novel meta-systems are not, necessarily, over against alternate systems, still, while waiting for and
  • 37. striving for their renormalization, we must nevertheless try to discern which meta-accounts ought to be taken seriously and which ought to be "avoided, modified, or set inother contexts" (applying Nevilles normative approach in this context). And, to the extent such meta-accounts do not logically exclude other accounts, they must bejudged by other criteria --- normative criteria.  And here is where a "late-modern" and paleo-pragmatic approach helps with its epistemological realism (fallibilism), aestheticrealism, moral realism and ecclesial realism. (I describe Nevilles approach in terms of these realisms because they affirm the value-laden character of what I see as Nevillespursuits of truth, beauty, goodness and community). I do not interpret Neville as a nonfoundationalist but as a weak foundationalist. This is all to suggest that we do not arbitrarily choose the normative criteria to be employed in our discernment of which meta-narratives are to be "taken seriously andwhich ought to be avoided, modified, or set in other contexts."The practical upshot is that one, like myself, can make use of Nevilles ontological apophaticism to shed some darkness on other metasystems that have a tendency to provetoo much. It neednt become radically apophatic, however, if one can defend other accounts as worthy of being taken seriously on their own terms, or otherwise modified orset in other contexts. For example, an otherwise nominalistic process approach can be suitably modified by the concept of "structured fields." An otherwise essentialisticsubstantialist approach can be suitably modified by including more dynamical concepts. Substance-process ontologies and nuanced panentheisms and divine matrices,however otherwise tautological, can provide meta-accounts that reflect a more taut grasp of reality.Now, the first step in renormalization must be much akin to that maneuver where us wannabe metaphysicians prescind, from time to time, from more robustly metaphysicalaccounts to strictly phenomenological perspectives. This marks a purposeful retreat into vagueness: epistemic, ontological and semantical. Even this requires discernment ofwhen vagueness should be taken more seriously than other metanarratives or might best be avoided, modified, or even set in other contexts. A value-driven architectonic and organon of knowledge that is paleo-pragmatic, weakly foundational, fallibilistic and affirming of semiotic, aesthetic, moral and ecclesialrealisms makes for a taut tautology and, in the end, will not have a tendency to prove either too much or too little. It will inexorably advance in its knowledge of suchnormative criteria as will enhance our realization of eternal values.Nevilles solution to the riddle of the One and the many might very well address the "pan" in panentheism, might very well account for Gods immanence and some univocitybetween Creator and Hefners created co-creators. Hartshornes modal ontological argument, modifed by apophatic predication of divine attributes and some equivocitybetween Creator and creatures, might better account for Gods transcendence and is much more robustly theistic. Brakens divine matrix, with its structured fields, mightbetter account for the "en" in panentheism, providing a heuristic for just how it is that creation is lured, however unobtrusively, to optimal realization of values as exemplified inGods eminence.I am anticipating some resonance between my own value-laden architectonic and organon and Nevilles axiology. However, I do not think I could defend what appears to be asomewhat arbitrary norm re: a choice of meta-accounts based on their relative success in grappling with the One and the many. And I do applaud a retreat into vagueness as an ecumenical and dialogical strategy and even as a tool for comparative theology. I sense that it could very well shed some lighton pneumatological dynamics. The jury is out, however, on just how much vagueness should "taken seriously or otherwise avoided, modified, or set in other contexts" when it comes to building asystematic theology or grappling with an authentic Christology. Let a thousand hypothetical blossoms bloom and fade, I say, without rather arbitrary eliminative pruning. Letsretreat into vagueness only to return to clarity when reality thus beckons us forth from Platos cave. We do not want our ontologies to be excessively humble as a result  of our excessive epistemological hubris. Any defense of the normative criteria, which we employ in our selections of one meta-account over another, must be robustly empirical, logical, practical, moral, aesthetical and relational. It wont be wholly formal or informal. We do notsay this because we have an a priori grasp of epistemic virtue but only because we have an a posteriori experience of a human rationality that is non-, pre-, inferentially, super-and trans- rational, or, in a word, ecological. We are, inescabably, "interested," whether highly or dis-interested, as interrogators when we pose our interrogatories in ourreality-probing interrogations. And what we probe is evaluative, which is inextricably intertwined with our descriptive and prescriptive enterprises.If we were not so radically finite and contingent, thered be a perfect symmetry between interrogator and interrogatories in interrogation processes, obviating all probes. Theasymmetry sets us on the value-realization journey, launches the cosmic adventure. I cannot say why but so it seems. And so we probe.Nevilles metaphysics seems too narrow. But I suspect even his own axiology can successfully defend its broadening (as I project it is much like my own). It brings to mind aquestion a friend asked, years ago, when we were birding: "Whats the distance from an epistemology to a worldview?" At this point in humankinds journey, I have come tobelieve that that distance is traversed across aesthetic sensibilities, seeing how there is so much ambiguity and somewhat of a stalemate, for now, empirically, logically andpractically. [Although, some is clearly traversed by our imaginative witnesses and interpretive doctrines.] And thats my chosen task, to somehow overcome theambiguity and break the stalemate. And the next good step seems to be in the direction of vagueness under a pneumatological impetus. No good Catholic Christian, worth his salt, is going to lose a wink ofsleep wondering whether or not the eventual return to precision and clarity is going to, in any way, threaten a truly authentic and most high Christology!re: His strategy regarding the "nature" of God seemed to me to be eliminativist in that he adopted an approach wherein questions re: Gods nature become nonsensical.I wanted to nuance that better. On one hand, it seems that questions about Gods nature are speculatively wide open, while, on the other hand, they seem to be practically offlimits.In some sense, I resonate with this to the extent that it might imply that there is no "in principle occulting" of ontological questions, that we do not know enough about realityyet to say that it is un/knowable (Chesterton). And, while such ontological inquiries are not speculatively out of bounds, what we are faced with, presently, is a dearth ofmetaphysical knowledge, which is somewhat invincible at this particular juncture on the human journey of knowledge re: our ultimate concerns.So, properly nuanced, I am in total agreement -- if Gods utter incomprehensibility is attributed to His supreme intelligibility and not rather to some, in principle, occulting.Nevilles great circumspection is thus hygienic, a good prophylactic against metaphysical dogmatism. At the same time, I dont have quite the same beef with Aristotle andhis progeny. For my part, I look at the dialogue between a Cobb and a Neville, or betweenMerton and Zen, and I look at these categories: the apophatic, impersonal,existential, immanent encounter, and the kataphatic, personal, theological,transcendent encounter and I turn my interest quickly to trying to locatethe source of the creative tension that exists between these apparentpolarities. And no simple triangulation strategies work because theserealities are terribly asymmetrical. And this speaks to me of the idea ofthe liminal threshold, that crazy in-between place, perhaps on Whiteheads"borders of chaos" where all "creative advance" takes place. The discovery of liminal space reveals it to be a wild and crazy space, muchmore like an African Safari than an English Tea (much less a Germanclassroom), where the resolution of creative tensions and the discovery of
  • 38. mediating normative criteria are not found in facile harmonizations andeasily dissolving dichotomies but, rather, in endlessly cascadingasymmetries --- some were to harness, some were to avoid, some were tomodify, some were to recontextualize, all which will yield eternal valuesshould we dare to probe and interrogate. As for Inter-religious Dialogue Well, for sure, I dont advocate any facile syncretism or indifferentism. This boils down to, in some measure, an exercise in developing thenormative criteria by which we can judge various levels of success at institutionalizing Lonergans conversions, which are, in turn, cultivationstrategies for actualizing values. To the extent that we, as Hefners created co-creators, are autopoietic & free, on one hand, and, otoh, bounded & determined, theological anthropology does become a very, sticky widget. Still, I think we can stay grounded in creativity, both us and the Godhead, both being and itsground, if we mind our predicates, neoplatonically -- proodos, mone and epistrophe (proceeding, rest and return; kataphasis, liminality andapophasis; metaphorical, analogical and literal). Cobb talks about a diversity of religious paths, religious goals, religious orientations, differences in that toward which religions are oriented. Thismight suggest that one womans core is another mans periphery. And that would seem to suggest that there could be a lot of dry holes for anyonetrying to drill down to a single mystical core. However, if Buddhist and Advaitan asceticisms and doctrines are approached moreso as pathways tothe experience of the not-wholly-other and not as ontological teatises, and if the Abrahamic asceticisms and doctrines are approached moresoas pathways to the experience of a Most-Holy-Other and not as ontological teatises, then our comparative theological divining rods becomemuch more sensitive to this putative mystical core. These different experiences are but obverse sides of that same coin of the religious realm, which is solidarity. Ortho-doxy, our true glory, is in the celebration of this solidarity. Ortho-praxis thus ensues in the form of compassion. If we usepractical experience to define our mystical core and not speculative cosmology and ontology, then the categories of our comparative exercise will reflect the practical and evaluative as central,  the descriptive and prescriptive as peripheral. This is not to say that the descriptive and positivistic are not central to science and the prescriptive and normative are not central to philosophy, only to suggest that the central focus of theology isevaluative and practical. It helps to know what we are drilling for when we are scouting for well sites. Now, if our normative criteria are to be grounded in our cultivation of creativity (which would be consistent with the journey to authenticity for onewho is a co-creator), and this cultivation can be calibrated in measures of success in institutionalizing conversions, then, practically speaking, howdo our experiences of the not-wholly-other and the Most Holy Other inform our approaches to value-actualization 1) intellectually, noetically, inrelation to truth 2) affectively, aesthetically in relation to beauty 3) morally, ethically in relation to goodness 4) relationally, interpersonally in relationto society and community and 5) religiously, in binding our wounds and making us whole? How might our conversion experiences be especiallyenriched and our creativity be especially cultivated by our experiences of, on one hand, the not-wholly-other and, on the other hand, the Most Holy Other? How might they be especially impoverished by our failure to robustly experience either of these orientations? What special synergies emerge from robustly experiencing both orientations?  For now, Ill desist from answering these questions, content with my inchoate framing of them. Still, in my view, the real conundrum is not located in devising the categories of our normative criteria, the really hard comparative work is thatwhich will require serious attempts to inhabit the culturally embedded images, metaphors and symbols that are used in this culture or that fordescriptive, prescriptive and evaluative enterprises and in the cultivation of the imaginative, interpretive and practical skills that inform onesemployment of them. I suppose my own experiences with energy upheavals and so-called kundalini arousals and my need to somehow integratethem into my other experiences, much of this brought on by contemplative practices that mirrored Zen meditative asceticisms, reinforce the needto experientially inhabit otherwise alien images, metaphors and symbols prior to any "renormalization" exercises between alternate hermeneutics.[Nondiscursive glossolalia and energy manifestations, in pentocostalism and charismatic movements, have a parallel here, in my view, just to openup another angle for your particular interests. And so, too, with the hesychasts of Mt. Athos. By the way, if we retreat from aristotelian metaphysicalformulations into semiotic categories or phenomenology, I suspect we could reconcile the Roman Catholic tradition with both Anglican andOrthodox traditions. That would be the first efficacy of any retreat into vagueness! The filoque, of course, is already a nonissue: Spirit move when you will, where you will, how you will. Spirit of God, now, move within me!] In extensive dialogue with others, over the years, who have experienced different degrees and types of hermeneutical cohabitation, I have come to especially appreciate how facile and superficial our comparativereligious exercises can be. Even a Catholic contemplative superstar, like Fr. Thomas Keating, OSB,  became quite enamored with Ken Wilbers version of transrationality, which as I have complained before, arrogates to advaitan perspectives a radically apophatic and thoroughly gnostic takeon reality, superior to anything "lesser minds" can grasp. Well, I suppose one could write a book on these dialogical struggles but that brings up anaside ... Speaking of arrogation --- My use of the triadic interplay of interrogatories, interrogations and interrogators is grounded in my master paradigm of harvesting values. In myCatholic tradition, we celebrate Rogation Day (which M-W defines as any of the days of prayer especially for the harvest observed on the threedays before Ascension Day and by Roman Catholics also on April 25). And, true to my own roots, this is all very Latin: rog-, roga-, -rogate, -rogation, -rogatory for ask, inquiry, request, beg. So cultivating creativity and harvesting values as created co-creators is grounded in rogation, which is to say, litany and supplication. It is the fittingand proper orientation of creature toward Creator, of the finite and contingent in relationship to Infinite. And so we can characterize epistemic virtue and nonvirtue in terms of rogation: abrogate, arrogate, derogate, interrogate, prerogative, prorogation(defer or postpone) and subrogate.  To better contextualize the thoughts below, first, some correctives and other food for thought: Rather than using words like empirical, rational, logical, aesthetical, ethical, practical, hermeneutical and such, and rather than discussing them as foci of human concern, it seems likeit would suffice to just describe the questions we all ask of reality: 1) Is that a fact? 2) What can we know? Is it true? 3) What must we do? Is it good or evil? Is it right or wrong? Is ituseful? 4) What can we hope for? Is it beautiful? 5) To whom can we go? What or whom can we trust? 6) What return shall we make? And that just takes me full circle back to the values I set forth here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/architect.htm
  • 39.  In considering how I might [re]construct my arguments, some nagging questions arose and I found myself critiquing my scheme and finding that certain of its positions were too strongfor me to defend. I know that such exercises as building supposed architectonics have more heuristic than speculative value. I also know that when things get too tidy, too neat, toofacile, one is on the verge of "proving" too much. As it is, reality continues to present itself to me as a dance between continuity and discontinuity, pattern and paradox, chance andnecessity, order and chaos, random and systematic. Only a retreat into various types of vagueness has ever seemed to "capture" different of realitys aspects and/or presentations. All that it mind, I do not care to defend: 1) any hierarchical structure, such as Helminiaks, suggesting that one focus is necessarily broader than another or contained within another, which also seems to suggest that onemight be more basic than another, for example, the positivistic constraining the philosophic. If the positivistic is mostly dealing with "Is that a fact?" --- still, from a pragmatic andphilosophic perspective, that question has been preceded by "Whats it to me?" and this is only a reiteration of the peircean notion that the normative sciences "mediate" betweenphenomenology and metaphysics, for example. So, there is no need to open up the old can of worms of empiricism vs rationalism, or of basicality in justification, or of foundationalismand nonfoundationalism. As it is, Helminiaks appropriation of Lonergan has not, best I can tell, answered the Gelpian critique, which rejects the transcendental approach to Thomismwith its Kantian issues. 2) It suffices to note, then, that the answers we obtain to the various questions we ask of reality are already properly constrained, not by any hierarchical arrangement, but, merely bythe fact that our various questions are different. And these otherwise disparate Q&As do influence one another intellectually even while not necessarily being related logically. For example, sometimes our aesthetical inclinations adjudicate between two empirical or two logical positions, which cannot otherwise be resolved at any given point in time for one reason or another. 3) Also, regarding the augmentation of value by the amplification of risks as we move from the objective to the subjective to the interobjective and then intersubjective perspectives ---again, too tidy. In the first place, I would not want to defend the proposition that values are augmented only through the amplification of risks. What about the Principle of Conservationof Beliefs? We had a saying in the banking industry that "Profits do not come from taking risks but from superior skill at managing risk." And this is just to acknowledge that sometimeswe better realize our values through increased risk aversion, sometimes through increased risk tolerance, always through risk modulation. So, the risk paradigm is fitting for this cosmicadventure, but it cannot be described with directionality. I also recall a paper by Tom Short on how and why Peirce would be a moral and political conservative. Ill have to look thatup again. Well, enough of all that. For now, I moreso picture the different questions we ask of reality and their answers as "fields of influence" and, at that, as rather amorphous and mutually interpenetrating fields or clouds that help direct our behavior. And this dance between empirical, rational and practical considerations is messy, not at all suggestive of linearity,basicality, directionality, ordinacy, not indicative of the hierarchical --- but clearly suggestive of notions such as mediation, probability, supervenience and such that honor vagueness.All the categories are still there, whether of Plato, Kant, Peirce or whomever, but their structure and assembly and interrelationships are more problematical than I ever seem willing toaccept, which keeps the philosophical impetus alive and even fun, when it isnt otherwise terrifying. A much better master paradigm would seem to be that of the weather. Ill be thinkingmeteorologically between now and my next epistemological blizzard. Concerning my struggle above with my "value realization thru risk amplification" paradigm as contained in my organon-architectonic. I sensed it was too tidy and wouldprobably be hard to defend. At least I did not want to consider it as an exhaustive explanation for how it is we, as humans, realize truth, beauty, goodness and love. I still feel like it is an important element. One aphorism I really bought into during my banking career was this: Profits do not come from taking risks but from superior skill at managing risks. I have felt like that adage was holding a key that would help me unlock the door to a new level of understanding regarding lifes risk-taking ventures in relationship to lifesvalue-realizations.  And I think I can begin to articulate at least an early level of understanding now. It is not our risk-taking per se that fosters value-realization. It is our approach to risk-taking. It is our "superior skill at managing risks." And this "skill" might be equated withLonergans conversions, just for example. Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, advocates leisureliness. He says: "Leisure is not the opposite of activity, productivity, or work. Rather, leisure is the right balance betweengive and take, between work and rest ..." He equates leisure with an inner attitude of trust and thanksgiving, as an approach that entails nothing less than celebration ofwhatever we happening to be doing (or not doing). Striking the right balance might not always involve taking the "Middle Path" or the triangulation of otherwise polar realities. It does involve a reception of reality as it is and withawareness and mindfulness. And, one who is truly aware will be truly grateful and will be celebratory. So, I am willing to suggest that value-realization does not come from taking risks but from ongoing conversions that facilitate our management of lifes inescapable risks,sometimes requiring risk augmentation, sometimes risk diminution, sometimes even powerlessness. The fruit of these conversions is a Grateful Celebratory Attitude, which isits own reward. That this approach of "celebrating gratefully," which is intrinsically rewarding, should hold the key to humanitys augmented realization of truth, beauty, goodness and love, is not at all counterintuitive because these values and our pursuit of them are the most intrinsically rewarding of all values and all pursuits. They embodyour existential orientation to those transcendental imperatives that are finally ordered to the Divine Attributes themselves. This requires open hands and not clenched fists, Brother David would say. It is not about control and it is not about eliminating risks. It is about trust and the courage toamplify/diminish what risks we can, the serenity to live with what risks we must and the wisdom to know the difference. For encouragement and wisdom, we have a Consolerand Counselor --- our abduction of the Reality of the Holy Spirit.  Neville as a Foil> I was especially struck by the following quote: "Not that the destruction of> a particular harmony is necessarily evil, for the harmony itself might be> bad. Morality is concerned with which potential harmonies ought to be> actualized and which actual and potential ones ought to be avoided,> modified, or set in other contexts." Robert Neville, Concerning Creativity> and God: A Response, Process Studies, pp.1-10, Vol. 11, Number 1, Spring ,> 1981.>> This reminded me of my struggle with my paradigm concerning the augmentation> of value via the amplification of risks. Youll recall I modified that> position to the augmentation of value via the "management" of risks (to put> it succinctly).>> I was having the same struggle with aesthetic intuitions regarding symmetry> and asymmetry, order and chaos, pattern and paradox, random and systematic,> chance and necessity, novelty and monotony, apophasis and kataphasis, yin> and yang, complexity and simplification, and other seemingly dipolar> realities, even that of precision/clarity and vagueness. For example, I had> written: "Only a retreat into various types of vagueness has ever seemed to> capture different of realitys aspects and/or presentations." Well, of> course, sometimes vagueness is called for, other times not. What should we> do when? If life is a dance and God is our Fred Astaire, does He really
  • 40. > expect us to be Ginger Rogers, which is to ask, are we to do everything He> does except backwards and in high heels? At any rate, a simple triangulation> of polar realities or a taking of a Middle Path or of a Third Way or of a> full advance or retreat doesnt always hold the answer. Proper "management"> is more nuanced and complex.>> Neville also writes: "So I do believe in a God beyond the metaphysical> categories illustrated in temporal process; but such a God is indeed beyond> the categories and cannot except by devious analogy be called individual,> actual, knowledgeable, or a variety of other things Hartshorne attributes to> his God.">> I wondered, myself, why both Godel and Hartshorne got caught up in> ontological arguments, albeit modal. Neville desists from assailing the> logic of the arguments and I think he is correct in that for they do not> fail via fallacy. Where they lose their impetus is in their failure to> disambiguate divine attributes, speaking, as they do, univocally of Creator> and creature. Im sure he must be aware that there is another strategy that> involves apophatic and equivocal predication of such attributes and that it> makes for a rather compelling modal ontological argument. And this would> seem to otherwise square well with Nevilles Creator, Whom Cobb critiques as> having Eckhardt and other such mystics as its antecedent (rather than that> Creator Whos at the center of biblical tradition). Id thus receive Cobbs> critique as a compliment, for that is quite the point, metaphysically> anyway.>> Well, there is too much to comment on. Generally, I like the 1) a posteriori> 2) affirmation of metaphysics 3) interreligious dialogue 4) comparative> theology 5) aesthetic emphasis 6) value drivenness 7) incorporation of> platonic insight 8) earnest engagement of process approaches 9) watchful eye> on nominalism, substantialism, essentialism 10) relationship to the American> pragmatic tradition 11) natural theology and theology of nature as starting> points and in media res departure, too 12) give and take between idealism> and realism, rationalism and empiricism 13) use of vagueness 14) meta-foci.> He doesnt employ excessive pejorative force but allows each p.o.v. to> critique the other, which seems to be the whole point, epistemologically and> metaphysically. I wonder where, in my upcoming dialectical analysis of> Neville, well a) agree b) converge c) complement or d) dialectically> reverse.  We are being lured toward ad majorem Dei gloriam. Ill take the > bait.> Mmy early reading of Neville leaves me with these impressions.>> I had been immersed in the patristic tradition that was informed by> neo-platonic thought and such influences as pseudo-dionysius. In the> medieval vein, Duns Scotus -- with his a) formal distinction, b) views of> the incarnation (no felix culpa, was inevitable) and c) primacy of Gods> will. And my own development of same led me to being mistaken for a peircean> type. If I resonate with Neville, and I do, it is on this level and not> based on his appropriation of Peirce. I REALLY like his over-against Kant.> Kants edifice was built on the quicksand of a response to Hume. The humean> critique was empty because it took Aristotle to task for taking existence to> be a predicate of being, which was a mere tautology.  All of this is to say > that answers to the question Why is there something and not rather nothing?> are not terribly compelling because many take "nothing" to be an empty> reification and no new information is being provided. Dont get me wrong,> just because it is not compelling, or is tautological, does not mean it is> not meaningful. It does suggest we need to look further than, for instance,> Thomism and aristotelianism, to get an even more "taut" tautology.>> Tracking on Scotus, Nevilles creatio account ventures an answer to Why is> there something and not rather something else? And this question is more> meaningful to most people. It resonates with modal ontological arguments and> ideas of "bounded existence." And Nevilles answer regarding the One and the> many -- that asymmetry is fundamental --- is brilliant, even if not> exhaustive. Sure, it has its own tautology, but, vis a vis our experience of> reality, a posteriori, it offers a more "taut" grasp of reality,> metaphysically. Theoretical physicists answer questions at the quantum level> with a "many worlds hypothesis" and at the cosmological level with> multiverse theory. It makes me think that, at least, Neville is getting the> question correct, even if we are still mostly begging its answer.>> I dont see Thomism and Scotism, or aristotelianism and platonism, as> mutually exclusive. Their axioms are not logically related. The answers they> yield are nonetheless intellectually related.>
  • 41. > His strategy regarding the "nature" of God seemed to me to be eliminativist> in that he adopted an approach wherein questions re: Gods nature become> nonsensical. I applaud system builders who construct novel approaches with> new hypotheses and who employ new definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors.> Alternate systems are going to be incommensurate, in principle, with> definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors that are mutually unintelligible,> one system vs another. However, alternate systems are not going to be, in> principle, over against one another. Before we make such a determination, we> might attempt to make them commensurate through "renormalization" efforts,> translating and reconciling their definitions, axioms, logic and metaphors> such that, for example, wed be able to unify gravity and quantum mechanics.>> Renormalization, however, remains a daunting task. So, even if such novel> meta-systems are not, necessarily, over against alternate systems, still,> while waiting for and striving for their renormalization, we must> nevertheless try to discern which meta-accounts ought to be taken seriously> and which ought to be "avoided, modified, or set in other contexts"> (applying Nevilles normative approach in this context). And, to the extent> such meta-accounts do not logically exclude other accounts, they must be> judged by other criteria --- normative criteria.  And here is where a > "late-modern" and paleo-pragmatic approach helps with its epistemological> realism (fallibilism), aesthetic realism, moral realism and ecclesial> realism. (I describe Nevilles approach in terms of these realisms because> they affirm the value-laden character of what I see as Nevilles pursuits of> truth, beauty, goodness and community). I do not interpret Neville as a> nonfoundationalist but as a weak foundationalist. This is all to suggest> that we do not arbitrarily choose the normative criteria to be employed in> our discernment of which meta-narratives are to be "taken seriously and> which ought to be avoided, modified, or set in other contexts.">> The practical upshot is that one, like myself, can make use of Nevilles> ontological apophaticism to shed some darkness on other metasystems that> have a tendency to prove too much. It neednt become radically apophatic,> however, if one can defend other accounts as worthy of being taken seriously> on their own terms, or otherwise modified or set in other contexts. For> example, an otherwise nominalistic process approach can be suitably modified> by the concept of "structured fields." An otherwise essentialistic> substantialist approach can be suitably modified by including more dynamical> concepts. Substance-process ontologies and nuanced panentheisms and divine> matrices, however otherwise tautological, can provide meta-accounts that> reflect a more taut grasp of reality.>> Now, the first step in renormalization must be much akin to that maneuver> where us wannabe metaphysicians prescind, from time to time, from more> robustly metaphysical accounts to strictly phenomenological perspectives.> This marks a purposeful retreat into vagueness: epistemic, ontological and> semantical. Even this requires discernment of when vagueness should be taken> more seriously than other metanarratives or might best be avoided, modified,> or even set in other contexts. A value-driven architectonic and organon of> knowledge that is paleo-pragmatic, weakly foundational, fallibilistic and> affirming of semiotic, aesthetic, moral and ecclesial realisms makes for a> taut tautology and, in the end, will not have a tendency to prove either too> much or too little. It will inexorably advance in its knowledge of such> normative criteria as will enhance our realization of eternal values.>> Nevilles solution to the riddle of the One and the many might very well> address the "pan" in panentheism, might very well account for Gods> immanence and some univocity between Creator and Hefners created> co-creators. Hartshornes modal ontological argument, modifed by apophatic> predication of divine attributes and some equivocity between Creator and> creatures, might better account for Gods transcendence and is much more> robustly theistic. Brakens divine matrix, with its structured fields, might> better account for the "en" in panentheism, providing a heuristic for just> how it is that creation is lured, however unobtrusively, to optimal> realization of values as exemplified in Gods eminence.>> I am anticipating some resonance between my own value-laden architectonic> and organon and Nevilles axiology. However, I do not think I could defend> what appears to be a somewhat arbitrary norm re: a choice of meta-accounts> based on their relative success in grappling with the One and the many. And> I do applaud a retreat into vagueness as an ecumenical and dialogical> strategy and even as a tool for comparative theology. I sense that it could> very well shed some light on pneumatological dynamics. The jury is out,> however, on just how much vagueness should "taken seriously or otherwise> avoided, modified, or set in other contexts" when it comes to building a> systematic theology or grappling with an authentic Christology. Let a
  • 42. > thousand hypothetical blossoms bloom and fade, I say, without rather> arbitrary eliminative pruning. Lets retreat into vagueness only to return> to clarity when reality thus beckons us forth from Platos cave.>> I do not know if I made sense to you, but I know what I am trying to say and> will eventually be able to say it better. We do not want our ontologies to> be excessively humble as a result  of our excessive epistemological hubris. > Any defense of the normative criteria, which we employ in our selections of> one meta-account over another, must be robustly empirical, logical,> practical, moral, aesthetical and relational. It wont be wholly formal or> informal. We do not say this because we have an a priori grasp of epistemic> virtue but only because we have an a posteriori experience of a human> rationality that is non-, pre-, inferentially, super- and trans- rational,> or, in a word, ecological. We are, inescabably, "interested," whether highly> or dis-interested, as interrogators when we pose our interrogatories in our> reality-probing interrogations. And what we probe is evaluative, which is> inextricably intertwined with our descriptive and prescriptive enterprises.> If we were not so radically finite and contingent, thered be a perfect> symmetry between interrogator and interrogatories in interrogation> processes, obviating all probes. The asymmetry sets us on the> value-realization journey, launches the cosmic adventure. I cannot say why> but so it seems. And so we probe.>> Nevilles metaphysics seems too narrow. But I suspect even his own axiology> can successfully defend its broadening (as I project it is much like my> own). It brings to mind a question a friend asked, years ago, when> we were birding: "Whats the distance from an epistemology to a worldview?"> At this point in humankinds journey, I have come to believe that that> distance is traversed across aesthetic sensibilities, seeing how there is so> much ambiguity and somewhat of a stalemate, for now, empirically, logically> and practically. And thats my chosen task, to somehow overcome the> ambiguity and break the stalemate. And the next good step seems to be in the> direction of vagueness under a pneumatological impetus. No good Catholic> Christian, worth his salt, is going to lose a wink of sleep wondering> whether or not the eventual return to precision and clarity is going to, in> any way, threaten a truly authentic and most high Christology!>> Not that Im always worth my salt.The Spheres of Human ConcernI like to distinguish between 1) the act of human knowing and 2) the spheres or foci of human concern, or horizons of speculation.These spheres represent progressively broader foci or expanded horizons and interrogate reality with distinctively new questions. These spheresare not logically related but their viewpoints are certainly related intellectually. Each viewpoint depends on new and major presuppositions. Wemove from narrower (or lower) viewpoints to broader (or higher) viewpoints to deepen our understanding of reality. Because each viewpoint isasking different questions, they are irreducibly distinct from one another.Our Commitments to Our Values Require RisksAs we seek a deeper understanding of reality, moving from lower to higher vantage points, expanding our horizons, our novel and majorpresuppositions represent progressively broader and more risky commitments to what it is we value. For example, if I am looking to augment myrealization of truth, beauty, goodness and love, then I will amplify the risks I am willing to take toward this end. This risk amplification entailsbroadening ones focus of concern, or expanding ones horizon of speculation, as follows.The Amplification of Epistemic Risk Augments the Realization of Human ValuesThe lowest viewpoint is the objective. It is the narrowest focus of human concern and employs the empirical perspective. It is concerned with theevidential, descriptive and positivistic (and relational value?). The empirical perspective amplifies the risk in its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the subjective viewpoint, which employs the rational perspective, which is concerned with the experiential, logically prescriptive and epistemic (and perspectival value?). The subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, then amplifiesthe risk in its value commitments by broadening its focus to the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, which is concerned with the prudential, normative and prudential evaluative (the pragmatic and moral, and extrinsic value?). The practical perspective amplifies its risk in its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective. The hermeneutical is concerned with the interpretive or nonprudential evaluative (the aesthetical and relational, and intrinsic value?).Our Viewpoints Employ Distinct GrammarsEach perspective contributes to each singular and integral act of human knowing and employs a distinct grammar that corresponds to its particularfocus of concern. The objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, employs a grammar of falsification and peircean inductive inference. The subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, formally constructed logic and peircean deductive inference.  The interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, employs a minimalist formalism, which includes reductio arguments (which are otherwise flawed due to ad ignorantium premises), peircean abductive inference and the pragmatic maxim. It also employs some quasi-inferential capacities such as Polanyis tacitdimension, Newmans illative sense, Fries nonintuitive immediate knowledge, which are arguably formal in a minimalist sense. The intersubjetiveviewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, employs a grammar that is not formally constructed; aesthetically, it employs aesthetical expression, while relationally, it employs a grammar of trust and assent.    The Lower Viewpoints Constrain the Higher
  • 43. Each viewpoint, with its new perspective, seeks a progressively broader understanding of reality and raises the whole enterprise of understanding reality to a new level of generality, a higher viewpoint and perspective. Each viewpoint is valid in its own right, and this realization is precisely thepoint of distinguishing different viewpoints and employing new grammars. Because human knowing is a singular and integral act that gatherstogether all of the distinguishable moments of progressively amplified risk-taking ventures in the human pursuit of augmented value-realization, asthat epistemic risk venture interestedly interacts with and probes reality, the system of viewpoints necessarily holds together as a whole, which is tosay that the validity of lower viewpoints necessarily constrains the validity of higher viewpoints.This hierarchical relationship of the viewpoints, with their various perspectives, does not impute more worth to higher levels, which is a whole other consideration, but serves merely to properly interrelate them such that the intersubjective and hermeneutical cannot invalidate the interobjectiveand practical, which in turn can not invalidate the subjective and rational, which cannot invalidate the objective and empirical.The Augmentation of Our Realization of Truth and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for truth, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit correspondence theory that gets articulated, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit virtue epistemology. From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might operate from such as coherence theory. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, wemight turn to a community of inquiry. One is seeking an augmentation of ones realization of truth by the incremental risk-taking that progressesfrom mere correspondence to a virtue approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive. Additional risk is involved in, and onesrealization of truth can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with a coherence approach, which is a more practical focus. The last risk-taking venture in ones attempt to augment ones realization oftruth is the turn of ones focus to a community of inquiry with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective.The Augmentation of Our Realization of Beauty and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for beauty, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we experience art as mere mimesis and imitation, which getsexpressed, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as formalism and essentialism.  From the interobjective viewpoint, with its practical perspective, we might view art as instrumental and  as moral agent. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective, we might engage art as expressionism and emotionalism. One is seeking an augmentation of ones realization of beauty by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere mimetic and imitational focus on the aesthetical object to a formalism or essentialism as thedescriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to a more intentional aspect of an aesthetical object. Additional risk is involved in,and ones realization of beauty can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible instrumentalism and moral agency approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account a putative normative aspect of anaesthetical object. The last risk-taking venture in ones realization of beauty is the turn of ones focus to expressionism and emotionalism with an intersubjective viewpoint and its hermeneutical perspective, which marks a surrender to art for the sake of art, which is to say, to a putativetranscendental perspective that views beauty as its own reward.The Augmentation of Our Realization of Goodness and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for goodness, from the objective viewpoint, with its empirical perspective, we might operate from an implicit deontological theory that gets articulated, from the subjective viewpoint, with its rational perspective, as an explicit virtue ethics. From the interobjective viewpoint, with itspractical perspective, we might operate from such as contractarian ethics. From the intersubjective viewpoint, with its hermeneutical perspective,we might turn to teleological ethics. One is seeking an augmentation of ones realization of goodness by the incremental risk-taking thatprogresses from a mere deontological focus on the act of a moral object to a virtue or aretaic approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to the intentional aspect of a moral object. Additional risk is involved in, and ones realization of goodness can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible interobjective viewpoint, with acontractarian approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account the circumstantial aspect of a moral object. The last risk-takingventure in ones attempt to augment ones realization of goodness is the turn of ones focus to an intersubjective viewpoint with its teleological perspective, which marks a surrender to a putative transcendental value. The Augmentation of Our Realization of Love and Its Attendant RisksRisking all for love, in the bernardian sense, we exhibit love of self for sake of self (or eros) and that gets amplified, in the rational and practical realms, as love of other for sake of self, or reciprocal altruism (perhaps philia). This grows into the agapic love of other for sake of other, beyond allpractical considerations. And finally, unitively, our hermeneutic comes full circle to love of self for sake of other. Once again, there is anaugmentation of ones realization of love by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere eros, and focus on oneself,  to an other-interested philia, which is an enlightened self-interest as one broadens ones focus to others. Additional risk is involved in, and ones commitment to love can be further augmented by, the broadening of eros and philia to a more robustly-oriented agape, the love of other for sake of other. Thelast risk-taking venture in ones attempt to augment ones commitment to love is the realization of solidarity and the unitive, in a subliminated storgeand authentic I-Thou relationship.The Journey as an Aesthetic TeleologyThis is the journey of authenticity for all who sojourn through this apparently emergentistic reality we call our universe. And our journey, step by step,is perilous and risk-laden, and any ongoing augmentation of our realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love requires a progressiveamplification of risk that plays out in our existential orientations toward these apparently inescapable imperatives by our ongoing intellectual, moral,affective and sociopolitical conversions (cf. Lonergan). And these conversions necessarily entail risks. And these risks have rewards. And we havebeen told, by the aesthetic teleologists, that the greater the number of bifurcations and permutations that comprise a system, the greater thenumber of risks involved,  the greater the number of individual threats to that systems stability and the greater its fragility. But the fragile is here equated with beautiful. The more fragile, the more beautiful. And so it is with truth, goodness and love.Ontological PresuppositionsThis risk trajectory progressively takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective. This account ofthese foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit ontological presuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective. Itdoes commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason,because it affirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing.The Peircean ConnectionThis hierarchical relationship, patterned after (analogous to) Helminiaks faithful rendering of Lonergan, is anticipated by the peircean aphorism that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.  There is another peircean adage that orthopraxis authenticates 
  • 44. orthodoxy and there it is, in this above schema, as the practical mediates between the empirico-rational and the hermeneutical.Other Philosophical Schools in ContextAs far as the major schools of thought and theories for epistemology, aesthetics and ethics, that one will recognize in my schema above, I am notsuggesting that these are facilely reconcilable systems. Rather, it seems that, in each sphere of concern, there seems to be a proper emphasis onthe objective, subjective, interobjective or intersubjective aspect of  noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational objects (truth, beauty, goodness andlove) and that the major theories tend to, improperly, variously overemphasize and underemphasize these aspects and tend to dwell more or lessexclusively in one or another of these spheres of concern with respect to those objects. In fact, I am suggesting that the entire human evaluativecontinuum is properly engaged in each sphere of concern and on all aspects of these noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects, even ifcertain distinguishable moments in the integral act of knowing, or certain distinguishable aspects of the evaluative continuum, do seem to morefully engage this or that aspect of this or that noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational object when the evaluative continuum is engaged in this or thatsphere of concern.A Proper Consideration of Faith in the Above-ContextWith the above scheme as a context, let me now make another distinction that one might encounters regarding the word faith. Sometimes it appears to be used as a mode of knowledge. At other times, it appears to be used to circumscribe a horizon of speculation or to specify a particular focus of concern.Justification issues pertain to the first usage, where faith is considered a mode of knowledge.What comprises a worldview or ones ultimate concerns pertains to the broadest focus of ones concern, the furthest horizon of ones speculation.As for modes of knowledge, to me, epistemology is epistemology is epistemology. The act of knowing, in my view, is a singular, integral act. To besure, it may have many "moments," which would include all of our inferential operations (i.e. abduction, induction and deduction), all of ourprudential judgments (i.e. moral and pragmatic), often even our nonprudential evaluations (e.g. our aesthetical sensibilities), our logical andmathematical rationalities, our empirical observations and measurements, our existential warrants, and our implicit and explicit prephilosophicalpresuppositions (e.g. our unproven first principles, noncontradiction, excluded middle, identity, realitys intelligibility, humankinds intelligence,isomorphicity, belief in other minds and such). None of these moments are fully autonomous but are, rather, mutually interpenetrating.In this sense, then, faith, considered in the first sense, is not an autonomous mode of knowledge but would find its place somewhere in the abovelist as a moment of knowing (for instance, as an existential warrant or prephilosophucal presupposition or attitude). Any faith, taken as a supposedmode of knowledge, that asserts its autonomy from our other epistemic moments in the otherwise integral act of knowing, is what we would callfideism. This isnt a religious issue, firstly, but a consideration of epistemic virtue. For example, when reason sets itself up as autonomous, wehave rationalism. When induction and falsification arrogate autonomy, we have empiricism. A hardcore contextualism in pragmatic fallibilism isrelativism. Overemphasis on practical prudential judgment is a pragmatism improperly considered. And so on and so forth.Now, it also seems to me that it is characteristic of this integral act of human knowing-experiencing that, however well or poorly conceived onesepistemological account, the basic integrity of this act remains intact. This is just to observe and suggest that often we remain quite competent inour interactions with reality notwithstanding the quality and accuracy of our accounts for how and why it is we are competent. This is not to deny, asoften seems to be the case, that those who couple some rather assiduous and dutiful ascetical practices with erroneous epistemologicalassumptions might not experience a progressive degeneration of such competence into different types of incompetence, which, in their manifoldand multiform expressions have been pejoratively labeled as this or that insidious -ism (as discussed above).As we turn our focus to faith considered in some architectonic of knowledge, as either a horizon of speculation or focus of human concern, thesehorizons and foci variously narrow and broaden and are situated hierarchically such that the empirical focus, or positivistic horizon, is nested withinthe rational focus, or philosophic horizon. The rational focus broadens into the practical by virtue of asking additional questions of reality, bothmoral and practical (the prudential evaluative foci). Beyond this might be nonprudential evaluative foci like aesthetical sensibilities and relationaldynamics like trust and assent. It may be that, as we move from focus to focus, or variously extend and retract our horizons, different moments inthe act of knowing may be seen operating in sharper relief with their own particular grammars, but these still comprise one integral act.Because of all this, sometimes we end up confusing moments in the act of knowledge with horizons of speculation or foci of concern. It gets moreconfusing because, if the moments in the act of knowing are not autonomous (and they are not), the foci of concern are indeed autonomous.Further more, the narrower foci enjoy primacy, which is to suggest that the answers reality reveals to our empirical and positivistic probes properlyconstrain those it might reveal in our rational and philosophic probes. The hierarchical nature of these foci of concern means that, as we expandour horizons and broaden our foci, interrogating reality with new and different questions, answers we get in successive probes of different realmsof concern cannot change the answers we have gotten in the narrower foci and more limited horizons. How could they? The questions are totallydifferent.Worldviews & Epistemic RisksWhen it comes to what we call a worldview, or that focus of concern we call ultimate, then I would suggest that there can be an epistemologicalparity between different worldviews (and those that are time-honored traditions and/or ideologies and not some caricature thereof).  That horizon of speculation known as a worldview is the furthest horizon and that focus of concern known as ultimate concern is the broadest of foci. The empiricalproofs available to us for much closer horizons, like that of science and methodological naturalism, for much narrower foci, like that of thepositivistic (whether through popperian falsification or inductive inference), I would contend are easier to justify and require less epistemic risk.This isnt to say that belief in God lacks empirical support, rational justification, moral prudence, pragmatic significance, aesthetical appeal orexistential warrant. It is only to submit that faith is faith.Justification of Beliefs and the “Right” to BelieveNow, many folks think justification (what much of the above discussion is about) is an altogether unattainable aim. Not all of these people see it asan illegitimate aim, however. I would first qualify my justification attempt as fallible (unattainable presently, perhaps even in principle) but still usefuland reasonable. I would try to account for the empirical observations that are externally congruent with my belief and for the mathematical andlogical axioms and rules that are rationally consistent with it (aspiring for consistency rather than completeness). I would set forth the practicalconcerns that, in part, may have determined my belief, both moral and pragmatic (at the least, maintaining that my act of knowing has an inherentnormativity). I would express any aesthetical sensibilities that  impacted my belief and any relational dynamics (like trust, faith, fidelity, assent andsuch). In short, Id explain my descriptive, prescriptive and evaluative (both prudential - pragmatic and moral - and nonprudential - aesthetical andrelational-) postures, agreeing with Peirce that the normative sciences (logic, aesthetics & ethics) mediate between phenomenology and
  • 45. metaphysics, however fallibly. I havent fully reconciled the traditionalist (Popper  & Russell) and pragmatic (Peirce, James & Dewey) views offallibilism. Abduction, deduction and induction do seem to work together in human inference, so perhaps any robust philosophy of science shouldhave a place for them all, Humes critique notwithstanding.Perhaps with any worldview our "will to believe" becomes a "right  to believe" if it goes, as I’d say, beyond reason, but also, I would insist, notwithout reason? What is not empirically observable, rationally demonstrable and practically determinable often seems to get adjudicated by ouraesthetical sensibilities and/or by relational dynamics (like those we experience in personal relationships, such as trust, assent, faith, loyalty, etc). Ifour hermeneutical focus, or our manner of interpreting reality, is ultimately chosen aesthetically and/or relationally, in other words, very muchexperientially, even then, in my view, this "will to believe" does not entail a "right to believe" unless ones worldview is also empirically congruent,rationally consistent and practically prudent. In other words, radical fundamentalism, of either the Enlightenment or the religious variety, isuntenable. And none of this is to say that all of our different worldviews wont remain ineluctably fallible.And, sure, reality remains utterly incomprehensible; however, it  is, at the same time, eminently intelligible. All worldviews, at least for now, remainquestion-begging, but that is not the same thing as being unintelligible? We can begin to apprehend many realities that we cannot otherwise fullycomprehend. My position remains that none of the major worldviews are yet completely empirically observable, fully logically demonstrable or exhaustively practically determinable and so are mostly chosen based, not on formal constructions, but, rather, informally, on aesthetical inclinations and relational machinations, the latter involving a grammar of assent and dynamics akin to those of personal relationships (like trust, for instance). My proviso is that one must earn the privilege of informally choosing ones worldview by being as empirically congruent, logically consistent andpractically prudent as possible as a prerequisite to enjoying such a hermeneutical privilege. It is only in this sense, in my view, that William James "Will To Believe" becomes a "Right To Believe." Practical ConsiderationsI have enjoyed pondering the practical implications of Godels theorems  over the years, wondering sometimes if Stanley Jaki has made too muchof them, epistemologically, or if Hawking had made too little. Peter Suber has surveyed the methods philosophers have used to justify their point ofdeparture or avoid the need to justify it.  My condensed version would be that our metanarratives must either opt for incompleteness, throughquestion begging and tautology, or otherwise fall into circular reference, infinite regress or causal disjunction. We thus choose the paradox that willslay us.My condensed version is not inconsistent with Whiteheads view that all metaphysics is fatally flawed. My version is that all meta-accounts arepregnant with paradox and that my aspiration is to devise an account that  is least likely to multiple birth same. And this is a lot like thecontextualism debate in fallibilism, where some see moderate contextualism as uncontroversial whereas others see it as a slippery slope, thatmoderate contextualists are just radical contextualists with failed imaginations.Of course, one might also hold the view that one neednt prove the truths  of ones axioms in order to see or know their truth (and here we engageour minimalist strategies). One neednt proceeed with Whitehead and Russell, halfway thru the Principia, in order to conclude that 2 + 2 = 4. This is  not to suggest that every riddle of science can be adjudicated so facilely.Sometimes ones choice between interpretations such as Bohms and Copenhagen, or between Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry, isinfluenced by aesthetic sensibilities, and most efficaciously.If reality is stranger than we can even imagine, presently, and we do not know enough about the unknowable to say that it is unknowable, and ifhumankind inexorably advances in knowledge, however fallibly, who is to say, at what point, that humanity will not have tripped over the truth aboutrealitys origins and will see the truth of its otherwise unprovable  axioms?And how do we know whether those unproved axioms will even be interesting  or uninteresting, trivial or nontrivial? I suppose I am asking whetherany aspect of reality should be occulted in principle? And maybe I am simply drawing a distinction between apprehensibility and comprehensibility,claiming that reality may be incomprehensible because it is eminently intelligible and not, rather, because it is otherwise closed off to us due toeither the exigencies that attend to us as knowers or the nature of reality itself.Sometimes, humans try to tell what are, presently, untellable stories. We prove too much. On the other hand, we know more than we can tell. Wecertainly know more than we can formalize in arguments inasmuch as  knowledge of reality comes from encounters and not syllogisms. So many ofour accounts are incommensurable and require renormalization; for instance, we have trouble reconciling our primitives, forces and axiomsbetween such as gravity and quantum mechanics. There may be some merit in Putnams call for a  moratorium on metaphysics. At the least, weshould recognize and acknowledge how far out in front of empirical science we have run each time we choose a root metaphor and push back ourspeculative horizons, broadening our focus of inquiry. And we should be aware of how far we have outrun the various normative sciences, too,when we are adjudicating this or that riddle of reality. Leap we must. But we best look over our shoulders at the leaps we have made positivisticallyand philosophically, empirically, rationally, practically and hermeneutically.To any charge of contextualism, yes it is my chosen form of fallibilism and, like pornography, it has both hard-core and soft-core versions, the latterwhich would agree with Chesterton that we do not  know enough about the unknown to claim that it is unknowable. I would thus  also addendHaldanes statement that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine with "at least for now." It is one thing to apriori rule out the possibility of first principles and another to recognize that the search for same is a tad problematical. All the above notwithstanding, one should be familiar with The Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism . McHugh takes a modal ontologicalargument (like Godel and Hartshorne and others) and uses a strategy for consistency-guaranteed concepts (for disambiguation in formalargumentation) as advocated by the atheistic philosopher, Richard Gale. To guarantee the conceptual compatibility of the terms employed in theargument, they are predicated apophatically, which simply means to cast any properties in negative terms. The argument is widely consideredvalid. The premises usually are called into question on the basis of ambiguities latent in the terms.The chief criticism Krueger levies is that the resulting God-concept is unrecognizable to the average believer. It is not unrecognizable, however, tothose in the contemplative tradition, who are familiar with the works of John of the Cross, or such as The Cloud of Unknowing, or even the earlychurch fathers in the neoplatonic, Dionysian tradition.I always wondered why Godel, of all people, would try to transcend his own theorems with such a formal proof, and I would suppose he was justtrying to devise a compelling reductio ad absurdum, the premises of which would be difficult to coherently throw into question without underminingcommon sense, cannibalizing human intelligence and doubting the very intelligibility of reality. His proof would be offering a truth one could "tasteand see" even without proving its axioms.Following the notion that orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy, I have been mulling over the practical implications of my system. Accepting the following hierarchy, for arguments sake, as consistent, in part, with Helminiak: 1) Empirical2) Normative
  • 46.  a) logical b) practical c) hermeneutical3) Theistic4) Theotic What seems to be going on is this: 1) Empirical2) Philosophical a) logical b) practical c) hermeneutical3) Metaphysical4) Existential Those are the broadening foci of human concern, more "broadly" conceived. They could also be labeled as follows: 1) Phenomenology2) Normative Sciences a) logical b) practical c) hermeneutical3) Metaphysical4) Existential This thus comports with the Peircean notion that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. In effect,probabilities (3ness) are mediating between actualities (2ness) and possibilities (1ness). Both logical and modal vagueness are already at work. The more broadly conceived theotic dimension recognizes that all humans are making an existential response vis a vis their ultimate concerns.Implicit in the interplay of our progressively broadening foci of concern are various invitations, by reality, toward intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious conversions, each transvaluing the others. Lonergans imperatives are at work. Of course, it is true that, in the existential realm, the theotic focus for the Christian, it will make all the difference in the world, as to how oneresponds to these invitations, if one buys into this or that notion that a) we are being divinized (analogously of course) b) we are already God(pantheistically, advaitan) c) there is no God d) etc And I think this is Helminiaks point re: theosis as distinctly Christian. And maybe this isLonergans point re: explicit faith and Gelpis thrust, too. Certainly, the content of ones explicit faith will have a transvaluing effect on our otherconversion experiences. But maybe this is only to suggest that what we believe about any aspect of the human journey of progressively broaderfoci of concern will have a transvaluing effect, one focus on all the other foci. For example, erroneous metaphysical assumptions caused science tobe stillborn in many cultures (Stanley Jaki). The journey, properly considered, is indeed one of authenticity. I like to draw a soteriological distinction between a) what must we do to be saved and b) what can we do to give God the greatest possible glory.Insofar as I largely conceive of the journey in terms of an aesthetic teleology, both for me and for the cosmos, the Jesuit motto --- ad majorem Deigloriam [AMDG], is close to my heart. In fact, that soteriological distinction is really the same as that drawn by Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises,where he sets forth his Degrees of Humility. In a nutshell, my rough paraphrasing: 1) we wouldnt want to ever offend God grievously 2) we wouldntever want to offend God even venially 3) not only would we never want to offend God in the least, we truly want to even imitate Christ even in Hismanner of suffering. Truth be known, in my heterodoxy, I believe in apopkatastasis, or universal salvation, with some nuance. I allow for the theoretical possibility ofeternal separation from God only because I believe that God so loves us and respects our free will (which is indispensable for authentic love) thatGod would never coerce us into a relationship. At the same time, from a practical perspective, Gods love and seductive appeal is so veryefficacious, it is difficult for me to conceive of anyone holding out forever. Let me backtrack and then return full circle. Per Kant, there are some distinctly different questions being asked by the different normative sciences. In my system, those questions a framed upas follows: 1) Phenomenology - Is that a fact?2) Normative Sciences a) logical - What can I know? truth b) practical - What must I do? goodness c) hermeneutical - i) What can I hope for? beauty (aesthetical) and ii) Whom can I trust regarding what I can hope for? love (relational)3) Metaphysical - Our systematic relating of our transcendental values: truth, goodness, beauty and love.4) Existential - The acts of fundamental trust and mistrust and distrust of uncertain reality and the responses that ensue. For example: 3) Metaphysical - Our systematic relating of our transcendental values: truth, goodness, beauty and love. or 3) Theistic - creed, code, cult and community What is it then that the great traditions bring to humanitys table? What is the distinct purview of religion? It is not: Is that a fact? However, it better comport with the facts and is properly constrained by the answers science yields in that narrowest of fociof human concern.
