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Infinite Minds: A Philosophical Cosmology Hardcover – February 6, 2002

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ISBN-13: 978-0199248926 ISBN-10: 0199248923 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

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"A wonderful piece of speculative metaphysics, consistent with contemporary physics and cosmology...A wonderfully worked out and quite attractive system of metaphysics."-- J. J. C. Smart, Australasian Journal of Philosophy


About the Author


John Leslie is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, Canada, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (February 6, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199248923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199248926
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,988,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on January 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
John Leslie may be familiar to readers either through his own work or through J.L Mackie's _The Miracle of Theism_. In the latter, Mackie presented Leslie's 'axiarchism' (essentially, the view that the cosmos exists because it's good that it do so) as a plausible alternative to traditional theism (though an alternative that Mackie himself rejected because he disbelieved in the objectivity of 'value' anyway).

In fact it's not really an 'alternative' to theism; more correctly, it's one possible philosophical understanding _of_ traditional theism, a point Leslie acknowledges here.

In this lucidly written and well-argued volume, Leslie presents his more or less neoplatonic/Spinozistic outlook in accessible terms (updating the version he expounded in _Value and Existence_) and replies to various objections to its plausibility.

His theory can be summarized in two major theses. (a) Everything we mean by 'the universe' simply _is_ the thought of a divine mind. Every object in the universe is either an object of divine thought, or (in the case of conscious beings like ourselves) a portion or subsystem of the divine mind itself. (This 'or' is not exclusive; you and I may well be both such objects and such subsystems.) (b) This divine mind (or perhaps an infinite number of such minds) exists because it's _good_ that it should do so -- i.e., that there should be a mind that, in some relevant sense, 'knows everything worth knowing'. Its existence is one case in which a fundamental sort of 'ethical requiredness' has the power to bring the 'required' state of affairs into being.

For some reason these two theses don't seem as intuitively plausible to everyone as they do to me.
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