Thursday, October 29, 2009


  • Kamu mestilah sentiasa mengetahui dengan jelas apakah yang dimaksudkan dengan istilah-istilah yang disebut di dalam pelajaran-pelajaran yang aku ajarkan kepada kamu. Di bawah adalah berkenaan dengan METAFIZIK.
  • It is most important that you learn early and learn well the precise meaning of this term metaphysics. For there are many, even among the learned, who use the word amiss, and misuse gives us reason to suspect the presence of misunderstanding.

  • Metaphysics literally means after-physics. And physics here means no laboratory science of bodies with mass and inertia. It means natures. The Greek physis is the same as the Latin natura or the English nature, and it means a working essence.

  • Now, the essence of a thing is its fundamental make-up, its basic character as such a thing. And when this essence is looked upon as the source and font of activities or operations, it is called a nature. Thus, if you want to know the essence of a thing, you look up its definition; its definition tells you what it is. But when you know its nature, you know what is does or can do.

  • The essence of a human being, for instance, is a substantial compound of body and soul. The nature of a human being makes this substantial compound of body and soul the source of all activities that properly belong to a human being: growing, sensing, thinking, willing, etc. We do not say that it is essential to man to think; we do say that is natural to man to think. Nature is essence as the source of operations.

  • Now, there are many essences in the world around us -- plants, animals, human beings, lifeless things. Each of these essences has its proper activities, and, in view of these, each essence is a nature or physis. And, since it is this bodily world that first engages our attention and is the scene of our immediate experience, we speak of the things in this world as belonging to the physical order. This, be it understood, is a cramped use of the term physical, for physical, taken literally, refers to any physis (or nature or working essence) whether it be bodily or non-bodily. But, as we say, the phrase the physical order is employed to designate this world of bodily things. Hence any study, any science, of things in this bodily universe is called a physical study, a physical science.

  • Now, there are things which the mind notices here in the bodily world which are manifestly not limited to this world but belong to the non-bodily world as well, that is, to the world of spiritual things and to the world as abstractly known. For instance, the term substance (which means a reality that is existible as itself, and not as a mere mark or qualifier of some other thing) is not necessarily limited to bodies. We can conceive of spiritual substance as easily as of bodily substance.

  • Again, a thing which is understood is transferred, so to speak, into the knowing mind; it is represented there in idea or concept; that is, it is re-present there. The idea itself is a mental image; we are not talking of the idea itself, however. We are now considering the thing as it exists in the knowing mind through the instrumentality of the idea.

  • Manifestly this cognitional existence (or intentional existence, as it is called) is not the same as the physical existence of a thing known; but it is a real existence none the less. My idea of tree, as an idea, is in and from the mind; it is a logical being, not a real being. But my knowledge of tree in and through the idea tree is knowledge of reality; it is real knowledge; I know real being; and I know it by reason of the fact that tree is stripped by mental abstraction of all limitation which makes each tree the one individual bodily thing it is.

  • For my knowledge of tree holds good of any tree, of every tree, regardless of size, botanical kind, location, or even actual existence since it holds good of every possible tree. In a word, though a tree is bodily in the physical order (or the order of bodily things) and though it is sheerly mental in the logical order (or order of ideas) it is real in the order of things or realities abstractly known.

  • Now, the realities (and hold hard to that term realities) which can be found not only in the bodily world or the physical order, but also in the supra-physical order, whether this be the spiritual order of substances, or the order of realities known in a supra-material way, are said to belong to the metaphysical order. And a science of these things is a metaphysical science.

  • Metaphysics, as the name of a science, means the science of nonmaterial real being. We have seen that such being is either a spiritual substance, or a bodily thing which is stripped of materiality by abstraction; it may also be any being, substantial or accidental, which exists or has influence in the field of bodies and non-bodies alike and hence is not limited to the material.

  • Substance is a metaphysical term; cause is a metaphysical term; such terms also are essence, accident, relation, and many, many others. For substance can be material or it can be spiritual and is still a substance; thus substance is not held exclusively to the material or physical order, and is, in so far, nonmaterial; and it indicates reality, not a mode of being in the mind; hence it is both nonmaterial and real, and is, in itself, a metaphysical term and concept.

  • Cause can have place among bodily realities, spiritual realities, and can be traced also in mathematical relations, and in mental relations which are non-mathematical; cause can exist among substances, among accidents. It is not held down, therefore, to the order of things material; that is, it is nonmaterial. Yet it is real; it is conceived as a reality, and where it exists, it exists as a reality. It belongs to the order, not of this physis, or of that physis, or of the other physis, but sweeps up and over and inclusively upon all. It comes after the limited physes; it is meta-physical; it is metaphysical.

  • And so with the other examples mentioned. All the terms noted are not so inclusive as the term cause, but it is clear that all of them are free from the limitations which would hold them exclusively applicable in the realm of bodies; hence we say they are nonmaterial; and they indicate reality; they are nonmaterial and real, and therefore they are metaphysical.

  • Metaphysics, therefore, is the science of nonmaterial real being. Now, the Greek word on (stem, onto-) means being; and the termination -logy suggests science. And so the fundamental part of metaphysics, which deals with being as such, has been given the name which means "the science of being," that is, the name ontology.