Module 4 – Metaphysics I

This weeks module is titled Metaphysics I. Merriam-Webster defines metaphysics as a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology.


When I hear the term metaphysics, I automatically think, the study of what the world is made of. Then my mind immediately pictures philosophers sitting around, getting stoned asking weird question that no one else ever thinks about. What is the world made of? How was it created? Why do we exist? What does is really mean to exist? This module is suppose to help me understand that metaphysics is about much more. This module focuses on Metaphysics in the ancient world. It’s broken down into three sub topics; The Pre-Socratic philosophers, Plato metaphysics, and Aristotle metaphysics. The Pre-Socratic philosophers began the question on existence.

waterThales (625 – 547 BCE) who is considered the first philosopher, explained that the world was made of water. Anaximander  who was a student of Thales, (610 – 545 BCE) disagreed with him. Aximander believed that the substances of the world could not be any one thing, it was indeterminate. Anaximenes (545 BCE) proposed that the basic substance of the world could indeed be a specific substance. He in fact believed that the substance was air. Pythagoras (580-500 BCE) who was a mathematician had an idea that the world was based on numbers. He believed that everything in the universe required numbers to exist. Then there was Parmenides who was a unique philosopher. He didn’t try to argue what the world was made of, but instead focus on existence. Parmenides argued that being does not change. Empedocles (490-430 BCE) both agreed and disagree with Parmenides’ theory. He agreed that existence was eternal but disagreed with the notion that existence doesn’t change. Anaxagoras (500 – 428 BCE) differentiated between matter and mind and Democritus (460 -370 BCE) believed that the world was made of atoms. Heraclitus (540 – 480 BCE) proposed that the world was made of fire. Plato and Aristotle’s metaphysics are both based on form. Plato was both a philosopher and mathematician. Unlike the Pre-Socratic philosophers, Plato studied forms and contributed that to reality. Plato believe that forms were real and object weren’t. His theory was that forms were ideas, in a different reality. I believe that Plato felt that forms were more real than the world of objects and appearances because forms are the only thing that never changes. Aristotle who was a pupil of Plato agreed with Plato’s forms but did not agree that forms were transcendent. Aristotle was not a mathematician like Plato so his interests were more on logic and science. Aristotle’s metaphysics focused on the desire to know and the four causes. This module is important as it relates to Philosophy because it actually introduces the beginning of Metaphysics and explains to us how it helped civilization during that time period. This module relates to module two because module two gives us only a brief introduction to metaphysics and this modules actually talks more in debt and helps me understand the subject more.aristotle  


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