• Rob J Kennedy
    21
    After reading A.J. Ayre’s Language, Truth and Logic, which the central theme is to dispute the need of metaphysics, and then hearing the author, when he was much older, state that,”most of it is false”, I found myself looking for a clear description of metaphysics. I think I found it.

    RG Collingwood wrote, “I write these words sitting on the deck of a ship’; his pen moves across the page. ‘I lift my eyes and see a piece of string – a line, I must call it at sea – stretched more or less horizontally above me. I find myself thinking “that is a clothes-line”.’ But this single proposition, ‘that is a clothes-line’, cannot be verified by observation. A minute examination of the string, a scientific investigation of its parts, cannot reveal its truth, because ‘that is a clothes-line’ means, in part: ‘it was put there to hang washing on. And this at once situates the object against a vast, rationally structured background of human life and history – a background that contains clothes and baths and soap, hygiene and standards of taste, ideas about cleanliness and smell and beauty, and reasons and motives and desires.

    This transcendent background, the reality that surrounds us, is the subject matter of metaphysics, and without it Ayer’s favoured propositions are left, like the clothes-line, hanging in the air.“

    I like it, but what is your best description of Metaphysics?
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Is it not the case that every worldview is located in some form of metaphysics (the nature of reality)? The extent of awareness of this varies. Some scientists, for instance, may posit that they don't do metaphysics, but the notion that reality can be understood is a metaphysical presupposition.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Systematic investigation of non-empirical matters. Kind of a joke, huh? LOL
  • Paine
    1.9k

    The question of the ultimate conditions constraining what can be known or said about our lives is not a theory, as such. Different theories that propose a closure is possible to answer such a question can be interesting but do not make them less provisional in relation to how little we know.
  • Lionino
    849
    A collection of semantic games — some based on reality and empirical observation, others based on fantasy.

    On another note, I did not understand what Collingwood is trying to say. That sounds to me more like poetry than philosophy, evenmoreso than Nietzsche.
  • ENOAH
    55
    An archeological dig of a site structured by Fiction, applying as tools of excavation, the very same Fictional structures, hoping to find Reality, but digging up the only possibility, artifacts of Fiction, improperly labeled and indexed as Reality; all the while forgetting that the digger is Real, and the site is Fiction.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    Evocative. So that will be counted as a vote of no.
  • ENOAH
    55
    Not no to metaphysics. It's the foundation upon which all other human, hence, ultimately fictional pursuits are built, from poetry to mathematics.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    I understand that view. I thought the OP was asking if there is something to consider beyond that perspective.
  • ENOAH
    55
    Please explain, beyond the perspective of metaphysics initially given? Or beyond the perspective that, with regard to metaphysics, while it is futile in its attempt to access Truth; it is valuable in its efforts at accessing that which structures our experiences, ultimately Fiction, and since we seem to be inescably bound to the Fiction, the more we understand it the better?
  • Lionino
    849
    You can reply or quote people by highlighting their text and pressing the blue button that shows up.
  • Paine
    1.9k

    How are we to understand 'fiction', as you describe it, as the builder of experiences? If you are appealing to a principle of causality, that sounds more like an ontology.
  • ENOAH
    55
    Apologies that I cannot briefly do so. But to put it overly-simply, each of metaphysics (and ontology, for that matter), and the objects of its pursuit, and the person pushing are inescapably bound by (very simply) Language (Structures made of Signifiers stored in memory, operating under a system of rules, having an affect on the Body). It requires no proof here that Language isn't the "thing" it only re-presents the "thing." Thus, it is irredeemably alienated from the Truth at the instance of its manifestation or use. All human experiences, including the noblest pursuits in pure reflection, pure reason, metaphysics, are necessarily bound in Language, where the Truth is displaced (traditionally, "mediated") by what only pretends to be the Truth, or, Fiction.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    Some scientists, for instance, may posit that they don't do metaphysics, but the notion that reality can be understood is a metaphysical presupposition.

