What is this thing called Metaphysics?  book cover
3rd Edition

What is this thing called Metaphysics?

ISBN 9781138832251
Published February 1, 2017 by Routledge
174 Pages

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Book Description

How did our universe come to be? Does God exist? Does time flow? What are we? Do we have free will? What is truth? Metaphysics is concerned with the nature of ourselves and the world around us. This clear and accessible introduction covers the central topics in metaphysics in a concise but comprehensive way. Brian Garrett discusses the crucial concepts and arguments of metaphysics in a highly readable manner. He addresses the following key areas of metaphysics:

• God

• Existence

• Modality

• Universals and particulars

• Facts

• Causation

• Time

• Puzzles of material constitution

• Free will & determinism

• Fatalism

• Personal identity

• Truth

This third edition has been thoroughly revised. Most chapters include new and updated material, and there are now two chapters devoted to attacks on free will and fatalism.

What is this thing called Metaphysics? contains many helpful student-friendly features, such as a glossary of important terms, 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.

Table of Contents

Preface to the third edition 


1. God

2. What are we?

3. Existence

4. Modality

5. Objects and Properties

6. Causation

7. Time: The Fundamental Issue

8. Time: Four Puzzles

9. Fatalism

10. Freewill and Determinism

11. Puzzles of Material Constitution and Identity

12. Facts

13. Truth



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Brian Garrett is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Australian National University, Australia.


"Accessible, clearly written, up-to-date and engaging, this third edition of What is this thing called Metaphysics? is the best introduction to metaphysics for beginners. It covers a wide range of topics, gives valuable guidance for further reading and is often provocative". Ghislain Guigon, University of Geneva, Switzerland.