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For other uses, see Metaphysics (disambiguation). Metaphysics_sentence_0

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. Metaphysics_sentence_1

The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among [the study of] the natural". Metaphysics_sentence_2

It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics (ta meta ta phusika, 'after the Physics ', another of Aristotle's works). Metaphysics_sentence_3

Metaphysics studies questions related to what it is for something to exist and what types of existence there are. Metaphysics_sentence_4

Metaphysics seeks to answer, in an abstract and fully general manner, the questions: Metaphysics_sentence_5


  1. What is there?Metaphysics_item_0_0
  2. What is it like?Metaphysics_item_0_1

Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. Metaphysics_sentence_6

Metaphysics is considered one of the four main branches of philosophy, along with epistemology, logic, and ethics. Metaphysics_sentence_7

Epistemological foundation Metaphysics_section_0

Central questions Metaphysics_section_1

Ontology (being) Metaphysics_section_2

See also: Ontology Metaphysics_sentence_8

Ontology is the philosophical of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Metaphysics_sentence_9

Traditionally listed as the core of metaphysics, ontology often deals with questions concerning what exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences. Metaphysics_sentence_10

Identity and change Metaphysics_section_3

See also: Identity (philosophy) and Philosophy of space and time Metaphysics_sentence_11

Identity is a fundamental metaphysical concern. Metaphysics_sentence_12

Metaphysicians investigating identity are tasked with the question of what, exactly, it means for something to be identical to itself, or – more controversially – to something else. Metaphysics_sentence_13

Issues of identity arise in the context of time: what does it mean for something to be itself across two moments in time? Metaphysics_sentence_14

How do we account for this? Metaphysics_sentence_15

Another question of identity arises when we ask what our criteria ought to be for determining identity, and how the reality of identity interfaces with linguistic expressions. Metaphysics_sentence_16

The metaphysical positions one takes on identity have far-reaching implications on issues such as the Mind–body problem, personal identity, ethics, and law. Metaphysics_sentence_17

A few ancient Greeks took extreme positions on the nature of change. Metaphysics_sentence_18

Parmenides denied change altogether, while Heraclitus argued that change was ubiquitous: "No man ever steps in the same river twice." Metaphysics_sentence_19

Identity, sometimes called numerical identity, is the relation that a thing bears to itself, and which no thing bears to anything other than itself (cf. Metaphysics_sentence_20

sameness). Metaphysics_sentence_21

A modern philosopher who made a lasting impact on the philosophy of identity was Leibniz, whose Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals is still widely accepted today. Metaphysics_sentence_22

It states that if some object x is identical to some object y, then any property that x has, y will have as well. Metaphysics_sentence_23

Put formally, it states Metaphysics_sentence_24

However, it does seem that objects can change over time. Metaphysics_sentence_25

If one were to look at a tree one day, and the tree later lost a leaf, it would seem that one could still be looking at that same tree. Metaphysics_sentence_26

Two rival theories to account for the relationship between change and identity are perdurantism, which treats the tree as a series of tree-stages, and endurantism, which maintains that the organism—the same tree—is present at every stage in its history. Metaphysics_sentence_27

By appealing to intrinsic and extrinsic properties, endurantism finds a way to harmonize identity with change. Metaphysics_sentence_28

Endurantists believe that objects persist by being strictly numerically identical over time. Metaphysics_sentence_29

However, if Leibniz's Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals is utilized to define numerical identity here, it seems that objects must be completely unchanged in order to persist. Metaphysics_sentence_30

Discriminating between intrinsic properties and extrinsic properties, endurantists state that numerical identity means that, if some object x is identical to some object y, then any intrinsic property that x has, y will have as well. Metaphysics_sentence_31

Thus, if an object persists, intrinsic properties of it are unchanged, but extrinsic properties can change over time. Metaphysics_sentence_32

Besides the object itself, environments and other objects can change over time; properties that relate to other objects would change even if this object does not change. Metaphysics_sentence_33

Perdurantism can harmonize identity with change in another way. Metaphysics_sentence_34

In four-dimensionalism, a version of perdurantism, what persists is a four-dimensional object which does not change although three-dimensional slices of the object may differ. Metaphysics_sentence_35

Space and time Metaphysics_section_4

See also: Philosophy of space and time Metaphysics_sentence_36

Objects appear to us in space and time, while abstract entities such as classes, properties, and relations do not. Metaphysics_sentence_37

How do space and time serve this function as a ground for objects? Metaphysics_sentence_38

Are space and time entities themselves, of some form? Metaphysics_sentence_39

Must they exist prior to objects? Metaphysics_sentence_40

How exactly can they be defined? Metaphysics_sentence_41

How is time related to change; must there always be something changing in order for time to exist? Metaphysics_sentence_42

Causality Metaphysics_section_5

See also: Causality Metaphysics_sentence_43

Classical philosophy recognized a number of causes, including teleological future causes. Metaphysics_sentence_44

In special relativity and quantum field theory the notions of space, time and causality become tangled together, with temporal orders of causations becoming dependent on who is observing them. Metaphysics_sentence_45

The laws of physics are symmetrical in time, so could equally well be used to describe time as running backwards. Metaphysics_sentence_46

Why then do we perceive it as flowing in one direction, the arrow of time, and as containing causation flowing in the same direction? Metaphysics_sentence_47

For that matter, can an effect precede its cause? Metaphysics_sentence_48

This was the title of a 1954 paper by Michael Dummett, which sparked a discussion that continues today. Metaphysics_sentence_49

Earlier, in 1947, C. Metaphysics_sentence_50 S. Lewis had argued that one can meaningfully pray concerning the outcome of, e.g., a medical test while recognizing that the outcome is determined by past events: "My free act contributes to the cosmic shape." Metaphysics_sentence_51

Likewise, some interpretations of quantum mechanics, dating to 1945, involve backward-in-time causal influences. Metaphysics_sentence_52

Causality is linked by many philosophers to the concept of counterfactuals. Metaphysics_sentence_53

To say that A caused B means that if A had not happened then B would not have happened. Metaphysics_sentence_54

This view was advanced by David Lewis in his 1973 paper "Causation". Metaphysics_sentence_55

His subsequent papers further develop his theory of causation. Metaphysics_sentence_56

Causality is usually required as a foundation for philosophy of science, if science aims to understand causes and effects and make predictions about them. Metaphysics_sentence_57

