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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 8, 2016

The Non-existence of Ontological Categories: A defence of Lowe

  • J. T. M. Miller EMAIL logo
From the journal Metaphysica


This paper addresses the ontological status of the ontological categories as defended within E.J. Lowe’s four-category ontology (kinds, objects, properties/relations, and modes). I consider the arguments in Griffith (2015. “Do Ontological Categories Exist?” Metaphysica 16 (1):25–35) against Lowe’s claim that ontological categories do not exist, and argue that Griffith’s objections to Lowe do not work once we fully take advantage of ontological resources available within Lowe’s four-category ontology. I then argue that the claim that ontological categories do not exist has no undesirable consequences for Lowe’s brand of realism.

Funding statement: This research was carried out during my time as a Research Fellow on the Durham Emergence Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation(Grant ID: 40485).

Acknowledgements and thanks

I am grateful to my colleagues at Trinity College Dublin, and to Anna Bortolan for discussions that helped to clarify the points made here.


Griffith, A. M. 2015. “Do Ontological Categories Exist?” Metaphysica 16 (1):25–35.10.1515/mp-2015-0001Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E. J. 2006. The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Thomasson, A. L. 2015. Ontology Made Easy. New York: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385119.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2016-9-8
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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