The Universe Among Other Things
Peter Simons has argued that the expression ‘the universe’ is not a genuine singular term: it can name neither a single, completely encompassing individual, nor a collection of individuals. (It is, rather, a semantically plural term standing equally for every existing object.) I offer reasons for resisting Simons’s arguments on both scores. Simons’s outline and defence of his positive view are compelling, and the view may well turn out to be the best option that is available all things considered. However, this defence builds on a pars destruens that is reminiscent of van Fraassen’s scepticism concerning the possibility that, to put it in the material mode, the universe is one thing among others.
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- December 2, 2014