A note on Dasgupta’s Generalism

  • Joshua BabicEmail author
  • Lorenzo Cocco


Dasgupta (Philos Stud Int J Philos Anal Tradit 145(1):35–67, 2009) has argued that material individuals, such as particles and laptops, are metaphysically objectionable and must be eliminated from our fundamental theories of the world. He proposes to eliminate them by redescribing all the fundamental facts of the world in a variant of predicate functor logic. We study the status, on this theory, of a putative fact particularly recalcitrant to a formulation within predicate functor logic: his own claim that there are no fundamental or primitive material individuals. We consider three regimentations of the denial of primitive individuals and show that—under some plausible hypotheses about fundamental truths and the fundamentality operator—they cannot be consistently translated in predicate functor logic by Dasgupta’s usual strategy. We conclude by discussing two approaches to salvage Generalism, in the absence of such a translation.


Individuals Predicate functor logic Theoretical equivalence Ontological commitment 



We are grateful to Dino Calosi, Fabrice Correia and the anonymous referee for many helpful and detailed comments on this paper.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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