Useful philosophical references

Introduction This page is not just about philosophy, and not just about non-dualism. Its purpose is to assist in the intellectual understanding of non-dualistic philosophy. Using the intellect in this way is a time-honored tradition in Eastern spiritual paths such as orthodox Advaita Vedanta and Madhyamika Buddhism. Spiritual teachers in the West, such as Krishnamurti, Jean Klein and Francis Lucille, have also used this method. The purpose of this method is never dialectic cleverness or the mastery of a body of information. That is, the motive is not intellectual; it is spiritual. The method is merely a tool, one among many, to remove ignorance so that Truth is revealed in its full glory. Not everyone needs this particular tool. Who Can Use this Tool The one who can really use this particular tool is the one who desires to deeply understand non-dualism but feels blocked, intellectually stuck on certain points. For example, I have a friend who travels the world attending non-dualist satsangs, asking question after question about free will. He is troubled, believing that a clear nondualist understanding would deprive him of free will and hence steal the joy of voluntarily meditating; he also believes that not having free will would turn him into an irresponsible determinist. Another friend couldn't understand what non-dualism was getting at because he had a strong belief that "I'm In Here and the world is Out There." Another friend is very much in love with his guru and even believes that

the "In Here/Out There" friend learned to see that this duality depends on an arbitrary and dispensible dividing line between inner and outer. if the thorn in our foot is an intellectual one. According to non-dualism however. We then throw both thorns away. and are amenable to philosophical tools. To paraphrase Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Western philosophers have less to say than Eastern philosophers about non-duality as a thoroughgoing metaphysical view. It is the notion that our network of beliefs or philosophy of life would be chaotic or intolerable if these dualites were dispensed with. then perhaps an intellectual thorn can remove it. Eastern philosophies have been accomplishing this for thousands of years. his understanding. such as the ancient Greek monists. Since the moment of that flash of insight.understanding non-dualism will assist in enlightenment. and modern antirepresentationalists such as Donald Davidson and Richard Rorty. all dualities can be resolved or dissolved. A few Western schools come close. Instead. Some Classic Western Dualities analytic/synthetic cause/effect creator/created deduction/induction essence/accident free will/determinism freedom/mechanism good/evil image/world knower/known mind/body one/many realism/antirealism scheme/content self/other spirit/matter subject/object substance/attribute truth as correspondence/truth as coherence The biggest obstacle to an intellectual understanding of non-dualism is the belief about a duality that it is philosophically necessary. Though these problems are not unmixed with emotional components. as each generation . For example. much of Western philosophy operates within the confines of the perennial Western dualities. the German idealists. peace and happiness have improved dramatically. But he also believes that nondual understanding and enlightenment will put an end to his intensely spiritual and pleasurable feelings. It is the belief that one side or the other of a duality is a true view. their belief components are intellectual.

if I think that non-dualism entails determinism. we are employing a medication that comes from the same part of the world as the disease. I can read George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Betweeen Hylas and Philonous. but conventional. Dogen. I can read David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature. we might feel tension about non-duality because it seems to make the mental world more real than the physical world. Section I. • • • • .if I think that good and evil are important and fundamental distinctions that would be wiped away with non-dualism. Good/Evil -.if I think that the creator (whatever that might be) and its creation must be two and cannot see how this duality can be overcome. which argue in Platonic language that all of creation is actually an emanation from The One.if I think that cause and effect is some important glue that holds things together. safe society is compatible with the notion that our actions are determined by causes. by picking and choosing the arguments that will ease our intellectual tension around a certain point. Or we might feel tension with non-dualism's seemingly irresponsible take on free will and moral responsibility. Gaudapada. Shankara. just the particular pill for our problem. For example. Free will/Determinism -. I. which argues that this cannot be the case. which argues that cause and effect are nothing other than regularity of succession of events. Sengtsan. here is how Western philosophers can help with some of the more intransigent Western dualities. fair. Mental/physical and freedom/determinism -. 1999). so is never separate from It. Shinran Shonin. How to Use Western Philosophy We can employ the method of Western philosophy one duality at a time. and determinism would lead to a chaotic society with no moral responsibility.discovers anew the great non-dualist philosophers and sages such as the Buddha. then I can read Richard Taylor's compulsively readable Good 'n' Evil (Prometheus Books. Nagarjuna. or in our own times. Yunmen. We don't have to swallow the doctor's entire kit bag. yet that pesky physical world just won't go away.if I believe that there are actually physical objects. I can read Plotinus' Enneads. (Oxford University Press. 4. the crystal-clear dialectics of Krishna Menon and the soft-spoken ideas of Shunryu Suzuki. Hui Neng. I can read Ted Honderich's How Free Are You: The Determinism Problem..both of these are deeply rooted. 1993) which shows how a just. Cause/Effect -. For example. Mental/Physical -. which argues that the basis for morality is neither naturalistic or supernatural. ethics or punishment for heinous crimes. This list is certainly not exhaustive! Western remedies to dualities • Creator/Creation -. sticky Western dualities. Many of our most stubborn and cherished dualities are the product of Western philosophy! In using the Western philosophical method.

