A Case For Higher-Order Metaphysics

In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-order Metaphysics (forthcoming)
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Higher-order logic augments first-order logic with devices that let us generalize into grammatical positions other than that of a singular term. Some recent metaphysicians have advocated for using these devices to raise and answer questions that bear on many traditional issues in philosophy. In contrast to these 'higher-order metaphysicians', traditional metaphysics has often focused on parallel, but importantly different, questions concerning special sorts of abstract objects: propositions, properties and relations. The answers to the higher-order and the property-theoretic questions may coincide sometimes but will often come apart. I argue that when they do, the higher-order questions are closer to the metaphysical action and so it would be better for these debates to proceed in higher-order terms.

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Andrew Bacon
University of Southern California


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