Ontological Pluralism

Authored by: Jason Turner

The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138082250
eBook ISBN: 9781315112596
Adobe ISBN:


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Ontological pluralism is the doctrine that there are different ways, modes, or kind of being. In this chapter I discuss recent treatments of this doctrine, which tie it to the thought that there are different metaphysically special quantifiers. After discussing some attempts to characterize this thought more precisely and some pitfalls they must avoid, I respond to two arguments against the viability of ontological pluralism. The first is Trenton Merricks’ argument that disagreements between pluralists about how many modes of being there are must be either trivial or inexpressible. The second is Bruno Whittle’s arguments that ontological pluralism and ontological monism are notational variants of each other. Whittle defends this position against an argument to the contrary by treating e.g. ‘abstract’ and ‘concrete’ as logical terms; I challenge the viability of his defense.

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