Expressivism without Mentalism in Meta-Ontology

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (5):781-800 (2018)
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ABSTRACTCarnap famously argued that there are two kinds of questions and claims concerning the existence or reality of entities: internal and external ones. We focus on Carnapian external ontological claims of the form: ‘Xs really exist’, where ‘X’ stands for some traditional metaphysical category, such as ‘substance’, ‘fact’ or ‘structure’. While Carnap considered them as meaningless, we consider them as faultlessly meaningful. However, in line with an expressivist guise, we do not claim that they have the meaning they have in virtue of representing a certain range of entities in the world or describing pieces of reality. Quite the contrary, we maintain that they are meaningful because they perform a function that is fundamentally expressive, that is, a non-descriptive function. In particular, they may imply a distinctive type of metalinguistic expressive function. Moreover, we avoid accuses of mentalism insofar as we explain the meaning of external ontological claims in terms of the practical commitments to the adoption of certain linguistic forms they express, rather than as expressing some kind of mental state.



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Author Profiles

Mirco Sambrotta
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Pedro Antonio García Jorge
Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit

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Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.
Ontology Made Easy.Amie Lynn Thomasson - 2014 - New York: Oup Usa.

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