TED Conversations

Orlando Hawkins

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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?

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 21 2013: I largely agree with the professor you mentioned and disagree with the idea that science can ever describe what the world really is.
    Scientific discoveries aren't in conflict with metaphysics as they only light up some views to the mind from a limited perspective.
    To think that we can reason our way to the right answers as Sam Harris advocates is scary and arrogant.
    Wisdom comes from love and it is love that we have to install in in our hearts to give it without exception and most of all to our children that will change the coming world.

    There's no right, nor wrong. There's only love or lack of it.
    • thumb
      May 23 2013: Hi Frans,

      Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some of the things that my professors have to say. I even acknowledge that he may be correct but I disagree that this mindset is all encompassing and explains every aspect of reality as he presents it to be.

      I think science can describe much of what the world is like but not every aspect of it. There are just some things that science will not be able to answer but it shouldn't stop science from trying to explore and discover new things.

      As for Harris, I don't think he ever claimed that science will answer every questions. There are talks where he admits that science will try to search for certain answers but will know that they might fail in doing so. I like his position because it forces people to be intellectually honest and accountable for their claims. I'll take this over spooky physics or new age mysticism any day.

      You stated that wisdom comes from love and you used all this other benevolent language. There is nothing wrong with that. I don't think any reasonable person will disagree with that position. I've never heard any scientist claim that love can be found in a lab or through experimentation. I'll go as far as to say that experience is a better teacher than anything else and I don't think we need to invoke science or philosophy to understand that.
      • thumb
        May 23 2013: I agree Orlando that learning depends on experience but at the same time do I know that not all experience can be described.
        For something to become knowledge it has to be clad into words, for by this the mind can record, store and reproduce it.
        Words refer to common notions we share about images that our senses tell us by which to present a world that we share and that appears outside.

        Reality however is one system only that we experience as being. Within this being that we call universe any point of focus finds itself at any time on a particular place embodied as an organism equipped with more or less sensory organs to depict its particular view on that totality.

        The picture any one organism produces has been developed over all generations of life in accordance with the enhancements on the sensory system over time. What it depicts is everything necessary to sustain life and procreate.

        It doesn't show what is nor what we are but just what we are equipped to.

        To see what is, can be done by changing the direction of focus from what we think is outside to the inside. Close all senses, center our focus and hold all attention to the source of thoughts.

        This experience can show everything in one glimpse. This can't be described nor read out, for it contains all connectedness, the solution of all contradictions, all light and the clearness of being itself. Consciousness contains all thoughts from all times from all living beings and to peek into this gives you an perspective that can impossible be outlaid in words for it will need at least as much time as any living thing has spend on this earth.

        What is, is information that we add to with every living moment and at a moment of absolute consciousness it can all be seen in one view and all time will be experienced as one moment that fills one point of unborn space.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.