Boundaries in Reality

Ratio 25 (4):405-424 (2012)
Abstract
This paper defends the idea that there must be some joints in reality, some correct way to classify or categorize it. This may seem obvious, but we will see that there are at least three conventionalist arguments against this idea, as well as philosophers who have found them convincing. The thrust of these arguments is that the manner in which we structure, divide or carve up the world is not grounded in any natural, genuine boundaries in the world. Ultimately they are supposed to pose a serious threat to realism. The first argument that will be examined concerns the claim that there are no natural boundaries in reality, the second one focuses on the basis of our classificatory schemes, which the conventionalist claims to be merely psychological, and the third considers the significance of our particular features in carving up the world, such as physical size and perceptual capabilities. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that none of these objections succeed in undermining the existence of genuine joints in reality.
Keywords realism  conventionalism  joint-carving  natural kinds
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