Quantification and realism

Abstract
This paper argues for the thesis that, roughly put, it is impossible to talk about absolutely everything. To put the thesis more precisely, there is a particular sense in which, as a matter of semantics, quantifiers always range over domains that are in principle extensible, and so cannot count as really being ‘absolutely everything’. The paper presents an argument for this thesis, and considers some important objections to the argument and to the formulation of the thesis. The paper also offers an assessment of just how implausible the thesis really is. It argues that the intuitions against the thesis come down to a few special cases, which can be given special treatment. Finally, the paper considers some metaphysical ideas that might surround the thesis. Particularly, it might be maintained that an important variety of realism is incompatible with the thesis. The paper argues that this is not the case.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2004.tb00518.x
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References found in this work BETA
Ontological Relativity and Other Essays.W. V. Quine - 1969 - Columbia University Press.
Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Harvard University Press.
Philosophical Papers.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Unrestricted Quantification.Salvatore Florio - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (7):441-454.
Mass Nouns and Plural Logic.David Nicolas - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2):211-244.
The World is the Totality of Facts, Not of Things.Rayo Agustín - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):250-278.
Vagueness and Quantification.Andrea Iacona - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic (5):1-24.
Is 'Everything' Precise?Dan López de Sa - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (4):397–409.

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