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A Metaphysics of Ordinary Things and Why We Need It

  • Lynne Rudder Baker (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Mainstream metaphysicians today take little ontological interest in the world as we interact with it. They interpret the variety of things in the world as variety only of concepts applied to things that are basically of the same sort—e.g., sums of particles or temporal parts of particles. I challenge this approach by formulating and defending for a contrasting line of thought. Using what I call ‘the Constitution View,’ I argue that ordinary things (like screwdrivers and walnuts) are as ontologically significant as particles. I further argue for why we need recourse to such ordinary things in our basic ontology.

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Amie L. Thomasson , Fiction and Metaphysics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Michael C. Rea , ‘Sameness Without Identity: An Aristotelian Solution to the Problem of Material Constitution,’ Ratio 11 (new series),1998: 316328

E.J. Lowe , “Instantiation, Identity and Constitution,” Philosophical Studies 44 (1983): 4559

Judith Jarvis Thomson , ‘The Statue and the Clay,’ Noûs 32 (1998): 149173

Kathryn Koslicki , ‘Constitution and Similarity,’ Philosophical Studies 117 (2004): 327364

Mark Johnston , ‘Constitution is Not Identity,’ Mind 101 (1992): 89105

David Oderberg , ‘Coincidence Under a Sortal,’ Philosophical Review 105 (1996): 145171

Michael B. Burke , ‘Preserving the Principle of One Object to a Place: A Novel Account of the Relations Among Objects, Sorts, Sortals and Persistence Conditions,’ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 591624

Peter Simons , Parts: A Study in Ontology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987)

David Wiggins , ‘On Being in the Same Place at the Same Time,’ Philosophical Review 77 (1968): 9095

Ryan Wasserman's The Constitution Question,’ Noûs 38 (2004): 693710

Jeffrey E. Brower and Michael C. Rea , ‘Material Constitution and the Trinity,’ Faith and Philosophy 22 (2005): 5776

Peter van Inwagen's Can Mereological Sums Change their Parts?’ (Journal of Philosophy 103 (2006): 614630)

Dean W. Zimmerman , ‘The Constitution of Persons by Bodies: A Critique of Lynne Rudder Baker's Theory of Material Constitution,’ Philosophical Topics 30 (2002): 295338

David Lewis , ‘Many, But Almost One’ in Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999): 164182

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Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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