Four Theoretical Approaches to Metaphysics—Dualism, Materialism, Idealism, and Alternative Views

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Resource: Writing Wizard at the Center for Writing Excellence; Chapter Six of Philosophy: The Power of Ideas

Four theoretical approaches to metaphysics—Dualism, Materialism, Idealism, and Alternative Views (i.e., double aspect theory)—are competing for the right to claim that they are the correct metaphysical view.

Select one of these theories and construct the strongest possible argument on its behalf in an essay of 700-1400 words.

In your paper, acknowledge and describe the other positions, but present convincing evidence as to why your position is superior. Offer refutations of the other theories.

Include at least one direct quotation from the text.

There are four theoretical approaches to the metaphysics and they include Dualism and the theory that what exists on can do so on two levels the physical or the mental. The next approach is Materialism which theorizes that everything exists on a physical level. Then there is the Idealism approach which states that everything that exists is mental or spiritual. Finally, there is Alternative Views which theorizes that what exists in neither mental nor spiritual but believed that what exists is both, which means that what exists is neutral.

In the Materialism theory of metaphysics it is said that everything is made of some kind of structure that are now called atoms. These atoms are governed entirely by physical laws and are thought to make up everything that we know and see. There were and are still many men in the scientific community that feel this way, but the most pronounced one was named Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes implied “clearly that all things are made of material particles and that all change reduces to motion.” (cite) His theory states that everything is matter in motion to include an individual’s thought process. Hobbes goes into detail about how this process works and called it perception or sense. His way of describing it is the fact that things have different properties and that the properties do not really exist. The properties of an object are based on what we perceive them to be. We perceive a rose to be beautiful, smell nice, and have red pedals. Those properties according to Hobbes are all based on perception and the rose does not actually have any of these traits.

“The things that really are in the world outside us are those motions by which these seemings are caused.” (cite) Hobbes describes perception as motion from the outside effects the motion of the inside of a person. The motion on the outside affected the motion on the inside and leaves a lasting effect after the motion is complete or dispersed then the motion that remains behind on the inside is left as a memory. The motion that is still on the inside is a perception and in turn is the root cause for thinking, imagination, and memory. As humans we describe this reaction by assigning words to these perceptions and Hobbes labeled that as reasoning. The way that people reason is nothing sort of “adding and subtracting of the consequences of general names.” (cite) The easiest way that this can be explained would be to refer it to a computer. The hard drive is considered as the movement on the inside and the keyboard and mouse as the outside. The hard drive is made up of a disk and magnet and works by taking the disc and spinning is around at a rapid pace. Next the magnet is moved around to encode the data to the hard drive. This whole process is done through movement and if stationary there is nothing that can be done to retrieve or store information. First to store or retrieve information an external source of movement needs to happen. Movement from the outside was represented as a keyboard and mouse. The keyboard and mouse which is movement from the outside affects the hard drive which is the movement from the inside and vice versa. Now that movement has been represented the reasoning of information needs to be considered. Now we understand what movement...
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