Talk:Pluralism (philosophy)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article has been marked as needing immediate attention.

The stages of pluralism in civilize nations —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Radical pluralism[edit]

The article could maybe present a bit of information on the philosophy of radical pluralism, which is a bit different from typical pluralism in that it is radical. ADM (talk) 20:01, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm no expert on the pre-Socrates, but I'm confident in saying that Parmenides' philosophy is not characterized by "ever-changing flux" as the article suggests. Rather it is one of unchanging constancy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Good point. The practical upshot is more or less the same if one wants an account of change between those extremes, but of course, flux was Heraclitus, not Parmenides.—Machine Elf 1735 02:27, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Logic on Wikipedia[edit]

If one is going to accept both contradiction and truth ("several conflicting but still true descriptions of the world") why bother continuing? Richardbrucebaxter (talk) 08:22, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Every coin has two sides. BlueMist (talk) 10:24, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


Pluralism appears to have several meanings in philosophy. This article covers 2 distinct meanings which have no reason to be covered on the same article. There is already an article covering epistemological pluralism, in which the Epistemology section should be merged. The metaphysical section should be split into a new article. I am not sure how that article should be named, Ontological pluralism or Metaphysical pluralism. --Chealer (talk) 22:18, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Within "Metaphysics", the "Metaphysical Pluralism" section does not even exist yet. Metaphysical pluralism is the multiplicity of metaphysical models, as exhibited by Plato and Nelson Goodman. It will need to be made clear how it is different from "Ontological Pluralism". BlueMist (talk) 10:59, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
I am removing the split tag. This discussion has ceased and it is not clear what is intended or why. If discussion resumes in the future and a concensus is reached on how to split then replace the split tag, or even better, carry out the split.


The tag to merge Epistemology has had no discussion. There is now a tag to say that the section does not even meet standards. If there is a problem with the section then it should either be rectified or removed. Merging the section to another article is just moving the problem.

RfC: New version of Ontological pluralism[edit]

A new version of the article ontological pluralism has been written and comments are requested on its talk page at User:Brews_ohare/ontological_pluralism#RfC:_New_version_of_Ontological_pluralism.. Brews ohare (talk) 17:31, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

At the moment the subject is treated as a subsection Ontological_pluralism#Ontological_pluralism that refers to Classical elements as the 'main article' on the subject. In fact, classical elements is an account of " ancient beliefs inspired by natural observation of the phases of matter; with the classical elements: earth is equivalent to solid, water is equivalent to liquid, air is equivalent to gas and fire is equivalent to plasma." That discussion in fact has nothing to do with ontological pluralism in today's philosophy. This is also the subject of the first and longest of two paragraphs in Ontological_pluralism#Ontological_pluralism.

There is a second paragraph discussing one aspect of Wittgenstein's thought on the subject of language games. This discussion is very tangential to the topic and it s bearing is not made clear.

There is nothing here reflecting modern work on the topic such as that referred to in Matti Eklund (2009). Carnap and Ontological Pluralism, Huw Price (1992). Metaphysical Pluralism, Joshua Spencer (2012). Ways of Being, and on and on.

Considering the poor treatment of this topic on WP, it is time something was changed, and this draft article is a step in that direction. Some comment would be helpful. Brews ohare (talk) 16:55, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

New lead paragraph for section on ontological pluralism[edit]

I have added a new introductory paragraph to the section 'ontological pluralism' that widens the scope of this term beyond an archaic reference to Aristotle's elements to reflect a more modern interpretation of this topic. Two sources have been supplied. The entire subsection needs to undertake a wider discussion that reflects a wider modern view of the topic. Brews ohare (talk) 15:13, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

