Ontological infidelity

Synthese 165 (1):1 - 12 (2008)
Patrick Dieveney
California State University, Long Beach
In ethical discourse, it is common practice to distinguish between normative commitments and descriptive commitments. Normative commitments reflect what a person ought to be committed to, whereas descriptive commitments reflect what a person actually is committed to. While the normative/descriptive distinction is widely accepted as a way of talking about ethical commitments, philosophers have missed this distinction in discussing ontological commitments. In this paper, I distinguish between descriptive ontological commitments and normative ontological commitments and discuss several significant benefits of recognizing this distinction. I argue that just as the normative/descriptive distinction is important for fruitful ethical discourse, so too is it important for fruitful discourse concerning our ontological commitments. And, it constitutes a significant step towards resolving some prominent debates concerning our ontological commitments.
Keywords Ontology  Indispensability  Descriptive  Normative
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-007-9228-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,519
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Probability and Evidence.Paul Horwich - 2016 - Cambridge University Press.
Theory and Evidence.Clark Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.
Mathematics as a Science of Patterns.Michael D. Resnik - 1997 - New York ;Oxford University Press.
Naturalism in Mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
Science Without Numbers.Hartry Field - 1980 - Princeton University Press.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Commitments and Traditions in the Study of Religious Ethics.Jeffrey Stout - 1997 - Journal of Religious Ethics 25 (3):23 - 56.
An Ontology for Commitments in Multiagent Systems:. [REVIEW]Munindar P. Singh - 1999 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 7 (1):97-113.
Ontology, Commitment, and Quine's Criterion.Yvonne Raley - 2007 - Philosophia Mathematica 15 (3):271-290.
Truthmaker Commitments.Jonathan Schaffer - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):7-19.
Fiction's Ontological Commitments.Christopher Mole - 2009 - Philosophical Forum 40 (4):473-488.
How to Express Ontological Commitment in the Vernacular.Jamin Asay - 2010 - Philosophia Mathematica 18 (3):293-310.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
92 ( #71,512 of 2,301,534 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #430,170 of 2,301,534 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature