Quantification and ontology

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Abstract

Quineans have taken the basic expression of ontological commitment to be an assertion of the form '∃xφ', assimilated to the English 'there is something that is a φ'. Here I take the existential quantifier to be introduced, not as an abbreviation for an expression of English, but via Tarskian semantics. I argue, contrary to the standard view, that Tarskian semantics in fact suggests a quite different picture: one in which quantification is of a substitutional type apparently first proposed by Geach. The ontological burden is borne by constant symbols, and truth is defined separately from reference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-43
Number of pages43
JournalSynthese
Volume124
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2000

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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