Ontology and Arbitrariness

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In many different ontological debates, anti-arbitrariness considerations push one towards two opposing extremes. For example, in debates about mereology, one may be pushed towards a maximal ontology (mereological universalism) or a minimal ontology (mereological nihilism), because any intermediate view seems objectionably arbitrary. However, it is usually thought that anti-arbitrariness considerations on their own cannot decide between these maximalist or minimalist views. I will argue that this is a mistake. Anti-arbitrariness arguments may be used to motivate a certain popular thesis in the philosophy of mathematics that rules out the maximalist view in many different ontological debates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-495
Number of pages11
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • abstract objects
  • arbitrariness
  • indefinite extensibility
  • modality
  • ontology


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