Re: MD A metaphysics

Date: Mon Aug 18 2003 - 02:03:31 BST

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    Michael said:
    I, Michael, think we need to be a little more careful when "assuming" what people hold to be there deepest beliefs. I do not define metaphysics to mean "one's deepest beliefs" in fact I went farther to define the word as simplistically as possible "the study of what is real". Maybe it's because I am a first time poster but before clustering my beliefs in with other people....well...refer to me first and I'll let you know.

    Yeah, well, I did see your definition, but most people conflate "the study of what is real" with "system of belief" that I figured I wasn't going out on too much of a limb. My bad and my apologies. I just kept saying your name because sometimes new posters get lost in the tangle of older disputes between long-time posters. I wanted you to stay involved and in the conversation. Hey, and look at that, it worked!

    Michael said:
    Metaphysics for me does not denote one type of belief it starts the beginnings of new belief. That's why for me the term "metaphysics" doesn't mean anything more then a philosophy 101 book states. I will go so far to point out that being a philosopher means only one thing for me "to love wisdom". That there are no prerequisite for something that can simply be loved or enjoyed. If we start getting complicated about that I personally wouldn't want to be part of it. So to clarify: Metaphysics to me is nothing more then a verbal tool that we use to define something in terms of what is or is not real. That's all! It doesn't become a belief system until one takes it in that direction. That's why I said metaphysics comes before belief. Just like a chunk of rock and a chisel come before a sculpture.

    Roger that. However, your definition of metaphysics as "the study of what is real" doesn't escape the points I made in my last post, meaning, what the hell do I call those people who broker in the appearance/reality distinction? Making metaphysics "the study of what is real" is fine as far as it goes, but every academic subject then becomes a subset of metaphysics. Every academic subject from physics to literary criticism studies something that's real, whether its particles or books. What's left of metaphysics, then, is "the study of what is real that isn't currently being studied by another academic field." That's a bit more cumbersome and isn't as simple, simplicity being what you wanted. Just remember, you may think I'm doing metaphysics, but I'll rarely think you're doing metaphysics (unless you start using an appearance/reality distinction, or keep up with the subject/object talk).

    I'll leave metaphysics because I just see no use for it. However, "philosophy" is another matter. I'm right with you in leaving it to its etymological origins. The other definition I like is Wilfrid Sellars' definition: "the attempt to see how things, in the broadest sense of the term, hang together, in the broadest sense of the term." That way we can include people like Yeats, Wordsworth, Whitman, and Lincoln in our line-up of philosophers, not just canonized ones like Plato and Kant.


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