All the Power in the World

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Oxford University Press, 2006 - Philosophy - 640 pages
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This bold and original work of philosophy presents an exciting new picture of concrete reality. Peter Unger provocatively breaks with what he terms the conservatism of present-day philosophy, and returns to central themes from Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Russell. Wiping the slate clean, Unger works, from the ground up, to formulate a new metaphysic capable of accommodating our distinctly human perspective. He proposes a world with inherently powerful particulars of two basic sorts: one mental but not physical, the other physical but not mental.

Whether of one sort or the other, each individual possesses powers for determining his or her own course, as well as powers for interaction with other individuals. It is only a purely mental particular--an immaterial soul, like yourself--that is ever fit for real choosing, or for conscious experiencing. Rigorously reasoning that the only satisfactory metaphysic is one that situates the physical alongside the non-physical, Unger carefully explains the genesis of, and continual interaction of, the two sides of our deeply dualistic world.

Written in an accessible and entertaining style, while advancing philosophical scholarship, All the Power in the World takes readers on a philosophical journey into the nature of reality. In this riveting intellectual adventure, Unger reveals the need for an entirely novel approach to the nature of physical reality--and shows how this approach can lead to wholly unexpected possibilities, including disembodied human existence for billions of years. All the Power in the World returns philosophy to its most ambitious roots in its fearless attempt to answer profoundly difficult human questions about ourselves and our world.
 

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Contents

The Mystery of the Physical
3
1 A Brief Exposition of the Scientiphical Metaphysic
6
2 Three Kinds of Basic Property and the Denial of Qualities
9
3 The Denial of Qualities Particles in Space and Spaces in a Plenum
20
4 When Limited by the Denial How to Conceive a Particles Propensities?
25
5 Can Particles Rotate but Not Plenumate Bubbles?
29
6 Simple Attempts at Clear Conception May Highlight Our Mystery
31
A Humanly Realistic Philosophy
36
9 Objective Probabilities Random Happenings and Real Choices
330
10 Can Inhering in a Field Help Us Have Real Choice?
332
11 Can an Infinitely Deep Hierarchy of Physical Powers Help Us Have Real Choice?
333
12 Radically Emergent Beings with a Radically Emergent Power to Choose
335
13 PhysicalandMental Complexes with a Radically Emergent Power to Choose
341
How Much a Side Issue?
343
15 Are Physically Effective Choosing Souls Compatible with Physical Conservation Laws?
347
16 Are Physically Effective Choosing Souls Compatible with Other Physical Principles?
352

