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Thread: Are metaphysics and epistemology dead ends?

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    Newbie IILooney may be famous one day IILooney may be famous one day IILooney's Avatar
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    Are metaphysics and epistemology dead ends?

    To be clear metaphysics is the study of reality, or being in itself, and epistemology is the study or theory of knowledge.
    With metaphysics it seems that we are unable to provide a logical explanation for the empirical happenings of the world. When one attempts this feat one ends up making nonsensical assumptions in order to construct a coherent theory. Our language finally is unnable to fully map out the world we experience with cohesiveness and consistancy. It is only useful for referencing it.

    With knowledge we have the dillema of certainty and identity that keeps us from having the capacity to truly know. From both of these we are faced with paradox. And since these paradoxes cannot be resolved it is unlikely that knowledge will ever have a secure place in our minds.

    So what do you think?
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    Otaku dark_glaive may be famous one day dark_glaive may be famous one day
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    I think if you talked to the average person who didn't contemplate such things, they'd laugh at you when you told them they can't know anything. One could logically prove to me all day that I do not have the capacity to know anything, yet I have knowledge and know things. Logic falls on its face in front of facts. Now, I realize the argument made would say that facts don't exist, but I personally do not care. We live, we die, we feel, and therefore all arguments in saying that everything is unknowable...are just well silly. I know I'm not using any hard logic, but the emotions that people feel interest me infinetly more than abstract logic. I use logic when I'm programming a computer, but I along with the people around me form a tapestry of emotions that, while it has its bad parts, is ultimately beautiful.

    I will agree that language is incapable of capturing everything, but I see it as incapable of capturing feelings for the most part. It tends to do fine in the world surrounding the human consciousness.
    Last edited by dark_glaive; Apr 03, 2005 at 08:28 PM.
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    Newbie IILooney may be famous one day IILooney may be famous one day IILooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dark_glaive
    I think if you talked to the average person who didn't contemplate such things, they'd laugh at you when you told them they can't know anything.
    yeah you're right. but what you mentioned about knowing, "We live, we die, we feel, and therefore all arguments in saying that everything is unknowable...are just well silly," is still nothing but a nonsensical assumption. People base this knowledge on what has happened in the past, and what has happened to other people, but it doesn't follow that these are inevitable events of the future. People just accept these as definite possibilities because of lack of other evidence and assume they will occur again (altough few ever think about it).

    Also the claim of a personal experience of emotion is just as nonsensical. Emotion isn't a fact. There is no proof that anyone can give of such an internal experience. So talk of emotion must be ruled out when we talk about knowledge and reality. I'm not denying emotion, I'm just stating its irrelevance to the topic. It does not apply the same way as logic does. Logic orients us to facts. Emotion filters our experince. And since emotion is not a fact, it will not fit within the framework of logic, or the language game that is a manifestation of logic. So when we speak of epistemology and metaphysics we must remember that many of our daily assumptions that we live by are ruled out.
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    Otaku bugsbunnyx may be famous one day bugsbunnyx may be famous one day
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    wait so people have dedicated their lives to study reality?...and its just passing them by, thats like spending all day debating a bus timetable for a bus that jus left....

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    Otaku dark_glaive may be famous one day dark_glaive may be famous one day
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    Quote Originally Posted by IILooney
    yeah you're right. but what you mentioned about knowing, "We live, we die, we feel, and therefore all arguments in saying that everything is unknowable...are just well silly," is still nothing but a nonsensical assumption. People base this knowledge on what has happened in the past, and what has happened to other people, but it doesn't follow that these are inevitable events of the future. People just accept these as definite possibilities because of lack of other evidence and assume they will occur again (altough few ever think about it).

    Also the claim of a personal experience of emotion is just as nonsensical. Emotion isn't a fact. There is no proof that anyone can give of such an internal experience. So talk of emotion must be ruled out when we talk about knowledge and reality. I'm not denying emotion, I'm just stating its irrelevance to the topic. It does not apply the same way as logic does. Logic orients us to facts. Emotion filters our experince. And since emotion is not a fact, it will not fit within the framework of logic, or the language game that is a manifestation of logic. So when we speak of epistemology and metaphysics we must remember that many of our daily assumptions that we live by are ruled out.
    Have you been reading Ayn Rand?

    Well, anyhow, you question if we can truly know. I'm not sure how to address your argument since you question knowledge itself. You claim to know that knowledge is uncertain. Is that not a contradiction?

    Logic is based off of what we know to be true and how things must follow sensibly from what we know. If you claim that we cannot know, you have removed logic's foundation. Therefore, I see now way of arguing with you logically since you have denied logic from entering the argument by your knowledge of knowledge's uncertainty. Knowledge is an axiom of logic. You cannot deny knowledge without claiming to know.

