Monash University
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The objectivity of ontological discourse

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posted on 2017-03-01, 01:58 authored by Lu, Shang
The thesis examines whether there are objectively true answers to ontological questions. Traditionally, ontological questions are taken to be significant to philosophers: to give those questions firm answers is typically the first step in establishing a metaphysical system or even a philosophical system. However, recently, more and more philosophers have questioned whether ontological statements really present objective truths about the world. Given that it is widely received that ontology might be the center of metaphysics, to answer this question is therefore very important. In chapter 1, I present some major worries about the objectivity of ontological statements and some important theories in the contemporary literature addressing those worries. In chapter 2, I analyze those theories in detail and suggest that none of them gives a completely satisfactory account of the objectivity of ontology. My positive proposal, raised in chapter 3, is that objectivity of discourses comes in degrees and that we can assess it according to a reasonably comprehensive set of criteria. In chapter 4, I apply those criteria in the assessment of the discourse of ontology. I reached two major conclusions: (a), Euthyphro Contrast, Cognitive Command and Data Sensitivity are the plausible criteria of the objectivity of discourses; (b), since ontological discourse does not strongly exhibit any of those marks, the objectivity of ontological discourse is very weak.


Principal supervisor

Graham Oppy

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts

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