2 We Are Differentially Responsive Individuals
40
3 Against Descartes We Are Intermittently Conscious Individuals
45
4 Our Realistic Response to Descartes Raises a Problem of Our Unconscious Quality
48
5 Against Humes Restriction Human Understanding Transcends Human Experience
49
6 We Are Experientially Varying Individuals
53
7 We Are Not Bundles of Experiences Thoughts or Perceptions
55
8 We Substantial Individuals Are More Basic Than Our Thoughts and Experiences
58
9 As We Communicate with Each Other We Are Reciprocal Interaction Partners
63
10 There Is Perplexity Concerning How We Commonly Communicate
66
11 Much of the World Interacts with Us but Doesnt Communicate with Us
68
12 We Often Choose What to Think About and Even What to Communicate
71
Demystifying the Physical
74
2 Spatially Extensible Qualities and Intelligible Propensities
76
3 Spatially Extensible Qualities Are Perfectly Pervasive Properties
82
4 Intelligible Physical Reality and a Principle of Constrained Contingency
87
A Problem
90
A Solution
91
7 Mutually Isolated Concrete Worlds and Distinct Eons of the Actual World
93
8 Mightnt the Recognized Physical Properties Just Be Spatially Extensible Qualities?
98
9 The Identity Theory of Qualities and Dispositions
100
10 A Limited Identity Theory?
106
11 Can There Be Spatially Extensible Yellow Entities That Arent Ever Propensitied?
109
12 Can an Extensible Blue Body Be Attracted by Concreta That Arent BlueAttractors?
111
13 Can an Extensible Blue Body Be Perceived to Be Extensible Blue?
112
14 We Consider an Antinomy of Spatially Extensible Quality
117
By Contrast with Hume
123
By Contrast with Lewis
133
17 What May We Learn from Our Demystification of the Physical?
136
18 Remarks on Whats Been Done and on Whats to Come
141
A Cornucopia of Quality
145
2 Our Power to Experience Promotes Our Conceiving Concrete Individuals
150
3 Our Power to Experience Visually Promotes Our Conceiving Concrete Spatial Things
153
4 Might Our Idea of Spatially Extensible Color Be Our Most Central Concept of Color?
157
5 Our Power to Experience Auditorally Cant Promote Such Full Spatial Conceiving
159
6 Might an Extensible Red Object Be Qualitatively Like an Experiential Red Subject?
162
7 The Great Range of Color for Spatially Extended Concreta
167
8 Contrasting Quality Families and a Sketchy Speculation
169
A Neglected Distinction
171
10 Is This Neglected Distinction Philosophically Significant?
173
11 Conscious Perceiving as an Aid to Fuller Conceiving
177
12 Full Conceiving of Concreta Is both Experiential and Intellectual
179
13 Extrapolating from the Highly Experiential in Conceiving Spatial Individuals
181
14 Conceiving Concrete All Qualitied Uniformly but Propensitied Quite Variously
184
15 Are Felt Bodily Qualities Well Suited to Conceiving Nonmental Individuals?
191
16 How Well Do We Conceive Insensate Bodies as Pervaded with Tactile Qualities?
193
17 Extensible Qualities Experiential Qualities and Powers to Affect Experientially
196
18 Why Our Idea of Spatially Extensible Color May Be Our Most Central Idea of Color
199
19 We Focus on Substantive Metaphysics Not Natural Languages or Conceptual Relations
206
A Plenitude of Power
211
2 Powerdirected Powers Propensities with Respect to Propensities
213
3 Powerdirected Powers May Distinctively Distinguish among Other Powers
216
4 Propensity Possibility Accident and Probability
226
5 Powerdirected Powers and Probabilistic Propensities of Very Low Degree
229
6 Powers Are Nonconditional Including Powers to Acquire and Lose Other Powers
232
7 Standard Scientific Thinking and Generalistically directed Propensities
239
8 Individualisticallydirected Propensities
242
9 Individualisticallydirected Propensities and Cartesian Dualism
246
10 Individualistic Propensities and the Intellectual Aspect of Our Conceiving
248
A Special Case of Individualisticallydirected Propensities
254
12 A Humans Selfdirected Propensities with Respect to Her Own Experiencing
255
13 Can There Be Any Concrete Entities That Arent Ever Propensitied?
259
14 Scientiphicalism Selfdirected Propensity and Experiential Awareness
263
15 Temporal Monotony and Temporal Change
266
16 Propensity for Monotony and Propensity for Change
268
17 Possibility Accident Probability and Selfdirected Propensity
277
18 Basic Concrete Propensity for Annihilation and Propensity for Continuation
278
The Basis of Stable Monotony
286
A Good LongTerm Investment for Substantial Dualists?
291
21 The Confused Idea of a Worlds Default Setting
295
22 Time without Change
298
23 Do Our Reciprocal Propensity Partners Present a Cosmic Miracle?
300
Is Free Will Compatible with Scientiphicalism?
309
1 A Few Points about Real Choice
313
Not an Urgent Issue
316
3 A Widely Disturbing Argument Presents a More Urgent Issue
318
4 Real Choice Free Will Is Incompatible with Inevitabilism Determinism
319
5 Is Real Choice Incompatible with the Denial of Inevitabilism?
320
6 Our Scientiphical Metaphysic and the Currently Dominant Conception of Ourselves
323
7 Simple Physical Entities and Their Basic Properties
325
8 Reciprocal Propensities and Physical Laws
327
17 Radically Selfdirected Power
354
18 An Exemption from Natural Law Is Required for Real Choice
356
19 The Real Reason Why an Exemption from Natural Law Is Required for Real Choice
358
