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Metaontology

Edited by Frederique Janssen-Lauret (University of Manchester)
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Summary

Whereas ontology is concerned with the nature of reality in general, metaontology is concerned with the nature of ontology— whether its questions have substantive and tractable answers, and if so, how best to answer them. More broadly, what we might call ‘metametaphysics’ investigates the prospects and methodology of metaphysics.

Key works Classic works include Ayer 1946Carnap 1950, and Quine 1961. A collection of more recent work can be found in Chalmers et al 2009
Introductions Eklund 2006, Manley 2009, Thomasson 2012
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  1. D. P. B. (1964). Essays in Ontology. Review of Metaphysics 17 (4):638-638.
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  2. Alexis Burgess (2010). Metaphysics as Make-Believe. In John Woods (ed.), Fictions and Models. Philosophia.
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  3. H. G. Callaway (1995). Review: Baltzer, Erkenntnis Als Relationengeflecht, Kategorien Bei Charles S. Peirce. [REVIEW] Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society (2):445-453.
    This book arose from the author’s recent dissertation written under the Gerhard Schönrich at Munich. It focuses on Peirce’s theory of categories and his epistemology. According to Baltzer, what is distinctive in Peirce’s theory of knowledge is that he reconstrues objects as “knots in networks of relations.” The phrase may ring a bell. It suggests a structuralist interpretation of Peirce, influenced by the Munich environs. The study aims to shows how Peirce’s theory of categories supports his theory of knowledge and (...)
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  4. William E. Carlo (1967). Metaphysics, Problematic or Science. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 41:134-142.
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  5. Mihirvikash Chakravarti (1972). Metaphilosophical and Model Philosophical Questions. Centre of Advanced Study in Philosophy, Visva-Bharati.
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  6. F. C. Copleston (1949). The Possibility of Metaphysics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 50:65 - 82.
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  7. Frederick C. Copleston (1953). The Function of Metaphysics. Philosophy 28 (104):3 - 15.
    Aristotle stated that philosophy began with “wonder” and that men continue to philosophize because and in so far as they continue to “wonder.” Philosophy, in other words, is rooted in the desire to understand the world, in the desire to find an intelligible pattern in events and to answer problems which occur to the mind in connection with the world. By using the phrase “the world” I do not mean to imply that the world is something finished and complete at (...)
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  8. T. De George Richard (1962). The Uneasy Revival of Metaphysics. Review of Metaphysics 16 (1):68-81.
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  9. Thomas De Koninck (2012). Metaphysics and Ultimate Questions. Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 15 (2):42-63.
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  10. Wolfgang Degen (2006). Metaphysics Without Task. Metaphysica 7 (2).
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  11. Charles Denecke (1945). The Role and Importance of Self-Existence in the Science of Metaphysics. Washington.
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  12. C. J. Ducasse (1949). Reality, Science, and Metaphysics. Synthese 8 (1):9 - 21.
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  13. Wyndham R. Dunstan (1822). Science and Metaphysic.
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  14. Hartry Field (1993). The Conceptual Contingency of Mathematical Objects. Mind 102 (406):285-299.
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  15. Greg Frost-Arnold (forthcoming). Make Ontology Easy Again. [REVIEW] Metascience:1-4.
    A book review of Amie Thomasson's defense of Neo-Carnapianism in her "Ontology Made Easy" (2015, Oxford UP).
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  16. Douglas Greenlee (1974). Particulars and Ontological Parity. Metaphilosophy 5 (3):216–231.
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  17. Douglas Greenlee (1968). The Similarity of Discernibles. Journal of Philosophy 65 (23):753-763.
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  18. Susan Haack (2008). The Legitimacy of Metaphysics. Philosophical Topics 36 (1):97-110.
    Part of Kant’s legacy to Peirce was a lasting conviction that metaphysics is not irredeemable, but can and should be set “on the secure path of a science”. However, Peirce’s “scientific metaphysics”, unlike Kant’s, uses the method of science, i.e., of experience and reasoning; but requires close attention to experience of the most familiar kind rather than the recherché experience needed by the special sciences. This distinctively plausible reconception of what a genuinely scientific metaphysics would be is part of Peirce’s (...)
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  19. Susan Haack (2007). The Legitimacy of Metaphysics. Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):97-110.
