Sometimes metaphysicians appeal to simplicity as a reason to prefer one metaphysical theory to another, especially when a philosophical dispute has otherwise reached a state of equilibrium. In this paper, I show that given a Quinean conception of metaphysics, several initially plausible justifications for simplicity as a metaphysical criterion do not succeed. If philosophers wish to preserve simplicity as a metaphysical criterion, therefore, they must radically reconceive the project of metaphysics.
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. (shrink)