The term metaphysics refers to a branch of philosophy that studies the laws of reality and which is difficult to contrast empirically. Metaphysics had its origin in the oldest philosophical reflections, more precisely in Ancient Greece. She also tries to study the end of the world; in this sense, it is not surprising its relationship with religion on certain occasions. For a long time, it was a discipline of great importance, but with the emergence of new sciences and the development of the scientific method , it was left behind. However, during the 20th century, great philosophers pushed it forward again.
It can be said that during Ancient Greece, metaphysics was a common trend in existing philosophical postures. This means that the preoccupation with reality was a constant in any kind of questioning. Thus, Plato’s Socratic philosophical presentation reveals that existing reality is only the expression of a world of ideas beyond the senses. However, Aristotle was the philosopher whose metaphysics has transcended to the present day. He made a clear distinction between essence, substance and accident to explain the plurality of visible reality. It also established that reality is beyond physics.
It is worth noting that Aristotle’s approaches will be decisive in the future of metaphysics; term that refers to the beyond the natural. In this sense, his influence was notable in medieval philosophy and theology. In fact, it was St. Thomas who managed to synthesize his ideas and the Catholic faith, reaching a system of thought that still persists.
Another prominent philosopher in the field of metaphysics was undoubtedly Immanuel Kant. In this sense, his philosophy can be recognized for contributing to other scientific considerations. His concern was not only to understand a structure of reality, but also to understand the possibilities and limitations of man’s cognitive capacity in this regard.
As discussed, currently the interest in metaphysics is largely overshadowed. Perhaps one of the last outstanding contributions can be found in Martin Heidegger, who asked questions about “being” as the central axis of his philosophy.