Intuitions about Objects: From Teleology to Elimination

Mind:fzz071 (forthcoming)


In a series of recent papers, David Rose and Jonathan Schaffer use a number of experiments to show that folk intuitions about composition and persistence are driven by pre-scientific teleological tendencies. They argue that these intuitions are fit for debunking and that the playing field for competing accounts of composition and persistence should therefore be considered even: no view draws more support from folk intuitions than its rivals, and the choice between them should be made exclusively on the basis of theoretical considerations. In this paper I argue that Rose and Schaffer draw the wrong conclusion from their own findings, which should instead push us toward sparse views about composition and persistence. Most metaphysicians (including Schaffer himself, and arguably Rose too) should be worried by this result, since they hold views that are flatly incompatible with it.

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References found in this work

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.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Philosophy 67 (259):126-127.

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