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Peter Unger: Metaphysician

March 1st, 2005 · 1 Comment

Philosopher Peter Unger, with whom I studied at NYU, writes regarding the kerfuffle over Ross Douthat’s claim in The Atlantic that modern philosophy departments “have largely purged themselves of metaphysicians and moralists.” Says Unger:

I noticed that, a couple of weeks ago, you had an interchange with one Ross Douthat, apparently a Harvard graduate who now writes, at least occasionally, for the Atlantic.

Well, from what little I read here, at Notes from the Lounge, I may be more in agreement with Douthat than with you. But, with the publication of All the Power in the World—that’s my Really Big Book—I mean to change things somewhat. And, since I’ve just posted 6 of this book’s 10 Chapters on my NYU Web-page, maybe there’ll be some small change even before it appears, probably this coming (2005) December. Also, I’ve posted all the book’s Front Matter—including its huge Table of Contents—and its pretty long Preface, both humorous and also serious.

Among the Chapters I’ve posted, those most relevant to your interchange are Chapter 7, “Why We Really May Be Immaterial Souls”—the book’s longest chapter—and Chapter 10, “How Rich Is Concrete Reality?” the book’s long last chapter. If you look at the Contents and note what’s there for (unposted) Chapters 6 and 8, you’ll see yet a lot more by way of “old-fashioned metaphysics.” And, you’ll see that, too, in the aforementioned posted Preface.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy some of this material—and take note that, at NYU, anyway—there IS some real doctrinal diversity in first philosophy (though I doubt that there’s much at Harvard.)

Tags: Academia



1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Shawn Macomber // Mar 2, 2005 at 7:48 am

    Thanks for posting this correspondence, Julian. Your friend’s work is actually quite interesting, and I would encourge anyone on the fence as to whether its worth taking their time away from blogs to look at to go ahead and take the plunge.