  • 47.  It is not: What can I know? However, it must defer to epistemology as a normative science. Im going to go out on a limb and observe that it is not even about: What must I do? Neither morally nor pragmatically. These prudential evaluativequestions that pertain to extrinsic values have already been served at humanitys banquet of values before any distinctly religious questionsemerge, which I maintain are in the next focus of concern. These extrinsic values will certainly get transvalued by ones metaphysical outlooks andexistential responses, which is to recognize that they will have more (or less) meaning added to them and may get reweighted and reprioritizedbased on the answers we get to What can I hope for?  and Whom can I trust regarding what I can hope for? Religion has no more special competency in answering the What must I do? question than it does responding to What can I know? or Is that afact? It, again, must defer to the normative sciences. This is a radical break from such a tradition as would maintain that it is authoritative regarding both faith and morals. Let me borrow from anotherpiece of correspondence: Well, recall the schema I have set out previously, wherein religion doesnt bring anything to humanitys table until we widen our focus to 1) What canwe hope for? and 2) In whom can we trust with that answer? In this scehma, the role an earthly authority or institution would have is in spreading and celebrating the Good News, which would transvalue (add meaning and weight and possibly prioritization to) lifes other foci of concern, like the moral and pragmatic, for example. It would remainconstrained by the "findings" of those other foci, which is to say in the case of morality, for example, that it would not be able to change the generalprecepts of morality that are already self-evident to humanity. In a nutshell, again, religion would not be in the business of manufacturing moralityand does not possess a special competence or authority to tell us how to behave toward one another, how to analyze moral objects. Now, this act of dispossessing religion of moral authority would seem to run counter to the apparent claims of my own tradition where themagisterium does maintain a certain type of authority and which asks for a certain type of obedience in these regards. As you might suspect, I willagain draw some distinctions. The Latin word for obdience is obsequium and there are 1) obsequium voluntatis, which pertains to practicalmatters and 2) obsequium intellectus, which pertains to theoretical matters. Further, there are, within those categories, 1) obsequium fidei, whichinvolves ther essentials of the faith, which address a) what we can hope for and b) whom we can trust with our hopes, and 2) obsequiumreligiosum, which entails being one with the searching church in seeking and moving toward further clarification and understanding of certain otherrealities (like moral realities, for example). The reason these distinctions are meaningful lies in the type of respnse they call for. As for the essentials of the faith, the obsequium fidei calls forassent. It would be silly to dissent from the essentials of a worldview and still call oneself a certain type of believer. Obsequium religiosum calls fordeference and respect, which is to say that, regarding  moral matters in particular, one is to give due and serious consideration to church teachings pertaining thereto, both in forming ones conscience and in any deliberation over any given moral object, but giving primacy to onesconscience in the end. One can dissent from obsequium religiosum and, per church teaching, sometimes is obliged to dissent. Dont get me wrong. What I hold to here is highly controversial stuff that divides progressives and conservatives in the tradition. And themagisterium does claim a special competence, which I say it does not have. At the same time, and isnt this curious, the magisterium has onlyinvoked infallibility on matters of the faith, the obsequium fidei, but never has claimed same for any moral teachings, obsequium religiosum. At thetheoretical level, they seem to be with the conservatives. On the practical level, one wonders if they "get it" regarding what I am maintaining? End of excerpt from jbs correspondence Now, returning full circle to this: I like to draw a soteriological distinction between a) what must we do to be saved and b) what can we do to give God the greatest possible glory.Insofar as I largely conceive of the journey in terms of an aesthetic teleology, both for me and for the cosmos, the Jesuit motto --- ad majoremDei gloriam [AMDG], is close to my heart. In fact, that soteriological distinction is really the same as that drawn by Ignatius in the SpiritualExercises, where he sets forth his Degrees of Humility. In a nutshell, my rough paraphrasing: 1) we wouldnt want to ever offend God grievously2) we wouldnt ever want to offend God even venially 3) not only would we never want to offend God in the least, we truly want to even imitateChrist even in His manner of suffering. Truth be known, in my heterodoxy, I believe in apopkatastasis, or universal salvation, with some nuance. I allow for the theoretical possibility ofeternal separation from God only because I believe that God so loves us and respects our free will (which is indispensable for authentic love)that God would never coerce us into a relationship. At the same time, from a practical perspective, Gods love and seductive appeal is so veryefficacious, it is difficult for me to conceive of anyone holding out forever. I think it is apparent how these themes interweave. The answers to What must I do? and What must I do to be saved? have already been giving humankind before religion arrives on the scene. All men of goodwill are already in touch with the law written on every persons heart and in aposition "to be saved" even without being imputed invincible ignorance, even without being considered Christians, anonymous or not. God soloved the world that soteriological issues have already been settled. This is a pneumatological truth many already recognize, hidden though it maybe by various theospeak obfuscations. Back to my soteriological distinction, from a practical perspective, what religions bring to humanitys table are answers to such questions as Whatcan we do to give God the greatest possible glory? and prescriptions for such as imitating Christ. Religions speak with authority to what it is wecan hope for. And their coin of the realm is not the propositional truth of the theoretical, heuristic and normative sciences, which rely most heavily oninferential aspects of our integral act of knowing (although religion must properly defer to the answers we get in those foci of concern). The coin ofthe religious realm is that of truth in relationship, which includes assent, deference (obsequium), trust, fidelity, loyalty, love, forgiveness and such.The values to be augmented and realized in this realm as we amplify the epistemic risks we are willing to take are intrinsic and our commitmentsto them are unconditional and do not lend themselves to formal construction. Intrinsic values involve a different calculus than extrinsic, perspectivaland relational values. The beauty is ineffable and infuses all of the other foci of human concern with such a significance as can only properly beconsidered tran-significantly and only celebrated ritualistically as transignification and Eucharist. Hesrt speaks to heart. And the heart has itsreasons. And I say all this by way of suggesting that, in affirming right speech, in searching for the most nearly perfect articulation of the truth, toward the endof AMDG, I positively affirm a normative Christology. This is the locus at which it comes to play regarding both what we can hope for and Whom wecan trust with such answers. But AMDG and right speech re: our hopes are not soteriological issues. For distinctly soteriological issues, I must
  • 48. affirm, rather, a normative pneumatology.  Thus Ignatius Degrees of Humility set forth rather substantive distinctions.  END OF REWRITE – BEGINNING OF NOTESI have enjoyed pondering the practical implications of Godels theorems  over the years, wondering sometimes if Stanley Jaki has made too muchof them, epistemologically, or if Hawking had made too little. Peter Suber has surveyed the methods philosophers have used to justify their point ofdeparture or avoid the need to justify it.  My condensed version would be that our metanarratives must either opt for incompleteness, throughquestion begging and tautology, or otherwise fall into circular reference, infinite regress or causal disjunction. We thus choose the paradox that willslay us.My condensed version is not inconsistent with Whiteheads view that all metaphysics is fatally flawed. My version is that all meta-accounts arepregnant with paradox and that my aspiration is to devise an account that  is least likely to multiple birth same. And this is a lot like thecontextualism debate in fallibilism, where some see moderate contextualism as uncontroversial whereas others see it as a slippery slope, thatmoderate contextualists are just radical contextualists with failed imaginations.Of course, one might also hold the view that one neednt prove the truths  of ones axioms in order to see or know their truth (and here we engageour minimalist strategies). One neednt proceeed with Whitehead and Russell, halfway thru the Principia, in order to conclude that 2 + 2 = 4. This is  not to suggest that every riddle of science can be adjudicated so facilely.Sometimes ones choice between interpretations such as Bohms and Copenhagen, or between Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry, isinfluenced by aesthetic sensibilities, and most efficaciously.If reality is stranger than we can even imagine, presently, and we do not know enough about the unknowable to say that it is unknowable, and ifhumankind inexorably advances in knowledge, however fallibly, who is to say, at what point, that humanity will not have tripped over the truth aboutrealitys origins and will see the truth of its otherwise unprovable  axioms?And how do we know whether those unproved axioms will even be interesting  or uninteresting, trivial or nontrivial? I suppose I am asking whetherany aspect of reality should be occulted in principle? And maybe I am simply drawing a distinction between apprehensibility and comprehensibility,claiming that reality may be incomprehensible because it is eminently intelligible and not, rather, because it is otherwise closed off to us due toeither the exigencies that attend to us as knowers or the nature of reality itself.Sometimes, humans try to tell what are, presently, untellable stories. We prove too much. On the other hand, we know more than we can tell. Wecertainly know more than we can formalize in arguments inasmuch as  knowledge of reality comes from encounters and not syllogisms. So many ofour accounts are incommensurable and require renormalization; for instance, we have trouble reconciling our primitives, forces and axiomsbetween such as gravity and quantum mechanics. There may be some merit in Putnams call for a  moratorium on metaphysics. At the least, weshould recognize and acknowledge how far out in front of empirical science we have run each time we choose a root metaphor and push back ourspeculative horizons, broadening our focus of inquiry. And we should be aware of how far we have outrun the various normative sciences, too,when we are adjudicating this or that riddle of reality. Leap we must. But we best look over our shoulders at the leaps we have made positivisticallyand philosophically, empirically, rationally, practically and hermeneutically.To any charge of contextualism, yes it is my chosen form of fallibilism and, like pornography, it has both hard-core and soft-core versions, the latterwhich would agree with Chesterton that we do not  know enough about the unknown to claim that it is unknowable. I would thus  also addendHaldanes statement that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine with "at least for now." It is one thing to apriori rule out the possibility of first principles and another to recognize that the search for same is a tad problematical.Many folks think justification is an unattainable aim. Not all of these people see it as an illegitimate aim, however. I would first qualify my justificationattempt as fallible (unattainable presently, perhaps even in principle) but still useful and reasonable. I would try to account for the empiricalobservations that are externally congruent with my belief and for the mathematical and logical axioms and rules that are rationally consistent with it(aspiring for consistency rather than completeness). I would set forth the practical concerns that, in part, may have determined my belief, both moraland pragmatic (at the least, maintaining that my act of knowing has an inherent normativity). I would express any aesthetical sensibilities that  impacted my belief and any relational dynamics (like trust, faith, fidelity, assent and such). In short, Id explain my descriptive, prescriptive andevaluative (both prudential - pragmatic and moral - and nonprudential - aesthetical and relational-) postures, agreeing with Peirce that thenormative sciences (logic, aesthetics & ethics) mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics, however fallibly. I havent fully reconciled thetraditionalist (Popper  & Russell) and pragmatic (Peirce, James & Dewey) views of fallibilism. Abduction, deduction and induction do seem towork together in human inference, so perhaps any robust philosophy of science should have a place for them all, Humes critique notwithstanding.Perhaps with any worldview our "will to believe" becomes a "right  to believe" if it goes, as I’d say, beyond reason, but also, I would insist, notwithout reason? What is not empirically observable, rationally demonstrable and practically determinable often seems to get adjudicated by ouraesthetical sensibilities and/or by relational dynamics (like those we experience in personal relationships, such as trust, assent, faith, loyalty, etc). Ifour hermeneutical focus, or our manner of interpreting reality, is ultimately chosen aesthetically and/or relationally, iow, very much experientially,even then, in my view, this "will to believe" does not entail a "right to believe" unless ones worldview is also empirically congruent, rationallyconsistent and practically prudent. In other words, radical fundamentalism, of either the Enlightenment or the religious variety, is untenable. Andnone of this is to say that all of our different worldviews wont remain ineluctably fallible.And, sure, reality remains utterly incomprehensible; however, it  is, at the same time, eminently intelligible. All worldviews, at least for now, remainquestion-begging, but that is not the same thing as being unintelligible? We can begin to apprehend many realities that we cannot otherwise fullycomprehend.A correspondent wrote: That we cant prove the existence of God through empirical means as good as any other empirical proof I completelydisagree with ---If by any other empirical proof one means by that any other empirical proof of that horizon of speculation that we call a worldview or that focus ofconcern we call ultimate, then I would agree that there can be an epistemological parity between different worldviews (and those that are time-honored traditions and/or ideologies and not some caricature thereof).That horizon of speculation known as a worldview is the furthest horizon and that focus of concern known as ultimate concern is the broadest offoci. The empirical proofs available to us for much closer horizons, like that of science and methodological naturalism, for much narrower foci, likethat of the positivistic, whether through popperian falsification or inductive inference, I would contend are easier to justify and require less epistemicrisk. This isnt to say that belief in God lacks empirical support, rational justification, moral prudence, pragmatic significance, aesthetical appeal orexistential warrant. It is only to submit that faith is faith.All that notwithstanding, one should be familiar with The Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism . McHugh takes a modal ontologicalargument (like Godel and Hartshorne and others) and uses a strategy for consistency-guaranteed concepts (for disambiguation in formalargumentation) as advocated by the atheistic philosopher, Richard Gale. To guarantee the conceptual compatibility of the terms employed in theargument, they are predicated apophatically, which simply means to cast any properties in negative terms. The argument is widely considered
  • 49. valid. The premises usually are called into question on the basis of ambiguities latent in the terms.The chief criticism Krueger levies is that the resulting God-concept is unrecognizable to the average believer. It is not unrecognizable, however, tothose in the contemplative tradition, who are familiar with the works of John of the Cross, or such as The Cloud of Unknowing, or even the earlychurch fathers in the neoplatonic, Dionysian tradition.I always wondered why Godel, of all people, would try to transcend his own theorems with such a formal proof, and I would suppose he was justtrying to devise a compelling reductio ad absurdum, the premises of which would be difficult to coherently throw into question without underminingcommon sense, cannibalizing human intelligence and doubting the very intelligibility of reality. His proof would be offering a truth one could "tasteand see" even without proving its axioms.Ontological vagueness might be a good strategy for advancing a modal argument that is more compelling, which is to say one might change thecategory of necessary to probable.There is another distinction one encounters regarding the word faith, itself. Sometimes it appears to be used as a mode of knowledge. At othertimes, it appears to be used to circumscribe a horizon of speculation or to specify a particular focus of concern.Justification issues pertain to the first usage, where faith is considered a mode of knowledge.What comprises a worldview or ones ultimate concerns pertains to the broadest focus of ones concern, the furthest horizon of ones speculation.As for modes of knowledge, to me, epistemology is epistemology is epistemology. The act of knowing, in my view, is a singular, integral act. To besure, it may have many "moments," which would include all of our inferential operations (i.e. abduction, induction and deduction), all of ourprudential judgments (i.e. moral and pragmatic), often even our nonprudential evaluations (e.g. our aesthetical sensibilities), our logical andmathematical rationalities, our empirical observations and measurements, our existential warrants, and our implicit and explicit prephilosophicalpresuppositions (e.g. our unproven first principles, noncontradiction, excluded middle, identity, realitys intelligibility, humankinds intelligence,isomorphicity, belief in other minds and such). None of these moments are fully autonomous but are, rather, mutually interpenetrating.In this sense, then, faith, considered in the first sense, is not an autonomous mode of knowledge but would find its place somewhere in the abovelist as a moment of knowing. Any faith, taken as a supposed mode of knowledge, that asserts its autonomy from our other epistemic moments inthe otherwise integral act of knowing, is what we would call fideism. This isnt a religious issue, firstly, but a consideration of epistemic virtue. Forexample, when reason sets itself up as autonomous, we have rationalism. When induction and falsification arrogate autonomy, we haveempiricism. A hardcore contextualism in pragmatic fallibilism is relativism. Overemphasis on practical prudential judgment is a pragmatismimproperly considered. And so on and so forth.As we turn our focus to faith considered in some architectonic of knowledge, as either a horizon of speculation or focus of human concern, thesehorizons and foci variously narrow and broaden and are situated hierarchically such that the empirical focus, or positivistic horizon, is nested withinthe rational focus, or philosophic horizon. The rational focus broadens into the practical by virtue of asking additional questions of reality, bothmoral and practical (the prudential evaluative foci). Beyond this might be nonprudential evaluative foci like aesthetical sensibilities and relationaldynamics like trust and assent. It may be that, as we move from focus to focus, or variously extend and retract our horizons, different moments inthe act of knowing may be seen operating in sharper relief with their own particular grammars, but these still comprise one integral act.Because of all this, sometimes we end up confusing moments in the act of knowledge with horizons of speculation or foci of concern. It gets moreconfusing because, if the moments in the act of knowing are not autonomous (and they are not), the foci of concern are indeed autonomous.Further more, the narrower foci enjoy primacy, which is to suggest that the answers reality reveals to our empirical and positivistic probes properlyconstrain those it might reveal in our rational and philosophic probes. The hierarchical nature of these foci of concern means that, as we expandour horizons and broaden our foci, interrogating reality with new and different questions, answers we get in successive probes of different realmsof concern cannot change the answers we have gotten in the narrower foci and more limited horizons. How could they? The questions are totallydifferent.My position remains that none of the major worldviews are yet completely empirically observable, fully logically demonstrable or exhaustively practically determinable and so are mostly chosen based, not on formal constructions, but, rather, informally, on aesthetical inclinations and relational machinations, the latter involving a grammar of assent and dynamics akin to those of personal relationships (like trust, for instance). My proviso is that one must earn the privilege of informally choosing ones worldview by being as empirically congruent, logically consistent andpractically prudent as possible as a prerequisite to enjoying such a hermeneutical privilege. It is only in this sense, in my view, that William James "Will To Believe" becomes a "Right To Believe." Now, it also seems to me that it is characteristic of this integral act of human knowing-experiencing that, however well or poorly conceived onesepistemological account, the basic integrity of this act remains intact. This is just to observe and suggest that often we remain quite competent inour interactions with reality notwithstanding the quality and accuracy of our accounts for how and why it is we are competent. This is not to deny, asoften seems to be the case, that those who couple some rather assiduous and dutiful ascetical practices with erroneous epistemologicalassumptions might not experience a progressive degeneration of such competence into different types of incompetence, which, in their manifoldand multiform expressions have been pejoratively labeled as this or that insidious -ism. Often it seems to me that, when it comes to epistemology, if we can get the descriptive aspect right, then we will have its prescriptive aspect there in front ofus. Put simply, if we know how we know, such as by "justified true belief" or what have you, then we will know what we must do in order to know with ahigher level of confidence.If one considers some of the issues that have been raised in the philosophy of science, one can see this dynamic at play. Not all advances in the epistemologyof science came from armchair philosophys analysis of induction and falsification. Some came from asking the question: Whats really going on here whenadvances are made and paradigm shifts are accomplished? Whats really going on in a Sherlock Holmes mystery?In considering those issues, one at first sees the philosophers of science and detective casework overemphasizing, on one hand, the empirical proof ofinduction, on the other hand, the rational operation of deduction. The reason I introduce Peirce and the pragmatist tradition is that he properly, in my view,elucidated the role of abduction and described how human knowing is a dance between these three types of inference. Though our inferential powers doweaken as we go from deduction to induction to the weakest, abduction, still, they all play an indispensable role.Now, going back to what Putnam was doing. In my view, Putnam was looking at the way the law really works, not treating any theory per se. He was basicallysuggesting that the legal system, in any given case, is not solving a problem conclusively but is adjudicating a dispute wisely. And I dont think he was somuch emphasizing this over against any element of legal theory as much as he was describing, like Peirce did re: science, what actually seems to be going onwhen we engage the law. And Putnam was extrapolating his description of the legal system, in particular, into a prescription for epistemology, in general. Thefundamental question for epistemologists and legal professionals might then be: What does one do when one does not have an open and shut case? How dowe handle ambiguous evidence and fallible witnesses?
  • 50. Now, the legal system cannot afford the luxury of the radical skeptics and nihilists and radically deconstructive postmodernists, who throw up their hands andwalk away with their excessive epistemic humility. And it cannot really even operate by importing a hard core contextualism. It is surely grounded in morality atsome level but emerges from a higher level called politics, which employs the art of the possible. It has decisions to render and behaviors to interdict. Itadjudicates. As William James observed about life in general, when it comes to justifying belief, sometimes our options are of the forced, living, andmomentous kind. That applies to the law?More problematical, perhaps, is determining where morality itself is grounded even if we claim to have grounded the legal system in politics, which is groundedin morality. But it has always seemed to me, with respect to the law, that long before we consider metaethical approaches and evaluate them asaretaic/virtue, deontological or teleological/consequentialist, we encounter another pressing concern. That concern is the issue of power. If one thinks aboutthe "ontological structure" of law making, law enforcement, court systems and law practice, it becomes obvious real quickly that not all of these structures ---whether lawyer, plaintiff, prosecutor, defendant, state law, military code, supreme court, congress, attorney general --- are equally invested with power. Howdoes one strike the proper balance of power to ensure that justice flows freely to all?Ill close with a thought about metaethics. We might consider Putnams approach to describing the law and prescribing epistemology, or Peirces approach todescribing abduction or hypothesizing and prescribing his triadic epistemology of the three forms of inference. By that, I mean we might ask ourselves howmost people seem to reason their way to a moral conclusion. Who looks only at the consequences and circumstances, like the teleologists? Who considersonly the character and intentions of the moral agent, like the virtue ethicist? Who considers the act isolated from the agents intentions and theconsequences, like the deontologists? Especially in the law, both in its codification and in its prosecution, we are very interested in 1) act (misdemeanor,felony, violation) 2) intentions (motive, mental state) and 3) circumstances (damages, just for example; or societal implications). I have recently focused my philosophical interests on the Holy Spirit. Specifically, I want to explore whether or not a strictly pneumatological approach might be used to advance interreligious dialogue (a thesis advanced by Amos Yong). For me, this involves taking a step back from a metaphysicalperspective to a phenomenological point of view and taking a step back from a Christological perspective to a pneumatological point of view. As any ofus prescind from the metaphysical and Christological to the phenomenological and pneumatological, we might avoid what have been intractabledialogical impasses without, at the same time, abandoning our different faith outlooks. I try to describe, below, the philosophical and metaphysicalaspects of this endeavor and attempt an architectonic that is analogous (but not entirely faithful) to Daniel Helminiak’s lonerganian account of thehuman foci of concern. In some sense, I intend it as entirely hypothetically consonant with Helminiak’s viewpoints, which are the positivistic,philosophic, theistic and theotic. In my quadratic foci of concern, the empirical corresponds to the positivistic and the rational, practical andhermeneutical correspond to the philosophic, which only takes one to the threshold of the theistic. Hence, I am not really treating the theistic andtheotic but have simply further explicated the philosophic, as I approach same. What I am trying to do is look only at:1) the peircean triadic semeiotic2) semantical, epistemic and ontological vagueness, in general3) peircean logical and modal vagueness, in particular4) the gelpian evaluative continuum5) the lonerganian conversions6) objective, subjective, interobjective and intersubjective aspects of noetical, aesthetical, ethical and relational realities. Then, relying on the distinction between reference and description, naming certain referents, which would be implicit in 1-6 above-listed. I amthinking those referents would be, among others:7) a metaphysical realism - abduction of metaphysical reality8) a moral realism - abduction of moral reality9) a theistic realism - abduction of the Reality of God And, again, the idea would be that we could truthfully refer to these realities apart from any concern of truthfully describing them, although wehave an inchoate description of these realities that is implicit in the philosophical implications of 1-6 above. Our value-laden, risk-taking adventure (amplification of biases toward the augmentation of values) calls forth a role for paraklesis, whichinvokes the reality of parakletos and such a theistic realism as would invoke (or, more accurately, reference) a Parakletos. I am trying, then, to describe the abduction of the Reality of the Holy Spirit, as a pneumatological heuristic for interreligious dialogue, just aninchoate reference and not at all a dogmatic description. This requires a properly considered theological anthropology, a Goldilocksanthropology, not too optimistic, not too pessimistic, but “just right.” It has room for a consideration of the successful institutionalization ofconversion, grace as transmuted experience and the authentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis. It does not claim that people spontaneouslylong for the beatific vision, so to speak, but does suggest that there is a risk-trajectory we learn to pursue toward the end of augmenting ourrealization of our values. To wit: What interests me most hasnt really been any metaphysic, in particular, but metaphysics, in general. And, in some sense, it hasnt even beenmetaphysics but epistemology. I am grappling with notions of vagueness - semantical, epistemic and ontological. And I am wanting to involve, in all of this, the distinctionbetween a successful reference to a reality and a successful description of a reality. I want to say that it is one thing to fix a referent andanother to describe a referent.  It seems that the peircean approach to vagueness, re: both logical and modal propositions, can speak to these issues. It seems that before we even consider an ontological description of a reality, that we can truthfully refer to a reality, and that these referencescome from philosophical presuppositions that are implicit in ones epistemology. For instance, the very possibility of "doing" epistemology, inmost systems, implies a commitment to metaphysical realism. Because epistemology has an inherent normativity, which allows those who "do"epistemology to argue about it, a moral realism is implied. If one then justifies ones fundamental trust in uncertain reality (following Kung),then a theistic realism vis a vis the abduction of the Reality of God is implied. These affirmations of metaphysical, moral and theistic realisms serve to fix their referents without aspiring to describe these realities. Ourreferences to these realities place us on the threshold of further describing these realities. Our epistemology places us on the threshold ofontology. And reality is already value-laden at this point. And the gelpian human evaluative continuum further explicates these values. And lonerganian conversions speak to the mode of their attainment. And the risk-taking nature of the human journey to authenticity seems torecapitulate the emergentistic journey of the cosmos with its own amplified biases that are all eventually ordered toward  the augmentation of truth, beauty, goodness and love. And we are looking at Causes and knowing them by their effects, successfully making a reference to themeven if not successfully describing them. And One such cause is the Holy Spirit. And He is something I think we can refer to in interreligiousdialogue before we even bother to say something about Him.
