John Heil

Ordinary Objects

What relation do ordinary objects – tomatoes, rocks, human beings – bear to the objects of fundamental physics? Suppose, for instance, physics tells us that the universe comprises dynamic, interactive arrangements of particles. What relation do these bear to the ordinary things? One possibility is that only the particles are fully real, ordinary things enjoy a kind of attenuated, non-fundamental reality, ordinary things are ‘grounded’ in the fundamental things. Or perhaps ordinary objects are fully real existents alongside the particles: there is the cloud of particles that makes up the tomato and there is the tomato. A third possibility is that ordinary objects, or most of them, are fictions. These options are discussed and a fourth possibility defended: the particles serve as truthmakers for truths about ordinary things; fundamental physics provides the deep story about the nature of ordinary things.

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