Content Externalism and Quine’s Criterion are Incompatible

Erkenntnis 82 (3):625-639 (2017)

Authors
T. Parent
Virginia Tech
Abstract
Externalism holds that the content of our utterances and thoughts are determined partly by the environment. Here, I offer an argument which suggests that externalism is incompatible with a natural view about ontological commitment--namely, the Quinean view that such commitments are fixed by the range of the variables in your theory. The idea in brief is that if Oscar mistakenly believes that water = XYZ, the externalist ontologically commits Oscar to two waterish kinds, whereas the Quinean commits him to one such kind (albeit a metaphysically impossible kind). The penultimate section addresses a variety of objections to the argument.
Keywords Anti-individualism  Quine on ontology  Quantification  Impossibilia
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-016-9835-5
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
On What There Is.W. V. O. Quine - 2011 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.Allen Stairs - 1988 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):333-352.
A Puzzle About Belief.Saul A. Kripke - 1979 - In A. Margalit (ed.), Meaning and Use. Reidel. pp. 239--83.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ontological Commitment and Quantifiers.T. Parent - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York: Routledge.

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