  • 51. In aristotelian terms, a Cause (the Holy Spirit) is being known by His effects (our encouragement). In semeiotic terms, a Transignifier is effecting meaning beyond what we can realize through mere triadic semeiosis, which is to say, through such a paraklesis as apparently transcends what is otherwise realizable by any describable parakletos known to us. Hence, we refer to anundescribable Parakletos.Our risk-taking, in the pursuit of amplified values, then exceeds what can otherwise be supported by our mere empirical, rational andpractical considerations but NOT in a manner that, in any way, invalidates those perspectives. This paragraph, below, is the "pre-philosophers" stone that gifts us with a lingua franca for interideological and interreligiousdialogue. This is to suggest that we can all prescind from any metaphysic that ambitions a true description of our encounters with reality to a phenomenology that aspires only to truthfully reference reality, however vague. Such a "bracketing" of ones metaphysic can be fruitful in dialogue because, without involving any abandonment of ones position, it turns ones focus to preambular first principles, ones own and others. Without basic agreement at this level, there can only be a talking past one another, anyway (unlike at Pentecost).Each viewpoint or perspective has its own modal emphasis, which is to suggest that the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical probereality ontologically to return, respectively, actualities, possibilities, probabilities and necessities, the first three being peircean categories (ofontological vagueness) and the last being transcendental. Another way of describing their grammar is that of semeiotic vagueness where, foractualities, noncontradiction and excluded middle hold; for possibilities, noncontradiction folds and excluded middle holds; and forprobabilities, noncontradiction holds but excluded middle folds. Hence the empirical can fruitfully employ falsification; the rational can explorelogical possibilities; and the practical attempts to narrow them down to probabilities albeit constrained by a minimalist formalism thatemploys the weakest of inferences. Any talk of necessities transcends the peircian triadic semeiotic and one must then fall back on onesaesthetical inclinations and fundamental trust in uncertain reality, whether justified or unjustified, in order to further augment, throughadditional risk-taking, ones commitment to and realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love. This next paragraph is the pneumatological touchstone for interreligous dialogue (and for missiology) because this risk dynamism robustlyevokes a role for paraklesis (encouragement):Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of the integral act of human knowing, this act entails distinguishable moments of risk-taking in ones commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love. Shifts from lower to higher viewpoints are then driven by an existential orientation toward a progressively augmented human authenticity, which entails progressively risky commitments to truth, goodness,beauty and love. The distinguishable moments of risk-taking in ones commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love correspond to Lonergans secular conversions, respectively, as intellectual, moral, affective and social (or sociopolitical). These conversions, properlyconsidered, are value-laden,  risk-taking ventures and the human pursuit of authenticity can be conceived as the willingness and courage to,ultimately, risk all in exchange for progressively augmented truth, goodness, beauty and love.And, finally,  to the extent that paraklesis invokes a parakletos, any theistic realism would then reference a Parakletos (such referencedistinct from a description) .The risk trajectory progressively takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to theintersubjective (haecceity). This account of these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit philosophicalpresuppositions, at least from a phenomenological perspective: 1) It does commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach tometaphysics. This might include, for instance, a commitment to First Principles (noncontradiction, excluded middle – albeit qualifiedly); abelief in other minds over against solipsism; a belief in reality’s intelligibility and humankind’s intelligence; a commitment to common sensenotions of causation; and other such prephilosophical presuppositions; 2) It does commit to a moral realism, if for no other reason, because itaffirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing. 3) If, in ones consideration of necessities, one has then risked a justified, fundamental trust in uncertain reality vis a vis ones commitment to and realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love, then one has, however inchoately, further committed to an abduction of the Reality of God.  The above-listed implicit philosophical presuppositionsaffirming metaphysical, moral and theistic realisms express relational realities. One can successfully reference these realities,hermeneutically, apart from any concern regarding the possibility of offering descriptions of them.Janet Soskice makes the point well: "To be a realist about the referent is to be a fallibilist about knowledge of the referent ... So the theist may be mistaken in his beliefs aboutthe source and cause of all ... for fixing a referent does not on this account guarantee that the referent meets a particular description." pg. 17Christopher Mooney _Theology and Scientific Knowledge_God is not, of course, an object in space and time nor is he, for that matter, an object "outside" of space and time (whatever that would mean). Nevertheless, if God is not afigment of our imagination, if it is truly "in relation" to his incomprehensible mystery that we, and all things, exist and have their being, then, in our worship of God, ouraddress to God, we may (and do) make mention of him. Except, therefore, on a purely expressivist account of our use of the term, such mention as we make of God inworship has cognitive implications: it entails the conviction that there is something that we can truly say "about" God. In other words, even if the "nature" ofGod is unknown to us, because we cannot understand God, cannot grasp him in concept or image, cannot render his mystery comprehensible, we may perhaps,nevertheless, in relation to him, living in his presence and responding to his address, successfully refer to God, make true mention of him. ... It therefore follows, fromthis distinction between reference and description, that not all questions concerning the possibility of true speech about God are questions concerning the possibility ofoffering true descriptions of God. pg. 257Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__I believe it was Whitehead who said that all metaphysics are fatally flawed. I like to say that all metaphysics are pregnant with paradox. At anyrate, I do not suggest that we therefore desist from metaphysics but only that we recognize that our project is to construct the least morbidmetaphysic or the one least likely to multiple birth paradox. I lament, just like the next fellow, the mutual unintelligibilities of essentialism, substantialism, nominalism, a priorism, manifold and multiformdualisms, empiricism, rationalism, unnuanced pragmatism, fideism, encratism, pietism, quietism, apophaticism, platonic rationalist realism,kantian rationalist idealism, humean empiricist idealism, aristotelian empiricist realism, analytical reductionism, and every other insidious –ism. Still, I am not quite ready to throw in my epistemological towel or to take my ontological marbles home. And I am quite willing to let athousand thomistic flowers bloom – analytical, personalist, aristotelian, transcendental, existential and others. And who’s to say they are theweeds and process approaches the cultivars? or vice versa? Besides, most are moving in the substance-process direction in addition towhatever other hermeneutical prisms they choose to filter reality.  Some suggest deep and dynamic formal fields, tacit dimensions, implicate
  • 52. order, a divine matrix, nonenergetic causations and other robust models that overcome past metaphysical shortcomings. This is just to suggestthat not all metaphysics are equally insolvent and headed for liquidation in a Chapter 7 hermeneutical bankruptcy and that some haveemerged from their Chapter 11 reorganizations ready and able to robustly engage the economic trinity (which, perhaps, is the immanenttrinity, but not necessarily vice versa). Some have found great utility in prescinding from a metaphysical perspective to a more phenomenological approach, a perspective I like to calla metacritique, which, if it employs a peircean-inspired speculative grammar of both logical and modal vagueness, I like to call a metatechnica.This allows one to avoid the dilemma of “working with unquestioned metaphysical assumptions” or of “presuming faulty metaphysical ideasantithetical to one’s experience” [1] without needing to articulate a metaphysics though necessarily paying heed to, well, physics and the widelyagreed upon givens of science: primitives, forces and axioms (possibilities, actualities and probabilities?). For my part,  I am less and lessinclined to overinvest in the latest root metaphor as if there could be a shortcut to the renormalization project of theoretical physics, whichcontinues to struggle with pattern and paradox, chance and necessity, order and chaos, random and systematic, with theories that aremanifestly incompatible and concepts that are mutually unintelligible: quantum mechanics, Bohm and Copenhagen interpretations, general andspecial relativity, gravity, M-theory, quantum vacuum fluctuations, quantum gravity, String theory, multiverse and many worlds theory andsuch, all in pursuit of a TOE (Theory of Everything). Stanley Jaki has made a rather big deal out of Stephen Hawking’s late-coming to the recognition that godelian-like constraints foreclose onscience’s aspirations to articulate a TOE. I appreciate and understand his excitement, at least to the extent that it confirmed some of mystrongest godelian intuitions. At the same time, I temper my own excitement and don’t fully buy into Haldane’s view that “reality is not onlystranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine.” That does seem true, for now. Otherwise, I remain more fully invested inChesterton’s position that “we don’t know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable” and I like to parse that as “un/knowable.” Ifurther qualify this with Wittgenstein in that “it is not how things are but that things are which is the mystical.”  Are faith and reason, or the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical, parallel approaches to reality? Or, do they just seem that way atthis particular location on humankind’s journey of knowledge, which has inexorably advanced, however fallibilistically? Or, might they perhapsbe meridians that appear to be parallel at these equatorial coordinates, otherwise to converge as we near some eschatological polar coordinates(my play on a notion of Christopher Mooney, I think)? Is it that, as Pugh contends, if our brains were so simple we could understand them thenwe would be so simple that we could not? To the extent that godelian incompleteness is an attribute of any closed, formal symbol system, it does seem that we will always be thwarted inour attempts to prove our system axioms within our systems and are faced with the sisyphean task of forever “jumping outside thesystem” (JOTS) to prove our next set of axioms, whether of highly speculative metaphysics or advanced theoretical physics, which, truth beknown, are the same enterprise as I see it. They only differ in degree, such degrees measured in distances of how far out in front of physics andhuman experience we are willing to run in our renormalization efforts. I don’t offer this distinction in a pejorative over-against manner or toput down metaphysics as a worthwhile enterprise but only to suggest that metaphysics is an attempt to build useful heuristics while theoreticalphysics aims for greater explanatory adequacy in terms of known, agreed upon givens (primitives like space, time, mass and energy; forceslike gravity, weak & strong, electromagnetism; axioms like entropy, thermodynamic laws, indeterminacy). Perhaps it is fair to say thatmetaphysics and theoretical physics are the same enterprise at different places on a risk trajectory, the former a riskier venture, hopefullywith concomitant rewards in terms of augmented values: truth, beauty, goodness and love. We must simply look over our shoulders at our various leaps and, then, leap in awareness, “transcending but not transgressing,” [2] or, as Ilike to say, going beyond but not without. As for godelian constraints, who is to say that, as we approach the asymptotes of our knowledge ofreality, the remaining unproven axioms will be interesting or uninteresting, nontrivial or trivial? Who’s to say that these theoretical boundariesof knowledge have any practical import, existential or otherwise, for the human journey? And when Chesterton talks about the un/knowable,who equates human knowing with human proving, anyway? Godel did not deny that we could see the truth of our propositions even if theiraxioms were unprovable within the same system. (Reminiscent of the Ignatian imperative to taste and see?) Few need to travel withWhitehead and Russell, half-way through the Principia, in order to properly conclude that 2 + 2 = 4. I am not arguing for or against reality’scomprehensibility per se even as I buy into the notion that it is reality’s inexhaustible intelligibility that makes it seem utterlyincomprehensible. Reality is, nonetheless, clearly apprehensible and it is simply too early to say to what extent. And this brings me to my nextargument. Once we inhabit both logical and modal vagueness and prescind from metaphysics to our metatechnica with a more phenomenologicalperspective, we might be tempted to not return to any realm of physics or metaphysics that remains immersed in intractable renormalizationproblems. I am using the notion of renormalizability as a more broadly conceived analogue to that employed in quantum field theory (QFT) toconvey the notion that our different approaches to reality present us with substantial difficulties vis a vis incommensurability between theoriesand mutual unintelligibility of concepts. In other words, some of the problems with essentialism, substantialism, nominalism and variousdualisms in philosophy are analogous to those we encounter when, for instance, we try to reconcile general relativity and quantum field theoryin a consideration of quantum gravity.  We do not, however, necessarily, abandon these otherwise disparate physical accounts of reality despitethe nonrenormalizability of their operators. We press on with them to the extent they have otherwise helped us probe reality successfully,applying the pragmatic maxim and holding them accountable for some cash value. In many ways, this is how I view the otherwise disparateaccounts of reality delivered by various philosophical points of view. Do they really deserve the pejorative force employed against them, one bythe other, or by those who’d have us prescind from their vantage points altogether? Should we cease and desist from epistemology, ontology,cosmology, axiology and teleology just because they are mutually confounding? Should we abandon classical notions of causation --- formal,material, efficient, instrumental and final --- because they are not fully reconcilable? Are our abductions of primal ground, primal being, primalorigin & support, primal order and primal destiny mere reifications? Is our tendency to take existence as a predicate of being simply a fetish? Even if we adopt a triadic grammar of knower, known and act of knowing, can we really transcend a fully relational approach to reality(including some dyadic and dualistic conceptions) that robustly accounts for the wholly other, which is integral to our human experience? Doesa pansemeiotic approach gift us with both explanatory adequacy and augmented meaning? Does it obviate ontological approaches? Or might itevade real problems and thereby yield only an anemic grasp of an even more richly textured reality? Who is to say, a priori, that ourencounter with paradox arises from the exigencies of the knower, the nature of the known or the vagaries intrinsic to the act of knowing, orsome combination thereof? And insofar as formal accounts of reality are concerned, models of reality, how would one escape godelianincompletness as it might variously manifest in epistemic vagueness, modal vagueness and semantical vagueness due to incompleteknowledge,  incomplete being and/or incomplete meaning (all this separate and apart from the additional problems one might encounter due toambiguities)? Why does our modeling power of reality suffer? Who can devise a formal account of beginnings that does not otherwise introduce a paradox ofits own, whether of question begging, tautology, causal disjunction or infinite regress? without one’s conclusions embedded in one’s premises?without invoking analogues so weak as to render causations impotent? without epistemological turtles stacked all the way up and all the waydown? For now, I say, let a thousand philosophical blossoms bloom and a thousand metaphysical metaphors cascade, this notwithstanding the
  • 53. blossoms will fade, rooted in the soil of epistemological paradox, and the metaphors will eventually collapse, under the weight of ontologicaldensity. And lets us keep the ontological distinct from the cosmological for, as Hefner’s created co-creators, we are, on one hand, anexperience of autopoiesis and freedom, on the other, bounded and determined, culturally and genetically. [3] In the language of emergence and supervenience (a distinction I don’t wholly buy), we talk of accounts of reality being epistemologically openor closed, ontologically open or closed (and I have this fleshed out elsewhere). As far as the human mind is concerned, the emergentisticaccount remains both epistemologically and ontologically open. And this sounds right-headed to me and honors the integrity of Chalmers’ “hardproblem” of consciousness without doing away with the questions either reductionistically, such as in Dennett’s __Consciousness Explained__,or by the facile minding of matter and mattering of mind, such as in some peircean interpretations. I’m not here to take sides with Dennett,Peirce, Chalmers, Searle, the Churchlands, Ayn Rand, Penrose or Terry Deacon (although my bets are placed on Deacon’s peircean approach).What I am suggesting is that it is not so much how we are created co-creators but that we are created co-creators that exhilirates me. In the same way that the humeans would deny us the predication of being by existence, some would deny us our ontological forays in theirclaim that our epistemological framework is of shoddy construction. In the first place, presently, at this point on our human journey, all of ourmodeling attempts of reality are going to be somewhat tautological, which is to say that, although they have heuristic value and give us someconceptual placeholders,  offering us possibly novel vantage points, they don’t really add any new information. Thing is, just because somethingis tautological doesn’t mean it is not also true, which is why, I’d reckon, thomism thus flourishes notwithstanding humean admonitions. Thesame is true of those approaches that introduce causal disjunction and infinite regress paradoxes; just because we encounter paradox doesn’tmean they are necessarily untrue. After we have done our best, empirically, rationally and practically, in our theoretical physical and metaphysical enterprises, our hermeneuticalperspective is then privileged, informed by both our aesthetical inclinations and our intersubjective relationships with their grammars of assentand relationality (fidelity, trust, hope, love, etc). In a risk trajectory that is amplified as we broaden our concerns from the empirical to therational to the practical to the hermeneutical, human meaning is thus augmented and realized in ever more truth, beauty, goodness and love.This risk amplification results from our various approaches to noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects as they change their foci fromthe objective to the subjective to the interobjective and finally the intersubjective. In every focus we employ the full evaluative continuum, orthe entire human knowledge manifold, even though certain “moments” in this integral act of human knowing variously “enjoy”theirengagement with reality, moreso or less, whether inferential or noninferential, rational, non-, pre- or supra-rational. This dynamic is set forthbelow.Below are some a) direct quotes (without attributions yet)  and b) paraphrases from Daniel Helminiaks __Religion and the Human Sciences__, Chapter 2, Higher Viewpoints from Bernard Lonergan (1998, SUNY). Mixed in and comprising the largest part of thisepistemological desiderata are c) my extrapolations (hopefully not too facile). There is nothing distinctly religious or dogmatic herein, althoughit has clear theotic and Christological implications, for instance. The leitmotif: Progressively augmented risk-taking, in the pursuit of human authenticity, amplifies the human experienceof truth, beauty, goodness and love. In effect, it is an emergentistic account about a dynamism often associated with aesthetics: theshedding of monotony and the appropriation of novelty in the amplification of beauty. It sets forth a humanistic agenda for the created co-creator and for the religious naturalist, alike.   1) Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of a system of higher viewpoints, they constitute a conceptual system that locks intoone coherent and comprehensive account of a broad range of concerns. [see Helminiak pg. 143] 2) Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of this coherent and comprehensive account, each of the progressively broadeningviewpoints has a distinctive domain and particular focus of concern. [Helminiak, pg. 104 – The viewpoints are intellectually related but notlogically related. “One moves from a lower to a higher viewpoint not by logical argumentation but by reasonable choice grounded in deeperunderstanding.  ... ... ... questions that determine the viewpoints are different, so the viewpoints are irreducibly distinct from one another.”] 3) The shift from a lower to a higher viewpoint involves a major new presupposition and a commitment to it, the key to such matters beinghuman authenticity. [Helminiak, pg. 91 – “Authenticity is the major issue. On it all else depends. And, on pg. 147 – “Each of the successivelyhigher viewpoints depends on new and major presuppositions. See also pg. 81.] 4) In a shift from a lower to a higher viewpoint, this authenticity is augmented by a progressively broader and more risky commitment totruth, goodness, beauty and love.  [This is my extrapolation of Helminiak from pg. 91, where he writes: “For granted that God exists, belief inGod must entail an augment in authenticity, a broader and more risky commitment to the true and the good.” I then take this theme and runwith it, although my quadratic is empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical rather than positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic.Actually, my rational and practical and hermeneutical foci correspond to his philosophic viewpoint, which then take one to the threshold of thetheistic, then theotic. So, these are consonant systems. I am just not treating as many viewpoints as he is.] 5) Such a coherent and comprehensive account of a broad range of concerns, properly considered, constitutes an integral act of humanknowing, which can be described in terms of a) a cognitional theory, which asks what do we do when we know? b) an epistemology, which asks why is that knowing? and c) a metaphysics, which asks what do we know when we do that? This integral act will also be conditioned by d) an overarching hermeneutic or interpretive lens, an implicit Theory of Everything (TOE), so to speak. [Helminiak describes the major issues ofLonergan’s __Insight__ on pg.83 --- a cognitional theory, an epistemology and a metaphysics.] 6) Whatever terminology one employs in a consideration of the integral act of human knowing, this act entails distinguishable moments of risk-taking in ones commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love. 7) Shifts from lower to higher viewpoints are then driven by an existential orientation toward a progressively augmented human authenticity,which entails progressively risky commitments to truth, goodness, beauty and love. 8) The distinguishable moments of risk-taking in ones commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love correspond to Lonergans secular conversions, respectively, as intellectual, moral, affective and social (or sociopolitical). 9) These conversions, properly considered, are risk-taking ventures and the human pursuit of authenticity can be conceived as the willingnessand courage to, ultimately, risk all in exchange for progressively augmented truth, goodness, beauty and love. 10) The lowest viewpoint, the narrowest focus of human concern, is the empirical perspective and its concern is the evidential, descriptive or
  • 54. positivistic. 11) The empirical augments its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the rational perspective, which isconcerned with the experiential, prescriptive or philosophic. 12) The rationalist viewpoint then augments its commitments by broadening its focus to the practical perspective, which is concerned with the prudential, normative or prudential evaluative (the pragmatic and moral). 13) The practical perspective augments its commitment to truth, goodness, beauty and love by broadening its focus to the hermeneutical perspective. 14) The hermeneutical is concerned with the interpretive or nonprudential evaluative (the aesthetical and relational). 15) Each perspective, in an integral act of human knowing, employs a distinct grammar that corresponds to its particular focus of concern.         a)The empirical employs a grammar of falsification and peircean inductive inference.          b) The rational employs formally constructed logic and peircean deductive inference.          c) The practical employs a minimalist formalism, which includes reductio arguments (which are otherwise flawed due to ad ignorantiumpremises), peircean abductive inference and the pragmatic maxim. It also employs some quasi-inferential capacities such as Polanyis tacitdimension, Newmans illative sense, Fries nonintuitive immediate knowledge, which are arguably formal in a minimalist sense.         d) The hermeneutical grammar is not formally constructed and, aesthetically, it employs aesthetical expression, while relationally, itemploys a grammar of trust and assent.     16) Each viewpoint or perspective seeks a progressively broader understanding of reality and raises the whole enterprise of understandingreality to a new level of generality, a higher viewpoint. [see Helminiak pg. 67] Each viewpoint is valid in its own right, and this realization isprecisely the point of distinguishing different viewpoints and employing new grammars. Because human knowing is a singular and integral actthat gathers together all of the distinguishable moments of risk-taking ventures in the pursuit of human authenticity, as that authenticityinterestedly interacts with and probes reality, the system of viewpoints necessarily holds together as a whole, which is to say that thevalidity of lower viewpoints necessarily constrains the validity of higher viewpoints. [See Helminiak, pg. 66 – “Moreover, sincethe system of viewpoints holds together as a whole, the validity of one constrains the validity of another.”] 17) This hierarchical relationship of the viewpoints does not impute more worth to higher levels, which is a whole other consideration [seeHelminiak pg. 65], but serves merely to properly interrelate them such that the hermeneutical cannot invalidate the practical, which in turncan not invalidate the rational, which cannot invalidate the empirical. In this sense, then, the empirical can be said to enjoy primacy as adistinguishable moment in the integral act of human knowing but neither it nor any other moment enjoys autonomy. 18) If (and only if) the integrity of this hierarchical relationship remains intact in the human enterprise of understanding reality, then, in theend, the hermeneutical perspective can be said to enjoy privilege (or the right to that perspective). Put another way, there can be noabsolutizing of any viewpoint. 19) Each viewpoint or perspective has its own modal emphasis, which is to suggest that the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneuticalprobe reality ontologically to return, respectively, actualities, possibilities, probabilities and necessities, the first three being peircean categories(of ontological vagueness) and the last being transcendental. Another way of describing their grammar is that of semeiotic vagueness where,for actualities, noncontradiction and excluded middle hold; for possibilities, noncontradiction folds and excluded middle holds; and forprobabilities, noncontradiction holds but excluded middle folds. Hence the empirical can fruitfully employ falsification; the rational can explorelogical possibilities; and the practical attempts to narrow them down to probabilities albeit constrained by a minimalist formalism that employsthe weakest of inferences. Any talk of necessities transcends the peircian triadic semeiotic and one must then fall back on ones aestheticalinclinations and fundamental trust in uncertain reality, whether justified or unjustified, in order to further augment, through additional risk-taking, ones commitment to and realization of truth, goodness, beauty and love.  20) As a result of this hierarchical relationship and assuming the integral nature of the act of human knowing, each distinguishable moment ofrisk-taking will pervasively influence the interested interaction with and probing of reality at each level of perspective, from each viewpoint.And the intellectual, moral, affective and social insights we gather (and which Ive inventoried below), as we take the necessary risks andbroaden our perspectives, are not invalidated but can holistically inform our epistemologies, metaethics, aesthetics and worldviews.         a) Risking all for truth, in the empirical realm, we might operate from an implicit correspondence theory that gets articulated, in therational realm, as an explicit virtue epistemology, in the practical realm, as coherence theory, and in the hermeneutical realm, as a communityof inquiry. There is an augmentation of ones commitment to truth by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from mere correspondenceto a virtue approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive. Additional risk is involved in, and ones truth commitment can befurther augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible coherence approach, which is a morepractical focus. The last risk-taking venture in ones attempt to augment ones commitment to truth is the turn of ones focus to a community ofinquiry in the hermeneutical realm.         b) Risking all for goodness, in the empirical realm, we might operate from an implicit deontological theory that gets articulated, in therational realm, as an explicit virtue ethics, in the practical realm, as contractarian ethics, and in the hermeneutical realm, as teleologicalethics. There is an augmentation of ones commitment to goodness by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere deontologicalfocus on the act of a moral object to a virtue or aretaic approach as the descriptive broadens its focus to the prescriptive, specifically, to the intentional aspect of a moral object. Additional risk is involved in, and ones commitment to goodness can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible contractarian approach, which is a more practical focus, whichtakes into account the circumstantial aspect of a moral object. The last risk-taking venture in ones attempt to augment ones commitment togoodness is the turn of ones focus to a teleological perspective in the hermeneutical realm, which marks a surrender to a putativetranscendental value.         c) Risking all for beauty, in the empirical realm, we experience art as mere mimesis and imitational, which gets expressed, in therational realm, as formalism and essentialism, in the practical realm, as instrumentalism and moral agency, and in the hermeneutical realm,as expressionism and emotionalism. There is an augmentation of ones commitment to beauty by the incremental risk-taking that progressesfrom a mere mimetic and imitational focus on the aesthetical object to a formalism or essentialism as the descriptive broadens its focus to the
  • 55. prescriptive, specifically, to a more intentional aspect of an aesthetical object. Additional risk is involved in, and ones commitment to beauty can be further augmented by, the broadening of these objective and subjective foci to a more open and flexible instrumentalism and moral agency approach, which is a more practical focus, which takes into account a putative normative aspect of an aesthetical object. The last risk-taking venture in ones attempt to augment ones commitment to beauty is the turn of ones focus to expressionism and emotionalism in thehermeneutical realm, which marks a surrender to art for the sake of art, which is to say, to a putative transcendental perspective that viewsbeauty as its own reward.         d) Risking all for love, in the bernardian sense, we exhibit love of self for sake of self (or eros) and that gets amplified, in the rational and practical realms, as love of other for sake of self, or reciprocal altruism (perhaps philia). This grows into the agapic love ofother for sake of other, beyond all practical considerations. And finally, unitively, our hermeneutic comes full circle to love of self for sakeof other. Once again, there is an augmentation of ones commitment to love by the incremental risk-taking that progresses from a mere eros,and focus on oneself,  to an other-interested philia, which is an enlightened self-interest as one broadens ones focus to others. Additional risk isinvolved in, and ones commitment to love can be further augmented by, the broadening of eros and philia to a more robustly-oriented agape,the love of other for sake of other. The last risk-taking venture in ones attempt to augment ones commitment to love is the realization ofsolidarity and the unitive, in a sublimated storge and authentic I-Thou relationship. 21) This is the journey of authenticity for all who sojourn through this apparently emergentistic reality we call our universe. And our journey,step by step, is perilous and risk-laden, and any ongoing amplification of truth, goodness, beauty and love requires a progressive augmentationof our existential orientations toward these apparently inescapable imperatives (cf. From Biology to Morality) by our ongoing intellectual,moral, affective and sociopolitical conversions. And these conversions necessarily entail risks. And these risks have rewards. And we have beentold, by the aesthetic teleologists, that the greater the number of bifurcations and permutations that comprise a system, the greater thenumber of risks involved,  the greater the number of individual threats to that systems stability and the greater its fragility. But the fragile is here equated with beautiful. The more fragile, the more beautiful. And so it is with truth, goodness and love. 22) This hierarchical relationship, patterned after Helminiaks faithful rendering of Lonergan, is anticipated by the peircean aphorism that thenormative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.  There is another peircean adage that orthopraxis authenticatesorthodoxy and there it is, in this above schema, as the practical mediates between the empirico-rational and the hermeneutical. 23) The risk trajectory progressively takes one from a focus on the objective to the subjective to the interobjective to the intersubjective. Thisaccount of these foci is primarily epistemological but it does have some implicit ontological presuppositions, at least from a phenomenologicalperspective. It does commit to a metaphysical realism and a fallibilistic approach to metaphysics. It does commit to a moral realism, if for noother reason, because it affirms an inherent normativity in the integral act of human knowing. [See Helminiak pg. 84 re: Lonergan’s subsectionentitled “The Inherent Normativity of Consciousness.”] 24) As far as the major schools of thought and theories for epistemology, aesthetics and ethics, I am not suggesting that these are facilelyreconcilable systems. Rather, it seems that, in each sphere of concern, there seems to be a proper emphasis on the objective, subjective,interobjective or intersubjective aspect of  noetical, aesthetical, moral or relational objects and that the major theories tend to, improperly,variously overemphasize and underemphasize these aspects and tend to dwell more or less exclusively in one or another of these spheres ofconcern with respect to those objects. In fact, I am suggesting that the entire human evaluative continuum is properly engaged in each sphereof concern and on all aspects of these noetical, aesthetical, moral and relational objects, even if certain distinguishable moments in the integralact of knowing, or certain distinguishable aspects of the evaluative continuum, do seem to more fully engage this or that aspect of this or thatnoetical, aesthetical, moral or relational object when the evaluative continuum is engaged in this or that sphere of concern.  1) In human epistemology, there is a hierarchy of progressively larger spheres of concern, all integrally related.2) The broadest sphere of concern is the hermeneutical. Nested within it, and respectively within one another, are the practical, rational and empirical spheres.3) The empirical sphere or focus enjoys primacy in that its findings properly constrain those of the larger spheres, which, hierarchically and in turn, then constrain the findingsof each successively larger sphere - the rational then practical and hermeneutical.4) The hermeneutical sphere is privileged in that it is the arbiter of competing perspectives to the extent that any ambiguities and contradictions regarding findings have nototherwise already been resolved in the narrower spheres, which are similarly privileged - the practical over the rational over the empirical.5) Although these spheres influence each other by properly constraining each others findings, they are otherwise methodologically autonomous in that they each askdifferent questions of reality.6) Although the speculative grammar, which guides the human knowledge manifold, is the same for all spheres, the virtues (Quine) that guide abduction (hypothesisformulation and conjecture) necessarily change due to differences in the modal emphases of each sphere - actual vs possible vs probable vs transcendental (maybenecessary), respectively, for the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical.Notes:The spheres of concern may also be called foci of concern or realms of interest. They presuppose a contrite fallibilism and metaphysical realism.The empirical may be considered positivistic and evidential.The rational may be considered philosophic and logical.The practical may be considered pragmatic and prudential. It is partly philosophic and partly evaluative. Its prudential judgment is both moral and pragmatic. Among other approaches, itemploys a minimalist formalism, which includes a) reductio arguments otherwise plagued with ad ignorantium premises and b) peircean abduction. It also employs such as c) thepragmatic maxim d) Polanyis tacit dimension e) Newmans illative sense and other capacities that are noninferential.The hermeneutical may be considered evaluative, experiential and existential. It includes ultimate concerns. Its judgment is nonprudential, both aesthetical and relational. Relationally, itemploys a grammar of trust and assent.  As for the realms of science & the empirical, logic & the rational, the conceptual & practical --- the realm of the evaluative & hermeneutical is, as thephilosophers might say, epistemologically prior. In religion, then, faith is privileged over reason and the hermeneutical enjoys a primacy over the rational & empirical & practical, each of these realms autonomous in their specific approaches to reality (methodologies) but all realms still very much integrally related, each to the other realms. All of this is to suggest that the rational still has a philosophic role in demonstrating the reasonableness of ones faitheven as it cannot a priori provide a so-called proof. And the empirical still has a positivistic role in descriptively revealing the facts about reality, to which the practical then imparts relevance. The hermeneutical provides the ultimate meaning for these other realms through evaluation & interpretation.A Four-Fold Typology for Relating Human Approaches to RealityThere are many four-fold typologies based on brain hemispheres that attempt to describe temperament, personality, learning style, dominant brain functionand other human behavioral attributes. To be sure, there are many popularizations of such typologies, some contributing to oversimplifications and facileanalyses. Still, there are many other approaches that are rather well-grounded in scientific research and neuroscience. The resulting categories of theseapproaches sometimes provide useful heuristics even when not otherwise robustly scientific.
  • 56. One such useful heuristic, in my view, is the categorization of human approaches to reality as 1) rational 2) empirical 3) practical and 4) hermeneutical.(This would correspond to related typologies such as 1) prescriptive 2) descriptive 3) normative and 4) interpretive; 1) philosophic 2) positivistic 3)pragmatic and 4) evaluative; 1) experiential 2) evidential 3) prudential and 4) hermeneutical.)Visit here for a fuller exploration of the hermeneutical approach to reality via faith:http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/rubricon.htmOne can devise any number of rubrics for describing these approaches and these will, then, more or less, correspond to the epistemological theories of thedifferent philosophical schools. These rubrics would answer such questions as:1) Which approach is privileged, or enjoys primacy over the others?2) Are these approaches autonomous, or are these approaches otherwise derived from, or dependent on, the other approaches?3) Whatever the case may be regarding issues of primacy and autonomy, are these approaches otherwise related and, if so, how?4) Can identical rational, empirical and practical approaches cohere within more than one hermeneutical approach? In other words, can one apply thesame logical formulations to the same empirical data with the same practical considerations and draw conclusions about reality that are consistent withmore than one hermeneutical approach?My answers to these questions, my rubrics, follow.1) Which approach is privileged, or enjoys primacy over the others?The hermeneutical approach is privileged. The evaluative enjoys primacy over the philosophic, positivistic and pragmatic. Faith in First Principles and suchprephilosophical presuppositions as 1) the principles of noncontradiction, excluded middle and identity 2) the existence of other minds 3) the intelligibility ofreality 4) the intelligence of the human brain 5) common sense notions of classical causality 6) etc do not lend themselves to either logical proof orempirical demonstration. Sometimes considered self-evident, such presuppositions have no real a priori claim but are, instead, deemed worthy by thepractical consequences that ensue from trying them out (or forsaking them) in our approaches to reality. In other words, for instance, an argument overagainst solipsism is not logically coercive and not empirically demonstrable. A solipsist is not to be dispossessed of his/her hermeneutic through formalargumentation or experimentation but might have it reduced to absurdity, in the crucible of experience, from trying to live that way. Similarly, the pragmaticenjoys primacy over the positivistic and philosophic insofar as different logical frameworks can accommodated identical empirical results. Here one mightinvoke the pragmatic maxim and ask what difference ones philosophical framework makes, practically speaking. This is sometimes described as inquiringafter an ideas "cash value." This all applies to faith, in general, and to such as Tillichs "ultimate concern," in particular.2) Are these approaches autonomous, or are these approaches otherwise derived from, or dependent on, the other approaches?These approaches are, methodologically, autonomous, which is to suggest that they are asking different questions of the same reality.3) Whatever the case may be regarding issues of primacy and autonomy, are these approaches otherwise related and, if so, how?Although these approaches are autonomous, and while the practical & hermeneutical enjoy primacy over the rational and empirical, they are otherwiseintegrally related, not encroaching on one anothers methodologies but otherwise respectively constraining, or even liberating, the influence of the otherapproaches.4) Can identical rational, empirical and practical approaches cohere within more than one hermeneutical approach? In other words, can one apply the samelogical formulations to the same empirical data with the same practical considerations and draw conclusions about reality that are consistent with morethan one hermeneutical approach?Speculatively, in principle, it would seem that only one hermeneutic would be warranted (or justified) given any particular constellation of rational, empiricaland practical approaches. Practically speaking, however, this must be tempered by the notion that we do not yet know enough about reality to say that it isun/knowable (Chesterton). Thus we could, with qualification, agree with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we CANimagine (for now, at least).Given this rubric, how might this speak to the issue of relating science to religion per various typologies?First, we might note that the philosophic is housed in a separate realm inasmuch as it corresponds to the rational approach. And the pragmatic, for its part,corresponds to the practical approach. Science belongs to the empirical approach and religion to the hermeneutical approach.Using Haughts typology and my rubric, these approaches would seem to contrast, but only to the extent one might assert their autonomy to the exclusion oftheir integral relatedness. These approaches would seem to conflict, but only to the extent one might assert the primacy of one approach to the exclusion oftheir autonomy and/or their integral relatedness. These approaches would thus clearly be in contact by virtue of their integral relatedness. Finally, because,in many respects, it is still too early for humankind to arbitrate, even pragmatically, between certain hermeneutics that otherwise share rational andempirical approaches, at the hermeneutical level there can be irresolute conflict, but only between one hermeneutic and another, which is to say oneworldview and another. For the same reason, the very same rational and empirical and practical “findings” may, in the same instance, offer apparentconfirmation to two or more otherwise disparate hermeneutics. Science is an empirical approach, not a hermeneutical approach. It is a descriptive and notan evaluative enterprise. It cannot, therefore, per my rubric, conflict with a worldview or even, necessarily, with this or that philosophical school (note how athousand philosophical blossoms bloom even within thomism), the positivistic being distinct from the philosophic.The only de novo aspect to my scheme is the bifurcation of the evaluative into two separate approaches to reality: 1) the nonprudential evaluative - akin tothe concept of taste 2) the prudential evaluative - which bifurcates into two types of prudential judgment: a) moral and b) pragmatic. The first bifurcation I callthe hermeneutical and the other the practical. Making this distinction seems to provide me a more robust paradigm for treating human epistemology.Pragmatic judgment implies more than just ecological rationality or a “what’s it to me?” perspective but, in my view, must include other “informal” approaches to reality, such as Newman’s illative sense, Polanyi’s tacit dimension and Peirce’s abduction. There is no algorithmic bridge from the formaland philosophic to the informal and pragmatic except, perhaps, for the weakest form of inference, abduction, sometimes combined with a reductio adabsurdum, which, although formal enough, is most often plagued by the practical consideration of avoiding the logical fallacy of argument from lack ofimagination, where it is proven that "not p" implies a property "q", which looks false, but is not really proven to be false.I delve into informal approaches here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/informal_practical.htmAny given human will approach reality as an integral entity employing rational, empirical, practical and hermeneutical perspectives. From the standpoint ofhuman inferential capacities, we are, respectively, looking at a dance between deduction, induction and abduction (the peircean term for formulatinghypotheses). I pirated the word "transduction" to indicate the noninferential character of the nonprudential evaluative nature of the hermeneuticalperspective. (It is also evocative of viral memes in the cultural realm, but I wont digress).The prefix, trans, for me, also indicates that, while we go beyond, we do not go without. Borrowing from Daniel Helminiaks ideas, though heavily amended,these approaches to reality are hierarchical in the sense that those with narrower foci of human concern are both nested within and properly constrainthose with broader foci. This is to say, then, that "findings" of the empirical approach constrain those of the rational which further constrain those of thepractical which still further constrain the hermeneutical. (Helminiak deals with the positivistic, philosophic, theistic and theotic. My categories genericize histo address all of epistemology, not just that of religious faith.)So, in a nutshell, what I describe includes elements of 1) primacy 2) autonomy 3) integral relatedness 4) holonic character and 5) hierarchical governanceor constraint.Regarding primacy, I simply describe how the hermeneutical aspect is epistemologically privileged, which is only to say that, if the practical, rational andempirical findings in ones approach to reality have not already dispossessed one of any elements within ones worldview, one cannot be dispossessed ofthe remaining elements. Essentially, the hermeneutical only adds a nonprudential evaluative perspective, which does not lend itself to formal construction,empirical testing or rational demonstration. At this point, we can only fallback on practical considerations and the backdoor philosophy of the reductio ad
  • 57. absurdum (mindful that the counterintuitive is not an infallible guide to philosophic and positivistic truths).Primacy implies, all other things being equal, that the hermeneutical is privileged over the practical which is privileged over the rational which is privilegedover the empirical. Think of it as an epistemological entitlement program. One can have whatever hermeneutic one wants but practical considerations mightgive one pause (over against solipsism, for example). And so on and so forth. Join whatever philosophical school you like, but dont tinker with thepositivistic findings of science. Hierarchical constraint recognizes that --- all other things are not necessarily equal, ergo, one must inquire after the findingsof the other approaches to reality and defer to them as one progressively broadens ones focus of human concern.Thus, when it comes to the ways of relating science and religion, I am suggesting they are somewhat facile to the extent they do not recognize all of mynuancing, which, if they did, wouldnt characterize the different "ways" as necessarily mutually exclusive.To wit:1) Two different hermeneutics could conflict and irresolutely so, if and only if all other findings are equal, empirically, rationally and practically.2) The different approaches to reality, as represented by my categories, are independent, which is to say that they are methodologically autonomous. Thisis not to suggest, however, that they arent hierarchically constrained.3) And so on and so forth, important distinctions not always yielding intractable dichotomies. Most of the epistemological -isms, especially those applied inthe pejorative sense, arise from failures to properly nuance primacy, autonomy, hierarchical constraint and integral-relatedness, hence, rationalism, fideism,scientism, radical fundamentalism, etc.And I do not even maintain that this scheme has any a priori claim. Rather, it mirrors where human knowledge is at this point in time and results from ourfinitude, which we fallibly but inexorably seem to ameliorate through time.I do not have a problem with the idea that "science creates a metaphysics." Any attempts to do metaphysics must play by the same positivistic, philosophicand pragmatic rules. It doesnt matter if youre Thomas Aquinas or Max Tegmark.http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/contemplation.htmNow, we will refocus from theological imperatives to their correspondingexistential orientations because, after all, the thrust of our conversationis on human behavior and, specifically, as it relates to worldviews.In placing the de novo contributions of religion in the hermeneutical realm,I only mean to suggest that faith is primarily evaluative. I do not jointhat chorus that claims it is exclusively evaluative, whereby, totallyensconced in a nonpropositional epistemic fortress, it eludes allatheological analysis.We are already aware that definitions of faith are controversial and thatits epistemological classification is not clear. I do want to make myposition clear in that I take faith as primarily evaluative. I likeTillich’s “faith as ultimate concern” inasmuch as it is close to theetymological roots of pistis (fides), be and lyian, which translates “tohold dear.”The human existential orientation of faith is not unconditional inthe sense that, even per my very own schema, I place limiting restrictions on itvis a vis empirical and rational and practical perspectives, thisnotwithstanding its methodological autonomy. In that specific regard, it isnot conditioned by empirical and rational foci, which is to say it is noteven dealing with evidential and propositional elements. It is in thatcontext that I describe it as unconditional.What faith does involve is assent to propositions based on trust, which inturn is based on relationship (oft considered authority). This involves thethomistic distinction between consideration of a content and assent to it.From this distinction one can distribute different propositional attitudes.Hence, trustfulness, fiducia, commitment, risk, assent, volition and thelexicon of personal relationships applies.That something like a feeling of betrayal results from threats to anyrelationship is proof that the experience of betrayal is extraordinary,unexpected and contrary to the rule. Hence, one’s experience of betrayal in relationship is the exception that proves therule.Faith does not require comprehension, does not traffic in evidence andrationality, is not an intuition of the truth of either a fact or aproposition, does not resolve to first principles. It provides existentialcertainty and not empirical or rational certainty. It is a way ofexperiencing reality that is radically open to transcendence, both lower andupper cased.It is evaluative, virtuous, anagogical (oriented to things hoped for),volitional (moved by the will, which is open to grace), trustful, committed,concerned with ultimates (last and Last things), risky and involves assent,which considers the bearer of the Good News, evaluatively andhermeneutically. This is not to say the Good News is not to be consideredempirically, rationally and practically, only to draw a distinction between
  • 58. faith and these other perspectives, which faith goes beyond but not without.In fact, this framework might be considered to date back to Origen, in thepatristic period, who saw the senses of Scripture layered in distinguishablemeanings 1) literal 2) creedal/allegorical 3) moral and 4) anagogical. Thesecorrespond to my empirical, rational, practical and hermenutical foci—butthat’s another matter.In the context of TOE elaborations, the onlydefensible position, empirically, is that we do not know. The same is truerationally and practically.There are various reasons that we do not know. Some of these reasons areknown to us. Some remain unknown. I have these reasons and possible reasonsinventoried and categorized, inchoately.There is a distinction we need to make between “do not know” and “cannotknow” and another to be made between “do not know, now” and “cannot know,yet.”Not all who hold the position that “we do not know, now” and “cannot know,yet” are incurable mysterians. There are different ways of beingepistemological optimists and pessimists and these ways admit to differentdegrees.I take counsel from Chesterton’s aphorism that we do not know enough aboutreality to say that it is un/knowable. And I thus qualify Haldane’s tropethat “reality is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we canimagine” with the observation: yes, at least for now.Whatever taxonomy I eventually devise for epistemological attitudes ofoptimism and pessimism, the overarching reason for my empirical, rationaland practical agnosticism, re: TOE’s, is human finitude, which is the otherside of the equation from Hefner’s autopoiesis and freedom: our embodiednessand determinedness.When I consider the godelian axioms that will remain unprovable at the veryasymptotes where human knowing will approach, as closely as possible,knowable reality, I have no reason to suspect those axioms will beinteresting or uninteresting, trivial or nontrivial. One overreaches eitherepistemologically or ontologically or both, in my view, to claim otherwise,at least presently.This brings us to the true nature of the hermeneutical vis a vis theempirical, rational and practical. The hermeneutical is evaluative. As Imentioned before, though, it seems useful to draw a distinction between theprudential and nonprudential evaluative, the former involving both moral andpragmatic judgment, which is to suggest, I suppose, that they areadjudicable. We can make appeals in the practical realm, not justprudentially, but also empirically and rationally.In the hermeneutical realm, which is evaluative but nonprudential, we haveno such recourse but must fallback on our resources, not of sense, rather,of aesthetic sensibility (now showing my love for Jane Austen).One dynamic in this realm is the anagogical, which pertains to our hopes andaspirations. If faith is the confident assurance in things we hope for, thenthe convictions we hold about things unseen are not empirical, rational andpractical but unconditional regarding evidential, propositional and prudential spheres of concern. This squares with Tillich’s faith as ultimateconcern. Refer to the discussion of faith, above.And let me reiterate that I am not solely addressing epistemic capacitiesbut maybe even moreso foci of human concern as they broaden from the mereempirical to progressively take in rational and practical concerns, all thisprior to turning one’s focus to ultimate concerns. This is not so much aboutour concern with ultimate reality, whatever that might be, but about whatultimately concerns us as human beings (and Merton offers us two categorieshere: continuity and creativity, but I won’t digress. Just wanted to remindmyself).
