Metaphysical Knowledge

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kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 07:30 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136125 wrote:
OK then, the example I gave of Kurt Godel was to show that, in this case, you would be inclined to believe a mathematical proof attested by Godel, because of his reputation, even though you couldn't understand (or 'see') the proof.

In the case of a metaphysical claim, would you consider it possible that an expert might possess the discriminative ability to see a metaphysical proof that is beyond our ability to understand?


Beyond our ability? I think I would have to see that proof first. Off hand, no.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 07:41 pm
@hue-man,
I think there is 'real metaphysical knowledge' but you can't understand it unless you are an initiate. That is why I asked the question about mathematical proofs. Metaphysical knowledge is similar to mathematical knowledge, but in this materialistic age, it has no credibility, so people equate it with mythical creatures or flat-earth stories.

Here is a distinction from anthropology and sociology that might be useful in understanding such an issue, on the different perspectives that can be used to analyse such questions:

  • An "emic" account is a description of behavior or a belief in terms meaningful (consciously or unconsciously) to the actor; that is, an emic account comes from a person within the culture. Almost anything from within a culture can provide an emic account.


  • An "etic" account is a description of a behavior or belief by an observer, in terms that can be applied to other cultures; that is, an etic account is 'culturally neutral'.

I would suggest that for most of us, an 'etic' account of metaphysical knowledge is about all that is possible, as the culture within which the knowledge was situated is now to all intents and purposes extinct. We will guess what it might have signified but it is very hard to understand what it meant, I think.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 07:44 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136250 wrote:
I would suggest that for most of us, an 'etic' account of metaphysical knowledge is about all that is possible, as the culture within which the knowledge was situated is now to all intents and purposes extinct. We will guess what it might have signified but it is very hard to understand what it meant, I think.


It seems to me that: If the metaphysical is not transcendental, then it is nothing but metaphor. If it is transcendental, it can be accessed by the same logical/rhetorical inference that made it possible in the first place. A culturally-contingent metaphysics is nothing but literature, and this would be a Nietzschean take on it. But Nietzsche was wrong. Or half wrong. He stressed the contingent and ignored transcendental deduction.....which Wittgenstein achieved. Metaphysics is ontology which is the fundamental logic (of being). For me this is now crystal clear. I don't know what it will mean to others.
:bigsmile:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 07:59 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;136253 wrote:
It seems to me that: If the metaphysical is not transcendental, then it is nothing but metaphor. If it is transcendental, it can be accessed by the same logical/rhetorical inference that made it possible in the first place. A culturally-contingent metaphysics is nothing but literature, and this would be a Nietzschean take on it. But Nietzsche was wrong. Or half wrong. He stressed the contingent and ignored transcendental deduction.....which Wittgenstein achieved. Metaphysics is ontology which is the fundamental logic (of being). For me this is now crystal clear. I don't know what it will mean to others.
:bigsmile:


So, does that mean that we have metaphysical knowledge or don't we?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 08:11 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136265 wrote:
So, does that mean that we have metaphysical knowledge or don't we?


We have just a tiny core of metaphysical knowledge, which Wittgenstein made explicit in the TLP, which has just completely clicked for me...

Wittgenstein demonstrates that the basic form of logic is a mirror image of the logical transcendental....positing and negation... this is the logical foundation of speech.

Witt uses the picture theory to demonstrate the utter impossibility of proving anything beyond tautology, w/o appealing to the non-logical...but Witt's transcendental logic is the same as Hegel's, at least at the core. It's an utterly simple reduction, that tears Kant to shreds and justifies the Humean notion of causality.....so I give you five on your preference for Hume, but Kant helped point the way, and Kant's analytic contained the key that Hegel would turn & perfect.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 08:13 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;136274 wrote:
We have just a tiny core of metaphysical knowledge, which Wittgenstein made explicit in the TLP.


So, W. thinks we do. How about you?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 08:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136275 wrote:
So, W. thinks we do. How about you?


Yes, I agree w/ Wittgenstein. I was persuaded by Hegel and this is why I suddenly understood that W was saying the same thing. W is a negative ontologist. He reduced the trancendental to a minimum, and completely exposed it. I see the man's full genius now. The TLP is the greatest philosophy of the 20th century. Rorty didn't see it right, and this distracted me. The picture theory of meaning was a showing of the logical limitations of language, that language depends on the non-logical for its effectiveness, just as math does. The analytic transcendental is utterly simple: positing and negation, and this is the foundation of our math and the way we synthesize essence from qualia and other concepts. By the negation of differences, which implies similarity or essence. Wittgenstein is the fusion of a trancendental philosopher and a pragmatist, and his ontology, or logic of being, is more negative than negative theology. It's identical to the core of Hegel's logic. Both men destroyed the logical foundation of all distinctions, as all distinctions are accidents of the transcendent "essence" which is just the hard-wired structure of "mind." It can't be named, because all names are contingent. So he displays it in logical form. Whereas Hegel used words. I sh*t you not, Ken. The code is cracked, and has been cracked. It doesn't solve man's practical problems but it's a huge leap for pure Reason.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 09:47 pm
@hue-man,
I rather thought that metaphysics was a philosophy that delved into places science could not reach, that the metaphysician must content himself with logic and conjecture but never hope for knowledge in the garb of certainty. In fact I thought that philosophy, even in a more general sense, is prone to wander off the maps of science into the frontiers of human curiosity about the unknown and often unknowable. If you want knowledge, you should turn to science or religion, both of whom are pretty damn sure they know all there is to be known. Here is the path of uncertainty and those who do not fear to walk it, or even to extend it.

