Philosophical Studies 172 (4):1051-1077 (2015)

Tom Donaldson
Simon Fraser University
In Writing the Book of the World, Ted Sider argues that David Lewis’s distinction between those predicates which are ‘perfectly natural’ and those which are not can be extended so that it applies to words of all semantic types. Just as there are perfectly natural predicates, there may be perfectly natural connectives, operators, singular terms and so on. According to Sider, one of our goals as metaphysicians should be to identify the perfectly natural words. Sider claims that there is a perfectly natural first-order quantifier. I argue that this claim is not justified. Quine has shown that we can dispense with first-order quantifiers, by using a family of ‘predicate functors’ instead. I argue that we have no reason to think that it is the first-order quantifiers, rather than Quine’s predicate functors, which are perfectly natural. The discussion of quantification is used to provide some motivation for a general scepticism about Sider’s project. Shamik Dasgupta’s ‘generalism’ and Jason Turner’s critique of ‘ontological nihilism’ are also discussed.
Keywords Metametaphysics  Metaontology  Sider  Fundamentality  Quantification  Predicate functors
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0337-5
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-36.
On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.

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Citations of this work BETA

Following Logical Realism Where It Leads.Michaela McSweeney - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):117-139.
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Structural Indeterminacy.Alessandro Torza - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):365-382.
Sider on the Epistemology of Structure.Jared Warren - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2417-2435.

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