<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Metaphysics: The Elements (Aune (Bruce)) - Theo Todman's Book Collection (Book-Paper Abstracts)</title> <link href="../../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../../TT_ICO.png" /> </head> <a name="Top"></a> <BODY> <div id="header"> <HR><H1>Theo Todman's Book Collection (Book-Paper Abstracts)</H1></div> <hr><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950><tr><td colspan =3><A HREF = "../BookSummary_6309.htm">Metaphysics: The Elements</A></td></tr><tr><td colspan =3><A HREF = "../../../Authors/A/Author_Aune (Bruce).htm">Aune (Bruce)</a></td></tr><tr><td colspan =3>This Page provides (where held) the <b>Abstract</b> of the above <b>Book</b> and those of all the <b>Papers</b> contained in it.</td></tr><tr><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td><td><A HREF = "../BookCitings_6309.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Book</A></td><td><A HREF = "../BooksToNotes_6309.htm">Notes Citing this Book</A></td></tr></tr></TABLE></CENTER><hr> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>BOOK ABSTRACT: </B><BR><BR><u>Back Cover Blurb</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Metaphysics is possibly the most basic, and certainly the most controversial, part of philosophy. The term was used by Aristotle's ancient editors for the group of treatises placed after the <em>Physics</em> in an early collection of his works; it covered three branches of study: <ul type="disc"><li>"the science of being as being" (ontology), </li><li>"the study of the highest kind of being" (theology), and </li><li>"the study of first principles" (universal science). </li></ul></li><li>Bruce Aune's <em>Metaphysics: The Elements</em> is a comprehensive introductory survey of the key concepts and problems in traditional and contemporary metaphysics, omitting only Aristotle's study of "the highest kind of being" because it is more appropriately confined to the field of natural theology. Though <em>Metaphysics</em> will serve as a textbook for middle-level students of the subject, it is not a neutral book. Aune presents and systematically defends a point of view that is naturalistic, nominalistic, and pragmatic  an approach that has the overall advantage of providing a coherent, structured view of the topics he discusses. </li><li><em>Metaphysics</em> builds systematically upon a preliminary discussion of existence, because comprehending such topics as numbers, classes, logical fictions, and logical constructions is crucial to an understanding of the development of metaphysics in the twentieth century. Aune clearly indicates the points at which metaphysical questions reflect upon issues in other areas of philosophy; included are discussions of <ul type="disc"><li>Davidson on interpretation, </li><li>Russell on existential quantification and fundamental existence, and </li><li>Descartes on the self. </li></ul></li><li>Written with simplicity and clarity, <em>Metaphysics</em> does not require an understanding of logical symbolism or prior familiarity with the topics discussed. Though the questions that Aune raises are largely philosophers' questions  <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1008.htm">universals</A><SUP>1</SUP> versus particulars, the problems of abstract entities, objects versus events  a number of topics, siich as personal identity and the issue of free will versus determinism, are of interest to general readers too. </li><li><b>Bruce Aune</b>: is professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Among his publications are <em>Kant's Theory of Morals</em> and the textbook <em>Rationalism, Empiricism, and Pragmatism</em>. </li></ol></FONT><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><B>BOOK COMMENT: </B><BR><BR>University of Minnesota Press (2 Dec. 1985)</P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20442.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements - Preface</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Full Text</u> (Truncated)<FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>In his preface to <em>Little Dorrit</em> Dickens wistfully remarked that, having devoted many working hours of two years to his story, he must have been very ill-employed if he could not leave its merits and demerits as a whole to the judgment of his readers. I, too, feel some embarrassment in including a preface  even though I know, from the many revisions I have had to make, that I was very ill-employed during a depressing number of hours that I spent on the manuscript. The difficulty I experienced in preparing the text prompts me to say something about the aims I had and the strategy I adopted. </li><li>I had two principal aims in writing this book. The first was somewhat personal: I wanted to work out my views on the main problems of metaphysics. Although I had thought about metaphysical issues for more than twenty years, taught a good many courses on the subject, and had a general idea of the position I wanted to defend, I knew that my views on metaphysical subjects were less determinate than I liked to admit. I felt the need, therefore, of clarifying my views in the only way possible for me  by sitting down at the typewriter, trying to formulate the basic issues as clearly as I could, and then working out solutions that I could defend in detail. </li><li>My other aim was pedagogical: I wanted to produce a systematic book on metaphysics that would be understandable by the general reader and that would useful for students in the sort of middle-level course on metaphysics that I teach, from time to time, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. My concern with the general reader was prompted by my late friend and tennis partner Peter Farb, who wrote illuminating books for the general reader on anthropology and natural history, and