Are properties universal or particular? According to Universalism, properties are universals because there is a certain fundamental tie that makes properties capable of being shareable by more than one thing. On the opposing side, Particularism is the view that properties are particulars due to the existence of a fundamental tie that makes properties incapable of being shared. My aim in this paper is to critically examine the connections between the notions of the fundamental tie and universality and particularity. I argue, (...) first, that universality and particularity can characterize a property if and only if there is a universalist or a particularist fundamental tie, and, second, that it is unclear that these should be the fundamental ties that connect ordinary and scientific properties to their respective bearers. Then I develop an alternative approach to properties and the fundamental tie, which is neutralist because it dispenses with universality and particularity as features of properties, and naturalist because it naturalizes the possession of properties by replacing metaphysical fundamental ties with a scientific one, in particular, a physical process. I show how this approach improves our understanding of properties and instantiation. (shrink)
Amie Thomasson has articulated a novel conception of ontological debates, defending an easy approach to ontological questions as part of the articulation of a deflationary metaphysical view (Thomasson, 2015). After raising some concerns to the approach, we sketch a neutralist alternative to her ontological framework, offering an even easier way of conducting ontological debates.
What is the so-called “question of ontology?” Is the question of ontology genuinely a question about “categories” (Lowe 2006), “structure” (Sider 2011), “existence” (Thomasson 2015), or rather “reality” (Fine 2009)? In this article, I defend the neo-Sellarsian approach to the question of ontology, a novel, naturalistic approach according to which the foundational question of ontology is about “understanding the manifest and the scientific images of the world, and their multiple relationships.” First, I argue for the thesis of Impure Eliminativism, a (...) form of constructive pluralism about the question of ontology by which the substantivity of questions of ontology which are not the neo-Sellarsian one is to be built upon certain relations with the neo-Sellarsian question of ontology. Second, I argue for the categorial plasticity of the two images and their relations in connection with the hypothesis of Weak Epistemic Factualism. Third, and lastly, I argue for a person-based ontology framed in terms of the crucial notions of “fact” and “understanding” in response to the eliminativist categorizations of the two images and their relationships proposed by substantialism and structuralism. (shrink)
Categories play a major role in contemporary metaphysics. They have not only been invoked in a number of philosophical theories but are themselves objects of epistemological and metaphysical scrutiny. In this article, we will discuss the following questions: How do we know when something belongs to a certain category? Is there a fundamental category of the world? Can we give a satisfactory account of the number of categories and the completeness of systems of categories? Are categories the genuine subjects of (...) ontology? (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend a naturalistic approach to instantiation and the Principle of Instantiation. I argue that the instantiation of an ordinary property F consists of two coordinated relationships at the levels of the manifest and scientific images, namely, constituency and entailment. Also, I offer an account of the Principle of Instantiation related to this conception of instantiation based on the notion of scientific prediction.
1. Categories and the Scientific Turn of Metaphysics: The Notion of World-Fundamentality What are the fundamental inhabitants of the world? This question, as old as it is new, is about the fundamental structure of our world. Is our world a world of Aristotle's ordinary substances, Locke's physical substances, Husserl's wholes, Wittgenstein's facts, Sellars's processes, or Quine's sets? In order to distinguish the sort of metaphysical fundamentality at stake in this discussion from other possible types of fundamentality, I shall call it (...) from now on "world-fundamentality." In this article I want to make a proposal in the context of this metaphysical dispute. The proposal is the addition of a new criterion of world-fundamentality to the existing catalog of independence and simplicity, among some other prominent classical examples. I call this criterion "the materialist criterion of world-fundamentality" because it states that metaphysicians should not decide the question of whether our world is a world of facts rather than a world of sets or other categories without considering the explanatory power of such categories to account for the relation between "the manifest image" and "the scientific image," to use the words of Wilfrid Sellars. (shrink)
