Basic Structures of Reality: Essays in Meta-Physics

Hardcover | November 16, 2011

byColin Mcginn

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In Basic Structures of Reality, Colin McGinn deals with questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind from the vantage point of physics. Combining general philosophy with physics, he covers such topics as the definition of matter, the nature of space, motion, gravity,electromagnetic fields, the character of physical knowledge, and consciousness and meaning. Throughout, McGinn maintains an historical perspective and seeks to determine how much we really know of the world described by physics. He defends a version of "structuralism": the thesis that our knowledgeis partial and merely abstract, leaving a large epistemological gap at the center of physics. McGinn then connects this element of mystery to parallel mysteries in relation to the mind. Consciousness emerges as just one more mystery of physics. A theory of matter and space is developed, according to which the impenetrability of matter is explained as the deletion of volumes of space. McGinn proposes a philosophy of science that distinguishes physics from both psychology and biology, explores the ontology of energy, and considers therelevance of physics to seemingly remote fields such as the theory of meaning. In the form of a series of aphorisms, the author presents a metaphysical system that takes laws of nature as fundamental. With its broad scope and deep study of the fundamental questions at the heart of philosophy ofphysics, this book is not intended primarily for specialists, but for the general philosophical reader interested in how physics and philosophy intersect.

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In Basic Structures of Reality, Colin McGinn deals with questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind from the vantage point of physics. Combining general philosophy with physics, he covers such topics as the definition of matter, the nature of space, motion, gravity,electromagnetic fields, the character of physical kn...

Colin McGinn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. He is the author of 18 books including Ethics, Evil, and Fiction (1997), Minds and Bodies (1997), Consciousness and Its Objects (2004), The Meanings of Disgust; also Shakespeare's Philosophy, The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World, The Making of a P...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 16, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199841101

ISBN - 13:9780199841103

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Table of Contents

PART ONEIntroduction: Philosophy and Physics1. The Concept of MatterPostscript: Particles as Fields: An ObjectionAppendix One: The Uniformity of MatterAppendix Two: Divisibility and Size2. What is a Physical Object?3. The Possibility of Motion4. Motion, Change, and Physics5. The Law of Inertia6. Mass, Gravity, and Motion7. Electric Charge: A Case Study8. Two Types of Science9. The Ontology of Energy10. Consciousness as a Form of Matter11. Matter and MeaningPART TWOPrincipia Metaphysica