# Ontological Commitment

Edited by Henry Laycock (Queen's University)
 Summary Both the idea of ontological commitment and its connection to the idea of quantification are associated especially with the work of Quine. In Quine’s scheme (as in most others) the highest-level ontic category is that provided by the form of the variable itself; to be assumed as an entity is to be assumed as a value of a variable. Below this level, the question becomes one of the adoption of particular ranges of variables for particular ranges of putative entities (class variables versus individual variables, just for instance). In excluding semantically plural variables – a possiblity Quine seemingly never considered – his formulation is ‘singularist’; but this, it seems, should make no ontological difference. The idea of a distinctively ontic operator is articulated by Quine in several closely related ways - for example, ‘We commit ourselves outright to an ontology containing numbers when we say there are prime numbers between 1000 and1010; we commit ourselves to an ontology containing centaurs when we say there are centaurs’. Thus conceived, the role of the (so-called) existential quantifier is quite precise. It is not a device for expressing just any kind of existential information; it is a quite specifically ontic device, for speaking of categories and kinds of things exclusively – not for information as to numbers of the items in these categories and kinds. Ontically, what matters is purely and simply whether there are things of this or that kind or not. Quine declares: ‘Existence is what existential quantification expresses’, and continues, using the (bare plural) form, ‘There are things of kind F if and only if (∃x)(Fx)’. What the operator ∃ represents is here quantification in name only, precisely because its role is to be numerically neutral. Commonplace accounts of quantifiers stating that they specify ‘which or how many of some kind of things have some property’ misrepresent the content of the existential quantifier, in contrast with so-called numerical quantifiers (as in ‘There are exactly two prime numbers between 1 and 4’). Yet  insofar as the semantics of variables, whether singular or plural, implicate countability in the first place, the question of the ontological neutrality of their use is not distinct from the unsettled question of whether talk of entities or objects itself is ontically neutral. For Quine’s claim is that ‘all traits of reality worthy of the name can be set down in an idiom of this austere form if in any idiom’ – in spirit, ‘a philosophical doctrine of categories’. But Quine frequently indicates serious concern, regarding what he calls the 'artifice' or 'reduction' of talk involving his so-called 'mass terms' to talk of entities or objects in the first place.
 Key works Quine 1953 marks an early and powerful affirmation of the tight bond promoted by Quine between the semantics of current basic logic and ontology. Carnap 1950, in the spirit of Quine, explicitly relativises ontology to a 'linguistic framework', and in Quine 1957 and Quine 1960, a distinction is made between the inescapable formal framework of our 'adult' or 'mature' conceptual scheme, based on individuation or the use of variables, and the logically recalcitrant pre-individuative status of so-called 'mass terms' - which can only be accommodated in the scheme via certain artificial reductive devices. Ontological relativism is thereby reinforced.
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1. Metaphysicians with reductive theories of reality like to say how those theories account for ordinary usage and belief. A typical strategy is to offer theoretical sentences, often called ‘paraphrases’, to serve in place of various sentences that occur in ordinary talk. But how should we measure success in this endeavor? Those of us who undertake it usually have a vague set of theoretical desiderata in mind, but we rarely discuss them in detail. My purpose in this paper is to say (...)

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2. Mental fictionalism holds that folk psychology should be regarded as a kind of fiction. The present version gives a Lewisian prefix semantics for mentalistic discourse, where roughly, a mentalistic sentence “p” is true iff “p” is deducible from the folk psychological fiction. An eliminativist version of the view can seem self-refuting, but this charge is neutralized. Yet a different kind of “self-effacing” emerges: Mental fictionalism appears to be a mere “parasite” on a future science of cognition, without contributing anything substantial. (...)

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3. Making New Tools From the Toolbox of Metaphysics. [REVIEW]Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-7.
In this review, I specify the metametaphysical background against which Alastair Wilson’s “The Nature of Contingency” should be properly understood. Metaphysics, as a philosophical discipline, is standing on thin ice. The caricature of the situation is polarized, and is often presented as follows: metaphysics is either entirely extracted from science or it is entirely independent of science. There is a recent trend that focuses on the middle ground between these extremes, searching the philosophical literature for metaphysical theories that can fill (...)

