Dividing Reality

Paperback | January 1, 1997

byEli Hirsch

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The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable for the words of our language to divide up the world in ordinary ways rather than other imaginable ways. Hirsch calls this the division problem. His book aims to bring this problem into sharp focus, to distinguish it from variousrelated problems, and to consider the best prospects for solving it. In exploring various possible responses to the division problem, Hirsch examines series of "division principles" which purport to express rational constraints on how our words ought to classify and individuate. The ensuingdiscussion deals with a wide range of metaphysical and epistemological topics, including projectibility and similarity, alternative analyses of natural properties and things, the inscrutability of reference, and the relevance of such pragmatic notions as salience and economy. The final chapters ofthe book develop what Hirsch contends is the most promising response to the division problem: a theory in which constraints on classification and individuation are seen to derive from the necessary structure of "fine-grained" propositions and the necessary dependence of some concepts onothers.

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From Our Editors

The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable to divide up the world in one way rather than another, or what the rational basis is for our language to contain certain kinds of general words rather than others. In the course of the exploration of this question, a broad range of metaphysical and epistemological topics is c...

From the Publisher

The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable for the words of our language to divide up the world in ordinary ways rather than other imaginable ways. Hirsch calls this the division problem. His book aims to bring this problem into sharp focus, to distinguish it from variousrelated problems, and to consider the best pr...

From the Jacket

The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable to divide up the world in one way rather than another, or what the rational basis is for our language to contain certain kinds of general words rather than others. In the course of the exploration of this question, a broad range of metaphysical and epistemological topics is c...

Eli Hirsch is at Brandeis University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.25 × 6.06 × 0.79 inPublished:January 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195111427

ISBN - 13:9780195111422

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From Our Editors

The central question in this book is why it seems reasonable to divide up the world in one way rather than another, or what the rational basis is for our language to contain certain kinds of general words rather than others. In the course of the exploration of this question, a broad range of metaphysical and epistemological topics is covered, including projectibility and similarity, natural properties and things, the structure of 'fine-grained' propositions, and the relevance of such pragmatic notions as salience and economy.

Editorial Reviews

"In Dividing Reality Eli Hirsch continues the work he does so well....important and challenging, and covers much...territory....Hirsch leads us through the heart of metaphysics...he leaves his special mark on all the topics he touches. He has an eye for interesting questions and his pursuit ofthem draws in even those initially skeptical of the problems. I would love to sing more praises, but space forbids; let me just say that I'd put it on the Metaphysician's Must Read list, and enthusiastically recommend it to others."--Philosophy and Phenomenological Research