Necessity and possibility Metaphysics_section_6

See also: Modal logic and Modal realism Metaphysics_sentence_58

Metaphysicians investigate questions about the ways the world could have been. Metaphysics_sentence_59

David Lewis, in On the Plurality of Worlds, endorsed a view called Concrete Modal realism, according to which facts about how things could have been are made true by other concrete worlds in which things are different. Metaphysics_sentence_60

Other philosophers, including Gottfried Leibniz, have dealt with the idea of possible worlds as well. Metaphysics_sentence_61

A necessary fact is true across all possible worlds. Metaphysics_sentence_62

A possible fact is true in some possible world, even if not in the actual world. Metaphysics_sentence_63

For example, it is possible that cats could have had two tails, or that any particular apple could have not existed. Metaphysics_sentence_64

By contrast, certain propositions seem necessarily true, such as analytic propositions, e.g., "All bachelors are unmarried." Metaphysics_sentence_65

The view that any analytic truth is necessary is not universally held among philosophers. Metaphysics_sentence_66

A less controversial view is that self-identity is necessary, as it seems fundamentally incoherent to claim that any x is not identical to itself; this is known as the law of identity, a putative "first principle". Metaphysics_sentence_67

Similarly, Aristotle describes the principle of non-contradiction: Metaphysics_sentence_68


  • It is impossible that the same quality should both belong and not belong to the same thing ... This is the most certain of all principles ... Wherefore they who demonstrate refer to this as an ultimate opinion. For it is by nature the source of all the other axioms.Metaphysics_item_1_2

Peripheral questions Metaphysics_section_7

What is "central" and "peripheral" to metaphysics has varied over time and schools; however contemporary analytic philosophy as taught in USA and UK universities generally regards the above as "central" and the following as "applications" or "peripheral" topics; or in some cases as distinct subjects which have grown out of and depend upon metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_69

Metaphysical cosmology and cosmogony Metaphysics_section_8

Metaphysical cosmology is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the world as the totality of all phenomena in space and time. Metaphysics_sentence_70

Historically, it formed a major part of the subject alongside Ontology, though its role is more peripheral in contemporary philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_71

It has had a broad scope, and in many cases was founded in religion. Metaphysics_sentence_72

The ancient Greeks drew no distinction between this use and their model for the cosmos. Metaphysics_sentence_73

However, in modern times it addresses questions about the Universe which are beyond the scope of the physical sciences. Metaphysics_sentence_74

It is distinguished from religious cosmology in that it approaches these questions using philosophical methods (e.g. dialectics). Metaphysics_sentence_75

Cosmogony deals specifically with the origin of the universe. Metaphysics_sentence_76

Modern metaphysical cosmology and cosmogony try to address questions such as: Metaphysics_sentence_77


  • What is the origin of the Universe? What is its first cause? Is its existence necessary? (see monism, pantheism, emanationism and creationism)Metaphysics_item_2_3
  • What are the ultimate material components of the Universe? (see mechanism, dynamism, hylomorphism, atomism)Metaphysics_item_2_4
  • What is the ultimate reason for the existence of the Universe? Does the cosmos have a purpose? (see teleology)Metaphysics_item_2_5

Mind and matter Metaphysics_section_9

See also: Philosophy of mind Metaphysics_sentence_78

Accounting for the existence of mind in a world largely composed of matter is a metaphysical problem which is so large and important as to have become a specialized subject of study in its own right, philosophy of mind. Metaphysics_sentence_79

Substance dualism is a classical theory in which mind and body are essentially different, with the mind having some of the attributes traditionally assigned to the soul, and which creates an immediate conceptual puzzle about how the two interact. Metaphysics_sentence_80

This form of substance dualism differs from the dualism of some eastern philosophical traditions (like Nyāya), which also posit a soul; for the soul, under their view, is ontologically distinct from the mind. Metaphysics_sentence_81

Idealism postulates that material objects do not exist unless perceived and only as perceptions. Metaphysics_sentence_82

Adherents of panpsychism, a kind of property dualism, hold that everything has a mental aspect, but not that everything exists in a mind. Metaphysics_sentence_83

Neutral monism postulates that existence consists of a single substance that in itself is neither mental nor physical, but is capable of mental and physical aspects or attributes – thus it implies a dual-aspect theory. Metaphysics_sentence_84

For the last century, the dominant theories have been science-inspired including materialistic monism, type identity theory, token identity theory, functionalism, reductive physicalism, nonreductive physicalism, eliminative materialism, anomalous monism, property dualism, epiphenomenalism and emergence. Metaphysics_sentence_85

Determinism and free will Metaphysics_section_10

See also: Determinism and Free will Metaphysics_sentence_86

Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. Metaphysics_sentence_87

It holds that nothing happens that has not already been determined. Metaphysics_sentence_88

The principal consequence of the deterministic claim is that it poses a challenge to the existence of free will. Metaphysics_sentence_89

The problem of free will is the problem of whether rational agents exercise control over their own actions and decisions. Metaphysics_sentence_90

Addressing this problem requires understanding the relation between freedom and causation, and determining whether the laws of nature are causally deterministic. Metaphysics_sentence_91

Some philosophers, known as incompatibilists, view determinism and free will as mutually exclusive. Metaphysics_sentence_92

If they believe in determinism, they will therefore believe free will to be an illusion, a position known as Hard Determinism. Metaphysics_sentence_93

Proponents range from Baruch Spinoza to Ted Honderich. Metaphysics_sentence_94

Henri Bergson defended free will in his dissertation Time and Free Will from 1889. Metaphysics_sentence_95

Others, labeled compatibilists (or "soft determinists"), believe that the two ideas can be reconciled coherently. Metaphysics_sentence_96

Adherents of this view include Thomas Hobbes and many modern philosophers such as John Martin Fischer, Gary Watson, Harry Frankfurt, and the like. Metaphysics_sentence_97

Incompatibilists who accept free will but reject determinism are called libertarians, a term not to be confused with the political sense. Metaphysics_sentence_98

Robert Kane and Alvin Plantinga are modern defenders of this theory. Metaphysics_sentence_99

Natural and social kinds Metaphysics_section_11

The earliest type of classification of social construction traces back to Plato in his dialogue Phaedrus where he claims that the biological classification system seems to carve nature at the joints. Metaphysics_sentence_100

