Metaphysics, Action, and Ethics | Larval Subjects .
The complex relationship between metaphysics and ethics. The point of Stoic philosophy is to help us live a worthwhile life. That task fell to one. Such is the relationship between metaphysics and the other sciences. . and all the Humanities (including Ethics, Law, Politics, Rhetoric, Poetics, Drama and. Edith Stein (–) never wrote a formal work of ethics, yet her ethics and metaphysics, including the relationship between the good.
So, what sort of metaphysics would be incompatible with Stoic ethics?
That post had to do with something entirely unrelated to the current subject matter, i. These are the radical hypotheses in question: My brain is floating in a vat, receiving sensorial inputs indirectly. The physical world is nothing like what it appears to be. My brain formed spontaneously in an empty region of space, as a result of a number of coincidences.Branches of philosophy: Metaphysics, epistemology and ethics
Again, the physical universe is nothing like what it appears to be. I want to suggest here that if any of the radical metaphysical hypotheses above were indeed true, then Stoic ethics would go out the window, thus showing that metaphysics — understood as part of Stoic physics — is indeed relevant to ethics.
What all the above hypotheses have in common is the postulation of a deep nature of the universe that is substantially different from the one we currently accept as well as from the one that the ancient Stoics accepted. From the Stoic perspective, the four radical metaphysical hypotheses have in common that they deny that human beings are social animals capable of reason.
We are either not beings at all, or we are not social, even though presumably we are still capable somehow of rationality.
The complex relationship between metaphysics and ethics | How to Be a Stoic
Those are the kinds of outlook which will socialize insanity into a person. Are they useful to anyone, or do they just agitate pointless pontification? What this assertion assumes is that ethical aims are independent of metaphysical conceptions, but does the history of ethics bear this out?
Nelson clearly intends his reference to Parmenides to point to the absurdity of worrying over the role of metaphysics in the public sphere.
After all, Parmenides argued that being is one and that as one it cannot include not-being. The question to ask here is whether such a conception of being makes a concrete difference at the level of action.
Would I act any differently if I had this particular belief?
The complex relationship between metaphysics and ethics
And perhaps, contra Nelson, I would. After all, if truth is the ground of my action and appearances are untruth, why would I trouble myself with appearances rather than seeking insight into the One? The issue comes out more clearly in the case of Plato. Why did Plato get all worked up about the theory of the forms and what constitutes knowledge?
Clearly a group of people who have this particular conception of reality are going to act in a very different way towards concrete matters pertaining to the worldly and embodied. Chances are they will argue, like Saint Augustine later did, that we need to avoid everything bodily and thereby not concern ourselves too deeply with worldly affairs.
The film The Exorcism of Emily Rose gives an excellent example of how metaphysics pervades our action through and through. When presented with the symptoms of the young Emily the doctor concludes that they signify epilepsy, and that the aim of her treat ment should be a return to health.
This diagnosis is based on a metaphysics in which 1 all bodily conditions have either somatic or psychological causes, and 2 in which the aim of treatment should be a return to a state defined as normalcy which presupposes that normal functioning or culturally independent biological essentialism that can be defined in such systems pace Canguilhem and Foucault.
Similarly, if I believe that the apocalypse will happen ten years from now, it would be irrational for me to 1 not live a holy and upright life, 2 invest in life insurance and a retirement plan, and 3 worry about global warming.