Friday, November 25, 2011

Addendum to On Nominalism and Response to Adam

This is a repost from Adam Robert's Knowledge Ecology , where he continues the ongoing conversation about realism, nominalism, etc.  He gives us a long lists of questions and problems; below is a response that may clarify my earlier posts.


A few points of clarification. I appreciate the kind response. As you see, most of your points come from, perhaps, some lack of full clarity on my part and not from disagreement (yet) between us.

First, I’m not arguing for Whitehead so much as a Peircean part of Whitehead. I primarily work in the areas of his predecessors, and do metaphysics only to support a phenomenology and not for its own sake.

Second, I never wrote “OOO,” because I do not think this is a problem for all of OOO. I do think it is a potential problem for onticology, because it acknowleges a lot of process elements. That said, I much prefer onticology to Harman’s OOO because it has process elements. Please do not infer that I am speaking directly to a tradition, as I am not, and would be wrong.

Third, I never said that “realism requires universals.” Rather, I wrote of Peircean realism about universals, and explicitly said they (realism about the external world [poor wording] and realism about universals) were separable, although they are combined in my own pragmatist position as they are in many classical pragmatist views.

Fourth, contingency is not a universal. It’s an ontological primitive. This is a definitional matter.

Fifth, eternity can be had by those things that do not exist, such as mathematics, as they are unaffected by time. They are a-temporal rather than non-temporal (neutrality rather than negation). Only things that exist are affected by time. I explain this in my blog post. [This is a big deal because inability to explain mathematics leaves science and scientific realism in a terrible bind as they are wholly dependent on it.  Of course, anti-realists views do not have this problem.]

Sixth, I never said that contingency is arbitrary. Most if not all cases of the coming to be of a concretion of a universal is contingent. [See my previous posts; it's contingency all the way down, but there is such a thing as a structure to contingency.]

1 comment:

  1. A point.

    I have nothing against consistent anti-realist views, and have barely mentioned them. I do not have much love for nominalism, though it can be a respectable position. Nominalist metaphysics, however, is dicey.


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