    Exactly. Not to mention that questions like "are virtual particles real?" or "are species real?" are ontological questions about "what truly exists."



    My favorite philosophy book I've read recently is Robert Sokolowski's "The Phenomenology of the Human Person." It's a mashup of Husserl and Aristotle relying on a good deal of philosophy of language/linguistics work as well (making it a bit dry). It's interesting in that it starts grounding itself in Husserl and phenomenology, but ends up proceeding through Aristotle to a place very similar to Saint Aquinas.

    Sokolowski's contention is that human beings are essentially (by nature) "agents of truth." The phenomenological experience of learning language and human communication entails the statement of truth and performance of veracity. Predication is built into the fabric of human intersubjectivity and is essential, hence man's being the "rational animal." So to, the ability to truly be "an agent," is also tied up in the pursuit of truth, as knowledge of the world is essential to effect change in it.

    I would say then that metaphysics is the most general project in this attempt to become agents of truth. More specifically, we could say it's the type of work Aristotle does in the Metaphysics, but also the Categories and the Physics as well (at least re substance). It's an accounting of the most general intelligibilities within reality writ large.



    Apologies that I cannot briefly do so. But to put it overly-simply, each of metaphysics (and ontology, for that matter), and the objects of its pursuit, and the person pushing are inescapably bound by (very simply) Language (Structures made of Signifiers stored in memory, operating under a system of rules, having an affect on the Body). It requires no proof here that Language isn't the "thing" it only re-presents the "thing." Thus, it is irredeemably alienated from the Truth at the instance of its manifestation or use. All human experiences, including the noblest pursuits in pure reflection, pure reason, metaphysics, are necessarily bound in Language, where the Truth is displaced (traditionally, "mediated") by what only pretends to be the Truth, or, Fiction.

    And truth cannot be known through language? But from whence comes this sui generis language that floats completely free of the world?

    It seems to me that language is grounded in human phenomenology. It is grounded in the intelligibility of the world. If human experience has "nothing to do" with truth that would be quite a problem indeed. We would be consigned to radical skepticism and solipsism, unable to know anything. And yet no one lives like this is true.

    It seems similar to the problem dreamed up by Locke and Kant whereby we can only ever know ideas and not the mysterious "things in themselves." This seems to simply be looking at things the wrong way. An idea or sensation is something by which we know the world. Ideas are as the carpenter's saw is to a piece of wood. The same might be said of language, although it straddles the intersubjective sphere. The mistake is akin to saying "a carpenter cannot make a chest because only the saw ever cuts the wood."

    Anyhow, given we accept the contents of your statement, isn't it then impossible for us to accept that anything you've said is true? It is, being language, rather irredeemably alienated from the truth.
  • ENOAH
    55
    To answer your last question first since you're right, in my thinking, that is always implied. If any human (necessarily meaning humans with that seemingly unique human Consciousness) pursuit including expressions are necessarily Fictional, then so is This expression, and so on. But the so called liar's paradox, paradoxically affirms my hypothesis (and paradoxically, I have to assume my hypothesis is valid for this present point to work). It reveals a defect that (yes, I am necessarily also that defect, always implied) one would think doesn't belong in Truth. Paradoxes reveal a crack in the foundation...therefore of Fiction. Truth (if we are even qualified to address It, and, we're not) wouldn't have any cracks.

    As for your reference earlier to my suggestion about Language. Sorry, I don't doubt you were clear, I rather lack the confidence to be sure in my reading: are you suggesting Language and, I would presume, Reason, pre-exist their emergence in the human experience? In Kantian (and I think Platonic, see the slave and the triangle, anamnesis ) terms, are you suggesting Reason and Language are Real (even, have a higher place in the hierarchy of Reality than human perception, for e.g.) and that, even if you were to concede that all of our experiences are Fictional, Language and Reason were already there to build that, otherwise, how did we get to our seemingly pure ideas? If that's what you're suggesting, pardon my simplistic terms, this is what I think, to keep it simple. Before Language developed into the very structure of human Consciousness, it existed as images stored in memory and used by the organically aware human animal to organically trigger conditioned responses helpful to survival and prosperity. A roar means run, no need to "think" about it. Language and reason developed out of that X means Y (note X isnt really Y). And there's no room for any explanation of that process of evolution here. But that process is Real. However, the idea that Language, and especially sophisticated reason, pre-exist our Fictional Structure in which they were both incubated and reached their current form, I think is a falsehood we are compelled to believe in order to support that fictional structure. Anyway, that's me making assumptions about your point, and trying to express mine briefly. I hope I haven't frustrated you by missing yours entirely.
  • LuckyR
    374
    I like it, but what is your best description of Metaphysics?


