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METAPHYSICS


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METAPHYSICS


has often bocii cumparcil to tlic great Western com- piler of legends, Jacobus de Voragine (d. 129S). Some (Kondakoff, " Histoire de I'art byzantin," Paris, 1886, I, 4G) prefer Sj'meon of the two. His legends were translated into Latin by Lippomanus, "Vita ss. pri- scorum patrum" (Venice, vols. V-VII, 1556-1558). Supposing the identity of the Metaphrast and Symeon Magister, we have other works by him, a Chronicle not extant in its original form, but altered and supple- mented in the Clironicle that goes by his name, in the Corpus of Bonn (Theophanes continuatus, Bonn, 1828, 603-760), reprinted in P. G., CIX, 663-822; also an Epitome of Canons (P. G., CXIV, 236-292), col- lections of maxims from St. Basil (P. G., XXXII, 1116-1381) and Macarius of Egypt (P. G., XXXIV, 841-965), some prayers and poems (P. G., CXIV, 209-225) and nine letters (P. G., CXIV, 282-236). Symeon Metaphrastes is a saint in the Orthodox Church. His feast is 28 November.

The collection of legends in P. G., CXIV-CXVI, Vol. CXIV, 1S5-205, contains Michael Psellus's encomium and office for Symeon's feast, the first source for hia life.

All.vtius, De Symeonum scriptis diatriba (Paris, 1664); Ha.vke, De byzant. rerum scriptoribus (1677), 418-60; Oddin, Comment, de script, eccles., II (1722), 1300-83; Krumbacher, Gesch, der byzantinischen Liiteratur (2nd ed., Munich, 1897), 200-3; Ehr.\rd, Die Legendensammlung des Symeon Meta- phrastes u. ihr ursprungliche Bestand (Rome, 1897); Idem, Sy- meon Metaphrastes u. die griechische Hagiographie in the Rom. Quartalschrift (1897), 531-53: Delehaye, Les menologes grecs in the Anal. Bolland., XVI (1897), 312-29; Idem, Le Menologe de Metaphraste. ib., XVII (1898), 448-52; Hirsch, Byzantiniache Studien (Leipzig, 1876), 308—11; Rambadd, Uempire grec au X' siicle (Paris, 1870). AdrIAK FoRTESCUE.

Metaphysics, that portion of philosophy which treats of the most general and fundamental principles underlying all reality and all knowledge.

I. The N.\me. — The word metaphysics is formed from the Greek /ierd tA <fiv(TiK<i, a title which, about the year 70 b. c, was prefixed by Andronicus of Rhodes to that collection of .\ristotelian treatises which since then goes by the name of the "Metaphysics". Aris- totle nim.self had referred to that portion of philoso- phy as "the theological science" (deoXoyiK-fi), because it culminated in the consideration of the nature of God, and as " first philosophy " (wpJiTr; 0iXocro0ia), both because it considered the first causes of things, and be- cause, in his estimation, it is first in importance. The editor, however, overlooked both these titles, and, be- cause he Ijelieved that that part of the Aristotelian corpus came naturally after the physical treatises, he entitled it " after the physics". This is the historical origin of the term. However, once the name was given, the commentators sought to find intrinsic rea- sons for its appropriateness. For instance, it was understood to mean " the science of the world beyond nature ", that is, the science of the immaterial, .^gain, it was understood to refer to the chronological or pedagogical order among our philosophical studies, so that the "metaphysical ' sciences would mean, those which we study after having mastered the sciences ■which deal with the physical world (St. Thomas, "In Lib. Bcetii de Trin. ", V, 1). In the widespread, though erroneous u.se of the term in current popular literature, there is a remnantof the notion thatmetaphysical means ultraphysical: thus, "metaphysical healing" means healing by means of remedies which are not physical.

II. Definition. — The term metaphysics, as usetl by one school of philosophers, Ls narrowed flown to mean the science of mental phenomena and of the laws of mind. In this sense, it Ls employed, for instance, by Hamilton (" Lectures on Metaph. ", Lect. VII) as synonymous with psychology. Hamilton holds that empirical psychology, or the phenomenology of mind, treats of the factw of consciousness, rational psychol- ogy, or the nomology of mind, treats of the laws of mental phenomena, and metaphysics, or inferential p.sychology, treats of the results derived from the study of the facts and laws of mind. This use of the term metaphysics is unfortunate because it rests on


Descartes's false assumption that the method hi meta- physics is subjective, in other words, that all the conclusions of metaphysics are based on the study of subjective, or mental, phenemona.

Taking a wider view of the scope and method of metaphysics, the followers of .Aristotle and many who do not acknowledge Aristotle as a leader in philosophy define the science in terms of all reality, liotli objective and subjective. Here five forms of definition are of- fered, wnich ultimately mean one and the same thing:

(1) Metaphysics is the sciettcc ofbeinijji.t being. — This is .Aristotle's definition (trtpl toO S^tos // df, — Met., VI, 1026 a, 31). In this definition metaphysics is placed in the genus "science". As a science, it has, in com- mon with other sciences, this characteristic that it seeks a knowledge of things in their causes. What is

Eeculiar to metaphysics is the difference " of being as eing". In this phrase are combined at once the material object and the formal object of metaphysics. The material object is being — the whole workl of real- ity, whether subjective or objective, possible or actual, abstract or concrete, immaterial or material, infinite or finite. Everything that exists comes within the scope of metaphysical inquiry. Other sciences are re- stricted to one or several departments of being; physics has its limited field of inquiry, mathematics is con- cerned only with those things which have quantity. Metaphysics knows no such restrictions. Its domain is all reality. For instance, the human soul and God, because they have neither colour nor weight, thermic nor electric properties, do not fall within the scope of the physicist's investigation ; because they are devoid of quantity, they do not come within the field of in- quiry of the mathematician. But, since they are beings, they do come within the domain of meta- physical investigation. The material object of meta- physics is, therefore, all being. As Aristotle says (Met., IV, 1004 a, 34): "It is the function of the phi- losopher to be able to investigate all things. " Its for- mal object is also " being", or " beingness. " The for- mal object of any science is that particular phase, quality, or aspect of things which interests that science in a specific way. Man, for instance, is the material object of psychology, ethics, sociology, anthropology, philology, and various other sciences. The formal object, however, of each of these is dilTerent. The formal object of psychology is mental phenomena and the subject of them; the formal object of ethics is man's relation to his ultimate destiny ; that of sociol- ogy is man's relation to his fellow-men in institutions, laws, customs, etc. ; that of anthropology is the origin of man, distinction of races, etc.; that of philology is man's use of articulate speech. The formal object of the physical group generally is the so-called physical properties of bodies, such as light, sound, heat, molec- ular constitution, atomic structure, vital phenomena in general, etc. The formal object of the mathemati- cal group is quantity; what interests the mathemati- cian is not the colour, heat, etc., of an object, but its size or bulk. Similarly the metaphysician is inter- ested in a specific way neither in the physical nor the mathematical qualities of things, but in their entity or beingne.ss. If, then, physics is the science of being as affected by physical properties, and mathematics is the science of being as possessing quantity, metaphys- ics is the science of being as being. Since the material object of metaphysics is all being, the metaphysician is interested in everything that is or can be. Since the formal object of his study is again, being, the point of view of metaphysics is clifTerent from that of the other sciences. The metaphysician studies all reality; still, the resulting science is not a summing up of the departmental sciences which deal with portions of reality, because his point of view is different from that of the .student of the departmental sciences.

(2) Metaphysics is the science nf immaterial being. — "The first science", says Aristotle (Met., VI, 1026 a.