David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The Monist 90 (3):331-332 (2007)
This issue of The Monist is devoted to the metaphysics of lesser kinds, which is to say those kinds of entity that are not generally recognized as occupying a prominent position in the categorial structure of the world. Why bother? We offer two sorts of reason. The first is methodological. In mathematics, it is common practice to study certain functions (for instance) by considering limit cases: What if x = 0? What if x is larger than any assigned value? Physics, too, often studies the (idealized) initial and boundary conditions of a given system: What would happen in the case of a perfect sphere, or a perfectly black body? In the cognitive sciences, research often thrives on the analysis of cognitive errors, perceptual illusions, brain pathologies. Also in logic one can learn a lot by studying special, anomalous scenarios such as those exhibited by the paradoxes: it is unlikely that we actually find ourselves in a soritical context, or in a liar-like situation, but the fact that we might—or simply the fact that we can conceive of such a possibility—is important enough to deserve careful consideration. In short, the odd, the unfamiliar, the extra-ordinary, the limit cases are perfectly at home in scientific and more broadly intellectual discourse at various levels, where they can be fruitfully engaged in a sophisticated way (witness the existence of specific confining and managing strategies for dealing with them); and they are important precisely because they instruct us concerning the normal, the obvious, and the paradigmatic. The same goes for metaphysics, we submit. Although its major concern is, naturally, with such core entities as substances, properties, or hunks of solid matter, a lot may be learned by paying attention to those limit cases where we find ourselves dealing with entities of much lesser kinds, whether real or putative.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
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.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Thomas Hofweber (2005). A Puzzle About Ontology. Noûs 39 (2):256-283.
Thomas Hofweber (2005). A Puzzle About Ontology. Noûs 39 (2):256–283.
Stephan Hartmann (1998). Idealization in Quantum Field Theory. In Niall Shanks (ed.), Idealization in Contemporary Physics. 99-122.
István Aranyosi (2007). Shadows of Constitution. The Monist 90 (3):415-431.
Mariam Thalos (2010). Two Conceptions of Fundamentality. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (2):151-177.
Marc D. Hauser & Elizabeth Spelke (2004). Evolutionary and Developmental Foundations of Human Knowledge. In Michael S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences Iii. Mit Press.
Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi (1996). The Structure of Spatial Localization. Philosophical Studies 82 (2):205 - 239.
Istvan Aranyosi (2007). Shadows of Constitution. The Monist 90 (3):415-431.
Achille Varzi (2006). Foreword. Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):593-596.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #168,598 of 1,098,973 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #114,620 of 1,098,973 )
How can I increase my downloads?