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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 9, pp 2211–2226 | Cite as

Verbalism and metalinguistic negotiation in ontological disputes

  • Delia BelleriEmail author
Article

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore the view that some ontological disputes are “metalinguistic negotiations” (to employ a recent term coined by David Plunkett and Timothy Sundell), and to make sense of the significance of these controversies in a way that is still compatible with a broadly deflationist approach. I start by considering the view advocated by Eli Hirsch to the effect that some ontological disputes are verbal. I take the Endurantism–Perdurantusm dispute as a case-study and argue that, while it can be conceded that the dispute is verbal at the object-level, this does not rule out the possibility of a non-verbal disagreement at the metalinguistic level. I then explore the metalinguistic dispute hypothesis by seeing how it can be defended from a first objection playing on the idea of inter-translatability, as well as a second objection raising the question of equal theoretical virtues.

Keywords

Metaontology Ontological disputes Verbal disputes Metalinguistic negotiation Endurantism Perdurantism 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I was able to complete work on this article thanks to the generous support of the Humboldt Foundation. This paper was presented at the University of Hamburg during the workshop "The Philosophy of Disagreement" (March 2016). I am grateful to all the participants, especially Richard Woodward, Giovanni Merlo and Tim Sundell for their valuable feedback. Many thanks to Martin Kusch, Robin McKenna, David Liggins, Amie Thomasson and John Horden, who read earlier drafts of this article and provided helpful and constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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