Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Mr Reasonable » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:37 am

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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Fred » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:11 am

Me: Generalizing that a bit (I think), how can one mix theory and real-world without confusion unless one investigates the difference at the meta-level?

Smears: Help me out a bit and elaborate. I think this is in the direction I want to go.


Ok! Here's a topic list of theory v. RW things I've blabbed about. Should prompt ideas. If you like anything, pick a few syllables, mix and match, characterize interest. I/we/others could drill down.

One man's theory is another man's application. Math logic for applied math. Applied math for experimental results. Chess for RW adversarial engagements.

Percent of theory v. RW practice: Professions 15%-25%? Scholar, mathematician: 75%-100%. Scientist 25%-75%?

Theory v. context: Elements that can change true/false/maybe of statements. Context versus: theory, logical, objectivity, humanities.

Pragmatic distinction.

Language ambiguity. logic, level of description (precise vagueness), humor, humanities. Ethics: empathy, justified lying.

Expansion of "identity" example: Case-based reasoning (wiki). Ethics: "Casuistry" (wiki)

Liabilities of theoretical v. RW thinking. Range among people. Youthful training. Brain programming.

Theory v. RW distinction in logic. Words v. numbers. History. Terminological creep. Consequences. AI as mind-game to improve reasoning. Importance of debate. True v. reliable.

Theory statistics v. applied statistics. Big implications for science, invalidates much of soft science.

Refute theory with theory, RW with RW. Ethics example: theoretical torture argument w/ theoretical rebuttal.

Since you mentioned language ambiguity ("de dicto") in your reply, here's something:

I've tossed crumpled up papers into my desk waste basket 500 times. They have certainly never entered the basket exactly equidistant from all sides, but that doesn't matter. They virtually never miss the basket. It is "reliable." In the real world, that's all you can get, so that's all we care about.

But in theory, there's something very wrong. How do I put that into an equation? An equation needs a point, e.g. equidistant from all sides (absent inequalities, statistics, etc.) Using words/language is just the same.

If I miss the basket, I get a bigger basket, move it closer, or practice my aim. Language is just like that too, and that's why it's generally so very reliable, i.e. works for logic. If the commander says, "Fire at Will!" and someone shoots Will, then next time the commander says, "Discretionary Fire!"

1st message in thread: "...pointing out the ethical implications of them to create a class..."


What did you mean by "class?" What's your time frame?
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Mr Reasonable » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:18 pm

Fred I agree with what you're saying. I read a paper once about "maximally specific propositions".
David Lewis was talking about how he heard the sound of little feet in his house, and assumed it was his cat, then went on to explain and justify this assumption in spite of his inability to see the cat from where he was sitting.
The time frame for the material isn't set in stone. We have a tendency to move at a relatively slow speed, as most of us are busy and just do this stuff on the side.
It'll probably end up being a phl499 course for undergrads, (as they need at least one to graduate and they're individually designed courses, (or designed for a small group of 4-6 students).
People tend to enjoy the metaphysics and the logic and all that, and by applying these things to ethics in the way that we'd like to, it sort of grounds everything a bit so that everything's not completely abstract.
Great stuff Fred.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby [ ] » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:20 pm

Naturalism is a metaphysics, one could argue. Of course words like "naturalism" and "metaphysics" aren't nearly as exact signs as "14." The scientific method itself cannot pull itself out of the swamp by its own bootstraps. I don't think we ever escape more or less conscious axioms, methods, etc.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Moreno » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:51 am

Smears wrote:
Scientific naturalism, like most sciences, has a system of proofs which relies heavily on mathematics.
Mathematics doesn't seem to function very well without assuming some kind of identity theory as a most basic axiom.
Even if two objects in the physical world share the maximum number of properties, it is impossible for them to share the property of spatiotemporal location.
Because there is no 100% identity in the physical world.
Mathematics must postulate identities in order to be able to process data at all.
Postulating non-physical entities, (like identities), is what you do when you're doing metaphysics.
Science therefore cannot dispense with metaphysics.