Samm
 
prothero
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:04 pm
@SammDickens,
Samm;136325 wrote:
I rather thought that metaphysics was a philosophy that delved into places science could not reach, that the metaphysician must content himself with logic and conjecture but never hope for knowledge in the garb of certainty. In fact I thought that philosophy, even in a more general sense, is prone to wander off the maps of science into the frontiers of human curiosity about the unknown and often unknowable. If you want knowledge, you should turn to science or religion, both of whom are pretty damn sure they know all there is to be known. Here is the path of uncertainty and those who do not fear to walk it, or even to extend it. Samm

I rather think that you are right.
Metaphysics is rational speculation about matters "unknowable".
Philosopers can not even agree on what "knowledge" is much less what "metaphysical knowledge" could be. Heck, they can not even agree on what metaphysics is and if it is worthwhile (verificationists and logical postivists).
Some of these rational speuclations may be "true" and later become "knowledge" but that is a speculation itself.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:06 pm
@SammDickens,
Samm;136325 wrote:
I rather thought that metaphysics was a philosophy that delved into places science could not reach, that the metaphysician must content himself with logic and conjecture but never hope for knowledge in the garb of certainty. In fact I thought that philosophy, even in a more general sense, is prone to wander off the maps of science into the frontiers of human curiosity about the unknown and often unknowable. If you want knowledge, you should turn to science or religion, both of whom are pretty damn sure they know all there is to be known. Here is the path of uncertainty and those who do not fear to walk it, or even to extend it.

Samm


There's a lot of truth in what you say, but there is another side to metaphysics. Our fundamental attitude being is going to shape our application of science. The best meta-physicians are not just poets, but leaps in human conceptualization, including self-conceptualization.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:08 pm
@hue-man,
Here's a quote on Metaphysical Knowledge as 'noesis' from Wikipedia:

Quote:


As I have said above, apart from the vague sense in which metaphysical is used to describe 'anything of a spiritual or transcendent nature', the word itself has a very specific meaning in Western philosophy, and the above quotation gives a pretty good indication, in my view, of what that meaning is.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:13 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136343 wrote:
Here's a quote on Metaphysical Knowledge as 'noesis' from Wikipedia:
As I have said above, apart from the vague sense in which metaphysical is used to describe 'anything of a spiritual or transcendent nature', the word itself has a very specific meaning in Western philosophy, and the above quotation gives a pretty good indication, in my view, of what that meaning is.


Yes, that does sound like something different from nous. And yet other presentations remind me of the Witt & Hegel idea. The Form of Forms is too perfect a description.. I'm going to have to assimilate it. We have two trancendentals as far as I can see. Witt calls ethics and aestethics trancendental, and he is referring to emotion no doubt, which is not the Form of Forms (or the Former of Forms) but our immersion in and emotional response to "qualia." No matter the history, I feel quite clear on this.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:15 pm
@hue-man,
I will add something else here. I think Western metaphysics could be best understood within a monastic order. It is basically incompatible with individualism, existentialism, and most other modern outlooks.

---------- Post added 03-05-2010 at 03:17 PM ----------

I'm improvising here, of course. A lot of this is coming from the perspective of my Buddhist practice. The thing about the Buddhist practice is that the monastic order in which it is based still exists, and that is why it remains meaningful.
 
prothero
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:31 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136343 wrote:
As I have said above, apart from the vague sense in which metaphysical is used to describe 'anything of a spiritual or transcendent nature', the word itself has a very specific meaning in Western philosophy, and the above quotation gives a pretty good indication, in my view, of what that meaning is.
I am quite sympathetic to this notion of "intuitive knowledge".

I think that most of the great breaktrhroughs in science have actually had a large component of intuitive knowledge, whether it be Einsteins general and special relativity theories (mostly constructed from pure thought and only later confirmed) or Darwins insights into natural selection and mutation. Almost all latter confirmed scientific theories were initially the result of some form of intution about the "truth" of a particular conception which only later is empirically confirmed.

The problem with intuitive knowledge in the realm of any area except sicence is how does one "confirm" or "verify" the "truth" of "knowledge" which lies outside the realm of science and can not be empirically verified. Can we really call it "knowledge" at all. It is just "rational speculation" which may be "true". Some claims we know by comparision with science are false (special creation, fixity of species, young earth creationism". But most claims even some of the most significant claims (reason and intelligence inherent if nature, mind pervausive in nature) can not be empirically or scientfically verified or tested at all.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 11:49 pm
@prothero,
prothero;136353 wrote:

The problem with intuitive knowledge in the realm of any area except sicence is how does one "confirm" or "verify" the "truth" of "knowledge" which lies outside the realm of science and can not be empirically verified.


