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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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Apriority and Existence

Apriority and Existence

(p.145) 6 Apriority and Existence

Stephen Yablo (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Quineans think that to establish the existence of so and so's, one must take a holistic a posteriori indispensability argument. Rationalists think that the existence of so and so's follows from a priori bridge principles such as: ‘An argument is valid if and only if it has no countermodels’. The reason this is a paradox and not merely a contradiction is that Quineanism is received opinion in philosophy, while Rationalism is a straightforward consequence of received opinion, viz., the opinion that we are capable in some cases of a priori insight into truth-conditions, and can a priori ‘see’ that an argument is valid if it lacks countermodels, that S is possible that if an S-world exists, and so on. The best explanation of our seemingly a priori entitlement to such bridge principles is that their felt content is not their literal content; the first is a priori but ontologically neutral, the second is ontologically committal but not a priori knowable.

Keywords:   ontology, existence, indispensability, metaphor, make-believe, pretense, internal, external, numbers, sets

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