By Theodore Sider
In a chain of thought-provoking and unique essays, eighteen top philosophers have interaction in head-to-head debates of 9 of the main innovative subject matters in modern metaphysics.
- Explores the basic questions in modern metaphysics in a chain of eighteen unique essays - sixteen of that are newly commissioned for this quantity
- Features an introductory essay by way of the editors at the nature of metaphysics to arrange the reader for ongoing discussions
- Offers readers the original chance to watch prime philosophers interact in head-to-head debate on state-of-the-art metaphysical subject matters
- Provides beneficial insights into the flourishing box of latest metaphysics
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Extra info for Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics
Why would modern science be so full of theories that logically entail ‘there are numbers’ if everything these theories purport to explain could be explained equally well without positing mathematical entities? But on second thought, it seems quite easy to weaken any ordinary scientific theory so as to make it logically consistent with ‘there are no numbers’ without affecting the theory’s predictions about the concrete world.
That is, the structure is that of an infinite, discrete series with a beginning but no end. But if there is one group of things with this structure, then, logicians have demonstrated, there are many, and there is little reason to suppose that any one of them gives the unique metaphysical truth about “What Numbers Really Are” (cf. Benacerraf 1965). Because we lack epistemic contact with numbers, we can only describe the structure of the realm of numbers, and such descriptions underdetermine the denotations of our numerical vocabulary.
Sentences like (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) There are four prime numbers between one and ten. Spiders and insects share many important anatomical properties. There are numbers. There are properties. Everything is a material object. admit of (at least) two systematically different kinds of uses, which I will label “fundamental” and “superficial”. Ordinary uses of sentences like (1) and (2) are superficial, and entirely appropriate. When we use these sentences superficially, we assert boring, well-known truths, just as we would have if we had said that spiders and insects both have exoskeletons, or that there are no square prime numbers.
Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics by Theodore Sider