Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with principles of transcendental reality.
Its primary questions include:
- What is the nature of reality?
- How does the world exist, and what is its origin or source or creation (assuming the universe was created)?
- Does the world exist outside of the mind?
- Are there supernatural or divine forces, and how do they manifest?
The first metaphysician (not to be confused with physician) was Parmenides of Elea. The prefix "meta-" has now come to mean "above, transcending," and has been adapted to suit the evil plans of the dark wizard nazi wiki Metapedia.
Because scientific research can now begin to address questions about the mind, perception, reality, origins, and logic, many of the classical questions in metaphysical philosophy are thought to have less relevance today. One example of particular importance is the Mind-Body Problem, famously addressed by Descartes. Today, the problem in its traditional formulation can be well-answered, since the physical connectivity between mind and body are well-understood in both theory and experiment (though the question of qualia remanins difficult for science to explain in mechanistic terms).
Sometimes Conservatives don't quite understand how powerful the scientific method can be, and continue to use obsolete metaphysical meanderings to justify their latest push to teach superstition in public schools. On the other hand, the basic questions of metaphysics can be quite profound and mentally stimulating in absence of extensive empirical information about a given subject, and so a recreational study of the subject should never be discouraged. In the pursuit of serious policy and research, however, scientific explanations concerning the empirical information that we do have at out disposal should always have priority.