noun plural but singular in construction \-ˈfi-ziks\

: the part of philosophy that is concerned with the basic causes and nature of things

Full Definition of METAPHYSICS

a (1) :  a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology (2) :  ontology 2
b :  abstract philosophical studies :  a study of what is outside objective experience
:  metaphysic 2


Medieval Latin Metaphysica, title of Aristotle's treatise on the subject, from Greek (ta) meta (ta) physika, literally, the (works) after the physical (works); from its position in his collected works
First Known Use: 1569

Other Philosophy Terms

dialectic, dualism, epistemology, existentialism, ontology, sequitur, solipsism, transcendentalism


   (Concise Encyclopedia)

Branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate structure and constitution of reality—i.e., of that which is real, insofar as it is real. The term, which means literally “what comes after physics,” was used to refer to the treatise by Aristotle on what he himself called “first philosophy.” In the history of Western philosophy, metaphysics has been understood in various ways: as an inquiry into what basic categories of things there are (e.g., the mental and the physical); as the study of reality, as opposed to appearance; as the study of the world as a whole; and as a theory of first principles. Some basic problems in the history of metaphysics are the problem of universals—i.e., the problem of the nature of universals and their relation to so-called particulars; the existence of God; the mind-body problem; and the problem of the nature of material, or external, objects. Major types of metaphysical theory include Platonism, Aristotelianism, Thomism, Cartesianism (see also dualism), idealism, realism, and materialism.


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