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Summary

Whereas ontology is concerned with the nature of reality in general, metaontology is concerned with the nature of ontology— whether its questions have substantive and tractable answers, and if so, how best to answer them. More broadly, what we might call ‘metametaphysics’ investigates the prospects and methodology of metaphysics.

Key works Classic works include Ayer 1946Carnap 1950, and Quine 1961. A collection of more recent work can be found in Chalmers et al 2009
Introductions Eklund 2006, Manley 2009, Thomasson 2012
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  1. Jonas Åkerman (2009). Perspectival Thought: A Plea for Moderate Relativism. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 62 (4).
  2. Elizabeth Barnes (2009). Review of David Chalmers, David Manley, Ryan Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (10).
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  3. H. G. Callaway (1995). Review: Baltzer, Erkenntnis Als Relationengeflecht, Kategorien Bei Charles S. Peirce. [REVIEW] Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society (2):445-453.
    This book arose from the author’s recent dissertation written under the Gerhard Schönrich at Munich. It focuses on Peirce’s theory of categories and his epistemology. According to Baltzer, what is distinctive in Peirce’s theory of knowledge is that he reconstrues objects as “knots in networks of relations.” The phrase may ring a bell. It suggests a structuralist interpretation of Peirce, influenced by the Munich environs. The study aims to shows how Peirce’s theory of categories supports his theory of knowledge and (...)
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  4. Mihirvikash Chakravarti (1972). Metaphilosophical and Model Philosophical Questions. Centre of Advanced Study in Philosophy, Visva-Bharati.
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  5. Matti Eklund (2012). Multitude, Tolerance and Language-Transcendence. Synthese 187 (3):833-847.
    Rudolf Carnap's 1930s philosophy of logic, including his adherence to the principle of tolerance, is discussed. What theses did Carnap commit himself to, exactly? I argue that while Carnap did commit himself to a certain multitude thesis—there are different logics of different languages, and the choice between these languages is merely a matter of expediency—there is no evidence that he rejected a language-transcendent notion of fact, contrary to what Warren Goldfarb and Thomas Ricketts have prominently argued. (In fact, it is (...)
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  6. Hartry Field (1993). The Conceptual Contingency of Mathematical Objects. Mind 102 (406):285-299.
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  7. Hartry Field (1988). Realism, Mathematics and Modality. Philosophical Topics 16 (1):57-107.
  8. Hartry Field (1980). Science Without Numbers. Princeton University Press.
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  9. Kit Fine (2002). The Limits of Abstraction. Oxford University Press.
    Kit Fine develops a Fregean theory of abstraction, and suggests that it may yield a new philosophical foundation for mathematics, one that can account for both our reference to various mathematical objects and our knowledge of various mathematical truths. The Limits of Abstraction breaks new ground both technically and philosophically.
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  10. Dale Gottlieb (1978). The Truth About Arithmetic. American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (2):81 - 90.
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  11. Douglas Greenlee (1974). Particulars and Ontological Parity. Metaphilosophy 5 (3):216–231.
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  12. Douglas Greenlee (1968). The Similarity of Discernibles. Journal of Philosophy 65 (23):753-763.
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  13. Susan Haack (2008). The Legitimacy of Metaphysics. Philosophical Topics 36 (1):97-110.
    Part of Kant’s legacy to Peirce was a lasting conviction that metaphysics is not irredeemable, but can and should be set “on the secure path of a science”. However, Peirce’s “scientific metaphysics”, unlike Kant’s, uses the method of science, i.e., of experience and reasoning; but requires close attention to experience of the most familiar kind rather than the recherché experience needed by the special sciences. This distinctively plausible reconception of what a genuinely scientific metaphysics would be is part of Peirce’s (...)
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  14. Susan Haack (2007). The Legitimacy of Metaphysics. Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):97-110.
    Part of Kant’s legacy to Peirce was a lasting conviction that metaphysics is not irredeemable, but can and should be set “on the secure path of a science”. However, Peirce’s “scientific metaphysics”, unlike Kant’s, uses the method of science, i.e., of experience and reasoning; but requires close attention to experience of the most familiar kind rather than the recherché experience needed by the special sciences. This distinctively plausible reconception of what a genuinely scientific metaphysics would be is part of Peirce’s (...)
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  15. Volker Haarslev (2007). The Ecology of Ontologies in the Public Domain. The Monist 90 (4):585-601.
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  16. Bob Hale (ed.) (2001). The Reason's Proper Study: Essays Towards a Neo-Fregean Philosophy of Mathematics. Oxford University Press.
