Metaphysics Question Pool

Metaphysics Question Pool
Summer 2005
1. What is the relation between a statue and the lump of clay of which it is made?
2. Are all ontological disputes ultimately merely verbal?
3. Is the nominalist’s ontology of concrete particulars enough?
4. Quine said, “No entity without identity”. What did he mean? What can be said for and against it?
5. Are there any good arguments for or against a four-dimensional ontology?
6. What is point of invoking possible worlds when discussing modality? What must the worlds be
like if it is to succeed?
7. Do macroscopic objects cause any thing? If so, is there pervasive causal overdetermination?
Does it matter if there is?
8. What is physicalism? Which of the following can a physicalist admit into her ontology: numbers,
sets, universals, propositions? Justify your answer.
9. Why might someone deny that the past exists? If it does not, how can we admire Socrates?
What makes it true that there were dinosaurs?
10. Why might someone hold that nothing has parts? Why might someone hold that everything has
parts? Is there a stable intermediate position?
11. Is the fact that we find a purported kind of object “odd” or “queer” a good reason for excluding it
from our ontology? Discuss, focusing on at least one purportedly odd kind of entity, e.g.
universals or objective values.
12. Some things seem possible: you could have been taller, or President, or French. Others seem
impossible: you couldn’t have been a fried egg, or a prime number, or two separate gorillas.
Others are unclear: could you have been a member of the opposite sex? A dog? Omniscient?
Can what is and is not possible generally be defined?