Metaphysics as the First Philosophy
- 222 Downloads
Aristotle talks about “the first philosophy” throughout Metaphysics — and it is metaphysics that Aristotle considers to be the first philosophy — but he never makes it entirely clear what first philosophy consists of. What he does make clear is that the first philosophy is not to be understood as a collection of topics that should be studied in advance of any other topics. In fact, Aristotle seems to have thought that the topics of Metaphysics are to be studied after those in Physics (Cohen 2009). In what sense could metaphysics be the first philosophy? Let me take the liberty of applying the technical jargon of contemporary metaphysics to answer: The first philosophy is an account of what is, or what it means to be, fundamental. Things that are the most fundamental are not grounded in anything more fundamental, they are ontologically independent. This does not necessarily mean that first philosophy attempts to list the most fundamental things, although this could be a part of the discipline. Rather, the study of fundamentality focuses on giving an account of what it is for something to be fundamental. So, first philosophy studies a certain type of being — the fundamental type, and it may also involve an account of which (kind of) things are, or could be, fundamental.
KeywordsHiggs Boson Higgs Field Persistence Condition Modal Truth Posterior Analytics
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- J. Barnes (ed.) 1984. The Complete Works of Aristotle, The Revised Oxford Translation (Princeton: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
- D. Charles. 2000. Aristotle on Meaning and Essence (Oxford: Clarendon Press).Google Scholar
- — forthcoming. “Substance and Independence in Aristotle,” in B. Schnieder, A. Steinberg and M. Hoeltje (eds), Ontological Dependence, Supervenience, and Response-Dependence, Basic Philosophical Concepts Series (Munich: Philosophia Verlag).Google Scholar
- F. Correia and B. Schnieder. (eds.) 2012. Metaphysical Grounding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
- S. Dasgupta (ms.) “The Status of Ground,” draft of November 2011.Google Scholar
- — 1995a. “Ontological Dependence,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95: 269–90.Google Scholar
- — 1995b. “Senses of Essence,” in W. Sinnott-Armstrong, D. Raffman and N. Asher (eds), Modality, Morality, and Belief, Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). pp. 53–73.Google Scholar
- — 2012. “What is Metaphysics?” in T. E. Tahko (ed.) Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 8–25.Google Scholar
- G. Klima. 2002. “Contemporary ‘Essentialism’ vs. Aristotelian Essentialism” in J. Haldane (ed.) Mind, Metaphysics, and Value in the Thomistic and Analytical Traditions (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press), pp. 175–94.Google Scholar
- K. Koslicki. 2012a. “Essence, Necessity and Explanation” in T. E. Tahko (ed.) Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 187–206.Google Scholar
- — 2012b. “Varieties of Ontological Dependence” in F. Correia and B. Schnieder (eds), Metaphysical Grounding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
- — this volume. “Substance, Independence and Unity.”Google Scholar
- — forthcoming. “Grasp of Essences versus Intuitions: An Unequal Contest,” in T. Booth and D. Rowbottom (eds), Intuitions (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- T. Scaltsas. 1994. Substances and Universals in Aristotle’s “Metaphysics” (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar
- J. Schaffer. 2009. “On What Grounds What,” in D. Manley, D. J. Chalmers, and R. Wasserman (eds), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology (Oxford University Press), pp. 347–83.Google Scholar
- T. E. Tahko. 2012. “In Defence of Aristotelian Metaphysics,” in T. E. Tahko (ed.) Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 26–43.Google Scholar
- — (ms. A) “The Epistemology of Essence,” URL = http://www.ttatiko.net/papers/ epistofessence.pdf.
- — (ms. B) “Euclidean Geometry and the A Priori,” URL = http://www.ttahko.net/papers/euclid.pdf.
- M. V. Wedin. 2000. Aristotle’s Theory of Substance (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- C. Witt. 1989. Substance and Essence in Aristotle (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar