Looking Forward, Not Back: Supporting Structuralism in the Present

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McKenzie, Kerry
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preprint description
The view that the fundamental kind properties are intrinsic properties enjoys reflexive endorsement by most metaphysicians of science. But ontic structural realists deny that there are any fundamental intrinsic properties at all. Given that structuralists distrust intuition as a guide to truth, and given that we currently lack a fundamental physical theory that we could consult instead to order settle the issue, it might seem as if there is simply nowhere for this debate to go at present. However, I will argue that there exists an as-yet untapped resource for arguing for ontic structuralism – namely, the way that fundamentality is conceptualized in our most fundamental physical frameworks. By arguing that physical objects must be subject to the ‘Goldilock’s principle’ if they are to count as fundamental, I argue that we can no longer view the majority of properties defining them as intrinsic. As such, ontic structural realism can be regarded as the right metaphysics for fundamental physics, and that this is so even though we do not yet claim to know precisely what that fundamental physics is.