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From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis

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ISBN-13: 000-0198250614
ISBN-10: 0198250614
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Editorial Reviews


"In the present climate, any serious work on philosophical methodology is of real interest; when the work is by a philosopher as clear and original as Frank Jackson, it is mandatory reading."--Philosophical Review

"An outstanding work. Given its breadth and originality, it deserves to be widely studied. Given its brevity and clarity, it actually might be. The book covers a vast range of topics, from the issue of physicalism in the philosophy of mind, via the nature of conceptual analysis, to the metaphysics of colour and ethics. In each area Jackson stakes out a distinctive position which accords with the basic account of metaphysics defended throughout."--British Journal of the Philosophy of Science

"[A] brilliant exposition and defense of the role of conceptual analysis in serious metaphysics....This excellent book deserves a spot in every academic library."--Choice

About the Author

Frank Jackson is Professor of Philosophy in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press (May 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198250614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198250616
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.6 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Lautrup Kristensen on January 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
With this work, Frank Jackson has provided us with a much needed explicitation of the assumptions underlying most forms of philosophical analysis. Indeed, Jackson argues forcefully that conceptual analysis is much more prevalent in philosophical works than is admitted by many of Jacksons colleages. One of the most important insights offered in this work is the idea that metaphysics, if done seriously, must depend strongly on folk intuitions. The intuitions about when 'the folk' would plausibly apply a certain concept reveils the 'folk theory'. The metaphysician's job is then to locate these intuitions in a coherent account of 'what there is' in the traditional sense. Consequently, Jackson offers two examples of such analysis, namely colours and ethics. Both are located in the natural world: colours as the surface properties which cause our colour experiences and ethical properties as concealed descriptive properties. Whether you agree with these conclusions or not, the line of thought is both clear and sharp. Throughout, Jackson remains true to his general points, which are that metaphysics has to do with analysis of folk concepts as much as empirical discovery. This inevitably leads to considerations on Kripke and Putnam and the nature of so-called 'a posteriori necessities'. Jackson argues that the fallacious intuition that such exist stems from the fact that a single sentence may express different propositions, depending on its intension. Thus 'water is H2O' may express the necessary (and a priori) truth that 'what is actually water is H20' or it may express the contingent (and a posteriori) proposition that 'the watery stuff of our acquaintance is H20'. This is a profound insight, which solves many sceptical worries instigated by the Quinean movement.Read more ›
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