Metaphysics and Transcendence

By Arthur Gibson | Go to book overview

9

Modern philosophy and ancient consciousness

Philosophy of alternative cultures

Previous chapters have implicitly assumed the importance of further scrutiny of concepts of mentality and consciousness to issues discussed so far in this book. Contemporary research tends to explore these questions either in their present manifestations or in relation to a narrow specific range that is a result of past Eurocentric perspectives, such as drawing on the Classics or Greek culture. This continues to be of particular value; yet alternative ancient sources and worldviews have bearing on our contemporary concerns, and could make a considerable difference to how we shape fundamental questions and their answers. For example would an as-yet metaphysical philosophy of ancient consciousness based on, for example, Sumerian narratives result in a concept of the mind different from those that hold sway now? As Gibson (2000a) showed, a Freudian viewpoint is far from the complete picture of the Near Eastern world's concern with mentality and symbol. Beyond such issues of course is the question of whether or not such a topic as 'philosophy of mind' is just one philosophy that encapsulates what it is to be the mind, or if philosophy of 'mind' in different cultures will produce a plurality of philosophies. Even if the answer to such a query is in the negative, research investigating the impact of hitherto philosophically uninvestigated ancient data could affect the shape of certain issues, and give grounds for supposing that there are neglected ancient symbols contributing to the formation of the unconscious.


Is logic applicable to identity?

Is it possible to develop a philosophical logic, or philosophy, of culture that accurately generalises (supervenes) over ancient and modern cultures? Rorty (1979, 1997), for example, supposes that we cannot; this chapter argues that one can. The first person pronoun 'I' is a convenient starting-point. It is one of the most persistent occasions for the issue of supervenience, as well as a most elusive one. Does the first person pronoun have one or many identities? Should this question have different answers if applied to earlier historical periods?

Such an agenda presupposes a focus on fundamental questions of generalisability and identity, however. It is not uncommon for some people to assume

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Metaphysics and Transcendence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Part I - The Problem 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Part II - Prognosis 13
  • 1 - Complexities of Meaning 15
  • 2 - Simple-Minded Philosophy 30
  • 3 - Transcending Cultural Limits in Logic 53
  • Part III - Infinite Metaphysics 69
  • 4 - Philosophy of Mathematics, Mathematical Physics and Creativity 71
  • 5 - The Quality of Creative Language 93
  • 6 - Virtual Reality Metaphysics 123
  • Part IV - Real-World Solutions 141
  • 7 - Some Resurrection Logic 143
  • 8 - The Semantic Logic of 'God' 168
  • 9 - Modern Philosophy and Ancient Consciousness 192
  • 10 - Transcendent Reason 211
  • Notes 238
  • Bibliography 255
  • Indexes 270
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