Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics

Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics

Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics

Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics

Synopsis

Since its publication in 1959, Individuals has become a modern philosophical classic. Bold in scope and ambition, it continues to influence debates in metaphysics, philosophy of logic and language, and epistemology. Peter Strawson's most famous work, it sets out to describe nothing less than the basic subject matter of our thought. It contains Strawson's now famous argument for descriptive metaphysics and his repudiation of revisionary metaphysics, in which reality is something beyond the world of appearances.Throughout, Individuals advances some highly influential and controversial ideas, such as 'non-solipsistic consciousness' and the concept of a person a 'primitive concept'

Excerpt

This book is based on lectures which were originally given in Oxford University in 1954–5 and were later used as material for a seminar in Duke University, N. Carolina in 1955–6. I am grateful for the help I received in discussion from my colleagues at Duke; and I wish also to acknowledge my great indebtedness to Miss Ruby Meager, Professor H.L.A. Hart and Professor Gilbert Ryle, all of whom read a part or the whole of the book in manuscript and gave me much helpful and friendly advice, which I have generally tried to follow.

Much of Chapter 3 is a revised and expanded version of an article which appeared in Vol. II of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, edited by Herbert Feigl, Michael Scriven and Grover Maxwell and published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1958. Parts of Chapters 5 and 6 are taken, with substantial modifications, from papers which appeared in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society for 1953–4 and 1957. I have to thank the editors and publishers of these volumes for permission to make use of this matter again.

P.F.S.

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