The Elements of Metaphysics

William R. Carter
Book Cover

HC: $55.50
EAN: 978-0-87722-619-2
Publication: Sep 89

208 pages

A concise explanation and discussion of the branch of philosophy that concerns the nature of the world we inhabit


This introduction to metaphysics provides a concise explanation and discussion of the branch of philosophy that concerns the nature of the world we inhabit. The approach is partly historical but focuses largely on recent arguments and lines of thought. William Carter addresses many issues, among them: the nature of mind, matter, ideas, and substance; the debate between those who believe human beings have free will and those who subscribe to determinism; fatalism, realism, and personal identity; and arguments for and against belief in the existence of God. He also explores the implications of such intellectual exercises for defining the boundaries of human knowledge and human responsibility. Woven into the authors discussion are the ideas of historical and contemporary figures who have made significant philosophical contributions in these areas.

Carter tries to eliminate the intimidation that the term "metaphysics" can generate among students and general readers. Demonstrating how metaphysics overlaps extensively with nearly every branch of philosophical inquiry, he provides contemporary and often amusing examples to introduce the important topics of metaphysics and make current technical debates comprehensible for novices.


"This is a work of the highest quality It is lucid, spells out each position with readily comprehensible arguments, and manages in the process to effortlessly integrate the most current views with classical, historical material.... It is without doubt the best general introduction to current treatments of metaphysics I have seen. A first-rate book."
Gerald Vision, Temple University

Table of Contents

1. Metaphysics
2. Idealism
3. Material Minds
4. Substance
5. Parts and Wholes
6. Change
7. Personal Identity
8. Responsibility
9. Causal Determinism
10. Fate
11. God
12. Being Realistic
Suggestions for Further Reading

About the Author(s)

William R. Carter is Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University.