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Amie Thomasson (ed.) (2007). Ordinary Objects.

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  1. How to Solve the Puzzle of Dion and Theon Without Losing Your Head.Chad Carmichael - forthcoming - Mind:fzy021.
    The ancient puzzle of Dion and Theon has given rise to a surprising array of apparently implausible views. For example, in order to solve the puzzle, several philosophers have been led to deny the existence of their own feet, others have denied that objects can gain and lose parts, and large numbers of philosophers have embraced the thesis that distinct objects can occupy the same space, having all their material parts in common. In this paper, I argue for an alternative (...)
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  2.  18
    Fake Views—or Why Concepts Are Bad Guides to Art’s Ontology.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (2):193-207.
    It is often thought that the boundaries and properties of art-kinds are determined by the things we say and think about them. More recently, this tendency has manifested itself as concept-descriptivism, the view that the reference of art-kind terms is fixed by the ontological properties explicitly or implicitly ascribed to art and art-kinds by competent users of those terms. Competent users are therefore immune from radical error in their ascriptions; the result is that the ontology of art must begin and (...)
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  3. What Do the Folk Think About Composition and Does It Matter?Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2017 - In David Rose (ed.), Experimental Metaphysics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 187-206.
    Rose and Schaffer (forthcoming) argue that teleological thinking has a substantial influence on folk intuitions about composition. They take this to show (i) that we should not rely on folk intuitions about composition and (ii) that we therefore should not reject theories of composition on the basis of intuitions about composition. We cast doubt on the teleological interpretation of folk judgments about composition; we show how their debunking argument can be resisted, even on the assumption that folk intuitions have a (...)
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  4.  68
    Social Construction and Achieving Reference.Ron Mallon - 2017 - Noûs 51 (1):113-131.
    One influential view is that at least some putatively natural human kinds are actually social constructions, understood as some real kind of thing that is produced or sustained by our social and conceptual practices. Category constructionists share two commitments: they hold that human category terms like “race” and “sex” and “homosexuality” and “perversion” actually refer to constructed categories, and they hold that these categories are widely but mistakenly taken to be natural kinds. But it is far from clear that these (...)
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  5. Folk Mereology is Teleological.David Rose & Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):238-270.
    When do the folk think that mereological composition occurs? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view of composition that fits with folk intuitions, and yet there has been little agreement about what the folk intuit. We aim to put the tools of experimental philosophy to constructive use. Our studies suggest that folk mereology is teleological: people tend to intuit that composition occurs when the result serves a purpose. We thus conclude that metaphysicians should dismiss folk intuitions, as tied into a benighted (...)
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  6.  94
    Identity in Fiction.Richard Woodward - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):646-671.
    Anthony Everett () argues that those who embrace the reality of fictional entities run into trouble when it comes to specifying criteria of character identity. More specifically, he argues that realists must reject natural principles governing the identity and distinctness of fictional characters due to the existence of fictions which leave it indeterminate whether certain characters are identical and the existence of fictions which say inconsistent things about the identities of their characters. Everett's critique has deservedly drawn much attention and (...)
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  7. Overdetermination Underdetermined.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):17-40.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermination is a bigger problem for the nonreductive metaphysician than previously thought.
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  8.  23
    Choice Models and Realistic Ontologies: Three Challenges to Neuro-Psychological Modellers.Roberto Fumagalli - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (1):145-164.
    Choice modellers are frequently criticized for failing to provide accurate representations of the neuro-psychological substrates of decisions. Several authors maintain that recent neuro-psychological findings enable choice modellers to overcome this alleged shortcoming. Some advocate a realistic interpretation of neuro-psychological models of choice, according to which these models posit sub-personal entities with specific neuro-psychological counterparts and characterize those entities accurately. In this article, I articulate and defend three complementary arguments to demonstrate that, contrary to emerging consensus, even the best available neuro-psychological (...)
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  9.  71
    How Metaphysics is Special: Comments on Bennett.Thomas Hofweber - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):39-48.
    Karen Bennett argues that there is no distinct problem with metaphysics, and she proposes a disjunctive conception of the subject matter of metaphysics. This paper critically examines her arguments and positive view. I defend that metaphysics prima facie is distinctly problematic, and I raise some questions about Bennett’s disjunctive conception of the subject matter of metaphysics and the a priori aspect of its methodology.
