The MWS Podcast 46: Frank Ledwith – member profile

In this latest member profile, Frank Ledwith, a retired university teacher and lecturer, talks about his early life, how his career unfolded, his interest and involvement with Buddhism, the work of Stephen Batchelor and what the Middle Way means to him.

MWS Podcast 46: Frank Ledwith as audio only:
Download audio: MWS_Podcast_45_Frank_Ledwith

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About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

One thought on “The MWS Podcast 46: Frank Ledwith – member profile

  1. It’s very good to find out a bit more about Frank and his background, especially as I’ve already met him on this site!

    One question I’d like to ask Frank is – have you managed to find any positive elements in your Catholic background, by going back to it with the Middle Way in mind? As someone from a Christian (though Protestant) family background myself, that’s a process I’ve found invaluable.

    As regards the discussion at the end about metaphysics, there doesn’t seem to me to be any substantial disagreement between us from what Frank said, just a difference in terminology. Frank seemed to agree that if you absolutise a scientific belief, it becomes unjustifiable, whereas if you use it as a provisional hypothesis (or theory) it is helpful. The way I personally use the term ‘metaphysics’ is to refer to a belief that involves absolutisation, and this depends on the way in which the belief is held, not being just dependent on the way it is formulated verbally. The common idea that scientists have to hold metaphysical beliefs in order to investigate the world further seems unhelpful to me, because it requires that you understand the nature of metaphysics only in terms of its representational content (with associated representationalist assumptions about meaning), rather than taking into account the psychology. Scientists need provisional beliefs in order to investigate the world, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to use them to investigate the world – they would just be projecting their assumptions onto it.

    Then at the beginning there was the issue of the Four Noble Truths. Frank didn’t say much more about why he thought it was justifiable to see these as ‘truths’, but I suspect there are similar issues at work. If by a ‘truth’ you mean a provisional theory, even one that you have found to be overwhelmingly the case in experience, then I would personally not use the term ‘truth’ or ‘metaphysics’ to describe them, just for the sake of clarity. I know the dominant conventions are still to use ‘metaphysics’ and ‘truth’ in this way, but the effect of that usage is to constantly prevent people from taking sceptical considerations seriously and recognising their practical impact.

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