Easy ontology, application conditions and infinite regress

Andrew Brenner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a number of recent publications Thomasson has defended a deflationary approach to ontological disputes, according to which ontological disputes are relatively easy to settle, by either conceptual analysis, or conceptual analysis in conjunction with empirical investigation. Thomasson’s “easy” approach to ontology is intended to derail many prominent ontological disputes. In this paper I present an objection to Thomasson’s approach to ontology. Thomasson’s approach to existence assertions means that she is committed to the view that application conditions (i.e., conditions which need to be met in order for some existence assertion to be true) associated with any term “K” with non-trivial application conditions must refer to the existence of things other than Ks. Given other components of her meta-ontological scheme, this leads to either an infinite regress or circularity of application conditions, both of which seem objectionable. Accordingly, some part of Thomasson’s meta-ontological scheme should be modified or abandoned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605–614
Number of pages10
JournalAnalysis
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

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