NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology (Agnosticism)

by dhw, Wednesday, November 04, 2020, 11:26 (25 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.

Xeno: 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 can only give you my personal take on all this, as above. Even apparently mind-independent “knowledge” can be challenged (the sciences have changed throughout the ages as new discoveries have been made). The nearest we can get to objective “knowledge” is a general consensus among those who are aware of the matter under discussion. There has to be an objective truth, but we have no way of knowing it because our perceptions are subjective.

Xeno: The culture here in the states discounts the humanities so terribly based precisely upon this incorrect understanding.

This is not a matter of understanding but of values. If society holds the study of the material world (science) to be of greater value than literature, art, philosophy etc., you and I will throw our hands in the air, but that has nothing to do with “knowledge”. The humanities do not claim to explain the workings of the material world, and you and I subjectively consider the enrichment of experience, aesthetic enjoyment, study of the past etc. to be of equal value. The rest of this post follows the same line of thinking. I would suggest that foundationalism is of no help to you if you are looking for “truth” or – more relevantly in my opinion – for values that will give you the kind of balance you are looking for in your life!


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