NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology (Agnosticism)

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Sunday, October 25, 2020, 22:21 (39 days ago)

While it's been a great long time since I've been graced by the presence of this site--I hope everyone is well!

My own journey has continued. As it relates to "the God question," it is one where the impasse hasn't changed. But I can better formulate now I think, my position. It all comes down to problems of knowledge, and while I've said that here before, it's in stark relief now.

There is a requirement in our knowledge system that knowledge be humanly reachable and understandable. This requirement requires reliable replication. Supernatural claims aren't repeatable. Further, supernatural claims have the issue of cultural relativism, and by that I mean that even when we take things like NDE and OBE into account, the knowledge gained never exceeds the bounds allowed by what the individual has encountered in his or her own society. In other words, we've never seen a Uighur have an NDE where they meet Vishnu and come back speaking Sanskrit. And yes, we should suspect fraud if such a claim were to be made: it isn't normal.

If you read about NDEs from Buddhist countries, they might talk about a "hell realm" or even being shown an animal world or perhaps even the original state of Nirvana, maybe one of the myriad pleasure realms... perhaps they might encounter one of several incarnations of the Buddha (talking Tibetan here) that they talk to as they pass the gates of death. Actually, the Tibetan Book of the Dead should be of interest to anyone interested in this, as in the whole of religious literature, it's the only one I'm aware of where religious scholars and practitioners have meticulously collated an account of what happens during the process of death. [Not going to lie, it's deeply rooted in the Tibetan mythology inherited as Buddhism was transmitted to that part of the world and it isn't easy reading.]

I *have* heard of atheists experiencing "the hellfire" but in almost all circumstances where I've either talked to or read accounts from these folks, they were almost always acculturated into Southern Baptist, Pentecostal, or similarly strict and brutal belief regimes.

And similarly, I've never read a story of a highly devout Brahmin converting to Christ after an NDE. In all circumstances by and large, these experiences reflect the core religious culture where the individual grew up.

Further: NDEs themselves are experiences that go beyond religious lines. What do I mean by that? Atheists suffer NDEs at the same rates at least as Catholics and Muslims.

This suggests to me, that NDEs have a biological basis... not just in mechanistic description, but in toto. (You would expect that if religion itself was a root cause of NDEs, that atheists would be excluded.) There is one other wrinkle: In a cross-religious study of NDEs, the only correlating factor that was common in *all* cases, is a carbon dioxide level greater than 5.7kPa.

However, and this is where Dr. Turell pushed me in the past, what does that say about the validity of any knowledge that might be gained from such experiences? Here I'm thinking specifically of that first case in Sabom's book that detailed the lady who pointed out a shoe that was on a ledge outside of the hospital. What about this? Isn't this *knowledge?* My kneejerk response is this: if I walked into a courtroom with a blood alcohol on the borderline of alcohol poisoning, exactly how much veracity should the judge and jury give any claims I make? I don't think its unfair to place extra scrutiny on such claims. Given we already know that testimony given from completely sober people about car accidents has been demonstrated time and again to be unreliable--and why? Because even people who witness a car accident have heightened emotional states that distort perception to the point where two witnesses can give completely contradictory accounts to what happened in same incident. I've been a victim of this myself--knowing full well in advance that these findings are a real thing.

I feel I'm being very generous in continuing here: the human body is under extreme distress during an NDE, hence the term "Near-Death." My personal analysis ends right here: This kind of testimony, even if it produces valid experiential results about the world, this isn't knowledge, and should be treated as immediately suspect. I will inject one other agnostic argument here: intelligence would suggest that we'd see some kind of variability or spike pointing to one thing or another. If atheists were somehow left out of NDEs this would suggest there's an intelligence at play that would be pointing us towards a theism of some sort.

I have to admit, I'm not really sure what exactly the argument is in regards to OBEs/NDEs except to serve as a sort of restatement of Cartesian Scepticism of the "Evil Deceiver/Brain in a Vat" kind? It should be of interest to those who don't know, that OBEs/NDEs are acceptable in Buddhism, and at its core, Buddhism rejects the notion of an unchanging "self" that pre-exists the body and exists after death. This creates a distinct problem if NDEs/OBEs are being used to argue for some kind of 'soul' that can leave the body and go collect knowledge like the shoe, and then come back. Any explanation here has to also answer the question of Buddhism's doctrine of Anatta.

