Philosophical Studies 176 (3):581-606 (2019)

Authors
Peter Finocchiaro
Wuhan University
Abstract
Theories that posit metaphysical structure are able to do much work in philosophy. Some, however, find the notion of ‘metaphysical structure’ unintelligible. In this paper, I argue that their charge of unintelligibility fails. There is nothing distinctively problematic about the notion. At best, their charge of unintelligibility is a mere reiteration of previous complaints made toward similar notions. In developing their charge, I clarify several important concepts, including primitiveness, intelligibility, and the Armstrong-inspired “ontologism” view of the world. I argue that, ultimately, their charge is best understood as an objection whose central premise is that the notion of ‘structure’ runs contrary to an important presupposition of contemporary metaphysics. But that central premise is, on closer inspection, implausible. I respond to the objection by identifying three popular metaphysical theories that violate the alleged presupposition but are still generally regarded as intelligible. The objection thus fails to show that a theory that posits metaphysical structure is unintelligible.
Keywords Metametaphysics  Ideology  Ontologism  Primitiveness  Definability  Quantification  Modal actualism  Stuff
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-1029-8
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
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.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Explosion of Being: Ideological Kinds in Theory Choice.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):486-510.

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