Monday, June 27, 2005

Meta-

As I'm sure you can tell, I've been more than just a little infatuated with the prefix "meta-" as of late. Metaesthetics, metarational, all of my recent ponderings have been of the metavariety.

The prefix itself is of such a higher level of thinking that it is difficult to conceptualize. Meta means, in essence, a step back; meta is a further level of abstraction above whatever you attach the prefix to. As Ayn Rand says, it is only rational beings that can analyze and abstract from the concrete, so thus only the super rational would be able to conceptualize that which is meta, right?

While I find all things meta to be supremely interesting, it also seems that metaphilosophy (and by this I mean philosophy of the meta variety, not a meta abstraction on philosophy) is simply a way of philosophically splitting hairs, or abstracting things ad absurdum. Why take things beyond the first level of abstraction, as this level is hard enough to deal with?

That being said, I also wonder about a further level of abstraction. Is there such thing as metameta-? Could we do a study of metametaesthetics, for instance? Furthermore, when we do start to study metametaphilosophy, is there any point to it anymore?

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