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  1. Nominalism.Zoltan Szabo - 2003 - In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford handbook of metaphysics. New York: Oxford University Press.
    …entities? 2. How to be a nominalist 2.1. “Speak with the vulgar …” 2.2. “…think with the learned” 3. Arguments for nominalism 3.1. Intelligibility, physicalism, and economy 3.2. Causal..
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  • Structuring reality.Naomi Margaret Claire Thompson - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    This thesis explores attempts to characterise the structure of reality. Three notions stand out: Lewisian naturalness, Sider’s ‘structure’, and grounding, where the latter has become the most popular way to characterise the structure of reality in the contemporary literature. I argue that none of these notions, as they are currently understood, are suited for limning the metaphysical structure of reality. In the first part of the thesis I argue that, by the lights of the relevant theories, both naturalness and structure (...)
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  • Abstract Objects.David Liggins - 2024 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Philosophers often debate the existence of such things as numbers and propositions, and say that if these objects exist, they are abstract. But what does it mean to call something 'abstract'? And do we have good reason to believe in the existence of abstract objects? This Element addresses those questions, putting newcomers to these debates in a position to understand what they concern and what are the most influential considerations at work in this area of metaphysics. It also provides advice (...)
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  • Abstract Expressionism and the Communication Problem.David Liggins - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):599-620.
    Some philosophers have recently suggested that the reason mathematics is useful in science is that it expands our expressive capacities. Of these philosophers, only Stephen Yablo has put forward a detailed account of how mathematics brings this advantage. In this article, I set out Yablo’s view and argue that it is implausible. Then, I introduce a simpler account and show it is a serious rival to Yablo’s. 1 Introduction2 Yablo’s Expressionism3 Psychological Objections to Yablo’s Expressionism4 Introducing Belief Expressionism5 Objections and (...)
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  • In defence of error theory.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):209-230.
    Many contemporary philosophers rate error theories poorly. We identify the arguments these philosophers invoke, and expose their deficiencies. We thereby show that the prospects for error theory have been systematically underestimated. By undermining general arguments against all error theories, we leave it open whether any more particular arguments against particular error theories are more successful. The merits of error theories need to be settled on a case-by-case basis: there is no good general argument against error theories.
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  • A Deflationist Error Theory of Properties.Arvid Båve - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (1):23-59.
    I here defend a theory consisting of four claims about ‘property’ and properties, and argue that they form a coherent whole that can solve various serious problems. The claims are (1): ‘property’ is defined by the principles (PR): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property of x iff F’ and (PA): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property’; (2) the function of ‘property’ is to increase the expressive power of English, roughly by mimicking quantification into predicate position; (3) property talk should be understood at (...)
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  • A Defence of Semantic Pretence Hermeneutic Fictionalism Against the Autism Objection.Seahwa Kim - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):321-333.
    I defend pretence hermeneutic fictionalism against the Autism Objection. The objection is this: since people with autism have no difficulty in engaging with mathematics even if they cannot pretend, it is not the case that engagement with mathematics involves pretence. I show that a previous response to the objection is inadequate as a defence of the kind of pretence hermeneutic fictionalism put forward as a semantic thesis about the discourse in question. I claim that a more general response to the (...)
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  • Fictionalist Strategies in Metaphysics.Lukas Skiba & Richard Woodward - 2020 - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York, NY: Routledge.
    This paper discusses the nature of, problems for, and benefits delivered by fictionalist strategies in metaphysics.
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  • Projection and Pretence in Ethics.Edmund Dain - 2012 - Philosophical Papers 41 (2):181-208.
    Suppose one is persuaded of the merits of noncognitivism in ethics but not those of expressivism: in such a case, a form of moral fictionalism, combining a descriptivist account of moral sentences with a noncognitivist account of the attitudes involved in their acceptance or rejection, might seem an attractive alternative. This paper argues against the use of moral fictionalism as a strategy for defending noncognitivism in ethics. It argues, first, that the view is implausible as it stands and, second, that (...)
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  • I’m Here Now, But I Won’t Be Here When You Get This Message.Niall Connolly - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (4):603-622.
    Answering machine messages allegedly refute Kaplan's ‘classical account’ of the semantics of ‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’. The classical account doesn’t allow that a token of ‘I am not here now’ can be true; but these words in an answering machine message can communicate something true. In this paper I argue that the true content communicated by an answering machine message is extra-semantic content conveyed via the mechanism of ‘externally-oriented make-believe’. An answering machine message is associated with a game of make-believe (...)
