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Metaphysics

Metaphysics investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. Aristotle's Metaphysics was divided into three parts, which are now regarded as the proper branches of traditional Western metaphysics: Ontology, Natural Theology and Universal Science. The scientific method made natural philosophy an empirical and experimental activity unlike the rest of philosophy, and by the end of the eighteenth century it had begun to be called "science" in order to distinguish it from philosophy. Thereafter, metaphysics became the philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence. Universal science The study of first principles, which Aristotle believed to be the foundation of all other inquiries.. This includes topics such as causality, substance, species and elements, as well as the notions of relation, interaction, and finitude.

Ontology

A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the study of being and existence, objecthood includes the definition and classification of entities, physical or mental, the nature of their properties and what relations these things bear to one another, space, time, causality, and possibility.

Ontology is all about what exists. If you believe in ghosts, ghosts are part of your ontology. If you believe in God, God is part of your ontology. If you believe there are three races, then three races are part of your ontology. If you do not believe in these three things then they are not features of your ontology. Some times two or more persons may disagree as to whether something exists or not. Some times two or more people may agree that something exists for each other but they may not be knowable or comparable to the other. For example "yellow" or "happiness" is be irreducible, i.e. nothing we point to or nothing we can compare it to or anything we can say about its neurological underpinnings can be substituted for the experience itself. Vision, hearing smelling, somethesis give us our first presentation of "objects" as visible, audible etc Internal sense of perception coordinates in a way to give us a concrete percept of a physical object and another internal sense (imagination, recall ) can re-produce or re-present the experienced "object"..

The "percept" is not the same thing as the "concept" of "yellow". In a group of people sharing our experiences and finding what we consider to be similar experiences we can agree to use the term "yellow" to identify the "concept" of "yellow". Some individuals in the group may not concur with our agreement. For example they may not concur with the general agreement that that sweater is "yellow" and that sweater is not "yellow". It is "blue". Does yellow "exist"? Does the abstract concept of "yellow" exist? Does the "phantom limb exists"? Does concept of "phantom limb" "exists"? These are questions of ontology.

What exists is a separate issue than what we know or is knowable.The later is the subject matter of epistemology considered elsewhere.

Whiteley, C.H. (1950) An Introduction to Metaphysics London: Methuen &Co

Natural Theology

Natural theology is that part of philosophy that concerns the nature of the gods, arguing for against their existence, the study of their attributes or non attributes without any recourse to any special or supernatural revelation. The study of a god or Gods; involves many topics, including among others the nature of religion and the world, existence of the divine, questions about creation, and the numerous religious or spiritual issues that concern humankind in general.

Atheisms defined as the absence of belief in God either because one does not have a belief at al or stronger one believes in the non existence of God.

Agnosticism is uncertainty about the existence of God.

Theism is belief in a god or gods.

Deism is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without a need for either faith or organized religion. Deists tend to, but do not necessarily, reject the notion of divine interventions in human affairs, such as by miracles and revelations. These views contrast with a dependence on revelations, miracles, and faith found in many Judeo-Christian, Islamic and other theistic teachings.

The Problem of Evil

God is omnipotent; God is wholly good; Evil exists in the world. There seems to be some contradiction between these three propositions . If two are true the third must be false but at the same time all three seem to be part of most theological positions.

