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Thread: What is Metaphysics?

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    Metaphysics: What is It?

    "So long as man exists, philosophising of some sort occurs. Philosophy - what we call philosophy - is Metaphysics getting underway; in which philosophy comes to itself & to its explicit tasks".
    [Martin Heidegger, What is Metaphysics?]

    "All Metaphysics, including its opponent, positivism, speaks the language of Plato".
    [Heidegger, The End of Philosophy & the Task of Thinking]

    "Metaphysics cannot be abolished like an opinion".
    [Heidegger, The End of philosophy]

    Seeing that Heidegger finds Metaphyics to be ultimately necessary to our Being as Thinkers, then how do we define Metaphysics?

    The clue is there in the word 'Being'; Metaphysics is the study of Being.

    Being is Existence in the widest sense. Not only does Metaphysics attempt to study the beingness of all beings, it also seeks to study the being of being itself.

    So Metaphysics is the most fundamental and basic of all studies; that of Ultimate Reality.

    It will deal with;

    Reality,
    Existence,
    Substance,
    Forms,
    Universals,
    Essences,
    Categories,
    Time,
    Mind,
    Causality,
    etc.,

    But Metaphysics is not carried out by using sensory experience, empirical experiment etc.,
    That is the method of Physics, and Metaphysics is prior to Physics.

    Metaphysics relies completely on rational analysis, on rational inquiry.

    See the work of the ancient Greeks; Pre-Socratics, like Parmenides, or the greats like Plato and Aristotle.
    And in the modern era great Germanic philosophers like Kant, Hegel and Heidegger, who have taken up the Aryan baton of thought passed to them by the Greeks.

    Links;

    Metaphysics [general];
    http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/N095
    http://www.websyte.com/alan/metamul.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics

    Plato;
    Parmenides [his dialogue about the Presocratic philosopher Parmenides];
    http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au...armenides.html
    Theory of Forms [Plato's Metaphysical Theory];
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_forms
    The Cave;
    http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~lo...latos_page.htm

    Aristotle,
    The Metaphysics [the classic text];
    http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au...taphysics.html

    Kant
    Metaphysics;
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/k/kantmeta.htm

    Hegel;
    http://www.friesian.com/hegel.htm

    Heidegger;
    What Is Metaphysics?
    http://www.sicetnon.com/matts_course...etaphysics.htm
    Being There;
    http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/7b.htm
    Last edited by Moody; Sunday, November 12th, 2006 at 04:32 PM. Reason: spelling
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Member Bakunin's Avatar
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    Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    By Bakunin




    Metaphysics (from Greek: μετά (meta) = "after", φύσις (phúsis) = "nature") is the center of all science and concerned with explaining the nature of the world. It is the study of being or reality. It addresses questions such as: What is the nature of reality? What is man's place in the universe? Thomas Aquinas called metaphysics for good reason; "the queen of science".


    "The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has." (Aristotle, 340BC)

    Metaphysics considers everything as part of a whole, reality is the summation of all these small parts our world is built on. Basically summarized there is only one big system, which is the center of reality; I call it the "mothersystem". Everything else is part of it. Small monads form into more complex elements which are them-self part of one of the many larger sub-systems; each sub-system with it's own probably unique function. The summation of all interconnected sub-systems is the "mothersystem"; the metaphysical reality that surrounds us. Everything is in fact one, just like the billions of single cells which form the human body, all the monads, elements and sub-systems in our metaphysical reality are interconnected into a single entity.




    Gray = Monads
    Yellow = Elements
    Green = sub-Systems
    Red = Mothersystem

    Please note that Names are generelly nothing more than placeholder!


    "Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another.(Leibniz, 1670)
    Every small monad has it's own natural order. All systems operate, summarized to the essence of there functions, just like a clockwork. And just like all the gear wheels which are the elements a clockwork is made of counldn't work without a "natural order", any other system couldn't work without order - logic comands it.


    So when the natural order of certain things isn't discovered, the fault lies with the servants not with the sub-system or object they try to analyse.





