What is Metaphysics?
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10-07-2014, 04:06 AM
RE: What is Metaphysics?
It makes me quite mad when I see the skeptic community fall to stereotypes of "metaphysics",

Its the study of "what is really there", or "reality". There is nothing "woo" about it. Its a fundamental part of philosophy.

The "woo" people have just stolen the damn word and poisoned it.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.

-Christopher Hitchens
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10-07-2014, 08:52 AM
RE: What is Metaphysics?
(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  *Here's today's entertainment session for the whole audience. Bowing I hope you enjoy the show, my patience is running out, if nobody ELSE has any questions. I'm doing this for you, invisible audience, not for clear-cut specialists Cjlr or Chas.

Funny; I might say the same thing.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Language is not infinitely flexible. All languages, especially scientific, have a limited ability to assimilate new ideas. If you know only one language, you never notice that. Your awareness will be only as good as your one language. There will always be data to gather, down to infinity. But being caught as a specialist within one language is a special small hell where we are quite competent, yet nothing else works, nothing else is real, yet it's all right, because it's not our fault, so we tell ourselves. Just stick with the method and don't care about the language that uses the method or even reasons why you do all this. Get old, get senile, die.

Is there a point to this?

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Metaphysics is an absolute logical necessity. Why? Because the body of knowledge in science is finite and it is expanding. It has come from somewhere, expand into something that already exists. We call that something metaphysics and we refer to it all the time. Words like "world" and "nature" and "reality" are metaphysical references, because we do not know them completely.

All very true.

That isn't the problem. It's to appropriate the word to refer to things that aren't real that's the problem. You literally just said you didn't like Chopra. And you don't detect any of the same strands in your own pet woo?

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  But I think they're also concepts, because there's no mistaking them for something else, they have a firm place in our language.
To presume that only the scientifically known things exist is positivism (or perhaps scientism) and it is fallacious.

Prove it.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  I know scientists reject this absolute positivism...

Yes, because falsifiability is the opposite of positivism.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  ... but I'd say they are still pretty damn conservative and do not make enough allowance for metaphysics, even though it is greater than physics. For example, a string theory with several extra dimensions should be more believable than a theory of everything that explains perfectly what we know exists today, but presumes nothing else will be discovered next, that it ties the loose ends too soon. That is just not the nature of reality.

You don't understand string theory.

But it's nice that you think you understand more of reality than any actual scientist (!!).

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 03:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Define laboratory.

The scientific method and mindset are the only way anyone has ever learned anything about anything. So there's that.
Why the hell would I need to define a laboratory? A laboratory is defined by its equipment (which is ad hoc) and scientific method (which is universal). So what is left there for me to define? Government sponsorship?

You said there exist things which cannot be studied "in a laboratory". If you're now defining that as "via the scientific method" then that's clearer.

Therefore you are advocating the existence of things which cannot be scientifically investigated.

Which, you know, has only ever led to one pathetic shambling failure after another in all the long history of humankind. But good luck with that.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  The scientific method and mindset is the only way to learn collectively, without shared experience. Shared or individual experience is the grey zone of scientific method, because the instrument and researcher are not separate. Yet we use them all the time in daily life with success. Lots of science is about separating the observer and the observed, so that objective observations may be made (medicine, biology, neurology, etc).
Strictly speaking, our perception is not wrong, it's only less efficient for many applications, but reliable in principle. If you absolutely deny the reliability of human perception in principle, then you deny the right to read dials on scientific instruments.

Nice try, but no. "Absolutely denying the reliability of human perception" is not a thing any scientist does; that appears to be your straw man. "Denying the absolute reliability of human perception" is what actually happens.

(unlike you, and the apparent absolute conviction with which you hold your inexpressible subjective personal experience)

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 03:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You have to put forward coherent testable hypothesis to be taken seriously. Here's where you can start. Any evidence. Of anything. Period. Unless reliable conditions and competent observers are too much like a dreaded "laboratory", which would make any claim of yours self-defeating and incoherent.
There are things which have no place and no name within present paradigm of physics, so they are literally impossible to define as a hypothesis. If I tried it, it would sound very awkward and as always I'd get a lot of scorn.

That's a transparent cop-out. Anything real is demonstrable. You claim something is real. If you can't demonstrate anything, no one else will ever nor need ever take anything you're saying remotely seriously.

The JREF doesn't require a mechanism. They don't require a hypothesis or theory. They don't require peer-review. They just require evidence.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Nah, there are much more competent researchers than me, even dealing with the same exotic stuff. Yet they fail to gain official recognition. So I'm not going to invest 10,000 hours to fail the same way they did. My guess is, people are so specialized in their fields, that they can't communicate new ideas from field to field. Scientific fields are useful - but deep down the truth is, they are just human constructs. There may be radical ways for raw physics to interact with raw biology, for which we have no name. Damn, if only I could express my questions in a way that doesn't get me ridiculed down to next Tuesday! Human body is an electric unit, but not in the wall plug sense. It is very difficult - and insulting for others! - to admit to myself that others who call themselves experts have no idea what I'm talking about.

Are you going somewhere with this?

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Reliable conditions? Anything connected with biology and mental states is volatile and/or elusive.

And yet somehow we manage to study them anyway.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  What is needed are specialized instruments.

You lack specialised instruments. As do most of your favourite woo-peddlers. Doesn't seem to stop you.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  And the only way to get specialized instruments is formulating a hypothesis.

A coherent hypothesis begins with "if X then Y"; the apparatus is constructed to reproduce X and see if Y is observed.