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by dhw, Monday, October 26, 2020, 11:16 (38 days ago) @ xeno6696

xeno: Here I'm thinking specifically of that first case in Sabom's book that detailed the lady who pointed out a shoe that was on a ledge outside of the hospital. What about this? Isn't this *knowledge?* My kneejerk response is this: if I walked into a courtroom with a blood alcohol on the borderline of alcohol poisoning, exactly how much veracity should the judge and jury give any claims I make?

Delighted to have you back with us! I hope all is going well in your life. And thank you for this wonderfully well researched article. I agree with most of what you say, except for the above – which is really the only reason why I keep an open mind on NDEs. The shoe on the ledge was confirmed by outsiders. They did not have any disease and were not drunk. And there are many documented cases in which the patient has “returned” with information that he/she could not have known beforehand. There are also many cases in which perfectly healthy people have had similar experiences, in which they acquire inaccessible knowledge that has later been confirmed. BBella once described such a case, though I can’t remember the details, except that it involved prior knowledge of an accident. But the shoe incident will suffice as an illustration. I expect David will be able to give us more concrete examples.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by David Turell @, Monday, October 26, 2020, 21:43 (38 days ago) @ dhw

xeno: Here I'm thinking specifically of that first case in Sabom's book that detailed the lady who pointed out a shoe that was on a ledge outside of the hospital. What about this? Isn't this *knowledge?* My kneejerk response is this: if I walked into a courtroom with a blood alcohol on the borderline of alcohol poisoning, exactly how much veracity should the judge and jury give any claims I make?

dhw: Delighted to have you back with us! I hope all is going well in your life. And thank you for this wonderfully well researched article. I agree with most of what you say, except for the above – which is really the only reason why I keep an open mind on NDEs. The shoe on the ledge was confirmed by outsiders. They did not have any disease and were not drunk. And there are many documented cases in which the patient has “returned” with information that he/she could not have known beforehand. There are also many cases in which perfectly healthy people have had similar experiences, in which they acquire inaccessible knowledge that has later been confirmed. BBella once described such a case, though I can’t remember the details, except that it involved prior knowledge of an accident. But the shoe incident will suffice as an illustration. I expect David will be able to give us more concrete examples.

Doubly delighted!!! Fascinating entry, but like dhw I have to give much credence to the third party corroborations by perfectly rational witnesses. What is more questionable is Eben Alexander's self-proof. I've ceased following all the new evidence after reading his book. Not because of his book. Time. I don't find your courtroom an analogy as not fitting what we know.

For info: Kimberly Clark is the lady who found the shoe and everyone who interviewed her thought the whole story was completely credible and she has worked in this field of research ever since..

Hopefully you can continue to come back when you have time.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Monday, October 26, 2020, 23:55 (37 days ago) @ dhw

xeno: Here I'm thinking specifically of that first case in Sabom's book that detailed the lady who pointed out a shoe that was on a ledge outside of the hospital. What about this? Isn't this *knowledge?* My kneejerk response is this: if I walked into a courtroom with a blood alcohol on the borderline of alcohol poisoning, exactly how much veracity should the judge and jury give any claims I make?

Delighted to have you back with us! I hope all is going well in your life. And thank you for this wonderfully well researched article. I agree with most of what you say, except for the above – which is really the only reason why I keep an open mind on NDEs. The shoe on the ledge was confirmed by outsiders. They did not have any disease and were not drunk. And there are many documented cases in which the patient has “returned” with information that he/she could not have known beforehand. There are also many cases in which perfectly healthy people have had similar experiences, in which they acquire inaccessible knowledge that has later been confirmed. BBella once described such a case, though I can’t remember the details, except that it involved prior knowledge of an accident. But the shoe incident will suffice as an illustration. I expect David will be able to give us more concrete examples.

I'm replying directly to you dhw, but am including our good friend Turell since well, I'm lazy. :-D I'm certainly sorry I've been neglecting some old friends here.

The shoe on the ledge was confirmed by outsiders.

Of course, I was leading up to this in my head, but then I was close to the max word count and mentally off on a different tangent.

What does it actually mean that the data was corroborated?

The point I'm trying to get at, and this is oddly difficult for me to express in words, so I might have to try this a couple times so....