who urged me to write a book on metaphysics that he could understand. It seemed to me that a book suitable for sophisticated nonphilosophers such as Peter could also be suitable for the students in my metaphysics course. </li><li>The students attending my course are advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students, and I wanted to have available for them a text that deals with the basic issues of metaphysics in a systematic way and that prepares them for advanced work on specialized topics. A systematic text is important, in my view, because many subjects of general interest in metaphysics, such as the mind-body problem or the perplexities about freedom and determinism, can be adequately discussed only if various issues in basic ontology are already settled, or at least understood. Of course, careful thought about complex or derivative issues often requires one to back up and reconsider one's position on fundamentals. Still, an orderly presentation of issues is, as I see it, particularly desirable in a subject like metaphysics. The difficulty I had in writing the book is at least partly owing to the difficulty of presenting issues in an appropriate order. </li><li>Metaphysics is an ancient subject on which an enormous amount has been written. To make up one's mind about such subjects as the nature of particulars, the reality of attributes and facts, the possibility of alternative ontologies, and the nature of time, truth, and change (to name just a few), one should be familiar with the jungle of considerations that bear upon them. I have tried to help the reader gain this familiarity by discussing arguments and claims of numerous philosophers, past and present. Having lived through more than one "revolution" in philosophy, I am well aware of the attractions of finding some method that will sweep away all the problems. I now regard such methods as illusory, but the first step in applying them is, in any case, to discover what the problems are. I have done my best to describe these problems, and I offer my solutions for what they are worth. </li><li>Although I am far from doctrinaire on matters of philosophical method, I cannot deny that my approach to metaphysics belongs to the tradition of analytic philosophy. The reader will quickly see, for example, that my approach to ontology owes a great deal to Bertrand Russell, but I have tried to show that Russell's approach grows naturally out of Aristode, the philosopher who wrote the first systematic treatise on metaphysics. Since analytic philosophers influenced by Russell have relied heavily on such technical devices as the so-called existential quantifier, I have made a special effort to come to terms with those devices early in my discussion. The elements of mathematical logic should be as familiar to undergraduates as high school algebra, but they are not  and I have therefore offered clear explanations of the few logical symbols that I introduce. </li><li>I have used the manuscript of this book as a text for courses at both the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College, and I have found that the material it contains is not too difficult for able undergraduates. Still, some chapters are harder than others, and instructors using the book in undergraduate courses might want to skip parts of chapters 4 and 7, which are more technical and perhaps less interesting to undergraduates than the others. Chapter 2, on existence, is also somewhat technical, but the material it contains is crucial for understanding the development of metaphysics in our century, and it should not, therefore, be skipped as well. Knowing that some undergraduates are easily confused or intimidated by the sight of a quantifier, I have taken special pains to make chapter 2 as simple and straightforward as humanly possible. I am convinced that, even without the help of a teacher, an undergraduate who is willing to study the chapter will find it comprehensible. I feel some regret that the relatively difficult material of chapter 2 had to appear in such an early chapter, but the concept of existence is so important to the principal subjects of metaphyics that I could not reserve it for a later discussion. Undergraduates who find the chapter daunting can perhaps be mollified by the promise that most subsequent chapters will be less technical and more dramatic. </li><li>There is one important subject traditionally assigned to metaphysics that I have not discussed; the existence and nature of a God or Supreme Being. I had several reasons for not discussing this subject, two of which are worth mentioning here. The first is that the existence of God is not generally covered in middle-level courses in metaphysics; usually, this topic is discussed in courses on the philosophy of religion, which I do not teach. The other reason is that theology is the part of metaphysics that, owing to my interests and temperament, I am least qualified to discuss. Fortunately, there is no shortage of books on natural theology, and the reader seriously interested in the subject will have no trouble finding books and articles that can be studied in conjunction with the matters I discuss here. </li><li>Since I am more interested in being right than in being original, I have taken what help I can from other writers. Although I am an omnivorous reader, I am, unfortunately, a careless taker of notes; consequently, it is often difficult for me to say if I have been influenced by this or that writer in this or that discussion. One philosopher whose influence on my thinking is not difficult to identify is Wilfrid Sellars, but I want to emphasize that, much as I admire his work, I do not share his views on all subjects and I am certainly not (as some people seem to suppose) an apologist for his views. Thus, while I am happy to acknowledge my intellectual debts to writers such as Sellars, I have done my best to think things through in my own way, and I want to be understood as always speaking for myself and not someone else. </li><li> & </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20548.htm">Aune (Bruce) - What Is Metaphysics?