Quantifier Variance, Semantic Collapse, and “Genuine” Quantifiers

Philosophical Studies 179 (3):745-757 (2021)
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Quantifier variance holds that different languages can have unrestricted quantifier expressions that differ in meaning, where an expression is a “quantifier” just in case it plays the right inferential role. Several critics argued that J.H. Harris’s “collapse” argument refutes variance by showing that identity of inferential role is incompatible with meaning variance. This standard, syntactic collapse argument has generated several responses. More recently, Cian Dorr proved semantic collapse theorems to generate a semantic collapse argument against variance. The argument is significantly different from standard collapse, so it requires a new response. Here I clarify and analyze the semantic collapse argument, and explain how variantists can and should respond to it. The paper also includes an appendix showing the difficulties of positing identity variance without quantifier variance. The argument in the appendix has yet to appear in print, but is familiar to specialists.



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Jared Warren
Stanford University

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References found in this work

Ethics without ontology.Hilary Putnam - 2004 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Ontological Pluralism.Jason Turner - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (1):5-34.
What we disagree about when we disagree about ontology.Cian Dorr - 2005 - In Mark Eli Kalderon (ed.), Fictionalism in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 234--86.
Quantifier Variance and Realism: Essays in Metaontology.Eli Hirsch - 2010 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.

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