• Leontiskos
    1.3k

    Good points. Comte was an important historical stage towards positivism.

    ---


    Are you of the opinion that Comte ignored metaphysics but did not attempt to invalidate it?

    ---


    To repeat what I said earlier, the claim that there is a first philosophy and the claim that one has it in their hand are two different things. Similarly, the claim that some attempt at first philosophy is inadequate and the claim that first philosophy is per se impossible are two different things. My thesis is that when first philosophy is abandoned as impossible philosophy has died. Which philosophers and traditions have contributed to this decay of philosophy is an open question, and one that we have not engaged much in this thread. We are speaking in generalities.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Are you of the opinion that Comte ignored metaphysics but did not attempt to invalidate it?Leontiskos

    I would say positivism in general represents the frequent tendency to elevate epistemology to replace metaphysics while denying that there is metaphysics. So in a way I guess my answer to your question is yes.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    But if positivism replaces metaphysics and then "denies that there is metaphysics," hasn't it invalidated metaphysics? I agree that not all positivism aims at direct invalidation of metaphysics, but I would also want to say that denying the existence of metaphysics counts as a significant form of invalidation.
  • Paine
    2k
    My thesis is that when first philosophy is abandoned as impossible philosophy has died.Leontiskos

    It is not speaking in generalities to ask how the "impossible" came about. The matter of the 'history of ideas' I brought up previously was not to argue against any particular claim but to observe that the "abandonment" is typically presented during the advancement of a theory of what is important now. Your position is some version of an historical claim.

    But those arguments take so many forms and argue against others who have starkly different views of history that it seems reasonable to pause before signing the death certificate.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    But if positivism replaces metaphysics and then "denies that there is metaphysics," hasn't it invalidated metaphysics? I agree that not all positivism aims at direct invalidation of metaphysics, but I would also want to say that denying the existence of metaphysics counts as a significant form of invalidation.Leontiskos

    I think it is a common ailment to have metaphysical presuppositions while denying metaphysics. I don't believe denial is equivalent to invalidation, no.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    the "abandonment" is typically presented during the advancement of a theory of what is important now.Paine

    Yes, I agree.

    Your position is some version of an historical claim.Paine

    You continue to make that assumption, though at this point I cannot fathom why. You seem to think that when I use the term "first philosophy" I have a particular historical tradition in mind, despite my constant denials.

    But those arguments take so many forms and argue against others who have starkly different views of history that it seems reasonable to pause before signing the death certificate.Paine

    Of course, but I'm sure we have a different idea of what a "reasonable pause" is. :wink:

    ---



    But have you then made invalidation an impossible errand? How might one go about invalidating metaphysics?
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    How might one invalidate metaphysics?Leontiskos

    I don't even understand why one would want to?
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    Didn't you coin the term in this thread? (See: )
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    I think the earliest mention I made of metaphysics was that "metaphysics needs to continue to inspire scientific exploration, while ethics guides technological implementation."
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    Regardless, usually when someone claims that the object of a science does not exist they have invalidated the science. This is how pseudo-sciences such as astrology were invalidated.

    Now a subjective act or intention of invalidation need not objectively invalidate a science. The science may survive the attack, and perhaps in some cases (such as metaphysics) the science survives in the attacker's own thought despite the attacker's belief that it has been invalidated and expunged.

    All the same, I would say that if positivism or some positivist has explicitly denied the existence of metaphysics, and has attempted to replace it with a positivistic approach, they have invalidated metaphysics. Similarly, if someone denies that astrology exists and then replaces it with psychology, they have invalidated astrology. Not objectively, but in their own thought. Objective changes are an accumulation of individual actions.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    But if positivism replaces metaphysics and then "denies that there is metaphysics," hasn't it invalidated metaphysics? I agree that not all positivism aims at direct invalidation of metaphysics, but I would also want to say that denying the existence of metaphysics counts as a significant form of invalidation.Leontiskos

    Quick question: isn't every position metaphysical? While positivism might maintain that the 'supernatural' is a non-starter (whatever the supernatural turns out to be), isn't it the case that positivism rests on a metaphysical presupposition that reality can be understood, even that naïve realism is true (depending on the form of positivism)?
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    Yes, I think that's right, and I think that idea is at the bottom of a lot of the back-and-forths in this thread. It's an important point that probably needs to be addressed more explicitly.
  • Paine
    2k
    You continue to make that assumption, though at this point I cannot fathom why. You seem to think that when I use the term "first philosophy" I have a particular historical tradition in mind, despite my constant denials.Leontiskos

    I did not intend to assert that. We are at cross purposes. I withdraw from the field.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k

    Ah, well that is helpful to know. Sorry, I must have misunderstood you.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    isn't every position metaphysical?Tom Storm
    Exactly.
    even that naïve realism is trueTom Storm
    Yes. Nicolai Hartmann describes the 'natural attitude', which is engaging with reality as if phenomena are independently real, which is exactly acting in the context of a natural realism, epitomized by science. However, while phenomena may be translucent, in that we see the world through them, they are nevertheless there, and become evident upon reflection. Which is why science isn't a substitute for metaphysics.
  • Corvus
    3k
    Relevant?

