Definitions for: Metaphysics


[n] the philosophical study of being and knowing



Webster (1913) Definition: 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 by the followers of Aristotle as a name for that
part of his writings which came after, or followed, the part
which treated of physics.]
1. The science of real as distinguished from phenomenal
being; ontology; also, the science of being, with
reference to its abstract and universal conditions, as
distinguished from the science of determined or concrete
being; the science of the conceptions and relations which
are necessarily implied as true of every kind of being;
phylosophy in general; first principles, or the science of
first principles.

Note: Metaphysics is distinguished as general and special.
General metaphysics is the science of all being as
being. Special metaphysics is the science of one kind
of being; as, the metaphysics of chemistry, of morals,
or of politics. According to Kant, a systematic
exposition of those notions and truths, the knowledge
of which is altogether independent of experience, would
constitute the science of metaphysics.

Commonly, in the schools, called metaphysics, as
being part of the philosophy of Aristotle, which
hath that for title; but it is in another sense:
for there it signifieth as much as ``books
written or placed after his natural philosophy.''
But the schools take them for ``books of
supernatural philosophy;'' for the word
metaphysic will bear both these senses. --Hobbes.

Now the science conversant about all such
inferences of unknown being from its known
manifestations, is called ontology, or
metaphysics proper. --Sir W.
Hamilton.

Metaphysics are [is] the science which determines
what can and what can not be known of being, and
the laws of being, a priori. --Coleridge.

2. Hence: The scientific knowledge of mental phenomena;
mental philosophy; psychology.

Metaphysics, in whatever latitude the term be taken,
is a science or complement of sciences exclusively
occupied with mind. --Sir W.
Hamilton.

Whether, after all, A larger metaphysics might not
help Our physics. --Mrs.
Browning.

See Also: cosmology, ontology, philosophy

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