Monday, October 17

Baruch Spinoza



Baruch Spinoza was born in 1632 in Amsterdam, whose Jewish parents had to flee Portugal to escape the persecution of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. 

His family landed in the Netherlands, where Spinoza was born and raised in a Portuguese-Jewish community, Spinoza attended a Talmud Torah school in Amsterdam.

Hence, he grew up as part of a typical Jewish family to observe the usual religious ceremonies. However in maturity, as an outstanding student and later rational philosopher, he was to query the tenants of the stories in the Old Testament which he regarded as barriers to understanding given the use of allegory and metaphorical references.

Furthermore, he rejected the literal translation of the ancient texts and the idea of miracles, believing their introduction was purely in order that they may have authority over the masses to whom they were directed. 

Spinoza’s God

Spinoza’s God as in nature, he held was perfect, determined, infinite and timeless. In other words the infinite ‘God or Nature’ is all there is of which we are part. He believed our interaction with such an infinite being is manifest in an extension of this and in thought as representations of the expressions of this reality. He believed there are many other representations of this reality of which we are not privy, 

Spinoza excommunicated.  

Consequently, at the age of 24, in consideration of his views, he was excommunicated from the Jewish church and thereafter wrote under different pseudonyms. In his earlier works he set out his proposition one can only be happy in the attainment of knowledge in his principal work entitled “Ethics”, which was based on rational thought. 

Reconciliation and the true nature of things.   

Harking back to the home of western philosophy and to the idea of a love of wisdom by the ancient Greeks, Spinoza attempted to rule out the idea of a division between the body and spirit to provide an alternative rational conclusion the two are inextricably linked. You will recall that Plato, when talking about living the good life, equated happiness to living a virtuous life. That presupposes one ensures the substance of our soulful element gains ascendancy over our instinctive bodily reactions. Plato thought one could only live a virtuous life if one gained knowledge of the virtues. Spinoza on the other hand, as the first pragmatic philosopher, put forward his reconciliation to gain an understanding of the true natural order of things in the universe, to accept our part in it, and thereafter to gain blessedness 

Hence, Spinoza sought to replace the then new found mechanistic account of the world at that time with his idea of a natural order of things, to reconcile Plato’s quest for virtue and resultant happiness with the attainment of blessedness through increased knowledge.

Obtaining blessedness 

His explanation to obtain blessedness was to view the universe in different ways - one valid way as in purely the observer of matter and the other as in the descriptions of the mind and their extensions by way of thought.  According to Spinoza both are equally valid. 

Before Spinoza, existence was seen as an ongoing battle to choose your side. If one was feeling bad or things weren’t going very well then you were out of sync with the GODs. You needed to change your behaviour, to get on the right side of the gods. But the question is, if the universe was made up of just atoms and void, then surely such a hope of any blessedness was misplaced. Rather, Spinoza posited a choice was unnecessary as the natural order of things could be understood or expressed in a multitude of different ways. But humanity was only privy to an understanding in terms of thought and its extensions. The more we understand about the nature of things the closer we get to GOD and the blessedness that ensues such a quest. He set out to rally against the ascetics to argue the greater the involvement of an active body the more agile and penetrating the mind can be. So that the mind and body interact to underpin the accent of the mind towards GOD. 

But we may want to question the validity of Spinoza’s reconciliation of equal notions of reality.  One might rather think of various descriptions of things rather than different versions of a reality that might lie beyond our grasp. 

Hostility towards the use of Metaphor, Analogy and reliance on ceremonies 

Spinoza’s hostility to metaphor and artifice was made clear in his Theological-Political Treatise. 

His work paved the way towards the ecumenical movement that concluded religious differences relate to varied cultural situations and their imaginations to break free from fundamentalism. He attempts a translation of the ancient texts based on intellect. Whilst one might agree that the intellectual means of translation is preferred there also appears to be equally a place for metaphor and allegory in talking about that which Is ineffable- expressed in the age old stories. 

Similarly, Spinoza was not inclined towards prophesy or the temporary prosperity arising from ceremonies which he contended are no aid to blessedness. For Spinoza, the God or Nature was able to be understood as in the whole rather than in part.