    Philosophy is the only tool which enables us being critical, reasonable and analytic about the world, life and existence. All other subjects are just accumulation of facts and imagination (art, literature). Science is just superstition and religion glorified with the so called "scientific methods" i.e. hypotheses, experiments and observations. Technology is just a child of science destined to be outdated and replaced with the newer technologies, which will in the end, contribute to / result in the end of the planet.

    All beings devoid of Philosophy are just comedian.
  • BigThoughtDropper
    41
    with reference to the fine words said by "Corvus", if one treats philosophy as a process -- personal to each human being or specific to a particular society -- and not a corpus of reading material static and eternal, then yes it is and always will be relevant. Everybody does and always will engage in philosophy in my view - and one need not have read a word of Plato or Decartes!
  • jgill
    3.6k
    Science is just superstition and religion glorified with the so called "scientific methods" i.e. hypotheses, experiments and observations.Corvus

    What more needs be said?
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    Everybody does and always will engage in philosophy in my view - and one need not have read a word of Plato or Decartes!BigThoughtDropper

    Yes, but as has already been said, the quality of much of it will be shithouse.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    I'm getting to the end of this book on ontology. Hartmann says that average scientific minds focus only on abstraction, failing to achieve the "overall synthesis" whereby science becomes part of the totality of experience:
    This situation cannot be remedied, but there is a counterweight to it, namely, PHILOSOPHY. It is the enduring task of philosophy to be the conscience of science and to always lead it back to a living comprehensive vision.
    (Hartmann, Ontology: Laying the Foundations)
  • FrancisRay
    400
    Does philosophy still contribute? When you are reading it, do you feel you are contributing?Pantagruel

    f you mean the sort of philosophy taught and practiced in our Western universities then I'd say no, it does not contribute to our understanding of the world. This is indicated by the rise of scientism. Not a shred of progress in two millennia.

    If you're talking about philosophy in its widest sense then I'd say it contributes more than any other academic or scientific discipline.

    The issue is that many people do not see the ideological limitations of modern academic philosophy,or how they can be overcome, so tend to dismiss philosophy as hopeless. Thus the tools get blamed for poor workmanship.

    I must be careful not to start ranting on this one.
    . .
  • FrancisRay
    400
    My thesis is that when first philosophy is abandoned as impossible philosophy has died.Leontiskos

    My view also. I see university philosophy as the proof.
    .
  • Joshs
    5.2k
    The issue is that many people do not see the ideological limitations of modern academic philosophy,or how they can be overcome, so tend to dismiss philosophy as hopeless. Thus the tools get blamed for poor workmanship.

    I must be careful not to start ranting on this one.
    FrancisRay

    As you know, there are many strands and styles of philosophy taught within academia. Some of them find a more comfortable home in academic departments outside of philosophy. Are you dissatisfied with all of these approaches or just a certain one that you feel has been allowed to dominate?
  • ssu
    8k
    Has our civilization evolved to the point where philosophy can be dispensed with?Pantagruel
    No.

    The evolution of our civilization has been widely exaggerated.
  • FrancisRay
    400
    As you know, there are many strands and styles of philosophy taught within academia. Some of them find a more comfortable home in academic departments outside of philosophy. Are you dissatisfied with all of these approaches or just a certain one that you feel has been allowed to dominate?Joshs

    As a general rule academic philosophers examine all philosophies except non-dualism and a neutral metaphysical position. This is an academic scandal it seems to me. It means most philosophers are unable to explain why metaphysical questions are undecidable and so for them philosophy is an ineffective and interminable area of study that never makes any progress.

    The consequence is that in the academic world metaphysics is widely thought to be incomprehensible. This is the price of not studying the whole of philosophy. It leads to to the view that philosophy is hopeless and can be dispensed with,when in fact the problem is merely limited scholarship.

    In the past this blinkered approach to philosophy was understandable but now we have the internet I would call it poor scholarship. So yes, I am dissatisfied with all of these approaches, since they all require rejecting the only metaphysical theory that work and allows sense to be made of philosophy.

