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Is This a Good Definition of Metaphysics?

 
 
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 01:56 pm
Metaphysics is the class of knowledge outside of sense data.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 3,220 • Replies: 29
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igm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 03:23 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Metaphysics is the class of knowledge outside of sense data.

I'd agree with this:

...metaphysical statements are meaningful, but human beings can never discover whether any metaphysical statement is true or false (or probable or improbable or warranted or unwarranted).

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/#ProMetNewMet
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 04:41 pm
@wandeljw,
Yes, I think the term refers to that which is beyond this experienced world; it would in that case refer to Kant's noumenal realm and even the Christian's other-worldly "heaven." I prefer Nietzsche's this-worldly attitude--all that really matters is what we experience in this life. On the other hand some would consider his Eternal Recurrence to be metaphysical, but that's only if you take his cyclical model of existence literally; I don't. On still another hand, some might consider the metaphsical to refer to that which is fundamental, to our most basic presuppositions. In that case, Nietzsche's Will to Power might qualify as a metaphysical notion because it refers virtually to a quality of everything.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 04:41 pm
@wandeljw,
Yes, I think the term refers to that which is beyond this experienced world; it would in that case refer to Kant's noumenal realm and even the Christian's other-worldly "heaven." I prefer Nietzsche's this-worldly attitude--all that really matters is what we experience in this life. On the other hand some would consider his Eternal Recurrence to be metaphysical, but that's only if you take his cyclical model of existence literally; I don't. On still another hand, some might consider the metaphsical to refer to that which is fundamental, to our most basic presuppositions. In that case, Nietzsche's Will to Power might qualify as a metaphysical notion because it refers virtually to a quality of everything.
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 05:28 pm
@wandeljw,
It originally referred to "first principles", but was also a kind of a accidental naming error arising from arrangement of Aristotle's texts. Since then it has acquired more meanings and refinements, thus often tottering on the edge of ambiguity as to what is intended. I'd rather have nothing to do with the damn term because of that and other factors, but it's very difficult to be rid of it because of either habit or its recognition appeal (difficulty finding an adequate substitute which most can relate to).
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 06:59 pm
@G H,
I agree. The term, metaphysical, serves many new-agers in a non-philosophical way, as does the term, mystical. What a shame. Consider the use of the image of the sitting Buddha (implying both the realms of the metaphysical and the mystical to the unsophisticated) in cheap mystery movies or as decorations for lamps. Double shame.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 08:18 pm
@wandeljw,
...at this very moment I rather prefer to think about it outside the usual cliché definition...from there I would reply that metaphysics is about the reason patterns repeat...
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wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2011 08:56 pm
Thank you all for interesting responses. I was thinking mostly about Kant. Kant recognized that metaphysics had been devalued by advances in science and by Hume's scepticism. I see Kant as trying to salvage whatever could be salvaged in metaphysics (or pure speculation).
G H
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Oct, 2011 11:06 am
@wandeljw,
Quote:
. . . I was thinking mostly about Kant. Kant recognized that metaphysics had been devalued by advances in science and by Hume's scepticism. I see Kant as trying to salvage whatever could be salvaged in metaphysics (or pure speculation).

For Kant, metaphysics also had to do with first principles -- though he introduced his own version in the course of turning theoretical reason away from the supersensible to the natural order, or empirical world. After the results of the critique, practical reason is what Kant deemed proper for examining that which theoretical reason had beforehand been directed, though he primarily used it for projecting items of human autonomy and morality upon "things in themselves" territory.

IMMANUEL KANT -- [P 660] . . . When metaphysics was declared to be the science of the first principles of human knowledge, the intention was not to mark out a quite special kind of knowledge, but only a certain precedence in respect of generality, which was not sufficient to distinguish such knowledge from the empirical. For among empirical principles we can distinguish some that are more general, and so higher in rank than others; but where in such a series of subordinated members -- a series in which we do not distinguish what is completely a priori from what is known only a posteriori -- are we to draw the line which distinguishes the highest or first members from the lower subordinate members?

