The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

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donsalmon
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The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

Post by donsalmon »

Hi folks: I tried this in another post. Perhaps presenting it as a formal, point by point argument will be better.


1. Before an alternative ontology is proposed, it is necessary to establish as clearly as possible that empirical (as defined by present day science) data does not provide ANY evidence that establishes one ontology as superior to another.

2. Empirical evidence, as accepted among the majority of contemporary scientists, consists solely of the following:

(a) Registration of perception

(a1) By "perception," I mean cognitive/affective interpretation of the sensory images produced by stimulation of the brain (via the sense organs) by an unknown "X")

(b) reduction of perception to abstract mathematical values.

(c) Development of a theory to account for the quantified patterns that have been perceived.

3. In summary, scientific research as widely understood today, involves two things: (1) perception, and (2) abstracted, quantified concepts based on perception

4. At no point in this investigation is there any direct contact with the unknown "X" which is stimulating the sense organs.


****

I should hasten to add I don't agree with most of this. I'm attempting to write entirely from within a universally accepted understanding of what empirical research involves. There are a host of unsupported physicalist assumptions, as well as the assertion that "X" can't be known directly, with which I strongly disagree. Most important, gnostic intuition (what Sri Aurobindo calls "Knowledge by identity," or nondual knowledge) is not seen as having any role in this.

However, for the sake of THIS post, none of that matters, because I"m attempting to write from WITHIN the physicalist understanding of science.

I'm going to rephrase it, in case perhaps another wording of it might make it more accessible:

According to the widely accepted understanding of empirical research, science involves two things:

(a) perceiving (the result of cognitive/affective stimulation of the senses by an unknown X")

and

(b) abstract, quantified analysis of patterns of perceiving, following by theorizing and hypothesizing, leading to the identification of patterns (the so-called "laws of nature")



***

Notice that in this view, the unknown "X" could just as easily by consciousness as mind-independent "stuff" of some kind. But for talking to skeptics, I don't think anything needs to be said about "X" UNTIl these 2 simple points are established and understood. I think that Bernardo's philosophy would have many many more interested in it if they understood these points. I think Bernardo DOES make these points in places, but I've never seen it worked out in sufficient detail. At least, I've never seen it worked out in a way that I would not hesitate to refer skeptics to it.
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AshvinP
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Re: The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

Post by AshvinP »

donsalmon wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 4:16 pm Hi folks: I tried this in another post. Perhaps presenting it as a formal, point by point argument will be better.


1. Before an alternative ontology is proposed, it is necessary to establish as clearly as possible that empirical (as defined by present day science) data does not provide ANY evidence that establishes one ontology as superior to another.

2. Empirical evidence, as accepted among the majority of contemporary scientists, consists solely of the following:

(a) Registration of perception

(a1) By "perception," I mean cognitive/affective interpretation of the sensory images produced by stimulation of the brain (via the sense organs) by an unknown "X")

(b) reduction of perception to abstract mathematical values.

(c) Development of a theory to account for the quantified patterns that have been perceived.

3. In summary, scientific research as widely understood today, involves two things: (1) perception, and (2) abstracted, quantified concepts based on perception

4. At no point in this investigation is there any direct contact with the unknown "X" which is stimulating the sense organs.


****

I should hasten to add I don't agree with most of this. I'm attempting to write entirely from within a universally accepted understanding of what empirical research involves. There are a host of unsupported physicalist assumptions, as well as the assertion that "X" can't be known directly, with which I strongly disagree. Most important, gnostic intuition (what Sri Aurobindo calls "Knowledge by identity," or nondual knowledge) is not seen as having any role in this.

However, for the sake of THIS post, none of that matters, because I"m attempting to write from WITHIN the physicalist understanding of science.

I'm going to rephrase it, in case perhaps another wording of it might make it more accessible:

According to the widely accepted understanding of empirical research, science involves two things:

(a) perceiving (the result of cognitive/affective stimulation of the senses by an unknown X")

and

(b) abstract, quantified analysis of patterns of perceiving, following by theorizing and hypothesizing, leading to the identification of patterns (the so-called "laws of nature")



***

Notice that in this view, the unknown "X" could just as easily by consciousness as mind-independent "stuff" of some kind. But for talking to skeptics, I don't think anything needs to be said about "X" UNTIl these 2 simple points are established and understood. I think that Bernardo's philosophy would have many many more interested in it if they understood these points. I think Bernardo DOES make these points in places, but I've never seen it worked out in sufficient detail. At least, I've never seen it worked out in a way that I would not hesitate to refer skeptics to it.

