Ontological Commitment

AL-Mukhatabat 1 (27):177-223 (2018)
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Abstract

Disagreement over what exists is so fundamental that it tends to hinder or even to block dialogue among disputants. The various controversies between believers and atheists, or realists and nominalists, are only two kinds of examples. Interested in contributing to the intelligibility of the debate on ontology, in 1939 Willard van Orman Quine began a series of works which introduces the notion of ontological commitment and proposes an allegedly objective criterion to identify the exact conditions under which a theoretical discourse signals an assumption of existence. I intend to present the concept of ontological commitment and the Quinean criterion, to expose and evaluate some of the many criticisms to which the criterion has subject and to situate it in the context of Quine’s philosophy. As a product of such analyses, I hope to contribute to the discussion on the application and relevance of the notion of ontological commitment.

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Daniel Durante
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte

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