. . . [P 013] . . . Metaphysics, on the view which we are adopting ... is nothing but the inventory of all our possessions through pure reason, systematically arranged. In this field nothing can escape us. What reason produces entirely out of itself cannot be concealed, but is brought to light by reason itself immediately the common principle has been discovered. The complete unity of this kind of knowledge, and the fact that it is derived solely from pure concepts, entirely uninfluenced by any experience or by special intuition, such as might lead to any determinate experience that would enlarge and increase it, make this unconditioned completeness not only practicable but also necessary.... Such a system of pure (speculative) reason I hope myself to produce under the title Metaphysics of Nature. It will be not half as large, yet incomparably richer in content than this present Critique, which has as its first task to discover the sources and conditions of the possibility of such criticism, clearing, as it were, and levelling what has hitherto been wasteground. In this present enterprise I look to my reader for the patience and impartiality of a judge; whereas in the other I shall look for the benevolent assistance of a fellow-worker. For however completely all the principles of the system are presented in this Critique, the completeness of the system itself likewise requires that none of the derivative concepts be lacking. These cannot be enumerated by any a priori computation, but must be discovered gradually. Whereas, therefore, in this Critique the entire synthesis of the concepts has been exhausted, there will still remain the further work of making their analysis similarly complete, a task which is rather an amusement than a labour.

. . . [P 021] Metaphysics is a completely isolated speculative science of reason, which soars far above the teachings of experience, and in which reason is indeed meant to be its own pupil. Metaphysics rests on concepts alone -- not, like mathematics, on their application to intuition. But though it is older than all other sciences, and would survive even if all the rest were swallowed up in the abyss of an all-destroying barbarism, it has not yet had the good fortune to enter upon the secure path of a science. For in it reason is perpetually being brought to a stand, even when the laws into which it is seeking to have, as it professes, an a priori insight are those that are confirmed by our most common experiences. Ever and again we have to retrace our steps, as not leading us in the direction in which we desire to go. So far, too, are the students of metaphysics from exhibiting any kind of unanimity in their contentions, that metaphysics has rather to be regarded as a battle-ground quite peculiarly suited for those who desire to exercise themselves in mock combats, and in which no participant has ever yet succeeded in gaining even so much as an inch of territory, not at least in such manner as to secure him in its permanent possession. This shows, beyond all questioning, that the procedure of metaphysics has hitherto been a merely random groping, and, what is worst of all, a groping among mere concepts.

--CPR, Norman Kemp smith translation
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  2  
Reply Mon 3 Oct, 2011 11:37 am
(...Let me just get wild for a sec, indulge me...)

Concepts, shapes and forms, whatever one wants to call it, are all reducible in binary code to rhythms and repeating frequency's of the very same nature...either the presence of one (1) or its absence...granting the one dimensional conception of such ultimate reality, computing power, that is SIZE, is of essence to establish what is what in a non relativistic manner...thus only a final set of all sets could in its own process compute itself....the problem is that is not computing anything...its there from always...there´s no time in there.

Phenomenology will never attain Ontology !
(any sub-set will never get to the final nature of the ONE Set)
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Oct, 2011 05:29 pm
@wandeljw,
maybe yes, maybe no
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Oct, 2011 06:50 pm
@kuvasz,
My definition is probably incomplete.
Ding an Sich
 
  2  
Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2011 07:14 am
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Metaphysics is the class of knowledge outside of sense data.


Eh, kind of. What about math? Math seems to fall within the class of knowledge outside of sense data.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2011 07:16 am
@wandeljw,
...probably ??? from where do you draw probability in that one ?
wandeljw
 
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2011 08:32 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
My definition is incomplete as well as over-simplified.
JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2011 05:34 pm
@wandeljw,
Isn't that true of virtually all our definitions, models, and theories?
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2011 05:38 pm
@JLNobody,
Yes. I think that we all try to find something that we can work with.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2011 02:25 pm
@wandeljw,
Ya' think?

The problem, and it is perennial, is that one's social and cultural values dominate over metaphysical investigations.

Constantly, we are attempting to "look at our own face" in such investigations....and each face is different.

"Man is the measure of all things."
Protagoras


Since no two people are alike, no discussion on the Metaphysical can be universal.

Christ, I'm sounding like Fresco!
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2011 04:48 pm
@kuvasz,
You wish (me too).
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 Oct, 2011 11:53 am
@wandeljw,
Quote:
Metaphysics is the class of knowledge outside of sense data.


This confuses the metaphysics/epistemology distinction a bit. Metaphysics has to do with the very structure of reality. When you mention "knowledge" your treading on epistemology, and epistemology primarily focuses on the justification for what we "know". When you talk about what we can know outside of a empirical epistemology, the point at issue is justification for our beliefs. However, the point at issue with metaphysics is what constitutes reality e.g. materialism, dualism, monism, etc etc.
 

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