Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with questions of reality. Since it deals with literally everything that exists, it is perhaps the broadest branch of philosophy. However, we will briefly spend time in this area. In this lesson, we will introduce some of the questions that we seek to answer in metaphysics as well as some basic metaphysical terminology you will need to master as we discuss metaphysical issues. We will also discuss the issue of method in arriving at answers to our metaphysical questions.
Review and take notes of the presentation, “Metaphysical Terminology. ” * Know the 4 characteristics of properties. AKA as qualities. Properties are an attribute a thing possesses. Characteristics that describe. 1) Properties are universals-can be in more than one thing at a time. 2) Are immutable or eternal-they don’t change over time. 3) Properties inhere in things-they are “had” by or are “in” things. 4) Properties do not have causal powers-they cannot cause any thing or event to occur. * Know the 4 characteristics of substances.
Substances-that which has its being in itself and not in another, such as a particular thing. 1) Are particular things- they can only be in one place at a time. 2) Can change, and aren’t necessarily eternal. 3) Are “fundamental existants”- they have being in themselves; they don’t inhere in other things. 4) Have causal powers-they can cause things or events to occur. * Know the different kinds of properties and substances. Accidental properties-properties which a particular thing may or may not possess; they aren’t essential to what the thing is.
Essential properties-properties which a particular thing must possess; they are necessary to what the thing is. Material substances-made out of matter (natural and artifacts-made by man). Immaterial substances-not made from matter (God, angels, mind). * Know the difference between property, substance, and essence. Essence-the sum of the essential properties of a thing that makes it what it is; it is a things “whatness. ” It’s what makes the thing the thing. Not a property or substance. Essence tells you what the something is. * Know three different views of essence.
Metaphysical realism-that natures or essences possess objective reality; they actually exist in things themselves (human nature). Nominalism-natures or essences are merely names by which we group things together which possess similar features (similar properties). Conceptualism-natures or essences exist, but only as ideas in our minds and not objectively in reality (qualities of a perfect person). Read chapter 1 of Metaphysics: Constructing a World View, “Introducing Metaphysics. ” As you do, make sure you understand the following points and questions:
* Explain the 3 metaphysical questions. 1) What is real? 2) What is ultimately real? 3) What is man’s place in what is real? * What is the meaning of ultimately real? Basic constituents of reality, the idea that things can be broken down into their constituents * Why is “man’s place in the real” significant? Because out of this question, a worldview arises. This also asks what the meaning of life is, for whom shall we worhip, and/or how shall human beings live life? * Know the method for doing metaphysics and the 2 rules of thumb.
1) We may take as premises for a metaphysical argument anything we may know, or have good reason to believe, to be true. 2) No belief, no matter how firmly held or apparently well supported, is beyond the possibility of challenge or questioning. * Identify the 3 kinds of beliefs we may take as our staring point in metaphysical investigation. Ordinary perceptual beliefs, headings of logic, nothing begins to exist without a cause, nothing we do now can change the past. good reasons, good reason to believe, and reasoning based on other things we know to be true (p.18).
* Explain the role of authority in metaphysical investigation including the different types of authorities. Legal authority-all situations in which some person or group of persons has the right simply to decide something which henceforth is so just because it has been decided that way (has no place in metaphysics). Expert authority-in which certain persons are relied on for information because of special experiences or expertise. Religious authority-in which truths are proclaimed by God or by someone authorized to speak on behalf of God.
* Describe the relationship between Christian theology and philosophical investigation (noting the important distinctions). Distinction between the content of one’s beliefs and the reasons for that belief between what is believed and why it is believed; distinciton between one’s final, overall conclusions abt the way things are, and what can be ascertained thru the methodology of a particular discipline (p. 24). * What is the function of a metaphysical theory? function similar to scientific theory, they serve to unify areas of our experience and make them undestandable to us.
* Explain 3 ways we can evaluate metaphysical theories. 1) predictable and testable 2) logically consistent 3) explanatory power. Terms Make sure you can explain the following terms and concepts: * Property * Accidental Property * Essential Property * Substance * Universal * Particular * Essence * Metaphysical Realism * Nominalism * Conceptualism| * Basic Constituent * Wholism * Metaphysical Data * Legal Authority * Expert Authority * Religious Authority * Factual Adequacy * Logical Consistency * Explanatory Power|.