    Metaphysics is the study of the metaphysical. The metaphysical encompasses entities (purported to be) beyond the physical.
  • Bylaw
    452
    s it not the case that every worldview is located in some form of metaphysics (the nature of reality)? The extent of awareness of this varies. Some scientists, for instance, may posit that they don't do metaphysics, but the notion that reality can be understood is a metaphysical presupposition.Tom Storm

    I agree. Materialism/physicalism fall under metaphysics. Unity of nature, causality are a couple of others, I would say. All systems of belief have some generalized assumptions - or, for the cautious, working hypotheses about ontology - it seems to me, that cannot be demonstrated to be true.

    I can't really see how physics can avoid ontology and that's part of metaphysics.

    Of course metaphysics, the word, has been used a lot pejoratively and is associated by some with certain kinds of ontological claims and not others.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    [W]hat is your  best description of Metaphysics?Rob J Kennedy
    My jam is negative ontology (i.e. a deductive process of elimination of the impossibie, or ways the world necessarily could not have been or cannot be described), a rationalist near-analogue of negative theology. :smirk:
  • Joshs
    5.1k
    ↪Rob J Kennedy A collection of semantic games — some based on reality and empirical observation, others based on fantasyLionino

    And empirical observation isnt grounded in any kind of presuppositions of the sort that Collinwood is getting at , a mesh of implicit, pragmatic relevance relations that make what we observe intelligible to us in connection with our larger goals and purposes?
    Collinwood seems to be borrowing from Heidegger, who uses the example of a hammer to demonstrate how we come to know objects. The hammer as a persisting thing with attributes and properties is secondary to, because derived deom our actual use of the hammer in goal oriented activities. And this use is itself inextricably bound up with a larger totality of relevance relations between us and our world. As Thomas Kuhn showed with respect to scientific knowledge, these larger relevance relations define what is recognized as evidence of the real , and informs all our observations. Such superordinate schemes of interpretation, or paradigms, are what contemporary philosophers mean by metaphysics.
  • Mww
    4.5k
    the reality that surrounds us, is the subject matter of metaphysicsRob J Kennedy

    Is it? What then, of the natural sciences?

    The subject matter of metaphysics, is the methodology by which the natural sciences regarding the reality surrounding us, is comprehensible.
    ————-

    ….best description of Metaphysics….Rob J Kennedy

    “…. this kind of a priori knowledge must unquestionably be looked upon as given; in other words, metaphysics must be considered as really existing, if not as a science, nevertheless as a natural disposition of the human mind. For human reason, without any instigations imputable to the mere vanity of great knowledge, unceasingly progresses, urged on by its own feeling of need, towards such questions as cannot be answered by any empirical application of reason, or principles derived therefrom; and so there has ever really existed in every man some system of metaphysics. It will always exist, so soon as reason awakes to the exercise of its power of speculation. And now the question arises: “How is metaphysics, as a natural disposition, possible?” In other words, how, from the nature of universal human reason, do those questions arise which pure reason proposes to itself, and which it is impelled by its own feeling of need to answer as well as it can?

