This review appeared in CHOICE vol 29 (May 1992), p. 280
Swartz,. Norman: Beyond experience: metaphysical theories and philosophical constraints. Toronto, 1991. 449p indexes afp ISBN 0-8020-2783-0, $50.00; ISBN 0-8020-6832-4 pbk, $19.95
Philosophers usually have no trouble recognizing that a given topic or problem falls within the purview of metaphysics. But they often find it difficult to specify what accounts for the metaphysical nature of such a problem and to explicate the methodology that they employ addressing it. Swartz attempts to fill in these gaps in Beyond Experience. He contrasts metaphysics with science; metaphysics is by nature not open to empirical confirmation, and so metaphysical questions cannot be resolved with the methods and techniques of science. This does not entail, however, that metaphysics is intellectually otiose or devoid of a methodology and thence open to wild speculation. Swartz illustrates the methodology of metaphysics through a careful discussion of metaphysical issues such as the nature of space and time, the problem of universals, and what it means to be a person. Although the material is by nature abstract and rather difficult, Swartz's analytic approach and his straightforward and lucid style of writing make the book accessible to upper-division undergraduate students. The book will also be profitable for graduate students and faculty.
M. A. Michael
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