Linguistic Analysis and MetaphysicsThe motto of the information philosopher is "beyond logic and language." Specifically, we must show that logical positivism and logical empiricism, whose attack on metaphysics began as early as Auguste Compte in the early nineteenth century, have done nothing to solve any of the deep problems about the fundamental nature of reality. The central figure in the transition from logical empiricism to linguistic analysis was Ludwig Wittgenstein. His Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was both the height of logical positivism - the idea that all knowledge, including all science, can be represented in logically true statements or propositions - and the first hint of its failure, with its dark comments about how little can be said.
4.11 The totality of true propositions is the total natural science (or the totality of the natural sciences). 6.52 We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all.Modern anglo-american metaphysicians think problems in metaphysics can still be treated as problems in language, potentially solved by conceptual analysis. They are still analytical language philosophers, despite a general failure of words to describe objects in any deeply meaningful way. Language is too flexible, too ambiguous and full of metaphor, to be a diagnostic tool for metaphysics. We must go beyond language games and logical puzzles to the underlying information contained in a concept, and in the material things that embody the concept. And it is now transparently obvious that the description of objects, aside from the scientific discovery of the natural laws governing their behavior, is best done with information, with computer simulations of material object, both inanimate and living. Although many metaphysicians claim to be exploring the fundamental structure of reality, the overwhelming fraction of their writings is about problems in analytic linguistic philosophy, that is to say problems with words. Many questions appear to be verbal quibbles. Others lack meaning or have no obvious truth value, dissolving into paradoxes. Based on current practice, we can sharpen the definition of a metaphysician to be an analytic language philosopher who discusses metaphysical problems. By contrast, a metaphysicist is an information philosopher who is familiar with modern physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as the interpretation of quantum physics. The fundamental structure of reality today must confront the mysteries and puzzles of quantum reality. For example, the wave function of a quantum particle is pure information. Some interpretations of quantum mechanics are fundamentally metaphysical, problems for a metaphysicist. Metaphysicians today still analyze the logic and language in the same puzzles and paradoxes that have been used for millennia to wrestle with metaphysical problems. The debates between metaphysicians have changed relatively little in recent centuries despite great advances in human knowledge. Most of these problems are the result of assuming that the contents of the universe are pure material. They depend on the idea that material alone constitutes complete knowledge - the identity - of any physical thing. Analytic language philosophers are largely materialist, even eliminative materialists, denying the existence of mind, for example. They are also mostly determinist, denying the existence of alternative possibilities in our actual universe, while investing a great deal of their energy in the study of inaccessible possible worlds (in each of which there are also no possibilities, only actuality). The new light thrown by information philosophy on many metaphysical problems, puzzles, and paradoxes comes from establishing an immaterial, yet physical, realm of ideas alongside the material realm. No physical object is completely known without understanding its form in terms of quantifiable information. Information philosophy goes beyond logical puzzles and language games. Normal | Teacher | Scholar