    But as in all the attempts hitherto made to answer the questions which reason is prompted by its very nature to propose to itself, for example, whether the world had a beginning, or has existed from eternity, it has always met with unavoidable contradictions, we must not rest satisfied with the mere natural disposition of the mind to metaphysics, that is, with the existence of the faculty of pure reason, whence, indeed, some sort of metaphysical system always arises; but it must be possible to arrive at certainty in regard to the question whether we know or do not know the things of which metaphysics treats. We must be able to arrive at a decision on the subjects of its questions, or on the ability or inability of reason to form any judgement respecting them; and therefore either to extend with confidence the bounds of our pure reason, or to set strictly defined and safe limits to its action…..”
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/879327 ... Otherwise, (kataphatic) metaphysics consists of speculating on the way the world – that aspect of reality called "nature" (physis) – must be in order for subjects, reasons and modern sciences to work together as they do.
  • Vaskane
    643
    Nietzsche states that which is fundamental to the metaphysicians of all ages is the antitheses between values. So I conclude fundamentally metaphysics is a style of exploration of seemingly contrasting values, such as "mind and matter" or "substance and attribute" or "potentiality and actuality" or "good and evil." Metaphysics seems to me to be a dualist's reductionist vision of the world. That isn't to say benefits haven't been derived from metaphysics, but it's like dissecting abstracts thoughts.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    To answer your last question first since you're right, in my thinking, that is always implied. If any human (necessarily meaning humans with that seemingly unique human Consciousness) pursuit including expressions are necessarily Fictional, then so is This expression, and so on. But the so called liar's paradox, paradoxically affirms my hypothesis (and paradoxically, I have to assume my hypothesis is valid for this present point to work). It reveals a defect that (yes, I am necessarily also that defect, always implied) one would think doesn't belong in Truth. Paradoxes reveal a crack in the foundation...therefore of Fiction. Truth (if we are even qualified to address It, and, we're not) wouldn't have any cracks.

    ...and yet here you are, trying to argue for a view of what is true, or at least "what is the case." I don't think it can be otherwise. Even the thinkers most dedicated to negating the idea of truth, the unabashed solipsists, still feel the need to speak their conception of truth into the intersubjective space we all inhabit. To me, this bespeaks the essence of human person as an agent necessarily involved in veracity.

    Further, living into veracity can clearly be done well (e.g. Socrates, Spinoza, etc.) or poorly (Plato's shameful Protagoras, or his nihilistic and unhappy Gorgias, although we must remember, for veracity's sake, that these are no more the real men than Euripides' Socrates in The Clouds). If we cannot live like our beliefs are true, it seems like we are in danger of living poorly.

    Truth is slippery, but it also asserts itself in our lives. We can talk about scientific narratives as fictions all we want, and there might be a grain of truth in these critiques. However, at the end of the day techne, the ability to use a model of the world to enhance our casual powers (to cross continents in a day, create the internet, etc.) talks, bullshit walks. "The truth will set you free;" it allows you to do new things in ways falsity will not. Something is asserting itself when a flying machine based on the principles of lift and aerodynamics soars into the sky, while another based on different principles crashes to the ground. Techne is the proof of gnosis.

    are you suggesting Language and, I would presume, Reason, pre-exist their emergence in the human experience?

    Language pre-exists any individual human's experience, yes. Language is itself a species of communication, and so elements of it pre-exist humanity, or even the hominid genus. Aside from children who are locked away from the world, who, if they live, end up with profound disabilities, all humans are emersed in language from the very outset of their lives. Language itself is determined by the nature of human experience. How could it be otherwise? Such experience is necessarily, by nature, communal and intersubjective, and it is through this that predication and judgement become essential to human experience.

    Reason can be defined in many ways. Animals have some aptitude for what we might call reason, and so reason would seem to pre-exist humanity. More importantly, reason qua human reason preexists any individual human, and we are immersed in it from birth.

    Does "reason" exist "out there," prior to life? This seems to come down to how one defines reason. If we define it as necessarily involving awareness, first person subjective experience, then it would not appear to pre-exist life. But scientists have no problem referring to "the logic of thermodynamics," and we have no difficulty in applying the "tools of [our] reason" to the world. So, regardless of how we define reason, it seems that, if any knowledge of the world is possible, at least parts of the world must be intelligible. Intelligibility suggests a certain sort of reason, although I prefer the old term logos here in that it is less bound up in the subjective elements of rationality.

