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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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Pages
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Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Pages » September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am

Reason is simply because they are ALL based on assumptions. Like whether or not the universe has always existed, time/space is infinite or not etc. They are not intelligible discussions. You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences. That's why people never agree.
It would always be based on opinions or quoting some person's opinion just because he/she existed in the past. And cannot be sieved by logic
The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Pattern-chaser » September 30th, 2019, 7:55 am

Pages wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am
You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences.
Try looking at it the other way around. Science addresses the easy problems. The ones that have sufficient evidence (etc) that a scientific investigation is practical. Philosophy addresses the other problems too, the ones for which there is insuficient evidence, or some similar issue. Many of these come under the general heading of metaphysics. So my view would be the opposite of your title: metaphysics topics are the interesting ones. They're the difficult ones as well, though.

So stick with science if you're only interested in grabbing the low-hanging fruit, and graduate to metaphysics when you feel up to something a bit more demanding. :wink:

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by chewybrian » September 30th, 2019, 8:45 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:55 am
Pages wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am
You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences.
Try looking at it the other way around. Science addresses the easy problems. The ones that have sufficient evidence (etc) that a scientific investigation is practical. Philosophy addresses the other problems too, the ones for which there is insuficient evidence, or some similar issue. Many of these come under the general heading of metaphysics. So my view would be the opposite of your title: metaphysics topics are the interesting ones. They're the difficult ones as well, though.

So stick with science if you're only interested in grabbing the low-hanging fruit, and graduate to metaphysics when you feel up to something a bit more demanding. :wink:
I agree that it is sometimes more interesting to try to tackle problems that can not be 'solved'. But, I also prefer to work where the results of the labor can have real world applications. (I suppose there is some small chance that understanding a black hole can teach us how to travel through time or some such thing, but even if that was a remote possibility, I am unlikely to have the ability to discover these things). And, once you have been around the block on something like free will vs. determinism, you can see that nothing comes of these discussions and virtually nobody is going to change their stance, because there is no proof for or against either side to knock us off our pedestals. It becomes dull.

If I am right or wrong about the nature of the universe or how many licks it takes to get to the center of a black hole, it does not mean anything to me here and now beyond amusement. But, if I am right or wrong about the nature of ethics and virtue and the most productive ways to interact with others, the answers to these questions can improve my life or the lives of those around me. In either case, the answers are not as comforting as the Correct with a capital C answer to a math problem. But, I like the idea that I might be working toward a real world benefit. In science, one could also see real world benefits come from the effort. I just prefer ethics because I see a greater need there.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Thomyum2 » September 30th, 2019, 11:58 am

Pages wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am
Reason is simply because they are ALL based on assumptions. Like whether or not the universe has always existed, time/space is infinite or not etc. They are not intelligible discussions. You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences. That's why people never agree.
It would always be based on opinions or quoting some person's opinion just because he/she existed in the past. And cannot be sieved by logic
All knowledge, not just metaphysics, proceeds from assumptions, though we sometimes call these 'axioms' or 'postulates' or 'self-evident truths' - but they are still assumptions or agreed-upon truths from which everything else proceeds. Logic or reason cannot create knowledge out of a vacuum - it has to have a starting point from which to build. Rather than making the topic boring, I think this is what can actually make it so interesting. Maybe nothing is proven conclusively true through metaphysical discussions, but I find the activity of doing so sheds light on how we know and understand things, and strengthens one's ability to think and reason.

But certainly I can sympathize with your feelings to a certain extent because many metaphysical arguments are not carefully constructed or well reasoned, which does tend to make them 'boring and a waste of time', as you say. But I think don't think it's due to the topic itself or the fact that these are based on assumptions, but rather to the quality, of lack thereof, which we sometimes find in the discussions.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » September 30th, 2019, 12:44 pm

