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. 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. By appealing to intrinsic and extrinsic properties , endurantism finds a way to harmonize identity with change. Endurantists believe that objects persist by being strictly numerically identical over time. 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. Thus, if an object persists, intrinsic properties of it are unchanged, but extrinsic properties can change over time.
|Published (Last):||16 June 2012|
|PDF File Size:||8.17 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||8.95 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
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. 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.
By appealing to intrinsic and extrinsic properties , endurantism finds a way to harmonize identity with change. Endurantists believe that objects persist by being strictly numerically identical over time.
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. Thus, if an object persists, intrinsic properties of it are unchanged, but extrinsic properties can change over time.
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. Perdurantism can harmonize identity with change in another way. 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. Space and time[ edit ] See also: Philosophy of space and time Objects appear to us in space and time, while abstract entities such as classes, properties, and relations do not.
How do space and time serve this function as a ground for objects? Are space and time entities themselves, of some form? Must they exist before objects? How exactly can they be defined? How is time related to change; must there always be something changing for time to exist? See also: Causality Classical philosophy recognized several causes, including teleological future causes.
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. Why then do we perceive it as flowing in one direction, the arrow of time , and as containing causation flowing in the same direction? For that matter, can an effect precede its cause? This was the title of a paper by Michael Dummett ,  which sparked a discussion that continues today.
Lewis had argued that one can meaningfully pray concerning the outcome of, e. To say that A caused B means that if A had not happened then B would not have happened. This view was advanced by David Lewis in his paper "Causation". Causality is usually required as a foundation for philosophy of science if science aims to understand causes and effects and make predictions about them.
Necessity and possibility[ edit ] See also: Modal logic and Modal realism Metaphysicians investigate questions about the ways the world could have been. 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.
Other philosophers, including Gottfried Leibniz , have dealt with the idea of possible worlds as well. A necessary fact is true across all possible worlds. A possible fact is true in some possible world, even if not in the actual world. For example, it is possible that cats could have had two tails, or that any particular apple could not have existed. By contrast, certain propositions seem necessarily true, such as analytic propositions , e.
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.
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. Peripheral questions[ edit ] 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:[ citation needed ] Cosmology and cosmogony[ edit ] See also: Cosmology metaphysics Metaphysical cosmology is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the world as the totality of all phenomena in space and time.
Historically, it formed a major part of the subject alongside Ontology, though its role is more peripheral in contemporary philosophy. It has had a broad scope, and in many cases was founded in religion. The ancient Greeks drew no distinction between this use and their model for the cosmos.
However, in modern times it addresses questions about the Universe , which are beyond the scope of the physical sciences. It is distinguished from religious cosmology in that it approaches these questions using philosophical methods e.
Cosmogony deals specifically with the origin of the universe. Modern metaphysical cosmology and cosmogony try to address questions such as: What is the origin of the Universe? What is its first cause? Is its existence necessary? Do the cosmos have a purpose? 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.
Adherents of panpsychism , a kind of property dualism , hold that everything has a mental aspect, but not that everything exists in a mind. 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.
Determinism and free will[ edit ] See also: Determinism and Free will Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. It holds that nothing happens that has not already been determined. The principal consequence of the deterministic claim is that it poses a challenge to the existence of free will. The problem of free will is the problem of whether rational agents exercise control over their actions and decisions.
Addressing this problem requires understanding the relation between freedom and causation and determining whether the laws of nature are causally deterministic.
Some philosophers, known as Incompatibilists , view determinism and free will as mutually exclusive. If they believe in determinism, they will, therefore, believe free will to be an illusion, a position known as Hard Determinism. Proponents range from Baruch Spinoza to Ted Honderich.
Henri Bergson defended free will in his dissertation Time and Free Will from Others, labeled Compatibilists or "Soft Determinists" , believe that the two ideas can be reconciled coherently. Incompatibilists who accept free will but reject determinism are called Libertarians , a term not to be confused with the political sense.
Robert Kane and Alvin Plantinga are modern defenders of this theory. Natural and social kinds[ edit ] 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.
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; According to Quine this notion is closely related to the notion of similarity. Platonist theories postulate number as a fundamental category itself. 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.
They are of particular importance due to its status as a foundation for the philosophy of mathematics and for mathematics itself. Applied metaphysics[ edit ] 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. 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 particular theories upon these.
In science , for example, some theories are based on the ontological assumption of objects with properties such as electrons having charge. In contrast, others may reject objects altogether such as quantum field theories, where spread-out "electronness" becomes property of space-time rather than an object.
For example, they may postulate the existence of basic entities such as value, beauty, and God. Then they use these postulates to make their arguments about consequences resulting from them. When philosophers in these subjects make their foundations, they are doing applied metaphysics.
They may draw upon its core topics and methods to guide them, including ontology and other core and peripheral issues. 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.
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. Relationship of metaphysics and science[ edit ] Before the modern history of science , scientific questions were addressed as a part of natural philosophy.
Originally, the term "science" Latin Scientia simply meant "knowledge". The scientific method , however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment , unlike the rest of philosophy.
By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called "science" to distinguish it from other branches of philosophy. Science and philosophy have been considered separate disciplines ever since. After that, metaphysics denoted philosophical inquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.
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. Stating such postulates is considered to be the "end" of a scientific theory. Metaphysics takes these postulates and explores what they mean as human concepts.
For example, do all theories of physics require the existence of space and time,  objects and properties? Or can they be expressed using only objects, or single properties? Do the objects have to retain their identity over time or can they change? Is the distinction between objects and properties fundamental to the physical world or our perception of it?
Much recent work has been devoted to analyzing the role of metaphysics in scientific theorizing. Since   "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. These profound results in applied elementary logic Whitehead is famous for creating a process philosophy metaphysics inspired by electromagnetism and special relativity.
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.
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.
He concludes his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding with the statement: If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
Join Kobo & start eReading today
Tashicage The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Request an e-inspection copy. The Star Spangled Buddhist. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Toggle navigation Additional Book Information. The Secrets of Space and Time. Buddhism in Philosophy of Religion.
Theravada metaphysics and ontology
Early Buddhist metaphysics : the making of a philosophical tradition