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An Introduction to Metametaphysics

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Part of Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107434295

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About the Authors
  • How do we come to know metaphysical truths? How does metaphysical inquiry work? Are metaphysical debates substantial? These are the questions which characterize metametaphysics. This book, the first systematic student introduction dedicated to metametaphysics, discusses the nature of metaphysics - its methodology, epistemology, ontology and our access to metaphysical knowledge. It provides students with a firm grounding in the basics of metametaphysics, covering a broad range of topics in metaontology such as existence, quantification, ontological commitment and ontological realism. Contemporary views are discussed along with those of Quine, Carnap and Meinong. Going beyond the metaontological debate, thorough treatment is given to novel topics in metametaphysics, including grounding, ontological dependence, fundamentality, modal epistemology, intuitions, thought experiments and the relationship between metaphysics and science. The book will be an essential resource for those studying advanced metaphysics, philosophical methodology, metametaphysics, epistemology and the philosophy of science.

    • Provides students with a basic understanding of the central issues in metametaphysics
    • Includes an extensive bibliography of the latest research, offering students and instructors a choice as to the primary material they wish to engage with having first grasped the basics
    • Explains the relevance of metametaphysics with examples and reference to other fields
    • Discusses and outlines examples from the natural sciences in relation to their philosophical relevant within metametaphysics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Tahko strikes exactly the right balance between introducing substantive metaphysical topics and exploring various metametaphysical considerations of those topics. An Introduction to Metametaphysics would make a splendid textbook for anyone offering an upper level course in metaphysics.' John Heil, Washington University, St Louis

    'This is a top-notch study of the metaphysical and epistemic foundations of metaphysics. Anyone interested in contemporary metaphysics and its methodology should read this book.' L. A. Paul, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    'Metametaphysics is a hot and important topic. Tahko's book gives us not only an engaging introduction to the subject, but also an overview that will stimulate and reward the attention of all metaphysicians.' Alexander Bird, University of Bristol

    'The book has many virtues: it engages with both contemporary philosophers and topics and their recent predecessors, and gives accurate and succinct descriptions of most of the views under discussion.' Michaela Markham McSweeney, Australasian Journal of Philosophy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107434295
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 173 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Why should you care about metametaphysics?
    1.1. Metametaphysics or metaontology?
    1.2. How to read this book
    1.3. Chapter outlines
    1.4. Further reading
    2. Quine vs Carnap: on what there is and what there isn't
    2.1. On what there is
    2.2. Plato's beard
    2.3. Enter Meinong
    2.4. External and internal questions
    2.5. Language pluralism
    3. Quantification and ontological commitment
    3.1. The meaning of the existential quantifier
    3.2. The existential quantifier and ontological commitment
    3.3. Quantifier variance and verbal debates
    3.4. Beyond existence questions
    4. Identifying the alternatives: ontological realism, deflationism, and conventionalism
    4.1. Ontological realism and anti-realism
    4.2. Ontological deflationism
    4.3. Towards extreme conventionalism
    4.4. A case study: Sider's ontological realism
    4.5. Taking stock
    5. Grounding and ontological dependence
    5.1. Ontological dependence: a fine-grained notion
    5.2. Identity-dependence and essential dependence
    5.3. Is grounding ontological dependence?
    5.4. Formal features of ground
    5.5. Grounding, causation, reduction, and modality
    5.6. Grounding and truthmaking
    6. Fundamentality and levels of reality
    6.1. The 'levels' metaphor
    6.2. Mereological fundamentality
    6.3. Further specifications: well-foundedness and dependence
    6.4. Generic ontological fundamentality
    6.5. Fundamentality and physics
    7. The epistemology of metaphysics: a priori or a posteriori?
    7.1. A priori vs a posteriori
    7.2. Modal rationalism and a priori methods
    7.3. The epistemology of essence
    7.4. Modal empiricism and the status of armchair methods
    7.5. Combining a priori and a posteriori methods
    8. Intuitions and thought experiments in metaphysics
    8.1. Specifying 'intuition'
    8.2. Intuitions and experimental philosophy
    8.3. Experience-based intuitions
    8.4. Rational intuition
    8.5. Scientific thought experiments
    8.6. Philosophical thought experiments
    9. Demarcating metaphysics and science: can metaphysics be naturalized?
    9.1. Autonomous metaphysics
    9.2. Fully naturalistic metaphysics
    9.3. The Principle of Naturalistic Closure and the Primacy of Physics
    9.4. Methodological similarities
    9.5. Moderately naturalistic metaphysics

  • Author

    Tuomas E. Tahko, University of Helsinki
    Tuomas E. Tahko is a University Lecturer in Theoretical Philosophy and a Finnish Academy Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki. He is the editor of Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics (Cambridge, 2012) and author of numerous articles in journals, including Mind, The Philosophical Quarterly, Erkenntnis and Thought.

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