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Neo-Carnapian Quietism: A global framework

Finn, Suki (2015) Neo-Carnapian Quietism: A global framework. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the highly contested ontological question of what exists, and aims to deflate ontological debates in a quietist fashion, whilst providing an original, positive account of how to proceed by drawing upon ideas from Fictionalism, Meinongianism, and Dialetheism. I follow Rudolf Carnap with respect to the metaontological question of how ontology should be understood and practised, by developing a critique of the traditional realist/antirealist positions and reframing the ontological debate accordingly. Carnap argues that it is not meaningful to question reality in an external sense in order to assess what really exists, rather it is only meaningful to talk in an internal sense within a framework about what exists according to the framework rules. I use the concept of fictions in place of Carnap’s frameworks to argue that we ought to treat much seemingly ontologically committing language as consisting in nothing more than a useful heuristic and as being simply fictional. This reframes ontological debates as being based around the practical advantages of utilizing a way of speaking about existence in a pragmatic fictionalist manner. The aim of my thesis is thus to resurrect Carnap’s metaontology in the form of a unique and global fictionalism, that is divorced from the antirealism usually associated with fictionalism and based on quietism instead. My Neo-Carnapian position is influenced by the Meinongian view of non-existent objects, as I take ontological commitment as distinct from quantificational commitment in order to allow for our quantificational use of language to be ontologically neutral and metaphysically quiet. I further argue that the quietist position results in dialetheism as it finds itself in contradictory realms – in drawing a limit to meaningful metaphysics, it ends up going beyond such limits. My thesis therefore concludes that in redirecting metaphysics towards quietism, metametaphysics is redirected towards dialetheism, in the form of a position I call ‘Neo-Carnapian Quietism’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Metametaphysics, Metaontology, Carnap
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.665045
Depositing User: Ms Suki Finn
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 10:41
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9594

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