Two (related) world views

Noûs 29 (2):189-211 (1995)
A. Plantinga develops a challenging critique of Castañeda's guise theory, by identifying fundamental intuitions that guise theory gives up and by developing several objections to the guise-theoretic world view as a whole. In this paper, I examine whether Plantinga's criticisms apply to the theory of abstract objects. The theory of abstract objects and guise theory can be fruitfully compared because they share a common intellectual heritage---both follow Ernst Mally [1912] in postulating a special realm of objects distinguished by their "internal" or "encoded" properties. Despite this common heritage, however, the theories organize, develop, and apply these special objects in distinctive ways. The two metaphysical systems, therefore, differ significantly, and these differences become important when one considers Plantinga's critique of guise theory. In this essay, the author shows that the theory of abstract objects anticipates and addresses most of Plantinga's concerns about guise theory, by preserving intuitions guise theory has abandoned.
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