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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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9. Problems of the Universals


An argument about universals can undoubtedly be considered the most important landmark in the entire history of western culture (Schmidinger, 2010).

It followed an entirely new relationship of humans to reality. At first, the argument was of an metaphysical-gnoseological character: can it be found in the reality universale, which means generally? The universals, e.g. “rose as such,” “dog as such,” and the like. A problem was if: “…anything corresponds to the thing which we assign the conceptual (conceptus), or more precisely, general (universale), which means whether is there anything in the reality itself, anything real and existing, an opposite to the conceptual one and general one in our approach” (Schmidinger, 2010).

While dealing with this argument, two main attitudes were crystallised: ← 67 | 68 →

1.  Realism (Platonists, Aristotelians, Thomists) which says that universals really exist, or better to say, something in the being itself corresponds to them. They identified the general with essence, or rather, with form (see e.g.:

“Words are signs of ideas, and ideas the similitude of things, it is evident that words relate to the meaning of things signified through the medium of the intellectual conception.... Thus the name „man“ expresses the essence of man in himself, since it signifies the definition of man by manifesting his essence.... And because in creatures of this kind what is perfect and subsistent is compound; whereas their form is not a complete subsisting thing, but rather is that whereby...

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