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What makes a metaphysician

  1. Dec 1, 2004 #1
    ...a good one as opposed to a bad one ???
     
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  3. Dec 1, 2004 #2

    Tom Mattson

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    First and foremost, I would say a firm grasp of formal logic is required to be a good philosopher of any sort.
     
  4. Dec 2, 2004 #3
    Are you suggesting mystics need not apply?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  5. Dec 2, 2004 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    I am suggesting that mystics without a firm grasp of formal logic need not apply.
     
  6. Dec 2, 2004 #5
    Yes, mystics also have to reason. As Les Sleeth's signature says, 'introspectionists should make sense'. All introspective traditions encourage the use of reason, even though they assert that reason alone cannot bring understanding.

    But I'd go for intellectual honesty as the key job specification. Without that one is likely to be stuck with one's assumptions and get no further. To investigate metaphysics properly requires giving up any habitual ideas about what is true and what is not true, and work with an open mind from first principles. It's not an easy thing to do, because it means accepting what your reason tells you even if this threatens or destroys your most cherished beliefs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  7. Dec 2, 2004 #6
    Hah. Best post I've read today.
     
  8. Dec 2, 2004 #7
    And yet what if one were to witness an event, formal logic or no, which cannot be validated by empirical means (is this what you mean by formal logic?), would that make it any less true? The truth is the truth isn't it?
     
  9. Dec 2, 2004 #8

    Tom Mattson

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    "Formal logic" has nothing to do with "empirical means". Formal logic has to do with being rational. And yes, the truth is the truth. But simply having witnessed actual events or holding to some metaphysical truth by epistemic luck does not a metaphysician make.
     
  10. Dec 2, 2004 #9
    Yes, but what if the explanation doesn't seem rational or, is unexplainable in empirical terms? Does that make a person wacko for having experienced it or, less credible in other words? This is really I'm all trying to get at. I mean how do we in fact know that anybody is telling the truth, if all we have to base it upon is empirical evidence? How do we truly tell what another person has experienced?
     
  11. Dec 2, 2004 #10
    Yes, I agree. In order to peer inside of oneself, one has to be able to "pinpoint" what one is looking at. And yes, you have to have a pretty good idea of what you're looking at.


    And yet quite often it entails the process or, experience, and rarely does anything come about simply because you say, "Well, I would seriously like to examine this" ... the fact that you're too serious or, sure of yourself being a sign of bias. Basically it's something which is developed to the extent that you work with it (and no, it's best not to be too formal) and, if you're fortunate enough to be grounded in what you're doing (not totally wacko), perhaps you can begin to speak about it in the pragmatic sense? :smile:
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  12. Dec 2, 2004 #11

    loseyourname

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    Doesn't the witnessing of an event make that event empirical?

    Anyway, as I posted in the other thread in general discussion, shouldn't the term be metaphysicist? Metaphysician describes a faith-healer, if you ask me.
     
  13. Dec 2, 2004 #12

    Tom Mattson

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    An explanation is either rational, or it is not an explanation. There's no middle ground.

    You cannot 'explain' nonsense to someone.

    Do you mean 'unexplainable in objective, third party terms'?

    If so, then the question answers itself. If something is not explainable in common terms that are comprehensible to everyone, and if that thing is not accessible to everyone, then it is simply not explainable.

    Of course not. I would only consider a person a 'wacko' if they considered some incoherent, illogical account of their experience justification of said experience, despite the fact that it makes no rational sense and is not corroborated by any scientific information. But someone who freely admits that his mysticism is faith based is no 'wacko' in my book.

    But while 'he' may not be less credible, it is still of course the case that his claims will be less credible (than say, scientific claims).
     
  14. Dec 3, 2004 #13
    Actually I was thinking more in terms of a dream or a vision, where no one else has access to it. It's not provable in our world of reality. As for the term metaphysician, I was just guessing at what the heck that was all about. I just figured it was somebody who was into spiritualism and what not, and used that as a means to finding answers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  15. Dec 3, 2004 #14

    Les Sleeth

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    I might have a slightly different take on the idea of a metaphysician. To me, a metaphysician is someone who is always looking for what's most basic/universal. That's where one finds metaphysics, or those general factors which determine more apparent specifics.

    It is true too that to communicate what one believes one sees, logic is required. Even if one has experienced the absolute most basic feature of existence, there is no way anyone else can get a sense of it unless we make sense in communication.

    Then, to answer your question about good and bad metaphysics . . . I'd say good is someone patient and determined enough to try to experience what is most basic, and bad is someone willing to posit a theory about what is most basic and then defend it without ever having experienced what they say is true.
     
