Advertisement

Ontology and Epistemology from Empiricism to Conventionalism

  • Mia Gosselin
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 215)

Abstract

The main theme in the early philosophy of W.V.O. Quine and N. Goodman is the rejection of abstract entities, which engender an infinity of abstract elements. They call it nominalism but in fact it is much older than nominalism. Did not Aristotle reject the existence of ideas, because of the paradox of the third man, which shows that when a thing corresponds to an idea, there must be an idea that corresponds to this correspondence and an idea that corresponds to the thing, and the first and the second idea and so on? Nobody ever called this dismissal of ideas nominalism; the paradox rests on the false assumption that an idea must have itself the property it expresses and can be resolved, just as it can be shown that abstract elements such as classes must not necessarily engender an infinity, or at least that this can be avoided by observing certain rules. The rejection of the existence of abstract entities is a necessary but insufficient condition for nominalism.

Keywords

Physical Object Ontological Commitment Abstract Entity Logical Empiricism Abstract Element 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Largeault, Enquête sur le nominalisme, p.290.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    lbidem, p.329.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    “On Sense and reference”, in: Translations from the Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, Eds. P. Geach, M. Black, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1966, p.57.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    D. Pears, Bertrand Russell and the British Tradition in Philosophy, Fontana/Collins, London, 1967, p.13.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cf. B. Russell, My Philosophical Development, Unwin Books, London, 1959, p.118.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    D. Pears, Bertrand Russell, p.14.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
    A. Ayer, Russell, Collins, London, 1972, Prisma, Antwerp, Utrecht, 1974, p.54–55.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Hintikka, Models for Modalities, Reidel, Dordrecht, Boston, 1969, p.27.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ibidem p.26.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    Ibidem p.29.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ibidem p.23.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ibidem p.24.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibidem p.27.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    W.V.O. Quine, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”, in: From a Logical Point of View 1964, p.20–46.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cf. G.I. Taylor, Proc. Cambridge Phil. Soc. 15, 1909, p.114. Cf. R.L. Phleegor, L. Mandel, Physic. Review 159, 1967, p.1048.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    R.H. Severens, “Channelling Commitments”, Franciscan Studies 1962, p.1–21.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibidem p.3.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ibidem p.12.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    P.F. Strawson, “On Referring”, Mind LIX, Nr. 235, 1950.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ibidem p.325Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ibidem p.337.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    lbidem p.337–338.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cf. D. Batens, “Meaning, Acceptance and Dialectics”, Proceedings of the 4th International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, edited by Joseph Pitt, Reidel, Dordrecht, 1985.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pears, Bertrand Russell and the British Tradition in Philosophy p.56: “So his main point about existence can be put by saying that in the proposition that Sir Walter Scott exists, it cannot be the case that the ordinary proper name is being used as a logicalproper name. If it were being so used, it would derive its meaning directly from its denotation without intervention of any descriptions, and in that case the proposition would be meaningless if the denotation did not exist. But that is absurd, since the proposition clearly has meaning even if the man does not and never did exist. Therefore it must be the case that his existence is being affirmed through some property”.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    B. Russell, My Philosophical Development, p.126.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cf. M.J. Loux, Universals and Particulars. Readings in Ontology, Anchor Books New York, 1970, p.202.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Cf. Chapter 6.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Russell, My Philosophical Development, p.117.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    lbidem, p.127.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    lbidem p.127.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Cf. Largeault, Enquête sur le nominalisme, p.352–355 and N. Goodman, Of Mind and Other Matters, Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1984, p.130.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Cf. Largeault, Enquête sur le Nominalisme, p.347. Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    N. Goodman and W.V.O. Quine, “Steps Towards a Constructive Nominalism”, Journal of Symbolic Logic, Vol. 12, Nr. 4, 1947, p.105, footnote 2.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Cf. Quine, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”, p.20–46.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Quine, From a Logical Point of View, p.102–129.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ibidem, p.129.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Quine, Word and Object.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Quine, The Ways of Paradox.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    W.V.O. Quine, The Roots of Reference, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1973, p.138.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
  44. 44.
    N. Goodman, The Structure of Appearance, Bobbs-Merill Co., Indianapolis, New York, Kansas City, 1951.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    N. Goodman, Fact, Fiction and Forecast,Bobbs-Merril Company, Indianapolis, N.Y., 1965, first edition, 1955, p.59.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    lbidem, p.119.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    N. Goodman, Languages of Art, Hackett, Indianapolis, 1976.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    N. Goodman, Ways of Worldmaking, Harvester, Indianapolis, 1978.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    N. Goodman, Of Mind and Other Matters, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1984Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mia Gosselin
    • 1
  1. 1.Belgium

Personalised recommendations