SECOND PART: EPISTEMOLOGY
Epistemology is the science of knowledge: how to acquire knowledge on the world. An epistemology is a method to explore and know reality, most often based on the notion of evidence. The basic type is scientific epistemology. Classical scientific or physical epistemology: notions of evidence, reproducibility, testimony, testability, theory, role of institutions, peers referee...
Reminder about different epochs in science history, from the low profile Galileo to the triumphing materialism. Research management today.
If science today, as a mean to know the world, triumphs in physics and techniques, it is however remarkably absent in immaterial domains such as spirituality, ethics, meaning of life... to such an extend that many say that such domains «are not science»! How could an exact science have itself restricted its scope to the material world? It is because the notion of reality has been confused with the notion of matter! We can pass over this deadlock, as we already do in mathematics, science of the immaterial. Attempt to use the same method on consciousness. To avoid such mistakes, need of a new generalized epistemology, efficient in all the domains.
When classical scientific epistemology considers only material evidences, General Epistemology keeps with the same methods, but extends the notion of evidence to other domains, such as ethics and spirituality. This allows, to some extents, to generalize notions like science, objectivity and accuracy into such domains. Notion of spiritual evidence. Reproducibility and testability in the spiritual domain. A new epistemology is feasible, but it arises new questions, as the psychological bias cannot simply be eluded, as in physics: it has to be tackled or eliminated with entirely new methods. Peer referee.
Even if a new spiritual epistemology does not allow us to simply answer to naive questions such as «does God exist?», it does allow us to explore our human mind and to build a rational and non-arbitrary ethics. In facts such an epistemology does exist since centuries among Buddhist thinkers.
Rationality is a pragmatic mind using efficient means to reach a goal, but still able of self-criticism and self-questioning. But rationalism is an ideology which cannot tolerate what is does not control. So it can be socially dangerous. Opposition rational and material science versus spiritual irrational belief: unfolding with quadripolar logic. Pointing at two new terms: scientistism, and exact spiritual science. Short glossary of words such as science, scientism, rational, rationalism...
Various ideologies arbitrarily brought up to the rank of scientific truth: scientistism, rationalism, materialism, atheism, amorality, race and genes, economy theories, positivism, sociobiology, behaviorism, gender studies, reductionism... with as a bonus some New Age blunders. While keeping in mind that all these are only deviations of still valuable groups...
Some themes, nevertheless within reach of classical material science, are not studied by it, with as a pretext that such matters are «not scientific». Such an (irrational) attitude is counterproductive, as it can lead to neglect interesting discoveries, or to obliterate major facts and aspects of our lives, and contributes to the extension of really irrational ideas rather than fighting them. It can even be found socially dangerous and reprehensible. Examples: natural health systems, extraterrestrial life, ecology, mind and spirituality, traditional and religious knowledges, Near Death Experiences (NDE), reincarnation, spiritual powers, UFOs, rare phenomena, ethics, Quantum mechanics predictions... Even if some are still awaiting for definitive demonstration, we may consider these facts as observational facts, in agreement with our general epistemology.
The study of unexplained phenomena was regularly hampered by hoaxes, »skeptics», manipulations, etc. Still more serious, in a domain where the thought itself can modify the results of the experiments, we need to take some specific cautions, like »shielding» the research against these parasitic influences, in a kind of «Faraday cage». Psychophysics also has some specific dangers and ethics requirements.
The simplified version of the same book: PECULIAR EPISTEMOLOGY
Ideas, texts, drawings and realization: Richard Trigaux (Unless indicated otherwise).
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