Atomic ontology

Synthese 197 (1):355-379 (2020)

Andrew Parisi
University of Connecticut
The aim of this article is to offer a method for determining the ontological commitments of a formalized theory. The second section shows that determining the consequence relation of a language model-theoretically entails that the ontology of a theory is tied very closely to the variables that feature in that theory. The third section develops an alternative way of determining the ontological commitments of a theory given a proof-theoretic account of the consequence relation for the language that theory is in. It is shown that the proof-theoretic account of ontological commitment does not entail that the ontological commitments of a theory depend on the variables of that theory. The last section of the article discusses how this account of ontological commitment can be used in other philosophical projects such as Wright’s abstractionism. The article concludes with a discussion of the upshots of adopting the proof-theoretic account of ontological commitment for ontology generally.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1725-8
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