Adding Modality to Ontic Structuralism: An Exploration and Critique

Ontic Structural Realism (OSR) gives ontic priority to structures over objects. In its perhaps most extreme form (captured, admittedly, by a slogan) it states that “all that there is, is structure” (da Costa and French 2003, 189). If this is true, if there is nothing but structure(s) in the world, the very idea of contrasting structure to nonstructure loses any force it might have. Actually, if the slogan is right, the very idea of characterising what there is as structure—as opposed to anything else—becomes incoherent. Traditionally, characterising something as a structure has made full sense —and has served excellent scientific and philosophical purposes—precisely because structure was understood as an entity with slots, which could be occupied by objects and whose individuation-conditions involved objects only qua slot-fillers. If objects altogether go, whatever remains can be called ‘structure’ only if we take ‘structure’ to be a term of art. Well, Ontic Structuralists are happy to ‘mimic’ talk of non-structure, or objects in particular, but they hasten to add that this mimicking does not imply any serious metaphysical commitment to them. Here are a couple of characteristic passages.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(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 Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    J. Wolff (2012). Do Objects Depend on Structures? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):607-625.
    Aharon Kantorovich (2009). Ontic Structuralism and the Symmetries of Particle Physics. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40 (1):73 - 84.
    Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam (2011). Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects. In. In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. 143--159.
    Jill North (2009). The “Structure” of Physics. Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):57-88.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    41 ( #34,871 of 1,088,388 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    3 ( #30,936 of 1,088,388 )

    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.