• Tom Storm
    5.8k
    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.
    ucarr

    Of course. And if people come to different conclusions about these matters then their metaphysics will reflect this. No doubt there are physicists who are Hindu, Islamic, Scientologist, idealist, whatever. At no point did I say a physicist has to subscribe to a particular metaphysics, I was just pointing to the Western physicalist view which has tended to dominate the profession.
  • javra
    1.9k
    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?

    [...] I smell the presence of idealism herein.
    ucarr

    The concepts presented in this question are to me very muddled. They could be seen to equivocate between studies (that of metaphysics and of physics) and ontological worldviews. In attempts to clarify the underlying issue of the role metaphysics (as a philosophical study) plays in physics (as the study of that which is physical):

    How would anyone, yourself included, justify physicality per se without use of metaphysical concepts? (This where “to justify” is understood as “to make rational sense of via the provision of acceptable explanations”.)

    -------

    Once justified, physicality can then be applied to a number of mutually exclusive, ontological worldviews, each of them being in turn further metaphysically justified: physicalism, Cartesian dualism, neutral monism, and Peircean-like notions of objective idealism all being examples of such mutually exclusive ontologies that each acknowledge and make use of physicality.

    Yet other ontological worldviews, such as Berkeleyan immaterialism, make use of metaphysical concepts to denounce the notion of physicality (more correctly worded in the case exemplified, materiality) as invalid.

    It bears note that all these mentioned perspectives can in their own ways justify - however imperfectly - the relation between what is commonly termed mind and body which you make mention of.

    So again: How does one justify physicality’s occurrence, in and of itself, without use of metaphysical concepts and, thereby, without use of metaphysics?

    -------

    I’m asking this with the perspective that were this to not be possible (and I currently find that it is indeed not possible), then the very notion of physicality would be founded upon the study we term metaphysics – rather than on the study we term physics – such that the study of physics is itself contingent upon the study of metaphysics. This in order to be justified and thereby not be a bundle of “just-so” stories.

    (Explicitly stated: This to not even get into the issue of physicalism’s relation to metaphysics.)
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    I’m asking this with the perspective that were this to not be possible (and I currently find that it is indeed not possible), then the very notion of physicality would be founded upon the study we term metaphysics – rather than on the study we term physics – such that the study of physics is itself contingent upon the study of metaphysics.javra

    Well put. Yes, that's a good question.
  • javra
    1.9k
    Well put. Yes, that's a good question.Tom Storm

    I'm still a little apprehensive of the potential replies I might get from the so called "skeptics", but thanks!
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    How does one justify physicality’s occurrence, in and of itself, without use of metaphysical concepts and, thereby, without use of metaphysics?javra
    What do you mean here by "justify ... occurrence"?
  • javra
    1.9k
    How does one justify physicality’s occurrence, in and of itself, without use of metaphysical concepts and, thereby, without use of metaphysics? — javra

    What do you mean here by "justify ... occurrence"?
    180 Proof

    To justify:

    (This where “to justify” is understood as “to make rational sense of via the provision of acceptable explanations”.)javra

    As to "occurrence" in the context specified:

    -- The ontic reality of (in contrast to the illusory notion of) - in this case - physicality.

    Put together:

    "How does one make rational sense - via the provision of acceptable explanations - of physicality's ontic reality (and thereby, as one prominent example, establish that physicality is not an illusory aspect of consciousness) ... without use of metaphysical concepts and, thereby, without use of metaphysics?"
  • Banno
    19.9k
    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.ucarr
    Definitions are not as useful as is often supposed in settling disagreements. Philosophy is not just providing definitions.

