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Metaphysics: The Fundamentals

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9574-4
280 pages
January 2015, ©2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Metaphysics: The Fundamentals (1405195746) cover image
Metaphysics: The Fundamentals presents readers with a systematic, comprehensive introductory overview of modern analytic metaphysics.
• Presents an accessible, up-to-date and broad-ranging survey of one of the most dynamic and often daunting sub-   fields in contemporary philosophy
• Introduces readers to the seminal works of contemporary and historic philosophers, including Descartes, Leibniz, Russell, David Lewis, Alvin Plantinga, Kit Fine, Peter van Inwagen, John Hawthorne and many others
• Explores key questions while identifying important assumptions, axioms, and methodological principles
• Addresses topics in ontology, modality, causality, and universals; as well as issues surrounding material composition, persistence, space, and time
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Acknowledgments ix

1 What Is Metaphysics? 1

1.1 The Subject of Metaphysics 1

1.2 The Methods of Metaphysics 2

1.3 The Waxing and Waning of Metaphysics 3

1.4 Modern Challenges to Metaphysics 4

1.5 The Renaissance of Metaphysics in the Later “Analytic” Era 6

1.6 Metaphysics as First Philosophy 8

1.7 Overview of the Book 9

2 Truthmakers 15

2.1 Propositions 17

2.2 Classical Truthmaker Theory 20

2.3 Deflationism 34

2.4 Truth Supervenes on Being 36

2.5 Conclusion 38

3 Causation and Powers 40

3.1 Do Causes Exist? 41

3.2 Causal Dispositions and Conditionals 45

3.3 Four Metaphysical Theories 47

3.4 Neo-Humeism 53

3.5 Powerism 63

3.6 Conclusion 74

4 Properties 76

4.1 The Theoretical Role of Properties 77

4.2 Realism 79

4.3 Reductive Nominalism 88

4.4 Trope Theory 96

5 Particulars 102

5.1 Facts 102

5.2 Substances 104

5.3 Conclusion 124

6 Composition 126

6.1 The Special Composition Question 127

6.2 Ontological Free Lunch? 131

6.3 Atomism and Monism 138

6.4 Emergence and Compositional Pluralism 144

6.5 Possible Evidence for Compositional Emergence 145

6.6 Conclusion 152

7 Modality 154

7.1 Possible Worlds: Concretism versus Abstractionism 157

7.2 Modality De Re: Transworld Identity versus Counterpart Theory 175

8 The Passage of Time 182

8.1 The A Theory and the B Theory 182

8.2 Varieties of A Theories 185

8.3 Arguments for the B Theory 188

8.4 Arguments for the A Theory 192

8.5 Conclusion 198

9 Continuity and Persistence 199

9.1 Discrete and Continuous Causation 200

9.2 Instants versus Intervals: Which Are Fundamental? 202

9.3 Possible and Impossible Super-Tasks 206

9.4 Persistence: Fundamental or Non-Fundamental, Supervenient or Anti-Supervenient? 211

9.5 The Persistence of Simple Things: The Problem of Intrinsic Motion 215

9.6 The Persistence of Composite Things: Paradoxes of Intransitivity 217

9.7 Extreme Perdurantism: Who Needs Persistence? 224

9.8 Conclusion: Two Metaphysical Packages 227

10 Concluding Unmetaphysical Postscript 230

10.1 Metaphysical Truth: Anti-Realism 231

10.2 Metaphysical Language: Nonsense and Verbal Disagreement 234

10.3 Metaphysical Skepticism 238

10.4 Metaphysical Fictions 240

10.5 Conclusion: The Inevitability of Metaphysics 241

References 242

Index 250

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Robert C. Koons is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality (2009), Realism Regained (2000), and co-editor of The Waning of Materialism (2010).

Timothy Pickavance is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Talbot Department of Philosophy at Biola University, La Mirada, California. He has published a number of papers on topics relating to metaphysics and epistemology.
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 “Robert C. Koons and Timothy H. Pickavance have mastered the art of succinct and non-technical digression. They are to be commended for their clear summaries. And, most important, they write in a way that invites readers to make up their own minds without attempting to conceal their own conclusions. As a result they have written a refreshingly different introduction to metaphysics, which I highly recommend.”

Peter Forrest, University of New England



"A superb overview of the central issues in contemporary metaphysics, written with clarity and rigor, exploring both particular issues and deep structural divides. "

Alexander R. Pruss, Baylor University
            
  

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