Metaphysics and Ontology RelationJune 28, 2021
The relationship between metaphysics and ontology will be discussed on the following basis: Metaphysics and ontology are two different terms expressing the same field. The thinker who first used the term metaphysics was Andronikos of Rhodes, who was also a student of Aristotle. While Andronikos was editing the writings of Aristotle in the 70s BC, his writings on nature were under the name of “Physics”; He also collected what he wrote about the first causes and principles of existence in the book titled “Metaphysics” (the one that came after Physics).
In this sense, metaphysics is rational explanations for supernatural problems. It deals with the first and last problems of philosophy such as existence or not, god, spirit, other world, immortality. Metaphysics is a field that investigates the actual existence, the actual existence behind the visible, the first causes and the first principles. According to Aristotle, who thinks about these issues; God is the first cause and the first mover of everything. The main element that separates the living from the inanimate is the spirit. The individual soul is mortal, the human soul is immortal. The purpose of existence in the universe is to reach God.
The first thinker to use the term ontology is Christian Wolff. Ontology, which means the science of being, is the branch of metaphysics that deals with being in general and proving existence. It is a branch of philosophy that deals with existence in terms of existence, deals with the basic properties of existence, investigates existence in an abstract way instead of investigating concrete existence, and investigates what existence is in terms of existence.
Being is in the field of metaphysics and ontology in philosophy. Ontology has taken the place of metaphysics, which investigates existence in philosophy, later. The term “ontology” is often used synonymously with the term “metaphysics”. The scope of metaphysics is wider than ontology.
Metaphysics is the discipline outside the sensory realm that deals with the principles behind reality.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN METAPHYSICS AND ONTOLOGY
In the 18th century, Kant brought heavy criticisms to metaphysics, especially about subjects such as god, soul, and the universe that transcend the field of experiment. According to him, one cannot make judgments about these objects on the basis of the concepts of the understanding. Because the concepts of understanding can only give valid information by experiment. Metaphysical concepts cannot be experienced, so metaphysics is not factual. For these reasons, metaphysics cannot give us accurate information. With these views, Kant attributed negative meanings to metaphysics.
In the 19th century, metaphysics reappeared on the stage of philosophy. In this century, philosophers such as G. Fichte (Fihte, 1762-1814), W. Schelling (fieling, 1775-1854), F. Hegel established metaphysical philosophy systems.
In the 20th century, N. Hartman (1882-1950) introduced a philosophy of being called “New Ontology”. With this view, Hartmann tried to end classical metaphysics. He tried to base ontology on empirical foundations and reconcile it with scientific knowledge. According to the new ontology understanding, being and being are the last things to exist, and one should not look for anything else behind them. It is necessary to make the studies on the phenomenon of existence by moving from the phenomena.
He made a great contribution to philosophy in the field of German philosophy, metaphysics and ontology.
Aristotle, in his metaphysics, dealt with a main problem of Greek philosophy, the problem that there should be a remaining entity with unity behind the variable multiplicity of appearances-phenomena, with the aforementioned questioning thought and solved it with the concept of development.
In the closest period, Democritus and Plato tried to determine the concept of real existence: According to Democritus, real existence is atoms and their movement; According to Plato, ideas are the cause of phenomena. But Plato distinguished between ideas and phenomena with strict boundaries. For Aristotle, the real being is the essence (ousia, essentia) that develops within the phenomena. With this understanding, Aristotle no longer accepts a second superior world separate from phenomena; the conceptually known existence of objects is not a separate reality outside the phenomena, it is the self-actualizing essence within the phenomena; essence (ousia) is the being that has always been; essence is the sole support of its embodiments, but in these embodiments it is something real, and all phenomena are realizations of essence.
Here, Aristotle transcended the correspondence between Heraclitus and Elea metaphysics with this concept of development. Aristotle was, in a way, solving a major problem of Greek philosophy. Being is here conceived as being out of itself can be explained. All the elements of Greek philosophy, from the hylozoism of the Milesians to Democritus and Plato, are gathered together in this teaching of Aristotle. The being known in the concept is the general essence; this essence realizes its possibility in its appearances because of the form, this realization is movement (kinesis). Accordingly, being is what has occurred in becoming; is what has happened.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook