The claims of a positivist: The reality of a painting on the wall

The revelation that I am a positivist, inadvertently made by me, is indeed profound. I was always of the ‘impression’ that what ever I wrote, whatever I discovered for myself, sprouted from the metaphysical speculation I often sink deep into. Metaphysics, with all its abstractions and interpretative variety, has been alluring me; every so often, when I sit down to think before a session of good and wholesome writing, it dangles a carrot in front of my eyes, and it promises me a wonderland. I am smitten, although it seems at first. To me, positivism is not a belief but an approach towards an idea that I would like to assume in order to understand it better. However, the idea I am approaching comes to light only through the magic of metaphysics. It is like my world is, in essence, defined by the fundamental conceptualizations of objecthood, reality, possibility, causality, etc.; but once I have understood the purpose behind their respective existences and the utilitarian impact they have in the physical world, I need quantification to be able to repeatedly recognize them. Let me take up an elucidatory scenario.

You are in a closed room, and on one of the walls, there hangs a painting. You are in the room, at the center, and looking at it. After some time, you turn around and look at the opposite wall. Now, can you tell me whether the painting behind you exists?

The painting on the wall
The painting on the wall

Of course, you will, at first, tell me that the painting indeed does for you just happened to see it hanging there. Yes or no? If yes, then the reality of the painting (an inanimate object devoid of senses) has been designated as true by your sight. Therefore, the painting existed because you saw it (thereby also verifying its objecthood). If you hadn’t seen the painting at all, would it have existed?

Again, your answer to this question can be yes or a no, but a more probable answer would be that “it is possible”. So there, we have another one of the metaphysical concepts: that of a possibility. Now, possibility can be understood easily: it is the chance a particular event has of occurring (or not occurring). We say it is a chance because we are not, in our conscious knowledge, endowed with the information necessary to arrive at a certain conclusion. Although whether this information will become known at all is subject to contention, the situation necessitating the understanding of the relationship between ourselves and the event occurring in the future exists nevertheless. And thus, it is a possibility.

Here, I have established for myself that there does exist objecthood, the kind recognizable only through the meaningful interpretation of the object. However, it is that employment of a codified and unified method (for ex. science) that helps me in objectively identifying the nature of their manifestation.

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