The claim here that we're considering is pretty... well pretty banal. So we find a shoe. other people corroborate that.

Looking at some other cases:

"Pam Reynolds: Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses."

We've got this dutch guy:
"‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’"

The thing that *I* notice here, is that in these instances we're all talking about things that are physically close to the patient in question.

Lady finds a shoe. Man finds his teeth. Another lady describes a procedure that the doc and nurses all already know.

I'm having a hard time understanding what the fascination or implications might really be here?

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by dhw, Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 09:25 (37 days ago) @ xeno6696

xeno: What does it actually mean that the data was corroborated?
The claim here that we're considering is pretty... well pretty banal. So we find a shoe. other people corroborate that.
Looking at some other cases:
"Pam Reynolds: Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses."
We've got this dutch guy:
"‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’"
The thing that *I* notice here, is that in these instances we're all talking about things that are physically close to the patient in question.
Lady finds a shoe. Man finds his teeth. Another lady describes a procedure that the doc and nurses all already know.
I'm having a hard time understanding what the fascination or implications might really be here?

I wish I could remember the other examples that did NOT concern such observations but I don’t have time to do the research. I vaguely remember that they involved patients “meeting” people they didn’t even know were dead, or being given information about living people which turned out to be true. BBella’s example was not an NDE – it concerned the person concerned being “told” to take action because of an accident which he/she couldn’t have known about. Such “psychic” events are far from being confined to NDEs. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but the implications are that the human mind is not confined to the brain cells, and may even have an existence of its own when the brain cells are dead. Hence the concept of an immortal soul. As usual, I remain neutral, but NDEs are only part of the story, and there are far too many instances of “psychic” experiences involving inexplicable knowledge for me to dismiss all of them as hoaxes or delusions.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 18:26 (37 days ago) @ dhw

xeno: What does it actually mean that the data was corroborated?
The claim here that we're considering is pretty... well pretty banal. So we find a shoe. other people corroborate that.
Looking at some other cases:
"Pam Reynolds: Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses."
We've got this dutch guy:
"‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’"
The thing that *I* notice here, is that in these instances we're all talking about things that are physically close to the patient in question.
Lady finds a shoe. Man finds his teeth. Another lady describes a procedure that the doc and nurses all already know.
I'm having a hard time understanding what the fascination or implications might really be here?

dhw: I wish I could remember the other examples that did NOT concern such observations but I don’t have time to do the research. I vaguely remember that they involved patients “meeting” people they didn’t even know were dead, or being given information about living people which turned out to be true. BBella’s example was not an NDE – it concerned the person concerned being “told” to take action because of an accident which he/she couldn’t have known about. Such “psychic” events are far from being confined to NDEs. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but the implications are that the human mind is not confined to the brain cells, and may even have an existence of its own when the brain cells are dead. Hence the concept of an immortal soul. As usual, I remain neutral, but NDEs are only part of the story, and there are far too many instances of “psychic” experiences involving inexplicable knowledge for me to dismiss all of them as hoaxes or delusions.

Well stated. The examples in my book are quite clear. They imply something that cannot be ignored. Even Eben Alexander's book cannot be ignored.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Sunday, November 01, 2020, 21:04 (32 days ago) @ dhw

xeno: What does it actually mean that the data was corroborated?
The claim here that we're considering is pretty... well pretty banal. So we find a shoe. other people corroborate that.
Looking at some other cases:
"Pam Reynolds: Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses."
We've got this dutch guy:
"‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’"
The thing that *I* notice here, is that in these instances we're all talking about things that are physically close to the patient in question.
Lady finds a shoe. Man finds his teeth. Another lady describes a procedure that the doc and nurses all already know.
I'm having a hard time understanding what the fascination or implications might really be here?

I wish I could remember the other examples that did NOT concern such observations but I don’t have time to do the research. I vaguely remember that they involved patients “meeting” people they didn’t even know were dead, or being given information about living people which turned out to be true. BBella’s example was not an NDE – it concerned the person concerned being “told” to take action because of an accident which he/she couldn’t have known about. Such “psychic” events are far from being confined to NDEs. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but the implications are that the human mind is not confined to the brain cells, and may even have an existence of its own when the brain cells are dead. Hence the concept of an immortal soul. As usual, I remain neutral, but NDEs are only part of the story, and there are far too many instances of “psychic” experiences involving inexplicable knowledge for me to dismiss all of them as hoaxes or delusions.