Selected quotes  

The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.” 

"The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is are above everything distressing.” 

“I do not know how to teach philosophy without becoming a disturbance of the peace.” 

“No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides.” 

“If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” 

“I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.” 

“The more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a lover of what is.” 

“Peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition of benevolence, confidence, and justice.” 

Religious - miracles 

“Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that, once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away, which is the only means by which their authority is preserved.” 

“Do not weep. Do not wax indignant. Understand.” 

“When a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master.” 

“I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.” 

“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.” 

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” 

 “Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of It.” 

“The endeavour to understand is the first and only basis of virtue.” 

“No to laugh, not to lament, not to detest, but to understand.” 

“Further conceive, I beg, that a stone, while continuing in motion, should be capable of thinking and knowing, that it is endeavouring, as far as it can, to continue to move. Such a stone, being conscious merely of its own endeavour and not at all indifferent, would believe itself to be completely free, and would think that it continued in motion solely because of its own wish. This is that human freedom, which all boast that they possess, and which consists solely in the fact, that men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined.” 

“Pride is pleasure arising from a man's thinking too highly of himself.” 

“The greatest secret of monarchic to keep men deceived and to cloak in the specious name of religion the fear by which they must be checked, so that they will fight for slavery as they would for salvation, and will think it not shameful, but a most honourable achievement, to give their life and blood that one man may have a ground for boasting.” 

“There can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope.” s

“Happiness is not the reward of virtue, but is virtue itself; nor do we delight in happiness because we restrain from our lusts; but on the contrary, because we delight in it, therefore we are able to restrain them.” 

“Of all the things that are beyond my power, I value nothing more highly than to be allowed the honor of entering into bonds of friendship with people who sincerely love truth. For, of things beyond our power, I believe there is nothing in the world which we can love with tranquillity except such men.” 

“In practical life we are compelled to follow what is most probable; in speculative thought we are compelled to follow truth.” 

“Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. Those who can secretly treat the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.” 

Conclusion ----- A pragmatic approach 

The place for metaphor seems to remain firmly entrenched in our ongoing narrative - old ideas yields to the new imaginative ways of presenting metaphors which help to make sense of the world around us just as we continue to tell ourselves stories - what it is to be essentially human?  

What remains a problem, given our imagination, is the continued struggle of finding a way to incorporate social cooperation in the acceptance of alternative ideas about reality? The question is not so much how do we live in accordance with nature - a given, but rather getting humans to live in the same communities with different perspectives as to what’s more important. 

Another way of looking at Spinoza’s idea in seeking blessedness is to say one aspires to a love of truth, to be truthful to one’s self -to embrace the virtues of honesty, courage, sincerity and truth telling that permeate the better side of humanity. 

Questions for discussions- I would be most grateful to receive any responses  

Spinoza’s God as in nature, he held was perfect, determined, infinite and timeless. In other words the infinite ‘God or Nature’ is all there is of which we are part. He believed our interaction with such an infinite being is manifest in an extension of this and in thought as representations of the expressions of this reality. He believed there are many other representations of this reality of which we are not privy, 

Question: What do you make of all of this or do you prefer the idea that GOD is not the universe and reject the idea of naturalism or pantheism inherent in the ideas of Spinoza ?  

Spinoza’s explanation to obtain blessedness was to view the universe in different ways - one valid way as in purely the observer of matter and the other as in the descriptions of the mind and their extensions by way of thought.  According to Spinoza both are equally valid. 

Question: Do you agree with his conclusion? 

Spinoza thought that the more we understand about the nature of things the closer we get to GOD and the blessedness that ensues such a quest. He set out to rally against the ascetics to argue the greater the involvement of an active body the more agile and penetrating the mind can be. So that the mind and body interact to underpin the accent of the mind towards GOD. 

Question: Is this a truth as far as you are concerned or does a simple faith suffice or is it purely a subjective idea by Spinoza. 

Although one might agree that the intellectual means of ancient texts translation is preferred there also appears to be equally a place for metaphor and allegory in talking about that which is ineffable- expressed in the age-old stories. 

