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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 22 2013: Ben: notification of your response did not show up in my email. I found this message of yours just by chance.

    You can find some of the evidence in my website at www.roseandlotus.net. You can find more at www.victorzammit.com. But you can find more by doing your own searching, rather than requiring others to spoonfeed you.

    Sceptics like to decry the evidence, but that is all that they can do. They are unable to discount it. Often they can speculate about alternative explanations for part of a phenomenon, and loudly trumpet that they have "debunked" the entire phenomenon, but offer no evidence that their speculation is what actually happened, Yet they demand absolute proof of the reality of the phenomena in question. Science very rarely offers absolute proof of anything. The sceptical decrying is based purely on the prejudice of the sceptics, and their emotional need to hang on to their own unprovable theories about how reality works. And it is the sceptics who do the cherry-picking of the evidence. They find only the cases that seem easy to explain away, and concentrate on those, claiming thus to have explained everything away. People who actually look at the whole of the evidence generally cease to be sceptics.

    If you are sufficiently interested, there is an excellent 5-part series of talks about the nature of reality by the physicist Thomas Campbell, in which, among other things, he outlines the relationship between physics and metaphysics. Part 1 is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruc83Vau1jc

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