Original Research - Special Collection: SASRF The resurgence of metaphysics in science and philosophy and theology

Homo metaphysicalis? The biological-rootedness of the metaphysical mind

Cornel W. du Toit
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4676 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4676 | © 2017 Cornel W. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2017 | Published: 22 September 2017

About the author(s)

Cornel W. du Toit, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, South Africa


This article gives a general introduction to reasons why metaphysics might be considered a human constant. The basic metaphysical stance is rooted in human nature and human consciousness, being open to change and continually challenged. The biological rootedness of metaphysics relates to human consciousness, human dualisms, language (especially metaphor) and the fact that humans are self-transcending beings. It is suggested that the dualisms humans experience and express are not foreign to nature and part of the knowledge process. It is argued that metaphysical concepts such as unity, holism and relatedness are still necessary for human self-understanding and understanding of reality. The focus on the exclusivity of the human mind (Kant) contributed to the objectification and eventual manipulation of nature in science and technology and culminated in modernism. The existentialist and nihilistic responses that followed were inevitable. The tacit role of metaphysics in physics is indicated with reference to concepts such as nothingness and the quest for unity. Humans are destined to update their metaphysics in an ever-changing world.


present-day metaphysics; metaphysical man; natural dualisms; metaphysics in physics


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