Neutral monism – neutral what?

Hi.

Lets dive deep into something philosophical. And with that i mean something really philosophical.

For that, let me quote someone from your average discussion forum about all the weird things out there. Its about the philosophical system called neutral monisim(Before i start, in case you dont know – monism means that there is just one thing out there. Thats different to stuff like dualism, where there are two things.).

“The way I choose to express it myself is that reality is like a fractally recursive dialectic of (perhaps infinitely) regressing mirror repeats of an essential act of “relation,” where said relations are called out of a kind of fibrous All_Potential. This universal activity of “relating” is somehow ontologically active in the exact way that gives to the actualized realm a “sense of presence,” utlimately culminating in our Mind-World dialectic. However, even the most basic (discernible) instances of the relation are already capable of “detecting” in some sense the other partner or end of that dialectic relation. In other words, as I have expressed before, and as the article I linked expresses, there aren’t really any “things”…what exists is a stack of relations, perhaps finite, perhaps infinite. The quantum process of “observation,” whether by ourselves or by lesser systems, seems to me precisely the enactment of this process of actualizing relation…called out of All_Potential.”

That sounds pretty weird, right? Atleast to me it did. Not because i agreed or disagreed – it just that this stuff is in some way so abstract, i have a hard time understanding what this guy wants to express with that.

Anyways, before we analyse that, what is neutral monism anyways?

Basically, this:

“In philosophy of mind, neutral monism is the view that the mental and the physical are two ways of organizing or describing the same elements, which are themselves “neutral”, that is, neither physical nor mental.[1] This view denies that the mental and the physical are two fundamentally different things. Rather, neutral monism claims the universe consists of only one kind of stuff, in the form of neutral elements that are in themselves neither mental nor physical; these neutral elements might have the properties of color and shape, just as we experience those properties, but these shaped and colored elements do not exist in a mind (considered as a substantial entity, whether dualistically or physicalistically); they exist on their own.”(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_monism)

So, there is only one thing, and thats some sort of neutral stuff that contains mental aswell as physical things. Matter of fact, there isnt anything mental or physical at all. Those neutral things are not something that is getting created in our mind (idealism in some forms is talking about consciousness being fundamental to our world; that wouldnt be true in that case since the neutral elements would be fundamental). If im allowed to interpret it in that way (and im sure that other people disagree with that) – to me its some sort of neutral materialism. It denies the mental(and the physical too, i know) and its saying there is just one kind of elements; there are not the material we know, i got that, but they still seem to be “material” in some sort of sense – just different than that what we understand as material these days. Anyways…

The first quote of this blog post is a quote from a user that is pretty sure of him finding his own notion of neutral monism. Hes doing so by changing those somehow magical neutral elements to relations; but not just that. Hes going to that point where hes saying that there arent any objects or anything that could be in relations to each other; no, there are just relations that relate to each other. Hence everything would be described as relations. So, humans would be just a bunch of relations, related to each other. Your consciousness for example wouldnt be a “thing” – its a group of relations. If you take normal materialism here, well, that one is telling you that your consciousness is also a group of relations – but those relations are materialistic things related to each other. Relations between relations versus relations between objects.

So thats what that guy is basically implying. Of course, in case you are wondering, that whole thing is purely philosophical discussion. Unlike others who are trying to explain their theory with the world that we are seeing neutral monism is based on philosophical assumptions. If you are saying right now “wait, the others like materialism, idealism, whatever are doing the same”, well, you are right. But atleast to me personally their theories are closer to the subjective reality we experience. And well, from the very same wikipedia-article that i quoted before – if you might wanna read why neutral monism isnt as popular as others: Its basically because of the neutral elements. Its actually weird to think about something that is the base of everything we know, but at the same time we cant say anything about it for real. The first quote above tried to get rid of that problem with the notion that relations are the neutral element – even so, that doesnt help at all.

What can we say about relations? Well, just as much as about neutral elements, cant we? What is a relationship in that sense exactly? My mind would tell me that a relationship is a connection between 2 things. I could also ask the question: What does that relation relate to? Well bla, the first quote stated that they relate to another relation, dummy. Thats actually a infite loop of relations. But being the guy i am, i would ask: How do those relations look like? How can i imagine them? You cant say that those relations describe the properties between some things, because there are no things. Therefore, no properties. And thats what i was talking about – we are not capable of thinking of a notion for those kind of relations since all relations we know are between “objects”. And i cant really imagine a definition for relations that would fit the situation here(i mean, sure, go on and tell that you claim that relations without objects are possible – you wont find any way of proving that though. Btw, i account for humans as objects here). Therefore, i highly doubt that relations are the neutral element.

If there is any neutral element at all – well, i dont know. Could be. For all that i know, it could be everything. It could be consciousness – therefore, consciousness would be fundamental. But thats up to what you want to believe.

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