Brian c. barnett, Book Editor
A multi-year volunteer project, this book was the collaborative effort of a constellation of remarkable individuals who graciously lent their considerable time, energy, patience, and expertise to make it happen. First and foremost, the contributing authors and I acknowledge Christina Hendricks for envisioning the series and working relentlessly and masterfully in her multifaceted role as Series Editor to realize that vision. We also acknowledge Apurva Ashok, our Project Manager at The Rebus Foundation, whose knowledge, skill, and dedication were indispensable in coordinating efforts and ensuring steady progress through her willingness to step in anywhere and everywhere she was needed.
In the order of their chapters, I would like to recognize the authors for their exceptional work: Todd R. Long, K. S. Sangeetha, Daniel Massey, Guy Axtell, Jonathan Lopez, William D. Rowley, and Monica C. Poole. The revision process required the difficult task of fine-tuning drafts to meet a delicate balance of rigor, accessibility, and concision. The perseverance overwhelmingly paid off, culminating in submissions that I could not be more honored to include, and which will benefit students and instructors indefinitely into the future.
At the earliest stages of the project, I profited greatly from insightful comments by Jill Fellows, Adriano Palma, and Nathan Nobis on my initial draft of the book outline. In the later stages, the authors and I were aided tremendously in our chapter revisions by the astute feedback on the book manuscript from our peer reviewers: Kele Perkins, Noah Valdez, and Joseph Shieber.
My gratitude goes to Guy Axtell—an esteemed epistemologist whom we are fortunate to count as one of our authors—for his trial run of the book in his epistemology course at Radford University. I likewise extend gratitude to my students in several classes at St. John Fisher College and SUNY Geneseo for being my first audience for teaching select chapters. In both cases, the positive student reception conveyed the reassuring validation that this book accomplished its overarching aims: to be engaging, thought-provoking, resourceful, and accessible.
As she has done for my academic writing since early college, my dear friend and accomplished content editor Linda Mills Boyd made helpful suggestions on most of the parts I’ve written for this volume. I also credit the inestimable influence of my philosophical mentors, in particular those who inspired my interest in epistemology and from whom I learned how to do epistemology well: Wayne Riggs, Jim Hawthorne, Linda Zagzebski, Rich Feldman, and Earl Conee. I draw from each of you perpetually in my writing, teaching, and thinking. This book is a case in point.
Last but far from least, I’m grateful to my friends and family, including my parents, Jane and Charles, and to Sheila, my partner in love and life. You are my guiding light. The unwavering support of each of you sustained me through this long-term endeavor, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
Thank you to everyone who has taken this journey with me and seen it through—amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, no less! Our combined forces have managed to turn this project into a great success. The finished product is a text that fills the previous lacuna for a well-researched, comprehensive, contemporary yet historically grounded, engaging, accessibly written, and freely available introduction to one of the foundational branches of philosophy. I hope that teachers and students alike find the book not only valuable but also enjoyable. Happy reading, happy learning, happy thinking!
Christina Hendricks, Series Editor
I would like to thank the authors in this book for their patience and perseverance as we worked through the process of conceiving the book and getting it to publication. When I started the project that became this book series, I had no idea it would turn into nine separate books, nor did I really appreciate how long each book would take (particularly when working on several books at once). Finalizing this book during the COVID-19 pandemic also meant some delays. I am excited to see this book now published!
Special thanks to book editor Brian Barnett, who dedicated an enormous amount of time, energy, and passion to choosing authors, editing chapters, finding images to use in the text, and much more. He helped make already strong chapters even stronger, clearer, and more accessible for an introductory audience. I deeply appreciate his dedication to this book, his flexibility, attention to detail, patience when I take a while to get things done on my end, and just generally being wonderful to work with.
Also instrumental to the success of this book are the peer reviewers, Kele Perkins, Noah Valdez, and Joseph Shieber, who volunteered their time and expertise to read through a draft of the book and provide constructive comments and suggestions.
Jonathan Lashley has done an amazing job with the design of the book covers for this series, using original artwork by Heather Salazar (who is the editor for the Philosophy of Mind book in this series). The book covers are exceptionally well done, and really bring the series together as a whole.
Leanne Page has done excellent work copyediting the book. I am very grateful for her thorough and detailed efforts, which made a significant contribution to the readability and consistency of the final book. And thank you to Apurva Ashok for inputting and formatting the content into Pressbooks so that it looks and reads well. Apurva stepped in so that we could get the book published quickly during a time when I was working on another book in the series, and I am very grateful for how much work she did in on a very short timeline!
When I started this project there were many discussions amongst philosophers from various parts of the world on the Rebus Community platform, and their ideas and suggestions contributed significantly to the final products. There were also numerous people who gave comments on draft chapter outlines for each book. Thank you to the many unnamed philosophers who have contributed to the book in these and other ways!
This book series would not have gotten beyond the idea stage were it not for the support of the Rebus Community. I want to thank Hugh McGuire for believing in the project enough to support what we both realized at the time was probably much bigger than even our apprehensions about its enormity had led us to believe. Zoe Wake Hyde was instrumental in getting the project started, particularly in helping us develop workflows and documentation. And I’m not sure I can ever thank Apurva Ashok enough for being an unfailingly enthusiastic and patient supporter and guide for more months than I care to count. She spent a good deal of time working with me and the book editors to figure out how to make a project like this work on a day-to-day level, and taught me a great deal about the open publishing process. Apurva kept me on track when I would sometimes drop the ball or get behind on this off-the-side-of-my-desk project. She is one of the best collaborative partners I have never (yet!) met in person.
Finally, I want to thank my family for understanding how important this work is and why I have chosen to stay up late so many nights to do it. And for their patience on the many groggy, pre-coffee mornings that followed.