Perception, abductive methodology and compositional universalism



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Tartu Ülikool


In this thesis I will argue for compositional universalism, according to which, any plurality of objects composes an object. In the first part of the thesis I will argue that if ordinary objects—the ones that are typically perceived by humans’ perceptual system as objects—exist, then so do extraordinary objects. I appeal to certain metaphysical accounts of perception to argue for a great number of extraordinary objects in a similar way that some conservatives about composition would argue for ordinary objects, which in turn suggests that such conservative views are either false or insufficient. I then use abductive methodology to argue that universalism is the best theory that respects the assumption of existence of ordinary objects, and further explains the existence of the ordinary and extraordinary objects which are argued for. The second part takes into consideration the fact the compositional nihilist, who denies occurrence of composition, refuses to accept the assumption that ordinary objects exist, hence blocks my argument for universalism. I lay out a detailed analysis of ideological and ontological commitments of different species of nihilism and universalism about composition, and argue on abductive grounds that universalism is the simplest theory of composition among many of them.



Perception, methodology, universalism