    Is the above an example of physics masquerading as metaphysics, or is it an example of authentic metaphysics sharing fundamentals with physics?ucarr
    See Confirmable and influential Metaphysics or just about anything by Midgley. Any demarcation between physics and metaphysics will be arbitrary.
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    "Physical" is derived from phusis in Greek meaning nature (i.e. growing); "physicality", therefore, corresponds to "natural" (in contrast to conventional / artificial-technical). The term begins as a ontic classification and then is generalized into a conceptual category which constitutes a paradigm of interactive / relational assumptions of and derivative observational expectations about "occurences" (i.e. physics). What "justifies physicality's occurrence", in other words, are the discursive practices within which "physicality" is used. Your original expression, javra, suggests 'reifying the abstract category' in the question raised which is nonsensical.
  • javra
    1.9k
    What "justifies physicality's occurrence", in other words, are the discursive practices within which "physicality" is used.180 Proof

    You sure you want to maintain this? How then do you distinguish your stance form what @Joshs maintains. Or, for that matter, from what you term p0m0isms?
  • javra
    1.9k
    Your original expression, javra, suggests 'reifying the abstract category' in the question raised which is nonsensical.180 Proof

    So ... the ontic reality of any physical attribute is a reification of the abstract category of "physicality"?

    By analogy, then, one could affirm that the ontic reality of any animal is the reification of the abstract category of "animals".

    Not sure this is where you want to take things ...
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    I don't see how my Peircean-Wittgensteinian "stance" relates in any (non-trivial) way to Joshs' p0m0.

    So ... the ontic reality of any physical attribute is a reification of the abstract category of "physicality"?javra
    Your original question confusedly suggests so the way you'd formulated it. That's your fallacy, not mine.
  • javra
    1.9k
    I don't see how my Peircean-Wittgensteinian "stance" relates in any (non-trivial) way to Joshs' p0m0.180 Proof

    OK, granted. But that reply doesn't answer what the (non-trivial) differences are.

    ... or is all this boiling down to rhetorical stances devoid of substantive philosophical discussion?

    So ... the ontic reality of any physical attribute is a reification of the abstract category of "physicality"? — javra

    Your original question confusedly suggests so the way you'd formulated it. That's your fallacy, not mine.
    180 Proof

    To the way your mind works? Fine, granted again. Glad you now get that's not what my "original question" intends. The issue remains unchanged: how does one justify anything physical without use of metaphysical notions?
  • Banno
    19.9k


    Are conservation laws part of physics or part of metaphysics?

    The first law of thermodynamics, colloquially, says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; that is, that the total quantity of energy remains constant. If some observation shows an apparent change in the total amount of energy, that energy has come from elsewhere.

    The first law is not provable. We cannot, have not, checked out every apparent change in total energy and found that the total energy is constant.

    The first law is not falsifiable. To be falsifiable, we would have to find an instance where the total energy did not remain constant. But suppose we do find an apparent case in which the total amount of energy increases. We would have to show that the energy responsible for that increase did not come from anywhere else. But again we cannot check everywhere.

    That is, the logical structure of conservations laws is such that they concatenate a universal statement with an existential statement, "For every _____ there is some ______"; "For every change in the amount of energy there is, somewhere, a corresponding inverse change". These are an example of Watkins' , which are neither falsifiable nor provable.

    Similar arguments can be constructed for other conservation rules.

    It's common to claim that all scientific statements are falsifiable, and to add that the demarcation between physics and metaphysics is this falsifiability.

    If that's so, then conservation rules are not part of physics, but of metaphysics.

    So is the distinction between metaphysics and physics as clear as is presumed? No.

    This also demonstrates the absurdity of 's attempting to force physics and metaphysics into a hierarchy. One does not "sit" on the other.
  • javra
    1.9k
    It's common to claim that all scientific statements are falsifiable, and to add that the demarcation between physics and metaphysics is this falsifiability.

    If that's so, then conservation rules are not part of physics, but of metaphysics.
    Banno

    That is so, and conservation rules are indeed metaphysics on which modern physics is founded.

    This also demonstrates the absurdity of ↪javra
    's attempting to force physics and metaphysics into a hierarchy. One does not "sit" on the other.
    Banno

    How so, given examples such as that you've just mentioned?
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    This also demonstrates the absurdity of ↪javra 's attempting to force physics and metaphysics into a hierarchy. One does not "sit" on the other.Banno

    Interesting. I thought there was merit in this in as much as physics seems to rest upon metaphysical assumptions ('sits on'). Is this horribly wrong?