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4. A Counterexample to Deflationary Nominalism.Nicholas Danne - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
According to Jody Azzouni’s “deflationary nominalism,” the singular terms of mathematical language applied or unapplied to science refer to nothing at all. What does exist, Azzouni claims, must satisfy the quaternary condition he calls “thick epistemic access”. In this paper I argue that TEA surreptitiously reifies some mathematical entities. The mathematical entity that I take TEA to reify is the Fourier harmonic, an infinite-duration monochromatic sinusoid applied throughout engineering and physics. I defend the reality of the harmonic, in Azzouni’s account, (...)

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5. Is Fourier Analysis Conservative over Physical Theory?Nicholas Danne - forthcoming - Logique Et Analyse.
Hartry Field argues that conservative rather than true mathematical sentences facilitate deductions in nominalist (i.e., abstracta-free) science without prejudging its empirical outcomes. In this paper, I identify one branch of mathematics as nonconservative, for its indispensable role in enabling nominalist language about a fundamental scientific property, in a fictional scientific community. The fundamental property is electromagnetic reflectance, and the mathematics is Fourier analysis, which renders reflectance ascribable, and nominalist reflectance claims utterable, by this community. Using a recent characterization of conservativeness (...)

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6. Quantification and ontological commitment.Nicholas K. Jones - forthcoming - In Anna Sofia Maurin & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Properties.
This chapter discusses ontological commitment to properties, understood as ontological correlates of predicates. We examine the issue in four metaontological settings, beginning with an influential Quinean paradigm on which ontology concerns what there is. We argue that this naturally but not inevitably avoids ontological commitment to properties. Our remaining three settings correspond to the most prominent departures from the Quinean paradigm. Firstly, we enrich the Quinean paradigm with a primitive, non-quantificational notion of existence. Ontology then concerns what exists. We argue (...)

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7. In this review I take to task the related views of E.J. Lowe, John Heil and Peter Simons according to which relations don't exist because they're dispensable qua truth-makers. I argue that this view is methodologically unstable because we also have reason to believe that relations exist because our best mathematical and scientific theories say so, i.e. quantify over them.

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8. Is there reference to abstract objects?Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Ana Poliakoff (ed.), Linguistic and Philosophical Thought about Reference. Brill.
Philosophers frequently draw on natural language to motivate properties, numbers, and propositions as objects, and it is generally taken for granted that abstract objects of this sort are well-reflected in natural language and in fact that reference to them in natural language is pervasive In this paper, I will review and modify in a certain way the view I had advanced in Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language (Moltmann 2013a). This is the view that natural language permits reference (...)

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9. I Think; Therefore, I am a Fiction.T. Parent - forthcoming - In Tamas Demeter, T. Parent & Adam Toon (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. New York:
The Cartesian thinking self may seem indisputably real. But if it is real, then so thinking, which would undercut mental fictionalism. Thus, in defense of mental fictionalism, this paper argues for fictionalism about the thinking self. In short form, the argument is: (1) If I exist outside of fiction, then I am identical to (some part of/) this biomass [= my body]. (2) If I die at t, I cease to exist at t. (3) If I die at t, no (...)

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10. Ontological Commitment and Quantifiers.T. Parent - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York: Routledge.
This is a slightly opinionated review of three main factions in metaontology: Quineans, Carnapians, and Meinongians. Emphasis is given to the last camp, as the metaontological aspect of Meinongianism has been underappreciated. The final section then offers some general remarks about the legitimacy of ontology, touching on ideas I have developed in other publications.

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11. On what there is in particular.Jonathan D. Payton - forthcoming - Analysis.
Quine says that ontology is about what there is, suggesting that to be ontologically committed to Fs is to be committed to accepting a sentence which existentially quantifies over Fs. Kit Fine argues that this gets the logical form of some ontological theses wrong. Fine is right that some ontological theses cannot be rendered simply as ‘There are Fs’. But the root of the problem has yet to be recognized, either by Fine or by his critics. Sometimes to adopt an (...)

