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Metaphysics: A guided tour for beginners Paperback – March 30, 2012
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The book is intended to be an introduction to the basic issues of analytical metaphysics designed for non-philosophers. It fulfills its purpose to a large extent: the issues are competently presented in a clear and accessible way. The unquestionable advantage of the book is also the fact that it indicates a strong relation between philosophical problems and those of other scientific disciplines, mainly physics and mathematics. It makes Bigaj's work an attractive handbook for the laymen as well as for professionals in other fields.
Review, Filozofia Nauki (Philosophy of Science), 2013
About the Author
Tomasz Bigaj (PhD) is a lecturer at the Institute of Philosophy, the University of Warsaw, Poland. He has been a Fulbright fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Marie Curie fellow at the University of Bristol, UK. His main areas of specialization are philosophy of science (especially of physics), metaphysics, and philosophical logic. He is the author of three books and over thirty professional articles published in peer-reviewed journals (including Journal of Philosophical Logic, Synthese, Erkenntnis, Philosophy of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Metaphysica). His latest book is "Non-locality and Possible Worlds: A Counterfactual Perspective on Quantum Entanglement" (Ontos Verlag, 2006).
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However I would highly recommend pre-reading some concepts, prior to reading the book, otherwise you may find yourself in a state of confusion , which happened to me.
I thought some aspects of the book were interesting, however I was in constant frustration, as I felt I had only gained partial understanding of the concepts discussed in the book.
The language was also quite difficult , it was too sophisticated, and when reading about a concept such as causation (one of the chapters in the book) the last thing you want to do is pull out a dictionary to look up certain words.
I feel that this book should be aimed at people who have some knowledge of these concepts i.e pre-intermediate and not a novice such as myself.
Does one need to have studied philosophy to comprehend the material in this book? Absolutely not! Yes, metaphysical notions and the debates about them can be difficult to understand, especially if one hasn't studied any philosophy. Moreover, discussions appealing to logic, semantics, mathematics, and physics can be intimidating to certain types of readers. But fear not. Bigaj is clearly an expert in his field and he knows how to present abstract material in a way that is easy to digest. He uses straightforward examples. He avoids technical jargon. His prose is easy to follow. The chapters are relatively brief. I'm certain that an intelligent reader without any philosophical background and who was willing to put in a little effort could understand most, if not all, of the book without too much trouble. This is not to say that it's easy reading - no good philosophical text is, especially ones that deal with metaphysics. But if you really want to learn about some of the central concepts and debates in the field, and if you want to appreciate these concepts and debates in a modern way, then I can't think of more accessible and worthwhile introductory book than this one.