The Elements and Patterns of Being: Essays in Metaphysics

Donald Cary Williams, A. R. J. Fisher (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book collects six influential articles and six previously unpublished essays in metaphysics by Donald C. Williams. The first chapter is a defense of metaphysics. The second chapter is the classic statement of the ontology of abstract particulars or tropes. The third and fourth chapters expound a realist theory of universals based on trope ontology. The fifth is a systematic presentation of actualism-the view that the world is a four-dimensional manifold of actual 'qualitied contents'. The sixth is an articulation of an objectivist account of necessity and possibility, given actualism and trope ontology. The seventh dispenses with existence because existence is merely the sum of actual existents, as per actualism. Chapters 8-12 expound the four-dimensionalist metaphysics of time in connection with the problems of determinism, fatalism, future contingents, the passage of time, time's arrow, and time travel. These essays, as ordered by the editor, convey for the first time the systematic vision of Williams's metaphysics. This book comes with an informative Introduction to the major aspects of Williams's metaphysics in its historical context.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages239
ISBN (Electronic)9780198810384
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2018


  • Ontology
  • PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics
  • Metaphysics


Dive into the research topics of 'The Elements and Patterns of Being: Essays in Metaphysics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this