WESTERN PHILOSOPHERS HELPFUL IN THE STUDY OF NONDUALISM (In chronological order) (Go Back to Top) Ancient Greek Monist Philosophers .if I wonder just what constitutes myself. why consciousness seems unified. and other ideas. I can read Richard Rorty's well-written essays in his Objectivity. showing how even on the correspondence view of truth. Blanshard argues for the latter. Subject/Object -. which investigates questions such as whether I am the body. Thought/Object -. in which he also proclaims God as the only cause. 1986). especially the Introduction. what makes me different from another person. I can read two books that show that this "I" that I think I am can be seen as an outpouring of God's nature." which generously examines various theories and concludes that our ideas. or a coherence among our beliefs. and other issues. 1973). particularly a chapter in Vol. which is a triumphant song of praise to God as my nature. (2) Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons (Oxford Univ Press. (William Samuel Foundation." whether the physical continuity of my body through time makes me what I am. what makes the present me the same as the future me. then I can read two fascinating books: (1) Bernard Williams' Problems of the Self (Cambridge University Press. the only subject. AL: 1967)." Rorty calls himself a pragmatist and an "antirepresentationalist" and argues that the external existence of the world (realism) or the existence only of a web of beliefs (antirealism) is based on the unsupportable claim that our ideas represent things that are not ideas. Both of these very clever books are reminiscent of Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Middle Way. we nevertheless test correspondence by how well the ideas about our tests of beliefs cohere with the beliefs themselves." and "Non-reductive physicalism. just are that reality. I entitled "The Theory of the Idea. Vol." "Consciousness Is What I Am" or many others. whether we are the brain. 1 (Cambridge University Press. so there is no basis upon which to make the distinction between realism and idealism.if I believe that I am the subject of my experiences and that all experiences are my objects.if I believe that our ideas represent an external reality. Vol.if I think that (1) my thoughts really represent or make a picture of a reality that is not made of thoughts . which investigates whether we are the subject of our experiences. Self/Other -. whether there can be two identical "me's. "Inquiry as recontextualisation: An anti-dualist account of interpretation. (1) William Samuel's A Guide to Awareness and Tranquillity. and the distinction is unnecessary. Relativism and Truth. (2) Joel Goldsmith's "The Mystical I. 1991).or if I think that (2) linguistic statements are made true or false by a non-linguistic world. II contains several chapters on whether truth is a correspondence between our ideas and an external reality. I can read Brand Blanshard's two-volume The Nature of Thought. Mountain Brook. and everything and everyone else as an effect or an outpouring of God's nature. when fully developed and fully coherent.• • • • Realism/Antirealism -. or point to objects. This can never be proven.

Web resources include Ty's David Hume home page. David Hume (1711-1776) In A Treatise of Human Nature. i. He argues that no material . and so never separate from it. Plato is sometimes considered a mystic. Hume argues that causality is nothing more than the regular association of ideas. The Enneads. which can be read on-line at The Internet Classics Archive.They argued that all of reality was composed of single substances. "If a tree falls in the forest when there is no one to hear it. Heraclitus (ca 540-480) All comes from fire. Web resources include this. does it make a sound?" Berkeley is said to answer No.all other phenomena are incidental properties of these. but rarely a non-dualist." But it is unwarranted to think that this inference entails causal powers in the things observed.C. such as: Thales (ca 615-540) "All is water. Section I. Plotinus (205-270) Wrote in the Platonic tradition and argued that all of manifestation is an emanation from the One. We infer causality as follows: "F events have always been followed by G ones. Plato (427-347 BCE) Perhaps the Western world's most infuential thinker. His principal work is De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of the Universe).) Argued poetically that there are only atoms and the void . Anaximenes (ca 580-500) All comes from vapor. Web resources include material from Plotinus's principal work. Lucretius (1st century B. and so when a new F event occurs we predict a new G one. George Berkeley (1685-1753) Berkeley is the philosopher whose theory gives rise to the problem given out in Philosophy 101 classes. Web resources include Plato entry on Garth Kemerling's Philosophy Site." Anaximander (ca 600-540) All comes from the Boundless. 4. Meister Eckhart (1260-1327/8) Web resources include the Meister Eckhart Page.

