In J. T. M. Miller (ed.), The Language of Ontology. Oxford, UK: (2021)

Vera Flocke
Indiana University, Bloomington
Ontological expressivism is the view that ontological existence claims express non-cognitive mental states. I develop a version of ontological expressivism that is modeled after Gibbard’s (2003) norm-expressivism. I argue that, when speakers assess whether, say, composite objects exist, they rely on assumptions with regard to what is required for composition to occur. These assumptions guide their assessment, similar to how norms may guide the assessment of normative propositions. Against this backdrop, I argue that “some objects have parts”, uttered in the context of an ontological disagreement, expresses a noncognitive disposition to assess the truth of propositions by using only rules of assessment according to which the proposition that some objects have parts is to be evaluated as true.
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