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Putting Metaphysics First

  • Couverture cartonnée
  • 358 Nombre de pages
Michael Devitt presents a series of essays in which he argues for an uncompromisingly realist view of the external physical world.... Lire la suite
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Michael Devitt presents a series of essays in which he argues for an uncompromisingly realist view of the external physical world. He goes on to reject moral noncognitivism and antirealist views of truth. He argues against the a priori, and urges that we should approach epistemology and semantics from a metaphysical perspective and not vice versa.

Through these articles, Devitt has consistently done more than perhaps anyone else to clarify what is at issue generally in the realism debates and to provide the strongest possible defences of realism in a number of different domains. Both realists and antirealists owe him a lot for this important contribution. Devitt's writing also always moves heavyweight intellectual objects in a way that is always clear, accessible, and devoid of any unnecessary jargon or technicalities. I hope that, like his realist views, his style too will continue to influence young philosophers.

Michael Devitt (PhD Harvard, BA Sydney) is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He taught at the University of Sydney from 1971 until 1987 and the University of Maryland from 1988 to 1999. His main research interests are in the philosophy of language and mind, and in issues of realism.

Texte du rabat

Michael Devitt presents a series of essays with four recurring themes: (i) a sharp distinction between metaphysical issues and semantic ones; (ii) the priority of metaphysical issues over epistemological and semantic issues; (iii) a naturalistic opposition to the a priori taken largely from Quine; (iv) an uncompromising 'realism about the external world'. Topics include Plato's 'one over many' problem; nonfactualism; truth; moral realism; biological realism; biological essentialism; intuitions and their proper role.

The metaphysical part of this book is largely concerned with realism issues. Michael Devitt starts with realism about universals, dismissing Plato's notorious 'one over many' problem. Several chapters argue for a fairly uncompromising realist view of the external physical world of commonsense and science. Both the nonfactualism of moral noncognitivism and positivistic instrumentalism, and deflationism about truth, are found to rest on an antirealism that is hard to characterize. A case is presented for moral realism. Various biological realisms are considered. Finally, an argument is presented for an unfashionable biological essentialism. The second part of the book is epistemological. Devitt argues against the a priori and for a Quinean naturalism. The intuitions that so dominate 'armchair philosophy' are emipirical not a priori. Throughout the book there is an emphasis on distinguishing metaphysical issues about what there is and what it's like from semantic issues about meaning, truth, and reference. Another central theme, captured in the title, is that we should 'put metaphysics first'. We should approach epistemology and semantics from a metaphysical perspective rather than vice versa. The epistemological turn in modern philosophy, and the linguistic turn in contemporary philosophy, were something of disasters.


METAPHYSICS; 1. "Ostrich Nominalism" or "Mirage Realism"?; Postscript to "'Ostrich Nominalism' or 'Mirage Realism'?"; 2. Aberrations of the Realism Debate; Postscript to "Aberrations of the Realism Debate"; 3. Underdetermination and Commonsense Realism; 4. Scientific Realism; Postscript to "Scientific Realism"; 5. Incommensurability and the Priority of Metaphysics; Postscript to "Incommensurability and the Priority of Metaphysics"; 6. Global Response Dependency and Worldmaking; 7. The Metaphysics of Nonfactualism; 8. The Metaphysics of Truth; 9. Moral Realism: A Naturalistic Perspective; 10. Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms; 11. Resurrecting Biological Essentialism; EPISTEMOLOGY; 12. Naturalism and the A Priori; 13. No Place for the A Priori; 14. Intuitions; 15. On Determining What There Isn't

Détails sur le produit

Titre: Putting Metaphysics First
Sous-titre: Essays on Metaphysics and Epistemology
Code EAN: 9780199576975
ISBN: 978-0-19-957697-5
Format: Couverture cartonnée
Editeur: Oxford University Press
Genre: Philosophie
nombre de pages: 358
Poids: 561g
Taille: H233mm x B156mm x T22mm
Année: 2010