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What has Hawking said here? Hawking invokes a grand metaphysical project of what things really are - "what time actually is" but with other science/logical positivists we must presume, wants to deny metaphysics and ontology. This he does on the basis that he is "unable to say" what the particulars of a metaphysical project (like Time) are.

And what is the role of mathematics in this Hawkinian idiosyncratic venture? If, with other positivists, he wishes to deny metaphysics and ontology in mathematics and the world, then how does he know what a given calculus is meant to be about?

Hawking's attempt at positivism fails. He attempts to justify, piecemeal, the positivist denial of metaphysics/ontology by privileging its denial over its affirmation in the proposal that "one cannot say what [X] really is" (where X is a metaphysics, in this case a metaphysical description of Time). Derrideans might pick up on this logic of the "priviliged binary".

Hawking's appeal to mathematics as a player in his positivism misses the mark. It may even work against him. For mathematical syntax gives an incomplete description of mathematics, yet it is the syntax alone that is set up as a sufficient condition of it. The stops and starts of syntactical manipulation are not themselves syntactically engineered. We need a non-syntactical manoevure to identify and manifest, or commit syntactical changes, and metaphysics is one such manoevure. For example, I, non-mathematically, decide when a calculation is complete, and what to calculate. Here I can allude to the Tractatarian project as a whole, where Wittgenstein continually draws attention to the limits of language and logic - where syntax is identified and manifested by the "ineffable" template (later re-emerging as language games in Philosophical Investigations). Kant had a similar project going in transcendental idealism, where no objects are to be had without their identifying and manifesting conditions. Yet, for Hawking's transcendental realism, as for other positivists, we see the denial of the manifesting conditions of a syntactical world. Hawking's positivist venture is twofold: incoherent, and a picture of a world of unidentifiable, syntactical rubble.

**The Universe in a Nutshell**(p. 31) Stephen Hawking describes his science positivism:

.… If one takes the positivist position, as I do, one cannot say what time actually is. All one can do is describe what has been found to be a very good mathematical model for time.… If one takes the positivist position, as I do, one cannot say what time actually is. All one can do is describe what has been found to be a very good mathematical model for time

What has Hawking said here? Hawking invokes a grand metaphysical project of what things really are - "what time actually is" but with other science/logical positivists we must presume, wants to deny metaphysics and ontology. This he does on the basis that he is "unable to say" what the particulars of a metaphysical project (like Time) are.

And what is the role of mathematics in this Hawkinian idiosyncratic venture? If, with other positivists, he wishes to deny metaphysics and ontology in mathematics and the world, then how does he know what a given calculus is meant to be about?

Hawking's attempt at positivism fails. He attempts to justify, piecemeal, the positivist denial of metaphysics/ontology by privileging its denial over its affirmation in the proposal that "one cannot say what [X] really is" (where X is a metaphysics, in this case a metaphysical description of Time). Derrideans might pick up on this logic of the "priviliged binary".

Hawking's appeal to mathematics as a player in his positivism misses the mark. It may even work against him. For mathematical syntax gives an incomplete description of mathematics, yet it is the syntax alone that is set up as a sufficient condition of it. The stops and starts of syntactical manipulation are not themselves syntactically engineered. We need a non-syntactical manoevure to identify and manifest, or commit syntactical changes, and metaphysics is one such manoevure. For example, I, non-mathematically, decide when a calculation is complete, and what to calculate. Here I can allude to the Tractatarian project as a whole, where Wittgenstein continually draws attention to the limits of language and logic - where syntax is identified and manifested by the "ineffable" template (later re-emerging as language games in Philosophical Investigations). Kant had a similar project going in transcendental idealism, where no objects are to be had without their identifying and manifesting conditions. Yet, for Hawking's transcendental realism, as for other positivists, we see the denial of the manifesting conditions of a syntactical world. Hawking's positivist venture is twofold: incoherent, and a picture of a world of unidentifiable, syntactical rubble.

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