Similarly, Spinoza was not inclined to prophesy or the temporary prosperity of ceremonies which he contended are no aid to blessedness. For Spinoza, the God or Nature was able to be understood as in the whole rather than in part.

Question: Do you think there is an ongoing role for the use of metaphor and allegory in the stories we tell one another in modernity? 

Question: Is the idea of the love of truth and the truth telling integral to cooperation and living harmoniously in today's world or is this more of a pipe dream. 

Sunday, October 9

Alphington Park flowers and Fairfield Park Boathouse Vic

Recently Anne's sister Julie and partner Di stayed with us in our apartment in Alphington. We shared a delightful luncheon at the nearby Fairfield  Boathouse on a misty day. 

Julie took some pictures of local flowers on a walk around the surrounding areas of  Alphington, Vic as per below. 

Don't worry about the brown color of the water since the river runs upside down (with silt on the top) and supports an abundance of wild life inclusive a seal that has made his home a short distance up-stream.    

Click on the photos to enlarge  

Mediterranean spurge 

African wood -sorrel 
Big leaf Perriwinkle 

Thursday, September 22

Machiavellian prayer


Machiavelli really wanted us to repent? - Here’s my attempt at a poem 

Machiavellian Prayer


Oh foolish pride those words endure 

Upheld in centuries of poisoned paths 

No heed is paid to a pilgrim’s plea 

Instead to argue the devil's due, 

An eye for eye, expect no more 

Dust to dust, all hope expires 


Then I heard a spirit’s cry 

Banish such thoughts in your despair 

Grasp a hope of reverence unfurled 

To follow that enlightened path 

A new light, not plain to see 


So onward in the light filled world 

Let it burn bright on your faces 

And cast aside in such disdain 

Those words of princely pride 


For such words, not said in jest 

to see you for who you are 

To repent, to seek a new found path 

Eternal hope rings out again 

Monday, September 19



My purpose is to provide some background material prior to answering questions with my tentative answers to support discussions.   

Your own views which will be greatly appreciated to augment those future discussions.  

Machiavelli is one of the few writers whose name has become an adjective in ‘Machiavellianism “ just as was featured in the darker characters of Shakespearian plays.  

“The Prince” was the first comprehensive text in political science clarifying the necessary ethics in retaining power in a Republic.

It lays out how a prudent prince secures and maintains power analogous to the traits of a powerful lion and the cunningness of the fox. Ethics and virtue in this context don’t correspond with the platonic view but rather are defined by the existential reality that one cannot rely on being good to retain power, because of human nature.   

He is regarded as a great thinker whose ideas are still practiced today, notwithstanding his cynical view of humanity and that some of his views when taken literally remain unacceptable. Some interpret his work as satirical or only designed to shock rather than be factual whilst others believe his views are even more dangerous and unacceptable than they first appear.     

He profoundly affected those philosophers who followed him including Bacon Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Smith, Marx, and Nietzsche.

Early life and service to the Republic of Florence.   

He was born 3 May 1469 in Florence and became a pupil of a renowned Latin teacher, Paolo da Ronciglione. It is thought he attended the University of Florence.

It was an age of culture (Michelangelo and Cesare Borgia) but Machiavelli turned away from lucrative alternatives available to him to serve the city. Firstly he was Chancellor to the military and then Secretary for foreign policy.

But In February 1513, when the regime was overthrown by the Medici Family, he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured, He was released in March 1513 to begin his work writing “The Prince” 

His Ethics

Machiavelli’s is associated with treachery and relentless self- interest. He might be regarded as an ethical consequentialist E.g.  that the end justifies the means to justify why he condoned murder and repression for rulers when necessary to retain power to avoid even worse evil. 

In The Prince, he states of “cruelties well-used” to identify characters as cruel.

However, it should be noted that recent work has suggested that many, if not all, of Machiavelli’s shocking moral claims are ironic.


The hallmarks of Machiavellian virtue are self-reliance, self-assertion, self-discipline, and self-knowledge.

Virtue he attributes as meaning one relies upon one’s self or one’s possessions, to abandon any reliance on nature, fortune, tradition and so on.

