Philosophy Seminar Series: Michael Devitt – School of Humanities Philosophy Seminar Series: Michael Devitt – School of Humanities

Philosophy Seminar Series: Michael Devitt

Philosophy Seminar Series

Michael Devitt| CUNY | Wednesday 20 September 3:30pm

Ostrich Nominalism

“Ostrich Nominalism” is Armstrong’s (1978) pejorative name for the Quinean response to the venerable One over Many problem. Instead of offering a solution to this problem, as do Realists and traditional Nominalists, the Ostrich dismisses the problem as pseudo. The paper discusses the early responses to Armstrong, particularly Devitt (1980) and Lewis (1983). These responded to Armstrong’s request for ontological commitment. The paper then turns to Armstrong’s request for “truthmakers”, a request that has dominated later discussions. Truthmaking is standardly understood semantically as a version of the correspondence theory, but it can be understood metaphysically. Understood semantically, the Ostrich dismisses Armstrong’s request as a misguided attempt to derive a metaphysics from a semantics. Understood metaphysically, as a demand for “groundings”, the Ostrich is again dismissive: this is another bit of unnatural metaphysics. The paper defends this dismissiveness in discussing Rodriguez-Pereyra (2000, 2005). Finally, the paper considers Imaguire’s Priority Nominalism (2018).


In person Event: Note change of on-campus venue
Quadrangle Boardroom S445

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Image: Photo by Micha Frank


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Sep 20 2023


3:30 pm


Professorial Board Room
The University of Sydney, Quadrangle A14



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