On the substantive nature of disagreements in ontology

This paper concerns a fundamental dispute in ontology between the “Foundational Ontologist”, who believes that there is only one correct way of characterizing what there is, and the ontological “Skeptic”, who believes that there are viable alternative characterizations of what there is. I examine in detail an intriguing recent proposal in Dorr (2005), which promises to yield (i) a way of interpreting the Skeptic by means of a counterfactual semantics; and (ii) a way of converting the Skeptic to a position within Foundational Ontology, viz., that of Nihilism (according to which nothing composes anything and the world consists of mereological simples); this alleged conversion crucially turns on a novel notion of “metaphysical analyticity”. I argue that both components of Dorr’s proposal are problematic in central ways: as a result, the Foundational Ontologist gains an indirect argument against the coherence of the Skeptic’s position; and the non-Nihilist Foundational Ontologist may feel confirmed in his doubts towards the Nihilist outlook.
Keywords Ontological disagreement  Mereological Nihilism  Analyticity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2005.tb00431.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,820
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Sameness and Substance Renewed.David Wiggins - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.R. Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Reason, Truth, and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - Cambridge University Press.
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Ways of Worldmaking.Nelson Goodman - 1978 - Harvester Press.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
60 ( #94,850 of 2,210,223 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #164,087 of 2,210,223 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature