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Ontology Made Easy$
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Amie L. Thomasson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385119.001.0001

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Fictionalism versus Deflationism

Fictionalism versus Deflationism

(p.177) 5 Fictionalism versus Deflationism
Ontology Made Easy

Amie L. Thomasson

Oxford University Press

The easy approach and fictionalism both present alternatives to the traditional options of eliminativism and heavyweight realism, and both lead to the conclusion that something is wrong with serious ontological debates. But the easy ontologist accepts the disputed entities, while the fictionalist does not. Moreover, fictionalism is wielded in one of the most frequent attacks on easy ontology: the idea that the ontological claims we get out of trivial arguments are implicitly in the context of a pretense operator, and so do not make serious ontological assertions. This chapter addresses those attacks and argues that they merely beg the question against the easy approach. It also argues that fictionalists face a crucial problem deflationists avoid. Finally, it argues that the fictionalist’s motivations—of giving a persuasive account of mathematical discourse—are better met by adopting the easy approach to ontology.

Keywords:   fictionalism, Stephen Yablo, pretense, philosophy of mathematics, deflationism

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