Why Care About What There Is?

Abstract

There’s the question of what there is, and then there’s the question of what ultimately exists. Many contend that, once we have this distinction clearly in mind, we can see that there is no sensible debate to be had about whether there are such things as properties or tables or numbers, and that the only ontological question worth debating is whether such things are ultimate (in one or another sense). I argue that this is a mistake. Taking debates about ordinary objects as a case study, I show that the arguments that animate these debates bear directly on the question of which objects there are and cannot plausibly be recast as arguments about what’s ultimate. I also address the objection that, because they are easy answerable, questions about what there is cannot be a proper subject of ontological debate.

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Daniel Z. Korman
University of California at Santa Barbara

Citations of this work

Why Composition Matters.Andrew M. Bailey & Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):934-949.
A puzzle about Moorean metaphysics.Louis Doulas - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):493-513.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
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.
Material Beings.Peter van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Making Things Up.Karen Bennett - 2017 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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