Do you think that the following argument is a good one : X says that a certain metaphysical view is correct. X says that if this view M is correct, it should produce certain effects in the psychology of people that realize it. (Make them super-smart, or super-kind for example). It is observed that X has this type of psychology. Thus the metaphysical view M is true.

I am part of a minority of philosophers who believe that some variant on the argument you proposed can be incorporated into a strong inductive argument –in fact I’m currently at work on just such a project, named “Pragmatic Metaphysics”. However, the argument as so stated is an example of the formal fallacy “affirming the consequent”.

P1. If Metaphysical Claim then I am Super Kind
P2. I am Super Kind
C. Therefore Metaphysical Claim

One problem is that you haven’t explained why we believe P1 is true, But this argument fails even if P1 is true because we have never established “If Super Kind then Metaphysical Claim”, and the relationship is not reversible.

The danger with affirming the consequent is this: If you start with a true and known statement “B”, such as “2 + 2 = 4”, then every conditional of the form “If A then B” will automatically be true, regardless of the nature of “A”. Thus, “If it is sunny tomorrow, then 2 + 2 will equal 4.” “If it is not sunny tomorrow, then 2 + 2 will equal 4.” “If the Yankees win the World Series then 2 + 2 will equal 4.” “If the devil beats his wife, then 2 + 2 will equal 4.”

Because of this, the type of argument you outlined can never be formally sound. However, it is possible to make a similar strong inductive argument, given the following conditions:

  • “A” (i.e. Metaphysical Claim) must be a reasonable explanation for many observable things, not just “B” (Super Kind). So “If A then B, C, D, E, & F”, where B through F are all true.
  • “A” must not have further implications that are false. So it must not be the case that “If A then G” where G is false.
  • “A” must have predictive value. So “If A then H tomorrow,” where the prediction comes before H is observed, but where H confirms the prediction.
  • “A” must not have stronger rivals. There must not be an A´ or an A´´ that explains the same data in a simpler and better fashion.

Even given all this, we do not prove “A,” we can only say that there is reason to believe A, or that A offers good explanatory value. For instance, if we say it is a natural law all planets move in ellipses, there is as sense in which this is a metaphysical claim (since we can observe the planets but not the law in itself). We accept it as true because it has many true implications, no important false implications, excellent predictive value, and no stronger rivals.

What makes a question Philosophical in nature?

The word “Philosophy” literally means love of wisdom, so one answer might be questions asked strictly out of the love of wisdom or knowledge –questions whose primary purpose is not one of practical utility. I don’t favor this definition, however, because I believe philosophical questions have a lot of utility, although not always in an obvious manner.

Another definition is hinted at by Socrates, in Plato’s Phaedo, when he says that he studied science in his youth but found it inadequate because it only answered “how” questions and not “why” questions. Taking this as our guide, we might say that philosophical questions are those more concerned with “why” than with “how”.

How can primary and secondary reflection, allow us to experience the world profoundly, and proffer a genuine sense of freedom?

“Primary” and “Secondary Reflection” are concepts from the work of Christian Existentialist Gabriel Marcel. To provide a rough and inaccurate summary, primary reflection is the initial attempt to mentally apprehend an external reality as something foreign and separate, whereas secondary reflection is considers the subject as part of the larger whole within which the observer and the observed are neither separate nor separable.

From an existential point of view, when we view the world as made up of external objects distanced from ourselves, we lose awareness of our ability to influence the reality seemingly composed by such objects. It is only when we understand the extent to which personal identity extends outwards into the world that we embrace our freedom to shape the reality in which we live.

To my regret and shame, I must admit that I am no scholar of Marcel’s work –an unforgivable omission for a Christian Existentialist such as myself –so much of what I have said may be untrue to his original vision. If this is a topic that interests you, I recommend you consult his works, of which The Mystery of Being is one of the most famous.

what is kants compromise?

“Kant’s Compromise” is a name for the fact that the philosopher Immanuel Kant is generally viewed as creating a middle ground between the warring philosophical outlooks of (Continental) Rationalism, as epitomized by French philosopher René Descartes, and (British) Empiricism, as epitomized by Scottish philosopher David Hume. The former emphasized the mind, and the use of reason and other mental faculties as the primary way of relating to the world. The latter focused instead on sensory experience and direct evidence. Kant’s Compromise, stated roughly, is that both (sensory evidence and reason/judgment) are necessary.