Many universities have available courses in Metaphysics. This is an interesting subjects that may pop up time to time in parapsychological notes and discussions.
Metaphysics, branch of philosophy is concerned with the nature of ultimate reality. Metaphysics is customarily divided into ontology, which deals with the question of how many fundamentally distinct sorts of entities compose the universe, and metaphysics proper, which is concerned with describing the most general traits of reality.
These general traits together define reality and would presumably characterize any universe whatever. Because these traits are not peculiar to this universe, but are common to all possible universes, metaphysics may be conducted at the highest level of abstraction. Ontology, by contrast, because it investigates the ultimate divisions within this universe, is more closely related to the physical world of human experience.
The term metaphysics is believed to have originated in Rome about 70 bc, with the Greek Peripatetic philosopher Andronicus of Rhodes (flourished 1st century bc) in his edition of the works of Aristotle. In the arrangement of Aristotle's works by Andronicus, the treatise originally called First Philosophy, or Theology, followed the treatise Physics. Hence, the First Philosophy came to be known as meta (ta) physica, or “following (the) Physics,” later shortened to Metaphysics. The word took on the connotation, in popular usage, of matters transcending material reality. In the philosophic sense, however, particularly as opposed to the use of the word by occultists, metaphysics applies to all reality and is distinguished from other forms of inquiry by its generality.
The subjects treated in Aristotle's Metaphysics (substance, causality, the nature of being, and the existence of God) fixed the content of metaphysical speculation for centuries. Among the medieval Scholastic philosophers, metaphysics was known as the “transphysical science” on the assumption that, by means of it, the scholar philosophically could make the transition from the physical world to a world beyond sense perception. The 13th-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas declared that the cognition of God, through a causal study of finite sensible beings, was the aim of metaphysics. With the rise of scientific study in the 16th century the reconciliation of science and faith in God became an increasingly important problem.
Available courses in Metaphysics.
Reality, Being and Existence: an Introduction to Metaphysics.
University of Oxford
Department for Continuing Education
1 Wellington Square
Tel: +44 (0)1865 270360
E-mail: [email protected]
University of Manchester
Tel: +44 (0) 161 306 6000