What is metaphysics?     

Metaphysics is a subject of philosophy that is higher than physics and difficult to understand. It could be seen as a subject of science because I put things like Wi-Fi under this subject.

According to my own understanding in simple words

The study of thing or properties that we cannot experience in the physical form. We can not see or touch.

Credits: Google search Engine, Wikipedia and web links posted herewith

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality; the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, cause and effect, necessity and possibility. Metaphysics is considered one of the four main branches of philosophy, along with epistemology, logic, and ethics.

Metaphysical – Longer definition: Metaphysics is a type of philosophy or study that uses broad concepts to help define reality and our understanding of it. Metaphysical studies generally seek to explain inherent or universal elements of reality which are not easily discovered or experienced in our everyday life.

The three core branches of metaphysics are ontology, natural theology, and universal science

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Free Will and Determinism

Free will is the idea that humans have the power to choose freely without influence from forces outside ourselves (Honderich 2005, 313-5.) Determinism is the opposite idea that our choices are determined by cause-and-effect factors beyond our control (Ibid.) Do we control our fate? Are the choices we think we make the result of chemical processes in our brains?

Some philosophers have argued that free will exists only if an individual has the power to choose otherwise or if the power to not act is present. Others argue that such conditions do not matter so much as the source of the choice (O’Conner 2018.)

Ontology and Being

Ontology is a branch of metaphysics that studies ‘being in general’ (Honderich, 670.) What are the qualities of existence? How can imagined objects like unicorns exist?

Ancient philosophers sorted all beings into universals or particulars. Universals sort into properties of things and relations between things. Particulars sort into Events or Objects, which themselves are Abstract or Concrete. (Papineau 2009, 12.)

Identity and Change

How are two things the same? Can they be the same in different ways? Some think identity is a relationship that a particular thing has to itself but to nothing else. (Loux & Zimmerman 2003, 99)

Plato’s Theory of Forms states ”a type exists independently of whether or not there are things of that type.” (Honderich 2005, 721.) Plato believed the ultimate essence of all things exists as ideal forms. For example, the ideal form of a dog exists abstractly beyond the physical world to which individual dogs here on Earth resemble.

Mind and Matter   

What is a human being? What is the nature of our minds? Monism declares everything we perceive and experience a manifestation of one substance (Mautner 2005, 399.) Dualism suggests two kinds of reality, such as finite and infinite, matter and spirit (Ibid, 170.)

Are we beings that gain and lose parts over time? Roderick Chisholm thought the idea ludicrous, arguing that even though the makeup of an individual’s physical body may change—a damaged liver through drinking, say—the essential nature of that individual does not change. (Lox & Zimmerman 2003, 134-5.)

Necessity and Possibility

Is anything possible? Must humans follow natural laws to live? The Queen of England cannot bend her arm backward beyond her elbow. Yet, with her vast resources, she can do things in the world others cannot.

Metaphysical concepts of necessity and possibility overlap with those of causation, freedom, and determinism. Determinism, in this sense, means all events are predetermined by causes already present in the world, and therefore, the future is not contingent on actions taken in the present (Mautner 2005, 155-6.)

Religion and Spirituality

The philosophy of religion examines monotheisms claims (Honderich 2005, 802-5.) If God is omnipotent, then why is evil allowed in the world? How can miracles happen?

Some philosophers have argued that believe in God is similar to belief that one ate breakfast this morning. One does not need to prove these facts becasue we know they are true.

History and Schools of Metaphysics

The history of metaphysics is traced through various schools of thought within the larger currents of philosophy.

Pre-Socratic Philosophers: Early efforts mixed the physical and nonphysical worlds. Thales thought everything seen is made up of water. Parmenides thought change an illusion (Honderich 590-3.)

Socratic/Platonic School: Plato revolutionized the philosophy of his mentor, Socrates, with his Theory of Forms, which helped clarify metaphysical thought (ibid.)

Aristotelian School: Aristotle’s efforts gave rise to the name itself and delineated the metaphysical from the physical (ibid.)

Post-Aristotelian School: Epicurus viewed all matter made up of atoms moving in space, which led to the separation of science and philosophy (ibid.)

The Stoics: Arguing against Epicurus’ atoms, Stoics thought matter formed a continuum along rational principles derived from the spirit (ibid.)

Neoplatonism: Plotinus argued that Plato’s Forms exist under a single unitary principle called The One (ibid.)

Realists, Nominalists & Conceptualists: These different schools believed universal concepts existed respectively only in nature, in words, or in thought. Others attempted to prove the existence of God and outline the qualities of the soul (ibid.)

Renaissance Metaphysics: Descartes put forth the dualistic thesis that mind and body are separate substances, setting off debates about mind and body (ibid.)

Kant’s Metaphysics: Kant synthesized competing ideas of mind and body, substance and reality in his book Critique of Pure Reason. He cautions on limits to reason and posits a transcendental metaphysics where space and time are forms of experience rather than substances. Certain realms of reality are unknowable to human reason, according to Kant. Those seeking unknowable realities lead themselves into contradiction and confusion (ibid.)

Published by Amrik Khabra

Amrik Khabra representative for Khabra Electric Ltd.

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