Appearance in Reality




2023.02.2 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

John Heil, Appearance in Reality, Oxford University Press, 2021, 258 pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198865452.

Reviewed by Christopher S. Hill and Elizabeth Miller, Brown University 

I: Introduction

John Heil’s new book ranges over many of the major topics in metaphysics, including substance, properties, causation, space, time, parts and wholes, modality, essence, agency, and consciousness. It has interesting things to say about all of the issues it discusses, but there are three topics that are especially prominent in the book, and which help to organize the discussion. These all flow from the differences between our everyday, commonsense understanding of reality and the representations that are offered by science. In one form or another, the tension between the commonsense and scientific perspectives has been with us at least since Galileo; but Heil’s story begins in the twentieth century, with Arthur Eddington’s contrasting a familiar “commonplace” table that…

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