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Chambers 21st Century Dictionary

singular noun
1. the branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of existence and the basic principles of truth and knowledge.
2. colloquial any type of abstract discussion, writing or thinking.

[16c: from Greek ta meta ta physika, literally ‘the things coming after natural science’, from the order in which subjects are dealt with in Aristotle’s writings.]

metaphysics (mĕtәfĭz´ĭks), branch of philosophy concerned with the ultimate nature of existence. It perpetuates the Metaphysics of Aristotle, a collection of treatises placed after the Physics [Gr. metaphysics=after physics] and treating what Aristotle called the First Philosophy. The principal area of metaphysical speculation is generally called ontology and is the study of the ultimate nature of being. However, philosophical theology and cosmology are also usually considered branches of metaphysics. In the history of philosophy there have been many great metaphysical systems. One of the most carefully constructed systems is that of the scholastic philosophy (see scholasticism), which essentially is based on Aristotle's metaphysical system. In the 17th cent. the great rationalistic systems of René Descartes, Baruch...    Continue Reading

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