No physical theory is necessary. There is by definition no explanation necessary a priori when investigating new phenomena.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Hypothesis uses a language to link commonly known forces (voltage, amperage, magnetism...) to some new phenomenon, which is then put to engineering. If the theoretical language of a scientific field makes no allowance for certain combinations, these instruments just don't get made. Or funded.

"lol conspiracy". Fail.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  The only way to change that is basically wait till someone important dies from old age and then formulate a new grammar in which some phenomena even count as evidence. Evidence only exists within a grammar, within a paradigm. Otherwise they're just odd anomalies, not connected to anything, without meaning.

"lol conspiracy". Fail.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Yeah, in most sciences this is not so extreme, not so clear-cut, it's possible to compare paradigms if you know both of them very well - but I don't, so I speak generally.

And yet you manage to dismiss so many people so vacuously regardless.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 03:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You don't even know what plasma is.
My definitions of plasma come from my use for plasma, which is not technical, it's more like a poetry of human experience with plasma, not machine interaction with plasma.

Thanks for demonstrating my point.

Latching onto a buzzword might cloak your nonsense in legitimacy among those who are likewise ignorant, but only makes you look like a fool to anyone who isn't.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  I do have some questions, but I can only put them forward in a form of poetry, because they're multi-disciplinary. I have questions which make sense in the woo language (because this is where the experience is), I must translate them through the language of neurology (which I don't know) into the language of physics (which I don't know) and then back.

Then learn some.

You claim to observe something. Anything observable is demonstrable. Anything inexpressible, on the other hand, is not demonstrable. Pick one. Can't have it both ways whenever it suits you.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Social skills in natural sciences are virtually unknown - except bedside manner in medicine. I say poetry, because it's shorter than saying gathering data through qualitative methods.

Except those are totally different things. Saving typing a few letters isn't worth abusing vocabulary and completely obscuring whatever you're hoping to express.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 03:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  You sound less like a resentful crank when you aren't glibly insulting millions of people for not riding your woo-train.

Just a tip.
What if I know people can't ride my woo-train?

If you were honest you'd admit of the possibility of it being an artifact of your perception and not representative of anything external to yourself.

Since not even you have any idea what you're talking about, it's only your desperate confirmation bias that lets you conclude any other woo peddlers are in fact congruent.

If your nonsense remains incommunicable and utterly undemonstrable, no, no one will ever go along with it.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  It's not easy. I can't insult people for something almost nobody can do.
People who haven't invested their 10,000 hours should not feel insulted when I say they don't know something. The fact that they do, is their problem, not mine. People feel insulted by not being comfortable in their own expertise, or thinking that without their expertise they are nothing, they have no personal value. We can only feel valuable if we were valuable to our parents.

What the actual fuck?

Drop the neo-Freudian horseshit. It's not helping.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 03:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  There is some truth to that. There is so much stupid and terrible philosophy out there that many people (especially many scientists) ignore the whole field. Likewise philosophers, the terrible ones and also some who are not, are very often utterly scientifically ignorant.
I meant it especially in the field of economy, which is probably the most objective of social sciences...


(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  ... maybe more so than most human statistics. Social sciences are strange.
In natural sciences, it takes generations to have a revolution of a paradigm (Newton-Einstein-quantum physics). In social sciences, multiple paradigms exist simultaneously. Yet in economy, people get caught in ideologies and politics without realizing it.
I wish that scientists, especially economists would at notice when they are speaking to someone of a different paradigm, or language. If they don't, it always gets down to power and slander, who can afford to pull the plug on the other guy while appearing like a fighter against babbling woo-mongers.

You've amply demonstrated elsewhere onsite that economics is just another thing you don't understand.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 03:37 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Oh God, it's "lol conspiracy" again.
No, this is NOT conspiracy. Trust me, this is what language does to people. Especially scientific language. Most languages refer to the same things but with different words - we call them German or English and so on. But science has languages that are all English - but the meaning of Newtonian English is subtly different from Einsteinian English.

wut. Einstein published in German. Newton published in Latin.

And math is a language all its own.

(09-07-2014 05:18 AM)Luminon Wrote:  (or I could say Keynesian vs Austrian English) And if that sort of thing goes unnoticed, it has deeply disturbing, tragically hilarious and perverse consequences. It messes people up. Only philosophers of science and language can stop themselves in time, before they cause a diplomatic disaster. That sort of thing can happen even in the rare circumstance when both people are actually competent scientists. In fact, the more they know, the more they are likely to insist their truth is the only possible linguistic expression of reality.


This is all extremely simple, bud.

If you possess knowledge of a real, demonstrable phenomenon, all you have to do is demonstrate it to another credible person.

If you can't do that, shut up about it. Stop whining about how nobody else is special enough to believe you on faith. Stop insulting the integrity of those who don't believe you. Stop talking about things you don't understand.

That's it. End of story. Step up to the throne and either shit or go home.

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13-07-2014, 01:23 PM
RE: What is Metaphysics?
Metaphysics is one of the four main branches of philosophy; epistemology, logic, and ethics being the others. It addresses such interesting topics as causation, the mind/body problem, free will, personal identity - and, of course, the existence of god.

The term metaphysics has been coopted by all things woo. I cringe when I walk by what used to be the "occult" section of bookstores and see "metaphysical studies." Tarot cards, magic crystals, chakra healing, goddess worship, and who knows what else, have nothing to do with metaphysics.

As an introduction to metaphysics, I'd recommend the audiobook "Exploring Metaphysics" by David Johnson on Audible.

“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer
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