Saturday, May 14, 2005

Confessions of a Realist

Some of you might have noted a realist taint to some of my blogs. Well when it comes to ontology, my house has many rooms. But like in the White House one has to pay a lot to get face time. That is, certain realities are more significant than others. Take for instance the existence of a timeslice of me now and Elizabeth Anscombe in 1943. Much as it dissapoints me, there is very little significance to this nonetheless real thing. Moreover I do not limit my ontological leniancy to mereology, I am perfectly willing to countenance both universals, functions, numbers, sets, values, etc. The question which I propose we should focus on is not whether the "are out there" but rather what they can do for us. Universals, for instance, can do good work. On the other hand trying to get a an arbitrary mereological sum to mow the lawn has never worked for me. Note, however, my pragmatism does not link existence and usefuleness, rather I link usefulness and usefulness.

I hope this isn't too obscure. As Alex suggests I have have been taking some pills lately (though they are not labelled "stupid pills"). They are partly for philsophical interest and partly for my insomnia and sense of total worthlessness in the face of the astounding number of great papers coming out every day in major journals. Anyway, these pills have made me a little overexcited, I think... But Zane tells me that will wear off soon. They really do bring home to me the real closeness of the psycho-physical nexus, though.


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