• Banno
    19.9k


    Two previous threeads for you: Confirmable and influential Metaphysics goes into some detail concerning defining metaphysics in terms of the logical structure of propositions. Metaphysical statements are neither verifiable nor falsifiable, yet some are nevertheless meaningful and, some, true. And Institutional facts begins a sort of metaphysics for the intentional world we might contrast with the physical world, in which we can discuss things like how red traffic lights stop traffic.
  • jgill
    2.7k
    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?Joshs

    Good question. Discussing politics - beyond the tribal aspect - can have significant social consequences in that it may cause others to rethink their positions, although no clear winner. So perhaps tribal politics analogizes metaphysics. Just a passing thought.
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    ↪Tom Storm

    Two previous threeads for you: Confirmable and influential Metaphysics goes into some detail concerning defining metaphysics in terms of the logical structure of propositions. Metaphysical statements are neither verifiable nor falsifiable, yet some are nevertheless meaningful and, some, true
    Banno

    As a counterpoint , I offer up a Deleuzian perspective on the limits of the idea of metaphysics as the logic of propositions, what Deleuze calls ‘the dogmatic image of thought’. He says that this image involves “the supposition that thought is the natural exercise of a faculty … the presupposition that there is a natural capacity for thought endowed with a talent for truth or an affinity with the true.”

    “…the image of thought presupposes “the harmonious exercise of all the faculties upon a supposed same object.”The wax Descartes sees, touches, imagines, remembers, and thinks about is the same wax, and the “I” that doubts, understands, desires, imagines, and so on, the same “I.” The classical responsiveness of thought to being depends here on the agreement of different subjective powers and the sameness of their respective objects. This is a “modernized” version of the classical conception of truth. Certainly, it grants a new and supreme importance to the role of subjectivity, but the difference between classical and modern conceptions of truth is a matter of having replaced its expected “ontological a priori,” not of abandoning the expectation that truth requires such ontological support.Even Kant, whose critical turn would seem to prohibit dogmatically innocent statements about the human “talent for truth,” grants that truth is “agreement of knowledge with its object.”Although the existent object is constituted by, rather than simply disclosed to, the mind, the special relationship between thought or language and nature or “what is” is still what makes a judgment true.”
    “…the linguistic turn in philosophy, like the critical or Kantian turn before it, did little to change the key presuppositions of the image of thought.”
    “…according to Deleuze, Frege and Russell have started down a line of thinking that has the potential to overturn the image of thought, but, like Kant before them, they lose heart and use their freshly minted conceptual resources to reformulate its postulates anew.”
    (Dan Smith)
  • Banno
    19.9k
    @jgill Interesting. I noted the mention of a "computational metaphysics"... apparently an attempt at a "formal ontology". On the face of it, after Gödel, any such ontology would be either incomplete or inconsistent... But perhaps they have a way of dealing with that?
  • Banno
    19.9k
    As a counterpoint...Joshs

    Perhaps I don't quite grasp what it is you are suggesting, but it seems not to be a counterpoint so much as an ill-formed agreement.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.9k
    Suppose that non-existence = unspecifiably small volume of unlimited application.ucarr

    I can't see how you can conceive of a small volume with unlimited application. That seems incoherent. As a matter of fact, i can't see how you would conceive of anything having unlimited application. That in itself appears incoherent.

    lso 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.ucarr

    This is poorly written. If processes are the only elements of the real world, then there is no such "other real elements. Someone made a mistake writing that Wikipedia piece, and you are running away with the mistake.
  • jgill
    2.7k
    Interesting. I noted the mention of a "computational metaphysics"... apparently an attempt at a "formal ontology"Banno

    At least the people at Stanford are attempting to put a little meat on this bone:

    Computational metaphysics
  • Banno
    19.9k
    So the project uses computers to pars arguments from ontology formally.

    Like Russel's theory of descriptions, Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, Davidson's project, and so many others. It's an idea at the centre of analytic philosophy, to use logic to set out clearly the structure of our arguments.

    I've also had a quick look at The Theory of Abstract Objects, and the novel Ontological argument from one premise.

    All this by way of pointing out that this is not such a new approach, and apart from the use of Prover9 I'm not clear as to what's different.

    But it's another project worth keeping one eye on.
  • ucarr
    495
    ↪ucarr Isn't the issue here that no one really avoids metaphysics, no matter what position you hold?Tom Storm

    If you make this claim aboard the premise that physics_metaphysics are associates with considerable measure of reciprocity of grounding functions and attributes, then yes. I make this stipulation because, as I understand it, the upshot of this discussion-within-a-discussion concerns the particularities of the interrelationship of physics_metaphysics.

