Question of Metaphysics

If ‘something’ were truly metaphysical it would not be bound to time, space or any other law of physics, would it not? Yet, people claim thoughts, feelings and perceptions to be metaphysical. How can this be? Why do these things seem to stay in sync with the physical world? How and why would a metaphysical ‘thing’ hang around to be observed by us. Why wouldn’t it fly off instantaneously to the other side of the universe or slow down and exist in the same position for a billion years? Does this make any sense, or is it that metaphysical isn’t supposed to mean without substance. It’s only supposed to mean unexplained phenomenon.

Hi, praxis, welcome to the board!

I think things are supposed to be less material the higher ontology they are. And if the metaphysical can transport themselves at an instant, it must be a really interesting afterlife. We say thoughts etc. are metaphysical in so far as they are not about matter, but about the natural forms of things which are raised to the metaphysical level by the action of the mind. And I don’t think it’s the metaphysical which stays in sync with the material world, it seems to me the material world must be staying in tune with the Most Metaphysical.

Sorry for the short answers; they’re tough questions and i’m just one little Thomist.

Happy posting,
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“Traditionally, metaphysics refers to the branch of philosophy that attempts to understand the fundamental nature of all reality, whether visible or invisible. It seeks a description so basic, so essentially simple, so all-inclusive that it applies to everything, whether divine or human or anything else. It attempts to tell what anything must be like in order to be at all.”

The Pre-Socratics had theories ranging from the basis of all things is water to the atom ( a very,very simplistic form of what we now accept as an atom) They went on to suggest that everything is in constant flux, to there is no movement,etc. Now, we accept that everything is in constant motion…thanks to Metaphysics. In the attempt to understand the inexplicable, we often find practical applications. String theory is the Metaphysical horse to put your money on now. Metaphysicians have balls of brass…can you imagine what the concept of the atom must have sounded like to ancient Greek academics? What Metaphysical theories that seem inprobable today will be accepted in 100 years, 1000 years? Multidimensional strings of energy as the fundamental basis of all being sounds a little “out there” now, but what direct and indirect knowledge will we gain from this study? Sigh…makes my heart beat faster just thinking about it.

These are all physical elements; I don’t know if they would count as metaphysical, which usually means “beyond the physical.”

Space and time are metaphysical because they themselves are not physical. only appearances, or objects intuited by our fives senses, necessarily have space and time as their form(as said before).
kant tries to smash metaphysics but can’t. his transcendental aesthetic in the critique of pure reason maps this all out.
we can imagine space without anything in it. we can’t imagine an object not appearing in space.
we can imagine empty time (as a form), but we can’t imagine an object not appearing in the sequence of time.
they are both infinite. what is infinite isn’t experiencable by us. limitlessness cannot be described. its a constant paradox. everything i write does it dishonor…and necessarily so (analytically so…etc).
we can never completely enter the realm of the transcendent. the transcendent is the metaphysical. why? because we need empirical data (physical reality) to combine with our understanding for any knowledge.
good luck.

If were calling space and time metaphysical we might as well call gravity metaphysical… I can’t see germs that cause disease so we’d better add that to the list as well.

What we call metaphysical needs to be limited to thoughts, feelings and perceptions, does it not?

I understand your point. just to be picky: it is possible to see germs and diseases. gravity is trickier.
the discussion of what objects, things, or what qualifies as metaphysical is another question. thats ontology.

Sure, if you’re talking about popular metaphysics as opposed to philosophical metaphysics. This site is about philosophy though, isn’t it? Popular metaphysics belongs with factually unsupported mysticism and crap like parapsychology.

Surely you are joking. I put the bloody definition of Metaphysics at the start of my post for God’s sake. String theory most certainly qualifies as being “beyond the physical” anyways, if you insist upon using this highly over-simplified definition.

So is God made of string then? I thought He was the one agenting and moving the string.

The definition of metaphysic which I have learned is that which is immaterial. Having nothing to do with ‘not being bound by time’.

Sorry, I am in a pissy mood today :angry:

Limit metaphysics to thoughts, feelings and perceptions? I doubt there is any one who can spread metaphysics beyond those three things. Sorry about this short anwser.

quantum mechanics, to an extent, seems metaphysical. also any working natural theory that humans have not yet directly observed. for example: inertia. inertia is a reasonable concept, but not actual because all matter moves. metaphysics questions reality and all things within it. physicality is certainly within the domain of reality. unless you are a skeptic of hume. ontology questions what metaphysical entities exist. thoughts, feelings, and perceptions are not necessarily the only metaphysical entities. mutual relations (ontic reciprocity), reason, and understanding? reason and understanding are not merely feelings or thoughts.

if these three things are metaphysical, how about thinkers, feelers, and perceivors? Can a metaphysical be held by a physical?

Go take a course in Metaphysics and then come back and talk to me.

Who taught you metaphysics, Shyster?

We did Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Aquinas’ Being and Essence in college.

Sorry, that post was inexcusably rude, and Philosophers should not be so pig-headed. My good friend teaches Metaphysics, and I am a Philosophy major who will eventually be teaching myself. Fine, tell me your concept of Metaphysics and I will be as open-minded as a child. You haven’t studied the Pre-Socratics at all? Just straight to Aristotle?

Okay, maybe “beyond the physical” isn’t much of a definition – a sort of “quid nominis”. Aristotle calls his project the study of being qua being – which, to me, pretty much fits the defintion/description you gave.

Now i’m not sure where to go with this. String theory is about a material cause, it seems. At least if you picture it moving it seems physical. But what moves the string or holds it in being is not ultimately a physical cause, no?

We read some pre-Socratic fragments before reading Aristotle’s Physics.

Where does your friend teach? Where are you going to grad?
I have friends who teach too. I would like to go to grad school, but don’t expect I would be a good classroom teacher … should probably help society some other way instead.

un chevalier mal fet

She teaches at Douglas College, and I’m going to be doing my grad studies at Simon Fraser University. The string is not matter, but energy, and accepting this theory means accepting that the basis of all matter is energy. The synapses in our minds which produce thoughts are also energy…and these things are “beyond the physical” in terms of what we perceive as physical matter. God may indeed pervade all of life through the infinately small. I don’t disbelieve in God, I just don’t presume to fully understand what God is.

Actually, I was hoping someone would want to talk about this: but I might first have to argue that the metaphysical is non-physical, so Shyster’s description of metaphysics can address Pureasonist’s original question.