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Existential Comics has a new offering set in the Star Wars universe. Above are just a couple of panels, excerpted to whet your appetite. Click through to see the rest of it, and discover what you can learn from Master Spinoda…
Doesn’t Darth Malebranche mean “it’s probably because of all the evil stuff we’ve been willing, which God made us do?”
Metaphysics went the way of the dinosaurs in Analytic Philosophy, but it is still an issue in Contemporary Continental Philosophy (Heidegger, Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, etc.)
There is plenty of metaphysics still around in Analytic Philosophy. There’s a whole cottage industry of ‘A theory’ versus ‘B theory’ (essentially whether other times exist (B theory) or not (A theory)).
Modal realism has been a thing since David Lewis, and is still debated (and is actually connected to the A theory/B theory issue, as statements about non-actual possibilities seem isomorphic to statements about non-present times).
The relationship of minds to matter is covered in philosophy of mind, but it is a metaphysical question.
Then there is the question of what constitutes a person, free will, causality, scientific realism, etc. all metaphysical questions, all dealt with in analytic philosophy.
I was thinking of Carnap’s critique of Heidegger in “The Overcoming of Metaphysics through the Logical Analysis of Language” (1931) which was itself a vivid example of their mutual opposition on the battleground of language. In Carnap’s view, the development of quantificational logic rendered the possibility of radically overcoming metaphysics. He defines metaphysics as “the field of alleged knowledge of the essence of things which transcends the realm of empirically founded, inductive science.” The logical analysis of the language of metaphysics –its vocabulary and syntax– proves the meaninglessness of metaphysics. While Carnap defines “meaningfulness” in terms of the verificationist principle, “meaning” is explicitly understood as “cognitive” in contrast with “expressive” meaning. Rather than yielding “statements” (meaningful sentences with cognitive meaning or “assertive content”), then, metaphysics produces “pseudo-statements.”
Well, if your knowledge of analytic philosophy stops before the middle of the 20th century, I can see why you might think it holds that metaphysics is dead.
My bad. I was only familiar with analytic philosophy as it interacted with continental philosophy from that period, so I just assumed it was the same today. lol. In my defence, the explanation part of the comic said
“Kant, as the prophesy foretold, brought balance to metaphysics by synthesizing the ideas of the idealists, rationalists and empiricists. Kant’s transcendental idealism said that we got most of our ideas from experience, but that experience was also largely structured by our minds, and certain ideas transcended observation (such as space, time, causation, etc). Kant’s metaphysics was extremely influential, and for many people he basically solved metaphysics, well, at least until the 20th century philosophers decided that doing metaphysics was a hopeless and pointless endeavor to begin with.”
Yes, I read that too 🙂
It gives a misleading impression, but it is technically correct as some philosophers in the 20th century did decide exactly that! As you may know, they were called the logical positivists (sometimes logical empiricists).
And analytic philosophers continue to be suspicious of metaphysics, even their own (modal realism (Lewsis’s possible worlds) is regarded as an extravagance by many), but especially others.
Also, I think we have to allow that it’s a commentary for a cartoon, and therefore exaggeration for humourous effect is not out of the question.
I can see that Heidegger is very interested in metaphysics, but what sort of metaphysics do Derrida and the rest espouse? “There is just the text” I suppose might be called a metaphysics of a sort, but if anything it’s even more reduced than that of the logical positivists…
Should point out that I don’t really know much about Derrida, and even less about Deleuze and Levinas… I have read chapters of books entitled ‘Derrida’ (the chapters, not the books) but for some reason it doesn’t stick.
Figures like Derrida and Levinas worked to deconstruct the “metaphysics of presence,” but still worked from within its structures. For them, ethics replaced metaphysics as “first philosophy,” which is why their ethical theories seem to invoke certain first principles.