Re: The Meaning of Life

From: Tom Caylor <>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 21:52:26 -0800

On Feb 23, 8:51 pm, "Stathis Papaioannou" <> wrote:
> On 2/24/07, Tom Caylor <> wrote:
> > I agree that positivists don't like metaphysics, and they actually
> > don't believe in it either. The problem with this is that science is
> > ultimately based on (and is inescapably in the context of) some kind
> > of metaphysics, since it is in the context of the universe as a whole.
> > There are some ways of sorting out metaphysics. In fact these
> > criteria are mostly the same as how we sort out science (since, again,
> > science is based on metaphysics). These are such things as
> > fundamentality, generality and beauty. However, the fact that science
> > conventionally has been limited to the "material" (whatever that
> > means!) implies that the criteria of naturality (a viscious circle
> > actually!) and reproducibility (another vicious circle) that we have
> > in science cannot be applied to the universe as a whole or to
> > metaphysics.
> > [Side note: But even more important is to recognize that metaphysics,
> > as well as science, is filtered for us: we are part of the universe
> > and we are limited. So this filters out almost everything. This
> > limits more than anything the amount of "sense" we can make out of
> > Everything.]
> > However the criterion that you are trying to enforce, that of all
> > things having a cause even in the context of Everything and Everyone,
> > is a positivist criteria, treating metaphysics as science. It assumes
> > that Everything has to be part of this closed system of cause and
> > effect. There are plenty of criteria to sort out Everything (as I've
> > mentioned above) without getting into the positivist viscious circle.
> The universe is not under any obligation to reveal itself to us. All we can
> do is stumble around blindly gathering what data we can and make a best
> guess as to what's going on.

This is a metaphysical judgment. There are those who strongly
disagree on rational grounds.

> Science is just a systematisation of this
> process, with guesses taking the form of models and theories.

So science is a just systematisation of a metaphysical judgment. I

> However, it's
> all tentative, and the scientific method itself is tentative: tomorrow pigs
> might sprout wings and fly, even though this has never happened before. I
> would bet that pigs will still be land-bound tomorrow, because there is no
> reason to think otherwise, but I have to stop short of absolute certainty. A
> metaphysical position would be that flying pigs are an absurdity or an
> anathema and therefore pigs absolutely *cannot* fly. But it is arrogant as
> well as wrong to create absolute certainty, absolute meaning, or absolute
> anything else by fiat, just because that's what you fancy. If there are some
> things we can't know with certainty or can't know at all, that may be
> unfortunate, but it's the way the world is.
> Stathis Papaioannou

Looking over my previous post, I cannot see why you are bringing up
absolute certainty. Also I don't know what "absolute meaning" means,
unless it means knowing meaning with absolute certainty in which case
I don't hold that view.


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Received on Sat Feb 24 2007 - 00:53:16 PST

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