    "It follows from what we have just said, that the natural changes of monads come from an internal principle, and that change is continual in each one. … Now this connection of all created things with each, and of each with all the rest, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, each created monad represents the whole universe." (Leibniz, 1670)

    I came up with this theory – which is the evolution of some very very old concepts dating back more than 2000 years - by analyzing social, biological, psychological, political and economical systems (what I call "society scince"). But the same basic principles also apply to physics, chemistry and space; they apply to anything. It follows that all science shares the same foundation of basic rules or "laws", because all science is based on reality; the metaphysical reality.


    "Wealth, the object of social economy, is subject to the same conditions of existence as beauty, the object of art; virtue, the object of morality; and truth, the object of metaphysics." (Proudhon, 1846, The Philosophy of Misery)

    Why it is important.


    This basic foundation could be the key to many modern problems. Current science; tries to find the rules or "laws" of interactions by only analyzing single systems. It's like trying to discover the function of a human cell, without checking it's interactions with the rest of the body - it's futile.





    "The notion that all these fragments is separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion. Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it." (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)




    "Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. ... Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler... Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." (Albert Einstein)

    Metaphysics today:


    http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/METAPHI.html

    http://www.informatik.uni-ulm.de/rs/...mModulesE.html

    http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Philos...hilosopher.htm

    http://experts.about.com/e/i/im/impl...david_bohm.htm

    http://www.orgonelab.org/bibliog.htm

    http://www.non-newtonianphysics.com/anew.htm

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    BTW, im curently working on a flash movie about metaphysics, this here is a kind of "content-recycling"
    Last edited by Moody; Sunday, December 10th, 2006 at 04:40 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Senior Member Horagalles's Avatar
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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakunin View Post
    Metaphysics (from Greek: μετά (meta) = "after", φύσις (phúsis) = "nature") is the center of all science and concerned with explaining the nature of the world. It is the study of being or reality. It addresses questions such as: What is the nature of reality? What is man's place in the universe? Thomas Aquinas called metaphysics for good reason; "the queen of science".
    Better in this case μετά (behind) = "after", φύσις (phúsis) = "nature"). Actually this deals with what goes with nature, but is not visible. The study of being and reality is called Ontology. Ontology, as "how we think about reality" can of course be part of metaphysics....
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTM...f0330_head_012

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakunin View Post
    Metaphysics considers everything as part of a whole, reality is the summation of all these small parts our world is built on.
    Universalims, Holism?! Metaphysics doesn't consider anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bakunin View Post
    Basically summarized there is only one big system, which is the center of reality; I call it the "mothersystem". Everything else is part of it. Small monads form into more complex elements which are them-self part of one of the many larger sub-systems; each sub-system with it's own probably unique function. The summation of all interconnected sub-systems is the "mothersystem"; the metaphysical reality that surrounds us. Everything is in fact one, just like the billions of single cells which form the human body, all the monads, elements and sub-systems in our metaphysical reality are interconnected into a single entity. ...
    Metaphysics isn't around us it is dealing with the ideas in our mind. It is a physical reality that surrounds us. This reality is however ruled by laws of causality. Metaphysics may deal with how we think about this reality.
    "And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring;..." Plato Politeia

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakunin View Post
    Small monads form into more complex elements which are them-self part of one of the many larger sub-systems; each sub-system with it's own probably unique function.
    See the Metaphysical system of the German philosopher Leibnez, which he called a Monadology;

    "The monad is a simple substance which enters into compounds" etc.,

    Leibniz's Monadology Online;
    http://www.rbjones.com/rbjpub/philos...bniz/monad.htm

    Of course, Voltaire pilloried Leibniz for his view that this was "the best of all possible worlds"!

    Everything is in fact one, just like the billions of single cells which form the human body
    But isn't this body continually under attack, as it struggles to maintain its equilibrium and health, finally having to succumb to ultimate decay?

    How can we be sure that everything is "one" when we know so little about the Universe/Multiverse?

