How to Express Ontological Commitment in the Vernacular

Philosophia Mathematica 18 (3):293-310 (2010)
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Abstract

According to the familiar Quinean understanding of ontological commitment, (1) one undertakes ontological commitments only via theoretical regimentations, and (2) ontological commitments are to be identified with the domain of a theory’s quantifiers. Jody Azzouni accepts (1), but rejects (2). Azzouni accepts (1) because he believes that no vernacular expression carries ontological commitments. He rejects (2) by locating a theory’s commitments with the extension of an existence predicate. I argue that Azzouni’s two theses undermine each other. If ontological commitments follow from predications of existence, then ontological commitments can be expressed in the vernacular via negative existential sentences.

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Jamin Asay
Purdue University

Citations of this work

Putnam and the Indispensability of Mathematics.Otávio Bueno - 2013 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 17 (2):217.
Apophatic Finitism and Infinitism.Jan Heylen - 2019 - Logique Et Analyse 62 (247):319-337.

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References found in this work

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
The Scientific Image.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1980 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Philosophy of Logic.Hilary Putnam - 1971 - London: Allen & Unwin.
Philosophy of Logic.Hilary Putnam - 1971 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.

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