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on 25 June 2012
As most people who have had discussions about the "deeper questions" with philosophically sophisticated friends can attest, the line "It's a metaphysical issue" rears it head quite often. What does this mean? What is metaphysics, and why is regular science unable to settle these types of questions?

That was the motivation for me getting this book - as a plebe in philosophy, I felt I had to get a grip on this or forever be an embarrassment to my learned friends. Well, no more!

The authors' approach is (perhaps somewhat ironically) to illustrate metaphysics by example. A set of topics that seem reflective of the major issues in the field was selected, and the authors jump in without much ado. It is, to me at least, a real pleasure to see how things that I usually take for granted can be analyzed from a different perspective, often with very confusing and counter-intuitive results!

The issues touched by the book ranges from ontological arguments, personal identity, time and how it relates to space, universals and constitution, to name a few. I don't know if the order of the topics reflect some kind of build-up or increasing knowledge, but it seemed quite arbitrary to me. Which means you can probably read the chapters in any order without missing much. The arguments are well thought out, presented in a style that is accessible to the uninitiated like myself, entertaining and engaging. Both authors are clearly quite familiar with the issues at hand, and will generally make a case for all sides (usually just before squashing it with opposing arguments). For the curious, reference on further reading is provided.

In spite of the informal presentation, the topics at hand can be get complicated. I found that leaving a chapter halfway through in order to finish at a later stage were problematic, as I would forget many of the arguments "in the air" in order to follow the logic until its conclusion. For that reason, I would not recommend this book for commuting read, as the "short bursts" of reading allowed by public transport can be frustrating when trying to understand a bigger argument and the complex issues around it. At least, if you are forced to read in chunks, be ready to rehash some of the ground covered in order to get full value.

An often asked question for a book of this nature is: do I need to understand philosophy in order to read this book? Is it for everyone? Although some of the topics can get a bit hairy, and require some up-front thinking by the reader, my feeling is that, if you are interested in reading about metaphysics, you probably have already considered some of the issues to the point where this book would make sense to you.
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on 5 October 2013
Ever wondered why there is something, instead of nothing? Or why humans supposedly have free will? Or what part of you is actually 'you'? Or could god actually exist?
All these classic metaphysical questions (& a great deal more besides) are tackled in 10 bite-sized portions in this handy volume, co-written by Philosophy Professors Earl Conee & Theodore Sider, each writing alternating chapters.

As with this subject matter, there is the necessary depth to the subject-matter here that philosophical writing requires, ultimately distilling everything down to the most explanatorily basic necessities & possibilities. Having said that, there is a light tone throughout, & this book is excellent for students or anyone wishing to have a potted-introduction to metaphysics.

Maybe not a book to take to the beach, but well worth a read, & it will certainly get you thinking in a new way about life's most profound & deep questions!
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on 17 October 2013
This was a purchase for a student undertaking a degree in philosophy and was in good condition. A good purchase
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on 25 September 2013
Have only just started reading, but looks like a fascinating introduction to a brilliant subject. A great buy for now.
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on 29 May 2013
I think the co-authors succeed in doing so, and make some really knotty questions answerable and understandable. a good launch pad for more in depth reading.
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on 23 February 2015
Philosophy Heaven
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on 2 October 2014
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on 22 June 2012
this book seems to be written by a school kid, the language, detail and theory is substandard and totally unengaging
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