Saturday, October 18, 2008

What is Metaphysical Naturalism? An Afterword on "Man qua Man"

Over the course of this week, 10.13-17.08, I published thousands of words on the subject of what "metaphysical naturalism" is (and is not.) Immediately after several of the posts, I posted what may seem to be extraneous material, usually cut-and-pasted from other sources after condensing that source.

These "extraneous" postings varied widely, from Louis Farakhan's characterization of Barak Obama as the "Messiah," to the New World Order Economics that will be forced on the U.S. in the coming week by the E.U. 27, to the threat to American free speech by American Islamicists.

One might ask, "What do these other postings have to do with metaphysical naturalism?" The answer is quite simply this: metaphysics deals with every subject under the sun, or more exactly, with every subject that exists, not within "the universe," but within the subject of "existence" in and of itself.

Metaphysical naturalism's (MN) goal as far as this Academy is concerned is to make MN applicable to the life of man by the standard known as "qua Man." [1] This standard seeks to objectively evaluate the nature of Man in all his aspects, because metaphysics deals with every subject. This means that when it comes to evaluating "Man," MN seeks to objectively define Man's physiology, his psychology, his spiritual nature, his rationality, and effectively any subject that bears an impact on the way "qua Man" is defined.

This means that there is only one political line of logic for "qua Man," and it is not Democratic nor is it Republican, and sometimes it is not the libertarianism of the party by that name.

This means that there is only one economic line of logic for "qua Man," only one line of psychology, only one line of aesthetics, one of epistemology, one of ethics, and one of metaphysics.

However, saying there is "only one" does not deny that differences that are perfectly valid and sound can occur; it does not imply that such differences cannot occur. To say otherwise would be like saying there is "only one" physical mold for "qua Man." Would that "one mold" be blue eyes, or brown or green? Would that one mold be a long slender figure fit for attracting the opposite sex in an evolutionary race, or would it be more along the lines of a body that could handle hard physical labor day after day without killing itself--in an evolutionary race?

The fact is that while it is understood that "qua Man" may have only one form, it proves itself to have billions of "shapes," including the combinations of colors of eyes with hair color, body size and weight and whether one is pear shaped or apple shaped or stringbean shaped. We can translate that fact into everything that falls under the heading "metaphysics," and see that although Man may have only one "form," it could have as many "shapes" as there are humans to expound it.

The same becomes metaphysically true of all things philosophical in nature.

Barak Obama is not completely wrong all the time; but his outwardly Marxist "redistribution of wealth" policy is not one that fits the objective Man in "qua Man." Whether they know it or not, the American political ideal of Man qua Man is that each has "unalienable" rights, which come from the concept of "individual sovereignty," and Obama does not respect the individual sovereignty of the individual.

Some will say that politics and everything else is "relative," and that in these tough economic times Bush nationalized the banks, so what is wrong with Obama's plans?

Saying everything is relative means whatever its proponent wants it to mean, and Bush was wrong; whereas objective morals are based in the nature of Man as the "rational animal," with the objective standards for his existence being those of "qua Man."

Neither is John McCain completely wrong all the time, but he seems to have no concept of this thing called "qua Man," as he waffles back and forth in his ideas, running with, or sometimes even leading, the populist Republican pack.

Obama, on the other hand, seems to have quite a solid and--it seems to me--an honorable belief in what "Man" is, but his concept is that "Man" is his brothers' keeper, and that what belongs to one belongs to all no matter how the "one" came to have what he has. "Spreading the wealth," as we all heard him say, means taking it from Joe the Plumber (when Joe finally reaches that income level) to give it to the Josephine the Hairdresser when she needs it; and then to take it from her when she reaches that income level to give it to whomever is the next to come along.

In a metaphysical analysis, one in which all arguments must be proved not only valid but "sound," Obama would be shown as an advocate for the initiation of force, by the government, against the property of law abiding American citizens, in order to achieve his dream of the redistribution of wealth. An objective analysis of "qua Man" has many times over the millenia shown that such tyranny by government is neither valid nor sound.

Obama's honorable view of Man as his brothers' keeper is honorable only because
he chose his misguided agenda to use the government to insure that
each Man is held to account as his brothers' keeper because he truly (honorably) loves mankind, but in the manner of a socialist/humanist.

That goal of making the governernment the moral insurer is what is not in accord with objective metaphysical naturalism.

