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Erkenntnis

pp 1–20 | Cite as

An Ontology of Words

  • Nurbay Irmak
Article

Abstract

Words are indispensable linguistic tools for beings like us. However, there is not much philosophical work done about what words really are. In this paper, I develop a new ontology for words. I argue that (a) words are abstract artifacts that are created to fulfill various kinds of purposes, and (b) words are abstract in the sense that they are not located in space but they have a beginning and may have an end in time given that certain conditions are met. What follows from this two-fold argument is that words, from an ontological point of view, are more like musical works, fictional characters or computer programs, than numbers or sets.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank an anonymous referee for their detailed comments. For their helpful feedback on earlier drafts, I am grateful to Amie Thomasson, Simon Evnine, Ned Markosian, Dan Korman, Linda Wetzel, Jennifer Wang, Carrie Jenkins, Irem Kurtsal Steen, Harry Platanakis, Ilhan Inan, and Kenneth Westphal. I would also like to thank Georgia Axiotou for her invaluable help and support.

Funding

Funding was provided by Bogazici University Research Fund (Grant No. 10321SUP).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBoğaziçi UniversityBebek, IstanbulTurkey

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