Talk by Byron Simmons (Syracuse University): "Ontological Pluralism and the Thin Conception of Being"

Friday, November 12, 2021 - 17:00

Title: "Ontological Pluralism and the Thin Conception of Being"

Abstract: Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different fundamental modes of being. Two entities might differ, on this view, not simply in their nature, not simply in what they are like, but also in the modes of being they enjoy. Peter van Inwagen has, however, long maintained that pluralism is incompatible with a ‘thin’ conception of being. For the pluralist, van Inwagen contends, invariably transfers to the being of an entity what properly belongs to its nature and must therefore adopt a ‘thick’ conception of being. I will argue that, despite what van Inwagen says, the pluralist need not make such a fundamental meta-ontological error: for the clearest cases of entities that differ in their being would seem to have the very same nature. I will then put forward a positive account of the thinness of being which could be accepted or rejected by monists and pluralists alike.


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