Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?: Stephen Yablo
The usual charge against Carnap’s internal/external distinction is one of ‘guilt by association with analytic/synthetic’. But it can be freed of this association, to become the distinction between statements made within make-believe games and those made outside them—or, rather, a special case of it with some claim to be called the metaphorical/literal distinction. Not even Quine considers figurative speech committal, so this turns the tables somewhat. To determine our ontological commitments, we have to ferret out all traces of non-literality in our assertions; if there is no sensible project of doing that, there is no sensible project of Quinean ontology.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Michigan
Publication date: 1998-06-01