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.
There is no metaphysical reality, only a physical ontological reality.
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?
Space is not empty. It is known that in order to truly make space empty, a quantum vacuum, a large amount of energy is needed to do so. In other words, to dismantle space in the same way we dismantle or make atoms (nuclear fission and fission) requires similar expenditure of, if not more, energy. While we have no observable experience of space as we do of objects we can infer from the behavior of objects in space to know about space and time. Space seems to be a special kind of object.
But to speculate on this though is futile. We do not need to know everything about an object to understand it. The car is an example. I can drive it without knowing how the engine or steering work. All I need to know is a car will go forward if I step on the accelerator, and that it will turn left if I turn the steering wheel anti-clockwise.
Spatiotemporal continuity is the property of well-behaved objects in space and time, that they do not ‘jump’, or in other words if a body exists at one time and a later time, then it exists throughout the interval, and if it is in one place at a time and a different place at a later time, then it traced a path through space from the one place to another.
I would note that what is well-behaved are not only objects but space and time as well.
We can infer from objects and space the characteristics of time, from object and time the characteristics of space, and from space and time the characteristics of objects.
No place can be occupied by multiple objects. Nor can place be occupied by multiple spaces. And no place can be occupied by multiple times.
Any abstraction is necessarily the removal of one of these entities within the mind, the representation.
In other words, objects-space-time is a single system. It is reality. It is what exists. Abstracted objects do not exist (they cannot be properly called “objects”) but an object that makes abstractions may exist (a universe without an abstracting conscious object is entirely possible but not likely).
The perception of one object by ten people does not make for ten objects. Ten conceptions of one object in ten conceiving objects, yes. Thus, in this instance we can count one perceived object and ten perceiving objects.
Keeping track the number of objects (not the number of perceptions) is the task at hand.
The observer/speaker is usually hidden in any statement we make. Take the following statement:
There are things.
While the speaker is pointing out objects in space, the use of ‘there’ hides the fact that the speaker is ‘here’ observing the objects that are ‘there’. In other words, there are not only the things observed but also the observer/speaker as a thing as well, only it is made invisible by the form of the statement.
Admiringly, it is difficult to avoid, for this is the characteristic of language. So it is imperative that we point this out, be aware of this fact of language that is not a fact of reality.
Every statement, whether this fact is hidden or not, includes the speaker and the listener.
I reject mind-only monism, monadology, and mind-body dualism, and accept only material monism as philosophically feasible.
I am not eliminative of the mind (I believe there is usefulness in talking about something called the mind) but I am explanatory of it through the physical but see a danger in conceiving it as an object like the body (a Rylean categorical mistake).
We must explore the possibility that language and subsequently language-based concepts play a large role in determining or influencing how we think about things and, more importantly, non-things.
Here are two definitions of world given in Flew and Priest’s Dictionary of Philosophy:
- The totality of what exists
- The totality of what exists outside the human mind
Definition #2 suggests that the world and mind are separate, therefore the mind is not part of the world. It also suggests that the world is somehow created by the mind, and it depends on the mind to exist.
Two problems arise from this. One is that what is the quality of this mind that does not match the qualities of the world? Secondly, how does one person’s world match to another person’s world? Furthermore, if the first mind is the creator of the world then it must be creator of the second person’s mind as well. Or else, the mind is not your mind but the mind of someone else’s (God as Berkeley suggests).
Somehow I suspect that definition #2 is the definition for idealism, mind-only monism, rationality, and logic based philosophies.
Only definition #1 is feasible.
Perhaps I am similar to the eliminative materialists. For one, I do not think there is anything more than material. the mind (and other similar “objects”) can be reduced to the physical, or at least an explanation through the physical.
But I do not reject the need to talk of the mind as though it is an object. We have no other way to discuss it. what is necessary is to see the problem then talk about the problem. The problem here seems to be that we reify non-things then proceed to forget that it is still a non-thing. The language perpetuates the mistake by the act of reification.