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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 21, 2014

Must Naturalism Lead to a Deflationary Meta-Ontology?

Matthew Haug
From the journal Metaphysica

Abstract

Huw Price has argued that naturalistic philosophy inevitably leads to a deflationary approach to ontological questions. In this paper, I rebut these arguments. A more substantive, less language-focused approach to metaphysics remains open to naturalists. However, rebutting one of Price’s main arguments requires rejecting Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment. So, even though Price’s argument is unsound, it reveals that naturalists cannot rest content with broadly Quinean, “mainstream metaphysics,” which, I suggest, naturalists also have independent reasons to reject.

Acknowledgment

I presented an earlier version of some of this material at the Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science Conference in Toronto (May 2011) and the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division meeting in Seattle (April 2012). Thanks to the audiences on those occasions, and to my commentator at the latter, Troy Cross, for helpful comments and discussion.

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Published Online: 2014-10-21
Published in Print: 2014-11-28

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