In contrast, later philosophers such as Michel Foucault and Jorge Luis Borges have challenged the capacity of natural and social classification. Metaphysics_sentence_101

In his essay The Analytical Language of John Wilkins, Borges makes us imagine a certain encyclopedia where the animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the emperor; (b) embalmed ones; (c) those that are trained;... and so forth, in order to bring forward the ambiguity of natural and social kinds. Metaphysics_sentence_102

According to metaphysics author Alyssa Ney: "the reason all this is interesting is that there seems to be a metaphysical difference between the Borgesian system and Plato's". Metaphysics_sentence_103

The difference is not obvious but one classification attempts to carve entities up according to objective distinction while the other does not. Metaphysics_sentence_104

According to Quine this notion is closely related to the notion of similarity. Metaphysics_sentence_105

Number Metaphysics_section_12

Main article: Philosophy of mathematics Metaphysics_sentence_106

There are different ways to set up the notion of number in metaphysics theories. Metaphysics_sentence_107

Platonist theories postulate number as a fundamental category itself. Metaphysics_sentence_108

Others consider it to be a property of an entity called a "group" comprising other entities; or to be a relation held between several groups of entities, such as "the number four is the set of all sets of four things". Metaphysics_sentence_109

Many of the debates around universals are applied to the study of number, and are of particular importance due to its status as a foundation for the philosophy of mathematics and for mathematics itself. Metaphysics_sentence_110

Applied metaphysics Metaphysics_section_13

Although metaphysics as a philosophical enterprise is highly hypothetical, it also has practical application in most other branches of philosophy, science, and now also information technology. Metaphysics_sentence_111

Such areas generally assume some basic ontology (such as a system of objects, properties, classes, and space time) as well as other metaphysical stances on topics such as causality and agency, then build their own particular theories upon these. Metaphysics_sentence_112

In science, for example, some theories are based on the ontological assumption of objects with properties (such as electrons having charge) while others may reject objects completely (such as quantum field theories, where spread-out "electronness" becomes a property of space time rather than an object). Metaphysics_sentence_113

"Social" branches of philosophy such as philosophy of morality, aesthetics and philosophy of religion (which in turn give rise to practical subjects such as ethics, politics, law, and art) all require metaphysical foundations, which may be considered as branches or applications of metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_114

For example, they may postulate the existence of basic entities such as value, beauty, and God. Metaphysics_sentence_115

Then they use these postulates to make their own arguments about consequences resulting from them. Metaphysics_sentence_116

When philosophers in these subjects make their foundations they are doing applied metaphysics, and may draw upon its core topics and methods to guide them, including ontology and other core and peripheral topics. Metaphysics_sentence_117

As in science, the foundations chosen will in turn depend on the underlying ontology used, so philosophers in these subjects may have to dig right down to the ontological layer of metaphysics to find what is possible for their theories. Metaphysics_sentence_118

For example, a contradiction obtained in a theory of God or Beauty might be due to an assumption that it is an object rather than some other kind of ontological entity. Metaphysics_sentence_119

Relationship of metaphysics and science Metaphysics_section_14

Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of natural philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_120

Originally, the term "science" (Latin: scientia) simply meant "knowledge". Metaphysics_sentence_121

The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment, unlike the rest of philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_122

By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called "science" to distinguish it from other branches of philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_123

Science and philosophy have been considered separated disciplines ever since. Metaphysics_sentence_124

Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence. Metaphysics_sentence_125

Metaphysics continues asking "why" where science leaves off. Metaphysics_sentence_126

For example, any theory of fundamental physics is based on some set of axioms, which may postulate the existence of entities such as atoms, particles, forces, charges, mass, or fields. Metaphysics_sentence_127

Stating such postulates is considered to be the "end" of a science theory. Metaphysics_sentence_128

Metaphysics takes these postulates and explores what they mean as human concepts. Metaphysics_sentence_129

For example, do all theories of physics require the existence of space and time, objects, and properties? Metaphysics_sentence_130

Or can they be expressed using only objects, or only properties? Metaphysics_sentence_131

Do the objects have to retain their identity over time or can they change? Metaphysics_sentence_132

If they change, then are they still the same object? Metaphysics_sentence_133

Can theories be reformulated by converting properties or predicates (such as "red") into entities (such as redness or redness fields) or processes ('there is some redding happening over there' appears in some human languages in place of the use of properties). Metaphysics_sentence_134

Is the distinction between objects and properties fundamental to the physical world or to our perception of it? Metaphysics_sentence_135

Much recent work has been devoted to analyzing the role of metaphysics in scientific theorizing. Metaphysics_sentence_136

Alexandre Koyré led this movement, declaring in his book Metaphysics and Measurement, "It is not by following experiment, but by outstripping experiment, that the scientific mind makes progress." Metaphysics_sentence_137

That metaphysical propositions can influence scientific theorizing is John Watkins' most lasting contribution to philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_138

Since 1957 "he showed the ways in which some un-testable and hence, according to Popperian ideas, non-empirical propositions can nevertheless be influential in the development of properly testable and hence scientific theories. Metaphysics_sentence_139

These profound results in applied elementary logic...represented an important corrective to positivist teachings about the meaninglessness of metaphysics and of normative claims". Metaphysics_sentence_140

Imre Lakatos maintained that all scientific theories have a metaphysical "hard core" essential for the generation of hypotheses and theoretical assumptions. Metaphysics_sentence_141

Thus, according to Lakatos, "scientific changes are connected with vast cataclysmic metaphysical revolutions." Metaphysics_sentence_142

An example from biology of Lakatos' thesis: David Hull has argued that changes in the ontological status of the species concept have been central in the development of biological thought from Aristotle through Cuvier, Lamarck, and Darwin. Metaphysics_sentence_143

Darwin's ignorance of metaphysics made it more difficult for him to respond to his critics because he could not readily grasp the ways in which their underlying metaphysical views differed from his own. Metaphysics_sentence_144

In physics, new metaphysical ideas have arisen in connection with quantum mechanics, where subatomic particles arguably do not have the same sort of individuality as the particulars with which philosophy has traditionally been concerned. Metaphysics_sentence_145

Also, adherence to a deterministic metaphysics in the face of the challenge posed by the quantum-mechanical uncertainty principle led physicists such as Albert Einstein to propose alternative theories that retained determinism. Metaphysics_sentence_146

