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What is meta-metaphysics?

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18 minutes ago, Devries said:

What is meta-metaphysics?

Redundant

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https://www.definitions.net/definition/metametaphysics

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  1. Metametaphysics

    Metametaphysics is a branch of philosophy that explores the foundations of metaphysics. "Metaphysics is concerned with the foundations of reality. It asks questions about the nature of the world, such as: Aside from concrete objects, are there also abstract objects like numbers and properties? Does every event have a cause? What is the nature of possibility and necessity? When do several things make up a single bigger thing? Do the past and future exist? And so on. Metametaphysics is concerned with the foundations of metaphysics. It asks: Do the questions of metaphysics really have answers? If so, are these answers substantive or just a matter of how we use words? And what is the best procedure for arriving at them—common sense? Conceptual analysis? Or assessing competing hypotheses with quasi-scientific criteria?"

 

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Metaphysics is speculation about the unknown. As a field, it's obviously shrinking, as the unknown is shrinking. But the chances are that it will always have something to speculate about, because some questions appear unknowable, since they involve the concept of infinity and nothing.

Just like god of the gaps, you can shove pretty much anything you like into the gaps in our knowledge, knowing full well that you can't be disproved. Like the celestial teapot. 

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51 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Metaphysics is speculation about the unknown. As a field, it's obviously shrinking, as the unknown is shrinking. But the chances are that it will always have something to speculate about, because some questions appear unknowable, since they involve the concept of infinity and nothing.

Just like god of the gaps, you can shove pretty much anything you like into the gaps in our knowledge, knowing full well that you can't be disproved. Like the celestial teapot. 

Not really.

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Metaphysics is a major branch of philosophy. It concerns existence and the nature of things that exist. Altogether it is a theory of reality.

Ontology is the part of metaphysics which discusses what exists: the categories of being. Apart from ontology, metaphysics concerns the nature of, and relations among, the things that exist.

The metaphysical idea that reality exists independently of one's mind and yet can be known is called realism. The metaphysical idea that no mind-independent reality exists or can be known is idealism. These are two main battlegrounds of metaphysics.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics

For a much more detailed discussion of the subject: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/

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The word ‘metaphysics’ is notoriously hard to define. Twentieth-century coinages like ‘meta-language’ and ‘metaphilosophy’ encourage the impression that metaphysics is a study that somehow “goes beyond” physics, a study devoted to matters that transcend the mundane concerns of Newton and Einstein and Heisenberg. This impression is mistaken. The word ‘metaphysics’ is derived from a collective title of the fourteen books by Aristotle that we currently think of as making up Aristotle's Metaphysics. Aristotle himself did not know the word. (He had four names for the branch of philosophy that is the subject-matter of Metaphysics: ‘first philosophy’, ‘first science’, ‘wisdom’, and ‘theology’.) At least one hundred years after Aristotle's death, an editor of his works (in all probability, Andronicus of Rhodes) titled those fourteen books “Ta meta ta phusika”—“the after the physicals” or “the ones after the physical ones”—the “physical ones” being the books contained in what we now call Aristotle's Physics. The title was probably meant to warn students of Aristotle's philosophy that they should attempt Metaphysics only after they had mastered “the physical ones”, the books about nature or the natural world—that is to say, about change, for change is the defining feature of the natural world.

 

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6 hours ago, Strange said:

Not really.

??   There's nothing in that lot that would make me change anything in my post. 

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4 minutes ago, mistermack said:

??   There's nothing in that lot that would make me change anything in my post. 

Meet Dunning-Kruger

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2 minutes ago, Strange said:

Meet Dunning-Kruger

Have you been getting coaching from dimreepr ?

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First I never heard of it. But thinking would it could mean, the answer of Curious Layman is very to the point. 

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@Strange So I am wondering, are you saying that metaphysics isn't speculation about unknowable (I suppose that isn't what mistermack said exactly, so maybe I am putting words in you mouth) things?

As far as I can see (but I am not well studied here so I might be wrong), metaphysics discusses stuff that by its very nature cannot be determined. If something could be predicted, measured or modelled, it would be within the realm of science/physics and not metaphysics. If at some point the entire metaphysical community agrees on a theory/hypothesis of reality, it will not change anything in reality right, nor will having it wrong or right (if that is even possible) make a difference as anything that has effects on the physical world, will immediately not be part of metaphysics.

Anyone has any thoughts or comments?

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11 minutes ago, Dagl1 said:

As far as I can see (but I am not well studied here so I might be wrong), metaphysics discusses stuff that by its very nature cannot be determined. If something could be predicted, measured or modelled, it would be within the realm of science/physics and not metaphysics. If at some point the entire metaphysical community agrees on a theory/hypothesis of reality, it will not change anything in reality right, nor will having it wrong or right (if that is even possible) make a difference as anything that has effects on the physical world, will immediately not be part of metaphysics.