Consider two similarity facts: a is similar to b with respect to G, and c is similar to d with respect to G. According to the Platonist approach to similarity, the analysis of such facts forces us to admit that similarity facts are to be analyzed into facts about universal similarities of the form: a is similar to b with respect to G, and c is similar to d with respect to G, where similarity is a universal. In this paper, (...) I defend Neutralism, a view according to which there are properties and similarities, but these are not universals, particulars, or of other categories. After presenting the Platonist analysis of similarity proposed by Russell and Grossmann, I examine the question of whether or not the Platonist analysis of similarity leads us inevitably to a conception of similarity as a universal. Then I offer a novel, alternative analysis of similarity free of commitment to universals. (shrink)
The Sellarsian task of ontology is to reconcile two seemingly divergent images of ordinary objects such as persons, tomatoes and tables, namely, the manifest image of common sense and the scientific image provided by fundamental physics (Sellars, Science, Perception, and Reality, 1963). Can the genuine categories of the ontologies of Substantialism (Heil, The World as We Find It, 2012), Structural Realism (Ladyman and Ross,Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, 2007; French, The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation, 2014), and (...) Factualism (Cumpa, ‘A Materialist Criterion of Fundamentality’, American Philosophical Quarterly, 2014), such as ‘substance’, ‘structure’, and ‘fact’, help us to solve the problem of the reconciliation of the two images of ordinary objects? In this paper I defend the thesis that the ontology of Factualism does a better job of reconciling the manifest and the scientific images of ordinary objects than other ontologies. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to offer two novel solutions to two perennial problems of categorial ontology, namely, the problem of the categorial structure: how are the categories related to one another? And the problem of categorial completeness: how is the completeness of a proposed list of categories justified? First, I argue that a system of categories should have a structure such that there is a most basic category that is a bearer of all other categories and that has (...) what I shall call “combinatorial conditions”. To do so, I compare this approach to categorial structure with the approaches given by substantialist, mereological, factualist, and geo ontologies. Second, I argue that the problem of categorial completeness is only a problem for certain ontologies. In this connection, I explore views on categorial completeness proposed by substantialists and geo-ontologists. Lastly, I conclude that factualism does a better job of accounting for categorial structure and categorial completeness than other categorial ontologies. (shrink)
Is structure a fundamental and indispensable part of the world? Is the question of ontology a question about structure? Structure is a central notion in contemporary metaphysics [Sider 2011. Writing the Book of the World. Oxford: Clarendon Press]. Realism about structure claims that the question of ontology is about the fundamental and indispensable structure of the world. In this paper, I present a criticism of the metaphysics of realism about structure based on a version of Russell’s famous regress argument against (...) nominalism [Russell 1911. “On the Relation of Universals and Particular.” In Logic & Knowledge. Reprint, London: George Allen & Unwin]. First, I argue that the three general tests for the fundamentality of structure proposed by realism about structure rely on a particular empirical test for structure, namely, the so-called ‘similarity test for structure.’ Second, I argue that the similarity test is not well-founded because it leads to a vicious regress. Third, I argue that the regress affects the whole metaphysics of realism about structure, and that no structural notion can be said to be fundamental in connection with any of the other tests. Lastly, I argue that the question of ontology as a question about structure is not substantive. (shrink)
Since the publication of Universals and Scientific Realism (Armstrong 1978a, b) until Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics (Armstrong 2010), via Universals: An Opinionated Introduction (Armstrong 1989), a World of States of Affairs (Armstrong 1997), and Truth and Truthmakers (Armstrong 2004), David Armstrong has developed one of the most influential theories of instantiation in contemporary analytic metaphysics (see, for example, Lewis, in Aust J Phil 61(4), 343–377, 1983; Baxter in Aust J Phil, 79, 449–464, 2001; Forrest, in Aust J Phil, 83, (...) 213–228, 2006). Instantiation has been advocated by Armstrong to give a solution to what he has called the “pressing problem” of “the multiple location of property universals” (Armstrong, in Universals: An opinionated introduction. University Press, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 89–90). Here I argue that Armstrong’s theory of instantiation fails to solve the problem because it involves two kinds of instantiation to account for particulars “having” and “sharing” universals. As a viable alternative to Armstrong’s theory, I propose a theory of instantiation capable of accounting for both phenomena in a univocal way. (shrink)
