branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, first cause, and the relationships between mind/matter, substance/attribute and possibility/actuality

Metaphysics is a major branch of philosophy. It concerns existence and the nature of things that exist. Altogether it is a theory of reality.

Plato (at left) and Aristotle (at right). Aristotle is usually thought to be the creator of metaphysics

Ontology is the part of metaphysics which discusses what exists: the categories of being. Apart from ontology, metaphysics concerns the nature of, and relations among, the things that exist.

The classical metaphysical idea that reality exists independently of one's mind and yet can be known is called realism. The metaphysical idea that no mind-independent reality exists or can be known is idealism. These are two main battlegrounds of metaphysics.

Modern Humanist Metaphysics believes that the Universe is basically psychological. Some Quantum physicists now agree with modern metaphysics in that they hold to the major premise that everything in the Universe is made up of two things...consciousness and energy. Not energy and matter as Newton proposed.

Under Modern Metaphysics it is believed that consciousness uses energy to create everything/anything...including all physical matter and all events.

Therefore, "All is Within"..within the mind.


Natural philosophyEdit

In the West, metaphysics is usually traced to the natural philosophers in ancient Greece, where Aristotle systematized a metaphysical description of nature equivalent to today's theoretical science.

By the 4th century AD in Alexandria, Egypt, alchemy was starting its transformation into chemistry. The conventional view is that alchemy was steeped in mysticism, and that chemistry did not quite become what we would call science until it entered the 19th century.


In the early 17th century, Galileo introduced to physics his experiments with earthly objects: the dawn of empirical science in Western Europe. Galilean laws of motion led to the overthrow of Aristotle's ideas, a revolution more or less completed by the wide acceptance of Cartesian physics, built upon Copernican and Galilean mechanics.

Newtonian physics rapidly replaced Cartesian physics. Isaac Newton, like others that we now call scientists, was known as a natural philosopher. In the 1830s, Auguste Comte created positivism, the first modern philosophy of science. It sought the divorce of science from religion and metaphysics.

In 1847, Hermann von Helmholtz's paper "On the conservation of energy", stated the first law of thermodynamics, and tried to reduce physiology to physics. In 1859, Darwin proposed an explanation of evolution by natural selection. Both seemed plausible and compatible with physical theory.

Common useEdit

By the 1860s, the term science (as meaning something distinct from philosophy) entered the dictionary.[1] Today the term metaphysics usually refers to discussion of aspects of reality which are beyond physics. Particularly among those seeking to be scientific, the term metaphysics can be pejorative to varying degrees, as the term may rely on supernatural explanations of reality, which are not yet scientifically validated.

Related pagesEdit


  1. Hayek F.A. 1942. "Scientism and the study of society", Economica 9(35):267-291.

Other websitesEdit