What is Conservatism? [Book Review]

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Abstract
In Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary, Daniel Z. Korman defends a view he calls conservatism. Conservatives hold that there are ordinary objects, but no extraordinary objects. But Korman never explicitly characterizes what would qualify an object as ordinary in the relevant sense. We have some paradigm cases of ordinary objects, including tables, dogs, and trees; and we have some paradigm cases of extraordinary objects of sorts familiar from the philosophical literature. Here I attempt to fill this gap, surveying a number of attempts to characterize the commitments of conservatism. All fail. In particular, no specification of what it takes for an object to be ordinary is both plausible and consistent with the conservative verdicts on the paradigms. I argue that this is no coincidence, since it turns out to be implausible in light of the results of settled science to deny the existence of one of Korman's paradigms of an extraordinary object. The upshot is that plausibility requires being a little more liberal than conservatism seems to allow.
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Archival date: 2019-01-10
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