Join us now. It is free, and it takes less than 1 minute to register.
Register now
Subscribe to our daily newsletter. It is free, and it comes with many benefits.

The Scope of Metaphysics

  1. Techne
    When people come across the term “metaphysics” they often associate it with new-age spiritual mysticism that deals with the mysterious non-physical aspects of reality such as spirits or spiritual healing or ghosts. This is quite understandable as the etymology of the word suggests just that. The word is derived from Greek meaning beyond or after (meta) physics.

    The main reason for this confusion can be traced back to the Latin scholars who translated and commented on Aristotle’s works. Aristotle wrote several books on physics and Andronicus of Rhodes placed several of Aristotle’s more philosophical works after these books. Andronicus labelled these works as “the books that come after the physics” and the Latin scholars thought it meant “the science of what is beyond the physical”, hence “metaphysics”.
  2. Techne
    Aristotle never used the term “metaphysics”. Instead his works labelled as metaphysics is what he labelled as “first philosophy”. Aristotle most probably borrowed from the terms philosophus and philosophia that were first employed by Pythagoras (in Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations). Philosophy roughly meant to Pythogoras as the pursuit of wisdom. The term philosophy then in turn changed to signify wisdom and the love of it, which was seen as the highest kind of knowledge. To Aristotle the only way to reach the highest kind of knowledge was to engage in what he labelled as “first philosophy”.
  3. Techne
    Aristotle’s philosophia prima or metaphysics is concerned with real being and its attributes. In other words it is concerned with the very nature of a thing, with being itself, with the root principle, causes and operations of existing things. To Aristotle metaphysics deals with the most fundamental and deepest aspects of reality and was viewed as the queen of the sciences.

    The Scholastics referred to empirical physical sciences as “real sciences” or “scientiae reales” as these sciences studied things such as objects, substances, processes, organisms etc. They also labelled the study of logic, the process of attaining certain proofs and truths, as a “rational science” or “scientia rationalis”.
  4. Techne
    Importantly one cannot engage in any metaphysics without being informed by the real sciences as well as the rational sciences. Aquinas described metaphysics as the science one studies after having mastered the sciences that deal with the physical world. And a coherent and consistent first philosophy can only be successful if it interprets the empirical facts logically, coherently and consistently.
    So what is the scope of metaphysics? No, it’s not some new-age, mystical, spiritual woo-woo. It is fundamentally concerned with describing or understanding the nature of being and becoming (change). We all have our metaphysical views or first philosophies.
  5. Techne
    This may not be apparent at first but as soon as people attempt to answer questions such as “what is your view of the concept of matter?” or “do you think time is real or just an intellectual abstraction of change?” or “are you a realist?” or “is free will compatible with determinism?” or "what is the relationship between cause and effect?” etc.then their philosophia prima becomes recognizable.
    It is only by engaging in metaphysics or a first philosophy that one can begin to answer such questions. To answer such questions in a logically consistent manner is the main aim of metaphysics and as always definitions are important.
  6. yavahn
    I know I can search for a "proper" explanation for blackholes in some science websites, but do you know whether anything has ever been proven regarding the inner workings of a blackhole? And yes...I am referring to an imploded star.
    There are always theories, but they are based on someone's sense of logic.
Results 1 to 6 of 6