Questions of Ontology

In Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.), Ontology After Carnap. Oxford University Press (2015)
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Following W.V. Quine’s lead, many metaphysicians consider ontology to be concerned primarily with existential questions of the form, “What is there?”. Moreover, if the position advanced by Rudolf Carnap, in his seminal essay, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology ”, is correct, then many of these existential ontological questions ought to be classified as either trivially answerable or as “pseudo-questions”. One may justifiably wonder, however, whether the Quinean and Carnapian perspective on ontology really does justice to many of the most central concerns of this discipline. This chapter argues, by considering a particular ontological dispute between two different kinds of trope theorists, that some of the most interesting and important debates which properly belong to the study of being, whether we call it “metaphysics” or “ ontology ”, do not concern existential questions at all; rather, such disputes in some cases focus on non-existential disagreements over questions of fundamentality
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