David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies (2):1-16 (2013)
Terms such as ‘exist’, ‘actual’, etc., (hereafter, “ontic terms”) are recognized as having uses that are not ontologically committing, in addition to the usual commissive uses. (Consider, e.g., the Platonic and the neutral readings of ‘There is an even prime’.) In this paper, I identify five different noncommissive uses for ontic terms, and (by a kind of via negativa) attempt to define the commissive use, focusing on ‘actual’ as my example. The problem, however, is that the resulting definiens for the commissive ‘actual’ is itself equivocal between a commissive and a noncommissive reading. I thus consider other proposals for defining the commissive use, including two proposals from David Lewis. However, each proposal is found to be equivocal in the same way—and eventually I argue that it is impossible to define an ontic term unequivocally. Even so, this is not meant to overshadow that we can understand an ontic term as univocally commissive, in certain conversational contexts. I close by illustrating the import of these observations for the Hirsch–Sider debate in metaontology
|Keywords||Quine on ontology Existence Metaontology Theodore Sider Eli Hirsch David Lewis Jody Azzouni Regimentation Being qua being|
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References found in this work BETA
Jody Azzouni (2007). Ontological Commitment in the Vernacular. Noûs 41 (2):204–226.
Jody Azzouni (2010). Talking About Nothing: Numbers, Hallucinations, and Fictions. Oxford University Press.
Jonathan Bennett (1966). Real. Mind 75 (300):501-515.
Hartry Field (1980). Science Without Numbers. Princeton University Press.
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