What is Metaphysics and What Does it Cover?

Metaphysics is a major branch of philosophy that explores the concept of being and the existence of things beyond physical reality. It is a term formed from two Greek words, ‘meta’ which means ‘after’ and ‘physika’ which means ‘nature’ or ‘physics.’ It was coined by Andronicus of Rhodes, the 10th Head of Lyceum, who edited Aristotle’s First Philosophy that comprised of physical and non-physical matters. Literally, he titled the compiled treatises of the First Philosophy as “metaphysika” (or metaphysics) because non-physical matters were placed after the physical ones (Metuonu, Ochulor, & Apebende, 2011). Notably, metaphysics means ‘after physics’ because it explores the structure and nature of abstract realities.

            Aristotle divided metaphysics into three major branches: ontology, universal science, and the natural religion. Ontology covers the interaction between abstract and concrete entities through properties such as consciousness and existence, matter and mind, objects and their abstract or physical properties, space and time (Loux & Crisp, 2017). Natural theology involves studying supreme beings, spirituality, religion, creation, and other divine issues. Besides, universal science entails concepts such as reasoning and logic (noncontradiction), cosmology, causality, interactions, being qua being, and finitude which are the foundation of all inquiries (Gracia, 2014). Such branches of metaphysics play a critical role in defining or justifying the interaction between tangible and intangible things such as human beings and abstract entities such as knowledge, spirituality, and reason.

            Generally, metaphysics contributes immensely to contemporary studies because it is the root of basic knowledge regarding the essence of beings and the reality abstract entities. It helps human beings understand complex and abstract concepts in religion, language, education, and other disciplines. In religion, metaphysics unravels matters surrounding the existence of invisible supreme beings and spirits. Likewise, it is used in linguistics to define the existence of intangible and abstract entities, which are used to defined things in terms of shape, color, and other associations (Loux & Crisp, 2017). Metaphysics contributes significantly to the development of educational philosophies that help define truths, values, and how minds interact with knowledge. It is the foundation of all knowledge in contemporary studies allowing scholars to understand the concept of being, the essence of being, the nature of the supernatural world, physical and non-physical concepts.

            In conclusion, metaphysics strives to justify things and concepts that are beyond the physical existence. It is a complex branch of philosophy that can hardly be defined using a single definition because of its broad scope and interaction with multiple disciplines. Such complexity is evident in the innumerable concepts covered in its three major branches, which include ontology, universal science, and natural theology. Despite its complexity, metaphysics plays a vital role in modern studies in religion, education, and language because it constructs knowledge and simplifies abstract concepts.


Gracia, J. J. (2014). The fundamental character of metaphysics. American Philosophical

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Loux, M. J., & Crisp, T. M. (2017). Metaphysics: A contemporary introduction. Taylor &


Metuonu, I.C., Ochulor, C. L., & Apebende, S. A. (2011). The necessity of metaphysics.

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