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12. Semanticism and Ontological Commitment.Eli Pitcovski - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
It is widely assumed that if ontological disputes turn out to be verbal they ought to be dismissed. I dissociate the semantic question concerning the verbalness of ontological disputes from the pragmatic question on whether they ought to be dismissed. I argue that in the context of ontological disputes ontologists ought to be taken to communicate views with conflicting ontological commitments even if it turns out that on the correct view of semantics they fail to literally-express their disagreement. I argue, (...)

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13. Quine on Explication.Jonas Raab - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-30.
The main goal of this paper is to work out Quine's account of explication. Quine does not provide a general account, but considers a paradigmatic example which does not fit other examples he claims to be explications. Besides working out Quine's account of explication and explaining this tension, I show how it connects to other notions such as paraphrase and ontological commitment. Furthermore, I relate Quinean explication to Carnap's conception and argue that Quinean explication is much narrower because its main (...)

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14. Is there a plural object?Byeong-Uk Yi - forthcoming - In Donal Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press.
A plurality or plural object is a single object that is also many, and pluralitism is the thesis that there is such an object. This paper argues that pluralitism and closely related theses (e.g., the many-one identity thesis and the composition as identity thesis) violate logic. To do so, it formulates an approach to the logic and semantics of plural constructions that results in plural logic and relates treatments of plural constructions to accounts of natural number. And it gives a (...)

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15. Entities and their genera: Slicing up the world the medieval way--and does it matter to formal ontology?Luis M. Augusto - 2022 - Journal of Knowledge Structures and Systems 3 (2):4-47.
Genera, typically hand-in-hand with their branching species, are essential elements of vocabulary-based information constructs, in particular scientific taxonomies. Should they also feature in formal ontologies, the highest of such constructs? I argue in this article that the answer is “Yes” and that the question posed in its title also has a Yes-answer: The way medieval ontologists sliced up the world into genera does matter to formal ontology. More specifically, the way Dietrich of Freiberg, a Latin scholastic, conceived and applied strictly (...)

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16. Motivating a Pragmatic Approach to Naturalized Social Ontology.Richard Lauer - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (4):403–419.
Recent contributions to the philosophy of the social sciences have motivated ontological commitments using appeals to the social sciences (_naturalized_ social ontologies). These arguments rely on social scientific realism about the social sciences, the view that our social scientific theories are approximately true. I apply a distinction formulated in metaontology between ontologically loaded and unloaded meanings of existential quantification to argue that there is a pragmatic approach to naturalized social ontology that is minimally realist (it treats existence claims as true (...)

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17. Composition and plethological innocence.Jonathan D. Payton - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):67-74.
According to Composition as Identity, a whole is distinct from each of its parts individually, but identical to all of them taken together. It is sometimes claimed that, if you accept CAI, then your belief in a whole is ‘ontologically innocent’ with respect to your belief in its parts. This claim is false. But the defender of CAI can claim a different advantage for her view. Following Agustín Rayo, I distinguish ontology from plethology. I then show that CAI allows us (...)

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18. Mental fictionalism: a foothold amid deflationary collapse.Meg Wallace - 2022 - In Tamas Demeter, Adam Toon & T. Parent (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations. Routledge. pp. 275-300.
This paper examines three meta-ontological deflationary approaches – frameworks, verbal disputes, and metalinguistic negotiation – and applies them to ontological debates in philosophy of mind. An intriguing consequence of this application is that it reveals a deep, systematic problem for mental deflationism – specifically, a problem of cognitive collapse. This is surprising; cognitive collapse problems are usually reserved for serious ontological views such as eliminative materialism and mental fictionalism, not deflationism. This paper investigates why deflationism about the mental is particularly (...)

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19. back to the question of ontology.Jonas Rafael Becker Arenhart & Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo - 2021 - Manuscrito 44 (2):1-51.
We articulate a distinction between ontology, understood as involving existence questions, and metaphysics, understood as either providing for metaphysical profiles of entities or else as dealing with fundamentality and/or grounding and dependence questions. The distinction, we argue, allows a better understanding of the roles of metaontology and metametaphysics when it comes to discussing the relations between ontology and science on the one hand, and metaphysics and science on the other. We argue that while ontology, as understood in this paper, may (...)

