Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 2/24/07, *Tom Caylor* <[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote:
>     On Feb 23, 8:51 pm, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>     <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote:
>      > On 2/24/07, Tom Caylor < [EMAIL PROTECTED]
>     <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote:
>      >
>      > > 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
>     whole.
>      >
>      > > 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
>     assumes
>      > > 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.
>     This is a metaphysical judgment.  There are those who strongly
>     disagree on rational grounds.
> One of the problems with the verification principle of logical 
> positivism was that it, itself, cannot be verified by the verification 
> principle, and hence is subject to the charge of being part of the hated 
> metaphysics (and, I suppose, if it could be verified it would be subject 
> to the charge that it was a circular argument). But I would get around 
> the problem by stating the principles by which science works thus: IF 
> you want to predict the weather, build planes that fly, make sick people 
> better THEN you should do such and such. By putting it in this 
> conditional form there is no metaphysical component.
>      > Science is just a systematisation of this
>      > process, with guesses taking the form of models and theories.
>     So science is a just systematisation of a metaphysical judgment.  I
>     agree.
>      > 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
>     Looking over my previous post, I cannot see why you are bringing up
>     absolute certainty.  Also I don't know what "absolute meaning" means,
>     unless it means knowing meaning with absolute certainty in which case
>     I don't hold that view. 
> Sorry if I have misunderstood, and if I have been unclear or tangential. 
> Several posts back you spoke of positivism being deficient because "a 
> closed system which is supposedly totally explainable will always have 
> at least one fixed point that is unexplainable". 

This is somewhat beside the point anyway.  Positivists (and all foundationists) 
suppose that there are some things known directly, without explanation, usually 
by direct perception or by introspection.  Just as mystics suppose some things 
are directly intuited or revealed by meditation, e.g. "...such things as 
fundamentality, generality and beauty."

Brent Meeker

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