Can any metaphysical positions be proven?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    How would be why. Imagine Spinoza, itd be how, and why.
     
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  3. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    In science, the why is just an extension of the how. When we ask why an apple falls from a tree, we're really asking how gravity works.

    When we ask why we are here, the scientific answer is an objective explanation of how our ancestors evolved the ability to walk upright and think. The religious answer falls back on "why" some fictitious entity wants us to be here. It doesn't explain anything; it just gets more and more obscure the farther you go into it.
     
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  5. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Good points, but many religious people just find a comfort in their beliefs, and don't feel the need to prove those beliefs to anyone. A person may feel certain on any given position in life really, but some positions aren't provable, even non-spiritual ones. One such example could be the feeling of hope and love. If you love someone who is a horrible person and everyone around you is trying to tell you that you shouldn't love that person, yet you do love that person despite the warnings and being hurt repeatedly by said person, you can't prove why you love that person, you just do. Faith is sort of like love and hope, in the respect that people sometimes can't explain in mere words why they feel strongly about their beliefs, but they just do.
     
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  7. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Grok'd!
    All too true, wegs!!!
     
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  8. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    I dont feel certain about anythang... do you.???
     
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Before 20th century psychology hijacked the word "ego" in its own various ways, in philosophy it was used as a substitute for "mind" (not always in strict fashion, but when that's the meaning which best fits the bill). So Mach is merely giving up on ego (or mind) in the context of claims that it is some kind of primary theme / principle or non-composite simple substance like in, say, Cartesian dualism or Leibniz's monadology. In everyday life we of course can't discard the concept and its effects (in the scope of all of its assorted meanings), although perhaps Zen buddhists, etc, temporarily accomplish such.

    Mach's rejection of it being fundamental is arguably descended from David Hume's "bundle theory" and his other ideas, in which mind (brain, etc) itself would be just another organization of properties -- usually qualitative or phenomenal. Thus why (in this context) the latter should not be classed as mental, psychological, or subjective properties as they typically are.

    panphenomenalism: David Hume (1711-1776) formulated the theory of panphenomenalism [which is yet another contemporary label for his conceptions like bundle theory, etc]. He denied the existence of all ultimate reality (metaphysical reality), accepting as valid data only those things experienced as sense impressions; in other words, he asserted that existence is limited to phenomena, which are objects, not of reason, but of experience. By rejecting the idea of cause and soul as substances, he eliminated the entire problem of interaction. Hume concluded that events depend upon merely repetitious or sequential activities; that nothing in the universe is ever created, or caused to act, by anything else; and that reality consists only of a series of phenomena appearing in a temporal order. --Ideas of the Great Philosophers; p. 107 - 108; by William S. Sahakian, Mabel Lewis Sahakian (1966)

    The part about "reality consists only of a series of phenomena appearing in a temporal order" bears a resemblance to the four-dimensional "block-universe" model of time. But in physical context, the worldlines of particles (twisting spaghetti-like strands via the extra dimension) would arguably be taken to be the elemental components in the latter rather than phenomena. (Of course, if Hume was still around he'd just contend that the particles were more qualitative "impressions" themselves if they could be observed.)

    As Reed points out below, many of the materialists of the 19th century were actually phenomenalists or pan-phenomenalists. Somebody like Huxley was still legitimately materialist in respect to explaining affairs in terms of mechanistic relationships. But these scientists didn't reify the concept of matter as a metaphysical, material monism would. Also in the quote, note that Reed like so many others failed to take into account Hume's earlier influences, wherein phenomena / sensations were regarded as more primary than mind. And thus they were not mental or psychological. Brains were a bundle or organization of these qualities just like other material bodies were. Whether or not so-called other "faux" materialists of that era like Huxley are being similarly interpreted incorrectly (as was Mach) is up for grabs (one has to directly consult their own literature about the subject). Ernst Mach, at least, did have his head screwed on right (in this particular school of thought) in declaring that phenomena (sensations, whatever) were prior-in-rank to mind.

    EDWARD S. REED: [Julian] Huxley, like all the other scientists in the group--and like almost all scientists in Europe or America at the that time--was not a materialist, despite his belief in the progress of mechanistic physiology. He argued in two directions: one from the external phenomena of science (say, the data of physiology) and the other from introspective phenomena (for example, our belief in free will). He was inclined to believe that most (or all) introspectively revealed phenomena would prove to be caused by externally revealed ones. But in any event he was a phenomenalist, arguing that what is real is phenomena. If the soul (or the unconscious) is not real, it is because it is not part of the phenomenal world.

