Toward a Unified Metaphysical Understanding: Profound Metaphysical Questions to Ask Yourself    
 Profound Metaphysical Questions to Ask Yourself
2008-12-04, by John Ringland

What is this experiential process that is happening right now? What is experience?

What is this individual stream of experience? What am I?

Why do I experience things right now and only remember past experiences? What is the present moment, the arrow of time, time itself, the process of change and memory?

What do the contents-of-experience (phenomena) represent? What is the phenomenal world?

What is that persistent complex phenomenon that closely accompanies my stream of experience? What is my body?

What is that ever changing dance of phenomena that appears to surround me? What is the world-experience of which I am aware?

What is the relationship between an individual stream of experience and the phenomena that arise within it? What is the relationship between me and the phenomenal world (my body and the world-experience)?

Do some phenomena correspond to systems that are as real as I seem to be? Is there something genuinely real about the world that I experience?

Are all systems accompanied by a stream of experience of some kind? Is some form of panpsychism true, (perhaps neutral monism or type-F monism or panprotoexperientialism)?

Do other systems have their own perspective and experience a phenomenal world? Do others experience a phenomenal world from their perspective, within which other system's phenomenal appearances are experienced as entities in their world that are separate from each other and from themselves?

Do all systems experience the same voracity of experience as myself? Regardless of a system's degree of systemic complexity and feedback, does it experience things just as tangibly and intensely as I experience things; or in other words, although it may have simpler form, is a system's world-experience just as real to it as my world-experience is to me?

Do the experiences of one system effect another? Does the form of other's experience of life have an effect on the form of my experience of life?

Why is it that I can use abstract symbolic states and processes to represent aspects of my world semantically within a conceptual space, which can then be communicated? Why is it that symbolic thought, language, mathematics, science, web ontologies, simulation and so on are so useful for structuring rational thought and communicating about reality?

Is there an objective world that underlies the phenomenal world, which can be inferred using observation from multiple individual perspectives and refinement via symbolic communication? What is the objective universe and can it be scientifically known?

What is the relationship between the phenomenal world and the objective universe? What is naïve realism?

Why are some systems tangible and others not? What is matter?

What is that active principle that animates systemic events? What is energy?

Why do systems seem to be processually structured in relation to each other? What is causality?

Why do systems seem to be spatially structured in relation to each other? What is space?

Why do complex systems with both a complex stream of experience and complex phenomenal form exist? What is systemic evolution?

Is the growth of complexity of systems and experiential processes the overall trend in the process of change? Does the process of systemic evolution move in the direction of greater complexity of both physical form and conscious awareness?

How do the integrated experiences of subsystems evolve into the more complex functions of consciousness? What is the systemic structure of conscious self-awareness and mind?

In general, what is it like to be a system-within-a-systemic-universe; experiencing a phenomenal world and participating within an objective world of interacting complex systems; emergent from the interactions of subsystems; and participating in the emergence of supersystems? What are the generalised systemic analogues of birth, death, pleasure, pain, health, illness, hope, despair, destiny, choice, community, solitude, love, hate and all the different aspects and subtleties of life?

Why is it that phenomena appear as they do? What is the intrinsic nature of the phenomenal world?

Why is it that experiential processes operate as they do? What is the intrinsic nature of experience and conscious awareness?

Why is it that systems exist as they do? What is the intrinsic nature of all systems?

Are these intrinsic natures related? Is there a common source, a monadic root?

What can be said about the existential/causal foundation of all that is? What can be said about the ground-of-being?

The world-experience that we each contemplate is conditioned by many prior beliefs. Metaphysics is the science and art of bringing unconscious beliefs into mind and questioning them. Ponder these questions deeply.

scientific theories often presupposed a conceptual framework that was not itself empirically testable, but which was required for the theory as a whole to be empirically testable... metaphysics is the a priori science of the necessary structure of rational thought about reality” (***)

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