metaphysics
Originally a title for those books of Aristotle that came after the Physics, the term is now applied to any enquiry that raises questions about reality that lie beyond or behind those capable of being tackled by the methods of science. Naturally, an immediately contested issue is whether there are any such questions, or whether any text of metaphysics should, in Hume's words, be ‘committed to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion’ (Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. xii, Pt. 3). The traditional examples will include questions of mind and body, substance and accident, events, causation, and the categories of things that exist (see ontology ). The permanent complaint about metaphysics is that in so far as there are real questions in these areas, ordinary scientific method forms the only possible approach to them. Hostility to metaphysics was one of the banners of logical positivism, and survives in a different way in the scientific naturalism of writers such as Quine . Metaphysics, then, tends to become concerned more with the presuppositions of scientific thought, or of thought in general, although here, too, any suggestion that there is one timeless way in which thought has to be conducted meets sharp opposition. A useful distinction is drawn by Strawson, between descriptive metaphysics, which contents itself with describing the basic framework of concepts with which thought is (perhaps at a time) conducted, as opposed to revisionary metaphysics, which aims for a criticism and revision of some hapless way of thought. Although the possibility of revisionary metaphysics may be doubted, it continues to the present time: eliminativism in the philosophy of mind and postmodernist disenchantment with objectivity and truth are conspicuous examples.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Metaphysics — • That portion of philosophy which treats of the most general and fundamental principles underlying all reality and all knowledge Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Metaphysics     Metaphysics …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Metaphysics — Met a*phys ics, n. [Gr. ? ? ? after those things which relate to external nature, after physics, fr. ? beyond, after + ? relating to external nature, natural, physical, fr. ? nature: cf. F. m[ e]taphysique. See {Physics}. The term was first used… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • METAPHYSICS — METAPHYSICS, the philosophic discipline that deals with ontology and cosmology. The Jews through the end of the medieval period did little original work in metaphysics, drawing mainly on other, primarily secular, authorities. The major systems… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Metaphysics — (* 8. Dezember 1973 in Harare, Simbabwe, als Herbert Schwamborn) ist ein afrikanischer Rapper mit Wurzeln in Simbabwe und Deutschland. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Werdegang 2 Diskografie 2.1 Alben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • metaphysics —    Metaphysics (or first philosophy ) is the study of ultimate reality and its structure. It involves ontology or the study of what exists (the dispute between atheism and theism is primarily an ontological one, about whether God exists) and the… …   Christian Philosophy

  • metaphysics — ► PLURAL NOUN (usu. treated as sing. ) 1) philosophy concerned with abstract concepts such as the nature of existence or of truth and knowledge. 2) informal abstract talk; mere theory. DERIVATIVES metaphysician noun. ORIGIN from Greek ta meta ta… …   English terms dictionary

  • metaphysics — [met΄ə fiz′iks] n. [< ML metaphysica, neut. pl. < Gr (ta) meta (ta) physika, lit., (that) after (the) physics (in reference to location after the Physics in early collections of Aristotle s works)] 1. the branch of philosophy that deals… …   English World dictionary

  • metaphysics — /met euh fiz iks/, n. (used with a sing. v.) 1. the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology. 2. philosophy, esp. in its more abstruse branches. 3. the… …   Universalium

  • Metaphysics — This article is about the branch of philosophy dealing with theories of existence and knowledge. For the work of Aristotle, see Metaphysics (Aristotle). For the occult field, see Metaphysics (supernatural). Philosophy …   Wikipedia

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