  • 59. Thus it is that the hermeneutical focus takes in the so-called theologicalvirtues of faith, hope and love, dispositions that are unconditional becausethey are anagogical attitudes and neither epistemological nor ontologicalposition statements. Of course, nested within them will be variousepistemologies, cosmologies, ontologies, axiologies and teleologies, allproperly constrained by the applicable rubrics of the other foci of concern,both positivistic and philosophic. (And for those trying to sqare this withHelminiak’s scheme, the philosophic would include both the rational &practical, the latter being nothing but backdoor philosophy anyway.)Hence, faith is not set over against empirical, rational and practicalagnosticisms. That is not its “concern.”Another angle --- to keep it (my meta-critique) moreso neurological or evol.psych. in context rather than what to many may seem like artificialconstructsLonergan talks about 1) sensation 2) abstraction and 3) judgment in thehuman approach to reality. The way we are wired, we cannot make a practicaljudgment (think ecological rationality here) on many sensations (empiricalobservations), until we have abstracted them (conceptualized them).Wittgenstein talks about 2nd order and 3 order abstraction. This is the samedynamic as above. In the third order, we are cognitively manipulating our2nd order abstractions of empirically observed reality. Problem is, we canalso manipulate OTHER abstractions.Maritain talks about the 1) perinoetic (of science) 2) dianoetic (of mathand philosophy) and 3) ananoetic (of metaphysics, note etymological root foranalogy).Peirce talks about 1) induction 2) deduction and 3) abduction (the last”duction” being hypothesizing).To my analogical imagination, all seem to be addressing the same dynamic.They give a descriptive account for how cognition works. Finite as we are,epistemologically then, the descriptive is going to have to drive theprescriptive. In simple terms, for cognition and inference to work properly,we have to properly work cognition and inference.The upshot is, when hermeneutically interpeting reality, make sure it isreality, indeed, that you are interpreting. How? Make sure your judgments(Lonergan), 3rd order abstractions (Wittgenstein), ananoetic exercises(Maritain) and abductions (Peirce) are dealing with abstractions derivedfrom the empirical realm of a) the perinoetic, b)sensations and c) inductiveinferences.This does not bring about the death of metaphysics, only the demise ofunmitigated fideism and rationalism. For their part, scientism and radicalempiricism must honor the autonomy of the rational, practical andhermeneutical realms, however much they might otherwise be properlyconstrained by science and, respectively, by each other.Again --- 1) the positivistic and empirical is both nested within and constrainsthe arguments of the philosophic and rational. 2) Those philosophicarguments, containing the empirical, are nested within and constrain thearguments of the pragmatic and practical. 3) Practical arguments are nestedwithin and constrain the arguments of the hermeneutical.Here it is useful to distinguish between the theoretical and practical.Theoretically, in a perfect world, where a knower is not finite, or whereinscience has inexorably advanced to the very asymptotes of knowable reality,
  • 60. the distinctions between those aspects of the human approach to reality thatI make a fuss about would remain but would be trivial, uninteresting . Forall practical purposes, they would become, as you might say, distinctionsthat make no difference. From a godelian perspective, they’d involveunprovable axioms that no one would bother to prove or care to prove.It is because of our finitude, at this point, radical finitude, that we havethis dance between various human foci of concern and this competitionbetween alternate hermeneutics. It is from a practical viewpoint that myrubrics for relating the empirical, rational, practical and hermeneuticalmight be helpful. What I offer is really just an epistemologicalmeta-critique, a heuristic device to help locate the dis/agreements betweenworldviews.To better illustrate my metacritique, I will share, below, two practicalapplications, which I used in clarifying some issues for othercorrespondents recently.Application #1Your reflections, themselves, have been depthful.I wonder what % of your contributions are related to:1) empirical issues - easily arbitrated or resolved by science and recourseto facts2) rational issues - easily arbitrated by logic and properdefinition/agreement re: terminology, recognition of fallacy anddetermination of whether or not premises are true3) practical issues - arbitrated by reductio ad absurdum arguments (if THATwere true THEN this absurdity would follow, contrary to common senseexperience) --- such reductios don’t always point toward truth because someseeming absurdities ARE true (like curved space) and sometimes resolved bythe pragmatic maxim or cash value approach (What DIFFERENCE would it make ordoes it make IF this versus that position was true?)If after 1, 2 and 3, one still needs a tie-breaker, then, there are4) hermeneutical issues, which are nonprudential evaluations, which meansvalues not driven by these types of prudence: 1) moral consideration and 2)pragmatic considerations (utilitarian, is is useful?) but by ---- taste orinclination.Which is to also say, if after 1, 2 and 3, one still needs a tie-breaker,then, too bad because there are none. At least not in this point in thehistory of human knowledge.Actually, this 4-step meta-critique can be useful whenever one approaches anitem for discussion, dialogue or debate. And it is important for allparticipants to agree, per any given item, whether they are going to have afree-ranging session or one more narrowly focused on dialogue vs debate,since the ground rules are different, nettiquette-wise.Application #2We can empirically observe and describe reality. We can abstract ourobservations of regularities into math and logic. However, because we arefinite and our knowledge is limited, even if only for now for whateverreason, we can choose several different interpretations or hermeneutics thatare totally consistent with both our observations and our abstractions. ANYand ALL hermeneutics will be tautological. Some (worldviews) will surelyfail due to practical considerations.But some of these hermeneutics will survive all empirical, rational andpractical review. IOW, a carefully nuanced atheism, agnosticism or theismcan be empirically correct, logically consistent and practicallypracticable. Those hermeneutics, respectively, can shoot down otherhermeneutics that are mere strawmen or caricatures of the others’ systems --and that’s what most internet discussions between infidels and believers isabout. But a carefully nuanced and well predicated theism, atheism or
  • 61. agnosticism --- all of which I could personally construct given the time orinclination, would all be equally reasonable, rational or logicallyconsistent, philosophically speaking, and very much consonant with theempirical findings of science.That’s why they call it FAITH—because there IS no unambiguous evidencefor ANY of these positions. They are not solely based on logic, but hadbetter be logical. They are not solely grounded by science, but they hadbetter be consistent with science and empircal data. The only recourseavailable for arbitrating the differences in these hermeneutics is the oldorthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy. It is the pragmatic maxim. Try thishermeneutic on and see where it takes you (and society and humankind). Wecan inquire, practically, where is the cash value of holding thishermeneutic or another. There are other criteria for faith in the religious sense. There are some criteria for faith in the sense of first principles and self-evident truth.So far, in discussing hermeneutical foci, I have set forth the rationale regarding my defense of empirical, rational and practical TOE-related agnosticisms. Ithink I have sufficiently nuanced the definition of faith and the manner in which it conditions the interpretive framework of one’s hermeneutical focus.I am comfortable with my take on the empirical, rational and hermeneutical foci. It is the practical perspective that still generates a little epistemic angst.For all the talk of the descriptive, prescriptive and interpretive/evaluative, of the evidential, experiential and prudential, of the positivistic, philosophic andpragmatic, of the empirical, logical and practical --- the use of the evaluative crow’s nest, perched precariously atop our empirically anchored and rationallynavigated vessel, can leave one feeling a little seasick, epistemologically.Does the distance between one’s epistemology and worldview require an oceangoing vessel, a world-class suspension bridge or maybe just a fallen log?Whatever the distance, it is measured between sensation-abstraction and judgment, between the empirical-rational and practical, between the formal andinformal, between inductive-deductive inferences and abduction, between syntax and semantics, between algorithmic and nonalgorithmic, between left andright brain hemispheres?As far as the evaluative, pragmatic and interpretive perspectives are concerned, it has seemed useful to distinguish between the non-prudential andprudential evaluative, the latter comprising the practical realm, the former, the hermeneutical. This allows a further parsing of the prudential evaluative intomoral and pragmatic judgments.My next project is to more closely examine the dynamics of that prudence we might associate with pragmatic judgments. It is in this realm that I wouldsituate Peirce’s abduction, Polanyi’s tacit dimension and Newman’s illative sense. Also, one might think of such concepts as ecological and boundedrationalities. It is here that I locate the backdoor philosophy of the reductio ad absurdum, not that it is a fallacy in and of itself, but because, practicallyspeaking, it’s premises are too often going to be informed by an ad ignorantium fallacy, which is an argument from ignorance (or lack of imagination).Now, notwithstanding any insistence that it is perhaps even a logical impossibility to attempt a formal proof -- that any particular cognitive faculty is thecenter of informal reasoning --- I have always sensed that one might properly establish a minimalist formalism. At least, I have suspected that this could beaccomplished for some, though not all, aspects of prudential evaluations. I suppose it requires a maneuver much akin to going from a given to thenormative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive, from an is to an ought. The legitimacy of the maneuver would be bound up with the axioms of one’schosen meta-system, I suppose, such that, for Mortimer Adler, the coupling of a self-evident prescriptive proposition to a descriptive one would then allowone to reason one’s way to a moral conclusion. Others find the question begging as to what propositions, if any, are indeed self-evident or properly basic.A few years ago, there were many ideas running around in my peripatetic head that had to do with precisely this issue, however inchoately. They were theideas of such as Gödel, Peirce, Polanyi, Newman and Maritain, among others. Very recently, I came across an interesting journal article, The Mathematics of Charles Sanders Peirce, by Louis H. Kauffman in Cybernetics & Human Knowing. The bridging mechanism provided in that article leads me to believethat my association of certain ideas from various schools of thought was not at all overly facile.In Peirce’s idiosyncratic semeiotic lexicon, there is an intriguing symbol called a portmanteau, French for coat & hat rack, which provides a good visual forthe word “heuristic.” The symbol is a sign for inference and Peirce called it the “sign of illation.” Kauffman explains: “The double meaning of theportmanteau is a precursor to the interlock of syntax and semantics that led to Gödel’s work on the incompleteness of formal systems,” and furtherelaborates: “The arithmetic of circles is a formal system that is interpreted in terms of itself. It is a calculus about the properties of the distinction made byany circle or oval in the plane, and by abduction it is about the properties of any distinction.”Above, succinctly put, one finds the key insights of Peirce and Gödel together with a nod toward Newman’s illative sense, along with a bridge betweensyntax and semantics. To be sure, this formalism is minimalist, but it is more than one might have hoped for, if otherwise as philosophically andmathematically naive as me. We can be excused to the extent that Peirce’s own descriptions of abduction and retroduction (used interchangeably) wereambiguous, even dichotomous. Sometimes it was an aesthetic term or a type of intuition; at other times it was said to be fully cognitive, described as being“deduced mathematically from the categories,” which is how I always took it, not being an peircean exegete. (This schema is also tied up with rubrics forwhen noncontradiction and excluded middle hold or fold, what I have called semantical vagueness.)Let me desist from delving further, but the idea of a minimalist formalism residing in the pragmatic, prudential judgment aspect of the practical focus ofhuman concern does not seem farfetched. However much a reductio ad absurdum is in jeopardy of an ad ignorantium fallacy, almost inextricably boundtogether in the matters we have under consideration, still, the reductio is formal. And, although abduction remains the weakest form of inference, still, itplays an important role, retroductively, in winnowing out and narrowing down possibilities as it involves “IBE” or Inference to the Best Explanation. Fuzzylogic also comes to mind, as well as peircean semantical vagueness and ontological vagueness, which have their rubrics, which, let me coin a neologism,are at least quasi-formal.Rather than reasoning from a particular to a general, inductively, or from the general to the particular, deductively, abduction involves a recursive interplaybetween the other forms of inference to engender plausible hypotheses worthy of acceptance. They can involve, for example, reasoning from a)discriminating and diagnostic properties and attributes of an unknown object to b) known classes of objects with such properties and c) hypothesizing thatthat otherwise unknown object is probably going to turn out to be one of the objects in a particular class.This is nothing less than a Holmes and Watson plot. Of course, the algorithm cannot rule out the possibility of de novo objects with similar attributes andproperties that, for whatever reason, remain unknown and that may be neither one of the objects in the given class nor in exactly the same class havingexactly all of the same attributes. [I may not have said this well but detective metaphors work best to illustrate abduction.]The long and short of this consideration? Maybe this pragmatic pill is not going to be that hard to swallow after all? Perhaps a minimalist formalism to act asa bridge between the formal and informal, the syntactical and semantical, the algorithmic and nonalgorithmic, the empirical-rational and hermeneutical, willsteady one’s wobbly epistemic sea legs and calm one’s hermeneutical stomach.Or, maybe you want to throw up? In which case, the aesthetic does seem to rule.As Merton says, whether others come to the faith or not does not so muchdepend upon how many of us believers are good apologetes but, rather, on how
  • 62. many of us are good apostles. By this you will know they are my disciples:See how they love one another. There are a LOT of nominal believers, I’mafraid, who are practical atheists. And vice versa.End of ApplicationsFinally, I was challenged by another correspondent to produce a precis formy arguments:1) It seems that all worldviews go beyond mere empirical, rational andpractical considerations.2) However, in going beyond those considerations, worldviews should not alsogo without them.3) Item #1 is a statement of fact.4) Item #2 is my personal opinion.5) Anyone who denies #1 re: their own worldview is incorrect.Subject: Re: knowing and KnowingThis needs more parsing.My metacritique suggests that a worldview consists of 1) empirical 2)rational 3) practical and 4) hermeneutical elements.A religion is such a worldview.As we compare and contrast worldviews, we must compare and contrast eachelement. This exercise helps us to identify the new perspectives that anygiven hermeneutic might bring to the worldview table.As an example, and one which with I’m most familiar, Roman Catholicismoffers its own constellation of perspectives that include 1) empirically,certain historical elements 2) rationally, certain valid logical arguments,however tautological, known as natural theology 3) practically, certainmoral arguments and 4) hermeneutically, the theological virtues of faith,hope and love, which are a) distinctly anagogical (aspiration-oriented &hope-related), b) decidedly unconditional and c) merely evaluative, d)celebrating such an aesthetic sensibility liturgically through ritual. See other criteria above.The distinction between know and Know, in my critique, would applyempirically and rationally. It would apply practically, too, with a twist,such as per Kant’s practical reason. However, in the nonprudentialevaluative focus, neither know nor Know apply. In my critique,characterizing the theological virtues in epistemic terms is a categoryerror.Thus, by definition, faith, as ultimate concern, is not an inferentialproposition. This is not to say there isn’t that exercise in deductivereasoning called natural theology that formulates logical arguments for theexistence of God, or in abductive reasoning that generates the hypothesis ofthe reality of God. It is only to suggest that these rational inferences areNOT de novo propositions brought to any given worldview hermeneutically. Anyphilosophy student can, rationally, construct an argument and demonstrateits validity, while awaiting an eschatological determination of itssoundness. Any student of history and archaeology can, empirically,establish the existence of this fellow, Jesus, and his followers. Anystudent of ethics and metaethics can, practically, offer aretaic,deontological and teleological moral arguments. (I have another agenda,
  • 63. which is removing morality from the provenance of religious hermeneutics andplacing it in the practical realm, where, it is quite obvious, everyone cando ethics and morality and law and politics and economics and such, albeitwith varying success.)The Roman Catholic faith sui generis does not bring de novo perspectives tothe worldview table in the empirical, rational and practical realms (is mytake). We do not substantively add to the discourse on worldviews anythingother than our unique evaluative perspective, our particular anagogicalfocus, our suite of ultimate concerns --- all of these hermeneuticalpositions taken together in a constellation of certain empirical, rationaland practical positions. At least those stars (positions) don’t move underour hermenutical impetus, alone.Faith, then, is not Knowing with a lower case “k” or upper case “K” and manyreligions, especially certain Protestant Christians, reject natural theologyas an enterprise entirely. From the standpoint of categorizing same asreligion, they are correct insofar as it is not really religion or theologybut, rather, philosophy. They are incorrect, in my view, to the extent theysuggest that demonstrating the reasonableness of one’s faith isunimportant --- because it is to some folks and I think should be for all.The are especially incorrect to issue an injunctive against natural theologycoupled with some version of “justified true belief” based on immediateexperience as knowledge. If it is knowledge, it must be quarried andprocessed by a community of inquiry subject to scientific rigor.As for the merely rational endeavor, what is at stake is not logicalsoundness but only validity. Hence, in the case at hand, re: the existenceor reality (a peircian nuance), the only knowing or Knowing involved, as faras I’m concerned, is that one can see that this or that argument is validre: God, god, godde, brute reality or what have ya. These arguments are allconsistent with all the available empirical data. I’m not suggesting this issome a priori necessity, only that this it how it seems to be for now.Issues of epistemic justification and warrant are philosophic, from bothrational and practical realms, and must be framed up within the findings ofevolutionary psychology in the empirical realm. In the hermeneutical realmthere are certain beliefs taken as properly basic, self-evident, but I’m nofoundationalist or evidentialist. So the Reformed arguments against thefoundationalists, to me, is a parlor game.Coming full circle to any question of sound, sounder or soundest--- from a coherentistic andpragmatistic perspective, speaking propositionally and not hermeneutically,which is to say, speaking from the realm of philosophy and not that offaith, using orthopraxis as an authentication of orthodoxy ...to be continued ...because terms like know and Know and faith requiredisambiguation and epistemological axioms like those of virtue, foundationaland nonfoundational approaches must be agreed upon prior to manipulatingdata and ideas regarding warrant and justification. IOW, with no consensusor common groud on epistemological theory, we would argue past one anotherre: soundness issues.However, exploration of, and forming a beachhead of, theoreticalepistemological common ground is the whole point of my endeavor (and prettymuch always has been my topic du jour).The previous answer WAS my short answer. And I left the question beggingregarding what might be the cognitive content of belief. Surely it has somecognitive implications.But I wanted to make clear the overall thrust of my critique. And thisinvolves the careful parsing of perspectives per my categories of concern.If after considering what I have offerred as a preliminary response, you’dlike me to go into the heady nuance of distinguishing, for instance, between”referencing” and “description,” between the “regulative” and “descriptive,” between the “regulae fidei” and “praeambula fidei “ --- then I’ll gladly
  • 64. proceed. I’d at least like to precisely locate any impasses because thosetypically present opportunities to grow and learn.I’ll share some teaser quotes:1) It follows that we have, as Christians, no ultimate explanations; thatthere are, for us, no final solutions. The Christian, says Rahner, “has less’ultimate’ answers which he could throw off with a ‘now the matter’s clear’ than anyone else.”2) It therefore follows, from this distinction between reference anddescription, that not all questions concerning the possibility of truespeech about God are questions concerning the possibility of offering truedescriptions of God. Lonergan’s work in this area has been criticized forhandling the historical evidence to woodenly and schematically, and,according to Avery Dulles, Lindbeck’s theory of doctrines “unduly minimizes[their] cognitive and expressive import.” The legitimacy of these criticismscan be accepted without (as it seems to me) undermining the centralcontention that the primary function of Christian doctrine is regulativerather than descriptive. Nicholas Lash3) Contemplation is neither the statement of a set of postulates discoveredby the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort of doctrinallydenuded reverie. A.N. Williams4) Janet Soskice makes the point well: “To be a realist about the referentis to be a fallibilist about knowledge of the referent ... So the theist maybe mistaken in his beliefs about the source and cause of all ... for fixinga referent does not on this account guarantee that the referent meets aparticular description.”Christopher Mooney5) It is not just a matter of observation, but of realization. It is notsomething abstract and general, but concrete and particular. It is apersonal grasp of the existential meaning and value of reality. ThomasMertonAgain, surely faith has some cognitive implications?Yes, but its primary function is regulative and not descriptive.Those quotes, above, are all in context here:http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/contemplation.htmwhich is the locale of my blackboard or storyboard—not a widelycirculated cybervenue, just an aid to my ruminations.In context, Rahner was a transcendental thomist and one of the mostbrilliant theologians of the last century. The transcendentalist school (ala Kant) tended to be a pioristic, rationalistic, sort of platonic. Onedistinction I think Rahner would have been driving at is, perhaps, thedifference between comprehensibility and apprehensibility, implying thatincomprehensibility does not obviate intelligibility. There could be that”absolutely ultimate,” however, in the platonic sense. In that regard, Iwouldn’t buy it. Since he was a thomist, however, I know he would have beeninforming his aristotelian perspective neoplatonically and that theempircist-aristotelian thrust of his regnant thomism would keep anyrationalist-realist or idealist impulse at bay.
  • 65. But, allow me a disambiguation of my own.All one has to do to change the meaning of ultimate in any metasystem is tochange that system’s axioms. Voila, a new ultimate.A favorite pasttime, and legitimate maneuver, of philosophers is to attackanother’s definitions and look for logical inconsistencies therein. Thisisn’t a bad place to start. If the definitions are inconsistent orambiguous, who cares about the premises and logical validity?The Kaufman maneuver works for a system whose terms are univocally appliedto all elements of that system. When the terms are applied equivocallyacross two different systems that are being related analogically, one doesneed to talk about ultimate and Ultimate. However tautological thedefinition of God, in terms of primal causality and primal this and primalthat, the fact remains that such a definition predicates God vs creaturesequivocally and invokes an analogy. Divine attributes are better described,however, as eminent.Your follow-up questions should be:1) Two systems? Why multiply ontologies? What about Occam’s Razor?2) Related only analogically? How, then, does one in any way affect theother? Isn’t there going to be a causal disjunction?Subject: Re: What does unconditional mean?Correct. Unconditional virtue is predicated of God and not of creatures,hence, it is called theological. If it manifest, even for a moment, in acreature, it would only be through infusion.But there is another sense of the term unconditional. I meant unconditionalin the sense that any existential orientation to such theological virtueswas not conditioned on empirical, rational and practical considerations buttranscends them.Faith, being hermeneutical, is not evidential.The coin of the perspectival realm of the 1) empirical is evidential,objectively 2) rational is experiential, subjectively 3) practical isprudential, morally & pragmatically and 4) hermeneutical is evaluational.To more directly answer your question, yes, we need unconditional andUnconditional, when predicating creaturely attributes versus theologicalattributes.The essence of theological discourse is equivocal predication of God andcreatures. If one’s metasystem’s axioms are in any way dualistic and invokeanalogical notions, equivocity is necessary.All Kaufman is doing, and this is valid, however trivial, is pointing outthat a monistically conceived metasystem can employ univocity. It is stilljust as much a tautology as the dualistic system.
  • 66. This is a philosophical stalemate not a theological finding.Really, I wasn’t “using” Wilber any more than any of theother philosophical & psychological paradigms I was, sometimes more looselyand sometimes more rigorously, associating within and amongst thosequadrants. IOW, it wasn’t distinctly jungian vs wilberian vs lonerganian orwhat have ya. However, one must concede that Wilber’s architectonic iscomprehensive and a great heuristic, even if not exhaustive. I always havein the back of my mind the classical causations: material, formal,instrumental, final and efficient—and always associate them with theontological, epistemological, axiological, teleological and cosmologicalarguments for God. It follows that if truth, beauty, goodness, love andbeing (Plato’s Five Categories) are also attributes of God, that ... thusand such and thus and such.Nowadays, science looks at material and efficient causation in terms of massand energy and the space-time plenum but has no use for a) final causationor teleology b) formal causation or c) being itself, and considers takingexistence as a predicate of being as a pure tautology. The phrase “Beingexists,” they say, is a redundancy. It gives us no new information. As forany primordial nothingness, or nothingness per se, that is a reification, afigment of an overactive imagination (upon which all of thomism is based,btw).HOWEVER, just because something is tautological does not mean it is not alsotrue. So being excited, or not, over THAT things are, or enjoying an”intuition of being” is one of those hermeneutical things, a matter ofinterpetation. It is like choosing to be a solipsist or not. If someonedoesn’t want to go there, one has no empirical or rational recourse to takethem there. (There are some pretty good practical arguments though ...)So, just like 1) Being, where one can unconditionally posture themselves tobe impressed by the very fact of existence (or just take it for granted as abrute fact)so, too, with truth, beauty, goodness and love.And excitement about existence (Being) is a response that can begiven in any situtation, despite any set of circumstances. That, for me,would make for a nice definition of mysticism, which I consider atheological virtue.But problems you say? with truth and beauty and goodness?Can they also elicit commitments and similarly robust responses from us visa vis being given in any situtation, despite any set of circumstances?Well, there are theological virtues for them, too. For truth, we have faith.For beauty, we have hope. For goodness, we have mercy and compassion.Mysticism, faith, hope, mercy and love can be given to reality in anysitutation, despite any set of circumstances. (Not humanly, alone, but ...still ...)Once we get past the empirical, rational and practical realms to thehermeneutical realm, we are precisely in that sphere of human concern thatis anagogical (which means about what we hope for), that is aspirational,that speaks of our desires, that addresses our deepest longings and ourultimate concerns. The empirical, rational and practical spheres of concernare proximate. The hermeneutical is ultimate. It goes BEYOND the empirical,rational and practical but not at all WITHOUT them. It looks at the truth,beauty, goodness, being and love we have tasted toward some Source --- witha conviction regarding things not seen. None of this is unreasonable andneither are certain alternative perspectives. I should qualify that itdoesn’t have to be unreasonable or doesn’t have to abandon the rational andempirical, like so many do.
  • 67. I like that - quadrants, levels, lines and moments. Certainly, Wilberalready has another word for that though? The closest wilberian concept formapping such moments is Wilber’s Grid of Experiences, which addressesreligious experience but generically could include all experience. So, maybeHelminiak’s spheres/foci can be nestled with a more broadly conceived Gridof Experiences and the wilberian word for moment is, quite simply,experience!Using Wilber’s 4QAL as a context, what I mapped did not address anydevelopmental or stage levels. And it really wasn’t a mapping of the genericquadrants. And it wasn’t even a mapping of what Wilber would call a stream(or line or intelligence). It wasn’t addressing intelligences per se ormodes of knowledge. What I was mapping was really Helminiak’s spheres ofconcern or perspectives. The holonic nature of it all, the self-nestingdynamic, makes it hard to disambiguate. As you know, these foci of concernare more closely related to the idea of different academic disciplines:science vs philosophy and so on.Would it be fair to say that Helminiak’s spheres of concern represent whereany given individual takes all of his quadrants, levels, lines and statesand directs them, as a whole, toward reality? I think these perspectives, orspheres of concern, most correspond with what we would call “moments” ofhuman knowledge/experience. IOW, in addition to 1) quadrants, 2) levels (andstates), and 3) lines (streams), we would add 4) moments [for instance, vanBeeck thus distinguishes moments of human knowledge from elements of humanknowledge; analogous, too, to such moments that describe the different”activities” of our faculties (understanding, will, etc) in prayer perMerton’s sanjuanian account].So, just like spiral dynamics would represent but one line among many, theValue meme line, which is incredibly important for spirituality, I am onlymapping four moments among many others. A moment is thus the focus of all ofone’s quadrants/levels/lines on this or that human activity.I like that - quadrants, levels, lines and moments. Certainly, Wilberalready has another word for that though? The closest wilberian concept formapping such moments is Wilber’s Grid of Experiences, which addressesreligious experience but generically could include all experience. So, maybeHelminiak’s spheres/foci can be nestled with a more broadly conceived Gridof Experiences and the wilberian word for moment is, quite simply,experience!I’d say that they are not really associated more w/ one vs another quadrantbut are nested within each quadrant. They may, however, moreso come to thefore (and be noticed in sharper relief) as we engage in one activity (orturn to one focus of concern) or another as a matter of emphasis. You’llthus note what I called epistemological, aesthetical, ethical andhermeneutical strands in each quadrant. You’ll note that, in turn, movingfrom one quadrant to another, the way these strands manifest will change,which is to say that different aesthetical, ethical or epistemologicaltheories would tend to be emphasized in each quadrant. It takes somefamiliarity with such theories of course to make the connection.re: to associate Beauty with positivism and the objective realm seems tooverlook the importance of the arts (“I” and “We” expressions) inmanifesting beauty.Again, note how the aesthetic is nested within those other quadrants. Myassociations, however implicitly, derive from classical causation. Thecausation I have always most associated with science is efficient causation.In turn, it is most associated with the apparent contingent nature ofreality and cosmological arguments for God’s existence. The etymologicalroot of cosmology, of course, is that of beauty, especially that associatedwith symmetry. It is that nonrational intuition that inspires one tospontaneously look for patterns, for equal and opposite reactions, for a Godthat does not play dice, for the other side of an equation, for a missingelement in the Periodic Table, etc Aesthetic sensibility is a large drivingfactor in positivistic endeavors, however much certain scientists might failto recognize this otherwise unspoken, unacknowledged criterion of theirsearch. It is Christianity’s commitment to the contingent nature of theuniverse, to classical efficient causation, to cosmological arguments(beauty) that birthed science, ergo ...re: Same goes for Goodness, which is every bit as much manifest in theother quadrants as in the objective/plural, “Its.”Correct. Nonethless, as we move from the empirical and rational realms tothe practical realm, the idea of goodness is associated moreso withprudential judgment (recall Kant’s critique of pure reason vs practical
  • 68. reason). Prudential judgment consists of both moral judgment (ethicalconcerns) and practical judgment (pragmatic concerns). Here we think ofaxiological arguments for God’s existence. This is Wilber’s social realmwherein reside social institutions and structures, not just economic butalso political and legal (again, ethical and axiological and contractualrelationships).”Its” being the interobjective realm evokes, for me, ideasof the conceptual, where third order abstractions get manipulated by themap-makers of reality (like INTPs). If science is the perinoetic and math &some philosophy the dianoetic, then this realm is clearly ananoetic, wherethe analogical imagination freely roams in elaborating metaphysics andtheories of everything --- not uninformed by the empirical and logicalrealms but going beyond them (and testing the TOE’s using practical criteriaand reductio ad absurdum arguments rather than mere logic or science,alone).Well, understandably, some items are more facilely associated, shoehorned... others not.I have gathered different views from diverse sources, below, some pertaining to revealed and natural theology, some addressing faith and reason, othersspeaking to the reality of contemplation, all integrally and holistically conceived. What these authors say about one dyad, in my view, can justifiably be saidabout the others. I have gathered these materials in support of a notion I may choose to defend one day, which is that contemplation, broadly conceived, isthe highest form of epistemic virtue and, as such, is the illuminative beacon that might best guide both mystic and scientist in their encounter with reality,proximate and ultimate. As for any distinctions between natural and theological virtue, acquired/active and passive contemplation, that is not treated here.1) Natural religion and positive religion, we have argued, do not exist except in a relationship of mutual dependence. Consequently, both are legitimatelyalleged in the service of mutual critique, lest both cease to be religion and lest both end up distorting true humanity.Do natural religion and positive religion have equal standing in the relationship? In other words, is the relationship between the two symmetrical? Or are theyrelated asymmetrically--- that is to say, by way of a hierarchical relationship?... any hierarchy occurs, not between two separable elements, but between two distinguishable moments that are related to each other by way of mutualinterpenetration. The attribution of hierarchical superiority to one, therefore, does not entail the attribution of a separate existence to it.F.J. van Beeck, __God Encountered__ pp 108-092) ... even though theology, as instanced by Aquinas and Rahner, has traditionally opened the systematic exposition of the Christian faith by an analysis ofnatural religious knowledge, this has never served to deny that the Christian faith is epistemologically prior.F.J. van Beeck, __God Encountered__ pp 1393) Augustine examines numerous vestigia trinitatis, or, structures in the human mind that parallel the divine Trinity. Viewed in this way, the treatisesepistemological claim is that because we are like God, we can come to knowledge of God by looking at ourselves. There are numerous objections countingagainst this reading, however.One immediate reason to reject this interpretation of the vestigias function is that Augustine explicitly denies one can extrapolate from the natural world toGod. ... ... Second, he is aware of the difficulties inherent in extrapolation from creation to God, because of the profound difference between the Uncreatedand the created.A.N. Williams, "Contemplation," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 122The vestigia, then, are a tool for penetrating belief and grasping it yet more fully, not a means for establishing the contents of faith independently of, or priorto, Scripture. pg 123Here we see the distinctiveness of Augustines epistemology: to know God certainly entails mastery of information, but it also entails personalcontact. pg. 130The inseparability of knowledge and love in the De Trinitate testifies to Augustines holistic anthropology: there is no possibility of the true engagementof one human faculty with God in the absence of the engagement of the whole person. pg. 130His point is not so much that human beings resemble God --- as we have seen, he is as acutely aware of the ontological divide as any other Christianthinker --- but that what is inseparable in God must also be inseparable in us. The vestigia provide not a lesson in anthropology or natural theology, but inepistemology. Specifically, they make the claim that the knowledge and love of God are as inseparable as the persons of the Trinity. ... A secondway of asserting the unity of knowledge and love is to point to the unity of human nature itself ... pp. 134-5... the status of contemplation in Augustines thought is ambiguous, seeming to belong exclusively neither to activity nor to product. ... No more doescontemplation belong exclusively either to the intellect or to the will. pg. 138... implicitly, it also states a relation between spheres of Christian life that have in our time been sundered from one another. Because personalapprehension of God must include both knowledge and love, Augustines epistemology indicates that we cannot separate theology from spirituality aswe have done increasingly since the Enlightenment. pg. 143Contemplation is neither the statement of a set of postulates discovered by the assiduous effort of the human mind, nor some sort of doctrinallydenuded reverie. pg. 144The contemplative character of theology points to not only a disciplinary, but an existential unity. Just as the contemplation that is theology cannot beseparated from the contemplation that is prayer, so an authentically Christian existence consists in a unity, in virtue of which this life is inseparably weddedto the next. pg. 1474) At this point I touch upon complex issues in metaphysics and epistemology about the relationship between the lives we lead and the beliefs wehold. As Bruce Marshall suggests, our thinking about the relations between "teaching" and "practice" is interwoven in complex ways with ourconvictions about the triune God who creates us and saves us in Word and Spirit. That is, "[o]nly the Spirit whom Jesus sends from the Father can teachus to recognize in the narratively identified Jesus the Fathers own icon, and to interpret and assess all of our beliefs accordingly." And the "school in whichthe Spirit teaches us these hard won skills" is the Church. But the schooling is not just schooling in such teachings or beliefs (e.g., from catechismclasses at home and in local congregations to college, university and seminary seminars). It is such schooling only as we learn to engage "in a rich anddistinctive array of practices and attitudes, including worship and prayer in the name of the triune God, and love of neighbor after the pattern of Christ."James J. Buckley, "The Wounded Body," __Knowing the Triune God__ edited by Buckley & Yeago, pg. 2215) And because the intellectualism that James deplored has done at least as much damage in theology and in philosophy, we can wholeheartedlywelcome his insistence that reality is richer than reflection; that it is not by pure reason alone that we can take our bearings and find our way (quiteapart from the fact that reason is never as pure, as devoid of passion and particular interest, as its advocates suppose it to be); that quality of feeling is noless important to our well- being than quality of argument ...
