When the movie Independence Day came out in 1996, I wanted to work for the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). While I have never realized that dream, it did spark in me an extremely strong desire for knowledge and wisdom of pure science, which has evolved into an even greater desire to understand the fundamental properties of this universe. It’s ironic really, because, according to Philosophy: The Power of Ideas, Western philosophy began when Thales of Greece considered the possibility that there must be some “fundamental kind of stuff” everything in the universe is made of. (Moore 22) While Thales was on the right track, he was wrong to suggest that thing ...view middle of the document...
Regardless, the human race as a whole, is not much closer to finding this fundamental kind of stuff that makes up the universe. All we can say is that we have a formula describing the fundamental nature of the universe that is largely consistent with what we can observe, however, the theory, in its current form is unprovable, because it is untestable, for now. In order to test string theory, we would need to produce controllable energy in the range of 1.22 × 1019 giga-electron volts, about a quadrillion times more energy than the Large Hadron Collider can produce! Needless to say, philosophers everywhere can rejoice as they have plenty of time to ponder the nature of the universe before string theory can confirm it. I never considered myself a philosopher before taking a philosophy class, but now I do because of my deep passion for discovering the unknown wisdom and knowledge this universe is so cleverly hiding.
Without knowing, metaphysics has been something I’ve been deeply interested in all along. Metaphysics deals with two types of inquiries: What is the nature of being? And what is the ultimate nature of reality? The two questions seem similar, but the latter often provides answers with stark differences to what we observe in our everyday experiences.
The first few metaphysical philosophers, Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes only covered the first question by posing ideas like water, fire, and air as the basic fundamental materials that impose existence. The first one to get it mostly right, that is to say his theory was most similar to our current understanding of physical science, was Empedocles, who postulated the universe was comprised of basic material particles under the action of impersonal forces. (Moore 29) The Atomists, Leucippus and Democritus, expanded on this theory to say that these particles, or atoms, were infinitely numerous, eternally in motion, and combined with one another in various ways to comprise the objects we experience every day. (Moore 30)
Eventually, Plato would come along to describe existence as something more than just a physical reality with his Theory of Forms in which material objects derive their properties from a Form. In this theory, all physical objects also contain a property known as a Form, which is not in itself material or tangible, but gives us knowledge about the object (Moore 76). Aristotle greatly expanded on the works of Plato and it is from him that we get the term metaphysics (Moore 64).
Of all the metaphysical schools of thought, the one I tend to relate most closely with my view of the world is materialism, a view that only a physical world exists. Many philosophers would argue against me, stating that the mind is immaterial, but I disagree. I believe the entire universe is physical, even the parts we cannot see or detect. If it has gravity, than it must have mass, and if it has mass, than it must be physical. Idealists would greatly disagree,...