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  1. Other branches of philosophy deal with this or that aspect of reality — with justice and well-being, for example, or with feeling and thought. Metaphysics, on the other hand, deals with the most general traits of real­ ity — with value, say, or mind. The concepts of metaphysics are also distinguished by their transpar­

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  2. Metaphysics is the oldest branch of philosophy, already underway in the speculations of ancient Greek-speaking thinkers, including Thales, Heraclitus, and Parmenides, in Greece, Turkey, and southern Italy in the 600s and 500s bc. Metaphysics continued to be central to the work of Plato and Aristotle,

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    • The Word ‘Metaphysics’ and The Concept of Metaphysics
    • The Problems of Metaphysics: The “Old” Metaphysics
    • The Problems of Metaphysics: The “New” Metaphysics
    • The Methodology of Metaphysics
    • Is Metaphysics Possible?

    The word ‘metaphysics’ is notoriously hard to define.Twentieth-century coinages like ‘meta-language’ and‘metaphilosophy’ encourage the impression that metaphysicsis a study that somehow “goes beyond” physics, a studydevoted to matters that transcend the mundane concerns of Newton andEinstein and Heisenberg. This impression is mistaken. The word‘met...

    2.1 Being As Such, First Causes, Unchanging Things

    If metaphysics now considers a wider range of problems than thosestudied in Aristotle's Metaphysics, those original problemscontinue to belong to its subject-matter. For instance, the topic of“being as such” (and “existence as such”, if existence issomething other than being) is one of the matters that belong tometaphysics on any conception of metaphysics. The following theses areall paradigmatically metaphysical: 1. “Being is; not-being is not” [Parmenides]; 2. “Essence precedes existence” [...

    2.2 Categories of Being and Universals

    We human beings sort things into various classes. And we oftensuppose that the classes into which we sort things enjoy a kind ofinternal unity. In this respect they differ from sets inthe strict sense of the word. (And no doubt in others. It would seem,for example, that we think of the classes we sort thingsinto—biological species, say—as comprising differentmembers at different times.) The classes into which we sort things arein most cases “natural” classes, classes whose membershipis in som...

    2.3 Substance

    Some things (if they exist at all) are present only“in” other things: a smile, a haircut (product, notprocess), a hole …. Such things may be opposed to things thatexist “in their own right”. Metaphysicians call the thingsthat exist in their own right ‘substances’. Aristotlecalled them ‘protai ousiai’ or “primarybeings”. They make up the most important of his ontologicalcategories. Several features define protai ousiai: they aresubjects of predication that cannot themselves be predicated of th...

    3.1 Modality

    Philosophers have long recognized that there is an importantdistinction within the class of true propositions: the distinctionbetween those propositions that might have been false and those thatcould not have been false (those that must be true). Compare, forexample, the proposition that Paris is the capital of France and theproposition that there is a prime between every number greater than 1and its double. Both are true, but the former could have been falseand the latter could not have been...

    3.2 Space and Time

    Long before the theory of relativity represented space andtime as aspects of or abstractions from a single entity, spacetime,philosophers saw space and time as intimately related. (A glancethrough any dictionary of quotations suggests that the philosophicalpairing of space and time reflects a natural, pre-philosophicaltendency: “Had we but world enough, and time …”;“Dwellers all in time and space”.) Kant, for example,treated space and time in his Transcendental Aestheticasthings that should b...

    3.3 Persistence and Constitution

    Related to questions about the nature of space and time arequestions about the nature of objects that take up space or persistthrough time, and these questions form yet another central theme inpost-medieval metaphysics. Are some or all objects composed of properparts? Must an object have proper parts in order to “fillup” a region of space—or are there extended simples? Canmore that one object be located in exactly the same region? Do objectspersist through change by having temporal parts? Muc...

    As is obvious from the discussionin Section 3, the scope of metaphysics hasexpanded beyond the tidy boundaries Aristotle drew. So how should weanswer our original question? Is contemporary metaphysics just acompendium of philosophical problems that cannot be assigned toepistemology or logic or ethics or aesthetics or to any of the partsof philosoph...

    It may also be that there is no internal unity to metaphysics.More strongly, perhaps there is no such thing as metaphysics—orat least nothing that deserves to be called a science or a study or adiscipline. Perhaps, as some philosophers have proposed, nometaphysical statement or theory is either true or false. Or perhaps,as others have proposed, met...

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  4. Mar 8, 2023 · metaphysics, branch of philosophy whose topics in antiquity and the Middle Ages were the first causes of things and the nature of being. In postmedieval philosophy, however, many other topics came to be included under the heading “metaphysics.” (The reasons for this development will be discussed in the body of the article.)

  5. METAPHYSICS – AN OVERVIEW Basic Concepts, Methods, Issues, Questions, and Arguments Topic I. What Is Metaphysics? A Definition of Metaphysics: Metaphysics is the philosophical investigation of the ultimate nature of reality. Some Basic Types of Questions in Metaphysics: (1) Questions concerning

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  6. metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Metaphysics Metaphysical issues are concerned with the nature of reality. Traditional metaphysical issues include the existence of God and the nature of human free will (assuming we have any). Here are a few metaphysical questions of interest to contemporary philosophers: What is a thing? How are

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