And there you are, engaging in metaphysics! What is does it mean to "know" something? What are the limits to what we can know? Is there more than one way of knowing something? Is knowledge only knowledge if it is scientific knowledge? Does something have to be "predicted, measured or modelled" in order to count as knowledge?

Are these things "unknown" (as mistermack said). Not really. (Depending, of course, on your definition of "know")

Are these things "unknowable" (as you said). Maybe. But is that a reason not to think about and discuss them? Maybe we can reach some conclusions that most people will accept. That could then become part of our shared knowledge.

Is thoughtful analysis of these things "speculation"? I would say not, because that word too often has connotations of idle guesswork.

 

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1 minute ago, Strange said:

And there you are, engaging in metaphysics! What is does it mean to "know" something? What are the limits to what we can know? Is there more than one way of knowing something? Is knowledge only knowledge if it is scientific knowledge? Does something have to be "predicted, measured or modelled" in order to count as knowledge?

Are these things "unknown" (as mistermack said). Not really. (Depending, of course, on your definition of "know")

Are these things "unknowable" (as you said). Maybe. But is that a reason not to think about and discuss them? Maybe we can reach some conclusions that most people will accept. That could then become part of our shared knowledge.

Is thoughtful analysis of these things "speculation"? I would say not, because that word too often has connotations of idle guesswork.

 

Ye I okay, I see your point and in response my view is now: While engaging in metaphysics can be interesting and one can use thoughtful analysis and apply logic to these questions, but whatever answer is accepted by everyone, can never be validated or falsified right? I think that's why before I used speculation, but I do see how that term is stigmatised. 

To me, anything that cannot be validated or tested, that is added to our shared knowledge, doesn't add much value, whereas science can be falsified and its effects can be seen/experienced (inventions/technology).

Although I can see discussion regarding morality (if that is in the realm of metaphysics), moral frameworks and potentially a consensus on 1 specific moral framework that everyone believes in, to definitely have effect on our reality, but through the actions of people.

But as you said, engaging in metaphysics happens quite fast and can be interesting, so my initial view definitely was too negative and ignorant of it.

-Dagl

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2 minutes ago, Dagl1 said:

Ye I okay, I see your point and in response my view is now: While engaging in metaphysics can be interesting and one can use thoughtful analysis and apply logic to these questions, but whatever answer is accepted by everyone, can never be validated or falsified right? I think that's why before I used speculation, but I do see how that term is stigmatised. 

To me, anything that cannot be validated or tested, that is added to our shared knowledge, doesn't add much value, whereas science can be falsified and its effects can be seen/experienced (inventions/technology).

Well, the methodology of science has been partly driven by practical experience but also, to a large extent, by philosophers of science debating the sort of questions I mentioned (and others). So a common view of the scientific method is Popper's criterion of "falsifiability". But that is not universally accepted, and is often considered to be too simplistic to match all of the ways that science develops knowledge. Plus we have to define what we mean by "falsify", what counts as evidence, what does it mean for a given model to be "right" or "wrong" - what does that tell us about the "real world" (if anything).

So I think that is one area where philosophy generally, and metaphysics in particular, has a practical use.

One could argue that because the scientific method works (produces useful results) then the philosophical ideas behind it also work (and are therefore tested and shown to be correct).

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5 minutes ago, Dagl1 said:

To me, anything that cannot be validated or tested, that is added to our shared knowledge, doesn't add much value, whereas science can be falsified and its effects can be seen/experienced (inventions/technology)

what is the definition of knowledge or value of knowledge?

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2 hours ago, Eise said:

First I never heard of it. But thinking would it could mean, the answer of Curious Layman is very to the point. 

Nor have I but I agree with your comment.
Also +1 both for discussing the title question accurately.

 

My comment is about the meaning attributed to the prefix 'meta', which does not signify 'beyond' but something a bit less distinct.

For example 'metastable equilibrium'.

So meta-metaphysics means something that is similar to metaphysics, but not quite the same in some way.

So I call upon @Devries to clarify please.

 

Edited by studiot

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3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

what is the definition of knowledge or value of knowledge?

The ones I am using and haven't thought too much about would be:
Knowledge; information known by any intelligent species or recorded/accessible by any intelligent species. (Def. of intelligent species in THIS particular case; any species capable of storing information or passing on information in a manner that is not sheer luck (and leads to technology? I don't know how to exclude bacteria and animals capable of carrying genetic information across generations in their epigenetic markers.)
Value of knowledge; the value of knowledge lies in the potential benefits that come from changes motivated by knowledge

Gotta be honest, I am not 100% attached to these definitions, but feel like I should at least give it a try, I am open to other more inclusive/exclusive definitions

 

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On 12/1/2019 at 3:32 PM, mistermack said:

Metaphysics is speculation about the unknown.

