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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M etaphysics, philosophy of science [from Greek kosmos , the world or universe + logos , theory or study] A study of the universe as a whole, especially its constitution and structure. Philosophical cosmology is a rational inquiry that combines some scientific evidence and substantial speculation. It is also called rational cosmology, in contrast to mythic cosmology and to modern cosmology, which is a branch of astronomy. Wolff took rational cosmology to be one of three branches of specific metaphysics, with the others being rational theology and rational psychology. The most general issues discussed in philosophical cosmology include space, time, causality, necessity , contingency, change, eternity , and infinity. Cosmology was the dominant concern of the pre-Socratics . It also played a significant role in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle and in medieval philosophy. Most claims of traditional cosmology were undermined by Renaissance science, but the subject was revived by Leibniz and Newton . Kant applied his critical philosophy to cosmology, claiming that cosmological problems can never be solved because we cannot apply categories beyond their spatio-temporal limits. Attempts to resolve such problems result in antinomies . According to Kant, cosmology arises from a natural inclination of human reason to seek absolute knowledge of the world, and he claimed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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