- Series: Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies
- Paperback: 688 pages
- Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (June 28, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 063120279X
- ISBN-13: 978-0631202790
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Metaphysics: An Anthology (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies) 1st Edition
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This anthology intended to accompany "A Companion to Metaphysics" brings together over 60 selections which represent the best & most important works in metaphysics during this century.
From the Back Cover
This Anthology, intended to accompany A Companion to Metaphysics (Blackwell, 1995), brings together over 60 selections which represent the best and most important works in metaphysics during the last century. The selections are grouped under ten major metaphysical problems and each section is preceded by an introduction by the editors. Some of the problems covered are existence, identity, essence and essential properties, "possible worlds", things and their identity over time, emergence and supervenience, causality, and realism/antirealism. The coverage is comprehensive and should be accessible to those without a background in technical philosophy.
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The subjects covered here are existence (ontological commitment), identity, modality, universals and properties, persistence through time, personal identity, causation, supervenience, and global realism vs. anti-realism. The aim of the individual sections on each of these questions isn't to provide a synoptic view of the positions in these areas. That, of course, simply couldn't be done in an anthology of this sort. The aim instead is to give the reader a sense of the positions defended in this area, to provide her with the outlines of a couple possible positions on each of the issues, and to give her the background to enter into the contemporary literature on the subjects.
Still, this is not an anthology that is stuffed with introductory material by the editors themselves. Most of the sections begin with only a page or two of introductory material, and those few pages are expected to both introduce the basic issues in a few paragraphs and relate the readings included to the basic issues and to one another. However, many of the sections begin with a selection that does the work of introducing the basic issues on the subject as well as presenting a particular position on it. And, as is often the case in philosophy, many of the basic issues discussed don't need much motivation since they can be stated in a few words and since they concern questions that, on their face, are quite straightforward and simple. Some of the questions discussed here are: What is it for something to exist, and when do we have good reason to think something exists? What is it to be the same thing through time? What is it for me to be the same person through time? What is it for one thing to cause one another? Is there an objective reality?
This is material that you need to know if you plan to do work in pretty much any area of philosophy. It doesn't seem that you can do much work in contemporary philosophy without encountering modal issues, supervenience theses, identity claims, general ontological issues, claims about the nature of properties, etc. All of these are extremely general, and they're of importance to meta-ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, the history of philosophy, etc. So you need to know something about this material if you're going to study just about anything in contemporary philosophy, and reading the selections in this volume would be a good place to start.
The reader should know that this is emphatically not a historically anthology, that it's not a place to go for knowledge of the metaphysical views of the great philosophers. These are all contemporary readings. Nearly every election is from the last fifty years, and a good many of them are from the last twenty or so. So the focus of this anthology is on the sort of metaphysics that is being done in analytic philosophy right now. Also, unless you have a thorough grounding in other areas of contemporary philosophy, this is not an anthology I'd recommend for someone beginning study of the subject. While some of its selections should be accessible to anyone with an interest in this subject, many of them technical and philosophically sophisticated. Since many of these selections are journal articles or selections from book-length treatises on the issues, the authors often assume that the reader is coming to this material with a thorough grounding in the aims and methods of contemporary philosophy. So, before you try to tackle most of this anthology, I'd recommend reading an introductory text in contemporary metaphysics or at least doing some coursework in related areas of contemporary philosophy.
This is an ideal anthology for courses surveying contemporary metaphysics that are aimed at graduate students and advanced undergraduates. The only drawback is the fairly high price, but this book is certainly worth it if you're interested in this area of contemporary analytic philosophy.