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  10. Debunking Rationalist Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology: An Empirical Approach.Robert Osborne - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):197-221.
    Debunking arguments typically attempt to show that a set of beliefs or other intensional mental states bear no appropriate explanatory connection to the facts they purport to be about. That is, a debunking argument will attempt to show that beliefs about p are not held because of the facts about p. Such beliefs, if true, would then only be accidentally so. Thus, their causal origins constitute an undermining defeater. Debunking arguments arise in various philosophical domains, targeting beliefs about morality, the (...)
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  11. Mereological Nihilism and the Special Arrangement Question.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1295-1314.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the chief motivations for (...)
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  12. Toward a Commonsense Answer to the Special Composition Question.Chad Carmichael - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):475-490.
    The special composition question is the question, ‘When do some things compose something?’ The answers to this question in the literature have largely been at odds with common sense, either by allowing that any two things compose something, or by denying the existence of most ordinary composite objects. I propose a new ‘series-style’ answer to the special composition question that accords much more closely with common sense, and I defend this answer from van Inwagen's objections. Specifically, I will argue that (...)
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  13.  38
    Social Construction, Mathematics, and the Collective Imposition of Function Onto Reality.Julian C. Cole - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (6):1101-1124.
    Stereotypes of social construction suggest that the existence of social constructs is accidental and that such constructs have arbitrary and subjective features. In this paper, I explore a conception of social construction according to which it consists in the collective imposition of function onto reality and show that, according to this conception, these stereotypes are incorrect. In particular, I argue that the collective imposition of function onto reality is typically non-accidental and that the products of such imposition frequently have non-arbitrary (...)
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  14. Fundamental Quantification and the Language of the Ontology Room.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):298-321.
    Nihilism is the thesis that no composite objects exist. Some ontologists have advocated abandoning nihilism in favor of deep nihilism, the thesis that composites do not existO, where to existO is to be in the domain of the most fundamental quantifier. By shifting from an existential to an existentialO thesis, the deep nihilist seems to secure all the benefits of a composite-free ontology without running afoul of ordinary belief in the existence of composites. I argue that, while there are well-known (...)
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  15.  97
    Moral Inferentialism and the Frege-Geach Problem.Mark Douglas Warren - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2859-2885.
    Despite its many advantages as a metaethical theory, moral expressivism faces difficulties as a semantic theory of the meaning of moral claims, an issue underscored by the notorious Frege-Geach problem. I consider a distinct metaethical view, inferentialism, which like expressivism rejects a representational account of meaning, but unlike expressivism explains meaning in terms of inferential role instead of expressive function. Drawing on Michael Williams’ recent work on inferential theories of meaning, I argue that an appropriate understanding of the pragmatic role (...)
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  16. Anti‐Metaphysicalism, Necessity, and Temporal Ontology.Mark Balaguer - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):145-167.
    This paper argues for a certain kind of anti-metaphysicalism about the temporal ontology debate, i.e., the debate between presentists and eternalists over the existence of past and future objects. Three different kinds of anti-metaphysicalism are defined—namely, non-factualism, physical-empiricism, and trivialism. The paper argues for the disjunction of these three views. It is then argued that trivialism is false, so that either non-factualism or physical-empiricism is true. Finally, the paper ends with a discussion of whether we should endorse non-factualism or physical-empiricism. (...)
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  17. Critical Notice: Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism, by Derk Pereboom.Derek Nelson Ball - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (1):118-129.
    Critical notice of Derk Pereboom's "Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism". Discusses Pereboom's idea that conscious states might be misrepresented in introspection, and his idea that instantiations of mental properties are composed of instantiations of physical properties.
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  18. The Moral Fixed Points: New Directions for Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer-Landau - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):399-443.
    Our project in this essay is to showcase nonnaturalistic moral realism’s resources for responding to metaphysical and epistemological objections by taking the view in some new directions. The central thesis we will argue for is that there is a battery of substantive moral propositions that are also nonnaturalistic conceptual truths. We call these propositions the moral fixed points. We will argue that they must find a place in any system of moral norms that applies to beings like us, in worlds (...)
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  19. The Vagueness Argument Against Abstract Artifacts.Daniel Z. Korman - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):57-71.
