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By Cynthia Macdonald, Stephen Laurence

The elemental instruments and ideas of metaphysics are hired in nearly each department of philosophy, necessitating a uncomplicated knowing of metaphysics to fully comprehend any philosophical paintings. This quantity is a finished survey of latest idea on quite a lot of concerns and gives scholars with the fundamental historical past to present debates in metaphysics. An introductory essay by way of the editors bargains an outline of the quantity and introduces scholars to the most important debates which are contained in the major physique of the textual content. the gathering comprises vintage modern papers on subject matters comparable to Ontological dedication and technique, attainable Worlds and Possibilia, houses and Universals, ingredients, occasions, Tropes and Mathematical gadgets. it's also seven newly-commissioned cutting-edge articles by means of Van Inwagen, Lycan, Bealer, Loux, Lombard, Macdonald and box.

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Given that the study of ontology has been going on for more than two thousand years and has treated a relatively uniform collection of concepts—just compare it to what was regarded as logic at various times—I take it that there is some plausibility in assuming there to be a unifying bond which ties together what this discipline talks about. We only have to find out what this bond is. I do not agree, however, that this is in any way obvious, as for example Nicolai Hartmann assumes in his four-volume study of ontology: And if one inquires further what the [ontological] categories are, the answer is immediately obvious as soon as one considers some examples, such as unity and plurality, quantity and quality, measure and size, time and space, becoming and permanence, causality and necessity and so forth.

But given that the >-maximal categories properly include the ontological categories, how far down the ordering shall we go? Where is the cut-off point for ontological categories? Given the second assumption there must be some such point. Clearly, on Katz’s analysis it is after the highest node or nodes of the tree of kinds. But this seems to be unsatisfactory, especially if there is one universal marker (as for example in CHISHOLM, LOWE, GROSSMANN, HOFFMAN/ROSENKRANTZ, and CYC), which would then have to be considered as the only ontological category and would make ontology a rather boring discipline.

14 18 Fig. 7 Sample cases CYC §2 Common features The seven systems of ontological categories discussed above will have given the reader some impression of the diversity of accounts which have been advanced by ontologists. In spite of this diversity most of them have several features in common. These features can be divided into two groups: the content of the systems and their structure. It is clear that there is no such thing as a set of ontological categories which all systems agree on. But there is a considerable degree of overlap.

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