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20. Grounding and the Myth of Ontological Innocence.Jonathan Barker - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):303-318.
According to the Ontological Innocence Thesis (OIT), grounded entities are ontologically innocent relative to their full grounds. I argue that OIT entails a contradiction, and therefore must be discarded. My argument turns on the notion of “groundmates,” two or more numerically distinct entities that share at least one of their full grounds. I argue that, if OIT is true, then it is both the case that there are groundmates and that there are no groundmates. Therefore, so I conclude, OIT is (...)

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21. The Mandatory Ontology of Robot Responsibility.Marc Champagne - 2021 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (3):448–454.
Do we suddenly become justified in treating robots like humans by positing new notions like “artificial moral agency” and “artificial moral responsibility”? I answer no. Or, to be more precise, I argue that such notions may become philosophically acceptable only after crucial metaphysical issues have been addressed. My main claim, in sum, is that “artificial moral responsibility” betokens moral responsibility to the same degree that a “fake orgasm” betokens an orgasm.

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22. A puzzle about Moorean metaphysics.Louis Doulas - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):493-513.
Some metaphysicians believe that existence debates are easily resolved by trivial inferences from Moorean premises. This paper considers how the introduction of negative Moorean facts—negative existentials that command Moorean certainty—complicates this picture. In particular, it shows how such facts, when combined with certain plausible metaontological principles, generate a puzzle that commits the proponents of this method to a contradiction.

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23. It Takes More than Moore to Answer Existence-Questions.Karl Egerton - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (2):355-366.
Several recent discussions of metaphysics disavow existence-questions, claiming that they are metaphysically uninteresting because trivially settled in the affirmative by Moorean facts. This is often given as a reason to focus metaphysical debate instead on questions of grounding. I argue that the strategy employed to undermine existence-questions fails against its usual target: Quineanism. The Quinean can protest that the formulation given of their position is a straw man: properly understood, as a project of explication, Quinean metaphysics does not counsel us (...)

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24. On metaphysics’ independence from truthmaking.Aldo Filomeno - 2021 - Erkenntnis 1:1-14.
This paper aims to support the claim that analytic metaphysics should be more cautious regarding the constraints that truthmaking considerations impose on metaphysical theories. To this end, I reply to Briggs and Forbes (2017), whoargue that certain truthmaking commitments are incurred by a Humean metaphysics and by the Growing-Block theory. First, I argue that Humean Supervenience does not need to endorse a standard version of truthmaker maximalism. This undermines Briggs and Forbes’s conclusion that Humean Supervenience and the Growing-Block theory are (...)

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25. Scientific Realism and Anti-realism in Quine’s Philosophy.Amir Hajizadeh - 2021 - Philosophical Investigations 15 (37):974-996.
In this essay, we try to address a fundamental issue in the philosophy of science, namely the conflict between realism and antirealism in Quine's philosophy. There seems to be an inner tension in his views on the question of the reality of unobservable entities or reference of theoretical terms. In order to refute his seemingly inconsistent position, we first begin with the concept of ontological commitment, which he formulated in contrast to the position of his teacher, Carnap. In the following, (...)

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26. Ontological Commitment Revisited.Jesús Padilla Gálvez (ed.) - 2021 - De Gruyter.
Aiming to bridge the gap between analytical and continental philosophy, this peer-reviewed series presents innovative, cutting-edge contributions in contemporary philosophical inquiry, written in English or German. The series is a useful introduction to a variety of topics, aimed at readers interested in the concepts, methods, and historical developments of philosophy.

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27. Quantifier Variance.Rohan Sud & David Manley - 2021 - In Ricki Leigh Bliss & J. T. M. Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York: Routledge. pp. 100-17.
We provide an overview of the meta-ontological position known as "Quantifier Variance".

