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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Original article by Frank Visser

Reply to "The Marriage of Sense and Soul and it's critics"

Ken Wilber

Frank, I think your reply is very good. Thank you for helping to correct this common misrepresentation of my work.

I would only add one item: I do indeed try to show that there is a science of the body realm (gross), the subtle realm (mind), and the causal realm (spirit), as you say. But I point out that there is also the art of the body realm, the subtle realm, and spirit; and there are the morals of the body realm, the mind, and spirit.

Thus, all of the levels of the Great Nest have an I, we, and it dimension—that is, all of the levels actually have art, morals, and science. Thus, even if we expand science into the higher levels, as I suggest, science and its methods are still only "one third" of the total story, because the higher levels also have art and morals, which follow their own quite different methodologies (following different validity claims, namely, truthfulness and justness, respectively).

Therefore, two points should be kept in mind: I have indeed suggested that we can legitimately expand science to investigate aspects not only of the body or sensorimotor realm (narrow empiricism), but also of the mind and spirit realm (the geist sciences). but even then, there are not only the sciences of the higher realms, there are the art and morals of the higher realms as well.

Thus, even with an expanded definition of science, I never reduce the higher realms to science only, for there are the art and morals and science of the higher realms. And the art and morals have different specific methodologies than the sciences, as I clearly explain.

My critics have completey missed this simple but essential point, because they think that in expanding science to include the higher realms, I am somehow reducing the higher realms to science. Jorge Ferrer[1] makes this elemental blunder, mostly because he fails to give an accurate interpretation of my work before he begins to attack it (which is why students of my work do not take his attacks seriously). But a close reading of my work, without ideological agendas, makes these simple points fairly obvious. I treat this theme at length in chapter 4 of A Theory of Everything[2], which will be out from Shambhala this fall.

Thanks again,

[1] See: J. Ferrer, 'Speak now or forever hold your peace: A review essay of Ken Wilber's The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion', Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 30 (1), p. 53-67, and K. Wilber, 'Response to Jorge Ferrer's "Speak now or forever hold your peace: A review essay of Ken Wilber's The Marriage of Sense and Soul"', Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 30(1), p. 69-72 (FV).

[2] Formerly announced as The Integral Vision (FV).

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