Materialism and the two levels of being
Marterialism is the philosophy which assert that there
is only one "stuff" in the universe, and that is matter.
This works perfectly well in the physical sciences, but
has problems when consciousness is brought into the picture,
for consciousness is dipolar, with a subjective observer
or subject at one end of a dipole and what he is observeing (some
object in an objective world) at the other end of the dipole.
This dipole constitutes a conscious experience.
Buddhism and material theorists resist the idea of
more than one level of being, and thus tend to consider the dipole
as some additional properthy of matter or that subject and object are
somehow combined together (Dennett). The problem with this
approach arises when you try to state what the subject is like,
for that makes him an object, and that is by definition forbidden.
Leibniz seems to be the only philosopher to answer this dilemma,
his solution being that the observer is on a higher level, which makes
him superhuman or divine (such as Plato's One or Christianity's God).
This of course raises red flags for the hard-core materialist,
so that Leibniz is rarely taken seriously. But the subjectivity issue
inevitably brings him back into the picture.
Dr. Roger B Clough NIST (ret.) [1/1/2000]
See my Leibniz site at
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