Lukas Skiba
Universität Hamburg
This paper investigates the connection between two recent trends in philosophy: higher-orderism and conceptual engineering. Higher-orderists use higher-order quantifiers (in particular quantifiers binding variables that occupy the syntactic positions of predicates) to express certain key metaphysical doctrines, such as the claim that there are properties. I argue that, on a natural construal, the higher-orderist approach involves an engineering project concerning, among others, the concept of existence. I distinguish between a modest construal of this project, on which it aims at engineering higher-order analogues of the familiar notion of first-order existence, and an ambitious construal, on which it additionally aims at engineering a broadened notion of existence that subsumes first-order and higher-order existence. After identifying a substantial problem for the ambitious project, I investigate a possible response which is based on adopting a cumulative type theory as the background higher-order logic. While effective against the problem at hand, this strategy turns out to undermine a major reason to embrace higher-orderism in the first place, namely the idea that higher-orderism dissolves a range of otherwise intractable debates in metaphysics. Higher-orderists are therefore best advised to pursue their engineering project on the modest variant and against the background of standard type theory.
Keywords Higher-Order Quantification  Higher-Order Metaphysics  Type Theories  Standard Type Theory  Cumulative Type Theory  Existence  Conceptual Engineering  Conceptual Pluralism
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References found in this work BETA

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago, IL, USA: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

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Citations of this work BETA

Higher‐Order Metaphysics.Lukas Skiba - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):1-11.
On Pluralism and Conceptual Engineering: Introduction and Overview.Delia Belleri - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-19.

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