This category needs an editor. We encourage you to help if you are qualified.
Volunteer, or read more about what this involves.
About this topic
Summary For Quine, 'to be is to be the value of a variable': serious theoretical claims about what there is, or what exists, are most perspicuously articulated using the quantifier of first-order logic. On this view, one incurs ontological commitment to whatever one's first-order theory quantifies over. Others have different attitudes towards the relationship between ontological inquiry and first-order quantification, including: those who claim that being is distinct from existence; those who hold that other expressions (e.g. predicates) can incur ontological commitment; those who reject the idea that all serious talk about being and existence can be captured by the first-order quantifier, and those who deny that first-order languages are the best vehicles for articulating metaphysical theories. 
Key works Meinong 1960 Quine 1951 Alston 1958 Quine 1961 Routley 1982 Boolos 1984 Lewis 1990 Melia 1995 Yablo 1998 Azzouni 1998 Rayo & Yablo 2001 Manley 2009   
Introductions Rayo 2007 Hofweber 2008 van Inwagen 2009
Related categories

179 found
1 — 50 / 179
  1. Truth-Functional Conditionals and Modern Vs. Traditional Syllogistic.R. B. Angell - 1986 - Mind 95 (378):210-223.
  2. Talking About Nothing: Numbers, Hallucinations, and Fictions.Jody Azzouni - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    Numbers -- Hallucinations -- Fictions -- Scientific languages, ontology, and truth -- Truth conditions and semantics.
  3. Deflating Existential Consequence: A Case for Nominalism.Jody Azzouni - 2004 - Oup Usa.
    If we must take mathematical statements to be true, must we also believe in the existence of abstract eternal invisible mathematical objects accessible only by the power of pure thought? Jody Azzouni says no, and he claims that the way to escape such commitments is to accept (as an essential part of scientific doctrine) true statements which are about objects that don't exist in any sense at all. Azzouni illustrates what the metaphysical landscape looks like once we avoid a militant (...)
  4. Expressivism About Reference and Quantification Over the Non-Existent Without Meinongian Metaphysics.Stephen Barker - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S2):215-234.
    Can we believe that there are non-existent entities without commitment to the Meinongian metaphysics? This paper argues we can. What leads us from quantification over non-existent beings to Meinongianism is a general metaphysical assumption about reality at large, and not merely quantification over the non-existent. Broadly speaking, the assumption is that every being we talk about must have a real definition. It’s this assumption that drives us to enquire into the nature of beings like Pegasus, and what our relationship as (...)
  5. Review of David Chalmers, David Manley, Ryan Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology[REVIEW]Elizabeth Barnes - 2009 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (10).
  6. How To Precisify Quantifiers.Arvid Båve - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 40 (1):103-111.
    I here argue that Ted Sider's indeterminacy argument against vagueness in quantifiers fails. Sider claims that vagueness entails precisifications, but holds that precisifications of quantifiers cannot be coherently described: they will either deliver the wrong logical form to quantified sentences, or involve a presupposition that contradicts the claim that the quantifier is vague. Assuming (as does Sider) that the “connectedness” of objects can be precisely defined, I present a counter-example to Sider's contention, consisting of a partial, implicit definition of the (...)
  7. Existence as a Real Property.Francesco Berto - 2012 - Synthèse Library, Springer.
    This book is both an introduction to and a research work on Meinongianism. “Meinongianism” is taken here, in accordance with the common philosophical jargon, as a general label for a set of theories of existence – probably the most basic notion of ontology. As an introduction, the book provides the first comprehensive survey and guide to Meinongianism and non-standard theories of existence in all their main forms. As a research work, the book exposes and develops the most up-to-date Meinongian theory (...)
  8. Composition as Identity and Plural Cantor's Theorem.Einar Duenger Bohn - forthcoming - Logic and Logical Philosophy.
    I argue that Composition as Identity blocks the plural version of Cantor's Theorem, and that therefore the plural version of Cantor's Theorem can no longer be uncritically appealed to. As an example, I show how this result blocks a recent argument by Hawthorne and Uzquiano.
  9. Is Hume's Principle Analytic?G. Boolos - 1998 - Logic, Logic, and Logic:301--314.
  10. Logic, Logic, and Logic.George Boolos - 1998 - Harvard University Press.
    This collection, nearly all chosen by Boolos himself shortly before his death, includes thirty papers on set theory, second-order logic, and plural quantifiers; ...
