In Metaphysical Perspectives, Nicholas Rescher offers a grand vision of how to conceptualize, and in some cases answer, some of the most fundamental issues in metaphysics and value theory. Rescher addresses what he sees as the three prime areas of metaphysical concern: (1) the world as such and the architecture of nature at large, (2) ourselves as nature’s denizens and our potential for learning about it, and (3) the transcendent domain of possibility and value. Rescher engages issues across a wide range of metaphysical themes, from different world views and ultimate questions to contingency and necessity, intelligent design and world-improvability, personhood and consciousness, empathy and other minds, moral obligation, and philosophical methodology. Over the course of this book, Rescher discusses, with his characteristic fusion of idealism and pragmatism, an integrated overview of the key philosophical problems grounded in an idealistically value-oriented approach. His discussion seeks to shed new light on philosophically central issues from a unified point of view.
“Nicholas Rescher’s Metaphysical Perspectives is a magisterial work, in both depth and breadth. The proposed metaphysical theory is novel, though Leibnizean in spirit. It rests on axiological considerations, hence much of the book consists of discussion, brief but unfailingly erudite, of topics not usually regarded as strictly metaphysical. This is why an extended and highly interesting ethical theory is also proposed, succinctly but clearly and eloquently.” — Panayot Butchvarov, professor emeritus, University of Iowa
“Across questions of possibility, reality, consciousness, and value, Nicholas Rescher brings a full range of metaphysical topics together in a unified approach. To all of these questions he applies a unified vision of the character of philosophy as well: philosophy as literature, following wherever rationality leads, normative as well as descriptive, aimed at offering a guide to life. The result is comprehensive in both topic and technique, a masterful value-based vision from a true contemporary master.” — Patrick Grim, Stony Brook University and University of Michigan
“Necessity, randomness, free will, consciousness, the transcendental, intelligent design, the improvability of the world: in Metaphysical Perspectives these and many other topics get fascinating treatment by America’s finest philosopher. Particularly intriguing is Rescher’s theory of why the cosmos exists.” — John Leslie, professor emeritus, University of Guelph, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
“Nicholas Rescher’s encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy is on full display in this work. A broad sweep of metaphysical topics is covered, ranging from the principle of sufficient reason through consciousness to the question of why philosophy is ordinarily inexact. One of its virtues is that the clarity of writing makes most chapters accessible to a general readership while providing an intellectual challenge to academic philosophers.” — Paul Humphreys, University of Virginia