Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three Meta-meta Questions

TLS September 27, 2013

from Kevin Mulligan's review of A. W. Moore’s The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics:

Moore asks three central meta-metaphysical questions. There is the Transcendence Question: can we make sense of “transcendent” things? Then there is the Novelty Question: can we make sense of things in radically new ways? Finally there is the Creativity Question: can we be creative in our sense-making, perhaps in a way that admits of no distinction between being right or wrong, or are we limited to looking for the sense that things already make? Moore’s own view of metaphysics is that it is a “fundamentally creative exercise.” This is partly explained by distinguishing between “propositional” and “non-propositional” knowledge and understanding. Propositional knowledge is knowledge of truths or facts; non-propositional knowledge includes practical knowledge, and the kind of understanding provided by art which shows things it does not say. Metaphysics, he also thinks, should put normative philosophy first: “the most important and the most exciting” way in which metaphysics is able to make a difference to us is by “providing us with radically new concepts by which to live.” He holds that metaphysics is at its best when it employs a mode of expression which is closer to that of art than that of theory. As for necessary connections or truths philosophers have often sought to identify, Moore is attracted by a view he attributes to Wittgenstein: “For something to be a necessity is for our stating it to be an enunciation of one of our grammatical rules.” This deflationary account of necessity is just one of the many part of Wittgenstein’s view of philosophy that Moore finds compelling, and which serve as an object of comparison in many of his chapters.

No comments: