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 existance of spirit,and can the spirit manifest itself without body?
  • What is conciousness?
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The question of free will is whether, and in what sense, rational agents exercise control over their actions and decisions. Addressing this question requires understanding the relationship between freedom and cause, and determining whether the laws of nature are causally deterministic. The various philosophical positions taken differ on whether all events are determined or not — determinism versus indeterminism — and also on whether freedom can coexist with determinism or not — compatibilism versus incompatibilism. So, for instance, 'hard determinists' argue that the universe is deterministic, and that this makes free will impossible.

The principle of free will has religious, ethical, and scientific implications. For example, in the religious realm, free will may imply that an omnipotent divinity does not assert its power over individual will and choices. In ethics, it may imply that individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In the scientific realm, it may imply that the actions of the body, including the brain and the mind, are not wholly determined by physical causality. The question of free will has been a central issue since the beginning of philosophical thought.

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Martin Heidegger (26 September 1889 – 26 May 1976) (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈhaɪ̯dɛɡɐ]) was an influential German philosopher. His best known book, Being and Time, is generally considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. Heidegger remains controversial due to his involvement with Nazism.

Heidegger claimed that Western philosophy has, since Plato, misunderstood what it means for something "to be," tending to approach this question in terms of a being, rather than asking about being itself. In other words, Heidegger believed all investigations of being have historically focused on particular entities and their properties, or have treated being itself as an entity, or substance, with properties. A more authentic analysis of being would, for Heidegger, investigate "that on the basis of which beings are already understood," or that which underlies all particular entities and allows them to show up as entities in the first place.[3] But since philosophers and scientists have overlooked the more basic, pre-theoretical ways of being from which their theories derive, and since they have incorrectly applied those theories universally, they have confused our understanding of being and human existence. To avoid these deep-rooted misconceptions, Heidegger believed philosophical inquiry must be conducted in a new way, through a process of retracing the steps of the history of philosophy.

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