Branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the essence of a thing. This includes questions of being, becoming, existence and reality. The word "metaphysics" comes from the Greek words that literally mean "beyond nature". "Nature" in this sense refers to the nature of a thing, such as its cause and purpose. Metaphysics then studies questions of a thing beyond or above questions of its nature, in particular its essence or its qualities of being. Metaphysics seeks to answer, in a "suitably abstract and fully general manner", the questions:

  1. What is there?
  2. And what is it like?


Ayn Rand and Objectivism - Metaphysics: The study of the nature of reality, Full Context
Summarises the key concepts of objectivist metaphysics
"In metaphysics, Rand affirmed the primacy of existence--that existence is. We can ask of any particular thing why it exists, but we cannot coherently ask of existence why it exists. Existence (reality) requires no explanation, since it is prior to and independent of consciousness. Since existence requires no explanation, questions as to when it began, and by whom it was created, don't make sense. Since no explanation of existence is necessary, no questions can arise about it."
Related Topics: Atheism, Ayn Rand
Wants, Efforts, Satisfactions, by Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies, 1850
Examines the concepts of sensation, pain, wants, satisfactions and connects them by the concepts of activity or human effort to postulate that the exchange of services in a social framework are what constitute the science of economics
"From the general idea of sensation come the more definite ideas of pain, wants, desires, tastes, appetites, on the one hand; and, on the other, of pleasure, enjoyment, fulfillment, and well-being. ... An analysis of sensation and activity shows one word common to both domains, the word pain. It is painful to experience certain sensations, and we can stop them only by an effort that we call taking pains. Thus, we are apprised that here below we have little else than the choice of two evils."
Related Topics: Children, Economics, Labor


An Introduction to Philosophy Part 2: Metaphysics, by Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio, 22 Aug 2006

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metaphysics" as of 17 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.