    The first law is not provable. We cannot, have not, checked out every apparent change in total energy and found that the total energy is constant.

    The first law is not falsifiable. To be falsifiable, we would have to find an instance where the total energy did not remain constant. But suppose we do find an apparent case in which the total amount of energy increases. We would have to show that the energy responsible for that increase did not come from anywhere else. But again we cannot check everywhere.
    Banno

    This makes total sense. Is your point here not the fact that physics rests on metaphysics?
  • Real Gone Cat
    346


    I am reminded of Existence Theorems in math, where it is proved that some mathematical object, number or property must exist, but it is either not possible or unnecessary to produce said object.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    This makes total sense. Is your point here not the fact that physics rests on metaphysics?Tom Storm

    How so, given examples such as that you've just mentioned?javra

    So we count the conservation laws not as physics but as metaphysics? Think on that for a bit. These are the core, fundamental rules of physics, and yet not part of physics?
  • javra
    1.9k
    So we count the conservation laws not as physics but as metaphysics? Think on that for a bit. These are the core, fundamental rules of physics, and yet not part of physics?Banno

    Because they are not empirically falsifiable, they are not part of physics as an empirical science, no. As an empirical science, physics follows the precedent of hypothesis, test, results as data, and best inference of results as conclusion - and of inductive/abductive theory that best accounts for results and conclusions just mentioned.

    Conservation laws are instead the empirically non-falsifiable, metaphysical "rules of the game" (to do my best to use Witt's vocabulary) which grounds this empirical science of physics (as it is currently applied).
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    So we count the conservation laws not as physics but as metaphysics? Think on that for a bit. These are the core, fundamental rules of physics, and yet not part of physics?Banno

    What is your conclusion, spell it out, I'm old and dim.
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    The issue remains unchanged: how does one justify anything physical without use of metaphysical notions?javra
    Read again ...
    What "justifies physicality's occurrence", in other words, are the discursive practices within which "physicality" is used.180 Proof
  • javra
    1.9k
    OK, then it does comes down to rhetorical posturing rather than substantive philosophical discussion. Sorry, not interested.
  • 180 Proof
    11k
    Apparently, my reference previously to 'Peirce and Wittgenstein' is completely lost on you if you believe my criticism of your ill-formed question is mere "rhetorical posturing". Ask a clear, inteliigible question, javra, and maybe you'll receive an answer that'll interest you.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    Seems to me you have given your argument a self-inflicted injury. To maintain your definition of metaphysic you have to claim that a central, constituent part of physics is not physics.

    spell it out, I'm old and dim.Tom Storm

    Me, too. It' not a major issue, really, just a methodological quibble. The contention in the OP is that physics and metaphysics are separable, and that physics is based on metaphysics, so kudos to metaphysic. The notion is that we can differentiate clearly between physics and metaphysic, and that somehow metaphysic is primal, more important than physics, or some such.

    What I've posited is a reductio, that proceeds by assuming that we can differentiate between physics and metaphysics, taking the strongest example, falsification. I then show that this has as a consequence that stuff that is central to physics - conservation laws - are not actually part of physics. Hence we reject the assumption, concluding that the distinction between physics and metaphysics is not so clear.

    decides instead to keep the assumption but kick conservation rules out of physics.

    We might compromise on the "rules of the game" account, where conservation rules are understood as social norms for scientists. The seemingly grand Law of Conservation of Energy becomes just "A system in which the total energy remains constant counts as a closed system". That would be to adopt something along the lines of Searle or Wittgenstein. Analytic philosophy over Pomo; metaphysics and physics as interrelated language games. The metaphysics dissipates in a puff of logic.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    That's a helpful clarification, appreciated. I'll mull over some of the finer points later.
  • javra
    1.9k
    Seems to me you have given your argument a self-inflicted injury. To maintain your definition of metaphysic you have to claim that a central, constituent part of physics is not physics.Banno

    To rephrase the - acknowledgedly poorly worded - claim I previously made: physics as empirical science is a specialized subset of metaphysics (as a philosophical study) at large.

