NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 03, 2020, 14:39 (30 days ago) @ xeno6696

dhw: I must confess I’m struggling to understand the exact nature of your problem here. There are certain subjects concerning which we will never have “knowledge” – i.e. certainty that something is objectively true – unless there really is another world and a supreme being who can give us all the answers. In NDEs and OBEs, the letter E stands for experience. A posteriori = empirical, i.e. based on experience. If an NDE or OBE leads the patient or anyone else to a particular belief, that belief is by definition a posteriori. But in terms of epistemology that doesn’t matter two hoots, because in no way can the belief be called knowledge! In other words, you can adhere to as many –isms and -osophies and -ologies as you like, but it will all boil down to subjective belief. In some cases, people will call it faith.


Matt: I'm a systematic thinker. In studying epistemology much more closely I've noted that foundationalist accounts of knowledge tend to dismiss a priori knowledge as a general rule, but that becomes a kind of problem for me. A huge correction to my thinking has been to separate mind-dependent phenomena from mind-independent phenomena. Deconflicting this by itself, corrects for a great deal of fundamental misunderstandings about life in general.

The correction creates the following bifurcation:

1. Mind dependent acquisition of knowledge of mind-independent phenomena. (Stars, physics, chemistry, etc.)

2. Mind dependent acquisition of knowledge of mind-dependent phenomena. (concepts, language, imaginings)

I'd still classify myself as an empiricist overall, but as I'm rebuilding my catalog of thoughts due to these new classifications I've also stumbled into the fact that the foundationalist depiction of knowledge tends to discount if not completely dismiss the second item. It's not just me. The culture here in the states discounts the humanities so terribly based precisely upon this incorrect understanding.

As you've suggested the line between objective and subjective knowledge turns that bifurcation into four total items.

1. Mind-dependent subjective knowledge about the mind-independent phenomena.
2. Mind-dependent objective knowledge about the mind-independent phenomena.
3. Mind-dependent subjective ... mind-dependent ...
4. Mind-dependent objective ... mind-dependent ...

Foundationalism would tend to dismiss as knowledge, your ability to fill in those ellipses.

This is wrong. Even more problematic is that they tend to take for granted things like language: dismissed in most cases as totally subjective, yet we can't apprehend the world or really think about it without language. There's a 'pick and choose what you want' at play with the foundationalist account of knowledge with some of its premises, and I need to suss those out too.

Likely, this all isn't a problem for you because you realized all of this quite a long time ago. I'm not always that quick on my feet!

I think it may come down to recognizing the wisdom in the jibe, 'you can't make up your own facts'. And I admit at times definite fact is hard to come by. From my medical background, I always make a hard demarcation. But coming to belief must always to be recognized as belief, not fact. Firm belief is still belief.


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