What Metaphysics can be

  • Louis O. Kattsoff


In order that my argument should not go astray it seems to me necessary to ask what ‘metaphysics’ means. To make clear what I shall do in this chapter I want first of all to indicate that this question really is three questions. First it will be necessary to ask what historically the word ‘metaphysics’ has meant. I presume that what the formalists have rejected and what the positivists have exiled to the realm of the cognitively meaningless where de-propositioned emotive spirits come into their own is what they have thought ‘metaphysics’ has historically meant. I do not propose to consider, however, whether these positivists have correctly reported the meaning of the meaningless (for them) word ‘metaphysics’ since that is not my concern here. It is sufficient, I think, to point out that some meaning other than emotive needs to be attributed to metaphysical statements before they can be reduced to (cognitive) meaninglessness. At the very least it must be indicated that the cognitive element thought to be there just isn’t — and this is to be able to say that such-and-such is the purported cognitive element, i.e., the cognitive meaning.


Structural Property Physical Object Ontological Commitment Basic Entity Metaphysical Question 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1956

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis O. Kattsoff
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaUSA

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