from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Philosophy The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.
  • noun The theoretical or first principles of a particular discipline.
  • noun A priori speculation upon questions that are unanswerable to scientific observation, analysis, or experiment.
  • noun Excessively subtle or recondite reasoning.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The science of the inward and essential nature of things.
  • noun [Used frequently with the definite article, and generally connected with unpleasant associations, as being a study very dry and at the same time of doubtful truth.
  • noun Philosophy in general; especially, the philosophical study of mind; psychology: so used from the time of Descartes, and especially by the Scotch school.
  • noun In the Kantian terminology, the science of God, freedom, and immortality. Abbreviated metaphysics

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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; philosophy in general; first principles, or the science of first principles.
  • noun The scientific knowledge of mental phenomena; mental philosophy; psychology.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun philosophy, uncountable The branch of philosophy which studies fundamental principles intended to describe or explain all that is, and which are not themselves explained by anything more fundamental; the study of first principles; the study of being insofar as it is being (ens in quantum ens).
  • noun philosophy, countable The view or theory of a particular philosopher or school of thinkers concerning the first principles which describe or explain all that is.
  • noun uncountable, by extension from the philosophical sense Any fundamental principles or rules.
  • noun uncountable The study of a supersensual realm or of phenomena which transcend the physical world.
  • noun uncountable Displeasingly abstruse, complex material on any subject.
  • noun countable Plural of countable senses of metaphysic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the philosophical study of being and knowing


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From pl. of Middle English methaphisik, from Medieval Latin metaphysica, from Medieval Greek (ta) metaphusika, from Greek (Ta) meta (ta) phusika, (the works) after the Physics, the title of Aristotle's treatise on first principles (so called because it followed his work on physics) : meta, after; see meta– + phusika, physics; see physics.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin metaphysica, from Byzantine Greek μεταφυσικά (metaphusika), from the title of the collection by Aristotle μετὰ τὰ φυσικά, a collection that comes after (μετά (meta)) Aristotle's collection entitled τὰ φυσικά, from φυσικός (phusikos, "natural").


  • The term metaphysics, as used by one school of philosophers, is narrowed down to mean the science of mental phenomena and of the laws of mind, In this sense, it is employed, for instance, by Hamilton

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • It is in this sense that the "Revue de métaphysique et de morale" (see bibliography) uses the term metaphysics in its title.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

  • This use of the term metaphysics is unfortunate because it rests on Descartes's false assumption that the method in metaphysics is subjective, in other words, that all the conclusions of metaphysics are based on the study of subjective, or mental, phenemona.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • Until then your metaphysics is as valid as mine but no more so.

    Another Look

  • Heidegger sees modern technology as the fulfillment of Western metaphysics, which he characterizes as the metaphysics of presence.


  • This is less conspicuous in other countries, but in India it is habitually assumed that the study of what we call metaphysics or theology needs some kind of physical discipline and it will be well to elucidate this point before describing the beginnings of speculation.

    Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 1

  • This is what I term the metaphysics of concept, for it is a speculation which consists in juggling with abstract ideas.

    The Mind and the Brain Being the Authorised Translation of L'Âme et le Corps

  • Undoubtedly Olin Brad was a clever fellow, uncommonly well read in the surface literatures of foreign origin, and had a keen interest in what he called the metaphysics of his own time.

    That Fortune

  • Undoubtedly Olin Brad was a clever fellow, uncommonly well read in the surface literatures of foreign origin, and had a keen interest in what he called the metaphysics of his own time.

    The Complete Project Gutenberg Writings of Charles Dudley Warner

  • "If the term metaphysics bothers you, perhaps we should call them mu/aphysics.

    Cyber Way


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