Nanotechnology meets Metaphysics

By Tatiana Velitchkov,  © 2007

Metaphysics is a division of philosophy whose aim is to explain the nature of the world.  Basically a study of substance, metaphysics refers to themes that go beyond the physical world.

Metaphysicians interested in getting to the bottom of issues regarding universals or particulars are devoted to analyzing the character of objects and their properties and, more specifically, the underlying mutual relationship between them.

Metaphysics is a philosophy that theorizes on the way the world could have been which is why it is sometimes referred to as the science of illusion. Metaphysical theories, although not written off as meaningless, are however viewed by some as non-verifiable because there is no definite method of attesting as to whether they are true or false.

Although many metaphysicians believe properties are abstract objects whose existences are beyond space and time, some are convinced that particulars are actually comprised of a collection of properties.  Based on this evaluation it is sometimes easy to understand why, historically, metaphysics is often condemned as a futile and excessively vague concept.

Nanotechnology, on the other hand, is a science whose foundation is based on fact. Credited with the scientific application of constructing functional and sometimes powerful devices by manipulating single atoms until they are molecularly sized, nanotechnology has a proven connectivity to advancements in manufacturing, computers and medical technology.

So, how exactly how does one correlate the philosophy of metaphysics with the science of nanotechnology?  Because scientifically nanotechnology is still in its infancy, its awesome potential power is still largely based on conjecture.  Admittedly, the basis for further advancement of this technology is well established in the existence of molecular sized robotics; still, the potential breakthroughs in nanotechnology have yet to be proven as a contributing factor or a detrimental threat to future societies. Rather than focusing on the world as it could have been, proponents of nanotechnology are intent on establishing proof of the way the world will be when this science is perfected.

Metaphysicians have long suffered attacks because others perceive their dogma as having no apparent access to real knowledge; yet nanotechnology, while decidedly advancing in its development is, nevertheless, unable to lay claim to absolute knowledge.

Human perceptions are based on a combination of reality and its interpretation of reality.  As previously established scientific truths and laws disintegrate under newer and more advanced breakthroughs, thought processes become relative to the spectator’s viewpoint.

Science has made so many life-altering advancements in recent times that what was once only possible in the realm of science fiction novels has now become commonplace and accepted as routine.

Yet, despite its ever-increasing excitement at scientific progression (especially in the field of robotics and self-replicating nanobots) mankind in general has trouble comprehending the vast and far-reaching implications of such a rapidly advancing technology.

Although some would like to draw clear lines of distinction between Metaphysics (which is predominantly concerned with recognizing and defining themes that go beyond the physical world) and nanotechnology (whose theories have the potential to encompass the corporeal and psychological sphere of our world as we know it), in actual fact neither, it seems, is very far removed from the other.

© Tatiana Velitchkov   About the Author:   Tatiana is the owner of the Ecophagy site www.ecophagy.com and runs www.Totally-Useless.com among many other sites

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