The universe

Ratio 16 (3):236–250 (2003)
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It is often said by philosophers that the term ‘the universe’ is illegitimate, whether because the notion of ‘all things’ is incoherent, or inconsistent, or cannot even be meaningfully expressed. The reasons may be drawn from metaphysics, or logic, or the philosophy of language, or the philosophy of mathematics. In this essay I argue that the term is legitimate, withstanding all criticisms, and that there is a single best meaning for it, which is that it is a semantically plural term standing equally for every existing object. ‘Forty‐two’, said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm. (Douglas Adams, The Hitch‐Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)



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Peter Simons
Trinity College, Dublin

Citations of this work

Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Monism.Jonathan Schaffer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Must there be a top level?Einar Duenger Bohn - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):193-201.
The metaphysics of propositional constituency.Lorraine Keller - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):655-678.
Monism, Emergence, and Plural Logic.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (2):211-223.

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References found in this work

Parts: a study in ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Abstract particulars.Keith Campbell - 1990 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Collected Papers.Colin McGinn - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (2):278.

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