To do ontology is to ask what exists and what does not exist. To do epistemology is to ask what we know, how to we know it, and what we cannot know. To say what we do not know is to say that it is possible to know something even though we fail to recognize that it is impossible.
None of us have the experience of knowledge of the absolute reality, if there is indeed such a reality at all. It is speculation, and nothing more, speculation in the normal sense of the word.
And when we do speculate about such a place, the question of why we require the known physical reality never seems to come up. That the “mundane” reality is not worth considering, like its namesake – ordinary, not interesting or exciting.
How is it that the ordinary is uninteresting or unexciting a given?
Buddhism states there are six senses. But strictly speaking there are six facilities – five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste,and touch) and one faculty (mind).
The senses are to experience the reality. The mind faculty is to make sense of the reality.
In other words the mind is not an organ to sense directly the environment. It is a secondary faculty when compared to the other senses.
All human activities are expressions of our understanding of reality.
This being the case, we must look, without exception, at all human activities, whether it is religion, philosophy, science, literature, art, music, economics, politics, marriage, nationhood, or some other activity, in order to understand what our understandings are.
Positivism, associated with Comte, holds that sense phenomena is the highest or the only form of knowledge.
I assume that sense phenomena here means that of the five traditional senses of sight, sound, scent, taste and touch.
But I will argue, as Buddhism claims, that mind is also a sense faculty. Like the other senses the mind has its own “objects”. Buddhism calls then mind-objects. Concepts and ideas can be considered the same as mind-objects.
The extended definition does not conflict with Comte’s – and in general, Western philosophy –more limited one. This broadening in my opinion helps makes more sense of how we understand these entities in relation to real physical reality objects.
Let us take the claim that objects are dependent upon being perceived.
My question is what is the difference between an object perceived by none, one or many? Does the object change in some way with the number of perceivers?
If the physical is of secondary importance then what is its function to that which is of primary importance?
There is a danger to downgrading the physical over the non-physical, namely there is no access to the latter realm.
Justifications of this are in general claims of a priori knowledge and existence when we only have a posteriori knowledge to work with.
There are two objects. One is similar to the other. From experience I assume their characteristics are similar to one another as well.
This body has a mind. It is therefore reasonable to assume other similar bodies have minds as well.
Earlier I said I have direct perception to my thoughts but it is more accurate to say that I have perceptual access to my thoughts.
In the view of Descartes to think is to know that one exists. But the question is to exist as what, as mind or as mind in body? In some ways dualism is correct. There does seem to be these two separate “things”. I will argue that one is an illusion. I will argue that one relies on the other.
The way we have access to the mind is important. I believe without the body we have no mind. I believe this because of the evidence, not because of blind faith.
I have direct perception of my thoughts, but I have no direct perception of other people’s thoughts. I only have their physical being and actions to judge their thoughts by. I can only assume that other beings have thoughts like my own.
I do not think it is unreasonable to make this assumption. We see an apple, we assume it tastes like the other apples we have eaten. We judge from past experiences.
Memory plays a large role in our understanding of reality. We must however ask what assumptions are we making about things, about the reality. Are we, without realizing it, skipping steps to get to some of our conclusions?