What is this thing called Metaphysics? / Edition 1

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Metaphysics is concerned with ourselves and reality, and with the most fundamental questions regarding existence. This clear and accessible introduction covers the central topics in Metaphysics in a concise but comprehensive way. Brian Garrett discusses the crucial concepts in a highly readable manner, easing the reader in with a look at some important philosophical problems. He addresses key areas of metaphysics: Existence, Causation, God, Time, Universals, Personal Identity, Truth.

What is this thing called metaphysics? contains many helpful student-friendly features. Each chapter concludes with a useful summary of the main ideas discussed, study questions, annotated further reading, and a guide to web resources. Text-boxes provide bite-sized summaries of key concepts and major philosophers, and clear and interesting examples are used throughout, whilst a helpful glossary explains important terms. This is an ideal textbook on Metaphysics for undergraduates taking a first course in philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the first edition:

"A clear, no-nonsense introduction to metaphysics." - David Robb, Davidson College, USA

"There are very few introductions to metaphysics currently available which are as lucid, punchy, concise and readable as Garrett's. This book will really help students see what the essence of the problems is. Highly recommended." - Tim Crane, University College London, UK

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415393928
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/1/2006
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Garrett is Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Australia

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Introduction     xiii
God     1
Introduction     2
The ontological argument     4
The cosmological argument     7
The teleological argument     11
The argument from evil     13
Concluding remarks     16
Existence     19
Introduction     21
The great sweep of being     22
Why does our world exist?     23
Modal realism assessed     25
Non-existent objects     27
What is existence?     31
Concluding remarks     33
Universals and particulars     35
Introduction     37
Property realism     38
Objections to traditional property realism     41
Russell's bundle theory     42
Varieties of nominalism     43
Concluding remarks     48
Causation     51
Introduction     53
Preliminary questions     54
The constitutive question: what is causation?     57
Hume     58
The regularity theory     61
The counterfactual theory     64
A simplertheory     65
Concluding remarks     66
Time: the fundamental issue     69
Introduction     71
Setting up the debate: A series and B series     72
The A series is fundamental to time     73
Russell's reply     75
McTaggart's paradox     76
Diagnosis     78
A theory or B theory?     81
Concluding remarks     82
Time: three puzzles     85
Introduction     87
Prior's puzzle     88
Time without change     90
Time travel     94
Concluding remarks     99
Free will     101
Introduction     103
Fatalism     104
A more sophisticated fatalist argument     107
Theological fatalism     110
Free will and determinism     111
The case for incompatibilism     112
A compatibilist reply     114
Is the notion of free will incoherent?     115
Concluding remarks     116
Personal identity     119
Introduction     121
Theories of personal identity     122
What is a person?      123
What is it for a person to persist?     125
The complex view defended     128
Does identity matter?     131
The simple view     132
Concluding remarks     134
Realism and anti-realism     137
Introduction     138
Delineating the realist/anti-realist dispute     140
Character     142
The past     144
Anti-realism: motivation and assessment     146
Anti-realism disproved?     148
Concluding remarks     150
Glossary     153
Notes     163
Index     173
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