• Joshs
    4.2k
    ↪Joshs I don't find conflating Cartesian algebraic geometry with Newtonian (or Leibnizian) calculus insightful or relevant. Besides, scientists build on the work of their predecessors in the sciences independent of any philosophical considerations. As CS Peirce or Paul Feyerabend shows, scientific practices are largely opportunistic "anything goes" endeavors which largely are n o t deductions from first principles. Philosophy from time to time may provide an impetus for "paradigm shifts" but it does not inform building and testing hypothetical models. As Witty exhaustively points out, philosophy does not explain facts of the matter, that is, is n o t theoretical in the way of empirical or formal sciences.180 Proof

    I’m not comparing Descartes, Newton and Leibnitz on the basis of their contributions to mathematics, but to metaphysics.

    As far as a science building on its predecessors, it does this within a larger set of changing metaphysical assumptions that it is not its job to make explicit, and that it usually not even aware of. This obliviousness to the larger worldviews within which scientists conduct their thinking leads to the idea that “anything goes”’. Not just anything can ‘go’ for a scientist. Their observations and evidence are constrained and made intelligible only with extant discursive practices and worldviews, and the development of these scientific worldviews move in parallel with ( because they are throughly intertwined with) the movement of worldviews in the arts and philosophy. So much for science ‘taking the lead’. It should be mentioned that the ideas that make their way into Darwin’s theory of evolutionnor Newton’s physics come from many aspects of the surrounding culture outside of science ‘proper’( if there ever was such a thing).
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    I’m not comparing Descartes, Newton and Leibnitz on the basis of their contributions to mathematics, but to metaphysics.Joshs
    It's all Aristotlean "metaphysics" (in the background) through the 18th century.
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    A confession: metaphysics has always seemed to me like a bunch of men sharing just-so stories after smoking a crack pipe.coolazice

    To really grasp the nature of metaphysics and its role in our lives is to realize that , when it comes down to it, science also is nothing but a bunch of folk sharing just-so stories after smoking a crack pipe
  • Raul
    209
    science also is nothing but a bunch of folk sharing just-so stories after smoking a crack pipeJoshs

    Ok, next time you get sick don't rely on the science of medicine, don't go to hospitals, you can do a lot of metaphysics, something like 1 hour of metaphysics in the morning and another 1 hour in the evening and I'm sure you will recover quickly... well... you could get a huge headache as side effect :-)

    Would be funny to show your sentence to Hipocrate... you tell him, look all the progress made by science in medicine is ridiculous, we keep curing and treating people the same way you did 2400 years ago...
    Same applies to engineering, physics, astronomy, etc..............
  • Raul
    209
    It should be mentioned that the ideas that make their way into Darwin’s theory of evolutionnor Newton’s physics come from many aspects of the surrounding culture outside of science ‘proper’( if there ever was such a thing).Joshs

    No my friend, the scientific ideas and scientific method did not come for free in a magical way thanks to philosophers or artists. Many people in history have died and fight against religious and metaphysical views of the world that have been governing the people and the society for milenia. They still do it in countries like Afghanistan to mention just on. Metaphysics is dangerous because it can lead to religious thoughts that are even more dangerous (history teaches us).
    Science is the only way to talk to nature in an honest an dopen way and it has shown right. Science has done its way alone in history with many heros (poeple dedicating their lifes just to observe planets, plants, etc... using scientific method), these herost have defended their ideas in an honest way to make of us what we're today, an advanced and technological society with its goods and bads but better than the past...
    Artists and philosophers are another thing... and it is not fair to say it is thanks to them that we have made progress.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Science rests on a metaphysics - the notion that the world is intelligible and can be understood through physicalism or something like that.
    — Tom Storm

    My problem is, essentially: how on earth could we even come close to demonstrating that this is the case? Why should I take this metaphysical speculation seriously?
    coolazice

    The demonstration is that scientists generally take the the view that the world is intelligible and can be understood through physicalism. That's how they come to identifying physical laws in a physical universe, and take the view that humans can understand the universe, right? And like all metaphysical positions, it can be (and is) subject to doubt.
  • jgill
    2.7k
    :clap: :cool:
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    All ideas rest on foundations and pre-suppositions.
    — Tom Storm