    The claim that reality is described by the 'laws of physics' is itself a metaphysical claim.Tom Storm

    I can use your above claim as an example of reciprocity between physics_metaphysics; metaphysics claims existence of physical laws >< physical things exhibit public, measurable and repeatable patterns of behavior.
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    ↪jgill So the project uses computers to pars arguments from ontology formally.

    Like Russel's theory of descriptions, Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, Davidson's project, and so many others. It's an idea at the centre of analytic philosophy, to use logic to set out clearly the structure of our arguments.
    Banno

    Which is why the later Wittgenstein rebelled against it.
    “ The more narowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystaline purity of logic was, of course, not a result of investigation: it was a requirement). We have got onto slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!”
    The slippery ice of logical clarity provides no friction.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    There was a bit more to it than just that. "Rebel" is far too strong; much of the later Witti is about what it is to follow or go against a rule, and hence is a consideration of the limits of formalism. Certainly using formal languages makes what is going on clearer. And that includes the limitations of formalisation.

    Your Deleuzian comment, by way of example, doesn't get to a conclusion, and it's far from clear what it's driving at.
  • ucarr
    495
    Naturalism is a counterpart to theism.Tom Storm

    The Natural and the Supernatural, being related by contrast (a complicated affair) don't strongly suggest themselves to me as being counterparts.

    “… God could understand his language and his thoughts about the world, apart from any interaction with the world. (Joseph Rouse)
    Joshs
    ...many naturalists still implicitly understand science as aiming to take God's place.Joshs

    If God understands the world apart from any interaction with it and, if many naturalists implicitly understand science as aiming to take God's place, then the latter statement leads us to conclude naturalists have a wrong understanding of science. The scientist, unlike God and the naturalist, interacts closely with nature.
  • ucarr
    495
    ...Banno
    what metaphysics is legitimate?Banno

    we might proceed by having a discussion about the definition of metaphysics. And then we would be doing philosophy.Banno

    ...not all metaphysics is legitimate.Banno

    Your above statements are not intelligible unless one assumes (the limitations of verbal language acknowledged) they're predicated upon your commitment to the notion of a broadly inclusive set-of-varieties-of-metaphysics (some valid, some not) being valid.
  • Banno
    19.9k

    By way of summary of what I have said:

    • Some of what is called metaphysics is just nonsense.
    • Some of what is called metaphysics is integral to physics.
    • Some of what is called metaphysics has been clearly defined, by Popper, Watkins, etc, according to it's logical structure.
    • So, some of what has been called metaphysics is legitimate, some not.
  • ucarr
    495
    I can't see how you can conceive of a small volume with unlimited application. That seems incoherent.Metaphysician Undercover

    You quote me incorrectly. Below is a correct rendering of the quote.

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

    I'm trying to render "non-existent" with a counterpart definition using language that can be modulated, which is to say, devise a version of "non-existent" that can be manipulated with a greater measure of precision. I expect to use this enhancement in the near future.

    "Unlimited application means something unspecifiably small is such in all of its conceivable attributes (and beyond).
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Naturalism is a counterpart to theism.
    — Tom Storm

    The Natural and the Supernatural, being related by contrast (a complicated affair) don't strongly suggest themselves to me as being counterparts.
    ucarr

    Maybe, but the quote is Sean Carroll's not mine. He means, I guess, they are both in the metaphysical explanatory business as competing stories about reality.

    the upshot of this discussion-within-a-discussion concerns the particularities of the interrelationship of physics_metaphysics.ucarr

    Well, generally physics rests upon the assumption that the natural world can be understood and that reality is physicalist in origin. But what grounds physics exactly? Answering this is beyond my qualifications but enters into some highly abstruse metaphysical and speculative thought.

    Some of what is called metaphysics is just nonsense.
    Some of what is called metaphysics is integral to physics.
    Some of what is called metaphysics has been clearly defined, by Popper, Watkins, etc, according to it's logical structure.
    So, some of what has been called metaphysics is legitimate, some not.
    Banno

    This seems pretty good to me. The problem, of course is generally in what people assess as nonsense and what they see as reasonable. Generally if QM is brought up I usually fuck off.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    Mentioning QM in a philosophical discussion not specifically about QM is the philosophical version of Godwin's Law, with the corollary that once QM is mentioned, the discussion is over.