Machiavelli describes a wise prince as one who is never idle in peaceful times but instead use his industry to resist adversity when fortune changes.

For Machiavelli, virtue includes a recognition of the restraints or limitations within which one must work: not only one’s own limits, but social ones, including conventional understandings of right and wrong.

Are Fortune and virtue linked?  

Machiavelli maintained that in order to rule over an imperfect world of politics, inhabited by wolves, a ruler must not be meek but rather adaptive, like a general in war. There are times once cannot adhere to Christian values as fortune provides. In other words to aim to do what is right where one can but if necessity dictates to do the opposite to prevent an even greater evil. 

On Religion

He suggests that religion is necessary and salutary for public morality. The philosopher therefore is to take care not to disclose any lack of belief. He is only to be concerned with any impoverished interpretations of religion rather than religion as such.

Discourses on Livy

This appears to be a more measured approach to republican teaching, possibly indicative of Machiavelli’s ultimate position.  The Discourses has stood the test of time to remain one of the most important works in modern republican theory. It had an enormous effect on republican thinkers such as Rousseau, Montesquieu, Hume, and particularly on the American Founders.

Finally here are some selected quotes

On existence

“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.” 

“There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” 

 “Never was anything great achieved without danger.” 

“Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.” 

“How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.” 

“Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.” 

He who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.” 

“Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.” 
“Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” 

“It is much safer to be feared than loved because is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.” 

“People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.”

“Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved” 
“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.” 


“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” 
 “Never was anything great achieved without danger.” 
 “I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.” 

“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively.

Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” 

“He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command” 


One might argue he has not abandoned a sense of what is right to the vagaries of actual powerful rulers as in his later work ‘The  Discourses”, since he writes of 'checks and balances' on power, the powerful ruler and the people have a part in a constitution; liberty is important but requires commensurate personal virtue to be effective.

Some have suggested because of his cynism and advice in (The Prince) it was an attempt to satirize the conduct of the princely rulers of Renaissance Italy. Others regard his ideas as even more dangerous than they first appear when taken on face value.  

In summing up Machiavelli one finds the first comprehensive narrative on political science, concerned only with setting out what human beings are like and how power is maintained, with no intention of passing moral judgment on the state of affairs described.


What do you think about it all? Is Machiavelli an advocate for power and how it is best used to further one's aims?

Or is Machiavelli being Machiavellian and is really telling us how political power is exercised, so we can change into something better?

Look at the behaviour of the most powerful people in politics and economic life. Are they following ethical 'oughts' and 'should's' or are they exemplars of Machiavelli's characters?

Should considerations of what should be done, be guided by moral principles but also by a bit of Machiavelli insight? A bit of Bulldog to go with Piety?

My Response 

Machiavelli gave a good account as to the nature of political power so that much of it remains relevant today. Like Nietzsche philosophy, he wanted one to understand 'the will to power' is inherently within us so that we are better to understand and equipped to deal with our existence. That’s why the most powerful people fall down and remain today exemplars of Machiavelli’s characters. 


By holding up a mirror to ourselves, does he challenge us to become better? Is that a reasonable interpretation? Does Machiavelli ultimately ask us to rise above considerations of utility? Does he, of all people, ask us to rise above what we have come to see as Machiavellianism?

My Response 

I think it is a reasonable interpretation and possibly a redeeming element to his philosophy. There seems to be an element of Frederick Nietzsche’s style here where Nietzsche wanted to shock his readers into thinking more deeply about spiritual and existential issues before finally making. 

Although Darwin didn’t actually make this statement it is generally accepted today to use the word fittest or fitter as a hypothesis to his work.     

However, to recap, he said a ruler must be as cunning as a fox and as fierce as a lion. Machiavelli had an affinity with nature and proposed we need to strive to be more adaptive in meeting changed circumstances like nature.  One might reasonably call that a form of social Darwinism as nature doesn’t have any qualms about activity so long as it ensures the survival of the fitter. 