    Doesn't it rather suit a certain way of thinking to believe that "everything is one"?

    Is it really not due to our own limitations that the 'discoveries' we make suggest consilience rather than the opposite?

    And just like all the gear wheels which are the elements a clockwork is made of counldn't work without a "natural order", any other system couldn't work without order - logic comands it.
    Just as man makes the clock, so too does he make his logic and his order.
    There is no reason to believe that the Universe is like the things made by man.
    Of course some have suggested that the Universe resembles a giant human brain - but only human brains have suggested this, which should make us suspicious.

    So when the natural order of certain things isn't discovered, the fault lies with the servants not with the sub-system or object they try to analyse.
    The fault could be that the "natural order" is not there in the place you are looking.
    Once again we get to the confusion between inventing and finding.

    But the same basic principles also apply to physics, chemistry and space; they apply to anything. It follows that all science shares the same foundation of basic rules or "laws", because all science is based on reality; the metaphysical reality.
    We certainly enjoy such a Grand theory of Everything. However, isn't there a mismatch between the theories of Newton, Relativity and Quantum which make a T.O.E. [Theory Of Everything] untenable ... at the moment?

    This basic foundation could be the key to many modern problems. Current science; tries to find the rules or "laws" of interactions by only analyzing single systems. It's like trying to discover the function of a human cell, without checking it's interactions with the rest of the body - it's futile.
    I agree here - as a heuristic device, certainly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Horagalles View Post
    Ontology, as "how we think about reality" can of course be part of metaphysics....
    Yes - it was the German philosopher Christian Wolff [1679-1754] who first coined the term ontology [on is 'being' in Greek], dividing Metaphysics into four branches;

