Metaphysics: The Basics  book cover
2nd Edition

Metaphysics: The Basics

ISBN 9780367136086
Published December 30, 2020 by Routledge
252 Pages

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Book Description

Metaphysics: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to the philosophical study of some of the most important and foundational aspects of the world in which we live. Concerned with questions about existence, time, identity, change, and other basic elements of our common-sense and scientific ways of thinking about the world, metaphysics has long fascinated people. But to the uninitiated, many of the issues and problems can appear bewilderingly complex and intractable. In this lively and lucid book, Michael Rea examines and explains the core questions in the study of metaphysics—questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between an object and its properties, or between an object and its parts?
  • What is time, and is time travel possible?
  • Are human beings free?
  • What is it for an object or person to persist over time?

This second edition has been thoroughly revised and includes a new chapter on the metaphysics of gender. With suggestions for further reading and a glossary of key terms, Metaphysics: The Basics is an ideal introduction for those coming to the subject for the first time.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Things that don’t eist

3. Abstract objects

4. Possible worlds

5. Time

6. Time travel

7. Substance

8. Things and their parts

9. Change and identity

10. Freedom

11. Social metaphysics—gender

12. Metaphysics and its critics



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Michael Rea is Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, USA, and Professorial Fellow in the Logos Institute for Analytic and Exegetical Theology at the University of St Andrews, UK. He has written or edited more than fifteen books, and has given numerous lectures around the world, including the 2017 Gifford Lectures at the University of St Andrews.


"Rea improves upon the already excellent first edition with helpful expansions and reorganizations of original topics and the welcome addition of new ones. The result is a broad and accurate survey of the state of the art in metaphysics, presented in a clear, engaging, and thoughtful manner. A terrific resource for students, or anyone else, interested in contemporary metaphysics." - Michael J. Raven, University of Victoria, Canada