Abstract: Eklund

Ontology XL

Abstract: Some philosophers (e.g. neo-Fregeans like Crispin Wright and Bob Hale, Amie Thomasson, and Agustín Rayo) have put forward arguments for extremely permissive ontologies, and have done so with an eye to deflating ontology as an enterprise. The idea, roughly, is that existence questions can be settled easy or trivially, and since this is so ontology as a theoretical enterprise is bankrupt. I am attracted to this general idea myself. But here I will highlight two different kinds of problems: (1) Exactly how widely do the arguments generalize? For example, do the arguments generalize so as to have plainly unacceptable consequences? (2) Another – more recent – theme in metaontological debates concerns ontological realism and quantifier variance: is there a privileged existential quantifier or not? I will present an argument to the effect that the strategy described above is otiose given the theoretical possibilities highlighted in the debate over ontological realism and quantifier variance.