Higher-order quantification and ontological commitment

Dialectica 51 (4):255–271 (1997)
Abstract
George Boolos's employment of plurals to give an ontologically innocent interpretation of monadic higher‐order quantification continues and extends a minority tradition in thinking about quantification and ontological commitment. An especially prominent member of that tradition is Stanislaw Leśniewski, and shall first draw attention to this work and its relation to that of Boolos. Secondly I shall stand up briefly for plurals as logically respectable expressions, while noting their limitations in offering ontologically deflationary accounts of higher‐order quantification. Thirdly I shall focus on the key idea of ontological commitment and investigate its connection with the idea of truth‐making. Fourthly I shall consider how different interpretations of quantification may sideline Boolos's work, but finally I shall largely support his analysis of quantification involving nominal expressions, while arguing, in the spirit of Arthur Prior, that non‐nominal quantification is non‐committing
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