Metaphysics
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 by the followers of Aristotle as a name for that part of his writings which came after, or followed, the part which treated of physics.] 1. The science of real as distinguished from phenomenal being; ontology; also, the science of being, with reference to its abstract and universal conditions, as distinguished from the science of determined or concrete being; the science of the conceptions and relations which are necessarily implied as true of every kind of being; philosophy in general; first principles, or the science of first principles. [1913 Webster]

Note: Metaphysics is distinguished as general and special. {General metaphysics} is the science of all being as being. {Special metaphysics} is the science of one kind of being; as, the metaphysics of chemistry, of morals, or of politics. According to Kant, a systematic exposition of those notions and truths, the knowledge of which is altogether independent of experience, would constitute the science of metaphysics. [1913 Webster]

Commonly, in the schools, called metaphysics, as being part of the philosophy of Aristotle, which hath that for title; but it is in another sense: for there it signifieth as much as ``books written or placed after his natural philosophy.'' But the schools take them for ``books of supernatural philosophy;'' for the word metaphysic will bear both these senses. --Hobbes. [1913 Webster]

Now the science conversant about all such inferences of unknown being from its known manifestations, is called ontology, or metaphysics proper. --Sir W. Hamilton. [1913 Webster]

Metaphysics are [is] the science which determines what can and what can not be known of being, and the laws of being, a priori. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence: The scientific knowledge of mental phenomena; mental philosophy; psychology. [1913 Webster]

Metaphysics, in whatever latitude the term be taken, is a science or complement of sciences exclusively occupied with mind. --Sir W. Hamilton. [1913 Webster]

Whether, after all, A larger metaphysics might not help Our physics. --Mrs. Browning. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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