We’re all Metaphysicians, Just Not all Truth Seekers

We’re all Metaphysicians, Just Not all Truth Seekers January 15, 2018

We’re all metaphysicians (on the ultimate nature of reality, how could we be anything but?), some are just better than others. For the metaphysically curious individual that engages in the arguments of the great thinkers of the past and present (pro and contra their views) and that embraces the search for truth in whatever domain it may come (scientific, philosophical, etc.) – to these the mark of a truth seeker, what Einstein labeled a “holy curiosity”.

Philosophy, after all, is the “love of wisdom”, and must accept/follow the truth from wherever it comes/leads. For some truth seekers, perhaps this wisdom takes them to “metaphysical naturalism” (again, we’re all metaphysicians), some philosophical theism, others agnostics, others perhaps an impersonal theism like deism or pantheism.

On this theme of a “holy curiosity” and spirit of truth seeking, I’ve done some previous posts on MLK Jr on science and religion, on methodological naturalism vs. metaphysical naturalism, and on faith and reason. All touch upon various themes, but a very important one is the different domains of knowledge (for example, philosophical/metaphysical vs. scientific/empirical) and the spirit of genuine truth seeking within these domains.

For many, however, knowledge lies in only one domain, their domain, perhaps to the tune of a proudly proclaimed religious fundamentalism (because the sacred text said so) or an atheistic scientism (because Dawkins or Krauss said so). Perhaps the religious fundamentalist is correct with their theology and the earth is a few thousand years old; but science and philosophy certainly take issue. With someone so proud of their unreasonable faith, how would one rationally engage? At the other end, perhaps the scientistic athiest is correct that only scientific assertions are meaningful; science and philosophy certainly take issue (science doesn’t support this position and philosophy labels it self-refuting as its a philosophical position not a scientific one). With someone so proud of their unreasonable atheism, how would rationally engage?

To the philosophically and metaphysically curious, one can’t engage with the fideistic religionist or the scientistic atheist. After all, how does one reason with the unreasonable? For those quite proud of rejecting any need of philosophical/metaphysical grounding, how would such a discussion go? And so the truth seeking metaphysical naturalists and philosophical theists face palm at the philosophical crudeness of their peers. Perhaps they are correct on the ultimate nature of reality ontologically, but with their epistemological myopia, it would only be good fortune, not philosophical inquiry. And so we’re back to the inescapable fact that we’re all metaphysicians, just not all truth seekers.



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