Metaphysics is defined as an area of philosophy that tries to answer the question, “What is reality?” Metaphysics seeks to discover general criteria for what is real and how that differs from what may seem to be real but actually is not. Metaphysics is by far the most ancient branch of philosophy beginning with the pre- Socratic Milesian philosopher- scientists (sixth century b.c.e.), who speculated on the “ageless, deathless” substance underlying the changing temporal world. Most of the philosophers had a different point of view on what they thought the basic ingredient was in life.
Some philosophers thought this was water, other philosopher thought air, and still other philosophers felt there had to be more than one basic ingredient in order to account for the enormous variety of things in the world metaphysics was seen as the necessary starting point, or foundation, for all the other areas of philosophy. The word metaphysics was invented by accident. The word meta meaning “after” and physica meaning “physics”. So the exalted inquiry into the nature of reality forever after has been known as metaphysics. This was all due to an editorial mistake. Metaphysics attempts to explore the contrast between appearance and reality.
In everyday life people distinguish between the real size of the Sun and its apparent size, or again between the real color of an object. Reality is what one can touch, see, feel, smell, taste, and hear. It establishes as the criteria for what is real what can be discovered by the five senses, a theory of knowledge that is known in philosophy as empiricism. Empirical knowledge is the kind of knowledge that comes from the senses, and if you think that is the only source of knowledge, then you are an empiricist and your point of view is called empiricism. It seems that there are at least three components in the metaphysical conception of reality. One characteristic is that reality is genuine as opposed to deceptive. The ultimate realities that the metaphysician seeks to know are precisely things that are simple and exempt from change, therefore stable objects of knowledge.
Second, reality is original in contrast to derivative, self dependent rather than dependent on the existence of something else. When Aristotle sought to inquire into the most real of all things, or when medieval philosophers attempted to establish the characteristics of what they called the ens realissimum (“the most real being”), or the original and perfect being, they were looking for something that was truly self contained and could accordingly be looked upon as self caused, in contrast to things in everyday world. Some philosopher writers were convinced that it was the task of the metaphysician to seek for and characterize substance understood in this sense, the more mundane substances with which physical scientists were concerned were only marginally relevant in this inquiry.
Third, and perhaps the most important, reality for the metaphysician is intelligible as opposed to opaque. Appearances are not only deceptive and derivative; they also make no sense when taken at their own level. To know what is ultimately real is to produce facts that does full justice in convincing that one something is real. Practical reliability of this kind is very different from theoretical satisfaction; the task of metaphysician is to challenge all assumptions and finally arrive at an account of the nature of things that is fully coherent and fully thought-out. In the reading we explored dualism, materialism, and idealism. Dualism in metaphysics is the belief that there are two kinds of reality: material (physical) and immaterial (spiritual). Materialism holds that the only thing that can truly proven to exist is matter. Idealism is the metaphysical and epistemological doctrine that ideas or thoughts make up fundamental reality.
I am personally attracted to dualism because it is the position in which the mind and body are in some categorical way separate from each other. Who would have thought this is possible? You would think that your mind tells your body what to do. I am interested in dualism because it has to do with the common sense intuition of people’s mental aspect. This mental aspect of people has always interested me and made me question the way other people think and how different it could be from the way I see things in life.