The Nature of Things: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Nature of Things

1st Edition

By Anthony M. Quinton


402 pages

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Hardback: 9780367193935
pub: 2019-03-11
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Originally published in 1973. In this systematic treatise, Anthony Quinton examines the concept of substance, a philosophical refinement of the everyday notion of a thing. Four distinct, but not unconnected, problems about substance are identified: what accounts for the individuality of a thing; what confers identity on a thing; what is the relation between a thing and its appearances; and what kind of thing is fundamental, in the sense that its existence is logically independent of that of any other kind of thing? In Part 1, the first two problems are discussed, while in Part 2, the third and fourth are considered. Part 3 examines four kinds of thing that have been commonly held to be in some way non-material: abstract entities; the un-observable entities of scientific theory; minds and their states; and, finally, values. The author argues that theoretical entities and mental states are, in fact, material. He gives a linguistic account of universals and necessary truths and advances a naturalistic theory of value.


Reviews of the original publication:

"The book’s scope is large and the detail impressive. It is a considerable work of twentieth-century metaphysics." The Times Literary Supplement

"Quinton has written an admirable book. Its arguments and expositions are firm, clear and well-ordered; its scope it wide; it is written with vigour and lucidity; and it has a unifying objective." New Statesman

Table of Contents

Preface Part 1: Substance Introduction: The Four Problems of Substance 1. Individuation 2. Things 3. Identity 4. Ultimates Part 2: Knowledge Introduction: Knowledge as a System 5. Intuition 6. Certainty 7. Perception 8. Coherence Part 3: Ideas Introduction: Metaphysics 9. Essence 10. Theory 11. Mind 12. Value

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Metaphysics

Reissuing works originally published between 1937 and 1992, this collection of original texts addresses the philosophical realm of metaphysics, not only ontology but the philosophy of science, religion and morals. The theory of values and the theory of absolutes are the subject of more than one volume, while others take a broader spectrum and outlay the history of the philosophical arguments. The nature of objects and questions of being and identity are addressed from very different perspectives. With some volumes by very eminent thinkers, this is a great addition to any collection on philosophy.

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