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Volume 51 • Number 4

October 2014



A Materialist Criterion of Fundamentality

by Javier Cumpa

1. Categories and the Scientific Turn of Metaphysics: The Notion of World-Fundamentality

What are the fundamental inhabitants of the world? This question, as old as it is new, is about the fundamental structure of our world. Is our world a world of Aristotle's ordinary substances, Locke's physical substances, Husserl's wholes, Wittgenstein's facts, Sellars's processes, or Quine's sets? In order to distinguish the sort of metaphysical fundamentality at stake in this discussion from other possible types of fundamentality, I shall call it from now on "world-fundamentality."

In this article I want to make a proposal in the context of this metaphysical dispute. The proposal is the addition of a new criterion of world-fundamentality to the existing catalog of independence and simplicity, among some other prominent classical examples. I call this criterion "the materialist criterion of world-fundamentality" because it states that metaphysicians should not decide the question of whether our world is a world of facts rather than a world of sets or other categories without considering the explanatory power of such categories to account for the relation between "the manifest image" and "the scientific image," to use the words of Wilfrid Sellars (1963).

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ISSN: 2152-1123