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Maegan Fairchild
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  1. The Barest Flutter of the Smallest Leaf: Understanding Material Plenitude.Maegan Fairchild - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (2):143-178.
    According to material plenitude, every material object coincides with an abundance of other material objects that differ in the properties they have essentially and accidentally. Although this kind of plenitude is becoming increasingly popular, it isn't clear how to make sense of the view beyond its slogan form. As I argue, it turns out to be extraordinarily difficult to do so: straightforward attempts are either inconsistent or fail to capture the target idea. Making progress requires us to engage in more (...)
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  2. Varieties of Plenitude.Maegan Fairchild - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (3):1–11.
    Material Plenitude is the view that there is an abundance of coincident objects wherever there is any material object. Although plenitude has garnered increased attention from metaphysicians in recent years, it has yet to be well‐understood beyond its slogan from. The goal of this article is to explore a few places for puzzlement about plenitude; in particular, how we ought to motivate and formulate the target view. I'll suggest along the way that an investigation of plenitude is not merely of (...)
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  3. Against Conservatism in Metaphysics.Maegan Fairchild & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:45-75.
    In his recent book, Daniel Korman contrasts ontological conservatives with permissivists and eliminativists about ontology. Roughly speaking, conservatives admit the existence of ‘ordinary objects' like trees, dogs, and snowballs, but deny the existence of ‘extraordinary objects', like composites of trees and dogs. Eliminativists, on the other hand, deny many or all ordinary objects, while permissivists accept both ordinary and extraordinary objects. Our aim in this paper is to outline some of our reasons for being drawn to permissivism, as well as (...)
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  4. A Paradox of Matter and Form.Maegan Fairchild - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):33-42.
    In the face of the puzzles of material constitution, some philosophers have been moved to posit a distinction between an object's matter and its form. A familiar difficulty for contemporary hylomorphism is to say which properties are eligible as forms: for example, it seems that it would be intolerably arbitrary to say that being statue shaped is embodied by some material object, but that other complex shape properties aren't. Anti-arbitrariness concerns lead quickly to a plenitudinous ontology. The usual complaint is (...)
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  5. Symmetry and Hybrid Contingentism.Maegan Fairchild - forthcoming - In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-order Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    This paper outlines a defense of hybrid contingentism: that it is contingent which individuals there are, but not contingent what properties there are. Critics pursue two main lines of complaint. First, that the hybrid contingentist’s treatment of haecceitistic properties is metaphysically mysterious, and second, that hybrid contingentism involves an unjustified asymmetry in the associated modal logic. I suggest that these complaints may be too quick, at least in the setting of higher-order metaphysics. It is not at all obvious whether and (...)
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  6. Arbitrariness and the Long Road to Permissivism.Maegan Fairchild - 2022 - Noûs 56 (3):619-638.
    Radically permissive ontologies like mereological universalism and material plenitude are typically motivated by concerns about arbitrariness or anthropocentrism: it would be objectionably arbitrary, the thought goes, to countenance only those objects that we ordinarily take there to be. Despite the prevalence of this idea, it isn't at all clear what it is for a theory to be “objectionably arbitrary,” or what follows from a commitment to avoiding arbitrariness in metaphysics. This paper aims to clarify both questions, and examines whether arguments (...)
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