    This claim approaches the Rosetta Stone of knowledge: the axiom.
    ucarr

    No. I make no assumption on this and my language was unclear. I think people often retrofit foundations and presuppositions - to explain things to themselves and others. But we tend to draw from the preexisting ideas and values available to us or told to us. We are embedded in a culture and draw from it consciously and unconsciously.
  • ucarr
    495
    To the extent that we can separate the scientific and the philosophical, which blur into each other in so many ways,Joshs

    This is my central point of reference in our discussion. The interweave of philosophy_science, acting as a control that modulates my range of argumentation, either pro or con WRT oneupmanship science/philosophy, keeps me aimed on the win_win of a good fight raising all boats.

    What you’re describing isnt science, it’s scientism, which assumes that science, through its methods, has a privileged access to empirical reality.Joshs

    I get that scientific researchers, like all others, bring personal POVs to their methodologies and findings thereof. Is effective science good science? It tries not to be. Conversely, good philosophy tries to find the good, oftentimes equated with "truth."

    You're mid-air on a plane whose engines have died. Soaring over rocky, mountainous terrain devoid of flora, you face a philosopher and a scientist, both also on the nosediving plane. The philosopher says, "On the basis of cerebration, I think this parachute I've constructed will work." The scientist says, "On the basis of repeated, aerodynamic testing, I know this parachute will work." After visually inspecting the two parachutes, you see no apparent similarities of design or function. Due to limited supplies, you can only take one parachute. Will you take a parachute? If so, which one?

    Science has no privileged access to empirical reality. What science does have is a principle of direct access to empirical reality. When the savvy philosopher reads up on cutting edge, scientific methodology, s/he accesses the work done by others in service of philosophical ruminations in route to a narration of same. Cerebration. Books. It isn't hands on. It isn't in the field. The philosopher could do these things. In choosing not to do these things, the seeker manifests as philosopher. If the seeker chooses to do these things, the seeker manifests as scientist.

    If an empirical researcher in psychology or biology has not assimilated
    the most advanced thinking available in philosophy they will simply be reinventing the wheel. This is what most of todays sciences are doing now. They are regurgitating older insights of philosophy using their own specialized vocabulary.
    Joshs

    By arguing philosophy is the source of which science is a tributary, you deny that philosophy is an epiphenomenon of science. Against this you might argue that philosophers of antiquity, long before emergence of modern science, walked in the shoes of the scientist. This reminds us that ancient academics, before the specialization of modern times, were more broadly inclusive.

    In making this denial, you deposit yourself within the camp of ontological dualism. Therein, you stand philosophy alongside the seminal utterances of a supernatural God. In the beginning was the word. And the word mandates our natural world of physical reality. Continuing in this vein, the scientist, acting under the suasion of Logos, the divine word, takes hold of presuppositional essences that decree physical likenesses. These likenesses, as explained by Plato, come to be held within the imperfect hands of human.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    o really grasp the nature of metaphysics and its role in our lives is to realize that , when it comes down to it, science also is nothing but a bunch of folk sharing just-so stories after smoking a crack pipeJoshs

    While I find this kind of claim exciting, do you think this might be more outrageous than accurate? In practice you would privilege certain stories as being more useful (if nothing else), right? Would you recommend a scientific approach to treating diabetes, say, or use Mary Baker Eddy's prayer model? Surely you are not saying all stories have the same value. Can you tease this out for me in very simple steps ? (I'm sure you've addressed this many times before.)
  • ucarr
    495
    I think people often retrofit foundations and presuppositions - to explain things to themselves and others.Tom Storm

    No doubt of this on my part.

    I'm arguing that our Rosetta Stone of knowledge, the axiom, gets most directly approached by science, not metaphysics. This I claim because science is hands-on regarding existing things within our empirically experienced, phenomenal world.

