Explore BrainMass


For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?

George Orwell, 19841

What exists? How do we know that this exists? Metaphysics in philosophy is concerned with explaining the nature of existence, the world, and the universe. Ontology discusses the basics of “being” and how the categories of being relate to each other. Cosmology studies the origin, fundamental structure, nature, and dynamics of the universe.

In addition to considering whether reality exists, metaphysicists may study determinism and free will, the concept of identity, and religion.

There are many different ways to study metaphysics, developed over the many years since Thales of Miletus, who believed in a first cause (that he called the 'Arche') through which all things followed.

A few examples include:

  1. Rational versus empirical. Rationalists use a priori reasoning while Empiricists use their senses to understand the world.
  2. Analytical versus systemic. The systemic view believes in a unified theory of everything – that all parts can explain the whole, whereas the analytical view considers each part by itself.
  3. Dogmatic versus critical. Dogmatic study requires that certain concepts not be challenged, usually because of religious traditions.  A critical approach allows for all topics and views to be considered on their merits alone.



1. Orwell, G., (1949). 1984. 1st ed. London, England: Secker & Warburg.

Categories within Metaphysics

Determinism & Free Will

Postings: 20

Determinism is the belief that all actions and events are the result of previous actions and events. Free will is the belief in choice.

Human & Artificial Intelligence

Postings: 6

Intelligence is the capacity to learn from experience, adapt to different contexts, and the use of metacognition to enhance learning.

Buddhism and Suffering

So the Buddha said that all life is suffering. Does this mean we are miserable all the time? How does he explain our moments of joy? I'm not clear on that. If not—if we are sometimes happy—then how can he say that "all life is suffering?" Please help me understand this. Thanks

Tolstoy and Descartes: Illych's Dualism

I have to write a report and this is the last section. I need 3-4 paragraphs for this section and I have only 2. I wrote about the obvious.. that Ivan was questioning the meaning of life because he lived so well yet was miserable, and lived for himself which in the end he understood that was not living. Can someone help with an

Meaning of life

What is the meaning of life? This is, surely, the ultimate philosophical question. We are here. We spend our days making a living, having a little fun and feeling some pain, meeting people with backgrounds different from our own, caring for some of them, and loving a few. Then we die. How can we make sense of all this? What make

Comparing and Contrasting Viewpoints of Reality

This discussion is comparing and contrasting the rationalist, empiricist, scholastic, and associationist viewpoints of reality and describing how they interpret reality. 1) What are your thoughts on the content of this discussion below. How does this person interpret reality? Do you agree or disagree? There are many diff

Developing a Philosophy

Develop a philosophy. It should contain: A. An introduction and thesis B. Body: metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and praxis C. Conclusion: TAR the text

Epistemological Perspective

This is a question in preparation for my dissertation: What is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? How do we know what we know? Is it possible to have knowledge at all? In what ways does the choice of an epistemological perspective or stance influence the formulation of a management research problem?

Basic assumptions in Plato's Allegory of the Cave are demonstrated.

Locate and give a synopsis in an article published in the last 5 years that discusses a philosopher or a school of philosophy. What were the basic assumptions? Do these basic assumptions align with your values? If you look at your religious or spiritual views as a philosophy of life, do the basic assumptions of your views coinci

Plato's cave, the Five of Aquinas and existentialism

1. Summarize Plato's story of the Cave. (Found in the Republic) 2. Explain the Five of Aquinas. 3. Discuss Existentialism, noting 3 major Philosophers who subscribed to the view. (Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger,Jean Paul Sartre). I have the Big Questions by Robert Solomon textbook.

Pre-Socratic philosophers are summarized.

Please assist with the following: Based on Aristotle's science of the first philosophy, analyze how Aristotle's metaphysics may guide contemporary people to knowledge about the world. Briefly evaluate how you use either or both of the methods in your own life. Briefly explain how Plato and Aristotle built on pre-Socra

Example of the law of noncontraction

I need help on the law of non-contraction exploring a personal daily struggle and the challenges posted to my beliefs and decisions. I am trying to understand the law so I can write about a personal daily struggle that is an example of this law of non-contradiction.

Star Trek/Metaphysics

Any ideas or thoughts on this would be appreciated. I've read the textbook and am just overwhelmed with all the information. I'm just not sure how to get started. Science fiction literature often raises philosophical issues and is a great source for philosophical speculation. This is especially true for the mind/body proble

Using a Philosophical Mindset

I've learned today about a Philosophical Mindset which is: PHILOSOPHICAL MINDSET: An attitude or approach to life that involves the critical examination of beliefs to ascertain what they mean, if they are true, and what value they have. I have to elaborate using a philosophical mindset on the following chosen sentence:

Plato's allegory of the cave

8. In Plato's allegory of the cave, you encounter one of the most powerful philosophical ways to deal with the problem of reality. Give a brief account of the allegory, explaining the main symbols and their meanings. Explain how this allegory allows you to deal with problem of reality, and develop your own interpretation of this