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Textbook

Reading Metaphysics: Selected Texts with Interactive Commentary

Helen Beebee (Editor), Julian Dodd (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-2367-9
256 pages
January 2007, ©2006, Wiley-Blackwell
Reading Metaphysics: Selected Texts with Interactive Commentary (1405123672) cover image
This collection brings together key contemporary texts in metaphysics and features an interactive commentary which helps readers engage the texts critically and to use them to develop their own views.

  • Each text is followed by a detailed commentary, setting it in context
  • Includes questions designed to help readers think hard about what the author is saying and why, to think of objections, and to formulate his or her own views
  • Aims to improve the reader’s ability to engage critically with philosophical texts, and to use them as a springboard for philosophical thought and writing
  • Introduces readers to the perennial problems of metaphysics and the ways that different analytic philosophers have approached them
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Sources and Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

1 Personal Identity.

Introduction.

Derek Parfit, ‘Personal Identity’.

Commentary on Parfit.

Marya Schechtman, ‘Personhood and Personal Identity’.

Commentary on Schechtman.

Further Reading.

Essay Questions.

2 Free Will.

Introduction.

Peter van Inwagen, ‘The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism’.

Commentary on van Inwagen.

Daniel Dennett, ‘Could Have Done Otherwise’ (extract from Elbow Room).

Commentary on Dennett.

Further Reading.

Essay Questions.

Appendix.

3 Realism and Anti-realism.

Introduction.

Donald Davidson, ‘On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme’.

Commentary on Davidson.

Thomas Nagel, ‘Thought and Reality’ (extract from The View from Nowhere).

Commentary on Nagel.

Further reading.

Essay questions.

4 Realism and Nominalism.

Introduction.

Michael Devitt, ‘“Ostrich Nominalism” or “Mirage Realism”?’.

Commentary on Devitt.

D. M. Armstrong, ‘Against “Ostrich” Nominalism: A Reply to Michael Devitt’.

Commentary on Armstrong.

Further reading.

Essay questions.

5 Possible Worlds.

Introduction.

David Lewis, extract from Counterfactuals.

Commentary on Lewis.

Saul Kripke, extract from Naming and Necessity.

Commentary on Kripke.

Further reading.

Essay questions.

6 Persistence over Time.

Introduction.

David Lewis, extract from On the Plurality of Worlds.

Commentary on Lewis.

Sally Haslanger, ‘Endurance and Temporary Intrinsics’.

Commentary on Haslanger.

David Lewis, ‘Tensing the Copula’.

Commentary on Lewis.

Further reading.

Essay questions.

Bibliography.

Index

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Helen Beebee is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of Hume on Causation (2006) and co-editor, with Julian Dodd, of Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate (2005).

Julian Dodd is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manchester. He is the author of Works of Music: An Essay in Ontology (2007) and An Identity Theory of Truth (2000), and co-editor of Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate (2005).

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  • A student-friendly collection of key contemporary texts in metaphysics.

  • Each text is followed by a detailed commentary, setting it in context.

  • Includes questions designed to help readers think hard about what the author is saying and why, to think of objections, and to formulate his or her own views.

  • Aims to improve the reader’s ability to engage critically with philosophical texts, and to use them as a springboard for philosophical thought and writing.

  • Introduces readers to the perennial problems of metaphysics and the ways that different analytic philosophers have approached them.
See More
“A book that speaks directly to students. By combining accessible text selections with insightful commentary, clear graphic devices for navigating within each chapter, and thoughtful questions, this new collection provides an invaluable teaching tool for major areas of contemporary metaphysics.”
Dale Jacquette, The Pennsylvania State University

“Reading Metaphysics is the perfect hybrid of an attentively edited anthology and a lucidly instructive textbook. Instead of overwhelming us with dozens of selections, the editors have expertly chosen a small number of contemporary readings, thus giving readers the time to probe deeply into the selected topics and, more importantly, the time to learn how to take apart and interact with a philosophical text. While the readings are well-selected, the true strength of this book lies in the editors’ commentary. Students will leave this book ready, and eager, to take on more metaphysics and teachers will notice a marked improvement in their students’ philosophical ability.”
Andrew P. Mills, Otterbein College

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