    And that's why I'm giving a :up: to Raul for

    Ok, next time you get sick don't rely on the science of medicine, don't go to hospitals, you can do a lot of metaphysics, something like 1 hour of metaphysics in the morning and another 1 hour in the evening and I'm sure you will recover quickly... well... you could get a huge headache as side effect :-)

    Would be funny to show your sentence to Hipocrate... you tell him, look all the progress made by science in medicine is ridiculous, we keep curing and treating people the same way you did 2400 years ago...
    Same applies to engineering, physics, astronomy, etc..............
    Raul

    There's a tight interweave binding philosophy_science, however, in the world of everyday experience, such as sickness, the difference between philosophy practitioner and medical science practitioner is glaring.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.6k
    Oh, leave science alone. For that matter, leave medicine and law and art and anything else there is a claimed "philosophy of" alone. I think it more than likely scientists, lawyers, doctors, etc. get along quite well without philosophers or philosophy, and seldom think of either (I can assure you of that where lawyers are concerned, in any case). What does it say about philosophy that philosophers, though, think so much about scientists, doctors, lawyers, artists, etc. and what they do?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.9k
    Predetermination of what it will be IS an existence so, coming into existence is voided by this language.ucarr

    Predetermination is not existence. You might like to claim some sort of principle like, only something existing could predetermine, but I think the proper position is that only something actual could act to predetermine, as cause. And it is not necessary that an act is an existent. I think that is the point of process philosophy.

    Also, how does predetermination of what will be come into existence? Infinite regress. Why? When you try to speak analytically regarding existing things, you plunge into infinite regress. This is why useful analyses begin with axioms.ucarr

    I don't see this problem of infinite regress. I only see infinite regress from your proposal that only an existent could act to predetermine an existent. This produces an infinite regress of existents, as each existent requires an existent as its predetermining cause.

    As above, "randomness" is an existing thing. Your language indicates this: ...there would just be randomness...ucarr

    No randomness is not an existing thing. It's a principle which we talk about, but very far from being an existing thing. Not everything we talk about is an existing thing.
  • coolazice
    59
    The demonstration is that scientists generally take the the view that the world is intelligible and can be understood through physicalism. That's how they come to identifying physical laws in a physical universe, and take the view that humans can understand the universe, right? — Tom Storm

    I'm not sure you can demonstrate the validity of a metaphysical presumption by looking at what scientists do. That just seems like sneaking an appeal to authority through the backdoor. At most you can say "this metaphysical framework seems to be helpful". But is that a metaphysical statement? An epistemological one?

    Also, do you really need to have any metaphysical commitments in order to conduct scientific research? Can't you just smash some atoms together and see what happens?

    To really grasp the nature of metaphysics and its role in our lives is to realize that , when it comes down to it, science also is nothing but a bunch of folk sharing just-so stories after smoking a crack pipeJoshs

    When they're explaining their theories, sure. But they're also comparing their just-so stories with each other and providing experiments which support the stories in a way which is very appealing to the critical mind. Do metaphysicians have anything comparable?
  • ucarr
    495
    Predetermination is not existence.Metaphysician Undercover

    Suppose that non-existence = unspecifiably small volume of unlimited application.

    Consider: Predetermination is not existence. The infinitive "to be" gives us an equal sign. The negation gives us existence unspecifiably small in volume of unlimited application.

    In the absence of existence, what we have here is an esoteric a priori concept> Predetermination is not existence.

    Wikipedia - Process philosophy - also ontology of becoming, or processism is an approach to philosophy that identifies processes, changes, or shifting relationships as the only true elements of the ordinary, everyday real world. It treats other real elements (examples: enduring physical objects, thoughts) as abstractions from, or ontological dependents on, processes. In opposition to the classical view of change as illusory (as argued by Parmenides) or accidental (as argued by Aristotle), process philosophy posits transient occasions of change or becoming as the only fundamental things of the ordinary everyday real world.

    Specifically considering - "It treats other real elements (examples: enduring physical objects, thoughts) as abstractions from, or ontological dependents on, processes."

    If we take this definition from Wikipedia and link it to Metaphysician Undercover's argument herein presented, then we have a metaphysics as a kind of fluid dynamics.

    In this ontological fluid dynamics, however, the process precedes the thing processed. That's predetermination. (Notice how Wikipedia Process philosophy considers “thoughts” real, something Metaphysician Undercover denies with “Predetermination is not existence.”)

