Questions and Answers about Reality’s Fugue

How might conflicting accounts of reality be reconciled?

The contradictions among plausible accounts of reality suggest that reality has at its heart a paradox, a philosophical puzzle. If this is so, then we can best understand the nature of the universe and ourselves by considering these competing accounts of reality as different but complementary expressions of this underlying puzzle.

Reality’s Fugue examines three very different accounts of reality. Understood as different themes in a single composition, they would seem to reveal much more about ourselves and the universe than can be gained with a study of any one of them alone.

Does Reality’s Fugue defend monotheist accounts of reality?

Yes. And this book also defends certain atheist accounts of reality. Reality’s Fugue shows how both atheism and monotheism might be very much compatible once reality’s paradoxical nature is better understood.

One of the three main philosophical views examined in this book is drawn from Buddhism, which is a traditionally atheistic religion in the sense that Buddhist scripture traces the universe’s existence and behavior not to a supreme deity but rather to a certain kind of causal interaction. Another one of the three main philosophical views is drawn from Western monotheism. Reality’s Fugue defends both views while also honoring the sharp contrasts between them.

Would Reality’s Fugue be of interest to someone with no interest in religion?

Yes, as long as they were philosophically inclined and curious about the nature of reality. Reality’s Fugue focuses on issues that are central to any intellectual effort to understand ourselves and the universe we live in. Although the book’s principal illustrations come from world religions, the issues addressed are ones that humankind has been struggling with for a very long time both inside and outside of religious contexts.

What are some other questions addressed by Reality’s Fugue?

  • In what basic ways do various Hindu, Buddhist, and theist accounts of reality differ?
  • How might we make philosophical sense of the monotheist concept of deity?
  • How might we better understand the nature of conscious awareness?
  • How do we reconcile our having minds and subjective experience with the physical nature of our brains and universe?
  • How do we reconcile freewill with our apparently deterministic universe?
  • What distinguishes living beings from life-like machines or robots?
  • Why does mathematics seem able to describe our universe so well?
  • How might the nature of awareness relate to the puzzles of quantum mechanics?
  • What do different religions say about the purpose of life? How might we reconcile their differences?