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Thread: Should we start a Metaphysics section?

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    Should we start a Metaphysics section?

    Philosophy of Science and Is-There-Reality questions/discussions do seem to be coming up an awful lot. They are often posted under Science & Tech.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Philosophy of Science and Is-There-Reality questions/discussions do seem to be coming up an awful lot.
    That's not my impression. They do come up often enough to get one's attention but looking at just the first page of the S&T forum, the topic doesn't seem to comprise "an awful lot" of the traffic , IMO.
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    Maybe so. Still, they aren't science nor technology. Perhaps OTB?
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    It's been discussed before. Has anything major changed since that discussion?

    Apart from that thread, there have been several other discussions about whether or not philosophy has a place in science (they are easy to find, just add a "site:forum.cosmoquest.org" clause to your Google query). As I recall, every single time the question comes up, the answer depends on whoever you ask. But I don't believe that anyone disputes that it is at least closely related to science, and thus moving to the "anything else" is not a good option for me.
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    I agree. I think that the discussion might stray into metaphysical areas, but the nature of reality is a subject of scientific interest so I donít really see a problem that requires making a new category.


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    If modern physics, cosmology, quantum effects, black holes, GR, SR and so on are not concerned with reality, then what is physics about? My impression is that an old fashioned idea about psychology ( or biology) not being proper science is the lacuna that invites another section. But my impression from current papers in physics is that psychology is pushing its nose into physics. For instance ER=EPR has come up. Is that metaphysics or just physics? “Technology” is still separate from psychology but not for long!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Philosophy of Science and Is-There-Reality questions/discussions do seem to be coming up an awful lot. They are often posted under Science & Tech.
    I also have the impression they don't come up particularly often. They could certainly come up a lot more often, but I have the distinct impression that those of us who are interested in philosophy restrain ourselves because of the way the topic is received hereabouts. I know I do.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    It's been discussed before. Has anything major changed since that discussion?

    Apart from that thread, there have been several other discussions about whether or not philosophy has a place in science (they are easy to find, just add a "site:forum.cosmoquest.org" clause to your Google query). As I recall, every single time the question comes up, the answer depends on whoever you ask. But I don't believe that anyone disputes that it is at least closely related to science, and thus moving to the "anything else" is not a good option for me.
    I read the prior thread, and nothing seemed to be resolved at all in it. The argument morphed into a metaphysics discussion too, as they always do. It spreads like a virus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I read the prior thread, and nothing seemed to be resolved at all in it. The argument morphed into a metaphysics discussion too, as they always do. It spreads like a virus.
    And that, there, is the sort of impartial and non-judgmental characterization of philosophical discussion which makes the philosophically inclined among us feel so warmly welcome on this forum.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I read the prior thread, and nothing seemed to be resolved at all in it.
    You mean it wasn't resolved as you would have liked. No new forum was created. That sounds pretty resolved to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    You mean it wasn't resolved as you would have liked. No new forum was created. That sounds pretty resolved to me.
    I just wanted to know if a consensus had been reached. If the decision was no, that's fine. But the 2014 thread just kind of trailed off without saying clearly yes or no.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I just wanted to know if a consensus had been reached. If the decision was no, that's fine. But the 2014 thread just kind of trailed off without saying clearly yes or no.
    My perception of what happened is that a group of people who find the philosophy of science interesting, important and relevant are restraining themselves fairly successfully from intruding these concepts into general discussion, because they know the sort of reception that can be expected on this forum.
    I doubt if a "metaphysics ghetto" would address the perceived problem, because philosophical issues arise in relation to scientific discussion, not in isolation.

    (And, BTW, "metaphysics" isn't really much of a thing, any more, and the word has accreted some pretty pejorative associations.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Fairly successfully is relative, but I know when I'm beaten. If that's the consensus, I'll go along with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Fairly successfully is relative, but I know when I'm beaten. If that's the consensus, I'll go along with it.
    Well, people hereabouts frequently talk about stuff that they find interesting but I find borderline irritating. And they often intrude that stuff into threads that I'm otherwise quite enjoying. But that's life, it wouldn't do if we were all the same, and I try to let it wash past me, or if I can't manage that I abandon the thread. And I assume most people are doing that, for various personal irritants.
    So I do wonder why philosophy seems to be such a uniquely big deal, to the extent that people want to hide it somewhere they can't see it. (And, for some, the mere existence of a long-running philosophy thread seems to vex them so much that they publicly grind their teeth over the post count.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    I'm not saying we shouldn't discuss topics "related to" science, I'm just of the opinion that we should not confuse them with actual scientific topics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'm not saying we shouldn't discuss topics "related to" science, I'm just of the opinion that we should not confuse them with actual scientific topics.
    The MDR Hypothesis, which continues as a major sub-topic within the 'Reality' thread, is a testable scientific hypothesis. That it is not recognised as being such, is because opinion based science has become the defacto 'norm' at this site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'm not saying we shouldn't discuss topics "related to" science, I'm just of the opinion that we should not confuse them with actual scientific topics.
    There you go. You've adopted a stance concerning the relationship between science and the philosophy of science. You're doing philosophy of science, right there. You're just as bad as those other philosophy nuts!

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    The MDR Hypothesis, which continues as a major sub-topic within the 'Reality' thread, is a testable scientific hypothesis. That it is not recognised as being such, is because opinion based science has become the defacto 'norm' at this site.
    Years ago, I asked repeatedly for someone to describe how one would objectively test such a thing, actual experimental procedure, and received text walls in response that avoided the question.

    My conclusion was that the MDR arguments being presented amounted to untestable personal belief that had little relevance to science.

