An essay in ontology
This book addresses one of the fundamental topics in philosophy: the relation between appearance and reality. John W. Yolton draws on a rich combination of historical and contemporary material, ranging from the early modern period to present-day debates, to examine this central philosophical preoccupation, which he presents in terms of distinctions between phenomena and causes, causes and meaning, and persons and man. He explores in detail how Locke, Berkeley and Hume talk of appearances and their relation to reality, and offers illuminating connections and comparisons with the work of contemporary philosophers such as Paul Churchland and John McDowell. He concludes by offering his own proposal for a “realism of appearance, ” which incorporates elements of both Humean and Kantian thinking. His important study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the history of philosophy, the history of ideas, and contemporary philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics.
JOHN W. YOLTON is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University. He is the author of many publications on John Locke and on the history of philosophy more generally, most recently Perception and Reality: A History from Descartes to Kant (Cornell University Press, 1996).