Metaphysics

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that is involved in the study of the following:

  • The core nature of reality, 
  • The first principles of being
  • Identity and change
  • Space and time
  • Causality
  • Necessity
  • Possibility.

Metaphysics deals with questions regarding consciousness and the relationship between substance and attribute, mind and matter, and potentiality and actuality. The term metaphysics comes from two Greek words that mean ‘after/behind/among the study of the natural’. It is generally accepted that the term might have been coined by an editor in the first century CE who assembled various pieces of Aristotle’s selected works into the treatise we know today as Metaphysics. 

Metaphysics deals with questions that deal with what it means for something to exist as well as what types of existence there are. It seeks to answer, in a completely abstract and fully general manner, two simple, yet ontologically difficult questions to anwswer:

  • What exists?
  • What is its nature?

Topics of metaphysical investigation are quite diverse and yet intercoinnected to one another: 

  • Objects and their properties
  • Existence
  • Space and time
  • Cause and effect
  • Possibility.

Metaphysics is one of the four main branches of philosophy, the others being epistemology, logic, and ethics. There are two stances from which the world is studied by this subject. 

  • Metaphysical realism is where the objects studied exist independent of any observer, which means that the subject is the most fundamental of all sciences. 
  • Metaphysical anti-realism is where the objects under study are assumed to exist within the mind of an observer, with the subject becoming a form of conceptual analysis and introspection.

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