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Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Consul
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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2019, 9:08 am

Consul wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 12:10 pm
To say that a concept is indefinable is not to say that nothing can be said about it.
For instance, one can say that nonexistent things are nothing but intentional objects of thought. To say that something exists is to say that it isn't only something thought, that it isn't a mere Gedankending ("thought-thing").
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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NickGaspar
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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by NickGaspar » November 8th, 2019, 9:18 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 8:41 am
NickGaspar wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 2:47 pm


That sound like special pleading which has an serious impact on our Philosophy and its goals. But I am ok if such ideas are not incorporated in Worldviews that can affect the way we think reason and act.
Special pleading? To ask that we consider each issue in the most appropriate way? If there is no evidence, and we still wish to consider a particular issue, then we must use what is available. And simple everyday logic - common sense, if you will - seems to be the most appropriate tool in this case. Do you know of a better way?
-Sure Basic Logic and Informal reasoning are the way to go, but we must not go easy on our informal fallacious statements. As you said we must use what is available... so we first need to know what is possible in order to apply statistical possibilities to a different case!
NickGaspar wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 2:11 pm

-Sorry but I can not see that. They two different "things". Mental concepts may affect reality but they do not "exist" as physical entities in reality(even if they are products of physical brain patterns). They manifest/emerge throught our brain chemistry and brain function and they have a subjective nature. Reality is objective and mental concepts may be part of it but that doesn't mean that reality has "shades". This is "dangerous" language" mode and it's doesn't advance our understanding of the world. Again its all about how you define "existence" and what you allow in the category.
It seems you need another word, then, to allow you to consider socially-derived human mental concepts. Or are you content to leave your philosophy incomplete, addressing only issues that can be dealt with by (for example) science? 🤔
[/quote]
No I am not content to leave my philosophy "incomplete" but I also don't pretend to have available facts to work with when I don't.
I address all short of issues, but I don't allow logical fallacies to provide "answers".
I don't know why this sounds weird to you! Don't you use informal reasoning and rules of thumb in your daily life...why suspend them and use double standards in your philosophy?
Let me check your standards with the following example.
"world creating Pixies are possible to exist"...this a correct statement or not.?

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Consul
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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2019, 9:23 am

NickGaspar wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 1:55 pm
It depends from our definition. IF you mean that which doesn't "exist" can not cause anything,then you are correct. But again as Bluemist stated "When you use ontological terms such as process, exists, object/entity, essence, or being you have switched to philosophical metaphysical terminology that is not defined and is therefore meaningless in physics."
It's the job of analytic ontology to clarify and define our ontological categories, and there are numerous books dealing with this.
NickGaspar wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 1:55 pm
So what exactly limits your ability to provide a definition about existence?
The circumstance that…

"The concept of existence is probably basic and primitive in the sense that it is not possible to produce an informative definition of it in terms that are more clearly understood and that would tell us something important and revealing about what it is for something to exist."

(Kim, Jaegwon, and Ernest Sosa, eds. Metaphysics: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999. p. 3)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2019, 9:26 am

Consul wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 12:10 pm
To say that a concept is indefinable is not to say that nothing can be said about it.
For example, to say that the concept of truth is indefinable is not to say that there cannot be a theory of truth.

"An axiomatic theory of truth is a deductive theory of truth as a primitive undefined predicate.

There have been many attempts to define truth in terms of correspondence, coherence or other notions. However, it is far from clear that truth is a definable notion. In formal settings satisfying certain natural conditions, Tarski’s theorem on the undefinability of the truth predicate shows that a definition of a truth predicate requires resources that go beyond those of the formal language for which truth is going to be defined. In these cases definitional approaches to truth have to fail. By contrast, the axiomatic approach does not presuppose that truth can be defined. Instead, a formal language is expanded by a new primitive predicate for truth or satisfaction, and axioms for that predicate are then laid down."


Axiomatic Theories of Truth: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-axiomatic/
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by NickGaspar » November 8th, 2019, 10:24 am

Consul wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 9:23 am
NickGaspar wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 1:55 pm
It depends from our definition. IF you mean that which doesn't "exist" can not cause anything,then you are correct. But again as Bluemist stated "When you use ontological terms such as process, exists, object/entity, essence, or being you have switched to philosophical metaphysical terminology that is not defined and is therefore meaningless in physics."
It's the job of analytic ontology to clarify and define our ontological categories, and there are numerous books dealing with this.
NickGaspar wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 1:55 pm
So what exactly limits your ability to provide a definition about existence?
The circumstance that…

"The concept of existence is probably basic and primitive in the sense that it is not possible to produce an informative definition of it in terms that are more clearly understood and that would tell us something important and revealing about what it is for something to exist."