20 Apparent Scientiphical Incompatibilisms and Further Philosophical Explorations
360
Why We Really May Be Immaterial Souls
362
1 Recalling the Problem of the Many
366
2 A Couple of Comments on That Comparatively Uninteresting Problem
371
3 The Experiential Problem of the Many
376
4 How the Singularity of Experiencing May Favor Substantial Dualism
381
5 Many Overlapping Experiencers but Only One of Them Now Experiencing?
383
6 Some Cases of Singular Causal Resolution
385
7 An Immaterial Experiencers Causally Resolved Singularity Is a Relevant Singularity
392
8 These Are Metaphysical Matters Transcending All Purely Semantic Issues
394
On Complex Complexes
397
10 Problems of Propensitively Redundant Propensitive Contributors
402
11 Our Experiential Problem Doesnt Presuppose Any Suspicious Identifications
407
12 The Problem of Too Many Real Choosers
414
13 Wholly Immaterial Souls Favored over Emergentist PhysicalandMental Complexes
418
14 A Singular Physical Manifestation of Many Choosers Powers to Choose?
420
15 Do These Problems Favor Substantial Dualism over Its Most Salient Alternatives?
424
16 Some Less Salient Options to a QuasiCartesian Substantial Dualism
427
17 Arent Immaterial Souls Really Just Eliminable Middlemen?
437
18 Wholly Immaterial Souls Are Generated Abruptly Not Gradually
440
19 Our Own Souls and the Wholly Immaterial Souls of Nonhuman Animals
446
20 Metaphysically Material Ruminations about Extraordinarily Different Gestations
448
Might All Souls Be Equally Powerful Individuals?
451
22 Bodily Flexibility as Regards Individualistically directed Soulful Propensity
456
23 Taking Stock and Moving On
461
Beyond Discriminative Vagueness Safe from Nihilistic Sorites
465
Why We May Become Disembodied But To No Avail
470
1 Why We May Become Disembodied Souls with the Deaths of Our Brains and Bodies
471
2 Even While You May Be an Immaterial Soul Are You Really an Existential OTHERON?
473
3 Immaterial OTHERONS Are Just as Problematic as Material OTHERONS
477
4 Metaphysical Asymmetries and Further Forms of Substantial Dualism
482
5 Some Questions about Disembodiment and about Reincarnation
485
6 Prospects for Disembodiment
486
7 Even If We Disembodied Souls Last for Eons What Are Our Prospects for Experiencing?
490
8 What Are Our Prospects for Reincarnation?
496
9 The Question of Disembodied Souls and the Question of an Almighty Creator
501
10 Why Our LongTerm Prospects May Be Very Bleak Prospects
508
The Problem of Our Unconscious Quality
511
1 Physical Objects Aptly Qualitied Experiencers Differently Qualitied Just as Aptly
512
2 Every Individual Is Qualitied Including You and Me
513
3 We Reconsider the Problem of Our Unconscious Quality
514
4 We Notice How Descartes Heroically Denies This Problem
518
5 A QuasiHumean Substantial Dualist May Heroically Deny the Problem
520
6 A Compositist Substantial Dualist May Similarly Deny the Problem
521
7 Will Unconscious Experiential Quality Provide a Less Heroic Dualistic Answer?
523
8 How Fully May Dualists Offer a Speculative Answer to the Problem?
526
How Rich is Concrete Reality?
528
1 Sameness and Difference of Concrete Individuals
529
2 Conceiving Nonspatial Simultaneous Souls Always Precisely Alike
532
Even If Just Modestly Grasped It Might Be True
536
Even If Just Modestly Grasped It Also Might Be True
537
5 Substantial Individuals and Our Conceptions as to Such Concrete Particulars
540
6 We Prepare an Analogy between the Properly Spatial and the Relevantly Spacelike
542
An Analogical Speculation
545
An Apparent Alternative
548
9 An Hypothesized Dimension Far More Like Space Than Like Time
550
10 Our Fullest Conceptions of Spatial Bodies
554
11 An Analogical Conception of Nonspatial Souls
557
12 Our Hypothesis Allows More Fully Conceivable Substantial Dualist Views
560
Integrated and Nonintegrated Dimensions
563
14 How Might We Nonspatial Souls Precede Even Our Initial Physical Embodiment?
567
15 Do Immaterial Souls Ever Change Propensitively?
576
A Constitutional View of Souls
581
17 Drawbacks of This Constitutional View
585
18 Fusional Dualism
587
19 Our Hypothesized Dualism and the Mental Problems of the Many
589
20 Our Hypothesized Dualism and the Problem of Our Unconscious Quality
592
21 Recalling and Addressing the Question of Nicely Matched Propensity Partners
594
22 Our Hypothesized Dualism and the Question of Nicely Matched Propensity Partners
601
23 Does Our Hypothesized Dualism Make My Current Quality Too Inaccessible?
606
24 Two Cartesian Arguments for Some Spacelikely Substantial Dualism
610
25 Is Realitys Temporal Aspect Uniquely Distinctive?
616
26 Why Are Our Concrete Conceptions of Such Limited Variety?
618
Bibliography
623
Index
629
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About the author (2006)


Peter Unger, one of the world's most original and unorthodox philosophers, is a major contributor to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind. A native New Yorker, for more than thirty years he has been a Professor of Philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Ignorance (OUP 1975, reissued 2002), Philosophical Relativity (1984, reissued by OUP 2002), Identity, Consciousness and Value (OUP 1990), Living High and Letting Die (OUP 1996), and forthcoming collections of his published philosophical papers (OUP, 2006).

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