Today, I’ve decided to write for the readers who want me to go into more detail about metaphysics and the branches of philosophy under which it falls. If you are like me, you always want terms clearly defined in order to prevent misunderstanding and enhance communication. On the other hand, others are not as obsessive as I am and are content with a general definition of terms. If you are that person, you may be bored with my next entry, so please re-visit me later in the week.
I should point out the term “metaphysics” has a long and complicated history. It is unruly and it is almost impossible to pin down its precise all-encompassing definition. However, that should not prevent us from talking about it. If we never endeavored to know more about something simply because we know from the start we will never comprehend its totality, then no progress could ever be made in anything.
On my blog, I will be using the term “metaphysics” and “metaphysical” in a general sense. Metaphysics includes, but is not limited to, four main branches of philosophy. They are: ontology, cosmology, epistemology, and etiology.
Both the online version of Merriam-Webster and dictionary.com provide similar definitions, but I personally prefer dictionary.com’s definition for metaphysics and its related branches. I see no need to write out their full definitions here, when you can click on the links below; they will open in a separate window. I use:
- the first two definitions of metaphysics listed
- the first definition it lists for ontology
- the first definition of cosmology
- epistemology (only one definition is given)
- and the third definition of etiology.
For those who are not philosophy majors, all of this may seem a bit overwhelming. The main point I am trying to establish here is that metaphysics is a broad and large part of philosophy, that raises important questions about how we think about the universe — or more relevant and closer to home — about ourselves and the world around us. The conclusions we draw from our metaphysical views of the world shape our framework of beliefs, or what I will call from here on a worldview.
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