    Words, languages, symphonies, fictional characters, games, and recipes are plausibly abstract artifacts— entities that have no spatial location and that are deliberately brought into existence as a result of creative acts. Many accept that composition is unrestricted: for every plurality of material objects, there is a material object that is the sum of those objects. These two views may seem entirely unrelated. I will argue that the most influential argument against restricted composition—the vagueness argument—doubles as an argument that there can (...)
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  20.  43
    Existence as the Possibility of Reference.Howard Peacock - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (4):389-411.
    The mere fact that ontological debates are possible requires us to address the question, what is it to claim that a certain entity or kind of entity exists—in other words, what do we do when we make an existence-claim? I develop and defend one candidate answer to this question, namely that to make an existence-claim with regard to Fs is to claim that we can refer to Fs. I show how this theory can fulfil the most important explanatory desiderata for (...)
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  21. Functionalism and The Independence Problems.Darren Bradley - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):545-557.
    The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
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  22.  93
    Adventures in the Metaontology of Art: Local Descriptivism, Artefacts and Dreamcatchers.Julian Dodd - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1047-1068.
    Descriptivism in the ontology of art is the thesis that the correct ontological proposal for a kind of artwork cannot show the nascent ontological conception of such things embedded in our critical and appreciative practices to be substantially mistaken. Descriptivists believe that the kinds of revisionary art ontological proposals propounded by Nelson Goodman, Gregory Currie, Mark Sagoff, and me are methodologically misconceived. In this paper I examine the case that has been made for a local form of descriptivism in the (...)
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  23. The Privilege of the Physical and the Status of Ontological Debates.Nurbay Irmak - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):1-18.
    Theodore Sider in his latest book provides a defense of the substantivity of the first-order ontological debates against recent deflationary attacks. He articulates and defends several realist theses: (a) nature has an objective structure, (b) there is an objectively privileged language to describe the structure, and (c) ontological debates are substantive. Sider’s defense of metaontological realism, (c), crucially depends on his realism about fundamental languages, (b). I argue that (b) is wrong. As a result, Sider’s metaontological realism fails to establish (...)
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  24. Ontology, Reference, and the Qua Problem: Amie Thomasson on Existence.Andrea Sauchelli - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (3):543-550.
    I argue that Amie Thomasson’s recent theory of the methodology to be applied to find the truth-conditions for claims of existence faces serious objections. Her account is based on Devitt and Sterelny’s solution to the qua problem for theories of reference fixing; however, such a solution cannot be also applied to analyze existential claims.
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  25. Ordinary Objects and Series‐Style Answers to the Special Composition Question.Paul Silva - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (1):69-88.
    The special composition question asks, roughly, under what conditions composition occurs. The common sense view is that composition only occurs among some things and that all and only ‘ordinary objects’ exist. Peter van Inwagen has marshaled a devastating argument against this view. The common sense view appears to commit one to giving what van Inwagen calls a ‘series-style answer’ to the special composition question, but van Inwagen argues that series-style answers are impossible because they are inconsistent with the transitivity of (...)
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  26. Norms and Necessity.Amie L. Thomasson - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):143-160.
    Modality presents notorious philosophical problems, including the epistemic problem of how we could come to know modal facts and metaphysical problems about how to place modal facts in the natural world. These problems arise from thinking of modal claims as attempts to describe modal features of this world that explain what makes them true. Here I propose a different view of modal discourse in which talk about what is “metaphysically necessary” does not aim to describe modal features of the world, (...)
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  27.  15
    The Design Stance and its Artefacts.Pieter E. Vermaas, Massimiliano Carrara, Stefano Borgo & Pawel Garbacz - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1131-1152.
    No categories
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  28. Eliminativism, Interventionism and the Overdetermination Argument.Eric Yang - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):321-340.
    In trying to establish the view that there are no non-living macrophysical objects, Trenton Merricks has produced an influential argument—the Overdetermination Argument—against the causal efficacy of composite objects. A serious problem for the Overdetermination Argument is the ambiguity in the notion of overdetermination that is being employed, which is due to the fact that Merricks does not provide any theory of causation to support his claims. Once we adopt a plausible theory of causation, viz. interventionism, problems with the Overdetermination will (...)
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  29. Metaphysical Nihilism and Cosmological Arguments: Some Tractarian Comments.Stig Børsen Hansen - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):223-242.
