The Donkey Problem

Philosophical Studies 140 (1):83-101 (2008)
Authors
Mark Heller
Syracuse University
Abstract
The Donkey Problem (as I am calling it) concerns the relationship between more and less fundamental ontologies. I will claim that the moral to draw from the Donkey Problem is that the less fundamental objects are merely conventional. This conventionalism has consequences for the 3D/4D debate. Four-dimensionalism is motivated by a desire to avoid coinciding objects, but once we accept that the non-fundamental ontology is conventional there is no longer any reason to reject coincidence. I therefore encourage 4Dists to become even more radical—embrace the Donkey Problem’s conventionalism and deflate the debate between 3Dists and 4Dists.
Keywords Conventionalism  Four-dimensionalism  Possible worlds  Fundamental ontology  Sider  Lewis
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9227-z
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The Question of Realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1:1-30.
Quantifier Variance and Realism.Eli Hirsch - 2002 - Philosophical Issues 12 (1):51-73.
Logical Parts.L. A. Paul - 2002 - Noûs 36 (4):578–596.

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