Is philosophy “metaphysics”? Aristotle: I didn’t say so.

what is true Metaphysics?

(1) Aristotle does not know “metaphysics”?

P > Let us begin with the founder of metaphysics, Aristotle (died 322 BC), one of the greatest philosophers of ancient Greece, and his teacher, Plato (died 348 BC or 347 BC), both as “the father of Western philosophy”.

As a discipline, metaphysics was originally constructed by Aristotle in a Book of fourteen volumes.

Although Aristotle created the subject in substance, he never used the term “metaphysics” to refer to it.

The four words Aristotle used were “first philosophy”, “first science”, “wisdom” and “theology”.

In other words, Aristotle himself did not know what metaphysics (whether in Chinese or English or other languages) meant.

(two) “metaphysics” and “after physics”

The word “metaphysics” was originally used by Aristotle’s compilers to name the work.

The word “metaphysics” literally means “after the < EM > Physics .

The use of this word by the editor of

may simply mean that the work is arranged in a sequence that follows Physics. Students should study In & lt; Physics & gt; After that, metaphysics.

(but many students who study metaphysics, for example, I have not read physics completely).

After that, philosophers began to use the word “metaphysics” to refer to the discipline Aristotle founded.

“P > Although sometimes other names such as”First Philosophy”and”Theology”are used, metaphysics is more commonly used.

(three) “metaphysics” and “Daoism”

P > Let’s talk about the Chinese word “metaphysics” and the appropriateness of using the word “metaphysics” to translate Aristotle’s “metaphysics”.

The word “metaphysics” derives from Chapter 12 of the Book of Changes, which states that “the metaphysical means the way and the metaphysical means the instrument.”

< p > then, “metaphysics”, if understood only in Chinese, should be “Taoism” (as opposed to “instrumentalism”), that is, “the study of intangible, immaterial, and things that can be used as rules or criteria”.

, however, the metaphysics created by Aristotle is far from “Daoism”.

Although “metaphysics” is a gorgeous and earthly translation, it is also a misleading one. Because the word “metaphysics” has so strong an inherent connotation of Chinese philosophy that it is difficult to impose other connotations on it.

(four) what is Metaphysics?

, what exactly is the metaphysics created by Aristotle?

, in fact, this is one of the most difficult philosophical questions to answer.

Aristotle himself has ambiguous interpretations of metaphysical objects.

Sometimes he says that the object is “being qua being” and sometimes the object is “first causes and principles”.

Perhaps the clearest definition of the object of metaphysics in

was proposed by Ibn Sina, the most famous Arab philosopher of the Middle Ages (Latin name “Avicenna”, died in 1037).

The importance of

Ibn Sina can be summed up in one sentence:

P > Before Ibn Sina, medieval Arab philosophers read Aristotle; but after Ibn Sina, medieval Arab philosophers read only Ibn Sina.

according to Ibn Sina, a subject must have its object as well as its purpose.

The object of < p > as the starting point of the discipline, its existence should be beyond doubt; the purpose, as the end point of the discipline, its existence needs to be established.

The object of metaphysics is the existent qua existent, which studies everything about the existence, and the purpose of metaphysics is the first priniple, which tries to prove the existence of the first primitive.

Therefore, metaphysics is “ontology” in terms of object and “theology” in terms of purpose.

< p > then, what is “being as being” and whether it is some mysterious and mysterious thing?

P > “Being as being” has no mystery, it refers to all things that exist, all beings.

The study object of

metaphysics is all beings.

< p > All Sciences also study the existence, but all sciences study only a certain part of the existence, not all the existence.

For example, mathematical research “as the existence of number and quantity”, physical research “as the existence of matter and motion changes”, biological research “as the existence of life and living organisms”, and so on.

< p > then, we should have a discipline that studies all beings at the same time, not just a part of them.

at the same time, we examine the classification, structure, relationship and so on.

The discipline of

is metaphysics.

therefore, metaphysics is an extensive subject.

< p > If thinking about the infinite universe makes you feel dizzy, then thinking about metaphysics should only be stronger.

< p > If you’re already interested in metaphysics and looking for a book or article (see Extended Reading at the end),

(though it’s hard to read…)

so congratulations, your half foot has entered the real philosophy hall.

in short, we need to know about true metaphysics as follows:

P > (1) metaphysics was essentially created by Aristotle, but the name “metaphysics” was given by the compilers of his works.

P > (2) “metaphysics” is not an ideal translation of Aristotle’s “metaphysics” in Chinese, because “metaphysics” is far from “Taoism” in Chinese philosophy.

< p > (3) “metaphysics” is the study of “being as being” and “all being”; while all sciences study only a certain part of being.

extended reading:

Peter van Inwagen & amp; Meghan Sullivan,’Metaphysics’, 2014: a href =’https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/’> https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/.Marc Cohen, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, 2016: a href = “https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/\SubjMattArisMeta”>https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/jMattArisMeta.

Stephen Mumford, Metaphysics:A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2012.

Olga Lizzini, Ibn Sina’s Metaphysics, 2015: a href = “https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ibn-sina-metaphysics/\MetBetOntThe”>https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ibn-sina-metaphysics/MetBetOntThe.

(the original picture has been omitted. The full version is shown in the WeChat public number “zhe yuan”)

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