We explain what metaphysics is and what this branch of philosophy consists of. In addition, its characteristics and some scholars in this area.
Metaphysics studies nature, reality and its laws and components.
What is metaphysics?
When speaking of metaphysics, allusion is made to a branch of the philosophy that deals with studying the nature, reality and its laws and fundamental components. This implies not only observation of the reality, but also the (re) formulation of certain key concepts to think about our way of being in the world. Metaphysics studies the to be, the existence, the reality, the object, the subject, time and even space.
In ancient times, metaphysics was considered the first of the philosophies, something like the mother of the Sciences: the "natural philosophy". At that time there was no scientific method, and the way to test reality had to do not with verifiable experiments, but with the deduction of logical laws from the thought.
Today, on the other hand, while science deals with investigating concrete reality through experimentation, metaphysics he is interested in those aspects of the real that are inaccessible to scientists: the great transcendental questions about existence. Those questions, in general, are three:
- What is to be?
- What is there?
- Why is there something instead of nothing?
To carry out your research, metaphysics comprises various branches, such as ontology (study of being), theology natural (the study of God by rational methods), philosophical psychology (the rational study of the human spirit) or philosophical cosmology (the study of the nature of space and the weather).
Finally, metaphysics establishes its own bases for interpreting the world, so it is not a science or a method of observation, but a way of thinking.
In some cases, this allows your name to be used to discredit a argument or to point out that a supposed thesis it establishes by itself the bases that will have to legitimize it, contrary to scientific logic.
Characteristics of metaphysics
Metaphysics starts from a supreme principle, such as being, among others.
Broadly speaking, metaphysics has three main characteristics:
- It is speculative in nature. It usually starts from a primordial idea or a supreme principle (God, the idea, the being, for example) from which it proceeds to interpret the whole of reality.
- It proceeds inductively. It seeks to unify the ideas and results of all the sciences, in search of a metaphysical image of reality.
- It can be reductionist. Sometimes it becomes a mere speculative device by which Humans they must leave to be able to approach and know the reality. In that sense, it can even be used as a derogatory term towards a doctrine or a scientific proposition.
Leading scholars of metaphysics
Plato was one of the philosophers who studied metaphysics.
Some of the greatest scholars of this philosophical branch were the ancient Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, but also the thinkers of the pre-Socratic tradition, such as Parmenides, founder of ontology.
During medieval Europe, the theology and the scholastic, disciplines that served the thinkers of the time to inquire about the nature of their reality, always influenced by the prevailing religious thought (both in the case of Christianity, as in that of its then enlightened cousin, the Islam).
The advent of modernity revolutionized the way in which the human being perceived himself and reality, which is why new philosophers and interpretative theories of existence appeared with the Illustration European. Some exponents are Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and German idealism, Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), whose philosophical thought had great impacts in the field of politics.