    If intelligibility didn't exist "out there," we should have no reason to think that the intelligibility in our minds should be anything like that of other minds. If our reason is sui generis, unrelated to how the world is, then we cannot appeal to things like natural selection for explaining why different minds should view the same world. But if this is the case, then even if we allow for the possibility of other minds, we should be forever isolated from them.

    There is a strong pragmatic argument against this sort of radical skepticism. Moreover, I'd argue that it's actually quite impossible for a human being to live as if this was true. Empirically, it also seems to have problems. If our world of intelligibility floats free of the world, what should cause it to be intelligible? Why shouldn't we live the way stroke victims describe their experiences, with a random stream of sensation, one second recognizing intelligibilities, the next unable to decipher text? The uncaused has no reason for being one way and not another; yet it surely seems like the structure of human experience has causes.

    Anyhow, at the risk of being long winded, I will include Sokolowski's summary of how Husserl grounds predication and syntax in the essentials of human experience.

    [Husserl] tries to show how the formal, logical structures of thinking arise from perception; the subtitle of Experience and Judgment is Investigations in a Genealogy of Logic. The “genealogy” of logic is to be located not in something we are born with but in the way experience becomes transformed. Husserl describes the origin of syntactic form as follows.

    When we perceive an object, we run through a manifold of aspects and profiles: we see the thing first from this side and then from that; we concentrate on the color; we pay attention to the hardness or softness; we turn the thing around and see other sides and aspects, and so on. In this manifold of appearances, however, we continuously experience all the aspects and profiles, all the views, as being “of” one and the same object. The multiple appearances are not single separate beads following one another; they are “threaded” by the identity continuing within them all. As Husserl puts it, “Each single percept in this series is already a percept of the thing. Whether I look at this book from above or below, from inside or outside, I always see this book. It is always one and the same thing.” The identity of the thing is implicitly presented in and through the manifold. We do not focus on this identity; rather, we focus on some aspects or profiles, but all of them are experienced, not as isolated flashes or pressures, but as belonging to a single entity. As Husserl puts it, “An identification is performed, but no identity is meant.” The identity itself never shows up as one of these aspects or profiles; its way of being present is more implicit, but it does truly present itself. We do not have just color patches succeeding one another, but the blue and the gray of the object as we perceive it continuously. In fact, if we run into dissonances in the course of our experience – I saw the thing as green, and now the same area is showing up as blue – we recognize them as dissonant precisely because we assume that all the appearances belong to one and the same thing and that it cannot show up in such divergent ways if it is to remain identifiable as itself. [It's worth noting the experiments on animals show they are sensitive to these same sorts of dissonances].

    [Such experience is pre-syntactical, nevertheless] such continuous perception can, however, become a platform for the constitution of syntax and logic. What happens, according to Husserl, is that the continuous perception can come to an arrest as one particular feature of the thing attracts our attention and holds it. We focus, say, on the color of the thing. When we do this, the identity of the object, as well as the totality of the other aspects and profiles, still remain in the background. At this point of arrest, we have not yet moved into categoriality and logic, but we are on the verge of doing so; we are balanced between perception and thinking. This is a philosophically interesting state. We feel the form about to come into play, but it is not there yet. Thinking is about to be born, and an assertion is about to be made…

    We, therefore, in our experience and thoughtful activity, have moved from a perception to an articulated opinion or position; we have reached something that enters into logic and the space of reasons. We achieve a proposition or a meaning, something that can be communicated and shared as the very same with other people (in contrast with a perception, which cannot be conveyed to others). We achieve something that can be confirmed, disconfirmed, adjusted, brought to greater distinctness, shown to be vague and contradictory, and the like. All the issues that logic deals with now come into play. According to Husserl, therefore, the proposition or the state of affairs, as a categorial object, does not come about when we impose an a priori form on experience; rather, it emerges from and within experience as a formal structure of parts and wholes...

