Metaphysics

I’ve got a question for you: Does the computer you’re reading this on right now exist? It does, huh? Okay, prove it. You say it exists because you can touch and see it. So what? Maybe you’re just a brain🧠 in a vat, being fed raw sense data for an imaginary world. Freaking out yet? No, you say, because that’s the plot of the Matrix and that movie is, like, super old. Okay, fair. But mind-melting questions like this aren’t just the stuff of movies. In fact, they are at the core of the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, which asks questions about what exists in the world and what that stuff is like. Metaphysics has been a key part of philosophy from the very beginning and continues to be a major area of study today.

Podcasts

  • Minds, Science and Metaphysics

    Grant Bartley

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Questions to Think About

  • Are mind and body two substances or just one? If mind and body are different, how is one able to influence the other?

  • If God exists, how does God exist?

  • Is “society” just a group of individuals or something more?

  • Do numbers exist no matter what?

Key Thinkers

  • Thomas Aquinas

  • Aristotle

  • George Berkeley

  • Immanuel Kant

  • Friedrich Nietzsche

  • W.V.O. Quine

Key Texts

Key Terms

  • Forms
    a term used by Plato to refer to nonmaterial, eternal, and changeless entities that give things in the world their existence; examples of Plato’s Forms are Beauty, Justice, Color, a Number, and so on.
  • Idealism
    the philosophical theory that ideas are the only reality
  • Materialism
    the philosophical theory that matter is the only reality
  • Dualism
    the philosophical belief that reality consists of both mind and matter.
  • Substance
    an entity that can have its properties indicated, but cannot itself be a predicate of any object.
  • Predicate
    a quality or characteristic of a substance that can be accidental (can be part, but could also not, like a cup being blue) or necessary (it belongs to it, like a cup holding liquid)

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