Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that explores the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, and between substance and attribute. It seeks to answer questions about the existence of things, their essence, and their properties. The study of metaphysics is based on two fundamental assumptions that underpin all philosophical inquiry.

Assumption 1: There is a reality beyond what we perceive with our senses.

This assumption is rooted in the idea that our senses are limited and may not accurately represent the world as it really is. For example, we can only see a limited range of colors within the visible spectrum, but there are many other wavelengths of light that exist beyond our perception. Similarly, we may not be able to hear sounds that are too high or low in frequency for our ears to detect.

This assumption suggests that there may be aspects of reality that are beyond our current understanding or ability to perceive. Metaphysics seeks to explore these aspects by using reason and logic to deduce what must be true about the world based on what we do know.

Substance and Attribute

One way metaphysicians explore reality is through the concepts of substance and attribute. Substance refers to the underlying essence or nature of something, while attribute refers to its observable characteristics or properties.

For example, a tree may have attributes such as being tall, having leaves, and producing fruit. However, its substance is what makes it fundamentally a tree rather than something else.

Assumption 2: Reality can be understood through rational inquiry.

This assumption holds that we can gain knowledge about reality through reason and logic rather than relying solely on sensory experience. It suggests that there are universal truths about reality that can be discovered through rational inquiry.

Metaphysics employs deductive reasoning to explore these truths by starting with general principles or assumptions and deducing more specific conclusions. For example, if we assume that everything that exists has a cause, we can deduce that the universe must have had a cause.

Mind and Matter

One area of metaphysics that explores the relationship between mind and matter is philosophy of mind. This branch of metaphysics seeks to answer questions about consciousness, perception, and thought. It asks whether the mind is distinct from the brain or whether they are one and the same.

In conclusion, philosophical metaphysics rests on two fundamental assumptions: first, that there is a reality beyond what we perceive with our senses, and second, that reality can be understood through rational inquiry. These assumptions underpin all philosophical inquiry and provide a foundation for exploring fundamental questions about the nature of reality.