  • 69. Nicholas Lash, _Easter in Ordinary__, pg 86It is these disjunctive contrasts and, with their aid, the confining of the territory of the personal to the realm of the individual, private feeling and emotion,which renders the Jamesian account at once so seductive and so dangerous. The situation is not lacking in tragic irony. By calling us back from the death-dealing rigidity of institutional order, and from the divisiveness of intellectual debate, to some primordial realm of pure experience in which the individual may"apprehend" himself to "stand in relation" to that "continuum of consciousness" of which we each form part, James sought to secure firm foundations forreligious truth, prospects for progress, and a basis for social harmony. And yet, the foundations turn out to be nothing firmer than the fragile optimism of anexcited ego entertaining dubious hypotheses concerning the paranormal. pg. 88... a context in which the account given of what it is to be in relation to God was not locked into feeling at the expense of thought, or into privateindividual states of mind at the expense of public behavior and intersubjective patterns of thought and inquiry. It would, finally, be a context inwhich --- if the distortions of intellectualism (in James sense) are to be avoided --- the heart is known to be no less important for the attainment oftruth than the head, and in which the test bed of truth is acknowledged to be experience. pg. 105... it is when such distinctions are hardened into dichotomies that the trouble starts: for when did you last find yourself simply "feeling," without theslightest play or engagement of the mind, or simply "thinking," without the slightest interest, excitement or distaste? pg. 134If, for von Hugel, the essence of the scientific method is to be found ( as we shall see) in the submission of all claims whatsoever to empirical testing, thenthe "essence of Christianity" is, for him, to be found in the revelation of "personality" and in the fostering and production of "persons." ... ... Christianexperience, on this account, is experience of participation in what we might call a school for the production of persons. pg. 148Reacting rather sharply to what he calls my "unremitting attack on positive analogy," Brown appeals to Wittgensteins remark that, logically "positive andnegative descriptions are on the same level" with negative propositions presupposing positive ones and vice versa. ... ... I accept the warning that the way ofnegation is misused if it serves, in practice, to furnish us with just the kind of information about God the possibility of which it in principle denies. This is not,however, the moral that he himself draws from this warning. "Precisely because negatives are so often simply disguised positives," he says, " the onlyreally disciplined way of unknowing is to admit that one can say nothing at all." pg. 233It follows that we have, as Christians, no ultimate explanations; that there are, for us, no final solutions. The Christian, says Rahner, "has less ultimateanswers which he could throw off with a now the matters clear than anyone else." And when he say that "all human knowing ... is enfolded in anincomprehensibility which forms an image of the divine incomprehensibility where God reveals himself as the one without a name," he means, Ithink, that it is in living in "holy insecurity," in openness to each other and all truth, not as possessors or centers of the world, that we become, in somemeasure, the "image of the imageless one." pg. 240God is not, of course, an object in space and time nor is he, for that matter, an object "outside" of space and time (whatever that would mean).Nevertheless, if God is not a figment of our imagination, if it is truly "in relation" to his incomprehensible mystery that we, and all things, exist and havetheir being, then, in our worship of God, our address to God, we may (and do) make mention of him. Except, therefore, on a purely expressivist account ofour use of the term, such mention as we make of God in worship has cognitive implications: it entails the conviction that there is something thatwe can truly say "about" God. In other words, even if the "nature" of God is unknown to us, because we cannot understand God, cannot grasp him inconcept or image, cannot render his mystery comprehensible, we may perhaps, nevertheless, in relation to him, living in his presence and responding tohis address, successfully refer to God, make true mention of him. ... It therefore follows, from this distinction between reference and description, thatnot all questions concerning the possibility of true speech about God are questions concerning the possibility of offering true descriptions of God. pg. 257And although such a view is very ancient, for the "notion of regulae fidei goes back to the earliest Christian centuries," the novel element in Lindbecksproposal is that on his view the regulative function "becomes the only job that doctrines do in their role as church teachings." ... Lonergans work in this areahas been criticized for handling the historical evidence to woodenly and schematically, and, according to Avery Dulles, Lindbecks theory of doctrines"unduly minimizes [their] cognitive and expressive import." The legitimacy of these criticisms can be accepted without (as it seems to me) undermining thecentral contention that the primary function of Christian doctrine is regulative rather than descriptive. pg. 260It is time to go back to the beginning and to consider, once again, how we might move beyond or "transcend" autonomy without taking flight into eitherfeeling or thought. The suggestion is that we can do so through conversion, through the awakening of basic trust, the actualization of "relation,"the occurrence of community. ... ... In all relationship, all friendship, all community, there is an element of risk, because the grammar of relationship istrust rather than control, vulnerability rather than domination. ... .... the second difference does not lie between fact and feeling, or between word andidea, but rather between "address" and "presence," clarification and community. pg. 281Autodidact and polymath, von Hugel, for all his erudition, was not a specialist in any one particular academic discipline. Everything that came his way wasgrist to his mill, and it seems likely that his tendency to lumber, like some unchained beast, across the neatly cordoned gardens of academic specialization,partly accounts for the neglect from which he has suffered ..." pg. 143 [talking about johnboy here? ouch!]6) There is no reason in principle ... to think that nonfoundationalist philosophy could not prove helpful in illuminating Catholic commitments on any numberof issues, especially the proper relationship between faith and reason.John E. Thiel, _Senses of Tradition_, pg. 1217) Janet Soskice makes the point well: "To be a realist about the referent is to be a fallibilist about knowledge of the referent ... So the theist maybe mistaken in his beliefs about the source and cause of all ... for fixing a referent does not on this account guarantee that the referent meets a particulardescription."Christopher Mooney, _Theology and Scientific Knowledge_, pg. 17"Rational argument in theology," says Ian Barbour, "is not a single sequence of ideas, like a chain that is as weak as its weakest link. Instead, it is woven ofmany strands, like a cable many times stronger than its strongest strand." pg. 17Here we have a source of knowledge that readily acknowledges the theological implications of both a weak and strong anthropic principle, whatever itsvalue for science. What we must be clear about is that these theological implications have not one but two epistemological lines --- lines that are distinct inprinciple, with radically different sources, subject matter and modes of inquiry. Hence there is no question of casting disparate data into a single mode,either deducing a divine creative and salvific action in Jesus Christ from the anthropic arguments of science or finding in Christian revelation informationabout the physical structure and specific history of the world. ... ... There is an apt analogy here: these data are like two meridians on the sphere of theChristian mind. Because Christians believe God to be the source of each, the two can be examined critically at the equator for signs of boththeir present consonance and their possible future convergence at some pole of common vision. pg 63... whatever science can tell us about the structure and behavior of matter in the universe is of immense importance for theology, insofar as it providesinsight into how God has actually been acting creatively in the realms of mater and energy. Christian revelation by itself says nothing about these specificrealms, yet whatever science discovers about them, provisional though it may be, belongs to the totality of human knowledge within which Christian faithmust be lived. This is why the full anthropic principle in its two versions can have such illuminative power as a methodological tool for Christian scientistsand theologians. On the meridian of science, the principle says not only that the emergence of intelligent life on earth depended on all the fine- tuningextending back to the Big Bang; it also suggests that the fact of intelligence in the universe actually requires that all of these delicately balanced laws ofnature be exactly as they are. The principle as a scientific principle thus provides data otherwise lacking on the meridian of theology, where Christiansbelieve they already know about Gods design of the cosmos for human life, but have no idea how God has actually gone about this designing process.While neither meridians data depend upon those of the other, the thoughtful Christian can obviously draw insight into reality from both. ... ... The thoughtfulscientist, on the other hand, might possibly as a scientist do the same. For if there was in fact a Big Bang, as is generally accepted in science today, thenthis looks a lot like the act of a creator such as the one Christians (and others) have always believed in; or, minimally, it is not incompatible with this belief.pg 648) It is not just a matter of observation, but of realization. It is not something abstract and general, but concrete and particular. It is a personal grasp
  • 70. of the existential meaning and value of reality. Thomas Merton, __The Inner Experience__, pg 60Contemplation does not back away from reality or evade it. It sees through superficial being and goes beyond it. This implies a full acceptance of things asthey are and a sane evaluation of them. The "darkness" of the contemplative night is not a rejection of created things. On the contrary, the contemplative insome way finds and discovers things as they really are, and enjoys them in a higher way when he rises above contacts with them that are merely sensualand superficial. ... The neurotic, on the other hand, cannot accept reality as it is. He withdraws into himself and, if he sees things at all, sees only that aspectof them which he can bear to see, and no other. Or at least he tries to. pg 1119) This is why Merton tells us over and over again that contemplation is a state of heightened consciousness. "Contemplation," he writes, "is the highestexpression of mans intellectual and spiritual life. It is life itself, fully awake, fully awake, fully active, full aware that it is alive." One is reminded ofEvelyn Underhills words: "Only the mystic can be called a whole man, since in others half the powers of the self always sleep."William Shannon, __Something of a Rebel__, pg. 7810) According to John Cassian, liturgical prayer bursts forth in a wordless and ineffable elevation of the mind and heart which he calls "fiery prayer"--- oratioignita. Here the "mind is illumined by the infusion of heavenly light, not making use of any human forms of speech but with all the powers gatheredtogether in unity it pours itself forth copiously and cries out to God in a manner beyond expression, saying so much in a brief moment that the mindcannot relate it afterward with ease or even go over it again after returning to itself.Thomas Merton, __Contemplative Prayer__, pg. 4711) I accepted the Cogito ergo sum with less reserve than I should have, although I might have had enough sense to realize that any proof of what is self-evident must necessarily be illusory. If there are no self-evident first principles, as a foundation for reasoning to conclusions that are not immediatelyapparent, how can you construct any kind of philosophy? If you have to prove even the basic axioms of your metaphysics, you will never have ametaphysics, because you will never have any strict proof of anything, for your first proof will involve you in an infinite regress, proving that you are provingwhat you are proving and so on, into the exterior darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. [johnboy notes that Merton exhibits a little cartesiananxiety here, which does not impress nonfoundationalists.]Thomas Merton, __The Seven Storey Mountain__, pg.8412) First of all, the contemplative life demands detachment from the senses, but it is not a complete rejection of sense experience. It risesabove the level of reasoning; yet reasoning plays an essential part in the interior ascesis without which we cannot safely travel the path ofmysticism. Mystical prayer rises above the natural operation of the intelligence, yet it is always essentially intelligent. Ultimately, the highestfunction of the human spirit is the work of the supernaturally transformed intelligence, in the beatific vision of God. Nevertheless, the will plays an integralpart in al contemplation since there is, in fact, no contemplation without love. Love is both the starting point of contemplation and its fruition. ... ...Furthermore, contemplation presupposes ascetic action. By this interrelation of the work of intelligence, will, and the rest of our being,contemplation immolates our entire self to God.Thomas Merton, __The Ascent to Truth__, pg. 13Therefore, it must be made quite clear that traditional Christian mysticism, although it is certainly not intellectualistic in the same sense as the mysticalphilosophy of Plato and his followers, is nevertheless neither antirational nor anti-intellectualistic. ... ... The Church does not seek to sanctify menby destroying their humanity, but by elevating it, with all its faculties and gifts, to the supreme perfection which the Greek Fathers called "deification."pg. 16Fearing that domestic peace is no longer possible, faith barricades itself in the attic, and leaves the rest of the house to reason. Actually, faith and reasonare meant to get along happily together. pg.33... secular philosophers seem unable to make up their minds whether or not there are such things as law of contradiction or of causality, although they livein the midst of scientific developments that bear witness to both these fundamental principles of thought. ... ... Not that they dont have brilliant or well-trainedminds, but in their approach to ultimate metaphysical problems their minds are all but paralyzed by a philosophical equipment that is worse than ineffectual:it leaves them in doubt as to the nature of being, of truth, and even sometimes of their own existence. ... ... On that level, we are not dealing with faith, butwith the rational preambles to faith. pg. 37... ... faith has, for its material object, truths which are so profound and which so far exceed our intelligence that they are called --- and in the highest sense--- mysteries. It is quite obvious that these truths are not easy to understand and that they present tremendous intellectual difficulty. However, it is not at alltrue to say that the mysteries of faith are unintelligible or that their intelligibility does not matter. pg. 42We receive enlightenment only in proportion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. We do not first see,then act; we act, then see. ... ... And that is why the man who waits to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey. pg. 48... ... St. John of the Cross regarded the First Commandment as a summary of the entire ascetical and mystical life, up to and including TransformingUnion. He tells us in fact that his works are simply an explanation of what is contained in the commandment to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart andwith all thy soul and with all thy strength." He writes: "For herein man is commanded to employ all his faculties and desires and operations andaffections of his soul in God so the ability and strength of his soul may serve for no more than this." pg. 55To sum up: our abstract considerations of false mysticism have shown us that all false mysticism misconceives the proper roles of knowledge andlove in contemplation, as well as the essence of contemplation itself. pg. 72It is not so much the presence of concepts in the mind that interferes with the "obscure" mystical illumination of the soul, as the desire to reach Godthrough concepts. There is therefore no question of rejecting all conceptual knowledge of God but of ceasing to rely only on concepts as aproximate means of union with Him. pg. 89According to this false view the phenomenal world, the body with its senses, language, concepts, logic, the reasoning mind, the will that is movedby love --- all must be silenced and rejected. ..... ... The kind of asceticism that literally seeks to destroy what is human in man in order to reduce the spiritto an innate element that is purely divine is founded on a grave metaphysical error. The gravity of that error ought to be immediately apparent from the veryfact that mans spiritual and psychological health depends on the right order and balance of his whole being --- body and soul. pg. 109The passage from philosophical understanding to faith is marked by a gift of ourselves to God. The moment of transition is the moment of sacrifice. Thepassage from faith to that spiritual understanding which is called contemplation is also a moment of immolation. It is the direct consequence of a morecomplete and radical gift of ourselves to God. pg. 116In other words, grace does not destroy nature, but elevates it and consecrates it to God. Men do not becomes saints by ceasing to be men. ... ...Reason must serve us in our struggle for perfection. But it does not fight under its own standard. Reason alone is not our captain. It is enlisted in the serviceof faith. ... ... The great paradox of St. John of the Cross is that his asceticism of night cannot possibly be practiced without the light of reason. Itis by the light of reason that we keep on traveling through the night of faith. pg. 155St. John of the Cross aims at nothing more or less, in his asceticism, than the right ordering of mans whole being ... ... "The soul that is perfect iswholly love ... all its actions are love, and it employs all its faculties and possessions in loving." pg. 157Let me explain in a way that ought to be acceptable even to those who secretly lament the fact that they do not have infinite stomachs, in order to devour allthe fried chicken in the universe. You cannot gain the possession of all the being and all the goodness contained in all the food in the world by grimly sittingdown to the task of eating everything in sight. Despite the ambitions of Gargantua, our bodies are not equipped for this feat. ... ... Nevertheless, all the realitythat exists, and all the goodness of everything that exists and is good, can be spiritually tasted and enjoyed in a single metaphysical intuition of being andgoodness as such. The clean, intellectual delight of such an experience makes all of the inebriation procured by wine look like a hangover. pg. 197The true fulfillment of reason as a faculty is found when it can embrace the truth simply and without labor in the light of a single intuition. pg.
  • 71. 204We have seen that in the natural order our knowledge proceeds from the intuitive grasp of a few self-evident first principles, through a process of discursivereasoning on the evidence of sense experience, to conclusions in which the mind rests, once again, in intuition. It is the same in the order of faith. When webegin, the first principles of our belief are apt to be vague and cold to us, because we cannot see below their surface. ... ... Now, as Aristotle somewheresays, when a man is learning to play a harp he has to think of every movement he makes. He is conscious of the distinct effort to find each proper note andto strike the right string. But when he is a proficient player, he no longer is aware of what he is doing with his fingers. His mind is not concerned with eachseparate movement to be made. His hands move easily over the strings as though by instinct, and the mind of the musician is no longer concentrated ontechnical details but loses itself in the enjoyment of the music he is drawing from the instrument. In the same way, when we have learned how tomeditate, the truths of God present themselves spontaneously to our minds. We do not always have to work them out by discourse; we needonly to enjoy them in the deep and satisfying gaze of intuition. pg. 208The function of discretion in the beginnings of mystical prayer is to discover the true way that lies between extremes. Reason guided by faith must be onthe alert and give the will sufficient light to reject either impulses to overactivity or tendencies to sloth. pg. 229Saint John is chiefly talking about what is to be done at the time of prayer. The activity he requires of the soul must be elicited by the understanding and willtogether. It is very simple. It has three stages or "moments." pg. 237The function of the intelligence is to guarantee the purity of faith, hope and charity, not by much reasoning and subtlety but by the constantascetical discernment between the illusions of subjectivism and the true light which comes from God. pg. 246St. Thomas himself is there to prove that there is no reason why God should not pour out His purest graces of mystical prayer even upon aprofessor, just as St. Teresa remains a monument to the truth that God can raise you to ecstasy while you are trying to fry eggs. pg. 285John of St. Thomas is one of those speculative theologians who cannot reach the average educated man except through a mediator who is willing totranslate his thought into ordinary terms. The issues which concern such theologians are generally matters of such minute detail that this work of mediationis scarcely ever worth while. pg. 334 [another statement re: johnboy? ouch!]The good order of the soul with which we are concerned here is not simply an ethical or moral perfection. St. John of the Cross is notconsidering merely the level of perfection on which men refrain from cheating each other in business, go to Mass on Sundays, give alms nowand then to the poor, and lend their lawnmower to the people next door without even cursing under their breath. pg. 163But the very fact that all conversions do not have this experiential element and that, indeed, many conversions are hardheaded and "cold," lends weight tothe thomistic argument which distinguishes bare faith from faith illumined by the Gifts. And I may add, parenthetically, that the convert whose faith isemotionally "cold" and is not inflamed with an element of quasi-mystical experience is not therefore less virtuous or less pleasing in the sight of God. It may,in fact, require great charity to allow oneself to be led, in spite of temperamental or hereditary disinclination, by force of rational demonstrationalone, to an unemotional acceptance of the faith. pg. 21213) If we do not try to be perfect in what we write, perhaps it is because we are not writing for God after all. In any case it is depressing that those who serveGod and love him sometimes write so badly, when those who do not believe in Him take pains to write so well. I am not talking about grammar and syntax,but about having something to say and saying it in sentences that are not half dead. St. Paul and St. Ignatius Martyr did not bother about grammar but theycertainly knew how to write. Imperfection is the penalty of rushing into print. And people who rush into print do so not because they really have anything tosay, but because they think it is important for something by them to be in print. The fact that your subject may be very important in itself does notnecessarily mean that what you have written about it is important. A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book ... [another statement re: johnboy?ouch!]Thomas Merton, __The Sign of Jonas__, pg. 5914) In the last book to come to us from the hand of Raissa Maritain, her commentary on the Lords Prayer, we read the following passage, concerning thosewho barely obtain their daily bread, and are deprived of most of the advantages of a decent life on earth by the injustice and thoughtlessness of theprivileged: "If there were fewer wars, less thirst to dominate and exploit others, less national egoism, less egoism of class and caste, if man were moreconcerned for his brother, and really wanted to collect together, for the good of the human race, all the resources which science places at his disposalespecially today, there would be on earth fewer populations deprived of their necessary sustenance, there would be fewer children who die or are incurablyweakened by undernourishment." ... ... She goes on to ask what obstacles man has placed in the way of the Gospel that this should be so. It isunfortunately true that those who have complacently imagined themselves blessed by God have in fact done more than others to frustrate his will.Thomas Merton, __Contemplative Prayer, pg. 113Want a person to laugh? Cannot order them to laugh. Must tell them a joke.Want a person to love? Cannot order them to love you. Must give them a hug(or chocolates or roses or time and space).Want to lead a person to Ultimate Reality? Must tell them a story and tellthem a joke and give them a hug.What you write implies, properly, that the hermeneutical is unconditional.One’s commitment to the virtues of faith, hope and love are not derived fromand do not depend on any findings in the practical, empirical or rationalrealms. That is why they are called faith, hope and love and not, rather,science, logic and pragmatics. And, yes, a TOE must include thehermeneutical. A TOE must include the rational, empirical and practical aswell as the smell of apple pie. So, the Big TOE will have data, charts,graphs, diagrams ... and, necessarily will include .... stories. It is notfully constructed in a manner that lends itself solely to logical proof,empirical demonstration or practical experience ... but it would partiallyinclude those things ... along with a story ... that included jokes andtear-jerkers. That’s why it is called a metanarrative and not just ametaphysics. So, it will include some elements that can be proven, some thatcan be demonstrated, some that can be experienced ... ... all of which canbe, more or less, KNOWN with varying degrees of confidence ... a confidentassurance in things hoped for and a conviction of things not seen. Along with a fundamental trust in uncertain reality.
  • 72. So, let me tell you this story ... from this book that addresses all ofthese levels --- empirical, rational, practical and hermenutical, althoughwe call it literal-historical, allegorical-creedal, moral and anagogical: Inthe beginning was the Word ... Here is a man who was born in an obscurevillage, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. Heworked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He wasan itinerant preacher.He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. Henever had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside abig city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. Henever did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had nocredentials but Himself...While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. Hisfriends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies.He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross betweentwo thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only pieceof property He had on earth - His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in aborrowed grave through the pity of a friend.Nineteen, make that twenty, long centuries have come and gone, and today Heis a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched,all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat andall the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life ofman upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.I expanded on this:http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/mapping.htmlWith this:The only de novo aspect to my scheme is the bifurcation of the evaluativeinto two separate approaches to reality: 1) the nonprudential evaluative -akin to the concept of taste 2) the prudential evaluative - which bifurcatesinto two types of prudential judgment: a) moral and b) pragmatic. The firstbifurcation I call the hermeneutical and the other the practical. Makingthis distinction seems to provide me a more robust paradigm for treatinghuman epistemology.Any given human will approach reality as an integral entity employingrational, empirical, practical and hermeneutical perspectives. From thestandpoint of human inferential capacities, we are, respectively, looking ata dance between deduction, induction and abduction (the peircean term forformulating hypotheses). I pirated the word “transduction” to indicate thenoninferential character of the nonprudential evaluative nature of thehermeneutical perspective. (It is also evocative of viral memes in thecultural realm, but I won’t digress).The prefix, trans, for me, also indicates that, while we go beyond, we donot go without. Borrowing from Daniel Helminiak’s ideas, though heavilyamended, these approaches to reality are hierarchical in the sense thatthose with narrower foci of human concern are both nested within andproperly constrain those with broader foci. This is to say, then, that”findings” of the empirical approach constrain those of the rational whichfurther constrain those of the practical which still further constrain thehermeneutical. (Helminiak deals with the positivistic, philosophic, theisticand theotic. My categories genericize his to address all of epistemology,not just that of religious faith.)So, in a nutshell, what I describe includes elements of 1) primacy 2)autonomy 3) integral relatedness 4) holonic character and 5) hierarchicalgovernance or constraint.Regarding primacy, I simply describe how the hermeneutical aspect isepistemologically privileged, which is only to say that, if the practical,rational and empirical findings in one’s approach to reality have notalready dispossessed one of any elements within one’s worldview, one cannotbe dispossessed of the remaining elements. Essentially, the hermeneuticalonly adds a nonprudential evaluative perspective, which does not lend itselfto formal construction, empirical testing or rational demonstration. At thispoint, we can only fallback on practical considerations and the backdoorphilosophy of the reductio ad absurdum (mindful that the counterintuitive isnot an infallible guide to philosophic and positivistic truths).Primacy implies, all other things being equal, that the hermeneutical isprivileged over the practical which is privileged over the rational which is
  • 73. privileged over the empirical. Think of it as an epistemological entitlementprogram. One can have whatever hermeneutic one wants but practicalconsiderations might give one pause (over against solipsism, for example).And so on and so forth. Join whatever philosophical school you like, butdon’t tinker with the positivistic findings of science. Hierarchicalconstraint recognizes that --- all other things are not necessarily equal,ergo, one must inquire after the findings of the other approaches to realityand defer to them as one progressively broadens one’s focus of humanconcern.Thus, when it comes to the ways of relating science and religion, I amsuggesting they are somewhat facile to the extent they do not recognize allof my nuancing, which, if they did, wouldn’t characterize the different”ways” as necessarily mutually exclusive.To wit:1) Two different hermeneutics could conflict and irresolutely so, if andonly if all other findings are equal, empirically, rationally andpractically.2) The different approaches to reality, as represented by my categories, areindependent, which is to say that they are methodologically autonomous. Thisis not to suggest, however, that they aren’t hierarchically constrained.3) And so on and so forth, important distinctions not always yieldingintractable dichotomies. Most of the epistemological -isms, especially thoseapplied in the pejorative sense, arise from failures to properly nuanceprimacy, autonomy, hierarchical constraint and integral-relatedness, hence,rationalism, fideism, scientism, radical fundamentalism, etc.And I do not even maintain that this scheme has any a priori claim. Rather,it mirrors where human knowledge is at this point in time and results fromour finitude, which we fallibly but inexorably seem to ameliorate throughtime.I do not have a problem with the idea that “science creates a metaphysics.” Any attempts to do metaphysics must play by the same positivistic,philosophic and pragmatic rules. It doesn’t matter if you’re Thomas Aquinasor Max Tegmark.The descriptive IS evaluative. It IS an evaluative continuum (really and empirco-ratio-practical continuum) because the evaluative/practicalends up being the final arbiter of the empirical and rational stalemates. That the human will adopt a hermeneutic is inevitable. An IBE is thusconditioned by noninferential values, which serve to guide it. Propositional justification is still basic to doxastic justification, which might bereally swift and repetitive retroduction. This doesn’t change the fact that there are prudential (pragmatic & moral) rationalities that are notwholly inferential. There is a difference between inferential and propositional. Practical and moral propositions might employ inference butthey are motivated by different affective and aesthetic concerns.  The inferential, for its part, is similarly guided by values (e.g. IBE guided byvalues of hypotheses).The distinctions of functionalism vs structuralism, internalist vs externalist (re: justification vs knowledge), synthetic vs analytic, holistic vsmodular, nature vs nurture, realism vs anti-realism, fact vs value, various positivist dichotomies and other alleged dichotomies might better beconceived as distinctions, although some dichotomies are likely true enough, especially in the realm of polynomial values, which can be trulybinary.In my view, the hypothetical virtues can lead us into a nonvirtuous epistemic posture, re: guiding an IBE(inference to the best explanation), as we change our aspirations from a mere HAS (hypothesis about something)to a comprehensive TOE.Mapping the journey from an epistemology to a worldview by slicing it into its empirical, rational, practical and hermeneutical aspects anddicing it into its noninferential and inferential elementsfoundational approaches are defined by their combination of noninferential and inferential elements, the noninferential transcending empiricalobservation and rational demonstrationIn abduction, we are, inescapably and by definition, arguing from ignorance. Hypothetical virtues are our fallible attempt to mitigate but noteliminate same. That these virtues have exceptions is a given insofar as, if they did not, theyd otherwise be axioms of a purely algorithmicsystem. In other words, the reason we abduct is because our algorithmic, axiomatic inferences have been somehow thwarted in their pursuitof truth. We thus interpolate and extrapolate without knowing the full trajectory of the truth ... parabolic, hyperbolic, linear, etc Small parts of aparabola or hyperbola (HAS) may seem linear from a limited perspective, but if we interpolate or extrapolate such seeming linearity, we canwidely miss the mark. Hypothetical virtues are really rules for linear interpolation and extrapolation. They become nonvirtuous very quickly forthe elliptical, parabolic and hyperbolic (TOE).This is why philosophical naturalists must take heed that, in their anxiety to anihilate metaphysics, they do not also eliminate speculativecosmology and theoretical physics. Scientism is nothing more, then, than the making of linear interpolations and extrapolations on what couldturn out to be a nonlinear reality, coupled with the hegemonistic agenda of insisting that everyone else do the same. The reason for sciencessuccess in probing reality could well have more to do with the circumscription of its aspirations (to step-wise inquiries of the next point on theinvestigative line) than with the efficacy of its methodologies. If it would only look bckward at its prior path of discovery, it would see thenonlinear trajectory of many of its breakthrough discoveries. This is why the counterintuitive and the reductio ad ansurdum is no sure guide totruth -- all because of the ad ignorantium, which is why we are abducting/hypothesizing in the first place.Hypotheses can be used to organize a system of beliefs without, necessarily, staking empirical, falsifiable claims. Such hypotheses can,themselves, be hypothetically fecund, spawning other hypotheses that are indeed refutable. The contingent nature of the universe is anexample of one such hypothesis and, in fact, helped birth science, itself. (Cf. the works of Stanley Jaki) Conservatism and tenacity of belief is only useful when ones beliefs are not otherwise false. Simplicity can ignore unavoidable complexity andbest be interpreted as facility (peircean abduction) and not as ontological (multiplication of ontologies). Occams Razor is a tie-breaker only
  • 74. when explanatory adequacy has been attained. Probability and plausibility and intuitiveness are no sure indication of truth, so modesty is noreliable virtue.     Title Precis Background Introduction Basic Outline - structure Focusing the Human Approach to RealityThe Human Foci of ConcernBackground Helminiak and LonerganEmpiricalRationalPracticalHermeneuticaldefinitionsrubrics  The Approach to RealityThe Human Environed RealityAspects of Human Knowing  psychological categoriesBenzigerJungBrownings EmergeneticsMBTIEnneagramMaritain  Human Knowledge Manifoldevaluative and rational continuuaGelpis Evaluative Continuumfallibilism Gelpis Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge philosophical schools8 major categories  Wilbers Quadrants RealityThe Environing RealityAspects of Realitydivine attributesspace time mass energy plenum  Preliminary Considerations Foundationsfoundational theology of conversionMethodsDialectical AnalysisScholastic Notationoverworked distinctionsunder-appreciated dichotomiesessentials and accidentalsrigorous definition and disambiguation of termsunivocal, equivocal and relational predication of termsapophatic, kataphatic and eminentutilizing E-primeappreciating the analogical, which can be:            attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or            proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between two different pairs of terms).                        If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but                        if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. 
  • 75.  DISCUSSION - epistemological metacritique defined on its own terms Focusing the Human Approach to RealityThe Human Foci of ConcernBackground Helminiak and LonerganEmpiricalRationalPracticalHermeneuticaldefinitionsrubrics  The Approach to RealityThe Human Environed RealityAspects of Human Knowing  psychological categoriesBenzigerJungBrownings EmergeneticsMBTIEnneagramMaritain  Human Knowledge Manifoldevaluative and rational continuuaGelpis Evaluative Continuumfallibilism Gelpis Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge philosophical schools8 major categories  Wilbers Quadrants RealityThe Environing RealityAspects of Realitydivine attributesspace time mass energy plenum DISCUSSION - epistemological metacritique in dialogue with other perspectives thru dialectical analysis Focusing the Human Approach to RealityThe Human Foci of ConcernBackground Helminiak and LonerganEmpiricalRationalPracticalHermeneuticaldefinitionsrubrics  The Approach to RealityThe Human Environed RealityAspects of Human Knowing  psychological categoriesBenzigerJungBrownings EmergeneticsMBTIEnneagramMaritain  Human Knowledge Manifoldevaluative and rational continuuaGelpis Evaluative Continuumfallibilism Gelpis Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge philosophical schools8 major categories 
  • 76.  Wilbers Quadrants RealityThe Environing RealityAspects of Realitydivine attributesspace time mass energy plenum  PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS - TOWARD A MORE COMPELLING MORAILTY Focusing the Human Approach to RealityThe Human Foci of ConcernBackground Helminiak and LonerganEmpiricalRationalPracticalHermeneuticaldefinitionsrubrics  The Approach to RealityThe Human Environed RealityAspects of Human Knowing  psychological categoriesBenzigerJungBrownings EmergeneticsMBTIEnneagramMaritain  Human Knowledge Manifoldevaluative and rational continuuaGelpis Evaluative Continuumfallibilism Gelpis Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge philosophical schools8 major categories  Wilbers Quadrants RealityThe Environing RealityAspects of Realitydivine attributesspace time mass energy plenum  FRONTIERS & CHALLENGES Focusing the Human Approach to RealityThe Human Foci of ConcernBackground Helminiak and LonerganEmpiricalRationalPracticalHermeneuticaldefinitionsrubrics  The Approach to RealityThe Human Environed RealityAspects of Human Knowing  psychological categoriesBenzigerJungBrownings EmergeneticsMBTIEnneagramMaritain  
  • 77. Human Knowledge Manifoldevaluative and rational continuuaGelpis Evaluative Continuumfallibilism Gelpis Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge philosophical schools8 major categories  Wilbers Quadrants RealityThe Environing RealityAspects of Realitydivine attributesspace time mass energy plenum APPENDIX - IMPLICATIONS FOR CATHOLICISM Focusing the Human Approach to RealityThe Human Foci of ConcernBackground Helminiak and LonerganEmpiricalRationalPracticalHermeneuticaldefinitionsrubrics  The Approach to RealityThe Human Environed RealityAspects of Human Knowing  psychological categoriesBenzigerJungBrownings EmergeneticsMBTIEnneagramMaritain  Human Knowledge Manifoldevaluative and rational continuuaGelpis Evaluative Continuumfallibilism Gelpis Organon & Architectonic of Human Knowledge philosophical schools8 major categories  Wilbers Quadrants RealityThe Environing RealityAspects of Realitydivine attributesspace time mass energy plenum  Foundationalism is incoherent. Coherentism is unfounded. Foundherentism is facile. Moderate, minimalist and fallibilist foundationalisms are oxymorons. Just kidding.Seriously, I only have an argument with classical and traditional foundationalism. As long as approaches are fallibilist, realist and not a prioristic, Ill leave it to theacademic epistemologists to tease out the remaining nuances. As with metaethics, where I see room for incorporating elements of aretaic, deontological and teleologicalapproaches, so too with epistemology and its virtue, correspondence and coherentist approaches. These distinctions neednt be dichotomies. In fact, most of mytheological friends are nuanced foundationalists, which I consider unconsciously competent coherentists anyway. And I consider the peircean perspectivequasifoundational, itself. The important thing is to, as Ted says, look over our shoulders at our leaps.If there is some elusive virtuous foundherentist epistemology, then our approach to reality will involve some element of noninferential justification, going beyond thenoninferential but not without it. This squares okay with evolutionary psychology because were not just little open-ended processors but self-interested processors(which leads Deacon, in his peircean account, to properly describe the computational fallacy ---re: philosophy of mind--- in addition to the genetic and memeticfallacies of Dawkins and Dennett).1) Operating within each focus of human concern, as these foci broaden from the empirical to the rational and then practical perspectives, are all three types ofinference: induction, deduction and abduction.2) Induction and deduction seem straightforward enough. Its abduction, or hypothesis formulation, that seems to invite controversy. Since abduction is the weakestform of inference and merely winnows the possibilities, philosophers of science (e.g. Quine) have identified virtues to further guide (past abduction) our inferences to the
  • 78. best explanation. Those include conservatism, modesty, simplicity, generality, refutability and precision.3) At this juncture, we attend also to the nature of our analogies (attributive, proportional and metaphorical), the degrees of our abstractions (objectification,verbalization, classification, designation, etc), our equivocal and univocal predications and our scholastic notations (im/possibly, im/plausible, im/probable andun/certain), among other things epistemic.4) It is because of practical considerations, such as competitions between values, such as human finitude, that we must develop such rubrics to guide our IBE(inferences to the best explanation). These rubrics include virtues of hypotheses and speculative grammar to guide our analogies and abstractions.5) Questions:a) In theory, do these (should these) rubrics change when we apply them to 1) an hypothesis about something versus 2) a physical TOE versus 3) a philosophicalTOE?b) Practically speaking, what happens when we apply these rubrics to these different types of conjecture?6) My take:In my view, the hypothetical virtues can lead us into a nonvirtuous epistemic posture, re: guiding an IBE (inference to the best explanation), as we change our aspirationsfrom a mere HAS (hypothesis about something) to a comprehensive TOE.I offer this in an attempt to locate the difference between a hege-monistic scientism and other worldviews. It might be, too, that fideistic religions could be described asthose who altogether ignore such rubrics, going beyond and without inferential justification.dialectical analysis - Quine, Kripke, Putnam, Fodorphilosophical TOE uses a modal ontology of necessity plus an analysis of concepts?physical TOE uses a modal ontology of probabilityphysics describes the actualpeircean semantical and ontological vagueness alternating conjecture & criticismsearching for values to guide our search for facts confronted by a fact-value dichotomy? incoherentof Humes conclusions that, if that is what he believes, then we should count our teaspoons when he calls. The Prelude to Metaphysics - whats going on epistemologicallyI have sometimes, just for heuristic purposes, taken as axiomatic the peircian notion that the normative sciences (noetics, aesthetics and ethics) mediatebetween phenomenology and metaphysics. Invoking Maritain, I would translate that into the dianoetic mediates between the perinoetic (sciences) and theananoetic (analogical and metaphorical). The dianoetic would correspond to the piercian coenoscopic and the perinoetic to the idioscopic.I think the hermeneutical doors that can open us to properly drawing the distinctions some have well made re: metaphysics, such doors as we all attempt toopen when engaging in the ananoetic approach, differ with respect to the types of interpretive rooms into which they open. These rooms can bedistinguished by the types of terms and concepts we employ as we move from one epistemic task to another. As such, these terms and concepts arevariously employed as univocal or equivocal, attributive or proportional, analogical or metaphorical, verifiable or unverifiable (hence the utility of analytic andlinguistic and semiotic approaches). Before we step into the great hermeneutical hall, along which these interpretive rooms are lined, we enter thepopperian vestibule, wherein we encounter two doors, one labeled falsifiable, the other nonfalsifiable.Before we enter the popperian vestibule, though, we enter a kantianesque courtyard, the walkways of which lead us to the cottages of the quid juris and thequid facti, which is to say, in the former instance, to a consideration of the relations between ideas, in the latter, to a consideration of the relations betweenmatters of fact.It is especially worthy of note that both the perinoetic and ananoetic approaches can advance in matters of fact, quid facti, independent of any relations ofideas, quid juris. In order to make such an advance, we must first enter the quid facti cottage, step into its popperian vestibule and unlock the falsifiabledoor. Therein we can proceed via that part of the socratic method that is consistent with the denying mode, with falsification, with the modus tollens.Therein, we are scientists.What about the quid juris cottage? Some claim to have never entered that cottage and I am just polite enough to take them at their word even as I point outthat all of us were at least born therein, even if we soon thereafter exited never to return. I may elaborate on that thesis in a follow-up.I think I am resonating with some of you even if my articulation of same falls short. I am actually more interested in what happens when we enter the cottagequid juris and am positively intrigued by the lamplight that could be afforded therein by an evolutionary epistemology.Upon Exiting and Re-entering the Cottage Quid JurisIn the kantian courtyard, immediately in front of the cottage quid juris, we can discern from the cacophony of voices such sayings as 1) we can model therules but never explain them 2) we can see the truth of certain propositions but we cannot prove them 3) logic requires premises but it cannot prove thosepremises 4) reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions. These sayings usually lead to such exhortations as generally fall under the character oftaste and see. In a sense, then, all of these voices are properly invoking Hume and heeding Godel. In this sense, then, in deliberating over the relationsbetween ideas and not rather matters of fact, we are merely about rearranging givens, dealing with analytic truths and logical derivations.Whatever is going on outside in the courtyard in these meta-epistemological deliberations has previously been formed and conditioned by our tenancywithin the cottage quid juris. In my view, a good description of the activities going on inside this cottage can best be captured under the lamplight provided byan account of the polanyian tacit dimension. It is also my thesis that this tacit dimension maps rather well over a) Maritain’s connaturality b) Peirce’sabduction c) non-intuitive immediate knowledge as conceived by Fries and advocated by Nelson d) Newman’s illative sense e) various epistemic desiderataof Platinga’s reformed epistemology f) even various epistemological strands in Eastern thought, Chinese, Indian and Buddhist inter alia. Even thoughrunning the risk of trivializing the distinctions between these approaches or too facilely claiming their complete overlap in my mapping exercise, let me makea few generalizations about them.What these accounts are about is the justification of the normative sciences. As such, they constitute grounding attempts of the dianoetic, coenoscopic or
  • 79. philosophical approaches, including the logical/noetical, aesthetical, ethical and relational enterprises. This justification process grapples with problems ofaxiomatization, causal disjunction, circular reference, ensemble vouching, infinite regress, godelian constraints on formalization and others. Moreinterestingly, however, this process is inescapably wrestling with problems of ineffability. This is due, in part, to the fact that, in our justification or groundingattempts of the dianoetic approaches, we appear to be discussing epistemic capacities of which people are not ordinarily aware, which is to say that we areconsidering human faculties of which we are ordinarily unconscious.For example, take this account from Maritains Range of Reason of his knowledge through connaturality, which he adds to reason and intuition as a form ofnonconceptual knowledge: “which is produced in the intellect but not in virtue of conceptual connections and by way of demonstration. ... ... ... In thisknowledge through union or inclination, connaturality or congeniality, the intellect is at play not alone, but together with affective inclinations and thedispositions of the will, and is guided and directed by them. It is not rational knowledge, knowledge through the conceptual, logical and discursive exercise ofReason. But it is really and genuinely knowledge, though obscure and perhaps incapable of giving account of itself, or of being translated into words."So, too, we see from Peirces account of abduction that he is discussing a faculty by which we make up new rules to explain novel and surprising facts,such abductive activities derived from the very structure of meaning, itself, as distinguished from any empirical hypotheses based on our sensoryexperience. In his account of abduction, in Peirces Divisions of Science, he describes truths of which “come within the range of every mans normalexperience” although they “escape the untrained eye precisely because they permeate our whole lives.” So it goes also in the accounts we come across in Nelson’s friesian criticism in his affirmation of non-intuitive immediate knowledge and, hence,hisrejection of the dogmatic disjunction of reflection and intuition. Regarding Newman’s illative sense, which “operates without rules and which is incapableof being fully formalized or articulated,” Martin Moleski further writes: “It would be a rhetorical error--perhaps even a logical impossibility--to attempt a formalproof that the illative sense is the center of informal reasoning.” Moleski quotes from both Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge and his Tacit Dimension: "Allknowledge is . . . either tacit or rooted in tacit knowing. This is why knowledge is always personal knowledge; were it not for the tacit dimension of knowing,there would be no bar to the systematic depersonalization of knowledge. Because the root of knowledge always descends into silence, we know more thanwe can tell. Whatever articulate knowledge we possess is the focal point of tacit, subsidiary awareness.” This is all well and good but there is still a question begging, which is: what, ergo, is to be gained by re-entering the cottage quid juris? Isn’t all of thiscourtyard repartee rather a matter to be taken up congenially over afternoon crumpets and tea in our faculty clubs, or even antipathetically when quaffinglight lagers in preparation for some virtual hermeneutical barroom brawl on an internet listserv? If there is something to be gained, how does one come tofancy such a notion? After all, haven’t we pretty much concluded that the justification and grounding of the coenoscopic, dianoetic and philosophicalapproaches, what Peirce has called our normative sciences, can proceed neither from proof (by way of logical derivation, analytic propositions ortautologies) nor from demonstration (display of an intuitive ground)?In other words, how could we possibly discover the very quid facti of the quid juris ?Friesian scholar Kelley Ross answers this in his discussion of Leonard Nelsons Socratic Method and Critical Philosophy: “[P]ropositions constituting the"critique of knowledge," i.e. epistemology itself, are empirical and a posteriori rather than non-empirical and a priori, as are the propositions of ethics andmetaphysics.” In Ross’ view, then, epistemological propositions, while proceeding neither from proof nor demonstration, can proceed from deduction. He points out thatsuch doesnt prove our epistemological propositions of non-intuitive immediate knowledge, but it does provide us the same cognitive force as any of ourdemonstrations of intuitive grounds. Thus it is we discover our faculties of non-intuitive immediate knowledge, connaturality, abduction, the illative sense, thetacit dimension, so to speak, our epistemic desiderata.Thus it is that such faculties can ground our coenoscopic, dianoetic and philosophical enterprises, justifying the normative sciences, according to Ross butin my lingo, using the same Socratic method and logic of falsification as employed in science, which is essentially the use of our imaginative faculties toconstruct rules to explain phenomena followed by the testing of the logical consequences of those rules against those phenomena (Ross lingo).This grounding remains provisional, which is to say, fallibilistic, even as the nondiscursive and ineffable are given some voice in this approach to truth thatcombines the coherence and correspondence theories. To me this moreso feels like an essential pragmatism that can then be nuanced and taken in manydifferent directions, all of which would embrace a robust empiricism, many affirming, in principle, an ontological undecidability, at least, or an ontologicalhypothetical, at best. After all, in principle, we don’t return from either nondual states of awareness (mysticism) or nonconceptual modes of knowledge (thevarious epistemic desiderata considered above) equipped with ontological conceptualizations, not even inchoately, at least not with anything that would beof use to others rationally, even if, hopefully, we do return with whatever consolations as might strengthen us to compassionately serve humankind whilealso aspiring to responsible stewardship of the cosmos.If we do consciously pursue metaphysics, then it is because we experience myriad efficacies in their provision of modeling power for this ever-elusivereality and we sense a progressive tightening of our epistemological grasps of this reality, this notwithstanding our built-in godelian constraints. We find thatwe are increasingly improving our cartographical skills as we interpretively map the landscape of reality, both regarding our internal milieu vis a vis ourstudies of consciousness in the theoretical cognitive sciences, as well as regarding our external environs vis a vis our studies of cosmology in thetheoretical physical sciences. Where direct evidence eludes us, we proceed in pursuit of indirect evidence, applying increasingly rigorous and powerfulstatistical analyses, in search of an indispensable explanatory adequacy, albeit perennially provisional.If we choose to eschew an explicit metaphysics, giving just a wink and a nod to those who’d attempt to articulate an implicit metaphysic for us, perhaps it isbecause we have surveyed the diverse philosophical and metaphysical categories, movements and schools, and have found them all to be cascading like awaterfall down a hermeneutical cliff, one collapsing metaphor after another after yet another, all serving no other purpose but to fog up the interpretivelandscape of reality with their rising mists of so many dense, obfuscatory droplets of jargonistic esoterica. Perhaps we have found that, in our case, such afog can only be burned away by the rising bright Helios of the perinoetic approach of science, which otherwise brilliantly illuminates reality’s horizon with itspenetrating inferential rays of induction, abduction and deduction, a stellar luminosity that apparently shines in whatever direction that horizon may seem torecede, even into the deepest structures of matter, even beyond the earliest moments after the Big Bang, perhaps even coming soon to a cartesian theaternear you [very near] ?What we all seem to agree on is that there is a great dance between chance and necessity, between the random and systematic, between chaos andorder, between paradox and pattern, between truth and falsity, between right and wrong, between good and evil, between the beautiful and ugly, between
  • 80. pleasure and pain, between love and hate. In this grand dosado, the above values seem to vary independently of one another, which is to say they exhibit apolynomic nature, the valences of their polarities yielding all sorts of ethical dilemmas, moral conundrums and theodicies. Kelley Ross has aptly describedthis polynomic reality using a slot machine metaphor where the valences/polarities of the values of right & wrong, good & bad, beautiful & ugly, sacred andunholy, are like separate rollers that give us a different combination with every pull of the arm in the game of life. The great religious traditions and ideologiescannot seem to even agree on what particular combinations yield various payoffs, much less a jackpot, or how such rewards come about in the first place.Somewhere between what Phil Hefner has described as our determinedness and embodiedness, on one hand, and as our autopoiesis and freedom, on theother hand, some of us have sneaking suspicions that we really are what Phil has called created co-creators, that the slot machine of life might still berigged such that, in our collective pull of the lever, the rollers are still wholly, wholly Holy. Others have a sneaking suspicion that this game of life remains,rather, through and through, a contingency, but they report that this doesn’t mean for them that it isn’t a glorious contingency or that this mysterium isn’tboth tremendum et fascinans ! I think we can all agree that it is a glorious contingency even while we may disagree on whether or not that description iscomprehensive and exhaustive?Kelley Ross explains in his friesian theory of religious value based on Ottos numinosity: "If religion offers consolation that the world makes ultimate senseand has a meaning or a purpose, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is holy things that present the tangible (or perhaps intangible) quality of thatconsolation. Religion therefore reassures us that deep in the nature of things, whether here or in the hereafter, all the positive aspects are together. Forreligion the holy is precisely how the positive aspects of value are connected."I have met both religious naturalists and religious supernaturalists, who have plumbed such sacred depths, who despite otherwise disparate hermeneuticshave confronted reality and its ambiguities and come away consoled, deeply grateful for life’s positive aspects, even if ever mindful of life’s negativeaspects. Why so grateful? How so consoled? Well, that doesn’t really lend itself to formal construction has been my whole thrust. I’m just glad to be hereand with gratitude to and for each of you.    Perhaps the naturalized epistemologists commitment is to science. Epistemology is to become a part of science, or at least to be pursued by "scientific method", if we canfigure out what the boundaries of that are. This is Quines line in his famous essay, "Epistemology Naturalized". Well, on any halfway plausible way of drawing boundariesaround "scientific method", the proposal to do epistemology only by scientific method would put virtually all actual epistemologists out of business - Quine included. At thispoint we might go back to trying to figure out what is allowable in a naturalistic reduction base for epistemological concepts, thus bringing us back to the kind of bafflementwe encountered in thinking about naturalistic philosophy of mind.What Is Naturalism,that We Should Be Mindful of It?William P. Alston, Ph.D.http://leaderu.com/aip/docs/alston-naturalism.htmlProfessor Alstons office number is 315-443-5815. Prof. Alstons e-mail address: wpalston@syr.eduIt is perhaps the tautological nature of hermeneutics that drives the adherents of opposing views a little crazy: Of course you would say THAT! fact-value dichotomy in the search for virtues of hypotheses   Hartshorne, Peirce, Polanyi, Putnam, Whitehead, HaughtPhysics and chemistry, therefore, not dealing with living and conscious beings as alive or conscious, but with all things only as constituted by matter and energy, do notinvestigate the values or disvalues of their objects, just as the European compositor setting up a text in Sanskrit knows only the shapes of the characters and nothing oftheir sound or meaning. Yet, while values and disvalues form no part of their subject-matter, physics and chemistry are necessarily guided, as intelligently conductedactivities, by cognitive or intellectual values. As Polanyi argues in Chapter 6 of Personal Knowledge, without personal appraisals by scientists of what is interestingto science, scientific research could not begin or would lack direction. There would be only the haphazard accumulation of meaningless data. Polanyi distinguished threetypes of scientific value: precision, generality of application or scope of illumination, and intrinsic interest, all of which are spread unevenly over the natural sciences.Furthermore, every intellectual enquiry has to be guided by standards for sorting the true from the false, established facts from uncertain ones, interesting facts andproblems from those which will tell us nothing new or significant, promising lines of enquiry from probable dead-ends, well-conducted from ill-conducted enquiry. Theyare what R.G. Collingwood called criteriological activities, ones which are not only rightly or wrongly performed, but ones of which the performers as they go alongnecessarily judge the success or failure of their own performances. Being trained in them includes coming to appreciate and observe the standards employed. All thisObjectivism cannot recognise, for its own standard for knowledge is one in which personal employment of standards has no place and would render it all `subjective.Richard T. AllenPOLANYIS OVERCOMING OF THE DICHOTOMY OF FACT AND VALUEhttp://www.kfki.hu/~cheminfo/polanyi/9602/polanyi1.htmlpositivist dichotomyfact valuedescription prescriptiongiven normativeis oughtanalytic theory synthetic facttautological theory empirical contentknowledge interest
  • 81.     As we progressively broaden our focus of concern, turning our attention from the empirical, to the rational, practical and hermeneutical, wemust reconsider what it is that makes an hypothesis virtuous.Metaphysics claims necessary truth. Peirce says that metaphysics is not factual: it is an analysis of concepts. It is not a study of contingent, empirical facts. It is theanalysis of concepts, but it gives us knowledge. Peirce says that just analyzing concepts can give us knowledge. CH What does an analysis of concepts entail? Justanalyzing concepts can give us knowledge, if we mean by analyzing concepts that we are analyzing metaphysical modality, which is exactly what Peirces 1stness,2ndness and 3rdness entails. jss     metaphysics is evaluative if not factual? wrong question, false dichotomy    1) To describe Reality, devise an Architectonic/Organon of Human Knowledge of Environing Realities, which would include ourselves.2) To describe ourselves, devise such an account as would include the Human Knowledge Manifold as an Environed Reality, which would include bothevaluative and rational continuua.3) When devising a model of epistemic virtue (values), avoid the usual (and many) overworked distinctions and employ the very real but often under-appreciated dichotomies.4) In our modal arguments for this or that reality, we must rigorously define and disambiguate our terms. Employ such criteria that, if met, will guarantee theconceptual compatibility of any attributes we employ in our conceptualizations of this or that reality. In order to be conceptually compatible, while, at thesame time, avoiding any absurdities of parodied logic, attributes must not be logically impossible to coinstantiate in our arguments and they must also bedescribed in terms that define a realitys negative properties. For an example, see: http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47897 and useyour edit/find browser facility to scroll down quickly to the first occurrence of the word “negativity” and then also for the name of philosopher “Richard Gale”5) In defining such attributes as will describe the various aspects of this or that reality, we must draw the proper distinctions between those aspects that arepredicated a) univocally b) equivocally or c) relationally vis a vis other realities. Univocal is defined as having one meaning only. Equivocal means subject totwo or more interpretations. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocalor analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationshipsbetween two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but if it is accidental we have animproper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even in physics, and they all eventually collapse.6) In our attempts to increase our descriptive accuracy of this or that reality, we must be clear whether we are proceeding through a) affirmation[kataphatically, the via positiva] b) negation [apophatically, the via negativa] or c) eminence [unitively, neither kataphatically nor apophatically but, rather,equivocally]. We must be clear whether we are proceeding a) metaphorically b) literally or c) analogically [affirming the metaphorical while invoking furtherdissimilarities].The best examples can be found in the book described at this url = http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-01937-9.html , Reality andMystical Experience by F. Samuel Brainard.7) We must be clear regarding our use of First Principles: a) noncontradiction b) excluded middle c) identity d) realitys intelligibility e) human intelligence f)the existence of other minds and such. See Robert Lane’s discussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm8) We must be mindful of godelian (and godelian-like) constraints on our argumentation: a) complete accounts in formal systems are necessarilyinconsistent b) consistent accounts in formal systems are necessarily incomplete and c) we can model the rules but cannot explain them within their ownformal symbol system [must re-axiomatize, which is to say prove them in yet another system, at the same time, suggesting we can, indeed, see the truth ofcertain propositions that we cannot otherwise prove]. We thus distinguish between local and global explanatory attempts, models of partial vs totalreality.See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödels_incompleteness_theorem9) We must employ semantical [epistemological] vagueness, such that for attributes a) univocally predicated, excluded middle holds and noncontradictionfolds b) equivocally predicated, both excluded middle and noncontradiction hold and c) relationally predicated, noncontradiction holds and excluded middlefolds. Ergo, re: First Principles, you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run. See Robert Lane’sdiscussion: http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm10) We must understand and appreciate the integral nature of the humanknowledge manifold (with evaluative and rational continuua) and Lonerganssensation, abstraction & judgment: sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, intuition & cognition, non- & pre-inferential, abductiveinference, inductive inference, deductive inference and deliberation.11) We must appreciate and understand the true efficacy of: abduction, fast & frugal decision-making, ecological rationality, evolutionary rationality,pragmatic rationality, bounded rationality, common sense; also of both propositional and doxastic justification, and affective judgment: both aesthetic andprudential, the latter including both pragmatic and moral affective judgment. See http://www.free-definition.com/Abduction-(logic).html12) We must draw the distinction between peircean argument (abduction, hypothesis generation) and argumentation (inductive & deductive inference).Seehttp://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Reli/ReliKess.htm13) We must draw a distinction between partial apprehension of a reality and total comprehension of a reality.14) We must employ dialectical analysis, properly discerning where our different accounts of this or that reality a) agree b) converge c) complement or d)dialectically reverse. We must distinguish between this dialectic and hegelian synthesis and resist false irenicism, facile syncretism and insidiousindifferentism, while exercising due care in our attempts to map conceptualizations from one account onto another. Also, we should employ our scholasticdistinctions: im/possible, im/plausible, im/probable and un/certain.15) We must distinguish between the different types of paradox encountered in our various attempts to describe this or that reality a) veridical b) falsidical c)conditional and d) antinomial. We must recognize that all metaphysics are fatally flawed and that their root metaphors will eventually collapse in trueantinomial paradox of a) infinite regress b) causal disjunction or c) circular referentiality [ipse dixit - stipulated beginning or petitio - question begging]. Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox16) As part and parcel of the isomorphicity implied in our epistemological vagueness, we must employ ontological vagueness, which is to say that we mustprescind from the necessary to the probable in our modal logic. This applies to the dance between chance & necessity, pattern & paradox, random &systematic, order & chaos.See http://uhavax.hartford.edu/moen/PeirceRev2.html and the distinctions between necessary and non-necessary reasoningsand also probable deductions.
