Many philosophers take purportedly logical cases of ground ) to be obvious cases, and indeed such cases have been used to motivate the existence of and importance of ground. I argue against this. I do so by motivating two kinds of semantic determination relations. Intuitions of logical ground track these semantic relations. Moreover, our knowledge of semantics for first order logic can explain why we have such intuitions. And, I argue, neither semantic relation can be a species of ground even (...) on a quite broad conception of what ground is. Hence, without a positive argument for taking so-called ‘logical ground’ to be something distinct from a semantic determination relation, we should cease treating logical cases as cases of ground. (shrink)
Abstract‘Logical Realism’ is taken to mean many different things. I argue that if reality has a privileged structure, then a view I call metaphysical logical realism is true. The view says that, first, there is ‘One True Logic’; second, that the One True Logic is made true by the mind‐and‐language‐independent world; and third, that the mind‐and‐language‐independent world makes it the case that the One True Logic is better than any other logic at capturing the structure of reality. Along the way, (...) I discuss a few alternatives, and clarify two distinct kinds of metaphysical logical realism. (shrink)
Logical realism is the view that there is logical structure in the world. I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can’t know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts accurately capture it at all. I don’t suggest abandoning logical realism, but instead discuss how realists should adjust their methodology in the face of this ignorance.
I argue that, in order for us to be justified in believing that two theories are metaphysically equivalent, we must be able to conceive of them as unified into a single theory, which says nothing over and above either of them. I propose one natural way of precisifying this condition, and show that the quantifier variantist cannot meet it. I suggest that the quantifier variantist cannot meet the more general condition either, and argue that this gives the metaphysical realist a (...) way to rule out theses like quantifier variance without appealing to fundamentality, grounding, or "levels" of reality. (shrink)
I explore the view that metaphysics is essentially imaginative. I argue that the central goal of metaphysics on this view is understanding, not truth. Metaphysics-as-essentially-imaginative provides novel answers to challenges to both the value and epistemic status of metaphysics.
A basic way of evaluating metaphysical theories is to ask whether they give satisfying answers to the questions they set out to resolve. I propose an account of “third-order” virtue that tells us what it takes for certain kinds of metaphysical theories to do so. We should think of these theories as recipes. I identify three good-making features of recipes and show that they translate to third-order theoretical virtues. I apply the view to two theories—mereological universalism and plenitudinous platonism—and draw (...) out their third-order virtues and vices. One lesson is that there is an important difference between essentially and non-essentially third-order vicious theories. I also argue that if a theory is essentially third-order vicious, it cannot be assessed for more standard “second-order” theoretical virtues and vices, like parsimony. This motivates the idea that third-order virtues are distinct from second-order ones. Finally, I suggest that the relationship between truth, progress, and third-order virtue is more complex than it seems. (shrink)