|Thinking About Things|
|Source: Philosophical Perspectives, Vol. 11; Oct2001, p1, 15p|
|Paper - Abstract|
Philosophers Index Abstract
This paper defends the following claims. Three incompatible tendencies pervade ordinary thinking about things. Two are harmless but the third, which goes unnoticed, is not. It leads philosophers to find harm in the other two and to wonder which needs modification or rejection. It also produces serious confusion and error. It is the real culprit in the statue/clay1 puzzle. It also underlies the erroneous identification of essentialism with modality2 de re, and the mistaken doctrine of rigid designation. Avoiding the tendency easily relieves these and other problems.
Discusses the problem in the metaphysics of modality3 caused by three incompatible tendencies of ordinary thought. Philosophical examples illustrating how the tendencies produce trouble and sometimes erroneous doctrine; Analysis of various modal4 claims by appeal to relations of compatibility and entailment between properties.
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