Metaphysics: Ontology: Dualism vs. Materialism

Topics: Ontology, Metaphysics, Mind Pages: 6 (2086 words) Published: November 3, 2014
METAPHYSICS: ONTOLOGY: DUALISM VS. MATERIALISM

The original idea of the word 'philosophy' was a 'love of wisdom' (Cowan 2). Philosophy is meant to explore the 'big questions' and try to find answers as best we can in the time we have been given. One of the areas of study in philosophy is metaphysics, which deals in the ideas of the nature of reality. "We look at the world, and we assume that it is the way it appears to be. It is not." (Carreira 7). There is much to reality that can be discussed, debated, and disagreed upon. Within metaphysics is the realm of ontology, which poses the question 'what is there?' (Cowan 146). Two of the major views in ontology are Dualism and Materialism, both of which deal with the nature of the world. Between the two ontological arguments, Dualism and Materialism, Dualism is the superior view as it explains many aspects of our world that materialism does not. Metaphysics is a very complex area of study and requires a bit of a background to fully understand the ontological arguments being presented.

Metaphysics is the study of understanding what is real. There are many subcategories found within metaphysics, from the nature of human beings to the reality of truth. Francisco Suarez argued that metaphysics is the study of not just being, but _real_ being. He also posed that there is an overarching, abstract concept of being that applies to all beings. There is no difference in "Peter being and being Peter" (Kenny 637). All of this falls into the category of metaphysics. What is the world comprised of? Is this world that we can see, taste, touch and smell even real? There are arguments against the study of metaphysics. They contend that actual metaphysical knowledge cannot be gained. The two main arguments against metaphysics are Kant's "Copernican Revolution" and logical positivism.

Both of the arguments placed against metaphysics hold to some form of the argument that metaphysical knowledge cannot truly be gained. Kant argues that reality is separated into two worlds, one that we are able to perceive and a second that we cannot. Logical positivism poses that the only knowledge and information that is meaningful is verifiable, at least in principle. These two arguments, while they oppose the field of metaphysics, do have pitfalls of their own that keep them from completely blocking the possibility of metaphysics (Cowan 147-152).

Kant's "Copernican Revolution" consists of the argument that there are two worlds that comprise our reality. The first is the 'phenomenal' world, the world we are able to see, taste, touch, smell, and hear. The world we comprehend and understand. The second is the world of 'noumenal' world, the 'real' world that we cannot really understand and comprehend (Cowan 149). He has divided the world into a world of senses and a world of intellect, claiming that the world of the 'noumenal' is not accessible by either (Kenny 621). If we cannot gain knowledge of this 'noumenal' world than we cannot really gain any metaphysical knowledge. There are of course fallacies and problems with the Kant's "Copernican Revolution" argument.

It is posed that Kant's distinction between these two worlds he has presented is self-defeating. "Kant attributes properties to the noumena such as being atemporal and nonspatial. But, if Kant's view were true, these properties would not apply. Rather, Plantinga shows that, on Kant's view, "the noumena would have to drop out altogether, so that all that there is is what has been structured or made by us. The idea that there might be reality beyond what we ourselves have constructed out of experience would not be much as thinkable."" (Cowan 150). This could lead to radical relativism and antirealism, basically, the world we perceive would be something that is built by our own minds and reality is defined by what is real to you. This creates the possibility of contradictory realities and even the idea that no one besides oneself exists as they...

Bibliography: Carreira, Jeff. _Philosophy Is Not a Luxury_. N.p.: n.p., n.d. _Philosophy Is Not A Luxury_. Web.
Cowan, Steven B., and James S. Spiegel. _The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy / Steven B. Cowan, James S. Spiegel_. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2009. Print.
Kenny, Anthony. _A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts_. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
_The Holy Bible: New International Version, Containing the Old Testament and the New Testament_. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Bible, 1978. Print.
White, John. "The Enduring Problem of Dualism: Christianity and Sports." _Implicit Religion_ 15.2 (2012): 225-41. Web.
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