Game called on account of fog: metametaphysics and epistemic dismissivism

Philosophical Studies 164 (1):1-14 (2013)

Abstract

Is arguing over ontology a mistake? A recent proposal by Karen Bennett suggests that some metaphysical disputes, such as those over constitution and composition, can be dismissed on epistemic grounds. Given that both sides in a dispute try to minimize the differences between them, there are no good metaphysical grounds for choosing between them. In this paper, I expand on her epistemic dismissivism, arguing that given the Quinean conception of the task and method of metaphysics, we are warranted in believing that all ontological disputes will end in a draw, even if they have not yet done so. By a draw, I mean that while both sides in a dispute are genuinely disagreeing about what there is and there are still moves open to them, there are no moves remaining that will advance the discourse further.

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Mary Beth Willard
Weber State University

References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
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.
Nonexistent Objects.Terence Parsons - 1980 - Yale University Press.

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Citations of this work

Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.
Why Composition Matters.Andrew M. Bailey & Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):934-949.
Against Simplicity.M. B. Willard - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):165-181.

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