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Metaphysics in Philosophy: The Principal Issues Essay

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Updated: Apr 9th, 2022

  • Definition: “Metaphysics is the philosophical study of being, of reality, of existence” (Hetherington, 2013, p. 11)
  • Historical Developments: Plato’s teleological impulse (Goetschel, 2012, p. 220); Hegel’s attack on fundamentalism and the subsequent introduction of the concept of Logos (Mall, 2000, p. 112); the Geisteswissenschaften and the Naturwissenschaften demarcation (Scott, 2014, p. 486); Troeltsch’s explanation of the transitory and the ethical dimensions (Kerr, 2008, p. 29); Meinecke’s “Die Entstehung des Historismus” (Stark, 2014, p. 239); Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method (Gadamer, 2013).
  • Schools Of Thought: Materialism, Idealism, Dualism, Postmodern schools (Linguistic Analysis, No One Reality, Multiple realities, Pragmatism, Existentialism, Feminism) (Hetherington, 2013)
  • Key Contributors: Plato, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, George Berkeley (Solomon & Higgins, 2013).
  • Principal Issues Metaphysics: Issues and types of freedom, types of determinism, nature of reality, nature of humanity (Hetherington, 2013)

Analysis

As a set of theories and concepts that allows for the study of the concept of reality, as well as determining the place of a human being within it, metaphysics seems to be dependent on the issues related to society and social evolution in terms of its major concerns. As Hetherington (2013) shows, the present-day metaphysics provides a standpoint on the issues regarding feminism and existentialism, as well as the conflict between an individual and the society (the No One Reality).

Being a graphic representation of the pragmatist interpretation of reality, modern metaphysics focuses on the role of an individual within the present-day world, therefore, allowing an individual to question the reasons for their existence, locate their place in the Universe in general and the society in particular, determine the role that the individual in question plays in the contemporary society, etc.

Indeed, a closer look at the tendencies in the modern Metaphysics will show that the theory has evolved from considering the study of being to the analysis of the relationships between different elements of reality. To be more specific, the significance of agents, be it a human being, a certain phenomenon, or a concept, is being considered through the lens of various social tendencies in the metaphysics of the 1st century.

For example, the freedom related issues, as well as types of freedom, while seemingly abstract, does help view the possibility of liberation through the lens of an individual. More to the point, the individual’s concept of liberty is envisioned as a projection of the individual’s understanding of liberty onto the socially accepted concept of the specified phenomenon. In other words, when it comes to freedom, metaphysics not only prevents from viewing the phenomenon isolated from the social tendencies, but states that there is no way to separate the individual’s and the society’s vision of reality.

It could be argued that the No One Reality is the only theory that exists in modern metaphysics (Hetherington, 2013). Indeed, as the above-mentioned analysis has shown, there is no way to view reality other than from the viewpoint foisted onto a person by the society that the latter lives in. herein the paradox lies; what may seem as obvious and materialistic may happen to be the illusions caused by the acceptance of the viewpoint of the society.

However, without the latter, making one’s own stance on reality is barely possible. Creating new challenges and offering new food for thoughts, metaphysics has taken a new shape in the 21st century, putting a string emphasis on the current social and cultural issues.

Reference List

Gadamer, H.-G. (2013). Truth and method. New York, NY: A&C Black.

Goetschel, W. (2012). The discipline of philosophy and the invention of modern Jewish thought. Bronx, NY: Fordham University Press.

Hetherington, S. (2013). Metaphysics and epistemology: A guided anthology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Kerr, N. R. (2008). Christ, history and apocalyptic: The politics of Christian mission. Cornwall, UK: Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd.

Mall, R. (2000). Intercultural philosophy. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.

Scott, J. (2014). A dictionary of sociology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Solomon, R. & Higgins, K. (2013). The big questions: A short introduction to philosophy. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Stark, W. (2014). Social theory and Christian thought: A study of some points of contact. Collected essays around a central theme. New York, NY: Routledge.

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