Composition, colocation, and metaontology

In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press (2009)
The paper is an extended discussion of what I call the ‘dismissive attitude’ towards metaphysical questions. It has three parts. In the first part, I distinguish three quite different versions of dismissivism. I also argue that there is little reason to think that any of these positions is correct about the discipline of metaphysics as a whole; it is entirely possible that some metaphysical disputes should be dismissed and others should not be. Doing metametaphysics properly requires doing metaphysics first. I then put two particular disputes on the table to be examined in the rest of the paper: the dispute over whether composite objects exist, and the dispute about whether distinct objects can be colocated. In the second part of the paper, I argue against the claim that these disputes are purely verbal disputes. In the third part of the paper, I present a new version of dismissivism, and argue that it is probably the correct view about the two disputes in question. They are not verbal disputes, and the discussion about them to date has not remotely been a waste of time. At this stage, however, our evidence has run out. I argue that neither side of either dispute is simpler than the other, and that the same objections in fact arise against both sides. (For example, the compositional nihilist does not in fact escape the problem of the many, and the one-thinger does not in fact escape the grounding problem.).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,217
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Richard L. J. Caves (2015). Emergence for Nihilists. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):n/a-n/a.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Timothy Sundell (2011). Disagreements About Taste. Philosophical Studies 155 (2):267-288.
John Beatty (1984). Chance and Natural Selection. Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.
William H. Hanson (1989). Two Kinds of Deviance. History and Philosophy of Logic 10 (1):15-28.
Eli Hirsch (2005). Physical-Object Ontology, Verbal Disputes, and Common Sense. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):67–97.
David J. Chalmers (2011). Verbal Disputes. Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
Jiri Benovsky (2011). Endurance, Perdurance, and Metaontology. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy (2):159-177.
Gerald Marsh (2010). Is the Hirsch-Sider Dispute Merely Verbal? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):459-469.
Alan Sidelle (2007). The Method of Verbal Dispute. Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):83-113.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

262 ( #10,642 of 1,932,453 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

26 ( #19,833 of 1,932,453 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.