  • This new introductory paragraph, reproduced below was deleted by Snowded as part of his campaign to disallow changes to WP articles.
Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different ways or modes of being.[1] "There are numbers, fictional characters, impossible things, and holes. But, we don’t think these things all exist in the same sense as cars and human beings."[2][3] In very technical terms, ontological pluralism claims that an accurate description of reality uses multiple quantifiers that do not range over a single domain of discourse.[1]
  1. ^ a b Jason Turner (April 2012). "Logic and ontological pluralism". Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (2): 419–448. doi:10.1007/s10992-010-9167-x. 
  2. ^ Joshua Spencer (November 12, 2012). "Ways of being". Philosophy Compass 7 (12): 910–918. doi:10.1111/j.1747-9991.2012.00527.x. 
  3. ^ Martin Gardner makes the same point: Martin Gardner (December 2005). "Science in the looking glass: What do scientists really know? (a book review)" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. pp. 1344 ff. No modern realist believes for a moment that numbers and theorems “exist” in the same way that stones and stars exist. Of course mathematical concepts are mental constructs and products of human culture. 
Snowded's revert also removed some sub-headers and some rewording, particularly in the paragraph describing metaphysics, that are useful. The article before Snowded's revert can be seen here. Such blanket reversion of good-faith attempts to improve articles with no attempt to respond to this Talk page discussion is inimical to WP development. Brews ohare (talk) 18:32, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
As pointed out at the introduction to this thread, the present treatment of ontological pluralism is outdated and far too narrow. The deleted paragraph corrected this matter, and Snowded has made no comment about this issue that needs to be addressed. Brews ohare (talk) 18:36, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Brews, please try and understand that the edit summary can be used as well as the talk page. I'm open to an argument that there should be balanced additional material from modern sources (although you do insert material from the same narrow range of authors on many articles so please not 'balanced'), but I'm less happy with your headings and the loss of a historical narrative. Your addition of Turner is in effect your selection of what is important for the lede, and you really need a third party not a primary source selected by you. So look at adding some relevant and balanced material, and lets see what other think about headings and sequencing. Above all try and realise that other editors also have the good of wikipedia at heart; that they disagree with you should not be a condemnation ----Snowded TALK 18:43, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: Pardon me, but I have no interest in debating your particular type of non-reasoning objections. There is nothing wrong with my sources and you have no basis at all for disagreeing with them (an anonymous WP editor vs. published sources) or with the general contention that the topic has to be defined more broadly. Brews ohare (talk) 19:14, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Well you have been debating with my "non-reasoning" objections over multiple RfCs on many articles without support Brews so I think you will have to engage a little more. Try reading the comment and responding to it, rather than simply reacting because your edit, the whole edit, and nothing but the edit has not been instantly accepted. ----Snowded TALK 19:31, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Please recognize that changes in ontological pluralism are necessary. Yes Snowded, I have put up with one example after another of ridiculous objections to minor edits based upon your personal tastes, or perhaps distastes. Here we have the latest. Brews ohare (talk) 21:59, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Two things are clear. First that there is nobody with any interest in fixing the problems with ontological pluralism, namely that it treats a sub-topic classical elements as the entire subject. Second, no-one has pointed out anything wrong with the proposed new introductory paragraph that fixes the problem, and no suggestions for its improvement have been made. What's next? Brews ohare (talk) 16:50, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
It might be a bit technical for the opening paragraph, but that is probably just the nature of the beast. In any case, I like the deleted (and well sourced) paragraph. I haven't reviewed the whole debate going on here, but Brews seems like he's making excellent additions. I'll try and take a look and serve as a third party. - Atfyfe (talk) 19:19, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
You have to show relevance of material selected for the lede, which means a source which justifies the selection, If you can do that (which Brews has not) then no issues ----Snowded TALK 19:29, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean. The paragraph literally defines "ontological pluralism" in the 2 of the 3 sentences that make up the paragraph. It could not be more relevant. I'll look at his sources, but I am baffled by what your objection could be. - Atfyfe (talk) 20:43, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I think I can help diagnose the problem. Brews and Snowded appear to be thinking of "ontological pluralism" in entirely different senses. Snowded seems to be thinking of ontological pluralism in a sense that is "directly related with the belief in classical elements, and exists in many ancient world views. " That is not at all the sense in which Brews means ontological pluralism, which is instead directly related to debates over dualism and monism in philosophy of mind. I am not sure how to resolve the problem. Brews is correct that in philosophy ontological pluralism is more about fundamental different ontological categories (between time, matter, space, consciousness, fictional characters, etc.) whereas "ontological pluralism" in science is about different types of physical material. So I presume neither of you will give ground, so the question before us is how can we divide the entry into different sub-sections that can respect these wholly different discussions. - Atfyfe (talk) 20:56, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Atfyfe: My original proposal found here made some additional changes to help the article fit together better, including a segue in the introductory paragraph of Metaphysics and a few sub-sub-headers. Perhaps something like this would solve the problems, at least in part? Brews ohare (talk) 21:47, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
The basic idea is to treat classical elements as an historically interesting version, but the more modern view as being wider ranging. Brews ohare (talk) 22:42, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think I am seeing this as an article on Philosophy Atfyfe and I hope Brew's is as well as he is under a permanent topic ban on Physics related articles, broadly construed. I'm more than happy for modern elements to be there provided (i) so called classical elements are not made an afterthought and (ii) the modern elements are based on third party sources not Brew's selection of those modern sources he is reading. To create an overall structure we need an authoritative source. The Oxford companion to Philosophy has the subject Monism and pluralism, and it is a paragraph long on that difference. It does not extend into a wider discussion. ----Snowded TALK 05:35, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps useless to say, Snowded, you ignore the points that (i) classical elements does not exhaust the topic of ontological pluralism, and it is not ignored as the entire present treatment is left intact, (ii) a broader meaning is in common use and has been authoritatively sourced (and exampled) in the proposed paragraph making your request for more authoritative sourcing moot, and (iii) dualism does not exhaust ontological pluralism either. Perhaps also useless to point out, the section should be enlarged to refer to work like Eklund that clearly uses the broader meaning and attributes ontological pluralism to Carnap, to Hirsch and to Putnam. Brews ohare (talk) 16:04, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Well it is how the Cambridge book treats it. You can't just select material you find relevant and then make a definitive statement about the field as a whole. You need a source which discusses the relevance and balance of that material. ----Snowded TALK 20:50, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
No, Snowded, that is not policy. Relevance in this case is certainly not an issue. As for balance, it would seem that you feel that somehow it is unbalanced to present the modern well-sourced more general definition, as though there were controversy over this matter. There isn't. What we have right now in ontological pluralism is the Aristotelian version of classical elements which is very well represented by a lengthy paragraph and an article of its own. At a minimum this narrow-minded presentation is a violation of WP:NPOV. Brews ohare (talk) 23:39, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
It is Brews, if you make a statement about the field as a whole, especially in the lede as you did. Adding new material with some of your sources might be OK as that can be built on ----Snowded TALK 06:15, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
There seems to be a glimmer of compromise here. You're suggesting that presentation of of the general view and the restriction to Aristotelian classical elements be made more parallel? Brews ohare (talk) 13:33, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Here is how that could be done:

