, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 275-277
Date: 27 Aug 2008

Review of Heather Dyke, Metaphysics and the Representational Fallacy

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It is common for metaphysicians to argue that they are not committed to the existence of a particular kind of entity because they are able to paraphrase away apparent references to the entities in question. Similarly, metaphysicians sometimes argue that we are committed to the existence of some class of entities because we cannot avoid reference to them. In this book, Dyke claims that these types of arguments commit the representational fallacy, her expression for any illegitimate derivation of metaphysical conclusions from premises about language. Her interest in this project comes from her work in the philosophy of time, where such arguments are common. Those who endorse the A-theory of time, for example, often attempt to show that tense is ineliminable, i.e., it is impossible to adequately paraphrase tensed sentences into tenseless ones. They take this to support their claim that tensed properties exist. Proponents of the old version of the B-theory of time argued that tense was eli