    This panphenomenalism was widely labeled positivism when it was propounded by scientists. In the loosely defined meandering of the term, positivism dominated the European intellectual scene from approximately 1870 to 1890. Yet that type of positivism is inherently unstable when applied to psychology. The externalist (physiological) analysis of behavior and mind attributes all psychological states to antecedent causes. Introspective analysis reveals both intuitions of freedom and the appearance of autonomous psychological states. The two seem irreconcilable.

    Matter for Huxley was just what it was for Mach or Hertz: a set of phenomenal observations made by scientists. It is thus remarkable but true that the most reviled "materialists" of the 1880s--Huxley, Tyndall, and Clifford--were all phenomenalists of sort or another and not materialists at all.

    The positivist impulse gave new life to a variety of panphenomenalism, one whose adherents were surprisingly uncritical about the analysis of those allegedly basic mental phenomena, sensations. Thus, thinkers as different in outlook and interests as Huxley and Mach, Taine and Spencer, Wundt and Lewes all agreed that the basic "data" on which all science was to built were sensations.
    --From Soul to Mind: The Emergence of Psychology, from Erasmus Darwin; p.161 by Edward S. Reed (1997)

    In his book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (circa 1908), Lenin offered an interesting view of metaphysical materialism through the supposed eyes of "Machians" (that expression and "empiro-criticism" referring to Ernst Mach's politically incorrect influence on Marxist philosophers in Russia back then, which Lenin disparaged). But perhaps to great relief in some corners, Sciforum's limit on the size of a post prevents me from adding that.

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  10. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Some thangs I do.

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    Like, I'm certain that I want to have dinner with a friend, tonight. But, will it definitely happen? Something could go wrong on either end, and we don't meet up. But, we can be certain of our wants and needs. (But, even those may fluctuate!) We just can't be certain of the future, even if the future is 10 minutes away.
     
  11. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Ok... are you certain about any of you'r spiritual beleifs.???
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Good points but it kind of shows why some people don't buy into this line of reasoning. In most cases, you would probably argue if you were an objective outsider that the person emotionally attached to the abusive person shouldn't be attached. Religion can be the same way.

    Just because the person in love with the abuser can't see that isn't a good reason for everyone to go out and fall in love with an abuser.

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    You could make a similar argue with religion.
     
  13. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I am certain about some of them, yes.
     
  14. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you make the leap that someone who is in love with an abuser, would mean everyone should go out and all in love with an abuser? lol Let's take the abuser out of the equation. Let's say a person falls in love with someone who isn't at all their ''typical type,'' and they just can't seem to explain in simple terms why they have fallen for this person. That is what faith is like, you can explain how it makes you feel if you are a person of faith, but it's harder to explain why you feel this way. For some people, fear is their ''why.'' That's not a good ''why'' to following faith.

    I say ''faith'' and you say ''religion,'' but they're not always interchangeable. Maybe you know that and are just using ''religion'' because you assume it takes into account all people who believe in something supernatural. Religion is a problem, to me, but faith isn't.
     
  15. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Have you ever changed you'r mind about spiritual beliefs that you were once certan about.???
     
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I do know that regarding faith vs religion. It's just a slip. I tend to use it that way or think of religion as covering everything but I also know the way you are using it so it was just a slip of the tongue (so to speak) on my part.

    I also realize that everyone is different and some find more comfort than others in the various ways to react to a common experience.
     
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  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I have.
     
  18. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Okay.

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    And uncommon ones lol
     
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  19. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah... ive felt perty sure about stuff an it turn out to be wrong but ive never experienced bein certain about somethin an it turn out to be wrong;;; does such an experience make you less apt to be certain agan about spiritual type beliefs.???
     
  20. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    You mean coincidence!

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    (just kidding)

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  21. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Soon, you'll be looking for meaningful coincidences. Only a matter of time.

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  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Did that dog just smile at me...hmmm?

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  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Thank you for posting all of this information for us

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    Would it be wrong to state that one's metaphysical position on a particular topic, would be only as good as the next best position that follows it? For example - if we say that the universe is ''uncaused'' -- wouldn't that fall under metaphysics, because until we know for certain what ''caused'' the universe, we can only hypothesize?

    What I mean is, a math equation such as 3 + 3 = 6 is a constant, and will never change. Is everything outside of an absolute truth, considered to be metaphysical? What caused the universe is not an absolute truth, or is it based on all that we can possibly know about it, for now?
     

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