How Did Metaphysics Get Its Name?


Martha Robinson

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the fundamental nature of reality and existence. It is a term that is often used in academic circles, but have you ever wondered how metaphysics got its name? In this article, we will be exploring the origins of this term and how it has evolved over time.

The Origins

The term “metaphysics” comes from the Greek words “meta” and “physika”. The word “meta” means beyond or after, while “physika” refers to nature or the physical world. When these two words are combined, they create the term “metaphysika”, which was first used by Aristotle in his book titled “Metaphysics”.

Aristotle’s Book

Aristotle’s book was originally a collection of lectures he gave on various philosophical topics. It was later compiled into a single volume and given the title “Ta meta ta physika”, which translates to “the things after the physical [things]”. This title referred to the fact that Aristotle’s book came after his work on physics in his collection of writings.

Evolution of the Term

Over time, the term “metaphysics” began to be used more broadly to refer to any philosophical inquiry into the fundamental nature of reality. This included discussions about God, existence, knowledge, and truth.

In modern times, metaphysics has been further divided into different sub-branches such as ontology (the study of being), epistemology (the study of knowledge), and cosmology (the study of the universe). These sub-branches have allowed for more focused discussions within metaphysical philosophy.


In conclusion, while we may not know exactly who coined the term “metaphysics”, we do know that it comes from Aristotle’s book titled “Metaphysics”. The term has evolved over time to become a broader field of philosophy that explores the fundamental nature of reality. With its various sub-branches, metaphysics continues to be a topic of discussion and inquiry in academic and philosophical circles today.