Hence I think one can say, Machiavelli concurs with a form of social Darwinism that means leaders must constantly adapt to the current circumstances just as does nature. That doesn’t necessarily mean the strong always pray on the weak and so forth but more a matter of adapting to the prevailing conditions.  

Your ideas or answers are always greatly appreciated.


Saturday, August 27

Thoughts on the philosophy of science.

According to John Gribbin ( the era of the scientific age proper took root from the 16th century.

Up until that time philosophy was regarded as science but thereafter they tended to go their separate ways. But the ancients determined long before that many things lie outside physics so they coined the Greek term meta- physics (translated as outside of physics) for discussions reliant on intuition, reasoning and mysticism. There was no burden to determine truth in the scientific way we consider appropriate in modernity.

Hence the ancient pre Hellenic Greek philosophers concluded that there can only be divine truths that are unchangeable and unknowable by humanity. They used metaphor and myth to make sense of their existence. 

This post seeks to talk about the philosophy of science to invite discussions as to how far we should go in placing our faith in science and whether or not meta - physics remains relevant

A pivotal figure ushering in the scientific age

Thomas Bacon introduced the inductive methodology to scientific theory. Previously scientific analysis was limited to the purely deductive mode of reasoning. 

Bacon's approach as the first empiricist might be viewed as a bottom up approach. Think of it as analogous to busy bee observations peering at the activity within the hive to validate a scientific theory pertinent to the phenomenon observed. Hence science expanded under the heading of empiricism. He also maintained some truths as a matter of reason (logical analysis and proof) and others belong to faith and so we can embrace the concept of double truth.  

Bacon also introduced the idea of the Idols of the Tribe, Cave. Marketplace and Theatre. 

Moving into the modern era

The philosophy of science became increasingly involved as to how we see the phenomenal world and the reasoning as to understand it and or justify a particular view. Fields such as psychology and the social sciences increasingly came to rely on scientifically based underpinnings.

But firstly one needs to define the current terms used.   


The logical progression of a statement representing a particular view of a subject matter or related phenomenon. Examples are the origins of a particular type of artistic movement or media studies in terms of how it applies in history e.g. Cubism , the body of knowledge that applies to stresses in engineering - the construction of buildings and bridges and so on. In the modern era many theories provide only a skeleton outline whilst others lack any credibility. 

Laws, Hypotheses and Scientism 

Recurring patterns in nature have formed the basis of natural laws which have become absorbed into a scientific law which then provides an explanation-  such as the laws of thermodynamics. 

Hypotheses comprise a logical and feasible explanation but lack the evidentiary validation involving observations and testing. Once the hypothesis can be validated it can be considered a scientific theory.  

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the so-called 'logical positivists', posited science as the only true system of knowledge and regarded metaphysics as redundant since it was unable to be verified.  

Scientific theory 

Hence the generally accepted distinction is it is more carefully constructed and specific to the subject matter. Examples might include the theory on the origins of the species, the behaviours of atomic and subatomic particles or specific brain disorders and so on. For a scientific theory to be acceptable it must be verifiable by observations. But certain philosophers thought it must be more demanding.  

Philosopher Karl Popper (1902-1994) and Physicist Lee Smollin (1955) propose further qualification.   

Popper proposed one should exclude those theories which are irrefutable- e.g. where empirical evidence can’t be refuted. That rules out psychoanalysis and irrefutable empirical data confined to a specific analysis.

His basis was that logically these truths are confined to the data examined and not supportive of an overall theory.

Lee Smolin favoured virtuosity- ‘The Trouble with Physics’, for fundamental physics. 

For Smolin a theory must be both capable of being proven experimentally and also make a new prediction, to provide an answer that disproves the old theory, whilst ensuring the new theory is verifiable. 

Determining the Truth - as pragmatically seen from different contexts.

The question that arises is whether or not it is possible for two opposing views to be true, given they are seen or talked about in different contexts. Pragmatically can we revert to a truth based on the premise a truthful proposition is one whose outcomes can be demonstrated to be so (true) over time within a designated context.

Provisional truths are also universal truths  

For instance the general theory of relativity may one day be proven to be flawed if it was found that objects can routinely exceed the speed of light.

