Definition of metaphysical in English:



  • 1Relating to metaphysics.

    ‘the essentially metaphysical question of the nature of the mind’
    • ‘This metaphysical question has been much discussed.’
    • ‘In the 17th century this question sparked a furious metaphysical and scientific controversy on the existence, nature and measure of force.’
    • ‘It begins to appear that the metaphysical question of determinism is quite irrelevant to the rationality of our ascription of responsibility.’
    • ‘The pursuit of such metaphysical questions is just a high-minded distraction from the more pressing issue of confronting the dilemma of one's existence here and now.’
    • ‘The traditional concept of free will enters the mainstream of Western Philosophy in metaphysical questions about human responsibility for moral behavior.’
    • ‘It has unlimited potential to explore all sorts of metaphysical and moral questions, but it is not doing that.’
    • ‘However, especially for those of us who find such metaphysical disputes sterile, questions about the paranormal have a very important part to play in the debate.’
    • ‘As that great deflator of metaphysical questions, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, taught us, the meaning of a term is fixed by the community that uses it.’
    • ‘However, Condillac had no right to simply-side step the metaphysical question of the nature of body.’
    • ‘However, the very strength of such an epistemological claim makes it difficult to assume with begging the metaphysical result in question.’
    • ‘At every stage of life, Wharton searched in religion and philosophy for answers to pressing metaphysical and ontological questions.’
    • ‘Euripides' Electra ironically questions belief in a metaphysical system that encourages crime only to punish it.’
    • ‘So, for Heidegger, the nothing that opens in the experience of anxiety leads one to pose the metaphysical question as to the meaning of being.’
    • ‘It drew out metaphysical questions as it prompted the Futurist to focus on the movement or temporality inherent in things, and hence the instability of the geophysical world, its objects and its events.’
    • ‘Clearly, whether that inference is valid or not turns on a metaphysical question about the identity of persons and minds.’
    • ‘Thus Triodes unwillingly reinforces the Heideggerian fallacy that mythic or metaphysical registers are directly generative of social programmes.’
    • ‘This is a remarkable argument, whereby Davidson derives a metaphysical conclusion concerning the physical nature of mental states from premisses which concern their causal role.’
    • ‘On this metaphysical question, I agree with William James and many contemporary thinkers that free will and determinism are incompatible.’
    • ‘Perhaps Kant was correct when he said that although we can never hope to answer our metaphysical questions, we can't help asking them anyway.’
    1. 1.1Based on abstract (typically, excessively abstract) reasoning.
      ‘an empiricist rather than a metaphysical view of law’
      • ‘Given this view of the progressive metaphysical appropriation of ontology as a wrong turn, Heidegger has no choice but go back to the start and take another fork in the road.’
      • ‘Mediation between Christianity and Greek philosophy must substitute a metaphysical Plato for an aporetic inquiring Socrates.’
      • ‘Our situation is something like the one to which we are assigned by a considerable number of metaphysical philosophers, notably Plato.’
      • ‘This study shows that throughout his life, the Guru did not indulge in metaphysical abstractions or recondite analysis of various religious thoughts.’
      • ‘Again, we find no reason to suppose that metaphysical issues can be cleanly detached from epistemological concerns.’
      • ‘Her first collection of poems interrogates the nature of physical and the metaphysical knowledge.’
      • ‘It is to this problem that Kant addressed himself, producing the most metaphysical and abstract basis that has ever been given for the common intuitions of morality.’
      • ‘And even if it could somehow be shown that the evil of such events is ‘unreal’ in some abstract metaphysical sense, would that take away the reality of our feeling that it was evil?’
      • ‘His enduring little classic, The Problems of Philosophy, sketches the metaphysical and epistemological views he then held.’
      • ‘This, in turn, is based on the metaphysical assumption that the universe is harmonious and coherent.’
      • ‘In light of that conviction, what could be taken as a purely metaphysical question becomes much more practical: Where is the church in these terrible events?’
      • ‘As an woman whose very life is jeopardized by the laws of the land, she responds to a different set of constraints, more material than metaphysical.’
      • ‘Some attacked his announcement, for example Smith who used a metaphysical argument based on the simplicity of the inverse square law.’
