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on 26 August 2017
A good intro to metaphysics but perhaps a bit dull. If you think metaphysics is only what is in this book, you would probably bot be inspired to find out more. Metaphysics is a fascinating philosophical topic, but this book doesn't really do it justice. All that talk of the definition of a circle... zzzzzzzzz.
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on 6 April 2015
Avant-Garde Politician: Leaders for a New Epoch

This is a very good and pleasant to read introduction to metaphysics
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But, while main subjects are covered, or at least mentioned, I missed a discussion of "chance/random" and its relation with causality. And, when discussing what is possible (ch. 76), the notions of modalities might well have been presented, perhaps with some concepts from modal logic, leading to a partly contingent view of the past and future.

Some ideas from quantum mechanics might also have been taken up, all the more so because of their importance for both the body-mind interaction problem (pp. 69-71) and possible worlds (pp. 79-82).

To provide space for doing so, the attempt to legitimize concern with metaphysics by comparison with science (in the final chapter) could have been skipped. Indeed, I found it somewhat demeaning metaphysics, which does not need it. Enough to say that every person who presumes to be fully mature must be able to engage in "thinking in the abstract" (p. 104); and (2) cannot but be curious about the nature of reality - the subject matter of metaphysics.

I go one step further: If I could I would test the abstract thinking ability of political leaders and dismiss all who failed. I know that most of them are unable to succeed in such a test - as clearly reflected in the way they manage the world.

Accordingly, I strongly recommend this book as a first introduction to metaphysics, to be followed by some more readings -first of all, by persons who presume to lead humanity into the future.

Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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on 16 April 2013
Metaphysics is concerned about the nature of things in very general and abstract terms whereas physics looks for general and concrete truths of the nature of reality. Vividly written, this book presents a concise and insightful introduction of key concepts and theories in metaphysics.

The subjects that are covered include time, persons, particulars, properties, wholes, parts, changes, causes, possibilities and nothings. They are seemingly simple and self-explanatory. For example, we usually think of time as flowing with a direction. The passage of time is explained in terms of events which are designated as present, past or future. However, there is another view that events do not have the property of presentness, pastness or futurity. They are temporally related as being 'earlier than', 'later than' or 'simultaneous with'. Then we have the sequence of time!
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on 4 March 2016
If you need somewhere to start on this subject, you can't do much better. The author tries to be fairly neutral, and recognises that people are going to come at the subject from different angles. A good introduction which is designed to get people familiar with the very basics of the subject. It outlines some of the problems encountered by metaphysicians, and some of the strengths and weaknesses of some basic arguments. Amusingly it ends by asking the question, 'What is Metaphysics', rather than starting with it, which itself raises questions about the nature of discovery, observations and conclusions. Very clever.
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on 14 June 2016
waste of money
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on 11 August 2014
A deep and universal language is used here to get One's world to open up to the value being part of Many.
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Metaphysics is one of the main branches of Philosophy. Unfortunately, unlike logic, epistemology, or ethics, over the years it has gotten a very distorted perception in the popular culture. If you walk into any large bookstore (or browse an online catalogue), and go into the section labeled "Metaphysics," you are most likely to come across titles dealing with some aspect of the New Age spirituality, religion, or mysticism. However, the proper domain of Metaphysics is the exploration of "first things:" ideas and concepts that go beyond most of our other ideas about the nature of reality. These ideas include the concepts of objects, time, causality, personhood, etc.

This very short introduction tries to provide the reader with the taste of attempts to answer the questions about the above concepts. The chapters include: "What is a table?", "What is a cause?" "How does time pass?", "What is a person?", and, of course, "What is Metaphysics?" To most of us these questions seem trivial, frivolous even. They seem to require answers to things that are beyond being obvious. Yet, even a simple examination of these questions reveals a lot about our understanding of the world that we take for granted, and to give a proper answer to them is anything but trivial. You can view these considerations as either a sophisticated intellectual exercise, or as something that indeed gets us to understand the World on a very fundamental level. Or, as it is with me, a little bit of both.

Like all of the Philosophy books in this Very Short Introduction series, this one is immensely well written and interesting. They open up a vista to a very fascinating intellectual world. They may not turn you into an armchair philosopher, but they will give you a direction if you choose to pursue such a vocation.
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on 18 October 2013
This books is an inexpensive but good introduction to the topic of Metaphysics. Of most use is its list of books for further reading. The writer does not reveal his own point of view but just raises many topics in a helpful and interesting way. From one point of view, this is a good thing in that it leaves you to do your own thinking, but from another it leaves the reader all at sea in a welter of unresolved metaphysical problems. This wets the appetite for more e.g. "A Very Short Introduction to Reality". Enduring confusion is a good place to start but developing your own point of view is really essential. It takes many years reading and thinking to work out where you stand.
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on 8 July 2016
well written , although in the vein of theoretical philosophy which i personally find difficult to enjoy.
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on 30 October 2014
I found that this vsi, though not too short was far too basic. A series of tidbits to ponder over, although you've probably pondered them before, and not much else. Compared to, say, the Existentialism vsi in the same series, Metaphysics feels like it's been written by an amateur with only a surface-deep knowledge of the subject (although I'm sure this is not the case in reality).

The author seems to think it preferable to learn about metaphysics by "doing metaphysics" i.e. thinking about some things, rather than, say, learning about metaphysical philosophers. I think that both are important: "doing" is all very well, but it is best to have a basis for the doing, and to be able to build on the mistakes and successes of others. Where is Kant in this book?

The author also has little knowledge of Einstein, what he says about relativity is simply not true, or at least misrepresented.
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