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The Ultimate Map of Reality:

Has science rendered metaphysics obsolete?

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  • The Debate

    The Ultimate Map of Reality

    20th Century thought seemed to render metaphysics obsolete, but could a revival be on the agenda? Or should such talk be left to priests and mystics?

    The Panel

    "Kantian or Lockean, it makes no difference!" - In this video, Nietzschean priest Giles Fraser puts himself in the firing line of three ardent metaphysicians. Post postmodernist Hilary Lawson and philosopher of physics James Ladyman clash over how to make sense of multiple realities, as Oxford philosopher Adrian Moore reveals: even this is metaphysics....

  • Find out more about speakers

Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • Adrian Moore
    The Pitch
    Oxford philosopher takes out the analytical scalpel on 'metaphysics'
  • James Ladyman
    The Pitch
    Prize-winning philosopher of physics finds metaphysics inspiring science
  • Hilary Lawson
    The Pitch
    Post postmodernist philosopher makes the case for A Theory of Everything
  • Giles Fraser
    The Pitch
    Former Canon chancellor and Nietzchean Christian throws down the gauntlet
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    What would an ultimate map consist of? The panel diverge....
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    Could science provide the map? Is science itself the ultimate metaphysics?
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jimpliciter on 12/01/2015 2:50am

The best case scenario regarding ‘representation’ (“maps”) is that a representation is used as an aid to cognition, as it is deployed in goal directed activity. The second best case scenario is when representation is used not as an aid to task pertinent cognition, but as a means of social interaction (languaging). How on earth would anyone use an “ultimate map of reality”? Is that when you need a bit of cognitive assistance to engage a goal directed activity that involves coupled interaction with reality as a whole? Looks like this discussion is a second best case scenario.

mebigguy on 21/12/2014 8:44am

Incredibly vague. There is no need for metaphysics or "ultimate maps". Physics is working out a way to calculate future experiences based on prior ones. Once consciousness is included we'll have have a real theory of everything. It'll be really neat.

binra on 07/10/2014 1:54pm

When Consciousness is recognized as the Unified Field - (not the trickled down segregated self sense of human thinking), there will simply be 'Physics' - but a physics of pure participance. Nothing then is 'beyond physics'.

Existence exists. That is its defining and absolute quality. This can be verified as 'I Am'. To conceptual thinking, this seems mere existence but Existence is all embracing. Be still of thinking and know embrace.

All that is, is in one existence. One existence is in all that is.

WHAT it is or WHAT I am is a definition that operates as a template. Accepting or holding a definition is foundational to experiencing a point of view, a perspective of feeling and thoughts that extend or express in action.

Identification with 'point of view' is the basis of story or narrative and its personae. Free will is free imagination. There are no ultimate limits on what can be imagined and therefore experienced at some level of existence, as a map or reality description, but there is an individual (within relation to collective) focus as to what is accepted or chosen as relevant and resonant to the current theme being explored as experience.

Consciousness operates as a focusing communication device, but what it is used FOR will be determined by the definitions of its template level.

What you put out is what you get back. That's why Jesus said it was by what comes out of a mouth (definition or word) rather than what goes into it that defiles a man.

The unchanging 'reality' is that by which and of which and in which all experience arises; Existence itself, the holographic nature of one in all and all in one or Indivisibility/Individuality, and the creative unfolding experience of reflection; 'what you put out is what you get back'.

So Ultimate Reality in terms of a map is - All realities. Use the one you choose while its serves you. But here's the rub... the idea of one true God or one true Universe - whilst useful in its integrating focus of identity, becomes the basis for invalidation and rejection of the wholeness of ALL that you are - and yet the actual Creator cannot be revealed within the confusion of exclusive identity that the personality construct has been burdened with whilst playing the game of command and control within the game of deceptions of forgetting. But it really is up to You.