the second book deals with the philosophical issues relating to consciousness and objects of consciousness. and a Comprehensive Berkeley studies page. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) Schopenhauer's principal work is The World as Will and Idea (1819). . Web resources include the Swedenborg Collection and works (site in German). Fichte sought in Critique of all Revelation (1792) and Foundations of the Science of Knowledge (1794-95) to dissolve the conventional duality between the knowing metaphysical subject and the known object by seeing God's Being as the only being. Immanuel Swedenborg (1688-1771) Christian mystic and esotericist. Web resources include a great overall Berkeley "portal" page. and manifestation as a picture or Schema. in which Hylas (which means "rock") is the materialist who is intrigued by the immaterialist arguements of Philonous (means "lover of knowledge"). see Two Reflections on William James. Duality and Radical Empiricism. Web resources and excerpts include the Fichte entry on the Garth Kemerling's Philosophy Site. in which he sets forth his view on the internal reality of all manifestation as will.substance or object can exist apart from a spirit or mind to perceive it. His most accessible work is the engagingly written Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous. Berkeley's protagonist. Web resources on James include Garth Kemerling's William James entry. William James (1842-1909) James' most relevant works for the understanding of non-dualism are The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912). and the Schopenhauer page on the Island of Freedom Website. Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) One of the more non-dual of the German idealists. Web resources include a good Schopenhauer overview page which brings out his familiarity with Buddhist and Vedic writings. For an in-depth examination of James' treatment of the nature of experience in its relation to solipsism. Schopenhauer studied Hinduism and Buddhism. The first book examines religious belief and mystical experiences. arguing that this will is one and universal.

Wittgenstein demystified the notion that language accurately refers to reality. Whitney. As Garth Kemerling writes in his excellent Philosophy Pages: Although traditional learning focusses on what is. Above all else. we must abandon logic in order to explore the character of Nothing as the background out of which everything emerges. This deep feeling of dread. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) Sometimes difficult to read. So. Heidegger held. and that this individual being is essential to. and it's not something. Web resources include Garth Kemerling's Heidegger page. he construed philosophy as a way to "relieve the puzzlement generated by (philosophical) misuses of ordinary language. either." He spent the last half of his very long life writing several books and many essays. Heidegger. being in time. the whole of being. we begin to notice the importance and vitality of our own moods. had a series of transcendental experiences which led to his formulation of a phlosophy which he called "Introceptualism. inseperable from.Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) Among many other things. anyway? It's not anything. Heidegger noted. He explored the meaning of both Being and of Nothing. and teaching small groups who gathered around him at his remote home on the slope of Mt. Heidegger proposed. since it merely regards all negation as derivative from something positive. Carefully contemplating Nothing in itself. is the most fundamental human clue to the nature and reality of Nothing. See Wittgenstein. Later in his career. there are people who have actually utilized Heidegger's writings in their spiritual investigations of non-dualist understanding. Traditional logic is no help. comes closest to non-dual investigations in Being and Time (1927). after many years of searching. ." This quote and one of the best Wittgenstein resources from the Wittgenstein entry on Garth Kemerling's Philosophy Pages. Franklin Merrell-Wolff (1887-1985) Dr. it may be far more illuminating to examine the boundaries of ordinary knowledge by trying to study what is not. One friend of mine wrote "He's helpful in understanding the human sense of being within primordial nondual being. individual being in the world." Thanks to Andrew MacNab for information on Heidegger. Angst}. Wolff was an American mathematician and philosopher who. Nothing is what produces in us a feeling of dread {Ger. What is Nothing. and lots of links on the Heidegger Home Page. yet it isn't the negation of something. As abstract as this sounds.

