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Nicholas Chen wednesday, january 5, 2022
meta-acropolis proof of concept Maybe do the demo for metaphysics instead. It's a subject I actually care about, and I'm taking the course this quarter. Also, I finished number theory last quarter and I have no intention of touching it again if I don't have to. testing edits. 5
In any case, it seems appropriate to begin meta-acropolis, a project concerned with educational ontology with metaphysics, the umbrella subject ontology is grouped under.
Quine believes many different ontologies are worth exploring, and that multiple can be fundamental in their own ways. metaphysics
Quine is a "formalist" with regards to ontological theories. metaphysics
In "On What there is", Quine relies heavily upon the idea that what ontology we subscribe to should depend on the idea of simplicity. In other words, we should adopt the simplest ontology possible.

To be sure, he thinks there are different respects in which an ontological theory can be simple - so both physicalist, phenomenalist, and Platonic ontologies can all be worth developing. On this matter I agree with him.

However, I think there is something understated here, a point he makes briefly that I think is worth exploring further - that what ontology we adopt corresponds to "our various interests and purposes."

It is not simplicity alone that makes an ontology desirable, but rather simplicity with regards to some aim or desire. A physicalist ontology makes science easier and simpler to understand. But what makes simple science desirable in the first place? This stems from the uses that science has in shaping the natural world to our desires, and also in a pure human drive for knowledge.

Ultimately it is these drives that make an ontology desirable, not just its simplicity.

There is a political consequence to this: More often than not, two parties with opposing aims will have entirely ontologies. They will not even be able to agree over what exists in the first place.

Surely, this poses serious challenges to liberalism, and the idea that political differences can be resolved through rational debate. How can rational debate take place when the participants do not even agree on the simple question of what exists?

Could expand this into an
essay eventually.

philosophy politics writing starred