Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195662
Title:
Indispensable Ontological Commitments
Author:
Dieveney, Patrick
Issue Date:
2006
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Following Quine, some philosophers argue that insofar as we accept our best scientific theories as true, we are committed to the existence of the things these theories say 'there are'. And, we determine what things our theories say 'there are' by looking to the objects required to satisfy the existentially quantified sentences of these theories. In other words, existential quantification is the mark of ontological commitment.In my dissertation, I examine this relationship between quantification and ontology. Building on work from Peter Geach and Van McGee, I develop an account of quantification, what I call "unrestricted substitutional quantification". I argue that this is not only the appropriate understanding of the quantifiers, but it also allows for a robust science of ontology. With this understanding of the quantifiers, I consider the role they play in determining our ontological commitments by examining the paradigm example of this role--the Quine-Putnam Indispensability Argument.My analysis of the Quine-Putnam Indispensability Argument focuses on two central points. First, I argue that standard formulations of the argument include an unnecessary premise. Eliminating this superfluous premise significantly strengthens the argument as it has drawn a great deal of criticism. Second, the resulting argument serves as a blueprint for Quinean appeals to existential quantification in determining our ontological commitments. As a result, the argument helps clarify a necessary condition on such appeals. We are only committed to the objects required to satisfy existentially quantified sentences in formalizations of our accepted theories provided they occur in appropriate formalizations of the theories. Hence, appealing to existential quantification to determine ontological commitments requires an account of 'appropriateness' for formalizations. I conclude by offering such an account by drawing on work from Hartry Field, Mark Colyvan, and other areas of study (e.g., Kantian Ethics) where a similar problem of occurs.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Philosophy; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Lavine, Shaughan

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleIndispensable Ontological Commitmentsen_US
dc.creatorDieveney, Patricken_US
dc.contributor.authorDieveney, Patricken_US
dc.date.issued2006en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractFollowing Quine, some philosophers argue that insofar as we accept our best scientific theories as true, we are committed to the existence of the things these theories say 'there are'. And, we determine what things our theories say 'there are' by looking to the objects required to satisfy the existentially quantified sentences of these theories. In other words, existential quantification is the mark of ontological commitment.In my dissertation, I examine this relationship between quantification and ontology. Building on work from Peter Geach and Van McGee, I develop an account of quantification, what I call "unrestricted substitutional quantification". I argue that this is not only the appropriate understanding of the quantifiers, but it also allows for a robust science of ontology. With this understanding of the quantifiers, I consider the role they play in determining our ontological commitments by examining the paradigm example of this role--the Quine-Putnam Indispensability Argument.My analysis of the Quine-Putnam Indispensability Argument focuses on two central points. First, I argue that standard formulations of the argument include an unnecessary premise. Eliminating this superfluous premise significantly strengthens the argument as it has drawn a great deal of criticism. Second, the resulting argument serves as a blueprint for Quinean appeals to existential quantification in determining our ontological commitments. As a result, the argument helps clarify a necessary condition on such appeals. We are only committed to the objects required to satisfy existentially quantified sentences in formalizations of our accepted theories provided they occur in appropriate formalizations of the theories. Hence, appealing to existential quantification to determine ontological commitments requires an account of 'appropriateness' for formalizations. I conclude by offering such an account by drawing on work from Hartry Field, Mark Colyvan, and other areas of study (e.g., Kantian Ethics) where a similar problem of occurs.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairLavine, Shaughanen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLavine, Shaughanen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHealey, Richarden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPollock, Johnen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1702en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659746286en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.