Why Care About What There Is?

In Javier Cumpa (ed.), The Question of Ontology: The Contemporary Debate. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
There’s the question of what there is, and then there’s the question of what ultimately exists. Many contend that, once we have this distinction clearly in mind, we can see that there is no sensible debate to be had about whether there are such things as properties or tables or numbers, and that the only ontological question worth debating is whether such things are ultimate (in one or another sense). I argue that this is a mistake. Taking debates about ordinary objects as a case study, I show that the arguments that animate these debates bear directly on the question of which objects there are and cannot plausibly be recast as arguments about what’s ultimate. I also address the objection that, because they are easy answerable, questions about what there is cannot be a proper subject of ontological debate.
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First archival date: 2019-03-20
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