Reflection On Monism

Good Essays
Vidas Sileikis
First Writing Assignment
Dating back to Thales, we first learn about metaphysical beliefs. He shows us the idea of Monism as the belief that “one” thing is the cause of everything else. Furthermore, the Arche is created meaning origin in Greek which meant that the one “stuff” is basis of the rest of the universe. For Thales, Arche is water. Stemming from Anaximander and Anaximenes, we learn about the ideas of Appearance vs Reality which is basically the real stuff versus many appearances which brings us the question what is an illusion and what is real? We learn about the concept of reason which is trust versus mistrust of reason. This causes the paradox of the “one” and the “many” as they both are seemingly absurd and self-contradictory
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Furthermore, this means that Heraclitus’ concept of change was rejected as there can be no logical explanation because we have to think of something in terms of what it is not. Parmenides starts off with the basic claim of Monism which meant that reality was fundamentally one. We are introduced with two quotes that are supporting claims called premises which seem self-evident. As quoted by Parmenides “What is, is.” and “What is not, is not.” Parmenides basic argument causes the notion of change to become self-contradictory. To elaborate further, change on the level of appearance simply does not occur, this is an illusion. Parmenides reasoning explains that “Nothing exists” is contradictory and his 3 premises of the quotes and monism result in the famous conclusion. Whatever is, is 5 things: Uncreated, indestructible, eternal, and unchangeable. Parmenides explains that the ‘it’ is basic as it is ‘one’ can’t be created or destroyed. Parmenides creates the reduction ad absurdum argument which means assuming the opposite of one’s own belief. To further his argument, he tries to convince us through logical argument (reasoning).
This causes two opposing arguments of appearance vs reality between Parmenides and Heraclitus’. For reality, we are presented with the idea of constant change by Heraclitus’ but as Parmenides argues and reasons there is no ‘real’ change that ever occurs.
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This causes Heraclitus to argue that even with constant change we still have “All change occurs according to a certain universal principles of reason.” As explained by Heraclitus, there is no ‘one’ but rather a concept of process. This gives the one and many theory the conditions in which one thing becomes something else. Heraclitus’ shifts away from the idea of monism as ‘one’ and defines it as a constant change by many gods making him a polytheist. This begins to make more sense as to why Heraclitus’ believed in change metaphysically. Heraclitus’ believed in Pantheism which meant that the “God” or “Gods” identified with the ordered cosmos themselves. This gives Heraclitus’ a chance to have logos on a cosmic level instead of individual. Another huge idea by Heraclitus’ is his idea of emergent properties versus parts only. There is much less value for an iPhone 6 if it is taken apart and completely disassembled then given to a person. In accordance to emergent properties, an assembled iPhone 6 would have a completely different meaning and functionality including value therefore change is
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