It's true that "philosophy lacks the wonderful decision procedures that are present in logic and mathematics (proofs) and the natural sciences (observation and experiment, together with mathematics)."(1 So metaphysical theorizing is unavoidably speculative or conjectural, such that metaphysicians ought to abstain from claims to knowledge. But it doesn't follow that all metaphysical assumptions or beliefs are equally irrational, implausible, or improbable. "Speculation is, I say, important, so as to distinguish the fairly probable from the highly improbable among the hypotheses on offer."(2 And "anti-metaphysicians who refuse to engage in metaphysical speculation should not ask questions which require metaphysical answers."(3 Moreover, "not metaphysics but bad metaphysics is the enemy of science,"(4 and "one of the ways in which a metaphysician can help a nonmetaphysician is to protect him from bad metaphysics."(5

(1 Armstrong, D. M. Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. p. ix)

(2 Forrest, Peter. Developmental Theism: From Pure Will to Unbounded Love. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. p. 1)

(3 Forrest, Peter. "Supervenience: The Grand-Property Hypothesis." Australasian Journal of Philosophy 66/1 (1988): 1–12. p. 4)

(4 Williams, Donald Cary. "The Real Meaning of Sentences." In Principles of Empirical Realism: Philosophical Essays, 46-73. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, 1966. p. 72)

(5 Chisholm, Roderick M. On Metaphysics. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1989. p. 51)
"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 h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 1:41 pm

Pages wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am
Reason is simply because they are ALL based on assumptions. Like whether or not the universe has always existed, time/space is infinite or not etc. They are not intelligible discussions. You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences. That's why people never agree.
It would always be based on opinions or quoting some person's opinion just because he/she existed in the past. And cannot be sieved by logic
Metaphysics (which is Aristotle's name for the topics discussed in his treatise after his chapter on physics) is critical to philosophy because it defines the limits of physics.

It also sets bounds on the ancient and wicked topic of religion as well.

You need metaphysics in your daily life to defend you from fanatical college and grad school science professors, and from religious fanatics and ministers of the faith.

Now, go sit in the corner, just like your teacher no doubt made you do back in preschool, bad boy !!

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 1:43 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:55 am
Pages wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am
You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences.
Try looking at it the other way around. Science addresses the easy problems. The ones that have sufficient evidence (etc) that a scientific investigation is practical. Philosophy addresses the other problems too, the ones for which there is insuficient evidence, or some similar issue. Many of these come under the general heading of metaphysics. So my view would be the opposite of your title: metaphysics topics are the interesting ones. They're the difficult ones as well, though.

So stick with science if you're only interested in grabbing the low-hanging fruit, and graduate to metaphysics when you feel up to something a bit more demanding. :wink:
Exactly !!

Thank you @Pattern-chaser !!

I could not have put it better myself !!

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 1:46 pm

chewybrian wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 8:45 am
Pattern-chaser wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:55 am


Try looking at it the other way around. Science addresses the easy problems. The ones that have sufficient evidence (etc) that a scientific investigation is practical. Philosophy addresses the other problems too, the ones for which there is insuficient evidence, or some similar issue. Many of these come under the general heading of metaphysics. So my view would be the opposite of your title: metaphysics topics are the interesting ones. They're the difficult ones as well, though.

So stick with science if you're only interested in grabbing the low-hanging fruit, and graduate to metaphysics when you feel up to something a bit more demanding. :wink:
I agree that it is sometimes more interesting to try to tackle problems that can not be 'solved'. But, I also prefer to work where the results of the labor can have real world applications. (I suppose there is some small chance that understanding a black hole can teach us how to travel through time or some such thing, but even if that was a remote possibility, I am unlikely to have the ability to discover these things). And, once you have been around the block on something like free will vs. determinism, you can see that nothing comes of these discussions and virtually nobody is going to change their stance, because there is no proof for or against either side to knock us off our pedestals. It becomes dull.

If I am right or wrong about the nature of the universe or how many licks it takes to get to the center of a black hole, it does not mean anything to me here and now beyond amusement. But, if I am right or wrong about the nature of ethics and virtue and the most productive ways to interact with others, the answers to these questions can improve my life or the lives of those around me. In either case, the answers are not as comforting as the Correct with a capital C answer to a math problem. But, I like the idea that I might be working toward a real world benefit. In science, one could also see real world benefits come from the effort. I just prefer ethics because I see a greater need there.
Metaphysics does actually have real-world applications because in the real world you will someday die, whether now or 50 years from now, as Achilles said in the Iliad, it makes little difference now or later.

