Oxford University Press (2021)

James (J.T.M.) Miller
Durham University
Metaphysical and ontological debates, concerning what exists and the nature of reality, are perennial features of the philosophical landscape. However, some have argued that ontological debates are non-substantive, pointless, trivial, incoherent, or impossible. Debates about whether tables exist, for example, or about the nature of reality, are taken to be in some way deficient. This has led to a burgeoning literature studying the nature of metaphysical and ontological disputes themselves. One major debate within this context concerns the language of ontology. The central question is whether the nature of language influences or limits our ability to engage productively in ontological disputes. While we typically think that our language describes the world, or at least can accurately describe the world, there have been many who have argued that the nature of language inherently influences and limits our attempts to understand the nature of reality-that our claims about what exists are, in fact, merely a reflection of how we happen to speak or think. The Language of Ontology collects chapters from established participants in the debate alongside new voices, to explore the range of issues relating to our ability or inability to get beyond the limits of our language.
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