A.N. Metaphysics_sentence_147 Whitehead is famous for creating a process philosophy metaphysics inspired by electromagnetism and special relativity. Metaphysics_sentence_148

In chemistry, Gilbert Newton Lewis addressed the nature of motion, arguing that an electron should not be said to move when it has none of the properties of motion. Metaphysics_sentence_149

Katherine Hawley notes that the metaphysics even of a widely accepted scientific theory may be challenged if it can be argued that the metaphysical presuppositions of the theory make no contribution to its predictive success. Metaphysics_sentence_150

Rejections of metaphysics Metaphysics_section_15

Metametaphysics is the branch of philosophy that is concerned with the foundations of metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_151

A number of individuals have suggested that much or all of metaphysics should be rejected, a metametaphysical position known as metaphysical deflationism or ontological deflationism. Metaphysics_sentence_152

In the 16th century, Francis Bacon rejected scholastic metaphysics, and argued strongly for what is now called empiricism, being seen later as the father of modern empirical science. Metaphysics_sentence_153

In the 18th century, David Hume took a strong position, arguing that all genuine knowledge involves either mathematics or matters of fact and that metaphysics, which goes beyond these, is worthless. Metaphysics_sentence_154

He concludes his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) with the statement: Metaphysics_sentence_155

Thirty-three years after Hume's Enquiry appeared, Immanuel Kant published his Critique of Pure Reason. Metaphysics_sentence_156

Although he followed Hume in rejecting much of previous metaphysics, he argued that there was still room for some synthetic a priori knowledge, concerned with matters of fact yet obtainable independent of experience. Metaphysics_sentence_157

These included fundamental structures of space, time, and causality. Metaphysics_sentence_158

He also argued for the freedom of the will and the existence of "things in themselves", the ultimate (but unknowable) objects of experience. Metaphysics_sentence_159

Wittgenstein introduced the concept that metaphysics could be influenced by theories of aesthetics, via logic, vis. Metaphysics_sentence_160

a world composed of "atomical facts". Metaphysics_sentence_161

In the 1930s, A.J. Metaphysics_sentence_162 Ayer and Rudolf Carnap endorsed Hume's position; Carnap quoted the passage above. Metaphysics_sentence_163

They argued that metaphysical statements are neither true nor false but meaningless since, according to their verifiability theory of meaning, a statement is meaningful only if there can be empirical evidence for or against it. Metaphysics_sentence_164

Thus, while Ayer rejected the monism of Spinoza, he avoided a commitment to pluralism, the contrary position, by holding both views to be without meaning. Metaphysics_sentence_165

Carnap took a similar line with the controversy over the reality of the external world. Metaphysics_sentence_166

While the logical positivism movement is now considered dead (with Ayer, a major proponent, admitting in a 1979 TV interview that "nearly all of it was false"), it has continued to influence philosophy development. Metaphysics_sentence_167

Arguing against such rejections, the Scholastic philosopher Edward Feser held that Hume's critique of metaphysics, and specifically Hume's fork, is "notoriously self-refuting". Metaphysics_sentence_168

Feser argues that Hume's fork itself is not a conceptual truth and is not empirically testable. Metaphysics_sentence_169

Some living philosophers, such as Amie Thomasson, have argued that many metaphysical questions can be dissolved just by looking at the way we use words; others, such as Ted Sider, have argued that metaphysical questions are substantive, and that we can make progress toward answering them by comparing theories according to a range of theoretical virtues inspired by the sciences, such as simplicity and explanatory power. Metaphysics_sentence_170

Etymology Metaphysics_section_16

The word "metaphysics" derives from the Greek words (metá, "after") and (physiká, "physics"). Metaphysics_sentence_171

It was first used as the title for several of Aristotle's works, because they were usually anthologized after the works on physics in complete editions. Metaphysics_sentence_172

The prefix meta- ("after") indicates that these works come "after" the chapters on physics. Metaphysics_sentence_173

However, Aristotle himself did not call the subject of these books metaphysics: he referred to it as "first philosophy" (Greek: πρώτη φιλοσοφία; Latin: philosophia prima). Metaphysics_sentence_174

The editor of Aristotle's works, Andronicus of Rhodes, is thought to have placed the books on first philosophy right after another work, Physics, and called them τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικὰ βιβλία (tà metà tà physikà biblía) or "the books [that come] after the [books on] physics". Metaphysics_sentence_175

However, once the name was given, the commentators sought to find other reasons for its appropriateness. Metaphysics_sentence_176

For instance, Thomas Aquinas understood it to refer to the chronological or pedagogical order among our philosophical studies, so that the "metaphysical sciences" would mean "those that we study after having mastered the sciences that deal with the physical world". Metaphysics_sentence_177

The term was misread by other medieval commentators, who thought it meant "the science of what is beyond the physical". Metaphysics_sentence_178

Following this tradition, the prefix meta- has more recently been prefixed to the names of sciences to designate higher sciences dealing with ulterior and more fundamental problems: hence metamathematics, , etc. Metaphysics_sentence_179

A person who creates or develops metaphysical theories is called a metaphysician. Metaphysics_sentence_180

Common parlance also uses the word "metaphysics" for a different referent from that of the present article, namely for beliefs in arbitrary non-physical or magical entities. Metaphysics_sentence_181

For example, "Metaphysical healing" to refer to healing by means of remedies that are magical rather than scientific. Metaphysics_sentence_182

This usage stemmed from the various historical schools of speculative metaphysics which operated by postulating all manner of physical, mental and spiritual entities as bases for particular metaphysical systems. Metaphysics_sentence_183

Metaphysics as a subject does not preclude beliefs in such magical entities but neither does it promote them. Metaphysics_sentence_184

Rather, it is the subject which provides the vocabulary and logic with which such beliefs might be analyzed and studied, for example to search for inconsistencies both within themselves and with other accepted systems such as Science. Metaphysics_sentence_185

History and schools of metaphysics Metaphysics_section_17

Pre-history Metaphysics_section_18

Cognitive archeology such as analysis of cave paintings and other pre-historic art and customs suggests that a form of perennial philosophy or Shamanic metaphysics may stretch back to the birth of behavioral modernity, all around the world. Metaphysics_sentence_186