Now I'm not saying that you can't push metaphysics into a corner, or redefine it so narrowly that it's hardly relevant, I'm just saying you can't properly dispense of it.
I bolded the 'set up' portion above and want to highlight that to me this already involved metaphysics. We've just gotten so used to the map, we think that we were simply tracing reality when we made it. Words like 'object' refer to 'portions of a set of experiences'. From these experiences we gather qualities and call some of these objects and some 'me' and divide the world into subject object. This all seems metaphysical to me. Useful, perhaps 'correct' whatever that would mean, but still metaphysics. We agree to not consider solipsism, to not come from some unified subject object stance - say some mystical Hindu one or the more banal one of an infant. And this agreement is productive and useful - though hard to compare it to some other. This may be what you are getting at with 'identities' but I had to come at it my own way. I would say also that our 'vantage' as experiencers who experience time the way we do is also a metaphysical stance, though one that is built in so it hardly seems like a choice or an option but it should not be confused with something neutral. I think as bodies, even if we are only that, we are doomed or blessed to be metaphysical creatures.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby seepingin » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:28 pm

No.

Science IS metaphysics. Kant was right. Everybody else was wrong.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Moreno » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:12 am

ReleventBullshitLust wrote:At the risk of sounding arrogant (and perhaps a bit paradoxical) I'm going to just go ahead and state the surreptitiously obvious ( :wink: ).......


Science presupposes metaphysics.


Just wanted to add to your points around causation two metaphysical defaults in science.....

It is presumed that two objects do not influence each other until there is strong evidence otherwise. You can think of this as a presumption of disconnection or presumption of distance. (so some of the presumtions of interconnectedness on the part of indigenous groups was seen as metaphysics when in fact later ecological studies verified these once the metaphysics of distance was outevidenced.)

It is presumed that something is not conscious until there is strong evidence otherwise. (hence the embarassingly long period of time, which ended a couple of decades ago) where referring to the emotions, intentions, consciousness of animals could cause you professional problems. Even the way other races and women were viewed had an element of this, though this tapered off earlier)

Perhaps, after what will then, finally, be seen as a circuitous route, scientific naturalism will verify that working from presumptions of interconnectedness and pan consciousness would have been a more direct route to core understandings of the universe. At that point it will have to be acknowledged that there was a metaphysical component in scientific naturalism. Of course, to me that means there is one already, since we do not know if these presumptions will, in the end, be seen as 'the right axioms' - or 'the right defaults'.
Last edited by Moreno on Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Mr Reasonable » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:31 am

Thank's for chiming in Moreno.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Moreno » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:06 am

Smears wrote:Thank's for chiming in Moreno.
You're welcome. I added a last paragraph, which you haven't read, once I figured out how to word it.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Moreno » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:29 am

I realized on a little more mulling that one of the reasons scientific naturalism seems to be not metaphysical is because it is a negative metaphysics.

You can see this in the old battle between the rationalists and the empiricists. The latter NOT believing in innate knowledge. (I have never quite understood how they think one can begin to gather knowledge without any knowledge, seems like the eyes, for example, themselves are built with axioms in them and ones that are helpful. But hey, that's another thread.) I think this disbelief is metaphysical. Related to this, and related to the disconnection default in my second from the last post, is their negative belief in direct knowing, without intermediaries. IOW minds are separate from 'things out there' and can only triangulate statistically towards them, with great care, over time. I think this schema is a negative metaphysics.

Negative of course not in the value sense.

To me it seems clear that scientific naturalism is in part a reaction to positive metaphysics that was seen as problematic. (and as an aside, that this is partially a false dillemma, and further that positive metaphysics are unavoidable - hidden in the schema leading to the above negative metaphysics are positive axioms that I would call metaphysical)
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby James S Saint » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:20 am

Actually Science can, and probably will, get rid of metaphysics in the same way it gets rid of religion. Science is getting rid of religion by doing religion under the name of "Theoretical Quantum Physics". The Quantum Magi use Science to preach and springboard their "mind over matter" agenda. Merely mentioning anything sub-nuclear and a few hard to read equations, gains the belief that it must be Science, not magic worship. That way it can be taught in US schools.

Physics can't actually exist without metaphysics, but that doesn't mean you have to call it that. With Rational Metaphysics, I can explain to Science, for example, exactly why momentum and energy are conserved, why quantumization takes place, why the speed of light is what it is and finite, and why time dilation must occur and basically all of the "why's" rather than the "what's" of Science. And I can do it without the slightest "observations" or assumptions from Science. Currently Science can't do that with or without observations. But I have no doubt that if enough people began to understand the logic behind those principles, Science would merely include them under a new name and call them Science, hence still no "metaphysics".

