‘There is no consciousness without philosophising, just as there is no philosophising without consciousness, and we are all philosophers at heart.’ Benjamin Davies
By any account, The Shape of Knowledge: An introduction to paraphilosophy by Benjamin Davies (Iff Books, September, 2023), is a remarkable work, profound and far-reaching in its philosophical, psychological, and indeed, existential implications.
It’s the result of nearly a decade of ‘study, struggle, and striving’, and, I might say, of notable critical sagacity, and Davies hopes it will provide some value to the world, this, he says, having been his intention from the outset.
Claiming boldly that paraphilosophy heralds the end of traditional philosophy, Davies suggests a turning point in human understanding is at hand, and he provides a cogent, painstakingly argued 350 pages to explain why he thinks so. Although one can’t help but sense he has a formidable edifice to scale, his work really ought to be taken on board by the academic philosophical community.
So what is paraphilosophy — and what’s wrong with philosophy today that it should now crumble? ‘Paraphilosophy is neither a theory nor an area of study; it is simply the field of possibility in which all theory and study is found. It is the empty infinitude of creativity within us, and what we are basically,’ Davies writes (his italics).
‘Philosophy takes place within paraphilosophy, and paraphilosophy is the superposition of all particular philosophies. It is the matrix in which our reason moves, as it navigates a path of least resistance from our temperament to our belief.’
Davies, ‘an autodidact from the south-west of England’, his publisher informs us, began working on his philosophical system after a meaningful experience in 2012 led him to abandon his nihilistic, materialistic outlook and find a sound explanation for his new understanding through the language of Western philosophy.
Although we’re not told specifically, that meaningful experience seems to have been his reading of physicist Lawrence Krauss’s book A Universe from Nothing…