    Abstract: This paper explores the relevance of themes from Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to the ongoing discussion of metaphysical nihilism. I set out by showing how metaphysical nihilism is of paramount importance for cosmological arguments. Metaphysical nihilism is the position that there might have been nothing. Two conflicting intuitions emerge from a survey of discussions of metaphysical nihilism: Firstly, that metaphysical nihilism is true, and secondly, that formulations of the position are somehow unclear or nonsensical. By considering formalizations of philosophical language, (...)
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  30. Stop Asking Why There's Anything.Stephen Maitzen - 2012 - Erkenntnis 77 (1):51-63.
    Why is there anything, rather than nothing at all? This question often serves as a debating tactic used by theists to attack naturalism. Many people apparently regard the question—couched in such stark, general terms—as too profound for natural science to answer. It is unanswerable by science, I argue, not because it’s profound or because science is superficial but because the question, as it stands, is ill-posed and hence has no answer in the first place. In any form in which it (...)
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  31. Toward a Conceptualist Solution of the Grounding Problem.Iris Einheuser - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):300-314.
    This paper defends a conceptualist answer to the question how objects come by their modal properties. It isolates the controversial metaphysical assumptions that are needed to get ontological conceptualism off the ground, outlines the conceptualist answer to the question and shows that conceptualism is not in as bad a shape as some critics have maintained.
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  32. Can Persistence Be a Matter of Convention?Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2011 - Axiomathes 21 (4):507-529.
    This paper asks whether persistence can be a matter of convention. It argues that in a rather unexciting de dicto sense persistence is indeed a matter of convention, but it rejects the notion that persistence can be a matter of convention in a more substantial de re sense. However, scenarios can be imagined that appear to involve conventional persistence of the latter kind. Since there are strong reasons for thinking that such conventionality is impossible, it is desirable that our metaphysical-cum-semantic (...)
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  33. Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  34. Two Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology.Uriah Kriegel - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (2):177-204.
    In a series of publications, Eli Hirsch has presented a sustained defense of common-sense ontology. Hirsch's argument relies crucially on a meta-ontological position sometimes known as ‘superficialism’. Hirsch's argument from superficialism to common-sense ontology is typically resisted on the grounds that superficialism is implausible. In this paper, I present an alternative argument for common-sense ontology, one that relies on (what I argue is) a much more plausible meta-ontological position, which I call ‘constructivism’. Note well: I will not quite argue that (...)
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  35.  51
    Rea's Revenge and the Persistent Problem of Persistence for Realism.Bradley Strawser - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):375-391.
    Realism about material objects faces a variety of epistemological objections. Recently, however, some realists have offered new accounts in response to these long-standing objections; many of which seem plausible. In this paper, I raise a new objection against realism vis-à-vis how we could empirically come to know mind-independent essential properties for objects. Traditionally, realists hold kind-membership and persistence as bound together for purposes of tracing out an object’s essential existence conditions. But I propose kind-membership and persistence for objects can conceptually (...)
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  36.  35
    Names Introduced with the Help of Unsatisfied Sortal Predicates: Reply to Aranyosi.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2010 - Axiomathes 20 (4):511-514.
    In this paper I answer Aranyosi’s :223–224, 2009) criticism of my “Is Phosphorus Hesperus?” :101–102, 2009).
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  37. The Argument From Vagueness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
    A presentation of the Lewis-Sider argument from vagueness for unrestricted composition and possible responses.
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  38. The Controversy Over the Existence of Ordinary Objects.Amie L. Thomasson - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (7):591-601.
    The basic philosophical controversy regarding ordinary objects is: Do tables and chairs, sticks and stones, exist? This paper aims to do two things: first, to explain why how this can be a controversy at all, and second, to explain why this controversy has arisen so late in the history of philosophy. Section 1 begins by discussing why the 'obvious' sensory evidence in favor of ordinary objects is not taken to be decisive. It goes on to review the standard arguments against (...)
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  39.  99
    The Fine-Grained Metaphysics of Artifactual and Biological Functional Kinds.Massimiliano Carrara & Pieter Vermaas - 2009 - Synthese 169 (1):125-143.
