David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):36–71 (2001)
Fictionalist approaches to ontology have been an accepted part of philosophical methodology for some time now. On a fictionalist view, engaging in discourse that involves apparent reference to a realm of problematic entities is best viewed as engaging in a pretense. Although in reality, the problematic entities do not exist, according to the pretense we engage in when using the discourse, they do exist. In the vocabulary of Burgess and Rosen (1997, p. 6), a nominalist construal of a given discourse is revolutionary just in case it involves a “reconstruction or revision” of the original discourse. Revolutionary approaches are therefore prescriptive. In contrast, a nominalist construal of a given discourse is hermeneutic just in case it is a nominalist construal of a discourse that is put forth as a hypothesis about how the discourse is in fact used; that is, hermeneutic approaches are descriptive. I will adopt Burgess and Rosen’s terminology to describe the two different spirits in which a fictionalist hypothesis in ontology might be advanced. Revolutionary fictionalism would involve admitting that while the problematic discourse does in fact involve literal reference to nonexistent entities, we ought to use the discourse in such a way that the reference is simply within the pretense. The hermeneutic fictionalist, in contrast, reads fictionalism into our actual use of the problematic discourse. According to her, normal use of the problematic discourse involves a pretense. According to the pretense, and only according to the pretense, there exist the objects to which the discourse would commit its users, were no pretense involved. My purpose in this paper is to argue that hermeneutic fictionalism is not a viable strategy in ontology. My argument proceeds in two steps. First, I discuss in detail several problematic consequences of any interesting application of hermeneutic fictionalism. Of course, if there is good evidence that hermeneutic fictionalism is correct in some cases, then some of these drastic consequences would have to be accepted..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge (2012). The Story About Propositions. Noûs 46 (4):635-674.
Daniel Z. Korman (2007). Unrestricted Composition and Restricted Quantification. Philosophical Studies 140 (3):319-334.
Nadeem J. Z. Hussain (2004). The Return of Moral Fictionalism. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):149–188.
Robert Knowles & David Liggins (2015). Good Weasel Hunting. Synthese 192 (10):3397-3412.
Christopher Kennedy & Jason Stanley (2009). On 'Average'. Mind 118 (471):583 - 646.
Similar books and articles
Richard Woodward (2008). Why Modal Fictionalism is Not Self-Defeating. Philosophical Studies 139 (2):273 - 288.
Gábor Forrai (2010). What Mathematicians' Claims Mean : In Defense of Hermeneutic Fictionalism. Hungarian Philosophical Review 54 (4):191-203.
Matti Eklund (2005). Fiction, Indifference, and Ontology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):557–579.
Mark Colyvan (2011). Fictionalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics. In E. J. Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
B. Armour-Garb (2011). Understanding and Mathematical Fictionalism. Philosophia Mathematica 19 (3):335-344.
Amie L. Thomasson (2003). Speaking of Fictional Characters. Dialectica 57 (2):205–223.
Chris John Daly (2008). Fictionalism and the Attitudes. Philosophical Studies 139 (3):423 - 440.
Mary Leng (2005). Revolutionary Fictionalism: A Call to Arms. Philosophia Mathematica 13 (3):277-293.
David Liggins (2008). Modal Fictionalism and Possible-Worlds Discourse. Philosophical Studies 138 (2):151-60.
Matti Eklund (2005). Fiction, Indifference, and Ontology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):557-579.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads333 ( #5,219 of 1,790,190 )
Recent downloads (6 months)48 ( #18,474 of 1,790,190 )
How can I increase my downloads?