- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (November 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199764441
- ISBN-13: 978-0199764440
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #951,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ordinary Objects Reprint Edition
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"Ordinary Objects is well worth reading because it sheds new light on how to preserve the credibility of familiar things."
--Marianne Djuth, The Review of Metaphysics
"In Ordinary Objects, Amie Thomasson mounts a spirited and vigorous defense of the reality of ordinary objects."
--Terry Horgan, Times Literary Supplement
"Ordinary Objects is a fine book.... [Thomasson] writes insightfully and persuasively, and she has a realistic view of what metaphysical arguments can and cannot demonstrate... she approaches metaphysical theorizing more systematically than many other recent writers, drawing attention to the
ways in which questionable assumptions in one area of philosophy are undergirding seemingly powerful arguments in another. Everyone working in metaphysics should make time for this volume."
--R. W. Fischer, Metaphilosophy
"In Ordinary Objects, Thomasson pursues an integrated conception of ontology and metaontology. In ontology, she defends the existence of shoes, ships, and other ordinary objects. In metaontology, she defends a deflationary view of ontological inquiry, designed to suck the air out of arguments
against ordinary objects. The result is an elegant and insightful defense of a common sense worldview."
--Jonathan Schaffer, Philosophical Books
"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 which
Thomasson replies are also read."
--Alan Sidelle, The Philosophical Quarterly
About the Author
Amie Thomasson is Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Miami.
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Thomasson frames her deflationary view around arguments against the existence of ordinary objects. Thomasson argues that all the classical arguments against ordinary objects (arguments from causal redundancy, anti-colocation, Unger's problem of the many, parsimony, and incompatibility with science) stem from a common mistake, a mistake that can be rectified when one accepts an intuitive position on reference fixing.
She argues that the reference of our terms is fixed in part by the categorial concepts we employ in using the terms (Thomasson argues, a la Devitt and Sterelny, that such a hybrid theory of reference is needed to solve the Qua Problem). For example, the referent of a use of 'Fido' is determined in part by a causal chain, but also in part by a categorial concept (for example, DOG) which the speaker has in mind (consciously or unconsciously) when using the name. We can discover the categorial concepts associated with a singular term or sortal by looking at the application and co-application conditions of the term.
Once one introduces conceptual content into the reference-fixing mechanism, one can resuscitate a notion of analyticity, which allows one to deflate metaphysical questions in the standard fashion. Questions about whether Ks exist become questions about the conceptual content associated with the term 'K' and whether that conceptual content was satisfied at the reference grounding of the term. Similarly, questions about identity and persistence are deflated by looking at the coapplication conditions (when linguistic convention allows that one reuse the same term) of the term.
While I am very sympathetic to Thomasson's view, I think she should have spent more time resuscitating the notion of analyticity on which so much of her diagnoses of the traditional arguments against ordinary objects depend. She needs to do more to defend the hybrid theory of reference which buys her analyticity. Merely remarking that it is needed to solve the Qua Problem is not enough. Regardless of this minor criticism, the book is remarkably lucid and well-structured. It is an invaluable contribution to contemporary meta-metaphysics.