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Metaphysics in the 21st century

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Metaphysics in the 21st century

The purpose of the project

Summarize main existing strategies for constructing metaphysics, propose a version of metaphysics based on the works of UISGDA.

Project tasks

Articulate the relevance of metaphysics, Determine the place of metaphysical discourse in the hierarchy of cultural discourses, Clarify the subject of metaphysics and ways to comprehend it.

Annotation to the project

Philosophy has at all times revolved in one way or another around the question of being. The question of being did not receive any canonical meaning, but it is also true that the main philosophical questions were related to being in one way or another, to essence, or to their giveness to a person. Martin Heidegger called the question of being the fundamental question of philosophy. It is also true that for two and a half thousand years of studying these main and basic questions, philosophers, apparently, have not come to a consolidated position.

What is the reason for the apparent discrepancy between the goals of metaphysical discourse in different eras? What is this discourse really, what is its structure and purpose? And most importantly, is it possible to obtain more or less justified ontological knowledge (knowledge about being) as a result of metaphysical reflection?

The subject of metaphysical reasoning is something superexperienced, i.e. by definition unobservable. The existence of these objects is "inferred" from something observed by certain rational procedures. As a result, we get some ideal objects, the real existence of which is postulated based on the impossibility of the empirical world and/or thinking about this world without their presence. The situation as a whole is reminiscent of the methodology for the formation of unobservable objects in quantum physics, which, in the description of the Soviet philosopher Igor Alekseev, is as follows: “The real existence of unobservable objects is certified indirectly. They are ontologized constructs designed to explain the observed objects. With their help, a theoretical picture of the essence of the observed is usually built, to which methodological requirements are presented, expressed by the principles of simplicity, unity of the physical picture of the world and observability” [Alekseev 1981, 223].

The "theoretical objects" of metaphysical discourse "live" in the conceptual space of the metaphysical narrative, although philosophers tend to place the denotations of these objects outside the narrative flow. It turns out that three “layers” can be distinguished in metaphysical discourse: 1) the level of empirically observed things and the meanings / actions associated with it, 2) theoretical narrative - a set of theoretical objects, like “ideas”, “essences”, “substances”, “causes”, “transcendentals”, etc., and 3) the hypostatized level of “true being” of the denotations of theoretical objects.

Metaphysical discourse constructs ontological ideas, but is unable to verify them. Moreover, metaphysical construction is carried out on the basis of a kind of ontological precognition (associated with the assumption of the existence of a certain type of empirical objects and ontological entities of a certain type manifested in their being). Therefore, it would not be a mistake to say that classical metaphysics “against its will” states the existence of a certain ontological order, and does not explain it.

Thus, we need to ask about foreknowledge itself, which allows us, before any metaphysical reasoning, to speak about the existence of something, different in different epochs, but quite definite and even undoubted at a specific moment here and now. If we start from what exists, then before asking what is and how we know what it is, we should ask, what does it mean that something is? In all likelihood, we will never be able to approach the question of what actually exists if we do not ask ourselves the question of what the word “exists” means to us.