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Orlando Hawkins


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Is it time for philosophy to do away with metaphysics?

I love philosophy but one of the main issues that I hear about it is that its impractical and serves no suitable purpose to the world. Although I believe this claim to be somewhat false I understand the point that is being made from those who criticize it.

Philosophy is capable of being pragmatic but the reason why it appears as though its not is because it deals too much with the abstract and concerns itself with metaphysics. If you want a real brain teaser metaphysical talk is the way to go but metaphysics really serves no purpose to the world. For a family who constantly have to work to feed their children and provide an education, contemplating the nature of reality or postulating weather or not consciousness exists outside the brain is probably not going to help the situation. One of my professors say that if we sit in meditation, we’ll understand the true harmonious nature and interconnectedness of the universe. We will understand how to act in each moment (similar to what Taoist believe). He may be right but we often forget that its a privilege to be able to do so. Nor are these concerns on everyone’s mind.

The philosophy department at my school is great but it is too indulged in metaphysics. From an epistomological standpoint this is problematic because most of the claims that are made is either in conflict with the way the natural world really is (scientific discoveries) and they are essentially not able to be proved which means we should not waste our time with such claims. When it comes to epistemology, I think this is where philosophy could utilize the methodology of science.

I"m a philosopher at heart but it concerns me that philosophy would lose it value if it cannot indulge in more empiricism and naturalism when making claims about the way the world is.

are we so concerned with value to the point that we'll negate truth? is science capable of establishing values?


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  • May 14 2013: It is interesting, because I feel as though many are doing away with metaphysics. A lot if faith and spirituality has been lost. It could be because in the age of information, not being able to prove and explain things troubles a lot of people. The problem with metaphysics is that it is something that really can't be explained or proven to a full extent. It is something that is sensed. To me it is something that excites and inspires me. When I find that sense and energy within myself, everything becomes so clear. I feel and act like a much better person. Sometimes being more divergent from your program is a good thing. Take it as an opportunity to learn fro each other. I find that when my ideas go against what I am being taught I am able to use that to ask questions to my professors that make them rethink everything. Maybe try meditating and allow your mind to relax and be open. Who knows what could come of it. If anything it is a proven way to reduce stress. While it is unlikely metaphysical existence will be proven, at least in the near future, that feeling of interconnectedness brings a new level of morality to others. The sense to do good for humanity and not just for ones own self and those they are more personally connected to.

    I must admit that I am no philosopher. I am interested in the subject and probably know more than a lot of people, but I have no formal training. I am very spiritual, although I can't help but feel as though most members of organized religions don't truly understand what they say they believe in, at least those that I know. The ironic pharisaic nature of Christianity indicates that. I wonder if most major religions are actually trying to explain the same thing, but because they were formed in different cultures and environments, it was explained differently. There are a lot of similarities in the words and values of most "prophets".
    • May 14 2013: what is spirituality?
      • May 14 2013: I don't think many people really know. It is one of those things that a lot of people better understand through sense and intuition rather than definitive knowledge.

        Use the force!
        • May 15 2013: so is it possible that it's nothing at all, just a made-up idea?

          you said you are very spiritual, could you explain what that means without using the word spirit?
      • May 15 2013: Well it could all be a bunch of subconscious bullshit. But, the thing I go back to is what created the first atom, the first spark of energy in existence?
        • May 16 2013: fair enough! i wondered because in my experience many people say they're spiritual when they mean they make an effort to take time out to relax. it seems to be given all kinds of fancy names. as well as being spiritual it could be "getting in touch with myself" or "connecting with mother nature" etc etc. it's always good to hear if someone has a different concept of the word.

          good question re the beginning of the universe. i guess it could be the common outcome of whatever potential existed, or it could be a simulation (or was that possibility ruled out recently? i forget), but whatever the answer is, we can at least know that it wasn't a thought.
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      May 17 2013: Hi, Meredith,

      I did not intend for my comments to make it seem as though I do not value spirituality. I do very much vaule sprituality and quite frankly I do not see philosophy nor spirituality ever going away. As long as people have existential questions philosophy and spirituality will remain.

      People like myself may feel uncomfortable with things that cannot be proven or do not seem to have an answer but that does not mean we do not enjoy exploring the mystery.

      For me personally, I'm a spritual person but I do not have to invoke metaphysics or superstition to be spiritual. Just being in awe or having ineffable expereinces is enough for me. Seeing how altered states of consciousness can teach me new things is enough for me. I simply go with the flow of my expereince and do not feel that even if I feel like I'm having a transcendental moment, I am not going outside of my own mind, brain or consciousness. All I know is that I'm having an experience and I need to make the most of it. I don't think I need metaphysics for that

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