 the term needs some
 popular usage implies
that "metaphysical"
things are complex
and incomprehensible
(or worse, fanciful and
 actually, the word is ordinary Greek which simply means "that
which comes after physics"
 physics was the word the Greeks used for what we would
call the study of nature, and especially the study of what
we would call the "physical sciences"
 metaphysics was used to refer to speculation about the
meaning and nature of the universe; i.e. questions that
arise after the physical problems have been addressed,
or that concern what lies after/beyond/before the physical
world of sensory experience
 this kind of questioning arose in Greece about 600 yr. before
the time of Christ
 it may not sound earth-shaking to us, but it was very new
at the time
 until then, people had found answers to such questions
exclusively in religion and religious myths; now, they
began to seek them through the use of reason
The Natural Philosophers:
 sometimes called the "Pre-Socratics", whose ideas come to us
incomplete (and mainly digested in the much later writings of
 were concerned with a key question: Is there a basic
substance that underlies all nature? (monism; vs.
pluralism, the idea that one must refer to more than one
feature of the universe to explain the source of things)
 Three Philosophers from Miletus: all believed that (i)
nothing can come from nothing, and that (ii) there must be
one basic substance that is the source of all things (monists)
 Thales (ca. 585 BCE) thought that all things come from
 Anaximander ( a contemporary) thought that all things
dissolve back into
"the boundless"
 Anaximenes (ca. 570526 BCE) thought
that all things come
from air
 these
them to the last of the four great metaphysical questions
that philosophers (including us) have struggled with ever
 Does God exist? If so, what is God like?
 What is the fundamental nature of the (human) person?
 Do we have free will, or our lives and choices already
determined for us?
 We have both mind and body: how are these related?
 How does one explain permanence and change?