    In this paper we consider the emerging position in metaphysics that artifact functions characterize real kinds of artifacts. We analyze how it can circumvent an objection by David Wiggins (Sameness and substance renewed, 2001, 87) and then argue that this position, in comparison to expert judgments, amounts to an interesting fine-grained metaphysics: taking artifact functions as (part of the) essences of artifacts leads to distinctions between principles of activity of artifacts that experts in technology have not yet made. We show, (...)
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  40.  86
    Some Remarks on “Language-Created Entities”.Iris Einheuser - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (3):185-192.
    Some entities, such as fictional characters, propositions, properties, events and numbers are prima facie promising candidates for owing their existence to our linguistic and conceptual practices. However, it is notoriously hard to pin down just what sets such allegedly “language-created” entities apart from ordinary entities. The present paper considers some of the features that are supposed to distinguish between entities of the two kinds and argues that, on an independently plausible account of what it takes to individuate objects, the criteria (...)
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  41. Eliminativism and the Challenge From Folk Belief.Daniel Z. Korman - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):242-264.
    Virtually everyone agrees that, even after having presented the arguments for their positions, proponents of revisionary philosophical theories are required to provide some sort of account of the conflict between their theories and what the folk believe. I examine various strategies for answering the challenge from folk belief. The examination proceeds as a case study, whose focus is eliminativism about ordinary material objects. I critically assess eliminativist attempts to explain folk belief by appeal to paraphrase, experience, and intuition.
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  42. The Easy Approach to Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2009 - Axiomathes 19 (1):1-15.
    This paper defends the view that ontological questions (properly understood) are easy—too easy, in fact, to be subjects of substantive and distinctively philosophical debates. They are easy, roughly, in the sense that they may be resolved straightforwardly—generally by a combination of conceptual and empirical enquiries. After briefly outlining the view and some of its virtues, I turn to examine two central lines of objection. The first is that this ‘easy’ approach is itself committed to substantive ontological views, including an implausibly (...)
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  43. Musical Works: Ontology and Meta-Ontology.Julian Dodd - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1113-1134.
    The ontological nature of works of music has been a particularly lively area of philosophical debate during the past few years. This paper serves to introduce the reader to some of the most fertile and interesting issues. Starting by distinguishing three questions – the categorial question, the individuation question, and the persistence question – the article goes on to focus on the first: the question of which ontological category musical works fall under. The paper ends by introducing, and briefly considering, (...)
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  44. Modal Epistemology: Our Knowledge of Necessity and Possibility.Simon Evnine - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):664-684.
    I survey a number of views about how we can obtain knowledge of modal propositions, propositions about necessity and possibility. One major approach is that whether a proposition or state of affairs is conceivable tells us something about whether it is possible. I examine two quite different positions that fall under this rubric, those of Yablo and Chalmers. One problem for this approach is the existence of necessary a posteriori truths and I deal with some of the ways in which (...)
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  45. The Ontological Status of Minimal Entities.Luca Moretti - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):97 - 114.
    Minimal entities are, roughly, those that fall under notions defined by only deflationary principles. In this paper I provide an accurate characterization of two types of minimal entities: minimal properties and minimal facts. This characterization is inspired by both Schiffer's notion of a pleonastic entity and Horwich's notion of minimal truth. I argue that we are committed to the existence of minimal properties and minimal facts according to a deflationary notion of existence, and that the appeal to the inferential role (...)
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  46. Existence Questions.Amie L. Thomasson - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):63 - 78.
    I argue that thinking of existence questions as deep questions to be resolved by a distinctively philosophical discipline of ontology is misguided. I begin by examining how to understand the truth-conditions of existence claims, by way of understanding the rules of use for ‘exists’ and for general noun terms. This yields a straightforward method for resolving existence questions by a combination of conceptual analysis and empirical enquiry. It also provides a blueprint for arguing against most common proposals for uniform substantive (...)
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  47.  44
    Conventionalism and the World as Bare Sense-Data.Crawford L. Elder - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):261 – 275.
    We are confident of many of the judgements we make as to what sorts of alterations the members of nature's kinds can survive, and what sorts of events mark the ends of their existences. But is our confidence based on empirical observation of nature's kinds and their members? Conventionalists deny that we can learn empirically which properties are essential to the members of nature's kinds. Judgements of sameness in kind between members, and of numerical sameness of a member across time, (...)
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