And when you die you will ultimately arrive into the world of metaphysics.

It's nice and reassuring to me to have some sense now of what the options are going to be then.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 2:01 pm

I think (don't know for a fact) that metaphysics is Aristotle's alternative to the myths of the Greek gods and even to the theology of Moses who at his day (Aristotle's) the peoples (plural) of Moses having returned to Judea/Palestine under the Persian yoke, Alexander The Great (who was Aristotle's student in Macedonia) not yet having conquered Persia and its empire yet, which included Judea/Palestine. And Judea/Palestine is adjacent to the Greek port of Joppa, so he (Aristotle) must have known about it (Judea/Palestine) and about the Jews and their religion.

Aristotle must have scoffed at the idea of kosher rules for meats. Octopodi tastes great all long the Aegean coasts roasted over a fire pit and made into salads with wine vinegar and olive oil and fresh greens with it (a classic Greek salad).

Metaphysics is Aristotle's answer and solution to the problem of religion -- which is ancient and wicked.

It is logical for Aristotle (and for us who are Romantic Philosophers) that God is out there in the form of the Prime Mover, however there cannot be anything wrong with a good spit of roasted octopodi !!!

Metaphysics is simply what you believe is "out there." God is out there, but we cannot detect Him/Her/They with our telescopes and microscopes therefore we need metaphysics to discern Them/Her/him with.

Metaphysics is the foundation for Deism. Not to be confused with Theism, Atheism, and Agnosticism.

Metaphysics is what makes Philosophy superior to Science and superior to Religion.

Bertrand Russell in his book Western Philosophy states that Philosophy, Science, and Religion are co-equal and independent.

However I believe and know from my own experience that Philosophy is superior to the other two and to all else.

And metaphysics is one of the foundations of Philosophy, second only to Epistemology itself.

I would rank them as follows:

- 1st Epistemology

- 2nd Metaphysics

- 3rd Ethics

- 4th Teleology

- 5th Science

- 6th Religion.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by h_k_s » September 30th, 2019, 2:18 pm

Thomyum2 wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 11:58 am
Pages wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 7:38 am
Reason is simply because they are ALL based on assumptions. Like whether or not the universe has always existed, time/space is infinite or not etc. They are not intelligible discussions. You can't prove or disprove them with reliable evidences. That's why people never agree.
It would always be based on opinions or quoting some person's opinion just because he/she existed in the past. And cannot be sieved by logic
All knowledge, not just metaphysics, proceeds from assumptions, though we sometimes call these 'axioms' or 'postulates' or 'self-evident truths' - but they are still assumptions or agreed-upon truths from which everything else proceeds. Logic or reason cannot create knowledge out of a vacuum - it has to have a starting point from which to build. Rather than making the topic boring, I think this is what can actually make it so interesting. Maybe nothing is proven conclusively true through metaphysical discussions, but I find the activity of doing so sheds light on how we know and understand things, and strengthens one's ability to think and reason.

But certainly I can sympathize with your feelings to a certain extent because many metaphysical arguments are not carefully constructed or well reasoned, which does tend to make them 'boring and a waste of time', as you say. But I think don't think it's due to the topic itself or the fact that these are based on assumptions, but rather to the quality, of lack thereof, which we sometimes find in the discussions.
I agree with you @Thomyum2 .

I like to keep my own assumptions to a very minimum however.

To wit:

Things I know (Epistemology):

1 - I think therefore I am. I also throw stones and spears therefore I am. I also kill and eat therefore I am.

2 - I can and do change living things (plants and animals) into poop.

3 - I did not create myself nor these other living things.

4 - I can see with my eyes, feel with my ears, touch with my hands, smell with my nose, and taste with my tongue.

Things I assume/presume (Metaphysics):

A - Being created I must therefore have a Creator.

B - This Creator must have placed me here on this Earth with these plants and animals for my use.

C - This Creator must have had a good reason for doing everything.

D - The universe above me is vast and must have been created by this Creator as well.

E - This Creator must dwell somewhere above (or below) me in this vast universe.

F - This Creator must have opinions.