    The assessment of nonsense need be neither arbitrary nor subjective.
  • ucarr
    495
    Well, generally physics rests upon the assumption that the natural world can be understood and that reality is physicalist in originTom Storm

    Since the world can be understood through a lens either physicalist or non-physicalist, and moreover, since the practice of (western) academic physics does not preclude a non-physicalist commitment (I'm guessing there are physicists who are also Christians), physicalist metaphysics should not be categorically ascribed to academic physics. It might be true that a professional physicist, if s/he also be in possession of a philosophical turn of mind, stands best poised to assess effectively the intricate interweave of physics_metaphysics.

    Note how "metaphysics," in making its approach towards meaning, incorporates "physics."

    Also note how metaphysics, epistemology and consciousness studies are currently grappling with the experience of and conception of matter.

    What is matter? What is physical? What is the interweave of matter and consciousness? These are questions very much intestate.

    If you're not interested in QM, then your lens for viewing physicalism is probably Newtonian, and thus your POV predates the 20th century.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.9k
    and that reality is physicalist in origin.Tom Storm

    It's not really true this, because a physicist can be dualist, and believe that God created the universe, and also believe that physics is only applicable toward understanding that part of reality which is physical. Hence the often quoted expression, 'shut up and calculate'. This can be interpreted as 'don't get distracted by what is outside the discipline. For example, biology does not rest on any assumptions about the origin of life. Nor does physics rest on any assumptions about the origin of reality.
  • ucarr
    495
    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.ucarr

    This is poorly written. If processes are the only elements of the real world, then there is no such "other real elements. Someone made a mistake writing that Wikipedia piece, and you are running away with the mistake.Metaphysician Undercover



    As I read the Wikipedia definition above, it claims that process (a fluid, dynamical phenomenon) is the principal operator in Process philosophy. Other operators, such as material objects and thoughts, although objectively real, hold subordinate positions of importance beneath processes. It doesn't claim processes are the only elements of the real world. Rather, the claim says there is a hierarchy with processes at the top. Are you denouncing this hierarchical definition?

    I can't see how you can conceive of a small volume with unlimited application. That seems incoherent. As a matter of fact, i can't see how you would conceive of anything having unlimited application. That in itself appears incoherent.Metaphysician Undercover

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

    My weird language above, as definition of non-existence, exists because I'm contorting it into something that does exist in order to talk about non-existence with a semblance of rationality. When trying to talk about something non-existent, we're thrown into the paradoxical land of talking about non-existence as an existing thing.

    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.Metaphysician Undercover

    Whenever I see a claim of non-existence, I'm reminded of the question "Why is there not nothing?" My answer to the questioner is "Because you exist." This is a way of saying ontology has a special problem of perspective. This problem of perspective is rooted in the fact that existence is an all-encompassing ground WRT consciousness. Query presupposes consciousness, and consciousness presupposes existence. Existence, when it queries "Why existence?" presupposes itself in the asking of the question, which presupposes the ground for asking the question i.e., existence.

    The question is a prompt for entering the fast lane to circular reasoning. It demonstrates the fact that WRT consciousness, existence is a closed loop.

    Speaking linguistically, you cannot claim something doesn't exist because, in making the claim, you posit the existence of the thing denied existence. Coming from another direction, when you deny the existence of something, that denial contradicts itself.

    All of this folderol is a way of saying conscious beings cannot think themselves out of existence, nor can they think material objects out of existence.

    When you say "Predetermination is not existence." I suppose you want to say something parallel to saying "Unicorns don't exist." Unicorns do exist as thoughts, as proven by the denial.

    Overarching all of this verbiage is the fact, as I believe, there is gravitational attraction between thoughts and the material objects they conceptualize. This claim leads into a separate, major topic I won't presently elaborate further.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.9k
    As I read the Wikipedia definition above, it claims that process (a fluid, dynamical phenomenon) is the principal operator in Process philosophy.ucarr

    I think it's pointless to discuss interpretation of a Wikipedia article, because I do not accept Wikipedia as a valid authority in philosophy, to begin with.

    The issue I pointed to, was that from the perspective of process philosophy, the appearance of a thing, or an object, is the result of, therefore posterior to, activity. Since things, or objects, are what we attribute "existence" to, then form this perspective there is activity which is prior to existence.

    Other operators, such as material objects and thoughts, although objectively real, hold subordinate positions of importance beneath processes. It doesn't claim processes are the only elements of the real world. Rather, the claim says there is a hierarchy with processes at the top. Are you denouncing this hierarchical definition?ucarr

    I do not know how you distinguish top from bottom in your analysis, but process philosophy puts processes at the bottom, as the foundation for, and prior to, existence. And not only that, it is processes all the way up. That's the point of process philosophy. The appearance of "an object" is just an instance of stability in a system of processes, such that there is a balance or equilibrium (symmetry perhaps), of processes.

