Quantification in the Ontology Room

Dialectica 73 (4):563-585 (2019)
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There is a growing movement towards construing some classic debates in ontology as meaningless, either because the answers seem obvious or the debates seem intractable. In this paper, I respond to this movement. The response has three components: First, the members of the two sides of the ontological debates that dismissivists have targeted are using different quantifiers. Second, the austere ontologist is using a more fundamental quantifier than her opponent. Third, the austere ontologist’s more fundamental quantifier is a restriction of her opponent’s quantifier. This response takes seriously the intuition that there is something wrong with the ontological disputes, but does not entail dismissivism.

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Bradley Rettler
University of Wyoming


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