From Ancient Greek: meta (after) + physis (nature). See historical note below.

The systematic philosophical investigation of the nature of reality; the fundamental principles of philosophical investigation.

Metaphysics is one of the five major subdisciplines of Philosophy and encompasses several fundamental philosophical problems which give rise to distinct subdisciplines within Metaphysics:

NOTE: Unlike most technical terms in academic Philosophy, the term ‘metaphysics’ was coined during the Thirteenth century when medieval scholars like William of Moerbeke translated the newly re-introduced copies of Aristotle’s surviving works. These texts had long been lost in the West but were preserved in Byzantium and widely available in the Islamic world. The Fourth Crusade, which culminated in the sacking of Constantinople, began the process of reintroducing Aristotle’s surviving works into the West.