Can Heil's ontological conception accommodate complex properties?

In Michael Esfeld (ed.), John Heil. Symposium on his Ontological Point of View. ontos verlag (2006)
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Abstract

A central tenet of Heil's ontological conception is a no-levels account of reality, according to which there is just one class of basic properties and relations, while all higher-level entities are configurations of these base-level entities. I argue that if this picture is not to collapse into an eliminativist picture of the world – which, I contend, should be avoided –, Heil's ontological framework has to be supplemented by an independent theory of which configurations of basic entities should count as complex entities. However, such an amendment represents a substantial ontological enhancement, so that the ensuing ontological picture is not as parsimonious as Heil claims it to be.

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Vera Hoffmann-Kolss
University of Bern

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