Defending eliminative structuralism and a whole lot more

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 74:22-29 (2019)
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Abstract

Ontic structural realism argues that structure is all there is. In (French, 2014) I argued for an ‘eliminativist’ version of this view, according to which the world should be conceived, metaphysically, as structure, and objects, at both the fundamental and ‘everyday’ levels, should be eliminated. This paper is a response to a number of profound concerns that have been raised, such as how we might distinguish between the kind of structure invoked by this view and mathematical structure in general, how we should choose between eliminativist ontic structural realism and alternative metaphysical accounts such as dispositionalism, and how we should capture, in metaphysical terms, the relationship between structures and particles. In developing my response I shall touch on a number of broad issues, including the applicability of mathematics, the nature of representation and the relationship between metaphysics and science in general.

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Steven French
University of Leeds

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