Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Verbal Disputes: Any Viable Options for the Ontological Deflationist?

    Delia Belleri (University of Bologna)

Date: 28 January 2015

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB

Abstract

Eli Hirsch's version of deflationism has it that a dispute is verbal just in case each side ought to interpret the other as speaking truly in their own idiolect. As he argues, at least some ontological disputes meet this condition. This view has been criticised by more than one author as being too weak to establish that the disputes at issue are verbal in the way under discussion. I will add a further challenge by arguing that Hirsch (or any proponent of his brand of Quantifier Variance) could try to strengthen the view in at least two ways, which are however both problematic. Either one tries to strengthen the account by pursuing a notion of “true verbality” that is however inapplicable to ontological disputes; or one downplays the impact of the failure by explaining that the idiolects involved are nothing but “notational variants”, an option that runs into problems when it comes to a number of matters, from semantic to methodological, to properly ontological.