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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 15 2013: I would say that this split that you are suggesting is merely suggesting a return to a pre-medieval course of philosophy. Keep in mind that science as we know it once was considered a part of philosophy. I would say that such a return is detrimental to progress for both science and philosophy. Science examines life at the micro level, whereas philosophy's role is that of the macro level.
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      May 15 2013: I agree,

      The natural sciences used to be called natural philosophy so I'm familiar with the history of the two. I'm not suggesting a return to pre-medieval times. I'm thinking more of what philosophy used to be during the enlightenment period but with a little more acknowledgement on subjectivity. Not to the point where either becomes dogmatic (if that is possible for science).

      I'm a firm believer that both science and philosophy could provide more stable values but to do this, I think metaphysical conclusions have to be taken off the table.

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