    Part of Kant’s legacy to Peirce was a lasting conviction that metaphysics is not irredeemable, but can and should be set “on the secure path of a science”. However, Peirce’s “scientific metaphysics”, unlike Kant’s, uses the method of science, i.e., of experience and reasoning; but requires close attention to experience of the most familiar kind rather than the recherché experience needed by the special sciences. This distinctively plausible reconception of what a genuinely scientific metaphysics would be is part of Peirce’s (...)
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  20. Katharine Rose Hanley (1967). A Prelude to Metaphysics. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
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  21. Ian Hinckfuss (1993). Suppositions, Presuppositions, and Ontology. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):595 - 618.
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  22. Peter G. Jones (2012). Is Metaphysics a Waste of Time? Philosophy Pathways (171).
    The view that metaphysics is a waste of time appears to be gaining in popularity with every passing day. It is held openly by many scientists and even by many philosophers. I argue here that this is a consequence of the way metaphysics is often done, the futility of a certain approach to it, and not a reason to suppose that there is no useful knowledge to be acquired in metaphysics.
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  23. Decio Krause, Entity, but No Identity.
    Inspired in Quine's well known slogans “To be is to be the value of a variable” and "No entity without identity", we provide a way of enabling that non-individual entities (as characterized in the text) can also be values of variables of an adequate "regimented" language, once we consider a possible meaning of the background theory Quine reports to ground his view. In doing that, we show that there may exist also entities without identity, and emphasize the importance of paying (...)
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  24. David Lewis (1991). Parts of Classes. Blackwell.
  25. David Lewis (1984). Putnam's Paradox. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):221 – 236.
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  26. E. J. Lowe (1995). The Metaphysics of Abstract Objects. Journal of Philosophy 92 (10):509-524.
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  27. Hilary Putnam (1967). Mathematics Without Foundations. Journal of Philosophy 64 (1):5-22.
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  28. W. V. Quine (1961). On What There Is. In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), From a Logical Point of View. Harvard University Press. pp. 21--38.
  29. W. V. Quine (1960). Carnap and Logical Truth. Synthese 12 (4):350--74.
    Kant's question 'How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?' pre- cipitated the Critique of Pure Reason. Question and answer notwith- standing, Mill and others persisted in doubting that such judgments were possible at all. At length some of Kant's own clearest purported.
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  30. W. V. Quine (1936). Truth by Convention. In Journal of Symbolic Logic. pp. 77-106.
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  31. Agustin Rayo & Stephen Yablo (2001). Nominalism Through de-Nominalization. Noûs 35 (1):74–92.
  32. Howard Robinson (2004). Thought Experiments, Ontology, and Concept-Dependent Truthmakers. The Monist 87 (4):537-553.
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  33. Gideon Rosen (1993). The Refutation of Nominalism (?). Philosophical Topics 21 (2):141--86.
  34. Charles Sayward (1983). What is a Second Order Theory Committed To? Erkenntnis 20 (1):79 - 91.
    The paper argues that no second order theory is ontologically commited to anything beyond what its individual variables range over.
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  35. Alfred Schramm (ed.) (2005). Meinong Studien.
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  36. Peter Schulte (2014). Can Truthmaker Theorists Claim Ontological Free Lunches? European Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):249-268.
    Truthmaker theorists hold that propositions about higher-level entities (e.g. the proposition that there is a heap of sand) are often made true by lower-level entities (e.g. by facts about the configuration of fundamental particles). This generates a problem: what should we say about these higher-level entities? On the one hand, they must exist (since there are true propositions about them), on the other hand, it seems that they are completely superfluous and should be banished for reasons of ontological parsimony. Some (...)
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  37. Frithjof Schuon (1992). The Play of Masks.
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  38. Stephen P. Schwartz (1985). What is Existence. International Studies in Philosophy 17 (1):112-114.
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  39. Stewart Shapiro (1993). Modality and Ontology. Mind 102 (407):455-481.
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  40. Alan Sidelle (2002). Is There a True Metaphysics of Material Objects? Philosophical Issues 12 (1):118-145.
    I argue that metaphysical views of material objects should be understood as 'packages', rather than individual claims, where the other parts of the package include how the theory addresses 'recalcitant data', and that when the packages meet certain general desiderata - which all of the currently competing views *can* meet - there is nothing in the world that could make one of the theories true as opposed to any of the others.
