An Ontology of Words

Erkenntnis 84 (5):1139-1158 (2019)
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Words are indispensable linguistic tools for beings like us. However, there is not much philosophical work done about what words really are. In this paper, I develop a new ontology for words. I argue that words are abstract artifacts that are created to fulfill various kinds of purposes, and words are abstract in the sense that they are not located in space but they have a beginning and may have an end in time given that certain conditions are met. What follows from this two-fold argument is that words, from an ontological point of view, are more like musical works, fictional characters or computer programs, than numbers or sets.
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