The general and the particular

Plato was mistaken, or at least his concept of forms (ideas) was.

The mistake was in the relationship between physical reality and innate ideas. The concept is understood to be that the thing of the reality is derived from the innate idea (forms). The concept is that forms are the true reality, and the physical world is but its shadow, or reflection of it.

Modern science has shown where ideas are created — in the brain as the mind. The more experience we have the better our ideas of the things of physical reality. Each particular thing categorised becomes a general idea of the thing. It is within the name-meaning (sign) that which our knowledge is based upon.

49 thoughts on “The general and the particular”

  1. That is a limited rating of Zen.

    Zen is not everything-is-consciousness. If it were it would be irrelevant to reality. The usefulness of it is precisely because it is relevant to reality.

    That is a book version of Zen and not a physically practiced and understood one.

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  2. Ok. But I am only talking about mind and body in the context of reality. In reality I am not saying that consciousness does not arise in the brain. I’m sure I could point to a lot of studies and just examples of where indeed the mind is affected by taking drugs for example. That definitely occurs in reality I am not disputing the fact that indeed the experience of mind can be affected by manipulations of the brain. I am in no way disputing the reality of that possibility. I see evidence of it every single day.

    I am saying that when we think of things philosophically and we consider what these big-name philosophers are really saying, in the end, There are two arrowhea there are two irreconcilable routes upon objects. And these two routes do not reduce down to the mind-body question. The mind-body question is really interesting and I would have to side on the side of the body. In reality, when I discuss things with people about what may be more or less real, I do not fall on the side of sun Zen Buddhist spiritual consciousness that everything is consciousness or everything his mind or some sort of larger a spiritual whatever the hell. But at the same time I have questions about committing to a project that says that everything is physical or empirical or located in the brain, just because I have no way of verifying that is the case unless i decide at some point to be less concerned with truth. And more concerned with my real position. In a manner of speaking.

    But yeah I’ll check out that post. 👍🏾

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  3. Check latest post about supervenience. I am not sure you would agree.

    The relationship of the mind to the body is probably where we differ. It has always been the site of contention.


  4. Yes, I say all those things that you just mentioned are real. And with in reality there is true and false.

    I am speaking a certain way, I am using certain terms to try and convey a situation. Less an idea and more a description of what is occurring.

    The best terms that I’ve come up with at this point is “real“ and “true”. I actually have a little figure that I put in my book the philosophical hack which I think will be in about part 3. The relationship between reality and truth.

    There indeed can be real- true things.

    But I’m not sure you are aware of Laruelles
    notion of a unilateral duality.

    It’s a notion that I came upon also, and indeed Badiou came upon it also, but Laruelle Has spent much time in many books and essays talking about this unilateral duality and he put it so well that I don’t really need to discuss all the ins and outs about it because I feel like he puts it in such concise and very clear way.

    And Badiou put it in terms of set theory:

    Basically one includes the other.

    And one excludes the other.

    These are two mutually exclusive sets that Badiou makes an argument of in his book the first book called being and event.


  5. So this is my point.

    Given is both a mind and body.

    Within the interaction I may, for example, hurt a lover by breaking up with her. This one-sided act causes her pain that I do not know. I cannot see her mind, but only her physical reaction.

    Later, I get involved in another relationship. This she breaks up with me and causes me pain. I feel this pain in the mind.

    In small steps I start to build a picture of the mind and develop a theory of mind, that begin to understand the pain I caused my first lover is similar to the pain in me from my second lover.

    I also build a picture of myself as a body. Call it a “theory of body”.

    I see people who lose arms, become physically disabled, etc. I also see mental disabilities, where Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases affect function, not only of body but mind. I see damage to the brain affect people, affect their mind.

    How can we NOT say that the brain is the generator of the mind, any more than say that the mind is the generator of God?

    Both are possible mistakes. It baffles me that you can say one is true and not other without see the parallelism of the thinking.

    Neuroscience has shown us far more. The affects of stimulus can affect perception (think alcohol, cigarettes, drugs). The limitation of the senses depends on the equipment (think dogs’ hearing, the eyesight of mantis shrimp).

