Lowe, E. J. The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 54 (1):159-160 (2000)
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Metaphysics is enjoying an increasing popularity among contemporary analytic philosophers. A fine contribution to this literature is E. J. Lowe’s The Possibility of Metaphysics. Lowe’s title calls to mind the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Rejecting the claim of traditional metaphysics to extend our knowledge of reality, Kant argued that metaphysics’ role is merely to provide an elaboration of the conceptual scheme used by the mind to represent objects. While not purporting to be an answer to Kant, Lowe’s book clearly develops a non-Kantian metaphysics. He argues that the task of metaphysics is to tell us not what there is, but what there could be. By exploring the realm of metaphysical possibility, Lowe hopes to restore metaphysics to “a central position in philosophy as the most fundamental form of rational inquiry, with its own distinctive methods and criteria of validation”.



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Mark D. Gossiaux
Loyola University, New Orleans

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