Jason Turner
University of Arizona
The structuralist conception of metaphysics holds that it aims to uncover the ultimate structure of reality and explain how the world's richness and variety are accounted for by that ultimate structure. On this conception, metaphysicians produce fundamental theories, the primitive, undefined expressions of which are supposed to 'carve reality at its joints', as it were. On this conception, ontological questions are understood as questions about what there is, where the existential quantifier 'there is' has a fundamental, joint-carving interpretation. Structuralist orthodoxy holds that there is exactly one fundamental, joint-carving interpretation that an existential quantifier could have. This orthodox assumption could go wrong--either by there being too few fundamental-quantifier interpretations, or by there being too many. In this dissertation I examine the implications of these non-orthodox options. Someone who thinks there are too many fundamental-quantifier interpretations might think this means standard ontological debates are in some sense defective of 'merely verbal', or she might think instead that the different quantifiers show that there are different 'ways' or 'modes' of being. I argue that the first option runs into problems with a certain sort of realism about logic, but that there is no general problem with the second option, despite its longstanding bad philosophical reputation. I also argue that realism about logic gives us reason to think the dispute between someone who thinks there are many 'modes of being' in this sense and someone who thinks there is just one is not itself verbal. Finally, I turn to the case in which there are no fundamental quantifiers, arguing that it brings with it a host of theoretical problems we could avoid with quantifiers.
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Citations of this work BETA

Neo-Fregeanism and Quantifier Variance.Theodore Sider - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):201–232.

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