Mereological Nominalism, as traditionally understood, states that properties are mereological wholes and that instantiation is mereological. Thus defined, this view faces a number of well-known issues, which make it virtually untenable. Recently, Effingham :160–185, 2020) has offered an alternative account of Mereological Nominalism, which intends to avoid these problems by accepting while rejecting. In this paper, we argue that this theory is not viable for two main reasons. First, it faces a threat of circularity. Second, the various non-mereological accounts of (...) instantiation envisioned by Effingham in order to replace seem inconsistent with. (shrink)
The metaphysics of ordinary objects is an increasingly vibrant field of study for philosophers. This volume gathers insights from a number of leading authors, who together tackle the central issues in contemporary debates about the subject. Their essays engage with topics including composition, persistence, perception, categories, images, artifacts, truthmakers, metaontology, and the relationship between the manifest and scientific images. Exploring the nature of everyday things, the contributors situate their arguments and the latest research against the background of the field's development. (...) Moreover, many essays propose new ideas and approaches, looking ahead to the future of the metaphysical study of ordinary objects. Featuring numerous clearly explained examples and with thoughtful links drawn to other, related disciplines such as pragmatism, this wide-ranging volume fills a major gap in the literature and will be important for scholars working in metaphysics. (shrink)
Reinhardt Grossmann is one of the most sophisticated, knowledgeable and original contemporary metaphysicians. Although he was a student of Bergmann, he influenced the development of Bergmann's metaphysics considerably. No philosopher other than Grossmann defends perception to that degree against the persistent skeptical arguments. He characterizes his epistemological positions as radical empiricism and radical realism. By realism Grossmann mainly means the view that the material things we perceive exist. It is thus also an ontological position and closely related to his empiricism. (...) Grossmann's empiricism is radical insofar as he claims that entities of all categories are perceptible, even numbers and universals. Grossmann's universal realism advocates a theory of abstract categories against the current naturalism. He distinguishes between the world and the physical universe. The latter is the domain of science; the former is the subject of ontology. (shrink)
In his conceivability argument, Chalmers assumes that all properties have their causal powers contingently and causal laws are also contingent. We argue that this claim conflicts with how conceivability itself must work for the conceivability argument to be successful. If conceivability is to be an effective mechanism to determine possibility, it must work as a matter of necessity, since contingent conceivability renders conceivability fallible for an ideal reasoner and the fallible conceivability of zombies would not entail their possibility. But necessary (...) conceivability must either be governed by necessitating causal processes or by a necessitating non-causal mechanism. We argue that the latter option is untenable or mysterious; whereas, if Chalmers chooses the former and applies it only to conceivability, his solution is ad hoc, but if he accepts necessary causal powers or processes generally, the conceivability argument fails. We conclude that, as it stands, the Conceivability Argument does not establish that physicalism is false. (shrink)
The two eminent metaphysicians Armstrong and Grossmann exchanged letters for ten years in which they discussed crucial points of their respective ontologies. They have a common basis. Both do metaphysics proper and not linguistic philosophy. Both advocate universals and acknowledge the key position of the category of states of affairs. However, they differ on the simplicity of universals and the nature of states of affairs. There is also a fundamental methodological disagreement between them. Armstrong accepts only the evidence of natural (...) science and has a materialist view on mind while Grossmann is a dualist and grants also the same evidential status to the phenomenological data of perception and introspection. The letters are grouped into three phases. The first is the issue of universals, the second the ontological analysis of laws of nature and the third the ontology of numbers. The book contains also longer comments and reviews, partly not published until now. (shrink)