Ontological pluralism[edit]

Ontological pluralism takes several forms. Among them are the the belief in classical elements that exists in many ancient world views, and the more recent interpretation that it is the discussion of different ways or modes of being. These and other approaches are discussed in more detail below.

Classical elements

Main article: Classical elements
blah blah blah (present text in article)

Modes of being

A more recent interpretation of ontological pluralism is that it discusses different ways or modes of being.[1] "There are numbers, fictional characters, impossible things, and holes. But, we don’t think these things all exist in the same sense as cars and human beings."[2][3] In very technical terms, ontological pluralism claims that an accurate description of reality uses multiple quantifiers that do not range over a single domain of discourse.[1]


  1. ^ a b Jason Turner (April 2012). "Logic and ontological pluralism". Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (2): 419–448. doi:10.1007/s10992-010-9167-x. 
  2. ^ Joshua Spencer (November 12, 2012). "Ways of being". Philosophy Compass 7 (12): 910–918. doi:10.1111/j.1747-9991.2012.00527.x. 
  3. ^ Martin Gardner makes the same point: Martin Gardner (December 2005). "Science in the looking glass: What do scientists really know? (a book review)" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. pp. 1344 ff. No modern realist believes for a moment that numbers and theorems “exist” in the same way that stones and stars exist. Of course mathematical concepts are mental constructs and products of human culture. 

Any comments? Brews ohare (talk) 13:41, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

I think this is great. On wikipedia I have found the best option is always to find some way to sub-divide a section/entry so that both editors can be represented. I have to say, I think if we were limited for space that Brews has the more relevant/important discussion of ontological pluralism. However, we are not limited for space. SO let's just divide the sub-section into an entry on "modes of being" and an entry on "classical elements". - Atfyfe (talk) 02:16, 22 August 2013 (UTC)


The present section ontological pluralism contains an unsourced introduction to Wittgenstein:

"Another example of ontological pluralism can be found in Ludwig Wittgenstein's notion of language-games; the idea that different mutually agreed rule systems, and in the case of ontological matters, ontological rule systems, are adopted in conversation and communication for a purpose which delineates the rules, constituting the language-game's meaning. For example, it is common to refer to a film, novel or otherwise fictitious or virtual narrative as not being real. Thus a functional ontological distinction is made, despite the fact one really did see the film, and one really did read the novel; that is, despite the fact that one cannot experience something that isn't real, or at least, a real experience. In the context of the language-game however, the characters in the film or novel are not real, where the 'real world' is the everyday world in which we live."