Similar beliefs are found in present-day "stone age" cultures such as Australian aboriginals. Metaphysics_sentence_187

Perennial philosophy postulates the existence of a spirit or concept world alongside the day-to-day world, and interactions between these worlds during dreaming and ritual, or on special days or at special places. Metaphysics_sentence_188

It has been argued that perennial philosophy formed the basis for Platonism, with Plato articulating, rather than creating, much older widespread beliefs. Metaphysics_sentence_189

Bronze Age Metaphysics_section_19

Bronze Age cultures such as ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt (along with similarly structured but chronologically later cultures such as Mayans and Aztecs) developed belief systems based on mythology, anthropomorphic gods, mind–body dualism, and a spirit world, to explain causes and cosmology. Metaphysics_sentence_190

These cultures appear to have been interested in astronomy and may have associated or identified the stars with some of these entities. Metaphysics_sentence_191

In ancient Egypt, the ontological distinction between order (maat) and chaos (Isfet) seems to have been important. Metaphysics_sentence_192

Pre-Socratic Greece Metaphysics_section_20

The first named Greek philosopher, according to Aristotle, is Thales of Miletus, early 6th century BCE. Metaphysics_sentence_193

He made use of purely physical explanations to explain the phenomena of the world rather than the mythological and divine explanations of tradition. Metaphysics_sentence_194

He is thought to have posited water as the single underlying principle (or Arche in later Aristotelian terminology) of the material world. Metaphysics_sentence_195

His fellow, but younger Miletians, Anaximander and Anaximenes, also posited monistic underlying principles, namely apeiron (the indefinite or boundless) and air respectively. Metaphysics_sentence_196

Another school was the Eleatics, in southern Italy. Metaphysics_sentence_197

The group was founded in the early fifth century BCE by Parmenides, and included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos. Metaphysics_sentence_198

Methodologically, the Eleatics were broadly rationalist, and took logical standards of clarity and necessity to be the criteria of truth. Metaphysics_sentence_199

Parmenides' chief doctrine was that reality is a single unchanging and universal Being. Metaphysics_sentence_200

Zeno used reductio ad absurdum, to demonstrate the illusory nature of change and time in his paradoxes. Metaphysics_sentence_201

Heraclitus of Ephesus, in contrast, made change central, teaching that "all things flow". Metaphysics_sentence_202

His philosophy, expressed in brief aphorisms, is quite cryptic. Metaphysics_sentence_203

For instance, he also taught the unity of opposites. Metaphysics_sentence_204

Democritus and his teacher Leucippus, are known for formulating an atomic theory for the cosmos. Metaphysics_sentence_205

They are considered forerunners of the scientific method. Metaphysics_sentence_206

Classical China Metaphysics_section_21

Metaphysics in Chinese philosophy can be traced back to the earliest Chinese philosophical concepts from the Zhou Dynasty such as Tian (Heaven) and Yin and Yang. Metaphysics_sentence_207

The fourth century BCE saw a turn towards cosmogony with the rise of Taoism (in the Daodejing and Zhuangzi) and sees the natural world as dynamic and constantly changing processes which spontaneously arise from a single immanent metaphysical source or principle (Tao). Metaphysics_sentence_208

Another philosophical school which arose around this time was the School of Naturalists which saw the ultimate metaphysical principle as the Taiji, the "supreme polarity" composed of the forces of Yin and Yang which were always in a state of change seeking balance. Metaphysics_sentence_209

Another concern of Chinese metaphysics, especially Taoism, is the relationship and nature of Being and non-Being (you 有 and wu 無). Metaphysics_sentence_210

The Taoists held that the ultimate, the Tao, was also non-being or no-presence. Metaphysics_sentence_211

Other important concepts were those of spontaneous generation or natural vitality (Ziran) and "correlative resonance" (Ganying). Metaphysics_sentence_212

After the fall of the Han Dynasty (220 CE), China saw the rise of the Neo-Taoist Xuanxue school. Metaphysics_sentence_213

This school was very influential in developing the concepts of later Chinese metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_214

Buddhist philosophy entered China (c. 1st century) and was influenced by the native Chinese metaphysical concepts to develop new theories. Metaphysics_sentence_215

The native Tiantai and Huayen schools of philosophy maintained and reinterpreted the Indian theories of shunyata (emptiness, kong 空) and Buddha-nature (Fo xing 佛性) into the theory of interpenetration of phenomena. Metaphysics_sentence_216

Neo-Confucians like Zhang Zai under the influence of other schools developed the concepts of "principle" (li) and vital energy (qi). Metaphysics_sentence_217

Classical Greece Metaphysics_section_22

Socrates and Plato Metaphysics_section_23

Socrates is known for his dialectic or questioning approach to philosophy rather than a positive metaphysical doctrine. Metaphysics_sentence_218

His pupil, Plato is famous for his theory of forms (which he places in the mouth of Socrates in his dialogues). Metaphysics_sentence_219

Platonic realism (also considered a form of idealism) is considered to be a solution to the problem of universals; i.e., what particular objects have in common is that they share a specific Form which is universal to all others of their respective kind. Metaphysics_sentence_220

The theory has a number of other aspects: Metaphysics_sentence_221


  • Epistemological: knowledge of the Forms is more certain than mere sensory data.Metaphysics_item_3_6
  • Ethical: The Form of the Good sets an objective standard for morality.Metaphysics_item_3_7
  • Time and Change: The world of the Forms is eternal and unchanging. Time and change belong only to the lower sensory world. "Time is a moving image of Eternity".Metaphysics_item_3_8
  • Abstract objects and mathematics: Numbers, geometrical figures, etc., exist mind-independently in the World of Forms.Metaphysics_item_3_9

Platonism developed into Neoplatonism, a philosophy with a monotheistic and mystical flavour that survived well into the early Christian era. Metaphysics_sentence_222

Aristotle Metaphysics_section_24

Plato's pupil Aristotle wrote widely on almost every subject, including metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_223

His solution to the problem of universals contrasts with Plato's. Metaphysics_sentence_224

Whereas Platonic Forms are existentially apparent in the visible world, Aristotelian essences dwell in particulars. Metaphysics_sentence_225

Potentiality and Actuality are principles of a dichotomy which Aristotle used throughout his philosophical works to analyze motion, causality and other issues. Metaphysics_sentence_226

