The name “metaphysics” is derived from the two Greek words “meta” and “physica.” The word “meta” means “after” and “physica” means “physics.” Thus, “metaphysics” literally means “what comes after physics.” When Andronicus of Rhodes placed Aristotle’s works on first principles immediately behind his works on physics. Following this, the Scholastics began to use the term “metaphysics” to refer to disciplines that followed the study of natural events. Later, metaphysics evolved into the study of non-natural phenomena.
Ontology is an essential part of metaphysics. The word “ontology” is derived from two Greek words: “Onto,” which means “actual thing,” and “Logia,” which means “discourse.” Therefore, “ontology” refers to the study of reality as it is or pure being. Pure being or reality as it is, devoid of modifications, attributes, or motions, is what simply is or exists. Metaphysics is the study of the nature of pure being or the actual nature of reality.
Everything in this world has two sides: the exterior and the interior. The outside is always changing, while the interior, which cannot be seen from the exterior, remains unchanged. Normal sciences merely investigate phenomena, not reality itself (noumena). In contrast, metaphysics is concerned with things that cannot be seen and do not change. The subject is transcending reality, often known as noumenon.
Metaphysics begins with a careful distinction between appearance and reality. For instance, a straight rod that is partially submerged in water appears bent. The bent stick represents how things appear, whereas the straight stick represents how things actually are. However, for a straight object to be considered straight, it must appear straight to us. This brings the straight stick itself into view. When we refer to “appearances,” we are referring to how things appear to us right now. Everything around us is merely an appearance. By “reality,” we refer to the way things are independent of how we see them. Metaphysics attempts to address questions such as, “Is there anything actual behind the world we see?” and, if such a Reality exists, what would it be like? Is the most essential thing physical or spiritual?
Metaphysics focuses on three primary subjects. First, there is a distinction between what is actual and what appears real. Second, metaphysics is superior to common sense and science for understanding the world. Third, metaphysics is the oldest attempt by humans to comprehend how nature functions, whence it originated, and what the future holds. In this manner, the story is about the creation of the world.
Metaphysics investigates the world’s nature, including matter and life, the soul, and God or the Absolute. There are three major components of metaphysics: Nature’s Ontology, Soul’s Ontology, and Absolute’s Ontology. “Ontology of nature” refers to the study of the nature of matter, time, space, causes, evolution, mechanisms, and goals. “Ontology of the soul” investigates what the soul is, where it comes from, where it is going, and how it relates to the body. Ontology of the Absolute examines what God or the Absolute is, its characteristics, and its relationship to the world and the soul. It also discusses and examines evidence that God exists.
The objective of metaphysics is to determine what is real. By “reality,” we refer to the ultimate reality, which is the foundation of everything and has no inconsistencies. Ultimate reality is infinity, independence, transcendence, and immutability. From the Indian perspective, metaphysics attempts to provide a direct and instantaneous spiritual perspective of reality.
Metaphysics employs analytical and critical tools to determine the nature of reality. Therefore, it is not entirely a guess. This is achieved by analysis. In addition, it attempts to paint a comprehensive image of the universe and the ultimate truth. Therefore, its method of operation is also beneficial. Consequently, metaphysical investigation is a combination of observation, analysis, deduction, common sense, intuition, dialectic, and synthetic vision.