My Facebook post containing: Chapter Summaries of this book.
Going through Kris McDaniel’s _The Fragmentation of Being_ which is one of the few modern books on Ontological Pluralism, well, I’m a skimmer. Introductions and Conclusions and only middles when I need it. Kris McDaniel nicely organized his text. Chapter ends are consistent, so I will use this as a book summary together. Here is some search/copy/paste from his book:
1.6 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I developed a version of ontological pluralism that appealed to semantically primitive restricted quantification and naturalness. I also articulated different ways of formulating versions of ontological pluralism. Although I defended ontological pluralism from some objections, the main goals of this chapter were to get some versions of ontological pluralism on the table, show that they are intelligible and worthy of consideration, and show how concerns about ontological pluralism connect up with historical and contemporary meta-metaphysical issues.
2.8 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I explored the metaphysics of what I called “analogous properties.” An analogous property is a non-specific property that is less natural than its specifications (which I called “analogue instances”) but is not as unnatural as a merely disjunctive property. I discussed and then applied two tests for being an analogous property: a property is analogous provided that it has more unity than a mere disjunction but yet systematically varies with respect to either its logical form or the axioms that govern its behavior. I used the notion of an analogous property to formulate several more versions of ontological pluralism. One kind of ontological pluralism appealed to a distinction between absolute and relative modes of existence. This distinction between modes of being was then used to articulate one kind of ontological superiority, which I called “orders of being.”
3.9 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I developed a version of ontological pluralism that respects two common intuitions about time: that the present moment is metaphysically distinguished but not in such a way that the past is unreal. The version of ontological pluralism developed—PEP—is one in which there are two modes of being, the mode of being that present objects enjoy and the mode of being that past objects enjoy. I argued that this view fares at least as well, and probably better, than other views in which the present is metaphysically distinguished.
4.8 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I focused on the nature of ontological categories. I argued that, insofar as the notion of an ontological category is theoretically fruitful, we should take ontological categories to be modes of being. I discussed one way in which ontological categories as modes of being could be used to formulate interesting and powerful principles about what is metaphysically possible. I also discussed whether it is necessary which ontological categories there are, and the prospects for a putative discipline of formal ontology construed as that which studies the essence of an object qua object.
5.8 Chapter Summary
Holes, shadows, and other almost nothings fittingly show the cracks of many ontological theories. Their reality must be recognized, but their way of being must also be recognized as in some way deficient. In this chapter, I discussed several ways of accounting for the deficiency of the mode of being of almost nothings before
settling on the claim that almost nothings have a lower grade or degree of being than other objects. I developed a view on which the degree of being of an object is proportionate to the naturalness of the most natural quantifier that ranges over that object. Beings by courtesy are those beings for which no fundamental quantifier
ranges over them. Almost nothings are species of beings by courtesy, but I also discussed whether other kinds of objects might be as well.
6.8 Chapter Summary
There are people, but how people exist is unclear. I argued that it is part of our evaluative self-conception that persons are fully real, but declined to take this as proof that we are fully real. Instead, I explored a series of arguments for this conclusion. A common premise of these arguments is that a sufficient condition for being fully real is instantiating a perfectly natural property or relation. Specific arguments appealed to properties such as what it’s like to taste chocolate, being Kris McDaniel, certain moral properties such as intrinsic value, and freedom. We did not settle the question of whether we fully exist, but I hope that I have demonstrated how complex the issues involved are.
7.9 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I argued that the naturalness of a property or relation is proportionate to the degree of being of that property or relation, and that once we recognize this proportionality, we see a way to define naturalness in terms of degree of being. Several arguments against this purported reduction of naturalness to degrees of being were discussed and rebutted. A further argument for the reduction, the central premise of which is that theories making use of degrees of being are ideologically simpler than those making use of naturalness and quantification, was tentatively defended.
8.6 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, I focused on grounding. In what sense, if any, is grounding a primitive relation? Perhaps conceptually or methodologically, but not in any way metaphysically. Several ways of defining up a relation of grounding in terms of some kind of ontological superiority plus other connecting relations were explored. We also explored whether the proponent of grounding should help herself to some relation of ontological superiority as well. I argued that both the grounding pluralist—a person who believes in many different metaphysically important grounding relations—and the grounding monist both have reasons to believe in an additional relation of ontological superiority. The pluralist does because she needs to account for the unity of the generic relation of ground; it is not plausible that it is a mere disjunction, and so it is either a determinable or an analogous property. But these distinctions were accounted for in terms of naturalness, which I argued is a kind of ontological superiority. The monist about grounding needs some way to defuse grounding variantism, a view analogous to quantifier variantism, and here again appealing to naturalness does the job.
9.8 Chapter Summary
The focus of this chapter was on the connections between being and essence, where “essence” was primarily understood as strict essence. We discussed whether every entity has a strict essence; I argued that plausibly not. We discussed whether truths about essence implied truths about existence; I plumped for a positive answer to this question, but discussed several alternative views. We discussed whether essences should be understood as entities, and if so, what kind of entity they might be. We also discussed whether truths about essences are grounded not in entities in general but rather in the ways in which entities exist. Finally, we assessed whether the properties an object strictly essentially has are had as a matter of modal necessity.