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  • How to be a compatibilist in metaphysics: The epistemic strategy.Massimiliano Carrara & Vittorio Morato - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-25.
    Conflicts between our best philosophical theories (BPTs) and our common beliefs are widespread. For example, if eliminativism is our BPT, then our BPT conflicts with common beliefs about the existence of middle-sized composite artifacts. “Compatibilism” is the name usually given to a theoretical attitude, according to which, in the case of a conflict between BPT and a common belief P, we should try to find a reconciliation. The two major variants of compatibilism are “semantic compatibilism” (SC) and “cognitive compatibilism” (CC). (...)
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  • Mathematics and bleak house.John P. Burgess - 2004 - Philosophia Mathematica 12 (1):18-36.
    The form of nominalism known as 'mathematical fictionalism' is examined and found wanting, mainly on grounds that go back to an early antinominalist work of Rudolf Carnap that has unfortunately not been paid sufficient attention by more recent writers.
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  • The Phenomenological Objection to Fictionalism.Stuart Brock - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (3):574-592.
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  • Fictionalism About Fictional Characters Revisited.Stuart Brock - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (2):377-403.
    Fictionalism about fictional characters is a view according to which all claims ostensibly about fictional characters are in fact claims about the content of a story. Claims that appear to refer to or quantify over fictional objects contain an implicit prefix of the form “according to such-and-such story. In.
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  • How to Criticize Lexical Accounts of Idioms.Madeleine Arseneault - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):141-158.
    The semantics of idioms has traditionally treated the idiomatic phrase as a lexical item to which an idiomatic meaning is assigned, and in which remains inert the ordinary literal meaning of the phrase's constitutive words. I draw a distinction between metaphysical lexicalism and methodological lexicalism, and show how criticisms lodged against one kind of lexicalism leave the other intact. Once it is clarified that it is methodological lexicalism that is of interest, and what kind of evidence counts against methodological lexicalism (...)
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  • The Story About Propositions.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2010 - Noûs 46 (4):635-674.
    It is our contention that an ontological commitment to propositions faces a number of problems; so many, in fact, that an attitude of realism towards propositions—understood the usual “platonistic” way, as a kind of mind- and language-independent abstract entity—is ultimately untenable. The particular worries about propositions that marshal parallel problems that Paul Benacerraf has raised for mathematical platonists. At the same time, the utility of “proposition-talk”—indeed, the apparent linguistic commitment evident in our use of 'that'-clauses (in offering explanations and making (...)
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  • From Mathematical Fictionalism to Truth‐Theoretic Fictionalism.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):93-118.
    We argue that if Stephen Yablo (2005) is right that philosophers of mathematics ought to endorse a fictionalist view of number-talk, then there is a compelling reason for deflationists about truth to endorse a fictionalist view of truth-talk. More specifically, our claim will be that, for deflationists about truth, Yablo’s argument for mathematical fictionalism can be employed and mounted as an argument for truth-theoretic fictionalism.
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  • Alethic fictionalism, alethic nihilism, and the Liar Paradox.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3083-3096.
    Recently, several philosophers have proposed fictionalist accounts of truth-talk, as a means for resolving the semantic pathology that the Liar Paradox appears to present. These alethic fictionalists aim to vindicate truth-talk as a kind of as if discourse, while rejecting that the talk attributes any real property of truth. Liggins has recently critically assessed one such proposal, Beall’s constructive methodological deflationist, offering objections to Beall’s proposed alethic fictionalism that potentially generalize to other alethic fictionalist accounts. Liggins further argues that CMD (...)
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  • A fictionalist theory of universals.Tim Button & Robert Trueman - 2024 - In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-Order Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    Universals are putative objects like wisdom, morality, redness, etc. Although we believe in properties (which, we argue, are not a kind of object), we do not believe in universals. However, a number of ordinary, natural language constructions seem to commit us to their existence. In this paper, we provide a fictionalist theory of universals, which allows us to speak as if universals existed, whilst denying that any really do.
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  • Plato's Problem: An Introduction to Mathematical Platonism.Marco Panza & Andrea Sereni - 2013 - New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. Edited by Andrea Sereni & Marco Panza.
    What is mathematics about? And if it is about some sort of mathematical reality, how can we have access to it? This is the problem raised by Plato, which still today is the subject of lively philosophical disputes. This book traces the history of the problem, from its origins to its contemporary treatment. It discusses the answers given by Aristotle, Proclus and Kant, through Frege's and Russell's versions of logicism, Hilbert's formalism, Gödel's platonism, up to the the current debate on (...)