Things I must become cognizant of (Ethics):

a - This Creator must have expectations of me.

b - I must meet this Creator's expectations because He/She/They is/are more powerful than I am, and to be Their friend is infinitely better than becoming Their enemy.

c - This creator must consider others like me to be as dear to Him/Her/Them as I must be since They/She/He created us all.

d - I must behave ethically towards all other humankind and plants and animals.

e - I must not pollute the Earth.

f - I must not waste animal life.

g - I must not murder, steal, trespass, lie, enslave, sexually violate, or otherwise offend any of humankind.

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by Consul » September 30th, 2019, 3:22 pm

h_k_s wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 1:41 pm
Metaphysics (which is Aristotle's name for the topics discussed in his treatise after his chapter on physics) is critical to philosophy because it defines the limits of physics.
Actually, "metaphysics" is not "Aristotle's name", because he himself didn't use this word!

"The word ‘metaphysics’ is derived from a collective title of the fourteen books by Aristotle that we currently think of as making up Aristotle's Metaphysics. Aristotle himself did not know the word. (He had four names for the branch of philosophy that is the subject-matter of Metaphysics: ‘first philosophy’, ‘first science’, ‘wisdom’, and ‘theology’.) At least one hundred years after Aristotle's death, an editor of his works (in all probability, Andronicus of Rhodes) titled those fourteen books “Ta meta ta phusika”—“the after the physicals” or “the ones after the physical ones”—the “physical ones” being the books contained in what we now call Aristotle's Physics. The title was probably meant to warn students of Aristotle's philosophy that they should attempt Metaphysics only after they had mastered “the physical ones”, the books about nature or the natural world—that is to say, about change, for change is the defining feature of the natural world."

Metaphysics: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/
"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 Consul » September 30th, 2019, 3:28 pm

h_k_s wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 1:46 pm
Metaphysics does actually have real-world applications because in the real world you will someday die, whether now or 50 years from now, as Achilles said in the Iliad, it makes little difference now or later.
And when you die you will ultimately arrive into the world of metaphysics.
Metaphysics is not to be equated with hyperphysics or supernatural(istic) philosophy!

"Twentieth-century coinages like ‘meta-language’ and ‘metaphilosophy’ encourage the impression that metaphysics is a study that somehow “goes beyond” physics, a study devoted to matters that transcend the mundane concerns of Newton and Einstein and Heisenberg. This impression is mistaken."

Metaphysics: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/
"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 Felix » September 30th, 2019, 4:23 pm

Pattern-chaser: Science addresses the easy problems. The ones that have sufficient evidence (etc) that a scientific investigation is practical.
I see your point but I wouldn't go that far. At the edges of the event horizon, i.e., in the realms of cosmology and quantum mechanics, scientists must become metaphysicians.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by chewybrian » October 1st, 2019, 4:52 am

h_k_s wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 1:46 pm
Metaphysics does actually have real-world applications because in the real world you will someday die, whether now or 50 years from now, as Achilles said in the Iliad, it makes little difference now or later.

And when you die you will ultimately arrive into the world of metaphysics.

It's nice and reassuring to me to have some sense now of what the options are going to be then.
I don't see how metaphysics, or religion or anything else helps you know what happens to your consciousness or soul when you die. Do we have any window at all to understanding this? It all seems like pure conjecture, or really just fables or wishful thinking. If you mean what happens to the matter making up your body, we pretty well know this, and the options are few.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Metaphysics topics are boring and a waste of time

Post by h_k_s » October 1st, 2019, 6:09 am

chewybrian wrote:
October 1st, 2019, 4:52 am
h_k_s wrote:
September 30th, 2019, 1:46 pm
Metaphysics does actually have real-world applications because in the real world you will someday die, whether now or 50 years from now, as Achilles said in the Iliad, it makes little difference now or later.

And when you die you will ultimately arrive into the world of metaphysics.

It's nice and reassuring to me to have some sense now of what the options are going to be then.
I don't see how metaphysics, or religion or anything else helps you know what happens to your consciousness or soul when you die. Do we have any window at all to understanding this? It all seems like pure conjecture, or really just fables or wishful thinking. If you mean what happens to the matter making up your body, we pretty well know this, and the options are few.
I did not say "know."

I said "have some sense of … ."

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