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Selected Problems of Metaphysics and Ontology


Renáta Kišoňová

The presented text offers a basic overview of the terms and topics of the very wide philosophical discipline called metaphysics. The text includes, besides an overview of individual problems, reflections to consider and recommended literature. Readers will become familiar with the basic terms (metaphysics, ontology, existence, being), with the metaphysics of archaic nations, Parmenides’s approach to understand being as The One, the understanding of time and events of the Greeks, the problem of categories according to Aristotle and Kant, the problem of intuition and fundamental ontology.
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2. Clarification of Terms


2.1. Metaphysics

It is not easy to define metaphysics. Its importance, method, and subject have been changed quite often in history. It was delimited to science, theology, and later within philosophy, to non-metaphysical philosophical conceptions. The term metaphysics is of Greek origin (ta meta, ta fysika, that which is beyond physics) This term was first documented in the works of the Peripatetic Nicholas of Damascus (born probably in 64 AD), who was probably inspired by another Peripatetic – Andronicus of Rhodes (also born around approximately 60 AD). Andronicus put Aristotle’s works in order according to subject where works about “the first philosophy” were put “meta” i.e. “behind” the works about nature (Gr. physis). Aristotle did not know the term metaphysics and he ← 9 | 10 → classified the problems, which were later categorised by western philosophy as metaphysics, as “the first philosophy,” “wisdom,” or “theological science” (Schmidinger, Metaphysic: Ein Grundkurs, 2010).

For Aristotle, metaphysics is a science, which deals with the knowledge of:

1.  being as a being

2.  principles and causes

3.  the highest existence (The First Mover) and his relationship to the world

According to Aristotle’s definition, metaphysics is:

“There is a science which investigates being as being and the attributes which belong to this in virtue of its own nature. Now this is not the same as any of the so-called special sciences; for none of these others treats universally of being as being....

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