David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Foundations of Science 13 (3-4):217-228 (2008)
Before beginning a paper on metaphysics, it is wise to acknowledge the paper’s own “metaphysical” assumptions. In what follows, we must bear in mind that the history of philosophy is as interpretively diverse as it is long. We will begin with the premise that Metaphysics is indeed a foundational science. We will posit that Aristotle’s corpus is unified; that is, that Aristotle can be read as a “systematic” philosopher. Moreover, we will assume that the history of philosophy is itself a unity. If we posit such, “philosophy” can be read as a comprehensible continuity: a certainly contestable position. We must bear in mind that similitude is decidedly not identity; however, similitude does imply a certain conceptual correlation, one which, when pressed, may yield interesting, if not unexpected, results. Thus, we will travel at lightning speed through what took a snail’s pace to develop, “mapping,” so to speak, the structure of the unmoved mover of Aristotle’s Metaphysics (1941) onto the traditional historical divisions of the history of philosophy. We will begin with Aristotle himself in the Ancient period, move to Averroes (the Ibn-Rushd of this paper) in the Medieval period, focus on Descartes and Spinoza as Modern thinkers and, finally, end in Heidegger and Sartre in Contemporary philosophy. This is philosophy with a capital “P,” which may or may not be the reader’s preferred position, let alone the writer’s. But, for our purposes here, it is, nonetheless, inevitable
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