Arbitrariness and the long road to permissivism

Noûs 56 (3):619-638 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Radically permissive ontologies like mereological universalism and material plenitude are typically motivated by concerns about arbitrariness or anthropocentrism: it would be objectionably arbitrary, the thought goes, to countenance only those objects that we ordinarily take there to be. Despite the prevalence of this idea, it isn't at all clear what it is for a theory to be “objectionably arbitrary,” or what follows from a commitment to avoiding arbitrariness in metaphysics. This paper aims to clarify both questions, and examines whether arguments from arbitrariness really are the proper foundations for one or both varieties of ontological permissivism. I argue that these considerations (even when made more precise) are far less successful at motivating radical forms of permissivism than we often take them to be. To do better, permissivists must either supply a much more developed metaphysics of material objects, or a controversial (but tempting) conception of what we're doing when we do metaphysics.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,569

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Unacknowledged Permissivism.Julia Jael Smith - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):158-183.
Arbitrariness and Uniqueness.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):665-685.
Ontology and Arbitrariness.David Builes - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):485-495.
Arbitrary Signals and Cognitive Complexity.Ronald J. Planer & David Kalkman - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):563-586.
Is Epistemic Permissivism Intuitive?Nathan Ballantyne - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (4):365-378.
Permissive Rationality and Sensitivity.Benjamin Levinstein - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):342-370.
On Peter Klein's Concept of Arbitrariness.Coos Engelsma - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):192-200.
Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson & Margaret Greta Turnbull - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-13.
A Paradox of Matter and Form.Maegan Fairchild - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):33-42.
Psychological and Other Aspects of the Sign Arbitrariness.Miroslav Brada - 2017 - le Cours de Linguistique Générale 1916-2016.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-07-11

Downloads
127 (#97,261)

6 months
43 (#25,050)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Maegan Fairchild
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time.Theodore Sider - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642-647.
Metaphysical Rationalism.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):379-418.

View all 45 references / Add more references