    1) Ontology
    2) Theology
    3) Cosmology
    4) Psychology


    This reality is however ruled by laws of causality.
    See the Scottish philosopher Hume's view of causality;
    "There are no ideas, which occur in metaphysics, more obscure and uncertain, than those of power, force, energy or necessary connexion";
    http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl3.../comment2.html
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horagalles View Post
    Better in this case μετά (behind) = "after", φύσις (phúsis) = "nature"). Actually this deals with what goes with nature, but is not visible. The study of being and reality is called Ontology. Ontology, as "how we think about reality" can of course be part of metaphysics....
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTM...f0330_head_012
    Well, i guess it depends on the point of view. I consider Ontology the basic fondation of metaphysics. It's what Aristotle called "The first Philosophy". All these other parts came later and some are totally alien to any basic scintific fondation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Horagalles View Post
    Universalims, Holism?! Metaphysics doesn't consider anything.
    Aristotle did consider anything us part of a whole.
    Quote Originally Posted by Horagalles View Post
    Metaphysics isn't around us it is dealing with the ideas in our mind. It is a physical reality that surrounds us. This reality is however ruled by laws of causality. Metaphysics may deal with how we think about this reality.
    Again, Aristotle saw these things different and i agree with him.
    "The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has."
    -- Aristotle, Metaphysics 340BC
    The disconection between Ontology and Reality (the absolute reality), is something that only came latly. It was the point when Metaphysics became in fact futile. The conection with reality is what gives Ontology a purpose, a function in society. Without this conection with reality, metaphysics represents nothing more than a hollow waste of time for people who like to hear them self speak...
    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    But isn't this body continually under attack, as it struggles to maintain its equilibrium and health, finally having to succumb to ultimate decay?
    The body it self is just a small part of a bigger system; a dying body offers nutrition for the rest of the system in order that the cycle of life may keeps going. Death and life are in a continously strugle, an antinomy, both are needed to keep the equilibrium.
    Note: This is a part of another theory which is still far away from being complete.. I think that a kind of antinomy exists in all sub-systems, like with ying and yang, there are always two opposoide forces which keep each other in check and thus cause an equilibrium. I call it "the Law of Antinomy"; hopefully the next step in understanding the natural order of reality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    How can we be sure that everything is "one" when we know so little about the Universe/Multiverse?
    Doesn't it rather suit a certain way of thinking to believe that "everything is one"?
    Is it really not due to our own limitations that the 'discoveries' we make suggest consilience rather than the opposite?
    But things are in fact one. One just has to spent some time watching the order in natural systems; be it the food chain, or biological cycles, the seasons or just a single body. These things can't exist without each other, they are conected and fallow an internal principle. It's insane to believe that all the elements which form our reality could actually function fully seperated from each other without causing chaos and dissorder! Not even a small village could funtion without an internal order.
    The notion that these fragments are seperated is probably solely founded on the limitations of the human mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    Just as man makes the clock, so too does he make his logic and his order.
    There is no reason to believe that the Universe is like the things made by man.
    Of course some have suggested that the Universe resembles a giant human brain - but only human brains have suggested this, which should make us suspicious.
    Our brain fallows the same internal principles or "laws" the rest of our universe does. After all our brain is the result of the existing natural order and not the other way around. Each small system represents the whole, the whole represents each small system. Just think about the human body. Do you truly believe the human body could work without an internat natural order? How than could the universe, which is the summation of even more small elements, work as a single entity without an internal order?
    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    The fault could be that the "natural order" is not there in the place you are looking.
    Well, from my point of view there exists just ONE place
    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    We certainly enjoy such a Grand theory of Everything. However, isn't there a mismatch between the theories of Newton, Relativity and Quantum which make a T.O.E. [Theory Of Everything] untenable ... at the moment?
    Because the Galilean-Newtonian view of physics is wrong. That's why scintists had to create bs concepts like "Dark matter" or "dark energy" in order to make models of the universe work properly. Without these junk scince concepts computer models of the universe based on Newton/Einsteins Physics just colapsed into chaos and dissorder.
    For more infos about physics see:
    - Space and the Wave Structure of Matter
    http://www.spaceandmotion.com/
    - Implicate and Explicate Order according to David Bohm
    http://experts.about.com/e/i/im/impl...david_bohm.htm
    - The Physics and New Worldview
    http://www.non-newtonianphysics.com/anew.htm
    Last edited by Moody; Thursday, December 21st, 2006 at 02:00 PM. Reason: merged two consecutive posts

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakunin View Post
    I consider Ontology the basic foundation of metaphysics. It's what Aristotle called "The first Philosophy". All these other parts came later and some are totally alien to any basic scientific foundation.
    Before Aristotle it was the Presocratics who concerned themselves with the question of 'being' [on or onta in Greek].
    The Eleatics in particular [especially Parmenides] influenced the metaphysics/ontology of Plato and Aristotle.
    However, there was also another important influence, that of Pythagoreanism; and via that, the influence of Orphism, which cannot be discounted on Plato and Aristotle's metaphysics.

    In other words, there is an underlying mystical element to Greek metaphysics, even in Aristotle's case, who described his 'First Philosophy' as being something 'divine' [unlike mathematics and physics]; so Aristotle himself made a distinction between this First Philosophy [which we now call 'metaphysics'/'ontology'] and physics and mathematics.

    The concept of the One, of Forms or Universals, of Substance, of the Immortality of the Soul - the Demiurge (Plato) or the Prime Mover (Aristotle) are all features of Greek metaphysics which can be found much earlier in the Mystical religions - and so function in philosophy like a kind of abstract religion.

    Like religion this type of Metaphysics presumes the existence of the 'One', of 'God' or the 'Good'.


