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Introduction, Important Definitions and Related Concepts:
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy investigating principles of reality transcending those of any particular science, traditionally, cosmology and ontology. It is concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of being and the world. The word derives from the Greek words μετά (metá) (meaning "after") and φυσικά (physiká) (meaning "physics"), "physics" referring to those works on matter by Aristotle in antiquity. The prefix meta- ("after") was attached to the chapters in Aristotle's work that physically followed after the chapters on "physics", in posthumously edited collections. Aristotle called some of the subjects treated there "first philosophy", which later came to be synonymous with "metaphysics". Over time, the meaning of "meta" has shifted to mean "beyond; above; transcending" in English.[citation needed Philosophy is the discipline concerned with questions of how one should live (ethics); what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics); what counts as genuine knowledge (epistemology); and what are the correct principles of reasoning (logic). The word is of Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning love of wisdom. No single definition of philosophy is uncontroversial. The field has historically expanded and changed depending upon what kinds of questions were interesting or relevant in a given era. It is generally agreed that philosophy is a method, rather than a set of claims, propositions, or theories. Its investigations are based upon rational thinking, striving to make no unexamined assumptions and no leaps based on faith or pure analogy. Cosmology, from the Greek: κοσμολογία (cosmologia, κόσμος (cosmos) order + λογος (logos) word, reason, plan) is the quantitative (usually mathematical) study of the Universe in its totality, and by extension, humanity's place in it. Though the word cosmology is recent (first used in 1730 in Christian Wolff's Cosmologia Generalis), study of the Universe has a long history involving science, philosophy, esotericism, and religion. In recent times, physics and astrophysics have come to play a central role in shaping what is now known as physical cosmology by bringing observations and mathematical tools to analyze the universe as a whole; in other words, in the understanding of the universe through scientific observation and experiment. This discipline, which focuses on the universe as it exists on the largest scale and at the earliest moments, is generally understood to begin with the big bang (possibly combined with cosmic inflation) - an expansion of space from which the Universe itself is thought to have emerged ~13.7 ± 0.2 billion (109) years ago . From its violent beginnings and until its various speculative ends, cosmologists propose that the history of the Universe has been governed entirely by physical laws. Between the domains of religion and science, stands the philosophical perspective of metaphysical cosmology. Ontology is a study of conceptions of reality and the nature of being. In philosophy, b>ontology (from the Greek nominative ὤν: being, genitive ὄντος: of being (participle of εἶναι: to be) and -λογία: science, study, theory) is the study of being or existence and forms the basic subject matter of metaphysics. It seeks to describe or posit the basic categories and relationships of being or existence to define entities and types of entities within its framework. It is the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of the objects, properties and relations in every area of reality.  Some philosophers, notably of the Platonic school, contend that all nouns refer to entities.Other philosophers contend that some nouns do not name entities but provide a kind of shorthand way of referring to a collection (of either objects or events). In ontology, the study of being, being is anything that can be said to be, either transcendentally or immanently. The nature of being varies by philosophy, giving different interpretations in the frameworks of Aristotle, materialism, idealism, existentialism, Islam, and Marxism. Some philosophers deny that the concept of "being" has any meaning at all, since we only define an object's existence by its relation to other objects, and actions it undertakes. The term "I am" has no meaning by itself; it must have an action or relation appended to it. This in turn has led to the thought that "being" and nothingness are closely related, developed in existential philosophy. Existentialist philosophers such as Sartre, as well as continental philosophers such as Hegel and Heidegger have also written extensively on the concept of being. The World is a proper noun for the planet Earth envisioned from an anthropocentric or human worldview, as a place inhabited by human beings. It is often used to signify the sum of human experience and history, or the 'human condition' in general. There were approximately 6.5 billion (or 6500 million) people living on the Earth as of February 2006. Especially in a metaphysical context, World may refer to everything that constitutes reality and the Universe: see World (philosophy). In English, world may be parsed as rooted in a compound of the obsolete words were, "man", and eld, "age"; thus, its etymology may be semantically rendered as "age or life of man". 'World' distinguishes the entire planet or population from any particular country or region: world affairs are those which pertain not just to one place but to the whole world, and world history is a field of history which examines events from a global (rather than a national or a regional) perspective. Greek (ελληνική γλώσσα IPA: [eliniˈkʲi ˈɣlosa] or simply ελληνικά IPA: [eliniˈka] — "Hellenic") has a documented history of 3,400 years, the longest of any single natural language in the Indo-European language family. It is also one of the earliest attested Indo-European languages, with fragmentary records in Mycenaean dating back to the 15th or 14th century BC, making it the world's oldest recorded living language. Today, it is spoken by approximately 17–25 million people in Greece (official), Cyprus (official), Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Italy, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and emigrant communities around the world, including Australia, United States, Canada, Germany and elsewhere. Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet (the oldest continuously used alphabet, and the first to introduce vowels) since the 9th century BC in Greece (before that in Linear B), and the 4th century BC in Cyprus (before that in Cypriot syllabary). Greek literature has a continuous history of nearly three thousand years. Greek has been spoken in the Balkan Peninsula since the 2nd millennium BC. Aristotle (Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on many different subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology. Aristotle (together with Socrates and Plato) is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. He was the first to create a comprehensive system of philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. Aristotle's views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by modern physics. In the biological sciences, some of his observations were only confirmed to be accurate in the nineteenth century. Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct. Ethics and morals are respectively akin to theory and practice. Ethics denotes the theory of right action and the greater good, while morals indicate their practice. "Moral" has a dual meaning. Epistemology or theory of knowledge is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. The term was introduced into English by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808-1864). Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth, belief, and justification. It also deals with the means of production of knowledge, as well as skepticism about different knowledge claims. In other words, epistemology primarily addresses the following questions: "What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge acquired?", and "What do people know?" The primary question that epistemology addresses is "What is knowledge?". Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. As a formal science, logic investigates and classifies the structure of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of inference and through the study of arguments in natural language. The field of logic ranges from core topics such as the study of fallacies and paradoxes, to specialized analysis of reasoning using probability and to arguments involving causality. Logic is also commonly used today in argumentation theory.  Traditionally, logic is studied as a branch of philosophy, one part of the classical trivium, which consisted of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Since the mid-nineteenth century formal logic has been studied in the context of foundations of mathematics, where it was often called symbolic logic. The Big Bang is a cosmological model of the universe that has become well supported by several independent observations. After Edwin Hubble discovered that galactic distances were generally proportional to their redshifts in 1929, this observation was taken to indicate that the universe is expanding. If the universe is seen to be expanding today, then it must have been smaller, denser, and hotter in the past. This idea has been considered in detail all the way back to extreme densities and temperatures, and the resulting conclusions have been found to conform very closely to what is observed. Ironically, the term 'Big Bang' was first coined by Fred Hoyle in a derisory statement seeking to belittle the credibility of the theory that he did not believe to be true. However, the discovery of the cosmic microwave background in 1964 was taken as almost undeniable support for the Big Bang. Rationality as a term is related to the idea of reason, a word which following Webster's may be derived as much from older terms referring to thinking itself as from giving an account or an explanation. This lends the term a dual aspect. One aspect associates it with comprehension, intelligence, or inference, particularly when an inference is drawn in ordered ways (thus a syllogism is a rational argument in this sense). The other part associates rationality with explanation, understanding or justification, particularly if it provides a ground or a motive. 'Irrational', therefore, is defined as that which is not endowed with reason or understanding. A logical argument is sometimes described as "rational" if it is logically valid. In its most general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from a Greek term κόσμος meaning "order, orderly arrangement, ornaments," and is the antithetical concept of chaos. Today the word is generally used as synonym of the word "Universe" (considered in its orderly aspect). The words cosmetics and cosmetology originate from the same root. Pythagoras is said to have been the first philosopher to apply the term to the Universe, perhaps from application to the starry firmament. The term so used is parallel to the Zoroastrian term aša, the concept of a divine order, or divinely ordered creation. Logos (Greek λόγος) is an important term in philosophy, analytical psychology, rhetoric and religion. It derives from the verb λέγω legō: to count, tell, say, or speak. The primary meaning of logos is: something said; by implication a subject, topic of discourse or reasoning. Secondary meanings such as logic, reasoning, etc. derive from the fact that if one is capable of λέγειν (infinitive) i.e. speech, then intelligence and reason are assumed. Its semantic field extends beyond "word" to notions such as "thought, speech, account, meaning, reason, proportion, principle, standard", or "logic". In English, the word is the root of "logic," and of the "-ology" suffix (e.g., geology).[2 Mathematics (colloquially, maths or math) is the body of knowledge centered on such concepts as quantity, structure, space, and change, and also the academic discipline that studies them. Benjamin Peirce called it "the science that draws necessary conclusions". Other practitioners of mathematics maintain that mathematics is the science of pattern, and that mathematicians seek out patterns whether found in numbers, space, science, computers, imaginary abstractions, or elsewhere. Mathematicians explore such concepts, aiming to formulate new conjectures and establish their truth by rigorous deduction from appropriately chosen axioms and definitions. Through the use of abstraction and logical reasoning, mathematics evolved from counting, calculation, measurement, and the systematic study of the shapes and motions of physical objects. Knowledge and use of basic mathematics have always been an inherent and integral part of individual and group life. The Universe is most commonly defined as everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. However, the term "universe" may be used in slightly different contextual senses, denoting such concepts as the cosmos, the world or Nature. Astronomical observations indicate that the universe is 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years old and at least 93 billion light years across. The event that started the universe is called the Big Bang. At this point in time all matter and energy of the observable universe was concentrated in one point of infinite density. After the Big Bang the universe started to expand to its present form. Christian Wolff (less correctly Wolf; also known as Wolfius) (January 24, 1679 - April 9, 1754) was a German philosopher. Christian Wolff was the most eminent German philosopher between Leibniz and Kant. His main achievement was a complete oeuvre on almost every scholarly subject of his time, displayed and unfolded according to his demonstrative-deductive, mathematical method, which perhaps represents the peak of Enlightenment rationality in Germany. Wolff was also the creator of German as the language of scholarly instruction and research, although he also wrote in Latin, so that an international audience could, and did, read him. A founding father of, among other fields, economics and public administration as academic disciplines, he concentrated especially in these fields, giving advice on practical matters to people in government, and stressing the professional nature of university education. His work is said to have had a strong impact on the American Declaration of Independence. In its broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In its more usual restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research. Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines:
These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being experimented for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions. Mathematics, which is sometimes classified within a third group of science called formal science, has both similarities and differences with the natural and social sciences. It is similar to empirical sciences in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods. Esotericism refers to the doctrines or practices of esoteric knowledge, or otherwise the quality or state of being described as esoteric, or obscure. Esoteric knowledge is that which is specialized or advanced in nature, available only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people. Items pertaining to esotericism may be known as esoterica. Some interpretations of esotericism are very broad and include even unconventional and non-scientific belief systems, typically as contrasted with the "scientific" or "traditional religious" beliefs of the society without or "at large". In contrast, exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is well-known or public; or perceived as informally canonic in society at large. Esoteric is an adjective originating in Greece; it comes from the Greek ἐσωτερικός esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of ἔσω esô: "within".
A religion is a set of beliefs and practices often organized around supernatural and moral claims, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.
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