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Products for grant FA-37669-03

Ordinary Objects and Philosophical Theory
Amie Thomasson, Trustees of Dartmouth College

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Ordinary Objects (Book)
Title: Ordinary Objects
Author: Amie L. Thomasson
Abstract: Arguments that ordinary inanimate objects such as tables and chairs, sticks and stones, simply do not exist have become increasingly common and increasingly prominent. Some are based on demands for parsimony or for a non-arbitrary answer to the special composition question; others arise from prohibitions against causal redundancy, ontological vagueness, or co-location; and others still come from worries that a common sense ontology would be a rival to a scientific one.Until now, little has been done to address these arguments in a unified and systematic way. Ordinary Objects is designed to fill this gap, demonstrating that the mistakes behind all of these superficially diverse eliminativist arguments may be traced to a common source. It aims to develop an ontology of ordinary objects subject to no such problems, providing perhaps the first sustained defense of a common sense ontology in two generations. The work done along the way addresses a number of major issues in philosophy of language and metaphysics, contributing to debates about analyticity, identity conditions, co-location and the grounding problem, vagueness, overdetermination, parsimony, and ontological commitment. In the end, the most important result of addressing these eliminativist arguments is not merely avoiding their conclusions; examining their failings also gives us reason to suspect that many apparent disputes in ontology are pseudo-debates. For it brings into question widely-held assumptions about which uses of metaphysical principles are appropriate, which metaphysical demands are answerable, and how we should go about addressing such fundamental questions as "What exists?". As a result, the work of Ordinary Objects promises to provide not only the route to a reflective understanding of our unreflective common-sense view, but also a better understanding of the proper methods and limits of metaphysics.
Year: 2007
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Worldcat entry.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 0195319915

"Answerable and Unanswerable Questions" (Book Section)
Title: "Answerable and Unanswerable Questions"
Author: Amie L. Thomasson
Editor: David Chalmers, Ryan Wasserman and David Manley
Abstract: I discuss two kinds of ontological debates: about identity and persistence conditions, and about existence. I argue that these debates cannot be understood as serious ontologists propose, and diagnose where many debates in contemporary metaphysics go wrong, as pseudo-disputes that arise from attempts to answer defective, unanswerable questions.
Year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book Title: Metametaphysics
ISBN: 978-0-19-95460