book review


Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics

Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean W. Zimmerman, eds.
Blackwell Publishing, 2008
Rating: 5 trash cans


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March 9, 2008


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Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics

Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean W. Zimmerman, eds.

Reviewed by

A lthough some philosophers may regard metaphysics as a backwater, the concerns of metaphysics are hot topics these days in science. Indeed, questions about consciousness (such as whether properties like "redness" actually exist), the nature of time, and the existence of free will are important to everyone in today's society.

This book is a collection of eighteen essays on the topic. The major issues are covered. Although a little light, the writing is jargon-free, at a level that is probably suitable for a freshman-level college course. The discussion of 'time' is along the lines of Reichenbach and company, which has little relationship to time as studied in physics. Little progress seems to have been made on this difficult problem.

Unfortunately, the book is seriously flawed by poor writing style. This book is crawling with she this and her that. Inserting she into contrived sentences, where people once would have used he, is a way of telling the reader that you care more about identity politics than logic and language, and about telling the world you are a wonderful, politically correct person. That being the case, a reader would be justified in concluding that the writers' philosophical thinking is likewise clouded by bad logic and pandering to popular causes. Many readers (including yours truly) are also annoyed by this style, to the point where they find such writing unreadable.