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The Structuralist Conception of Objects

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


This paper explores the consequences of the two most prominent forms of contemporary structural realism for the notion of objecthood. Epistemic structuralists hold that we can know structural aspects of reality, but nothing about the natures of unobservable relata whose relations define structures. Ontic structuralists hold that we can know structural aspects of reality, and that there is nothing else to know—objects are useful heuristic posits, but are ultimately ontologically dispensable. I argue that structuralism does not succeed in ridding a structuralist ontology of objects.

Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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