    I have little interest reading or debating untestable personal beliefs, and have never felt they should be confused with science.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I just wanted to know if a consensus had been reached. If the decision was no, that's fine. But the 2014 thread just kind of trailed off without saying clearly yes or no.
    We never had a formal vote of the Moderation Team, but not a single moderator nor administrator has expressed any interesting in creating some new subforum for this topic or any other topic. As I said in the early thread, I think we have too many subforums already.

    Personally, I don't think we have enough discussions in S&T. But the existence of the couple of threads being discussed isn't preventing anyone from starting some new thread on biology or mechanical engineering.

    As others have said, if you are not interested in a particular thread, then don't read it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    As others have said, if you are not interested in a particular thread, then don't read it.
    And the threads that start as a real science discussion but the Topic creeps in anyway?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    And the threads that start as a real science discussion but the Topic creeps in anyway?
    Then stop reading it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    And the threads that start as a real science discussion but the Topic creeps in anyway?
    If you have a problem with any thread, such as a derailment of the topic of it, you Report it, just like any other thread. The Moderators will make a decision and act accordingly.

    But I don't see how a new subforum changes any of that. The membership of CQ has shown a remarkable ability to derail just about any topic, in any subforum on CQ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, people hereabouts frequently talk about stuff that they find interesting but I find borderline irritating. And they often intrude that stuff into threads that I'm otherwise quite enjoying. But that's life, it wouldn't do if we were all the same, and I try to let it wash past me, or if I can't manage that I abandon the thread. And I assume most people are doing that, for various personal irritants.
    So I do wonder why philosophy seems to be such a uniquely big deal, to the extent that people want to hide it somewhere they can't see it. (And, for some, the mere existence of a long-running philosophy thread seems to vex them so much that they publicly grind their teeth over the post count.)

    Grant Hutchison
    I'll throw in here, as someone who has pushed in the past for philosophical topics to be moved to their own thread at minimum. The reason I see it as a uniquely big deal is that my perception was that for a period it was the go to way to turn a thread away from a discussion about the science. For a while I found that a fairly large number of threads I was interested in were flipped from what I found to be a useful technical discussion to yet another discussion about what things really really mean actually. And because any thread about science can be shifted to a discussion about the philosophy underlying it then it makes for a kind of trump card in any debate. Especially because more people feel that they can contribute to discussion about such concepts as 'reality' or what a theory is than, say, dualities in string theories. And yes, I know I could report the threads and try to get them moderated.

    So I am happy to admit that my stance is selfish. I recognise the importance of philosophy and have no issue that some people find it interesting, I just personally find it boring as generally discussed here. I prefer to shut up and calculate*. And because it can be (and I perceived was being) used to turn any thread into one I find uninteresting and feel the need to abandon I prefer to see the longer and more involved discussions of it pushed into their own threads where I can ignore them but others can continue to enjoy them. Hence why I was one of the people who suggested the Reality thread. One I am happy to see involves and entertains a lot of people, and one I can choose not to read.

    *ETA: Yes, I know this is a philosophical stance

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    I'll throw in here, as someone who has pushed in the past for philosophical topics to be moved to their own thread at minimum. The reason I see it as a uniquely big deal is that my perception was that for a period it was the go to way to turn a thread away from a discussion about the science. For a while I found that a fairly large number of threads I was interested in were flipped from what I found to be a useful technical discussion to yet another discussion about what things really really mean actually. And because any thread about science can be shifted to a discussion about the philosophy underlying it then it makes for a kind of trump card in any debate. Especially because more people feel that they can contribute to discussion about such concepts as 'reality' or what a theory is than, say, dualities in string theories. And yes, I know I could report the threads and try to get them moderated.
    I understand the problem and the feeling. The problem I see is what Swift wrote:

    The membership of CQ has shown a remarkable ability to derail just about any topic, in any subforum on CQ.
    And I have to admit that I have demonstrated that remarkable ability myself on many occasions, luckily usually evading serious punishment. So starting a sub forum on philosophy will probably not stop people from derailing scientific threads. It just means that perhaps the moderators could go to the trouble of moving things. It seems easier just to have a moderator warn people not to stray into territory outside of the initial idea of the thread (which they do occasionally do).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    The MDR Hypothesis, which continues as a major sub-topic within the 'Reality' thread, is a testable scientific hypothesis. That it is not recognised as being such, is because opinion based science has become the defacto 'norm' at this site.

    Years ago, I asked repeatedly for someone to describe how one would objectively test such a thing, actual experimental procedure, and received text walls in response that avoided the question.

    My conclusion was that the MDR arguments being presented amounted to untestable personal belief that had little relevance to science.

    I have little interest reading or debating untestable personal beliefs, and have never felt they should be confused with science.

    And we will just let MDR (whatever that is) be, and not discuss it in this thread, but in the "reality" thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Then stop reading it.
    Roll your eyes all you want, but IMO it's a damn shame that good topics get lost that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Roll your eyes all you want, but IMO it's a damn shame that good topics get lost that way.
    I also do have topics that I'm interested that get derailed, and it bothers me just as it does anybody I suppose. Realistically, it just seems impossible to keep everything on track, so usually I either ignore the posts that don't interest me, and go ahead with the original one, or (as in the case of the Ultimate Nature of Reality) basically stop reading it, though I have to also say that in some cases (like that thread) it's more the sheer volume and length of posts than the contents (since I can't even keep up with the contents, I wouldn't know if it's getting derailed...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Roll your eyes all you want, but IMO it's a damn shame that good topics get lost that way.
    There's nothing to stop you continuing to post, in-thread, about the stuff that interests you. Given that many people seem to agree with you in wanting to stick to the "shut up and figure" stuff, it sounds like there should be enough of a critical mass to keep that sort of conversation going, easily. I have a foot in both camps, anyway, so am as likely (probably more likely) to join that discussion as I am to wax philosophical.

    Grant Hutchison

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