      • ‘They'll agree to explain the properties we're talking about in scientific terms, and still insist that their metaphysical questions remain.’
      • ‘And then we are faced with the difficult metaphysical question of whether such a universe is really possible.’
      • ‘I think that the two types of cosmology, that is religious cosmology based on a metaphysical vision or view of the universe and modern cosmology, should not be confused.’
      • ‘Curry concedes that some intuition is involved in this meta-mathematics, but he claims that the metaphysical nature of this intuition is irrelevant.’
      • ‘What is this metaphysical view about free will that I wish to attack?’
      • ‘If so, the whole identity issue is undecidable, since one is demanding metaphysical answers to questions that are in large part semantical.’
      • ‘As noted earlier, we do not ally ourselves with any specific metaphysical view or theoretical system, and prefer a bottom-up approach.’
      • ‘It could be argued that the inverted spectrum hypothesis is incoherent for deep metaphysical and empirical reasons.’
      abstract, theoretical, conceptual, notional, philosophical, speculative, intellectual, academic
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    2. 1.2Transcending physical matter or the laws of nature.
      ‘Good and Evil are inextricably linked in a metaphysical battle across space and time’
      • ‘But the fact is, when I was a kid in Los Angeles, I was surrounded by numerous studies of a metaphysical nature; it was just part of life there.’
      • ‘Even as intellectuals dismiss the nation-space as a metaphysical concept, a transcendent notion, countless people across the world die and kill in the name of a nation.’
      • ‘With the dual sensations of both physical and metaphysical pleasure, it was extremely difficult not to moan his ecstasy aloud.’
      • ‘The essay is a reflection by Nancy on the physical and metaphysical fallout of the heart transplant he had received ten years previously.’
      • ‘By the end of his journey - both physical and metaphysical - our tycoon will become the title character.’
      • ‘Here, in language, & still more in logic, we are point blank at issue - There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical.’
      • ‘But either way, ID is a metaphysical explanation by its nature, not merely by its implications.’
      • ‘Somehow this bunny seemed more physical and less metaphysical.’
      • ‘The explanation for this is that physicians are ‘healers’ much in demand in dramas about physical, moral, metaphysical evil.’
      • ‘For Hopkins is not so much invoking the metaphysical potential of nature, and its capacity to typify states of mind, as he is making a conservationist plea.’
      • ‘These belief assumptions, of course, do raise truth claims of a metaphysical nature, but the way goes from within and out, and not the other way around.’
      • ‘There is no dematerialization, no aura: the glow rides the surface, more physical than metaphysical.’
      • ‘David is not a character of merit or interest, no matter what metaphysical hoops he is forced through.’
      • ‘Systems of thought that are fundamentally metaphysical in nature are not testable and can therefore never be proven incorrect.’
      • ‘Understanding the metaphysical through the physical or searching for the Reality behind the Appearance, constitutes the basic concept of the religious quest of the Bouls.’
      • ‘Now it is the confused management of metaphysical and spiritual matters.’
      • ‘I think most New Zealanders would agree that it is appropriate to consider spiritual and metaphysical matters as part of a consent process.’
      • ‘In the hands of Velázquez, the existence of a jester could have the same physical - and metaphysical - scale as that of an aristocrat.’
      • ‘And an immersion in his oeuvre is an effective cure for many chronic ailments of a metaphysical nature that one might suffer.’
      • ‘It is only then that the union of the physical and the metaphysical becomes complete, and the body does what the mind tells it to do.’
      transcendental, spiritual, supernatural, paranormal
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  • 2Of or characteristic of the metaphysical poets.

    • ‘John Donne, metaphysical poetry, ovarian cancer and chemotherapy might not normally suggest an entertaining night at the theatre.’
    • ‘On one level there is the English metaphysical tradition perhaps best exemplified by John Donne.’


  • The metaphysical poets.

    • ‘And in the beginning of reading poetry, for me it was in the thirties, and I - and everybody was reading Metaphysicals, Donne and so forth.’
    • ‘Duncan's poetry of the forties and fifties is massively influenced by the Metaphysicals.’
    • ‘Or Eliot, who wrote on the Metaphysicals, Marvell, Dryden, Blake, Wordsworth, Baudelaire and, of course, Dante, as well as many other writers.’
    • ‘Compared to men, women were Metaphysicals, Donnes and Marvells of brain and heart.’
    • ‘The Metaphysicals and the Elizabethans are clearly still read with devotion.’