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Ontology after Carnap$
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Stephan Blatti and Sandra Lapointe

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661985

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661985.001.0001

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Carnap and the Prospects for Easy Ontology

Carnap and the Prospects for Easy Ontology

(p.122) 6 Carnap and the Prospects for Easy Ontology
Ontology after Carnap

Amie L. Thomasson

Oxford University Press

After more than fifty years, metaontology is back in fashion. But in most recent discussions, the original Carnapian deflationist position has been missed. How could this be so? And what difference would rediscovering it make to contemporary discussions in metaontology? Those are the questions this chapter aims to answer. It argues that Carnap’s original position was wrongly dismissed by association with verificationism and anti-realism. It was then put aside and forgotten, given the common assumption that Quine had won the Carnap–Quine debate. Ever since, metaontological disputes have largely focused on quantifier variance. Each of these moves went wrong. Taken together, they led the original and most promising deflationary position to be largely overlooked. The chapter concludes with a contemporary neo-Carnapian form of deflationism, arguing that it is largely untouched by recent defenses of serious ontology, and that its prospects are rather promising.

Keywords:   Carnap, existence, metaontology, deflationism, Quine, quantifier variance, easy ontology, Putnam

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