  • 82. 17) We must properly integrate our classical causal distinctions such that the axiological/teleological [instrumental & formal] mediates between theepistemological [formal] and cosmological/ontological [efficient/material]. These comprise a process and not rather discrete events.This follows thegrammar that the normative sciences mediate between our phenomenology and our metaphysics. Seehttp://hosting.uaa.alaska.edu/afjjl/LinkedDocuments/LiszkaSynopsisPeirce.htm18) We must recognize the idea of emergence is mostly a heuristic device inasmuch as it has some descriptive accuracy but only limited predictive,hence, explanatory adequacy. It predicts novelty but cannot specify its nature. Supervenience is even more problematical, trivial when described as weak(and usually associated with strong emergence), question begging re: reducibility when described as strong (and usually associated with weakemergence).Seehttp://www.molbio.ku.dk/MolBioPages/abk/PersonalPages/Jesper/SemioEmergence.htmlSeehttp://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers/Commentary%20on%20Don%20Ross.htmSee http://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers.html19) We must avoid all manner of dualisms, essentialism, nominalism and a priorism as they give rise to mutual occlusivities and mutual unintelligibilities inour arguments and argumentations. The analogia relata (of process-experience approaches, such as the peircean and neoplatonic triadic relational) that isimplicit in the triadic grammar of all of the above-described distinctions and rubrics can mediate between the analogia antis (of linguistic approaches, suchas the scotistic univocity of being) and the analogia entis (of substance approaches, such as the thomistic analogy of being). This includes such triads asproodos (proceeding), mone (resting) and epistrophe (return) of neoplatonic dionysian mysticism. It anticipates such distinctions as a) the peirceandistinction between objective reality and physical reality b) the scotistic formal distinction c) the thomistic distinction between material and immaterialsubstance, all of which imply nonphysical causation without violating physical causal closure, all proleptical, in a sense, to such concepts as memes,Baldwinian evolution, biosemiotics, etc See http://consc.net/biblio/3.html20) We must avoid the genetic and memetic fallacies of Dawkins and Dennett and the computational fallacies of other cognitive scientists, all as describedby Deacon.See http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/srb/10-3edit.html21) We must denominate the "cash value" of getting our metaphysics correct in terms of the accuracy of our anthropologies and psychologies becausegetting our descriptive and normative accounts correct is preliminary to properly conducting our evaluative attempts, which will then inform the prescriptionswe devise for an ailing humanity and cosmos, rendering such prescriptions efficacious, inefficacious, and even harmful. This signals the importance of thedialogues between science, religion, philosophy and the arts. Further regarding “cash value” and the “pragmatic maxim” and all it might entail, asking whatdifference this or that metaphysical, epistemological or scientific supposition might make, if it were true or not, can clarify our thinking, such as betterenabling us to discern the circular referentiality of a tautology, e.g. taking existence as a predicate of being (rather than employing a concept such as“bounded” existence).22) We must carefully nuance the parsimony we seek from Occams Razor moreso in terms of the facility and resiliency of abduction and not necessarilyin terms of complexity, honoring what we know from evolutionary psychology about human abductive and preinferential process.Seehttp://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/p-scifor.htm See http://kybele.psych.cornell.edu/~edelman/Psych-214-Fall-2000/w7-3-outline.text23) At wits end, confronted with ineluctable paradox, in choosing the most compelling metaphysic, there is always the reductio ad absurdum. Andremember, whatever is going on in analytical philosophy, semeiotics and linguistics, you can know thus much is true: A single, even small, thermonuclearexplosion can ruin your whole day.24) Regarding multiverse accounts, Polkinghorne rejects any notion that science can say anything about same if science is careful and scrupulous aboutwhat science can actually say, and this may be true, but it does seem that such an explanatory attempt can be indirectly determined at least consonant withwhat we are able to directly observe and/or indirectly measure (thinking of Max Tegmarks ideas). It is plausible, for example, insofar as it is an attempt toexplain the apparent anthropic fine-tuning.25) Importantly, not all human knowledge is formal, which is what so much of the above has been about!26) The major philosophical traditions can be described and distinguished by their postures toward idealism & realism, rationalism & empiricism, which arerelated to their various essentialisms and nominalisms, which can all be more particularly described in terms of what they do with the PEM (excludedmiddle) and PNC (noncontradiction) as they consider peircean 1ns, 2ns and 3ns, variously holding or folding these First Principles as they move fromunivocal to equivocal and relational predications.27) With the peircean perspective taken as normative, PEM holds for 1ns and 2ns and PNC holds for 2ns and 3ns (hence, PNC folds for 1ns and PEMfolds for 3ns).28) In a nominalistic perspective, PNC folds for 3ns and classical notions of causality and continuity are incoherent.29) In an essentialistic perspective, PNC properly holds for 3ns but PEM is erroneously held for 3ns, suggesting that modal logic drives algorithmicallytoward the necessary and not, rather, the probable.30) The nominalist’s objection to essentialism’s modal logic of the necessary in 3ns is warranted but folding PNC in 3ns is the wrong response, renderingall notions of causality incoherent.. The essentialist’s objection to nominalism’s denial of any modal logic in 3ns is warranted but holding PEM in 3ns is thewrong response, investing reality with an unwarranted determinacy. The peircean affirmation of PNC in 3ns and denial of PEM in 3ns resolves suchincoherency with a modal logic of probability and draws the proper distinctions between the univocal, equivocal and relational predications, the univocalfolding PNC in 1ns, the equivocal folding PEM in 3ns and the relational holding PNC and PEM in 2ns.31) The platonic rationalist-realist perspective is impaired by essentialism. The kantian rationalist-idealist perspective is impaired by both essentialism andnominalism. The humean empiricist idealist perspective is impaired by nominalism. The aristotelian empiricist realist perspective, with a nuancedhylomorphism, is not impaired by essentialism or nominalism but suffers from substantialism due to its atomicity, which impairs relationality. Finally, even aprocess-relational-substantial approach must make the scotistic/peircean formal distinction between objective reality and physical reality. Radicallydeconstructive, analytical, and even pragmatist, approaches seize upon the folding of PNC in 1ns and then run amok in denying PNC in 3ns and sometimeseven 2ns. Phenomenologists bracket these metaphysical considerations. Existentialists argue over what precedes what, existence vs essence, losing sightof their necessary coinstantiation in 2ns in physical reality and failing to draw the proper distinction between the objective reality of an attribute (itsabstraction & objectification) and the physical reality where it is integrally instantiated. Neither essence nor existence precedes the other in physical reality;they always arrive at the scene together and inextricably intertwined.32) The peircean grammar draws necessary distinctions between univocal, equivocal and relational predications of different aspects of reality but, in sodoing, is a heuristic that does not otherwise predict the precise nature or degree of univocity, equivocity or relationality between those aspects. In thatsense, it is like emergentism, which predicts novelty but does not describe its nature or degree. To that extent, it no more resolves philosophy of mindquestions, in particular, than it does metaphysical questions, in general. What it does is help us to think more clearly about such issues placing differentperspectives in dialogue, revealing where it is they agree, converge, complement and disagree. Further, it helps us better discern the nature of theparadoxes that our different systems encounter: veridical, falsidical, conditional and antinomial, and why it is our various root metaphors variously extend orcollapse in describing different aspects of reality. It doesn’t predict or describe the precise nature of reality’s givens in terms of primitives, forces and axiomsbut does help us locate how and where univocal, equivocal and relational predications are to be applied to such givens by acting as a philosophical linguafranca between different perspectives and accounts. Where are reality’s continuities and discontinuities in terms of givens? The peircean grammar speaksto how they are related in terms of 1ns, 2ns and 3ns but not with respect to nature or origin or to what extent or degree (if for no other reason that not allphenomena are equally probable, in terms of 3ns). Is consciousness a primitive along with space, time, mass and charge? Is it emergent? epiphenomenal?explained by Dennett? described by Penrose? a hard problem as per Chalmers or Searle? an eliminated problem as per the Churchlands? an intractableproblem as per William James? Each of these positions can be described in peircean terms and they can be compared and contrasted in a dialogue thatreveals where they agree, disagree, converge and complement. They cannot be a priori arbitrated by the peircean perspective; rather, they can only beconsistently articulated and framed up hypothetically on the same terms, which is to say, in such a manner that hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive methods can be applied to them and such that a posteriori experience can reveal their internal coherence/incoherence, logicalconsistency/inconsistency, external congruence/incongruence, hypothetical consonance/dissonance and interdisciplinary consilience/inconsilience.
  • 83. 33) Do our various metaphysics collapse because of an encounter with paradox that is generated by a) the nature of the environing realities, which arebeing explained? b) the exigencies of the environed reality, which is explaining? or c) some combination of these? Is the paradox encountered veridical,falsidical, conditional or antinomial? Did we introduce the paradox ourselves or did an environing reality reveal its intrinsic paradoxical nature? We candescribe reality’s categories (such as w/ CSP’s phaneroscopy), a logic for those categories (such as CSP’s semeiotic logic) and an organon that relatesthese categories and logic (such as CSP’s metaphysical architectonic) and then employ such a heuristic in any given metaphysic using any given rootmetaphor. When we do, at some point, we will encounter an infinite regress, a causal disjunction or circular referentiality (petitio principii, ipse dixit, etc), andwe might, therefore, at some level, have reason to suspect that those are the species of ineluctable paradox that even the most accurate metaphysics willinevitably encounter. If circular referentiality is avoidable, still, infinite regress and causal disjunction are not and our metaphysics will succumb to one or theother, possibly because these alternate accounts present complementary perspectives of reality and the nature of its apparent continuities anddiscontinuities (as measured in degrees of probability or as reflected in the dissimilarities between various givens and their natures and origins, somebelonging to this singularity, some to another, this or another realm of reality variously pluralistic or not).34) What it all seems to boil down to is this: Different schools of philosophy and metaphysics are mostly disagreeing regarding the nature and degree, theorigin and extent, of continuities and discontinuities in reality, some even claiming to transcend this debate by using a continuum of probability. The manifoldand multiform assertions and/or denials of continuity and discontinuity in reality play out in the different conclusions of modal logic with respect to what ispossible versus actual versus necessary regarding the nature of reality (usually in terms of givens, i.e. primitives, forces and axioms), some even claimingto transcend this modal logic by substituting probable for necessary. Even then, one is not so much transcending the fray as avoiding the fray if one doesnot venture to guess at the nature and degree, origin and extent, of reality’s probabilities, necessities, continuities and discontinuities. Sure, the essentialistsand substantialists overemphasize discontinuities and the nominalists overemphasize continuities and the dualists introduce some false dichotomies, butanyone who claims to be above this metaphysical fray has not so much transcended these issues with a new and improved metaphysics as they havedesisted from even doing metaphysics, opting instead for a meta-metaphysical heuristic device, at the same time, sacrificing explanatory adequacy. This iswhat happens with the emergentistic something more from nothing but and also what happens in semeiotic logic (for infinite regress is just as fatal,metaphysically, as causal disjunction and circular referentiality).35) Evaluating Hypotheses:Does it beg questions?Does it traffic in trivialities? Does it overwork analogies?Does it overwork distinctions? Does it underworkdichotomies?Does it eliminate infinite regress?36) Not to worry, this is to be expected at this stage of humankind’s journey of knowledge. However, if the answer to any of these questions is affirmative,then one’s hypothesis probably doesn’t belong in a science textbook for now. At any rate, given our inescapable fallibility, we best proceed in a community ofinquiry as we pursue our practical and heuristic (both normative and speculative) sciences.37) Couching this or that debate in the philosophy of science in terms of dis/honesty may very well address one aspect of any given controversy. I haveoften wondered whether or not some disagreements are rooted in disparate approaches to epistemic values, epistemic goods, epistemic virtues, epistemicgoals, epistemic success, epistemic competence or whatever is truly at issue. I dont know who is being dishonest or not, aware or unawares, but I thinkone can perhaps discern in/authenticity in a variety of ways.38) In trying to sort through and inventory such matters, through time, I have come to more broadly conceive the terms of such controversies, not onlybeyond the notions of epistemic disvalue, epistemic non-virtue and epistemic incompetence, but, beyond the epistemic, itself. Taking a cue fromLonergans inventory of conversions, which include the cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious, one might identify manifold other ways to frustratethe diverse (but unitively-oriented) goals of human authenticity, whether through disvalue, non-virtue or incompetence.39) Our approach to and grasp of reality, through both the heuristic sciences (normative and theoretical) and practical sciences, in my view, is quite oftenfrustrated by the overworking of certain distinctions and the underworking of certain dichotomies, by our projection of discontinuities onto continuities andvice versa. And this goes beyond the issue of the One and the Many, the universal and the particular, the local and the global, beyond the disambiguationand predication of our terms, beyond the setting forth of our primitives, forces and axioms, beyond the truth of our premises and the validity of our logic,beyond noetical, aesthetical and ethical norms, beyond our normative/prescriptive, speculative/descriptive and pragmatic/practical enterprises, beyond allthis to living life, itself, and to our celebration of the arts --- to the relational.40) In this vein, one failure in human authenticity that seems to too often afflict humankind is the overworking of the otherwise valid distinctions between ourtruly novel biosemiotic capacities and those of our phylogenetic ancestry and kin, invoking such a human exceptionalism (x-factor) as divorces us fromnature of which were undeniably a part. Another (and related) failure, in my view, is the overworking of distinctions between the different capacities thatcomprise the human evaluative continuum, denying the integral roles played by its nonrational, prerational and rational aspects, by its ecological, pragmatic,inferential and deliberative rationalities, by its abductive, inductive and deductive inferential aspects, by its noetical, aesthetical and ethical aspects. Theseotherwise distinct aspects of human knowledge that derive from our interfacing as an environed reality with our total environing reality (environed vsenvironing realities not lending themselves to sharp distinctions either?) are of a piece, form a holistic fabric of knowledge, mirrored by reality, which is alsoof a piece, not lending itself fully to any privileged aspect of the human evaluative continuum, not lending itself to arbitrary dices and slices based upon anyhuman-contrived architectonic or organon of knowledge, for instance, as might be reflected in our academic disciplines or curricula.41) So, perhaps it is too facile to say religion asks certain questions and employs certain aspects of the human evaluative continuum, while philosophy asksothers, science yet others? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind has discovered, aposteriori, that such attempts invariably involve trafficking in question begging (ipse dixit, petitio principii, tautologies, etc) or trivialities or overworkedanalogies, often employ overworked distinctions or underworked dichotomies, often lack explanatory adequacy, pragmatic cash value and/or theauthentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankind nowmaintains, a priori, with Godel, that complete accounts are inconsistent, consistent accounts, incomplete? Maybe it is enough to maintain that sciencetraffics in formalizable proofs and measurable results from hypotheses that are testable within realistic time constraints (iow, not eschatological)?42) Or, maybe we neednt maintain even these distinctions but can say an hypothesis is an hypothesis is an hypothesis, whether theological or geological,whether eliminating or tolerating the paradox of infinity, and that the human evaluative continuum, if optimally (integrally and holistically) deployed, can aspireto test these hypotheses, however directly or indirectly, letting reality reveal or conceal itself at its pleasure --- but --- those hypotheses that are intractablyquestion begging or tautological, that overwork analogies and distinctions and underwork dichotomies, that lack explanatory adequacy and pragmatic cashvalue --- are, at least for now, bad science, bad philosophy, bad theology, bad hypotheses? They are not authentic questions? Pursue them if you must.Back-burner them by all means, ready to come to the fore at a more opportune time. But dont publish them in textbooks or foist them on the general publicor body politic; rather, keep them in the esoteric journals with a suitable fog index to match their explanatory opacity.43) In the above consideration, it was not my aim to resolve any controversies in the philosophy of science, in particular, or to arbitrate between the greatschools of philosophy, in general. I did want to offer some criteria for more rigorously framing up the debates that we might avoid talking past one another. Itdoes seem that certain extreme positions can be contrasted in sharper relief in terms of alternating assertions of radical dis/continuities, wherein somedistinctions are overworked into false dichotomies and some real dichotomies are ignored or denied.44) Thus it is that the different “turns” have been made in the history of philosophy (to experience, to the subject, linguistic, hermeneutical, pragmatic, etc).Thus it is that nominalism, essentialism and substantialism critique each other. Thus it is that fact-value, is-ought, given-normative, descriptive-prescriptivedistinctions warrant dichotomizing or not. Thus it is that the One and the Many, the universal and particular, the global and local, the whole and the part invitediffering perspectives or not. Thus it is that different aspects of the human evaluative continuum get singularly privileged without warrant such as in fideismand rationalism or that different aspects of the human architectonic of knowledge get over- or under-emphasized such as in radical ffundamentalism andscientism.45) Thus it is that certain of our heuristic devices get overworked beyond their minimalist explanatory attempts such as when emergence is described asweakly supervenient, which is rather question-begging, or as strongly supervenient, which is rather trivial. And yet one might be able to affirm some utility inmaking such distinctions as a weak deontology or weak teleology, or between the strongly and weakly anthropic?46) Thus it is that idealism and realism, rationalism and empiricism, fight a hermeneutical tug of war between kantian, humean, aristotelian and platonicperspectives, transcended, in part, even complemented by, the analytical, phenomenological and pragmatic approaches. Thus it is that various
  • 84. metaphysics must remain modest in their heuristic claims of explanatory power as we witness the ongoing blending and nuancing of substance, process,participative and semiotic approaches. Thus it is that our glorious -ologies get transmuted into insidious –isms.47) Thus it is that all of these approaches, whether broadly conceived as theoretical, practical and normative sciences (including natural sciences, appliedsciences, theological sciences and the sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics), or more narrowly conceived as the more strictly empirical sciences, offertheir hypotheses for critique by an authentic community of inquiry --- neither falling prey to the soporific consensus gentium (bandwagon fallacy) andirrelevant argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority) nor arrogating to one’s own hermeneutic some type of archimedean buoyancy for all sureknowledge, as if inescapable leaps of faith weren’t required to get past unmitigated nihilism and solipsism, as if excluded middle, noncontradiction and otherfirst principles could be apodictically maintained or logically demonstrated, as if knowledge and proof were indistinct, as if all human knowledge wasalgorithmic and could be formalized.48) Miscellany: In the peircean cohort of the American pragmatist tradition, one would say that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenologyand metaphysics, which could reasonably be translated into philosophy mediates between our scientific methodologies and our cosmologies/ontologies.So,there is a proper distinction to be made between our normative and theoretical sciences, both which can be considered heuristic sciences, and yet anotherdistinction to be made between them and what we would call our practical sciences.49) I think it would be fair to say that we can bracket our [metaphysics] and our [cosmologies & ontologies] when doing empirical science but, at the sametime, we do not bracket those aspects of philosophy that comprise our normative sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics, which contribute integrally andholistically to all scientific endeavors and human knowledge pursuits. At least for my God-concept, properly conceived, suitably employed, sufficientlynuanced, carefully disambiguated, precisely defined, rigorously predicated --- to talk of empirical measurement would be nonsensical.50) I more broadly conceive knowledge & "knowing" and my conceptualization turns on the distinction between knowing and proving, the latter consisting offormal proofs. Since a God-concept would comprise a Theory of Everything and we know, a priori, from Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, that we cannotprove such employing any closed formal symbol system, a "proof" of God is out of the question.51) Charles Sanders Peirce offers another useful distinction, which turns on his observations regarding inferential knowledge, which includes abduction,induction and deduction. Abductive inference is, in a nutshell, the generation of an hypothesis. The peircean distinction is that between an argument andargumentation. Peirce offers, then, what he calls the "Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," which amounts to an abduction of God, distinguishingsame from the myriad other attempts to prove Gods existence, whether inductively or deductively through argumentation. Even the scholastic andthomistic "proofs" realize their efficacy by demonstrating only the reasonableness of certain beliefs, not otherwise aspiring to apodictic claims or logicallyconclusive demonstrations. Peirce made another crucial distinction between the "reality" of God and the "existence" of God, considering all talk of Godsexistence to derive from pure fetishism, affirming in his own way, I suppose, an analogy of being rather than a univocity.52) Given all this, one may find it somewhat of a curiosity that Godel, himself, attempted his own modal ontological argument. Anselms argument, likelyconsidered the weakest of all the classical "proofs" of God, was first called the "ontological" argument by Kant and was more recently given impetus byHartshornes modal formulation. I think these arguments by Godel and Hartshorne would be more compelling if the modal category of necessary waschanged to probable and if the conceptual compatibility of putative divine attributes was guaranteed by employing only negative properties for such terms. Atany rate, that Godel distinguished "formal proof" from "knowing" is instructive, I think, and his attempt at a modal ontological argument is also revealing,suggesting, perhaps, that one neednt make their way through half of Whitehead and Russell’s Principia in order to "know" that 2 + 2 = 4, but, rather, thatwould be necessary only to "prove" same.53) I would agree that the statement, God cannot be measured, is true for science as narrowly conceived as natural science. More broadly conceived,science includes theology as a discipline and many typologies of the science-religion interface would, for instance, affirm the notion of hypotheticalconsonance between the disciplines. Much of Hans Kungs work entailed an elaborate formulation of the God hypothesis, not empirically testable by anymeans, but, which uses nihilism as a foil to proceed reductio ad absurdum toward what Kung calls a fundamental trust in uncertain reality that, given asuitable and "working" God-hypothesis, is not otherwise nowhere anchored and paradoxical. Another focus of theology as a scientific discipline is that ofpractical theology where orthopraxis might be considered to authenticate orthodoxy.54) Strong cases have been made by historians of science that sustainable scientific progress was birthed in the womb of a belief in creatio ex nihilo, inother words, a belief in the contingent nature of reality, which, when combined with the Greek belief in realitys rationality, provided the cultural matrix forsciences explosive growth in the Christian West.55) I suppose there is an element of the aesthetic that guides one toward such an interpretation as Bohms rather than Bohrs, Chalmers, Searle orPenrose rather than Dennett, the Churchlands or Crick, Pascal rather than Nietzsche --- but something else is going on, and it is not time-honored, whenanyone chooses info to fit an interpretation, which is a different enterprise from the formulation of alternative interpretations that are hypothetically consonantwith whatever info is available at the time.56) To say more succinctly what I elaborate below: Approaching facts is one matter, rules another, and facts about rules, yet another. Theres no explainingor justifying rules within their own systems and one hops onto an epistemological pogo stick, incessantly jumping to yet another system with suchexplanatory/justificatory attempts (cf. Godel). Thankfully, Popperian falsification short circuits rule justification in our pursuit of facts and the reductio adabsurdum (with some caveats) short circuits formal philosophy in our pursuit of rule justification, which is otherwise, inescapably, going to be questionbegging, rendering our metasystems, in principle, tautological. An example of a caveat there is that one overworks the humean dictum re: existence as apredicate of being when asserting that existence cannot be taken as a predicate of being -- because it certainly can. One underappreciates the humeanperspective when one forgets that taking existence as a predicate of being is a tautology. But so are all metaphysics, which are all fatally flawed. None ofthis is about escaping all antinomial paradox but, rather, finding the metasystem least susceptible to multiple births of paradox, least pregnant with paradox --- or, finding that metasystem which, however fatally flawed, is least morbid.57) In dealing with metasystem formulations, inevitably, we must confront the time-honored question: random or systematic? chance or necessity? order orchaos? pattern or paradox? At least, for me, this seems to capture the conundrum at issue.This conundrum is ubiquitous and presents itself not only inmetaphysics but in physics, not only in speculative cosmology and the quantum realm but also in speculative cognitive science and the realm ofconsciousness. This is reminiscent of the dynamic in the TV gameshow, Jeopardy, for these dyads --- of random, chance, chaos, paradox vis a vissystematic, necessity, order, pattern --- offer themselves as answers to a larger question posed in a bigger framework. That question might be framed as:What is it that mediates between the possible and the actual?58) My brain loves that question and pondering the implications of those dyads seems to help keep my neurotransmitters in balance, quite often firing offenough extra endorphins to help me pedal my bike an extra mile or two, any given day. That question presents when we consider reality both locally andglobally, particularly or universally, in part or as a whole. I have pondered such extensively as set forth here: http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/epistemic.htm and elsewhere http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/merton.htm [links at the top of this page] and one day I may take on thetask of making such musings more accessible. For now, it seems that I have practiced the Franciscan virtue of seeking to understand rather than to beunderstood and turned it into a vice, practicing it to a fault.59) I will say this: Science is a human convention, an agreement entered into by an earnest community of inquiry. It seems to operate on a consensusregarding 1) primitives (space, time, mass and energy/charge) 2) forces (strong and weak, electromagnetic and gravity) and 3) axioms (laws ofthermodynamics and so forth) and the relationships they reveal as this community proceeds via 4) popperian falsification, which, as Popper properlyunderstood and many others do not, is not, itself, falsifiable. There are no strict lines between physics and metaphysics inasmuch as any tweaking of thesecategories by theoretical scientists is meta-physical, for instance, such as by those whod add consciousness as a primitive, quantum gravity as a forceand statistical quantum law as an axiom. The crossing-over from philosophy to science and from metaphysics to physics by this or that notion is not somuch determined a priori as based on any given attributes of a particular idea regarding primitives, forces and axioms but, rather, takes place when suchcan be framed up in such a manner as it can be empirically falsified. We know this from the history of philosophy, science and metaphysics -- although thepace of cross-over has slowed a tad.60) Framing up reality in falsifiable bits and pieces is no simple matter to one who agrees with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imagine butstranger than we can imagine. Still, as is born into our very nature as epistemological optimists, we might temper this view by taking Chestertons counsel
  • 85. that we do not know enough about reality, yet, to say that it is unknowable. We just do not know, a priori, either where we will hit an explanatory wall orwhere we will break through same, this notwithstanding such as G. E. Pughs remark to the effect that if the brain were simple enough for us to understandit, we would be so simple that we couldnt.61) What we do know, a priori, are our own rules and conventions and we can predict whether or not an explanatory wall will either be hit or penetrated ---but only if we narrowly conceive of that wall as being built with the bricks of empirical evidence and the mortar of formal proofs. An explanatory wall thusconceived is indeed subject to godelian constraints, which allow us to model rules that we are otherwise precluded from explaining. In reality, though, onewould commit the equivalent of an epistemological Maginot Line blunder if one built her explanatory wall exclusively of such materials, for, as we know, alarge portion of human knowledge lies outside of any such a narrowly conceived epistemic structure. Indeed, we know far more than we can ever prove (orfalsify)62) Now, to be sure, we must remain well aware that we are freely choosing our axioms and first principles and that, consistent with godelian and popperianconstraints, they can neither be logically demonstrated, a priori, nor scientifically falsified, a posteriori. We should keep an eye open, too, to the critiques ofDescartes, Hume and Kant, insofar as they seem to have anticipated, in many ways, these godelian and popperian formalizations, as well as some of thedynamics explored by the analytical cohort. What I personally cannot countenance, however, is any epistemological caving in to such constraints andcritiques (cartesian, kantian and humean); the proper response, if the normative sciences are to retain any sway whatsoever, would seem, rather, to be atrading in of any naive realism for a critical realism (staying mostly aristotelian cum neoplatonic?). So, too, the humean fact-value distinction, worthconsidering, should not be overworked into a false dichotomy?63) If, in our inescapable fallibility, we have been dispossessed of any apodictic claims to necessity and logical demonstrations of our first principles, still,we do have at our disposal the judicious use of the reductio ad absurdum as our backdoor philosophy. True enough, the counterintuitive is not, in and ofitself, an infallible beacon of truth, for science has demonstrated many counterintuitive notions to be true, given certain axioms. Nonetheless, absent anydemonstration to the contrary and guided by an earnest community of inquiry, would we not do best to reject such as solipsism and radical nihilism, and toembrace noncontradiction and excluded middle (within the norms suggested by both epistemological and ontological vagueness, which is anotherexhuastive consideration)?64) So, yes, in freely choosing such axioms as we might employ in our attempt to answer the question --- What mediates between the possible and theactual? --- we are free to opt for chance or necessity, for order or chaos, for pattern or paradox, for the random or systematic, and we are free to apply suchan option locally and/or globally, particularly or universally, to the whole of reality or to any part, and no one can dispossess us, through formal proof or withempirical evidence, of our chosen axioms. And, yes, once we have chosen such axioms, such meta-systems, we must recognize that, fundamentally, theyare clearly tautological by design and in principle, and that any apologetic for same will be rather question begging. [Every time we open an ontologicalwindow, reality closes an epistemological door, I like to say.] The only recourse we have that seems to be at all compelling is the old reductio ad absurdum,taking this or that set of axioms, applying them to reality as best we have come to grasp same, and, after extrapolating it all to some putative logicalconclusion, then testing it all for congruence with reality (and with whatever else happens to be in that suite of epistemological criteria as might comprisethis or that community of inquirys epistemic desiderata).65) As a relevant aside, I have found that we best modify our modal ontological logic of possible, actual and necessary to possible, actual and probable,which allows one to prescind from the dyads of chance/necessity, order/chaos, pattern/paradox, random/systematic --- as these more and more seem todescribe distinctions that should not be overworked into dichotomies, not that I am an inveterate peircean triadimaniac -- for I am, rather, a pan-entheistictetradimaniac (seems to me to be the least pregnant, anyway).66) What mediates between the possible and the actual? Probably, the probable. [And that may be the window Reality opened for Hefners co-creators asGod shrunk from the necessary? And that may be the future-oriented rupture between our essential possibilities and their existential realizations in Haughtsteleological account of original sin?]67) When the Beatles were with the Maharishi in India, at the end of one session, he offered anyone who was interested a ride back to the compound withhim on his helicopter. John volunteered. When later queried about why he decided to go, John quipped: "Because I thought hed slip me the answer." jb isgoing to slip you the answer.Ever heard of the pragmatic maxim?In my words, jbs maxim, it translates into What would you do differently if you had theanswer? [And it doesnt matter what the question is or that it necessarily be THE question, whatever that is.] Now, if Lonergans conversions --- cognitive,moral, affective, sociopolitical and religious --- were all fully effected in a human being and that person were truly authentic in lonerganian terms, mostlytransformed in terms of classical theosis, then how would an authentic/transformed human answer the question: What would you do differently if you hadthe answer?S/he would answer thusly: Nothing.68) Thats what I really like most about lovers. Ive seen them struggle with all these questions and have even seen them afflicted by these questions to anextent, but lovers are clearly among those for whom I know the answer to the above-question is: Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.Thats the epitome of unconditionallove and thats the essence of the Imago Dei.And that is a small comfort ... so, its a good thing that comfort is not what its all about, Alfie. Carry on. Docarry on69) In another vein, all of philosophy seems to turn on those three big questions of Kant: What can I know? What can I hope for? What must I do?The astuteobserver might recognize that these questions correspond to truth, beauty and goodness and have been answered by philosophers in terms of logic,aesthetics and ethics and by religions in terms of creed, cult and code. They also correspond to the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love and toour psychological faculties of the cognitive, affective and moral (again, think Lonergan). At some point on my journey, I rested and answered thesequestions thusly: I dont know and I dont need to know. I dont feel and I dont need to feel. I love and I need to forgive.All of a sudden --- I kid ya not --- allmanner of truth, beauty and goodness started chasing me rather than vice versa! If we frame the issue in terms of foci of concern, then the scientific focuswill be more narrowly defined than the theological. The first is positivistic, the latter, philosophic.70) The scientific focus looks at facts through the lens of popperian falsification. It structures its arguments formally and thus employs mathematics andother closed, formal symbol systems through which it can establish correspondence between those parts of reality we agree to call givens: primitives(space, time, mass/charge, energy), forces (weak, strong, electromagnetic, gravity) and axioms (conservation, thermodynamics). It seeks to providedescriptive accounts of these parts of reality and deals in proofs.71) The philosophic focus is a wider perspective, which is to say it embraces additional concerns by looking through the lenses of the normative sciencesof logic, aesthetics and ethics. It looks at rules. Its arguments are not formally constructed but it does try to establish coherence in its accounts of reality. Itseeks to provide evaluative accounts of reality as a whole and deals in justifications.72) Lonergan scholar, Daniel Helminiak, defines two additional foci of concern, which are progressively wider perspectives, the theistic and theotic, thelatter having to do with human transformation in relation to God (and which might represent one of many perspectives presented at Star).73) Broader perspectives, wider foci of concern, do not invalidate the narrower foci, if for no other reason, then, because they are focusing on differentaspects of reality, in fact, additional aspects.74) In Jeffs frontier town, out on the working edge of science, any novel concepts being introduced must indeed be precisely specified in the language ofscience, which is to say one must introduce a novel primitive, force or axiom, or a novel interaction between existing givens, into a closed, formal symbolsystem like mathematics. This novelty can then be tested for correspondence with reality, in other words, factuality, through popperian falisfication (which isnot itself falsifiable).75) As for unfortunate trends among scientists, philosophers and theologians, descriptively, in terms of blurred focus, these are manifold and varied with nomonopolies on same? I am time-constrained, wrote this hurriedly and must run. My next consideration was going to be Theories of Everything and how theyshould be categorized and why? Any ideas?76) Obviously, I could not elaborate a comprehensive organon/architectonic of human knowledge categories in only four paragraphs and thus did not drawout such distinctions as, for instance, the very living of life, itself, from the arts, the practical sciences, the heuristic sciences, the theoretical sciences, thenormative sciences and so on. The particular point I was making, however, more particularly turned on the distinction between those matters in life whichwe prove versus those which we otherwise justify. As a retired bank chairman/president, I must say that it would have pleased me very much, too, to have
  • 86. seen the justice system derive more of its rules from logic. Note, also, the operative word, derive, and youll have some sense of how my elaboration willunfold77) Because one of the manifold criteria for good hypotheses vis a vis the scientific method is the making of measurable predictions in the context ofhypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning, we might properly talk about proof as being more broadly conceived, our descriptive accounts lendingthemselves to measurements (and hypothetical fecundity). Of course, induction, itself, is not formal logic, anyway78) Those trends that frighten me the most are the different fundamentalisms (including both the religious fundamentalisms and enlightenmentfundamentalism or scientism).79) By Theory of Everything (TOE). I mean such as M-theory, superstrings, quantum gravity, unified field theory, etc in the realm of theoretical physics. Ibelieve there are metamathematical problems that inhere in such a TOE as set forth in Godels incompleteness theorems. This is not to suggest a TOEcould not be mathematically formulated but only to say it could not, in principle, be proven. Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldnt be formallydemonstrated, we wouldnt otherwise know wed discovered same.80) A long time ago, my graduate research was in neuroendocrinology Also, the emergentist heuristic of something more from nothing but may haveimplications for some of the difficulties that remain in our understanding of consciousness? As far as philosophic accounts of same, my overall theologicalperspective doesnt turn on whether or not Dennett, Searle, Chalmers, Penrose, Ayn Rand or the Churchlands are correct (vis a vis the positivisticelements of their accounts), although, presently, Im leaning toward Deacons rather peircean biosemiotic perspective.81) For me to have written this: "Neither is this to suggest that, because it couldnt be formally demonstrated, we wouldnt otherwise know wed discoveredsame," maybe I was talking about both? I purposefully left the categorization of any TOE open to tease out different perspectives. My take, to avoid being toocoy, is that a TOE requires more than a positivistic focus. It necessarily involves a broadening of our scientific focus to embrace the additional concerns ofthe philosophic. Some folks go further.82) Its my guess that Baldwinian evolution captures many imaginations because it employs the notion of downward causation. Furthermore, if one framesup the problem of consciousness biosemiotically, in some sense one recovers the classic aristotelian notions of material, formal and final causality.Exciting? Yes. But ...83) However, one doesnt need to a priori dismiss cartesian dualism and neither does one need to a priori embrace a fully reductionistic philosophy of mind(including the physical causal closure of the universe) to, at the same time, recognize that such biosemiotic accounts do not, necessarily, violate knownphysical laws or the idea of physical causal closure. In other words, there can be strong and weak versions of downward causation, both being bothnonphysical and nonreductive, and the emergentistic, biosemiotic account of evolving complexity utilizes the weak version. This does involve a work-aroundof frameworks that employ strictly efficient causation.84) What might some of us do with our imaginations? Well, we might invoke various analogies from different physical and/or semiotic accounts to ourphilosophic, metaphysical and even theological accounts. And, sometimes, we might lose sight of how progressively weak these analogies can become.85) I suppose I could at least be pleased that Dawkins did not consider mystics and obscurantists to be a redundancy? My charitable interpretation wouldbe that he recognized that the conscious and deliberate invocation of analogies by authentic mystics, who have their eyes open to this analogical dynamic(apophatically inclined as they are!), is valid (even if he might impute little pragmatic cash value to same), while, for their part, the obscurantists might evenaltogether deny the metaphorical and analogical nature of their extrapolations (not necessarily in bad faith). [The evidence in favor of a charitableinterpretation is not being weighed here.] At any rate, the medieval scotistic notion of the formal distinction, the peircean distinction between objective andphysical reality, and the semiotic notion of form realism dont invite ghosts into machines or gods into gaps. Metaphorically and analogically, andmetaphysically, however, different notions of causation are ... let me say ... interesting.86) All that said, consciousness remains way overdetermined, scientifically speaking, as well as, philosophically speaking, both epistemologically andontologically open (as far as strongly emergent, weakly supervenient systems are concerned, not to say that supervenience might not be a rather trivialnotion). Pugh may be on to something: If our brains were so simple we could understand them, we would be so simple that we couldnt (or something likethat). I submit we have no a priori justification for selecting a philosophy of mind and precious little a posteriori warrant either. Gun to my head, however, Ilike Deacon (and his important nuances of the accounts of Dennett and Dawkins re: memetic, genetic and computational fallacies).87) Godels relevance to a TOE is controversial. Id be willing to argue both sides. But let me agree with you by suggesting physics is formal and physicists(and Nature and God) are not, by drawing a distinction between proving and knowing, by recognizing that even if a TOE was mathematically formulated in apositivistic/descriptive framework, wed have to fall back on our philosophic/evaluative framework to justify our faith in it.88) In reading Hawkings take on Godels relevance to a TOE he does seem to draw an obvious direct metamathematical connection? But I cannot say thathe did so unequivocally because almost everything else he said after that clearly invoked Godel analogously. So, at the very least, per Hawking, a physicaltheory is going to be Godel-like (M-theory per his discussion). Hawkings lecture can be heard here:http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/strtst/dirac/hawking/audio.ram89) I can better wrap my positivistic mind around a weak anthropic principle in the same way I can accept weak versions of downward causation and weakdeontological ethics even as I do not a priori rule out the strong versions. Heideggers question has been rephrased, lately, as Why is there something andnot rather something else? and this makes the strong anthropic principle more compelling in some philosophic frameworks (but understandably trivial inothers). Wittgensteins Its not how things are but that things are which is the mystical doesnt sway those whod not take existence as a predicate of being,but what about a bounded existence, a universe in a multiverse, in a pluralistic reality? Maybe there is some univocity of being (Duns Scotist) and someanalogy of being (thomism), too? [For instance, a pan-entheism is monistic, dualistic and pluralistic.]90) Chesterton said that we do not know enough about reality to say that it is unknowable and Haldane says that reality is not only stranger than we imaginebut stranger than we can imagine. They can both be correct. If humankind does formulate a TOE, it could well be something we have stumbled over andnot rather worked out through hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning/imagination. It not only takes faith and the evaluative aspect of the humanknowledge manifold to believe a TOE might be found. Those epistemic faculties would also necessarily be involved in the recognition that it had indeedbeen found.91) To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking various(and sometimes substantial)degrees of epistemological parity between the worlds great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) toargue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with thephilosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered thesewith fideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm ofepistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility.92) Perhaps we can say that for me to make such points on the IRASnet or MetaNexus would be a preaching to the choir, for the most part, and that nodiscipline has adopted that usage in a long time. In that case, I agree that I might have drawn an unnecessary distinction. Perhaps we can also suggest,however, that not everyone, perhaps even most (the un-disciplined), have been successfully evangelized and that our task is not done, our work isotherwise unfinished, and the distinction for that audience thus remains pertinent?93) Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians weretaught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5)uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended tothe probable, by some.94) The distinction Id offer here is something like Hume makes re: skepticism and induction. It is the distinction between the theoretical and the practical.Even if a TOE is beyond our grasp strictly theoretically speaking, all TOEs being fatally flawed in principle, still, from a practical perspective, I think it is fair tosay that we may be able to justify our belief in a TOE, someday, in a universally compelling manner. Does this undermine my assertions re: Godel? I wouldsay that I meant that it is possible my assertions could be undermined. How plausible or probable?