Whatever ideas or information you come across, it is up to You to act upon that which resonates your highest truth. Not your highest ideas about truth - as if Life should fit into such a tiny exclusive template, but that which you feel and know yourself to be.

We often choose to experience what we are NOT, as part of rediscovering who and what we ARE. In this sense, what we are not is valid in bringing us this knowing and can then be left unchosen.

Linear, 'either/or' thinking operates within a segregating self sense, which operates from a presumption of disconnection, loss, fear and guilt. In seeking to overcome such reflections of its template definitions, it reinforces them as experience of adversity, conflict, struggle of a negative appreciation of polarity - where a positive appreciation embraces all and operates as an integrated expression of wholeness in its own particular theme or focus of living.

The 'moneylenders in the template' are the symbol: 'middlemen' racketeers that arise as the reflection of a belief in a gap between You and the One. Unless one 'sweeps them out' of one's own template by yielding to your true indivisibility of Existence Itself, they merely fight back, mutate and disguise themselves as self-protectors.

Challenging the fig-leaved priesthood of ANY kind of thinking - especially one's own, is a process of enquiry in curiosity and trust that what feels discordant and not belonging is indeed illegitimate to ones original or true nature. Fear and arrogance can distort and delay uncovering answer, and guilt can deny even the right to ask.

Although one can use verbal mental vocabularies to point or prompt in stories whose inspiration is 'look within and know', they are none of them more than a sort of starter motor mechanism that is no longer needed once the normal running of an integrated conscious appreciation is restored. We do not need the map when we wake up as the terrain itself. This may seem arrogant - but if it were not within you, you could not experience it. That there is an ongoing uncovering of what you are and are not, through the unfolding of life-experience is not a process of becoming who you are, but a unique expression of a journey of shifting back to the awareness that has always been and known itself, you.

Metaphysics without transformation is like any information not acted from or upon. The notion that information is knowledge and that such knowledge is power, misses this crucial context. When science threw out an external God, it might also have thrown out the inner god self - the illusion of power. True power is aware of the power of illusion and uses it creatively as a vehicle of expanding appreciation. If it doesn't serve such an appreciation, why would you want to persist in believing whatever you do? Because in negative appreciation one finds validation in sacrifice of joy to tyrannous beliefs, in being right over wrong, in vengeance and grievance treasured. No one in their right mind would choose thus. If a metaphysical consideration serves the dawning on the mind of what is actually in it - then its value is positively reflected.

We know by our fruits, and are known by our fruits, regardless of our inner preferences as to how we map or desist from mapping ourself, others and our world.

Knowing is not intellectual conviction, but true conviction arises from knowing that is at rest or at one with itself. The attempt to coerce or persuade is seeking reinforcement.

Willingness to listen is essential to communication, but a wilfulness to use the forms of communication at the expense of a real relationship rather than to uncover it, signifies a blindness to what communication, relationship and conscious existence IS. Those who know not what they do - because they are so engaged in self-certainties of a fearfully predicated nature.

joannah on 20/09/2012 7:31pm

Edvard - there's still a difference between a representation of a duck, and the duck itself...

Anyway - at first I thought Adrian was just blatently the most sensible one here - i.e. even an anti-metaphysical perspective is... well, a metaphysical perspective. But actually, why call that a 'metaphysical perspective' and not just... a perspective. I wonder whether we just come back to ordinary language - ordinary maps. Describing what's out there IS just about what's really going on - if you pretend you're talking about something more ultimate then you're just talking nonsense.

Edvard Kissenger on 20/09/2012 7:21pm

From 30:00 minutes in it just gets genius - James Ladyman "I thought Thomas Aquinas de-Platonised Christianity" - absolute philosophy Lad. Although if he's going to criticise the ultimate map, and definition of time, for not being 'genuine puzzles', then he's both wastin his time, and missing something when it comes to the purported mind-body 'problem'. Surely these are different aspects of the same phenomenon? The duck and the rabbit? This doesn't conflict with the unity of science - just with naive reductionism!

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