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PHIL 201 – Introduction to Philosophy Nicole Zeger METAPHYSICS

PHIL 201 – Introduction to Philosophy Nicole Zeger METAPHYSICS.

Dec 30, 2015



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  • PHIL 201 Introduction to PhilosophyNicole ZegerMETAPHYSICS

  • What is Metaphysics?The study of the most fundamental principles of the nature of things.Comprehensive view of the universe.Considers the nature of Reality.

    Cosmology how real things have come into beingOntology the study of what is or being.

  • What is truly Real?

    MaterialismPhysical objects are all that existIdealismMind or Spirit are all that existDualismAlso known as the Mind-Body TheoryTwo different kinds of things exist: Mind and BodyCannot be reduced into each other completely separateHow do they communicate with each other?

  • Three TheoriesDualism

  • Early Metaphysics - MaterialismThalesWater is the ultimate realityIt exists in all thingsAlso argued that magnets have souls?AnaximanderEverything made of apeiron (basic stuff)Cannot see apeiron, can only know it through its manifestationsAnaximenesEverything made up of airHeraclitusEverything made up of fireIt is all-consuming and always changingDemocritusEverything made of Atoms

  • Early Metaphysics Ancient ImmaterialismImmaterialism later known as IdealismPythagorasUltimate reality is numbersParmenidesOur everyday world is unrealReality is unchanging and unknown to usHeraclitusReality is change, but with unifying Logos

  • PlatoFormsWorld of BecomingWorld of BeingTried to reconcile Materialism and ImmaterialismAllegory of the Cave


  • AristotleTerm Metaphysics came from AristotleHe didnt use it it was derived from an early description of his set of essays, titled First Philosophy.First Philosophy came after Physics in an edition of his works hence Meta-Physics.Rejected Platos FormsEveryday reality is RealityDifference between Reality and AppearancesSubstances are Ultimate Reality the building blocks of all thingsForms of things are in the things themselves.We may be familiar with a thing but that does not mean we completely understand it.We know people, but we may not know what it means to be human.

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  • IdealismOnly the mind (or spirit) is real orWhat is real is dependent on the mind

    Bodies are a collection of ideasThe only things we can know are those that we have experiencedWe know through experience (which is mind, not body)


  • BerkeleySubjective IdealismTo be is to be perceivedAn empiricist in terms of epistemologyWe only know things in relationship to our experiencesWe know there is a Mind because an Idea presupposes a MindNo world outside our knowledge (or Gods knowledge)


  • Kant, Schopenhauer, and HegelTHE GERMAN IDEALISTS

  • KantEverything we know is based on experienceReality is organized through CategoriesWe cannot understand our experience outside our mental categoriesCategories based on universal principles (so we can communicate with each other)Categories are rationalWorld of Nature and World of Action/Belief are both rationalImage:

  • SchopenhauerAgreed with Kant that there are two worlds andWe can only know through experienceBut, argued that both realms/worlds were IRRATIONALThe Will in us was all that is realWill is a violent force operating outside of usGoal is to escape from the power of the WillImage:

  • HegelOnly Spirit is realFocused on spirit instead of mind, experience or willStill Idealism, as the Spirit is not materialSpiritCosmic, universal MindFull of constant internal conflictAlmost a cosmic consciousnessAlways trying to understand itselfTeleologicalAlways moving


  • Descartes, Spinoza, LeibnizDUALISM

  • DescartesSometimes considered a pluralistMind and Body both exist as substancesThey are distinct substances and thereforeThey cannot communicate with one anotherAlso considered God a separate substance from Mind and BodyNever solved the problem of interaction between the substances of Mind and BodyImage:

  • Can Dualism work?Descartes offered a more pragmatic understanding that both mind and body are realInteraction only remaining options:Mind and Body are not two different substances; they are parts of the same substance (Spinoza)Mind and body are separate substances, but they do not interact (Leibniz)


  • SpinozaMind and body are different aspects of the same substanceAttributesMonismOnly one substance in the universeGod is the only substanceWe are all one part of the same substanceNo individuality; no freedomWe are all part of GodIn many ways, not a DualistBut not an idealist or materialist eitherMind and body are both real (dualism)Part of a single unity (monism)Many things are real, as they are all part of God (pluralism)Image:

  • LeibnizPluralist there are many substances (monads, not physical substances)Substances cannot interactMonadsSimple substance, like a mindDo not interactThey only appear to do these thingsWe do not see each other or the world as it isWe only perceive reality pre-established harmony set up by GodNot really a dualist eitherNot a materialist or an idealist although closer to idealism


  • ReferencesSolomon, R.C. & Higgins, K.M. (2010). The Big Questions: A short introduction to philosophy (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Retrieved from, R. P. (2012). About Philosophy (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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