Metaphysics or the â€œfirst philosophyâ€ (? ????? ?????????, philosophia prima), is the science of supersensory principles and the principles of life.Â Also used as a completely modern synonym for “philosophy”. The term is introduced by Andronicus of Rhodes who systematized the writings of Aristotle.
Metaphysics is divided into: the teaching about the most existing (ontology),Â the essence of the world (cosmology), the man (philosophical anthropology, existentialism), andÂ the existence and nature of God (theology). The subjects of metaphysics, in particular, are:Â being,Â nothing, freedom,Â immortality, God,Â life,Â power,Â matter, truth, soul, formation,Â spirit (the world), Nature.Â Knowledge of these issues determines the spiritual aspect of man and is thus, in the words of Kant, “ineradicable needâ€™ for human.
According to Aristotle, the first metaphysician wasÂ Thales. â€œHis concept ofÂ ArcheÂ or the source, first principle, or substratum was that of moisture, which is frequently translated as “water”. Other Miletians, such as Anaximander and Anaximene, also had a monistic conception of Arche. For Thales, the cosmos had a harmonious structure, and thus was subject to rational understanding.Â ParmenidesÂ of Elea held that the multiplicity of existing things, their changing forms and motion, are but an appearance of a single eternal reality (â€œBeingâ€), thus giving rise to the Parmenidean principle that â€œall is oneâ€. From this concept of Being, he went on to say that all claims of change or of non-Being are illogical. Because he introduced the method of basing claims about appearances on a logical concept of Being, he is considered one of the founders of metaphysics.â€Â (Encyclopedia Britannica Online)
In the Antiquity andÂ Medieval age, metaphysics primarily was addressed to issues of life. AsÂ an independent method, metaphysics appears at Plato. This type of knowledge,Â rising from the empirical reality of disembodied entities (ideas).Â Aristotle in his classification of sciences first assigns the science of being as a cause of all things. Metaphysics is the most valuable of Sciences. According to AristotleÂ Metaphysics is not just a meaning but it is the goal of life, a source of pleasure.
In medieval era metaphysics was regarded as the highest form of rational knowledge.Â Medieval metaphysics gave a detailed treatment for such problems asÂ relationship between freedom and necessity, the nature of general concepts. In Renaissance dominates the pantheistic natural philosophy, and metaphysicsÂ was hardly developing. In modern times, metaphysics makes the object of its study the nature,Â experiencing strong influence of natural science. During this period, the attention of metaphysicsÂ focused mainly on issues of epistemology. The development of this scienceÂ is associated with such names as Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz. In the EnlightenmentÂ era metaphysics has been criticized by mechanistic materialism.Â Kant criticized dogmatic metaphysics of the past. Hegel contrastedÂ metaphysics and dialectic as two opposing methods. In the second halfÂ of 19 century begins a negative attitude towards this science. Emerging trendsÂ anti-metaphysics: voluntarism of Schopenhauer, religious irrationalism Kierkegaard, Feuerbach’s materialistic anthropologism. Metaphysics was criticizedÂ by positivism and neo-Kantianism. But then the situation was change. Metaphysics again begins to evolve and philosophers of various schools and currents recognized its importance.
Encyclopedia Britannica Online from
Gale, Richard M. (2002).Â The Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics. Oxford: Blackwell;
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