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Thread: Proving metaphysics and philosophies

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    Proving metaphysics and philosophies

    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.

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    Contributor PyramidHead'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 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.

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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.
    I agree with the last paragraph.

    All thought is metaphysics, science is metaphysics tied to reality in tangible ways.

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    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Metaphysics and science make for a bad mix. Realism. The proposition there is a real world out there with it's own laws not dependent on our mental states. Since the days of the logical positivists, such metaphysical arguments have been wasting every body's time. Google Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, realism. Philosophers have been trying to meld philosophy and science for deades now with no real end to the arguments in sight. Some theologians have been using this to try to disparage science and support the bad metaphysics of theology. For example, check out the website of Professor Ed Feser on this subject. Feser is a theologian and philosopher, and critic of atheism.

    As usual, metaphysics accomplishes nothing, it is a game. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Yet, real science gets done, science is very successful. It is not like scientists are going to stop doing science until these metaphysical puzzles are solved to the satisfaction of the Ed Fesers of the world.

    Metaphysics can be ignored by real working scientists. Especially when this whole farce is used by obscurantists to support bad metaphysics.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    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.

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    "Reality" is by definition: That which can be observed in some way, which means any form of reliable detection, or it's effects can be observed or detected in some way.

    If we say "reality exists".

    We are saying observations exist.

    We are saying an observer exists.

    Now we are up to Descartes.

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    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.

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    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.

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    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    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.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Contributor PyramidHead's Avatar
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    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.

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