The Aristotelian theory of change and causality stretches to four causes: the material, formal, efficient and final. Metaphysics_sentence_227

The efficient cause corresponds to what is now known as a cause simplicity. Metaphysics_sentence_228

Final causes are explicitly teleological, a concept now regarded as controversial in science. Metaphysics_sentence_229

The Matter/Form dichotomy was to become highly influential in later philosophy as the substance/essence distinction. Metaphysics_sentence_230

The opening arguments in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Book I, revolve around the senses, knowledge, experience, theory, and wisdom. Metaphysics_sentence_231

The first main focus in the Metaphysics is attempting to determine how intellect "advances from sensation through memory, experience, and art, to theoretical knowledge". Metaphysics_sentence_232

Aristotle claims that eyesight provides us with the capability to recognize and remember experiences, while sound allows us to learn. Metaphysics_sentence_233

Classical India Metaphysics_section_25

More on Indian philosophy: Hindu philosophy Metaphysics_sentence_234

Sāṃkhya Metaphysics_section_26

Sāṃkhya is an ancient system of Indian philosophy based on a dualism involving the ultimate principles of consciousness and matter. Metaphysics_sentence_235

It is described as the rationalist school of Indian philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_236

It is most related to the Yoga school of Hinduism, and its method was most influential on the development of Early Buddhism. Metaphysics_sentence_237

The Sāmkhya is an enumerationist philosophy whose epistemology accepts three of six pramanas (proofs) as the only reliable means of gaining knowledge. Metaphysics_sentence_238

These include pratyakṣa (perception), anumāṇa (inference) and śabda (āptavacana, word/testimony of reliable sources). Metaphysics_sentence_239

Samkhya is strongly dualist. Metaphysics_sentence_240

Sāmkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two realities; puruṣa (consciousness) and prakṛti (matter). Metaphysics_sentence_241

Jiva (a living being) is that state in which puruṣa is bonded to prakṛti in some form. Metaphysics_sentence_242

This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi ("spiritual awareness") and ahaṅkāra (ego consciousness). Metaphysics_sentence_243

The universe is described by this school as one created by purusa-prakṛti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind. Metaphysics_sentence_244

During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. Metaphysics_sentence_245

The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or moksha, by the Samkhya school. Metaphysics_sentence_246

The existence of God or supreme being is not directly asserted, nor considered relevant by the Samkhya philosophers. Metaphysics_sentence_247

Sāṃkhya denies the final cause of Ishvara (God). Metaphysics_sentence_248

While the Samkhya school considers the Vedas as a reliable source of knowledge, it is an atheistic philosophy according to Paul Deussen and other scholars. Metaphysics_sentence_249

A key difference between Samkhya and Yoga schools, state scholars, is that Yoga school accepts a "personal, yet essentially inactive, deity" or "personal god". Metaphysics_sentence_250

Samkhya is known for its theory of guṇas (qualities, innate tendencies). Metaphysics_sentence_251

Guṇa, it states, are of three types: sattva being good, compassionate, illuminating, positive, and constructive; rajas is one of activity, chaotic, passion, impulsive, potentially good or bad; and tamas being the quality of darkness, ignorance, destructive, lethargic, negative. Metaphysics_sentence_252

Everything, all life forms and human beings, state Samkhya scholars, have these three guṇas, but in different proportions. Metaphysics_sentence_253

The interplay of these guṇas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life. Metaphysics_sentence_254

The Samkhya theory of guṇas was widely discussed, developed and refined by various schools of Indian philosophies, including Buddhism. Metaphysics_sentence_255

Samkhya's philosophical treatises also influenced the development of various theories of Hindu ethics. Metaphysics_sentence_256

Vedānta Metaphysics_section_27

Realization of the nature of Self-identity is the principal object of the Vedanta system of Indian metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_257

In the Upanishads, self-consciousness is not the first-person indexical self-awareness or the self-awareness which is self-reference without identification, and also not the self-consciousness which as a kind of desire is satisfied by another self-consciousness. Metaphysics_sentence_258

It is Self-realisation; the realisation of the Self consisting of consciousness that leads all else. Metaphysics_sentence_259

The word Self-consciousness in the Upanishads means the knowledge about the existence and nature of Brahman. Metaphysics_sentence_260

It means the consciousness of our own real being, the primary reality. Metaphysics_sentence_261

Self-consciousness means Self-knowledge, the knowledge of Prajna i.e. of Prana which is Brahman. Metaphysics_sentence_262

According to the Upanishads the Atman or Paramatman is phenomenally unknowable; it is the object of realisation. Metaphysics_sentence_263

The Atman is unknowable in its essential nature; it is unknowable in its essential nature because it is the eternal subject who knows about everything including itself. Metaphysics_sentence_264

The Atman is the knower and also the known. Metaphysics_sentence_265

Metaphysicians regard the Self either to be distinct from the Absolute or entirely identical with the Absolute. Metaphysics_sentence_266

They have given form to three schools of thought – a) the Dualistic school, b) the Quasi-dualistic school and c) the Monistic school, as the result of their varying mystical experiences. Metaphysics_sentence_267

Prakrti and Atman, when treated as two separate and distinct aspects form the basis of the Dualism of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. Metaphysics_sentence_268

Quasi-dualism is reflected in the Vaishnavite-monotheism of Ramanuja and the absolute Monism, in the teachings of Adi Shankara. Metaphysics_sentence_269

Self-consciousness is the Fourth state of consciousness or Turiya, the first three being Vaisvanara, Taijasa and Prajna. Metaphysics_sentence_270

These are the four states of individual consciousness. Metaphysics_sentence_271

There are three distinct stages leading to Self-realisation. Metaphysics_sentence_272

The First stage is in mystically apprehending the glory of the Self within us as though we were distinct from it. Metaphysics_sentence_273

The Second stage is in identifying the "I-within" with the Self, that we are in essential nature entirely identical with the pure Self. Metaphysics_sentence_274

The Third stage is in realising that the Atman is Brahman, that there is no difference between the Self and the Absolute. Metaphysics_sentence_275

The Fourth stage is in realising "I am the Absolute" – Aham Brahman Asmi. Metaphysics_sentence_276

The Fifth stage is in realising that Brahman is the "All" that exists, as also that which does not exist. Metaphysics_sentence_277

