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The Possibility of Metaphysics (by Graham P. Smetham)

Although the title is ‘The Possibility of Metaphysics’ the first part has as its focus not only metaphysics in general but Buddhist metaphysics in particular. This is because the motivation for this focus issue was sparked by an email from a colleague who asked for my opinion of a book written by Robert Ellis. The aspect of the ‘experimental metaphysics’ of quantum theory is examined in detail in the first article "The Matter of Mindnature" The Buddhist metaphysical viewpoint tells as the nature of ultimate reality is best understood as a fundamentally interrelated and interpenetrating field of Mind-like energy, or Mindnature, and such a view is clearly supported by the quantum violation of Bell’s inequalities. In this article I examine Ellis’s notion of the impossibility of metaphysics in the light of both philosophical considerations and the implications of the quantum evidence. The next article "Taking the‘Meta’ Out of Physics" is Ellis’s response to my criticisms of his work. I leave it to readers to come to conclusions without further comment from me. It is my hope that there will be feedback concerning the issues raised as I am personally convinced that Ellis’s position is untenable but am curious to know whether my viewpoint is widely held. Certainly the last two articles from James Kowall, ‘What is Reality in a Holographic World?’, and Brian Whitworth, ‘Introducing The Virtual Reality Conjecture’, seem to support my position..

Read the Full Article Here.

The ‘Epiontic’ Dependently Originating Process of Cyclic Existence According to Early Buddhist Metaphysics (by Graham P. Smetham): Abstract: Some modern Western interpreters of Buddhist teachings and philosophy claim that the original teachings of the Pali Canon were staunchly anti-metaphysical. In this article I exa-mine the early Buddhist worldview and demonstration that this assertion is deeply mistaken. Whilst the early teachings of the Buddha clearly rejected dogmatic metaphysical positions which the Buddha characterised as being ‘extreme’, he also implicitly, yet clearly, taught a subtle metaphysical view of the process of reality which is consistent with the modern quantum ‘epiontic’ (epistemological perception creates ontology) perspective of ‘quantum Darwinism.’

Central to this viewpoint is 1) a non-materialism which indicates that the ultimate process of reality is of the nature of mind; 2) the assertion that the ultimate nature of reality lies between the extremes of ‘existence’ and ‘non-existence’, ‘eternalism’ and ‘nihilism’; 3) the assertion that the epiontic mechanism operates as ‘kamma’, or ‘karma’, a central mechanism for the functioning of conditioned samsaric (cycle of dissatisfactory lives) reality. On the basis of these fundamental insights the doctrines of ‘rebirth’ and ‘dependent origination’ are shown to be crucial metaphysical components of the overall early Buddhist worldview as taught by the Buddha. These doctrines are also shown to be consistent with modern quantum theory. On the basis of this investigation recent claims that the 3-lifetimes model of dependent origination is mistaken are shown to be desperately misleading.

The Quantum Truth of the Buddhist Metaphysics of the ‘Two Truths’ or ‘Two Realities’ (by Graham P. Smetham): Abstract: According to the ‘Buddhist’ writer Stephen Batchelor the core Buddhist doctrine of the ‘two truths’ or ‘two realities’ is a major mistake on the part of Buddhist practitioners and philosophers throughout the ages. Although this doctrine has been central to Buddhist thinking since the time of the Buddha, Batchelor says that it is a serious mistake, and is completely unscientific. This article show that it is Batchelor who is desperately mistaken because modern quantum theory has validated the metaphysical claim that the ‘classical’ or ‘conventional’ world is an illusion which is derived from the deeper quantum realm. Thus the division into the ‘classical’ realm and the ‘quantum’ realm maps onto the Buddhist distinction between the ‘conventional’ mode of reality and the ‘ultimate’ mode of reality. Far from Buddhist philosophy being ‘unscientific’, it is Batchelor who displays ignorance of modern science.