    It then follows that dynamical processing is an axiomatic ground of evolving things.

    From here it follows that existing things pop into existence as decreed by seminal utterance of esoteric Divine Will.

    Why is this so? It is so because> Predetermination is not existence.

    In short, the ground of reality is (non-existent) language. This claim Venn diagrams with the ontological dualism of Plato (and later of Berkeley).

    Process Ontology (per Metaphysician Undercover) says existence is grounded in non-existent, a priori concepts dynamically processing existing things.

    Physicalism says existence is grounded in a posteriori concepts derived from practical interaction with existing things. Moreover, physicalism acknowledges that the ground of existence precedes and transcends analysis and therefore that knowledge is a posterior to existence, or, as Sartre proclaimed, “Existence precedes essence.”
  • ucarr
    495
    Also, do you really need to have any metaphysical commitments in order to conduct scientific research? Can't you just smash some atoms together and see what happens?

    To really grasp the nature of metaphysics and its role in our lives is to realize that , when it comes down to it, science also is nothing but a bunch of folk sharing just-so stories after smoking a crack pipe
    — Joshs

    When they're explaining their theories, sure. But they're also comparing their just-so stories with each other and providing experiments which support the stories in a way which is very appealing to the critical mind. Do metaphysicians have anything comparable?
    coolazice

    :up:
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    While I find this kind of claim exciting, do you think this might be more outrageous than accurate?Tom Storm

    I was being a little silly. What I meant to convey was that the most creative aspect of science is not the mirroring of an extant reality but the invention of new ways of interacting with our world. The inspiration can involve a crackpipe or dream just as readily as direct observation. The difference between the inventiveness of something like poetry vs science lies in the peculiarities of the vocabulary used in each domain. Science generally prefers shared agreement on mathematizable behavior of objects.
  • javra
    1.9k


    Going a little further:

    Empirical sciences are founded upon metaphysical notions such as those of causality and of identity. The extent to which empirical sciences are effective is fully equivalent to the extent to which these (as of yet still obscure) metaphysical notions (aka, just-so stories of crack-smoking folk) are effective. Everything we gain from empirical science is then an added on, specialized category of story inevitably dependent on making use of “the just-so stories of crack-smoking folk” - with the latter serving as the former's quintessential foundation.

    To invalidate this proposed state of affairs, simply present an empirical science in which no tacit use of effects or of identities take place. If not in practice, then in principle - taking into account that empirical sciences by definition make use of human awareness regarding the external world which, as such, is tmk not realizable in the absence of a presumed reality to causation and identity.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    I'm not sure you can demonstrate the validity of a metaphysical presumption by looking at what scientists docoolazice

    Certainly true and maybe I misunderstood your original point. I wasn't demonstrating the validity of the assumption - I was demonstrating what the assumptions are. Some people believe, probably because they are rooted the Western physicalist/naturalist tradition, that science has no metaphysical presuppositions.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Also, do you really need to have any metaphysical commitments in order to conduct scientific research? Can't you just smash some atoms together and see what happens?coolazice

    The most powerful hold metaphysics has on people is where it forms the background to your notion of reality and is not questioned. I would suggest most scientists hold strong beliefs about reality of naturalism/physicalism, but you're right, it's not compulsory. I have also met the odd priest who doesn't believe in god so there's that... :wink:

    Here's physicist Sean Carroll:

    Naturalism is a counterpart to theism. Theism says there's the physical world and God. Naturalism says there's only the natural world. There are no spirits, no deities, or anything else.
  • ucarr
    495
    Some people believe, probably because they are rooted the Western physicalist/naturalist tradition, that science has no metaphysical presuppositions.Tom Storm

    If there's no definitive causal relationship between metaphysics and physics, such that metaphysics is an epiphenomenon of physics, or, perhaps, vice-versa, then argumentation about precedence does not automatically lead to the conclusion metaphysics is the ground of science, a claim the not-physicalists seem to be implying here.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Isn't the issue here that no one really avoids metaphysics, no matter what position you hold? If you are making paradigmatic and presuppositional claims about the fundamental nature of reality you're doing it, right? The claim that reality is described by the 'laws of physics' is itself a metaphysical claim.
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    Here's physicist Sean Carroll:

