GE Morton wrote: ↑
October 14th, 2019, 11:33 pm
NickGaspar wrote: ↑
October 14th, 2019, 5:12 pm
Where the physicist investigates substances of one kind—physical substances—the philosophical ontologist investigates the general category or substance. Where the chemist looks for the cause of particular chemical reactions, the philosopher looks at the nature of causation in general. These restricted ontologists want to know the nature of particular physical and chemical substances and causes; the philosophical ontologist wants to know the nature of substances and causation in general. They are both studying the same thing—being, reality—but they study it at different levels of generality.
I think you are confusing Normative Science (Philosophy of Science), the study, evaluation and critique of the "underlying assumptions" of science with the general type of philosophy we do after we have collected new scientific data and that is Metaphysics. Sure, this critique is metaphysical by nature , but that is not what Metaphysics is all about.
Metaphysics has being a philosophical branch well before those modern "assumptions" of science and even in science we use metaphysics to construct new hypotheses on new data. (String Theory , Quantum Interpretations,Emergent Gravity are all Metaphysics). Most of our accepted theories were metaphysical , before they were empirically verified.(e.g. Evolution, Big Bang Theory, Germ Theory etc).
So in my opinion, this meaning you are attacing to "metaphysics" is wrongly limiting Metaphysics to a really small subject and we know that is not the case, plus its a useless endeavor to question science's assumptions without any empirical indications and I will explain why!
Science's assumptions are not some kind of a "choice" based, lets say, on an arbitrary set of Philosophical principles.
These assumptions are descriptions based on Pragmatic Necessity NOT on a Philosophical bias. They are products of our observations which reveal Empirical Regularities in the relations between physical processes.
e.g. Cause and effect is not just an assumption, but a theoretical framework which can be investigated in really simple systems and can be safely assumed for far more complex systems and still produce accurate Descriptions, Explanations,Predictions and Technical Applications
.(the main 4 products of science). Does this mean that Cause and effect is an absolute true claim about the world? Of course not since Science doesn't deal with absolute truth. In science we produce knowledge claims not truth claims. (def. Knowledge: Instrumental valuable propositions that are in agreement with current
facts about the world). Cause and effect is a theoretical framework based on our observations and empirical verification that constantly manages to deliver knowledge!
I understand that this "objection" is based on the "problems" of induction. Induction may not be risk free but is the best tool we have to produce knowledge. (Deduction doesn't produce knowledge, it only produces tautologies).
These is a well known critique by relativists and idealists about the foundations of science. It is documented in the Normative models of Science but that hasn't affected science to deliver complex knowledge that really works.
As Philosopher Paul Hoyningen (philosopher of science and critic of Normative Science and Kuh's ideas). " Its not that easy to send men to Moon and back on wrong descriptions of reality".
The fact is that those ideas criticizing the Auxiliary "assumptions" of Science, Logic, and Objectivity have nothing to show beyond their critique. They don't have any philosophical advances or breakthroughs and they have zero empirical results in their favor....while science, logic and Objectivism are fueling our epistemic run away success for more than 500 years. Yes we do see the issues behind the acceptance of an auxiliary theory and we understand the risks of induction, but there is no way out from a position which is a Pragmatic Necessity. We are stuck in this Framework and we prefer to produce valuable "goods'' than to lift our hands up and whine about the "risks" in our methods!
We can not be sure about the truth value of our picture about the world but we can not also be sure that this picture is wrong. As long as we are receivers of empirical confirmations we are forced to keep following this path and put aside all these "objections" until we discover sufficient indications for us being wrong. This is what reason "Demands".(default position/Null Hypothesis saying: THere ISN'T a connection between A(our observations) and B(being wrong) until this rejection is falsified!)
Ontology is not the "study of what exists." It is the study of what it makes sense for us to claim exists, what categorization of substances deepens our understanding of our experiences.
Sure but that is an unnecessary clarification in my opinion. Since we are the observers and we set our own standards, we can only make claims of what exists in relations to the limitations of our observations and our man made standards! Nobody in Methodological Naturalism (Science) makes absolute, ideal claims about what we can know beyond our observations.That is a strawman or better, a valid critique for the assumptions of Materialism or Physicalism or Philosophical Naturalism.
In science we study what exists based on short list of observable physical manifestations. We identify existence in the form of fundamental particles, of forces, of processes(phenomena/agents/entities) and of emergent properties under a temporal framework. When a claim doesn't click one of those four categories, then it is not accepted as a knowledge claim.That's all, we don't assume absolute truth in this standard. Any claim that lies beyond our observations is irrelevant to our scientific endeavors and irrational to even speculate about it.
Accepting ontological claims that are not supported by our observations(science) our epistemology or logic is a pseudo philosophical practice.
So yes we banish any particles or forces or entities or phenomena,substances(process) etc from the ontological list until we are empirically justified to included them. (Again Logic/ Null hypothesis(No connection between existence and an entity until we falsify this rejection). We need to accept those limitations in our nature and our epistemology.
I'd quibble with McGinn's exclusion of epistemology from metaphysics. I take ontology and epistemology to be the two sides of the metaphysical coin. They are interdependent --- what we can claim exists depends upon what we know, or can know, and what we can know depends upon what we claim exists. The two inquiries have to be pursued simultaneously.
Well again, Metaphysics are our philosophical "projections" BEYOND our current epistemology. Yes we need our current epistemology, our latest scientific data and credible methodological principles to do meaningful Metaphysics but that doesn't mean that all Metaphysical claims have epistemic value by default.
Our Metaphysical claims have the potential to become part of our epistemology, but only after they are empirical verified(scientific evaluation).
So we must not conflate those two terms. Interdependence doesn't render all metaphysical claims as part of our epistemology. There is a good reason why we demarcate those different Branches of Philosophy!.