Deflationary metaphysics and ordinary language

Synthese 197 (1):33-57 (2020)
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Abstract

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 language often points in different directions simultaneously, so that a wide variety of existence questions cannot be deflated merely by appealing to ordinary language.

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Tim Button
University College London

Citations of this work

Nominalist Realism.Nicholas K. Jones - 2018 - Noûs 52 (4):808-835.
Fictionalism Versus Deflationism: A New Look.Matteo Plebani - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):301-316.
The Moral Closure Argument.Matt Lutz - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (1).
The Unbearable Circularity of Easy Ontology.Jonas Raab - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3527-3556.

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Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.

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