Buddhist metaphysics Metaphysics_section_28

In Buddhist philosophy there are various metaphysical traditions that have proposed different questions about the nature of reality based on the teachings of the Buddha in the early Buddhist texts. Metaphysics_sentence_278

The Buddha of the early texts does not focus on metaphysical questions but on ethical and spiritual training and in some cases, he dismisses certain metaphysical questions as unhelpful and indeterminate Avyakta, which he recommends should be set aside. Metaphysics_sentence_279

The development of systematic metaphysics arose after the Buddha's death with the rise of the Abhidharma traditions. Metaphysics_sentence_280

The Buddhist Abhidharma schools developed their analysis of reality based on the concept of dharmas which are the ultimate physical and mental events that make up experience and their relations to each other. Metaphysics_sentence_281

Noa Ronkin has called their approach "phenomenological". Metaphysics_sentence_282

Later philosophical traditions include the Madhyamika school of Nagarjuna, which further developed the theory of the emptiness (shunyata) of all phenomena or dharmas which rejects any kind of substance. Metaphysics_sentence_283

This has been interpreted as a form of anti-foundationalism and anti-realism which sees reality as having no ultimate essence or ground. Metaphysics_sentence_284

The Yogacara school meanwhile promoted a theory called "awareness only" (vijnapti-matra) which has been interpreted as a form of Idealism or Phenomenology and denies the split between awareness itself and the objects of awareness. Metaphysics_sentence_285

Islamic metaphysics Metaphysics_section_29

Major ideas in Sufi metaphysics have surrounded the concept of weḥdah (وحدة) meaning "unity", or in Arabic توحيد tawhid. Metaphysics_sentence_286

waḥdat al-wujūd literally means the "Unity of Existence" or "Unity of Being." Metaphysics_sentence_287

The phrase has been translated "pantheism." Metaphysics_sentence_288

Wujud (i.e. existence or presence) here refers to Allah's wujud (compare tawhid). Metaphysics_sentence_289

On the other hand, waḥdat ash-shuhūd, meaning "Apparentism" or "Monotheism of Witness", holds that God and his creation are entirely separate. Metaphysics_sentence_290

Scholasticism and the Middle Ages Metaphysics_section_30

More on medieval philosophy and metaphysics: Medieval Philosophy Metaphysics_sentence_291

Continental rationalism Metaphysics_section_31

Main article: Rationalism Metaphysics_sentence_292

In the early modern period (17th and 18th centuries), the system-building scope of philosophy is often linked to the rationalist method of philosophy, that is the technique of deducing the nature of the world by pure reason. Metaphysics_sentence_293

The scholastic concepts of substance and accident were employed. Metaphysics_sentence_294


Wolff Metaphysics_section_32

Christian Wolff had theoretical philosophy divided into an ontology or philosophia prima as a general metaphysics, which arises as a preliminary to the distinction of the three "special metaphysics" on the soul, world and God: rational psychology, rational cosmology and rational theology. Metaphysics_sentence_295

The three disciplines are called empirical and rational because they are independent of revelation. Metaphysics_sentence_296

This scheme, which is the counterpart of religious tripartition in creature, creation, and Creator, is best known to philosophical students by Kant's treatment of it in the Critique of Pure Reason. Metaphysics_sentence_297

In the "Preface" of the 2nd edition of Kant's book, Wolff is defined "the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers." Metaphysics_sentence_298

British empiricism Metaphysics_section_33

Main article: Empiricism Metaphysics_sentence_299

British empiricism marked something of a reaction to rationalist and system-building metaphysics, or speculative metaphysics as it was pejoratively termed. Metaphysics_sentence_300

The skeptic David Hume famously declared that most metaphysics should be consigned to the flames (see below). Metaphysics_sentence_301

Hume was notorious among his contemporaries as one of the first philosophers to openly doubt religion, but is better known now for his critique of causality. Metaphysics_sentence_302

John Stuart Mill, Thomas Reid and John Locke were less skeptical, embracing a more cautious style of metaphysics based on realism, common sense and science. Metaphysics_sentence_303

Other philosophers, notably George Berkeley were led from empiricism to idealistic metaphysics. Metaphysics_sentence_304

Kant Metaphysics_section_34

Immanuel Kant attempted a grand synthesis and revision of the trends already mentioned: scholastic philosophy, systematic metaphysics, and skeptical empiricism, not to forget the burgeoning science of his day. Metaphysics_sentence_305

As did the systems builders, he had an overarching framework in which all questions were to be addressed. Metaphysics_sentence_306

Like Hume, who famously woke him from his 'dogmatic slumbers', he was suspicious of metaphysical speculation, and also places much emphasis on the limitations of the human mind. Metaphysics_sentence_307

Kant described his shift in metaphysics away from making claims about an objective noumenal world, towards exploring the subjective phenomenal world, as a Copernican Revolution, by analogy to (though opposite in direction to) Copernicus' shift from man (the subject) to the sun (an object) at the center of the universe. Metaphysics_sentence_308

Kant saw rationalist philosophers as aiming for a kind of metaphysical knowledge he defined as the synthetic apriori—that is knowledge that does not come from the senses (it is a priori) but is nonetheless about reality (synthetic). Metaphysics_sentence_309

Inasmuch as it is about reality, it differs from abstract mathematical propositions (which he terms analytical apriori), and being apriori it is distinct from empirical, scientific knowledge (which he terms synthetic aposteriori). Metaphysics_sentence_310

The only synthetic apriori knowledge we can have is of how our minds organise the data of the senses; that organising framework is space and time, which for Kant have no mind-independent existence, but nonetheless operate uniformly in all humans. Metaphysics_sentence_311

Apriori knowledge of space and time is all that remains of metaphysics as traditionally conceived. Metaphysics_sentence_312

There is a reality beyond sensory data or phenomena, which he calls the realm of noumena; however, we cannot know it as it is in itself, but only as it appears to us. Metaphysics_sentence_313

He allows himself to speculate that the origins of phenomenal God, morality, and free will might exist in the noumenal realm, but these possibilities have to be set against its basic unknowability for humans. Metaphysics_sentence_314

Although he saw himself as having disposed of metaphysics, in a sense, he has generally been regarded in retrospect as having a metaphysics of his own, and as beginning the modern analytical conception of the subject. Metaphysics_sentence_315