    The disconnection between Ontology and Reality (the absolute reality), is something that only came lately. It was the point when Metaphysics became in fact futile. The connection with reality is what gives Ontology a purpose, a function in society. Without this conection with reality, metaphysics represents nothing more than a hollow waste of time for people who like to hear them self speak...
    While ontology is the study of the 'ultimate reality', 'metaphysics' can also be understood as a discourse about physics which is therefore 'beyond' [meta-] physics.
    The very notion that there is an "absolute" reality [and even "reality" itself] cannot be taken for granted by the philosopher.
    Philosophers have always been charged with 'wasting' their own time; but surely the whole point of philosophy is to look into such questions as Time and Being; questions which only mean money to the capitalist world and so are rejected as objects of study [and so 'futile'] by that world.
    The philosopher has to give himself over to a study which may have no goal, no fruit and no fee.
    He may ask, along with Heidegger, "why is there something, and rather not nothing"?
    And the question itself may be wrong - he could spend a lifetime trying to formulate a meaningful question.

    The body it self is just a small part of a bigger system; a dying body offers nutrition for the rest of the system in order that the cycle of life may keeps going. Death and life are in a continously strugle, an antinomy, both are needed to keep the equilibrium.
    This is a good anthropomorphic view, and may be true of certain types of life similar to us; but we cannot assume that it is true of all existence.

    Nor can we assume that existence is a "system"; it may be, but we intend to impose systems on things in order to help us understand them.

    If we assume that philosophy is a sytem of absolute truth then we have something no different to a religious system.

    Note: This is a part of another theory which is still far away from being complete.. I think that a kind of antinomy exists in all sub-systems, like with ying and yang, there are always two opposite forces which keep each other in check and thus cause an equilibrium. I call it "the Law of Antinomy"; hopefully the next step in understanding the natural order of reality.
    But things are in fact one.
    Doesn't this law of antinomy [which must be at least 'two'] contradict the 'one'?
    Is there really evidence for an undifferentiated Oneness?
    Isn't it rather the case that the human mind likes to contemplate 'oneness'?

    One just has to spent some time watching the order in natural systems; be it the food chain, or biological cycles, the seasons or just a single body. These things can't exist without each other, they are connected and follow an internal principle.
    While this may be true of life-forms which are dependent and contingent, is it true of the Universe as a Whole?

    If the Universe is One, as you suggest, then it cannot be connected with anything outside of itself - it has no 'Other', and therefore violates its own principle of existence.

    It's insane to believe that all the elements which form our reality could actually function fully separated from each other without causing chaos and dissorder! Not even a small village could function without an internal order.
    At what level? The Quantum level? Isn't it so that something which may appear chaotic on one level can appear ordered on another?
    Again, isn't order a matter of perspective?
    What possible "connection" does a village on earth have with the most distant supernova?

    The notion that these fragments are seperated is probably solely founded on the limitations of the human mind.
    Surely the notions of connectedness could just as much be due to mental limitations? Isn't there a natural tendency for us to want to make connections even when there are none?

    Doesn't Astrology furnish a classic example of this?

    Our brain fallows the same internal principles or "laws" the rest of our universe does.
    It is not "our" Universe, though. It is more likely that we are an infinitesimal speck in an unimaginably vast Universe. Life itself could just be an accident. There is no evidence to suggest that the Universe is a giant human brain.
    That is a nice hypothesis, but it is too anthropomorphic to be taken wholeheartedly to heart.

    After all our brain is the result of the existing natural order and not the other way around.
    It could be the product of the evolution of a particular type of life; but that gives no grounds to believe that it is part of a Universal Order - there may be no such thing.
    The fact is we do not know enough about the brain [and even less about the Uinverse] to make such claims.
    Indeed, such claims are Mysticism - nothing wrong with that as such, but they are not 'scientific'.

    Each small system represents the whole, the whole represents each small system. Just think about the human body. Do you truly believe the human body could work without an internal natural order? How than could the universe, which is the summation of even more small elements, work as a single entity without an internal order?
    There is nothing to gainsay the view that there are local systems which operate under their own laws which have no real "internal" connection to the supposed "whole".
    If the Universe is as vast as we think it is, disparate life forms following different 'laws' could co-exist at huge distances in space and not impinge one on the other.
    Again, the Universe itself - what is that "connected" to?

    Well, from my point of view there exists just ONE place.
    But aren't you even open to the possibility that there may be more than one, and that those others may be completely different to the one you think you know about?