    Thus the rather surreal situation is created in which almost all academic philosophers carry on as if the Perennial philosophy is nonsense while being unable to falsify or refute it or even come up with a plausible alternative. I do not regard this approach as dispassionate, honest, useful or rational;

    I did warn you I might start ranting. .
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    The evolution of our civilization has been widely exaggerated.ssu

    I agree. The majority of people think they are living in an advanced and enlightened civilization without even understanding what civilization is. It is a dangerous and destructive prejudice.
  • Joshs
    5.2k


    As a general rule academic philosophers examine all philosophies except non-dualism and a neutral metaphysical position. This is an academic scandal it seems to me. It means most philosophers are unable to explain why metaphysical questions are undecidable and so for them philosophy is an ineffective and interminable area of study that never makes any progress.FrancisRay


    Are you familiar with philosophical movements like phenomenology, deconstruction, poststructuralism, postmodern hermeneutics, enactivism, New Materialism, Science studies, Cultural studies or neo-Pragmatism? Do you think what you wrote above is true of the many academics who study and teach within these approaches?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k
    From Karl Barth's "Evangelical Theology: An Introduction," but much the same could be said for philosophy.

    Ever since the fading of its illusory splendor as a leading academic power during the Middle Ages, theology has taken too many pains to justify its own existence. It has tried too hard, especially in the nineteenth century, to secure for itself at least a small but honorable place in the throne room of general science. This attempt at self-justification has been no help to its own work. The fact is that it has made theology, to a great extent, hesitant and halfhearted; moreover, this uncertainty has earned theology no more respect for its achievements than a very modest tip of the hat. Strange to say, the surrounding world only recommenced to take notice of theology in earnest (though rather morosely) when it again undertook to consider and concentrate more strongly upon its own affairs. Theology had first to renounce all apologetics or external guarantees of its position within the environment of other sciences, for it will always stand on the firmest ground when it simply acts according to the law of its own being. It will follow this law without lengthy explanations and
    excuses. Even today, theology has by no means done this vigorously and untiringly enough. On the other hand, what are "culture’' and '‘general science,” after all? Have these concepts not become strangely unstable within the last fifty years ? At any rate, are they not too beset by problems for us at present to be "guided by them? All the same, we should certainly not disdain reflecting on what the rest of the academic world actually must think of theology. It is worth considering the place of theology within the university; discussion may be held about the reason and justification for locating this modest, free, critical, and happy science suis generis in such an environment.

    Philosophy seems like it should have a special place in the world of "interdisciplinary studies." Philosophers of the sciences are aptly suited for translating between different paradigms and fields, looking at the coherence of new explanations of the world.

    The widespread use and abuse of the term "information," across the sciences, from physics to biology to economics, seems like a perfect place for philosophy to interact with cutting edge paradigm shifts that are important to the project of the academy writ large for example. Are these people really using the term the same way? Is there a coherent single entity the term "information," points to across these fields?

    Instead, philosophy has been one of the chief advocates for rigorous siloing of specialities. "Thou shalt not speak of what one lacks a credential in!" Notably, scientists themselves pay very little attention to this sort of thing (Pinker and Rovelli have written what are essentially philosophy books, more modestly, Deacon goes a good way out of the purview of biology in his theorizing; all ambitions theorizing requires tearing down silos). It seems somewhat motivated by the fear that, if silos are violated, then scientists, with far more public cache, will heap scorn upon philosophical projects. But the reason philosophers have so little cache to begin with is precisely because they embarked on a project to exorcise themselves from relevance in the 20th century.

    To my mind, credentialism itself is a problem. A masters degree lasts two years. It doesn't make one a master of anything. A PhD is still only 4-6 years of study. Academic careers span decades and people can master new material that turns out to be relevant to their projects. If someone spouts off nonsense the scientific and philosophical community has no problem correcting them and heaping scorn upon them; you already see this in the vitriol slung around over challenges to the Central Dogma within biology itself.

    Not to mention that the worst offenders of speaking about things they don't understand never abide by these rules in the first place, so by ceding the interdisciplinary, big picture metaphysics field, it just gets filled by those with the biggest egos, and/or those who think Lizard People rule the planet.

    Plus, sometimes extremely deflationary views of everything start to seem as merely defense mechanisms:

    Meanwhile, if the fear of falling into error introduces an element of distrust into science, which without any scruples of that sort goes to work and actually does know, it is not easy to understand why, conversely, a distrust should not be placed in this very distrust, and why we should not take care lest the fear of error is not just the initial error. As a matter of fact, this fear presupposes something, indeed a great deal, as truth, and supports its scruples and consequences on what should itself be examined beforehand to see whether it is truth... a position which, while calling itself fear of error, makes itself known rather as fear of the truth.
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