Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oderberg’s Real Essentialism

David Oderberg announces that his recent book Real Essentialism will be available later this year in paperback. This will be welcome news to those who have been eager to read this excellent work but have been put off by the steep price of the hardback.

The publisher’s description:

Real Essentialism presents a comprehensive defence of neo-Aristotelian essentialism. Do objects have essences? Must they be the kinds of things they are in spite of the changes they undergo? Can we know what things are really like - can we define and classify reality? Many if not most philosophers doubt this, influenced by centuries of empiricism, and by the anti-essentialism of Wittgenstein, Quine, Popper, and other thinkers. Real Essentialism reinvigorates the tradition of realist, essentialist metaphysics, defending the reality and knowability of essence, the possibility of objective, immutable definition, and its relevance to contemporary scientific and metaphysical issues such as whether essence transcends physics and chemistry, the essence of life, the nature of biological species, and the nature of the person.”

From the reviews:

“Presents vigorous and wide-ranging arguments in defense of an Aristotelian metaphysical scheme… This book puts forward many unfashionable views. But it argues for them with vigor and erudition.” Analysis

“Oderberg… exemplifies the unfortunately rare combination in analytical philosophy of rigorous and historically informed argumentation… This book places hylomorphism squarely on the table for discussion.” Review of Metaphysics


  1. Thanks for the heads up - I look forward to reading this one cover to cover.

  2. This is going to be kick-ass! (Pardon my French)

  3. Excellent News, now if only I can finnish summa contra Gentiless.....

  4. Out of interest, Ed, do you happen to know what influences Routledge's decisions to bring out their ugly blue hardbacks in paberback? Is it just to do with HOW WELL the hardback sells?

    J.P. Morelands book "Consciousness and the existence of God" has also recently been put out in paperback. ALso from Routledge.

  5. Professor Feser:

    In this moment, I'm reading the book "The Devil's Delusion" by philosopher/mathematician David Berlinki.

    Commenting on the following Aquinas' (second cosmological) argument on God's existence "If the universe might never have existed, then for sure at some time or other it did exist"

    Berlinski writes "When this premise is placed in hot type on cold paper, suspicions arise that it covers an inference that Aquinas cannot support. The steps involved in passing from "I exist to I might exist", they are fine. The additional steps that carry the metaphysician from "It might not exist" to at one time "I did not" (or will not) exist", they are fine too. They are as fine as metaphysical inferences ever get.

    But to suppose that precisely the same steps carry the universe from "it might not exist" to "it did not exist" suggests the fallacy of composition at work, as when the set of turtles is said to be a turtle on the grounds that its members are all turtles. One for all and all for one is not a principle of metaphysics.

    A universe of perishable things is not necessarily perishable. This objection does not by itself close the case. No case in metaphysics or theology is ever closed. But it does indicate that some further argument is needed, and this Aquinas does not provide.
    " (p. 86)

    What do you think of Berlinski's criticism? Is it correct?

    Berlinski's book is a lot of fun and he also shows Dawkins' misrepresentations when criticizing Aquinas' arguments, and expose many of the new atheists inconsistencies.