25th November, 2016 (CSAT)


In modern times, the meaning of the word metaphysics has become confusing because of popular beliefs that are really unrelated to metaphysics or ontology per se, viz. esotericism and occultism. Esotericism and occultism, in their many forms, are not concerned with inquiries into first principles or the nature of being, though they do tend to proceed on the metaphysical assumption that all being is “one”.

1. It can be inferred that

(a) Esotericism and Occultism explain the meaning of metaphysics with a lot of confusion.

(b) Esotericism does not believe in the first principle that metaphysics believes in.

(c) Metaphysics is concerned with inquiries into the nature of being.

(d) Many forms of esotericism are related to metaphysics.


In a famous experiment at the IISC campus, when a cat smelled milk, it salivated. In the experiment, a bell was rung whenever food was placed near the cat. After a number of trials, only the bell was rung, whereupon the cat would salivate even though no food was present. Such behaviour has been observed in other animals such as dogs, monkeys, etc. and is a vital input for training domesticated animals.

2. Which of the following conclusions may be drawn from the above experiment?

(a) The ringing of a bell was associated with food in the mind of the cat.

(b) Cats and other animals can be easily tricked.

(c) A conclusion cannot be reached on the basis of one experiment.

(d) Two stimuli are stronger than one.

Tomorrow: Next questions for practice

For previous questions refer yesterday’s post

Click on MAINS and PRELIMS pages also.