Trim: 6⅜ x 9½
978-0-7391-4255-4 • Hardback • October 2010 • $108.00 • (£83.00)
978-0-7391-4257-8 • eBook • October 2010 • $102.50 • (£79.00)
Paul Studtmann is associate professor of philosophy at Davidson College.
Chapter 1 Chapter One. The Problem of Metaphysics
Chapter 2 Chapter Two. Modal Concepts
Chapter 3 Chapter Three. The A Priori
Chapter 4 Chapter Four. Metaphysics—A Historical Survey
Chapter 5 Chapter Five. Epistemology—Skeptical Arguments
Chapter 6 Chapter Six. Ethics—The Is/Ought Gap
Chapter 7 Chapter Seven. Objections and Replies
In Empiricism and the Problem of Metaphysics, Studtmann presents a clear, novel, intriguing and extended argument against metaphysics. If sound, it constitutes a devastating critique of the discipline. Studtmann argues that all metaphysics involves modal concepts, but that modal concepts are not theoretically legitimate. Unlike, say, logical positivism, Studtmann's position is itself put forward as an empirical hypothesis, one to be either confirmed or disconfirmed by science itself, but one for which the current evidence is strongly in favor. In the course of his argument he introduces a multitude of startlingly original theses, such as that all so called a priori knowledge is knowledge of the results of effective procedures, and is not really a priori at all. Like Hume, Wittgenstein and Carnap before him, Studtmann aims to leave empirical science, logic and mathematics intact while cutting a broad swathe through both traditional and contemporary metaphysics. This book is compulsory reading for all those who are enthusiastic participants in the contemporary renaissance of metaphysics, but also for sceptics and interested bystanders.
— Graham Oddie, University of Colorado
An intellectually intense, intricate, deeply informed, and beautifully stimulating philosophical epic, Paul Studtmann's book is a fast-paced, philosophically powerful page-turner. As Studtmann shows, the philosophers' argument-knight that rides against the metaphysics-dragon is waged in a peculiar battle, a battle that determines the loser never to have legitimately existed. Form, then, is all, of thrust and parry and foe. Moreover, because no dignity can be offered to the defeated, the dignity even of the victor seems especially challenging to achieve. Which contestant does Studtmann's book finally disappear? The suspense concerning this continues even to the objections-and-replies final chapter. Readers will be inspired by the philosophical verve and virtuosity, and many will regard that a victor who truly possesses dignity emerges by the end.
— Philip Catton, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Empiricism and the Problem of Metaphysics moves along at a cracking pace, is occasionally genuinely funny and touches briefly on a very wide range of topics, including sub-arguments relevant to modal logic, additional challenges to claims of modal knowledge, and wider philosophical, mathematical and logical debates.