    Medical drugs (physical substance) can improve mental conditions. Mental thought can improve physical ones, but far harder. No amount of thinking can reverse Parkinson’s. No amount of thinking can repair the mental disability caused by physical injury.

    Physical intervention changes mental performance.

    Of the three choices – mind over matter, matter over mind, mind and matter – matter over mind is the most probable from experience.

    Mind over matter is like trying to fix a leaking tire by pumping more air into it without dealing with the puncture. Mind and body is like saying the tire and the air have nothing to do with each other. Matter over mind is like dealing with the puncture then pumping the air back into the tire.

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  6. A friend of mine used to have a blog called “in the salt mine”. And I only recently have I come up on a kind of funny ironic play on words:

    The world is like a mine. And I go dig through it. My mind is not a mine. But what I find out about the world is mined.

    I think I’m gonna post that. 🙂


  7. In truth, probably I can’t really be sure. But the other things, including other minds, are obviously given to me. Sure, I might say that my mind is giving it to me also, that is, subject to the same condition that I’m saying that these other things are. But with the things in the world that are given to me I definitely can reach out to them and try all sorts of various interactions and get a response from them that is likewise given, obviously. The questioning I do upon things out in the world such as other peoples minds is different then the question that I would attempt to do similarly to my own mind.

    When I approach my own mind in the same way I end up with very large contradictions to where I can never be sure if anything that I’m thinking about my mind is true.

    If I am looking to other people and other brain scans, even if a doctor puts me in a MRI or whatever and takes brain scans of my brain everything I see about it is out where “other minds” would be; I can never be as sure about what my own mind might be. But I can be a little more sure about what other minds might be, because it is obviously the case and whatever response I get from them does not fall into the same contradictions that I get into when I try to find out what my mind is or where it comes from. I can be pretty sure that my dog on the end of the leash is indeed right there on the end of my leash. At no time can I be sure about where my mind is located.

    That is why I ask you and other people what is the criterion you are using to be able to say for sure that the brain or the body generates the mind? From a philosophically logistical perspective, what route of understanding makes such a solid line between my thinking my mind and my brain?

    But by contrast, or at least oppositely, I can pretty much well say that whatever I might be thinking it’s most likely the conglomeration of all things that I’m not considering “my mind”. In that way it seems slightly more probable that what I am considering “my mind” is of no sort “mine”.

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  8. In reality I cannot be totally sure of anything. In truth, Mind is a term of discourse no more special than any other term. In reality I am more concerned about other people’s minds, though I must do somethings to allow them to be what they are. And myself to be open to them .


  9. A lot going on in your post. But I think fundamentally our definitions of philosophy point to how our talk about the same thing appears different. As I say, different orientations upon objects.

    Yours is “the study of…”

    Mine is “the disclosure of…”

    They are indicating two different kinds of motions.

    Yours seems to be intensional, as though “from” a thinker (?). Or at least a subject. I would assume.

    Mine seems to be “from”, what I might say, Not the thinker/subject.

    How do you like that framing ?


  10. I couldn’t find the religion of philosophy post of yours.

    Yes. I could see how science religion and philosophy could be different aspects of knowing reality.

    In a way, I would situate it as: Philosophy being “on the fence” (as your scheme) as a position. Like, as I say in a recent post: Philosophy is the disclosure of being.

    Then science and religion are two different ways of dealing with the Being that is disclosed. Perhaps.

    Your notion of “outside” though is unclear to me. Becuase science could be said to be dealing with a given which is outside Becuase we can’t seem to nail down just how or why science can be as it is. Conversely, Religion could be said to be reflecting what is “inside”, a way that what is “inside” is supplying the manner of giving to the world how it is able to be known.

    We seem to be coming at the same thing in two slightly different ways. Can you see that? Can you agree with that synopsis of you and I approaches?


  11. I do not think secularism entails worship of the universe.

    I for one feel there is nothing special about the universe or humans. “Exceptionalism” is positive in connotation. “Anthropocentrism” is term I prefer with its negative connotations.


