The metaphysics of everyday life: An essay in practical realism

Analysis 69 (2):370-372 (2009)
Abstract
Many materialist ontologies characterize the existence of everyday, middle-sized objects as reducible to collections or mereological sums of smaller, more fundamental particle constituents. Baker would have it otherwise and has set out a defence of her Constitution View of ontology that takes everyday objects to be irreducibly real and of a vast array of kinds.Motivating an interest in the metaphysics of everyday objects is not obviously straightforward when contemporary metaphysics is filled with attempts to answer seemingly more challenging questions about the existence of disputed classes of objects, such as abstracta, or very specific, unusual phenomena such as holes, rather than the mundane case of these middle-sized concreta. Yet this is Baker's point: that many kinds of ordinary objects have been overlooked by philosophers to the point where we lack an adequate account of their significance in our practices and attitudes. Moreover, in a climate of metaphysics often governed by those of a strong eliminitivist inclination with a preference for Quinean desert landscapes, the advocating of an almost indulgent ontological pluralism is enough to make this book worth reading.Those familiar with Baker's work will not be surprised that this approach to ontology is grounded from her perspective of ‘Practical Realism’. This view – partly a legacy of Aristotle, partly of G. E. …
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