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Metaphysics is the Philosophical study whose object is to determine the real nature of things to determine the meaning structure and principles of whatever is insofar as it is In Aristotles Metaphysics the key concepts are substance form and matter potentiality and actuality and cause Aristotle develops what he called the science of first philosophy These causes and principles are clearly the subject matter of what he calls first philosophy But this does not mean the branch of philosophy that should be studied first Rather it concerns issues that are in some sense the most fundamental or at the highest level of generality Aristotle distinguished between things that are better known to us and things that are better known in themselves and maintained that we should begin our study of a given topic with things better known to us and arrive ultimately at an understanding of things better known in themselves The principles studied by first philosophy may seem very general and abstract but they are according to Aristotle better known in them however remote they may seem from the world of ordinary experience Still since they are to be studied only by one who has already studied nature which is the subject matter of the Physics they are quite appropriately described as coming after the Physics Throughout his Metaphysics he is concerned with a type of knowledge that he thought could be most rightly called wisdom He begins his work with the statement that All men by nature desire to know Since man is a rational being who has the capacity to reason The soul plays an important role in explaining man as a rational being Aristotle defined soul in terms of functions The soul of a plant was concerned with nutrition and reproduction that of an animal with these and with sensation and independent movement that of a man with all these and with rational activity Men desire to know according to
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