    Because the Galilean-Newtonian view of physics is wrong. That's why scientists had to create bs concepts like "Dark matter" or "dark energy" in order to make models of the universe work properly. Without these junk science concepts computer models of the universe based on Newton/Einsteins Physics just colapsed into chaos and dissorder.
    They are not "wrong" as such, but rather limited.
    Newtonian physics 'works' within its own ambit.
    And this is the issue - we want to stretch a limited understanding and make it fit an unlimited problem, i.e., the Universe.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Horagalles View Post
    The study of being and reality is called Ontology. Ontology, as "how we think about reality" can of course be part of metaphysics....
    This seems reasonable.

    One question arises, does 'a thought' - physically exist.

    For example, if we say the charge emitted across the synaptic gap, between an Axon and a Dendrite is - 'a thought'.

    Then surely we could count the physical existence of 'a thought', as being the chemical and electrical matter which constitutes the synaptic impulse.
    Last edited by AlbionMP; Sunday, December 24th, 2006 at 12:34 PM.

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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbionMP View Post
    One question arises, does 'a thought' - physically exist.
    For example, if we say the charge emitted across the synaptic gap, between an the Axon and a Dendrite is - 'a thought'.
    Then surely we could count the physical existence of 'a thought', as being the chemical and electrical matter which constitutes the synaptic impulse.
    But this "emitted charge" could not be wholly associated with what we know of as thoughts in terms of 'thinking'; i.e., the same 'emitted charge' might [hypothetically] correspond to both the thoughts 'the Universe is finite' and 'the Universe is infinite' etc.,

    In other words there isn't a close enough correspondence to thoughts as we know them and electrical brain activity to be philosophically meaningful.

    Also, the idea that there could be such a close coincidence of thoughts and local brain activity has been thrown into doubt by instances of people suffering physical brain damage [and therefore losing synapses etc., and the mental functions associated with them], but being able [via therepy] to recover a good deal of their mental capability.

    So it is doubtful whether philosophical thoughts/ideas/mind etc., can be reduced to electrical activity in the brain alone.

    This might suggest that Plato's view of thought as a transcendent phenomema [rather than as a purely subjective one] has some mileage in it.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    But this "emitted charge" could not be wholly associated with what we know of as thoughts in terms of 'thinking'; i.e., the same 'emitted charge' might [hypothetically] correspond to both the thoughts 'the Universe is finite' and 'the Universe is infinite' etc.,
    You may be right here

    However, consider this:

    One thought - 'the Universe is finite'.

    An other thought - 'the Universe is infinite'.

    These are two Distinct thoughts.

    Therefore they both will have a corresponding Distinct - electrical impulse in the brain.

    In other words two Distinct thoughts never have the same electrical charge.

    This corresponds with observations made on the varying strength of the charge across a synaptic gap. In a typical Brain - i.e. Neural Network, Neurons fire differently for different thoughts.


    In other words there isn't a close enough correspondence to thoughts as we know them and electrical brain activity to be philosophically meaningful.
    This maybe True, only so far as we understand though.

    And what I mean here, is that there may exist a relationship between thoughts and electrical brain impulses, which we have not yet discovered.

    Also, the idea that there could be such a close coincidence of thoughts and local brain activity has been thrown into doubt by instances of people suffering physical brain damage [and therefore losing synapses etc., and the mental functions associated with them], but being able [via therepy] to recover a good deal of their mental capability.
    It's true to say, that this is what we observe.

    However what is also interesting - is what we have not yet observed.

    So it is doubtful whether philosophical thoughts/ideas/mind etc., can be reduced to electrical activity in the brain alone.
    To some maybe, but knowledge is built by, confirming our beliefs.

    By confirming our beliefs, we dispel - doubt.

    This might suggest that Plato's view of thought as a transcendent phenomema [rather than as a purely subjective one] has some mileage in it.
    I would agree that thought is transcendent, but I would also add - thought is also immanent.

