A problem for easy ontology

Disputatio 10 (16) (2021)

Sybren Heyndels
University College Dublin
Thomasson’s easy ontology approach (2015) aims at deflating existence questions through a revival of Carnap’s (1950) distinction between internal and external questions. Importantly, her account depends on an analysis of the ordinary meaning of ‘exist(s)’ as a second-order predicate. I do two things in this paper. First, I show that Thomasson’s analysis fails to do justice to the complexity of the English predicate ‘exist(s)’. Against Thomasson, I argue that there are cases in which ‘exist(s)’ functions as a first-order predicate. Because these cases were first noted by P.F. Strawson (1967), I will call them ‘Strawson-cases’. Secondly, I argue that these counterexamples give some support to (i) more substantive theories about existence as well as (ii) accounts that treat ‘exist(s)’ as varying in meaning.
Keywords Ontology  Existence  Strawson  Carnap  Deflationism  Easy ontology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,920
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Easy Approach to Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2009 - Axiomathes 19 (1):1-15.
Quizzical Ontology and Easy Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (9-10):502-528.
Easy Ontology Without Deflationary Metaontology.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):236-243.
Questions of Ontology.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - In Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.), Ontology After Carnap. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes