Philosophical Studies

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 29–54 | Cite as

The metaphysics of quantity

  • Brent Mundy


A formal theory of quantity T Q is presented which is realist, Platonist, and syntactically second-order (while logically elementary), in contrast with the existing formal theories of quantity developed within the theory of measurement, which are empiricist, nominalist, and syntactically first-order (while logically non-elementary). T Q is shown to be formally and empirically adequate as a theory of quantity, and is argued to be scientifically superior to the existing first-order theories of quantity in that it does not depend upon empirically unsupported assumptions concerning existence of physical objects (e.g. that any two actual objects have an actual sum). The theory T Q supports and illustrates a form of naturalistic Platonism, for which claims concerning the existence and properties of universals form part of natural science, and the distinction between accidental generalizations and laws of nature has a basis in the second-order structure of the world.


Natural Science Formal Theory Physical Object Actual Object Accidental Generalization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brent Mundy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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