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Bennett, Karen, , . There is no special problem with metaphysics
2016, Philosophical Studies 173 (1):21-37
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum

Abstract: I argue for the claim in the title. Along the way, I also address an independently interesting question: what is metaphysics, anyway? I think that the typical characterizations of metaphysics are inadequate, that a better one is available, and that the better one helps explain why metaphysics is no more problematic than the rest of philosophy

Comment: A defence of metaphysics; talks of the role metaphysics should play in analytic philosophy (viz. provide the toolbox for the other disciplines) and what belongs to it.

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Thomasson, Amie, , . Answerable and Unanswerable Questions
2009, In MetaMetaphysics, eds. David Chalmers, Ryan Wasserman, and David Manley. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 444-471.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Summary: Thomasson argues that merely verbal disputes arise in metaphysics when ontologists misuse the words ‘thing’ and ‘object’. Application conditions fix the conditions under which a claim can be applied or refused, but some ontological disputes involve using the terms ‘thing’ and ‘object’ in such a way that they lack application conditions. When this happens there is no way to determine the truth values of the claims being made.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on metaphysics, ontology or metametaphysics. It gives an interesting and plausible articulation of the idea that some metaphysical disputes are illegitimate in some sense (an intution that some students share). This isn’t an easy paper, but it is clearly written and suitable for advanced undergraduates or graduates.

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Thomasson, Amie L., , . The controversy over the existence of ordinary objects
2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (7):591-601.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum

Abstract: The basic philosophical controversy regarding ordinary objects is: Do tables and chairs, sticks and stones, exist? This paper aims to do two things: first, to explain why how this can be a controversy at all, and second, to explain why this controversy has arisen so late in the history of philosophy. Section 1 begins by discussing why the ‘obvious’ sensory evidence in favor of ordinary objects is not taken to be decisive. It goes on to review the standard arguments against the existence of ordinary objects – including those based on problems with causal redundancy, parsimony, co-location, sorites arguments, and the special composition question. Section 2 goes on to address what it is about the contemporary approach to metaphysics that invites and sustains this kind of controversy, and helps make evident why debates about ordinary objects lead so readily to debates in metametaphysics about the nature of metaphysics itself.

Comment: This is an excellent overview of arguments for and against the existence of ordinary objects.
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