The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...) defense proceeds by demonstrating the merits of qualitative ideological parsimony and by showing how the qualitative conception of ideological parsimony undermines two notable arguments from ideological parsimony: David Lewis’ defense of modal realism and Ted Sider’s defense of mereological nihilism. (shrink)
Think of a number, any number, or properties like fragility and humanity. These and other abstract entities are radically different from concrete entities like electrons and elbows. While concrete entities are located in space and time, have causes and effects, and are known through empirical means, abstract entities like meanings and possibilities are remarkably different. They seem to be immutable and imperceptible and to exist "outside" of space and time. This book provides a comprehensive critical assessment of the problems raised (...) by abstract entities and the debates about existence, truth, and knowledge that surround them. It sets out the key issues that inform the metaphysical disagreement between platonists who accept abstract entities and nominalists who deny abstract entities exist. Beginning with the essentials of the platonist–nominalist debate, it explores the key arguments and issues informing the contemporary debate over abstract reality: arguments for platonism and their connections to semantics, science, and metaphysical explanation the abstract–concrete distinction and views about the nature of abstract reality epistemological puzzles surrounding our knowledge of mathematical entities and other abstract entities. arguments for nominalism premised upon concerns about paradox, parsimony, infinite regresses, underdetermination, and causal isolation nominalist options that seek to dispense with abstract entities. Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary, _Entities_ is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and authoritative introduction to the problems raised by abstract entities. (shrink)
According to the modal view, essence admits of reductive analysis in exclusively modal terms. Fine (1994) argues that modal view delivers an inadequate analysis of essence. This paper defends the modal view from Fine's challenge. This defense proceeds by examining the disagreement between Finean primitivists and Quinean eliminativists about essence. In order to model this disagreement, a distinction between essence and a separable concept, nature, is required. This distinction is then used to show that Fine's challenge is misdirected and therefore (...) unsuccessful. (shrink)
The distinction between qualitative properties like mass and shape and non-qualitative properties like being Napoleon and being next to Obama is important, but remains largely unexamined. After discussing its theoretical significance and cataloguing various kinds of non-qualitative properties, I survey several views about the nature of this distinction and argue that all proposed reductive analyses of this distinction are unsatisfactory. I then defend primitivism, according to which the distinction resists reductive analysis.
Mereological realism holds that the world has a mereological structure – i.e. a distribution of mereological properties and relations. In this article, I defend Eleaticism about properties, according to which there are no causally inert non-logical properties. I then present an Eleatic argument for mereological anti-realism, which denies the existence of both mereological composites and mereological simples. After defending Eleaticism and mereological anti-realism, I argue that mereological anti-realism is preferable to mereological nihilism. I then conclude by examining the thesis that (...) composition is identity and noting its consequences for the question of mereological structure. (shrink)
Many familiar forms of property realism identify properties with sui generis ontological categories like universals or tropes and posit a fundamental instantiation relation that unifies objects with their properties. In this paper, I develop and defend locationism, which identifies properties with locations and holds that the occupation relation that unifies objects with their locations also unifies objects with their properties. Along with the theoretical parsimony that locationism enjoys, I argue that locationism resolves a puzzle for actualists regarding the ontological status (...) of uninstantiated properties. I also note some promising applications of the locationist framework to the metaphysics of quantities and possible worlds. (shrink)
Attributions of omnipresence, most familiar within the philosophy of religion, typically take the omnipresence of an entity to either consist in that entity's occupation of certain regions or be dependent upon other of that entity's attributes, such as omnipotence or omniscience. This paper defends an alternative conception of omnipresence that is independent of other purported divine attributes and dispenses with occupation. The resulting view repurposes the metaphysics of necessitism and permanentism, taking omnipresent entities to be those entities that exist at (...) all regions. This view is then shown to best accommodate attributions of omnipresence to a diverse range of metaphysical posits, like abstract entities, and a more diverse class of religious posits. (shrink)
Our ordinary judgments and our metaphysical theories share a common commitment to facts about resemblance. The nature of resemblance is, however, a matter of no small controversy. This essay examines some of the pressing questions that arise regarding the status and structure of resemblance. Among those to be discussed in what follows: what kinds of resemblance relations are there? Can resemblance be analyzed in terms of the sharing of properties? Is resemblance an objective or subjective matter? What, if any, resemblance (...) facts are fundamental? How does resemblance relate to naturalness? (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the putative incompatibility of three theses: (1) Haecceitism, according to which some maximal possibilities differ solely in terms of the non-qualitative or de re possibilities they include; (2) Modal correspondence, according to which each maximal possibility is identical with a unique possible world; (3) Counterpart theory, according to which de re modality is analyzed in terms of counterpart relations between individuals. After showing how the modal realism defended by David Lewis resolves this incompatibility by rejecting (...) modal correspondence, I defend modal correspondence and develop an alternative strategy for reconciling these theses. Specifically, I examine Lewis’s arguments against non-qualitative counterpart theory and undermine them by developing a novel version of non-qualitative counterpart theory that appeals to a metaphysics of bare particulars. I then indicate how this version of non-qualitative counterpart theory accommodates both haecceitism and modal correspondence. (shrink)
