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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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Much Ado about Something-from-Nothing; or, Problems for Ontological Minimalism

Much Ado about Something-from-Nothing; or, Problems for Ontological Minimalism

(p.145) 7 Much Ado about Something-from-Nothing; or, Problems for Ontological Minimalism
Ontology after Carnap

Simon Evnine

Oxford University Press

Ontological minimalism (or easy ontology) combines realism about first-order existence questions with a deflationary understanding of such existence claims: the concepts of the entities at issue in first-order debates include application conditions, and if these are met, it is a trivial truth that entities of that kind exist. This chapter argues that this view faces serious problems in explaining how entities the existence of which can be guaranteed in this easy way can have other properties as a matter of conceptual necessity. For example, it is a conceptual necessity that the mereological fusion of A and B has A and B as parts. How can this be, given that the application condition of the concept mereological fusion of A and B is simply that A and B exist? Only a substantive, first-order metaphysical claim can bridge this gap. So easy ontology is no easier than any other kind of ontology.

Keywords:   Thomasson, Schiffer, Carnap, deflationism, ontological minimalism, metaontology, easy ontology

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