    As such, in a sense, "the (metaphysical) rules of the game" are always a part of the "game" which is played. In the sense I previously intended, however, the same game can be played with different rules: e.g. (American) tackle football and flag football are played by different rules while both are recognizable as the same general game: different versions of (American) football. In this latter sense alone, conservation laws are not that by which the empirical science of physics is necessarily defined, and so are not an intrinsic part of physics.

    The empirical science of physics can and has been engaged in in manners devoid of conservation laws.
    For instance, the empirical science of physics predates the closing of the eighteenth century, when conservation laws were first proposed, by a few centuries.

    So conservation laws are not an inherent aspect of the empirical science of physics.

    One can for example furthermore hypothesize a future science of physics wherein at least some conservation laws currently employed are done away with.

    The same can then also apply to other metaphysical notions that serve as "rules to the game" of physics as an empirical science. As an example, the notions of causality and identity which we currently accept culturally as self-evident truths - despite, or else exactly because, there being a long philosophical history to their so being conceptualized today - could in time become modified ... so that what physics currently assumes could itself becomes modified - and this without in any way modifying the empirical science of physics as a method of knowledge acquisition. Again, one of hypothesis, test, data, and inference/conclusion.

    In sum: As an empirical science, physics will always make use of foundational metaphysical concepts - and so will always be grounded in metaphysics in general. But, as an empirical science, physics is not contingent on any particular metaphysical notion being itself set in stone.

    All this being a lot more verbose but also a far more correct interpretation of the view I hold.

    The aforementioned should then better clarify this:

    What I've posited is a reductio, that proceeds by assuming that we can differentiate between physics and metaphysics, taking the strongest example, falsification. I then show that this has as a consequence that stuff that is central to physics - conservation laws - are not actually part of physics.Banno

    Conservation laws are not central to physics as an empirical science for reasons previously provided.

    What is central to physics as an empirical science is the notion of a physical world - which can itself be justified by any number of different metaphysical notions and perspectives. Those provided by Aristotle, by Peirce, and by many others aside.
  • jgill
    2.7k
    As an empirical science, physics will always make use of foundational metaphysical concepts - and so will always be grounded in metaphysics in general.javra

    As practiced by physicists, themselves. Without a lot of help from metaphysicians outside the science. Or at least that's how I see it.
  • javra
    1.9k
    As an empirical science, physics will always make use of foundational metaphysical concepts - and so will always be grounded in metaphysics in general. — javra


    As practiced by physicists, themselves. Without a lot of help from metaphysicians outside the science.
    jgill

    Because it is due to physicists that we hold our modern notions of causality and identity on which modern physics is contingent? Or else, is the issue of “God doesn’t/does play dice with the universe (translated as the choice between determinism and indeterminism)” constrained to how physicists interpret the metaphysical nature of reality?
  • Banno
    19.9k

    The argument you've adopted is that physics in the eighteenth century did not rely on conservation laws therefore they are not essential to physics.

    But physics has made some progress over the last two hundred years, changing in the process, and hence I find that unconvincing. Modern physics is reliant on conservation laws.

    Moreover that argument relies on an essentialism that is not somewhat of an anachronism. I'd make use of family resemblance rather than essence to characterise physics.

    But this discussion is a bit of a sideline to my main point, which is that what have been characterised as metaphysical assumptions or presumptions are better understood as methodological or social characteristics of physics. The example I gave above is to treat conservation of energy as setting out what a closed system consists in.

    My suspicion is that this approach will remove most of the mystery from supposed metaphysical presumptions of physics.

    It may also serve to evaporate much of the waffle in the OP and other posts hereabouts.

    After Witti, clarrifying philosophical problems in order to dissipate them.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    Indeed, philosophy of science has to be post hoc; done by watching what it is that scientists do.
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