Ontological commitment

Philosophy Compass 2 (3):428–444 (2007)
I propose a way of thinking aboout content, and a related way of thinking about ontological commitment. (This is part of a series of four closely related papers. The other three are ‘On Specifying Truth-Conditions’, ‘An Actualist’s Guide to Quantifying In’ and ‘An Account of Possibility’.).
Keywords commitment   mathematics   platonism   nominalism   toread
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2007.00080.x
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Kit Fine (1994). Essence and Modality. Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.

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Cross-posted from http://mleseminar.wordpress.com/


Agustín Rayo - Ontological Commitment

Paper here; handout here.

We struggled to see the exact import of this paper. Cian worried that ‘ontological commitment’ was a philosophical technical term, and that even a really good account of it would still not tell us too much about what really exists. Perhaps the motivation is that Rayo wants to emphasize that the characterization of ontological commitment can be kept apart from Quine’s criterion. Quine’s criterion (to be is to be the value of a variable) has perhaps come to seem constitutive of ontological commitment for some philosophers, which leaves no room for non-Quinean accounts of the ontology of (say) mathematics.

I wondered about an attempt at explaining demand-talk in terms of necessitation. The obvious account, that the truth of P demands that the world contains F iff necessarily(p → Fs exist), ends up saying that asserting any true proposition commits us to the existence of all ne ... (read more)