Number words and reference to numbers

Philosophical Studies 168 (1):261-282 (2014)
Katharina Felka
Uppsala University
A realist view of numbers often rests on the following thesis: statements like ‘The number of moons of Jupiter is four’ are identity statements in which the copula is flanked by singular terms whose semantic function consists in referring to a number (henceforth: Identity). On the basis of Identity the realists argue that the assertive use of such statements commits us to numbers. Recently, some anti-realists have disputed this argument. According to them, Identity is false, and, thus, we may deny that the relevant statements commit us to numbers. The present paper argues that the correct linguistic analysis of the relevant number statements supports the anti-realist view that Identity is false. However, as will further be shown, pace the anti-realist, this analysis does not establish that such statements do not commit us to numbers after all
Keywords Ontological commitment  Abstract objects  Number words  Frege  Specificational sentences  Nominalizations
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-013-0129-3
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References found in this work BETA

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