In Defense of Metaphysics

Metaphysics Rises From Brainy Ground, Including What Dreams Are Made Of:

Nihilism is what happens when Metaphysics is yanked out. And nothing could be further from the Truth. Much of the trouble with the present planet can be directly tracked to inappropriate Metaphysics. Let me explain this a bit in this first part. Metaphysics is, indeed, about religion, what ties people up together again, but it’s also about Logic (with a capital L).

Metaphysics is everywhere. Everybody uses it, in everyday language. Some will say: ”Oh, that just language.” Yes, but language is ideas, and ideas get embodied as brain structure. So here we see that not only metaphysics exists, but it is physically embodied. Any victim of Jihadism can testify that metaphysics has real consequences.

Before defining Metaphysics, one has to define “physics”. That was what the Romans called nature. Physis is “nature,” from phyein “to bring forth, produce, make to grow” (related to phyton “growth, plant,” phyle “tribe, race,” phyma “a growth, tumor”). Physis is everywhere.

Imagine You Are Being Watched Maybe Help You Be Good

Imagine You Are Being Watched Maybe Help You Be Good

[Helix Nebula, an expanding shell from a dying star, 700 light years away, being transformed into a White Dwarf; ESO Southern Observatory Near IR on the left; visible light, on the right.]

Science is physical phenomena so well known that they can allow us to predict how things will grow.

But in the original sense all discourses about what exists and changes in nature is part of physics. Call this

Common Sense. Call it CS. Metaphysics is about telling a story beyond what we are sure all others will agree they also observed.

The brain is all connected inside: that’s how logic is embodied. Much of it is individualized, call it I. So we have: Metaphysics = I – CS.

CS depends upon one’s tribe. Metaphysics and I are, of course dependent upon the Individual.

And what is the Individual (brain) made of, and with? Experiences. Individualized experiences. All metamathematics is, clearly Metaphysics in some sense (arguably mathematics itself is, literally, metaphysics).

Set Theory is Metaphysics. That can be demonstrated easily: as all genuine Metaphysics, it is full of contradiction(s).

Badiou’s aphorism holds up pretty well: “Set theory is all the metaphysics you need, and physics all of the ontology.” Well, all the Metaphysics you needed to do some basic mathematics in the Twentieth Century… But not even all of it, hence the rise of Category Theory in the 1950s. This demonstrates that Metaphysics is not just beyond physics, it is eminently practical (because the mathematics invented by Grothendieck, PBUH, this advanced Algebraic Geometry is… practical).

Category Theory is very practical Metaphysics.

Carefully tailored Metaphysics can prove much. For example, I can devise Metaphysics where the circle can be squared (I just use my finite mathematics, end of proof).

According to the definition I gave above, the very definition of Metaphysics is that it is the set of all thought systems that harbor contradiction(s) to Common Sense (otherwise it would be Common Sense).

Could we do without Metaphysics?

Of course not. Metaphysics is beyond Common Sense. But we know something exists beyond Common Sense, say for example future or possible science, research projects, and, in general various guesses of all sorts, including artistic ones.

So it’s not all a question of “data”, in the restrictive sense, or, even more generally, “quanta”. Metaphysics is grounded beyond “data” in the restrictive sense. Guesses, intuitions, even desires and provocations, the feeling of what might be, or ought to be, are part of the “data” that grounds Metaphysics.

Our minds are not just grounded in hard facts, personal experiences and feelings, but even dreams, vague tendencies, feelings and emotions, let alone collective rages, and misunderstanding of history, much of it that we harbor in our inner spiritual recesses, as various infantile trauma.

In all this our very individualized Metaphysics are grounded. Lots of dream stuff. So people are invited not to deduce lethal consequences from it.

We need it.

But we also need to understand it. Especially when it animates our thermonuclear hands. Or those of others. Especially those of others. To understand, and fight, the Metaphysics of banksters, greedsters, archeo-imperialists, or Islamofascists, we need better, improved, and fully aware Metaphysics.

Patrice Ayme’

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4 Responses to “In Defense of Metaphysics”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Fascinating! Albeit a few terms were uncertain in terms of meaning, but not so much to deny me great enjoyment.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Paul! Well, one of the points is that Metaphysics is intrinsically uncertain in term of meaning, as it’s experience that determines meaning, and Metaphysics is the experience that is not well grounded (as it could be, for example only socially defined, or defined only within the realm of one individual… id est, idiosyncratic…. and often all too idiot syncretized… ;-))


  2. gmax Says:

    The era of applied metaphysics?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Pretty much so. We have to change metaphysics, invent a new one. That’s hard. So the old metaphysics see their chance to re-present themselves as if their old selves were something new.


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