INTRODUCTION: every discipline as a root thus Metaphysics is not an exempt, it has a long history, it began in the ancient time and span through the history of philosophy as a matter of fact metaphysics is the oldest branch of philosophy according to Ayo Fadaunsi he says in reviewing the thoughts of earlier thinkers- Aristotle in his book Metaphysics distinguishes sharply between those who like Hesiod wrote of concerning the gods and those who coming later addresses themselves with the study of nature ARISTOTLE’S NOTION OF BEINGAristotle is one of the Philosophers who lived in the Socrates era, the ancient period, he was born in Stageira in 384 B.
C. the examination of the principles that are common foundation for every science are what Aristotle called first philosophy. The most complete discussion of this topic is in his book Metaphysics. Aristotle’s work called first philosophy was later recoiled by Andronicles of Rhodes to what is called Metaphysics, which means beyond physical.
We shall therefore make an attempt to discuss of Aristotle’s metaphysical thoughts which are made explicit in this thought: (i) Aristotle’s criticisms on platonic forms (ii) Substance and reality (iii) Matter and form (iv) Potentiality and actuality (v) Cause and effect (vi) Notion of Being ARISTOTLE’S CRITICISIMS ON THE PLATONIC FORMS: Aristotle rejected Plato’s idea on the Platonic world of forms. Plato said that they two different worlds, namely world of form is the ideal which means that things we experience in this material world are the reproduce of the things in the world of from. Although, Aristotle shears Plato’s view that the objects of true knowledge are the essence of things, but these are not separate entities existing separately from the things themselves of which they are the essences. Plato also said that, there two separate worlds, material world and the world of form, he holds that this world of form is non-physical, unchanging, eternal and can only be known by reason while the material world refers to the world of our everyday experience which is constantly changing and can be known through the senses. Aristotle, therefore refused the world of form (ideas) but agreed with the material world because, the material world amount to knowledge, why the world form is vice-visa. Aristotle than gave anti-teases against the platonic world of Forms (ideas) that: (i) The forms are useless because it does not add anything to reality and lacks explanatory power, (ii) and that the forms cannot explain the changes of the reality of things in world, the changes in the movement of things, (iii) also forms cannot be the essence of things if they are separated from it. (iv) particulars cannot participate in the forms, (v) finally, he gave the third man argument saying that Plato created a problem of multiplicity whereby to explain anything in the world of form another thing is needed to explain and this continues like that. SUBSTANCE AND REALITY: Aristotle point of view is that for realities, there must be a substance. Substance is a combination of two Latin words, Sub meaning Under and Stance meaning stand, putting these words together can be said to be standing under, therefore the concern is what is standing under a particular thing that makes it exist. This can also be seen in the case of the Ionian Philosophers who were concerned about the substance of the universe, what is standing under the universe to making it what it is, where one of them, Thales assert that Water is the original element of which all things in the cosmos exist; water is the underlying unity in all things. He also asserts that what brought about substance is matter and form, and reality can change, with the factors responsible for this change is as a result of Cause and Effect. MATTER AND FORM: All material being have matter and form, form is that shape which makes a thing what it is while matter is the stuff of which it is made of, matter and form are entwined, so they cannot exist without each other. These two aspects of individual substance can be captured by the notions of form and matter. The form is the identity of a particular class of an object; the form cannot exist without the matter. The forms constitutes an object’s essence for instance if wood receives the form of a chair, it becomes a chair; also if iron receives the form of a cutllass, it becomes a cutlass, etc. Therefore, it is the form which a particular thing takes is what it becomes. POTENCY AND ACT: According to Aristotle, all material is made up of both potency and act. Potency is the capacity of a thing to become what it is, the possibility to develop or change into another thing , while Act is the end of potentiality, which means that it is what potency turns out to be. For instance, an egg laid by a hen is at potency and becomes an act when it becomes a chick. The change from the state of potency to the state of act is a process of development of a being CAUSE AND EFFECT: Cause and Effect happens due to change, for Aristotle there are four elements need to understand what change is which he puts as causes which are four in kinds. They are: (i)Material cause: this is the original stuff in which something is made of, for example, a table is made out of wood, a gate is made out of iron and so on, (ii) Efficient cause: this is regarded as efforts which is put into being to make something a reality, that is, the maker of that thing, for instance, a chair is by a carpenter. (iii) Formal cause: this is the form or shape that differentiates the thing from others. (iv) Final cause: this is the purpose, importance or goal of all change, the objectivity of which the something is made, that is, the end product or view. THE NOTION OF BEING: RENE DESCARTES NOTION OF METAPHYSICSRen© Descartes was born on March 31, 1596 in La Haye, France. Descartes who is the father of modern philosophy, was extensively educated at a Jesuit college, through which he became a mathematician and