According to haecceitism, some maximal possibilities differ even while they are qualitatively indiscernible. Since haecceitism is a modal thesis, it is typically defended by appeal to conceivability arguments. These arguments require us to conceive of qualitatively indiscernible possibilities that differ only with respect to the identity of the individuals involved. This paper examines a series of conceivability arguments for haecceitism and a variety of anti-haecceitist responses. It concludes that there is no irresistible conceivability argument for haecceitism even while anti-haecceitist responses (...) do come with certain notable commitments. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that all propositions have modal profiles and therefore bear their truth-values either contingently or necessarily. I argue against this commonly assumed view and in defence of amodalism, according to which certain true propositions are neither necessarily nor contingently true, but only true simpliciter. I consider three arguments against ‘possible-worlds theories’, which hold that modal concepts are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds. Although each of these arguments targets a different version of possible-worlds theory, these (...) versions jointly exhaust the entire range of possible-worlds theories. After showing that each argument is naturally addressed by adopting amodalism, I argue that all defenders of possible-worlds theory ought to accept amodalism. (shrink)
Eleaticism ties ontology to causality by denying the impossibility of causally inert entities. This paper examines some challenges regarding the proper formulation and general plausibility of Eleaticism. After suggesting how Eleatics ought to respond to these challenges, I consider the prospects for extending Eleaticism from ontology to ideology by requiring all primitive ideology to be causal in nature. Surprisingly enough, the resulting view delivers an eternalist and possibilist metaphysical picture in the neighborhood of Lewisian modal realism.
Haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum are each controversial theses about necessity and possibility. According to haecceitism, there are qualitatively indiscernible possible worlds that differ only with respect to which individuals occupy which qualitative roles. According to Hume’s Dictum, there are no necessary connections between distinct entities or, as Humeans sometimes put it, reality admits of “free recombination” so any entities can co-exist or fail to co-exist. This paper introduces a puzzle that results from the combination of haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum. This (...) puzzle revolves around the free recombination of non-qualitative properties like being Socrates. After considering several responses to this puzzle, I defend an ideology-driven solution, which dispenses with non-qualitative properties like being Socrates in favour of primitive theoretical ideology while, at the same time, preserving a commitment to both haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend an indexical analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction within the framework of modal realism. This analysis holds the abstract-concrete distinction to be conceptually inseparable from the distinction between the actual and the merely possible, which is assumed to be indexical in nature. The resulting view contributes to the case for modal realism by demonstrating how its distinctive resources provide a reductive analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction. This indexical analysis also provides a solution to a sceptical problem (...) regarding our concreteness, which parallels the sceptical problem that motivates indexicalism about actuality. (shrink)
Lynne Baker’s case for the incompatibility of naturalism with the first-person perspective raises a range of questions about the relationship between naturalism and the various properties involved in first-person perspectives. After arguing that non-qualitative properties—most notably, haecceities like being Lynne Baker—are ineliminably tied to first-person perspectives, this paper considers whether naturalism and non-qualitative properties are, in fact, compatible. In doing so, the discussion focus on Shamik Dasupgta’s argument against individuals and, in turn, non-qualitative properties. Several strategies for undermining Dasgupta's argument (...) are considered, drawing on de re laws and haecceitistic possibilities. Finally, an analogy is drawn between naturalism and platonism regarding mathematical entities and naturalism's parallel commitment to individuals. I conclude that naturalists are obliged to posit non-qualitative properties. (shrink)
What exactly are comics? Can they be art, literature, or even pornography? How should we understand the characters, stories, and genres that shape them? Thinking about comics raises a bewildering range of questions about representation, narrative, and value. Philosophy of Comics is an introduction to these philosophical questions. In exploring the history and variety of the comics medium, Sam Cowling and Wesley D. Cray chart a path through the emerging field of the philosophy of comics. Drawing from a diverse range (...) of forms and genres and informed by case studies of classic comics such as Watchmen, Tales from the Crypt, and Fun Home, Cowling and Cray explore ethical, aesthetic, and ontological puzzles, including: -/- - What does it take to create-or destroy-a fictional character like Superman? - Can all comics be adapted into films, or are some comics impossible to adapt? - Is there really a genre of “superhero comics”? - When are comics obscene, pornographic, and why does it matter? -/- At a time of rapidly growing interest in graphic storytelling, this is an ideal introduction to the philosophy of comics and some of its most central and puzzling questions. (shrink)