>>>"...here's a quick reply..."
Funny how you and I define "quick."
>>>"I'm in the awkward position of wanting to end my time here at this forum while wanting to finish this discussion."
I didn't realize you weren't actually leaving yet... I hope you haven't gotten frustrated waiting for my response.
Besides, I don't think I can formulate a response much different than what I've said in my last two or three responses. To summarize my frustrations, let me illustrate with an oversimplified recollection of the discussion thus far --
Harv: "I declare that reality exists!"
Luis: "I agree."
Harv: "And since I can declare that reality exists, reality is declarably real..."
Luis: "Well, uh..."
Harv: "Therefore, reality exists."
Luis: "Sure, but isn't ours a completely circular definition?"
Harv: "No, it's not. By virtue of its very definition, reality has to real , and since we can conceive of it, reality must be something we can conceive of."
Luis: "I don't follow the need to pursue this train of thought."
Harv: "There's a bigger aspect to this picture -- metaphysics! We know of metaphysics because our thoughts are more than just material phenomena. Hence, without a backdrop for this hyper-material thoughtstuff, we could never make the connection to the mere material world."
Luis: "At some point I think we all feel this way, and I wonder why -- maybe this assumption is a self-preservation device. Certainly, I don't think it's logically economical to assume thoughtstuff is more than just a material phenomenon. Our view of the world is simply another part of the world. Nothing 'meta'-physical is required."
Harv: "Aha! You think we impute meaning onto the world! You're an anti-realist!"
Luis: "No, I think everything is real. In fact, I'd say that nothing is unreal."
Harv: "So how do you manage to stay away from the fire-breathing dragon in your garage?"
Luis: "Hmm... I bet that when you were a child you learned that 'imaginary' phenomena are not 'real.' Maybe at one point your guardian(s) had to assure you there was no monster under your bed. Consequently, you constructed a wall between 'real' and 'unreal.' Since that time you've reinforced this wall, with the ultimate goal of self-preservation. 'I am more than just worldly, material stuff,' and so forth...'"
Harv: "Not quite. I base my stance that there is something beyond the material level upon metaphysics. And, like it or not, you base your own opinions within metaphysics! Indeed, we cannot have conceived of the things we've conceived of if metaphysics weren't there to begin with. Metaphysics is the foundation of everything!"
Luis: "First it was reality, a valid definition of our own, admittedly circular labels. Now, it's metaphysics -- the underpinnings of reality -- why not just call it 'reality' itself?"
Harv: "Because metaphysics is the backdrop for reality -- it's the spiritual fountain from whence our thoughts and certain other immaterial phenomena spring..."
Luis: "Again, it seems quite obvious that you're basing your stance upon a mental model that proposes there is something beyond the materially real world. You have to conclude "metaphysics," because your initial assumption is "metaphysics." Your premise equals your conclusion. But it's all just a part of self-preservation."
Harv: "It might be a function of self-preservation, but you're basing this view from your own particular footing within metaphysics! I mean, without metaphysics you'd have no basis from which to move yourself towards this position of yours!"
Luis: "Let's look beyond the circular rationale... I can explain how your sense of 'metaphysics' is an emotionally-based psychological mechanism, a mechanism built within a normal, human bias."
Harv: "No matter how many reductionist devices you drag out and align in this way or that, you're still basing your views from your own particular footing within metaphysics! Without metaphysics you'd have no basis from which to move yourself towards this position of yours!"
Luis: "I think that empirically it's safer to say the basis from which we move ourselves towards any position is the sense of self."
Harv: "Aha! You're a solipsist!"
Luis: "No, I think everything is real. But hear me out -- the more we strive to value ourselves, the more we might tend to affirm this sense that our innermost thoughts (and thus WE) are, in some way, other-worldly. But I think this is human psychology at work, and not an affirmation that some ultra-reality exists."
Harv: "But at some point you're basing this view from your own particular footing within metaphysics! Without metaphysics you'd have no basis from which to move yourself towards this position of yours!"
Luis: "I think you're running into a mental obstacle. Your predisposition to the whole psychological effect of 'self' -- i.e., your succumbing to appeal of 'metaphysics' -- is much stronger than your capacity to step back and distinguish the constituents of the particular psychological effect itself.
We wish to sense something beyond a material reality because we don't want to face the fact that maybe we're just material stuff. Hence, we impose a 'foundation' for reality – "metaphysics" – which I think is just a tautological spiral of self-preserving psychology."
Harv: "But you're basing this view from your own particular footing within metaphysics! Without metaphysics you'd have no basis from which to move yourself towards this position of yours!"
Where do we go from here?