Don,

I think that is a very good way of framing it, thanks for sharing. It really highlights the self-imposed limitations that modern scientific inquiry of all sorts, whether by physicalists or idealists, succumb to. Unfortunately, we do see all too much of that mentality within idealism when idealists are precisely the people in a position to understand why abstract quantitative models are no longer tenable for any serious inquiry. Not only is "gnostic intuition" ignored, but the objective role of all intuitions, inspirations, and imaginations. I am sure many idealists have never even heard of those modes of cognition in this context before, as I also had not until recently. Yet it is precisely because these are objectively shared cognitive activities that, however subconsciously, we all can sense how impoverished abstract philosophies and sciences are which ignore them, refusing to move beyond the symbols to what the symbols are pointing to. Our ancient mythic ancestors knew this fact much better than we do now, as it rarely if ever occurred to them that mythic and physical symbols could only be pointing back at themselves. That is modern idolatry of materialism, dualism, and idealism in a nutshell - a continual forgetting, for all practical intents and purposes, that abstract symbols are not meant to point back at themselves (or to even more abstract symbols).
“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self."
- Jung
donsalmon
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Re: The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

Post by donsalmon »

Hi Ashvin:

Just saw your response. Thanks, very nicely written

I just came here from Bernardo's article: https://www.bernardokastrup.com/2020/01 ... mment-form "A Materialism of Qualities."

I think the conversations on this board are interesting but I'd love to see a book length elaboration of the theme of his article. If you know of any, I'd love to hear about it. The best I've seen is a short chapter in "The Conquest of Illusion." Paul Brunton has a long book on it, "The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga" which is good but WAY to repetitive and ultimately, out of date (interestingly, Conquest of Illusion was written in the late 1920s, about 10-15 years before Brunton, but much more up to date)

Ok, I'm going to post a quick request in the general forum and see if anyone knows any SIMPLE up to date books or videos on this. Thanks!
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Martin_
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Re: The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

Post by Martin_ »

I'm double posting this into here, seems it belongs better to this thread than in the one in general:

Science is larger than that. Some parts of science is qualitative, not quantitative, and some sciences (Math as an example) do not deal with Perceptions.

Maybe you mean Physics specifically?

Empirial research is heavily dependent on Instruments. You might call it Perception by Proxy.

Anyway, i feel that people throw around the term "science" a little bit too loosely nowadays. Its easy to accuse someone if being unscientific. But if you equate Science with best-curve-fitting some miscellanous quantitative obervations in some arbitrary space, then you are missing a lot of what Science really is.

I'm guessing that the key here is more about a) ; the nature of X; and wheter whatever statements we form about it in b) speak about the ontological ground, or merely our perceptions about it. However, although tangental to your main point, some discipline regarding the terms doesn't hurt. Use "Physics" instead of "Science" if that's what you really mean.
"I don't understand." /Unknown
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Martin_
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Re: The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

Post by Martin_ »

also, i think you missed "testing":

"followed by by theorizing, hypothesizing, and testing."
"I don't understand." /Unknown
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AshvinP
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Re: The simplest question I know - does the following summarize the essence of scientific inquiry

Post by AshvinP »

donsalmon wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:06 pm Hi Ashvin:

Just saw your response. Thanks, very nicely written

I just came here from Bernardo's article: https://www.bernardokastrup.com/2020/01 ... mment-form "A Materialism of Qualities."

I think the conversations on this board are interesting but I'd love to see a book length elaboration of the theme of his article. If you know of any, I'd love to hear about it. The best I've seen is a short chapter in "The Conquest of Illusion." Paul Brunton has a long book on it, "The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga" which is good but WAY to repetitive and ultimately, out of date (interestingly, Conquest of Illusion was written in the late 1920s, about 10-15 years before Brunton, but much more up to date)

Ok, I'm going to post a quick request in the general forum and see if anyone knows any SIMPLE up to date books or videos on this. Thanks!

I am pretty surprised he even took the time to write about this proposal. Qualtiative materialism? What does that even mean? Qualities of experience are, by definition, immaterial (I am referring to metaphysical 'matter' here, not to be confused with "concreteness"). If they cannot be reduced to non-qualitative aspects of the world, then we are no longer dealing with "materialism" but something else entirely. Something more along the lines of objective idealism. So really I feel BK already gave it more attention than it deserves just by way of that short article.

What BK said in the article, which is something he says often and is true, reminded me of something Steiner said in a lecture in 1916.

BK wrote:Indeed, according to materialism all qualities, including those of perception, are somehow—materialists don't know how—generated by the brain inside our skull. The external world allegedly has no qualities at all—no color, no smell, no flavor—but is instead constituted by purely abstract quantities, such as mass, charge, spin, momentum, geometric relationships, frequencies, amplitudes, etc.
Steiner wrote:At present the physicists only talk about there being nothing outside us but vibrations, and that it is these that, for example, bring about red in us. What the physicists dream of today will come true. At present they only dream of it, but it will then be true. People will no longer be able to distinguish properly between a red face and a pale one. They will know that all those things are caused by their own organism. They will consider it a superstition that there are colors outside that tint objects. The outer world will be grey in grey and human beings will be conscious of the fact that they themselves put the colors into the world. Just as people today say, “Oh, you crazy anthroposophers, you talk about there being an etheric body, but it is not true, you only dream it into people!” People who then see only the outer reality will say to the others who still see colors in their full freshness, “Oh, you dreamers! Do you really believe there are colors outside in nature? You do not know that you are only dreaming inside yourself that nature has these colors.” Outer nature will become more and more a matter of mathematics and geometry. Just as today we can do no more than speak of the etheric body, and people in the world outside do not believe that it exists, people in the future will not believe that the capacity to see colors in the outer world has any objective significance; they will ascribe it purely to subjectivity.
“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self."
- Jung
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