Can an Ontological Pluralist Really be a Realist?

Metaphilosophy 47 (3):425-430 (2016)
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This article examines whether it is possible to uphold one form of deflationism towards metaphysics, ontological pluralism, whilst maintaining metaphysical realism. The focus therefore is on one prominent deflationist who fits the definition of an ontological pluralist, Eli Hirsch, and his self-ascription as a realist. The article argues that ontological pluralism is not amenable to the ascription of realism under some basic intuitions as to what a “realist” position is committed to. These basic intuitions include a commitment to more than a stuff-ontology, and a view that realism carries with it more than a rejection of idealism. This issue is more than merely terminological. The ascription of realism is an important classification in order to understand what sorts of entities can be the truthmakers within a given theory. “Realism” is thus an important term to understand the nature of the entities that a given theory accepts into its ontology.

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James (J.T.M.) Miller
Durham University


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