The Metaphysics (Great Books in Philosophy) (Paperback)
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Metaphysics is the study of existence at the highest level of generality. It is traditionally characterised as the study of "being qua being" - of being in general rather than specifically of this or that sort. Accordingly, the salient task of the field is to achieve a clearer understanding of the concepts and principles of being, existence, and reality. As such, metaphysics has been an established sector of philosophy since the time of Aristotle's initial systematisation of the subject in the fourth century B.C.E.In line with tradition, distinguished philosopher Nicholas Rescher presents key topics that have always figured on the agenda of metaphysics: the nature and rationale of existence, the differentiation of what is actual from the unreal and mere possibility, and the prospects and limits of our knowledge of the real. Though a work of philosophical sophistication and logical rigour, "Metaphysics" displays a clarity of exposition that makes it suitable for use as a text or supplementary reader in upper-class undergraduate and graduate philosophy courses.
About the Author
ARISTOTLE was born in the northern Greek town of Stagira in 384 B.C.E., where his father was the personal physician to the great-grandfather of Alexander the Great. At the age of eighteen Aristotle entered Plato's Academy and soon became recognized as its most important student. He remained under Plato's tutelage for nearly twenty years.
After his teacher's death in 347 B.C.E., Aristotle cultivated associations with other Academy students throughout Greece and Asia Minor. Then in 342 B.C.E., Aristotle was asked by King Philip II of Macedonia to become the tutor for his young son Alexander, who was later to become the conqueror of much of the known world at that time. The young prince remained under Aristotle's supervision until 336 B.C.E., when he acceded to the throne after his father's death. Two years later Aristotle returned to Athens and founded his own school, which he called the Lyceum. This intellectual center flourished during the years when Alexander the Great ruled Greece as part of his large empire. But upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C.E., Aristotle was charged with impiety by Athenians who resented his associations with the Macedonian conqueror. Rather than risk the same fate as Plato's mentor, Socrates, Aristotle fled to the city of Chalcis, where he died in 322 B.C.E.
Aristotle's interests, like those of Plato, were diverse and his writing cast its shadow on many fields, including logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and the sciences. Among his most well-known works are: The Categories, The Prior and Posterior Analytics, The Physics, The Metaphysics, De Anima, The Nicomachean Ethics, and The Politics.