  11. On Second-Order Logic.George S. Boolos - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (16):509-527.
  12. Ontology After Carnap Edited by Stephan Blatti and Sandra Lapointe.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Analysis:anx093.
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:‘Carnap is not completely unknown to us’ comments Richard Creath in his contribution to this book. ‘We often know just enough to be baffled’. It will be no surprise to anyone when I say that this book will not unbaffle us. But it does give us a collection of rewarding papers that each wrestle with the legacy Carnap has (...)
  13. What Does It Mean for Something to Exist?Lajos L. Brons - 2013 - The Science of Mind 51 (1):53-74.
    (First paragraph.) Ontology is often described as the inquiry into what exists, but there is some disagreement among (meta-) ontologists about what “existence” means and whether there are different kinds or senses of “existence” or just one; that is, whether “existence” is equivocal or univocal. Furthermore, there is a growing number of philosophers (many of whom take inspiration from Aristotle’s metaphysical writings) who argue that ontology should not be concerned so much with what exists, but with what is fundamental or (...)
  14. Bare and Indexical Existence: Integrating Logic and Sensibility in Ontology.Lajos L. Brons - 2012 - In S. Watanabe (ed.), Logic and Sensibility. Keio University Press.
    This is the published version of a talk on meta-ontology in a conference of a multidisciplinary research project on "logic and sensibility". It argues against univocalism about "existence" and for a variety of perspectivism.
  15. Linceo e la presbiopia ontologica. Considerazioni sul nominalismo di Achille Varzi.Francesco F. Calemi - forthcoming - Isonomía. Revista de Teoría y Filosofía Del Derecho.
    According to Varzi's nominalism properties are typical examples of ontological hallucinations. In this brief paper I'll focus on an interesting argument that Varzi puts forward against the Realists’ tenet according to which predicates have properties as ontological correlates. I’ll argue that even if Varzi's argument is not convincing, the metalinguistic nominalism he espouses has sufficient resources to meet the realists' challenge concerning the phenomenon of predication. Furthermore, I'll make some methodological remarks about the relationship holding between the «dot quote» analysis (...)
  16. Quantification, Naturalness and Ontology.Ross Cameron - manuscript
    Quine said that the ontological question can be asked in three words, ‘What is there?’, and answered in one, ‘everything’. He was wrong. We need an extra word to ask the ontological question: it is ‘What is there, really?’; and it cannot be answered truthfully with ‘everything’ because there are some things that exist but which don’t really exist (and maybe even some things that really exist but which don’t exist).
  17. Unity and Plurality. Philosophy, Logic, and Semantics.Massimiliano Carrara, Alessandra Arapinis & Friederike Moltmann (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume brings together new work on the logic and ontology of plurality and a range of recent articles exploring novel applications to natural language semantics. The contributions in this volume in particular investigate and extend new perspectives presented by plural logic and non-standard mereology and explore their applications to a range of natural language phenomena. Contributions by P. Aquaviva, A. Arapinis, M. Carrara, P. McKay, F. Moltmann, O. Linnebo, A. Oliver and T. Smiley, T. Scaltsas, P. Simons, and B.-Y. (...)
  18. Speaking of Everything.Richard L. Cartwright - 1994 - Noûs 28 (1):1-20.
  19. Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology.D. Chalmers, D. Manley & R. Wasserman (eds.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
  20. The Cube, the Square and the Problem of Existential Import.Saloua Chatti & Fabien Schang - 2013 - History and Philosophy of Logic 34 (2):101 - 132.
    (2013). The Cube, the Square and the Problem of Existential Import. History and Philosophy of Logic: Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 101-132. doi: 10.1080/01445340.2013.764962.
  21. Logical Form and Ontological Decisions.Patricia Smith Churchland - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (17):599-600.
  22. A Second Order Logic of Existence.Nino Cocchiarella - 1969 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 34 (1):57-69.
  23. Some Remarks on Second Order Logic with Existence Attributes.Nino Cocchiarella - 1968 - Noûs 2 (2):165-175.
    Some internal and philosophical remarks are made regarding a system of a second order logic of existence axiomatized by the author. Attributes are distinguished in the system according as their possession entails existence or not, The former being called e-Attributes. Some discussion of the special principles assumed for e-Attributes is given as well as of the two notions of identity resulting from such a distinction among attributes. Non-Existing objects are of course indiscernible in terms of e-Attributes. In addition, However, Existing (...)
