These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
metaphysics : a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being — Webster See also Dictionary of Philosophical Terms & Names (Philosophy Pages), Oxford, OneLook, Free Dictionary, Wiktionary, InfoPlease, Word Reference, Urban Dictionary
Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:
Ultimately, what is there?
What is it like?
A person who studies metaphysics is called a metaphysician. The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to each other. Another central branch of metaphysics is cosmology, the study of the origin, fundamental structure, nature, and dynamics of the universe. Some include epistemology as another central focus of metaphysics, but others question this.
Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. Originally, the term “science” (Latin scientia) simply meant “knowledge”. The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy. By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called “science” to distinguish it from philosophy. Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence. Some philosophers of science, such as the neo-positivists, say that natural science rejects the study of metaphysics, while other philosophers of science strongly disagree. — Wikipedia (Categories, Index of Articles)
See also Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Encyclopædia Britannica, David Darling’s Encyclopedia of History, David Darling’s Internet Encyclopedia of Science, Columbia (Infoplease)
Akrasia and Courage in the Protagoras
by Howard J. Curzer on December 13, 2017 at 8:24 am
Akratic agents know what is best, can do it, do not do it, and rationalize. According to Socrates, seemingly akratic agents are confused, ignorant of what is best. According to the Many, they are overcome, unable to do what is best. Unlike Socrates and the Many, Plato rejects hedonism and psychological egoism, but not the existence of akratic acts in the Socratic reductio (351b–358c). Counterexamples to both Socrates’ mismeasure account and the Many’s overpowering account […]
Heidegger’s Interpretation of Poetry and the...
by Louis Dupré on December 13, 2017 at 8:24 am
Heidegger’s commentaries on Hölderlin’s poetry constitute an essential part of his philosophical heritage. They played a decisive role in the move from a self-enclosed theory of Being to a transcendent openness. Nietzsche confirmed Heidegger’s aversion of the philosophical subjectivism that had come to paralyze all of Western philosophy and, related with it, threatened Western culture with collapse. The time before and during World War I confirmed both the consequences of […]
Whitehead and Russell on the Analysis of Matter
by Leemon B. McHenry on December 13, 2017 at 8:24 am
While Whitehead and Russell’s collaboration on the foundations of mathematics ended with the publication of Principia Mathematica, both philosophers separately developed a philosophy of physics in the 1920s that was based on the revolutionary advances in modern physics. This essay explores the affinities and contrasts in Whitehead and Russell’s event ontology as a metaphysical foundation of physics and demonstrates the influence of Whitehead’s method of extensive abstraction […]
Kant’s Theory of Motivation - A Hybrid Approach
by Benjamin S. Yost on December 13, 2017 at 8:24 am
To vindicate morality against skeptical doubts, Kant must show that agents can be moved to act independently of their sensible desires. Kant must therefore answer a motivational question: how does an agent get from the cognition that she ought to act morally to acting morally? Affectivist interpretations of Kant hold that agents are moved to act by feelings, while intellectualists appeal to cognition alone. To overcome the significant shortcomings of each view, the author develops a hybrid […]
A Defense of Metaphysical Necessity
by Franklin I. Gamwell on December 13, 2017 at 8:24 am
Against the widely affirmed dictum, “all existential statements (that is, statements of the form “something that is x exists”) can be denied without self-contradiction,” this essay argues for some existential statements being necessarily true semantically and thus for transcendental metaphysics in the strict sense. Having briefly reviewed how Ronald Dworkin, Karl-Otto Apel, and Thomas Nagel each affirm the dictum in question and, thereby, imply the possible truth of the […]