    My weird language above, as definition of non-existence, exists because I'm contorting it into something that does exist in order to talk about non-existence with a semblance of rationality. When trying to talk about something non-existent, we're thrown into the paradoxical land of talking about non-existence as an existing thing.ucarr

    Your approach defeats your proposed purpose of "rationality" by causing contradiction. If it is the case, that we can only talk about existent things, and because of this you are inclined to define the non-existent as existent, so that you can talk about non-existence, then your approach is producing contradiction. You need to change your approach, and allow yourself to talk about non-existent things as well as existent things, to avoid this contradiction which you have just forced onto yourself. This means that you need to redefine "exist", to allow that we talk about non-existent things as well, because you find yourself inclined to talk about nonexistence.

    Whenever I see a claim of non-existence, I'm reminded of the question "Why is there not nothing?" My answer to the questioner is "Because you exist." This is a way of saying ontology has a special problem of perspective. This problem of perspective is rooted in the fact that existence is an all-encompassing ground WRT consciousness. Query presupposes consciousness, and consciousness presupposes existence. Existence, when it queries "Why existence?" presupposes itself in the asking of the question, which presupposes the ground for asking the question i.e., existence.ucarr

    This is a good example of the deficiency in your approach. You create a vicious circle between consciousness and existence, which traps you, and incapacitates you from understanding. That's what happens if you define one term (consciousness) with reference to another (existence), then turn around and invert this by defining the latter (existence) with reference to the former (consciousness).

    Instead, the better way to proceed is to use increasingly broad (more general) terms, always assigning logical priority to the broader term. So for example, we can say "human being" is defined with "mammal", which is defined with "animal", which is defined with "living", and then "existing". In this way we do not get a vicious circle. And we can avoid an infinite regress by moving to substantiate, that is, to make reference to individuals.

    Speaking linguistically, you cannot claim something doesn't exist because, in making the claim, you posit the existence of the thing denied existence. Coming from another direction, when you deny the existence of something, that denial contradicts itself.

    All of this folderol is a way of saying conscious beings cannot think themselves out of existence, nor can they think material objects out of existence.

    When you say "Predetermination is not existence." I suppose you want to say something parallel to saying "Unicorns don't exist." Unicorns do exist as thoughts, as proven by the denial.
    ucarr

    The result of this is that you have no way to distinguish between a truthful statement and a dishonest one, an outright lie. In fact, there is a unicorn on my front lawn right now.
  • ucarr
    495
    By way of summary of what I have said:

    Some of what is called metaphysics is just nonsense.
    Some of what is called metaphysics is integral to physics.
    Some of what is called metaphysics has been clearly defined, by Popper, Watkins, etc, according to it's logical structure.
    So, some of what has been called metaphysics is legitimate, some not.
    Banno



    Do you agree that philosophy has an interest in distilling those attributes common to all types of metaphysics deemed valid? This interest strives toward defining metaphysics in terms of broadest generality.

    Some of what is called metaphysics is integral to physics.Banno

    Is the above an example of physics masquerading as metaphysics, or is it an example of authentic metaphysics sharing fundamentals with physics?
  • ucarr
    495
    Since things, or objects, are what we attribute "existence"Metaphysician Undercover

    You're baking a cake. When you do this, are you claiming that all of what baking a cake entails is non-existent?

    Since things, or objects, are what we attribute "existence" to, then form this perspective there is activity which is prior to existence.Metaphysician Undercover

    Your parents conceived you. Does process philosophy say that, before your birth, your parents and your conception were non-existent? If this is the position of process philosophy, I claim it has done away with much of (if not all of) causation (and causality). Following from this, how can objects come into existence in the terms of process philosophy if the means of creation of objects are non-existent?

    If you replace "existence" with "end result" I think your position becomes more tenable.
  • Joshs
    4.2k


    Is the above an example of physics masquerading as metaphysics, or is it an example of authentic metaphysics sharing fundamentals with physics?ucarr
    .

    This is like asking if physics masquerades as linguistic conceptualization, or if linguistic conceptualization shares fundamentals with physics. Of course, the answer is that these are not separate, potentially overlapping domains. Rather, the former is the pre -condition for the latter. There can be no physics without linguistic conceptualization, and there can be no physics without metaphysics as its condition of possibility.
  • ucarr
    495
    I do not know how you distinguish top from bottom in your analysis...Metaphysician Undercover

    Are you unfamiliar with "subordinate" and "hierarchy"?