  • 87. 95) Since I am working on another project re: Criteria for Articulating a TOE, I used Michaels evocative query as a springboard in constructing myepistemological preamble to that project. Below is my original response, which I then edited and sent along just now as a much shorter version. I think TOEdiscussions are central to the dialogue between science and religion. However, they are notoriously difficult to air out on listserv forums because too muchrenormalization is required to translate all hermeneutics into a single lingua franca with logically compatible concepts and axioms. With that caveat, here itis for the few who may be interested.96) To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope), and to the extent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking various(and sometimes substantial) degrees of epistemological parity between the worlds great, extant weltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) toargue this point in favor of your conclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself with epistemological strawmen or shadowboxing with thephilosophical ghosts of yesteryear, who advocated logical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism and such or who countered thesewith fideism, radical religious fundamentalism and such, such advocacies and counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of the realm ofepistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance an excessive epistemological humility.97) Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic realism) employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarians weretaught to place, in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether a proposition was: 1) impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5)uncertain 6) plausible 7) probable 8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual and c) the necessary, the latter has been amended tothe probable. In semiotic logic, the application of first principles has been nuanced such that excluded middle and noncontradiction hold or fold based onmodal categories under consideration (for the possible, NC folds but EM holds; for the actual, NC & EM hold; for the probable, NC holds but EM folds). Suchmodal logic reflects ontological vagueness. Such semiotic logic reflects semantical or epistemological vagueness. Alas, these are oversimplifications, butthey fit your thesis (and mine).98) Of course, a TOE would be, at best, consistent but incomplete. That it would thus not be absolute follows from any Godel-like implications (arguablyeven directly from Godel). It then follows that, having no recourse to apodictic proof, we are thrown back on the resources of our evaluative continuum as itworks in conjunction with the other aspects of the human knowledge manifold (sensation, perception, cognition, rational continuum, etc), normativelyguiding and regulating and largely capacitating them. It thus qualifies my godelian assertions only in the sense that such constraints are not overcome byJOTS (jumping outside the system, as some cavalierly suggest) to the extent that we are forever chasing the axioms for our axioms but are overcome byJOTS to the extent that we accept all attempts to justify a TOE as fatally flawed from a theoretical perspective but not necessarily from a practicalperspective. The godelian-like implications, though not couched in this manner, are well-inventoried by Suber in his The Problem with Beginning.99) So, what constitutes very persuasive? Is it not an issue of justification? And you have properly gathered my whole thrust regarding the epistemologicalparity of many of our extant alternate worldviews: they all fallback on justification attempts. And this brings us to the issue of epistemic virtue and vice andhow humankind might best define same as a community of inquiry, whose foci of concern variously overlap or not and do so with great existential importand tremendous implications for the therapies we devise for what ails us. Finally, we can arbitrate between the worldviews once we have established aconsensus on epistemic norms, but, if we had those in place, even now, we dont have enough info to apply them to everyones complete satisfaction.(However, lets not forget that many are ALREADY and not, rather, Almost Persuaded, as it is re: their worldviews).100) Alas, this brings us back, full circle, to the question of whether or not it is just too early to tell how a universally compelling TOE might unfold or whetheror not we will ever truly unweave the rainbow and all of its antecedent causes, theoretically or practically. The following constitutes a longer response to anabove-question.101) The art of epistemological nuance, as I imbibed it from Mothers knee, albeit as an unconscious competent, was handed down to me, not from the longtraditions of thomism and scotism (which well articulated same), but, from the longer tradition of patristic theology (including dionysian mysticism and otherneoplatonic influences, which would inform our aristotelian perspectives). My present intuition, which I cannot substantiate but will investigate further (someday), is that my epistemological heritage goes back past the early church fathers, even, to the mytho-poetic-practical mindset of the semitic imaginationcirca Hebrew Testament days. Let me elaborate.102) As one looks at the human knowledge manifold, from sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition,inference & deliberation, from instinctive to affective to cognitive, from nonrational to prerational to rational to suprarational, from noninferential topreinferential to inferential to postinferential, or any way one prefers to dice it and slice it, I suppose it is not entirely clear, anthropologically, how and whendifferent peoples integrally deployed these different aspects. For example, suppose we assume that some of these aspects constitute what we might callthe evaluative continuum of the human knowledge manifold, while others moreso represent the rational continuum (all of which is tightly integrated).103) Another correspondent has argued with me over whether or not the early semitic imagination employed any type of inference (more commonly knownas abduction, induction, deduction & transduction). My guess was that surely it did and that the proper distinction between the semitic and hellenisticmindsets, lets say ca. when the Christian tradition was in formation, would not be the latters employment of inference but, rather, the hellenisticemployment of formal/abstract inference in addition to any informal/concrete inference. Inference, not otherwise distinguished, is simply abduction,induction and deduction. To say that the mytho-poetic-practical mindset did not use humanitys full cognitive capacities, which I do think is possible, maybeeven plausible, is not to say that it did not engage the inferential aspects of the human knowledge manifold. Rather, one is suggesting that, perhaps, it didnot develop formal operational abilities. It undoubtedly would have developed transductive, inductive and deductive reasoning and would even have thoughtabductively about such things as coordinated action. Still, such reasoning, if concretely operational and not formally operational, would not employ thehypothetico-deductive or scientific-inductive reasoning that requires both a more robust abductive facility as well as abstract conceptual abilities.104) Now, one might also say that many of the hellenistic mindset did not use humanitys full human knowledge manifold either insofar as manyoveremphasized, to a fault, the employment of the rational continuum without acknowledging the role of the evaluative continuum. (I have a friend whomourns the day Athens met Jerusalem). All that said, there was apparently a gravitation toward inductive inference in the semitic and deductive in thehellenistic.105) We discussed previously that not all logic is binary, that some is fuzzy and contextual-relational, that we seek symmetry and patterns. The Hebrewliterature is replete with concrete inductive and deductive inference. It gifts us with a heightened awareness of patterns in creation, for instance. The geniusof the mytho-poetic-practical mind renders such inference wisdom and not merely reason. That genius embodies everything that gives the peirceanperspective some of its advantage (while it also has its disadvantages) over the classical philosophical traditions insofar as it is concrete, dynamic,wholistic and relational over against abstract, static, dualistic and ontological (iow, escapes essentialism, nominalism, substantialism, dualism).106) It is Our Story (hence the impetus behind Everybodys Story) that unifies and gives value to our experience, so we do not want to ignore thisindispensable unifying element of the evaluative continuum and concrete inferences (and faith, iow) even as we do (and must) transcend the mythical-literalaspect. We must proactively engage affective judgment and imaginative-intuitive thinking integrally, holistically, in conjunction with inferential thinking(whether concretely or abstractly) for optimal inferential performance is my view. (Scientists with keen aesthetic sensibilities have an advantage?) Abstract,formal inferential thinking, including the hypothetico-deductive and scientific-inductive, of the formal operational stage of cognitive development, is a morallyneutral activity, which can assist virtue or vice, which can become a fetish, but so can any other aspect of the human knowledge manifold (evaluative andrational continuua) that asserts its autonomy and denies any relationality with the other aspects.107) Theres a lot going on in philosophy that is analogous to whats going on in math (and metamathematics). There is a lot going on in metaphysics that isanalogous to whats going on in theoretical physics. In a nutshell, there are a lot of different systems with different axioms and it requires so much carefulpredication, high nuancing and disambiguation of concepts before everyone is reading from the same sheet of music that most popular philosophicaldiscussion consists of people talking past one another. Consider the renormalization required in physics as attempts are made at a grand unified theorybecause the natures of the alternate decriptions (quantum vs field vs gravity and such) are logically and mutually exclusive. Well, something like that isrequired in metaphysics as we jump back and forth between substance accounts, process accounts, substance-process accounts, participative accounts,semiotic accounts and so on. Each account attempts to eliminate the ambiguity (paradox) in the next account and creates new ambiguities of its own.Everytime a philosopher or metaphysician opens a new hermeneutical window, the axiomatic backdraft shuts another epistemological door. Any attempt tohalt an infinite regress seems to introduce some type of causal disjunction. Any attempt at self-consistency introduces circular-referentiality. Attempts tobanish such tautologies introduce stipulated beginning (ipse dixit) and question begging (petitio) fallacies. Our justification attempts can also fallback on theresources of faith and noncognitive strategies. Paradox is inescapable. There is no consistent account that is complete. There is no complete account that
  • 88. is consistent. These accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocal can be either simply equivocal or analogical.The analogical can be attributive (if real causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in the relationships between twodifferent pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportinality but if it is accidental we have an improperproportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even if physics, and they all eventually collapse.108) These accounts are not Nature, so the godelian constraints and godelian-like constraints and attendant justification problems dont apply to Nature perse but only to our attempts to describe nature, which are abstractions. Maybe the clarification we seek is located in the distinction between a TOE as itmight exist in some platonic heaven and one as might be abstracted by an earthly abstractor. I cannot conceive of how the latter would even be possibleusing human inferential capacities to the extent a TOE is predicated as a metaphysic and with all metaphysics being pregnant with some form of paradox(some multiple birthing and more fecund than others), all meta-accounts being fatally flawed (some more morbid than others). If you distinguish this earthly-abstracted TOE from one existing in a platonic heaven and perceivable from a putative-Gods eye view by some being univocally predicated as a ConsistentComprehendor, then Godel would certainly not be lurking and neither would anyone else for who could afford to pay that kind of epistemological rent?109) But for reasons we both stated before, not even much depending on how one predicates a TOE, I dont see it as either a theoretical or practicalconcern except as might belong to One predicated, in part, as Primal Ground. [Consistent Comprehendor has been one of my univocal predications of ahypothetical deity, in fact.110) Ive been giving this much thought of late, especially while reading Merton but also while contemplating "contemplation" and epistemology and suchrelated issues, in general. Increasingly, I feel the need to make the following distinction. Whether in ascetical or mystical theology, formative spirituality ordevelopmental psychology, all as integrally considered, when one employs the term "simple" or related notions like "simplicity," one must be clear as towhether one really means "simple versus complex" or, rather, "simple versus difficult".Very often, spiritual writers have spoken of simplicity both withrespect to prayer and with respect to certain asceticisms, disciplines and practices that help to dispose one to prayer, cultivating solitude and nurturing acontemplative outlook. Increasingly, it seems to me that such simplicity is moreso of the "simple versus difficult" variety, which is to say that we are talkingin terms of ease and facility [Websters 9th definition, below] and not so much of any lack of complexity [Websters 5th definition].111) If contemplation is simple, then I would say that it is simple in the sense that, for the contemplative, prayer is facile, easy, readily performed. It is notdifficult for the proficient. So it is with most any art, whether pertaining to dance or music or athleticism. So it is with many of lifes tasks, whether riding abike or driving a standard automobile, or performing ones trade as an accomplished technician.112) The underlying deployment of the various aspects of the human evaluative continuum --- from awareness, sensation & perception, emotion &motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation --- wholistically & integrally employing our instinctive, affective and cognitivefaculties, is clearly complex and not at all "simple" in the sense of being "uncomplicated" or "artless" or such.113) Developmentally speaking, there are no shortcuts to such simplicity, to such artform, to such technical competence, to such proficiency. Preparationthrough catechesis, ongoing cultivation through liturgy and lectio divina, fidelity to law and code both obligationally and aspirationally, and commitment tocommunity, all contribute, integrally, toward properly disposing one for higher gifts.114) Now, it is true enough that the Holy Spirit gifts us with charisms that exceed our natural talents and with infused prayer that can be received only as giftand that there is a simplicity in such grace that transcends our human categories of simple vs difficult, simple vs complex. What I speak of, here, are all ofthe natural and normal preparations we make, no less cooperating with grace, such preparations and practices being quite complex when you think aboutthem, psychologically and epistemologically, even as they are progressively done with great facility and simplicity, iow, proficiency, through time and dutifulpractice.115) In this sense, contemplation might best be equated with the total offering [perhaps, Websters 8th definition] of our entire selves, the total oblation ofour entire lives, the total disposal of our human evaluative continuum, to God. And this offering is wholly, holy whole.116) And this offering is progressively easier, more facile, more simple --- even as it is one of the most complex maneuvers, complicated dance steps, ahuman will ever perform. It starts off simple but gets increasingly complex. It starts off difficult but gets progressively simple (facile).117) Main Entry: 1sim·ple Pronunciation: sim-p&lFunction: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, plain, uncomplicated, artless, from Latin simplus, simplex, literally, single 5 a : SHEER,UNMIXED <simple honesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamin deficiency> c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinateclauses <a simple sentence> (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : FUNDAMENTALe : not made up of many like units <a simple eye>`8 : not limited or restricted : UNCONDITIONAL <a simple obligation>9 : readily understood or performed<simple directions> <the adjustment was simple to make>synonym see in addition EASY118) Another angle. Recall the distinctions Washburn made vis a vis Wilber and the pre-trans fallacies.I built upon these such that, ontologically, wedistinguish between 1) (meta)physical structures, 2) developmental stages and 3) phenomenal states, while, epistemologically, we distinguish between 1)our environing reality (including ultimate reality), 2) the environed reality (of the human evaluative continuum) and 3) our foci of concern (recall Helminiak).119) In terms of simplicity, then, for the proficient on the spiritual journey, what is going on in ones physical structure (psychologically & spiritually, integrally& holistically), where one is re: developmental stages, how the environed reality interacts with the environing reality with ever expanded foci of concern --- allof this is increasingly complex. There is FAR more going on, epistemologically and ontologically, with the proficient than there is going on for the novice. Ifthe phenomenal state seems to be rather quiet, this is only because of the smooth, proficiency and well-practiced facility of these advanced parts of thejourney. A proficient shifting gears and working the clutch IS going to be QUIETER than a beginner, who is learning to drive the spiritual motorcar. This isdue to a simplicity born of facility and not from a lack of complexity.120) I think it has been a failure to make this distinction that has led folks down the paths of error such as quietism, fideism and such, denigrating variousfaculties of human knowledge, wrongly deemphasizing various aspects of the human knowledge manifold, whether the evaluative and/or rationalcontinuum.121) The trick is not to confuse the distinctions we draw between the instinctive and the affective and the cognitive for dichotomies, which is to say that, inorder to be authentically human, we employ all of these faculties, in some meausre, all of the time. There is an inauthenticity, a denial of our own humanity,in being rationalistic (only the head) or fideistic/pietistic (only the heart). The point is that there is no superiority in the sense that anyone can be an authentichuman, even as we note that it takes some doing. Theresa, the Little Flower, is a Doctor of the Church, so certainly underwent an intellectual conversion inaddition to any affective, moral, social and religious conversions. She may not have led with her intellect, lets say, the way her fellow Carmelite John of theCross did, but she did not interfere with its being transvalued by her other conversion experiences. Wisdom results. Authenticity is an "accomplishment" ofwholeness and intellectual conversion is not to be mistaken for academic learning, alone. If we first follow Lonergans imperatives to be attent, intelligent,reasonable and so forth, very much matters of the will, too, itll take care of itself in the "simplest" of souls.122) This is not unrelated to Occams Razor and the Law of Parsimony, eh? And Charles Sanders Peirce suggests that it is the facility with which we comeup with an hypothesis and not the lack of complexity in same that parsimony should measure. As far as priesthoods and power-hoarding, or clericalism,although that happens we do not want to commit the fallacy of misuse, which argues against something that is otherwise good and which should only beused properly. Arrogance can be a two way street -- one side arrogating and asserting it has the answers and is here to help and the other side arrogatingand saying it has the answers and needs no help. Alas, good storytelling (homiletics) seems to be the best way to reach all audiences.123) .I would agree and qualify that one can, as a proficient, afford to just look because the look-ers entire evaluative continuum has been so very wellprepared (cultivated, disposed, trained or what have you). Every apophatic moment contains, for the proficient, all kataphasis, and every kataphatic momentcontains all apophasis, too, as one encounters reality with ones entire evaluative continuum integrally and holistically deployed. The simplicity is real insofaras an organic whole is in operation and is not otherwise fractured. If the phenomenal state of the contemplative soul resembles that of one who has merelypaused between sensation and abstraction, that is a superficial resemblance because the developmental stages and underlying structures could be quitedifferent (formed, for instance, by catechesis, liturgy, lectio divina, moral development, etc a la lonerganian conversions). Of course, it does occur to methat Maritain has already done this work of drawing such distinctions between philosophical contemplation, connaturality, intuition of being, natural
  • 89. mysticism and mystical contemplation, etc And, of course, there are all of the problems about the use of the term contemplation in the first place, such asacquired vs infused, etc But I am just toying with what we mean and do not mean by simple. The non-reflective aspect is important --- whether driving a car,playing a guitar, dancing a ballet or praying. All proficiency seems to move toward simplicty a la facility and ease. I do not think Ill be playing Classical Gastonight, though, on my guitar, no matter how simple it is for Mason Williams!  Remarks for the Memorial Celebration of the Life and Philosophy of W.V. Quineby Stephen P. Stich - April 14, 2001Quine also offered a new job description for philosophy - a new vision of the honest work that philosophers could do in a post-positivist world where the analytic /synthetic distinction (and thus analytic conceptual analysis) could no longer be taken seriously. Philosophy, Quine maintained, was continuous with the sciences. Whatphilosophers could contribute to the work of the sciences was typically toward the more theoretical or conceptual end of the scientific spectrum. And philosophers,more often than their colleagues in the science departments, could afford the luxury of taking a broader view and reflecting on how theories in different disciplines fittogether. But while the emphasis and the level of theoretical abstraction might distinguish this sort of philosophical work from the work typically produced by scientists,there was no difference in status between the sciences and this kind of philosophy; philosophy, done well, Quine insisted, just is science.In looking at the sciences, philosophers in the Quinean tradition did not have to restrict themselves to analyzing concepts or evaluating arguments or working out thelogic of confirmation. Rather, they could develop new concepts and new theories - empirical theories - and test these theories in just the way that scientists themselvesdid, by seeing how well they comported with the empirical facts that other researchers had reported.1.1 Characterizations of AnalysisIf asked what ‘analysis’ means, most people today immediately think of breaking something down into its components; and this is how analysis tends to be officiallycharacterized. In the Concise Oxford Dictionary (6th ed.), for example, ‘analysis’ is defined as the “resolution into simpler elements by analysing (opp. synthesis)”,the only other uses mentioned being the mathematical and the psychological. And in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, ‘analysis’ is defined as “the process ofbreaking a concept down into more simple parts, so that its logical structure is displayed” (Blackburn 1996, 14). The restriction to concepts and the reference todisplaying ‘logical structure’ are important qualifications, but the core conception remains that of breaking something down.This conception may be called the decompositional or resolutive conception of analysis (see Section 4). But it is not the only conception, and indeed is arguablyneither the dominant conception in the pre-modern period nor the conception that is characteristic of at least one major strand in ‘analytic’ philosophy. In ancient Greekthought, ‘analysis’ referred primarily to the process of working back to first principles by means of which something could then be demonstrated. This conception maybe called the regressive conception of analysis (see Section 2). In the work of Frege and Russell, on the other hand, before the process of resolution could take place,the statements to be analyzed had first to be translated into their ‘correct’ logical form (see Section 6). This suggests that analysis also involves a transformative orinterpretive dimension. This too, however, has its roots in earlier thought (see especially the supplementary sections on Ancient Greek Geometry and MedievalPhilosophy).http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/analysis/#1.1Waters water everywhereJerry Fodor Strictly speaking, philosophy consists (or consists largely, or ought to consist largely) of the analysis of our concepts and/or of the analysis of the ordinary languagelocutions that we use to express them. Its not the Good, the True or the Beautiful that a philosopher tries to understand, its the corresponding concepts of goodbeautiful and true.This way of seeing things has tactical advantages. Being good is hard; few achieve it. But practically everybody has some grasp of the concept good, so practicallyeverybody knows as much as he needs to start on its analysis. Scientists, historians and the like need to muck around in libraries and laboratories to achieve theirresults, but concepts can be analysed in the armchair. Better still, the conceptual truths philosophy delivers are a priori because grasp of a concept is all thats requiredfor their recognition. Better still, whereas the findings of historians and scientists are always revisable in principle, its plausible that the truths conceptual analysis revealsare necessary. If you want to know how long the reign of George V lasted, you will probably need to look it up, and youre always in jeopardy of your sources beingunreliable. (Im told he reigned from 1910-36, but I wouldnt bet the farm.) But the philosophers proposition that a reign must last some amount of time or other wouldseem to be a conceptual truth; being extended in time belongs to the concept of a reign. Historians might conceivably find out that George V reigned from, say, 1910-37. That would no doubt surprise them, but evidence might turn up that cant be gainsaid. Philosophy, however, knows beyond the possibility of doubt - beyond,indeed, the possibility of coherent denial - that if George V reigned at all, then he reigned for a while. The truths that conceptual analysis arrives at are thus apodictic,rather like the truths of geometry. Such a comfort. Ever since Plato, philosophers have envied geometers their certitudes. So its not surprising that the story aboutphilosophy being conceptual analysis was well received all the way from Oxford to Berkeley, with many intermediate stops.Stage two: Quine. In 1953, W.V. Quine published an article called Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Easily the most influential paper of the generation, its reverberationscontinue to be felt whenever philosophers discuss the nature of their enterprise. In a nutshell, Quine argued that there is no (intelligible, unquestion-begging) distinctionbetween analytic (linguistic/conceptual) truth and truth about matters of fact (synthetic/contingent truth). In particular, there are no a priori, necessary propositions(except, perhaps, for those of logic and mathematics). Quines target was mainly the empiricist tradition in epistemology, but his conclusions were patently germane tothe agenda of analytical philosophy. If there are no conceptual truths, there are no conceptual analyses either. If there are no conceptual analyses, analytic philosophersare in jeopardy of methodological unemployment.Whether Quine was right remains the bone of vigorous philosophical contention to this day. In fact, despite their extensive influence, there isnt any robust consensus asto what, exactly, the persuasive arguments in Two Dogmas are or were supposed to be. (Philosophy is like that.) Suffice it that, since Quine, the practice ofconceptual analysis has lacked a fully credible rationale. Thats not to say that anybody much stopped doing it. To the contrary, its often suggested that Quine musthave been wrong because conceptual analysis is what analytic philosophers do, and there must be something that theyre doing when they do it. That put a brave faceon it, but there were guilty consciences wherever you looked. And so things stood for several decades.The point for present purposes is that Kripke can be read as having provided the very notion of necessity that the vindication of analytical practice required, therebysaving analytic philosophers from Quine. That is, in fact, pretty much the way that Hughes reads him. For much of the first half of the 20th century, modality [i.e. necessity] had a somewhat marginal place in analytic philosophy. Kripke contributed more to its demarginalisation than any other analytic philosopher. He did this by . . . vigorously and effectively addressing Quinean worries . . . and by bringing modal issues into various central debates in philosophy . . . The remodalisation of metaphysics and the philosophy of language may retrospectively come to be thought of as Kripkes most important contribution to 20th-century philosophy. Those of us who, as undergraduates, learned philosophy from Quineans think of Kripke as a philosopher who (almost single-handedly) transformed the philosophical landscape.I think thats right, but with a caveat. Its not that pre-Kripkean analytic philosophy marginalised modality. Rather, it took for granted that necessary propositions arisefrom the analysis of concepts (or words, or both). That was the view that Quine seemed to have undermined, thus leaving analytic philosophers with two unsatisfactorychoices: give up on analysis, or proceed without a credible account of their methodology. Kripke seemed to relieve them of this dilemma. No wonder analyticphilosophy fell in love with him.
  • 90. Heres the basic idea. One drops the traditional thesis that necessary propositions are linguistic or conceptual, and one substitutes a metaphysical account of necessity.Philosophy is to recognise not just the actual world that we live in but also a plethora of possible worlds. The actual world is itself possible, of course; but so, too, isthe world thats just like this one except that Mr James (a domestic feline whos currently having a nap) is awake and chasing mice. Similarly, there are worlds that arejust like ours except that theres nobody in them, and worlds just like ours except that everybody is in them except President Bush. Likewise there are (brave, new)worlds in which I get Foucaults royalties and he gets mine. And so on. Notice, however, that there is no (possible) world in which 2+2=5; and none in which bachelorsare married; and none in which George V reigned, but for less than a while. So, given this new ontology, we can identify necessarily true propositions with the ones thatare true in every possible world, necessarily false propositions with the ones that are false in every possible world, and contingent propositions with the ones that aretrue in some possible worlds but not in all. Here we seem to have a nonconceptual notion of necessity. Whereas analytic philosophy used to be seen as tracing relationsamong concepts, it is now seen as tracing relations among possible worlds.A quick example will show how this is supposed to work. Some years ago, Hilary Putnam raised the following question, which analytic philosophy has been gnawing atever since. Suppose somebody discovered a sort of stuff that is, to casual inspection, just like water (its wet, its clear and potable, it freezes at zero centigrade, hasspecific gravity 1, dissolves sugar, puts out fires and so forth) but the molecules of which have some chemical structure other than H2O (XYZ by convention). You arenow invited to consult your intuitions: is XYZ water? If not, why not? The canonical intuition is that XYZ isnt water because being made of H2O is an essentialproperty of water; whatever is a sample of water is ipso facto a sample of H2O, and nothing else could be. (Its an epistemological worry for essentialists that noteverybody has the canonical intuition; in fact, some people dont have it quite vociferously, and perhaps theyre right not to. But it would ease the exposition if you willkindly agree to ignore that. You can always change your mind about it later.)Interesting things follow if the intuition is granted; including, in particular, interesting modal things. For example, if its right that nothing but H2O would count as water,then water is H2O in every possible world (more precisely, in every possible world where there is any). That is, given the modal intuitions, its necessary that all andonly water is H2O according to the metaphysical construal of necessity. Note further that this necessary truth is available a priori; at no point in the course of itsdiscovery did philosophy stir from the armchair in which we found it. A little caution is, however, required here. Whats a priori is the hypothetical proposition: Ifsamples of water are samples of H2O, and nothing else is, then its necessary that water is H2O. By contrast, it isnt a priori that samples of water are samples of H2O;to the contrary, thats just the sort of grimy empirical generalisation that chemists discover inductively in their laboratories, to the accompaniment of bangs and stinks. Agratifying division of labour is thus perceptible: the chemists do the heavy lifting and the philosophers do the heavy thinking. Its clear from the empirical research thatwater is H2O in every possible world that is compatible with chemistry. What remains for philosophers to determine is whether water is H2O in every possible worldtout court. Presumably its our modal intuitions that decide this if anything does; they would seem to be all there is thats left unaccounted for by the time the chemistsfinish their investigations. Its therefore unsurprising that, in practice, analytic philosophers take it for granted that modal intuitions arent fallible.This story ramifies in all sorts of directions; Hughes will fill you in. Once again, suffice it for our purposes to consider just the methodological implications. The situationpre-Kripke was that philosophers were supposed to disclose necessary, a priori truths that they arrived at by analysing words or concepts. Quines attack seemed toput this project in jeopardy. If there are no conceptual truths, then, a fortiori, there are no conceptual truths for philosophy to deliver. But now it appears that Kripkehas saved the bacon since there are, in any case, plenty of metaphysical necessities. And, as weve seen, metaphysical necessities can be discovered a priori byexamining philosophically relevant intuitions. These are not, however, intuitions about relations among concepts: theyre modal intuitions about whats possible and whatisnt. In effect, analytic philosophy was doing the right sort of thing (viz, analysis) but for the wrong sort of reasons. That being straightened out, the pangs of consciencecan now be soothed and everybody can go back to doing what he learned to do in graduate school. General rejoicing in the philosophical community. Plus or minus abit, this is how Hughes sees the current methodological situation. I think that its probably the majority view.But I doubt that it can be sustained. In this respect, the significance of Kripkes work has, I think, been much overestimated. If analytic philosophy had methodologicalproblems pre-Kripke, it continues to have the very same problems, and for the very same reasons. Something about that to conclude.A kind of question that doesnt get asked often enough is: what are modal intuitions intuitions of? Consider, for example, the intuition that water is necessarily H2O.How do things have to be for it to be right? Or wrong? Whats its truth maker, to use the philosophical jargon? An answer springs to mind in light of the previousdiscussion, but it doesnt survive reflection: For water to be necessarily H2O is just for water to be H2O in every possible world. For water not to be necessarily H2Ois just for there to be possible worlds in which theres H2O but no water (or water but no H2O). That all follows from Kripkes account of necessity and isunproblematic. So theres nothing to worry about. I guess thats alright as far as it goes; it is, as remarked, just a consequence of defining necessarily true as true in allpossible worlds.But the question I was trying to raise wasnt: What about possible worlds makes it necessary that water is H2O? My question was: What about water makes itnecessary that water is H2O? There must be something about water that does because, notice, there are plenty of kinds of stuff for which the corresponding modalclaim would be false. For example, theres Coca Cola; Coke behaves quite differently from water in modal contexts. Suppose XYZ is the formula for Coke (Im toldthey keep one in a vault in Atlanta). So, every (actual) sample of Coke is a sample of XYZ and vice versa. It doesnt follow that Coke is XYZ is true in every possibleworld. To the contrary, the Coke people could change the recipe tomorrow if they wished to and, no doubt, there are possible worlds in which they do. The new stuffwill still be Coke if they say it is. Likewise, mutatis mutandis, for smog. Every sample of smog is a sample of CO2 and god knows what else; but thats only contingentlytrue. Perhaps tomorrow theyll find a way to pollute the air by using XYZ. Then, ceteris paribus (according to my modal intuitions), the right story would be that theyvefound a new way to make smog, not that theyve found a way to make something that seems just like smog but isnt.So then, whats the actual difference between water, on the one hand, and Coke and smog, on the other, that accounts for these modal differences? I can only think ofone answer: if water is actually H2O, then water is necessarily H2O is some kind of conceptual truth. The idea (endorsed in one form or other by many analyticphilosophers) is that water is the concept of a material kind. Whats special about material kinds is that what possible things of that kind there are depends on whatactual things of that kind there are. In effect, the kind is defined by reference to its actual instances. So, water is a material kind because every sample is ipso factorequired to have the same microstructure that actual samples do. It follows that, if water is H2O in this world, its H2O in every possible world. It also follows thatsamples of XYZ couldnt be water samples even if they seemed to be. Compare smog. What possible samples of smog have in common with actual samples isnt whatthey are (would be) made of but rather the way they (would) affect your eyes, nose, throat and view. In short, if K is the concept of a material kind, and if every actualthing that K applies to is made of n-stuff, then its necessary that every thing that K (would) apply to is made of n-stuff. As far as I can make out, this is more or less theview that Hughes himself holds. He says: If it should turn out that only philosophers baulk at classifying XYZ as water, I am ready to defer in my usage to the non-philosophical majority and say that "water", like "glue", is not the name of a kind with a chemical essence. I guess whats going on is that, because he thinks Kripkerefuted Quine, Hughes feels free to treat the modal status of water is H2O as linguistically (or conceptually) determined. So it is, after all, our grasp of concepts (or ourmastery of language) that underwrites the modal intuition that water is H2O is necessary. Its just like the old days, really.Its past time to draw the moral, which I take to be that a plethora of claims to the contrary notwithstanding, you cant escape Quines web just by opting for ametaphysical notion of necessity. Not, anyhow, if the latter is grounded in intuitions about what possible worlds there are. Thats because some story is needed aboutwhat makes such intuitions true (or false) and, as far as I can see, the only candidates are facts about concepts. Its water being a material kind concept that vindicatesthe intuition that water is necessarily H2O. Well, but if Quine is right and there arent any such facts about concepts, then there is nothing to vindicate modal intuitions.Accordingly, if the methodology of analytic philosophy lacked a rationale pre-Kripke, it continues to do so.
