Ontological priority, fundamentality and monism

Dialectica 63 (3):271-288 (2009)
Abstract
In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of 'priority monism' in a series of articles (2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, forthcoming). In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is claimed that they are not compelling: in particular, the possibility that there is no ultimate level of basic entities that compose everything else is on a par with the possibility of infinite 'upward' complexity. The idea that we must, at any rate, postulate an ontologically fundamental level for methodological reasons ( Cameron 2008 ) is also discussed and found unconvincing: all things considered, there may be good reasons for endorsing 'metaphysical infinitism'. In any event, a higher degree of caution in formulating metaphysical claims than found in the extant literature appears advisable.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2009.01197.x
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References found in this work BETA
Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.

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Citations of this work BETA
Boring Infinite Descent.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):257-269.
The Location of Properties.Nikk Effingham - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):846-866.
Grounds, Roots and Abysses.Roberto Loss - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):41-52.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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