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28. V—The Linguistic Approach to Ontology.Lee Walters - 2021 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 121 (2):127-152.
What are the prospects for a linguistic approach to ontology? Given that it seems that there are true subject-predicate sentences containing empty names, traditional linguistic approaches to ontology appear to be flawed. I argue that in order to determine what there is, we need to determine which sentences ascribe properties (and relations) to objects, and that there does not appear to be any formal criterion for this. This view is then committed to giving an account of what predicates do in (...)

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29. Discussions on physics, metaphysics and metametaphysics: Interpreting quantum mechanics.Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo - 2020 - Dissertation, Federal University of Santa Catarina
This thesis inquires what it means to interpret non-relativistic quantum mechanics (QM), and the philosophical limits of this interpretation. In pursuit of a scientific-realist stance, a metametaphysical method is expanded and applied to evaluate rival interpretations of QM, based on the conceptual distinction between ontology and metaphysics, for objective theory choice in metaphysical discussions relating to QM. Three cases are examined, in which this metametaphysical method succeeds in indicating what are the wrong alternatives to interpret QM in metaphysical terms. The (...)

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30. Deflationary metaphysics and ordinary language.Tim Button - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):33-57.
Amie Thomasson and Eli Hirsch have both attempted to deflate metaphysics, by combining Carnapian ideas with an appeal to ordinary language. My main aim in this paper is to critique such deflationary appeals to ordinary language. Focussing on Thomasson, I draw two very general conclusions. First: ordinary language is a wildly complicated phenomenon. Its implicit ontological commitments can only be tackled by invoking a context principle; but this will mean that ordinary language ontology is not a trivial enterprise. Second: ordinary (...)

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31. Why Ockham’s Razor should be preferred to the Laser.Dean Da Vee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3679-3694.
Ockham’s Razor advises us to not multiply entities without necessity. Recently, Jonathan Schaffer and Karen Bennett have argued that we ought to replace Ockham’s Razor with the Laser, the principle that only advises us to not multiply fundamental entities without necessity. In this paper, I argue that Ockham’s Razor is preferable to the Laser. I begin by contending that the arguments offered for the Laser by Schaffer and Bennett are unpersuasive. Then I offer two cases of theory assessment that I (...)

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32. Ontological Investigations in the Quantum Domain: A deflationary approach on ontology of physics.Lauro de Matos Nunes Filho - 2020 - Dissertation, Federal University of Santa Catarina
The aim of this thesis is to propose a deflationary approach towards the ontological analysis of physical theories. Such an approach sustains that the development of ontologies for physical theories must be neutral relatively to the debate between realists and anti-realists in philosophy of physics. Mainly, our attention will be oriented towards what we called "quantum domain", which includes the non-relativistic Quantum Mechanics and variants of the Quantum Field Theory. This meta-ontological approach consists in an attempt to provide a methodology (...)

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33. We aim to compile some means for a rational reconstruction of a named part of the start-over of Baruch (Benedictus) de Spinoza's metaphysics in 'de deo' (which is 'pars prima' of the 'ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata' ) in terms of 1st order model theory. In so far, as our approach will be judged successful, it may, besides providing some help in understanding Spinoza, also contribute to the discussion of some or other philosophical evergreen, e.g. 'ontological commitment'. For this text we (...)

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34. truthmakers for 1st order sentences - a proposal.Friedrich Wilhelm Grafe - 2020 - Archive.Org.
The purpose of this paper is to communicate - as a proposal - a general method of assigning a 'truthmaker' to any 1st order sentence in each of its models. The respective construct is derived from the standard model theoretic (recursive) satisfaction definition for 1st order languages and is a conservative extension thereof. The heuristics of the proposal (which has been somewhat idiosyncratic from the current point of view) and some more technical detail of the construction may be found in (...)

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35. Abstract Objects and the Core-Periphery Distinction in the Ontological and the Conceptual Domain of Natural Language.Friederike Moltmann - 2020 - In José Luis Falguera & María De La Martínez Vidal (eds.), Abstract Objects: For and Against. Springer. pp. 255-276.
This paper elaborates distinctions between a core and a periphery in the ontological and the conceptual domain associated with natural language. The ontological core-periphery distinction is essential for natural language ontology and is the basis for the central thesis of my 2013 book Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, namely that natural language permits reference to abstract objects in its periphery, but not its core.

