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Deflationary metaphysics and ordinary language

Button, T; (2020) Deflationary metaphysics and ordinary language. Synthese , 197 pp. 33-57. 10.1007/s11229-016-1212-z. Green open access

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Abstract

Amie Thomasson and Eli Hirsch have both attempted to deflate metaphysics, by combining Carnapian ideas with an appeal to ordinary language. My main aim in this paper is to critique such deflationary appeals to ordinary language. Focussing on Thomasson, I draw two very general conclusions. First: ordinary language is a wildly complicated phenomenon. Its implicit ontological commitments can only be tackled by invoking a context principle; but this will mean that ordinary language ontology is not a trivial enterprise. Second: ordinary language often points in different directions simultaneously, so that a wide variety of existence questions cannot be deflated merely by appealing to ordinary language.

Type: Article
Title: Deflationary metaphysics and ordinary language
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11229-016-1212-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1212-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Deflationary metaphysics · Ordinary language · Easy ontology · Metaontology · Metametaphysics · Existence questions · Amie Thomasson · Eli Hirsch · Neo-Carnapian metaphysics · The Context Principle · Mereology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085873
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