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Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 03:53 am

Well I must concede to my ignorance of Buddhism and, as a result of this ignorance, I don't believe I can properly address most of your argument. However, I should like to know what it is that you mean by

"... the only metaphysical position that cannot be refuted in the dialectic..."

To my understanding and having mentioned Popper, I don't see how this claim is a substantial one. Popper believed that all metaphysical claims were irrefutable and that metaphysical argumentation should remind itself that you can only approach metaphysical theories through an understanding of its relation to the problem it tried to solve. From here I'll say that this Buddhist metaphysics you speak of agrees with Poppers theory and can be said to be most reasonable insofar as that it perhaps can explain consciousness or 'solve its problem' better than others (although I'd have to actually know what it propounds to be certain that that is correct.) However, I would also say that Popper encouraged and perhaps gave preeminence to these metaphysical theories that intended towards empirical testability and, by that fact, falsifiability. A lot of these philosophers who won't immediately subscribe to the best answer have chosen to inquire into an account of consciousness that would leave it as capable of empirical and, thereby, critical discussion that doesn't rely on the pragmatics and efficacy of the approach for legitimation (like other metaphysical claims that deny any progress towards empirical association.) Its not always just about getting it 'right' because we still must admit (presupposing Poppers epistemology here) that knowledge of reality is conjectural. Even if we were 'right' we couldn't really know it.

However, how adequate a description or explanation this Middle Way is of consciousness I do not know and with this I will renounce my ability and participation to properly discuss and dispute this subject (that was tacitly suggested) any further.
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 07:22 am

Please don't renounce the discussion. I certainly wasn't suggesting you did. I was trying to be helpful.

What you say here is spot on imo. But it misses a point. The Middle Way doctrine is a neutral metaphysical position and this is irrefutable in the dialectic. Of course, most metaphysicans don't consider such a position since it appears to be paradoxical. This leaves them agreeing with Popper, Carnap, etc. that all metaphysical positions are absurd. What Nagarjuna proves, however, is that only positive metaphysical positions are absurd, while a neutral one is not.

It's actually pretty easy nowadays to verify that all positive metaphysical positions are logically indefensible, since nearly all philosophers discover it and there is a great deal of literature. While it's difficult to make sense of a neutral position, it's not possible to logically refute it.

Popper, like Kant and so many others, believed that all knowledge of reality is conjectural. But they failed to falsify Nagarjuna's doctrine, so their own view is conjectural. The central claim of mysticism is that such knowledge is possible, and until we can refute this claim we are not actually forced to be so pessimistic.

The issue in the background here is that if we assume the universe is reasonable, then there must be a reasonable metaphysical proposition which describes it. If it is not then philosophy is largely a waste of time. Nagarjuna's view is therefore worth considering, for the immediate implication of his proof is that the universe is reasonable.
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 01:51 pm
Consciousness in my opinion, is what you know you're doing, your mind is somewhat awake, and you do what you feel when your human instincts are not present. When you're unconscious you're not human anymore.

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