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  • Causal Fictionalism.Antony Eagle - 2024 - In Yafeng Shan (ed.), Alternative Philosophical Approaches to Causation: Beyond Difference-making and Mechanism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Causation appears to present us with an interpretative difficulty. While arguably a redundant relation given fundamental physics, it is nevertheless apparently pragmatically indispensable. This chapter revisits certain arguments made previously by the author for these claims with the benefit of hindsight, starting with the role of causal models in the human sciences, and attempting to explain why it is not possible to straightforwardly ground such models in fundamental physics. This suggests that further constraints, going beyond physics, are needed to legitimate (...)
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  • Irrealism about Grounding.Naomi Thompson - 2018 - In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Metaphysics. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
    In this paper I explore irrealist alternatives to orthodox realism about grounding, and claim that at least some of these alternatives represent fertile areas for future discussion.
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  • On the Systematic Inadequacy of Fictionalism about Fictional Characters.Marián Zouhar - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (3):925-942.
    Critical statements, if true, bear ontological commitments to fictional entities. A well-known version of fictionalism about fictional characters tries to eliminate these ontological commitments by proposing that we understand critical statements as prefixed by a special sentential operator, such as ‘according to a fictional realist theory’. The aim of the present paper is to show that fictionalism about fictional characters is underdeveloped as it stands because it can be shown to be systematically inadequate. Because the fictionalist’s paraphrases of critical statements (...)
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  • The Inaccuracy of Partial Truth in Yablovian If-Thenism.Joseph Ulatowski - 2017 - Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2):206-211.
    Yablo has argued for an alternative form of if-thenism that is more conducive with his figurative fictionalism. This commentary sets out to challenge whether the remainder, ρ, tends to be an inaccurate representation of the conditions that are supposed to complete the enthymeme from φ to Ψ. Whilst by some accounts the inaccuracies shouldn't set off any alarm bells, the truth of ρ is too inexact. The content of ρ, a partial truth, must display a sensitivity to the contextual background (...)
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  • Fictionalism and the folk.Adam Toon - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):280-295.
    Mental fictionalism is the view that, even if mental states do not exist, it is useful to talk as if they do. Mental states are useful fictions. Recent philosophy of mind has seen a growing interest in mental fictionalism. To date, much of the discussion has concerned the general features of the approach. In this paper, I develop a specific form of mental fictionalism by drawing on Kendall Walton’s work on make-believe. According to the approach I propose, talk of mental (...)
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  • Setting the story straight: fictionalism about grounding.Naomi Thompson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):343-361.
    This paper explores a middle way between realism and eliminativism about grounding. Grounding-talk is intelligible and useful, but it fails to pick out grounding relations that exist or obtain in reality. Instead, grounding-talk allows us to convey facts about what metaphysically explains what, and about the worldly dependence relations that give rise to those explanations.
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  • Pretense, Mathematics, and Cognitive Neuroscience.Jonathan Tallant - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axs013.
    A pretense theory of a given discourse is a theory that claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we token (speak, write, and so on) when taking part in that discourse. Instead, according to pretense theory, we are speaking from within a pretense. According to pretense theories of mathematics, we engage with mathematics as we do a pretense. We do not use mathematical language to make claims that express propositions and, thus, we do (...)
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  • Agency and fictional truth: a formal study on fiction-making.Giuseppe Spolaore - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1235-1265.
    Fictional truth, or truth in fiction/pretense, has been the object of extended scrutiny among philosophers and logicians in recent decades. Comparatively little attention, however, has been paid to its inferential relationships with time and with certain deliberate and contingent human activities, namely, the creation of fictional works. The aim of the paper is to contribute to filling the gap. Toward this goal, a formal framework is outlined that is consistent with a variety of conceptions of fictional truth and based upon (...)
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  • Selfish Reasons.Kieran Setiya - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2.
    Argues against the rationality of self-concern. Non-instrumental interest in my own well-being is not justified by the fact that it is mine. This follows from the metaphysics of first-person thought, as thought about the object of immediate knowledge. The argument leaves room for rational self-interest as a form of self-love that is justified, like love for others, by the fact of our shared humanity.
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  • Pragmatic antirealism: a new antirealist strategy.Michael Scott & Philip Brown - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (3):349-366.
    In everyday speech we seem to refer to such things as abstract objects, moral properties, or propositional attitudes that have been the target of metaphysical and/or epistemological objections. Many philosophers, while endorsing scepticism about some of these entities, have not wished to charge ordinary speakers with fundamental error, or recommend that the discourse be revised or eliminated. To this end a number of non-revisionary antirealist strategies have been employed, including expressivism, reductionism and hermeneutic fictionalism. But each of these theories faces (...)
