Journal Article

Do Objects Depend on Structures?

Johanna Wolff

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 63, issue 3, pages 607-625
Published in print September 2012 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Do Objects Depend on Structures?

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Ontic structural realists hold that structure is all there is, or at least all there is fundamentally. This thesis has proved to be puzzling: What exactly does it say about the relationship between objects and structures? In this article, I look at different ways of articulating ontic structural realism in terms of the relation between structures and objects. I show that objects cannot be reduced to structure, and argue that ontological dependence cannot be used to establish strong forms of structural realism. At the end, I show how a weaker, but controversial, form of structural realism can be articulated on the basis of ontological dependence.


2OSR—What is the debate?

3Reduction and Eliminativism

4Ontological Dependence and Identity


Journal Article.  8663 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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