I believe this exposition is completely unrelated to classical elements and so requires a separate subheader. Also, the general idea of an ontological distinction between the reality described in a novel, and 'reality' itself falls under the rubric of 'modes of being' and should be lumped into a section on that topic along with a much more extensive discussion of 'modes of being'. Brews ohare (talk) 14:42, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

With the new structure of ontological pluralism, I have introduced the material about Wittgenstein in the subsection Ontological pluralism#Modes of being. I've largely rewritten the previous text quoted above and included three quotations from the Philosophical Investigations. The first of these quotations uses Wittgenstein's own presentation of the idea of drawing boundaries around meanings for special purposes. The second presents Wittgenstein's very lucid comparison of the connection between these overlapping meanings that do not allow a clean division unless a convention is adopted that excludes some aspect of meaning. The third quotation points out that the theories of science constitute one way of drawing such boundaries and defining conventions that restrict the meaning of terms.

These points could be made in the WP text and Wittgenstein simply cited as support. However, I believe the quotes take advantage of Wittgenstein's unmatchable eloquence, and also have the merit of being his own words, so the possibility of misreading him is avoided. Brews ohare (talk) 14:07, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Snowded's reverts[edit]

In several reverts including one with the comment Excessive quotation and also linking to carnap stuff , Snowded has removed the explanation of Wittgenstein's contribution, several pertinent quotations, and additional material relevant to ontological pluralism as discussed by Carnap and by Quine. He has made no attempt to discuss the reasoning provided in this thread. Further discussion is needed, both as to why explanation of Wittgenstein's efforts has been emasculated, and as to why the discussion by Price, and Eklund about Quine and Carnap and Wittgenstein have been deleted. Brews ohare (talk) 14:53, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

If this material appears to be too lengthy for a subsection in Pluralism (philosophy), then the redirect from ontological pluralism can be made into a full article, as I have attempted earlier, and as is already the case for epistemological pluralism. That would allow for a fuller development of Price, Eklund and other modern philosophers. Brews ohare (talk) 15:41, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

The material is more than well covered in linked articles. You are using the same material and sources on multiple articles and its not necessary. If I look at the Oxford Companion, a recent publication the entry is very simple and does not have any of the material you are suggesting. Also on quotations, you keep doing this, selecting quotations and adding your commentary. This is not a place for you to write under graduate essays it is an encyclopaedia. We have to create a proportionate representation of relevant material, not extended sections expanding on what editors reading of limited sources ----Snowded TALK 16:45, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Your comments about 'undergraduate essays' are, of course, simply insults devoid of value. Your vague comments about what is 'proportionate' and 'extended sections' supports making ontological pluralism a separate article. Then things can be condensed here. What is not contained in the 'Oxford Companion' is legion. Brews ohare (talk) 17:07, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
It (the Oxford Companion) is what Wikipedia calls a reliable third party source. I am sure you think you could have done a better job, but you haven't been published on the subject so it is something you have to learn to live with ----Snowded TALK 17:24, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: I didn't suggest the 'Oxford Companion' is unreliable, but that it is not an exhaustive treatment of ontological pluralism. It does say the following however, about Jacques Maritain: "he advocates ontological pluralism, claiming there are various non-reducible levels of existence, e.g. the physical, the biological, the psychological, the social, and the spiritual; and similarly he insists upon the diversity of our ways of knowing reality..." [emphasis added]. You may note that 'ontological pluralism' by this account is far, far broader than mere 'philosophy'. It is hard to understand how you can discount the discussions by Price and by Eklund, and indeed the entire discussion of various ontologies by Wittgenstein, Carnap, Hirsch, Putnam and who knows who else. Brews ohare (talk) 17:46, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
This article is about Pluralism, it is not the appropriate place for an 'entire discussion of various ontologies" by any number of philosophers. Tone down the edit summaries by the way, you are just building a case ....----Snowded TALK 19:06, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
A complete misreading of my comment. Argumentative to no purpose. Your chosen source supports a wider view of the subject. The comparison of multiple ontologies is ipso facto a consideration of ontological pluralism. Brews ohare (talk) 20:26, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Brews, please be guided by Snowded... Sorry I haven't had much time lately, I started a new job.—Machine Elf 1735 22:59, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Snowded has now abbreviated the discussion of ontological pluralism and in doing so has dropped a number of the useful citations in the original, particularly to Wittgenstein's work and its discussion. Brews ohare (talk) 13:16, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Happy for references (without commentary) to be added back in ----Snowded TALK 13:30, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


We need to bear in mind that the Cambridge companion has for this subject the entry "see monism and pluralism". That entry then has one paragraph and a short one which describes the differences. That is a 2005 edition so recent. Of the issues of pluralism, relativism etc. extend over many philosophical issues, but the place for that is on the articles concerned. Here we should be referencing them. Having half of a section devoted to Wittgenstein who only illustrates some of those issues was excessive. ----Snowded TALK 08:46, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

