Re: MD A metaphysics

From: Joe (
Date: Sat Aug 23 2003 - 18:49:34 BST

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    On 21 August 2003 2: 37 PM Matt writes:

    Hi Matt,

    > 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

    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.

    joe: i want to talk about popular wisdom. "As the twig is bent, so grows
    the tree!" "A chip off the old block doesn't have far to fall!" Concerning
    attitudes: "At the birth of the baby someone in the room remarked: 'Ewww
    what a mess you've made!'"

    When I ask about first knowledge I get ewwww...! My first memories are
    spotty, out of synch. Events I thought I remembered, my younger sister said
    were reversed. My first experience of myself was running. Clump, clump,
    clump in hightop shoes. I was alive and happy. Boy! was i running fast,
    but was I clumsy.

    My experience is that babies point a lot as though asking, Will that hurt
    me? What is it? Or whatever? My youngest daughter watched the side of her
    bassinet, as though watching the movement of presences invisible to me. I
    do not think it is beyond the realm of possibility that my first knowledge
    was of dq and sq.


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