metaphysics

The most ambitious of all philosophical projects is to devise a theory of the nature or structure of reality, or of the world as a whole. This project is commonly termed metaphysics, and its intellectual viability has been widely challenged in twentieth-century Western philosophy. Metaphysics flourished in classical Greece, and also in the context of scientific revolution in seventeenth-century Europe. Philosophers such as Descartes , Leibniz, and Spinoza thought that a systematic use of reason could lead them to a view of the nature of the world, which turned out to be very different in character from our ordinary, everyday understanding of it. But science, too, had this consequence. The philosophers Immanuel Kant and David Hume are the sources of modern scepticism about the pretentions of metaphysics. For both thinkers, significant use of language is possible only within the bounds of possible experience. Metaphysicians appear to make sense by using words drawn from everyday language, but in using these words to speak about a world beyond the limits of possible experience they fall into contradictions and incoherence. Some modern analytical philosophers have defended a more modest vision of metaphysics-‘descriptive’ as distinct from ‘speculative’, or ‘revisionary’-as the attempt to analyse and describe the framework of basic concepts and their relationships underlying everyday and scientific discourse.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Metaphysics — • That portion of philosophy which treats of the most general and fundamental principles underlying all reality and all knowledge Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Metaphysics     Metaphysics …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Metaphysics — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • METAPHYSICS — METAPHYSICS, the philosophic discipline that deals with ontology and cosmology. The Jews through the end of the medieval period did little original work in metaphysics, drawing mainly on other, primarily secular, authorities. The major systems… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Metaphysics — (* 8. Dezember 1973 in Harare, Simbabwe, als Herbert Schwamborn) ist ein afrikanischer Rapper mit Wurzeln in Simbabwe und Deutschland. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Werdegang 2 Diskografie 2.1 Alben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • metaphysics — (n.) 1560s, plural of M.E. metaphisik, methaphesik (late 14c.), branch of speculation which deals with the first causes of things, from M.L. metaphysica, neuter plural of Medieval Gk. (ta) metaphysika, from Gk. ta meta ta physika the (works)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • metaphysics —    Metaphysics (or first philosophy ) is the study of ultimate reality and its structure. It involves ontology or the study of what exists (the dispute between atheism and theism is primarily an ontological one, about whether God exists) and the… …   Christian Philosophy

  • metaphysics — ► PLURAL NOUN (usu. treated as sing. ) 1) philosophy concerned with abstract concepts such as the nature of existence or of truth and knowledge. 2) informal abstract talk; mere theory. DERIVATIVES metaphysician noun. ORIGIN from Greek ta meta ta… …   English terms dictionary

  • metaphysics — [met΄ə fiz′iks] n. [< ML metaphysica, neut. pl. < Gr (ta) meta (ta) physika, lit., (that) after (the) physics (in reference to location after the Physics in early collections of Aristotle s works)] 1. the branch of philosophy that deals… …   English World dictionary

  • metaphysics — /met euh fiz iks/, n. (used with a sing. v.) 1. the branch of philosophy that treats of first principles, includes ontology and cosmology, and is intimately connected with epistemology. 2. philosophy, esp. in its more abstruse branches. 3. the… …   Universalium

  • Metaphysics — This article is about the branch of philosophy dealing with theories of existence and knowledge. For the work of Aristotle, see Metaphysics (Aristotle). For the occult field, see Metaphysics (supernatural). Philosophy …   Wikipedia

  • metaphysics — (ma ba‘d al tabi‘a; ilahiyyat)    After a brief initial engagement with political issues, the kalam theologians quickly turned their focus upon the nature of God and His relation to creation. In order to address this issue properly, they were… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

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