Much recent debate in metaphysics centers on our use of the term 'existence'. Relatively little substantial philosophy can be done without relying, at least implicitly, on existence claims. But since typical practice treats this term as a primitive, there is a danger that philosophers may not be using it in the same sense as one another. This is known as the problem of quantifier variance. Some prominent metaphysicians have responded to this worry by suggesting that existence claims may in fact be analyzed in terms of a privileged sense of 'existence'; the sense that 'carves nature at the joints'. I will argue that we can extend this strategy to claims about the non-natural, arbitrary world; or 'carving that we do'. This amounts to treating existence claims about the natural world as employing a restricted quantifier; an unrestricted quantifier must include arbitrary objects within its scope as well. Lastly, I will show how this approach to ontology sheds light on some diverse problems in metaphysics and the philosophy of language.
|Advisor:||Moffett, Marc A.|
|Commitee:||Colter, Rob S., Goodin, Susanna L., Moorhouse, Eric G.|
|School:||University of Wyoming|
|School Location:||United States -- Wyoming|
|Source:||MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Arbitrariness, Mereological nihilism, Mereology, Mind dependence, Ontology, Quantifier variance|
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