An Introduction to Metaphysics
  • Publication Date: January 27, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554813759 / 1554813751
  • 426 pages; 6" x 9"

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An Introduction to Metaphysics

  • Publication Date: January 27, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554813759 / 1554813751
  • 426 pages; 6" x 9"

An Introduction to Metaphysics offers an engrossing survey of central metaphysical topics, including truth, universals, the nature of mind, personal identity, free will, time, and the existence of God. The book is pitched at an intermediate undergraduate level and is suitable for students without background knowledge in these areas. Topically organized, it examines a variety of historical and contemporary positions relevant to each of the included themes. Memorable and amusing drawings by Gillian Wilson are interspersed throughout the text to illustrate concepts and examples.


“This is a refreshing, engaging, and comprehensive first introduction to metaphysics. Panoramic in scope and inclusive in tone, it grounds the reader in central concepts and theories while also finding space for voices outside the canon. Newcomers to metaphysics will be rewarded by reading it from start to finish, or by simply dipping in and out of the topics that they find most intriguing.” — Kerry McKenzie, University of California, San Diego

“Jack Crumley’s book is an excellent introduction to metaphysics—covering all the important topics, and written with clarity, precision, and elegance. As in his other outstanding introductions to other areas of philosophy, Crumley has read and digested everything that really matters and then synthesized and organized the material in an accessible and coherent way, with helpful definitions and plenty of examples, amusing but edifying illustrations, and useful elaborations in distinctly shaded boxes. As a professional philosopher, I found myself reading Crumley’s book with much interest and pleasure and, most importantly, learning quite a bit from it.” — Radu Bogdan, Tulane University, New Orleans

“This is a superb introductory text on metaphysics. It is engaging and accessible to newcomers to this notoriously abstruse area of philosophy.” — David Livingstone Smith, University of New England



  • Metaphysics
  • Common Sense and Metaphysics
  • Some Important Concepts
  • Argument, Counterexample, and Explanation

Chapter 1. Truth I : Three Classic Views

  • Correspondence: Connecting Truth and the World
  • Coherence: The Truth and the Whole
  • A Pragmatic Conception of Truth

Chapter 2. Truth II: The Twentieth Century, Necessity, and Possible Worlds

  • The Twentieth Century
  • Semantic Conception of Truth
  • Deflationism
  • Necessity
  • Do Possible Worlds Exist?

Chapter 3. Realism and Antirealism

  • The World of Common Sense: An Argument
  • Scientific Realism
  • Dummett’s Verificationist Antirealism
  • Putnam’s Internal Realism
  • Star Making

Chapter 4. Universals

  • Universals, Particulars, and Instantiation
  • Universal: A Special Object
  • Realism
  • A Contemporary View: Universals as Concepts
  • Nominalism
  • Moderate Realism and Conceptualism

Chapter 5. Things

  • First Thoughts: Individuals as Substances
  • The Independence of Substance: A Contemporary View
  • Things = Substratum + Properties
  • Bundle Theory
  • Are There Any Objects? The Special Composition Question
  • Different Directions: Whitehead and Heidegger
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6. The Nature of Mind

  • It Takes Two
  • Physicalism

Chapter 7. Personal Identity

  • Persons and Identity
  • I Remember Me: A Psychological View
  • Same Body, Same Person
  • Survival vs. Identity
  • Substance and Souls

Chapter 8. Free Will

  • Free Will and Determinism
  • Agent Causation: A Different Type of Causation?
  • Compatibilism
  • Two Compatibilist Approaches to Responsibility

Chapter 9. Time

  • Time Isn’t Real
  • Eternalism and Presentism
  • Time Travel

Chapter 10. God: Nature and Existence

  • Divine Attributes
  • Three Arguments
  • God and the Existence of Evil: Incompatible?

Chapter 11. Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

  • Setting the Stage
  • Necessary or Contingent?
  • Could It Be Just a Brute Fact? Or a Confused Question?
  • It Can’t Be Nothing vs. Subtraction
  • Necessitarianism: It Must Exist
  • You’re Not That Special: The Multiverse and Contingency




Jack S. Crumley II is Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego and the author of An Introduction to Epistemology and Introducing Philosophy: Knowledge & Reality (Broadview), as well as A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (Rowman & Littlefield).

  • • A student-friendly introduction to metaphysics that presupposes no specific background knowledge
  • • Covers all of the core topics of metaphysics, including truth, universals, mind, personal identity, free will, God, and much more
  • • A glossary of key terms is provided at back of the book for reference and review
  • • Original illustrations are included in each chapter to reinforce ideas and entertain readers

To read a sample from Chapter 2 of An Introduction to Metaphysics, click here.