    ...process philosophy puts processes at the bottom, as the foundation for, and prior to, existence. And not only that, it is processes all the way up. That's the point of process philosophy. The appearance of "an object" is just an instance of stability in a system of processes, such that there is a balance or equilibrium (symmetry perhaps), of processes.Metaphysician Undercover

    I have the impression process philosophy assigns premium value to motion_dynamism_change. Regarding these three, I don't care if they're physical or metaphysical, in either case they populate a continuum of existence.

    Your approach defeats your proposed purpose of "rationality" by causing contradiction. If it is the case, that we can only talk about existent things, and because of this you are inclined to define the non-existent as existent, so that you can talk about non-existence, then your approach is producing contradiction. You need to change your approach, and allow yourself to talk about non-existent things as well as existent things, to avoid this contradiction which you have just forced onto yourself. This means that you need to redefine "exist", to allow that we talk about non-existent things as well, because you find yourself inclined to talk about nonexistence.Metaphysician Undercover

    In your last sentence above, you do exactly what you fault me for doing: creating a contradiction in order to be able to talk about non-existence. I was doing so intentionally. I'm not sure you were.

    This is a good example of the deficiency in your approach. You create a vicious circle between consciousness and existence, which traps you, and incapacitates you from understanding. That's what happens if you define one term (consciousness) with reference to another (existence), then turn around and invert this by defining the latter (existence) with reference to the former (consciousness).Metaphysician Undercover

    Cite me an example of consciousness in the absence of existence. You're the one trapped in contradiction. The reasons for this I've already articulated in my post above yours.

    ...the better way to proceed is to use increasingly broad (more general) terms, always assigning logical priority to the broader term. So for example, we can say "human being" is defined with "mammal", which is defined with "animal", which is defined with "living", and then "existing". In this way we do not get a vicious circle. And we can avoid an infinite regress by moving to substantiate, that is, to make reference to individuals.Metaphysician Undercover

    Throughout our conversation, you've been acting in violation of your dictum above. Notice how you ascribe highest logical priority to "existence." When you deny existence-in-process ( a denial of existence itself), you destroy the individuals to whom you try to make reference.

    When you claim dynamic processes that culminate in existing things are non-existent, your make confetti out of process philosophy, a philosophy that gives centrality to processes.
  • ucarr
    495
    This is like asking if physics masquerades as linguistic conceptualization, or if linguistic conceptualization shares fundamentals with physics. Of course, the answer is that these are not separate, potentially overlapping domains. Rather, the former is the pre -condition for the latter. Therencan be no physics without linguistic conceptualization, and there can be no physics without metaphysics mad it’s condition of possibility.Joshs

    If you're saying metaphysical physics is the necessary pre-condition for physical physics, then how do you explain away the physical brain observing the physical earth being a ground for not only the discipline of physics, but also the ground for cerebration populated by metaphysical notions?

    Is this an argument that grounds existence upon language (and thus grounds language upon itself, which reflexivity is an origin ontology puzzle)? I smell the presence of idealism herein.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    It's not really true this, because a physicist can be dualist, and believe that God created the universeMetaphysician Undercover

    I didn't say it was true, I said 'generally' and I think surveys have shown that physicists most commonly identify themselves as naturalists.
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    If you're saying metaphysical physics is the necessary pre-condition for physical physics, then how do you explain away the physical brain observing the physical earth being a ground for not only the discipline of physics, but also the ground for cerebration populated by metaphysical notions?

    Is this an argument that grounds existence upon language (and thus grounds language upon itself, which reflexivity is an origin ontology puzzle)? I smell the presence of idealism herein.
    ucarr

    Idealism of a Kantian sort grounds most forms of modern empirical realism as well as postmodern critiques of that realism. Few in the scientific community today dispute the fact that the conceptualizing subject plays an inseparable role in the forms that what is called the physical takes. There is indeed a circularity between cognizing subject and what appears to us as physical.
    This does not mean that linguistic conceptualization isn’t a natural part of the world. It just means that our scientific knowledge about that world amounts to the construction of a niche that we interact with. The world for us is always a world that has already been altered and modified to suit our goals.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    If you're not interested in QM, then your lens for viewing physicalism is probably Newtonian, and thus your POV predates the 20th century.ucarr

    I hold no particular views on physics as I have no qualifications in the area nor is it a particular interest of mine. I just find it amusing that QM is used by so many woo peddlers to assert idealism or that some quasi-spiritual metaphysics is true. I'm generally the "I don't know guy" and am constantly surprised by how many people with no qualifications and flawed reasoning think they can explain reality after reading some shit on line, or watching youtube. :wink:
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    I just find it amusing that QM is used by so many woo peddlers to assert idealism or that some quasi-spiritual metaphysics is true.Tom Storm
    :100: :smirk:
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