Naturalism must be in accord with the conceptual standard of "Man qua Man," or it is something (X) that is (not-Y). [See below] Naturalism as X explained by Y requires that Y incorporate the nature of Man, first as he would be alone in a state of nature, and then how he can enter into a society that includes freedom from other men and from some of the worries of the natural state of nature, and explain it by means of causing individual sovereignty (the state of Man in nature) to be as little compromised as possible.

Both the Republicans and Democrats have played the same game for much too long: the game of cat and mouse, where the liberals (of either party) introduce legislation that would place further limits on individual and thus unalienable sovereignty; then the conservatives (of either party) give in by saying in effect, "Well, no, we can't go that far; but if you give us what we want, we might be willing to let you get away with your idea to a point."

"Individual sovereignty was not a peculiar conceit of Thomas Jefferson: It was the common assumption of the day..." Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. "American Sphinx,The Character of Thomas Jefferson";

Metaphysical naturalism is first metaphysical. As such, it must weigh everything that comes within it grasp. But this blog does not have to weigh in on everything that comes with its grasp. Most naturalist websites steer clear of politics and economics, prefering instead to stick to their incoherent, i.e., non-sensical and obscure, humanistic talk of how "Each of us is an unfolding, natural process, and every aspect of that process is caused, and is a cause itself. We are therefore entirely at home in the physical universe."

No human would be at home anywhere but in the physical universe, and would be dead if he/she was not an unfolding natural process of both biology and psychology, from birth to death.

But the best way to make a difference in the world and subscribe to the fundamental naturalistic idea that Man must be measured by a standard and that standard is "qua," means the best way to make that difference in the world is to speak about everything in existence. In these waning days before the first Presidential election when we have a waffling Republican and an actual outspoken socialistic Democrat who refuses to admit his socialism, no subject is off-topic.

For that matter, no subject is ever off topic for metaphysics. It just depends on whether one's metaphysics is natural, or supernatural.

[1] To paraphrase Aristotle, "For man, 'qua Man' is 'one indivisible thing', indivisible from what is best for him in the science of politics, or nutrition, or health; and the metaphysician assumes man to be one indivisible thing, and then considers whether there is any attribute of 'Man qua Man' that is divisible from this standard. For clearly the attributes which would have belonged to 'Man' even if Man were somehow not indivisible can belong to man irrespectively* of his humanity or indivisibility."

From the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy", comes this:
"7.4 X Qua (hêi) YThe word Aristotle uses is commonly translated with the English word ‘qua’ which itself translates the Latin relative pronoun ‘qua’, but with one important grammatical difference. The English adverb is normally followed by a noun phrase.As a relative adverbial pronoun in the dative case, the Greek word captures all possible meanings of the dative, including, ‘where’, ‘in the manner that’, ‘by-means-of-the-fact-that’, or ‘in-the-respect-that’. Some have suggested translating it with the word ‘because’, although it is arguable that the English word at best intersects with the appropriate Greek meaning (perhaps ‘just or precisely because’ works better. Hence, ‘X qua Y’ should be understood as elliptic for:‘X in the respect that X is Y’or‘X by means of the fact that X is Y’ (or ‘X precisely because X is Y’)."

What this means in its simplist form is that "qua" means "something" which we will call X, that is defined as "that which (Y) takes into account all things that describe the essence of this particular 'something' X."

The "essence" (Y) of Man (X) has been classically accepted as "the rational animal." In the taxonomy of science, i.e., the comparitive analysis of one genus or species to another, many similarities are found, as are many differences. Our closest genetic cousin is the Chimpanzee, but politics and economics for "qua Chimp", where they are said to exist at all, are vastly different from those of Man.

The "rational animal" as the definition (Y) hereafter called "qua Man" fits no other species, let alone any other genus, in the most up-to-date physiological, psychological, and neurobiological analyses.

It may be said, therefor, that as Man comes in only one form but in many shapes, so his metaphysics and his politics and economics may come in many shapes but only in one form, and that is the form that conforms to qua Man's nature as the "rational animal."

In modern philosophy, the standard of "qua Man" was raised by Ayn Rand. For a distinctively simple and unique way of understanding "qua Man" from the Objectivist point of view click here .

* " is quite possible for us to know the essence of a certain thing without knowing whether it exists or not..." Buridan.doc+qua+man+Aquinas&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

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