Beyond Experience: Metaphysical Theories and Philosophical Constraints
Published: December 1991© 1991
464 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
Shedding light on a subject that too often seems mysterious and remote, Norman Swartz puts a human face on the study of metaphysics. Far from being the exclusive handiwork of professional philosophers, Swartz argues, metaphysical theories lie just below the surface of every person's own world-view. He uses a number of case studies and an occasional appeal to science-fiction theorizing to make the subject accessible to a general audience.
Two tasks confront metaphysicians. The first is to identify our metaphysical beliefs and their effect on our behaviour and practices. The second is to assess these beliefs once they have been brought to light.
Swartz's own preference is for what he calls 'negative' theories, those that try to solve metaphysical problems without recourse to entities foreign to science. Indeed, one thesis running throughout the book is that metaphysics and science are not separable disciplines but are merely different facets of one and the same discipline.
Among the areas considered in this light are space and time, mental states and brain states, the nature of theories, pain, identity, the concepts of person and property, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. To all of them Swartz beings a uniquely refreshing perspective for professional philosopher and lay reader alike. His book is especially well suited to courses as a lively introduction the key problems in contemporary metaphysics.