It is argued that a number of related influential contemporary solutions to certain problems of the “realism–nominalism issue” seem to depend on an interpretation of those problems rather than upon observations of things. The problem of universals is a case in point. Therefore, there is a problem of the problem of universals and it has to be clarified what the problem of universals is. A primitive or uninterpreted raising of the problem is the main pupose of this paper. In order (...) to accomplish such a task, a methodological statement is made in the first place, namely that the philosophical talk used by some property theorists to raise and answer “realism–nominalism” questions can provide us with a tool to discover when ontological analyses of things are consequences of interpretations. In the second place, a particular influential contemporary interpretation of particulars, universals, exemplification, and facts led by Armstrong, Mertz, Wolterstorff, Butchvarov, and Lowe, which I shall call “The Dogma of Repetition,” is extensively discussed. (shrink)
Traditionally, the so-called exemplification or the relation between the particular and the universal has been one of the three central problems making up the classical problem of universals: (1) What is a particular? (2) What is a universal? (3) What is the relation between the particular and the universal? I used the expression “classical problem of universals” instead of “the problem of universals” since the classical formulation of the problem could be said to contain a questionable assumption, namely that substance (...) should be the bearer “in” which are the entities of (other) categories. Under these circumstances, a neutral approach to the problem of universals could consist in reformulating the three problems of the classical problem as follows: (4) What is the fundamental bearer of categories? (5) What categories are there? (6) What is the relation between the fundamental bearer and the categories? My purpose in this paper is to answer the latter three questions. In order to accomplish this task, I shall discuss the views of two leading figures in substance-ontology, Aristotle and Jonathan Lowe, and the views of two leading figures in fact-ontology, Gustav Bergmann and Reinhardt Grossmann. I shall answer the first question by claiming that the fundamental bearer of categories is facts; the second, by pointing out that it depends on the answer to the previous one; and the third, by showing that the relation between the fundamental bearer and the categories is the one between facts and its constituents, not between a substance or particular and its accidents or properties. In this connection, I shall argue that the “in” of property exemplification should be categorially reconstructed in order for entities other than properties, say, particulars, relations, connectives, numbers, and even facts, to be “in” facts. This categorial reconstruction will also argued for with respect to the Principle of Exemplification. (shrink)
The essays collected in this volume explore the fundamental issues of philosophical realism, including metaphysical realism. Do things exist and have properties independently of being objects of thought or perception? epistemological realism: Is it possible to know any part of reality in and of itself? and ontological realism: Are there universals?
¿Qué es el arte? es una pregunta común. Su respuesta, sin embargo, a menudo no lo es por diversas razones. Pues no es claro si la tarea de responderla corresponde propiamente al artista, al teórico del arte, al historiador, al filósofo, o más bien a la opinión ordinaria o no técnica. Pero esto no es todo. Puesto que hay diferentes edades del arte, escuelas asimétricas, siglos impares, distintas corrientes filosóficas, e innumerables Weltanschauungen, casi nunca lo considerado por una generación es (...) conmensurable con lo considerado por otra. Así, por ejemplo, el planteamiento ontológico de la estética de Platón y el arte griego es rechazado por la epistemologización de Baumgarten, Kant y el arte moderno, y tanto la primera como la segunda postura constituyen el ángulo de ataque de gran parte de la estética y el arte contemporáneos. Este escrito tiene tres partes. La primera es sistemática; la segunda, más bien histórica; la tercera, sólo crítica. En la primera, explico con algún detalle el punto de vista de Pessoa sobre el arte; en la segunda, a la luz de las posiciones de algunos de sus contemporáneos, su alcance; en la última, doy mi propio punto de vista sobre la cuestión. (shrink)
En 1931, Rudolf Carnap publicó un artículo titulado "Die Überwindung der Metaphysik durch logische Analyse der Sprache" donde calificaba algunas expresiones de la conferencia de Martin Heidegger, "Was ist Metaphysik?", como 'sinsentidos'. Distinguía así entre expresiones (enunciados) 'con' y 'sin' sentido. Denunció que las que violaran el criterio empirista de significado serían del segundo tipo: 'pseudo-expresiones'. Sin embargo, Carnap reconocía desconocer la fuente exacta de los sinsentidos al comentar que expresaban algo, pero 'como lo hace un artista'. En 1936, Heidegger (...) reaccionaba explorando el 'como lo hace un artista' de Carnap en una conferencia en Zürich, "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes", donde distinguía, basado en la 'diferencia ontológica' de Sein und Zeit (1927), entre expresiones (lenguaje) 'de comunicación' y 