Monday, January 23, 2012

Nietzsche, Whitehead, & Levinas

Among recent philosophers, perhaps only Whitehead can claim to have accounted for the life of non-human objects, though his position is haunted by other serious difficulties. The problem is that everyone wants to avoid the naive versions of realism, but they also don’t want to be driven into the patent absurdities of solipsism, since it is far safer not to adopt any metaphysical position at all. Having painted itself into a corner on this issue, contemporary philosophy is left with the sole emergency measure of inventing sophistical compromise phrases such as “internal realism,” “quasi-realism,” or “the mad human subject positing the very gap between real and ideal.” But all of this reduces reality to its effect on humans: a position better known simply as idealism. NAIVE IDEALISM 427 Graham Harman PHILOSOPHY TODAY WINTER 2004

Braver accuses Nietzsche of backsliding into noumenal naiveté of a sort that Hegel had ended, and that even Putnam is praised for transcending (159). For despite Nietzsche’s apparent dissolution of reality into infinite interpretations, “this metaphor of interpretations brings in the idea of the text that gets interpreted, masks [that] imply an original face, and so on” (159). Braver’s verdict is clear: “[Nietzsche’s] Kantian way of framing the issues is strewn with conceptual traps…. Another revolution is needed” (159). For Braver that revolution is found in the later Heidegger, with the early Heidegger paving the way. A FESTIVAL OF ANTI-REALISM 203 Graham Harman PHILOSOPHY TODAY SUMMER 2008

I think my first bet would be on Levinas standing the test of time a lot better than many of my friends think he will. So many people seem to view Levinas as just a preachy old finger-wagger who talks about God too much. That’s not the Levinas I know. Then again, the Levinas I know was encountered through Alphonso Lingis, who isn’t exactly a preachy old finger-wagger who talks about God too much. Maybe you need to encounter Levinas through Lingis to be able to see Levinas as an utterly cutting-edge thinker, which is exactly the way I see him. 4th and final Philosophy Today article now posted by doctorzamalek “Levinas and the Triple Critique of Heidegger.” HERE.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Integral God: Footnotes to Plato

Slide 8: Emmanuel Levinas, who was heavily influenced by Buber, finds God in the infinite responsibility that takes the ego hostage in any authentic face-to-face encounter with another. He writes: “The free [human being] is dedicated to [her] fellow; no one can save [herself] without others. The inside-out domain of the soul does not close from inside” (Humanism of the Other, p. 66). The soul is infinite, and so it seems it cannot find wholeness without relating to divinity, which for Levinas is the holiness of others. This notion of a soul unable to close from the inside also reminds me of Teilhard de Chardin’s question as to why “we are not more sensitive to the presence of something on the move at the heart of us that is greater than ourselves?” (The Human Phenomenon, p. 120).

Slide 9: An integral God would not only foster community, but would deepen the intimacy of our relationship to the cosmos. Teilhard’s love of matter goes a long way in this direction, but I think the German shoemaker turned mystic Jakob Boehme’s vision of the relationship between God and creation may have even more to say to us. The physicist Basarab Nicolescu distills the essence of Boehme’s cosmology of divine self-manifestation as “a threefold structure leading to a sevenfold self-organization of reality” (Science, Meaning, and Evolution, p. 90)."

  1. Sri Aurobindo points out that if it is the goal of Nature to awaken man to awareness of the supreme Reality and liberate him from the action of Nature in the world,...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Don Salmon on Evolution

This is a collection of excerpts from a book I wrote with my wife, Jan Maslow entitled Yoga Psychology and the Transformation of Consciousness: Seeing Through the Eyes of Infinity, based on the Integral Psychology of Sri Aurobindo. The previous essay in this series examined the controversy over the idea of direction or progress in evolution. Frank Visser wrote a very interesting response (see "Theories are Confessions: Response to Salmon"). I originally posted my response to Frank's article in the Integral World Forum ("Up the Evolutionary Stream Without a Paddle"), which Frank took and posted here at Integral World. If you have questions or criticisms, but don't have the time to put together an essay, I invite you to join me over at the Integral World Forum or on the Integral World Facebook page.

My intention in posting these excerpts is not to claim that when looked at together, the findings of neuroscience and evolutionary biology prove some kind of directionality or purpose to evolution. Rather my goal is to elucidate what I find to be some extremely interesting parallels between the two. Whether this suggests the working of any kind of "quasi mystical" force or is merely the result of a "blind, uncaring shuffle through Chaos"[2] is left for the reader to decide. Ken Wilber's Evolutionary View Gets a Trim With Ockham's Razor ...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

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