Fine-Grained Type-Free Intensionality

In Gennero Chierchia, Barbara H. Partee & Raymond Turner (eds.), Properties, Types, and Meaning, Volume 1. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 177-230 (1989)
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Abstract
Commonplace syntactic constructions in natural language seem to generate ontological commitments to a dazzling array of metaphysical categories - aggregations, sets, ordered n-tuples, possible worlds, intensional entities, ideal objects, species, intensive and extensive quantities, stuffs, situations, states, courses of events, nonexistent objects, intentional and discourse objects, general objects, plural objects, variable objects, arbitrary objects, vague kinds and concepts, fuzzy sets, and so forth. But just because a syntactic construction in some natural language appears to invoke a new category of entity, are we theoreticians epistemically justified in holding that there are such entities? This would hardly seem sufficient. To be epistemically justified, the ontology to which we theoreticians are committed must pass strict standards: the entities must be of the sort required by our best comprehensive theory of the world. The thesis of this paper is that fine-grained type-free intensional entities are like this. If the thesis is right, these entities have a special objective status perhaps not possessed by some of the other ontological categories associated with special syntactic constructions in natural language. In fact, it is plausible to hold that fine-grained type-free intensional entities provide the proper minimal framework for constructing logical and linguistic theories. In this paper my strategy will be to survey the competing conceptions of fine-grained type-free intensionality and to present arguments in support of one of them. Following this narrowing down process, I will go on to the indicated epistemological considerations.
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