Against Conservatism in Metaphysics
Fairchild (Maegan) & Hawthorne (John)
Source: Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, Volume 82 (Metaphysics) - July 2018, pp. 45-75
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsColour-ConventionsDisclaimer


Authors’ Abstract

  1. In his recent book1, Daniel Korman contrasts ontological conservatives with permissivists and eliminativists about ontology. Roughly speaking,
    1. Conservatives admit the existence of ‘ordinary objects’ like trees, dogs, and snowballs, but deny the existence of ‘extraordinary objects’, like composites of trees and dogs (‘trogs’).
    2. Eliminativists, on the other hand, deny many or all ordinary objects, while
    3. Permissivists accept both ordinary and extraordinary objects.
  2. Our aim in this paper is to outline some of our reasons for being drawn to permissivism, as well as some of our misgivings about conservative metaphysics.
  3. In the first section, we discuss a tempting epistemic line of argument against conservatism. This isn’t a line of argument we find especially promising.
  4. Our most basic complaint against conservatism is not that conservatism has poor epistemic standing even if true, but instead that conservatism is weird. We develop this thought in the second part of the paper.
  5. In the final section we discuss some larger methodological issues about the project of ontology.



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Daniel Korman, Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary (Oxford University Press, 2015).


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - April 2019. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page