Ordinary Objects

Paperback | October 14, 2010

byAmie L. Thomasson

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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 fromprohibitions 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 anontology 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 aboutwhich 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 ourunreflective common-sense view, but also a better understanding of the proper methods and limits of metaphysics.

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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 fromprohibitions against causal redundancy, ontol...

Amie Thomasson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:October 14, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199764441

ISBN - 13:9780199764440

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Table of Contents

IntroductionProblems of Causal RedundancyAnalyticity and Conceptual ContentIdentity, Persistence, and ModalityProblems of CollocationProblems of VaguenessHandling Experience QuestionsThe Special Composition ProblemProblems of Rivalry with ScienceParsimony and Ontological CommitmentA Coherent Common Sense ViewThe Methods of MetaphysicsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Amie Thomasson has written a lovely book which is certain to irritate many professional metaphysicians. But it is not just irritating: it is challenging...This book would be good supplementary text for upper-level metaphysics classes or seminars in which the sorts of arguments to whichThomasson replies are also read." --Alan Sidelle, The Philosophical Quarterly