    Naturalism is a counterpart to theism. Theism says there's the physical world and God. Naturalism says there's only the natural world. There are no spirits, no deities, or anything else.
    Tom Storm

    “… a more basic trace of a theological conception remains in many philosophical accounts of science and nature. A theological conception of God as creator places God outside of nature. God's understanding of nature is also external to the world. Such a God could understand his language and his thoughts about the world, apart from any interaction with the world. Naturalists long ago removed God from scientific conceptions of the world. Yet many naturalists still implicitly understand science as aiming to take God's place. They interpret science as trying to represent nature from a standpoint outside of nature. The language in which science represents the world could then be understood apart from the causal interactions it articulates.”( Joseph Rouse)
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    To invalidate this proposed state of affairs, simply present an empirical science in which no tacit use of effects or of identities take place. If not in practice, then in principle - taking into account that empirical sciences by definition make use of human awareness regarding the external world which, as such, is tmk not realizable in the absence of a presumed reality to causation and identity.javra

    I believe science will move in the direction of a self-reflexive awareness that causation and identity are derivative concepts originating out of the discursive niche-constructing practices of scientists in material circumstances. Crack-smoking insights are also embedded within , and represent specific modifications of material niches. Put differently, the manifest image of thought ( crack-smoking insights) and the scientific image of nature( empirical reality ) are not on opposite ends of a divide. Linguistic thought is inextricably intertwined with material circumstances. The reality that science ‘discovers’ can never be completely external to the discursive niche within which the world appears intelligible.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    Why Metaphysics Is Legitimateucarr

    Well, the obvious point is that not all metaphysics is legitimate. A large part of what folk call metaphysics is just poor thinking.

    So we might more profitably ask, what metaphysics is legitimate? What stuff that we call "metaphysics" is useful?

    And in contrast to wanting to start with definitions, we might proceed by having a discussion about the definition of metaphysics. And then we would be doing philosophy. proceeds along these lines, and proceeds along the same lines.

    Some have made an assumption that science is not metaphysical, but of course it is. It takes as granted some things that can neither be proven nor disproven - conservation laws, for example, and contra , such things are quite explicit. points out a few more examples.

    There's an extensive literature, after Popper, that links the logical structure of propositions to their being verifiable or falsifiable or neither or both. That's one sort of metaphysics. Midgley talks of plumbing, a more general sort of metaphysics.

    Metaphysics is not post hoc, but an integral part of physics, and of whatever else we might do.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    So we might more profitably ask, what metaphysics is legitimate? What stuff that we call "metaphysics" is useful?Banno

    Yes, good questions. I'd be interested to get a firmer grasp of this.

    Metaphysics is not post hoc, but an integral part of physics, and of whatever else we might do.Banno

    Well put.
  • jgill
    2.7k
    When they're [scientists] explaining their theories, sure. But they're also comparing their just-so stories with each other and providing experiments which support the stories in a way which is very appealing to the critical mind. Do metaphysicians have anything comparable?coolazice

    The Stanford Metaphysics Lab attempts to put an element of solidity into the study of metaphysics, a topic of endless and entirely non-productive discussions.

    The theory of abstract objects is a metaphysical theory. Whereas physics attempts a systematic description of fundamental and complex concrete objects, metaphysics attempts a systematic description of fundamental and complex abstract objects.
    (Stanford Metaphysics Lab)
  • Joshs
    4.2k


    The Stanford Metaphysics Lab attempts to put an element of solidity into the study of metaphysics, a topic of endless and entirely non-productive discussions.

    The theory of abstract objects is a metaphysical theory. Whereas physics attempts a systematic description of fundamental and complex concrete objects, metaphysics attempts a systematic description of fundamental and complex abstract objects.
    (Stanford Metaphysics Lab)
    jgill

    Why do you think the discussions are non-productive? Because they dont produce a clear unified vision of what metaphysics is? Can they be productive in the way that debates among competing approaches within the economic, political or psychological sciences are productive without producing a clear ‘winner’, expect perhaps in the eye of the beholder? Does the existence of competing visions mean there is not nevertheless an overall ‘progress’?
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