Metaphysician vs Metaphysicist [duplicate]

A practitioner of physics is known as a physicist. It seems like it would logically follow that a practitioner of metaphysics would be known as a metaphysicist; yet, in every text I’ve read, a specialist in metaphysics is referred to as a metaphysician. What is the reason for this distinction?

The OED has an entry for metaphysicist, citing the origin as:

Late 19th cent.; earliest use found in The Ladies’ Repository. From metaphysic + -ist, after physicist.

However, its use seems rare.


The word metaphysician has been in use since a time when physician could also mean a physical scientist. The distinction between physician and physicist has later hardened only to avoid ambiguity. But in the case of metaphysician there is no danger of confusion: there is no study that comes after the study of medicine like metaphysics come after physics. (Metaphysics, Τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά, is the name given to those writings of Aristotle that immediately follow his treatise on Nature or φύσις.)

Source : Link , Question Author : lanour , Answer Author : Toothrot

Leave a Comment