SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

In a series of publications, Eli Hirsch has presented a sustained defense of common-sense ontology. Hirsch's argument relies crucially on a meta-ontological position sometimes known as ‘superficialism’. Hirsch's argument from superficialism to common-sense ontology is typically resisted on the grounds that superficialism is implausible. In this paper, I present an alternative argument for common-sense ontology, one that relies on (what I argue is) a much more plausible meta-ontological position, which I call ‘constructivism’. Note well: I will not quite argue that constructivism is true; merely that it is significantly more plausible than superficialism, and consequently affords a safer route to common-sense ontology. Thus my main goal in the paper is not quite to establish common-sense ontology, nor for that matter to refute Hirsch's argument for it. My goal is, in a way, more expressive than argumentative: I wish to articulate a novel meta-ontological position, one that I take to be in no way obviously less plausible than already familiar positions, and to point out that the position probably leads to common-sense ontology. I open, in section 1, with a discussion of Hirsch's argument and the main objection to it. I then develop, in section 2, a sketch of the alternative meta-ontology I have in mind. I close, in section 3, with the argument that this alternative meta-ontology, too, leads to common-sense ontology.