Metaphysics Revivified

Authored by: Avrum Stroll

The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics

Print publication date:  April  2009
Online publication date:  April  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415396318
eBook ISBN: 9780203879306
Adobe ISBN: 9781134155866


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It will be surprising to many philosophers, especially those raised in the heyday of logical positivism, to hear that there has been a resurgence of metaphysics in the past few decades. It will be surprising because of the generally bad press that metaphysics has had for much of the twentieth century, and even earlier. Hume, for example, ends An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1748, with these words:

If we take in our hand any volume – of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance – let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. (Hume 1975 [1777]: 165)

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