Saturday, 30 May 2015

Reader's Question: Are you still interested by morphic resonance?


Reader's Question: "I am wondering about your thoughts on Rupert Sheldrake and his morphic resonance theory. It was something that you blogged about in the past that I haven't seen in awhile."

My Answer: I have stopped writing about this because I have lost interest in it -  and I lost interest in it when my Christianity became Mormon and my metaphysics pluralist. 

The peak of my interest in Sheldrake was after I had immersed myself in the work of Aquinas (from reading Ed Feser's book on the subject), had adopted a Scholastic philosophy, and was considering becoming a Roman Catholic (hoping and waiting for a group of the Anglican Ordinariate to emerge nearby). After that my interest had moved towards Eastern Orthodoxy and Platonism (via Seraphim Rose), and I got so far as becoming 'officially' a catechumin at a Russian Orthodox church.

Sheldrake's  metaphysical system fits well with this kind of classical theology - especially with Aristotelian-Thomism from which is is apparently derived. 

But when my spontaneous pluralism/ pragmatism again came to the fore, and I discovered that Mormon theology matched this perfectly, this led to a turn-around (and clarification) of my metaphysical assumptions - indeed a clarification of what metaphysics actually is, and how it differs from science. 

So - my conclusion was that Sheldrake is essentially a metaphysical philosopher (and a very good one!) but not a scientist; and therefore empirical research cannot either confirm or refute his ideas about morphic resonance. 

I was in touch with Sheldrake at this time, by e-mail and on friendly terms (he does seem to be a very pleasant chap!) but I was never able to be clear whether he accepted or agreed with my understanding - nor was I ever able to be clear whether he regarded 'forms' as coming from God, or being things that were 'just there' and built-into reality (this is left-out of the books); nor was I clear about how humans were supposed to be able to know what was a form, and what was not.

Anyway, having established to my own satisfaction that Sheldrake's ideas were derived from/ dependent on classical Aristotelian metaphysics - and that being metaphysical they were not 'testable' - and then my own metaphysical assumptions having changed towards William Jamesian/ Joseph Smithian pragmatism - naturally I lost interest in Sheldrake's work and ceased to read, think or write about it!