Item description for Metaphysics: The Big Questions (Philosophy: The Big Questions) by Peter van Inwagen...
This volume provides a vital student resource: a collection of the essential classic and contemporary readings in metaphysics.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.62" Width: 6.76" Height: 1.5" Weight: 1.95 lbs.
Release Date Nov 16, 1998
ISBN 0631205888 ISBN13 9780631205883
Availability 0 units.
More About Peter van Inwagen
Peter van Inwagen is John Cardinal O'Hara professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the author of numerous works, Material Beings (1990), Ontology, Identity, and Modality: Essays in Metaphysics (2001), Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil (2004), Persons: Human and Divine (2008), and Existence: Essays in Ontology (2014).
Peter Van Inwagen has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Notre Dame, Indiana University of Notre Dame University.
Reviews - What do customers think about Metaphysics: The Big Questions (Philosophy: The Big Questions)?
Another Good Anthology in Big Questions Series Aug 11, 2005
Metaphysics: The Big Questions edited by Peter Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman is another strong addition the Blackwell Big Questions series of philosophical anthologies. The text examines a range of metaphysical questions from varied perspectives. I find this type of approach helpful in giving the reader a relatively quick and balanced introduction to the different subjects. In addition to the articles themselves the editors also provide solid recommendations for further reading. The topics of discussion include: universals, the nature of time and space, causation, identity, the mind -body problem, free will, existence and the validity of metaphysics.
Although I preferred certain essays to others, most of this is probably more indicative of my tastes than the qualities of the articles. For example, I do not find Putman very helpful - others may. I offer two other small criticisms. First, Rowe's article on the cosmological argument is dated. Given all the excellent recent work done in this area much better is available (interestingly, other Big Question anthologies have used this same article). Second, I appreciate the temptation to include issues that are considered `contemporary', however, I found the articles by Witt and Flax attempting to examine metaphysics from a post-modern feminist position weak and, detracted from an otherwise excellent anthology.
Overall, despite a few imperfections it is a very useful text. I recommend it to anyone seeking an overview of metaphysics.
More Modern than Historical Jan 2, 2002
This book was a little disappointing, but still pretty good for modern metaphysics. If you are wanting a modern compilation of essays on metaphysics then this text is 5 stars. If you are wanting an historical text, then you will be sorely disappointed (this is one of the reasons I gave this text 4 stars).
Van Inwagen and Zimmerman have edited an edition which contains articles/essays from modern philosophers (with the one exception of Anselm and possibly David Hume) on certain metaphysical issues regarding time and space, the relationship between an individual and its characteristics, the relation between the mind/body, human volition (acting freely), causes and their effects, necessary being, etc. Authors of the various articles include Hillary Putnam, Richard Swinburne, William James, Charlotte Witt, William Rowe, A.N. Prior, Peter Geach, Roderick Chisholm, W.V.O. Quine, J. McTaggart, J.J.C. Smart, and many others. Just by this list one can see that this text has a strong bent toward analytic philosophy (which makes you wonder why the text is 'metaphysics').
However, some of the articles are quite interesting and are written by some very well known modern and contemporary philosophers. This text, while lacking any historical dealings/writings with/on the issues of metaphysics at least gives the reader a pretty good idea of what has been herald over the last hundred or so years.
If you are wanting a more historical text, then move on, this one is not it. However, if you are wanting a contemporary/modern text on metaphysics, then this is the one for you!