Late modern philosophy Metaphysics_section_35

Main article: Late modern philosophy Metaphysics_sentence_316

Nineteenth century philosophy was overwhelmingly influenced by Kant and his successors. Metaphysics_sentence_317

Schopenhauer, Schelling, Fichte and Hegel all purveyed their own panoramic versions of German Idealism, Kant's own caution about metaphysical speculation, and refutation of idealism, having fallen by the wayside. Metaphysics_sentence_318

The idealistic impulse continued into the early twentieth century with British idealists such as F.H. Metaphysics_sentence_319 Bradley and J.M.E. Metaphysics_sentence_320 McTaggart. Metaphysics_sentence_321

Followers of Karl Marx took Hegel's dialectic view of history and re-fashioned it as materialism. Metaphysics_sentence_322

Early analytic philosophy and positivism Metaphysics_section_36

During the period when idealism was dominant in philosophy, science had been making great advances. Metaphysics_sentence_323

The arrival of a new generation of scientifically minded philosophers led to a sharp decline in the popularity of idealism during the 1920s. Metaphysics_sentence_324

Analytic philosophy was spearheaded by Bertrand Russell and G.E. Metaphysics_sentence_325 Moore. Metaphysics_sentence_326

Russell and William James tried to compromise between idealism and materialism with the theory of neutral monism. Metaphysics_sentence_327

The early to mid twentieth century philosophy saw a trend to reject metaphysical questions as meaningless. Metaphysics_sentence_328

The driving force behind this tendency was the philosophy of logical positivism as espoused by the Vienna Circle, which argued that the meaning of a statement was its prediction of observable results of an experiment, and thus that there is no need to postulate the existence of any objects other than these perceptual observations. Metaphysics_sentence_329

At around the same time, the American pragmatists were steering a middle course between materialism and idealism. Metaphysics_sentence_330

System-building metaphysics, with a fresh inspiration from science, was revived by A.N. Metaphysics_sentence_331 Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne. Metaphysics_sentence_332

Continental philosophy Metaphysics_section_37

The forces that shaped analytic philosophy—the break with idealism, and the influence of science—were much less significant outside the English speaking world, although there was a shared turn toward language. Metaphysics_sentence_333

Continental philosophy continued in a trajectory from post Kantianism. Metaphysics_sentence_334

The phenomenology of Husserl and others was intended as a collaborative project for the investigation of the features and structure of consciousness common to all humans, in line with Kant's basing his synthetic apriori on the uniform operation of consciousness. Metaphysics_sentence_335

It was officially neutral with regards to ontology, but was nonetheless to spawn a number of metaphysical systems. Metaphysics_sentence_336

Brentano's concept of intentionality would become widely influential, including on analytic philosophy. Metaphysics_sentence_337

Heidegger, author of Being and Time, saw himself as re-focusing on Being-qua-being, introducing the novel concept of Dasein in the process. Metaphysics_sentence_338

Classing himself an existentialist, Sartre wrote an extensive study of Being and Nothingness. Metaphysics_sentence_339

The speculative realism movement marks a return to full blooded realism. Metaphysics_sentence_340

Process metaphysics Metaphysics_section_38

Main article: Process philosophy Metaphysics_sentence_341

There are two fundamental aspects of everyday experience: change and persistence. Metaphysics_sentence_342

Until recently, the Western philosophical tradition has arguably championed substance and persistence, with some notable exceptions, however. Metaphysics_sentence_343

According to process thinkers, novelty, flux and accident do matter, and sometimes they constitute the ultimate reality. Metaphysics_sentence_344

In a broad sense, process metaphysics is as old as Western philosophy, with figures such as Heraclitus, Plotinus, Duns Scotus, Leibniz, David Hume, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Gustav Theodor Fechner, Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg, Charles Renouvier, Karl Marx, Ernst Mach, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Émile Boutroux, Henri Bergson, Samuel Alexander and Nicolas Berdyaev. Metaphysics_sentence_345

It seemingly remains an open question whether major "Continental" figures such as the late Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, or Jacques Derrida should be included. Metaphysics_sentence_346

In a strict sense, process metaphysics may be limited to the works of a few founding fathers: G.W.F. Metaphysics_sentence_347

Hegel, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, Henri Bergson, A.N. Metaphysics_sentence_348 Whitehead, and John Dewey. Metaphysics_sentence_349

From a European perspective, there was a very significant and early Whiteheadian influence on the works of outstanding scholars such as Émile Meyerson (1859–1933), Louis Couturat (1868–1914), Jean Wahl (1888–1974), Robin George Collingwood (1889–1943), Philippe Devaux (1902–1979), Hans Jonas (1903–1993), Dorothy M. Emmett (1904–2000), Maurice Merleau Ponty (1908–1961), Enzo Paci (1911–1976), Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887–1971), Wolfe Mays (1912–2005), Ilya Prigogine (1917–2003), Jules Vuillemin (1920–2001), Jean Ladrière (1921–2007), Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995), Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928–2014), and Reiner Wiehl (1929–2010). Metaphysics_sentence_350

Contemporary analytic philosophy Metaphysics_section_39

While early analytic philosophy tended to reject metaphysical theorizing, under the influence of logical positivism, it was revived in the second half of the twentieth century. Metaphysics_sentence_351

Philosophers such as David K. Lewis and David Armstrong developed elaborate theories on a range of topics such as universals, causation, possibility and necessity and abstract objects. Metaphysics_sentence_352

However, the focus of analytic philosophy generally is away from the construction of all-encompassing systems and toward close analysis of individual ideas. Metaphysics_sentence_353

Among the developments that led to the revival of metaphysical theorizing were Quine's attack on the analytic–synthetic distinction, which was generally taken to undermine Carnap's distinction between existence questions internal to a framework and those external to it. Metaphysics_sentence_354

The philosophy of fiction, the problem of empty names, and the debate over existence's status as a property have all come of relative obscurity into the limelight, while perennial issues such as free will, possible worlds, and the philosophy of time have had new life breathed into them. Metaphysics_sentence_355

The analytic view is of metaphysics as studying phenomenal human concepts rather than making claims about the noumenal world, so its style often blurs into philosophy of language and introspective psychology. Metaphysics_sentence_356

Compared to system-building, it can seem very dry, stylistically similar to computer programming, mathematics or even accountancy (as a common stated goal is to "account for" entities in the world). Metaphysics_sentence_357

See also Metaphysics_section_40


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