If an ontologist could speak we couldn’t understand him

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):444-460 (2018)
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It is common for contemporary ontologists to claim that they are not concerned with what exists simpliciter, but rather with what exists ’fundamentally’, or what ’really’ exists. I argue that positions of this sort cannot satisfy reasonable constraints concerning the acquisition of language. I assess and dismiss possible responses to this complaint before commenting on the prospects for a metaphysics without bespoke existence claims.



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Simon Hewitt
University of Leeds

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
The logical basis of metaphysics.Michael Dummett - 1991 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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