Thank you, guys, for 2 parts in this post I cherrish most.
(I was questioning the endless back-and-forth of these 'bickercussions', but 
from time to time there is a part that justifies the frustration of reading so 
I leave the part from Stathis' text which I want to copy to another list (with 
credit to Stathis and this list - if it is not prohibited, pls advise) between 
dotted lines. 
The remark of Brent opened up a little light in my head (aka activated some 
photons in the neurons?) about refreshing the 'pilot wave' of D. Bohm as 
coinciding with Robert Rosen's anticipatory principle. (Bohm's priority). 
Btw I find 'metaphysics' was a false historical mock-name to reject everything 
outside the primitive ancient model they called (then) "physics" (the science). 
Today's physics is many times 'meta', especially when carrying a "Q-name". I 
can relate to both of yours remarks. 
( Theists etc. just wanted to ride that horse in the past.  )
The wording that emerges in talks about metaphysics is a mixture of the ancient 
denigration and the up-to-date ideas. Is it still fruitful to argue about a 
past misnomer?

John M
PS. about 'cause' and 'positivists':
if we accept the random occurrences in the existence, we just waste any effort 
to identify ANY order (including math). I don't think the 'positivist' is a 
right (denigrating?)
word for the idea that everything is (deterministically) interconnected/ 
interinfluencing any occurrence to 'happen' - maybe not 'causing' just 
'directing/facilitating' - entailing in some sense.  JM
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stathis Papaioannou 
  Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 6:32 AM
  Subject: Re: The Meaning of Life

  I suppose it depends on what is covered by the term "metaphysics". Theists 
sometimes profess absolute certainty in the face of absolute lack of evidence, 
and are proud of it. I wouldn't lump this in together with the interpretation 
of quantum mechanics (I'm sure you wouldn't either, but I thought I'd make the 

  ...      (On /24/07,                                                        
    >     On Feb 23, 3:59 am, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
    >     <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] >> wrote:
    >      > On 2/23/07, Tom Caylor <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
    >     <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote: 
    >      > Stathis Papaioannou
    >     I agree that positivists don't like metaphysics, and they actually 
    >     don't believe in it either.  The problem with this is that science is
    >     ultimately based on (and is inescapably in the context of) some kind
    >     of metaphysics, since it is in the context of the universe as a 
    >     There are some ways of sorting out metaphysics.  In fact these
    >     criteria are mostly the same as how we sort out science (since, again,
    >     science is based on metaphysics).  These are such things as 
    >     fundamentality, generality and beauty.  However, the fact that science
    >     conventionally has been limited to the "material" (whatever that
    >     means!) implies that the criteria of naturality (a viscious circle 
    >     actually!) and reproducibility (another vicious circle) that we have
    >     in science cannot be applied to the universe as a whole or to
    >     metaphysics.
    >     [Side note: But even more important is to recognize that metaphysics, 
    >     as well as science, is filtered for us: we are part of the universe
    >     and we are limited.  So this filters out almost everything.  This
    >     limits more than anything the amount of "sense" we can make out of 
    >     Everything.]
    >     However the criterion that you are trying to enforce, that of all
    >     things having a cause even in the context of Everything and Everyone,
    >     is a positivist criteria, treating metaphysics as science.  It 
    >     that Everything has to be part of this closed system of cause and
    >     effect.  There are plenty of criteria to sort out Everything (as I've
    >     mentioned above) without getting into the positivist viscious circle. 
    > The universe is not under any obligation to reveal itself to us. All we
    > can do is stumble around blindly gathering what data we can and make a
    > best guess as to what's going on. Science is just a systematisation of 
    > this process, with guesses taking the form of models and theories.
    > However, it's all tentative, and the scientific method itself is
    > tentative: tomorrow pigs might sprout wings and fly, even though this 
    > has never happened before. I would bet that pigs will still be
    > land-bound tomorrow, because there is no reason to think otherwise, but
    > I have to stop short of absolute certainty. A metaphysical position 
    > would be that flying pigs are an absurdity or an anathema and therefore
    > pigs absolutely *cannot* fly. But it is arrogant as well as wrong to
    > create absolute certainty, absolute meaning, or absolute anything else 
    > by fiat, just because that's what you fancy. If there are some things we
    > can't know with certainty or can't know at all, that may be unfortunate,
    > but it's the way the world is.
    > Stathis Papaioannou
    You seem to take metaphysics to be an absolutist theory.  Maybe Tom does 
too.  But I think of metaphysics to be the interpretation we put on top of our 
mathematical theories, e.g. Bohm's pilot wave and Feynman's multiple particle 
paths are two different metaphysics we can use to explain what the formalism of 
quantum mechanics refers to.  But we're *less* certain about them than about 
the formalism.  In fact they don't even matter in applications.  Their 
usefulness, if they have any, is in suggesting extensions to the theory. 

    Brent Meeker



  No virus found in this incoming message.
  Checked by AVG Free Edition.
  Version: 7.5.441 / Virus Database: 268.18.3/699 - Release Date: 2/23/2007 
1:26 PM

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to