</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 1<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Aristotle and the Origins of Metaphysics  3</li><li>Aristotle on Being  7</li><li>The Current Subject of Metaphysics  10 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20549.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Existence</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 2<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Existence and Definite Descriptions  13</li><li>Logical Fictions and Logical Constructions  16</li><li>Russell on Numbers and Classes  19</li><li>Ontological Reductionism  22</li><li>Russell on Fundamental Existence  24</li><li>Russell on Existential Quantification  27</li><li>A New Problem about Existence  30</li><li>Existence and the World  32 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20550.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Universals and Particulars</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 3<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Traditional Arguments for <A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1008.htm">Universals</A><SUP>1</SUP>  37</li><li>Problems with the Theory of <A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1008.htm">Universals</A><SUP>2</SUP>  42</li><li>Problems about Particulars  46</li><li>The Failure of a Theory  50</li><li>Attributes, Facts, and Truth  52</li><li>Conceptualism  54</li><li>Concluding Remarks  55 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20551.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Linguistic Arguments for Abstracta</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 4<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Abstract Singular Terms  57</li><li>Criteria of Ontological Commitment  61</li><li>Propositions and Adverbial Clauses  63</li><li>Propositions and Logical Subjects  65</li><li>Statements and Beliefs  67</li><li>Possibilities and Fictional Objects  70</li><li>Other Possibilities  72</li><li>Concluding Remarks on Abstracta  74 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20552.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Changing Things</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 5<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Continuants and Change  77</li><li>The Problem of the <A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_44.htm">Ship of Theseus</A><SUP>1</SUP>  82</li><li>Problems of Personal Identity  86</li><li>Memory, Personality, and Self-Identity  91</li><li>Descartes on the Self  95</li><li>Cerebral Commisurotomy and Survival after Death  99 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20553.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Worlds, Objects, and Structure</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 6<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Continuants and Events  105</li><li>Events and Time  108</li><li>Time without Events  111</li><li>Space and <A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_0/Notes_39.htm">Causation</A><SUP>1</SUP>  114</li><li>Causal Laws  120</li><li>More on Things and Events  124</li><li>Metaphysical Realism and Descriptive Metaphysics  126 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20554.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Meaning, Truth, and Metaphysics</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 7<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Adverbs and Ontology  131</li><li>Theories of Truth  135</li><li>The Semantic Conception of Truth  137</li><li>Truth and Meaning  141</li><li>Davidson on Interpretation  143</li><li>The Power of Charity  147</li><li>Truth and Metaphysics  157 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20555.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Appearance and Reality</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 8<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>The Immediate Objects of Perception  161</li><li>Berkeley's Criticism of Locke  164</li><li>Existence "In the Mind"  166</li><li>Skepticism and Phenomenalism  169</li><li>Kant's Metaphysics of Experience  172</li><li>Objections to Classical Empiricism  176</li><li>A Revision of Classical Empiricism  178</li><li>The Mental and the Physical  181 </li></ol></FONT></P> <P ALIGN = "Justify"><FONT Size = 2 FACE="Arial"><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR><BR>"<B><A HREF = "../../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_20/PaperSummary_20556.htm">Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysical Freedom</A></B>"<BR><BR><B>Source</B>: Aune (Bruce) - Metaphysics: The Elements, Chapter 9<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><BR><BR><u>Sections</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Freedom and Determinism  187</li><li>Freedom and Unmoved Moving  189</li><li>Explanations of Purposive Behavior  191</li><li>The Libertarian Position  192</li><li>The Reconciler Position  194</li><li>Freedom and Morality  196</li><li>Two Conceptions of Freedom  199</li><li>The Freedom of Spontaneity  201 </li></ol></FONT></P> <a name="ColourConventions"></a><hr><br><B><U>Text Colour Conventions</U> (see <A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</B><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> </center> <BR><HR><BR><center> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T05:14" pubdate>02/08/2018 05:14:04</time> <br><A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A> </TD></TR><TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>