Studies & Degrees in Metaphysics
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Probably, one of the reason man has become the unequivocal masters of the Earth is because of the ability to perform complex thought processes as compared to animals who rely solely on primal instincts. Because of this unique faculty of humans, simple things like arguments, questions and reasons have led to formulation of ideas and in turn led to formulation of theories and eventually to a much broader spectrum such as science. On the forefront of arguments, questions and reasons is the field of study called Metaphysics. In a nutshell, Metaphysics can be defined as a field of study that investigates principles of reality that may be beyond any particular science to explain. As defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is a division of Philosophy concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being that includes Ontology, Cosmology and Epistemology.
Ontology deals with the study of being and existence and the nature of their change. More or less, ontology answers questions on what entities exist or what entities can exist as well as how these entities can be grouped, subdivided and fitted within a hierarchy. Key concepts in the study of Ontology usually points to quintessential topics like Universals and Particulars, Substance and Accidents, Abstract and Concrete, Essence and Existence and Determinism and Indeterminism. As metaphysical as it is, ontological concepts are being used in software programs in artificial intelligence applications.
Cosmology, on the other hand, is the branch of Metaphysics that study the universe as a whole, and with it, where man fit in it. Of course, the phrase “study the universe” would be in philosophical terms so as not to be mistaken with Astrophysics where gravity, planets, galaxies and other physical space objects that may come into mind. Although, modern-time theories like the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein and the Big Bang Theory among other theories about the universe and space and time continuum, which usually are riddled with mathematical jargons, numerical constants and coefficients, but still these modern scientists could not deny that their theories all took root from Metaphysics. Before the math and science entered the picture in any theory be it explaining the universe or the theory of man’s origin, they all would still start from a philosophical point of view. Essentially, Cosmology would tackle esoteric occultism, science and religion as all these fields, in one way or another, want to answer the same question: What is the origin of the universe?
The third branch of Metaphysics is called Epistemology which specifically is concerned with the nature, scope and limitation of knowledge. Basically, Epistemology would address questions like: “What is knowledge?” “How knowledge is acquired?” “What do people know?” and “How do people know what they know?” From this branch of Metaphysics sprung forth concepts like Empiricism, Rationalism and Constructivism. Since Epistemology deals mainly with knowledge, a lot of practical applications currently benefit from this branch of metaphysics and among them are: courtroom proceedings, where proof of guilt or innocence needs to be determined, artificial intelligence (together with ontology), economists, cultural anthropologists, product testers, psychologists and even medical practitioners especially when diagnosing diseases.
Indeed, Metaphysics is a broad and vague subject matter but when the concepts are fully understood, it could literally change mass consciousness as exemplified by Aristotle, Aristarchus (author of the Heliocentric Universe Model), Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and other great philosophers and scientists.