Combinatorial Possibility of Nothing: A Consequence for Inmanent Universals

Sergio Rodrigo Parra Paine


This paper focuses on the possibility of conceiving a form of ontological nihilism, starting from D. M. Armstrong’s combinatorialism. This possibility has been suggested by Efird and Stoneham, by means of proposing an alternative strategy to the ‘subtraction argument’. They claim that it is possible to sustain such nihilism trough the concepts of construction and totality state of affairs. However, this hypothesis will require the acceptance of non-instanciated universals, that is, platonic universals. Yet this is opposite to requirements that are basic for a combinatorial theory, which should uphold that universals exist only in their instantiations. Then, the assumption of platonic universals results in high costs for a combinatorial naturalism, according to which only exists what is located in space and time.


Combinatorialism; Nihilism; Construction; Totality State of Affairs; Universals; D. M. Armstrong


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