There is an answer to that question. This knowledge can be verified within a community of discourse, a group of people which share a common cognitive framework within which the terms are meaningful.

That is why I referred to 'a monastic community'. I can imagine that the Platonist metaphysical tradition would be really alive in this context. This is because the individuals concerned were practicing within a framework which provided validation for their insights into the Platonic realm.

I think this is still something very much alive within Eastern Orthodox monasticism. I have done some readings in it, for example, A Different Christianity, by Robin Amos.
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 12:35 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136368 wrote:
There is an answer to that question. This knowledge can be verified within a community of discourse, a group of people which share a common cognitive framework within which the terms are meaningful.

You know what they will say, Jeeprs, that it is just a bunch of like minded people sharing their delusions or speculations together.

I happen to think that flashes of intuition are the source of most of our greatest advances in science and in all forms of the arts, That empirical experience can not explain creative advance.

I also think that scientific knowledge gives us only a very limited and partial view picture of the totality of reality and human experience. That everyone supplements the scientifc view of the world with aesthetic and values that involve metaphysical assumptions and philosophical specualtations.

The problem is that some just fail to see how much of their worldview is philosophical speculations and metaphysical assumptions. They can see how everyone elses views are just speculatons but not their own.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 12:39 am
@prothero,
prothero;136375 wrote:
You know what they will say, Jeeprs, that it is just a bunch of like minded people sharing their delusions or speculations together.


But when I hear that, I just hear a bunch of like-minded people sharing their delusions or speculations together.
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 12:43 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136376 wrote:
But when I hear that, I just hear a bunch of like-minded people sharing their delusions or speculations together.
Well that is my point, I guess. We are all speculating. Materialism is a speculation. Atheism is a speculation. Determinism is a speculation. We ought to have a little mutual respect except for those things which are clearly wrong like
Young earth creationism say.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 12:45 am
@prothero,
prothero;136377 wrote:
Materialism is a speculation. Atheism is a speculation. Determinism is a speculation.
Spot the odd one out. Atheism isn't a speculation because it isn't a positive claim.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 12:47 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;136347 wrote:
I will add something else here. I think Western metaphysics could be best understood within a monastic order. It is basically incompatible with individualism, existentialism, and most other modern outlooks.


I agree! It runs counter to our lifestyle. I now see individualism as a lucifer, a "light bringer." individualism or satanism is a positive theology. self as mortal god. this rides well with a shattered society. i note that hegel is criticized for saying that man gets his meaning from a living culture, a state founded on the essence of the individuals. etc. of course the marxists had a different spin on this....

individualism is the negation of tribe-identity, so it is corrosive. the rich men and the middle class as well invest their money in international concerns. no loyalty to the whole. none of the good ethnocentrism that Spengler understood. living culture becomes cynical practical civilization. like an old fruit it rots until it falls apart. but a second religious may fall upon us, perhaps. not necessarily a wholesome one in secular eyes. perhaps a crude idolatrous although technologically friendly one?

one more point: i think the TLP is one of the greatest books of the century. and it is negative ontology of the highest order, better than nicolas of cusa. it was written in the trenches of ww1 by a man who half wanted to kill himself the honorable way. he was close to the negative. family full of suicides. interesting.

---------- Post added 03-05-2010 at 01:53 AM ----------

prothero;136375 wrote:
You know what they will say, Jeeprs, that it is just a bunch of like minded people sharing their delusions or speculations together.

I happen to think that flashes of intuition are the source of most of our greatest advances in science and in all forms of the arts, That empirical experience can not explain creative advance.

I also think that scientific knowledge gives us only a very limited and partial view picture of the totality of reality and human experience. That everyone supplements the scientifc view of the world with aesthetic and values that involve metaphysical assumptions and philosophical specualtations.

The problem is that some just fail to see how much of their worldview is philosophical speculations and metaphysical assumptions. They can see how everyone elses views are just speculatons but not their own.


well said. but the paradox is in the last phrase. this too could fall beneath its own sword. of course i agree with it all. what is living epistemology? seduction by the beauty of an idea? possibly. also as vico said: to know it is to make it, to be able to make it. but what if one is making thoughts?

nietzsche made it his principle to have no principles. the paradox of the ironist. schlegel presented the notion of the "Transcendental buffoon." And hegel mocked these irony-mongers as he was a serious lad, except he was fun to catch a drink with, and knocked up a lass before he married yet another lass....but this is human. nietzsche the supreme ironist is in some ways less human, for all his genius. it seems that we cannot escape metaphysics. those who insist on viewing metaphysics as bunk are trapped/sheilded in their anti-metaphysic. perhaps a better test is to see what metaphysic survives debate. also, we should look at how the men live who have certain ideas. hiedegger could have used a more negative theology, so he couldn't have linked his feelings with the nazis. i used to think heidegger was a negative theologist, but he's just the minimal positive theologian.
 
 

 
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