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Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy responsible for the study of existence. It is the foundation of a worldview. It answers the question "What is?

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It says whether the world is real, or merely an illusion. It is a fundamental view of the world around us. Metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy. Without an explanation or an interpretation of the world around us, we would be helpless to deal with reality. Since the Metaphysics is about principles of action and the earlier works put forward various versions of the principle of justification of principles of action i. First, an interpreter needs to be clear whether the fundamental principles of right and virtue are derived from or justified by the imperative; or whether they are, or can be seen as, relatively independent from it.

According to the textbook interpretation, Kant believed that the imperative can by itself answer all central questions about morals. The Metaphysics , by contrast, suggests that the imperative is one, although central, among many elements of moral thinking.

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The seventeen essays collected in the book can be divided into two large groups. The topics of most other essays are related to the fundamental question of practical deliberation and motivation. In my presentation of the essays, I shall follow this leading theme, diverging from their order in the book, where they are organized according to the sequence of topics in the Metaphysics. This claim is the subject matter of the next three essays.

Thomas W. This analysis generates rules of interaction of beings each of whom has an interest in the greatest possible freedom.

An Essay in Metaphysics

Guyer convincingly argues that the analyticity of a proposition does not imply that it does not need justification or derivation. The logical correctness of an argument does not prove the objective reality of what is proven. Now, Duns Scotus was willing to agree that Aristotle correctly described our present way of knowing, but he did contest that he had said the last word on the subject and that he had sufficiently explained what is in full right the object of our knowledge. Ignorant of Revelation, Aristotle did not realise that Man is now in a fallen state and that he was describing the knowledge, not of an integral Man, but one whose mode of knowing was radically altered by original sin.

Category: Metaphysics

Ignorance of this fact is understandable in Aristotle, but it must have seemed inexcusable in a Christian theologian like Thomas Aquinas. The Christian, Scotus argues, cannot take Man's state as his natural one, nor, as a consequence, the present servitude of his intellect to the senses and sensible things as natural to him. We know from Revelation that Man is destined to see God face-to-face.

This would be impossible to achieve is the material object of Man's knowledge was restricted to the essences of material things, for God is not contained within their scope. To be open to the vision of God, the intellect must have an object broad enough to include Him, and the only one that satisfies this condition is Being ousias.

Being, therefore, in its full indetermination to material and immaterial things is the first and adequate object of the intellect. When as a theologian Duns Scotus made this decision, he was not only assuring the human intellect's capacity for the beatific vision; he was also making metaphysics as a science possible by marking out its proper object.

Natural philosophy moves in the realm of finite mobile being and theology in that of infinite being.

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Metaphysics, on the other hand, has for its object being as being, or the pure undetermined nature of being. For Scotus this is not a logical universe. It is a reality, and the most common of all. Taken simply in itself, the notion of being abstracts from all the differences of beings. That is why it is, for the metaphysician, univocal, having one and the same meaning when applied to all things. Only in its finite and infinite modes is being analogical. Being has, consequently, a univocity in Duns Scotus which is not found in Thomas Aquinas. For Thomas did not treat of being as if it were a nature or essence; rather it was for him that which is, at whose centre is an act of existing.

The Rational and the Real: An Essay in Metaphysics

And since every act of existing is irreducible to every other, there is a radical otherness in every being which the work of abstraction can never erase. That is why in the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas being is, for the metaphysician, not a univocal, but an analogical, concept.

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It was the Arabian philosopher, Avicenna, who taught Scotus to conceive of every essence in an absolute state, natura tantum, and at the same time suggested to him his solution of the classic problem of universals. The Scotist nature, like the Avicennian, is simply what the definition of it signifies. Now, neither individuality nor universality is included within thje definition of any nature. When, for example, I define 'humanity' I mention its essential parts, 'animality' and 'rationality', but I do not see whether it is individual or universal.

Indeed, in itself, it is entirely indifferent to being one or the other or both at the same time.

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  • It can be individual in real existence and universal in mind and still remain basically the same nature, for these modalities are entirely accidental to it. Suppose that the nature were of itself universal. Then it could never be individual; but as a matter of fact it is individual in the world of existing things.