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Stephen Yablo

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266487.001.0001

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Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?

Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?

(p.117) 5 Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?

Stephen Yablo (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A line of research aimed at determining whether Chicago, April, Spanish, etc., really exist can seem naive to the point of comicality. It's as though one were to call for research into whether April is really the cruellest month, or Chicago the city with the big shoulders, or Spanish the loving tongue. It turns out the analogy is not entirely frivolous. Quine objects to Carnap that he assumes a clear line between analytic and synthetic. But Quine himself assumes that literally true existence claims can be told apart from ones that are only figuratively true. Analytic vs. synthetic may be a problematic distinction. But compared to literal vs. figurative, it is a marvel of clarity and precision.

Keywords:   ontology, existence, indispensability, metaphor, make-believe, pretense, internal, external, Platonism, Nominalism

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