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The branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the nature of the world. It is the study of being or reality. It addresses questions such as: What is the nature of reality? Is there a God? What is man's place in the universe? In short, metaphysics is the study of ultimate reality.

A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into what categories of things are in the world and what relations these things bear to one another. The metaphysician also attempts to clarify the notions by which people understand the world, including existence, objecthood, property, space, time, causality, and possibility.

Another branch of metaphysics is cosmology, the study of the structure, origin, and design of the universe.

More recently, the term ""metaphysics"" has also been used to refer to ""subjects which are beyond the physical world"".

Metaphysics, natural philosophy, and science -- Before the development of modern science, scientific questions were addressed in metaphysics under the natural philosophy branch. This practice continued until up to the time of Isaac Newton (who was a natural philosopher himself) straight through the 18th century (the term ""science"" simply meant knowledge prior to the 19th century). However from the 19th century onwards natural philosophy became science, thus changing the definition of metaphysics to mainly include subjects beyond the physical world. Wikipedia contributors, ""Metaphysics,"" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 31, 2007).