Writing the book of the world - Theodore Sider



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Writing the book of the world
Theodore Sider
Paperback / softback
Oxford University Press
UK Publication Date

In order to perfectly describe the world, it is not enough to speak truly. In this ambitious and ground-breaking book, Theodore Sider argues that for a representation to be fully successful, truth is not enough; the representation must also use the right concepts-concepts that 'carve at the joints'-so that its conceptual structure matches reality's structure. There is an objectively correct way to 'write the book of the world'. According to Sider, metaphysics is primarily about fundamentality rather than necessity, conceptual analysis, or ontology.
Fundamentality is understood in terms of structure:
the fundamental truths are those truths that involve structural (joint-carving) concepts. Sider argues that part of the theory of structure is an account of how structure connects to other concepts. For example, structure can be used to illuminate laws of nature, explanation, reference, induction, physical geometry,substantivity, conventionality, objectivity, and metametaphysics. Another part is an account of how structure behaves. Since structure is a way of thinking about fundamentality, Sider's account implies distinctive answers to questions about the nature of fundamentality. These answers distinguish histheory of structure from other recent theories of fundamentality, including Kit Fine's theory of ground and reality, the theory of truthmaking, and Jonathan Schaffer's theory of ontological dependence.

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Theodore Sider is Frederick J. Whiton Chair of Philosophy at Cornell University. He completed his PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has previously held positions at New York University, the University of Rochester, Syracuse University, and Rutgers University. He is the author of Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics (OUP, 2005), Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (OUP, 2001), and a textbook:Logic for Philosophy (OUP, 2010).

Siders book is a great and important milestone in contemporary metaphysics. I highly recommend it to all metaphysicians, although the reader has a mountain to climb. The book is rich in complex arguments requiring careful study, whether you are a realist or a deflationist.
Laszlo Kocsis, Philosophy in Review

Two issues have been heavily debated in recent metaphysics: a revival of the old meta-question concerning the substantivity of (at least some) metaphysical debates, and the first-order question of what we might or should mean by metaphysical 'fundamentality.' Theodore Sider addresses these and related matters with great care, sophistication, clarity, and originality. . . . a terrific achievement: profound, rigorously systematic, and full of clarifying insights andarguments.
Timothy O'Connor and Nickolas Montgomery, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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