Hamlyn (D.W.)
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Inside Cover Blurb

  1. This book provides an introduction to metaphysics. At the outset Professor Hamlyn distinguishes two conceptions of metaphysics running through the history of the subject.
    • One, which goes back to Aristotle, is concerned with ontology, and with what has to exist for beings such as we are;
    • The other separates appearance and reality and attempts to establish what really exists.
    Professor Hamlyn's account of metaphysics conforms with the first tradition.
  2. This is not, however, primarily a historical exposition. The discussion concentrates on central metaphysical concepts and problems, including the principles of ontology, substance, particulars and universals1, monism and pluralism, space and time, minds, selves and personal identity.
  3. Throughout, Professor Hamlyn's thoroughly informed and argued consideration of the topics presents both a persuasive view of the subject and an excellent grounding in it.
  4. David Hamlyn
    • ha(d) since 1964 been Professor of Philosophy and Head of Department at Birkbeck College in the University of London, where he (wa)s also Head of the Department of Classics and Vice-Master.
    • Until the end of 1984 he (wa)s Editor of Mind, a position he ha(d) held since 1972.
    • His previous books include
      The Theory of Knowledge (1970),
      Experience and the Growth of Understanding (1978),
      Schopenhauer (1980), and
      Perception, Learning and the Self (1982),
    • and he has published widely in philosophical, psychological and classical journals.

  1. I am indebted to Jonathan Sinclair-Wilson of Cambridge University Press for suggesting that I write this book and for encouraging it on its way. I hope that it may prove something of a companion piece to my The Theory of Knowledge (Macmillan, 1971). At all events, the thanks that I expressed in that book to Birkbeck College students are due again here. I have lectured on metaphysics at the College for more years than I care to remember, and successive generations of students have criticized, probed and commented on the views that I have expressed, in the way that Birkbeck students are ever willing to do. My debt to them is vast and I shall always be grateful.
  2. Parts of a draft of the book were also read at a seminar which I, together with Mrs Dorothy Edgington, gave at the College. I am grateful for many comments made by her and others at the seminar. I owe a very special debt to Mr Ian McFetridge who kindly read the first draft of the book and who made comments and criticisms which have been invaluable. He has saved me from many mistakes. Apart from the criticisms which he made, I am very grateful to him for the encouragement that his remarks afforded.

In-Page Footnotes ("Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics")

Footnote 2: I’ve included this only because of the Birkbeck connection.


Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (6 Sept. 1984)

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics - Introduction"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 1

  1. What is metaphysics? – 1
  2. Two concepts of metaphysics – 4
  3. Appendix - the possibility of metaphysics – 9

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Appearance and Reality"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 2

  1. Appearance, reality and idealism – 11
  2. Arguments for idealism – 17
  3. Transcendental idealism – 21
  4. Absolute idealism – 24
  5. Realism – 28

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Ontology"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 3

  1. What there is – 34
  2. Being-qua-being – 37
  3. Ontological relativity – 43
  4. The relativity of philosophical ontologies – 45
  5. Formal concepts – 54

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Substance"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 4

  1. The traditional conception of substance – 60
  2. Must there be substances? – 64
  3. The individuation1 of substances – 69
  4. Essentiahsm – 75
  5. Primary and secondary qualities – 82

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Particular and General"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 5

  1. The distinction – 85
  2. 'Everything that exists is particular' – 92
  3. Theories of universals1 – 95
  4. The primacy of the particular – 102

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Simple Substances: Monism and Pluralism"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 6

  1. Must substance be simple? – 105
  2. Monism and pluralism – 109
  3. Absolute idealism and logical atomism – 113

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Space and Time"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 7

  1. What are space and time? – 127
  2. Must space and time be infinite? – 134
  3. Are space and time essentially one? – 139
  4. Temporality and temporal becoming – 144
  5. McTaggart on the unreality of time – 150
  6. Time and human existence – 158

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Minds"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 8

  1. The concept of the mental – 161
  2. Body-mind theories – 164
  3. Cartesian dualism – 166
  4. The criteria of the mental – 170
  5. Can dualism be defended? – 175
  6. Psychophysical monism – 177

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Persons and Personal Identity"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 9

  1. Persons and selves – 187
  2. The Strawsonian concept of a person – 193
  3. What are persons? – 201
  4. The criteria of identity for persons – 202
  5. Survival – 213
  6. 'I' – 216

"Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics - Epilogue: Man and Nature"

Source: Hamlyn (D.W.) - Metaphysics, Chapter 10

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