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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 20 2013: The more I reside in both the groups of philosophers as well as scientists, the more i have noticed that Philosophers always have a very wrong views of science and so do Scientists have of Philosophy which is exactly what is happening here...
    To Orlando Hawkins- I had the same kind of doubts like yourself, and found that the way of the future currently is science and Fields of Philosophy that are transitioning towards scientific methods (Consider Dan Dennet and his empirical methodology). Fields like Logic, Ethics, Aesthetics and parts of epistemology are becoming naturalistic day by day. Metaphysics is dead. Ontology is now shaped by science. I went into Science to begin to understand reality n I am working on a long term Philosophy project to see if current science can deliver that n in what ways can the project improve Science to deliver this. I had thought of skipping from science to the other side of philosophy but saw that the only way I can stop myself from mistaking science like Michael Foucault, or Thomas Kuhn did, is by seeing both perspectives. If you have a specific interest in a particular subject which is either in Logic, Semantics, or Ethics Go in Philosophy. If you wish to understand nature, Reality, consciousness, Ontology, or even Free Will (Neuroscience) etc go in Science
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      May 21 2013: "The more I reside in both the groups of philosophers as well as scientists, the more i have noticed that Philosophers always have a very wrong views of science and so do Scientists have of Philosophy which is exactly what is happening here..."

      Very true. What upsets me more (and perhaps a fault of my own) is that most people believe that I'm trying to get rid of philosophy. If they would of paid attention to my third paragraph or would have read my other post, I clearly lay down my issues with philosophy. I don't think philosophy should be replaced by science but I do think it could use a bit more empiricism. This thread made me realize that philosophy is almost dependent upon metaphysics. If i would have said epistemology I don't think it would have been met with much resistance or most probably would not have realized that epistemology was lost for a while until Chomsky introduced his theories about language and influenced the cognitive sciences.

      As with the rest of what you said I do look towards the approach of Dennett and Harris. I try to find a middle ground between rationalism and naturalism. My school preaches post-modernism and I usually bump heads with my professors because of my more naturalistic approach to philosophy and at times i get confused because we preach the same values but they derive theirs from metaphysics and ontology and mine I feel are derived from the world around me.

      as for what I want to do with both, I think I'm going to go into the philosophy of the mind.
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        May 21 2013: I think there is a major mistake here. No major Universities on Earth avoid teaching science. That means physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, psychology, all the engineering disciplines, and even Mathematics. Cryptography represents one way in which mathematics has become hard science. And there are many other examples.

        Philosophy is considered the mother of all academic disciplines. So no respected University can exist without teaching Philosophy. And as a rule, the expectation is that the Philosophers will respect the scientists and vice-versa.

        This thread, however, does NOT reflect an Academically valid view of either Science or Philosophy. What we have here is mostly an opinion poll. Everyone has an opinion on the perceived dichotomy of science vs philosophy. Everyone has an opinion, but very little of that reflects what is really going on. In common parlance, "Philosophy" tends to refer to an amalgam of ideas that are not connected in any realistic way to rigorous academic pursuits. And if you talk about metaphysics, the "crowd-source" definition is in no way connected to the true definition that arises from the solid history of western philosophy. It does seem today that the only valid metaphysics is being done by physicists and Cosmologists. But what is going on here often sounds like it is being done by a Cosmetologist. Is this the day that cosmetology met cosmology?

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