Metaphysics actually means "the principles by which physicality comes to be". The name has a terrible history of people without the slightest notion of what they are saying making all kinds of claims, so I can understand why Science would want to disassociate.

So I would say that Science WILL exclude metaphysics, but not really, just in name.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby seepingin » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:57 am

Science is metaphysics so science cannot ever "get rid" of metaphysics, as if science ever would want to in the first place.

Metaphysics is science for smart people. Christians are not welcome to do metaphysics, too much God bullshit clogging up their synapses.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby WendyDarling » Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:39 pm

Bump
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby obsrvr524 » Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:51 pm

Mr R must have been a whole lot healthier back then. I can agree completely with his OP.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby WendyDarling » Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:22 am

I see this relating to the discussions that are currently occurring in a few threads regarding metaphysics.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby zinnat » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:37 am

The question asked here is whether scientific naturalism should exclude metaphysics or not!

Going by the definition of scientific naturalism everything is covered in it, whether that can be proved in a lab or not. So, to me the answer is that exclusion of metaphysics would demean/negate the very purpose of scientific naturalism. Though, most of the present day scientists and even philosophers would not agree with that.

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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Sculptor » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:17 am

Science is an attempt to DESCRIBE, the universe. To do this it uses concepts, numbers, words, diagrams that of necessity abstract and portray natural phenomena. ALL these concepts are metaphysical. Though they may refer to the concrete they have to stand beside or beyond the physical - this is the very definition of metaphysics.

The history of science is the history of temporary hypothesis, failure and replacement. Thus the concepts used to describe the world have changed throughout history. The tools of science are not primarily physical were that the case they would be ever changing, metphysics enables that change and modification.

Science without metaphysics is a Neanderthal pointing a stuff, saying nothing.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Sculptor » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:20 am

zinnat wrote:The question asked here is whether scientific naturalism should exclude metaphysics or not!

Going by the definition of scientific naturalism everything is covered in it, whether that can be proved in a lab or not. So, to me the answer is that exclusion of metaphysics would demean/negate the very purpose of scientific naturalism. Though, most of the present day scientists and even philosophers would not agree with that.

with love,
sanjay

I think most scientists are not clear what metaphysics is. They are perfectly capable of practicing their craft without such knowledge like a violinist has no knowledge how to make a violin. Such knowledge is not required and though it might improve his sound, he can leave it to others to make his instrument. Philosophers are the makers in this analogy.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:28 am

Mr Reasonable wrote:
And to get this started, I'll throw out one possible answer to the question of whether or not science can dispense w/ metaphysics. Here we go....

Scientific naturalism, like most sciences, has a system of proofs which relies heavily on mathematics.
Mathematics doesn't seem to function very well without assuming some kind of identity theory as a most basic axiom.
Even if two objects in the physical world share the maximum number of properties, it is impossible for them to share the property of spatiotemporal location.
Because there is no 100% identity in the physical world. Mathematics must postulate identities in order to be able to process data at all.
Postulating non-physical entities, (like identities), is what you do when you're doing metaphysics.
Science therefore cannot dispense with metaphysics.

Thoughts? Comments?
Metaphysics cannot be dispensed with. Science cannot dispense with ontology. Any belief system has metphysical underpinnings. Even the idea of 'physical' is metaphysics. Physicalism is a metaphysical stand that only physical things exist. Metaphysics is not just non-physical things. Further, 'physical' no longer means what it used to: not in a universe with fields, massless particles, particles in superposition, wave particle identity, two particles (bosons) being in the same place at the same time. Physical now merely means real. If scientists have consensus or a decent amount of agreement that something is real, then it's real, (until further notice). ANYTHING with any qualities if consider real will be called physical, a term with metaphysical baggage. Even if you dropped physicalism and just called it naturalism, you'd still have metphysics. Any epistemology is based on ontological assumptions. And then Natural Laws, the universe is knowable and the more subtle metaphysics built into perception or observations.

Further many physicists are platonists when it comes to mathematics. But even if they weren't every single scientist works from metaphysical assumptions and axioms. One has to.
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Re: Does Scientific Naturalism Exclude Metaphysics?

Postby Mr Reasonable » Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:15 am

ahh the good old days of working in the philosophy department. fun times.
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