Boring Infinite Descent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

In formal ontology, infinite regresses are generally considered a bad sign. One debate where such regresses come into play is the debate about fundamentality. Arguments in favour of some type of fundamentalism are many, but they generally share the idea that infinite chains of ontological dependence must be ruled out. Some motivations for this view are assessed in this article, with the conclusion that such infinite chains may not always be vicious. Indeed, there may even be room for a type of fundamentalism combined with infinite descent as long as this descent is “boring,” that is, the same structure repeats ad infinitum. A start is made in the article towards a systematic account of this type of infinite descent. The philosophical prospects and scientific tenability of the account are briefly evaluated using an example from physics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-269
JournalMetaphilosophy
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Metaphysics
  • Fundamentality
  • Infinite descent
  • Infinite regress
  • Gunk

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