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Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 12:33:22 -0600
Message-id: <83218210-ED9E-47B5-9176-39EF98F448E4@xxxxxxxx>
On Feb 11, 2009, at 1:39 AM, Pat Hayes wrote:
> On Feb 10, 2009, at 5:55 PM, Christopher Menzel wrote:
>> On Feb 10, 2009, at 2:44 PM, Pat Hayes wrote:
>>> ...
>>> Quine was a strict nominalist.
>> Not that it matters to your main point here, but it sort of depends  
>> on
>> what you mean by a nominalist.  If you mean someone who rejects the
>> existence of classic intensional universals like Wisdom and Redness,
>> then yes, Quine was a nominalist.  If, however, you mean someone who
>> rejects the existence of all abstract entities across the board, then
>> Quine was no nominalist, as he argued that quantification over
>> mathematical objects (specifically, sets) is indispensable to  
>> science.
> But he also argued against admitting 'possible but unreal' entities.    (01)

True, but that question in my mind is entirely orthogonal to the issue  
of nominalism.    (02)

> I remember his withering question: how many possible men are  
> standing in an empty doorway?    (03)

Withering?  It's a terrible argument (insofar as it's an argument at  
all).  The answer (for the defender of possibilia) is obviously ZERO.   
Mere possibilia, by definition, are not in space and time (otherwise,  
obviously, they'd be *actual*) and hence cannot stand in any spatial  
relations to a doorway.    (04)

Quine was in many ways a great philosopher, but his skeptical  
arguments against modal logic and the general coherence of modal  
notions were singularly poor and have been decisively refuted.    (05)

-chris    (06)

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