Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking outside the Batter's Box

By Eric Bronson | Go to book overview

POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
21 Baseball and
Metaphysics

METAPHYSICS is the branch of philosophy that deals with questions about the real world. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on what defines “real.” Hip-hop stars tell us to “keep it real.” MTV has their Real World. Other TV networks have their “reality” shows. Now that the “real” has invaded pop culture, you'd think we'd be closer to understanding what is real and what isn't. For a more comprehensive understanding of reality, though, we need to turn to the metaphysicians.

What is real? Is there reality beyond our senses? In the East, Taoists and Buddhists believe the real world is invisible. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philosophers argue that the real world is with God, an all-knowing, invisible power. In the eighteenth century, empiricists like David Hume argued that our senses discover what is real. later, phenomenologists like Edmund Husserl advised us to return to the things themselves in order to determine what is real.

Baseball players have long had their own opinions about invisible forces and the real world. Remember the 1989 movie Major League, and Dennis Haysbert's performance as the voodoo-worshipping Pedro Cerano on the crackpot Indians? Superstitions are now a part of the game. But are these unseen forces real? That's a question only a metaphysician can answer, and thankfully, we have two. Steven Streeter argues that the mysterious baseball forces are real and can be scientifically

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