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  • What is a second order theory committed to?Charles Sayward - 1983 - Erkenntnis 20 (1):79 - 91.
    The paper argues that no second order theory is ontologically commited to anything beyond what its individual variables range over.
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  • The Will to Make‐Believe: Religious Fictionalism, Religious Beliefs, and the Value of Art.Andrea Sauchelli - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (3):620-635.
    I explore some of the reasons why, under specific circumstances, it may be rational to make-believe or imagine certain religious beliefs. Adopting a jargon familiar to certain contemporary philosophers, my main concern here is to assess what reasons can be given for adopting a fictionalist stance towards some religious beliefs. My understanding of fictionalism does not involve solely a propositional attitude but a broader stance, which may include certain acts of pretence. I also argue that a plausible reason to be (...)
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  • The Nature of Model-World Comparisons.Fiora Salis - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):243-259.
    Upholders of fictionalism about scientific models have not yet successfully explained how scientists can learn about the real world by making comparisons between models and the real phenomena they stand for. In this paper I develop an account of model-world comparisons in terms of what I take to be the best antirealist analyses of comparative claims that emerge from the current debate on fiction.
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  • Fictional coreference as a problem for the pretense theory.Anna Bjurman Pautz - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (2):147 - 156.
    There seems to be a perfectly ordinary sense in which different speakers can use an empty name to talk about the same thing. Call this fictional coreference. It is a constraint on an adequate theory of empty names that it provide a satisfactory account of fictional coreference. The main claim of this paper is that the pretense theory of empty names does not respect this constraint.
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  • Figurative Language in Explanation.Inga Nayding - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (35):2013.
    Yablo argued that some metaphors are representationally essential: they enable us to express contents that we would not be able to express without them. He defended a fictionalist view of mathematical language by making the case that it similarly serves as a representational aid. Against this, Colyvan argued that metaphorical/figurative language can never play an essential role in explanation and that mathematical language often does, hence concluding that Yablo’s fictionalism is untenable. I show that Colyvan’s thesis about explanation is highly (...)
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  • Reference fiction, and omission.Samuel Murray - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):235-257.
    In this paper, I argue that sentences that contain ‘omission’ tokens that appear to function as singular terms are meaningful while maintaining the view that omissions are nothing at all or mere absences. I take omissions to be fictional entities and claim that the way in which sentences about fictional characters are true parallels the way in which sentences about omissions are true. I develop a pragmatic account of fictional reference and argue that my fictionalist account of omissions implies a (...)
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  • Mental Fictionalism As an Undermotivated Theory.Miklós Márton & János Tözsér - 2013 - The Monist 96 (4):622-638.
    Our paper consists of three parts. In the first part we explain the concept of mental fictionalism. In the second part, we present the various versions of fictionalism and their main sources of motivation.We do this because in the third part we argue that mental fictionalism, as opposed to other versions of fictionalism, is a highly undermotivated theory.
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  • Pejorative Discourse is not Fictional.Teresa Marques - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy (4):1-14.
    Hom and May (2015) argue that pejoratives mean negative prescriptive properties that externally depend on social ideologies, and that this entails a form of fictionalism: pejoratives have null extensions. There are relevant uses of fictional terms that are necessary to describe the content of fictions, and to make true statements about the world, that do not convey that speakers are committed to the fiction. This paper shows that the same constructions with pejoratives typically convey that the speaker is committed to (...)
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  • Rationalism and the Content of Intuitive Judgements.Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2011 - Mind 120 (478):263-327.
    It is commonly held that our intuitive judgements about imaginary problem cases are justified a priori, if and when they are justified at all. In this paper I defend this view — ‘rationalism’ — against a recent objection by Timothy Williamson. I argue that his objection fails on multiple grounds, but the reasons why it fails are instructive. Williamson argues from a claim about the semantics of intuitive judgements, to a claim about their psychological underpinnings, to the denial of rationalism. (...)
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  • Truth in Fiction.Franck Lihoreau (ed.) - 2010 - Ontos Verlag.
    The essays collected in this volume are all concerned with the connection between fiction and truth. This question is of utmost importance to metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic and epistemology, raising in each of these areas and at their intersections a large number of issues related to creation, existence, reference, identity, modality, belief, assertion, imagination, pretense, etc. All these topics and many more are addressed in this collection, which brings together original essays written from various points of view by (...)