I'm going to have to shelve this for now. Part of why I brought up this old ghost is because I left it lingering, and I restarted a book I originally picked up to discuss here a few years back, "problems of knowledge." It seems, had I spent a bit more time studying it, I'd have a better understanding about where some of my own epistemological train jumps tracks. I'm essentially a full-on positivist, and as we should recall... Positivism was roundly refuted a good 60-80yrs ago... but it seems I like others, by not REALLY learning my history, are actively repeating it.

Dr. Turell, I'm sorry to keep responding to you in dhw's responses, but as I just stated I'm doing some heavy lifting right now in order to help make things right and hopefully suss out things that I'm missing. It's been slow, but atomism and reductionism have lost their respective spells.

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by dhw, Monday, November 02, 2020, 14:16 (31 days ago) @ xeno6696

xeno:I'm going to have to shelve this for now. Part of why I brought up this old ghost is because I left it lingering, and I restarted a book I originally picked up to discuss here a few years back, "problems of knowledge." It seems, had I spent a bit more time studying it, I'd have a better understanding about where some of my own epistemological train jumps tracks. I'm essentially a full-on positivist, and as we should recall... Positivism was roundly refuted a good 60-80yrs ago... but it seems I like others, by not REALLY learning my history, are actively repeating it.

Unless you’ve had first-hand experience, it all boils down to whether you believe that every story is a hoax, or the result of a delusion, in which case you will dismiss NDEs and every psychic experience in which people have acquired knowledge they could not have acquired under the prevailing circumstances. (I’m only interested in those stories where the acquired knowledge has been confirmed by witnesses.) Other people will believe the stories, and some of us will keep an open mind. But you need to know the stories before you make a decision!

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by David Turell @, Monday, November 02, 2020, 15:06 (31 days ago) @ dhw

xeno:I'm going to have to shelve this for now. Part of why I brought up this old ghost is because I left it lingering, and I restarted a book I originally picked up to discuss here a few years back, "problems of knowledge." It seems, had I spent a bit more time studying it, I'd have a better understanding about where some of my own epistemological train jumps tracks. I'm essentially a full-on positivist, and as we should recall... Positivism was roundly refuted a good 60-80yrs ago... but it seems I like others, by not REALLY learning my history, are actively repeating it.

dhw: Unless you’ve had first-hand experience, it all boils down to whether you believe that every story is a hoax, or the result of a delusion, in which case you will dismiss NDEs and every psychic experience in which people have acquired knowledge they could not have acquired under the prevailing circumstances. (I’m only interested in those stories where the acquired knowledge has been confirmed by witnesses.) Other people will believe the stories, and some of us will keep an open mind. But you need to know the stories before you make a decision!

An open mind only accepts third party confirmation of each NDE. Ignore all those without it.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Monday, November 02, 2020, 18:12 (31 days ago) @ dhw

xeno:I'm going to have to shelve this for now. Part of why I brought up this old ghost is because I left it lingering, and I restarted a book I originally picked up to discuss here a few years back, "problems of knowledge." It seems, had I spent a bit more time studying it, I'd have a better understanding about where some of my own epistemological train jumps tracks. I'm essentially a full-on positivist, and as we should recall... Positivism was roundly refuted a good 60-80yrs ago... but it seems I like others, by not REALLY learning my history, are actively repeating it.

Unless you’ve had first-hand experience, it all boils down to whether you believe that every story is a hoax, or the result of a delusion, in which case you will dismiss NDEs and every psychic experience in which people have acquired knowledge they could not have acquired under the prevailing circumstances. (I’m only interested in those stories where the acquired knowledge has been confirmed by witnesses.) Other people will believe the stories, and some of us will keep an open mind. But you need to know the stories before you make a decision!

This is exactly my problem: I've identified that I'm a pretty strict foundationalist when it comes to epistemology... which probably doesn't shock you given the years even forgiving my hiatus.

The problem with foundationalism is that since it focuses on a posteriori knowledge, it has a strong tendency to force people to exclude anything that might possibly be a priori, which to me explains precisely why the topic of NDEs and OBEs gets short shrift, veridical or not. This reckoning was long in the coming though, now that I'm a thoroughgoing Buddhist, *everything we do* is in the mind here, so what, am I to suppose that just because we don't have a physical explanation that tells us precisely what a thought *is* that we have to throw out all of the mind-dependent information we can process in our heads?

