Physicalism and the sortalist conception of objects

Synthese 195 (12):5497-5519 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The central claim of this paper is that the Aristotelian metaphysics of objects is incompatible with physicalism. This includes the contemporary variant of Aristotelianism I call ‘sortalism’. The core reason is that an object’s identity as an instance of a (natural) kind, as well as its consequent persistence conditions, is neither physically fundamental nor determined by what is physically fundamental. The argument for the latter appeals to what is commonly known as ‘the grounding problem’; in particular I argue that the physicalist has no solution, and this requires that the physicalist jettison the traditional concept of objects having kind-specific identity and persistence conditions.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,670

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Do object-dependent properties threaten physicalism?Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (11):610-614.
Sortal continuity of material things.Edmund Runggaldier - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):359-369.
Identity and Sortals.Ansten Klev - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):1-16.
Essence and the Grounding Problem.Mark Jago - 2016 - In Reality Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 99-120.
Identity and the Failure of Individuation.Kenichi Fukui - 2002 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sortal concepts and essential properties.Penelope Mackie - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (176):311-333.
The Relativity Of Color.Peter W. Ross - 2000 - Synthese 123 (1):105-129.
Physicalism and neo-Lockeanism about persons.Joungbin Lim - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (8):1229-1240.
Do we see apples as edible?Bence Nanay - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (3):305-322.
Type Physicalism and Causal Exclusion.Joseph A. Baltimore - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:405-418.


Added to PP

117 (#111,025)

6 months
20 (#61,435)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jonah Goldwater
College of William and Mary

Citations of this work

Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Becoming a Statue.Justin Mooney - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.

View all 64 references / Add more references