Some Consequences of Physics for the Comparative Metaphysics of Quantity

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Baker, David John
preprint description
According to comparativist theories of quantities, their intrinsic values are not fundamental. Instead, all the quantity facts are grounded in scale-independent relations like "twice as massive as" or "more massive than." I show that this sort of scale independence is best understood as a sort of metaphysical symmetry--a principle about which transformations of the non-fundamental ontology leave the fundamental ontology unchanged. Determinism--a core scientific concept easily formulated in absolutist terms--is more difficult for the comparativist to define. After settling on the most plausible comparativist understanding of determinism, I offer some examples of physical systems that the comparativist must count as indeterministic although the relevant physical theory gives deterministic predictions. Several morals are drawn. In particular: comparativism is metaphysically contingent if true, and it is most natural for a comparativist to accept an at-at theory of motion.