Synthese 198 (2):1549-1567 (2021)

Authors
James Andrew Smith
Indiana University, Bloomington
Abstract
W.V. Quine is a well-known proponent of naturalism, the view on which reality is described only in science. He is also well-known for arguing that our current scientific theories commit us to the existence of abstract objects. It is tempting to believe that the naturalistic philosopher should think scientists outside of philosophy are in the best position to assess the merits of revising our current commitment to abstract objects. But Quine rejects this deferential view. On the reading of Quine’s philosophical methodology that I defend in this paper, the naturalistic philosopher not only may assess the merits of revising the commitments of our scientific theories, but also will recommend we make such revisions if doing so simplifies and clarifies our science. To develop my reading, I will examine John Burgess and Gideon Rosen’s naturalism in ontology that includes the deferential view Quine rejects. By explaining how Quine’s naturalism differs from the anti-revisionist, deferential naturalism in philosophy of mathematics that Burgess and Rosen advance, I seek to clarify and advance contemporary debates on naturalism.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02143-7
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.
Theories and Things.W. V. O. Quine (ed.) - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Parts of Classes.David K. Lewis - 1991 - Mind 100 (3):394-397.
Set Theory and its Logic.Willard V. Quine - 1963 - Harvard University Press.
Philosophy of Logic.W. Quine - 1970 - In Simon Blackburn & Keith Simmons (eds.), Truth. Oxford University Press.

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