The topic of scope is indeed relevant for this Talk page. Your point is just how deep a treatment of the various branches of pluralism should be included in the article on pluralism (philosophy) . You argue that the treatment of the sub-topic of ontological pluralism should be kept brief, and a treatment of Wittgenstein should be kept to a minimum in the article pluralism (philosophy). That argument has some value, as pluralism (philosophy) should be an introduction to the various philosophical branches of pluralism, and in particular ontological pluralism and epistemological pluralism. (Pluralism in more general terms is described in a plethora of individual articles.) At the moment, epistemological pluralism has its own article, and in that article it is pointed out that this topic is much broader than philosophy. I'd suggest that the restriction of pluralism (philosophy) to the role of simply introducing its sub-topics suggests that ontological pluralism also should be made a separate article, instead of a redirect. That would allow two things: (i) a more complete treatment, not only of Wittgenstein, but of Carnap, Quine, Price, Thomasson, Eklund, Hirsch, et alia (in the realm of philosophy), and (ii) possibly also some discussion of ontological pluralism in other areas of study. Brews ohare (talk) 12:53, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd add to this that the present article pluralism (philosophy), as it now is reduced by Snowded to a few lines per topic, is far too sketchy to stand as WP's only treatment of ontological pluralism. Brews ohare (talk) 13:01, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
The article on epistemological pluralism is weak and it is as you say not a subject confined to philosophy. It may be best to build an article on ontological pluralism, but it would have to be an article with some valid origin or source to prove its value. I have a simple rule of thumb here; if the subject is not in a major work such as the referenced Cambridge one then we have to question any suggestion to create one here. Its not as if the issues raised by the Philosophers you mention are not already mentioned in many articles. Ideally you should find a third party reference work that mentions the topic that gives us authority to elaborate on the various elements. They it would make a lot of sense to work in a sandpit (inviting other editors) to agree the broad content before you embark on detailed work. ----Snowded TALK 13:28, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
The devil is in the details. Your favorite source, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy says about ontological pluralism, it is a claim that "there are various non-reducible levels of existence, e.g. the physical, the biological, the psychological, the social, and the spiritual." Maybe that is the subject area? Brews ohare (talk) 14:35, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
It is not necessarily my favourite. It is however the most recent of such texts that I have to hand. It has no article on ontological pluralism so can yo tell me where you got that reference from?----Snowded TALK 15:07, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
page 555 Brews ohare (talk) 19:03, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Umm, that is a reference to the views of Maritain, so its useful but it does not define the topic, just one philosophers take on it. The form of words does not imply a specific subject per se. ----Snowded TALK 19:09, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Not exactly, Snowded. This definition of ontological pluralism occurs in John Haldane's article on Jacques Maritain, but it is the definition of ontological pluralism introduced by Haldane so that he can apply it to Maritain's opus. So you are in this interesting position: although the Oxford Companion to Philosophy is a 'reputable third-party' source, it's articles are written by individuals who are responsible for their own contributions. According to your position, Snowded, we can rely on this reliable third-party source regarding 'ontological pluralism' when we read its entry under that heading, but if a contributor to the Oxford Companion (perhaps even the same one) uses that term in another article in that work, that usage is only the opinion of that contributing philosopher. Ummm, indeed. Brews ohare (talk) 15:56, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Your view, Snowded, is that when Haldane says, (Oxford Companion, p. 155):
"He [Maritain] advocates ontological pluralism, claiming that there are various non-reducible levels of existence, e.g. the physical, the biological, the psychological, the social, and the spiritual..."
he cannot be taken to be using the term 'ontological pluralism' in an accepted (third-party) sense of the term, but only in some 'personal' sense of what the term means. In effect, John Haldane is a reliable third-party source on specific topics he has written about under their topic name in the Philosophical Companion, but is only 'one opinion' regarding anything in the Companion he writes that involves other (possible) entries in that source that he has not authored.
If there were a specific entry on 'ontological pluralism' in the Companion, possibly it also would be only 'the opinion' of the author who wrote that entry? Then the Companion is not a 'third-party source' after all? Ummm. Brews ohare (talk) 16:05, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I think you need to read it again Brews. It says "Maritain is a staunch realist in meta[hysics and epistemology: he advocates ontological pluralism, claiming that there are various non-reducible levels of existence, e.g. the physical ...." It is entirely a statement about Maritain's views it does not define ontological pluralism as a field. Neither in that form does it necessarily establish the term as a field. Even if he is using the term in a generic sense, he does not define it, only Maritain's use of it. If there was a entry then it would be a recognition of the field and a reviewed source. As such the view of Maritain can be cited as it is not just a personal view it peer reviewed in a reliable source so could be used in an article on Maritain or an article referencing Maritain. I think you are exhibiting some of the issues with google searches on key words with a point already in mind. Otherwise (as ever) your restatement of my views is misleading and false ----Snowded TALK 05:40, 29 August 2013 (UTC)----Snowded TALK 05:40, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Snowded, I do agree with you that Haldane may have meant his use of 'ontological pluralism' only to distinguish a particular type of pluralism from others, and not to identify a field of study. However, it is clear that Haldane has introduced 'ontological pluralism' as a term Haldane thinks describes Maritain's work, and then goes on to say that the aspects of Maritain's work that fit this term are his claims "that there are various non-reducible levels of existence, e.g. the physical, the biological, the psychological, the social, and the spiritual..." He does not (and cannot) describe Maritain's use of the term, as Maritain doesn't use it himself.
There remains the issue that if the appearance of Haldane's work in the Companion converts his status from that of a 'primary source' to that of a 'third-party source', there is no reason why that magic should not apply to his understanding of what 'ontological pluralism' means. Brews ohare (talk) 15:39, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
He simply makes a statement about Maritain Brews. Anything else is reading material into the source which is not there. ----Snowded TALK 16:34, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: This particular sentence is of the form "He advocates revolution, arguing for violent overthrow of the government". Inferring from this remark that the speaker thinks (whether he is right or wrong about this) that the 'violent overthrow of the government' is a form of 'revolution' is a normal interpretation, which of course, you're free to ignore at the cost of appearing a bit odd. You seem to claim that Haldane juxtaposes 'ontological pluralism' with the rest of his sentence without implying any connection between the two. Or perhaps you think Haldane is saying that it is Maritain's view that 'ontological pluralism' is the claim that 'there are various non-reducible levels of existence'? That would be, of course, a gross misreading as Maritain made no such statements, whatever he might think about this use of the term. You are, naturally, welcome to read English as is your wont. Brews ohare (talk) 16:50, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Of course, above and beyond any difficulties you have in reading Haldane, we have the inconvenient fact that multiple philosophers (e.g. Turner, Spencer, Eklund, Price, Thomasson, Gardner) use this definition. Brews ohare (talk) 17:34, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You really like drawing conclusions from the text which aren't there Brews don't you Brews? Not to mention jumping to false conclusions. The point being made is entirely to do with the Cambridge book and what it says. Haldane is defining Mauritain's views and that is all we can draw from it. The fact that other people may use similar language is of course inevitable if they address similar issues. Ontology and pluralism are common words and their combination increasingly common. The simple fact remains that the Cambridge Companion does not deem it worthy of an article and merely uses the words once in describing the views of a prominent Thomist. Otherwise I had thought you have calmed down a bit on the personal attacks yesterday, but it looks like that is not the case and I will have to put the effort in of documenting the various examples ----Snowded TALK 18:31, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Snowded: 'the point being made' is that Haldane's statement cannot be taken as you wish to interpret it. Your explosion of misdirection does nothing. Brews ohare (talk) 19:20, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Classical elements[edit]

