Persons and the Natural Order

In Peter van Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Persons: Human and Divine. Oxford University Press (2007)
Abstract
We human persons have an abiding interest in understanding what kind of beings we are. However, it is not obvious how to attain such an understanding. Traditional analytic metaphysicians start with a priori accounts of the most general, abstract features of the world— e.g., accounts of properties and particulars—features that, they claim, in no way depend upon us or our activity.1 Such accounts are formulated in abstraction from what is already known about persons and other things, and are used as constraints on metaphysical investigation of everything else. So, if we accept traditional metaphysics, we should be prepared to yield to abstruse pronouncements—either by giving up our most secure beliefs about the world that we encounter or by abandoning our conception of what those beliefs are really about.
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