David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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If anything is taken for granted in contemporary metaphysics, it is that platonism with respect to a discourse of metaphysical interest, such as fictional or mathematical discourse, affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal. This belief is often motivated by the intuitively stronger one that the platonist can take the semantic appearances “at face-value” while the nominalist must resort to apparently ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those appearances away. In this paper, I argue that, on any natural construal of “face-value”, the platonist, like the nominalist, does not in general seem to be able to take the semantic appearances at face-value. And insofar as the nominalist is forced to adopt apparently ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those appearances away, the platonist is generally forced to adopt machinery which is at least prima facie ad hoc and technically problematic as well. One moral of the story is that the thesis that platonism affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal, is not trivial. Another is that we should rethink our methodology in metaphysics.
|Keywords||semantics nominalism platonism ontology metaontology abstract objects methodology face value benacerraf properties|
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