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36. Common sense and Ontological commitment.Chris Ranalli & Jeroen De Ridder - 2020 - In Rik Peels & René Van Woudenberg (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Common-Sense Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 287-309.
How ontologically committal is common sense? Is the common-sense philosopher beholden to a florid ontology in which all manner of objects, substances, and processes exist and are as they appear to be to common sense, or can she remain neutral on questions about the existence and nature of many things because common sense is largely non-committal? This chapter explores and tentatively evaluates three different approaches to answering these questions. The first applies standard accounts of ontological commitment to common-sense claims. This (...)

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37. “Ontological Commitment and Ontological Commitments.Jared Warren - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2851-2859.
The standard account of ontological commitment is quantificational. There are many old and well-chewed-over challenges to the account, but recently Kit Fine added a new challenge. Fine claimed that the ‘‘quantificational account gets the basic logic of ontological commitment wrong’’ and offered an alternative account that used an existence predicate. While Fine’s argument does point to a real lacuna in the standard approach, I show that his own account also gets ‘‘the basic logic of ontological commitment wrong’’. In response, I (...)

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38. Is Coronavirus an object? Metametaphysics meets medical sciences.Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo - 2020 - Voluntas: Revista Internacional de Filosofia 11 (7):01-08.
In ontological terms, what can we learn from the current state of the art in Epidemiology? Applying the Quinean criterion of ontological commitment, we can learn that there are several fundamental entities for the theory to work. One is a virus type entity, in which the (in)famous Coronavirus is a particular case. In metaphysical terms, this entity can, in principle, be understood in several ways. One of those ways, apparently, and perhaps intuitively, is the notion of object. Applying the metametaphysical (...)

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39. Between Physics and Metaphysics: A Discussion of the Status of Mind in Quantum Mechanics.Raoni Arroyo & Jonas Arenhart - 2019 - In J. De Barros & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Quanta and Mind. Springer Verlag. pp. 31-42.
We discuss the ‘Consciousness Causes Collapse Hypothesis’ (CCCH), the interpretation of quantum mechanics according to which consciousness solves the measurement problem. At first, it seems that the very hypothesis that consciousness causally acts over matter counts as a reductio of CCCH. However, CCCH won’t go so easily. In this paper we attempt to bring new light to the discussion. We distinguish the ontology of the interpretation (the positing of a causally efficacious consciousness as part of the furniture of reality) from (...)

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40. The challenge of many logics: a new approach to evaluating the role of ideology in Quinean commitment.Jody Azzouni - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2599-2619.
Can Quine’s criterion for ontological commitment be comparatively applied across different logics? If so, how? Cross-logical evaluations of discourses are central to contemporary philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics. The focus here is on the influential and important arguments of George Boolos and David Lewis that second-order logic and plural quantification don’t incur additional ontological commitments over and above those incurred by first-order quantifiers. These arguments are challenged by the exhibition of a technical tool—the truncation-model construction of notational equivalents—that compares the (...)

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41. No Metaphysical Disagreement Without Logical Incompatibility.Daniel Durante Pereira Alves - 2019 - Seminário Lógica No Avião - 2013-2018.
The purpose of this article is to support the logical incompatibility of the opposing views as a criterion for characterizing disagreements as genuinely metaphysical. That is, I intend to argue that a specific dispute is a metaphysical disagreement only when the conflicting views are governed by different logics. If correct, this criterion would not only help to separate merely verbal from genuine metaphysical debates, but it also would ground an argument against deflationism, guaranteeing the substantiality and relevance of metaphysics. I (...)

