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Metaphysicians are philosophers concerned with the ultimate nature of reality. The term "metaphysics" derives originally from the philosophy of Aristotle, whose "First Philosophy" went beyond his study of the natural world. The term "metaphysics" literally means "beyond physics" and refers to what can be known beyond what's observed in the physical world. Over time, metaphysics became its own branch of philosophy. Today, metaphysicians are academic philosophers who attempt to answer questions raised in metaphysics. The salary of a metaphysician is similar to that of other academic professionals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for philosophy and religion professors was $69,150 per year, as of May 2010. The bureau indicates that the highest paid metaphysicians and other philosophers earned salaries of $114,380 or greater. These were the upper 10 percent of all philosophy professors. However, the median salary for philosophy professors was $62,330, with the middle 50 percent earning salaries ranging from $46,110 to $84,040 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes two major types of institutions in which philosophers tend to teach. First, there are those who teach at the junior college level. These philosophy professors earned an average annual salary of $67,600, as of May 2010. University and four-year college professors made higher average salaries, but not by much: According to the bureau, these professors made an average of $69,460 — a difference of only $1,860 per year.
Philosophy professor salaries also vary by geographic location. According to the bureau, California was the state with the highest number of employed professional philosophers. These philosophers earned an average salary of $84,560 per year, as of 2010. However, this wasn't the highest-paying state in which to work as a metaphysician or philosopher. Rhode Island paid the highest average salary at $95,720 per year. Those teaching in New York were the next-highest paid, at $89,150 per year.
Although metaphysicians and other philosophers are by no means the highest-paid scholars in academia, other opportunities do exist to make additional income. As professional scholars, these philosophers are expected to continue to research and publish in their field of specialization. Metaphysicians who publish textbooks, scholarly books and other more popular titles answering the questions of metaphysics can supplement their salary with additional book royalties. Those who find a niche within the metaphysics field may also be paid to speak on various subjects at other institutions or academic functions.