    Here, Bob Hale and Crispin Wright assemble the key writings that lead to their distinctive neo-Fregean approach to the philosophy of mathematics. In addition to fourteen previously published papers, the volume features a new paper on the Julius Caesar problem; a substantial new introduction mapping out the program and the contributions made to it by the various papers; a section explaining which issues most require further attention; and bibliographies of references and further useful sources. It will be recognized as the (...)
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  17. Bob Hale (1988). Abstract Objects. B. Blackwell.
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  18. Katherine Hawley (2006). Science as a Guide to Metaphysics? Synthese 149 (3):451 - 470.
    Analytic metaphysics is in resurgence; there is renewed and vigorous interest in topics such as time, causation, persistence, parthood and possible worlds. We who share this interest often pay lip-service to the idea that metaphysics should be informed by modern science; some take this duty very seriously.2 But there is also a widespread suspicion that science cannot really contribute to metaphysics, and that scientific findings grossly underdetermine metaphysical claims. For some, this prompts the thought ‘so much the worse for metaphysics’; (...)
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  19. A. P. Hazen (1993). Against Pluralism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (2):132 – 144.
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  20. Richard Heck (1999). Frege's Theorem: An Introduction. The Harvard Review of Philosophy 7 (1):56-73.
    A brief, non-technical introduction to technical and philosophical aspects of Frege's philosophy of arithmetic. The exposition focuses on Frege's Theorem, which states that the axioms of arithmetic are provable, in second-order logic, from a single non-logical axiom, "Hume's Principle", which itself is: The number of Fs is the same as the number of Gs if, and only if, the Fs and Gs are in one-one correspondence.
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  21. Ian Hinckfuss (1993). Suppositions, Presuppositions, and Ontology. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):595 - 618.
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  22. Harold T. Hodes (1984). Logicism and the Ontological Commitments of Arithmetic. Journal of Philosophy 81 (3):123-149.
  23. Peter Hylton (2006). Quine on Reference and Ontology. In Gibson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Quine. Cambridge University Press. 115--50.
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  24. Frank Jackson (1994). Armchair Metaphysics. In John O'Leary-Hawthorne & Michaelis Michael (eds.), Philosophy in Mind. Kluwer. 23--42.
  25. Ludger Jansen (2010). What is a Formal Ontology? Some Meta-Ontological Remarks. In Klaus Mainzer (ed.), ECAP10. VIII European Conference on Computing and Philosophy. Hut. 256-260.
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  26. Peter G. Jones (2012). Is Metaphysics a Waste of Time? Philosophy Pathways (171).
    The view that metaphysics is a waste of time appears to be gaining in popularity with every passing day. It is held openly by many scientists and even by many philosophers. I argue here that this is a consequence of the way metaphysics is often done, the futility of a certain approach to it, and not a reason to suppose that there is no useful knowledge to be acquired in metaphysics.
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  27. Michael Jubien (1977). Ontology and Mathematical Truth. Noûs 11 (2):133-150.
    The main goal of this paper is to urge that the normal platonistic account of mathematical truth is unsatisfactory even if pure abstract entities are assumed to exist (in a non-Question-Begging way). It is argued that the task of delineating an interpretation of a formal mathematical theory among pure abstract entities is not one that can be accomplished. An important effect of this conclusion on the question of the ontological commitments of informal mathematical theories is discussed. The paper concludes with (...)
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  28. Guy Kahane (2012). The Value Question in Metaphysics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):27-55.
    Much seems to be at stake in metaphysical questions about, for example, God, free will or morality. One thing that could be at stake is the value of the universe we inhabit—how good or bad it is. We can think of competing philosophical positions as describing possibilities, ways the world might turn out to be, and to which value can be assigned. When, for example, people hope that God exists, or fear that we do not possess free will, they express (...)
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  29. Decio Krause, Entity, but No Identity.
    Inspired in Quine's well known slogans “To be is to be the value of a variable” and "No entity without identity", we provide a way of enabling that non-individual entities (as characterized in the text) can also be values of variables of an adequate "regimented" language, once we consider a possible meaning of the background theory Quine reports to ground his view. In doing that, we show that there may exist also entities without identity, and emphasize the importance of paying (...)
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  30. Saul A. Kripke (1976). Is There a Problem About Substitutional Quantification? In Gareth Evans & John McDowell (eds.), Truth and Meaning. Oxford University Press. 324-419.
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  31. David Lewis (1991). Parts of Classes. Blackwell.
  32. David Lewis (1984). Putnam's Paradox. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):221 – 236.
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  33. David Lewis & Stephanie Lewis (1970). Holes. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):206 – 212.
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  34. David Liebesman & Matti Eklund (2007). Sider on Existence. Noûs 41 (3):519–528.
