Collapse and the Varieties of Quantifier Variance

In James Miller (ed.), The Language of Ontology (2021)
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Abstract

The aim of the paper is to bring clarity regarding the doctrine of quantifier variance (due to Eli Hirsch), and two prominent arguments against this doctrine, the collapse argument and the Eklund-Hawthorne argument. Different versions of the doctrine of quantifier variance are distinguished, and it is shown that the effectiveness of the arguments against it depends on what version of the doctrine is at issue. The metaontological significance of the different versions of the doctrine are also assessed. Roughly, quantifier variance concerns there being different possible existential quantifier meanings, and often the doctrine involves a claim to the effect there is no unique “best” quantifier meaning. Much of the discussion in the paper concerns what it is to be an existential quantifier meaning in the sense at issue.

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