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  • A thought

    Empirically speaking you cannot find the causal principles of form and finality within the flow of sense experience. Raw sense data manifests itself as just that, raw sense data--nothing beyond immediate perception can be gleaned if we restrain metaphysical knowledge to sense data, a bundle of sensual isntances

    In order to understand the divide between the scientific image and the AT-metaphysical image, one must posit an intellectual capacity of abstraction that can go beyond mere sense data in order to unfold its metaphysically deeper levels. This capacity is, for a classical metaphysician, a key part of empricial observation--it reveals unity of parts, quiddities, purposes etc. as inherent aspects of reality.

    We have, then, two metaphysical pictures of reality that are both in some sense empiricist. They both believe that knowledge is fueled by experience, that we must regard it as a solely a posteriori enterprise. Hence the famous scholastic axiom: "Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses."

    But the scientific empiricist has restricted his mode of analysis to only material and temporal causation (roughly Aristotle's first two causes). He can analyze the constituent layers of material reality and observe their interactions with each other, but he can't postulate anything beyond that. His method does not permit him to speak of natures, essences, the teleology of the world. His metaphysical taxonomy is restricted. And it's his method which he thinks justifies the non-existence of the deeper metaphysical principles--he makes a metaphysics out of his method.

    No observation of a final cause can be done underneath a microscope lense, the essence of man can't be touched, felt, given a particular spatial extension. What has been bracketted-off from the modern view of reality is now seen as conceptual jumbo, the product of human convention, superstitious, religious adherence.

    The case the AT-metaphysician has to make is that these metaphysical principles that fall under the banner of final and formal causality are not unnecessary and can't be shrugged off as the products of historical fortuity, arbitrary add-ons to the scientific image. The AT-metaphysician has to show that only if we incorporate final and formal causality can we properly assess reality. He may have to show that it is only by accepting these causes that we can even operate as rational agents. Perhaps a classical metaphysics is a necessary prerequisite to any formulation of metaphysics.
    Last edited by RomanJoe; 07-02-2019, 05:59 PM.
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