FOM: Re: Plural Quantification and Comprehension

charles silver silver_1 at
Thu Sep 14 19:19:24 EDT 2000

Allen Hazen wrote:
> DISCLAIMER: I myself think plural quantification is a lie and a
cheat, an
>attempt to disguise what are CLEARLY ontological commitments behind a
>verbal smokescreen.  I argued this in a paper in the "Australasian
>of Philosophy," v. 71 (1993), pp. 132-144... but apparently not
>was convinced.

    I think it's unfortunate that Quine's famous essay "On What There
Is" exerts such a powerful influence on philosophers today.   In the
essay, Quine misleadingly suggests that acceptance of a theory with an
abundance of entities is tantamount to overpopulating the
world with them--creating an "ontological slum," in his words.   (Set
theorists take note.)   This seems like a category mistake.  A
theory with excessive baggage could only be a "theoretical slum,"
not an ontological one.

Charlie Silver

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