Metaphysics Always Buries Its Undertakers

Metaphysics The Fundamentals“Recent experience has also dashed hopes that one of the special sciences, such as physics or biology, could supplant metaphysics. Contemporary scientific theory raises far more metaphysical questions than it answers. For example, there are many questions about the fundamental nature of space and time that contemporary physics renders meaningful without being able to answer them. Is space or spacetime a real thing, in addition to the things that are spatially located? Are regions of space composed of dimensionless points? What gives time its direction (from earlier to later)?

The inevitability of metaphysics is demonstrated by the fact that even the would-be critics of metaphysics rely on tacit metaphysical assumptions. For example, Hume’s claim that all knowledge is either logical or sensory in nature presupposes that there is a relation of knowledge or acquaintance, which holds only between the mind and the sensations and ideas that it ‘contains.’ These presuppositions raise unavoidable metaphysical questions: what sort of things are these ideas, and how does the mind ‘contain’ them?

Consider also the post-Kantian or post-modern thinkers who insist that all of reality is a construction of one’s social community. Such a theory presupposes that communities or social practices exist and are able to construct theories or models of the world. In the end, these apparently anti-metaphysical schools of thought are nothing but alternative ways of doing metaphysics. The only way to avoid metaphysics is to avoid thinking.”

– Robert C. Koons & Timothy Pickavance, Metaphysics: The Fundamentals


– Lucas G. Westman

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