Posits and Existence

Jody Azzouni

in Deflating Existential Consequence

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195159882
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199834990 | DOI:
 Posits and Existence

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It is argued that Quinean rent (Quine’s five virtues) don’t suffice to ontologically commit us to the existence of posits. To this end, the “black box” objection is deployed against the “success argument” of Boyd and Putnam. Ontological commitment is restricted to items we take to be ontologically independent of us, and it is shown to apply to thick and thin posits. Along the way, a version of the Eleatic principle—that those items we are ontologically committed to are causally efficacious—is established.

Keywords: The black box objection; causation; the Eleatic principle; ontological commitment; ontological independence; Quinean rent; Quine’s five virtues; the success argument; thick posit; thin posit

Chapter.  9254 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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