I appreciate you trying to bring it to the common-sense level, but I've got a more fundamental flaw that if not fixed, will continue to cloud my own 'common sense' as it were.

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by David Turell @, Monday, November 02, 2020, 18:54 (31 days ago) @ xeno6696

xeno:I'm going to have to shelve this for now. Part of why I brought up this old ghost is because I left it lingering, and I restarted a book I originally picked up to discuss here a few years back, "problems of knowledge." It seems, had I spent a bit more time studying it, I'd have a better understanding about where some of my own epistemological train jumps tracks. I'm essentially a full-on positivist, and as we should recall... Positivism was roundly refuted a good 60-80yrs ago... but it seems I like others, by not REALLY learning my history, are actively repeating it.

dhw: Unless you’ve had first-hand experience, it all boils down to whether you believe that every story is a hoax, or the result of a delusion, in which case you will dismiss NDEs and every psychic experience in which people have acquired knowledge they could not have acquired under the prevailing circumstances. (I’m only interested in those stories where the acquired knowledge has been confirmed by witnesses.) Other people will believe the stories, and some of us will keep an open mind. But you need to know the stories before you make a decision!


xeno: This is exactly my problem: I've identified that I'm a pretty strict foundationalist when it comes to epistemology... which probably doesn't shock you given the years even forgiving my hiatus.

The problem with foundationalism is that since it focuses on a posteriori knowledge, it has a strong tendency to force people to exclude anything that might possibly be a priori, which to me explains precisely why the topic of NDEs and OBEs gets short shrift, veridical or not. This reckoning was long in the coming though, now that I'm a thoroughgoing Buddhist, *everything we do* is in the mind here, so what, am I to suppose that just because we don't have a physical explanation that tells us precisely what a thought *is* that we have to throw out all of the mind-dependent information we can process in our heads?

I appreciate you trying to bring it to the common-sense level, but I've got a more fundamental flaw that if not fixed, will continue to cloud my own 'common sense' as it were.

You have identified your problem, but there has to be a 'common sense' view. Since you disappeared the research has continued through Sam Parnia MD, currently summarized in his book "Erasing Death", describing his findings in resuscitation research, with the attendant OOB and NDE episodes. Obviously he has not come upon answers.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by dhw, Tuesday, November 03, 2020, 08:00 (30 days ago) @ xeno6696

dhw: Unless you’ve had first-hand experience, it all boils down to whether you believe that every story is a hoax, or the result of a delusion, in which case you will dismiss NDEs and every psychic experience in which people have acquired knowledge they could not have acquired under the prevailing circumstances. (I’m only interested in those stories where the acquired knowledge has been confirmed by witnesses.) Other people will believe the stories, and some of us will keep an open mind. But you need to know the stories before you make a decision!

xeno: This is exactly my problem: I've identified that I'm a pretty strict foundationalist when it comes to epistemology... which probably doesn't shock you given the years even forgiving my hiatus.
The problem with foundationalism is that since it focuses on a posteriori knowledge, it has a strong tendency to force people to exclude anything that might possibly be a priori, which to me explains precisely why the topic of NDEs and OBEs gets short shrift, veridical or not. This reckoning was long in the coming though, now that I'm a thoroughgoing Buddhist, *everything we do* is in the mind here, so what, am I to suppose that just because we don't have a physical explanation that tells us precisely what a thought *is* that we have to throw out all of the mind-dependent information we can process in our heads?
I appreciate you trying to bring it to the common-sense level, but I've got a more fundamental flaw that if not fixed, will continue to cloud my own 'common sense' as it were.

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.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Tuesday, November 03, 2020, 13:35 (30 days ago) @ 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.

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!

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

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.

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by dhw, Wednesday, November 04, 2020, 11:26 (29 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!

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by David Turell @, Monday, November 02, 2020, 15:03 (31 days ago) @ xeno6696

xeno: What does it actually mean that the data was corroborated?
The claim here that we're considering is pretty... well pretty banal. So we find a shoe. other people corroborate that.
Looking at some other cases:
"Pam Reynolds: Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses."
We've got this dutch guy:
"‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’"
The thing that *I* notice here, is that in these instances we're all talking about things that are physically close to the patient in question.
Lady finds a shoe. Man finds his teeth. Another lady describes a procedure that the doc and nurses all already know.
I'm having a hard time understanding what the fascination or implications might really be here?