    In (2001), (2003), and elsewhere, Ted Sider presents two arguments concerning the existential quantifier which are justly central to the recent discussion of metaontology. What we will call Sider's indeterminacy argument is an attempted reductio of the suggestion that the existential quantifier might be semantically indeterminate. What we will call Sider's naturalness argument is an argument for the claim that the semantic value of the existential quantifier is the most eligible existence-like meaning there is, à la David Lewis' eligibility theory (...)
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  35. E. J. Lowe (1995). The Metaphysics of Abstract Objects. Journal of Philosophy 92 (10):509-524.
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  36. Fraser MacBride (2003). Speaking with Shadows: A Study of Neo-Logicism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1):103-163.
    According to the species of neo-logicism advanced by Hale and Wright, mathematical knowledge is essentially logical knowledge. Their view is found to be best understood as a set of related though independent theses: (1) neo-fregeanism-a general conception of the relation between language and reality; (2) the method of abstraction-a particular method for introducing concepts into language; (3) the scope of logic-second-order logic is logic. The criticisms of Boolos, Dummett, Field and Quine (amongst others) of these theses are explicated and assessed. (...)
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  37. James Maclaurin & Heather Dyke (2012). What is Analytic Metaphysics For? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):291-306.
    We divide analytic metaphysics into naturalistic and non-naturalistic metaphysics. The latter we define as any philosophical theory that makes some ontological (as opposed to conceptual) claim, where that ontological claim has no observable consequences. We discuss further features of non-naturalistic metaphysics, including its methodology of appealing to intuition, and we explain the way in which we take it to be discontinuous with science. We outline and criticize Ladyman and Ross's 2007 epistemic argument against non-naturalistic metaphysics. We then present our own (...)
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  38. Colin McGinn (2000). Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth. Oxford University Press.
    Identity, existence, predication, necessity, and truth are vital concepts at the center of philosophy. Yet Colin McGinn believes that orthodox views of these topics are misguided in important ways. Philosophers and logicians have often distorted the nature of these concepts in an attempt to define them according to preconceived ideas. Logical Properties aims to respect the ordinary ways we talk and think when we employ these concepts, while at the same time showing that they are far more interesting and peculiar (...)
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  39. Matja Potrc (2002). Non-Arbitrariness of Composition and Particularism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):197-215.
    Non Arbitrariness Of Composition delivers a general and principled answer to the Special Composition Question. Horgan also embraces the extension of particularism into the domain of ontology.But particularism as meta-ontological guideline denies applicability of any general principles. So Horgan'soverall meta-ontological project both invites and rejects generality. The resulting tension may be aufgehoben however if the distinction is made between ontological commitments and their accompanying principles at the levels of ultimate and regional ontology.
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  40. Huw Price (1997). Carnap, Quine, and the Fate of Metaphysics. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 5 (1).
    [1] Imagine a well-trained mid-century American philosopher, caught in a rare traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike one warm summer afternoon in the early 1950s. He dozes in his warm car ... and awakes in the same spot on a chill Fall evening in the late 1990s, remembering nothing of the intervening years. It is as if he has been asleep at the wheel for almost half a century!
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  41. Arthur Prior (1967). The Runabout Inference Ticket. In Peter Strawson (ed.), Philosophical Logic. Oxford University Press. 38-9.
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  42. Hilary Putnam (2004). Ethics Without Ontology. Harvard University Press.
    In this brief book one of the most distinguished living American philosophers takes up the question of whether ethical judgments can properly be considered ...
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  43. Hilary Putnam (1987). Truth and Convention. Dialectica 40 (1--2):69--77.
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  44. Hilary Putnam (1987). The Many Faces of Realism. Open Court.
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  45. Hilary Putnam (1972). Philosophy of Logic. London,Allen and Unwin.
    First published in 1971, Professor Putnam's essay concerns itself with the ontological problem in the philosophy of logic and mathematics - that is, the issue of whether the abstract entities spoken of in logic and mathematics really exist. He also deals with the question of whether or not reference to these abstract entities is really indispensible in logic and whether it is necessary in physical science in general.
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  46. Hilary Putnam (1967). Mathematics Without Foundations. Journal of Philosophy 64 (1):5-22.
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  47. W. V. Quine (1961/1953). On What There Is. In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), From a Logical Point of View. Harvard University Press. 21--38.
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  48. W. V. Quine (1960). Carnap and Logical Truth. Synthese 12 (4):350--74.
    Kant's question 'How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?' pre- cipitated the Critique of Pure Reason. Question and answer notwith- standing, Mill and others persisted in doubting that such judgments were possible at all. At length some of Kant's own clearest purported.
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  49. W. V. Quine (1936). Truth by Convention. In The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays. 77-106.
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  50. Agustin Rayo & Stephen Yablo (2001). Nominalism Through de-Nominalization. Noûs 35 (1):74–92.
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