What is metaphysics
We explain what metaphysics is, what questions it poses and its branches. In addition, its characteristics and scholars of this philosophical area.
What is metaphysics?
When speaking of metaphysics an allusion is made to a branch of philosophy that deals with studying nature, reality and its fundamental laws and components. This implies not only the observation of reality, but also the (re) formulation of certain key concepts to think about our way of being in the world, such as ser existence ] reality object subject time and even space .
In antiquity, where it comes from, the metaphysics was considered the first of the philosophies, something like the mother of sciences: the “natural philosophy”. At that time there was no scientific method and the way to test reality had nothing to do with verifiable experiments, but with the deduction of logical laws from thought.
Today, however, while science is concerned with investigating concrete reality through experimentation, the metaphysics is interested in those aspects of the real that are inaccessible to scientists : the great transcendental questions about existence. These questions, in general, are three:
- What is it to be?
- What is it?
- Why is there something instead of nothing?
To carry out its investigations, the metaphysics comprises various branches, such as ontology (study of being), natural theology (the study of God by rational methods), philosophical psychology (the rational study of the human spirit) or cosmology (the study of how we conceive the real).
The metaphysics finally, establishes its own bases to interpret the world, so it is not a science, a method of observation, but a way of thinking. In some cases, this allows their name to be used to discredit an argument or to point out that a supposed thesis establishes by itself the bases that will legitimize it, contrary to scientific logic.
Characteristics of metaphysics
Broadly speaking, metaphysics has three main characteristics:
- It is of c speculative character . It usually starts from a primordial idea or a supreme principle, be it God, the idea, the being, etc., from which it proceeds to interpret the whole reality.
- Proceed in an inductive manner . It pursues the configuration of a total, comprehensive image of the totality of the particular sciences, that is, it seeks to find the total image of reality.
- Can be reductionist . When it becomes a mere speculative artifice by which human beings must depart to be able to approach and know reality. In that sense, it can even be used as a disdainful term towards a doctrine or a scientific proposition.
Main scholars of 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, like Parmenides, founder of ontology.
During medieval Europe, theology and scholasticism arose, 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 his then-illustrated cousin, Islam).
The advent of modernity revolutionized the way in which the human being perceived himself and perceived reality, so that new philosophers and interpretive theories of existence appeared with the European Enlightenment, such as Immanuel Kant (1724-1804 ) and the German idealism, Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), among many others, whose philosophical thought had great impacts in the field of politics.