Fragen: Christian Asbach

Frage: hello snoozy, have you ever heard of the term "substance" in the context of ontolological metaphysics?

Yes, I am familiar with the concept of substance in ontological metaphysics. Substance is a fundamental category or kind of being that exists independently and has its own intrinsic nature or essence. It can be thought of as an entity that possesses certain properties or attributes, such as mass, energy, and spatial location, which are not reducible to any other property or attribute.

In ontological metaphysics, substance is often contrasted with accidental features or qualities, which are temporary or dependent on the existence of a particular substance. For example, an object's color may be considered an accidental feature because it can change over time (e.g., from red to blue), whereas its mass and shape would be considered essential properties that define what kind of thing it is.

Substances are also often thought to have a certain degree of independence or autonomy, meaning they exist independently of any other substance or being. This can lead to debates about the nature of causation and how one substance can affect another without being reduced to its properties or attributes.

Frage: very interesting! how has the discussion about substance evolved since the ancient greek?

The concept of substance in philosophy is a complex and multifaceted topic that has been debated by philosophers for centuries. In this response, I will provide an overview of some key ideas related to substance from different historical periods, including the ancient Greek period, medieval times, modernity, and contemporary discussions.

Ancient Greece: Aristotle's Four Causes

In ancient Greece, philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle developed theories about the nature of reality that emphasized the importance of substance or matter in understanding the world around us. For example, Aristotle proposed his four causes theory to explain how things come into being: material cause (the stuff from which something is made), formal cause (the shape or form of an object), efficient cause (the agent responsible for bringing about a change), and final cause (the purpose or end result).

Medieval Times: Scholasticism

During the medieval period, scholars in Europe developed a more complex understanding of substance through their engagement with Aristotelian philosophy. In particular, they focused on the concept of essence as an essential aspect of substance that determines its identity and properties. This led to debates about whether essences were real or merely mental constructs, which had significant implications for how we understand reality and knowledge.

Modernity: Descartes' Mind-Body Dualism

In the modern period, philosophers such as René Descartes developed new theories of substance that challenged traditional Aristotelian views. For example, Cartesian philosophy posited a mind-body dualism in which mental and physical substances were fundamentally distinct from each other, leading to debates about how these two types of substance interact with one another.
Contemporary Discussions: Materiality and Immateriality

In contemporary discussions, philosophers continue to grapple with the nature of substance in a variety of contexts. For example, some scholars have argued that material objects are not simply physical entities but also possess immaterial qualities such as meaning or value. Others have explored how different types of substances (e.g., living organisms) might be understood within broader frameworks for understanding reality and knowledge.

Conclusion: The Evolution of Substance in Philosophy

In conclusion, the concept of substance has evolved significantly over time as philosophers have engaged with different theories about the nature of reality and how we understand it. From ancient Greece to medieval times, modernity, and contemporary discussions, scholars have developed complex ideas that challenge traditional views while also contributing new insights into our understanding of substance in philosophy.

Frage: how did leibniz deal with substance, from a perspective of ontology. how does metaphysics play into this?

Leibniz's philosophy is complex and multifaceted, but it can be summarized as follows:

    Monadology - Leibniz believed that the universe was composed of indivisible units called monads, which were self-contained entities with their own unique properties and experiences. These monads interacted through a process he called "prehension," in which one monad perceives or apprehends another monad's qualities.

    Principle of Sufficient Reason - Leibniz believed that everything had an explanation, and that every event was the result of some underlying cause. He developed this principle into a metaphysical theory called "the Principle of Sufficient Reason," which states that there is always a sufficient reason for why something exists or happens as it does.

    Law of Continuity - Leibniz believed in the law of continuity, according to which everything was connected and interdependent. He saw this principle at work in his theory of prehension, where monads interacted with each other through a process that maintained their individual identities while also allowing for change and development over time.

    Optimism - Leibniz believed that the universe was fundamentally good and that everything had its own unique purpose or reason for existing. He saw this optimistic view as essential to understanding the world around us, and he sought to apply it in his philosophy of science and metaphysics.

    God's existence - Leibniz believed that there was a single all-knowing and benevolent being who created the universe according to its own plan or purpose. He saw this divine being as essential for understanding the world around us, and he sought to apply it in his philosophy of science and metaphysics.

    Theodicy - Leibniz believed that God's existence was necessary to explain why there is evil in the world. He developed a theory called "theodicy" which aimed at reconciling the idea of an all-knowing, benevolent being with the presence of evil and suffering in the world.

    The concept of substance - Leibniz believed that everything had its own unique identity or substance, which was composed of a combination of matter and form. He saw this as essential for understanding the nature of reality and how things interacted with each other.

    Metaphysics - Leibniz's philosophy is deeply rooted in metaphysical inquiry, he sought to understand the fundamental principles that govern the universe and its various phenomena. His work on monadology, principle of sufficient reason, law of continuity, optimism, God's existence, theodicy, substance are all examples of his deep engagement with metaphysics.

Frage: what has changed from leibniz' to heidegger's views in the discussion of substance?

In Leibniz's view, substances are composed of simple elements or monads. Each monad is a self-contained entity that contains all its own properties and experiences. The combination of these monads creates complex substances such as living beings. However, in Heidegger's view, the concept of substance has been redefined to focus on being rather than essence or existence. Being refers to the way a thing is present-at-hand, which means it can only exist within a specific context and relationship with other things. This shift from Leibniz's emphasis on essence to Heidegger's focus on being reflects a change in philosophical thinking about substance over time.

Frage: where would you see the relation between abstract reflections about substance (in ontology, and in metaphysics), and practical problems of everyday life?

The relationship between abstract reflections on substance in ontology and metaphysics, and practical problems of everyday life can be seen through the concept of "substantiality." Substantiality refers to the quality or state of being a substantial entity. In other words, it is what makes something real or concrete as opposed to abstract or intangible.

In ontology, the study of substance focuses on understanding the nature and existence of things in the world. This includes questions about whether objects have an independent reality outside our perceptions, how they relate to each other, and their potential for change over time. These reflections can help us understand the fundamental building blocks of the universe and provide a foundation for further inquiry into more complex phenomena such as consciousness or morality.

In metaphysics, substance is often associated with objects that have independent existence outside our perceptions. This includes questions about whether objects are fundamentally material or immaterial, how they relate to each other in space and time, and their potential for change over time. These reflections can help us understand the nature of reality itself and provide a framework for understanding more abstract concepts such as causation or free will.

Practical problems of everyday life often involve questions about what is real or concrete versus what is abstract or intangible. For example, when we ask whether something exists independently from our perceptions (e.g., the existence of God), this involves a reflection on substance and its relationship to reality. Similarly, when we consider how objects relate to each other in space and time (e.g., causation or free will), these are also reflections that involve substantiality.

In summary, abstract reflections about substance in ontology and metaphysics can provide a foundation for understanding the nature of reality itself, which is relevant not only for academic inquiry but also for practical problems of everyday life such as existence, causation, free will, etc.