  16. Dec 3, 2004 #15

    loseyourname

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    You know, it's interesting that you say that, because historically speaking, the study of metaphysics has been almost entirely rational rather than empirical. One might even argue that metaphysics has mostly been the study of that which cannot be experienced. At least this is true in the western tradition. Certainly it has been different in the eastern world.
     
  17. Dec 3, 2004 #16

    Les Sleeth

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    Except for physicalist metaphysics (which has substantial experiential muscle behind it), I'd have to agree with you about Western metaphysics. That's one reason I did that thread awhile back on panpsychism, and then used consistantly reported inner experience as a basis for the monistic metaphysical assertion. Personally I believe a theory without at least some kind of experiential foundation is a waste of time to think about much.
     
  18. Dec 7, 2004 #17
    We should careful also not to confuse rationality with formally logical reasoning as it is normally defined. They are not the same thing. If one takes them to be same thing then doing metaphysics will be a waste of time, you'll just end up in the same old traditional metaphysical dead end as all the others who have stuck to that approach. This is for reasons connected with what Les said about direct experience. To try to solve metaphysical paradoxes by formal logic alone is like trying to axiomatise mathematics. You end where Bertrand Russell did, with a bodged job.
     
  19. Dec 21, 2004 #18
    RingoKid, Science relies on two fundamental capacities to visualise and explain the world:

    1) THE VISUAL CAPACITIES: this includes all the senses.

    2) THE VISUAL EXTENSIONS: this includes all scientific instruments for sensing, maximising, minimising, enhancing objects under observation.

    So, in actual fact science always tracks and follows the observed objects to the very limits of the human visual capacities and their extensions. For the sake of having a name, let's call this 'THE CRITICAL OBSERVATION POINT (COP)' or equivalently, 'THE CRITICAL MECHANICAL STATE' (CMS). Habitually, as you may have seen in a vast majority of the postings on this PF, this is always the point at which science gives up. It stops thinking and seeing things logically and to their quite deserving logical conclusions. And at this point, it's free for all......anything goes. The vultures and vipers take things over and manufacture phantoms and epigogues ......claiming to be explaining and continuing from where science stops.

    Metaphysics, the true defintion of it implies "CONTINUING IN A LOGICALLY CONSISTENT WAY TO EXPLAIN THE WORLD FROM WHERE PHYSICS OR SCIENCE IN GENERAL STOPS"

    So, a true metaphysician is someone who continues to logically explain things in a logically consistent way from where the mainstream science stops without derailing him or herself and the intellectual world into a boundless pit of phantoms.

    A good Metaphysician, therefore, must be able to recognise and explain the following aspects of things clearly:

    1) LOGICAL PATHWAYS

    Since science and its laws depend entirely on logic, a good metaphysician must recognise that logical pathways never terminate nor cease to be coherent and consistent at the COP. The consistency of pathways remains to the the very end.

    2) SIZES OF THINGS

    There is a persistent bad habit in science which tends to create the impression that things under observation lose their structural and functional singnifance as they approach COP in size. So, the question a good metaphysician should ask him or herself is this:

    DO THINGS MINIATURIZED IN SIZE BEYOND THE COP STOP BEING STRUCTURALLY AND FUNCTIONALLY SIGNIFICANT, LET ALONE BEING CONTINUALLY LOGICALLY CONSISTENT?

    For it seems as if scientists think that at COP, things stop being what they have always been known to be!

    3) FORMS OF THINGS

    When things come into existence, they take uniquely identifiable and accountable forms, such as the forms of life, the current form of our universe, and so on. It seems that all these centuries, science seems to lead us to believe that, by scale of reference, things fundamentally lose their original basic forms at COP. Is this really correct? Why, for example, should something that originally took a material form as its structural and functional garment, suddenly everporate and disintegrate into 'NOTHINGNES'? So, a good metaphysician must be able to tell us whether this is the case or not!
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  20. Dec 22, 2004 #19
    thanx philocrat...

    from my understanding of string theory it is the strings that change shape by varying their vibration across a number of dimensions in a construct that is embedded in a fixed background.

    so if an entity as a collection of strings maintains it's consciousnress as the background changes shape then the consciousness component of the entity must remain constant according to the vibrational aspect in a number of dimensions as well otherwise an entity would change from one shape to another but leave it's awareness of it's previous shape and experiences behind.

    strings in my limited understanding is the only theory in the physical universe that can account for a place of collective conciousness given that there are these extra dimensions that exist at every 4d coordinate no matter how small or large.

    The logic is upheld by the maths so is the size and the form and to my mind so is the awareness.

    It just can't be proven yet, but it still doesn't mean i can't hold it as truth given what a lot of other people believe about all sorts of other "stuff"
     
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