File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0009, message 41


Subject: Re: BHA: Bhaskar and God
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 23:51:36 -0400


Hi Gary--

I'm nearly done with FEW (though I may not have time to finish it for a
couple of days), so perhaps it's premature for me to respond; but I don't
expect there is much in the remaining pages that RB didn't introduced
before.  My overall reaction to the book is not a happy one, though (perhaps
a bit like you) I'm not totally unsympathetic to his questions.  But I'll
save that for after I'm done reading.

Anyway I wanted to comment briefly on a couple of your remarks.

> For me, though it may sound ridiculous, all the charges against Bhaskar as
> an idealist fail if he happens to be correct in his radically new
> ontology.If there is a god then he is not an idealist. As things stand
this
> can neither be proved or disproved.

I don't think this holds: the two are separate matters.  In principle, RB
could be right that God exists, yet arrive at that conclusion through an
idealist analysis.  I'll mention that his note 31 on page 43, in which he
declares that everything is or at least partially or potentially contains
consciousness, is decidedly idealist (and more than a little hard to
stomach), and he veers that way elsewhere.  Even if he were correct in his
panentheistic concept of God, he often defines God (roughly, as an
underlying transcendental possibility) in ways which do not comfortably
sustain a notion of all-permeating consciousness.  Then again, I can't say
he's very consistent in his definitions.

> The central problem seems to me what weight do we give to religious
> experience - defined broadly as the intuitive or that which cannot be
> subsumed under the rational?

I agree that this is a key or even *the* question in FEW.  And it is indeed
a daring question to raise within the context of DCR.  I think RB thoroughly
flubs his answer, but again, I'll save that for later.  But like you, I
haven't felt that he goes so far as to say that he is God in a manner in
which others are not (though there are a couple of borderline phrases); on
the other hand, I've been told by one of his acquaintances that he has a
quite enormous ego, and certainly the trajectory of his Lives (the book's
Part II) constructs a World Historical Individual of sorts.

Best, T.

---
Tobin Nellhaus
nellhaus-AT-mail.com
"Faith requires us to be materialists without flinching": C.S. Peirce




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