Re: MD A metaphysics

Date: Thu Aug 21 2003 - 22:37:09 BST

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    Joe said:
    Basically for me metaphysics is first knowledge, not a belief. I would disagree with Wim's conclusion. So I am defining 'metaphysics' differently.

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

    My response to metaphysics-as-first-knowledge: ewwww, gross. As Pirsig says, Aristotle defined metaphysics as "first philosophy" and philosophers since then have bought into the notion that there should be a first philosophy (the latest being Michael Dummett who thinks that philosophy of language should be first). Pragmatists do not think there should be a first philosophy, or first knowledge, because there is no non-circular argument for which philosophy or which knowledge should be first. There is no agreed upon criteria. Metaphysics as leading to first knowledge is the type of traditional metaphysics that pragmatists would like us to leave for the Greeks.

    However, I do think knowledge is structured. It is structured by the linguistic practices, the static patterns, that we inherit from our predecessors. This is why many people call metaphysics a system of belief, because it structures our beliefs. So, I think your question begs the question because translated it says, "Either you don't think our beliefs can be structured in a system, or you think you can answer the question, 'What is real?'" Your question conflates the two definitions of metaphysics I used in my last post.


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