An Epistemic Account Of Metaphysical Equivalence1

Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):270-293 (2016)
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Abstract

I argue that, in order for us to be justified in believing that two theories are metaphysically equivalent, we must be able to conceive of them as unified into a single theory, which says nothing over and above either of them. I propose one natural way of precisifying this condition, and show that the quantifier variantist cannot meet it. I suggest that the quantifier variantist cannot meet the more general condition either, and argue that this gives the metaphysical realist a way to rule out theses like quantifier variance without appealing to fundamentality, grounding, or "levels" of reality.

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Michaela McSweeney
Boston University

Citations of this work

Debunking Logical Ground: Distinguishing Metaphysics from Semantics.Michaela Markham McSweeney - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):156-170.
Intertranslatability, Theoretical Equivalence, and Perversion.Jack Woods - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):58-68.
Collapse and the Varieties of Quantifier Variance.Matti Eklund - 2021 - In James Miller (ed.), The Language of Ontology.
Part 1: Theoretical equivalence in physics.James Owen Weatherall - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (5):e12592.

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References found in this work

Putnam’s paradox.David Lewis - 1984 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):221 – 236.
Ontological realism.Theodore Sider - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 384--423.
Ontological Pluralism.Jason Turner - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (1):5-34.
What Scientific Theories Could Not Be.Hans Halvorson - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):183-206.
Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes, and common sense.Eli Hirsch - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):67–97.

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