Philosophy stemmed from the early Greek religions and myths, in search for answers to their questions about life. From early B. C. till today people still have questions about life and after-life, what is real and what is reality. Philosophy has dozens of subdivisions within it, one being metaphysics. Metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality, and within metaphysics there are three more divisions materialism, idealism, and hylemorphism. Each philosopher fits into one category more then others.
I have chosen to write about Aristotle, Plato, and Histories because I feel they each fit into a category with little confusion as to where they belong in metaphysics. Materialism falls all the way on the left of the spectrum. Materialism is defined as all reality is only and ever matter. This is the mindset of nothing happens after death, or if the tree falls and no one hears it there is no sound. I interpreted this as a pessimistic, dull outlook because it left little room for imagination.
As I read Aristotle’s piece Metaphysics’ it really opened my eyes to materialism. On page one he says, “ A sign of this is out liking for the senses; for even apart from their usefulness we like them for themselves—especially the sense of sight, since we choose seeing above practically all the others, not only as an aid to action, but also when we have no intention of acting. ” If one were to break this down Aristotle says we as humans use our senses not only for the innate purpose, the most used sense is sight because it helps when doing something or nothing at all.
This quote showed materialism because I related it the tree falling, because no one used his or her senses to hear the tree fall therefore nothing happened when it fell. Aristotle explains that if one does not know if something is real by using his or her senses then it is nothing at all. Idealism lies on the right of the spectrum as far from materialism as possible. Idealism is defined, as all reality is only and ever the result of my subjective interpretation. As I browsed through Plato’s work I noticed he made many references to god.
These references canceled out materialism for Plato because materialists do not believe in god(s), because there has never been a physical god. As I looked more in depth in Plato’s work, the work showed doing good by god and soul for the after life. In Plato’s Euthyphro, Euthyphro stresses piety, a religious devotion, if fact the entire dialogue is based on the pious thing to do. Euthyphro says, “ I would certainly say that the pious is what all the gods love, and the opposite, what all the gods hates, is the impious.
” Because the pious thing is what the gods’ love and that is a belief, which shows idealism because it is a belief and not matter. At the end of Plato’s dialogue Apology, Socrates is sentences to death, he makes a reference to when he dies he will meet with all the other men who have died for his the same reason and they share their experiences, but no one truly knows what happens after death except the gods. Idealism is based upon a subjective world, meaning it is what one believes it to be.
Plato’s entire story The Allegory of the Cave represents idealism completely. This is a story Socrates based on his view of the education system. It began with prisoners in a cave who only saw shadows of puppets, heard random noises, and the only source of light was a fire. They know nothing other then what they are shown but they were to interpret the puppets in their own way, eventually a prisoner will be freed to leave and will come back because that was all they knew.
Although the story is flawed and sad it represented the idealism because the prisoners had the freedom to imagine what the wished even with no knowledge of what it was. In between materialism and idealism, hylemorphism blossoms. Hylemorphism is defined, as all reality is a distinct, non-separable combination of matter and form. This section of metaphysic allows space for matter to change form and a little more room for imagination in general. In A Pre-Socratics Reader I believe Diogenes Laertius and Herodotus to be the most hylemorphism philosophers.
As materialism and idealism believe in two completely different experiences after death, I think hylemorphism think that people reincarnate because they believe that forms will change. Laertius tells a story of a man beating a puppy and as he heard the puppy’s cry he asked the man to stop because it was the cries of the soul of a friend of his. Herodotus says, “ … the human soul is immortal, and each time the body perishes it enters into another animal as it is born.
” The pre-socratics has dozens of philosophers that have the same thoughts or views as these two men, which represent hylemorphism just as well. As I broken down metaphysics into the three general categories, it can be broken down more and have more philosophers in each category. Philosophy is not set in stone; it is all set upon interpretation. Some may feel completely different about Aristotle’s positions on the spectrum or even Laertius’, philosophers will never true have a set category in metaphysic.