  24. Fear of Commitment.Cristian Cocos - 2008 - Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 52:65-76.
    Starting from an exercise in Quinean hermeneutics targeting the notion of ontological commitment, the paper focuses on Quine's reasons for avoiding higher-order quantification. The argument goes further to support the idea of types of existence, which is then shown to accommodate higher-order logical frameworks, via accepting multiple identity/individuation standards.
  25. Presentism Without Presentness.Fabrice Correia & Sven Rosenkranz - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):19-27.
    We argue that presentism, understood as a view about time and existence, can perspicuously be defined in opposition to all other familiar contenders without appeal to any notion of presentness or cognate notions such as concreteness. Given recent worries about the suitability of such notions to cut much metaphysical ice, this should be welcomed by presentism's defenders. We also show that, irrespective of its sparse ideology, the proposed formulation forestalls any deviant interpretation at odds with the view it aims to (...)
  26. Existence and Quantification Reconsidered.Tim Crane - unknown
    The currently standard philosophical conception of existence makes a connection between three things: certain ways of talking about existence and being in natural language; certain natural language idioms of quantification; and the formal representation of these in logical languages. Thus a claim like ‘Prime numbers exist’ is treated as equivalent to ‘There is at least one prime number’ and this is in turn equivalent to ‘Some thing is a prime number’. The verb ‘exist’, the verb phrase ‘there is’ and the (...)
  27. Nominalism by Theft.Richard Creath - 1980 - American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (4):311 - 318.
  28. Analyticity and Ontology.Louis deRosset - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9.
    /Analyticity theorists/, as I will call them, endorse the /doctrine of analyticity in ontology/: if some truth P analytically entails the existence of certain things, then a theory that contains P but does not claim that those things exist is no more ontologically parsimonious than a theory that also claims that they exist. Suppose, for instance, that the existence of a table in a certain location is analytically entailed by the existence and features of certain particles in that location. The (...)
  29. Quantifier Variance and the Collapse Theorems.Cian Dorr - 2014 - The Monist 97 (4):503-570.
  30. There Are No Abstract Objects.Cian Dorr - 2008 - In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell.
    I explicate and defend the claim that, fundamentally speaking, there are no numbers, sets, properties or relations. The clarification consists in some remarks on the relevant sense of ‘fundamentally speaking’ and the contrasting sense of ‘superficially speaking’. The defence consists in an attempt to rebut two arguments for the existence of such entities. The first is a version of the indispensability argument, which purports to show that certain mathematical entities are required for good scientific explanations. The second is a speculative (...)
  31. What We Disagree About When We Disagree About Ontology.Cian Dorr - 2005 - In Mark Eli Kalderon (ed.), Fictionalism in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 234--86.
    In this paper I attempt two things. First, I argue that one can coherently imagine different communities using languages structurally similar to English, but in which the meanings of the quantifiers vary, so that the answers to ontological questions, such as ‘Under what circumstances do some things compose something?’, are different. Second, I argue that nevertheless, one can make sense of the idea that of the various possible assignments of meanings to the quantifiers, one is especially fundamental, so that there (...)
  32. Existence: Essays in Ontology. By Peter van Inwagen. Cambridge University Press, 2014, Pp. 261, £18.99 ISBN: 9781107625266. [REVIEW]Karl Egerton - 2015 - Philosophy 90 (3):519-524.
  33. Existence, Quantification, and Shallow Ontology.Matti Eklund - manuscript
  34. Carnapian Theses in Metaontology and Metaethics.Matti Eklund - manuscript
    In contemporary debates about ontology, one prominent skeptical view emphasizes the existence of different possible languages for doing ontology. Eli Hirsch, in recent years the most prominent proponent of a view like this, has defended the claim that “many familiar questions about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal. Nothing is substantively at stake in these questions beyond the correct use of language” and the claim that “quantifier expressions can have different meaning in different languages”.1 Ted Sider, while critical (...)
  35. Book Review. Quantifier Variance and Realism: Essays in Metaontology. Eli Hirsch. [REVIEW]Matti Eklund - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Review.
  36. Fictionalism in Metaphysics.Eli Kalderon Mark (ed.) - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Fictionalism is the view that a serious intellectual inquiry need not aim at truth. It came to prominence in philosophy in 1980, when Hartry Field argued that mathematics does not have to be true to be good, and Bas van Fraassen argued that the aim of science is not truth but empirical adequacy. Both suggested that the acceptance of a mathematical or scientific theory need not involve belief in its content. Thus the distinctive commitment of fictionalism is that acceptance in (...)