  • 91.             ANALYTICAL Truth I – Is it rational? ITS - Is it relevant? Goodness CONCEPTUAL epistemological strand QUID JURI ethical strand epistemological strand QUID PRO QUO ethical strand prescriptive & prudential & deduction philosophic virtue ethics abduction pragmatic contractarian ethics validative & experiences, creedal, injunctive & dianoetic subjective allegorical ananoetic interobjective expectations & moral virtue epistemology logical subjective reality coherence theory practical objective reality epistemological & aesthetical strand ontological hermeneutical strand aesthetical strand axiological hermeneutical strand formalism & psychology & instrumentalism & sociology, essentialism philosophy rational moral agency economics & politics practical Mapping Philosophy L Cerebral R Cerebral & Psychology excluded middle holds Hemisphere Hemisphere noncontradiction holds   thinking possibilities Left Frontal Lobe Right Frontal Lobe probabilities intuition L Posterior R Posterior sensing Beauty Convexity Convexity Love feeling epistemological strand QUID FACTI ethical strand epistemological strand QUID AGITIS ethical strand descriptive & interpretive and induction positivistic deontological ethics transduction evaluative teleological ethics apprehensive & equations, literal & interpretive & evaluations & perinoetic objective historical connaturality intersubjective anagogical correspondence community of inquiry theory evidential physical reality epistemology hermeneutical ultimate reality symmetry & aesthetical strand cosmological hermeneutical strand aesthetical strand teleological hermeneutical strand imitationalism & science & expressionism & anthropology, mimesis behaviorism empirical emotionalism worldviews & values cultural excluded middle &   noncontradiction L Limbic System R Limbic System identity   STRUCTURAL actualities IT – Is it real? WE - Is it rewarding? necessities SOCIAL            Going META - how and when does this happenIn prior considerations I discussed a) the dianoetic, perinoetic and ananoetic distinctions b) the distinctions between different ananoetic enterprises,especially the univocal and equivocal, attributive and proportional, analogical and metaphorical, verifiable and unverifiable, falsifiable and unfalsifiable, and c)the quid juri and quid facti. Using those distinctions, below I want to explore more precisely how and when we, so to speak, go META, affirming the meta-maneuver while suggesting some norms for same. One major note is our lack of conclusive ontological proof and demonstration1) The normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics.2) The dianoetic mediates between the perinoetic and the ananoetic.3) The quid juris mediates between the perinoetic and ananoetic.4) The quid juris mediates between the perinoetic and ananoetic quid facti of the quid juris.Statements 1-3 are reiterations, different ways of saying the same thing.The 4th statement is also a reiteration of 1-3 but specifies the particular quid facti being taken under consideration, which, in this case, is the quid juris,
  • 92. itself.As long as the perinoetic and ananoetic quid facti specify as their object of study any phenomena other than the dianoetic quid juri, knowledge advancesthrough a fallibilistic feedback loop of alternating conjecture and criticism, i.e. popperian falsification.When the perinoetic and ananoetic take, as their object of study, the quid facti of the quid juri, at that juncture, the perinoetic and ananoetic have goneMETA, the fallibilistic feedback loop then looping around itself via this self-referencing maneuver.Going META through self-referencing ipso facto introduces new axioms which cannot be proven within the original system itself (cf. Godel’s IncompletenessTheorem). For example, and precisely pertinent to the case at hand, popperian falsifiability is not, itself, falsifiable, as Popper, himself, properly understood.Self-referencing is not the only way to go META. The introduction of novel primitives or givens, not formerly included in a particular formal system’sdefinitions and axioms, also takes us META.Introducing new axioms, whether through self-referencing or introduction of new primitives, which can sometimes be traced back to subtle redefinitions ofterms or novel predications of concepts, is not an illicit maneuver. We simply must remain mindful of our Kierkegaardian leaps, or, to return to our originalallegory, we must remain mindful of which courtyard, vestibule or room we are in epistemologically, especially once considering all of the different waysanalogies can be employed. We must remember, too, that it is not the use of analogical thinking or metaphorical tools that, in and of itself, takes one META,as often seems to be the tu quoque charge against this or that epistemological enterprise by another.We must be mindful, then, of our changing axioms, re-definitions and re-predications, whether through the introduction of novel premises or through ourself-referencing maneuver. Going META can then be quite fecund hypothetically. Take, for example, non-Euclidean geometry vis a vis relativity theory. Wemust also be mindful that, in what may amount to a multiplication of ontologies, so to speak, we have neither proved our ontological hypotheses nordemonstrated our ontological intuitions. This cannot be done, in principle. This is not to deny the cognitive force of our deductions, which can be quitecompelling, variously.One of the perils of going META is that we can end up talking past one another, due to our different axioms, definitions, predications and primitives. Anotherperil is that this move can be made unconsciously, unreflectively and unawares and that can be quite inefficacious, destroying one’s own logicalconsistency and internal coherence. The other peril is the one I mentioned above regarding the mistaken notion that our ontology has somehow beenproved or demonstrated.There are not only perils, though. There are promises. Even once having gone META, we can continue to proceed with our novel axioms, definitions,predications and primitives, employing popperian falsification for our new model of reality. It is important that we critique such meta-maneuvering usingmanifold epistemological criteria, such as logical consistency, internal coherence, external congruence, hypothetical consonance, interdisciplinaryconsilience, hypothetical fecundity, explanatory adequacy, falsification and the rest of the litany. We must remember that, even if the old axioms survivefalsification attempts, our new axioms are neither verifiable nor falsifiable within our new system. Thus it that our systems compete for modeling power ofreality, providing indispensable explanatory ideas even if not direct empirical proof or demonstration of intuitions.Now, specifically regarding the novel axiomatization that results from self-referencing, we may wish to think of our favorite spreadsheet software and how,after our having entered in a long string of digits and formulae, upon hitting enter, we encounter an error message: There is a circular reference in yourformula. Sure enough, this is not a useful way of proceeding to mathematical truth using your average spreadsheet software, which is not programmed withan algorithm that corresponds to infinite set theory and utilizes what Peter Suber has called self-nesting. It is not a useful way to conduct most computerprocessing as many of us have encountered in infinite loop error messages. And, this is all especially relevant in our present consideration because it isprecisely the self-referencing, circular-referencing and infinite loop errors we want to avoid when studying human consciousness, which is exactly what weare doing whenever we take, as our object of study, the quid facti of our human quid juri.My own mind has looped several times in just processing this line of thought, leaving me staring blank-faced at my monitor, that is, until I halt the loop errorby re-booting, which is to say by backing up and checking my series of leaps to find where it is I tripped over my metaphysical bootstraps, and trust me,bootstraps are all they are. It is no particular hard truth that I have tripped over as it sticks out of any solid ontological ground. What about the very fact that Ihalted this looping, however? What about our capacity to reboot, to change our algorithms? Does that somehow give an indication that, in addition toalgorithmic or computational consciousness, we possess a nonalgorithmic, noncomputational consciousness? Maybe this is why Ayn Rand and Peikoffsuggested we introduce consciousness as a new primitive, alongside space, time, mass and energy in a type of naturalistic dualism? Maybe this is whyPenrose introduces a novel quantum structure? Maybe this is why Chalmers takes his stance over against Dennett?Maybe this is why William James noted that we’ll be a long time deliberating over what others have called the hard problem of consciousness: “We arethrown back therefore upon the crude evidences of introspection on the one hand, with all its liabilities to deception, and, on the other hand,upon a priori postulates and probabilities. He who loves to balance nice doubts need be in no hurry to decide the point. Like Mephistophelesto Faust, he can say to himself, "dazu hast du noch eine lange Frist" [for that you’ve got a long wait], for from generation to generation thereasons adduced on both sides will grow more voluminous, and the discussion more refined.”Maybe we’ve just been gifted with cognitive dissonance such that, when we do get stumped or we do go into an infinite loop, we don’t suffer analysisparalysis but instead reboot, re-axiomatize, because we are roused from our intellectual stupor by a heavy emotional pang that bids us start over and fast,lest we be eaten by a lion, lest someone else gets the girl?So it may be, too, with other computational errors related to circular referencing, self-referencing, self-nesting, infinite regress and causal disjunction.Cognitive dissonance has an adaptive significance in keeping our open-ended processors running, in keeping those neuronal pathways awash inneurotransmitters and firing away. It could be that this cognitive dissonance is, itself, also experienced in some way as Otto’s mysterium tremendum etfascinans, the holy.If there would be a great maladaptive significance to cognitive dissonance, it would lie in its tendency to induce skepticism regarding our conceptualizationsand objectifications, making us too self-critical for our own good, for our very survival even. It is the holy, the numinous, the fascination with mystery (thenoncomputational), when not being otherwise existentially threatened by it, that gives us some resistance to the deconstruction of our objectifications andconceptualization, which would have particular significance from a sociobiological perspective in preserving the objectification of values, however polynomicand confusing they may be, toward the end of maintaining the altruistic adaptations: reciprocal, kin and transkin (an importation of Ruse into thisconsideration).What we encounter in our consideration of speculative cognitive science, we’ll also encounter in speculative cosmology regarding origins and primitives via
  • 93. theoretical physics. There is no definitive line between physics and metaphysics, but I have provided a heuristic to at least assist us to mindfully be aware ofour leaps, navigating our way out of any room in the cottage quid juris or cottage quid facti that leads into nothing but a hall of epistemological mirrors. Can’texistence, itself, be taken as a predicate of being? Do the causal joints and disjuncts we encounter exist only in our conceptualizations and objectifications?Can we transcend our innate tendency to avoid their deconstruction? How do we know when we have reified or not in any critical realist, critically rational,realist metaphysic? What about the theologia dogmatica, naturalis and mystica? Does nondual awareness or other so-called numinous/mysticalexperiences provide us with useful rational info (this one is easy, actually: no, neither ontologically nor for the community-at-large)?The final consideration does a compare and contrast of the polynomic domains of value from the perspectives of an evolutionary epistemology andfrom theological perspectives.[left]Ideally, the lists below would be in tablature. The first four are taken, pretty much verbatim, from Kelley Ross tablatures. The others are my doing. Theitems enumerated 1-6 on each list correspond with one another. The purpose of this exercise is to compare and contrast the adaptive significance of thesehuman values with their theistic objectifications. One thesis is that an account of the adaptive significance of these values is both necessary and sufficient.Another is that this account is necessary but not sufficient. The final arbiter quid juris is each of us. The manifold and varied deductive logical derivations ofthe putative quid facti of our disparate quid juris inclinations make for rich considerations with great heuristic value and hopefully some hypotheticalfecundity.[/left][left]The polynomic nature of these values is responsible for many ethical dilemmas, moral conundrums and theodicy issues. They also account fortheories of our finitude and sinfulness vis a vis the obvious chasms between the essentialistic idealizations and their corresponding existential realizations,for example, original sin conceived as an ontological rupture of the past for substance philosophy, as perhaps an epistemological rupture of the present fora semiotic perspective, as a teleological striving for process thought, etc[[/left][left]Domains of Polynomic Values[/left][left]1) truth of virtuous intent [/left][left]2) truth of virtuous action[/left][left]3) truth of virtuous objects[/left][left]4) goodness[/left][left]5) beauty[/left][left]6) holy[/left][left]Domains of Articulation of Values[/left][left]1) imperatives[/left][left]2) imperatives[/left][left]3) jussives or commands[/left][left]4) hortatives or exhortations[/left][left]5) optatives or wishes[/left][left]6) pietatives or piety[/left]Domains of Analysis of Values[left]1) deontological[/left][left]2) deontological[/left][left]3) deontological[/left][left]4) teleological[/left][left]5) aesthetical[/left][left]6) numinosity[/left][left]Domains of Polarities/Valences of Values[/left][left]1) good will vs ill will[/left][left]2) right vs wrong[/left][left]3) right vs wrong[/left][left]4) good vs bad[/left]
  • 94. [left]5) beautiful vs ugly[/left][left]6) sacred vs polluted[/left][left]Evolutionary Adaptive Significance of Values by Domain – genetic and epigenetic rules for altruism – kin, reciprocal and transkin[/left][left]1) objectification of morality to provide added impetus to altruism[/left][left]2) objectification of morality to provide added impetus to altruism[/left][left]3) objectification of morality to provide added impetus to altruism[/left][left]4) incentivizing altruism[/left][left]5) incentivizing altruism[/left][left]6) makes ethical skepticism re: objectification of morality counterintuitive[/left][left]Domains of the Theologia Naturalis of Values[/left][left]1) ontological hypothesis and material causation and primal being[/left][left]2) epistemological hypothesis and formal causation and primal ground[/left][left]3) epistemological hypothesis and formal causation and primal ground[/left][left]4) axiological hypothesis and instrumental causation and primal order[/left][left]5) cosmological hypothesis and efficient causation and primal origin and support[/left][left]6) teleological hypothesis and final causation and primal goal or destiny[/left][left]Domains of the Theologia Dogmatica of Values: a) creed corresponds to the articulation of truth encounters b) cult-ivation corresponds to thecelebration of encounters of beauty c) code corresponds to attempts to preserve the goodness encountered and d) community comprises the institutionalstructure of organized religion. How much of creed, cult, code and community is derived from a religions mystical core vs other aspects of a living traditionis debated. Such a mystical core comprises the Theologia Mystica, which has all of the problematics of ineffability discussed elsewhere regarding differentforms of non-intuitive immediate awareness.[/left][left]Domains of these values as they might correspond to Lonergans conversions --- intellectual, affective, moral, socio-political and religious --- likelyoverlap. From an orthopraxis authenticates orthodoxy perspective, however, there may be some normative criteria from Lonergan/Gelpi that can be used inconjunction with other developmental paradigms (Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Fowler et al), with Ottos numinosity and with the Friesian system ofreligious values. These can be combined to critique the major religions and ideologies to discern which best foster human growth.[/left][left]Regarding the is-ought disjunct, the journey from the given to the normative, from the descriptive to the prescriptive, or the naturalistic fallacy, muchturns, axiologically, on the distinctions between the instrumental and the intrinsic, the latter being self-evident or self-justifying and closing the gap betweenis and ought, between being good and doing good, between means and ends, a closure formalized by Mortimer Adler by the coupling of a self-evidentprescriptive premise with a descriptive premise and then reasoning to a moral conclusion. This formalization turns on one’s prior selection or rejection ofcertain axioms, however, so to speak, quid juris. [/left][left]A related issue is whether or not existence can be used as a predicate of being and the response that it cannot is incorrect. It can be used as apredicate of being. The caveat is that this can only yield an analytic truth or tautology. Predicating being with existence or refusing to predicate it has noontological significance. To reify or not reify, that is the question. Still, once having chosen certain axioms, such logical derivations can be variouslycompelling, such as, for instance, in modal ontological arguments that use equivocally predicated analogues and apophatically predicated variables vis a visveiled causes of known effects. This would be the methodology for the epistemological, axiological, cosmological and teleological arguments also,prophylactically keeping God out of such metaphysical gaps as S/he can fall into with univocally predicated analogues. [/left][left]Consequently, God becomes a) ontologically, Unreceived Existence b) epistemologically, Consistent Comprehendor c) Axiologically, EternalLawgiver d) cosmologically, the Unmoved Mover and e) teleologically, the Intelligent Designer. These inferences are derived from the epistemicdesiderata of non-intuitive immediate knowledge, abduction, connaturality, the illative sense and the tacit dimension, again, such propositions proceedingneither by proof nor by demonstration but rather by deduction, coming about from the same Socratic method and logic of falsification as employed inscience, which is essentially the use of our imaginative faculties to construct rules to explain phenomena followed by the testing of the logicalconsequences of those rules against those phenomena. It is precisely this formal construction within a framework of popperian falsification that is essentialin qualifying such theological endeavors as as a science, this notwithstanding the eschatological timing of the falsification of some hypothetical elements ofthese arguments. Now, we know that, from the rules of formalization, every time we open a hermeneutical window, Reality slams an epistemologicaldoor, consistent with godelian constraints and other mutually occlusive occulting mechanisms (simply analogous to indeterminacy and complementarity).[/left][left]What we observe, then, is that depending on one’s chosen metaphysic, these different God hypotheses will variously gain or lose cognitive impetus.This is just to suggest that for the semiotic realist, the epistemological argument may hold sway, while for the process thinkers, the teleological argument ismore compelling. For the substance metaphysics, such as the thomisms, the cosmological argument is most in vogue. The axiological argument hasbroad popular appeal from many different arenas, such as from the moral argument of C.S. Lewis, but also from the semiotic realists and process cohortsin accounting for laws and habits (Peirce) or perhaps the existence of anthropic principles. It requires careful definition and rigorous predication of terms,
  • 95. however, to avoid the confusion between a) equivocal and univocal analogues, b) metaphorical and apophatic meanings and c) an eminent God and a godof the gaps, not that it is illicit to place God in metaphysical gaps (witness some ID theorists), only that it is necessary that one be willing to accept Herpossible disappearance, for as Emerson observed, God appears when the half-gods vanish.[/left][left]A poem of sorts follows:[/left]You might be an agnostic if you survey the dianoetic approach of philosophy with its normative sciences of noetics (logic), aesthetics and ethics, with itsdistinctive platonic (rationalist-realist), kantian (rationalist-idealist), aristotelian (empiricist-realist), humean (empiricist-idealist), analytic (and linguistic),phenomenological, existentialist and pragmatist categories, movements and schools, with their various turns to the subject, to experience, to history, tocommunity and their linguistic turns, hermeneutical turns (interpretive), critical turns (to praxis) inter alia and come to the conclusion that it is their verycacophony that leads one to the suspicion that it is all so much straw.You might be an agnostic if you survey the ananoetic approach of metaphysics with its corresponding thomistic schools: the aristotelian, personalist,existential, analytic and transcendental inter alia, with its whiteheadian process approaches, with its manifold and varied monisms and dualisms, idealismsand realisms, rationalisms and empiricisms, with its various categories, movements and schools, based on being, substance, events, experience orsemiotics, with its diverse speculative cosmologies and ontologies, and come to the conclusion that all metaphysics are fatally flawed thus leading one tothe suspicion that it is all so much straw.You might be an agnostic if you survey the diverse philosophical and metaphysical categories, movements and schools, and find them cascading down ahermeneutical cliff, one collapsing metaphor after another then yet another, all serving no other purpose but to fog up the interpretive landscape of realitywith their rising mists of so many dense, obfuscatory droplets of jargonistic esoterica, a fog only to be burned away by the rising bright Helios of theperinoetic approach of science, thus brilliantly illuminating reality’s horizon, in whatever direction it may seem to recede, with its penetrating inferential raysof induction, abduction and deduction.If so, then you might especially be an agnostic if you survey the great religious and ideological traditions and find yet another cacophony of diverse creeds,cults, codes and communities with their disparate approaches to truth, goodness, beauty and love and their diverse obligations toward values: 1)imperatives (deontological analysis of intentions and actions), 2) jussives (deontological analysis of right and wrong - commands), 3) hortatives (teleologicalanalysis of good and bad - exhortations), 4) optatives (aesthetic analysis of beautiful and ugly - wishes), and 5) pietatives (sacred and polluted - piety).You might be even more especially put off by the polynomic nature of these values insofar as these domains of value can vary independently of oneanother, in agreeing or conflicting in their valences, producing all types of ethical dilemmas, moral conundrums and theodicies. This moral reality has beenaptly described using a slot machine metaphor where the valences/polarities of the values of right & wrong, good & bad, beautiful & ugly, sacred andunholy, are like separate rollers that give us a different combination with every pull of the arm in the game of life. The traditions cannot seem to even agreeon what particular combinations yield various payoffs, much less a jackpot, or how such rewards come about in the first place.You might be somewhat of a religious pluralist, however, if after completing your dianoetic, ananoetic, perinoetic and theological surveys, the latter includingthe theologia dogmatica, theologia naturalis and theologia mystica, and if after allowing the normative sciences (logic, aesthetics and ethics) to mediatebetween the phenomenological / perinoetic and the metaphysical / ananoetic approaches, you then affirm the efficacies of an epistemological holism thatexpands beyond Maritains dianoetic, ananoetic and perinoetic to include, also, his knowledge through connaturality, a holism that combines coherence andcorrespondence theories of truth in a friesian-like epistemology, thus moving forward with a piercian-like contrite fallibilism, which nuances an essentialpragmatism with both a robust empiricism and a metaphysical realism (semiotic in Pierce‘s case, but one chooses one‘s own metaphysic).And, if in choosing your metaphysic, you move somewhat tentatively beyond your ontological undecidability to an ontological hypothetical, then you mightcould also affirm the efficacies of these myriad ontological and cosmological hypotheses insofar as they compete for modeling power of our ever-elusivereality, progressively tightening our epistemological grasp of same notwithstanding our built-in godelian constraints, increasingly improving ourcartographical skills as we interpretively map the landscape of reality, awed by the resplendent beauty of the rays of truth and goodness that come to us in arainbow of colors as refracted through the prisms of those tiny droplets, which, for so many others, appear as naught but a foggy agnostic mist.As for the game of life, we might then confidently affirm that, somewhere, somehow, Someone, just might have rigged the slot machine ofexistence such that, in our collective pull of the arm and spin of the rollers, between chance and necessity, between the random andsystematic, between chaos and order, between paradox and pattern, between truth and falsity, between right and wrong, between good andevil, between the beautiful and ugly, between pleasure and pain, between love and hate, the rollers will be wholly, wholly, Holy.pax, amor et bonumjbClick Here for My Journey with MertonAs we examine the relationships between faith and reason, between the evaluative and descriptive, between revealed theology and natural theology,between love and the conceptual, between praxis and theory, there are some very strong analogies between these distinguishable moments in humanknowledge. Although faith may be privileged over reason, and the evaluative may be epistemologically prior to the descriptive, and the philosophic regulativeof the positivistic, especially in a nonfoundationalist philosophy, such epistemic dyads, however otherwise asymmetrical, are best conceived in arelationship of mutual dependence, related to each other by way of mutual interpenetration.Perhaps we have contributed to the confusion that exists in the science and religion dialogue by talking so much about the relationship between faith andreason without distinguishing them from scientific research. What I am suggesting is that everything seems to get couched in terms of a tug of warbetween science and religion, as if there were no referee. Theologies of nature compete with natural science and then look to our courts and editorial pagesto arbitrate any differences in their accounts of reality. Click Here for my reflections on Philosophical NaturalismThe great American pragmatist, C. S. Pierce, maintained that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology and metaphysics. My interpretationand extrapolation of this triadic relationship suggests, then, that we have a referee, an arbitrator, a mediator between science and religion. It is calledphilosophy. Simply restated, philosophy mediates between science and religion.It follows, for me, that the prescriptive mediates between the descriptive and the interpretive/evaluative. The philosophic mediates between the positivisticand meta-theoretical. Rules mediate between facts and interpretations/evaluations. Probability (less often necessity) mediates between actuality andpossibility. An ought relates what is to whats worthwhile. The axiological mediates between the cosmological/ontological and theepistemological/teleological. Instrumental causation mediates between efficient/material causation and formal/final causation. In the last instance, advancesin science have not obviated formal and final causation and have not really shrunk their operative realm, such as vis a vis any gap-inhabiting gods. Rather,theyve set off, in sharper relief, the proper distinctions between these autonomous but related foci of human concern.
  • 96. In the Intelligent Design debates, then, natural theology, more generically, natural philosophy, mediates between the theology of nature known ascreationism and natural science, in this case, neo-Darwinian theory. Natural philosophy, theologies of nature and natural science are autonomousdisciplines that are integrally related, which is to say that they are triadic and not trichotomous. We thus distinguish them as aspects, even moments, ofhuman knowledge and not as dichotomous approaches to reality.If science thus concerns itself with where-when-what-how, or as space-time-mass-energy, and philosophy addresses why, then our theologies andworldviews, with their interpretive/evaluative perspectives, inform us regarding the question: "Whats it to ya?". This entails a designation of both "whatmatters?" and "what matters most?" and helps us prioritize our sometimes competing values. No answer to a question about what matters will ever changeour answers to what actually is. Thus a theology of nature really has nothing to say to natural science about science proper except to overlay aninterpretation and evaluation of its findings, which, by the way, remain always subject to revision and falsification.A casual reading of the above-paragraph might leave the question begging regarding any role for natural philosophy. Arent the distinctions between thewhere-when-what-how and why interrogatives enough to clarify the confusion and arbitrate any disputes? What role is left for natural philosophy?Well, the above-paragraph is natural philosophy. Distinguishing is its role. What keeps our courts busy, our editorial pages lively and philosophydepartments vibrant, seems to me, is our habitual failure to draw careful distinctions, our innate tendency to consider all the distinctions that we do drawdichotomies and our utter lack of awareness (even denial) of our own philosophical presuppositions and prephilosophical interpretations and evaluations.This last category of interpretations and evaluations includes the realm of faith. Broadly conceived, it also includes those First Things, those first principles,which we adopt with neither rational demonstration nor empirical proof. These would include such beliefs as natures intelligibility, human intelligence, theexistence of minds other than our own, common sense takes on causality, principles of identity, excluded middle and noncontradiction. This would be inaddition to our concerns with ultimates.Our ultimate concerns, our evaluations and interpretations of reality, our worldviews and belief systems, transcend both science and philosophy.Transcend, however, means to go beyond and not necessarily without. Thus it is that science and philosophy properly constrain worldviews and theologies,retaining full responsibility (autonomy) for determining answers to the questions of where, when, what, how and why things are, leaving worldviews tomarvel over that things are and, possibly, Who might be responsible. As Wittgenstein said: "It is not HOW things are but THAT things are, which is themystical."Thus reality is multi-textured and many-layered. Think of Scripture with its different approaches to reality: 1) literal and historical 2) moral 3) anagogical 4)allegorical and creedal and 5) mystical. In some sense, with respect to our religious takes on reality, these approaches mirror our above-describedapproaches to reality. The literal and historical meanings of Scripture correspond to science and are subject to the sciences of exegesis, literary criticism,archaeology, history and so forth. The moral meanings correspond to our philosophic enterprises. Whats important to us and what we can hope for(anagogically) are contained in our stories (metanarratives) and creeds, all corresponding to our theologies and worldviews. The mystical grabs hold of allof us whenever we pause in awe and fascination with ineffable stupor at the very fact of existence, that there is something and not rather nothing, that thereis something and not rather something else. Its provenance is not science or philosophy or theology but raw, pre-reflective existence immersed in thisglorious contingency of a cosmos that we call home and responding viscerally with mysterium tremendem et fascinans.The broader debates, both within our legal system and within the ongoing science and religion dialogue, that involve the nonestablisment and free exerciseclauses of the First Amendment, require rigorous definition, high nuance, deliberate predication and careful parsing, in a word, qualification. The issues areso complex that one cannot sacrifice one iota of qualification in favor of understandability in order to popularize ones argument without, at the same time,rendering itfacile and inane, which is also to suggest, badly in need of new disambiguation.With this qualification, at the risk of being inane, let me facilely suggest that the seminal and recurring issue is primarily twofold: 1) Does epistemic virtueexist? 2) What is epistemic virtue?The first question presupposes its own answer, its conclusions embedded in its implicit presuppositions. Except for the global cohort of practical nihilists(and we might all shudder when either imagining its size or, especially, our own inadvertent contributions to its existence), and with speculative nihilismbeing self-contradictory, the rest of us seem to enjoy some measure of agreement that epistemology matters.I draw this inference from all of the ad hominems and tu quoques regarding scientism, fideism, positivism, empiricism, rationalism, encratism, pietism,quietism, fundamentalism and other insidious -isms. Cardinal Schönborn might take solace in this, at least to the extent that there seems to be some consensus, over against his concern, that philosophy matters. Still, one might wonder how many of these would-be philosophers are both conscious ofand competent in their own philosophizing. Personally, Im optimistic and think that many are at least unconsciously competent (most believers, even, as I’llexplicate below).Despite the above-noted perils of popularization, however artful or inartful, and notwithstanding the associated pitfalls that the Cardinal, himself, realized, theoverall thrust of his message, in my view, came through loud and clear. If I may express it in peircean terms, if we properly interpret the word "simple" inOccams Razor moreso in terms of the facility (or ease and spontaneity) of an abduction (a hypothetical inference) rather than in terms of either themultiplication of ontologies or brevity of explanation, then the human abduction of God, as a facile and spontaneous act of human reason, is worthy ofutmost respect. In my view, the Cardinal properly distinguished this act from either an exercise of science or an article of faith.As neither science nor religion, he wasnt defending the theology of nature known as creationism but, rather, natural theology, which is better popularized asnatural philosophy. I didnt interpret the Cardinals polemic as over against science and in favor of ID theory. Instead, I read it as an over against such ascientism as would hegemonistically curtail the autonomy of natural philosophy.For all the talk of a wedge strategy or creationisms trojan horse, there is a cohort of scientists who would like to conflate philosophy and science andthereby co-opt all of metaphysics. Peirce would instruct them, however, that the normative sciences mediate between phenomenology andmetaphysics. Accordingly, philosophy mediates between science and the meta-theoretical, which includes M-theory, quantum gravity, string theory and,yes, unmoved Movers, none of which can be both consistently and completely formalized due to intrinsic gödelian constraints, all of which require the stuff of First Things combined with metanarrative (storytelling) to convey their take on reality (whether the take of Stephen Hawking or that of Stanley Jaki).The principles of a) identity, b) noncontradiction and c) excluded middle, any belief in d) realitys intelligibility, e) humankinds intelligence or even f) theexistence of other minds, are neither empirically demonstrable nor rationally provable. Neither are our classical and common sense beliefs in g) traditionalcausality. Yet, even as we maintain that philosophy, science and meta-theory are autonomous and cannot be conflated, in principle (if only by definition orconvention), we must recognize and affirm their integral relationality. Also, they are not only relational in their autonomy but are also hierarchical because,due to our indubitable human finitude, our human faith in First Things enjoys a certain primacy. This faith is necessarily epistemologically prior, then, evenfor the scientist. Why is there this something (our finitude necessitating faith) rather than something else? Good question.Does this present a conundrum vis a vis doxastic and propositional justification, between foundational and nonfoundational approaches? If faith isepistemologically prior, based on otherwise a priori axioms, unconditionally subscribed to, then how might anyone arbitrate whose epistemic approachexhibits virtue and whose vice, more or less?I think one might reasonably advance (and then empirically measure) the hypothesis that, when humankind has responded to Reality allowing itsspontaneous philosophic impulses to mediate between its positivistic and meta-theoretical endeavors, then our species has inexorablyadvanced in knowledge, however fallibly. Thus it has been that epistemic orthopraxis has authenticated epistemic orthodoxy.Now, we can catalogue virtue and vice in terms of those who would assert autonomy and/or primacy for religion, science or philosophy without recognizingtheir integral relationality. Philosophy mediates between science and religion. First Things mediate between Science and Last Things.Scientism is the conflation of philosophy, metaphysics and science. Fideism is the assertion of religions primacy and the denial of sciences autonomy.Pietism is an overemphasis of the kataphatic and affective. Quietism is an overemphasis of the apophatic and affective. Rationalism is an overemphasis ofthe kataphatic and speculative, an assertion of philosophys autonomy but a denial of its integral relationality to science and the empirical. Encratism is anoveremphasis of the apophatic and speculative. And so on and so forth.
  • 97. Hawking was wrong in his assertion that certain gödelian-like constraints marked the end of physics and others have been premature in declaring the deathof philosophy or metaphysics. What has died, rather, is logical positivism and radical empiricism. What still needs to die is the radical fundamentalism ofboth scientism and fideism, with their indefensible a priorism, before they get us all killed. When it comes to the meta-theories of natural philosophy, themonisms, both materialist and idealist, suffer the inescapable paradox of a question begging infinite regress (and so do any semiotic explanations thataspire to be metaphysical). The deisms and theisms suffer their own paradox of causal disjunction, a type of ontological discontinuity through theirinvocation of progressively weaker causal analogies. All metaphysics are fatally flawed, pregnant with paradox, and we are left with the task of, at best,choosing the least morbid, the one least likely to multiple birth. I’m wagering with Pascal on the more aesthetic account (hey, it’s worked in cosmology,theoretical physics and math theory) and with the God of the Philosophers, all with recourse to the time-honored reductio ad absurdum, although I speakonly for that self of mine, you know, that self which is inhabiting this dimension, and am not otherwise speaking for my infinite other selves, which arereportedly self-propagating in parallel-multiverses, collapsing wave functions in the forms of my ever-expansive, metaphysical alter-egos. Choose, carefully,the paradox that will slay you. The good money’s on the consistent but incomplete theory, the one that doesn’t banish all mystery in an anxiety-driven rush toclosure.In his latest column on "intelligent design," William Rusher suggested that many ID opponents are not acting as scientists when confronting this "interestingnew theory." Rather, "they are scared out of their wits -- as if this particular theory threatens to do fatal damage to their whole concept of the cosmos." InSeptember 2005, he had written of this same cohort of evolutionists: "And let their response be included in courses on logic, as a stellar example ofintellectual dishonesty."Opponents of ID have similarly questioned the integrity of some ID proponents and their "wedge strategy," characterizing that handful as crafting"creationisms trojan horse." I havent read "Creationisms Trojan Horse" by Forrest & Gross (Oxford University Press, 2004) but I did read what Rusherdescribed as the judges "series of gratuitous slaps at the School Board."I find this ongoing litany of ad hominem and tu quoque exchanges interesting. I lack the legal expertise to fully understand how these exchanges aredispositive of the church and state issue but the ruling did find that the Dover defendants "consciously chose to change Dover’s biology curriculum toadvance religion." I cant argue with the judges finding that Dovers citizens were poorly served by an utter waste of money and time, especially by certainindividuals who even lied to cover their tracks. As for cock-a-hoops (Rusher) and hornswoggles (Forrest), I dont know what they are but I do suspect theywill indeed be never-ending.The seminal issue of whether ID is science is something I better understand. This ruling declares it is not. It didn’t get into the necessary subtley andnuance I set forth previously, above, however. The struggle is not over. Constant vigilance will be required to preserve our First Amendment rights. Our"Free Exercise" and "Nonestablishment" clauses related the benefits of the Enlightenment to the time-honored fruits of religion in a manner that allowedreligion to flourish in America over against those governments that devitalized religion through, on one hand, its marginalization by Enlightenmentfundamentalism, on the other hand, its merging into theocracies by various religious fundamentalisms. Our Founders ingeniously struck the proper delicatebalance and we must maintain it.How should we define and relate science and religion in both general and legal terms? Most of the arguments in the science and religion dialogue, ingeneral, and in legal jurisprudence, in particular, turn on how broad or how narrow each of these definitions should be. These are very complex questionsthat I have pondered like irresolvable Zen koans for years. This complexity is mirrored in the science and religion dialogue literature and in the struggle withdefinitional problems by legal scholars and courts. It manifests in rigorous definitions, high nuance, deliberate predication and careful parsing --- all whichcannot be surrendered for popularization and understandability without rendering one’s arguments facile and inane, for example, like Rusher’s, the DoverSchool Board’s and even like those of evolutionist Richard Dawkins.So, with the above caveats in mind, practically speaking, below are some criteria I have gathered for a fallibilistic attempt at a Theory ofEverything:1) Looking for an explanation in common sensical terms of causation is not unreasonable.2) Looking around at the whole of reality and wondering who, what, when, where, how and why re: any given part of it or re: reality as a whole isa meaningful pursuit.3) Almost everyone comes up with an abduction of God (or per CSP, an argument, by which he simply means a god hypothesis) or some other-named primal cause of it all.4) Some use a substance approach, describing all of reality in those thomistic-aristotelian terms like form, substance, esse, essence and withnuances like analogy of being. It doesnt have explanatory adequacy in terms of leading to a universally compelling proof through formalargument in tandem with empirical experience because, by the time we have suitably predicated a god-concept, the dissimilarities anddiscontinuities between God and creature so far outnumber the similarities that a causal disjunction paradox is introduced. How can a Causeso unrelated to other causes and not at all explicable in intelligible terms vis a vis other causes really, effectively, efficaciously truly effectanything. Also, substance approaches are too essentialistic, as they were classically conceived, iow, too static. This has been addressed withsubstance-process approaches but these still suffer the causal disjunct.5) Some describe reality dynamically interms of process and fall into nominalism, violating our common sense experience of reality as trulyrepresentative of real meaning. They account for process and dynamics but do not account for content that is communicated. Theseexplanations, especially if materialist or idealist monisms also tend to fall into an infinte regress of causes. The only way to stop them is withsome type of ontological discontinuity, which introduces the old causal disjunct.6) Some, seeing this conundrum, with the causal disjuncts and essentialisms of substance approaches and the infinite regressions andnominalism of process approaches, and with the a prioristic context in which they are grounded, prescind from such metaphysics or ontologiesto a semiotic approach which then avoids nominalism by providing both a dynamic process and content (meaning) and which avoidsessentialism by being dynamic. It also avoids a causal disjunction since all of reality is not framed up in terms of substance and being butrather in semiotic and modal terms, such as sign, interpreter, syntax, symbol, such as possible, actual, necessary and probable. To prescindfrom these other metaphysical perspectives does solve a host of problems and does eliminate many mutual occlusivities and unintelligibilitiesand paradoxes, but it still levaes the question begging as to the origin of things like chance, probability, necessity. IOW, one inescapably mustget ontological again to satisfy the human curiosity, not wrongheaded, imo, with respect to causal inferences that naturally arise and which, infact, ground our scientific method and epistemologies. Why? Well, because causes must be proportionate and whatever or whomever orhowever the Cause of causes, of chances, of probabilities is --- is then like the semiotic process and modal realities we can describe in manyways but necessarily unlike them in many more ways.7) Still, Peirce may be right insofar as he suggests that going beyond this simple abduction to a more exhuastive description of the putativedeity is a fetish (we cant help ourselves), there is a great deal of useful info (pragmatic maxim or cash-value) to be gathered from theanalogies we might then draw from the semiotic and modal similarities that do exist. God is thus intelligible, not to be confused withcomprehensible.8) So, my thoughts are that we cannot get away from a) some type of substance approach, from ontology, from being, from esse ... if we are toaddress the paradox of infinite regress b) some type of process approach, if we are to avoid essentialism and causal disjunctions and c) sometype of semiotic approach, if we are to avoid nominalism and account for meaning and communicative content and d) some type of theisticapproach, if we are to avoid leaving the questions of origin begging and if we are going to preserve our common sensical notions of classicalcausality, upon which much of our community of inquiry depends, such as re: scientific method.9) This does not mean we can syncretistically and facilely combine these above approaches into some master paradigm of semitoic-substance-process panentheism. There is a problem of renormalization, which is to say that they often employ mutually incompatible and contradictory
  • 98. terms and approaches, analogously speaking, sometimes using noneuclidean geometry, sometimes base 2, sometimes spatialized time,sometimes temporalized space, sometimes imaginary numbers. It is analogous to the same project that would try to combine quantummechanics with general and special relativity to describe quantum gravity. It is not just analogous to this renormalization in physics requiredbefore a TOE is contrived, the normalization of physical theories would itself be part of the TOE we are working on!10) What happens then is that by the time we finish renormalizing all of our theories, predicating and defining and nuancing anddisambiguating all of our concepts, we will have effectively generated a novel language with its own grammar, its own terms ... and it will be soarcane and esoteric and inaccessible ... it would be like reading something that fellow johnboy wrote, when he was relating his latestinterpretation of Thomas Merton as seen through a kurt-vonnegutian hermeneutic.11) All of the above notwithstanding, this TOE project is fun and we can glimpse enough insight from it to inform our theologicalanthropologies and formative spiritualities.All I have done thus far hereinabove is to get us to some metaphysical deity. What might be Her attributes?See http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2352pax,jbsee http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/architectonic.htmA note re: unitive consciousnessWe do not equate mere unitive consciousness (simple awareness, simple seeing) with Christian contemplation, although I believe this form ofcontemplation can indeed enhance and enrich same if we allow it to dwell within us, influencing and interpenetrating our other contemplative approaches toGod.If by "unitive consciousness" one refers to a nondual state of awareness or an experience of absolute unitary being, then I would say, yes, there, one issimply aware, simply seeing. This would be a natural mysticism (Maritains mysticism of the self, even Zen) engendered by a metaphilosophicalcontemplation, which is distinct from the intuition of being engendered by a philosophical, metaphysical contemplation. The latter is a mystical experience ofthe supernatural order for it knows God (through creation, through concepts and through the intuition of being). The former is not.There is another mystical experience of the supernatural order, Maritains mystical contemplation, which comes from an affective connaturality, which alsoknows God. He writes: "Christian contemplation is the fruit of the gift of Wisdom; and this gift although a habitus of the intelligence... depends essentially oncharity, and consequently on sanctifying grace, and causes us to know God by a sort of connaturality - in an affective, experimental and obscure manner,because superior to every concept and image."Contrastingly, natural mysticism proceeds from an intellectual connaturality, albeit it is supra- or para-conceptual. Arraj writes: "This is a metaphilosophicalcontemplation that reverses rather than continues the normal direction of philosophical contemplation by achieving its knowledge at the price of theelimination of all concepts."Hence, this natural mysticism of unitive consciousness is existential and not theological; it has encountered an absoluteness of esse but not asdistinguishable from Ipsum Esse Subsistens.As Maritain writes: "And how could this experience, being purely negative, distinguish one absolute from the other? Inasmuch as it is a purely negativeexperience, it neither confuses nor distinguishes them. And since therein is attained no content in the ‘essential’ order, no quid, it is comprehensible thatphilosophic thought, reflecting upon such an experience, fatally runs the danger of identifying in some measure one absolute with the other, that absolutewhich is the mirror and that which is perceived in the mirror. The same word ‘atman’ designates the human Self and the supreme Self."Arraj amplifies: "In short, the very powerful yet obscure experience of our own existence can become the doorway through which we can pursue, not thepath of essence, but that of existence to the very bedrock of the human spirit which is our very existence as it comes forth from the source of existence. Butthis existence is known through the medium of emptiness so that there is no way to distinguish the existence of the soul, the existence of all created thingsand the existence which is God."There is all the difference between journeying without concepts and journeying, for a moment, beyond concepts with an aff