  12. I see where you are coming from.

    I would disagree with the secular view can be equated to religion.

    I personally explain science, religion and philosophy are ways to express how we understand reality. Science does not call upon an outside force for an explanation. Religion does. Philosophy sits on the fence.

    But what is not to say that calling on your mind is also not a religion?

    I think this is a metaphor and cannot be taken literally.

    It would not be any different than me saying science (or religion) is just another philosophy.

    Previous on my blog I have written a post called “the religion of philosophy”.


  13. I would say that the mind can be a product of the body. Presently, that seems to be the case, that the mind is able to be proven understood and viewed as a product of the body. That is what is occurring now. And I think it’s more productive currently to speak of things in that context more or less.

    One of my points about what religion is stems from thinking about what the case was when whatever creature existed first that we could call human was around.

    Whatever that group of people may have thought, was it religious? What is it a fantasy or something not based in reality?

    I take the idea of human exceptionalism, where the human being develops somehow along a trajectory that is different or separate from the universe such that it’s knowledge can reflect the condition of the universe which is incorrect, as having or reflecting many philosophical problems. Too many to go into here.

    But fundamentally I don’t think, for example, Judaism was a religion until it encounter another group of people who has a different way of viewing things. And even then it wasn’t a religion until someone decided to coin a term to describe this difference without falling into one of the two camps (I.e. Judaism and the group they encountered).

    So I see an issue in a human being that is able to come upon some “actual“ universe as opposed to someone who has a “religious“ view. This distinction is already rooted in an idea or a cosmology, or ideology or mythology or whatever other term you want to call it, that simply is not recognizing that it’s self is also just some way of thinking.

    The idea that we are able to come upon a truth of the universe that is not religious, I argue, is just one religion saying that it’s viewing of the world is more correct than another viewing of the world.

    I’m not getting into all the questions of power or why that might be the case because I’m not so concerned about coming to ontological foundations of truth as I am just describing the situation that does not seem to be recognized.

    It is my contention, just as you and I are agreeing that we each have our particular view upon the world represented in discourse, even though it might be the same view, so do groups of people also see the world as the discourse they use for it as an identity, as a unity, as indeed the truth of the true universe.

    Hence, I question anyone who says they have an ability to know I have the “true universe”, for example, that the mind is a product of the body.

    I don’t just question it out right as if it’s some flat situation the truth of which we have to find somehow or able to find, I question it in the sense of what it is relying upon in order to be able to even see itself as reflecting the truth to argue about.

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  14. I have not problems with the mind and body.

    But I will say we may have a different position as to the nature of the mind.

    Whereas I would say the mind is the product of the body, I am not sure you would agree. yes?


  15. Hold on a second. Who said anything about religion? Did you not decide that yourself?

    Which ice cream I choose for after lunch does not involve a religious belief … unless I am muslim and requires the ingredients to be halal.

    And who is to say I may not feel the same way about your assumptions of me?

    I have been offering my point of view with evidence (as imperfect as it may be). I am waiting for evidence other than hearsay or that I arguments which does not say I have no access to because it is a private language.

    It seems to me that I will never understand what you are trying to say because you are offering a position which says even the words cannot convey that position.

    So what is the point of the conversation then?

    (I ask this as a prompt and not an attack.)


  16. Both. Body and mind. But I think overall, as a counselor, people spend too much time in their mind and not enough time in their body. So when I see this I tend to try and direct them back to their body.

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  17. I’d say the ideal that says that everything must involve a choice is a religious belief.

    At least so far as you treat me as though I fall under that paradigm, rather than treating me as I actually am.

    I suppose this is what I’m getting at by saying that what you are seeing of me is really you, because I am only responding to what you are saying. The issue is how you then go about dealing with the matter.


  18. …so for me maybe the Big choice to believe is suspended. Perhaps I suspend my making a choice until a situation presents itself to me and then a start making choices about what to say in response.

