Cosmology vs ontology in Eastern and Western philosophy

Shiresse asked:

Which branch of metaphysics, cosmology or ontology, seem to you the shorter route to understanding of what is real? why do you choose it? use real life example to justify your claim.

Answer by Peter Jones

Metaphysics would be my choice for an intellectual understanding. But then I see metaphysics, ontology and cosmology as indistinguishable. Such an understanding would be limited, however, and may not even justify being called ‘understanding’.

The shortest route, the longest route, and the only route would be going and finding out. The practices of Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism and so forth are expressly designed to generate such a knowledge of reality. Lao Tsu claims to know what is real, and he claims that he knows because he can ‘look inside myself and see’. But analysis can bring us to the same conclusion as his, as is shown by F.H. Bradley in his metaphysical essay Appearance and Reality, and physics can at least debunk the idea that it is obvious what is real and what is not. A lot depends on what we mean by ‘real’. I would recommend Bradley, and a maybe a search on ‘dependent origination’.

I cannot think of a current professional philosopher that I would recommend on this issue since the entire industry seems to have disappeared up its own backside, but if you are able to understand any physics then you might like Ulrich Morhoff. He is busy trying to show that QM does not require the reality of the phenomena it describes and, rather, requires their unreality. If he succeeds then physics may be one way to distinguish between the real and the unreal.

Since you ask I would choose yoga (in its original meaning) as the only route to such an understanding, since the people who become skilled at it are the only people who have ever claimed to have acquired it, and I feel it is significant that they all agree with each other.


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