(Kim, Jaegwon, and Ernest Sosa, eds. Metaphysics: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999. p. 3)
Well all philosophical worldviews question or advocate physical existence . People tend to present their existential claims about the physical realm and as a result we use science to verify or label those claims irrational.(not wrong).
- That quote sounds more like a tap dance,using the idea of the absolute "definition" as an excuse to avoid a descriptive definition inside our limits of our observations. That is a common "thing" in philosophy and in my opinion, this is the reason why people are getting tired with academic philosophy.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by NickGaspar » November 8th, 2019, 10:39 am

Consul wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 9:26 am
Consul wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 12:10 pm
To say that a concept is indefinable is not to say that nothing can be said about it.
For example, to say that the concept of truth is indefinable is not to say that there cannot be a theory of truth.

"An axiomatic theory of truth is a deductive theory of truth as a primitive undefined predicate.

There have been many attempts to define truth in terms of correspondence, coherence or other notions. However, it is far from clear that truth is a definable notion. In formal settings satisfying certain natural conditions, Tarski’s theorem on the undefinability of the truth predicate shows that a definition of a truth predicate requires resources that go beyond those of the formal language for which truth is going to be defined. In these cases definitional approaches to truth have to fail. By contrast, the axiomatic approach does not presuppose that truth can be defined. Instead, a formal language is expanded by a new primitive predicate for truth or satisfaction, and axioms for that predicate are then laid down."


Axiomatic Theories of Truth: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-axiomatic/
Again...this quest for an "absolute" or ideal concept is useless in my opinion~!
I think people need to acknowledge their limitations and study Rand's work on Concept Formation.

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Consul
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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2019, 12:17 pm

NickGaspar wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 10:24 am
Well all philosophical worldviews question or advocate physical existence . People tend to present their existential claims about the physical realm and as a result we use science to verify or label those claims irrational.(not wrong).
- That quote sounds more like a tap dance,using the idea of the absolute "definition" as an excuse to avoid a descriptive definition inside our limits of our observations. That is a common "thing" in philosophy and in my opinion, this is the reason why people are getting tired with academic philosophy.
It seems you're confusing the semantic question "What does 'exist' mean?" with the ontological question "What exists?". For example, according to physicalism, only physical (or physically reducible) things exist; but even if it is true, "to exist" is not synonymous with "to be physical".
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by NickGaspar » November 8th, 2019, 3:20 pm

Consul wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 12:17 pm
NickGaspar wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 10:24 am
Well all philosophical worldviews question or advocate physical existence . People tend to present their existential claims about the physical realm and as a result we use science to verify or label those claims irrational.(not wrong).
- That quote sounds more like a tap dance,using the idea of the absolute "definition" as an excuse to avoid a descriptive definition inside our limits of our observations. That is a common "thing" in philosophy and in my opinion, this is the reason why people are getting tired with academic philosophy.
It seems you're confusing the semantic question "What does 'exist' mean?" with the ontological question "What exists?". For example, according to physicalism, only physical (or physically reducible) things exist; but even if it is true, "to exist" is not synonymous with "to be physical".
No I am pointing to the only realm we have access, in order to hold people's feet in to the fire and extract a define on existence in relation to it.
As I said, that quote sounds more like a tap dance than an honest attempt to accept our limitations in what we can address.
I don't really like those worldviews (like physicalism) which are willing to depart from the default position.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Thomyum2 » November 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm

NickGaspar wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 3:20 pm
Consul wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 12:17 pm
It seems you're confusing the semantic question "What does 'exist' mean?" with the ontological question "What exists?". For example, according to physicalism, only physical (or physically reducible) things exist; but even if it is true, "to exist" is not synonymous with "to be physical".
No I am pointing to the only realm we have access, in order to hold people's feet in to the fire and extract a define on existence in relation to it.
As I said, that quote sounds more like a tap dance than an honest attempt to accept our limitations in what we can address.
I don't really like those worldviews (like physicalism) which are willing to depart from the default position.
I think Consul makes a good point here. There are two meanings of 'exist' in common usage - for example, Merriam-Webster gives definition 1a as "to have real being whether material or spiritual" and 1b as "to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions". So the ontological question applies to 1a by asking what things can be said to be 'real', whereas usage 1b will require a stated or implied condition to be met, which may or may not be a requirements that something be 'real'.

So one could say something like 'unicorns only exist in stories'. In other words unicorns both exist (1b) and don't exist (1a). Both are valid definitions, depending on the context.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm
So one could say something like 'unicorns only exist in stories'. In other words unicorns both exist (1b) and don't exist (1a). Both are valid definitions, depending on the context.
Unicorns exist only according to fictional stories, and that's not a form of existence.