  37. Existence as a Real Predicate.Paulo Faria - 2010 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 55 (2):33-41.
  38. Science Without Numbers.Hartry Field - 1980 - Princeton University Press.
    Science Without Numbers caused a stir in 1980, with its bold nominalist approach to the philosophy of mathematics and science. It has been unavailable for twenty years and is now reissued in a revised edition with a substantial new preface presenting the author's current views and responses to the issues raised in subsequent debate.
  39. The Question of Ontology.Kit Fine - 2009 - In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 157--177.
  40. Relatively Unrestricted Quantification.Kit Fine - 2006 - In Agustín Rayo & Gabriel Uzquiano (eds.), Absolute Generality. Oxford University Press. pp. 20-44.
    There are four broad grounds upon which the intelligibility of quantification over absolutely everything has been questioned—one based upon the existence of semantic indeterminacy, another on the relativity of ontology to a conceptual scheme, a third upon the necessity of sortal restriction, and the last upon the possibility of indefinite extendibility. The argument from semantic indeterminacy derives from general philosophical considerations concerning our understanding of language. For the Skolem–Lowenheim Theorem appears to show that an understanding of quanti- fication over absolutely (...)
  41. The Question of Realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1 (1):1-30.
    This paper distinguishes two kinds of realist issue -- the issue of whether the propositions of a given domain are factual and the issue of whether they are fundamental. It criticizes previous accounts of what these issues come to and suggests that they are to be understood in terms of a basic metaphysical concept of reality. This leaves open the question of how such issues are to be resolved; and it is argued that this may be done through consideration of (...)
  42. Ontology, Composition, Quantification and Action.Bryan Frances - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):137-142.
    The literature on material composition has largely ignored the composition of actions and events. I argue that this is a mistake. I present a set of individually plausible yet jointly inconsistent claims regarding the connection between quantification and existence, the composition of physical entities and the logical forms of action sentences.
  43. Time, Modality, and the Unbearable Lightness of Being.Akiko M. Frischhut & Alexander Skiles - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):264-273.
    We develop a theory about the metaphysics of time and modality that combines the conceptual resources devised in recent sympathetic work on ontological pluralism (the thesis that there are fundamentally distinct kinds of being) with the thought that what is past, future, and merely possible is less real than what is present and actual (albeit real enough to serve as truthmakers for statements about the past, future, and merely possible). However, we also show that despite being a coherent, distinctive, and (...)
  44. The Logic of Skolem Functions: A Subtle Construction and a Subtle Error.Joseph S. Fulda - 1988 - Association for Automated Reasoning Newsletter 10:5-6.
    The full-text of the entire issue is available on the Web; readers seeing this should ensure that there is permission to download. It would be quite difficult to separate just my piece from the others.
  45. Quantification and Realism.Michael Glanzberg - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (3):541–572.
    This paper argues for the thesis that, roughly put, it is impossible to talk about absolutely everything. To put the thesis more precisely, there is a particular sense in which, as a matter of semantics, quantifiers always range over domains that are in principle extensible, and so cannot count as really being ‘absolutely everything’. The paper presents an argument for this thesis, and considers some important objections to the argument and to the formulation of the thesis. The paper also offers (...)
  46. Sider's Third Realm.Jonah Goldwater - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1):99-112.
    Sider (2011; Writing the Book of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press) argues it is not only predicates that carve reality at its joints, but expressions of any logical or grammatical category – including quantifiers, operators, and sentential connectives. Even so, he denies these expressions pick out entities in the world; instead, they only represent the world’s “structure”. I argue that this distinction is not viable, and that Sider’s ambitious programme requires an exotic ontology – and even a Fregean “third (...)
  47. Existence and Strong Uncountability.Jonah P. B. Goldwater - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (3):321-331.
    On the standard view for something to exist is for one thing to exist: in slogan form, to be is to be countable. E.J. Lowe argues something can exist without being countable as one, however. His primary example is homogenous “stuff,” i.e., qualitatively uniform and infinitely divisible matter. Lacking nonarbitrary boundaries and being everywhere the same, homogenous stuff lacks a principle of individuation that would yield countably distinct constituents. So, for Lowe, homogenous stuff is strongly uncountable. Olson rejects Lowe’s view (...)
  48. On the Relativity of Quantitative Genetic Variance Components.Charles J. Goodnight - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):134-135.
  49. Ontological Economy: Substitutional Quantification and Mathematics.Dale Gottlieb - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
  50. A Method for Ontology, with Applications to Numbers and Events.Dale Gottlieb - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (18):637-651.
1 — 50 / 179