David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):357 – 373 (2009)
In almost all of his writings on ontology, Quine celebrated the discovery of contextual definition as a milestone of the history of philosophy. The philosophical appeal of this tool resides in the hope that it allows us to reduce the ontological commitments of theories in substantial ways. The goal of this paper is to show that contextual definition does not really come up to this hope. It is argued that the material adequacy of such definitions presupposes a very strong context-principle, one implying that theories do not have any ontological commitments at all.
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References found in this work BETA
Nelson Goodman (1978). Ways of Worldmaking. Harvester Press.
Nelson Goodman (1984). Of Mind and Other Matters. Harvard University Press.
Nelson Goodman (1951). The Structure of Appearance. Harvard University Press.
Rudolf Carnap (1988). Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic. University of Chicago Press.
Peter Hylton (2007). Quine. Routledge.
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