IV. Cartesian ontic, ontology and metaphysics
The notions of ontology and metaphysics can boast the longest presence within the philosophical tradition. Greek philosophers associated the first – derived from the Greek ontos, i.e. being – with inquiry into the nature of being, not any particular being that is, but being in general, which would include its source, variability, ordering, etc. The latter makes its first appearance in the works of Aristotle and is connected to his classification of the sciences. In the light of this classification, metaphysics involves the science situated beyond physics, and concerned with the first causes and ultimate ends of all that exists. To some extent, this is Descartes’s understanding of the concept. However, he does also give it a wider meaning, as he relates it not only to questions of the existence of beings, but also to cognitive questions, or to be more precise, to all that makes this cognition accurate. This makes it necessary to introduce the notion ontic, denoting generally such beings which feature prominently in the cognitive struggles of man, and especially of the intellectual of the Cartesian type. It is also important to other types of intellectuals, such as the scholastics. Descartes does not deny them their presence in philosophy, but he does deny them a place in rational science. He is obliged to acknowledge their presence in this domain, while opposing them in the name of his own world in philosophical and scientific polemics.
From the order of reasoning assumed by Descartes, it is impossible...
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