Metaphysical Positivism
Overview
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
Materials on the history of philosophy which provide context for an understanding of Metaphysical Positivism.
In essence Metaphysical Positivism is a positivisitic philosophy with negative dogmas excised, with a positive attitude towards metaphysics, based around a method of logical analysis together with appropriate philosophical (including metaphysical) underpinnings.
The motivation.
Metaphysical Positivism is a positivistic philosophical system formulated for the twenty first century, building on a heritage going back at least as far as David Hume; cognisant of developments in logic and computer science which have taken place in the 20th Century, but turning away from some of the recent tendencies in analytic philosophy.
Background for Metaphysical Positivism
Materials on the history of philosophy which provide context for an understanding of Metaphysical Positivism.
Historical Introduction
The proximate predecessor of metaphysical positivism is logical positivism. Metaphysical positivism descends in direct line from Russell's embryonic conception of Logical Analysis, and the philosophy of Rudolf Carnap inspired by and intended to realise that conception.
Notes and thoughts on scepticism.
Notes and thoughts on positivism (in philosophy).
Three dialectical processes in the history of philosophy are used to explore the origins of some of the key ideas of metaphysical positivism.
The distinction between matters of logic and matters of fact provides a starting point for analytic philosophy and sound reason.
"Philosophical Logicism" is my conception of analytic philosophy before I incorporated an element of positivism, and is largely incorporated in Metaphysical Positivism.
Tbe Essence of Metaphysical Positivism
In essence Metaphysical Positivism is a positivisitic philosophy with negative dogmas excised, with a positive attitude towards metaphysics, based around a method of logical analysis together with appropriate philosophical (including metaphysical) underpinnings.
Introducing Metaphysical Positivism
What is the point of Metaphysical Positivism?
A broadly applicable method for modelling and analysis method exploiting symbolic logic.
Positivism is traditionally both anti-dogmatic and dogmatic, in this similar to scepticism. In "liberal" positivism, we seek to capture the positive elements of positivism while discarding the negative dogmas.
An attempt to identify certain kinds of problem which might, even for a positivist, be thought both metaphysical and worthwhile. Primarily meta-philosophical, even meta-metaphysical.
An Outline of Metaphysical Positivism
The motivation.
Introduction
In this introduction is given a first sketch of the system which will be expanded in the subsequent sections.
Metaphysics and Positivism
A Priori Method
More on Metaphysical Positivism
Metaphysical Positivism is a positivistic philosophical system formulated for the twenty first century, building on a heritage going back at least as far as David Hume; cognisant of developments in logic and computer science which have taken place in the 20th Century, but turning away from some of the recent tendencies in analytic philosophy.
Pictures of Reality
In his "picture theory" Wittgenstein suggested that the relation between language and fact was similar to that between a picture and the thing portrayed. In metaphysical positivism language is construed as providing models of the world, the "true structure" of which is inaccessible to scientific method. Insofar as it is possible to go beyond the exhibition and evaluation of (mathematical) models with enquiries into the true structure of the universe this is the domain of metaphysics.
Positive science, a term coined by Auguste Comte which gave rise to the notion of positivism, is revived in metaphysical positivism as an idealised model of scientific method, broad enough to encompass what Russell talked of as "scientific philosophy".
Logical Analysis
Logical analysis is the analytic part of positive science and scientific philosophy. It consists of methods for maximising the rigour of reasoning using abstract models of the domain of discourse. The logical aspects are thereby rendered as rigorous and reliable as mathematics, and other aspects are exposed for other kinds of scrutiny.
Abstract Semantics
An abstract semantics is a (not necessarily complete) account of the meaning of some language in terms of abstract entities. If the intended subject matter of a language is concrete, its semantics can be factored into abstract and concrete parts. The abstract part suffices to determine the relation of semantic entailment, which in turn settles the question of which inferences are deductively sound. Abstract semantics can be defined with much greater precision than concrete semantics, but cannot be made absolutely unambiguous. When we strive for limits in semantic precision, foundational problems come to the fore.
Reasoning about Society
The reducibility of rationality to abstract analysis receives its greatest test when the domain of discourse moves from the hard to the social sciences, from descriptive to evaluative, when economic, political and ethical considerations are at stake. Can we then expect rigour?
Metaphysical Positivism is described by comparison with Logical Positivism, with particular reference to the philosophy of Rudolf Carnap. In this we follow Carnap's own account of his philosophy as given in the Carnap volume of the library of living philosophers, using his own headings.
Notes on Critical Rationalism from a Metaphysical Positivist standpoint.

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