Abstract for Williams’ talk

The idea that some properties are “reference magnets”—somehow intrinsically easy to refer to—has become popular in recent times. I look at the source of this idea in Lewis’s interpretationism and account of laws, relating it to his treatment of theoretical simplicity. I examine whether there’s any prospect of a deep explanation of why certain items are reference magnetic, connecting this to Field’s 1975 idea of a conventional metasemantics. An explicitly parochial, deflationary and unprincipled account of reference magnets is developed, and I argue for this and against Lewis’ famous claim that metaphysically “elite” properties are magnetic.

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