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  41. Alan Sidelle (1992). Identity and the Identity-Like. Philosophical Topics 20 (1):269-292.
    Some relations - like supervenience and composition - can appear very much like identity. Sometimes, the relata differ only in modal, or modally-involved features. Yet, in some cases, we judge the pairs to be identical (water/H2O; Hesperus/Phosphorus), while in others, many judge one of the weaker relations to hold (c-fiber firing/pain; statues/lumps). Given the seemingly same actual properties these pairs have, what can justify us in sometimes believing identity is the relation, and sometimes something weaker? I argue that it can (...)
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  42. Theodore Sider (2001). Criteria of Personal Identity and the Limits of Conceptual Analysis. Philosophical Perspectives 15 (s15):189-209.
    When is there no fact of the matter about a metaphysical question? When multiple candidate meanings are equally eligible, in David Lewis's sense, and fit equally well with ordinary usage. Thus given certain ontological schemes, there is no fact of the matter whether the criterion of personal identity over time is physical or psychological. But given other ontological schemes there is a fact of the matter; and there is a fact of the matter about which ontological scheme is correct.
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  43. Theodore Sider (2001). Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time. Oxford University Press.
    Four- Dimensionalism defends the thesis that the material world is composed of temporal as well as spatial parts. This defense includes a novel account of persistence over time, new arguments in favour of the four-dimensional ontology, and responses to the challenges four- dimensionalism faces." "Theodore Sider pays particular attention to the philosophy of time, including a strong series of arguments against presentism, the thesis that only the present is real. Arguments offered in favour of four- dimensionalism include novel arguments based (...)
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  44. Barry Smith (2004). Beyond Concepts: Ontology as Reality Representation. In Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS).
    The present essay is devoted to the application of ontology in support of research in the natural sciences. It defends the thesis that ontologies developed for such purposes should be understood as having as their subject matter, not concepts, but rather the universals and particulars which exist in reality and are captured in scientific laws. We outline the benefits of a view along these lines by showing how it yields rigorous formal definitions of the foundational relations used in many influential (...)
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  45. Vojko Strahovnik (2005). Meinongian Scorekeeping. In Alfred Schramm (ed.), Meinong Studien. De Gruyter. pp. 309-330.
    Some commitments at the interface of semantics and ontology, such as numbers or symphonies, tend to appear problematic. The scorekeeping approach to semantics introduces contextually shifting parameters that allow for construal of truth as indirect correspondence. Meinong did recognize diversity and richness that is made possible by the non-reductionist engagement of the scorekeeping approach. Because of his commitment to the deep presupposition of direct correspondence construal of truth though, Meinong had to interpret richness of normative discursive scorekeeping commitments as richness (...)
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  46. P. F. Strawson (1959). Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. Routledge.
    The classic, influential essay in 'descriptive metaphysics' by the distinguished English philosopher.
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  47. C. Svetomir B. Nikolajevi & C. Mihailo Markovi (1985). Istrazivanje Pradozivljaja. Srpska Akademija Nauka I Umetnosti.
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  48. Zoltán Gendler Szabó (2003). Nominalism. In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    …entities? 2. How to be a nominalist 2.1. “Speak with the vulgar …” 2.2. “…think with the learned” 3. Arguments for nominalism 3.1. Intelligibility, physicalism, and economy 3.2. Causal..
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  49. Jonathan Tallant (2013). Dubious by Nature. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):97-116.
    There is a charge sometimes made in metaphysics that particular commitments are ‘hypothetical’, ‘dubious’ or ‘suspicious’. There have been two analyses given of what this consists in—due to Crisp (2007) and Cameron (2011). The aim of this paper is to reject both analyses and thereby show that there is no obvious way to press the objection against said commitments that they are ‘dubious’ and objectionable. Later in the paper I consider another account of what it might be to be ‘dubious’, (...)
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  50. Scott Tanona (2010). The Pursuit of the Natural. Philosophical Studies 148 (1):79 - 87.
    In recent years, it has become common to defend science against charges of bias against the supernatural by explaining that science must remain methodologically natural but does not assume metaphysical naturalism. While such a response is correct, some details about the distinction between methodological naturalism and ontological or metaphysical naturalism have been lacking, as has a clear understanding of the distinction between the methodological restriction of science to natural explanations and naturalistic claims about the scope of those methods. We still (...)
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