'del ser'. En 1955, Heidegger fundaría esa distinción en términos de áreas de investigación, 'filosofía' y 'poesía', en la conferencia de Normandia, "Was ist das-die Philosophie?". En ella, Heidegger, no obstante, concluía, al igual que Carnap, no saber cómo distinguirlas, dado que el lenguaje acoge a ambas. Esta disputa por la prioridad entre tipos de expresión continúa en nuestros días (Stove 1991; Smith 1992; Lacoue-Labarthe 2002; Gadenne 2008; y Nef 2009). En este escrito, quisiera contribuir a la controversia ensayando una reconciliación entre lo que llamaré 'la concepción formal del mundo', representada por el realismo lógico, el empirismo lógico y las fenomenologías realista y trascendental, y 'la concepción informal del mundo', representada por la filosofía del lenguaje ordinario, la hermenéutica, la deconstrucción, el contextualismo y la poesía. La conclusión será una eliminación de las prioridades mediante una defensa biológica de la libertad de expresión. Em 1931, Rudolf Carnap publicou um artigo intitulado "Die Überwindung der Metaphysik durch logische Analyse der Sprache" onde qualificava algumas expressões da conferência de Martin Heidegger, "Was ist Metaphysik?", como 'sem sentido'. Distinguia assim entre expressões (enunciados) 'com' e 'sem' sentido. Denunciou que aquelas expressões que violassem o critério empirista de significado seriam do segundo tipo: 'pseudo-expressões'. Todavia, Carnap reconhecia desconhecer a fonte exata dos sem-sentidos ao comentar que expressavam algo, mas 'como o faz um artista'. Em 1936, Heidegger reagia explorando o 'como o faz um artista' de Carnap em uma conferência em Zürich, "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes", onde distinguia, baseado na 'diferença ontológica' de Sein und Zeit (1927), entre expressões (linguagem) 'de comunicação' e 'de ser'. Em 1955, Heidegger estabeleceria essa distinção em termos de áreas de investigação, 'filosofia' e 'poesia', na conferência de Normandia, "Was ist das-die Philosophie?". Nela, Heidegger concluia, contudo, do mesmo modo que Carnap, não saber como distingui-las, dado que a linguagem acolhe a ambas. Esta disputa pela prioridade entre tipos de expressão continua en nossos dias (Stove 1991; Smith 1992; Lacoue-Labarthe 2002; Gadenne 2008; y Nef 2009). Neste artigo, gostaria de contribuir à controvérsia procurando uma reconciliação entre o que chamarei 'a concepção formal do mundo', representada pelo realismo lógico, o empirismo lógico e as fenomenologias realista e trascendental, e 'a concepção informal do mundo', representada pela filosofia da linguagem ordinária, a hermenéutica, a desconstrução, o contextualismo e a poesia. A conclusão será uma eliminação das prioridades mediante uma defesa biológica da liberdade de expressão. (shrink)
[ES] ¿Cuáles son los habitantes fundamentales del mundo? Esta pregunta, tanto vieja como nueva, es acerca de la estructura fundamental de nuestro mundo. ¿Es nuestro mundo un mundo de sustancias ordinarias aristotélicas, de sustancias físicas lockeanas, de todos husserlianos, de hechos wittgensteinianos, de procesos de Sellars, o de conjuntos quineanos? Para distinguir el tipo de fundamentalidad metafísica en juego en esta discusión de otros tipos posibles de fundamentalidad, la llamaré de ahora en adelante «fundamentalidad del mundo». En este artículo quiero (...) hacer una propuesta en el contexto de esta discusión metafísica. La propuesta es la adición de un nuevo criterio de fundamentalidad del mundo al catálogo existente de independencia y simplicidad, entre otros ejemplos clásicos prominentes. Llamo este criterio “criterio materialista de fundamentalidad del mundo” porque afirma que los metafísicos no deberían contestar a la pregunta de si nuestro mundo en un mundo de hechos más bien que un mundo de conjuntos u otras categorías sin considerar el poder explicativo de estas categorías para dar cuenta de la relación entre “la imagen manifiesta” y “la imagen científica”, para usar las palabras de Wilfrid Sellars. [EN] What are the fundamental inhabitants of the world? This question, as old as it is new, is about the fundamental structure of our world. Is our world a world of Aristotle’s ordinary substances, Locke’s physical substances, Husserl’s wholes, Wittgenstein’s facts, Sellars’s processes, or Quine’s sets? In order to distinguish the sort of metaphysical fundamentality at stake in this discussion from other possible types of fundamentality, I shall call it from now on “world-fundamentality.” In this article I want to make a proposal in the context of this metaphysical dispute. The proposal is the addition of a new criterion of world-fundamentality to the existing catalog of independence and simplicity, among some other prominent classical examples. I call this criterion “the materialist criterion of world-fundamentality” because it states that metaphysicians should not decide the question of whether our world is a world of facts rather than a world of sets or other categories without considering the explanatory power of such categories to account for the relation between “the manifest image” and “the scientific image,” to use the words of Wilfrid Sellars. (shrink)