    Thanks man. I would not have been able to formulate this without your involvement. 🙂



  19. Ah. But to be a little more honest:

    Indeed. I have pondered what the ultimate nature of reality might be. But I found that any answer I would give is false in some way. So I simply do not say that I believe anything about it except in response to what someone else might say they believe. But alone, I have no belief. Except maybe to say that I believe that what I believe is conditioned by what is presented for any moment.

    The truth, though. I something else. I believe. 😁


  20. Ok. That’s good. But the notion that I have made a choice not to decide is you estimation. That makes no sense to me in truth. In reality, sure. No choice is still a choice. But at note have I ever been faced with a decision about what I believe is the truth of reality. The choice about what I believe about the truth of reality is something that has come up for you, and I am merely asking into it. I have no ability to encounter any choice about what I believe is the ultimate reality except against what you say it is. To me, though, such a choice is like saying that peanut butter is made of hay and cat hair balls. Sure we can make any sense we want if that. But why would we? That to me is the significant question. Why are you saying that I have made such a choice when obviously I have not now is there such a choice for me to have. ? It is a strange thing to me why someone would feel they are able to see a truth that is not there.

    I am not saying that you have not such a choice. I am saying that my choices here are determined. by what you are presenting. That I am speaking really about you, really in that regard. In truth. In reality. That is another matter.


  21. I don’t say that it’s all mind. I was just fling off your statementas and asking about them. I think it’s fair to ask when or where or how ideas are grounded.


  22. There we have it. We are talking about the same thing.

    You have made a choice not to decide on the nature of certain things. This is a choice in itself, and a valid one.

    For me, as I had said, I have come to the choice of dealing with reality after careful weighing of the options. It could be wrong. But every moment does not and has not contradict my understanding. That this is likely the reality is all I need to know to continue.

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  23. The mind generates the mind. And the mind generates the brain.

    Does the mind generate everything, the mind, the brain, the world? Does your mind generate me, like it generated your brain, too? If the mind is the source of things, which mind generate us and this conversation, the internet which supports this dialogue?


  24. That is so cool! Honestly. You have given me a clear picture. You and I are very similar in our views, but I see them as being voiced differently, using different terms, different ways of speaking about the same things, the same ideas.

    This is the discourse I use:

    I do not think I have made any choice about what I think reality is. I do make choices, but they occur in reality. The idea that I am making a choice, though, is not true. It is indeed real Becuase I have to make choices in reality, but I made no choice as to believe anything about what is reality itself. I weighed up no various arguments to see which case held more water; what ever water was held, it was the water that could only make sense to me in that way for me to make that choice. Reality is evident to me and beyond my ability to discern otherwise. Hence is say this is the truth of it; such discernment is not real, but it is true.

    I likewise am not choosing to accept sensory data as the criterion for what is real; I am not weighing up the pros and cons of such a notion. I see that the sensory data reveals two states, if you will, to manners that are true: one is real, and one is true. They do not inform the other nor reduce to some single human being’s thinking necessarily; only in reality is there a single human being that is me (and anyone else). But I do not choose the conditions where in I may choose of actions and belief; actions and belief are things that I do in reality that have to do with choice. They are real. But in the extension of conditions, the truth of the matter is that I am
    Making no choice (and of no part a free choice). Yet The truth of this situation, as I just said, does not inform or weigh in on the choices I make in reality.

    Similarly, I do not believe anything nor have made choices about what is true: It is true. What is true does not require belief nor choosing upon possibility . What I believe about reality can only be spoken about in real terms, so I say I believe this and that, but the truth of the situation is I am Not choosing to believe what is true, and what is true is not informing what I say about what I believe. What I say I believe is for the benefit of others who are real. What i say is true is not what I believe nor is it an opinion nor a subjective truth. A subjective truth is a real truth, based in decisions upon conditions, within the contingency of real events.

    Hence I too get on with life making choices. But the truth of how this came about has nothing to do with a choice to do so. In fact it was a complete absence of choosing that allowed me to get on with living a life of choosing life things.

    I am a physical being because that is a real condition currently. And, as I’ve suggested. there is little good use to making arguments for the sake of mere ability to do so and then believing that those arguments are true because I am able to form an argument.

