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
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-007-9228-z
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References found in this work BETA

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Theory and Evidence.Clark Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.
The Indispensability of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Mathematics as a Science of Patterns.Michael David Resnik - 1997 - Oxford, England: New York ;Oxford University Press.
Naturalism in Mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1997 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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Amusement and Beyond.Steffen Steinert - 2017 - Dissertation, LMU München

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