Arguing about Metaphysics is a wide-ranging anthology that introduces students to one of the most fundamental areas of philosophy. It covers core topics in metaphysics such as personal identity, the nature of being, time, and the concept of freedom. The volume contains scholarly articles by Quine, Lewis, van Inwagen and Pereboom, as well short works of science fiction that illustrate key ideas in metaphysics.
The volume is divided into five parts, helping the student get to grips with classic and core arguments and emerging debates in:
- On What There Is
- Time and Time Travel
- Change and Identity
- Worlds and Worldmaking
Michael C. Rea provides lucid introductions to each section, giving an overview of the debate and outlining the arguments of each sections readings. Arguing About Metaphysics is a comprehensive and engaging reader for students who are new to philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction. I. On What There Is. 1. On What There Is, W. V. Quine. 2. Nominalist Things, Henry Fitzgerald. 3. A Theory of Properties, Peter van Inwagen. 4. A World of States of Affairs, David Armstrong. 5. Holes, David Lewis and Stephanie Lewis. 6. On What there Is Not, Richard Routley. 7. Truth in Fiction (with postscripts), David Lewis. 8. I Do Not Exist, Peter Unger. II. Time and Time Travel. 1. The Time Traveler’s Speech, H. G. Wells. 2. Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman. 3. Thank Goodness That’s Over! A. N. Prior. 4. A Defense of Presentism, Ned Markosian. 5. The Metaphysics of Now, Paul Horwich. 6. The Myth of Passage, D. C. Williams. 7. —All You Zombies— Robert Heinlein. 8. Absolutely Inflexible, Robert Silverberg. 9. The Paradoxes of Time Travel, David Lewis. 10. No End in Sight, Richard Hanley. III. Change and Identity. 1. Problems about Change, Selections from the writings of Parmenides and David Lewis. 2. How to Reidentify the Ship of Theseus, Brian Smart. 3. Identity and Temporal Parts, Roderick Chisholm. 4. Temporal Parts of Four-Dimensional Objects, Mark Heller. 5. Dust, Greg Egan. 6. Second Person, Present Tense, Daryl Gregory. 7. Personal Identity, Derek Parfit. 8. An Argument for Animalism, Eric Olson. IV. Freedom. 1. The Satyr, Stephen Robinett. 2. What’s Expected of Us, Ted Chiang. 3. The Story of Osmo, Richard Taylor. 4. Fatalism, Peter van Inwagen. 5. Two Concepts of Freedom, William Rowe. 6. Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf. 7. Determinism Al Dente, Derk Pereboom. 8. The Mystery of Metaphysical Freedom, Peter van Inwagen. 9. Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility, Harry Frankfurt. V. Worlds and Worldmaking. 1. Parallel Universes, Max Tegmark. 2. World Ensemble, or Design, John Leslie. 3. The Tree of Life, Peter Forrest. 4. A Philosopher’s Paradise, David Lewis. 5. Two Concepts of Modality, Alvin Plantinga. 6. Words, Works, Worlds, Nelson Goodman
Michael C. Rea is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame. He is the author of World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism (2002) and co-author of Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (2008).
"Rea's Arguing About Metaphysics is an excellent anthology which combines rigorous yet accessible essays in contemporary metaphysics with philosophically sophisticated and entertaining pieces of fiction. The result is an engaging and challenging volume certain to stimulate and introduce the philosophical novice to the delights of serious exploration in five central areas of metaphysics." – Hud Hudson, Western Washington University, USA
“Arguing About Metaphysics is Michael Rea’s engaging addition to Routledge’s well-regarded Arguing About Philosophy series. There are many ways in which this anthology gets it just right, and one would be hard pressed to find a better selection of readings. . . . Michael Rea has put together a very fine anthology. He has picked five classical areas of investigation in metaphysics, and within each of those selections presents first-class investigations of various issues within the larger categories.”
-Patrick Beach in Teaching Philosophy (June 2010)