    This is how Husserl describes the genealogy of logic and logical form. He shows how logical and syntactic structures arise when things are presented to us. We are relatively passive when we perceive – but even in perception there is an active dimension, since we have to be alert, direct our attention this way and that, and perceive carefully. Just “being awake (Wachsein)” is a cognitive accomplishment of the ego. We are much more active, however, and active in a new way, when we rise to the level of categoriality, where we articulate a subject and predicate and state them publicly in a sentence. We are more engaged. We constitute something more energetically, and we take a position in the human conversation, a position for which we are responsible. At this point, a higher-level objectivity is established, which can remain an “abiding possession (ein bleibender Besitz).” It can be detached from this situation and made present again in others. It becomes something like a piece of property or real estate, which can be transferred from one owner to another. Correlatively, I become more actualized in my cognitive life and hence more real. I become something like a property owner (I was not elevated to that status by mere perception); I now have my own opinions and have been able to document the way things are, and these opinions can be communicated to others. This higher status is reached through “the active position-takings of the ego [die aktiven Stellungnahmen des Ich] in the act of predicative judgment.”

    Logical form or syntactic structure does not have to issue from inborn powers in our brains, nor does it have to come from a priori structures of the mind. It arises through an enhancement of perception, a lifting of perception into thought, by a new way of making things present to us. Of course, neurological structures are necessary as a condition for this to happen, but these neural structures do not simply provide a template that we impose on the thing we are experiencing...

    -Robert Sokolowski - The Phenomenology of the Human Person

    Truth is necessarily something tied to the intersubjective sphere. Truth is contentless without the possibility of falsity, and falsity is only a possibility once subjectivity arrives on the scene. It's a mistake to think truth is impossible to grasp because it lies "out there" beyond the realm of subjectivity.



    My jam is negative ontology (i.e. a deductive process of elimination of the impossibie, or ways the world necessarily could not have been or cannot be described), a rationalist near-analogue of negative theology. :smirk:

    Would it be fair though to say that such a project requires positive metaphysical assertions that they might be either rejected or granted a stay of execution? It seems to me that metaphysics, like other disciplines, must be dialectical.



    Nietzsche states that which is fundamental to the metaphysicians of all ages is the antitheses between values. So I conclude fundamentally metaphysics is a style of exploration of seemingly contrasting values, such as "mind and matter" or "substance and attribute" or "potentiality and actuality" or "good and evil." Metaphysics seems to me to be a dualist's reductionist vision of the world. That isn't to say benefits haven't been derived from metaphysics, but it's like dissecting abstracts thoughts.

    This gets to the above point. Many metaphysicians have focused on promoting non-dualism, the unity of all things (e.g. Parmenides, Plotinus, etc.). And yet, to uncover what is meant by unity, one has to deal with an analysis of multiplicity. The process being dialectical, it seems it has to deal with such oppositions.



    As Thomas Kuhn showed with respect to scientific knowledge, these larger relevance relations define what is recognized as evidence of the real , and informs all our observations. Such superordinate schemes of interpretation, or paradigms, are what contemporary philosophers mean by metaphysics.

    That, or the claim is that such paradigms are the means by which metaphysics is understood. The claim that it's "paradigms all the way down," is itself a particular metaphysical claim that is often rejected.
  • ENOAH
    55
    Count Timothy, sorry, I haven't figured out how to reply directly.

    I agree that belief, and more specifically, belief in Truth, is functional, even functionally necessary within the context of our uniquely constructed Fictional world. What I'm saying, and particularly with respect to the original post regarding metaphysics and its pursuit, is can we recognize that, while functional (the foundation of arts, sciences, etc.), it cannot do what it tries to claim: it cannot uncover any iota of Real Truth. Real Truth is in Being, not knowing (knowing, being a thing we construct and believe, or settle upon, following a dialectical-like process which takes place only within the Fiction and applying only the tools of that Fiction). Or, in other words, "yes, everything I am saying is a lie, including this" is a trap we cannot exit. But the lies are nevertheless useful, since that's where we inescapably find our "selves"
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    Would it be fair though to say that such a project requires positive metaphysical assertions that they might be either rejected or granted a stay of execution?Count Timothy von Icarus
    Those that are "rejected" are ones referred to as impossible and thereby are self-negating; however, whichever "assertions" are not negated, whether they are stated explicitly or not, are "granted" ...

