Philosophical Mysteries [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 36 (1):188-190 (1982)


The author has convinced himself that philosophy is essentially mysterious. "Mystery," we are told, "is clearly [sic!] the outcome of indeterminateness, in knowledge and in being. But it is equally a function of determinateness, since complete indeterminateness is unintelligible, not mysterious at all". The definition is both internally contradictory and circular. Internally contradictory, because two incompatible predicates are being ascribed to one subject of predication. Circular, because the reason given for the presence of one of them in the definition is that its absence would remove what is mysterious--which is just the adjectival form of the definiendum.

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