One of the central questions of material-object metaphysics is which highly visible objects there are right before our eyes. This book defends a conservative view, according to which our ordinary, natural judgments about which objects there are are more or less correct. It begins with an overview of the arguments that have led people away from the conservative view, into revisionary views according to which there are far more objects than we ordinarily take there to be (permissivism) or far fewer (eliminativism). It criticizes a variety of compatibilist strategies, according to which these revisionary views are actually compatible with our ordinary beliefs; responds to debunking arguments, according to which these beliefs are the products of arbitrary biological and cultural influences; responds to objections that the conservative’s verdicts about which objects there are and aren’t are objectionably arbitrary; responds to the argument from vagueness, which purports to show that the sort of restriction that conservatives want to impose on which composites there are is bound to give rise to vagueness about what exists, something that is ruled out by widely accepted theories of vagueness; and responds to the overdetermination argument, the argument from material constitution, and the problem of the many, all of which are meant to motivate eliminativism by showing that accepting ordinary objects commits one to one or another absurdity.
|Oxford University Press
|Published - Nov 2015