Portal:Metaphysics

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Metaphysics

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world.[1] Its name derives from the Greek words μετά (metá) (meaning "above" or "beyond") and φυσικά (physiká) (meaning "above or beyond physics"), "physics" referring to those works on matter by Aristotle in antiquity.[2] Metaphysics addresses questions that have existed for as long as the human race - many still with no definitive answer. Examples are:

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What is the nature of reality?
  • What is humanity's place in the universe?
  • Does the world exist outside the mind?
  • What is the nature of objects, events, places?
  • Is there any existence of spirit, and can the spirit manifest itself without body?
  • What is consciousness?
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There are two distinct views on the meaning of time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence, and time itself is something that can be measured. This is the realist's view, to which Sir Isaac Newton subscribed, and hence is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.[3]

A contrasting view is that time is part of the fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number). Within this structure, humans sequence events, quantify the duration of events and the intervals between them, and compare the motions of objects. In this second view, time does not refer to any kind of entity that "flows", that objects "move through", or that is a "container" for events. This view is in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz[4] and Immanuel Kant,[5][6] in which time, rather than being an objective thing to be measured, is part of the mental measuring system.

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Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. Described by Bertrand Russell as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating,"[7] Wittgenstein is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century.

He helped inspire two of the century's principal philosophical movements: the Vienna Circle and Oxford ordinary language philosophy. According to an end of the century poll, professional philosophers in Canada and the U.S. rank both his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TLP) and Philosophical Investigations among the top five most important books in twentieth-century philosophy, the latter standing out as "...the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations".

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  1. ^ Geisler, Norman L. "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics" page 446. Baker Books, 1999.
  2. ^ More specifically, the writings concerning what Aristotle called the "first philosophy" – and what is now called "metaphysics" – appeared after his articles on matter (on "physics"). Hence meta- ("above/beyond") physics ("matter").
  3. ^ Newton's Views on Space, Time, and Motion - Stanford University http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-stm/
  4. ^ Leibniz on Space, Time, and Indiscernibles - Against the Absolute Theory -- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/leib-met.htm#H7
  5. ^ Critique of Pure Reason - Lecture notes of G. J. Mattey, UC Davis http://www-philosophy.ucdavis.edu/mattey/kant/TIMELEC.HTM
  6. ^ Kant's Transcendental Idealism - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://www.iep.utm.edu/k/kantmeta.htm#H4
  7. ^ The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, pg. 329.