There Are no Metaphysical Primitives

Abstract

Many metaphysicians posit primitives. These vary with respect to the theoretical work that they perform, but are all undefinable in more basic terms. I argue against the existence of metaphysical primitives on the grounds that, if they existed, they would be essentially primitive. However, if primitives were essentially primitive, then they would have an essence. Because they are primitive, they lack an essence, which undermines the original supposition that they are primitive. I close by mentioning some implications this has both for metaphysicians and for metaphysics more generally.

Author's Profile

Samuel Elgin
Yale University

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