I wish I could remember the other examples that did NOT concern such observations but I don’t have time to do the research. I vaguely remember that they involved patients “meeting” people they didn’t even know were dead, or being given information about living people which turned out to be true. BBella’s example was not an NDE – it concerned the person concerned being “told” to take action because of an accident which he/she couldn’t have known about. Such “psychic” events are far from being confined to NDEs. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but the implications are that the human mind is not confined to the brain cells, and may even have an existence of its own when the brain cells are dead. Hence the concept of an immortal soul. As usual, I remain neutral, but NDEs are only part of the story, and there are far too many instances of “psychic” experiences involving inexplicable knowledge for me to dismiss all of them as hoaxes or delusions.

I'm going to have to shelve this for now. Part of why I brought up this old ghost is because I left it lingering, and I restarted a book I originally picked up to discuss here a few years back, "problems of knowledge." It seems, had I spent a bit more time studying it, I'd have a better understanding about where some of my own epistemological train jumps tracks. I'm essentially a full-on positivist, and as we should recall... Positivism was roundly refuted a good 60-80yrs ago... but it seems I like others, by not REALLY learning my history, are actively repeating it.

Matt: Dr. Turell, I'm sorry to keep responding to you in dhw's responses, but as I just stated I'm doing some heavy lifting right now in order to help make things right and hopefully suss out things that I'm missing. It's been slow, but atomism and reductionism have lost their respective spells.

We're just glad you are back

NDEs: It still comes back to epistemology

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 17:49 (37 days ago) @ xeno6696
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 17:57

xeno: Here I'm thinking specifically of that first case in Sabom's book that detailed the lady who pointed out a shoe that was on a ledge outside of the hospital. What about this? Isn't this *knowledge?* My kneejerk response is this: if I walked into a courtroom with a blood alcohol on the borderline of alcohol poisoning, exactly how much veracity should the judge and jury give any claims I make?

dhw: Delighted to have you back with us! I hope all is going well in your life. And thank you for this wonderfully well researched article. I agree with most of what you say, except for the above – which is really the only reason why I keep an open mind on NDEs. The shoe on the ledge was confirmed by outsiders. They did not have any disease and were not drunk. And there are many documented cases in which the patient has “returned” with information that he/she could not have known beforehand. There are also many cases in which perfectly healthy people have had similar experiences, in which they acquire inaccessible knowledge that has later been confirmed. BBella once described such a case, though I can’t remember the details, except that it involved prior knowledge of an accident. But the shoe incident will suffice as an illustration. I expect David will be able to give us more concrete examples.


I'm replying directly to you dhw, but am including our good friend Turell since well, I'm lazy. :-D I'm certainly sorry I've been neglecting some old friends here.

The shoe on the ledge was confirmed by outsiders.

Of course, I was leading up to this in my head, but then I was close to the max word count and mentally off on a different tangent.

What does it actually mean that the data was corroborated?

The point I'm trying to get at, and this is oddly difficult for me to express in words, so I might have to try this a couple times so....

The claim here that we're considering is pretty... well pretty banal. So we find a shoe. other people corroborate that.

Looking at some other cases:

"Pam Reynolds: Upon returning to consciousness, she was able to accurately describe the unique surgical instrument used and report the statements made by the nurses."

We've got this dutch guy:
"‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’"

The thing that *I* notice here, is that in these instances we're all talking about things that are physically close to the patient in question.

Lady finds a shoe. Man finds his teeth. Another lady describes a procedure that the doc and nurses all already know.

Please read my replies. I researched, wrote the book and am closer to the evidence. From yesterday:

For info: Kimberly Clark is the lady who found the shoe and everyone who interviewed her thought the whole story was completely credible and she has worked in this field of research ever since.

The shoe was described in the ER upon resuscitation as to exact located on top of a high cabinet with one shoelace under the shoe all next to a high outside window. The patient describe floating up to the window to see the shoe while during resuscitation!!!


Matt: I'm having a hard time understanding what the fascination or implications might really be here?

If you really remembered the stories you would also be fascinated.

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