Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Scope of Metaphysics

"So what is the scope of metaphysics? No, it’s not some new-age, mystical, spiritual woo-woo. It is fundamentally concerned with describing or understanding the nature of being and becoming (change)."

When people come across the term “metaphysics” they often associate it with new-age spiritual mysticism that deals with the mysterious non-physical aspects of reality such as spirits or spiritual healing or ghosts. This is quite understandable as the etymology of the word suggests just that. The word is derived from Greek meaning beyond or after (meta) physics.

The main reason for this confusion can be traced back to the Latin scholars who translated and commented on Aristotle’s works. Aristotle wrote several books on physics and Andronicus of Rhodes placed several of Aristotle’s more philosophical works after these books. Andronicus labelled these works as “the books that come after the physics” and the Latin scholars thought it meant “the science of what is beyond the physical”, hence “metaphysics”. Read More