Is Metaphysics a Science?

Thomas J. Burke

Burke is Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Hillsdale College and holds the William and Berniece Grewcock Chair in the Humanities. He formally pastored College Baptist Church in Hillsdale from 1974 to 1982 and has been a part-time pastor of the Hudson First Congregational Church in Hudson, MI since 1995. Burke is a graduate of Baylor University (BA), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MDiv), Northwestern University-Garrett Theological Seminary (PhD) and Michigan State University (MA, PhD).


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Article Information:

Author: Thomas J. Burke

Title: "Is Metaphysics a Science?"

Journal: Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry

Journal Issue: Volume 1, Number 2

Date: Fall 2019

Pages: 252-273



Once esteemed as the highest form of knowledge, the legitimacy of metaphysics as a rational discipline has been severely challenged since the rise of modern science, particularly since it seemed that while the latter reached overall consensus, the disputes in the former seemed interminable. The question naturally arises whether metaphysics could ever achieve the status of a science. The following article presents the view that metaphysics is not nor could ever become a science in the sense of the modern “hard” sciences today because a) it seeks a different sort of knowledge, which b) cannot be acquired by the methods of modern science; and c) metaphysics serves a different cognitive purpose than the sort of knowledge that science can provide. It is, nevertheless, a rational subject, one in fact that supplies the necessary rational foundation for the positive sciences.


Keywords: Science, Metaphysics, Theology, Exegesis, Cultural Comparison

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(footnote) Thomas J. Burke, “Is Metaphysics a Science?,” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 1, no. 2 (Fall 2019): 252-73,

(bibliography) Burke, Thomas J. “Is Metaphysics a Science?,” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 1, no. 2 (Fall 2019): 252-73.


Burke, Thomas J. “Is Metaphysics a Science?” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry, vol. 1, no. 2, Fall 2019,, pp. 252-73.


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