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42. On Quine's Ontology: quantification, extensionality and naturalism (or from commitment to indifference).Daniel Durante Pereira Alves - 2019 - Proceedings of Ther 3rd Filomena Workshop.
Much of the ontology made in the analytic tradition of philosophy nowadays is founded on some of Quine’s proposals. His naturalism and the binding between existence and quantification are respectively two of his very influential metaphilosophical and methodological theses. Nevertheless, many of his specific claims are quite controversial and contemporaneously have few followers. Some of them are: (a) his rejection of higher-order logic; (b) his resistance in accepting the intensionality of ontological commitments; (c) his rejection of first-order modal logic; and (...)

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43. Francisco Suárez on Beings of Reason and Non-Strict Ontological Pluralism.Brian Embry - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
For Francisco Suárez, beings of reason are non-existent objects that we can think about, objects like goat-stags and round squares. The first section of the fifty-fourth of Suárez’s Metaphysical Disputations is about the ontological status of beings of reason. Suárez’s view has been the subject of disagreement in the literature because he sometimes says that there are beings of reason, and he sometimes says there are not. In this paper, I argue for and explain an ontological pluralist reading of Suárez. (...)

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44. Existence, really? Tacit disagreements about “existence” in disputes about group minds and corporate agents.Johannes Himmelreich - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4939-4953.
A central dispute in social ontology concerns the existence of group minds and actions. I argue that some authors in this dispute rely on rival views of existence without sufficiently acknowledging this divergence. I proceed in three steps in arguing for this claim. First, I define the phenomenon as an implicit higher-order disagreement by drawing on an analysis of verbal disputes. Second, I distinguish two theories of existence—the theory-commitments view and the truthmaker view—in both their eliminativist and their constructivist variants. (...)

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45. Quine, Ontology, and Physicalism.Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2019 - In Robert Sinclair (ed.), Science and Sensibilia by W.V. Quine: The 1980 Immanuel Kant Lectures. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 181-204.
Quine's views on ontology and naturalism are well-known but rarely considered in tandem. According to my interpretation the connection between them is vital. I read Quine as a global epistemic structuralist. Quine thought we only ever know objects qua solutions to puzzles about significant intersections in observations. Objects are always accessed descriptively, via their roles in our best theory. Quine's Kant lectures contain an early version of epistemic structuralism with uncharacteristic remarks about the mental. Here Quine embraces mitigated anomalous monism, (...)

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46. Natural Language and its Ontology.Friederike Moltmann - 2019 - In Alvin Goldman & Brian Mclaughlin (eds.), Metaphysics and Cognitive Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 206-232.
This paper gives a characterization of the ontology implicit in natural language and the entities it involves, situates natural language ontology within metaphysics, and responds to Chomskys' dismissal of externalist semantics.

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47. Werk und Autorschaft. Eine Ontologie der Kunst.Maria Elisabeth Reicher - 2019 - Paderborn: Mentis.
In this book, a general type ontology of works is defended and developed in detail. A wide concept of “work” is used here, such that “work” roughly corresponds to “artefact”. Though the focus is on works of art, the theory is meant to be applicable, in principle, to works of science and technology and to everyday items of all sorts as well. Among others, the following questions are discussed: To what ontological category or categories do works belong? Is there a (...)

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48. Quantification in the Ontology Room.Bradley Rettler - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (4):563-585.
There is a growing movement towards construing some classic debates in ontology as meaningless, either because the answers seem obvious or the debates seem intractable. In this paper, I respond to this movement. The response has three components: First, the members of the two sides of the ontological debates that dismissivists have targeted are using different quantifiers. Second, the austere ontologist is using a more fundamental quantifier than her opponent. Third, the austere ontologist’s more fundamental quantifier is a restriction of (...)

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49. What is Field's Epistemological Objection to Platonism?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2019 - In Robin Stenwall & Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (eds.), Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday. pp. 123-133.
This paper concerns an epistemological objection against mathematical platonism, due to Hartry Field.The argument poses an explanatory challenge – the challenge to explain the reliability of our mathematical beliefs – which the platonist, it’s argued, cannot meet. Is the objection compelling? Philosophers disagree, but they also disagree on (and are sometimes very unclear about) how the objection should be understood. Here I distinguish some options, and highlight some gaps that need to be filled in on the potentially most compelling version (...)