logician. Descartes sought to lay a new foundation for philosophy through his mathematical method. Due to his mathematical method he set aside philosophical confusion and uncertainties of the past. This approach incorporated the contemplation of the nature of existence and of knowledge itself, hence his most famous dictum, I think; therefore I am Descartes is considered by many to be the father of modern philosophy, because his ideas departed widely from current understanding in the early 17th century.Ren© Descartes made a turn from what exists to knowledge of what exists. He changed the emphasis from a study of being’ to a study of epistemology. Descartes began his metaphysics with the Mind, God and Mind-Body Problem.THE MIND (Cogito, ergo sum): Cogito, ergo sum is Latin expression coined by the French philosopher named Rene Descartes in his Discourse on Method. This expression translates I think, therefore I am , and this is what Descartes used as his first step in trying to establish absolute Certainty. Just as Descartes argued in the second of his six Meditation on first philosophy that the statement is indubitable, because even if an all-powerful demon were to try to deceive him into thinking that he exist when he does not, he would have to exist in order for the demon to deceive him. This is reflected in the second Meditation where the intuitively grasped truth of I exist occurs. Imagination is a thousand times more powerful than intelligence says Albert Einstein. One can infer from this statement that whatever we think, is what we are, in other words with our thoughts, we create our own existence’ because our thoughts drives our beliefs. Beliefs are product of a collection of thoughts that are considered conclusive in our mind. If each Nigerian can think of Nigeria to be great and successful that is what Nigeria will be or what Nigeria will become in time. And if anybody is consistently unconscious of all of all the for-mentioned things then it is impossible to actually have a perception of the self. However the rock-solid foundation Descartes has been looking for is found in the preposition I am, I exist, accordingly, every time he assert, I am thinking , he must assert the I, from his dictum Cogito, ergo sum , he necessarily must assert the existence of the self who is doing the thinking. GOD: Through the ages, several arguments have been made to prove the existence of God. Descartes in his philosophy doubted everything to do with the external world, though he affirmed his own existence because he was thinking.The question now is, on what philosophical ground did Descartes believe in God? If one is alert to the fact that one doubts, he said, one is aware of imperfection. We come to realize our imperfections as soon as we make mistakes, from this we can infer that being aware of perfection implies the idea of perfection. The idea of perfection could not have its origin in an imperfect being, but only an infinite and perfect being could cause there idea of perfection this idea originally is from St. Anselm in his book, Proslogion, that is existence is an essential part of perfection. Descartes reformed it and gave it his own idea on God’s perfection rather than his greatness, through his 3rd Meditation, and it goes thus:God is an Infinitely perfect being. This means that hehas all perfection. Now, existence is a perfection. SinceGod has all perfections, it follows that he has existence,which means that he exist. Therefore God necessarily exist. This thought was critiqued by Kant. Kant believes that Descartes is confusing essence with existence when Descartes claimed that existence is perfection. Kant who objected to existence being considered as perfection argued that existence is an integral part of the concept of a being, so that if the concept of existence were taken away from the concept of any being, the whole concept of being would itself be taken away along with that of existence. And to add the concept of existence to that of a being is to add to nothing. From this statement one can infer that Concept of being cannot be separated from that of existence.MIND AND BODY RELATION: Descartes has now rescued himself from skepticism and has satisfied himself absolutely that the self, things, and God exist and came to the conclusion that things and things that are extended, that have dimension. Since a person has both the mind and body and now left with the problem of determining how the mind and body are related. Descartes thought in the in the direction of dualism (the notion that they are two different kinds of substance in nature), that is the spiritual (mind) and the physical (body) substance and these two substance have their own distinct attributes namely; thought and extension . He sees substance as an existence which requires nothing but itself in order to exist. Since the mind and the body are two substances that implies that they are both independent substance and distinct from each other. Is there any interaction between the two? To understand the mind we need not reference the body and the other way round. The mind is a spiritual substance and the essence is thinking while the body is a material substance the essence of which is essentially extension . Descartes explains this by saying:For that if they not the case, when the body is hurt,I, who am merely a thinking being would not feel Pain, for I should perceive this wound by the Understanding only just as the sailor perceives bySight when something is damage in his vessel. He admits that although they are two separate and distinct substances they however interact. He asserts that man who is essentially a thinking being has a body that is not part of his essence and that there is an interaction between the mind and the body in the pineal gland which is situated in the inner most part of the brain, which explains why we feel pain when hurt, the body influences the mind and the mind also influences and moves the body.