Philosophical Studies

, Volume 173, Issue 9, pp 2417–2435 | Cite as

Sider on the epistemology of structure

  • Jared WarrenEmail author


Theodore Sider’s recent book, “Writing the Book of the World”, employs a primitive notion of metaphysical structure in order to make sense of substantive metaphysics. But Sider and others who employ metaphysical primitives face serious epistemological challenges. In the first section I develop a specific form of this challenge for Sider’s own proposed epistemology for structure; the second section develops a general reliability challenge for Sider’s theory; and the third and final section argues for the rejection of Siderean structure in the course of answering a transcendental argument against such rejection.


Sider Metametaphysics Structure Epistemology 


  1. Armstrong, D. M. (1978). Universals and scientific realism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Balaguer, M. (1995). A platonist epistemology. Synthese, 103, 303–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benacerraf, P. (1973). Mathematical truth. Journal of Philosophy, 70, 661–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burgess, J. P., & Rosen, G. (1997). A subject with no object: Strategies for a nominalistic interpretation of mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Carnap, R. (1950). Empiricism, semantics, and ontology. Revue Internaitonale de Philosophie, 4, 20–40.Google Scholar
  6. Casado C. M. (2008). A brief history of the mathematical equivalence between the two quantum mechanics. Latin American Journal of Physical Education, 2, 2.Google Scholar
  7. Donaldson, T. (2014). Reading the book of the world. Philosophical Studies, 172, 1051–1077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dorr, C. (2013). Reading writing the book of the world. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 87(3), 717–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Enoch, D. (2010). The epistemological challenge to met normative realism: How best to understand it, and how to cope with it. Philosophical Studies, 148(3), 413–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Field, H. (1989). Realism, mathematics, and modality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Gamow, G. (1966). Thirty years that shook physics: The story of quantum theory. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  12. Hirsch, E. (1993). Dividing reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hirsch, E. (2011). Quantifier variance and realism: Essays in metaontology. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hirsch, E. (2013). Comments on theodore Sider’s writing the book of the world. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 68(3), 658–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Korman, Z. D. (2014). Debunking perceptual beliefs about ordinary objects. Philosophers Imprint, 14(13), 1–21.Google Scholar
  16. Lewis, D. (1970). How to define theoretical terms. Journal of Philosophy, 67, 427–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lewis, D. (1983). New work for a theory of universals. The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 61, 343–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lewis, D. (1984). Putnam’s Paradox. The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 62, 221–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis, D. (1986). On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Linnebo, Ø. (2006). Epistemological challenges to mathematical platonism. Philosophical Studies, 129, 545–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nozick, R. (1981). Philosophical explanations. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Peirce, C. S. (1878). How to make our ideas clear. Popular Science Monthly, 12, 286–302.Google Scholar
  23. Price, H. (2009). Metaphysics after Carnap: The ghost who walks? In Chalmers, Manley, & Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics: New essays on the foundations of ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Putnam, H. (1978). Realism and Reason. Meaning and the Moral Sciences.Google Scholar
  25. Putnam, H. (2004). Ethics without ontology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Quine, W. V. O. (1948). On what there is. Revue of Metaphysics, 2, 21–38.Google Scholar
  27. Quine, W. V. O. (1951a). Two dogmas of empiricism. Philosophical Review, 60, 20–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Quine, W. V. O. (1951b). On carnap’s views on ontology. Philosophical Studies, 2, 65–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Quine, W. V. O. (1960). Carnap and logical truth. Synthese, 12, 350–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ripley, D. (2011). Negation, denial, and rejection. Philosophy Compass, 6(9), 622–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schechter, J. (2010). The reliability challenge and the epistemology of logic. Philosophical Perspectives, 24, 437–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sider, T. (2001). Four-dimensionalism: An ontology of persistence and time. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sider, T. (2011). Writing the book of the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sider, T. (2013). Replies to dorr, fine, and hirsch. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LXXXVII(3), 733–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Soames, S. (2009). Ontology, analyticity, and meaning: The quine-carnap dispute. In Chalmers, Manley, & Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics: New essays on the foundations of ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Sosa, E. (1999). How must knowledge be modally related to what is known? Philosophical Topics, 26(1 & 2), 373–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. van der Waerden, B. L. (1973). From matrix mechanics to wave mechanics to unified quantum mechanics. In J. Mehra (Ed.), The physicist’s conception of nature. Dordreicht: D. Reidel Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  38. Von Neumann, J. (1932). Mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Warren, J. (2015). Quantifier variance and the collapse argument. The Philosophical Quarterly, 65(259), 241–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Warren, J. (forthcoming). Epistemology vs non-causal realism. Synthese. doi: 10.1007/s11229-015-1010-z.
  41. Weinberg, S. (1994). Dreams of a final theory: The scientist’s search for the ultimate laws of nature. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  42. White, R. (2010). You just believe that because. Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1), 573–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Williams, B. (1978). Descartes: The project of pure inquiry. Middlesex: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.JacksonvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations