This book contains a concise introduction to one of the most fundamental branches of philosophy, which deals with reality and its nature. It is based on a series of lectures which the author has been giving for several years to first-year undergraduate students as part of their Philosophy of Being, Cognition and Value program at the University of Warsaw. Among the topics discussed are such metaphysical questions as "Are we fundamentally free?", "Does time really pass?", "Are there any abstract objects?", "What is causation?", "What are necessary and possible truths?". The book is aimed at absolute beginners, so it does not presuppose any previous knowledge of philosophy from the reader. However, it is not a dumbed-down "airport fiction" either. The main goal of the book is not only to entertain and inform but to challenge the reader's little grey cells as well. For those who would like to pursue the subject a bit deeper, the book comes equipped with an extended list of further reading.
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Tomasz Bigaj (PhD) is a lecturer at the Institute of Philosophy, the University of Warsaw, Poland. He has been a Fulbright fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Marie Curie fellow at the University of Bristol, UK. His main areas of specialization are philosophy of science (especially of physics), metaphysics, and philosophical logic. He is the author of three books and over thirty professional articles published in peer-reviewed journals (including Journal of Philosophical Logic, Synthese, Erkenntnis, Philosophy of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Metaphysica). His latest book is "Non-locality and Possible Worlds: A Counterfactual Perspective on Quantum Entanglement" (Ontos Verlag, 2006).Review:
The book is intended to be an introduction to the basic issues of analytical metaphysics designed for non-philosophers. It fulfills its purpose to a large extent: the issues are competently presented in a clear and accessible way. The unquestionable advantage of the book is also the fact that it indicates a strong relation between philosophical problems and those of other scientific disciplines, mainly physics and mathematics. It makes Bigaj's work an attractive handbook for the laymen as well as for professionals in other fields.
Review, Filozofia Nauki (Philosophy of Science), 2013
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