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 2b : abstract philosophical studies : a study of what is outside objective experience <steered philosophy away from metaphysics and toward the disciplines of natural science and linguistics — Time>
2 : metaphysic 2
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 1569
METAPHYSICS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of metaphysics for English Language Learners
: the part of philosophy that is concerned with the basic causes and nature of things
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