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Two Kinds Of Metaphysics Essay

1544 words - 7 pages

James Dickinson Philosophy Midterm Paper “Two Kinds of Metaphysics”

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with revealing the theoretical nature of being and the world that envelops it. The word “metaphysics” derives itself from the two Greek words μετά (metá) which means beyond, and the word φυσικά (physiká) meaning physics. This branch of philosophy began when ancient philosophers questioned what was beyond physics, concepts such as being, knowing, cause, time, substance, and space where questioned. Two Ancient Greek philosophers who had the most impactful views on metaphysics, furthermore helping shape the future for western philosophy were Plato, and Aristotle. Although Plato taught Aristotle in an academy in Athens they have very diverse views on many metaphysical principles. Comparing and contrasting the metaphysical views of Plato and Aristotle benefits any individual wishing to understand ancient, as well as modern views and concepts of this significant branch of philosophy.
Plato was the pupil of the ancient philosopher, Socrates. Plato’s undertaking was to the existence of a special class of existence known as “ideas” known as Forms. Plato was able to create his metaphysical inception of Forms by studying the Ontology of his predecessors such as Parmenides. According to Plato Forms are the only genuine entity of study that can provide us with absolute knowledge. Plato is faithful to the perseverance of a world that is unbiased and mind independent. Previous philosophers believe that our senses, which are our illusive access to the world are wholly mistaken about the reality we live in, Plato also shares this belief. “The Form of Good” is known by Plato as the intellectual brilliance of all Forms. In Plato’s famous book, The Republic Book VI (507b- 509c) he demonstrates the “The Form of Good” as a metaphor, “The Metaphor of the Sun”. This writing is written as a dialogue between Socrates, and Glaucon, Plato’s brother. Plato never produces direct structure, or an informative explanation of “The Form of Good”, instead he compares it metaphorically to the sun. The sun yields light and clarity in the sense world, in turn providing sight. “The Form of Good” provides sight in the intelligible world, providing responsibility for our capacity of knowledge. Sight is provided by the sun, as intellectual reasoning is provided by “The Form of Good”. Another famous work of Plato’s that helps one understand his views on metaphysics is the “Allegory of The Cave”. Written in Plato’s work, The Republic (514a-520a) The “Allegory of The Cave” gives one more of an understanding of what Plato means by Forms. The idea of the cave can be summed up as follows. We are all like people living in a cave, chained down to the floor, all you see is shadows on the wall, casted by the light of a fire not in sight. These shadows are mistaken for reality. If the fire burning casts shadows on the wall that is all the prisoners see, they mistake these shadows...

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