The Role of Existential Quantification in Scientific Realism

Philosophy 92 (3):351-367 (2017)

Authors
Suki Finn
University of Southampton
Abstract
Scientific realism holds that the terms in our scientific theories refer and that we should believe in their existence. This presupposes a certain understanding of quantification, namely that it is ontologically committing, which I challenge in this paper. I argue that the ontological loading of the quantifiers is smuggled in through restricting the domains of quantification, without which it is clear to see that quantifiers are ontologically neutral. Once we remove domain restrictions, domains of quantification can include non-existent things, as they do in scientific theorizing. Scientific realism would therefore require redefining without presupposing a view of ontologically committing quantification.
Keywords Quantification  Realism  Quine
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DOI 10.1017/s0031819117000031
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References found in this work BETA

What Numbers Could Not Be.Paul Benacerraf - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):47-73.
From a Logical Point of View.W. V. Quine - 1953 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 15 (4):574-575.
Can There Be Vague Objects?Gareth Evans - 1978 - Analysis 38 (4):208.

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Citations of this work BETA

Quantifier Variance Dissolved.Suki Finn & Otávio Bueno - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:289-307.
Prichard, Falk, and the End of Deliberation.Robert N. Johnson - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (5):pp. 131-147.

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