What is Metaphysics?
What is Metaphysics?

If we didn't possess certain beliefs about such things as time, appearance and reality, and how effect follows cause, we wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning, let alone read a book about metaphysics, which is the study of our experience and those ideas, or presuppositions, which allow us to make sense of it.

Drawing on examples from art, science, and daily life, John Heil shows how metaphysics begins in questioning our everyday assumptions about how the world “works” and ends with speculation on the nature of the universe itself. In chapters that cover the major topics in the academic study of metaphysics, from free will and consciousness to time and objectivity, Heil explains how metaphysical questions underpin everything human beings do.

This accessible book will show you how professional philosophers try to categorize and make sense of our world of perception and experience and explains why everyone should take metaphysics seriously.

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  • October 2021
  • 176 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509546480
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509546497
  • Open eBook $52.00
  • 9781509546503
Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Time goes By – Or Does It?

Chapter 3 Appearance and Reality

Chapter 4 What there Is

Chapter 5 What Else there Is

Chapter 6 One from Many, Many from One

Chapter 7 Aristotle vs Hume

Chapter 8 Is this Chapter Really Necessary?

Chapter 9 Conscious Minds

Chapter 10 Free Will

Chapter 11 Are We there Yet?

About the Author
John Heil is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St Louis, Professor of Philosophy at Durham University, and an Honorary Research Associate at Monash University. Professor Heil is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and is listed among the 50 Most Influential Living Philosophers.
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“Metaphysics is surely one of the most fascinating, and misunderstood, areas of philosophy. This very entertaining and accessible book provides an excellent introduction to metaphysics. If you’ve ever wondered ‘what is time?’ or ‘what is the world made up of, most fundamentally?’ or ‘what kinds of things are causes?’, then this is the book for you. It's a great place to start thinking about, and going some way towards answering, these questions (and more besides).”
Kristie Miller, University of Sydney

“This precious short book has as its aim to demonstrate, by example, the inevitability and pervasiveness of metaphysics. John Heil leads readers through the main metaphysical topics, enabling them to become aware of their own metaphysical preconceptions and to start thinking about those topics in a reflective way. An essential book.”
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, University of Oxford

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