Cool Atomism
Most of what passes for cool ontology these days—when people dare to do it at all—is just a form of atomism. How do I mean? An atom is something that can't be cut any further. We think of them as little shiny pingpong balls like the ones we saw in high school chemistry. 
"Positivist" and Other Terms of Praise
A colleague who read my previous post suggested to me that I was calling for a basically "positivist" style of literary scholarship, akin to the would-be empirical investigations of nineteenth-century philologists and historians. He didn't mean that in a positive way. And thereon hangs a twentieth-century literary-historical tale...