[The previous series, 113, can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/jrps-bite-sized-metaphysics-series-113/527/1]here. This series, 113, picks up with the topic arrived at the end of the previous series. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found here.]
[Entry 1 for “an introduction to independence”]
In the previous chapter, I brought to the forefront a term I have already begun to use here and there in this book: the IF, the Independent-or-Interdependent Fact. Now I will discuss this concept directly, not only because I will be using it with increasing frequency as I continue, but because I think its existence must be accepted to avoid nonsensical positions.
(Note: The acronym for Independent or Interdependent Fact happens to be the English word ‘if’; but this is accidental, and would be different if ever translated to other languages. As I will argue later in this chapter, and throughout my book in various places, I do not mean, by this acronym, that I question the existence of the IF. I do, however, question its properties and characteristics: these questions, and any answers I can find, are the basic subject of this book.)
I have just finished explaining why I reject the position that God must be an abstract generality (and thus can have no particular aspects, even in principle, to be discovered). My reply was that in my experience the abstract describes the real (or, more accurately, we use ‘the abstract’ to describe the real) distinct from being the real; and that consequently that which is purely abstract cannot be the foundation or ground for other realities. Or, put another way, there is in fact no such thing as pure abstraction; abstraction is dependent upon reality, including upon the reality of the abstraction itself (insofar as it has any reality).
I used observations of Nature to bolster this point. Nature, the system in which we exist, apparently exists in an actual fashion; or, if it does not ‘actually’ exist, then we in this system can know nothing including that Nature does not exist in that fashion. I did not mean by this that the material of Nature must be such that we can describe it with ultimate and total accuracy–evidently we cannot in fact do so. Our inability to completely describe the ‘physical’ in terms of the ‘physical’ may simply be a practical manifestation of what amounts to our attempt at a circular proposition: we may be reaching the level where Nature simply ‘is’ and so our categories of description based on what Nature does as a complex must necessarily break down when we try to cogently describe what Nature does at its most particular.
This is not quite a contradiction in terms; rather, it would be a contradiction in terms if we could accurately describe the ultimate particular physical units in terms of their group behaviors. If Nature is the only level of reality, then we could expect it to repel our probing (as composite entities ourselves) in this fashion.