Two kinds of ontological commitment

Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):79-104 (2011)
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Abstract

There are two different ways of understanding the notion of ‘ontological commitment ’. A question about ‘what is said to be’ by a theory or ‘what a theory says there is’ deals with ‘explicit’ commitment ; a question about the ontological costs or preconditions of the truth of a theory concerns ‘implicit’ commitment. I defend a conception of ontological commitment as implicit commitment, and argue that existentially quantified idioms in natural language are implicitly, but not explicitly, committing. I use the distinction between the two kinds of ontological commitment to diagnose a flaw in a widely used argument to the effect that existential quantification is not ontologically committing

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Howard Peacock
University College London

Citations of this work

Ontological Innocence.Katherine Hawley - 2014 - In A. J. Cotnoir & Donald L. M. Baxter (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 70-89.
Paraphrase and the Symmetry Objection.John A. Keller - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):365-378.
Ontological Investigations of a Pragmatic Kind? A Reply to Lauer.Simon Lohse - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (1):3-12.
Implicit Commitment in Theory Choice.Stephan Krämer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2147-2165.

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