"[W]hat exists only according to some false theory just does not exist at all."

(Lewis, David. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. p. 3)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Thomyum2 » November 8th, 2019, 4:49 pm

Consul wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 4:01 pm
Thomyum2 wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm
So one could say something like 'unicorns only exist in stories'. In other words unicorns both exist (1b) and don't exist (1a). Both are valid definitions, depending on the context.
Unicorns exist only according to fictional stories, and that's not a form of existence.

"[W]hat exists only according to some false theory just does not exist at all."

(Lewis, David. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. p. 3)
Yes, you've illustrated my point exactly. You've both said that they exist and that they don't in the same sentence. Twice. :)

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by NickGaspar » November 8th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm
NickGaspar wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 3:20 pm


No I am pointing to the only realm we have access, in order to hold people's feet in to the fire and extract a define on existence in relation to it.
As I said, that quote sounds more like a tap dance than an honest attempt to accept our limitations in what we can address.
I don't really like those worldviews (like physicalism) which are willing to depart from the default position.
I think Consul makes a good point here. There are two meanings of 'exist' in common usage - for example, Merriam-Webster gives definition 1a as "to have real being whether material or spiritual" and 1b as "to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions". So the ontological question applies to 1a by asking what things can be said to be 'real', whereas usage 1b will require a stated or implied condition to be met, which may or may not be a requirements that something be 'real'.

So one could say something like 'unicorns only exist in stories'. In other words unicorns both exist (1b) and don't exist (1a). Both are valid definitions, depending on the context.
Well that would be a good point if I was indeed confusing those two different aspects of the word. But again, I am only pointing the limitations of our nature. We need to construct our definitions according to our nature and the limitations in our observations. Denying to bind your philosophy to a clear definition is a convenient |way" to sneak in any kind of ideology.
Nobelist Frank Wilczek has suggested the formulation labeled Core theory which includes all known forces and elements to us.
This is a great tool in order to start identifying what exists and what is a product of our thought.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2019, 7:26 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 4:49 pm
Yes, you've illustrated my point exactly. You've both said that they exist and that they don't in the same sentence. Twice.
No, I haven't, because "x exists/Xs exist only according to some fictional story/false theory" is not synonymous with "x exists/Xs exist". Actually, it's synonymous with "x doesn't exist/Xs don't exist".
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Thomyum2 » November 11th, 2019, 4:55 pm

Consul wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 7:26 pm
Thomyum2 wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 4:49 pm
Yes, you've illustrated my point exactly. You've both said that they exist and that they don't in the same sentence. Twice.
No, I haven't, because "x exists/Xs exist only according to some fictional story/false theory" is not synonymous with "x exists/Xs exist". Actually, it's synonymous with "x doesn't exist/Xs don't exist".
I was teasing a bit when I posted that - I didn't mean to be flippant and hope it wasn't taken as disrespect. It does strike me though that the term relies on a qualifier in order to make any sense. Anything we talk about as existing we qualify as, for example, 'existing in', 'existing as', 'existing physically', etc. So does it make sense to talk about a pure or unqualified form of 'existence'? For to not specify or imply the nature of the existence in the context would automatically either default to a qualifier such as 'in reality' (which I think has is problematic in its own right) or leave the qualifier open and subject to interpretation or debate.

You said in an earlier post on the thread that you "don't think "existence" needs to be defined, especially as it seems indefinable." And I tend to agree. But how can it be said that anything is synonymous with 'doesn't exist' if there isn't a definition associated with that term to start with?

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » November 11th, 2019, 6:21 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:55 pm
It does strike me though that the term relies on a qualifier in order to make any sense. Anything we talk about as existing we qualify as, for example, 'existing in', 'existing as', 'existing physically', etc. So does it make sense to talk about a pure or unqualified form of 'existence'? For to not specify or imply the nature of the existence in the context would automatically either default to a qualifier such as 'in reality' (which I think has is problematic in its own right) or leave the qualifier open and subject to interpretation or debate.
You said in an earlier post on the thread that you "don't think "existence" needs to be defined, especially as it seems indefinable." And I tend to agree. But how can it be said that anything is synonymous with 'doesn't exist' if there isn't a definition associated with that term to start with?
Yes, there is an unequivocal concept of existence simpliciter. The adverb "really" can be used to indicate or emphasize that this absolute concept of existence is used (e.g. "Unicorns don't really exist", "Harry Potter doesn't really exist"), but doing so mustn't be misconstrued as implying that there is unreal existence in addition to real existence.

To exist as an X is to exist and to be an X, and to exist physically is to exist and to be physical; so we don't have different meanings of "exist" here. There are different kinds of existents, but there aren't different senses of "existence".
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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