Ontology in the Holographic Cave

I wrote “Ontology in the Holographic Cave” while I was studying at Harvard University.  My goal was to challenge the thinking of Dr. Justin Jungé and Dr. Rosa Cao (both formerly post docs under Daniel Dennett), both of whom are materialists, at least to some extent.  My intention was to sway their opinions toward Transcendental Idealism, however so slightly.  The challenge was unique because of all of the necessary prerequisites, before even entering into the rationale of the argument.  As it was, I had spent nine weeks odiously applying —tongue in cheek— Occasionalism arguments to Hume’s problem of necessary causal connection, through Reichenbach’s work on causality (as in The Direction of Time), just for the sake of illustrating the limits of science that’s embedded in material empiricism.  I think that I amused Dr. Jungé, anyway.  For this challenge, I had to stick much more closely to the argument, working within materialism, and avoiding any sort of arguments that go beyond an immanent and self-contained worldview.  That’s a simple rule of debate; the argument must appeal to the audience, not irritate them, so as to preclude any possibility of actually winning the debate.  That is the reason why eliminating the transcendental ego, early in the paper, is so important.

As with most things that I write for a course, an abundance of time and a word limit most likely means that I will not fully formulate or construct the ideas that I have.  Such was the case with this work.  I hint at two things in the title, which this paper serves as a prelude to, but are never discussed within it.  The first is an ontology based on the Holographic Principle, the intention being to subtly suggest a harmony between certain types of idealism and the information theory of the universe, such as that advanced by physicists like Leonard Susskind.  This idea of an information theory of the universe was really set in motion by the work in black hole thermodynamics of Ted Jacobson and Jacob Bekenstein —and, hopefully, you can see why this goes beyond the scope of a paper centered, primarily, on cognition.  The second idea hinted at in the title is the Cave allegory, from the seventh book of Plato’s Republic, the idea being to suggest a refocusing of the lens, when reading Kant.  By reading Kant’s work, with the mindset that the phenomenal field is the wall of the Cave, the world of science can be reassessed.  Science as a rationalization of phenomenal allegory could be an interesting line of thought, especially, considering philosophical dispositions, like anti-realism and ideas of underdetermined physical reality.

There were a couple of strong arguments and illustrations that had to be passed upon, that I will likely add in, whenever I expand and revise the paper.  Also, the arguments within the paper are, inherently, emaciated versions that need expanding —and this comes about by virtue of the aforementioned limitations.  Since, I really can’t go into them without actually performing said expansion, I will simply say that, wherever an atom of argument can be partitioned, that atom constitutes a fragment of a larger whole, yet to be written.  In particular, the science within the paper needs much expounding.

You can obtain a copy of the draft under the “Drafts” tab or here: “Ontology in the Holographic Cave.”


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Filed under Kantian Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Pure Philosophy, Uncategorized

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