A proposal for a minimalist ontology
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This paper seeks to answer the following question: What is a minimal set of entities that form an ontology of the natural world, given our well-established physical theories? The proposal is that the following two axioms are sufficient to obtain such a minimalist ontology: (1) There are distance relations that individuate simple objects, namely matter points. (2) The matter points are permanent, with the distances between them changing. I sketch out how one can obtain our well-established physical theories on the basis of just these two axioms. The argument for minimalism in ontology then is that it yields all the explanations that one can reasonably demand in science and philosophy, while avoiding the drawbacks that come with a richer ontology.