Erkenntnis 85 (2):431-453 (2020)

Olla Solomyak
Polonsky Academy, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
The question of what exists is often seen as one of the metaphysician’s primary concerns—an ontological stance is a central and basic component of a great many positions in metaphysics. Consider, in particular, the debate surrounding the metaphysics of time: the question of whether non-present entities exist is typically thought of as one of the fundamental issues at stake in the debate, with each position on the nature of time consisting in part of an answer to this question of ontology. My purpose in this paper will be to raise some worries about this focus on ontology, and to sketch an alternative approach to conceptualizing the debate—one that I think can help us get a clearer and deeper understanding of the fundamental issues at stake. I’ll focus in particular on the case of time and the ontology of non-present objects, but the framework I present is ultimately meant to apply more broadly to a range of debates involving ontology. On the framework I propose, the basic question at stake in this and other analogous debates is the following: Of the various perspectives we might adopt on reality, which perspective is fundamental? I’ll explain what this means and how it can help us reconceptualize the relevant metaphysical issues.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-018-0034-4
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
The Unreality of Time.John Ellis McTaggart - 1908 - Mind 17 (68):457-474.

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