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Title: Reduction and Images of Reality
Authors: Tabris, Nathaniel Ariel
Advisors: Dasgupta, Shamik
Johnston, Mark
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: There's an important but nebulous debate about the nature of metaphysics between the metaphysical realist and the antirealist. This dissertation reframes the debate by arguing that both the realist and the antirealist have an important insight missed by the other. Chapter 1 argues that there are things we can talk about only by immodestly positing them as metaphysical explainers. This thesis expresses the core insight of realists such as David Lewis, Kit Fine, and Ted Sider. Chapter 2 defends a constraint on what the realist can say: you shouldn't posit a metaphysical explainer if the resulting explanation would rely on an epistemic brute difference—a difference which you're completely unable to articulate. This constraint explains why many of the explanations offered by realists are in fact spurious, and it expresses the core insight of antirealists such as Hilary Putnam, Nelson Goodman, and Richard Rorty. Chapter 3 explains what we get when we put these two insights together. The two insights can be harmonized only by positing a holistic form of non-reductive metaphysical explanation.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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