Amie Thomasson: Objections to Easy Ontology | Who Shaves the Barber? #24

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Easy Ontology

Last weekAmie Thomasson explained “easy ontology”, her preferred approach to resolving the proliferation of ontological debates in recent decades. This week she addresses objections.

Perhaps most pressingly: is easy ontology too easy? There might be a feeling that this is all a linguistic trick that is sidestepping the real question of the actual existence of something. Another important objection is that this method grants existence to way too much. Do we really want to accept that “the sum of my nose and the Eiffel Tower” is a thing that really exists? And what about vagueness – doesn’t easy ontology fall prey to the sorites paradox? Professor Thomasson tackles these and other objections to her method. She concludes with a picture of what would be next for ontology if we accepted easy ontology as the solution to the metaontological debate.



Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed

0:47 – Circularity objection
4:24 – Is any “linguistic approach” too easy?
14:40 – Easy ontology v. the “verbal disputes” view
22:28: What does “exists” actually mean?
25:45 – Is easy ontology bloated?
31:28 – Dropping causal power and mind-independence
34:30 – Vagueness and the sorites paradox
40:06 – What ontological questions are still hard?
45:44 – Conceptual engineering


Ontology Made Easy by Amie Thomasson
Ordinary Objects by Amie Thomasson
Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiations” by Amie Thomasson

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