> Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 10:21:17 -0700
> Subject: Re: Yablo, Quine and Carnap on ontology
> From: peterdjo...@yahoo.com
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> 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
> fact
> 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
> backwards
> and forwards.

Your summary appears fairly nonsensical. "Existence" is a word humans have 
invented, as such it means whatever we define it to mean, there is no "truth" 
about whether numbers exist independent of our arbitrary choices about how to 
define what the word "exist" actually means. If I choose to define "existence" 
as the property of walking around on four legs, then it is perfectly correct to 
say that cats and dogs exist but humans and birds do not exist, according to 
this definition. I have asked you in several previous posts (such as the one at 
http://tinyurl.com/muh9a3 ) whether you agree that different philosophers 
define "existence" differently and there is no single "correct" usage, but you 
never seem willing to answer this straightforward question.

Philosophers may debate whether various concepts of existence like Quine's are 
internally coherent, or how well they match up with how we talk about the 
"existence" of things in everyday speech (these kinds of issues seem to be what 
Yablo is talking about), but they certainly don't debate about whether a 
particular definition of existence coincides with what "really exists", as if 
"existence" has some pure platonic meaning beyond human definitions.


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