Metaphysics: Everything You Need to Know

This is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the nature of reality. It seeks to understand reality fully and how it is constructed. Some metaphysicists believe reality is created, while others believe in a reality that is internally created and externally manifested. Though it leads people to different conclusions, at the center of metaphysics is a desire to understand the very nature of reality. Thus, metaphysics can be called the philosophy of the nature of being, reality, and existence. Several universities today tag it as “Speculative Philosophy” and teach it as a branch of philosophy.

The word traces its root to Ancient Greece and is a blend of two words – Meta, which stands for over and beyond, and Physika that refers to Physics. The combination of these two terms means something that’s over and beyond physics. However, the term has acquired a much wider meaning in today’s world as it covers interest in a wide variety of fields. Thus, when someone expresses an interest in metaphysics today, it could indicate an interest in any one or a combination of different subjects, such as religion, philosophy, mysticism, yoga, parapsychology, ESP, dreams, self-help studies, astrology, meditation, reincarnation, transcendentalism, positive thinking, etc. The common thread that binds all these and all similar subjects is an investigation of reality and how such knowledge may help human life on this earth, both collectively and individually. Perhaps that’s why several professional metaphysical practitioners consider metaphysics as a way of life or spiritual philosophy.

According to Aristotle, metaphysics is the ‘first philosophy’ or ‘wisdom.’ He divided it into three main sections, which still remain the major branches of metaphysics, namely:

·         Natural Theology: It’s the study of God and the soul’s immortality. It focuses on the existence of the divine, the nature of the world and religion, questions related to the creation, and other spiritual or religious issues.

·         Ontology: This stands for the study of existence. It includes the definition and classification of mental or physical entities, their properties, their relations, and the nature of change.

·         Universal Science: It involves the study of first principles of reasoning and logic, like the law of non-contradiction.

Metaphysics has been called out by many as pointless and of no use. Opponents of metaphysics say that since metaphysical statements can’t be either false or true, they carry no meaning in reality and don’t deserve any serious consideration. They also add that such statements typically imply an idea about the universe or the world, which may appear reasonable, but is eventually not empirically testable or verifiable.

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