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Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the essence of a thing. This includes questions of being, becoming, existence, and reality. The word "metaphysics" comes from the Greek words that literally mean "beyond nature". "Nature" in this sense refers to the nature of a thing, such as its cause and purpose. Metaphysics then studies questions of a thing beyond or above questions of its nature, in particular its essence or its qualities of being. Metaphysics seeks to answer, in a "suitably abstract and fully general manner", the questions:

  1. What is there?
  2. And what is it like?

Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility.

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A quality (from Lat. qualitas[1]) is an attribute or a property. Attributes are ascribable, by a subject, whereas properties are possessible[2]. Some philosophers assert that a quality cannot be defined[3]. In contemporary philosophy, the idea of qualities and especially how to distinguish certain kinds of qualities from one another remains controversial.[2]

Aristotle presented his idea of qualities in his Categories. According to him, qualities may be attributed to things and persons or be possessed by them. There are four Aristotelian qualities: habits and dispositions, natural capabilities and incapabilities, affective qualities and affections, and shape.[4]

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Parmenides of Elea (Greek: Παρμενίδης ο Έλεάτης, early 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Hellenic city on the southern coast of Italy. Parmenides was a student of Ameinias and the founder of the School of Elea, which also included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos. According to Plato, Parmenides had been the erastes of Zeno when the latter had been a youth. [5]

Parmenides is one of the most significant of the pre-Socratic philosophers.[6] His only known work, conventionally titled 'On Nature' is a poem, which has only survived in fragmentary form. Approximately 150 lines of the poem remain today; reportedly the original text had 3,000 lines. It is known, however, that the work originally divided into three parts:

  • A proem, which introduced the entire work,
  • A section known as "The way of truth" (aletheia), and
  • A section known as "The way of appearance/opinion" (doxa).


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  1. ^ Morwood, 1995
  2. ^ a b Cargile, 1995
  3. ^ Metaphysics of Quality
  4. ^ Studtmann, 2007
  5. ^ Plato, Parmenides, 127
  6. ^ According to Czech philosopher Milič Čapek "[Parmenides'] decisive influence on the development of Western thought is probably without parallel", The New Aspects of Time, 1991, p. 145. That assessment may overstate Parmenides' impact and importance, but it is a useful corrective to the tendency to underestimate it.