Tribe EP: Existential / Phenomenological -- Overview

[ I1 - I2 ]

together, the various belief systems that share this structure diagram form the most popular tribe of our time. there is the assumption that there are existential and experiential but no ontological aspects of the human individual. I2 accept as true that the human individual consists of a human body and an experiencer, the I1 and the I2; but, I2 reject the possibility that there is an I3.

§1: subdivision of tribe EP by clan and family:

  1. Clan MPN: materialism / physicalism / naturalism - the view that the experiencer is generated solely by the brain

§2: clan MPN: materialism / physicalism / naturalism

[ I1 - I2 | ( I3 T3 ) ]

taken together, materialism, physicalism and naturalism form the dominant clan within the existential/experiential tribe; and, any internal differences are subtle.

externally, materialism and physicalism are virtually indistinguishable. materialism is the belief that everything that is real is material. physicalism is the belief that everything that is real is composed entirely of the 'stuff' that physicists study: mass/energy - space/time. space/time would be considered 'physical' but not 'material'.

internally, this difference has no bearing on theories as to the structure of the human individual; for, both the materialist and the physicalist would agree that the human body occupies space and that the experiencer only persists for the lifetime of its body. that said, it is possible that physicalists could distinguish themselves from materialists by adapting their view of the human body to recognize that it has electromagnetic properties and may interact with ambient electromagnetic fields with possible effects on conscious experience. however, to date such efforts have been relegated to the fringe of the psycho-philosophical enterprise.

naturalism is simply materialism/physicalism together with the programmatic committment that philosophical issues (such as questions concerning the structure of the human individual) must be approached by assuming (without evidence or argument) that the methodological simplifications that make science possible are also metaphenomenally true.

§2.1: classification by level

there are those within this clan who accept that, at least for present purposes, a disciplined, scientific/philosophical investigation of human consciousness must accept of matter and consciousness as irreducible features of the reality that must be investigated. thus, at the component level, this naturalistic dualism simply accepts the reality that the researcher's task is to investigate each and relate the two.

this naturalistic dualism may have the strategic purpose of focusing attention to the task at hand: investigating both aspects of everyday reality and relating them to each other. advocates also seem to be trying to prevent naturalists from wasting time accusing each other of being 'dualists' (of the cartesian sort). in order to faciliatate this strategic purpose, I2 have classified cartesian style substance dualisms as trionism. given that Descartes accepts one more fundamental substance than the naturalistic dualists, this seemed the logical thing to do.

at the ultimate explanatory level, all materialists, physicalists and naturalists are monistic. there is the assumption that the experiential component is, has been or will eventually be reduced to the existential. thinkers vary only as to whether we already have enough information about component interactions to defend this reduction. those who believe that this reduction is not yet proven assume that it will be; and, are sometimes known as 'promissory materialists'.

§2.2: known families

§2.2.1: family: naturalistic spirituality

it may seem odd (if not downright orwellian) for a belief system to classify itself as spiritual when it denies that there is any spirit distinct from matter; but, that's what this family does. I2 am merely classifying this belief system as a family within the tribe EE, clan MPN because of what it appears to say as to the structure of the human individual.

§2.3: classification by level

at the component level, this belief system would be dualist since it has an I1 and an I2. there is more within the human individual than the I1 and the I2; but, one would say 'it' not 'I3' with regard to the spiritual force that interpenetrates the body to create the I2. at the ultimate level of explanation, I2 would classify this belief as monistic as to the construction of the human individual; but, dualistic as to the construction of the universe.

§2.4: online references:

  1. theological rejection of dualism
  2. need to obtain immortality