David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (4):319 - 331 (2001)
A minimalist or “pleonastic” ontology is supposed to provide a “cheap ontology” of languagecreated entities to serve as relatively innocuous referents for singular terms for such entities as properties, propositions, events, meanings, and fictional characters. This paper investigates the very idea of ontological minimalism, its source, and its potential applications. Certain puzzles and paradoxes arise in the idea of ontological minimalism; the article argues that these result from the fact that minimal entities divide into three different cases with importantly different ontological and epistemological implications. These different analyses show that general claims of minimalism provide no guarantee that the relevant entities are merely linguistic creations that can be accepted without ontological qualms. Nonetheless, minimalism has some important applications, e.g. relative minimalism can aid in determining the relative parsimony of different theories and thereby help demonstrate why certain forms of eliminativism regarding “ordinary objects”, fictional characters, etc. are misguided.
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Citations of this work BETA
Francesco Berto (2011). Modal Meinongianism and Fiction: The Best of Three Worlds. Philosophical Studies 152 (3):313-35.
Peter Hanks (2009). Recent Work on Propositions. Philosophy Compass 4 (3):469-486.
Amie L. Thomasson (2003). Speaking of Fictional Characters. Dialectica 57 (2):205–223.
Luca Moretti (2008). The Ontological Status of Minimal Entities. Philosophical Studies 141 (1):97 - 114.
Simon J. Evnine (2008). Kinds and Conscious Experience: Is There Anything That It is Like to Be Something? Metaphilosophy 39 (2):185–202.
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