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Saturday, September 07, 2019


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Bill, you present elegantly and correctly my argument that there’s no need for ‘thick’ states of affairs. But you’re wrong in attributing to me the view that there's ‘no need to posit thick particulars in reality’. I only claim that thick particulars don’t exist at the level of truthmakers. That, by my assumptions and the proposed assay of thick particulars, is equivalent to the claim that they’re merely apparent SOAs. Whether or not this implies that there are no thick particulars ‘in reality’ (that they are ‘a mere appearance’, as you put it) is interesting - but I have no view on it.

And I’m not saying anything to that effect, at least not on purpose; in particular, I don't say that thick particulars are ‘merely apparent’. They’re merely apparent *states of affairs*. But there’s a world of difference between holding that x is a merely apparent Phi and holding that x itself is merely apparent.

But perhaps there are reasons I ought to endow thick particulars with a higher ontological status, as it were. You present one of them, an argument from individuation, with your characteristic clarity. However, as I argue in Chap. 5, in line with a rather distinguished tradition, the bare particulars do all the individuation of thick particulars we need.

As to your final point of criticism, I'd also apply my argument to the thick particulars that are sub-atomic, yes. But again, I'm only saying that they don't exist at the truthmaker level, not that they're not real.

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