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A Survey of Metaphysics

E. J. Lowe

Publication Date - March 2002

ISBN: 9780198752530

416 pages


A systematic overview of modern metaphysics, A Survey of Metaphysics covers all of the most important topics in the field. It adopts the fairly traditional conception of metaphysics as a subject that deals with the deepest questions that can be raised concerning the fundamental structure of reality as a whole. The book is divided into six main sections that address the following themes: identity and change, necessity and essence, causation, agency and events, space and time, and universals and particulars. It focuses on contemporary views and issues throughout, rather than on the history of metaphysics.


  • E.J.Lowe is a leading contemporary metaphysician making this a well-informed and reliable guide to important recent developments in the subject
  • Offers comprehensive coverage of the subject and will serve well as the single core text for almost any metaphysics course
  • The survey is fully up-to-date with emphasis on contemporary views and issues enabling students to engage effectively with the latest literature on the subject
  • Provides an extensive bibliography of publications, most of which are recent, making this a very useful reference for further study

About the Author(s)

E.J. Lowe is Professor of Philosophy at University of Durham


"This is a great book. It will immediately become--and will remain forsome time--one of the two or three books that are seriously considered forany metaphysics course that uses a textbook. "--Professor Trenton Merricks, University of Virginia, US

"This book provides excellent coverage for typical courses in metaphysics...Lowe has avoided unnecessary technicalities and jargon; the writing is both clear and accessible to typical philosophy undergraduates. He has done a remarkable job on this score."--Professor Gary Rosenkrantz, University of North Carolina, Greenboro

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: The nature of metaphysics
    Part I Identity and Change
    2. Identity over time and change of composition
    3. Qualitative change and the doctrine of temporal parts
    4. Substantial change and spatiotemporal coincidence
    Part II Necessity, Essence, and Possible Worlds
    5. Necessity and identity
    6. Essentialism
    7. Possible worlds
    Part III Causation and Conditionals
    8. Conterfactual conditionals
    9. Causes and conditions
    10. Conterfactuals and event causation
    Part IV Actions and Events
    11. Event causation and agent causation
    12. Actions and Events
    13. Events, things, and space-time
    Part V Space and Time
    14. Absolutism versus relationalism
    15. Incongruent conterparts and the nature of space
    16. The paradoxes of motion and the possibility of change
    17. Tense and the reality of time
    18. Causation and the direction of time
    Part VI Universals and Particulars
    19. Realism versus nominalism
    20. The abstract and the concrete