Thursday, 27 April 2017

Why metaphysics?

      'Philosopher' is a political label (the 'lovers of wisdom'). 'Metaphysics' is a library classification ('the books after Aristotle's Physics'). Does it really matter what term you use?
      Somehow, 'metaphysics' seems more apt for what I am doing than 'philosophy'. Fact is, I'm not sure I know what philosophy is any more. I have little in common with the philosophers (so-called) of the Academy. But metaphysics... that's a word, an idea that has always moved me.
      There is something to know metaphysically, or from a metaphysical standpoint. Something apart from empirical science or even logic (or 'analysis').
      I have a question. A metaphysical question. I call it a metaphysical question, because there is no other way to make sense of it. Not that it makes any sense anyway, but it seems to.
      Something is. What is 'is'? Or what is 'what is'?
      I don't even know if that's the fundamental question. Maybe we should be looking for something that comes before is. ('Nothing' or 'is-not' would be one candidate, 'becomes' would be another, Pirsig's 'Quality' would be a third possibility.) That's a question I shall leave open.
      You've got to start somewhere...
      But that doesn't excuse making a false start, or a bad start...
      The thing is, when you've tried so many times, and each time you didn't end up where you hoped you would be — with something that at least 'looked' like an answer — why should this time be any different?
      Why not just admit it: I don't know how to do this.
      Then don't even try.
      Take a step back. There is something else to explain. I can explain how this starts. Instead of trying to 'answer the question', look to see where the question — or the idea of metaphysics — comes from. Catch it at the moment of its birth, if you can. Or if not, take your best guess from the evidence available.
      Instead of seeking a 'metaphysical explanation' of reality, or the world, or 'is', I am setting out to explain metaphysics.

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