I have a linguist friend of mine who proposes that one should abandon all labels and paradigms to reach the ultimate truth, as they are deceptive. He proposes that you should strip all intellectual tools like math, science, logic, statistics and language and "experience the truth" first-hand, without anything in between. He calls this "direct experience" a term loosely based on the original in philosophy of mind.

When you come with a counter argument like "this too is a logical process and therefore you are victim of circular reasoning/slippery slope" he rejects it by saying "in that stage..." (where there exists no labels) "...there is no importance of logic as it is a creation of your current deceived mind" as if it (the direct experience) is above all else.

My view on this as a person with background in biology and neuroscience, is that even if you strip away all labels AND your cognitive instruments (sensory organs, your brain, etc) there is a certain "experiencer" entity left, and being a part of reality itself, it is still subject to bias. The idea that there is a "direct experience" without all paradigms itself is a paradigm, but he simply rejects this by claiming even using terms like "contradiction" itself deviates you from his idea.

I still find this a slippery slope argument and at best, a belief. However, he claims that I still go further from the "truth" by just making up a term "belief".

I want to see this community's possible counter arguments from a philosophical perspective. However, my main focus is to understand how can you eliminate this kind of illogical and deceptive reasoning? Is there any reasoning here at all?

  • The idea of "direct experience of truth" under the names of revelation, intellectual intuition, immediate knowledge, etc., has appeared throughout histories of philosophy and religion (Buddhism, Christianity, German idealism), see e.g. Zongsan's defense of it. If there was a killer argument against it it wouldn't have endured this long. "This too is a logical process" certainly does not work, ordinary perception is not a logical process, but still a source of knowledge. That there is an "experiencer" entity is denied in Buddhism. – Conifold Feb 12 at 21:12
  • Ultimately you cannot reason with someone who rejects the concept of reasoning. Usually one can't persuade anyone out of any weird philosophical view even if they're willing to reason about it. You may try pointing out how first appearances are often wrong. If you cease to think critically and logically then all you have is the way things appear at first, which is often wrong. – causative Feb 12 at 21:14
  • By saying "this too is a logical process" I collectively refer to all cognitive stages and processes through which he reached to this conclusion, if there was a misconception, I apologize. Implying that one can do this still implies there must be an "experiencer" entity. – Ghostpunk Feb 12 at 21:26
  • All these arguments are a form of extreme scepticism, but it is not sceptic enough to not doubt one's scepticism. To deny an "experiencer" is to deny the fact that there still is an existence which denies something related to it. – Ghostpunk Feb 12 at 21:30
  • People give perception without those other stages as a prototype of how intellectual intuition is supposed to work, other prototypes are self-awareness and knowledge of one's own mental creations. Inferring "experiencer" from experiencing was Descartes's idea in cogito and now is largely regarded as fallacious. But even assuming there is an "experiencer" it is not clear that that alone creates a possibility of error (God does not err and can grant that to others). Of course, there are plenty of pragmatic reasons to doubt such claims, but there are no arguments to conclusively refute them. – Conifold Feb 12 at 21:38

There may be ontological single truth, or maybe not. But one thing is clear, the ways to higher relative truth than your current epistemic state may be multiple. For those normally well educated scholars who use natural language or other intellectual instruments like maths or computer languages all day long and indulge in them, he or she may necessarily need to "abandon" their proud intellectual instruments and symbols for a while to have a chance to break old thinking habits and philosophies which resist their further progress. But a counter argument can easily be found for those who are still weak in these instruments to pursue their seeking of truth.

Much more importantly, no one can even define "truth" which everyone agrees. For me, truth as relevant to me is nothing but to see the unseen, hear the unheard, know the unknowns. So I probably won't abandon any acquired instrument or language, quite contrary, I'll try to master more instruments... Of course, this implicitly means I have to choose priority and switch focus from time to time.

  • Thank you! This was my response to the situation I gave the example of. The notion that everything exists within relationships between and nothing else is often mistaken for the absolute truth is only "true" disregarding what makes up these relations. In the context of your answer, one can reach the same "truth" making use of more instruments, as I understand. – Ghostpunk Feb 14 at 3:55
  • Since there's no definitive agreement about what is truth even relative to our human mind, I'm not sure if one can reach same "truth" strictly speaking. However, this shouldn't be mistakenly understood as there's no "truth" we can pursue... As long as u still have sensational worries, technical problems, there's still hidden "truth" to be discovered or invented to be applied to resolve all these human sufferings... – Double Knot Feb 14 at 4:03
  • Usually, such argumentators are concerned with an absolute Being and mistakingly define it as the Truth, as if they should be one and the same. Ultimately, these questions become concerns of not philosophy but rather a religion, as falling in the way of belief is often unavoidable. – Ghostpunk Feb 14 at 4:06
  • Saint who are famous and respectable by many for thousands of years not because any of their philosophical arguments or views, but because saint really exemplified, solved or alleviated many people's sufferings, questions, confusions, while not increase some other sufferings... The definition of Evil is to create more confusions and thus sufferings. Belief itself is neutral as long as it cannot be invalidated using logic and science. For me personally, I don't feel much difference between philosophy and religion, if u practice either one for a while, u are essentially doing both. – Double Knot Feb 14 at 4:17
  • Definitely, but philosophy at least in the Western sense, has a logical or meta-logical construct upon which arguments are based on and argued upon, which not necessarily must be the case in religion. Belief is of course neutral and provides a valid stance when a paradox like in my original question arises. – Ghostpunk Feb 14 at 4:25

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