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Contemporary Metaphysics: An Introduction (Contemporary Philosophy) [Paperback]

By Jubien (Author)
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Item description for Contemporary Metaphysics: An Introduction (Contemporary Philosophy) by Jubien...

This survey aims to introduce the student to central metaphysical issues, while at the same time pursuing a coherent metaphysical view. The range of topics discussed is different from the average metaphysics introduction, thereby making it suitable for upper-division undergraduates and beginning graduate students.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wiley-Blackwell
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.05" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.68 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 8, 1997
Publisher   Wiley-Blackwell
Edition  New  
Series  Contemporary Philosophy  
ISBN  155786859X  
ISBN13  9781557868596  

Availability  72 units.
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More About Jubien

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Jubien is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Davis. He has published widely in the field of metaphysics, and is the author of Ontology, Modality and the Fallacy of Reference (1993).

Jubien has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Contemporary Philosophy

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Metaphysics

Reviews - What do customers think about Contemporary Metaphysics: An Introduction (Contemporary Philosophy)?

Exceptional  Mar 19, 2008
We used this text in an introductory metaphysics class I took several years ago. It is exceptional, and highly recommended. One of the previous readers criticized the work's absence of "name dropping;" I honestly think that the lack of "historical clutter" helps the student/reader focus on understanding the metaphysical issues without being distracted with lots of tangental references. Honestly, those types of references always drive me crazy when I'm reading philosophy, simply because my mind is trying to process the philosophical theories and then simultaneously trying to deal with all of the various historical references and time periods and people etc. It just seems to cause a bit of mental overload. I personally found the lack of all that historical information quite refreshing. Perhaps footnoting/end-noting that kind of information would have been the best way to add that kind of content without distracting the reader.

Bottom Line:
If you are a professor teaching a metaphysics class, I would strongly urge you to consider this book for your class. If you are simply someone interested in learning more about metaphysics, you can't go wrong here.
Not an Introduction  Nov 30, 2004
This book does a nice job of discussing basic metaphysical issues such as identity, numbers, language, and color. The author, Professor Michael Jubien, is a neo-Platonist, for lack of a better term. He writes clearly, lays out arguments carefully, and takes a stand on the issues -- he even notes when his arguments are speculative or in need of further exposition. That said, I gave the book only four stars. For one thing, it isn't an "introduction" to metaphysics. Any reader who hasn't taken basic courses in philosophy or logic will find much of the discussion incomprehensible. For another, Jubien makes almost no effort to situate his analysis within the history of philosophy, or to link it to larger issues of science, ethics, or culture. He seems to be a "philosopher's philosopher," the kind who solves puzzles for the sake of puzzle-solving, without fussing over "the meaning" of it all. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in a philosopher -- but readers should know what they're getting into.
Great Introduction to Current Debates  Mar 28, 2002
This is a wonderful book. I recently taught it in an introductory metaphysics class and loved it. Why is it so good? First, Jubien writes in a nice, colloquial style and the technical sophistication required is minimum, which is not to say that Jubien's exposition just floats above the surface. In places it is very deep. Second, Jubien just seems to know a hell of a lot about the various positions and he presents the material in exactly the way good teachers teach the issues--that is, as point-counterpoint, "here's what this position says and here is a response, and here is a response to the response" etc... I really feel as if I'm more up to date on the various positions. In my opinion, the best chapters are 2 (numbers), 3 (platonism), 4 (identity), and 6 (color). I especially like 6. I never expected the philosophical issue of color to demand so much attention. Now the bad. I was so interested in the topics that I wanted to find out more but the book was no help. For example, Jubien does a nice job setting out the various views about the ontological status of numbers (platonism, conceptualism, nominalism) and I really wanted to know who were important conceptualists. But Jubien never mentions one name and I'm almost positive that HE didn't just come up with this theory! And there's no bibliography or "for further reading" list either. Bizarre. That's why it's getting four stars instead of five. But I still highly recommend the book. I learned much.
Metaphysics for the Advanced or Beginning Reader  Mar 23, 2002
Jubien's book clearly presents the nominalist, conceptualist, and platonist schools in near perfect description for both beginning and advanced student. Issues of metaphysics, being separate from empiricist issues, and being issues that are derived from clear logic and thought, are often most productively studied when one puts the books away for an hour or so, and just thinks about the entities that are studied in metaphysics. This is what Jubien's book causes one to do. Covering the gamut from possible worlds, numbers, identity, God, cosmology, causation, and so on, each subject Jubien brings up is discussed with astonishing clarity, and is free of poor or confusing wording. This is very unusual for a book on metaphysics, and it causes one to focus not on what the book says, what the words say or mean, but rather what the theories are all about. Unlike many other books on metaphysics, this gives Jubien's book extraodinary power.
A lucid introduction to metaphysics  Mar 27, 1998
Suppose you build a wooden rowboat, and use it regularly. As the boat deteriorates over the years, you start replacing the worn pieces, one by one, with new pieces. Eventually every piece is replaced, such that none of the original pieces are left. Question: is this "the same boat" as you originally had?

Questions of identity and change over time are major topics in the field of metaphysics. These issues and more are dealt with in "Contemporary Metaphysics", Michael Jubien's superb introductory text.

The book's outstanding feature is the author's careful exposition of the subject matter. Although the material is at times conceptually difficult, Jubien's writing has a precision that allows him to set forth complex notions while maintaining clarity. The "Ship of Theseus" problem, with which I began this review, is a case in point: paradoxical on the face of it, the puzzle unravels under Jubien's skilful analysis. Even in the more difficult later chapters, the reader is seldom left "lagging behind", which really helps one come to grips with the subject matter. Further, the exercises placed throughout the text are an excellent way to gauge whether one has properly understood the issues -- and hence whether one should re-read the preceding section.

The book is not, however, without its faults. I for one would have liked Jubien to engage in a little more "name-dropping". Much of the book's discussion consists in arguments and counter-arguments, all presented anonymously. Now I assume that *somebody* devised the arguments Jubien recounts; and yet, he seldom mentions who originally formulated them. Of course, knowledge of the history of a doctrine is not necessary to understanding of that doctrine; but the historical element is not without interest, and I can only feel that Jubien's decision to omit this element was unfortunate. The book would have been more satisfying if it told the reader "who's on whose side". A "further reading" list would also be useful for those readers who wish to learn more about the subject matter than an introductory text can reasonably accommodate.

Notwithstanding these criticisms, "Contemporary Metaphysics" makes interesting and enlightening reading. It would make ideal preliminary or further reading for students undertaking a tertiary-level metaphysics course. Indeed, as a means to understanding the basic issues and debates of metaphysics, Jubien's book looks pretty hard to beat.


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