    It seems to me that metaphysics, like other disciplines, must be dialectical.
    I think, Count, Spinoza's Ethics exemplifies an exception to such a rule (pace Hegel).
  • Joshs
    5.1k


    Would it be fair though to say that such a project requires positive metaphysical assertions that they might be either rejected or granted a stay of execution? ICount Timothy von Icarus
    Ate you suggesting that a metaphysical scheme is the kind of thing that can be proven true or false?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    I think, Count, Spinoza's Ethics exemplifies an exception to such a rule (pace Hegel).

    Maybe; I was thinking more of the back and forth between different metaphysicians over history.



    Ate you suggesting that a metaphysical scheme is the kind of thing that can be proven true or false?

    I mean, this really depends on what you mean by "proven." Certainly, some metaphysical theories might be shown to be contradictory via actual proofs, but in general they get shot down in a more abductive manner. You can't prove that Ayn Rand's Objectivism isn't good metaphysics with an abacus, but you can certainly make very good arguments that it's fatally flawed.
  • Joshs
    5.1k
    I mean, this really depends on what you mean by "proven." Certainly, some metaphysical theories might be shown to be contradictory via actual proofs, but in general they get shot down in a more abductive manner. You can't prove that Ayn Rand's Objectivism isn't good metaphysics with an abacus, but you can certainly make very good arguments that it's fatally flawedCount Timothy von Icarus

    Only within a taken-for-granted , unquestioned set of normative presuppositions concerning the nature of the real can empiricist notions like proof and validation be considered as definitive. A metaphysics is the basis of the intelligibility of truth and falsity, not the product of empirical ascertainment of truth and falsity.

    For Husserl, the real objects whose constitution Sokolowski wrote about are themselves idealities
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    Only within a taken-for-granted , unquestioned set of normative presuppositions concerning the nature of the real can empiricist notions like proof and validation be considered as definitive. A metaphysics is the basis of the intelligibility of truth and falsity, not the product of empirical ascertainment of truth and falsity.

    So the truth of what you just wrote only holds within the context of taken-for-granted, unquestioned presuppositions?

    Why must all presuppositions be "taken-for-granted" and "unquestionable?" First principles seem eminently questionable. It also seems eminently possible to put forth first principles that can clash with reality. E.g., the claim that all things are essentially composed of fire, water, air, and earth doesn't seem to jive with these being decomposable into smaller constituent parts.

    Edit: this also seems overly foundationalist. Truth is a prephilosophical concept. If Grug tells Ugg not to eat the last mammoth ribs, goes to get fire wood, comes back, finds the mammoth ribs gone and mammoth grease and bits of ribs hanging from Ugg's beard, and Ugg tells him "I did leave the ribs," Grugg's judgement that this is false doesn't rely on metaphysics. I would say rather than truth appears to be one of the things metaphysics and epistemology must explain. That statements might be true or false is a basic fact of the world to be explained.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    I was thinking more of the back and forth between different metaphysicians over history.Count Timothy von Icarus
    Oh. You wrote "metaphysics" not "metaphysicians" and, in reference to my post on negative ontology, your response here to my reference to Spinoza Ethics makes even less sense especially since I'm engaged in a "back and forth" with the OP, you (so far) and other readers of this thread.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    Ah, I think I see the confusion. I meant "metaphysics," as in the entire discipline, not a particular metaphysics. It's much easier to locate the set of impossibilities if people are kind enough to posit them.

    As much as some philosophers try to be an exception to this (Hegel's logic for instance, tries to be "presuppositionless"), authors are invariably influenced by the ideas that have come before them. After all, what would be the point of doing metaphysics if you thought someone else had adequately explained the entire topic?
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