Re: MD A metaphysics

From: Scott R (
Date: Sun Aug 17 2003 - 04:39:59 BST

  • Next message: Jonathan B. Marder: "MD Chance and natural selection"


    [Matt:]> Wim wanted metaphysics to simply mean "one's deepest beliefs" which
    is basically what Joe, DMB, and Michael would like metaphysics to mean. I
    don't want metaphysics to mean that because there is something about what
    philosophers have traditionally thought about their deepest beliefs that I
    think is extraneous cargo that can be purged. This superfluous cargo has
    traditionally been called "metaphysics." Michael is right that metaphysics
    asks the question, "What is real?" That is the no-no question that
    pragmatists like John Dewey, William James, Richard Rorty, and Donald
    Davidson want to get rid of. But that question has nothing to do with
    metaphysics being "one's deepest beliefs" or "system of belief". To
    conflate the two is to make the mistake that Plato made.

    [rest snipped, but a good post, thank you, even if partially wrong-headed

    I tried to get past this with my distinction between expressed metaphysics
    and underlying metaphysics, but it didn't get very far. But nevermind.

    I too am suspicious of the question "what is real". But I am also suspicious
    of Dewey's, Rorty's, and Davidson's motives (James I think escapes this
    criticism). That is, these guys are materialists, and *therefore* reject
    appearance/reality distinctions and metaphysics, since materialism is
    basically the position that only appearances are real. (Of course, as
    pragmatists, they wouldn't say that, but that does seem to underlie their

    As I've said before, the "2000 years with nothing to show" argument doesn't
    wash. The "answer" (mysticism, to be brief) has been around all that time
    (and is a part of the philosophical tradition, though in the West, not
    dominant), but most people can't hear it, or aren't ready for it. And of
    course a materialist rejects this answer for dogmatic reasons.

    Thus this misrepresentation:

    " Plato's answer was that all of reality we experience via our senses _is_ a
    dream, a massive hallucination, but we do have the tools to reach reality,
    so don't worry too much. Just wait for the smart people to tell you what
    reality is. "

    Reality can be (and has been) reached, but it is not something that can be
    told. What can be told is what we need to change in ourselves in the way of
    beliefs, morals, attitudes, etc., that keeps us not only from reaching
    reality, but even keeps us from being aware of our lack. That is what this
    philosophical tradition tries to correct..

    - Scott

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun Aug 17 2003 - 04:45:34 BST