everything is of the nature of idea. The world is idea in its fully developed form. in any sense whatsoever. the complete text of which can be found at the Integral Science website devoted to him along with detailed information about the man and his work. Web resources include the table of contents on the famous Schillp volume. He argues for this position in the following two-volume work: The Nature of Thought. while It remains self-existent. as such. Volume II contents include Coherence as the Nature of Truth.siu. "http://www. per se. For more on absolute idealism. It is Consciousness of which nothing can be predicated in the privative sense save abstract Being. Volume I contents include Perception. .This is how Merell-Wolff describes his philosophy in his book The Philosophy of Consciousness-Withut-An-Object: "Consciousness. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD. and Concrete Necessity and Internal Relations." "The 1939.html" (link no longer working)The Philosophy of Brand Blanshard. The Theory of the Idea. nonderivative Reality. New York: Humanities Press. Inc. Coherence and Degrees of Truth. The Nature of Perceptual Meaning. and thus not merely an attribute of something else. The Thing and Its Architecture." Web resources include The Official Joel Goldsmith/Infinite Way website. Goldsmith (1892-1964) "The illumined walk without fear . to be distinguished from consciousness as content or as state. The metaphysics of his earlier work can be called a sort of non-dualist absolute idealism -. and The Religious Aspect of Philosophy (1885) and The World and the Individual (1901) by Josiah Royce (1855-1916). Upon It all else depends. Empiricism and Necessity.' This is Root Consciousness. see also Appearance and Reality (1893) and Essays on Truth and Reality (1914) by Francis Herbert Bradley (1846-1924). Joel S. is THAT which I have symbolized by 'Consciousness-without-an-object. on the one hand. His crystal clear prose and generous spirit in argumentation make him inspirational to read. and from consciousness as an attribute of a Self or Atman." Thanks to Bob Bays for information on Merrell-Wolff. Brand Blanshard (1892-1987) Blanshard is perhaps the greatest philosophical stylist in the English language. 2 Vol. Merrell-Wolff's philosophy is tersely outlined in his 56 Aphorisms on Grace. is original and primary..

He is an energetic and engaging writer. his ethics class called Good 'n' Evil has perhaps the largest student enrollment in all the humanities. University of Rochester American philosopher and popular teacher who argues that good and evil are not metaphysically basic or supernaturally founded. we could say. Donald Davidson and Wittgenstein.html"Debate with William Lane Craig on the basis of morality (link no longer working). there is not God and humanity. he argues that knowledge and inquiry are a matter of a reworking the web of relativism and truth. Army in Asia during WWII. Or. William Samuel Foundation. Vol. I (Cambridge University Press. Further. down-home American idiom in his several books.S. the-spa. Web resources include an article on how not to read Rorty: www. learned Taoism.Thomas Merton (1915-1968) Catholic contemplative. aware of these words. Richard Taylor. AL: 1967. "There are not two selves. and while stationed with the U. who interpreted Eastern teachings to the West. Although not widely known by the spiritual-seeking community. The new edition of his book on this topic is Good and Evil: A New Direction (Prometheus Books. received visitors and corresponded with his readers from his home in the American South for almost twenty years. William Samuel (1924-1996) An American original. God and me. Samuel wrote books. God's Self-awareness is this Self-being-reader. He synthesized this understanding into a compelling nondual. conventional like rules of a game. William Samuel had been exposed to various Western metaphysical teachings. There is no other "you" or "me. There is God and God being Self-aware.htm (link may no longer working) . that beliefs do not represent anything outside of the web. At the University of Rochester. Richard Rorty (1931. Web resources include his "http://origins. heart-filled. November 1999).) Prominent philosopher and modern exponent of the work of John Dewey. Web resources include the Columbia University Thomas Merton Papers collection. Web resources include the Official William Samuel Foundation page." --From A Guide to Awareness and Tranquillity. 1991). Rorty sometimes calls himself an "antirepresentationalist. but rather. Mountain Brook." In Objectivity.

Based very loosely on Christianity.A Course in Miracles (ACIM) Nothing real can be threatened. Web resources include The Official ACIM page. Herein lies the peace of God. There are many courses and study guides available on-line. ACIM is a way to see the Truth of God as the truth that we are. --From Helen Schucman's introduction to the course. . and through teaching centers. in bookstores. Nothing unreal exists. Foundation for a Course in Miracles page.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful