Is it possible to make scientific observations through armchair philosophy while bypassing the scientific method? For example, a caveman with a powerful brain might have been able to hypothesize and describe in detail what radio is despite not a single radio message even being sent until tens of thousands of years later. Wasn't that caveman right anyway that radio does exist even though he had no way to prove it? Isn't much of metaphysics like this too?

It is possible to dream up hypotheses in an armchair. But our imagination is limited (especially if we spend too much time in an armchair!) and of course we can't gather evidence for or against a hypothesis without doing some observation or experimentation. We might even dream up a correct hypothesis--but its correctness would be a matter of luck, and we could not know whether or not it was correct. So, the Greek philosopher Democritus, for example, was correct in thinking that there were atoms, but he just got lucky (he had no idea of the size of atoms or the nature of atoms and did not make any telling observations). Those who do metaphysics often claim that they are doing something different from science, such as exploring reason, or analysis of concepts, such that an armchair is the best place to do it. Some philosophers (e.g. W.V. Quine) think that all knowledge needs to be empirically engaged, and they reject metaphysics that is uninformed by observation or experiment.

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