Things have been very slow on the blogging front recently: a product of hecticity in all aspects of life over the last few weeks. Apologies in particular to those who have left comments
On the research side, I was down in Oxford on Friday giving a talk to the departmental Philosophical Society on “Semantics for nihilists”. This is a paper that’s turning into a more general project of showing how to get truths about macro-objects, or sets, say, without having to having to admit macro-objects into ones ontology. As I think of these things, the real issue here concerns the nature of ontological commitment (Agustin Rayo‘s recent papers convinced me of this). I’m planning to write up this stuff at the next available opportunity. I’m giving it again at a “Structure in Metaphysics” workshop here in Leeds, soon.
I’m also in the process of organizing my trip to Boise, Idaho, for the metametaphysics conference there.
Finally, on the news front: I’m going to be on research leave next year, courtesy of those nice people of the AHRC. It’s for a project called “Intrinsic survival, multiple survival, vague survival”, which takes on a cluster of issues, including intrinsicality, ontic vagueness, fission cases, and the problem of the many. One part of the application was to give regular research updates on this blog, so I’m committed to keep this active while on leave!
“the real issue here concerns the nature of ontological commitment”.
I’m with you on that one!
Yeah, a natural enough thought. But when you look at the literature, there’s all these people defending the truth of claims on the basis of revisionary syntax/semantics. That means that they can keep the Quinean orthodoxy about the way we read ontological commitments from sentences/theories formulated in a given interpreted language. Think of van Inwagen and Dorr/Rosen, for example.
Defending the consistency of truth and nihilism via questioning the Quinean orthodoxy wasn’t a route that I had thought much about before reading Agustin’s stuff. Be very interested to find out about good discussion in the literature in this spirit.