    And quite possibly, thought is more than we can explain at present.

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    Re: Metaphysics: The Natural Order of all Things (N.O.T.)

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbionMP View Post
    One thought - 'the Universe is finite'.
    An other thought - 'the Universe is infinite'.
    These are two Distinct thoughts.
    Therefore they both will have a corresponding Distinct - electrical impulse in the brain.
    Only if there is a one-to-one correspondence of identity between thoughts and electrical impulses; my point is that this is not necessarily the case.

    Of course, if this were true then neuro-surgeons would be able to operate on people who have 'bad thoughts' and eliminate those thoughts. We would be able to easily cure anything from depression to extreme forms of mental illness.

    We could also eliminate all aggressive thoughts and manufacture peaceful people.
    Perhaps a scan could be done at birth on all babies which would 'tweek' their electrical brain-impulses so that they all turn-out with no negative thoughts.
    Of course, this is a Brave New Wolrd fantasy, and would only be possible if we could say that thoughts correspond to electrical impulses in the way you suggested previously.

    In other words two Distinct thoughts never have the same electrical charge.
    This corresponds with observations made on the varying strength of the charge across a synaptic gap. In a typical Brain - i.e. Neural Network, Neurons fire differently for different thoughts.
    But is there any kind of epistemic correlation between thoughts/electrical charges?

    This is what I doubt.

    For example, the mechanical effort made by the hand to type a pulp novel on computer keyboard and to play with that same hand Bach's two-part inventions on the clavichord may be similar in terms of the mechanics of finger movement, muscle movement etc., but the result of either activity is very different.
    So to go back to my previous point; it is just as possible that very disimilar thoughts may have the same electrical charge.

    That is to say, it is something other than the electrical charge that makes one thought a profound one, and another thouight a trite one - even though they may share the same electrical charge just as the typist and the clavichordist share the same manual dexterity.

    This maybe True, only so far as we understand though.
    And what I mean here, is that there may exist a relationship between thoughts and electrical brain impulses, which we have not yet discovered.
    Of course - and this is an 'optimistic' outlook; but it pays to be 'pessimistic' too; or at least not to cash a philosophical cheque which may bounce.

    My preference for caution on this issue is that philosophical outlooks in the past [such as 'Logical Positivism'] which have put their hopes in a scientific solution [or rather an elimination] to metaphysical questions [to the Logical Positivists, metaphysics was 'nonsense' in the strict meaning of the term] have ended up as reductivist irrelevancies.

    It's true to say, that this is what we observe.
    However what is also interesting - is what we have not yet observed.
    I agree - and would certainly welcome any new evidence to show that thoughts [of a philosophically meaningful kind] could be identified with purely electrical brain workings. However, I think there is a danger of jumping the gun and forgetting that the important evidence is not in [yet]; and even that 'yet' is dangerous - it may be a false path.

    To some maybe, but knowledge is built by, confirming our beliefs.
    By confirming our beliefs, we dispel - doubt.
    This is what I was trying to get across in my reply to Bakunin - philosophy is about opening up doubts, rather than dispelling them.
    Religion does the latter.
    Problem is, those doubters of the past and who established followers, then produced systems, which are now used in a quasi-religious fashion in order to dispel doubts!
    And yet Plato & Aristotle, for example, thought that philosophy begins with a sense of wonder.
    And I think it stays there too.

    Once a problem is 'answered' [say, in this case that 'all thoughts can be shown to correspond one-to-one with identifiable electrical brain-impulses, and so that all thoughts can therefore be transliterated into electrical patterns and vice versa'], then philosophy will move on to another question.

    Once a mountain is climbed, the mountaineer looks for a new mountain to conquer.
    However, this particular philosophical mountain has yet to have its peak visited!

    I would agree that thought is transcendent, but I would also add - thought is also immanent.
    And quite possibly, thought is more than we can explain at present.
    We agree there; there are those who would like to believe that thought is one or the other, though.
    ... And others may like to think that thought is something else altogether.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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