Metaphysics: Ontology: Dualism Vs. Materialism Essay

2277 words - 10 pages

Metaphysics: Ontology: Dualism vs. MaterialismThe original idea of the word 'philosophy' was a 'love of wisdom' (Cowan 2). Philosophy is meant to explore the 'big questions' and try to find answers as best we can in the time we have been given. One of the areas of study in philosophy is metaphysics, which deals in the ideas of the nature of reality. "We look at the world, and we assume that it is the way it appears to be. It is not." (Carreira 7). There is much to reality that can be discussed, debated, and disagreed upon. Within metaphysics is the realm of ontology, which poses the question 'what is there?' (Cowan 146). Two of the major views in ontology are Dualism and Materialism, both ...view middle of the document...

Kant argues that reality is separated into two worlds, one that we are able to perceive and a second that we cannot. Logical positivism poses that the only knowledge and information that is meaningful is verifiable, at least in principle. These two arguments, while they oppose the field of metaphysics, do have pitfalls of their own that keep them from completely blocking the possibility of metaphysics (Cowan 147-152).Kant's "Copernican Revolution" consists of the argument that there are two worlds that comprise our reality. The first is the 'phenomenal' world, the world we are able to see, taste, touch, smell, and hear. The world we comprehend and understand. The second is the world of 'noumenal' world, the 'real' world that we cannot really understand and comprehend (Cowan 149). He has divided the world into a world of senses and a world of intellect, claiming that the world of the 'noumenal' is not accessible by either (Kenny 621). If we cannot gain knowledge of this 'noumenal' world than we cannot really gain any metaphysical knowledge. There are of course fallacies and problems with the Kant's "Copernican Revolution" argument.It is posed that Kant's distinction between these two worlds he has presented is self-defeating. "Kant attributes properties to the noumena such as being atemporal and nonspatial. But, if Kant's view were true, these properties would not apply. Rather, Plantinga shows that, on Kant's view, "the noumena would have to drop out altogether, so that all that there is is what has been structured or made by us. The idea that there might be reality beyond what we ourselves have constructed out of experience would not be much as thinkable."" (Cowan 150). This could lead to radical relativism and antirealism, basically, the world we perceive would be something that is built by our own minds and reality is defined by what is real to you. This creates the possibility of contradictory realities and even the idea that no one besides oneself exists as they are all constructs of your mind. This makes Kant's "Copernican Revolution" less of an obstacle to the field of metaphysics (Cowan 150).Logical positivism is the second presented obstacle to the study of metaphysics and much simpler than Kant's "Copernican Revolution". Stared by Schlick and the Vienna Circle the viewpoint of logical positivism sought to set up science to a standing as a 'unique and privileged' way of knowing and get rid of speculative metaphysics (Cowan 150). They contended that knowledge was only gained through experience and theories were only worthwhile if they could be proven or disproven by experience (Kenny 799). This 'verification principle' has undergone several changes and versions since its original development, but one of the most well-known defenders of the viewpoint, A.J. Ayer worded it this way: "A proposition is meaningful fi and only if it is empirically verifiable in principle." (Cowan 151). In other words, an idea or concept is only meaningful if it...

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