    My main point in my spiel about emotions, which I didn't make clear, is, for example, that you can claim to a mother that she doesn't know her child is dead, but she is still going to feel sadness. Sitting around saying "we don't know anything," will get you nowhere. People who don't have time to care will be leading the world to a new future through a science based on logic and the certainty of knowledge. Logic is simply a tool in getting through life. Using it to destroy itself is pointless.

    This is the main reason hardcore philosophy has never interested me. It seems that philosophers these days are only interested in destroying philosophy.
    Last edited by dark_glaive; Apr 04, 2005 at 04:33 PM.
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    Lady Barronmore Arrianna has become well known Arrianna has become well known Arrianna has become well known Arrianna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugsbunnyx
    wait so people have dedicated their lives to study reality?...and its just passing them by, thats like spending all day debating a bus timetable for a bus that jus left....
    They find it a convineint way to not believe anything. If you remove all observation and perception as biased then you have nothing left. Therefore you know nothing. It's like denying color exists and then saying therefore you can't see.

    They're not studying reality, they're studying ways to deny reality exists. Scientists study reality.

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    Newbie IILooney may be famous one day IILooney may be famous one day IILooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugsbunnyx
    wait so people have dedicated their lives to study reality?...and its just passing them by, thats like spending all day debating a bus timetable for a bus that jus left....
    Actually those people have dedicated either their education or careers to metaphysics while reality passes all of us by and we dedicate our lives to things just as useless. This dedication is another way of saying doing something that you think makes you happy.
    But this is off topic and I just wanted to clarify you perception, BugsX

    Quote Originally Posted by Arrianna
    They're not studying reality, they're studying ways to deny reality exists. Scientists study reality.
    I'm sorry but you must have metaphysics confused with Nihilism or skepticism. They are not studying ways to deny that reality exists. They are trying to develop theories that explain being in itself, while minimalizing the contradictions of the theory. It is a hard task, hence the necessary dedication to its study discussed above. It requires some very precise levels of thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by dark_glaive
    Well, anyhow, you question if we can truly know. I'm not sure how to address your argument since you question knowledge itself. You claim to know that knowledge is uncertain. Is that not a contradiction?
    Now were getting somewhere. Excellent question.
    Let me clear some things up first though. I never "claimed to know" anything, especially that knowledge is uncertain. This is merely an investigation into the topic of knowledge.
    As for the things I do know I should give aN EXAMPLE.
    I've never been to the moon. I'm certain I've never been there. Now what if I had been there and just didn't know it (like I had been drugged or hyptnotized so that I wouldn't remember it.) This does not mean that I have no knowledge. It just means that I am confused about the facts. My certainty, that I had never been to the moon, isn't mistaken, because under the circumstances it would be ridiculous for me to think otherwise, even if it is the truth. So even in ignorance we still base our certainty on our knowledge of the case at hand. So here I have also implicitly assumed the existence of knowledge by contributing to this discussion. My aim is to find out what knowledge is not to deny it.
    Last edited by IILooney; Apr 04, 2005 at 05:10 PM.
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    Otaku dark_glaive may be famous one day dark_glaive may be famous one day
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    Ok I see a little bit better about what you are driving for. Now that I know you aren't a nihilist I don't have to in ultra-angry Dark Glaive attack mode. I will concede that there is no objective lense to see reality short of a God. The major problem that I, and Arrianna as well it seems, have with this is that a lot of the people who believe this tend towards nihilism. Hence, my emotion spiel. Our senses are in no way 100% accurate (although they do pretty well unless we ourselves screw up our own senses or the senses of others), but we have to work with what we have and move on.

    Since this is, after all, an anime forum, I'm going to consult Evangelion on what reality is. If we have no objective way to see reality, and God's not answering, that would mean the "truth," what reality is, would be the collective of everyone's perceptions. Since we can't mind meld with everyone, we have no way of seeing that whole reality.

    I don't want to imply though that just because the majority says something is true, it is. If someone calls me on this, I'll actually argue it instead of just stating it.

    Having said that and basically conceded to you IILooney, what does that tell us? Does anyone really care? Does this affect the way anyone's life aside from ivory tower philosophers? Scientists certainly couldn't get anywhere if they didn't have some faith in their perceptions. I think logic should give us some practical results (hence why I use logic for my job but go on my emotions for my personal life. The two aren't totally independent of each other though). I don't mean to sound like an interogator, but I don't see a way to apply this to my life.
    Last edited by dark_glaive; Apr 04, 2005 at 05:32 PM.
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