Similarly Darwin’s theory of evolution, doesn’t correlate to rapid cellular development given the immense complexity arising from a set of DNA instructions.   

Furthermore species adaptations can rapidly occur. By way of example Okanee salmon spawning in Canada - this species used to reach the ocean in their life cycle (and were huge), but for decades dams have prevented that - they now live their lives in Kootenay Lake and spawn to their birth-streams in the third year of life - turning from silver to the red and green in a soon-to-spawn-and-die fashion.

In economics, their elegant theories are routinely hijacked by our non-rational human responses.    

In a pure programming experiment physicist Stephen Wolfram- “A New Kind of Science and creator of Mathematica’, carried out thousands of experiments to prove creative patterns kept evolving from simple instructions, only possible in modernity given the use of very powerful computers. Programs replicated simple instructions (cellular data as he called it) which continued to evolve in a changing creative pattern when you would expect to see the same pattern repeated. Those changing patterns continued on over billions of cellular data and gave appearances of plants and other life forms even though the basic instructions remained were repeated.    

The necessity to hold provisional truths to be true to obtain the greatest good

Whilst one acknowledges the provisional nature of scientific truth those engaged won’t be effective unless the supporting empirical evidence is acted upon. For instance a good psychologist has to believe in the empirical data underpinning his profession if he or she is to be positively helpful towards patients just as the same principles apply to most professions. The same principle applies to most professions reliant on validated empirical data. 

Hence, notwithstanding the provisional nature of these truths, they are reliable enough not to invite hesitation and to feel comfortable to try alternatives if one type of treatment is unsuccessful. As far as medical science is concerned you treat the patient first and apply the treatment as a secondary process. This sees medical science more of an art than a science in practice.    

But when it comes down to the more serious medical issues nothing beats hard-nosed science as opposed to naturalism.

Modern day changes in the emphasis of philosophy

Given the undeniable success of modern day sciences beginning with Bacon it is hardly surprising that both a materialistic and fact dependent philosophical movement began to place emphasis on logic. Hence logical form and essences took over in philosophy.  In the form of privileged representations.

So, the use of intuition and concepts have fallen by the wayside in philosophy. 

The modern day appeal of science to reject metaphysics is, amongst other things, principally due to a deemed lack of self-correcting aspect of science. That may be more of a perception than a reality.  

In defence of Meta –physics   

In defending metaphysics one might turn for inspiration to the pre Hellenic Greeks ( like Nietzsche ) who proposed that only the GODs possessed divine truth- considered both unchangeable and unknowable.  From a Theistic perspective one might also believe only absolute Truth with capital T is the province of GOD.  

So that earthly truth could only be tied to mystical experiences and in the interpretations of myths and in storytelling- a feeling to be in harmony with GOD(s) or not evident in your emotions. I think there is an argument to say our ever increasing creative memories remain dependent on the narrative that defines our inescapable sense of self.   

The search for meaning and our curiosity continues to underpin modern day existence, just as we still relish those stories we tell each other to help make sense of our existence. 

Conclusion and questions  

Ultimately science is aiming to find the truth and there are many that believe our faith is well foundered in the evidence based criteria and there is no room for any other methodology signalling the death of meta-physics.     

1.       So my question is: Is metaphysics no longer of any use in modernity? 

2.       Do you believe science is a totally rational science? 

3.       Is pure observation really possible? 

4.       Will the social sciences survive into the future to remain as sciences?  

5.       Can idols of the mind intrude into scientific thinking? 

6.       Do some scientists have such an emotional investment in their theories their desire will be to protect their reputations above anything else?   

7.       Are some truths a matter of reason (logical analysis and proof) and others of faith? Or should all truths be subject to the same standard? 

8.       Is it true there is a necessity to hold provisional truths to be true to obtain the greatest good?   

9.       Do you agree with the proposal by Karl Popper to exclude the social sciences and empiricism based theories from scientific theories? 

10.   Can we accept a pragmatic concept of truth – does it hold any merit? 

11.   Should we limit ourselves to just science?  


You are invited to provide answers to any of these questions which will be greatly appreciated.