Journal of Philosophy 112 (5):247-265 (2015)

Authors
T. Parent
Nazarbayev University
Abstract
Wittgenstein’s rule-following argument suggests that linguistic understanding does not consist in knowing interpretations, whereas Kripkenstein’s version suggests that meaning cannot be metaphysically fixed by interpretations. In the present paper, rule-following considerations are used to suggest that certain ontological questions cannot be answered by interpretations. Specifically, if the aim is to specify the ontology of a language, an interpretation cannot answer what object an expression of L denotes, if the interpretations are themselves L-expressions. Briefly, that’s because the ontology of such interpretations would naturally be in question as much as the expressions they interpret. So in order to settle the question of ontology, the interpretations themselves would need to be interpreted, and thus a regress. I conclude that knowing the answer to what ontology underlies L cannot be a matter of knowing interpretations. The paper ends with a quietist conclusion; the slogan is that empirical science is ontology enough, or rather, it is about all the ontology one should expect.
Keywords Sider, Theodore  Metametaphysics  Quine, Willard Van Orman  Ontology
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DOI 10.5840/jphil2015112515
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References found in this work BETA

Ontological Realism.Theodore Sider - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 384--423.
Composition, Colocation, and Metaontology.Karen Bennett - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 38.
Knowing the Answer.Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):383-403.
On What There Is.P. T. Geach, A. J. Ayer & W. V. Quine - 1951 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 25:125-160.
Non-Cognitivism and Rule-Following.John McDowell - 1981 - In S. Holtzman & Christopher M. Leich (eds.), Wittgenstein: To Follow A Rule. Routledge. pp. 141--62.

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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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