    Embodiment is the living the rules of the game fully and without exception. (To reference how you spoke of it for yourself).

    Perhaps you might see how we are actually quite similar in our views, in our seeing, and are using discourse differently to speak about the same thing.

    But somehow I doubt you will admit that. (But I could be wrong).

    So: what I see is that some people understand terms as reflecting truth, universal essences the rules of which to which all things must adhere or be false. So it is that I think it may be the case that you will have issue with me suggesting that we are seeing the same thing but using different terms to talk about it.

    If that is so, then I think You might have made my case for me.


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  25. I think we have both had enough experience to make a decision on this.

    I have made my choice that the physical reality is there.

    I have also made my choice to accept that sensory data is the only way to have knowledge of the reality. I also know it is not perfect knowledge but the only method to knowledge to the reality we have.

    With this imperfect knowledge (which is tainted by being this specific object) I have decided to get on with life, of which half has already gone by.

    I do not believe in God or souls. These are concepts as much as you and I am are concepts. But equally you are a particular being or idea if you want, but not a general one. I am not surprised by being a physical being. I am blessed to be given awareness of being (whatever that is). I do not believe I will survive beyond this body. The limitation for me has been the experienced-body. So I do not believe anymore time should be wasted on thinking about that (the rules of the game) but to get on with living (the playing of the game).

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  26. I think we disagree in what is at stake. I doubt that I can know something for certain. I invest my activity in what others think, since I think I also think that argument and proof has no more substantial foundation than what what already knows. For example: there is nothing that I could say to change you mind Becuase your experiences has already shown you what is true. If there was anything I could change in your view of truth, I would be only agreeing with you and setting aside what I know as true, that is, unless the truth is found by what comes to me from others.

    You already know everything you need or want to. What could I possibly say to change you mind? Can you think of anything ?


  27. I am not saying that you are asleep. I just used a parable.

    I think we’ve already had our talk about how we agree. So where are we disagreeing? Seems the parable might have some veracity.


  28. There is the brain and there is an idea of the brain. It seems you are stuck at the accumulative sensory, perceptive, conceptual evidence, saying this is not enough to go by.

    I suppose you can stick your hand through the internet ether and slap me a few times to wake me from my delusion. I’m waiting.

    The limitations of the physical world as derived from sensory, perceptive conceptual evidence (which comes from this housed physical entity) is not only enough but also the only evidence we have. Ideas generate ideas, but also a physical brain generates the idea of ideas. I know enough about the physical world not to test that by putting a gun to my head and pull the trigger to test whether mind can exist without the brain.

    Tell me, are you?


  29. It’s a parable.

    How do you know you are not out?

    Maybe my mind was generated by my mind. Maybe the brain too.
    Logistically speaking: how are you able to find the source of you mind? How is you mind able to be sure that what it understands as its source is not just another figment of mind?


  30. How do you know you are out? Maybe that was generated by your mind.

    I don’t believe in Bodhisattvas. They were mind generated.

    Yes, enlightenment doesn’t exist any more than any other idea, other than being mind-generated and linguistically-shared. All of these are physical processes.

    Two people may met. Whether they are Bodhisattvas or enlightened is a matter of choice of perception and conception.


  31. The brain generates the mind that generates ideas. What is there to escape? Didn’t your mind generate a prison?

    The reflection of my physical self is enough evidence for me. If you want to me more than you are chasing spirits as well.


  32. I’m already out. I guess the question of the caterpillar and the butterfly could be operative here.

    Or maybe Bodhisattvas. There are two Buddhist parables I think appropriate :

    1). Enlightenment is coming upon the realization that there is no such thing as enlightenment.

    2). If two Bodhisatvas met. Neither would know that the other is enlightened

    Interesting huh?


  33. So. The brain generates ideas. And the idea of the mind escapes its own idea generating to be able to find its generator called the mind ? How cool! Sounds like we’ve found God.


  34. Same “place” where all other ideas come from – the physical reality of this particular idea-generating thing. Then shared among other idea-understanding things through the process of language.

    While you may not see a way out, I have already left the maze.


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