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), OneLook, Free Dictionary, Wiktionary,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)
The Ontological Status of the Affects in...
by Avraham Rot on June 16, 2018 at 5:04 am
The article examines the relation between two kinds of ontological relations that hold together the building blocks of Spinoza’s metaphysics: “being in” and “affection of.” It argues that in order to speak of existence in a single sense, Spinoza equivocates on the notion of affection. On the one hand, substance is in itself in the same sense that every other existing thing is in substance. On the other hand, (1) substance is not the affections of itself, (2) […]
Causation as the Self-Determination of a Singular...
by Nathaniel Barrett;Javier Sánchez-Cañizares on June 16, 2018 at 5:04 am
The philosopher Roberto Unger and the physicist Lee Smolin have recently argued that the current explanatory framework of cosmology, which presumes a timeless background of unchanging physical laws, should be replaced by a thoroughly relational framework in which time is fundamental and all laws are subject to change. Within this alternative framework, however, Unger and Smolin find themselves confronted by a dilemma: either the laws of nature evolve according to some higher set of […]
“Rational Animal” in Heidegger and Aquinas
by Chad Engelland on June 16, 2018 at 5:04 am
Martin Heidegger rejects the traditional definition of the human being as the “rational animal” in part because he thinks it fits us into a genus that obscures our difference in kind. Thomas Aquinas shares with Heidegger the concern about the human difference, and yet he appropriates the definition “rational animal” by conceiving animality in terms of the specifically human power of understanding being. Humans are not just distinct in their openness to being, but, thanks […]
Is Berkeley’s God Omnipotent?
by Daniel E. Flage on June 16, 2018 at 5:04 am
In both the Principles of Human Knowledge and the Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, George Berkeley provides a description of God’s attributes immediately after his arguments for God’s existence. Neither description deems God omnipotent, yet shortly after each he freely uses “omnipotent” and its synonyms to describe God. Why is this? The author argues that his reluctance to ascribe omnipotence is God is the reluctance of a careful philosopher, his willingness […]
Aristotle in the Ethics Wars
by Sylvia Berryman on June 16, 2018 at 5:04 am
In the latter half of the twentieth century, some prominent ethicists turned to the history of philosophy to challenge the prevailing trend toward subjectivism or noncognitivism. G. E. M. Anscombe offered the first of several historical narratives challenging the world picture that undergirded this prevalence, narratives in which Aristotelian ethics is presented as a possible alternative. It is striking, however, how differently these narratives characterize the ancient–modern divide and […]