Further Reading on Natural Theology

Armstrong, Karen (1993) A History of God, New York: Ballantine Books
Armstrong, Karen (2000) The Battle for God, New York: Ballantine Books
Berger, Peter L The Sacred Canopy, Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion, New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell
Armstrong, Karen (2006) The Great Transformation, the Beginning of Our Religions Traditions, Toronto: Vintage Canada
Bosanquet, Mary (1968) The Life and Death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, New York: Harper and Row
Bultman, Rudolf (1958) Jesus Christ and mythology, New York: Charles Scriber &Sons
Caputo, John D, Gianni Vattimo, and Jeffrey W Robbins Ed. (2007) After the Death of God, New York: Columbia University Press
Clark Beverly and Brian R Clark (1998) The Philosophy of Religion, Cambridge Polity Press
Davies, Paul (1992) The Mind of God, The Scientific Basis for A rational World, New York: Simon & Schuster
Dawkins, Richard (2006) The God Delusion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
Dennett, Daniel C (2006) Breaking the Spell, New York: Penguin Books
Dowd, Michael (2007) Thank God for Evolution, Sanfrancisco: Council Oak Books
Grayling, A.C. (2003) What is Good? The Search for the Best Way to Live, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Harris, Sam (2006) Letter to a Christian Nation New York: Alfred a Knopf Heelas, Paul (1998) religion, modernity and postmodernity, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Hinde, Robert A. (2002) Why Good is Good, London Routledge
Hunnex, Milton D (1986) Chronological and Thematic Charts of Philosophies & Philosophers, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House
James, William (1958) The Varieties of Religious Experiences, New York: Penguin
Kirsch, Jonathan (2004) God Against the Gods, New York: Viking Compass
Knight, Christopher (2001) Wrestling with the Divine, Minneapolis: Fortress Press
MacQuarrie, John (1967) God Talk, An Examination of the Language and Logic of Theology, New York: The Seabury Press
Maslow, Abraham H. (1970) Religious, Values and Peak-Experiences, New York: Penguin Books
Pike, James A (1965) Doing the Truth, New York: The Macmillan Company
Poole, Michael (1990) Science and Belief, Oxford: Lion Publishing
Russell, Betrand (1957) Why I am not a Christian, New York: Simon & Schuster
Smith, George H (1989) The Case Against God, New York: Prometheus Books
Stump, Eleonore and Michel J Murray (1999) Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers
Sweetman, Bredan (2007) Religion, Key Concepts in Philosophy, New York: Continuum Taylor, Charles (2007) A Secular Age, The Belnap Press of Harvard University
Thompson, Mel (2007) Teach Yourself philosophy of Religion New York: McGraw Hill
Vosper, Gretta(2008) With or Without God, Why the Way we Live Is More Important Than What We Believe, Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers
WSebb, Jeffrey B. The Com[plete Idiot's Guide to Exploring God, New York: Alpha
Wright, Robert (2009) The Evolution of God, New York: Little Brown and Company

Freedom and responsibility

Bok, Hilary (1998) Freedom an Responsibility, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Further Reading

Bailey, Andrew 2004 Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy, Vol III God, Mind, and Freedom
Bok, Hilary (1998) Freedom an Responsibility Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Davies, Paul (1992) The Mind of God, The Scientific Basis for A rational World, New York: Simon & Schuster
Dawkins, Richard (2006) The God Delusion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company
Dennett, Daniel C (2006) Breaking the Spell, New York: Penguin Books
Comte-Sponville, Andre (2001) A Smallt Treatise on Great Virtues, New York: Henry Holt and Company
Hunnex, Milton D (1986) Chronological and Thematic Charts of Philosophies & Philosophers, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House
James, William (1963) Pragmatism and Other Essays, New York: Washington Square Press MacQuarrie, John (1967) God Talk, An Examination of the Language and Logic of Theology, New York: The Seabury Press
Maslow, Abraham H. (1970) Religious, Values and Peak-Experiences, New York: Penguin Books
Poole, Michael (1990) Science and Belief, Oxford: Lion Publishing
Taylor, Charles (2007) A Secular Age, The Belnap Press of Harvard University
Vosper, Gretta(2008) With or Without God, Why the Way we Live Is More Important Than What We Believe, Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers
Whiteley, C.H. (1950) An Introduction to Metaphysics London: Methuen
Wright, Robert (2009) The Evolution of God, New York: Little, Brown and Company

Science

-Theories of the Nature of Physical Reality- Matter and Energy

 

Classical/Newtonian Physics

Five Principles:

1. All Physical realties are explainable in terms of atomic matter in motion.(Materialism)
2. Causality all occurrence are the necessary consequences of antecedent events.
3. Natural laws are the same for all aspects and all locations of physical reality.
4. All differences are essentially quantification and therefore theoretically measurable: science is written in mathematical language.
5. Neither mass nor energy is created or destroyed: Principle of conservation

F=ma

Four Forces

First philosophers and subsequently scientist beleived that all thatcan be reduced to smaller entities that are the bulding blocks of more complex entities. The dividing line between what is or someday can be observed and hence the subject of science and that which can not and hence part of speculative philosopht has changed over the course of time.

Four forces have been named and generaly accepted as Gravity (G), Electro-magnnetic E or EM, a Strong nuclear S and a wrek nuclera W. Compond. All matter is beleived to be compounds or elements, the compounds of which consist of elements combined by the Strong and weak nuclear forces. The elements consist of submolecular particles consisting of protons, neutrons and electrons and other identified sub molecular entities. all such submolecular entities consist of quarks which in turn ate beleived to be constructed of even smaller entities the base of which one theories string theory holds are vibrating "strings".

Relativity Theories

In the early part of the 20th century Einstein was able to relate matter to energy by the somewhat famours equation, E= MC2. According to this theory there existed 3 dimentions of space and one of time. Light was a electromannetioc force which travel at a constant speed everty where in the universe.

Cosmology