Tuesday 10 July 2018

Knowing what is being assumed - ie metaphysics

A recurrent problem in discussions is that each side has different assumptions but conducts the argument as if it could be resolved by evidence...

And when any attempt at clarifying thes matter is dealt with by rejecting the attempt as ludicrous 'semantics ' or evasive/ obscurationist philosophizing...

Thus arguments persist indefinitely...

This blocking of metaphysical awareness is a major and extremely successful strategy of demonic evil... It has been at work for centuries and is now very nearly complete.

Why has this happened, why so hard to resist and combat? I think because the comparison of metaphysical assumptions entails intuition, and intuition as the proper basis of thought has been denigrated by almost all institutions.

So, the situation is that the only and necessary answer to perpetual error and ignorance, and manipulation by evil is to build on explicit and intuitively-examined assumptions.

We need to evaluate, with our whole selves, that upon which we have built. And, when found unsatisfactory, change it.

Nothing is more important, here-and-now... But to understand why requires that same metaphysical reform. It's inescapable, and each can only do it for himself.


Chiu ChunLing said...

One might define metaphysics as the essential assumptions we have about the proper function and structure of our physics.

If we have no interest in doing any physics, then we need no metaphysics as such. But physics is more than the narrow study of physical laws in terms of specific engineering practices.

Everything we physically do is an exercise in physics, it is based on our predictions of what will happen as a result of a given physical action. We assess whether we would like the result in order to decide whether to embrace or reject the action.

So we must decide various things about what we want our process of prediction to accomplish. Do we want to reassure ourselves that the outcome cannot be all that bad, and provide justification for ignoring our culpability, or do we want to have a generally reliable prediction of what will happen as a result of a particular action? These are contradictory motives, the more reliable the predictions of our physics, the more we see that it tells us that some possible actions have dire results indeed.

A metaphysics of avoiding uncomfortable truths can seem very attractive. But it cannot lead to a physics of actually avoiding the unpleasant outcomes we could only predict by acknowledging uncomfortable truths.

However, it can allow us to evade near-term outcomes we find undesirable by denying the need to avoid far worse long-term outcomes. I know many people look at my life and say, "I'm glad I haven't chosen that!" To which I say, "you won't be glad of it forever, or even very long."

But whether such a thing could even be knowable is a matter of metaphysical assumption. Does the long-term inevitably shape the near-term, and then the present? If not, then we can make no reliable predictions, but then again we can't be 'blamed' for failing to do so either. Avoiding blame is a powerful incentive for picking a metaphysics in which the future cannot be known.

But it doesn't actually avoid blame, it merely prevents us from thinking about it.

Still, there is a way past the need for metaphysics. That is to let someone else decide our physics for us. We all do plenty of that anyway, no matter how detailed your metaphysics, there is simply too much physics for anyone to work it out all on their own. So mostly the function of metaphysics is to see whether the physics being offered is something that was produced by a compatible metaphysics.

If we're willing to simply trust another person's physics, we'll have little need for metaphysics.

At least until the person we trust asks it of us, which is going to happen sooner or later with any person worthy of such trust. But later is later.

On the other hand, we can still do our metaphysics now even if it won't be needed till later. Though we might have to redo it in light of greater mental capacities we enjoy later.

Bruce Charlton said...

Metaphysics is the philosophy of first assumptions. It doesnt have anything specifically to do with what has been called physics in the past couple of centuries - the name refers merely to an arrangement of topics in Aristotle.