Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Metaphysics Redux

So naturally there has been a response to our metaphysics brief that we've been spreading about the league. This comes from the authors of the Red Book, whom we highly respect, but I think at the end of the day it's pretty clear that the metaphysical interpretation simply provides no clash and doesn't allow for a correct debate. The brief is posited in response to ours, with the bold being ours and the italics, theirs. If you really read it the response is a bit shallow in depth, inaccurate at times, incomplete and non-responsive. If anyone wants a fuller response to this, please email at:

It allows for no clash. While there is a metaphysical definition of idealism, as my opponent defined it, it does not and cannot clash with pragmatism. Why? Because pragmatism deals with different philosophical subjects, specifically ethics. Pragmatism, according to Dr. Victor Fontaine, Professor of Philosophy, argued that pragmatism is about ethics or epistemology, the study of knowledge, not metaphysics which is the study of reality. Pragmatism, dealing with that is or is not ethical, does not clash with metaphysical idealism, dealing with what is or what is not real.

Pragmatism can't just start with un-stated under-the-table presuppositions and then assert that there is no clash because we can't look under the table.Well, that's the same thing as saying that ideas don't exist.It's a metaphysical assertion.

It does not allow for a value debate.

In debate, there are 3 kinds of resolutions. Policy resolutions, in which there is a debate about whether or not to take an action. There are fact resolutions, where one debates about the truth or falsity of a question. And then there are value resolutions, where one debates about the value or worth of something. When my opponent tries to narrow the debate down to metaphysics, the study of reality, and argues that idealism is the right way to look at reality, this is turning it from a debate of value, into a debate of fact. Even if my opponent proves that his version of reality, idealism, is correct, it does not prove if it is more valuable than pragmatism. The way my opponent defines it, we cannot have a debate about worth or value, which is what we are supposed to have.

Why is it not valuable to know what is real? How can we go anywhere else if we don't know that first? And it's true that neither idealism nor pragmatismhave any inherent guide for measuring their relative worth. The debaters must do that in each debateso why isn't an accurate perception of realitya good measuring stick? It would be the negative's burden to prove that his criterion - whatever that may be is better than metaphysics for weighing the two if he wants to posit ethics as his measuring rod he has a slippery slope to defend because as before, pragmatism doesn't have a moral imperative inherent in itnor does it have a stable point from which to evaluate right or wrong.

Metaphysical idealism is not valuable.

I would argue that the idea that reality is based upon or evolved by the mind is morally reprehensible. This leads to the idea of moral relativism, the belief that one’s individual perceptions determine moral reality, which leads to excusing of any and all crimes against humanity, as long as it was justified in that individual’s or group of individual’s perception of reality.

The key to this one is that even if metaphysical idealism is a mental construct. So is everything pragmatic we can't get outside our own heads especially from a pragmatic point of view, who evaluates consequences? Your mind. Who evaluates outcomes? Your mind.

Ethics is more valuable than metaphysics.

I would argue that a debate about the ethics, as my case lines out, is most valuable because it allows us to apply the lessons in our everyday life, indeed as soon as we leave this debate round, we are capable of taking it’s lessons to heart and practicing them as we go about our day. Even if a debate about metaphysics provided clash, was valuable or even about values, it would not allow us to apply it’s lessons to our lives and therefore is not as valuable as the debate that I laid out in my case, a debate about ethical idealism v. ethical pragmatism.

This is a bare assertion what in metaphysical idealism doesn't allow application to the "real" world? If we allow that reality exists objectively, then understanding, acknowledging and cooperating with it is vital to ethics [and] to applications of every kind.

Metaphysical idealism is wrong.

Not only does it provide no clash, has no place in this resolution, is morally bankrupt and isn’t valuable, but idealism, on a metaphysical scale, is simply wrong. Reality is not based upon the mind in any way shape or form. Our minds can perceive reality, but these perceptions, in themselves, do not compose reality. If no one existed and no mind was here to perceive reality, still reality would continue to exist. Philosophers G.E Moore, in his Refutation of Idealism, and David Stowe explain how reality exists completely outside of our ability to perceive. We may perceive something inaccurately, for instance someone in a hypnotic state perceives he is flying. But that is not reality. Clearly the mind is not the ultimate basis of reality. This is not only morally bankrupt, but simply not true.

I'd point that out as an attempt to cloud the issue with emotive language. And if you aren't arguing from a mental construct point of view don't let this stick. It's completely beside the point. A classical idealist posits that reality DOES exist objectively and that the only way to connect properly with it is through ideas. Ideals because pragmatic reality is distorted by mind and matter [sic].

If anyone wants a fuller response to this, please email at:

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