Metaphysics as the First Philosophy
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Aristotle talks about “the first philosophy” throughout Metaphysics — and it is metaphysics that Aristotle considers to be the first philosophy — but he never makes it entirely clear what first philosophy consists of. What he does make clear is that the first philosophy is not to be understood as a collection of topics that should be studied in advance of any other topics. In fact, Aristotle seems to have thought that the topics of Metaphysics are to be studied after those in Physics (Cohen 2009). In what sense could metaphysics be the first philosophy? Let me take the liberty of applying the technical jargon of contemporary metaphysics to answer: The first philosophy is an account of what is, or what it means to be, fundamental. Things that are the most fundamental are not grounded in anything more fundamental, they are ontologically independent. This does not necessarily mean that first philosophy attempts to list the most fundamental things, although this could be a part of the discipline. Rather, the study of fundamentality focuses on giving an account of what it is for something to be fundamental. So, first philosophy studies a certain type of being — the fundamental type, and it may also involve an account of which (kind of) things are, or could be, fundamental.
KeywordsHiggs Boson Higgs Field Persistence Condition Modal Truth Posterior Analytics
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