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Metaontology, emergence and theory choice: in defence of Mereological Nihilism.

Caves, Richard Laurence John (2014) Metaontology, emergence and theory choice: in defence of Mereological Nihilism. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis offers detailed remarks on debates in metametaphysics, the question of ontological emergence and the merits of extra-empirical theory choice criteria, such as ontological and ideological parsimony, in the course of defending Mereological Nihilism (nihilism). Part I is primarily a discussion of the metaontology of the composition debate and how nihilism begins to look like a more attractive theory once a certain metaontological framework is adopted. §0. provides an overview of the background assumptions of my thesis and outlines the dialectical strategy I will be employing. §1. Explains why a strategy is needed to reconcile revisionary ontological claims, such as nihilism, with common sense: I argue for the Ontologese Strategy (OS) over the more established neo-Quinean paraphrase strategy. §2. Elucidates OS and defends it from objections, while §3. discusses the status of non-fundamental existential claims on OS and responds to further objections. §4. Employs OS to defend nihilism from epistemic dismissivism, which threatens to undercut the prima facie theoretical advantages of nihilism— demonstrating the utility of OS in advancing the first order debate. In Part II I defend nihilism from what I take to be the major challenge to the theory once certain metaontological assumptions are in place: the epistemic possibility of ontological emergence. §5. sets out the main line of defence – a strategy employing plural instantiation. §6. explores alternative strategies such as entanglement relations, fundamental indeterminacy and extended simples. §7. Looks at arguments for monism vs. pluralism in light of putative emergence from quantum mechanics and argues there is conceptual room for a third way – Local Holism. §8. Tries to bolster the assumption of this thesis that parsimony considerations are relevant to the composition debate. In §9. I make some concluding remarks for the thesis as a whole.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Keywords: philosophy metaontology emergence theory choice mereological nihilism concrete objects particulars extended simples distributional properties qualitative quantitative ideological parsimony universalism restricted composition truth correctness reality fundamentality monism pluralism social ontology metaphysics metametaphysics metametametaphysics plural quantification ferrets
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.643595
Depositing User: Dr Richard L J Caves
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 09:32
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8298

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