Research Article

A Metaphysics of Ordinary Things and Why We Need It

Lynne Rudder Bakera1

a1 University of Massachusetts Amherst


Mainstream metaphysicians today take little ontological interest in the world as we interact with it. They interpret the variety of things in the world as variety only of concepts applied to things that are basically of the same sort—e.g., sums of particles or temporal parts of particles. I challenge this approach by formulating and defending for a contrasting line of thought. Using what I call ‘the Constitution View,’ I argue that ordinary things (like screwdrivers and walnuts) are as ontologically significant as particles. I further argue for why we need recourse to such ordinary things in our basic ontology.