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Thread: Proving metaphysics and philosophies

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    Nothing is proven outside of math and formal logic. Full stop.

    However things can be ruled out. And a lot of philosophy has been made null and void by scientific advances.

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    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    How can a metaphysical system or a specific philosopy be validated or proven? A particularb philosophy is usually a declaration of belief in a principle.
    As I've been reading a book about this, one criterion might be that a metaphysical system be explicitly naturalistic. In other words, rather than starting from the assumption that I can sit at my desk, contemplate the world for some period of time using my unaided intuition, and as a result of this effort come to know something fundamental about reality, metaphysics should always be beholden to the most current scientific theories, especially in physics, as a baseline for what can or cannot be posited as fundamental.

    That gets you as far as ruling out obviously false metaphysical claims, but it doesn't prove which ones are true. In a sense, maybe they don't have to be proven to be adopted; maybe metaphysics is just a set of "stances" that can inform our approach to certain problems in science, rather than a collection of positive claims about objective reality.
    As I see it, all worldviews specify their own method of validation. Proofs are just convincing arguments and there's no a priori "legitimate convincing". Instead, it works for you or it doesn't.
    EB

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    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Reality exists.

    I take that as axiomatic. If it is wrong, then not only can I not see how it is wrong, I can't see how I might begin to demonstrate it to be wrong, or even to investigate its wrongness. So far, I have necountered absolutely no reasons to even speculate about the veracity of this axiom.

    It's not subject to proof; Nor even to investigation. If it is false, then no investigation of anything is possible. So I treat it as an axiom, unless and until someone can persuade me that it is subject to the iota of demonstrable doubt that would render further consideration of it even vaguely worthwhile.
    The point if the op, can you validate your metaphyascal disertaion here? It is not about whatb realityis, it is about abstract thought in general.
    The point of my post, No. And I see no reason why I should.
    I agree. A metaphysical claim is about things you don't know, that possibly you can't know. What you know is by definition not metaphysical. And I agree that the existence of reality is something we know. I wouldn't say axiomatic if axiomatic means assumptive. The point is that we all know there's a reality and we even know a little of it. Metaphysical claims are everything else beyond that.
    EB

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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    There are real things that exist and have real attributes. As the IEP article I linked to demonstrates, there is no overall explanation that explains everything with such finality the argument is over. Every few years, somebody invents a new ism. So that does not matter because it leads nowhere. Science leads to real and useful information and understanding about the natural world. There is no philosopher's short cut to that. It's all a side show of no real importance in the end. As David Hume noted when it came to the metaphysics of skepticism, "Sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and go play cards with your friends". We can stop argle bargling about metaphysics and just go do good science. Naive realism and metaphysical naturalism are good enough for science.
    Beyond those disputes, there is still the argument over whether our best theories tell us what exists (in that they are true), or whether they tell us about what we can expect to experience under certain observational conditions (in that they are empirically adequate). The problem with the former view, namely realism about the unobservables of scientific theories (electrons, fields, and so on) is that the history of science is littered with empirically adequate but factually incorrect assertions about "real things that exist and have real attributes." In response to this charge, some have attempted to claim that, for example, Feser's conception of light as a transverse wave flowing through a medium called the ether was kinda-sorta-actually taking about what Maxwell would later identify as the electromagnetic field, so it's not that the previous theory was wrong about what exists, it was just wrong about what to call it and how to describe it. I am suspicious of this dodge, and especially now that even the electromagnetic field as a concept has undergone numerous revisions since Maxwell's time, and may be supplanted entirely by some future theory. There's only so far that you can stretch definitions. We might be justified in saying that the universe is full of things with attributes, but we can't say anything specific about the nature of the things without running afoul of the problem of theory change.

    A more realistic (ironically) metaphysical view, in my opinion, is what has become known as ontic structural realism, which doesn't say there's nothing out there and all we can know is experience, nor does it say we can be sure that there are protons and that they have the attributes we ascribe to them. It says that science actually deals with relational structures, and what we think of as the objects in the structures, related to other objects, are themselves just further relations, and it's relations all the way down. It never "bottoms out", so to speak, at a level where actual concrete things with inherent properties are found. Under this interpretation, all of the equations of physics suddenly make sense as what they are, descriptions of structure without commitment to ontology, and the possibility of a complete physics that doesn't actually say what exists in the universe is perfectly plausible if it provides a total account of its relational structure.

    I'm partly parroting what I've been reading about recently here, so I'm by no means an expert, but I think this is a valuable insight for both science and the philosophy of science.
    This ontic structural realism seems to say the relational structure itself exists. So, it's not so much not saying what exists, but understanding the existence of the "world" out there in a different way. It's in effect just a different kind of ontology. One that's somewhat vertiginous, which is maybe why our brain opted out of it in the first place. Too costly to entertain. And now science itself sort of leads to that kind of metaphysics. Science, or just social life perhaps. A sort of constant upmanship, that like capitalism leading inevitably to financial crises, would lead inevitably to an ever more abstract view of the world, with the epitome of it in this ideas that it's structure all the way down.

    Me, at least, know better.
    EB

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    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamWho View Post
    Nothing is proven outside of math and formal logic. Full stop.

    However things can be ruled out. And a lot of philosophy has been made null and void by scientific advances.
    Maths could in principle be proven by logic. Is it, really? I never saw any actual formal proof.

    Also, how would formal logic be proven? It's a human construct. We're fallible.

    All we can do, I think, is feel very confident, if it's your cup of tea.

    Obviously, not mine.
    EB

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    Mathematical definitions that were all created by humans exist.

    That is all that exists in terms of mathematics.

    Physical models are human abstractions not descriptions.

    You just say the cannon ball moves in a straight arc because in the real world it doesn't matter.

  7. Top | #17
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    How can a metaphysical system or a specific philosopy be validated or proven? A particular philosophy is usually a declaration of belief in a principle.
    The only metaphysical system I'm interested in is Scientific realism
    where the view is that the universe described by science is real regardless of how it may be interpreted. This view is often an answer to the question "how is the success of science to be explained?".
    That is I agree with bilby.except I'm hedging my bet with a falsification possibility.

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