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  • Good weasel hunting.Robert Knowles & David Liggins - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3397-3412.
    The ‘indispensability argument’ for the existence of mathematical objects appeals to the role mathematics plays in science. In a series of publications, Joseph Melia has offered a distinctive reply to the indispensability argument. The purpose of this paper is to clarify Melia’s response to the indispensability argument and to advise Melia and his critics on how best to carry forward the debate. We will begin by presenting Melia’s response and diagnosing some recent misunderstandings of it. Then we will discuss four (...)
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  • Constructive methodological deflationism, dialetheism and the Liar.David Liggins - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):566-574.
    Thanks to the work of Kendall Walton, appeals to the notion of pretence (or make-believe) have become popular in philosophy. Now the notion has begun to appear in accounts of truth. My aim here is to assess one of these accounts, namely the ‘constructive methodological deflationism’ put forward by Jc Beall. After introducing the view, I argue that Beall does not manage to overcome the problem of psychological implausibility. Although Beall claims that constructive methodological deflationism supports dialetheism, I argue that (...)
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  • Fictionalism in Metaphysics.Frederick Kroon - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):786-803.
    This is a survey of contemporary work on ‘fictionalism in metaphysics’, a term that is taken to signify both the place of fictionalism as a distinctive anti‐realist metaphysics in which usefulness rather than truth is the norm of acceptance, and the fact that philosophers have given fictionalist treatments of a range of specifically metaphysical notions.
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  • Descriptivism, Pretense, and the Frege-Russell Problems.Frederick Kroon - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (1):1-30.
    Contrary to frequent declarations that descriptivism as a theory of how names refer is dead and gone, such a descriptivism is, to all appearances, alive and well. Or rather, a descendent of that doctrine is alive and well. This new version—neo-descriptivism, for short—is supposedly immune from the usual arguments against descriptivism, in large part because it avoids classical descriptivism’s emphasis on salient, first-come-to-mind properties and holds instead that a name’s reference-fixing content is typically given by egocentric properties specified in terms (...)
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  • Unrestricted Composition and Restricted Quantification.Daniel Z. Korman - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (3):319-334.
    Many of those who accept the universalist thesis that mereological composition is unrestricted also maintain that the folk typically restrict their quantifiers in such a way as to exclude strange fusions when they say things that appear to conflict with universalism. Despite its prima facie implausibility, there are powerful arguments for universalism. By contrast, there is remarkably little evidence for the thesis that strange fusions are excluded from the ordinary domain of quantification. Furthermore, this reconciliatory strategy seems hopeless when applied (...)
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  • Hegel and Religion: Avoiding Double Truth, Twice.David Kolb - 2012 - Hegel Bulletin 33 (1):71-87.
    When I was first studying Hegel I encountered quite divergent readings of his views on religion. The teacher who first presented Hegel to me was a Jesuit, Quentin Lauer at Fordham University, who read Hegel as a Christian theologian providing a better metaphysical system for understanding the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation. When I studied at Yale, Kenley Dove read Hegel as the first thoroughly atheistic philosopher, who presented the conditions of thought without reference to any foundational absolute being. (...)
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  • Singular terms, reference and methodology in semantics.Jeffrey C. King - 2006 - Philosophical Issues 16 (1):141–161.
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  • Fictionalism about musical works.Anton Killin - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):266-291.
    The debate concerning the ontological status of musical works is perhaps the most animated debate in contemporary analytic philosophy of music. In my view, progress requires a piecemeal approach. So in this article I hone in on one particular musical work concept – that of the classical Western art musical work; that is, the work concept that regulates classical art-musical practice. I defend a fictionalist analysis – a strategy recently suggested by Andrew Kania as potentially fruitful – and I develop (...)
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  • On 'Average'.Christopher Kennedy & Jason Stanley - 2009 - Mind 118 (471):583 - 646.
    This article investigates the semantics of sentences that express numerical averages, focusing initially on cases such as 'The average American has 2.3 children'. Such sentences have been used both by linguists and philosophers to argue for a disjuncture between semantics and ontology. For example, Noam Chomsky and Norbert Hornstein have used them to provide evidence against the hypothesis that natural language semantics includes a reference relation holding between words and objects in the world, whereas metaphysicians such as Joseph Melia and (...)
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  • Theological Anti-Realism.John A. Keller - 2014 - Journal of Analytic Theology 2:13-42.
    An "overview article" that (a) clarifies the nature of theological anti-realism and how that thesis should be formulated, and (b) negatively assesses some of the most common arguments for being a theological anti-realist.
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