Go Figure: A Path through Fictionalism
Yablo (Stephen)
Source: Midwest Studies In Philosophy; 2001, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p72, 32p
Paper - Abstract

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EBSCOHost Abstract

    Discusses different types of fictionalism1 in literature.
    Instrumentalist fictionalism2;
    Meta-fictionalism3;
    Object fictionalism4;
    Relative reflexive fictionalism5.

Author’s Introduction
  1. There is the following predicament.
    1. One, we find ourselves uttering sentences that seem on the face of it to be committed to so-and-so’s — sentences that could not be true unless so-and-so’s existed.
    2. But, two, we do not believe that so-and-so’s exist.
  2. What is someone caught up in The Predicament (as let’s call it) supposed to do? The official standard menu of options was given by Quine in "Quine (W.V.) - Word & Object". Our choices are three:
    1. Show how the commitment can be paraphrased away — thus Quine himself on chances.
    2. Stop uttering the problematic sentences — thus Quine on glints.
    3. Give up our resistance to the commitment — thus Quine on sets.
  3. Those who reject these options are subjected by Quine to some pretty withering criticism: “I deplore the philosophical double talk, which would repudiate an ontology while simultaneously enjoying its benefits” (242).
  4. […]
  5. Quine recognizes a fourth way of dealing with The Predicament. Someone whose sentences are committed to so-and-so’s need not share in the commitment if
    1. The sentences are advanced in a fictional or make-believe spirit.
  6. To have a name for this fourth option, let us call it fictionalism. There are a number of versions of fictionalism, according to the various accounts one might give of “advancing in a fictional spirit.”

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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