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Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics

Theodore Sider (Editor), John Hawthorne (Editor), Dean W. Zimmerman (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-1229-1
416 pages
December 2007, ©2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics (1405112298) cover image
In a series of thought-provoking and original essays, eighteen leading philosophers engage in head-to-head debates of nine of the most cutting edge topics in contemporary metaphysics.

  • Explores the fundamental questions in contemporary metaphysics in a series of eighteen original essays - 16 of which are newly commissioned for this volume
  • Features an introductory essay by the editors on the nature of metaphysics to prepare the reader for ongoing discussions
  • Offers readers the unique opportunity to observe leading philosophers engage in head-to-head debate on cutting-edge metaphysical topics
  • Provides valuable insights into the flourishing field of contemporary metaphysics
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Notes on contributors.

Introduction.

I. Abstract entities.

1.1 Abstract entities: Chris Swoyer (University of Oklahoma).

1.2 There are no abstract objects: Cian Dorr (University of Pittsburgh).

II. Causation and laws of nature.

2.1 Nailed to Hume’s cross?: John W. Carroll (North Carolina State University).

2.2 Causation and laws of nature: Reductionism: Jonathan Schaffer (University of Massachusetts-Amherst).

III. Modality and possible worlds.

3.1 Concrete possible worlds: Phillip Bricker(University of Massachusetts- Amherst).

3.2 Ersatz possible worlds: Joseph Melia (University of Leeds).

IV. Personal identity.

4.1 People and their bodies: Judith Jarvis Thomson (MIT).

4.2 Persons, bodies, and human beings: Derek Parfit (All Souls College, Oxford).

V. Time.

5.1 The privileged present: defending an “A-theory” of time: Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers University).

5.2 The tenseless theory of time: J. J. C. Smart (Australian National University).

VI. Persistence.

6.1 Temporal parts: Theodore Sider (Rutgers University).

6.2 Three-dimensionalism vs. four-dimensionalism: John Hawthorne (Rutgers University).

VII. Free will.

7.1 Incompatibilism: Robert Kane (University of Texas at Austin).

7.2 Compatibilism, incompatibilism, and impossibilism: Kadri Vihvelin (University of Southern California).

VIII. Mereology.

8.1 The moon and sixpence: a defense of mereological universalism: James van Cleve (University of Southern California).

8.2 Restricted composition: Ned Markosian (Western Washington University).

IX. Meteontology.

9.1 Ontological arguments: interpretive charity and quantifier variance: Eli Hirsch (Brandeis University).

9.2 The picture of reality as an amorphous lump: Matti Eklund (Cornell University).

Index

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Theodore Sider is Professor of Philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Four-Dimensionalism and (with Earl Conee) Riddles of Existence.

John Hawthorne is Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Metaphysical Essays, and has published widely in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and Leibniz studies.

Dean W. Zimmerman is Associate Professor in the Philosophy department at Rutgers University. He is editor of Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, and author of numerous articles in metaphysics and philosophy of religion.
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  • Explores the fundamental questions in contemporary metaphysics in a series of eighteen original essays - 16 of which are newly commissioned for this volume
  • Features an introductory essay by the editors on the nature of metaphysics to prepare the reader for ongoing discussions
  • Offers readers the unique opportunity to observe leading philosophers engage in head-to-head debate on cutting-edge metaphysical topics
  • Provides valuable insights into the flourishing field of contemporary metaphysics
See More
Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics is a terrific book — 18 essays by some of the most distinguished voices in contemporary philosophy which collectively represent and define the state of the art in this ancient discipline. The writing is fresh and clear throughout, accessible to beginners but rigorous enough to satisfy the most exacting specialists. This is no bland survey of the subject: the book is structured as a series of debates, with partisans of opposed positions clashing directly on the page. For those who want to see how contemporary metaphysics is done, there is no better introduction to the subject.”
Gideon A. Rosen, Princeton University<!--end-->

“This is an incredibly good collection of original papers about the central problems of metaphysics. I will certainly use the book as a text in my yearly introductory graduate seminar on metaphysics."
Peter Van Inwagen, University of Notre Dame

“Until now we've had to choose between traditional texts, where the author pretends to be arguing with him/herself, and anthologies, where the reader pretends the authors are arguing with each other. This book has genuine focussed exchange between some of the best metaphysicians around. The introduction by Sider is a gem. What a great way to learn metaphysics.”
Prof. Stephen Yablo, MIT

“What might one want in a contemporary metaphysics reader? There are plenty of volumes that reprint the 20th century precursors to current debates; no need for another one of those. What would be great is a collection of first-rate essays by leading philosophers which effectively engage the most important issues in the field and give attention not only to the substantive debates but the meta-philosophical questions such as: what is metaphysics and how is it possible? And now we have it: Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics does it all.”
Sally Haslanger, MIT

“Written with philosophical sophistication … .Rewarding and valuable … .Teaching papers … .It would make a fine … and useful resource for the professional philosopher.” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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