The section Pluralism (philosophy)#Classical elements presently is a subsection under ontological pluralism. However, nothing in this subsection, nor in the main article classical elements, documents that this topic falls under this heading. If there is in fact such a connection to ontological pluralism it should be documented. Brews ohare (talk) 23:04, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

It's not a good section name, s/b something like Pluralism (philosophy)#Ancient pluralism.—Machine Elf 1735 02:29, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

The introductory line to the section ontological pluralism is "Historically Ontological pluralism has been directly related with the belief in classical elements" Is there any documentation that the topic of (e.g.) earth, air, water, and fire was called 'ontological pluralism' by some historian? Brews ohare (talk) 04:01, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

I did look yesterday in a limited way and could not find anything. It is also not treated as a separate subject in several sources where you would otherwise expect to see if. I'm inclined to get rid of it, go with Machine Elf's suggestion and just use the phrase in the context of the summary of modern thinking ----Snowded TALK 05:33, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
The newly titled section Ancient pluralism appears to me to be properly an ancient version of metaphysical pluralism, so I moved it to that section and out of 'ontological pluralism' where it definitely does not belong. Brews ohare (talk) 15:02, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
This reassignment is supported by this and this. I haven't tried harder to find sources. Brews ohare (talk) 15:02, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Metaphysical or Ontological?[edit]

