Re: MD A metaphysics

From: Joe (
Date: Wed Aug 20 2003 - 17:37:43 BST

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    On 16 August 2003 4:38 PM Matt P K writes:

    Hi Matt, Platt, and all,

    > Joe said:
    > a metaphysics describes the most basic things I know.
    > Platt, you have stated that a metaphysics is a belief system. I think
    Matt also assumes that a metaphysics is a belief system. He does not
    believe in metaphysics.
    > Both of you seem to accept that a person only has a belief in words.
    > Is it any wonder that you find agreement while disagreeing?

    joe: my bad that I ascribe a position to you that you do not hold. I am not
    sure what your position is on a structure of knowledge. My statement that
    you accept belief and then deny belief was a clumsy way to state my
    undertainty, again my bad. I was trying to rationalize your surprise at the
    agreement between you and Platt.

    Michael is right, people do use different definitions to words. They use
    whatever definition works, is handy, feels right. Joe defined metaphysics
    as "the most basic things [we] know." Would I subscribe to such a
    definition? No. That's why Joe is wrong when he says, "Matt also assumes a
    metaphysics is a belief system." He most certainly wouldn't and still try
    and hold that he doesn't believe in metaphysics. As DMB so eloquently put
    it, that would be stupid. I'm not stupid. Just wily.

    I had some very long discussions about what metaphysics is or was with Scott
    and Wim a while back. And I haven't changed my opinion or my tune. I also
    haven't thought of a new way of putting my point. So, if I still get
    charged with stupidity by people who have read my last 6 months worth of
    statements up to and including this, well, darn.

    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.

    joe: when I studied scholastic metaphysics, I assumed I was learning the
    traditional metaphysics of Aristotle. My professor Fr Taylor had a dispute
    with the tradition of only including res, unum, verum, bonum as
    transcendentals. He added aliquid, also. He wrote a paper on it. Basically
    for me metaphysics is first knowledge, not a belief. I would disagree with
    Wim's conclusion. So I am defining 'metaphysics' differently.

    I am late answering your post. I have opened a can of worms, and I am a bit
    tongue tied on how to proceed. Let me start with a question.

    Is it your opinon that knowledge is unstructured, and that there is no first

    Matt to Mattew:
    The only kind of thing that has a point
    of view is a person. So, the pragmatist would say after being accused of
    being subjective, "Of course its my point of view. Who's else would it be?"
    Everything is from a point of view, so the epithet loses its force. The
    idea is to determine whose point of view is better. That's still under
    deliberation. What subjective and objective pan out to mean in a pragmatist
    world are "hard to agree on things" and "easy to agree on things,"
    respectively. So, if a tiger jumped out of the jungle and started running
    at us, you can say, "It is an objective fact that there is a tiger about to
    eat us," I would disagree in so far as the tiger isn't going to eat me
    because during the time it took you to note that objective fact, I've gotten
    a headstart running away. And as they say, you don't have to be fast to run
    away from a tiger, you just have to be faster than the person you are with.

    joe: i like your image of running first from the tiger. I have a question.
    If I am walking with someone, why would I assume there was only one tiger
    stalking us, or that the tiger was the only danger in the jungle? It might
    be better to convince the tiger that I am a friend. And the lion will lay
    down with the lambs. Then I will be protected by tigers. Of course, my
    companion will yell at me and curse me. It seems I put my companion in
    danger by talking to a tiger. What the hell! I can't win them all.

    Platt said:
    To have a belief and hold it to be true are the same thing. Matt has beliefs
    but denies his beliefs are true in any absolute sense. His denial, of
    course, is an absolute.

    My denial is absolute only if you hold that having a belief is the same as
    holding it to be _absolutely_ true. I agree that "to have a belief and hold
    it to be true are the same thing." However, I don't quite know where the
    absolute part comes from.

    joe: 'intuitive intellect' is an oxymoron? No comment!


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