On 3 Sep, 17:12, John Mikes <jami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Peter,
> the Yablo-Carnac-Gallois-Quine compendium is an interesting reading - except
> for missing the crux:
> You, as a person, with knowledge about the ideas of the bickering
> philosophers, could do us the politesse of a brief summary about "who is
> stating what" (very few lines) which may increase the understanding of the
> innocent by-reader about the generalities mentioned back and forth. I for
> one looked at the 2 URL-s, long as one of them may be, and found further
> generalities as in a style of scientifically 'expert' discussions/arguments.

One of my reasons for posting it was to illustrate that there is in
a debate about ontology. Bruno has been arguign that numbers
exist because there are true mathematical statements asserting their
existence. The counterargument is that "existence" in mathematical
statements is merely metaphorical. That is what is being argued
and forwards.

> I did not read so far and did not study these versions, so reading your (and
> their) papers was frustrating.
> I am fundamentally opposed to 'ontology', because I consider it explaining
> the partial knowledge we have about 'the world' as if it were the total. I
> am for epistemology, the growing information-staple we absorb.
> Most people stand on ontological grounds. I wanted to get a glimps.
> Could you help?
> John M
> On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 1:35 PM, 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Yablo and Gallois's paper "Is ontology based on a mistake" is quite
> > relevant to
> > the question of Platonism, specificall whether true matehmatical
> > assertions
> > of existence have to be taken literally.
> >http://tinyurl.com/ldekg7
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > What is it?
> > A paper criticising the Quinean view of ontology. Yablo does so by
> > introduces a metaphorical/literal distinction as to when it is
> > reasonable to posit the existence of entities. Thus in order to
> > determine our ontological commitments we need to be able to extract
> > all cases in which such entities are posited in a metaphorical way
> > rather than a literal one. If there is no way to do this, then it is
> > not possible to develop a Quinean ontology.
> > Where does it fit in for me?
> > For the thesis: if correct, it implies that Quine's fundamental
> > approach to ontology is flawed and this may have negative implications
> > for the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument.
> > For the metaphysics paper: possibly details a way in which existence
> > cannot be held to occur (which would be interesting to look at in
> > terms of the relations proposed). At the very least it gives an
> > example of particular existence claims which can then be analysed in a
> > relational way.
> > Reference
> > Yablo, S., Does ontology rest on a mistake?, Proceedings of the
> > Aristotelian Society, supp. vol. LXXII (1998), 229-261.
> > The Argument
> > Carnap on existence
> > Carnap argued that the realist existence question/assertion was
> > meaningless. He did this by means of his concept of linguistic
> > framework. A linguistic framework lays down rules for the use and
> > meaning of some object term X in a linguistic sense. Thus there are
> > two ways in which one can question/assert the existence of X: internal
> > or external to the linguistic framework.
> > If one questions the existence of X internal to the framework, one is
> > almost certainly guaranteed a yes answer (thus the statement "there is
> > an X" can pretty much be viewed as tautological when assessed
> > internally to a framework involving X). Hence the realist must be
> > making an external existence assertion. However, in this case the term
> > X has no meaning, as the framework within which it gains such is not
> > present. Thus the realist existence question/assertion is either
> > tautological or impossible to answer/assess.
> > Quine on Carnap
> > Quine objected to Carnap's position in three ways: firstly, he held
> > that his internal/external distinction was reliant on an analytic/
> > synthetic distinction (because the concept of a linguistic framework
> > involves the rules inherent in that framework being viewed as
> > indefeasible (i.e. analytic) within that particular linguistic
> > practice). As Quine believed that the analytic/synthetic distinction
> > could not be made, he held that Carnap's internal/external distinction
> > breaks down: internal assessments are thus not just a matter of
> > following inviolable linguistic rules, it is indeed possible for these
> > rules to change in response to experience and thus for internal
> > practice to change too.
> > Secondly, Quine argues that the external choice between linguistic
> > frameworks is much more influenced by observation than Carnap would
> > have us believe. For Quine, the decision to adopt a rule governing the
> > appropriate observational conditions under which one may assert the
> > existence of X is itself in part an assertion that X exists (if such
> > conditions obtain). He does not believe in making a distinction
> > between the linguistic truth and the factual truth of a statement.
> > Finally, Quine objects to the claim that the choice of linguistic
> > framework existence rule is based on merely practical considerations
> > to do with efficiency, simplicity, etc with no metaphysical
> > implications. He does so on the basis that these are exactly the sorts
> > of things that scientists use to favour one theory (and hence in
> > Quine's opinion, a view of the world, complete with ontology) over
> > another.
> > Yablo on Quine
> > Yablo argues that each aspect of Quine's critique is flawed. Firstly,
> > one does not need to hold that rules making up a linguistic framework
> > are analytic in order to be able to understand the need for a
> > framework in order to understand the meaning of terms. Not really sure
> > how this fits in and is related to Quine's second objection stage: One
> > does not need to render external talk of the objects within a
> > particular framework meaningless in order to save the internal, rule-
> > bound meaning. One can just make clear how such external statements
> > cannot be applied internally.;finally, Yablo points out that Quine
> > himself accepts the fact that a statement can be asserted purely for
> > practical advantage without the asserter actually holding that what it
> > entails metaphysically is actually the case.
> > Saving the Framework
> > Yablo goes on to propose a linguistic framework modified in light of
> > Quine's criticisms in which a framework is adopted as a kind of "game"
> > where the players assess the truth and falsity of statements within
> > the framework without any belief in implications for truth and/or
> > falsity outside of the framework. Thus Yablo argues that there are two
> > ways in which a statement may be interpreted: literally (external to a
> > particular game or linguistic framework) or as a metaphor (internal).
> > The Framework Strikes Back
> > This distinction regarding the way in which a statement may be
> > interpreted causes problems for the Quinean ontological regime. Given
> > that Quine does accept that assertions may be made in a metaphorical
> > sense, and that when one does so no ontological implications may be
> > drawn from such assertions, Quine needs to provide a clear demarcation
> > criterion to distinguish between metaphorical and literal statements.
> > As this has been much discussed without progress, it seems unlikely
> > that one will be able to distinguish between metaphorical and literal
> > usage and thus it is impossible to construct a certain ontology under
> > Quine's approach.
> > Indeed, Yablo argues that for the most part when we make statements,
> > we are unsure as to whether they are strictly literally true or if
> > they are at least in part to be taken metaphorically. Thus the
> > Quiniean must argue that in time these metaphorical parts of our
> > statements will be eroded and eventually only the literal
> > interpretation will remain. However, this reduces the Quinean position
> > to the following: one should sympathise with the idea that Xs exist
> > iff the literal part of theories involve their postulation and one
> > should count the part of a theory that involves the postulation of Xs
> > literal iff there turn out to be Xs. Thus there is a circularity.
> > Argument Outline
> >    * Carnap proposes a conception of linguistic practice (involving
> > an internal/external distinction) under which ontological
> > investigations cannot meaningfully be undertaken.
> >    * Quine criticises this by linking it to the problems of the
> > analytic/synthetic distinction.
> >    * Yablo modifies Carnap's position so that the distinction is made
> > on metaphorical/literal grounds in instead.
> >    * This new position requires that the Quinean provide a principle
> > of demarcation between metaphor and literal truth in order for their
> > ontology to prevail.
> >    * No such principle has been provided and so the Quinean
> > ontological project fails.
> >http://xeny.net/Yablo.Ontology
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