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Title: Metaontology, emergence and theory choice : in defence of Mereological Nihilism
Author: Caves, Richard Laurence John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 6736
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis offers detailed remarks on debates in metametaphysics, the question of ontological emergence and the merits of extra-empirical theory choice criteria, such as ontological and ideological parsimony, in the course of defending Mereological Nihilism (nihilism). Part I is primarily a discussion of the metaontology of the composition debate and how nihilism begins to look like a more attractive theory once a certain metaontological framework is adopted. §0. provides an overview of the background assumptions of my thesis and outlines the dialectical strategy I will be employing. §1. Explains why a strategy is needed to reconcile revisionary ontological claims, such as nihilism, with common sense: I argue for the Ontologese Strategy (OS) over the more established neo-Quinean paraphrase strategy. §2. Elucidates OS and defends it from objections, while §3. discusses the status of non-fundamental existential claims on OS and responds to further objections. §4. Employs OS to defend nihilism from epistemic dismissivism, which threatens to undercut the prima facie theoretical advantages of nihilism— demonstrating the utility of OS in advancing the first order debate. In Part II I defend nihilism from what I take to be the major challenge to the theory once certain metaontological assumptions are in place: the epistemic possibility of ontological emergence. §5. sets out the main line of defence – a strategy employing plural instantiation. §6. explores alternative strategies such as entanglement relations, fundamental indeterminacy and extended simples. §7. Looks at arguments for monism vs. pluralism in light of putative emergence from quantum mechanics and argues there is conceptual room for a third way – Local Holism. §8. Tries to bolster the assumption of this thesis that parsimony considerations are relevant to the composition debate. In §9. I make some concluding remarks for the thesis as a whole.
Supervisor: Barnes, Elizabeth ; Cameron, Ross ; Divers, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available