Does that mean that meta-metaphysics is speculation about speculation about the unknown unknown?

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1 minute ago, Strange said:

Does that mean that meta-metaphysics is speculation about speculation about the unknown unknown?

Your guess is as good as mine...

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1 minute ago, mistermack said:

Your guess is as good as mine...

 

3 minutes ago, Strange said:

Does that mean that meta-metaphysics is speculation about speculation about the unknown unknown?

 

Where does the speculation enter this?

What, for instance is the speculation about metastable equilibrium?  (Do you consider that physics or metaphysics?)

As far as I understand it, the term metaphysics has a perfectly respectable meaning that does not involve speculation.
It is mentioned more than once, for instance by J C Maxwell in his famous textbook Matter and Motion

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I guess intelligence is a factor...

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54 minutes ago, Strange said:

What is does it mean to "know" something? What are the limits to what we can know? Is there more than one way of knowing something? Is knowledge only knowledge if it is scientific knowledge? Does something have to be "predicted, measured or modelled" in order to count as knowledge?

I think you must be careful about what belongs to 'philosophy of science' and to 'metaphysics'. Most points you mention would be from philosophy of science. Here I cite a part of Curious layman's citation:

On 12/1/2019 at 5:06 AM, Curious layman said:

Metaphysics is concerned with the foundations of reality. It asks questions about the nature of the world, such as: Aside from concrete objects, are there also abstract objects like numbers and properties? Does every event have a cause? What is the nature of possibility and necessity? When do several things make up a single bigger thing? Do the past and future exist? And so on.

It is not everybody's beer of course. But sometimes these kind of questions pop up in discussions that can be important. E.g. the question 'Does every event have a cause?' can be relevant for the discussion of free will. And what one thinks about free will in its turn can be important how we treat criminals (do we punish or do we heal them?). So anybody who thinks nobody needs philosophy, read my disclaimer (just citing it here because I might change it one day):

There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.

Daniel Dennet, Darwin's dangerous idea

And it is not just true for science, but also for art, morality, politics etc etc.

16 minutes ago, Strange said:

Does that mean that meta-metaphysics is speculation about speculation about the unknown unknown?

Stick to Curious layman's definition. It is quite good, I think.

And just to add: mistermack's viewpoint about metaphysics is as valuable as his viewpoint on climate change...

Edited by Eise

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2 minutes ago, Eise said:

can be relevant for the discussion of free will.

what is the definition of knowledge or value of knowledge?

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9 minutes ago, Eise said:

I think you must be careful about what belongs to 'philosophy of science' and to 'metaphysics'. Most points you mention would be from philosophy of science. Here I cite a part of Curious layman's citation:

You are right. I was probably taking quite a broad view of what makes up metaphysics. But questions about the nature of reality (and what we can know about that) do relate to science. For example, people often say that science is about us learning the turn about reality. But both the nature of "truth" and the nature of "reality" (and their relationship, if any) would seem to be solidly in the area of metaphysics.

12 minutes ago, Eise said:

So anybody who thinks nobody needs philosophy, read my disclaimer (just citing it here because I might change it one day):

There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.

Daniel Dennet, Darwin's dangerous idea

And it is not just true for science, but also for art, morality, politics etc etc.

I agree completely. I think everyone should be taught the basic concepts of philosophical enquiry. If only so it makes them better equipped to question the claims made by politicians or to identify fraudsters. (But perhaps that is the same thing!)

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

And just to add: mistermack's viewpoint about metaphysics is as valuable as his viewpoint on climate change...

👌   Flattery gets you brownie points. 

 

1 hour ago, studiot said:

As far as I understand it, the term metaphysics has a perfectly respectable meaning that does not involve speculation.

Unlike science then, which thrives on speculation, hypothesis and theory to make progress, and even theories are always open to revision and replacement. 

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14 minutes ago, mistermack said:

👌   Flattery gets you brownie points. 

 

Unlike science then, which thrives on speculation, hypothesis and theory to make progress, and even theories are always open to revision and replacement. 

 

Here is an example of a metaphysical proposition for you

 

Quote

Duffey

The Universe is not a single indivisible whole. Instead it consists of parts that can act independently in spite of interactions binding the parts together. This feature allows observers and observing instruments to exist. It also allows both analysis and synthesis to proceed.

 

An astute paragraph.

Furthermore there is nothing to bar overlap between the disciplines under discussion. (Science, Metaphysics, Meta-metaphysics, Philosophy, Logic etc....)
In the event of complete overlap between two disciplines iNow's comment would perhaps apply to one of them.

On 12/1/2019 at 2:51 AM, iNow said:

Redundant

 

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