meta·phys·ics | \ -ˈfi-ziks \

Definition of metaphysics 

1a(1) : a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology metaphysics … analyzes the generic traits manifested by existences of any kind —J. H. Randall

(2) : ontology sense 2

b : abstract philosophical studies : a study of what is outside objective experience steered philosophy away from metaphysics and toward the disciplines of natural science and linguisticsTime

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Just as physics deals with the laws that govern the physical world (such as those of gravity or the properties of waves), metaphysics describes what is beyond physics—the nature and origin of reality itself, the immortal soul, and the existence of a supreme being. Opinions about these metaphysical topics vary widely, since what's being discussed can't be observed or measured or even truly known to exist. So most metaphysical questions are still as far from a final answer as they were when Plato and Aristotle were asking them.

Examples of metaphysics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Her way with metaphor implies a metaphysics, in her case a metaphysics informed by her Calvinism: History is a fabric. Donovan Hohn, New York Times, "Democracy’s Fierce Defender," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metaphysics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of metaphysics

1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for metaphysics

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

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The first known use of metaphysics was in 1569

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More Definitions for metaphysics

metaphysics

noun

English Language Learners Definition of metaphysics

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on metaphysics

Spanish Central: Translation of metaphysics

Nglish: Translation of metaphysics for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of metaphysics for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about metaphysics

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