Apologies for interrupting your work! In Logic and Ontological Pluralism, Turner said:

Metaphysics, I hope you will agree, aims to uncover the ultimate structure of reality.
Some of this structure is ‘ontological’: it has to do with what there is. ‘Ontological structure’ is the kind of structure we could represent by a pegboard covered with rubber bands. When we say that there are some negatively charged particles, we say that some of reality’s pegs have the ‘negatively charged’ rubber band hanging from them. And when we say that an electron orbits a proton, we say that there is an ‘orbits’ rubber band stretched between one peg with an ‘electron’ band on it and another with a ‘proton’ band on it. (Not that the rubber bands represent other things — properties and relations — but rather they represent that certain things are or are related to each other in various ways.

This quote is consistent with the literature on metaphysics as the structure of reality, and ontology as the study of existence within each metaphysical system.

A mathematical metaphysics defines certain classes of numbers as existents. The rules (metaphysics) of chess defines the board, knights, and rooks. These ontological existents do not specifically exist in other metaphysical systems, such as for football or quantum physics. This is metaphysical pluralism. A metaphysics will have its ontology and epistemology, and perhaps ethics, aesthetics, and so on.

Ontological pluralism is something else. It is an effort within a metaphysical system, conceived as absolute and without peers, to engulf various desired foreign ontological objects, such as change, mind, life, numbers, universals, and much more.

Most of the literature, and also reader interest is this last category, of offering and defeating attempts at expanding the range of existents in standard modern philosophy.

We need to be extremely careful about the use of the terms real, existent, being, thing, object, relation, and so on. BlueMist (talk) 04:21, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Also with how we use the words ontology and metaphysics. Ontology in IT and also to a degree in Logic has come to mean something different that the nature of being and with that other terms are diverging to a degree ----Snowded TALK 05:35, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
BlueMist: I agree with your assessments. Do you think there are problems in the revised presentation of these matters? Brews ohare (talk) 15:04, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Recent changes by MachineElf[edit]

In this edit MachineElf made a number of changes that have not been explained on this Talk page. The definitions of the Free Dictionary have been replaced with unsourced and much narrower definitions. Both definitions are possible, and whether the narrower choice is preferable, or the broader, or both, deserves some elucidation? Brews ohare (talk) 15:47, 31 August 2013 (UTC) The present statement

"In metaphysics, pluralism is a doctrine that there is more than one reality, while monism holds that there is but one reality."

is probably wrong, or at least obscure. Monism and pluralism both can coexist with the idea of one 'reality', but differ as to how that 'reality' is to be understood. Pluralism can be expressed as the "belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life"[1] and monism as the contrary belief. Brews ohare (talk) 15:55, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

MachineElf also wishes to place all citation info so it appears in the text of the article in the edit window, instead of in the section on 'Notes'. He cites WP:CITEVAR as a policy that militates against the use of {{reflist|refs=}}, but that is not the purpose of that policy. The use of {{reflist|refs=}} is part of the {{reflist }} documentation, and is exactly the same in its use of citation details, other than their location. In the edit window it places these details out of the main text and into the section where the reflist template occurs, which simplifies reading of the text when editing. The policy WP:CITEVAR applies to introduction of radically different citation methods, like the Harvard approach, not to simple variants of {{reflist }}. Brews ohare (talk) 16:22, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

They're your recent changes Brews... WP:BRD and WP:EDITWAR.—Machine Elf 1735 17:50, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
I see that now this sentence reads;
"In metaphysics, pluralism is a doctrine that there is more than one reality, while realism holds that there is but one reality, that may have single objective ontology or plural ontology."
One problem with this sentence is that the phrase "that may have single objective ontology or plural ontology" is unintelligible jargon to the reader at this point in the article. If this point is to be raised, it should be in the body of the article. The second problem is the statement: "In metaphysics, pluralism is a doctrine that there is more than one reality, while realism holds that there is but one reality" It appears to contrast "pluralism" with "realism". While some definitions might be interpreted this way, in general the view that "pluralism" is to be contrasted with "realism" is not supported. At a minimum we need some references here, and I suspect that a WP:NPOV would not support this position. Brews ohare (talk) 19:39, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
In particular, the definition of pluralism as "The belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life."[2] refers to a plurality of explanations, not to a plurality of reality. Brews ohare (talk) 20:10, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
That's a separate issue Brews, this was about the WP:CITEVAR changes you'd like to make...
Despite your forum shopping and repeated attempts to mischaracterize as a reliable source, no one needs to tell you it isn't... you know that perfectly well; that's why you hide it. But I'd encourage people to go ahead and take a closer look because it's strange you were attempting to replace 4a with 4b instead of adding it.—Machine Elf 1735 18:01, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
MachineELf your invention of my motives in using list-defined references is something you can take up with your counselor. The fact is that the text as it stands is misleading and incomplete, and should be fixed. I'm tired of you. So fix it yourself. Brews ohare (talk) 18:17, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit warring[edit]

