James F. Ross is a creative and independent thinker in contemporary metaphysics and philosophy of mind. In this concise metaphysical essay, he argues clearly and analytically that meaning, truth, impossibility, natural necessity, and our intelligent perception of nature fit together into a distinctly realist account of thought and world.
Ross articulates a moderate realism about repeatable natural structures and our abstractive ability to discern them that poses a challenge to many of the common assumptions and claims of contemporary analytic philosophy. He develops a broadly Aristotelian metaphysics that recognizes the “hidden necessities” of things, which are disclosed through the sciences, which ground his account of real impossibility as a kind of vacuity, and which require the immateriality of the human ability to understand. Those ideas are supported by a novel account of false judgment. Ross aims to offer an analytically and historically respectable alternative to the prevailing positions of many British-American philosophers.
“In Thought and World_, James F. Ross synthesizes and develops much of his work from the last two decades; and as he did in his two other major works (_Philosophical Theology and Portraying Analogy) he challenges many of the common dogmatic assumptions from the mainstream of analytic philosophy. While relentlessly challenging these assumptions from a unique and unorthodox perspective, he is nonetheless able to masterfully articulate his position using the dialect of philosophical discourse in analytic philosophy.”—John Zeis, Canisius College
“Those [philosophers] who feel the need to consider a wider range of views, and who are willing to work through a book that leaves a significant amount of thinking to them, will find it a fascinating and even worldview-changing look into how Aristotelian-Scholastic ideas can be developed today. If a few follow in Ross’s footsteps, the path to truth might come to be more clearly marked.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
“James Ross’ work Thought and World is far-reaching. . . . Ross’ incorporation of the history of philosophy, while still addressing much of the contemporary thought on the issues, makes this book an accessible and solid philosophical work.” — Dialogue
“ Thought and World pivots on an attractive central idea, namely hat the philosophically important modal concepts of possibility, actuality, and necessity are inherently reality-geared in being based upon ‘the intelligible structures in nature and . . . our abstractive ability to discern them.’ ” — American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
“In this challenge to much of contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy, Ross begins from a position of moderate realism, arguing that there are de re (‘of the thing’) necessities hidden in the complexity of nature that overflow our linguistic meaning but are part of de re truth conditions (for example, the genetic coding of organisms was a de re necessity long before we were able or even around to comprehend or discuss it), which leads to a recognition of the independent reality of things and the affirmation of the real sameness of the known and the real.” — Reference and Research Book News
“Ross offers a wide-ranging survey of a number of issues and problems, mainly in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, including modality, counterfactuals, truth, perception and abstraction, consciousness, and the natures or essences of things. . . . He is a self-described ‘structural realist’: he affirms the existence of an objective, mind-independent physical world, the things of which possess real natures that explain and underlie the powers and causal interactions of those things.” — Choice
“Thought and World is an important book. It is important because it offers a critical look at much that is taken for granted in contemporary analytic philosophy; it is also important because it offers a cogent argument for a realistic metaphysics . . . . A brilliant book from first to last, Thought and World is an outstanding example, if not in form, then surely in its wealth of ideas and penetrating insights, of the fruitfulness of bringing the best of the philosophic tradition into dialogue with contemporary problems and currents of thought.” — The Review of Metaphysics