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Putting Metaphysics FirstEssays on Metaphysics and Epistemology$
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Michael Devitt

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280803.001.0001

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The Metaphysics of Nonfactualism *

The Metaphysics of Nonfactualism *

(p.137) 7 The Metaphysics of Nonfactualism*
Putting Metaphysics First

Michael Devitt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The usual characterizations of nonfactualism are unsatisfactory. The problem partly comes from focusing on nonfactualism's special semantics instead of on the antirealist metaphysics that must motivate that semantics. The problem also comes from the genuine difficulty in characterizing this metaphysics. This chapter rejects the usual implicit characterizations: that there are no properties or facts in the problematic area. Using the examples of instrumentalism, noncognitivism, and deflationary truth, it argues for the characterization that, in the problematic area, there is no reality with a nature to be explained and with a causal-explanatory role. Finally, it rejects accounts of the special semantics of nonfactualism in terms of properties, facts, and truth conditions, but accepts ones that contrast the apparently descriptive or factual function of indicative sentences in the problematic area with their alleged function as expressive, prescriptive, or whatever.

Keywords:   nonfactualism, antirealism, properties, facts, instrumentalism, noncognitivism, deflationary truth, truth conditions, expressive, prescriptive

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