Brews, please don't edit war. Please self-revert and refer to WP:CITEVAR if you'd like to try and garner consensus for your change. As you're aware, I'm opposed because it's harder to spot your WP:RS violations if they're below the fold.—Machine Elf 1735 17:39, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

MachineElf: It's hard to believe you are advocating use of the Talk page when I have placed an extensive section (see above) about your edits on the Talk page from the beginning, and asked you in my edit comments specifically to explain your changes there. Without result. Apparently you feel that because I made the corrections, your revert to prior erroneous text requires no explanation. Brews ohare (talk) 18:59, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the use of list-defined references, I have opened a discussion here that you may wish to comment upon. I'll point out that {{reflist|refs= }} is not a departure from {{reflist }}: it uses exactly the same reference templates and the only change is to place this info at the end of the edit window instead of inside the text. Also, it doesn't force you or anyone else to change their habits: you still can add an inline <ref> Blah...blah...blah...</ref> if you want to. Brews ohare (talk) 19:07, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Per Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#Using list-defined references, WP:CITEVAR applies and you should make your case here. I'm still opposed for the reasons given.—Machine Elf 1735 19:26, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
The switch to list-defined references is not a major issue, just a convenience in editing. If it is too much trouble to scroll to the bottom of the page where the list-defined references are found in exactly the same format as before, well... The major issues are those of content, which you have yet to address. Brews ohare (talk) 23:40, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Brews the 'D' WRP:BRD does not mean "did they argue the case on the talk page to Brew's satisfaction, no, so lets revert again' It means discuss. You do this over multiple habits and its a form of edit warring that can be reported the same way as a 3rr----Snowded TALK 19:55, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
I observe that a discussion requires several participants, and Machine Elf has not done that. Brews ohare (talk) 20:14, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Other editors are not required to engage in endless discussions. If they have made a point and you don' accept, it thats that happens, live with it. It also happens with increasing frequency as people interact with you. Whatever it does not excuse edit warring ----Snowded TALK 21:09, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
What bilge. 'Endless' discussion my foot! MachineElf has supplied no discussion at all. Brews ohare (talk) 23:13, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
I think a lot of experienced editors are pretty fed up of interminable discussions with you in which you refuse any change to your determined position. Those of us who at least try get [{WP:NPA|abusive comments on the talk pages and in the edit summaries]]. You just provided another for the record. This is also a persistent pattern across many articles. Going through them the other night I could not find one instance of you accepting comments from another editor that altered your position. ----Snowded TALK 05:41, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
As usual, Snowded, when caught with nowhere to go, you start to vomit. Brews ohare (talk) 05:46, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
You really want me to make a report for incivility Brews? I'm giving you every chance to back off ----Snowded TALK 06:02, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: You have undertaken to defend MachineElf's reversion of proper changes without comment when he won't defend himself. When the unsatisfactory nature of supporting MachineElf's incorrect action becomes apparent, you escalate into character assassination of myself as though vitriol can justify MachineElf's activity. Your idea is that there is no need for him to support his reversion of changes when those changes are advanced by me, because of who I am, regardless of their merits.
None of this nonsense is called for. All we need is a sober discussion of the sourced definition of plurality that I introduced and why MachineElf finds it unacceptable. Your appropriation of his refusal to hold a simple discussion as grist for your manufacture of a personal attack is indeed 'vomit': I am being puked on as a replacement for sensible discussion. Brews ohare (talk) 11:47, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
OK Brews I have had enough. It may take me a couple of weeks but I will go through all your various insults, breeches of WP:BRD & tendencious editing and put the case together for arbitration enforcement. Trying to reason with you is a complete waste of time so expect minimimal comment, edit summaries in the main where needed will suffice ----Snowded TALK 12:40, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: Threats don't substitute for discussion of the meanings of plurality in philosophy. You could undertake such a discussion yourself, since MachineElf won't. That would actually constitute 'trying to reason with me', a departure from your activities on this occasion. Brews ohare (talk) 12:51, 1 September 2013 (UTC)