Easy, but not that much: how easy ontology can get complicated

César Frederico dos Santos


In Thomasson’s “easy” approach to ontology, recalcitrant ontological problems are purportedly solved through trivial and straightforward inferences from putatively uncontroversial premises. Easy ontology aims at putting aside the metaphysical quarrels that, according to Thomasson, have led philosophers to think that existence questions were hard to answer. In this paper, I argue that, even if we refrain from engaging in metaphysics and limit our investigations to conceptual and empirical matters, as the “easy” approach recommends, we cannot expect to answer disputed existence questions by trivial and straightforward inferences. The problem is that putative easy-arguments leave room for many contentious issues for which there is no trivial and straightforward answer. To illustrate this point, I discuss some aspects of the debates on the existence of human races and numbers.


Thomasson’s easy ontology; metaphysics; ontology of races; ontology of numbers

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18468/if.2020v11n1.p05-18


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