On the substantive nature of disagreements in ontology

This paper concerns a fundamental dispute in ontology between the “Foundational Ontologist”, who believes that there is only one correct way of characterizing what there is, and the ontological “Skeptic”, who believes that there are viable alternative characterizations of what there is. I examine in detail an intriguing recent proposal in Dorr (2005), which promises to yield (i) a way of interpreting the Skeptic by means of a counterfactual semantics; and (ii) a way of converting the Skeptic to a position within Foundational Ontology, viz., that of Nihilism (according to which nothing composes anything and the world consists of mereological simples); this alleged conversion crucially turns on a novel notion of “metaphysical analyticity”. I argue that both components of Dorr’s proposal are problematic in central ways: as a result, the Foundational Ontologist gains an indirect argument against the coherence of the Skeptic’s position; and the non-Nihilist Foundational Ontologist may feel confirmed in his doubts towards the Nihilist outlook.
Keywords Ontological disagreement  Mereological Nihilism  Analyticity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2005.tb00431.x
 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: 16,667
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
Hilary Putnam (1975). The Meaning of 'Meaning'. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

32 ( #100,267 of 1,726,564 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #231,316 of 1,726,564 )

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.